Neuron Culture

Archives for July, 2009

It’s been 26 years since health-care reform failed. Does the debate reflect anything that’s happened since? From The Columbia Journalism Review: “The idea that we’ve made a great breakthrough just isn’t so,” says Jonathan Oberlander, a health-policy expert at the University of North Carolina. “Most of the plans today are direct descendants of what was…

Opponents of a public health-insurance plan pose two main objections: that it will create an ‘unlevel playing field’ that will harm the private market for insurance (an odd objection, since that playing field already tilts quite sharply away from patients’ pockets and health and toward the wallets of the health-insurance industry); and that government involvement…

Swine flu digs in

Helen Branswell delivers some sobering news: Swine flu viruses are missing at least two key features seen in all flu viruses present and past that transmit well among people and yet the viruses are spreading quite efficiently, two new studies suggest. The research groups which produced the work differ slightly in their views of the…

An article from the Standard ponders why, despite widespread recognition that the country needs health care reform, we may not get it. The relatively new field of behavioral economics–a blending of psychology and economics–helps makes sense of these clashing views. One major tenets of this sub-discipline is that people value a “loss” about twice as…

What’s been distracting me lately from the big story I really really need to finish writing … A splendid, rich fracas over Chris Anderson’s Free, set off particularly by a pan from Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker. The net fairly exploded — search, and ye shall find — with many noting that a pot…

“This is something we would advise men never to attempt,” a medic. said. I would think. Bad news: Guy really did it. Good news: no pictures.

Among the many treats in Carl Zimmer’s new Times piece on fireflies and sex — go, and be enchanted — I particularly liked this quick peek at how a life and a career can take a sharp turn for the most unplanned of reasons: It was on a night much like this one in 1980…