Yet another weird SF fan
 I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?Go to first entry

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 Yet another weird SF fan

Uncle Milton's Human Farm

There's a house in Manhattan that's 9½ feet wide.

Musical Health-Care Reform

The video of “One Single-Payer System” sung to the tune of “One Singular Sensation” from A Chorus Line has been going around the blogosphere. I think some other songs from the same musical also have some potential. For example, we might have a song about how reforms designed in academia tend to fail upon contact with politics (“Everything was beautiful in the classroom …”) or about a skeptic's reaction to health-care reform (“There is no feeling, except the feeling that this bullbleep is absurd …”).

What If That's the Goal?

The Democrats have been so emphatic that “You will not have to give up your doctor or insurance company” that I'm starting to wonder if that's the goal. Right now, insurance companies have to be more generous than they would like because of the possibility of losing customers. If the regulations are written in such a way as to tie customers and insurers together until death them do part, they can start squeezing. (I recall reading that health care spending is higher in parts of the U.S. with more competitive insurance markets.)

By the way, the U.S. health-care system is very good at the sort of things that insurers are supposed to be reluctant to pay for (major operations, cancer chemotherapy, etc.). It's not so good at routine medical care (e.g., prenatal care) that we should not need insurance companies to pay for. I don't see how any of the proposed reforms will improve the latter.

If Only Senator George Murphy Were Still Alive …

Former Congressman Tom DeLay is joining the cast of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Latest Excuse in the “Death Panel” Controversy

1. I didn't touch your bicycle.
2. It was broken when I borrowed it.

In other words, there are no death panels and the Republicans are responsible for them.

It looks like at least one Republican (and that's enough to blame them all) made the mistake I warned about a few years ago and tried writing general-purpose bills to prevent a future Terri Schindler Schiavo case.

By the way, I suspect that one reason leftists try to get some conservatives on board one of their bandwagons is to be able to blame them when they run into trouble. This might be another case of that.

Anti-Gun Paranoia in Action

A school administration goes into hysterics when a history teacher brings plastic guns into a school for a history lesson:

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A teacher who brought plastic replica rifles to his class prompted a lockdown of two San Diego schools when a staff member thought he was a gunman.
I'm surprised teaching history is even legal nowadays.

It's the Fortieth Anniversary of Woodstock

Why should I care?

By the way, is it my imagination or are people who pride themselves on being the “Wave of the Future” more prone to nostalgia than us reactionaries? There was the Camelot nostalgia about the Kennedy administration, the nostalgia about the unpolluted pre-industrial era, and the nostalgia about the supposedly-peaceful pre-monotheist religions …

A Theory on the Cause of the “Obesity Epidemic”

It's the Internet's fault. It used to be necessary to go out and do something to interact with others. Now you can sit on your increasingly padded fanny in front of the computer.

What Will a Government Monopoly on Pharmaceuticals Research Do for Medicine?

Coyote blog and Megan McArdle have comments on Ezra Klein's suggestion that government money can make up for the lack of private money.

I will answer the title question with a question: What did a government monopoly on nuclear research do to nuclear energy? (I mean besides hand Joseph Romm and similar clowns a set of excuses for suppressing nukes.)

The Family Guy vs. South Park

Which is weirder?

This Might Be Useful

Dispute Finder is supposed to be a Firefox extension that, given a claim, will help locate evidence contrary to it. It might be the start of something resembling Resartus (with my earlier comments here) or it might be another web site under the control of People-with-Too-Much-Free-Time.

According to the Dispute Finder blog:

You can now more easily unmark snippets other people have marked. The intention is that this be used if you see that someone is spamming the system. This is combined with a background moderation system that lets us see when users are disagreeing over whether something is making a disputed claim.
It's easy to see that this might be gamed. It's also possible that the administrators might crack down faster on abuses on one side of an issue than on the other side. We'll have to watch them.

A more subtle form of gaming the system is possible. It's possible to use the system to collect evidence against a straw man argument and pretend it's evidence against against a robust argument. We might even see graduates of the “University of Google” get advanced degrees at Dispute Finder.

U.S. Medical Insurance Companies Have Been Innocent Since …

December 2007. At least, I assume that anything more recent would have been mentioned in the course of the current debates on health care.

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