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What US Health Care Needs 584

Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan way what is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board. "Half a century ago, medicine was neither costly nor effective. Since then, however, science has... enumerated and identified... more than 13,600 diagnoses — 13,600 different ways our bodies can fail. And for each one we've discovered beneficial remedies... But those remedies now include more than six thousand drugs and four thousand medical and surgical procedures. Our job in medicine is to make sure that all of this capability is deployed, town by town, in the right way at the right time, without harm or waste of resources, for every person alive. And we're struggling. There is no industry in the world with 13,600 different service lines to deliver. ... And then there is the frightening federal debt we will face. By 2025, we will owe more money than our economy produces. One side says war spending is the problem, the other says it's the economic bailout plan. But take both away and you've made almost no difference. Our deficit problem — far and away — is the soaring and seemingly unstoppable cost of health care. ... Like politics, all medicine is local. Medicine requires the successful function of systems — of people and of technologies. Among our most profound difficulties is making them work together. If I want to give my patients the best care possible, not only must I do a good job, but a whole collection of diverse components must somehow mesh effectively. ... This will take science. It will take art. It will take innovation. It will take ambition. And it will take humility. But the fantastic thing is: This is what you get to do."

Comment Re:American pornophobia (Score 4, Informative) 909

It's a valid fear. I know someone who asked her father about sex she was about 6 or 7. Her father, not being ashamed of the biological process, gave her a frank and straightforward explanation. Being a child, she then told some of her classmates about it and next thing you know: the parents were getting a visit from CPS.

Comment Re:How elastic? (Score 3, Interesting) 213

Penetration obviously isn't ideal, but having the bullet contained by the shirt would still be a preferable outcome to outright penetration. One of the reasons the Mongols wore silk armor was that when struck by an arrow, the arrow would often fail to pierce the silk. This made removing arrows much easier and cleaner, which meant less downtime for wounded fighters.

Comment Re:OK ... (Score 3, Informative) 267

The problem with Scoville units(and the reason they're NOT a universally accepted measure of chili hotness) is that it's a subjective measure. It's based on taste testing. American Spice Trade Association pungency units are a better measure, as they're determined using high performance liquid chromatography.

Comment Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (Score 1) 565

No to dispute your main point, but you make it sound as though everyone who lives in a rural area does so as a luxury. Cost of living actually tends to be a bit lower in rural areas, based on the studies I could dig up. Not everyone living in the country has 100 acres and a manor house.

Comment Re:technology editor sucks at technology? (Score 1) 186

The problem isn't struggling with the GPS(at least not in the sense of "Oh noes, the UI is just too hard!). The question is whether or not the GPS UI is distracting the driver's attention enough to make them especially vulnerable to doing stupid(which in a car means dangerous) things.

Yeah... but if not for looking at my GPS, plus listening to it's voice prompts, plus hitting the traffic map button, plus texting from my iPhone, and using the camera to snap a picture of the traffic to send to my buddy to explain why I'm late and using my bluetooth speakerphone, and drinking my Starbucks and eating that Big Mac... what else am I going to do while in the car?


Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

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