The “Family Miracle” Behind Utah’s Prosperity

A recent ranking of states by economic performance puts Utah at number one, confirming what some social scientists have called the state’s “economic miracle.” Likewise, multiple studies have also concluded that it is the happiest state. Brad Wilcox, Patrick T. Brown, and Jenet Erickson suggest that its success may stem from social factors:

The strength of “the Utah way” can be attributed, in part, to the state’s unique civic, religious, and political endowments, including unusually high levels of social capital and low levels of government regulation. But Utah’s material and emotional success is also attributable to the strength and stability of its families.

No state in the union has as many men, women, and children in married households as the beehive state. In 2021, 55 percent of adults in Utah (ages 18-55) were married and 82 percent of its children were living in married-couple families. This compares to a national average of 45 percent of adults married and 75 percent of kids living in married families. What could be called the “Utah family miracle” matters because social science tells us that one of the strongest predictors of a state’s economic success is strong families.

Recent research . . . indicates that one of the top predictors of economic performance across the states is the share of married parents. . . . Poor children in the Salt Lake area, for instance, are much more likely to be raised in a two-parent family and to be surrounded by peers from two-parent families than poor kids in other metro areas.

Read more at Deseret News

More about: American family, American Religion, American society, Economics

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security