And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Linkee-poo Tuesday

"A doctor in California appeared via video link to tell a patient he was going to die." Welcome to modern medicine. Was it necessary to be handled this way? No. And I'm not entirely sure they're upset about the robot part, but about sending the wife and mother home before bringing that news. While the hospital can't keep a full staff of specialists on 24/7 (they could, but then expect to have to pay for that, even if you're not the one using the specialists), they should have hospitalists (generalists) who are there all the time. While it sucks to be tapped to give that news, that's part of the job.

"Since the start of 2019, influenza has been steadily on the rise in the U.S., with the number of new cases currently above the national baseline. And while this flu season has not been quite as severe as seasons past, there has been a recent uptick in a less common flu strain, the H3N2 virus, now accounting for over 50 percent of new cases, according to recent data from the CDC."

"The Trump Administration is weighing whether to require hospitals to publicly reveal the prices they charge insurance companies for medical procedures and services — prices that are currently negotiated in private and kept confidential." Right now hospitals are required to publish their price lists. Mostly they're on obscure webs pages. Releasing the negotiated prices would be a great step, but only as the beginning of the discussion about the absurdity of most hospital/healthcare provider pricing. One thing would be to eliminate out-of-network doctors working in in-network facilities by requiring doctors to accept negotiated prices for facilities (making them all in-network).

"Critics warn that artificially reflecting sunlight to cool the planet could unleash drastic, unintended consequences – but a Harvard-led team of scientists insists that such fears are overblown… In a new study, researchers say spraying chemicals into the atmosphere to 'dim the Sun' has never been a magical fix-all to cure humanity's dangerous addiction to burning fossil fuels, but if used carefully – with a goal of only halving global temperature increases – it could safely work after all." Okay, let me call bullshit right here. The "safely work" part is all about equalizing the effects and not causing more heating and weather problems in areas to lessen the effects in others. Sounds good, right. Okay, so how does this reflecting solar energy in the upper atmosphere affect plant development, life cycles, solar energy production… basically the Sun is the main energy source of the planet, it's the driver. If you reduce it's radiation to the planet there's a whole shitload of consequences that they haven't even begun to consider. Want a more concrete example? Okay, so I had to sign some forms electronically the other day and the industrial designers/engineers but the cancel button exactly where a left-handed person would place their hand to sign on the screen. Most facial recognition tech in the US has had problems with recognizing minorities. Engineers are fucking notorious for their blind spots. Halving the warming effect is fantastic, but not at the cost of crashing the food web (and here I'm not just talking about reducing our meat consumption, I'm talking about the base plants and animals that convert sunlight to energy that other plants and animals use and that also, in turn, produce the oxygen we breath). They say the reduced heat stress cancels out the effects of less sun, but that just means we're getting the same crop production that we would have had if the temperature had increased fully. Also, sulfur-dioxide mixed with water makes what? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

"China and Indonesia grounded their fleets of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft on Monday as witnesses recalled the terrifying spectacle of smoke and debris trailing from an Ethiopian Airlines plane before it crashed killing 157 people."

"And that is clearly the headline here. With $739 million up for grabs, SpaceX and ULA are being given basically the same work to do -- but ULA will be paid 49% more to do it." Not all space launches are the same. And the financial analyst does obliquely say that, but then insists that a space launch is a space launch and they should cost the same. The headline here is the commodification of space travel (or at least the cluelessness of business analysts covering their topic while not understanding what it is they're covering).

"Now, President Trump is following through on his promise by speeding up a key decision about (California's) water supply. Critics say that acceleration threatens the integrity of the science behind the decision, and cuts the public out of the process. At stake is irrigation for millions of acres of farmland, drinking water for two-thirds of Californians from Silicon Valley to San Diego, and the fate of endangered salmon and other fish." Who needs science?

Sure you can trust the police. "A longtime police officer forced women to have sex with him under threat of an arrest, pressured others to help cover up crimes, and lied to federal investigators when he said he'd never had sex with prostitutes, according to charges unveiled Monday."

How goes Brexit? "If Prime Minister Theresa May is unable to win the backing of Parliament for a revised withdrawal agreement, MPs will be asked to vote on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal instead… So if we end up with no deal, how could it affect you (if you live in the UK)?"

After weeks of saying, "We won't leave Venezuela," there's this. "Amid continuing unrest in Venezuela, the United States plans to remove all diplomatic personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Twitter late Monday."

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is drawing criticism for saying that Israel is 'the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people.'… Palestinian Arab citizens are about a fifth of Israel's population and often face discrimination and accusations of disloyalty." Boom, there it is. This is the dream of conservatives, that their polyglot societies are only for the benefit of the in-group and they can safely ignore the rights of minority populations. But understand that this is a position he must take, because it's even worse than that. See, if the Palestinians living within the borders of Israel were to be recognized as citizens of Israel, the Jewish citizens would be the minority population. It also exposes the racism of the ruling conservative party.

"After Virtue won the championship, Trump ran into him at the club, according to multiple sources who recounted the story. Having some fun with him, Trump said something like, “The only reason you won is because I couldn’t play.” The president cited the demands of his job, although he was able to make 20 visits to the club in 2018, according to Trump then proposed a nine-hole challenge match to Virtue, winner-takes-the-title." The character names are getting out of hand. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Facebook has restored Senator Elizabeth Warren's ads calling for people's support in her mission to break up tech giants after facing backlash for pulling them down." Ah social media, always saying they can't do something until it actually affect them and then suddenly they're all over it.

"Russians, fearing digital isolation and more censorship on the horizon, gathered in the streets of Moscow and other cities on Sunday to protest a new bill calling for Russia to be cut off from the global Internet." Whispers to our Russian friends, you're helping him bring about that future. And if you think you'll be excluded and somehow privileged, you're misreading history.

"'This is an area of where we’re tired of being right,' (Russell Vought, acting White House budget director) said on CNBC’s 'Squawk Box,' referring to a government report of a record number of migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border." Ah, yeah, Bob. This humanitarian crisis is entirely the making of the Trump administration and conservative ideology and racism.

"The only thing worse than the near extinction of press briefings in the Trump White House might be actually having a briefing… In her first appearance behind her iconic podium in 42 days, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Monday did nothing to answer questions boiling up about President Donald Trump, the administration and associated scandals during her long absence."

"Dick Cheney lit into Vice President Mike Pence behind closed doors over the direction of the Trump administration’s foreign policy, flouting a set of agreed-upon subjects and forcing Pence on the defensive over President Donald Trump’s foreign policy… (Cheney) suggested that Trump foreign policy has at times looked more like President Barack Obama’s — which Cheney has repeatedly lambasted — than that of a Republican standard-bearer." Hahahahahaha. Wow, didn't think Cheney was that addled. Well, to be truthful, what Dicky is saying here is more, "It's not the way I would do it, and therefore is somewhat inscrutable, so it's the same as everyone else who doesn't do it my way."

"The New York attorney general’s office is looking into ties between Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank and several Trump Organization projects, the New York Times reported late Monday." Remember the president said this was a red line for him.

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