Day: April 26, 2019

Insulin prices are killing people

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’“Nobody cared or nobody understood that without this next vial of insulin, I wouldn’t live to see another week,” said 28-year-old Kristen Whitney Daniels.

She started rationing her insulin after she was kicked off her parents’ insurance plan two years ago.

“I can’t really explain how isolating and how terrifying it is,” she said.

She’s now a patient at the Yale Diabetes Center, where a recent Journal of American Medical Association study found one in four patients reported “cost-related underuse.” Dr. Kasia Lipska treats patients at the clinic, and was the study’s lead author. She testified on Capitol Hill last week.

“This vial of insulin cost just $21 when it first came on the market in 1996. It now costs $275,” she said.…’

Via Boing Boing

A Short Summary of the Contemporary Republican Party’s Strategy

Images’In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky gave a short summary of how the modern Republican Party coalition between the rich and the religious, white working class was built, decade by decade.

They have a primary constituency, a real constituency: extreme wealth and corporate power. That’s who they have to serve. That’s their constituency. You can’t get votes that way, so you have to do something else to get votes. What do you do to get votes? This was begun by Richard Nixon with the Southern strategy: try to pick up racists in the South. The mid–1970s, Paul Weyrich, one of the Republican strategists, hit on a brilliant idea. Northern Catholics voted Democratic, tended to vote Democratic, a lot of them working-class. The Republicans could pick up that vote by pretending — crucially, “pretending” — to be opposed to abortion. By the same pretense, they could pick up the evangelical vote. Those are big votes — evangelicals, northern Catholics. Notice the word “pretense.” It’s crucial. You go back to the 1960s, every leading Republican figure was strongly, what we call now, pro-choice. The Republican Party position was — that’s Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, all the leadership — their position was: Abortion is not the government’s business; it’s private business — government has nothing to say about it. They turned almost on a dime in order to try to pick up a voting base on what are called cultural issues.

Same with gun rights. Gun rights become a matter of holy writ because you can pick up part of the population that way. In fact, what they’ve done is put together a coalition of voters based on issues that are basically, you know, tolerable to the establishment, but they don’t like it. OK? And they’ve got to hold that, those two constituencies, together. The real constituency of wealth and corporate power, they’re taken care of by the actual legislation…

Appealing to those fears and issues has been very effective and has been joined in recent years by conservatives and conservative media eroding trust in many of America’s familiar institutions, such as the scientific community, journalism, and government (some of which erosion, to be fair, has been self-inflicted). Keep in mind that as recently as 10 years ago, Republicans believed in climate science until their constituency (aka the wealthy industrialists) steered them away from that path.…’

Via Kottke

Why Traffic Flow Suddenly Morphs into Traffic Jam

UnknownNot one driver’s fault, but everybody’s:

’…[P]hantom jams are not the fault of individual drivers, but result instead from the collective behavior of all drivers on the road. It works like this. Envision a uniform traffic flow: All vehicles are evenly distributed along the highway, and all drive with the same velocity. Under perfect conditions, this ideal traffic flow could persist forever. However, in reality, the flow is constantly exposed to small perturbations: imperfections on the asphalt, tiny hiccups of the engines, half-seconds of driver inattention, and so on. To predict the evolution of this traffic flow, the big question is to decide whether these small perturbations decay, or are amplified.

If they decay, the traffic flow is stable and there are no jams. But if they are amplified, the uniform flow becomes unstable, with small perturbations growing into backwards-traveling waves called “jamitons.” These jamitons can be observed in reality, are visible in various types of models and computer simulations, and have also been reproduced in tightly controlled experiments.…’

Via Nautilus

George Conway Has A Biting New Nickname For Wife’s Boss

ImagesGeorge Conway appears to have come up with a brand-new scathing nickname for President Donald Trump.

The conservative attorney and frequent Trump critic, who is married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, on Thursday repeatedly called his wife’s boss “Deranged Donald.” It seemed to have stuck, with the hashtag #DerangedDonald trending on Twitter.

Conway used the mocking moniker in a series of tweets in which he criticized Trump and also took a swipe at widely watched conservative cable network Fox News, whose prime time hosts staunchly defend the president…’

Via HuffPost

How angry pilots got the Navy to stop dismissing UFO sightings

UnknownNavy drafts reporting guidelines:

’A recent uptick in sightings of unidentified flying objects — or as the military calls them, “unexplained aerial phenomena” — prompted the Navy to draft formal procedures for pilots to document encounters, a corrective measure that former officials say is long overdue.

As first reported by POLITICO, these intrusions have been happening on a regular basis since 2014. Recently, unidentified aircraft have entered military-designated airspace as often as multiple times per month, Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for office of the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told The Washington Post on Wednesday. Citing safety and security concerns, Gradisher vowed to “investigate each and every report.” He said, “We want to get to the bottom of this. We need to determine who’s doing it, where it’s coming from and what their intent is. We need to try to find ways to prevent it from happening again.”

Luis Elizondo, a former senior intelligence officer, told The Post that the new Navy guidelines formalized the reporting process, facilitating data-driven analysis while removing the stigma from talking about UFOs, calling it “the single greatest decision the Navy has made in decades.”

[The government admits it studies UFOs. So about those Area 51 conspiracy theories …]…’

Via The Washington Post

Are our blueberries radioactive?

2362The fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 30 years on:

’Chernobyl was the worst nuclear accident in human history and its legacy is still being felt today. The public is often led to believe that the exclusion zone, a depopulated 20-mile circle around the blown plant, safely contained Chernobyl radioactivity. But there is a second zone in southern Belarus. In it, people lived for 15 years in levels of contamination as high as areas within the official zone until the area was finally abandoned in 1999.

That is just one of the things Kate Brown discovered during the 10 years she spent interviewing doctors, scientists and international officials involved in the Chernobyl disaster and scouring over 20 archives to unearth never-before-seen documents. She talks to Anushka Asthana about the impact of international organisations lying about the disaster and why we should be asking far more questions about the global health effects of radioactivity as we enter a new nuclear age.…’

Via The Guardian (podcast)