Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Apparently I'm a libertarian...

Saw this little "test" over at Respiratory Therapy 101 and decided to give it a shot.

You are a

Social Liberal
(88% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(80% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Friedrich Hayek's Road to Serfdom and lewrockwell.com - it's where it all started folks!

- Spook (proud Paul-ite)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman has passed on

Ya know, I'm not usually one to get all weepy and mopey about celebrities.

But I've always enjoyed Newman's work - be it something silly like "Slapshot" or iconic such as "Hustler" or "Cool Hand Luke". He was a humanitarian to boot with charities benefiting children.

So long Mr. Newman and thanks for the fond memories.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Healthy ER abusers are a "myth"

A recent article in Slate claims that the uninsured without a PMD and the insured folks who have PMDs both visit the ERs (or ED if you are Dr. WhiteCoat ;-)) in roughly the same proportion:

If you believe the conventional wisdom, the E.R. abusers of our nation are especially responsible for many problems in health care. They fill up E.R. waiting rooms and because they can't (or won't) pay their medical bills, the insured patients who prudently wait for weekday appointments to see their doctors end up bearing the costs of the abusers' in the form of higher insurance premiums. The oft-repeated claim is that if we can just find a way to get the abusers out of the E.R. waiting rooms, we'd eliminate many of the high costs associated with health care in the United States.

The problem is that this story of the healthy, cavalier, uninsured E.R. abuser is largely a myth. E.R. use by the uninsured is not wrecking health care. In fact, the uninsured don't even use the E.R. any more often than those with insurance do. And now, a new study shows that the increased use of the E.R. over the past decade (119 million U.S. visits in 2006, to be precise, compared with 67 million in 1996) is actually driven by more visits from insured, middle-class patients who usually get their care from a doctor's office. So, the real question is: Why is everybody, insured and uninsured, coming to the E.R. in droves? The answer is about economics. The ways in which health information is shared and incentives aligned, for both patients and doctors, are driving the uninsured and insured alike to line up in the E.R. for medical care.

Click here for the full article


Sunday, September 7, 2008

The "Nursing School" Car

I worked two jobs during nursing school. I bought a beat up 1995 Plymouth Neon - stick shift and a pretty decent radio. It had 2/40 air conditioning (2 windows rolled down driving at 40 mph). The only thing I cared about was the heater, since I lived in Buffalo.

The gauges worked when they felt like it. I once drove an entire stretch from Ohio through Illinois with a non-working instrument panel - I had no idea how much gas I had left or if the engine was overheating etc. The only thing that worked faithfully was the tachometer - so I used to guesstimate my speed based on engine revs and which gear I was in (e.g.: 1800-2000 rpm in 5th gear was roughly 35 mph).

Since the instrument panel worked erratically, the odometer didn't always run either. I had no idea about the true mileage of the car. These things sorta start to matter because you start to imagine scenarios like where your pistons ram through the camshaft because of a timing belt that wasn't replaced at the 'appropriate mileage' or busting a strut because of not having a safety inspection done at the 'appropriate mileage' so on and so forth...

It took me on several 1000 mile trips (and helped me move between two apartments. How I managed to cram my clothes, utensils, computer, stereo system and books and transport them thousands of miles, I alone know). It lasted through some of the worst winters Buffalo threw at us. It saved my ass during a real bad 75 mph spin out on the I-55.

That piece of junk lasted till 2007. I was driving home after my 4th 12 hour night shift in a row. I entered a school zone and with kids around, hit the brakes to slow down. Pedal went all the way to the floor but the car kept going. I used the gearbox to slow down to the point where I could yank the emergency brake. Thankfully, it worked and I was able to stop the car. By then I was wide awake and terrified.

I upgraded to a Honda within 2 weeks after that incident.

So, that was my "school car". What was yours?