Thursday, December 26, 2013

Social and Economic Conservatism Scale

Putin declared a new conservatism + a rule of traditions + etc.
Jim A. C. Everett in PLoS publishes some operational tools for him:

The SECS (see subj) is suggested to be an important and useful tool for researchers working in political psychology as well as for national leaders.
needs for order, structure, closure, certainty, dogmatism, and discipline are often shown to be more central to the thinking of conservative proponents, whereas higher tolerance of ambiguity and complexity and greater openness to new experiences appear to be associated with liberal cognitive styles 
then decide: who are you ;)

Gender Relations and Birth Control in the Age of the Pill

you may wish to see some photos from the event
plenty of Jena and too few of the fellow participants

Friday, December 6, 2013

difference in famine perception

An LJ friend published a review text about his paper on mortality in one of Soviet concentration camps, have a look:

I have now read your paper. It is interesting and discusses some important issues. It is good to see that there are some young Russian historians concerned about these matters. I attach some comments on the paper.
SAZLAG - Some comments
This paper has three parts:
(1) A presentation and discussion of the mortality data for SAZLAG for 1931-45.
(2) A presentation of the mortality data of Buchenwald and a comparison with SAZLAG.
(3) Attention to the fact that the terrible mortality at SAZLAG is hardly known to anyone and that the people responsible were never punished for their crimes.
(1) This is useful. I was unaware of the existence of tis camp and of its very high mortality figures. However, the high mortality is not so surprising. I myself travelled in Central Asia in 1966-67. At one time I stayed in the student hostel of Samarkand State University (SAMGU). Hygiene there was terrible. The lavatories were awful and the availability of washing facilities not very good. It is really not very surprising that mortality in SAZLAG was higher than in the Gulag as a whole. I expect that mortality in Central Asia was higher than in the USSR as a whole,. In this connection, in Figure 1 you compare mortality in SAZLAG with normal mortality in the USSR. However, really you should compare it with mortality in Central Asia. That is the relevant comparison group.
(2) The comparison with Buchenwald. I am not surprised that this is “very controversial in modern Russian historical” writing. What makes it controversial is two things. First, the unwillingness to accept similarities between the Soviet and Nazi systems. Secondly, the usual identification of German concentration camps with the German extermination camps.
You carefully point out that your comparison is not with the extermination camps, but with the ‘normal’ concentration camps in Germany. Once this is explained, this should reduce the emotional resistance to your paper, although the first argument above would remain. Personally, I think your comparison with Buchenwald is perfectly legitimate and interesting. It is a useful way of drawing attention to the scale of the inhumanity represented by SAZLAG.
Incidentally, the first modern ‘concentration camps’ were those used by the British in their war in South Africa in 1899-1901 (known in the UK as the ‘Boer War’). The British put the civilian Boer population (including women and children) in camps to deprive the male Boer fighters of the possibility of disappearing into the civilian population. There was a high mortality in these camps (I do not have the figures to hand) and this caused a big political scandal at the time. (Nowadays only a few specialists seem to know that ‘concentration camps’ were introduced by the British and not the Germans.)
I think your explanation of the difference between Buchenwald and the extermination camps is too long. Do you really need all the text on pages 31-38?
Your comparison with prison mortality in the Russian Empire is a good one. As for the USA, also relevant is the death rate among the Japanese and Japanese Americans deported from the West Coast at the beginning of 1942 and interned in special camps.
(3) Obviously the USSR/Russia did not go through any proper process of punishment for those guilty of these crimes. In addition, many people in Russia today have a rather rosy view of the Stalinist past. Russia has not condemned the past and its perpetrators in the way Germany has. Neither has it had a Truth and Reconciliation process similar to South Africa. Although it is a good idea to draw attention to this, I doubt very much whether this situation will change. In the USA, in 1988 a law was passed apologizing for the 1942 internment of Japanese Americans. The survivors (or their heirs) received financial compensation.
On page 15, bottom of the page, you refer to 1931 as “a non-famine and peaceful year”. This is not the case. Of course the peak of the famine was in 1933, and 1932-33 were the main famine years. However, there were also famine deaths in 1931-34. I usually refer in my writings to the ‘1931-34 famine’. If I remember correctly, the 1931 deaths were mainly in Kazakhstan, which of course was nearer to Central Asia than Russia or Ukraine. Besides the famine, 1931 was scarcely very ‘peaceful’ either. It is true that the USSR was not engaged in an international war, but there was a bitter struggle between the state and the peasantry. (Furthermore, in 1931 the Soviet leadership became very concerned about Japanese aggression in the Far East.)
I notice that you are an aspirant. I feel that the text you have written is more suitable as a chapter in a Memorial book than as a chapter in a kandidatskaya dissertatsiya. Personally I would advise that the chapter be a bit less polemical. Maybe by making comparisons with the British concentration camps for Boer War civilians, and the US camps for interned Japanese-Americans, you could counter criticism by ‘patriots’. (I expect, although I do not have the figures to hand, that in both cases mortality was much below that in SAZLAG.) Also, by reducing the number of pages devoted to Buchenwald, and its status in Germany, you would improve the text as a chapter in a dissertatisiya.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

a theologian

love wins

cannibalism statistics, Ukraine, 1947

LJ user allin777 posted this table:

formal reference: Архив МВД Украины, ф.3, оп.1, д.91, л.139.
for those who do not read in Russian --- translation of columns' titles:
  1. region
  2. number of cannibalism cases in 1947
  3. out of them in June 1947
  4. number of eaten corpses
  5. out of them in June 1947
  6. number of procecuted in 1947 (attracted for responsibility), but not nesessarily arrested
  7. out of them in June 1947
Last table row -- totals.
Colonel Antoniuk, head of BB Dept of Ministry of Interior signed the document.
What is BB -- I do not know yet.

also to the same topic dystrophy prevalence
upg: BB = struggle against banditism

Saturday, November 2, 2013

the destiny of Russia

Yes, it is almost clear.
Below is my conclusion from the conference (+here) which took place yesterday and day before yesterday.
Since the alcohol consumption is the only determinant of Russian mortality and fertility, we could see a repetition of Gorbi period with a new leader. There are three pix here to support the thesis (which is below): two by Andreyev, and butterfly by Keenan (drawn also by Andreyev). Theirs as well as other presentations should be available somewhere on

The mortality is going down, and fertility is going up -- this combination inevitably leads to collapse of the state. The Soviet Union is already over, Russia is next. Draw your own conclusions ;)
Additional indirect evidence comes from shrinking Russian, and growing alternatives.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Whither Russia's immigration debate?

The title is Fred Weir entry in CSM (see, here), my speech here.
I had four wrong answers to their qiuz, one of them is CSM fault. It is Catherine input into Russian history.

I wrote more for the author ;)

1. Russian labor force of Russians will shrink in the near future due to two major reasons: (a) large cohorts born in 50s are leaving their working ages, and (b) smaller cohorts born in 90s are entering this age span (approximately -20-60+, i.e., years of birth around 1993 and 1953). This "substituting cohorts" are about a half of retiring ones. It was known long ago, and is absolutely not a surprise. Russian population is heavily affected by a number of catastrophes or population losses caused by social revolutions and main one was WW2.

For instance, subtracting 70 (modal age at death, age when major part of a cohort dies) from 2013 we obtain 1943, which is a peak of terrible war. It explains the recently reported decline of mortality, people who are due to die were not born 70 years ago. Because of very irregular age composition mortality will rise greatly in about 10 years.

Theoretically, a Russian woman could produce 2.1 babies on average, but they did not do it since mid 80s and mid 60s, most of the time fertility was below replacement level, and I see absolutely know reasons for fertility to jump by more than 1/3 from its current level.

2. Migration. The difference in fertility certainly does not affect migration, neither low in Russia, nor high elsewhere. Moreover nearby areas do not have really high fertility, e.g., Kirghiz women have highest fertility in the former SU, it is twice as high as of Russians, but numerically just 3 v 1.5 (number of children born by a woman). 3 is not high, 3 means it is dropping, and doing it quickly. Say, 20 yeas from now, and fertility will appear about similar. The reason to move en masse is very bad living conditions in areas of emigration, social unrest, even wars, high unemployment, etc., it is definitely not god living conditions in areas of arrival (Russia). + There is absolutely know job competition between local and arrived population. To tell about Birulevo, I have discussed it with a virtual friend, we both thanks Boris Yeltzin who terminated that practice of agricultural assistance from city dwellers to kolkhoz and овощным базам. I suspect no one of Birulevo pogrom-makers wishes to work at that place.

To cope with labor shortages Russian government definitely bets on migration and not on advances in technology and rising labor productivity, unlike Japan for instance. The bet was probably stimulated by the UN substitution migration project, which was very popular recently, and it had just the only opponent – Oxford Professor David Coleman [], but migration generates as many problems as it solves, or more. Interestingly, that dictator Putin in this case appears more liberal than liberal Navalny, who seems to follow more xenophobic and populist ideas.

3. Improvement in population indicators, reduced mortality and rising fertility. They are real. Any government in such a case would assign appeared good events to its own activities. But what we have with life expectancy requires in depth analyses, it might be a passing away of cohorts mostly affected by war with poor health status, might be something else. First we must observe it as a sustainable trend. Fertility started to grow before so called mother capital had been introduced, plus as Khloponin reported this year some of births in some regions may be registered but not occured. To understand this we also need time, demography is a long play subject, it is not fast at all. Introduction of mother capital did not affect the shape of growing fertility trend, thus government role is disputable and suspicious. What is really true, gov-t successfully stimulated in migration.

The questions were :
.... about the underlying pressures that are
causing mass migration into cities like Moscow from nearby areas that have
very high birth rates, such as the Caucasus and Central Asia.
So, if you could tell me -- in a few short and clear phrases -- what
is the long-term outlook for Russia's labor force of Russians? That is, the
trends with birth rates and female fertility, which is to say, why Russia
can't expect to find the labor it needs in future from Russian mothers
Also, I'm told there's been some progress in solving the demographic
problem during the Putin years? Putin created programs to encourage Russian
women to have more children. There have been campaigns against drinking and
smoking. How successful have these efforts been? Do the results of these
programs change the long-term prognosis for Russian demography?
That's it. Just as briefly as you can accurately state your
conclusions. You know how journalism differs from academic work: we don't
have to prove anything, just state the arguments clearly and concisely.
Anytime over the weekend would be fine for this; I'm writing the story on Monday.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

estimating GAR from RLMS

Unfortunately, I do not have access to RLMS forum to discuss some appearing but probably elementary issues.
It might not exist ;(
Here are 2 pix, with differently counted denominator.

However, SPSS report incorrect denominator. Why? Correct denominator moves estimates below reported line, but a shape (trend) remains somewhat similar.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Multidimensional Life Table Estimation of the Total Fertility Rate and Its Components

Using discrete-time survival models of parity progression and illustrative data from the Philippines, this article develops a multivariate multidimensional life table of nuptiality and fertility, the dimensions of which are age, parity, and duration in parity. The measures calculated from this life table include total fertility rate (TRF), total marital fertility rate (TMFR), parity progression ratios (PPR), age-specific fertility rates, mean and median ages at first marriage, mean and median closed birth intervals, and mean and median ages at childbearing by child’s birth order and for all birth orders combined. These measures are referred to collectively as “TFR and its components.” Because the multidimensional life table is multivariate, all measures derived from it are also multivariate in the sense that they can be tabulated by categories or selected values of one socioeconomic variable while controlling for other socioeconomic variables. The methodology is applied to birth history data, in the form of actual birth histories from a fertility survey or reconstructed birth histories derived from a census or household survey. The methodology yields period estimates as well as cohort estimates of the aforementioned measures.

the paper, published in the last Demography, there are also papers about money transfers to Georgia, and mortality projections of (non)smoking

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?

it seems like a question from N. Keyfitz Applied Math Demography, isn't it?
Below Carl Haub answers the question, and have a look at the table with his estimates. It seems like he calculated total births.
Let me reformulate: How Many person-years People Have Ever Lived on Earth?
probably that proportion would be about 1/4 ?

pdf or what?

Have found an interesting thing, in RLMS questionaries for rounds 1 and 4 the search in (pd)file does not work, albeit it works in 2 and 3.
What does it mean?
Different program to convert word2pdf? Supposedly, they used word in 1992.
Unfortunately, the very first round does not have an abortion question. The next three has but with condition since our last meeting, which makes a denominator (women-years) less clear.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Russian mortality for cohorts with 50+ registered age points

the first cohort, 1899 - has 50 points, the last - also 50, in between --- 51 points.
These are the longest available series for Russia, albeit at advanced ages not really reliable

Thursday, June 20, 2013

more linx2 PLOSEONE must read papers

In April 2009, the most recent pandemic of influenza A began. We present the first estimates of pandemic mortality based on the newly-released final data on deaths in 2009 and 2010 in the United States.

We obtained data on influenza and pneumonia deaths from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Age- and sex-specific death rates, and age-standardized death rates, were calculated. Using negative binomial Serfling-type methods, excess mortality was calculated separately by sex and age groups.

In many age groups, observed pneumonia and influenza cause-specific mortality rates in October and November 2009 broke month-specific records since 1959 when the current series of detailed US mortality data began. Compared to the typical pattern of seasonal flu deaths, the 2009 pandemic age-specific mortality, as well as influenza-attributable (excess) mortality, skewed much younger. We estimate 2,634 excess pneumonia and influenza deaths in 2009–10; the excess death rate in 2009 was 0.79 per 100,000.

Pandemic influenza mortality skews younger than seasonal influenza. This can be explained by a protective effect due to antigenic cycling. When older cohorts have been previously exposed to a similar antigen, immune memory results in lower death rates at older ages. Age-targeted vaccination of younger people should be considered in future pandemics.

Nguyen AM, Noymer A (2013)

Influenza Mortality in the United States, 2009 Pandemic: Burden, Timing and Age Distribution

PLoS ONE 8(5): e64198. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064198

We construct a stochastic SIR model for influenza spreading on a D-dimensional lattice, which represents the dynamic contact network of individuals. An age distributed population is placed on the lattice and moves on it. The displacement from a site to a nearest neighbor empty site, allows individuals to change the number and identities of their contacts. The dynamics on the lattice is governed by an attractive interaction between individuals belonging to the same age-class. The parameters, which regulate the pattern dynamics, are fixed fitting the data on the age-dependent daily contact numbers, furnished by the Polymod survey. A simple SIR transmission model with a nearest neighbors interaction and some very basic adaptive mobility restrictions complete the model. The model is validated against the age-distributed Italian epidemiological data for the influenza A(H1N1) during the  season, with sensible predictions for the epidemiological parameters. For an appropriate topology of the lattice, we find that, whenever the accordance between the contact patterns of the model and the Polymod data is satisfactory, there is a good agreement between the numerical and the experimental epidemiological data. This result shows how rich is the information encoded in the average contact patterns of individuals, with respect to the analysis of the epidemic spreading of an infectious disease.

Liccardo A, Fierro A (2013)

A Lattice Model for Influenza Spreading

PLoS ONE 8(5): e63935. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063935


Reducing health inequalities is a key objective for many governments and public health organizations. Whether inequalities are measured on the absolute (difference) or relative (ratio) scale can have a significant impact on judgments about whether health inequalities are increasing or decreasing, but both of these measures are not often presented in empirical studies. In this study we investigated the impact of selective presentation of health inequality measures on judgments of health inequality trends among 40 university undergraduates. We randomized participants to see either a difference or ratio measure of health inequality alongside raw mortality rates in 5 different scenarios. At baseline there were no differences between treatment groups in assessments of inequality trends, but selective exposure to the same raw data augmented with ratio versus difference inequality graphs altered participants’ assessments of inequality change. When absolute inequality decreased and relative inequality increased, exposure to ratio measures increased the probability of concluding that inequality had increased from 32.5% to 70%, but exposure to difference measures did not (35% vs. 25%). Selective exposure to ratio versus difference inequality graphs thus increased the difference between groups in concluding that inequality had increased from 2.5% (95% CI −9.5% to 14.5%) to 45% (95% CI 29.4 to 60.6). A similar pattern was evident for other scenarios where absolute and relative inequality trends gave conflicting results. In cases where measures of absolute and relative inequality both increased or both decreased, we did not find any evidence that assignment to ratio vs. difference graphs had an impact on assessments of inequality change. Selective reporting of measures of health inequality has the potential to create biased judgments of progress in ameliorating health inequalities.

Harper S, King NB, Young ME (2013)

Impact of Selective Evidence Presentation on Judgments of Health Inequality Trends: An Experimental Study

PLoS ONE 8(5): e63362. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063362


A criminal career can be either general, with the criminal committing different types of crimes, or specialized, with the criminal committing a specific type of crime. A central problem in the study of crime specialization is to determine, from the perspective of the criminal, which crimes should be considered similar and which crimes should be considered distinct. We study a large set of Swedish suspects to empirically investigate generalist and specialist behavior in crime. We show that there is a large group of suspects who can be described as generalists. At the same time, we observe a non-trivial pattern of specialization across age and gender of suspects. Women are less prone to commit crimes of certain types, and, for instance, are more prone to specialize in crimes related to fraud. We also find evidence of temporal specialization of suspects. Older persons are more specialized than younger ones, and some crime types are preferentially committed by suspects of different ages.

Tumminello M, Edling C, Liljeros F, Mantegna RN, Sarnecki J (2013)

The Phenomenology of Specialization of Criminal Suspects

PLoS ONE 8(5): e64703. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064703


The expanding global air network provides rapid and wide-reaching connections accelerating both domestic and international travel. To understand human movement patterns on the network and their socioeconomic, environmental and epidemiological implications, information on passenger flow is required. However, comprehensive data on global passenger flow remain difficult and expensive to obtain, prompting researchers to rely on scheduled flight seat capacity data or simple models of flow. This study describes the construction of an open-access modeled passenger flow matrix for all airports with a host city-population of more than 100,000 and within two transfers of air travel from various publicly available air travel datasets. Data on network characteristics, city population, and local area GDP amongst others are utilized as covariates in a spatial interaction framework to predict the air transportation flows between airports. Training datasets based on information from various transportation organizations in the United States, Canada and the European Union were assembled. A log-linear model controlling the random effects on origin, destination and the airport hierarchy was then built to predict passenger flows on the network, and compared to the results produced using previously published models. Validation analyses showed that the model presented here produced improved predictive power and accuracy compared to previously published models, yielding the highest successful prediction rate at the global scale. Based on this model, passenger flows between 1,491 airports on 644,406 unique routes were estimated in the prediction dataset. The airport node characteristics and estimated passenger flows are freely available as part of the Vector-Borne Disease Airline Importation Risk (VBD-Air).

Citation: Huang Z, Wu X, Garcia AJ, Fik TJ, Tatem AJ (2013)

An Open-Access Modeled Passenger Flow Matrix for the Global Air Network in 2010

PLoS ONE 8(5): e64317. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064317


There is believed to be a ‘beauty premium’ in key life outcomes: it is thought that people perceived to be more physically attractive have better educational outcomes, higher-status jobs, higher wages, and are more likely to marry. Evidence for these beliefs, however, is generally based on photographs in hypothetical experiments or studies of very specific population subgroups (such as college students). The extent to which physical attractiveness might have a lasting effect on such outcomes in ‘real life’ situations across the whole population is less well known. Using longitudinal data from a general population cohort of people in the West of Scotland, this paper investigated the association between physical attractiveness at age 15 and key socioeconomic outcomes approximately 20 years later. People assessed as more physically attractive at age 15 had higher socioeconomic positions at age 36– in terms of their employment status, housing tenure and income - and they were more likely to be married; even after adjusting for parental socioeconomic background, their own intelligence, health and self esteem, education and other adult socioeconomic outcomes. For education the association was significant for women but not for men. Understanding why attractiveness is strongly associated with long-term socioeconomic outcomes, after such extensive confounders have been considered, is important.

Benzeval M, Green MJ, Macintyre S (2013)

Does Perceived Physical Attractiveness in Adolescence Predict Better Socioeconomic Position in Adulthood? Evidence from 20 Years of Follow Up in a Population Cohort Study

PLoS ONE 8(5): e63975. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063975


Can online behaviour be used as a proxy for studying urban mobility? The increasing availability of digital mobility traces has provided new insights into collective human behaviour. Mobility datasets have been shown to be an accurate proxy for daily behaviour and social patterns, and behavioural data from Twitter has been used to predict real world phenomena such as cinema ticket sale volumes, stock prices, and disease outbreaks. In this paper we correlate city-scale urban traffic patterns with online search trends to uncover keywords describing the pedestrian traffic location. By analysing a 3-year mobility dataset we show that our approach, called Location Archetype Keyword Extraction (LAKE), is capable of uncovering semantically relevant keywords for describing a location. Our findings demonstrate an overarching relationship between online and offline collective behaviour, and allow for advancing analysis of community-level behaviour by using online search keywords as a practical behaviour proxy.

Kostakos V, Juntunen T, Goncalves J, Hosio S, Ojala T (2013)

Where Am I? Location Archetype Keyword Extraction from Urban Mobility Patterns

PLoS ONE 8(5): e63980. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063980

Monday, June 17, 2013

Do Altmetrics Work?

Altmetric measurements derived from the social web are increasingly advocated and used as early indicators of article impact and usefulness. Nevertheless, there is a lack of systematic scientific evidence that altmetrics are valid proxies of either impact or utility although a few case studies have reported medium correlations between specific altmetrics and citation rates for individual journals or fields. To fill this gap, this study compares 11 altmetrics with Web of Science citations for 76 to 208,739 PubMed articles with at least one altmetric mention in each case and up to 1,891 journals per metric. It also introduces a simple sign test to overcome biases caused by different citation and usage windows. Statistically significant associations were found between higher metric scores and higher citations for articles with positive altmetric scores in all cases with sufficient evidence (Twitter, Facebook wall posts, research highlights, blogs, mainstream media and forums) except perhaps for Google+ posts. Evidence was insufficient for LinkedIn, Pinterest, question and answer sites, and Reddit, and no conclusions should be drawn about articles with zero altmetric scores or the strength of any correlation between altmetrics and citations. Nevertheless, comparisons between citations and metric values for articles published at different times, even within the same year, can remove or reverse this association and so publishers and scientometricians should consider the effect of time when using altmetrics to rank articles. Finally, the coverage of all the altmetrics except for Twitter seems to be low and so it is not clear if they are prevalent enough to be useful in practice.

Thelwall M, Haustein S, Larivière V, Sugimoto CR (2013)

Do Altmetrics Work? Twitter and Ten Other Social Web Services 

PLoS ONE 8(5): e64841. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064841

Prevalence of TB/HIV Co-Infection

They searched PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science for studies of the prevalence of TB/HIV co-infection. We also searched bibliographic indices, scanned reference lists, and corresponded with authors. We summarized the estimates using meta-analysis and explored potential sources of heterogeneity in the estimates by metaregression analysis.

Our analyses suggest that it is necessary to attach importance to HIV/TB co-infection, especially screening of TB/HIV co-infection using methods with high sensitivity, specificity and predictive values in the countries with high HIV/AIDS prevalence in the general population.

Gao J, Zheng P, Fu H (2013)

Prevalence of TB/HIV Co-Infection in Countries Except China: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

PLoS ONE 8(5): e64915. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064915

Efficient Control of Epidemics Spreading on Networks

The authors analyse two models describing disease transmission and control on regular and small-world networks. We use simulations to find a control strategy that minimizes the total cost of an outbreak, thus balancing the costs of disease against that of the preventive treatment. The models are similar in their epidemiological part, but differ in how the removed/recovered individuals are treated. The differences in models affect choice of the strategy only for very cheap treatment and slow spreading disease. However for the combinations of parameters that are important from the epidemiological perspective (high infectiousness and expensive treatment) the models give similar results. Moreover, even where the choice of the strategy is different, the total cost spent on controlling the epidemic is very similar for both models.

Oleś K, Gudowska-Nowak E, Kleczkowski A (2013)

Efficient Control of Epidemics Spreading on Networks: Balance between Treatment and Recovery 

PLoS ONE 8(6): e63813. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063813

Two Rusian males cohorts

They are 1931 (my father), and 1956 (my). For the span of ages with data from both cohorts we could see apparent deterioration in mortality. However, likely that younger cohort will do better at the advanced ages, and it probably was better at younger ages.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Norway Cohort (1979) Mortality

Obviously, the numbers of events is too small to observe regularities. However, rising gender gap at age 21 is provoking ;)
Source: Human Mortality Data Base

Friday, June 14, 2013

how wrong I was

Trying yahoo search engine I found a year or two old paper By SOPHIA KISHKOVSKY / The New York Times "Russia Enacts Law Opposing Abortion", reprinted in and by awid.

What I had said to her:
 "Since obscurantists cannot turn history back, they limit themselves to small meanness like a week without abortion."
Two years ago I was unable to imagine obscurantism that developed ;(

RLMS data sets and dox

Correct reference = Source: “Russia Longitudinal Monitoring survey, RLMS-HSE”, conducted by the National Research University Higher School of Economics and ZAO “Demoscope” together with Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Institute of Sociology RAS.

see links to more various data, including UNICEF MICS
+ more from Stephania Lovo

Abstracts of the First International Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE User Conference

Abstracts of the First International Russia's Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE User Conference are available in the HSE web site (in one pdfile), click here, the conference program is here (also pdf), and info with links here.
Some guys told that the conference was not the first one, however, it is its  formal title ;)
Likely, it is the first since it belongs to HSE.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Which of vessels are communicating?

On May 28 and 29 I took part in two events:

  1. Partners' Forum on Russian Reproductive Health Survey (info about it lived short on Rosstat site, today it is already removed from news list) + I am going to write about partners separately, and
  2. Experts' round table at Gorbachov Fund “Demographic problems in the context of the modernization of Russian society”.

Many other people participated in the events, especially in Rosstat's one, probably more than one hundred, and only about twenty at Gorby fund. I talked on Current Russian Govt Approach to Reproductive Health. Certainly, I gave my own personal opinion and value judgments, and I am reproducing them below, presentation in Russian is here.

1. Complimentary part:
It was necessary to congratulate Rosstat for its 150th birthday (1863, Tsar-Liberator attempted to civilize Russia). Concerning the survey: Better late than never. The first RHS took place in El Salvador, 1975, Russia has experience of 1996 and 1999, when this methodology had been applied to estimate the efficiency of (breastfeeding promotion?) project. A unified program allows international comparisons of detailed indicators, which government statistics do not posses, albeit only 27 of about 80 sets of survey data are freely accessible from CDC site. However, most interesting for us data set (Ukraine, 1999 despite not very recent) is available. There is a large amount of new data that will give the opportunity to test some specific hypotheses (use of contraception+abortion culture).
Thanks for the survey, thank you for publishing the results, for the invitation to discuss.
Nikitina nodded, when I said about the possibility to work with data obtained in the Russian Federation. These data will also be available, thanks in advance.
Frankly speaking, I supposed, we are discussing a draft report, since there are a lot of stupid errors, mistypings, etc., but to our surprise the printed final version had been distributed. Thus the forum aim became unclear. I had supposed to speak about the text, since tables are not possible to comment. Results showed no significant discrepancies with what was previously known from other sources, and nothing counter-intuitive.

2. Scary reading:
Examples (section 11.3. Opinion about the risks ...)

  • Most of the women ... have no idea how dangerous are the use of injectable hormonal contraceptives or tubal ligation ...
  • Increasing knowledge about the dangers of abortion may contribute to the increased use of modern contraceptives.

It is a beloved horror story: Do not use these capitalist shit! From the same set of common arguments: pill use causes the mustache growth, breast cancer, and extra weight. As far as I understand, bureaucracy calls it: report agreed with the Ministry of Health. My suggestion was = remove it. And they did, removed by rephrasing, added a sheet of paper inside the book. They (organizers) also asked me to avoid speaking about it, they had removed the slide from my presentation sent beforehand. That made me redirect my speech from critics of MoH to critics of ideology of abortion perception (subj). inadequately considers fertility v abortion not abortion v contraception.

4. Abortion
It is likely the central theme of reproductive health domain in this country. Russia is remaining a leader, although births recently (five years ago) surpassed the number of abortions. It is interesting that the lag from two neighbor countries strangely coincides with changes in approach to reproductive health. The dynamics of reduction is not as favorable as it may seem, but the forum does not cover the issue with a particularly needed and inevitable section. However, the topic had been attached to the speech on fertility!!! made by Serbanescu. Despite I was invited to make a comment on contraception, this is not possible without concerning abortion. These are communicating vessels, not fertility and abortion.
Why we do not discuss abortion? The level of post-abortion complications in Russia is ten times higher than in the USA despite Russia has the longest history of legal abortion, 74 years. During this period MoH had been unable to train personnel to perform safe abortion. Why do we welcome them to a floor and reconcile anything with guys not knowing how to work properly.

5. More from the report:

  • section 7.3: This points to the need for education in this (family planning) regard.
  • section 9: This information can be used to effectively manage the system of family planning services, as well as monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the system.
  • section 9.3: We must carefully anticipate the needs for contraception in the future. This information will help policy makers and program planners to estimate the volume of the stocks to plan a budget.

Wow! Yyess. But what is it? My impression, – it is written about some other country, not about Russia. The authors probably borrowed the text from report on Kenya. Have we a system of family planning services? Or bodies responsible for this policy? Nobody have seen them.

Before moving on to the recommendations, I want to draw your attention to a couple of facts from the sources other than this report

6. Menarche and age at the first sex (data: RLMS-HSE, 19th round, 2010)
Median age at menarche is 13 years, i.e., a half of the girls starts to have a risk of pregnancy at about school's 7th degree, and by the end of the school a little less than half has already had a sexual experience (penetration).

7. The growth of HIV prevalence (data: Federal AIDS Center)
In 2012 Federal AIDS Center registered 62+ thousand new cases of HIV (in 2011 – 58+), about 20% of them was a result of heterosexual contact (since for about a half of new cases the transmission mode is unknown Federal AIDS Center prorates to 40%), thus one person a day in age group 15-20 is expected to be infected (my estimate;).
Condom prevents (hetero)sexual HIV-transmission, but MoH destroyed all HIV prevention programs.

8. Recommendations. Two parts: (1) concerning survey, (2) concerning policy.

  • open data for researchers +Another conference in a about a year after disclosure to discuss the results of independent researches
  • regular conduction of such a survey


  1. Introduction of sex education lessons in school, in particular, the use of contraception.
  2. Resumption of funding of the federal family planning program
  3. Renascence the full scale activities of Russian Association of Family Planning

Concerning policy recommendations can be combined into one: abandonment the obscurantist (Medvedev) modernization and return to the position that Russia held in the early wild 90's (before the Cairo conference)

I understand that the Ministry of Health does not need my nor any other recommendations, but I still hope the open data.

Next day after the partners forum in the news:
Measures that Ministry of Health is preparing to minimize fertility reduction are associated with a decrease in the number of abortions
Russian LJ about the event (and here)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

memo 4a reviewer

When assessing the work, please consider the following points:

1. Is the question posed by the authors new and well defined?
2. Are the methods appropriate and well described, and are sufficient details provided to replicate the work?
3. Are the data sound and well controlled?
4. Does the manuscript adhere to the relevant standards for reporting and data deposition?
5. Are the discussion and conclusions well balanced and adequately supported by the data?
6. Do the title and abstract accurately convey what has been found?
7. Is the writing acceptable?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

AGI again

What is interesting in this pic?
A map.
Performing an abortion in People Republic of China is safer than in Russian Federation. Despite Russia has the longest history of legal abortion (1920-1936+1955-now=74+, and even from 1936 to 1955 abortion was not fully banned) Russian doctors have not learned how to make an abortion.
Albeit I am pretty sure that AGI conclusion is based upon Russian Ministry of Health sources (intimidation in many official materials) and medical community experts comments in media, not on correct data and careful analysis, which are far from real thing -- low quality of service remains apparent.

above coment remains valid, although my impression of the map was different and incorrect. For more adequate understanding see the WHO definition (Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems, page 18, pdf):
Unsafe abortion is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a procedure for terminating an unintended pregnancy, carried out either by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Adequacy of abortion statistics in Russia

this is our presentation to this conference

the first RLMS-HSE users' conference

May 17-18, Moscow
The 1st RLMS-HSE users' conference
left to right: B. Popkin, P. Kozyreva, V. Radayev, M. Kosolapov
conference abstracts

more on menarche and the first coitus

Previous pix are here and here.
Finally, the results with weighted cases. RLMS provides weights as one of the variables.

However the result is the same, median age = 13, i.e., the school's 7th degree. In the 8th degree more than a half of girls are exposed to risk of unwanted pregnancy, since few normal creatures wish a pregnancy at school.

The first sex:
Weighting moves age at the first sex one year greater, 19 rather than 18. But 48.8 per cent of girls starts their sexual life at school. If it starts than it's already late for education, imho.

In other words: the sexuality education must begin at about seventh grade, and instruction in contraception should be a greater part of it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

menarche becomes younger

unweighted RLMS data
linear trend: y = -0,0137x + 13,528; R² = 0,53362

Thursday, April 18, 2013

above average, btw

in all listed categories ;)
PLoS provided new tool to measure reading (views and downloads) of papers. Our paper is not bad at all:)
Divergent Trends in Abortion and Birth Control Practices in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine
see paper

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

age of sexual debut

These are the RLMS data (round 19, 2010).
Lines belongs to the left vertical axis and represent cumulative number of cases, right vertical axis shows per cents (red/blue).
The age at different personal events is naturally different, median age at menarche is twelve, median age of the sexual debut is seventeen.
Age at which a half of those who had experienced periods, became biologically ready for conception and started their sexual life is nineteen.
These ages are important to consider the beginning of a course of sexuality education: when a school should start it? Imho: fourteen is the latest, or about the seventh grade.

The next important finding is fifteen percent of those who did not start their sexual life by age 35. It is very close to WHO estimates of infertility.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

When Dickens met Dostoevsky

by Eric Naiman (the co-editor, with Christina Kiaer, of Everyday Life in Early Soviet Russia: Taking the revolution inside, 2006, and the author, most recently of Nabokov, Perversely, 2010) in TLS:

  • Dostoevsky was a prickly, often rude interlocutor. He and Turgenev hated each other
  • Tomalin returned to her research notes and soon admitted that she might have been the victim of a hoax
  • When Professor Andrews wrote to Ms Harvey, she responded that she had lost her notes, had a poor memory and had moved on to other topics
  • So who was Stephanie Harvey, and why had she written her article?
  • What was clear was Stephanie Harvey’s penchant for a distinct modus operandi
  • Harvey has repeatedly focused his ire on several institutions, most notably the left-tilting British Academy
  • This was not, however, the end of the connection between A. D. Harvey and Trevor McGovern
  • Chekhov wrote a story where the father of a counterfeiter begins to worry that every coin passing through his hands is a fake
  • Even for holders of tenured university positions, scholarship can make for a lonely life
  • In other cases Harvey seems to have been operating as something of a vigilante
  • The worst thing here, if they are fictitious, is a violation of the trust that remains a constitutive element of the humanities
  • The discovery of this text marked the end of my pursuit . . . . Dickens and Dostoevsky were no longer in sight

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

smth arrived today

the 1st arrival:
Dear Dr. Denisov
Congratulation on your publication "Divergent trends in abortion and birth control practices in belarus, Russia and Ukraine" (PUBMED id: 23349656). It has been included in Labome.Org. see

You can add/edit the list of publications and other information at

You can provide us with a PDF copy of the article to display and distribute at Labome.ORG if you have the right to do so.

By providing us with the PDF copy, you acknowledge that you possess the right to grant and you are granting Labome.ORG a royalty-free and worldwide permission to display and distribute the article.

Labome.Org is a professional platform where researchers can present their expertise to the public and the public can search for experts on specific topics.

Labome ExactAlert Service

I have followed the first link, the screen asked me to enter e-mail address - I did, and then a message arrived:

Based on publicly available information, the email address for Boris P Denisov is
This contact information may be outdated, Labome visitors have contacted the collaborators or colleagues (experts from the same organization) to seek the updated contact information for other experts.  Contact information for the collaborators or colleagues for Boris P Denisov may be searched at the URL webpage through the 'back' in the browser.

Labome.Org is a professional platform where researchers can present their expertise to the public and the public can search for experts on specific topics.

then, what dies it mean ?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

quit from monitoring

For about a quarter I have been monitoring our PLoS paper. Now it have reached one hundred pdf downloads, which is a usual number of printed copies for MSU publications like HIV Demography.
Below: X -- days, Y -- number of views.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Birth count failure in Caucausus

regional flags, one with swastika ?
One of regional president's envoys or (whatever the position might be) Mr A Khloponin recently announced the deficiency of more than 100 thousand children in the region of his responsibility. There are seven federal subjects in the region: six of them national republics (autonomies), including Chechya, and one Russian kray. Since Rosstat data base does nor work for already about a year I used the demoscope's one which is outdated but remains useful for the purpose like this, so the regional total population is about nine million (2005).

About 15-16 per cent of federal total is children (age 0-15), applying this  percentage to regional population I obtain 1.5 mln, and comparing the estimate with said by Khloponin figure--it seems that about 7-8 per cent of children do not exist in reality (at least in this region).

upg: reread Khloponing message, and got that he mentioned republics only, i.e., virtual kids are more localized

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Russian disser gate

A huge scandal is growing here in Russia after revealing fake dissertation of many high rank bureaucrats.
For more read Serghei Golunov and Ivan Kurilla:

Academic Integrity in Russia Today: The Political and Social Implications of Thesis Falsification and Education Reform 

look for pdf mark on the right

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2013 Human Development Report

The 2013 Human Development Report – “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World” – will be launched on 14 March in Mexico City by President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. The 2013 Human Development Report examines the profound shift in global dynamics driven by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world and its long-term implications for human development.

China has already overtaken Japan as the world’s second biggest economy while lifting hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty. India is reshaping its future with new entrepreneurial creativity and social policy innovation. Brazil is lifting its living standards through expanding international relationships and antipoverty programs that are emulated worldwide. But the “Rise of the South” analyzed in the Report is a much larger phenomenon: Turkey, Mexico, Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia and many other developing nations are also becoming leading actors on the world stage.

download بي 中文 English Español Français Русский

RLMS-HSE conference

Likely we (Vita+me) will participate in the 1st International Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE User Conference, Moscow, May 17 to 18, 2013 with a report about completeness of Russian abortion statistics.
Our preliminary result near perfectly fits to Philipov et al (pdf), in other words: official data is very good.