Note that I'm a smart computer user who keeps everything patched and up to do, as well as knows how to configure a hardware router/firewall.
I see a lot of people claim things like this. The question I ask every one of them, especially if they run XP (an outdated OS missing a number of modern security features, like application sandboxing and ASLR), is whether they run as Administrator or not. 95% still say Yes (beats the approximately 99.9% otherwise, but... still too high). Running as Admin is a *terrible* idea - you might as well be running Windows ME, in terms of security - yet far too many people do so anyhow.
I'll grant you that running as a non-admin on XP or older is a pain - it was that pain which drove me to Linux in the first place. Now I dual-boot Win7 and Linux (Vista and Linux on my older machine) and things have worked out very well. I don't have any continuous monitoring AV running (I keep a copy of ClamAV for on-demand scans), I don't disable UAC or Protected Mode (in fact, I tweak the UAC settings and remove FlashPlayer's exemption regarding Protect Mode). A few UAC or sudo prompts a month is easily worth the extra protection that not running as Admin provides. Security is all about defense in depth, and relying solely on anti-intrusion methods is stupid.
Yes, there's still a lot of harm that can be done with standard user permissions. However, most malware authors, especially for Windows, assume that their code will run as Admin/root, and therefore it would fail on my system anyhow. Furthermore, without Admin, malware can't make itself un-removable. It might send spam or DDOS attempts, but it couldn't edit my firewall settings, hide itself from task manager, install kernel-mode code, or prevent me from deleting it.
The real problem is that HIV and other incurable diseases aren't "events". Your house burns down, you receive money, the contract ends. You get HIV (or ALS or whatever) and you now require a constant money stream... until the insurance company figures out how to get rid of you (or you become unemployed and unable to afford to continue the contract).
Agreed. Yet another reason that the insurance model does not apply well to health care.
One way to fix the price obscurity is to eliminate that doctor-insurance company contract. Instead, the insurance company should send each patient a book "this is what we pay for ____:" and the patient can refer to that when asking (any) doctor how much the doctor charges. But then the insurance companies would have to compete for customers on a rational basis.
It isn't all it's cracked up to be. For instance, I have pet insurance to cover vet bills for my dog. Vet bills can get expensive, you know. The company I got the policy from publishes their benefit schedule online for the world to see.
I'm glad that they do it, but I have to say it wasn't very useful for comparison-shopping or even for determining if the policy was worth purchasing in the first place. For instance, the benefit for Arrhythmia is $95 for treatment, and $132 for diagnostic testing. I don't know about you, but I have no earthly clue if that is a reasonable payout for Arrhythmia--I don't even know what Arrhythmia is. I don't want to know, either. I'm not googling each and every thing that can go wrong with my dog (4 pages, 2 columns each, small print) just to get a feel for if the policy is worth it.
In the end, I bought the policy because it wasn't too much money, and I figured it would help a bit when my dog got sick, and it has. If she got cancer or something and I couldn't afford tens of thousands of dollars in treatments, I can always put her to sleep. I love her; but she is, in the end, just a dog. Obviously that's not an option with one of my kids, so I'd have to take a decision on human health insurance more seriously.
For me or a family member, I know I'm going to treat whatever they have, so I need a little more protection than "Well, you can have $95+132 for Arrhythmia". I need, "If your family member gets sick, you're not going to lose your house, your car, your savings."
It's a tough problem, but nobody in Washington is serious about solving it. They are only going to make it worse.
Wow. Did you really just champion Opera - king of bloat, with built-in email, web server, P2P, and quite possibly a kitchen sink - as a "lightweight alternative"?
Yes, it is. Opera might have more features, but it's still smaller and snappier than Firefox by far. It isn't bloat unless those features make it big and slow. They are in fact completely out of your way by default.