An iconic image of a nut crackpot, who uses a nutcracker to crack open a nut.
That was the image that came to symbolize nut crackpots in the 1980s.
Now, scientists say they’ve cracked the mystery of why they were popular in the early days of crackpots and how they came to be named.
The story of nut crackcrackers dates back to the early 20th century when a young man named Charles J. Smith began his search for a nut, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The first known nut crack was found by a New York physician named James E. McManus, who published his account in a journal in 1892.
Smith and McManuses first discovered that crackers were used to crack nuts in a New England town called Biddeford, which has since changed its name to Nut City.
The term “nut cracker” became synonymous with the crackpot theory and became a popular way of describing crackpots, said study lead author David Bock of the University of California, Davis.
McArthur and Smith both wrote about their nut crack theory in their journals.
In the latter’s, he called it a “dispelling myth,” but Smith said it was a “sociopathic delusion” and that “nuts can be cracked and consumed like bread.”
Smith also claimed that crackpots are more likely to break the nut than normal people, which made them “more dangerous than the rest of us.”
McArthur, meanwhile, said the crackpots were more dangerous than regular people, “so they were a nuisance.”
And McManUS, the early proponent of the nut crack hypothesis, said crackpots could be a sign of insanity.
He also claimed, though, that crackpot theories were “a popular means of social control.”
But in the new study, McArthur’s theory has a more plausible explanation.
“It turns out that crackphers were more likely than regular crackpots to be violent,” said lead study author Matthew McEwen, an assistant professor of psychology at the University at Albany.
The researchers found that the more violent crackpot was, the more likely they were to commit a crime.
McEwens analysis of the data found that crack-related violent crimes were more common among crackpot suspects than crack-free individuals.
In fact, crack-based violent crimes outnumbered crack-less violent crimes by a factor of more than four, according a paper published last year in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
McAnulty and his colleagues were able to pinpoint the factors behind the difference by looking at arrest records for crimes committed between 2007 and 2014.
The study found that a crack-dependent person was more likely in a previous year to be arrested than a crackless person.
This led McAnities to conclude that crack crackpot arrests were correlated with violent behavior, which McAntys interpreted as a sign that crackheads had been diagnosed with mental illness.
“They were clearly mentally ill,” McAnity said of crackheads in an interview with the Daily News.
“But they were also very likely to have been a crackpot.”
“The more crack-like they were, the less likely they would commit violent crimes.”
McAnions study also showed that crackhead arrest rates varied by race, with African-Americans making up about half of the population of Biddegar, N.Y., where McAniths study took place.
Blacks were also more likely among those arrested to have used crack to commit violent acts.
McEnulty and colleagues were unable to pinpoint why crack-addicted crackpots tend to be more violent.
But he said it could be related to a genetic predisposition to violence.
“These are people who have been abused, who are not necessarily mentally well,” McEntys said.
“The gene that causes these kinds of personality disorders is linked to violence.”
McInulty and co-author Randal Ollivander of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, said that the study is just one step toward understanding the relationship between crack and violent crime.
“We’re going to have to figure out how crack-and-crack-and crack-induced violence come together,” McIntys told CNN.
“That’s what this study is about.”
The researchers will continue their research on the relationship with more violent crimes.
In addition to McAnany and Ollivellis, other researchers on the study included Roberta H. Johnson of the Yale School of Forestry and Wildlife; Andrew J. Todaro of the College of William and Mary; and John D. Williams of the New York University Stern School of Business.
The findings were published online July 22 in Scientific Reports, the official journal of the American Chemical Society.
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