humani nil a me alienum puto

random rants about news, the law, healthcare law, economics and anything I find amusing

Another Atlantic Article Critical of our Current Health Care System

This array suggested a bigger, underlying dysfunction, and Ioannidis thought he knew what it was. “The studies were biased,” he says. “Sometimes they were overtly biased. Sometimes it was difficult to see the bias, but it was there.” Researchers headed into their studies wanting certain results—and, lo and behold, they were getting them. We think of the scientific process as being objective, rigorous, and even ruthless in separating out what is true from what we merely wish to be true, but in fact it’s easy to manipulate results, even unintentionally or unconsciously. “At every step in the process, there is room to distort results, a way to make a stronger claim or to select what is going to be concluded,” says Ioannidis. “There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded.”

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science – Magazine – The Atlantic
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269

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Potpouri of Links

Standing while you work… Does it improve health?

In the past few years, standing has become the new sitting for 10 percent of AOL employees at the firm’s Dulles campus, part of a standing ovation among accountants, programmers, bureaucrats, telemarketers and other office workers across the nation. GeekDesk, a California company that sells $800 desks raised by electric motors, says sales will triple this year. It has sold standing desks to the Secret Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. Many firms and government agencies require standing setups in new contracts for office furniture.

Should companies that do business with County government agencies/offices provide political donations?

To the file: Our universe is actually just some kid’s kitchen science experiment.

Rose Mary’s Baby and suitcases of cash?

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Fictional paragraph of the day

[Spencer Reynolds] hair was curled but cropped short, his skin bronzed by a benevolent sun…, his clothes…were expensively flamboyant without being outre, and his demeanor proclaimed a relaxed confidence that all men dreamed of and precious few obtained. His wit was obvious, his attention to others sincere, and his sense of humor legendary. I found myself disliking the son of a b*** at once. – Dan Simmons, Fall of Hyperion

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Paragraph of the day

The popularity of [Rube Goldberg’s] inventions series closely parallels the rise of electrification in America. In 1925, depending on where you lived, … power was receding into the walls. The world lost a little explicability. People like to complain that they can’t understand modern cars because of all the fancy parts and electronic doo-dads in them now, but we lost that ability for most things long ago. I think Goldberg’s drawings reminded his contemporaries of a time when they could understand the world’s industrial processes just by looking. No matter how absurd his work was, anyone could trace the reactions involved. They were open to inspection, transparent… Now, you no longer even have to think about where the energy you use comes from. You can forget that your laptop is really plugged into a network of magnets being pushed around by steam created by the heat of burned fossil fuels or the fissioning of atoms.

Rube Goldberg and the Irreducible Strangeness of Electricity – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/09/rube-goldberg-and-the-irreducible-strangeness-of-electricity/63537/

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It’s that time of the year again…

When do you get to talk about deep scientific inquiry into such bleeding edge research topics such as fellating bats, analgesic profanity, the physics of socks on shoes on ice, remote control helicopters collecting whale snot, slime mold mapping techniques for trains, roller coaster asthma cures and random promotion strategies that increase organizational efficiency.   Why, it must be the Ig Nobel Awards again!  Can’t wait to hear on Science Friday.  Ig Nobels honor research on cursing, bat sex, socks | InSecurity Complex – CNET News.

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