01/29 Open Thread: January 29 is Curmudgeons' Day, thank you very much
We are getting ready to head out on yet another multi-week adventure in the near future. This means that I need to write, post and schedule a whole bunch of OTs for the period of my absence, as well as some to bridge the gap between now and the start date. This means, among other things, that you shuldn't expect too much from them and will need to provide content as well as commentary yourselves (as if you don't already, heh). So, here we go ...
This is also the anniversary of the first use of federal troops to suppress a labor dispute. They were called out for that purpose in 1834 by Andy Jackson.
It is "Freethinkers Day" which is perhaps why the Rubics cube was introduced on this day in 1980. It was introduced in London, no doubt because the US was already well down the road to being an evidence free society, willing to buy anything on faith if it were repeated enough.
This is the 15th anniversary of GWB's "Axis of Evil" speech, wherein, if you listen closely you can hear the US President declare war on 3 specified nations plus anybody else who falls into the "If you're not with us then you are against us" horseshit descriptum with nary a complaint or even a whimper fom the House, Senate, of the vast majority ot the populace.
BUZZQUOTE of the week (as I write, heh) " rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else." Kant, of course
ODDS & ENDS
Hey, surprise, single payer will save money. ( https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/single-payer-systems-likely-... ) I don't know how much I really need to go into this, because it isn't a very long article. It also links the full study in PLOS|Medicine: ( https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1... )
To estimate what would happen if the United States adopted a single-payer system, researchers from UCSF, UCLA and UC Berkeley examined 22 economic analyses by government, business and academic organizations of national and state-level single payer plans, including proposals made in Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Vermont, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York and Oregon.
The researchers found that 19 of the 22 models predicted net savings in the first year after implementation, averaging 3.5 percent of total healthcare spending.
The researchers found that the economic models that were supported by left-leaning funders or that were done by academics found slightly larger net savings. But analyses supported by more conservative funders or performed outside of academia still predicted single-payer systems would yield savings.
“This means that across the political spectrum, there is near consensus among these economists that a single-payer system would save money,” said Christopher Cai, a third-year medical student at UCSF and the study’s first author. “Replacing private insurance with a public system is essential to achieving these savings.”
So, I'm going to note the dissatisfaction with silicon valley, and all things related thereto that is growing in this country, but I intend a deeper dive at some later date. Hence:Noted. Heh. So SLATE published an EEEEvil list, titled "The Evil List" right here: ( https://slate.com/technology/2020/01/evil-list-tech-companies-dangerous-... ) I gave it a quick skim, it warrants at least that, and Palantir is on there, along with Oracle, M$, etc. But lower down on the list are some scary shit and, not mentioned at all is shit like StingRay technology, developed, manufactured and marketed by Harris Corp, whomever they might be. Why not? Is it a question of scope, or breadth, or what? For whatever reason there is an evil list, and today's is presented for your viewing pleasure. Iirc, it isn't really loaded with private equity firms, like Apollo Global Management Inc which is the target of a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek ((Nobody Makes Money Like Apollo’s Ruthless Founder Leon Black - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-01-16/nobody-makes-money-li...)), but tech companies. Considering the source of the article on Appollo, which I didn't read, it might be praise and promotion, for all I know - I didn't read it, it just popped up. (Bloomberg has made much of his success and wealth, leading to the question of whether he horribly exploited his workers, or horribly ripped off his customers; nobody gets really, really rich quick without doing one or the other.)
So, with that in the bank, cast your eyes upon this: The Silicon Valley Economy Is Here. And It’s a Nightmare. ( https://newrepublic.com/article/156202/silicon-valley-economy-here-its-n... ) It is a short quick read about a dystopian future that is, sadly enough, already here here (thanks, Gertrude). The subhead says it well: Low pay, soaring rents, and cities littered with e-scooters. Welcome to the future. But, out of nowhere, up steps The Guardian, assist to Cory Doctorow, with The case for ... cities that aren't dystopian surveillance states ( https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2020/jan/17/the-case-for-cities-where... ) Especially the bit about you being the sensor and not the being sensed. A good article and a good vision, if it can be brought about. Failing that, we are stuck with massive surveillance amid a sea of squat, blocky, ugly tiresomely uninventive mid rise stick framed buildings such as those discussed in this article Why America’s New Apartment Buildings All Look the Same -
Cheap stick framing has led to a proliferation of blocky, forgettable mid-rises—and more than a few construction fires.
( https://getpocket.com/explore/item/why-america-s-new-apartment-buildings... ) It is a reprint from Bloomberg Businessweek and, of course, does not fail to note that there is a good side and some good potential to this who sea of dormitory style building washing across the landscape, and maybe there is, but I see it as soul crushing aesthetic pollution myself.
I envisioned a slick segue out of that, but it just isn't there, lost, no doubt, in the flood of stucco and brick. At any rate, The Guardian has put another oar in, with an article titled https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2020/jan/15/the-case-for-making-low-t... that actually, I think, ran before their one on making smart cities into our servants instead of our masters. It may be found here ( https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2020/jan/15/the-case-for-making-low-t... ) And YES, of course there is a lot of merit in such an idea. Old tech is organic and organically integrated, the fruit of attempts to live symbiotically off of the land. (Simply stripping the land leaves one displaced, a nomad, forever afoot and afield). Examples of admirable old-tech are given and things are extrapolated from there. One can see that, carefully and cleverly done, new tech can be brought to the support of old tech without supplanting it to create a synergic synthesis that would enable an enhanced symbiosis with gaia and all of its life forms and support systems. A dream, and probably a pipe dream, but something different and worthy of consideration, especially if it served humans and not vice-versa.
What, may I ask, is more old tech than simply squatting in the dirt? We not long ago saw a major push for standing desks, and I cannot help but now wonder what a squatting desk would look like. Why? Because some think it should become something of a thing, that it is good for the body, and not merely good for us, but arguably the way that the body is supposed to work. (If that is true, I cannot help but wonder, would it not be good for the mind and psyche as well?) Quartz published an article in 2017 - The Forgotten Art of Squatting Is a Revelation for Bodies Ruined by Sitting ( https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-forgotten-art-of-squatting-is-a-r... ) that is on point here, After reading it, I find myself tempted to ease into occasional short-time squatting, remembering much younger days when I spent many hours doing so here and there out of lack of a reasonable substitute. I so far have not essayed to try out of fear of what my ankles and knees would say on the way down and back and especially, the ankles, while down there. Yet, is is allegedly good for one and I can see how that could easily be so. Here, in a nutshell, as presented by the author, is the dilemma:
A healthy musculoskeletal system doesn’t just make us feel lithe and juicy, it also has implications for our wider health. A 2014 study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that test subjects who showed difficulty getting up off the floor without support of hands, or an elbow, or leg (what’s called the “sitting-rising test”) resulted in a three-year-shorter life expectancy than subjects who got up with ease.
It comes down to a simple matter of “use it or lose it,” says Dr. Bahram Jam, a physical therapist and founder of the Advanced Physical Therapy Education Institute (APTEI) in Ontario, Canada.
“Every joint in our body has synovial fluid in it. This is the oil in our body that provides nutrition to the cartilage,” Jam says. “Two things are required to produce that fluid: movement and compression. So if a joint doesn’t go through its full range—if the hips and knees never go past 90 degrees—the body says ‘I’m not being used’ and starts to degenerate and stops the production of synovial fluid.”
I remember well what it is like to get up off of the floor even using my hands for assistance, all too well, and avid getting down there like the plague for that very reason. But yet, it can only get worse. I know that I am somehow obligated to spend a certain amount of time doing nothing, or diddley squat, as they say, so perhaps I could combine non-activities and do it from or in a squat. Perhaps, but it's too late in the day right now, maybe mañana. All of you folks, on the other hand ...
Alrighty, now, officially on the road, gone, done gone and, hence, in abstentia today.
Title Image is men_squatting
It's an open thread, so have at it. The floor is yours
Cross posted from caucus99percent.com