Weekend Update 12-18-2010

Posted: December 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Weekend Update | 3 Comments »

The Awkward Family Photos collected on this site are often hilarious! It’s easy to get sucked in and lose a chunk of time exploring the different categories.

USGS captures our changing landscape with then and now photographs. New photographs with the same perspective as decades old photographs. The ones of the receding glaciers are dramatic and noteworthy.

The WHO has released its annual ranking of world health care systems. We’re safely ensconced at number 37, right behind Costa Rica. We also spend more than almost any other nation on health care as a percentage of GDP in order to achieve those stellar results. Our level of health (as opposed to overall performance of our health care system) is even worse. We’re number 77.

I only have one child left in the public school system and, since she also has celiac disease, school lunches are not an option for her. (To be honest, she rarely ate them in the years before she was diagnosed. She always preferred the lunches we prepared.) Nevertheless, as a citizen I’m glad to see the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act pass. The hunger-free aspect of the law is also important. I’ve been poor and I’ve lived in desperately poor parts of the country. And I’ve studied history. The free and reduced school lunch program has been wildly successful in reducing child hunger in our nation.

This article is intriguing. If we’ve essentially proven, as the evidence cited in the article suggests, that our genes are not a significant factor in our susceptibility to many diseases and illnesses (some, of course, are tied to genes) then that means our environment is. There shouldn’t be much doubt about that, but there is. Studies have demonstrated, for instance that even though our genetic makeup hasn’t changed, the prevalence of active celiac disease has increased four-fold over the past fifty years. (That’s from testing blood samples. The rate of diagnosis has increased much more dramatically.) So even with genetically linked diseases, environmental triggers still matter.

Lavonne Neff gives 4 Reasons not to Mess with Payroll Taxes and then has this equally good follow-up. At some point we have to break free from our magical thinking. And she has another good post on health care. The health care “debate” is an area where I have been stunned by the failure of roughly half our population to grasp basic facts. It can’t really even be called a debate about the approach to take when the things that so many believe about the current situation not only don’t conform to reality, but often have little or no connection of any sort to it. I don’t have particularly strong feelings for or against the various alternative approaches for establishing a better functioning health care system. In fact, I think we could make any of them work well for us. The current act could, with some additional refinements and improvements, be turned into our version of Switzerland’s approach.  But far too many of us seem to be living in a fantasy world right now. And that’s a dangerous place to be.

And yes, we have a house with synchronized lights just up the road in Round Rock. Actually, there’s a smaller version by a friend’s house here in Pflugerville. But the one above is pretty massive in scale.

This clip from the Colbert Report is simply awesome (or boomsauce as my friend Tom Cottar promotes).


3 Comments on “Weekend Update 12-18-2010”

  1. 1 Scott Morizot said at 11:33 am on December 18th, 2010:

    New at Faith & Food: Weekend Update 12-18-2010 https://faithandfood.morizot.net/2010/12/18/weekend-update-12-18-2010/

  2. 2 AnitaAshland said at 6:49 pm on December 18th, 2010:

    That genes article is interesting. Two of my daughters have type 1 diabetes and there’s been a significant increase in type 1 DXs since the 1950s, so something up. Their endocrinologist thinks plastics and vitamin D deficiencies are two big factors.

  3. 3 Scott said at 8:46 am on December 19th, 2010:

    I wasn’t aware that type 1 diabetes diagnoses were also increasing. That certainly indicates some sort of change in environmental triggers. I wonder if all the autoimmune diseases are on the rise? My Dad is a geneticist. I’ll see what he thinks of the article.