BBC: Is the oil crash a secret US war on Russia?
LRB: Adam Shatz reviews ‘Congo’ by David Van Reybrouck.
NY Times: Highway Guardrail May Be Deadly, States Say.
If the ends aren’t properly installed and maintained, they become spears. It is truly amazing how many people manage to skewer themselves on the ends of guardrails. There’s been an uptick with smartphones and texting, in my observations.
NY Times: For Photographers, the Image of a Shrinking Path.
“Can an amateur take a picture as good as a professional? Sure. [snip] Can they do it on demand? Can they do it again? Can they do it over and over? Can they do it when a scene isn’t that interesting?” Exactly why media buyers are ... crowdsourcing. They don’t need one professional when they can effectively search a million photographers’ portfolios for the right image.
Doesn’t work well for assignments or photo essays, however. Not yet, anyway.
NPR: Firestone Did What Governments Have Not: Stopped Ebola In Its Tracks.
“Dr. Flannery of the CDC says a key reason for Firestone’s success is the close monitoring of people who have potentially been exposed to the virus — and the moving of anyone who has had contact with an Ebola patient into voluntary quarantine.” Money and procedure.
The Atlantic: Why Americans Are Drowning in Medical Debt.
“... patients have few options beyond attempting to research hospital charges ahead of time—which is probably the furthest thing from a person’s mind when they are most in need of a hospital.” A friend got caught in the ‘out-of-network’ scam. It was the physician who should have known not to send out for blood tests to an out-of-network lab. After a complaint, they soaked the cost themselves.
Final: The only credit card you will need.
WorldCarFans: The average Bugatti owner has 84 cars, 3 jets and one yacht.
How the 1% of the 1% live.
ProPublica: A New Way Insurers are Shifting Costs to the Sick.
“Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to turn away patients because of their pre-existing conditions or charge them more because of those conditions. But some health policy experts say insurers may be doing so in a more subtle way: by forcing people with a variety of illnesses — including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and epilepsy — to pay more for their drugs.” Aha. I wondered why some rudimentary generic drugs had gone exponential in price.
The Atlantic: The Last Refrigerator.
Annals of Family Medicine: The Cost of My Mother’s Cardiac Care in the US and India.
New Statesman: The new Luddites: why former digital prophets are turning against tech.
SciAm: We Now Have the Cure for Hepatitis C, but Can We Afford It?
PS Mag: For-Profit Colleges Are Equivalent to High School.
“Community colleges, in other words, open just as many doors to possibility as for-profit ones.” Not surprised. Talked to one for-profit grad who ‘majored in Powerpoint’. Yeah! That holds up well against this.
BoingBoing: Customer fined $250 for complaining, told “You are playing games with the wrong people”.
Read this one. Wow.
Coolist: NASA Space Launch System Is The Biggest Rocket Ever.
“Is the?” Will be. If/when built.
Cool Tools: Car2Go.
A step on the way to self-driving cars (eliminating the ‘ownership’ mentality).
Hyperallergic: Marfa’s Art World Gentrification Is Pushing Out Long-Time Residents.
“Move to Marfa today and you can purchase a five-bedroom home that Judd once owned for $735,000; though cheaper than a New York brownstone, it’s astronomical by West Texas standards. Several homes in Marfa are priced above $350,000, and many more are in the $200,000 range, according to the newspaper. That’s significantly higher than the $22,000 that Hughes paid for her house 14 years ago; it’s now worth $120,290.” Time for the residents to get together, move and take over a town nearby, and name it “Old Marfa” just to mess with some heads. If they do it right, they might even cause another gentrification, and make double the cash on their homesteads.
Bloomberg: The 1% are more affluent than we think.
“Failure to get a better handle on the actual amount of wealth and income means economists and policy makers don’t have a proper understanding of the degree of disparity, which represents a hurdle in addressing it. ”
The Economist: Dress codes - Suitable disruption.
“A slicked-up entrepreneur is inevitably a salesman trying to compensate for an inferior product.” Later in the article, another pullquote: “When everyone wears a T-shirt to lectures and board meetings, how do you tell who is truly innovative and who is just posing?”
Answer: I have no flippin’ idea. Other than those who have creations to show, and those who have only rhetoric.
naked cap: New Oil and Gas Drilling Financed Largely With Debt.
“Through the various peculiarities of the tax code, oil and gas companies already pay a much lower effective tax rate than the statutory 35 percent. ExxonMobil for example, paid a 19.3 percent effective tax rate between 2009 and 2013. But by deferring taxes, oil and gas companies can wind up paying even less than that. But the heady days of drilling might be drawing to a close.”
NY Times: A Resurgence in Inequality and Its Effects on Culture.
“What makes the middlebrows so contemptible? Woolf’s tautological response is their very middleness, their inability to be either one thing or another, and their habit of ‘indistinguishably and rather nastily’ mixing up art and life (the pure, complementary pursuits of the high and the low) with things like ‘money, fame, power or prestige.’” Perhaps, but who wants to be a lowbrow ‘dancing monkey’ for the higbrows? The ‘affinity’ of the high and low could only be expressed in such terms by the highbrow urbanity of the NY Times; happy to look down upon their readership.
nakedcap: How Fracking Is Blowing Up Balance Sheets of Oil and Gas Companies.
“It’s a horrendous treadmill. Just to maintain production, companies have to drill more and more and incur more and more debt, even as revenues are disappointing.” Fracking is the methamphetamine of the oil and gas industry.
Vox: The median household is 20% poorer than in 1984.
Unsurprising. What’s surprising is the lack of will to do anything about it.
Pacific Standard: California’s Lax Policing of the Fracking Industry.
“The problem is that at least 100 of the state’s aquifers were presumed to be useless for drinking and farming because the water was either of poor quality, or too deep underground to easily access. Years ago, the state exempted them from environmental protection and allowed the oil and gas industry to intentionally pollute them.” !^$%$^@#^%!%$ [Holding my hand to my throat, practically strangling myself, so I don’t start shouting again.] There is no such thing as a useless resource.