Monthly Archive: July 2007

Jul 17 2007

Hidden costs of US health care

(For previous posts on the topic of health care, see here.) In my previous posts following on the film Sicko (Haven’t seen the film yet? It is well worth it.) I have been focusing on the tangible costs and benefits of the US health care system compared to those of other developed countries, and showing …

Continue reading »

Jul 16 2007

Evolution-10: The debate over natural selection in Darwin’s own time

(Please see here for previous posts in this series.) In Darwin’s own time, there was a three-way dispute concerning the theory of evolution. Strange as it may sound these days in the US where so many question whether evolution even occurs at all, the idea that evolution had occurred and new species were being created …

Continue reading »

Jul 13 2007

Evolution-9: Early challenges to Darwin’s theory

(Please see here for previous posts in this series.) In an earlier post in this series, I listed the three stages involved in natural selection, each of which seemed to have seemingly small probabilities. In the previous post, I showed how because of the large numbers of organisms and long time scales involved, the first …

Continue reading »

Jul 12 2007

How universal single-payer systems protect us against catastrophes

(For previous posts on the topic of health care, see here.) I think almost everyone across the political spectrum would concede the fact that the fifty million Americans currently without health insurance would definitely benefit from the adoption of a universal, government-run, single-payer health care system. The reason that it has not been adopted is …

Continue reading »

Jul 11 2007

Evolution-8: The sufficiency of the mutation rate

(Please see here for previous posts in this series.) One of the challenges faced by Darwin was whether the rate at which mutations creating new favorable varieties would occur was sufficiently rapid for his purposes. Since during his time the laws of inheritance were not known and neither was the mathematics involved, advocates of natural …

Continue reading »

Jul 10 2007

Time for ‘socialized’ medicine in the US?

(For previous posts on Sicko and the merits of a government-run, universal, single payer health care system, see here and here.) Michael Moore’s excellent film Sicko has cinematically exposed the deep flaws of the US health system. His film scarcely touches on the awful plight of the 50 million people who have no insurance at …

Continue reading »

Jul 09 2007

Evolution-7: Genes, chromosomes, and DNA

(Please see here for previous posts in this series.) In order to understand how inheritance works and the mathematics involved, it may be helpful to have a quick summary of some basic facts about genetics (a little simplified), using the human genome for concreteness. All the genetic information in our bodies is found in the …

Continue reading »

Jul 06 2007

Discussing health care seriously

In my discussions with people on serious and controversial topics, I have some simple rules of thumb to tell me tell whether the discussion is worth pursuing or whether the other person is not serious and talking further is a waste of time. For example, when discussing evolution, as soon as someone says something along …

Continue reading »

Jul 05 2007

Evolution-6: The probabilities of natural selection

(Please go to ‘Categories’ and choose ‘Science’ to see the previous posts in this series.) There are three mathematical ideas that one needs to come to terms with in order to get the full flavor of how natural selection works. One is the rate at which favorable mutations occur in organisms. These do occur by …

Continue reading »

Jul 04 2007

Defending the right of free speech and Dennis Kucinich

Since today is a holiday, there will be no original post today. Instead, here are some video clips. One is of the late Frank Zappa of the group Mothers of Invention on Crossfire talking about the right of free speech. It is always fun when someone appears on these idiotic talk/yell shows and simply says …

Continue reading »

Older posts «

» Newer posts