Neuron Culture

Archives for September, 2009

But every version of reform fails to deal with the root cause the uninsurance problem: millions of employers in our “employer-based” system do not provide their workers with health insurance. Why isn’t there more discussion about the free rider distortions in that state of affairs?  Instead putting the mandate on employer free riders, the bills…

Every other industrialized country has a national health care system that makes keeping track of these elementary facts possible. The US doesn’t. We have a lot of electronic medical records, all right, but they are mostly devoted to billing and insurance. And there are a lot of different proprietary software systems that can’t be easily…

At Gene Expression, Razib casts a skeptical eye on a study of the neuroanatomical variability of religiosity. The brain areas identified in this and the parallel fMRI studies are not unique to processing religion [the study states], but play major roles in social cognition. This implies that religious beliefs and behavior emerged not as sui…

Swine flu spreads, and confusion with it

Updates from the flu front: Confusion grows over the still-unreleased study that apparently finds, contrary to other studies, that getting this year’s seasonal flu shot may raise your risk of getting swine flu. Peter Sandman, meanwhile, argues that since the swine flu seems to have largely displaced the seasonal flu, getting vaccinated for the latter…

Maybe best argument yet for expanding the US rail system. I need to go here:

[Note: An update from 25 Sept 09 is at bottom] Here’s a sad mess. It seems a potentially important finding — that getting a seasonal flu shot might increase risk of contracting the swine flu — is being sat on by a journal, with the authors forbidden from talking about it, until they get through…

Clay Shirky’s bracing dystopianism

Even with that experimentation, he added, the ongoing shrinkage of newspapers is likely to create a “giant hole” that will not be filled for some time. He said he has a vision of communities of 10,000 people or fewer becoming rife with “casual endemic corruption,” as newspapers are no longer able to fulfill their traditional…

Ice-cold eye candy: glaciers from space

via wired.com Another fine story from Wired Science. Posted via web from David Dobbs’s Somatic Marker

Eric Michael Johnson contemplates the hearts, minds, teeth, and claws of bonobos and other primates. Tara Smith explains why she’ll be getting her kids their (seasonal) flu vaccines. Revere does likewise Daniel Menaker, former honcho at Random House, defends the midlist. (Where was he when my book was getting so much push?) Just in case…

Much ado about swine flu

The swine flu triage tent at Dell’s Children’s Medical Center, in Austin, Texasphoto: Ralph Barerra, Austin American-Statesman I can’t keep up with the flu news. (If you want to, best single bet — the wide net — is Avian Flu Diary.) But as the World Health Organisation meets in Hong-Kong to discuss, among other things, swine…