The challenge with science is that people have a harder time believing in what’s true than in what’s easy. Noah’s Ark beats Watson Crick.
every night i make up stories for my son Leo
tonight’s story was about how the Lion became a herbivore, here it goes if you want to tell it to your child or of course improve it in your own way
The Lion grew old, and as he did, he got tired of hunting, he couldn’t chase zebras antelopes wildebeests and buffalo anymore, so he decided to open up a restaurant, yes a restaurant, and to use it to trick the herbivores of the area, this restaurant had all sorts of delicious meals, especially made for large herbivores, who as they sat down for dinner attracted by alfalfa, bean sprouts and all sorts of grassy looking delicacies, they would find out all too late, that they were dinner instead, and this went on and on (make it long, give details of the restaurant, tell the sub story of how the Lion built the restaurant out of stones and wood he found in the area mixed with mud and grass) also add that during droughts the lion would offer clean refreshing water….
so this went on until a couple of little meerkats, too small to be invited to the restaurant, saw what was going on and were indignant. They felt this had to be stopped, so they decided to alert the elephants as they realized that they were the only herbivores who could truly intimidate a Lion and make him stop his ruthless scam
so the meerkats told the elephants, when they heard what the lion had done and were furious, furious in a calm, elephant way, and they decided that the lion had to be taught a lesson, no more tricks!
so a couple of elephants decided to crash the Zebra Leafy Lettuce dinner special by disguising themselves as zebras, but gigantic zebras and demanding their dinners again and again
the lion who was smart but not as smart to realize that the zebras were not giant zebras but elephants in disguise, and scared, very scared of their gigantic size, ran everywhere searching for food, trying to feed the giant zebras so they would finally leave,
but the giant zebras were so intimidating and at the same time never satiated that the lion collapsed trying to serve them, after the 99th serving the old lion fainted.
When he woke up the elephants had called all the carnivores of the jungle, one of them, came out of his disguise and told the lion that he had two choices, to be dinner to the other carnivores who were angry at his cheating, at his lack of sportsanimalship, or close the restaurant and become a herbivore, which he well argued, was in general a much more sustainable lifestyle…
And that’s how the lion became a herbivore and ended his days chewing leafy lettuce himself
now remember always to eat your veggies
and go to sleep
Many argue that excessive money supply, or “printing money” causes inflation. But while printing money beyond a certain point will cause inflation what really causes inflation is people/businesses spending money. So if a government faces a nation of hoarders, like the Japanese government does, just printing money itself will not be inflationary. Only when hoarders become spenders will inflation kick in.
There were a lot of good economic news this week. Amazing M&A transactions, rising stock markets and even Spain getting an upgrade from Moody’s. And yet when every weekend comes I know I will read another journalist telling me how, while a lot seems to be going pretty well that deep down, the world is falling apart.
Venezuela, Ukraine, will not be seen as minor pockets of violence in the most peaceful period humanity has ever lived in, but as signs of much worse to come. Or the Groupon share collapse will not be seen as Groupon under performing but as an indication of the first air coming out of the economic bubble.
And again I will shake my head and think, where do media organizations find these apocalyptic writers? But tonight it dawned on me something that is quite obvious but I hadn’t realized before.
It is not the world that’s falling apart, it is journalism that is falling apart. It is the world as journalist know it, that is falling apart. Newspapers, magazines, laying off people, losing ad revs to Google and Facebook, closing down, disappearing. TV news networks losing audience to reality TV. It is people giving up paper for a tiny mostly free little screen in the palm of their hands. It is people’s publishing in which so many volunteers do for free what journalists get paid to do that is destroying their livelihood, that is undermining the foundations of what used to be known as professional journalism. And the little professional journalism that is left, is a winner takes all situation, all readers flock to a few sources like The New York Times and even those winners have barely managed to survive. With smaller staff. All professions have to adapt to changing times but few as much and as quickly as journalism. It’s like the world knows it needs journalists but has not found a way to fit them in the age of news as mobile snippets on Twitter.
So next time you read some surprisingly negative news think that the maxim of what goes up must come down is many times not true. It is not true in the stock market over decades, and it is not true of all the objects that humanity has already shot way into space and are not coming down, ever. But what is true is that many a writer who is forecasting decline has sadly met decline, personally. And that is permeating into what you are reading.
The WhatsApp acquisition price sounds high but it’s not if you think about it in these terms: Facebook bought a network that is growing much faster than itself (growth drives valuations) and has almost half as many members already, for 10% of its value.
I am planning to write an article on the health care differences in approaches in EU vs USA. Here is a list of topics to cover.
-while USA spends double in health care per person than EU in EU people live considerable longer lives. 3 years longer. Elaborate on why this is the case. Is it lifestyle that is better in Europe or the fact that in Europe medicine is available for all.
-in EU lawyers play almost no role in health care. US health care is dominated by the influence of litigation in medicine. This ads tremendous cost to the health care system in the USA and makes it less “daring” in cases where certain procedures may save lives but in some cases open avenues for litigation.
-in some countries in Europe only the state provides medical care and there are practically no insurance companies standing in between citizens and health care. Insurance companies also add a layer of cost. In France for example the citizen goes to a hospital, end of story, no insurance company in between. In Germany however there are insurance companies. Would be interesting to study the cost of insurance companies, they are clearly an unnecessary layer but maybe they are good at keeping costs down in the health care system.
-the state is a huge provider of health care in most of the EU with health workers being government employees. USA is the opposite medicine is provided by private actors.
-the main purpose of the FDA is safety and paradoxically the safest path is that of not approving new drugs as they all have risks. In EU the main purpose is discovery and access to new treatments and that is why there are more drugs approved in Europe.
-the US is much more of a free market when it gets to price¡ing medicines so pharmaceutical companies make more profits in the USA and therefore try harder to deal with the FDA. Also as a result, companies that operate in the US have more profits to reinvest in R&D. Probably more innovation comes out of USA and USA funds innovation around the world this way.
-in some areas such as fertility USA is much freer than EU. Surrogacy, selling of sperm and eggs and all fertility related procedures are less regulated. Therefore more innovation.
-but in some other areas like stem cell research USA faces interference of religious views that are not an issue in EU. Europe has more moral, ethical concerns and USA more religious concerns.
-fairness and access of medical procedures for all are much more a concern in EU than USA. USA shines in elite medicine EU in medicine for the least privileged. So Europe adopts new expensive medical devices and treatments later than USA.
-in some EU countries like Spain organ donation is opt out and therefore many more organs than in opt in USA.
-in some European countries doctors play an unusual role in labor relations between employers and employees as it is doctors who mandate work free days or sick days. Spain for example is the country in Europe where people live the longest and yet it is the most sick country when it gets to asking for sick days. So the health care system is abused in the obtention of work free days. At the same time in the USA another abuse happens which is that employees go to work when they are truly sick as they fear for their jobs. Something in between is probably best. Diagnosed depression is unfortunately a source of abuse in the work place in Europe as depression is easy to fake and can leads to month of paid work free days.
-there are some statistics that are shockingly bad for USA, one of them is maternal mortality. In the USA the maternal mortality rate is 5 times higher than in Italy for example. This is hard to explain, what is it that makes so many mothers die in the USA? Is it that a considerable percentage of US citizens don’t have access to medical care?
-infant mortality is also an area where USA does very poorly compared to EU countries. Not only do many more US mothers die as a result of pregnancy but also many more US babies.
-incarceration of ill citizens is also a huge difference between USA and Europe. Read this article. And look at the incarceration rates of EU vs USA. USA incarcerates 7 times more people than EU and there are two huge categories of inmates that make the difference. In EU drug addicts are considered medical patients and not criminals and schizophrenic patients are considered medical patients and not criminals. USA has more people in its incarceration system than there are inhabitants of Rome. The tendency to treat medical patients as criminals also has tremendous economic consequences as medical care provided in prisons is more expensive as it involves both, incarceration and medical care.
-one of the reasons why USA spends so much more in health care vs EU and obtains worse results could be obesity. Look at the obesity rates of USA vs EU countries. So it could be that lifestyle plays a bigger role in health care than health care itself. That medicine can’t fight people who are poisoning themselves overeating.
-another reason why US health care costs are so high compared to EU is the salaries that MDs make in USA vs Europe. While the average income of Northern Europeans and USA is similar the income of MDs in the USA is many times higher than those in Northern Europe. This may be a factor of supply and demand. EU has more doctors per capita than USA.
-EU citizens are older on the average than US citizens. Like 4 years older. Most health care expenditures are incurred on the very old. This alone would mean that EU should have even higher expenses than USA, considerably higher, and yet the expenses per person are less than half. Why is this? Could it be that in the USA doctors try harder to keep patients alive? In some European countries eutanasia is legal. Also suicide rates are higher in EU. I have not seen suicide rates by age but if old people commit suicide or opt for no treatment or eutanasia this could explain why EU spends less in care of the very old.
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