Why does health care cost so much?

Here's a clue:

When asked why he didn't just buy a laxative he responded, "I didn't have a slot on my Medicaid and would have had to pay for it. The hospital is free and has cable."

How To Run A Protest-Proof Grocery Store

At The Agitator. Amusing, and probably a touch too close to reality for some folks' comfort...

  • You should be a good corporate citizen, and donate regularly to charity and political causes. But only those causes that disapprove of commercialism. A good rule of thumb: If the cause you’re considering doesn’t think you, a business, should be legally permitted to exist, it’s probably a safe donation.

People Unclear on the Concept

"Evidently, the British are a bit unclear on how a monarchy works.". Heh! Full snark over at The Gormogons: How It Works.

Engineers vs. Economists

Over at Aretae.

I was actually thinking about something similar earlier today. I think that people generally have the idea that "simpler is better". Meaning that given a complex system that accomplishes a goal, and a simple system that accomplishes roughly the same goal, someone will prefer the simpler system.

This was brought about by thinking of tax day, and the snaggle-toothed monstrosity that is the US tax code. I think I would actually be happier paying higher taxes, if the payment was much simpler - a flat 20% tax, for example. I figure that would increase my Federal taxes to about 2.5x what I pay now. In return, though, I'd understand my tax payments, and the uncertainty associated with the current tax system would be eliminated.

So... how does this figure into engineering/economics? Well, if economic problems are unsolvable, then why not select the simplest solution? Anything you're going to try will be inadequate in some way. Given that, it would seem to make sense to pick the simplest, most understandable economic system you can design that at least solves some part of a problem. At that point, you've made progress - you've solved 90%of X - and because your solution is simple, you're at least able to understand where it doesn't work, and possibly compensate for it's failings in other ways, or at least route around the conditions where it breaks down.

Phone Screens

A co-worker pointed me at these Five Essential Phone Screen Questions for developers, and I wanted to put it someplace where I'd be able to find it again. So... here it is.

What? No Tertius?

I find the good folks over at Popehat insightful, annoying, delightful, infuriating, thought-proviking and irritating, sometimes simultaneously.

Ken has been documenting a trip to Korea with his family. His day three travelogue resulted in what is (for me) a rare and literal LOL moment, thanks to this particular passage:
Evan pulled me towards an attraction called the “Tomb of Horrors,” but I pointed out that, primus, we’ve already scared the wits out his sisters today, and secondus, I’ve got this character up to 41st level and I’m not going to scrap it because some sociopath thinks it’s funny to put a sphere of annihilation in the third room. He didn’t get the second part — yet. He’s only a proto-geek.
Love it! What a grognard.
Found via Chicago Boyz.
Dear Legislator:
Could you please help me decide which of my kids lives to save? Here's the problem:
Last night yet another of my kids found himself on the goodbye end of a robber's gun as the robber slowly counted down

"5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . "

I know you politicians told us "if it saves one life, then keeping guns away from law-abiding citizens is the right thing to do!" but I'm having a little trouble figuring out which life is the one to be saved. I've had most of these kids for 20 years or more, and I'm rather fond of them all.

My kid last night? It was his third time facing armed robbers in Chicago, in Illinois. Can you tell me how many times is just right and how many times is too many?

Hear, Hear

Charles James Napier, discussing multiculturalism:
A story for which Napier was noted involved a delegation of Hindu locals approaching him and complaining about prohibition of Sati, often referred to at the time as suttee, by British authorities. This was the custom of burning a widow alive on the funeral pyre of her husband. The exact wording of his response varies somewhat in different reports, but the following version captures its essence:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; [then] beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

Travis Sightings

Nice to see TJIC popping up here and there. While his blog may be down (hopefully only for a season), it's good to know that he's not off the wire entirely.

Of course, now I have to wonder if his current situation isn't just a vast (right wing? anti-statist?) conspiracy on the part of other bloggers. To get my TJIC fix these days, I have to troll through everything a bunch of other bloggers might publish, just on the off chance that I'll get a bonus TJIC comment like some sort of anarcho-capitalist toy surprise...

It's like watching someone repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot

I've continued to follow the comments on the "In Which I Admit I'm A Republican" post over at That's Church.

The sheer amount of teh stoopid that's being splashed around by leftists in the most recent comments is truly staggering. If we could convert willful ignorance and over-preening arrogance of posters like "CC" and "infinonymous" into a renewable fuel source, we could meet the entire world's energy needs for years to come.

Of course, the downside is that we'd have to continue to put up with these village idiots. I'm not sure the cost/benefit analysis works out in favor of stupid as a renewable resource, now matter how useful they may be.

Monday, Monday

Apparently it's not quite your normal Monday. Jenny over at A Call To Wings is grateful and delighted at the opportunities available in Our Modern World, as is Fatale Abstraction, who thinks living in the future is so cool.

Of course, Tam's snarky as ever, but hey - she's snarking about Twitter, George Washington and the American Revolution, which still fits the "amazing modern world" theme that we seem to have going right now.

I'm going to go see if I can fire up IRC and chat with someone on the other side of the globe, now. Y'know, just because I can.