Hey gang. Sorry about the radio silence…work was extremely busy this week. I’ve got some stuff to post soon, but in the meantime, here’s some links I’ve collected. Some of them are old news, but what the hell.
Maya’s Micronomicon: Not sure how to describe this. An intricately illustrated and lettered collection of…items.
The Moral-Hazard Myth: One of the great mysteries of political life in the United States is why Americans are so devoted to their health-care system. Six times in the past century—during the First World War, during the Depression, during the Truman and Johnson Administrations, in the Senate in the nineteen-seventies, and during the Clinton years—efforts have been made to introduce some kind of universal health insurance, and each time the efforts have been rejected. Instead, the United States has opted for a makeshift system of increasing complexity and dysfunction. Americans spend $5,267 per capita on health care every year, almost two and half times the industrialized world’s median of $2,193; the extra spending comes to hundreds of billions of dollars a year. What does that extra spending buy us? Americans have fewer doctors per capita than most Western countries. We go to the doctor less than people in other Western countries. We get admitted to the hospital less frequently than people in other Western countries. We are less satisfied with our health care than our counterparts in other countries. American life expectancy is lower than the Western average. Childhood-immunization rates in the United States are lower than average. Infant-mortality rates are in the nineteenth percentile of industrialized nations. Doctors here perform more high-end medical procedures, such as coronary angioplasties, than in other countries, but most of the wealthier Western countries have more CT scanners than the United States does, and Switzerland, Japan, Austria, and Finland all have more MRI machines per capita. Nor is our system more efficient. The United States spends more than a thousand dollars per capita per year—or close to four hundred billion dollars—on health-care-related paperwork and administration, whereas Canada, for example, spends only about three hundred dollars per capita. And, of course, every other country in the industrialized world insures all its citizens; despite those extra hundreds of billions of dollars we spend each year, we leave forty-five million people without any insurance. A country that displays an almost ruthless commitment to efficiency and performance in every aspect of its economy—a country that switched to Japanese cars the moment they were more reliable, and to Chinese T-shirts the moment they were five cents cheaper—has loyally stuck with a health-care system that leaves its citizenry pulling out their teeth with pliers.
Meanwhile: A choose-your-own-adventure comic book.
Dictionaraoke: Your favorite songs, sung by inhuman pronunciation machines!
Don’t Dumb Me Down: Why is science in the media so often pointless, simplistic, boring, or just plain wrong? Like a proper little Darwin, I’ve been collecting specimens, making careful observations, and now I’m ready to present my theory. It is my hypothesis that in their choice of stories, and the way they cover them, the media create a parody of science, for their own means. They then attack this parody as if they were critiquing science. Although this is from a British newspaper, it discusses the anti-intellectualism rampant in America as well.
Is US Becoming Hostile To Science?: For example…
RPS-15: When standard Rock-Paper-Scissors gets boring, try livening it up by adding 13 more options! Here’s a handy, easy guide to how they all interact. Does gun beat sponge?
L33T Tiles: Tired of your dated Victorian Scrabble set? Why not play a soon-to-be-dated new game based on Internet jargon? Actually, I kinda want this…
How We Got Engaged: The most sweetest webcomic ever!
Nagraj Vs. Shakoora The Magician: Quite possibly the best Superman-Batman-Spiderman-Nagraj crossover story that Bob Haney never wrote!
The Bubble Project: Artist puts blank “speech bubble” stickers on posters, then returns to see what other people have written in them. Neat idea, interesting results.
Trendwatching: Yay! At last there’s a way to keep up with all the latest fashions in consuming!
The Hundred Greatest Theorems: My favorite, Euclid’s infinitude of primes proof, doesn’t crack the top ten, but here’s a little glimpse into the delight and artistry that math geeks find in mathematics.
WildCam: Check out what’s going on right now at Pete’s Pond, a watering hole in Botswana!
Lego Pinhole Camera: Why use an old oatmeal carton when you can use top quality building bricks?
The Only Debate On Intelligent Design That Is Worthy Of Its Subject: Sure, when confronted by someone trying to debate ID, you could pull out a bunch of rock-solid facts to go up against their fluffy ideas, or you could do this…
New Mathematics-Based Sculpture Unveils Fourth Dimension: The subject of the projection is a regular 4-dimensional solid of intermediate complexity, which Ocneanu calls an “octacube.” It has 24 vertices, 96 edges and 96 triangular faces, which enclose 24 three-dimensional “rooms.” Windows cut in faces allow the viewer to see within the structure, the same way that a window in a cubic room opens to the inside of the cube. Physically, the sculpture is a giant puzzle of 96 triangular pieces cut from stainless steel and bent into spherical shape.
The Map Realm: Adrian Leskiw’s cities and nations may only exist in his head, but if you somehow find yourself in them, he’s provided detailed road maps of them.
Betraying Jesus: Not surprisingly, our self-centered culture has produced a self-centered religion. Preoccupation with self dominates the spirit of the age and shapes the character of religion. Modern evangelism has played right along with this central theme. The most common question in evangelism today is, “What can Jesus do for me?” In other words, the question is how Jesus can help us make it in the present order, not how we can respond to the new order. Potential converts are told that Jesus can make them happier, more self-satisfied, better adjusted, and more prosperous. Jesus quickly becomes the supreme product, attractively packaged and aggressively sold to a consuming public. Complete with billboards, buttons, and bumper stickers, modern evangelistic campaigns advertise Jesus in a competitive market. Even better than Coca-Cola, Jesus is “the Real Thing.”
Kiva: Loans That Change Lives: This website allows you to make small, interest-free loans to small businesses in developing nations. Put your money where your heart is.