"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Illegal Insurance, Ambient Power, Chocolate 

Leaders of the health insurance industry (via their organization America's Health Insurance Plans) have announced that they now support universal health coverage in the US, and offered a plan to achieve that goal. Excuse me if I am dubious: this is an organization that has, literally until this press release, vehemently opposed any government activity in the sector. The few details provided also suggest to me that AHIP
is looking for another Medicare Part-D style giveaway. Still though, it's a hopeful step.

A RAND study suggests that illegal immigrants, often cited as a major drain on our national health resources by those opposed to universal coverage, actually account of only a small fraction of our spending, and for proportionally less than do citizens and legal immigrants. I'd like to think that this report might stop people (namely, Republicans) from blaming immigrants for our own problems, but I'd also like a pony that turns in to a boat.

RAND has published another study that could indicate great things, if our politicians were willing to go for it: projections show that moving forward on the '25 by 25' goal of using 25% renewable energy sources by 2025 can be done without any increased cost to consumers. Projections like this are always a bit shaky, depending as they do on so many contingent variables, but this one could provide the boost renewable energy needs. Hopefully the new Democratic congress will be interested in pursuing this option, helping to free us from our oil addiction and also clean up the environment.

And speaking of energy, don't you hate the jumble of wires around your desk, and the constant worry that your laptop/PDA/MP3 player/cellphone/portable massager will run out of juice at a critical moment? Well, physics may have an answer! Using a bunch of resonance effects I totally don't understand, researchers say they think they've found a way to charge electronic devices on the go, without wires. This would be awesome, but I have to wonder about the health effects of that much energy just floating around us all the time.

Also, chocolate is good for you.

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