Saturday, February 5, 2011

New Technology for Skin Grafts

We live in an incredible time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Politics of Healthcare Reform

Adam Serwer highlights an epic takedown of Hal Wick's sarcastic "gun mandate" and asks, "What's the originalist case against laws signed by George Washington?"

Funny stuff, but it highlights just how political rather than principled the fight against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has become. Conservatives aren't against the bill because of some deeply held conviction about individual liberty. They are against it because Democrats are for it. Just look at the similarities between the PPACA and the bill proposed by conservatives back in the Clinton days. To Republicans (and unfortunately many Democrats), politics is a zero-sum game. If Democrats proposed a bill supporting daylight, Republicans would immediately come out condemning the sun, proclaiming that it was a dangerous anti-American thing, and certainly not something our holy Founding Fathers supported.

This is no way for a government to tackle large, complex issues; but I suppose in a democracy we get the leaders we deserve.

UPDATE: The Onion makes the same point as only they can.

Geeky Videos

Here are two geeky videos I saw today that, frankly, kick ass.

First up, a nerdy girl wants a guy who understands her.

And a young boy tries to channel Darth Vader.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Baffled by the Filibuster

Here is part 1 of a series of videos designed to explain this arcane process.

Filibustery: Episode One from Newsbound on Vimeo.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Fractal Inequality

Chris Hayes explains a theory.

An interesting idea which does seem to explain a lot. It also seems related to the idea that people are happier with less money as long as it's more than the people around them.

Making it Harder for the Honest

A doctor is busted for trying to help his patients with their pain.

Siobhan Reynolds entered this fray when her late ex-husband, Sean, began suffering the symptoms of a congenital connective tissue disorder that left him with debilitating pain in his joints. After trying a variety of treatments, he found relief in a high-dose drug therapy administered by Virginia pain specialist William Hurwitz. But Hurwitz was later charged and convicted on 16 counts of drug trafficking. The judge acknowledged that Hurwitz ran a legitimate practice and had likely saved and improved the lives of countless people. His crime was not recognizing that some of his patients were addicts and dealers. Meanwhile, Reynolds' husband died in 2006 of a cerebral brain hemorrhage, which she believes was the result of years of abnormally high blood pressure brought on by his pain.

I've never understood this zeal to prosecute people who prescribe or (ab)use prescription drugs. Our first priority should be helping people who suffer from chronic pain and could be assisted with powerful painkillers. Going after abusers should be a secondary concern, if it's a concern at all. Of course, I think pot should be legal for any use (not just medicinal) so what the hell do I know?

Raising the Retirement Age

Ezra Klein has a post up about how unemployment has been especially hard on older workers and offers up this graph.

This is one of the biggest reasons I'm skeptical of raising the retirement age for Social Security. I understand the logic behind it and I used to support it, but things like this have made me think it's not such a good idea. If we had a strong, vibrant economy and weren't biased against older workers, then it might not be a bad idea. As things stand now, though, I think raising the retirement age would not be the right thing to do.