Showing posts from November, 2013

Three Ways to Universal Health Care

The disastrous roll-out of has been much in the news these last few weeks. Unsurprisingly, the Affordable Care Act is polling at an all-time low. I can certainly understand why. However, as much bad press as the IT disaster has received, I think there is a more fundamental reason why the law is unpopular. Universal health care, whatever the details of its implementation, forces healthy people to pay for sick people's care. No matter how smoothly operates, the redistributive principle that underpins it will rankle many Americans. One logical solution to this problem is to reject the idea of universal health care entirely, because of the coercion under-girding it. (This might be considered the Randian position.) The drawback of this approach is the heightened risk of bankruptcy or death among the population that can't pay for care. Many Americans find this unappealing: polls are generally   in favor of some form of guaranteed health insurance. If

If You Smoke Pot, You Deserve to Die

Last year, Michael Saffioti died of a dairy allergy while in the custody of the Snohomish County Jail, the eighth death there in the last three years. The guards told him that his oatmeal did not contain dairy, then denied him medical treatment when he went into shock. Snohomish County subsequently tried to cover it up. No criminal charges have been filed. Most commenters on the story are rightly aghast, but some think that Saffioti got what was coming. Imagine how much less they would care if he were a blah person. Comments on Salon If you're aware of a deathly allergy then why would you eat the food..? It's sad, but, no one forced him to do something illegal and get arrested, and no one forced him to eat food he was allergic to.  The guards should still get charged for not following protocol, but it was pretty much this kid's fault that he put himself in the situation. ---- OK, I know a few prison guards.  And these slime balls under their supervision are always t

Rhetorical Bestiary: Hyperbole

Hyperbole is not a blank check to say stupid shit.

Invisible Bike Helmet

A pair of Swedes has developed a clever " invisible bike helmet " (hat tip: Zach Yeager ). I won't spoil how they did it, so please watch the video. I hope their new design prompts more people to wear helmets. That being said, there is a lot more to being safe than merely wearing a helmet. Some observations: Helmets certainly can't prevent broken limbs; it also seems unlikely that they would reduce neck and spinal injuries. Rotational acceleration is a major contributor to brain injury. Ongoing research on football concussions suggest that helmets do little to reduce rotational acceleration. Styrofoam helmets may not even be that good at reducing linear acceleration, either. They are supposed to reduce acceleration through compression, but it is fairly common for them to fracture instead. Fracturing reduces acceleration less than compression does. (I expect the invisible Swedish helmet to be far superior on this front. Watch the video!) If you don't like