The collapsing health care system

The journalist Steven Brill appeared on the program Fresh Air to talk about why the US health system. He said it is unsustainable and heading for a crash because there is no price control mechanism. He lays the blame squarely on the hospitals, drug companies who are allowed to price-gouge, and medical device manufacturers, all of whom rake in huge profits that enable them to pay their top executives high profits.
[Read more…]

The role of satire in politics

It is a source of increasing concern to the establishment media that younger people are tuning in to comedy shows like The Daily Show that skewer the supposedly serious news shows and not tuning in to them, causing the demographic of their viewers to steadily inch upwards and well into retirement ages. This has naturally discomfited the people who host those shows and caused some of them to argue that this satirical attitude is making younger people more cynical about the political system and the media.
[Read more…]

Salmon cannon

It is well known that salmon return to their old spawning grounds, a journey that requires an arduous journey upstream, and that they somehow manage to overcome the huge hurdles involved. But what happens when human beings build dams that put that goal out of reach for even the most intrepid fish?

John Oliver says that some people are resorting to technology to help the salmon out.
[Read more…]

Happy new year to all this blog’s readers!

Since I am an old geezer, I welcomed the new year by being fast asleep. But I am not a total misanthrope. I will be entertaining some friends this evening. But what better way to start the new year than with some laughter?

Here’s John Oliver with advice for anyone who wants to get out of attending new year’s eve parties. This is a bit late I know but it also applies to any other parties.
[Read more…]

The paradox of apartment dwelling

I have lived only once, for a period of eight months, in a large high-rise apartment building in a big city, and that was Philadelphia. What surprised me was that even though our apartment was at the end of a long corridor that had a large number of apartments, I never got to know a single one of my neighbors or even passed them in the hallway except near the very end when I encountered the person who lived just across the hall. He turned out to be a writer and we had a brief but interesting conversation in the hallway about the philosophy of science. I regretted getting to know him only just before we moved but there is something about apartment dwelling that seems to discourage getting to know one’s neighbors.
[Read more…]

The reaction to the thaw in Cuba-US relations

When president Obama announced the thaw in relations with Cuba, my guess is that many people would have been surprised that there was even an embargo with Cuba, since knowledge of foreign relations is not exactly the strong point of the public. But Obama seems to have a better feel for public opinion on this issue than those who are acting apoplectic over this development, with polls overwhelmingly supporting his move.
[Read more…]