Youtube: Heating your home office for 8 pence a day.
In US dollars, about 15 cents a day. I certainly wouldn’t leave it on a paper magazine, however. Tea lights get hot. But totally brilliant. I have to try it out.
Bloomberg: How McDonald’s and Wal-Mart Became Welfare Queens.
“Both McDonald’s and Wal-Mart are engaging in perfectly legal behavior. The system was set up long ago in ways that failed to imagine companies doing this. Yes, they are taking advantage of the taxpayer, but they are also operating within the law. Which means it is time to change those outdated rules.” The proposed solutions: raise the minimum wage, and charge back public assistance to the companies. Sounds excellent to me.
PS Mag: Study - There’s No Place Like My Ideologically Homogeneous Home.
ProPublica: Coming in January: Obamacare Rate Shock Part Two.
“So many people may feel they have a grip on their premium costs and think they have reasonable coverage only to encounter unpleasant surprises in the form of deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance amounts.” Read that fine print before you go signing up for a specific plan, kids.
PS Mag: How the Patients Most in Need of Insurance Are Getting Squeezed.
“But as problems continue to bog down the federal health insurance marketplace, Healthcare.gov, it’s an open question whether people in the risk pools can get a policy in time. ‘They are very frightened because many of them are undergoing chemotherapy or they’re on high-dollar drugs, and they need to make certain that they have coverage effective January 1.’” Because of the problems and the confusion, some have less than seven weeks now to get a policy. The site still isn’t working reliably, and accurate rates are apparently hard to come by, even when the site works properly. A recipe for financial disaster; is it any wonder people are slow to sign up? “Dear Mr President, an extension is the only humane solution.”
The neighbors two doors down have graced our southern mountain view from the dining room with a bright white plastic ‘weather station’ perched on a silver pipe six feet over their rooftop (a few feet overtopping their chimney). Sandra says “Let’s leave it alone and see if it bothers us over the next few days.” I look out the window, and all I can see is the retouching of sunsets I’ll have to be doing. I mean crikey … I can see it through the dining room window as I walk in the front door of my house. It’s a bleedin’ beacon.
Guardian.UK: Republicans accuse Obama of ‘betraying’ Americans over healthcare.
“Here you have hard-working people who were repeatedly told not to worry, that their coverage would stay the same and if anything their costs would go down. Just the opposite’s happening.” Rare that I agree with Republicans; we all recall the ‘costs would go down’ promise. The ACA has *not* been well-explained to citizens by either politicians or the media. Again, see ProPublica’s take. The Democrats made a huge mistake staying mum on the cost increases until now, and this mistake will seriously hurt them for 2016 … because it is a long-term, long-lasting ire that is just starting to build. The Republican shutdown is nearly forgotten, in comparison.
Gizmodo: Make Matches Into Mini Missiles.
Is it just me, or does it seem like Gizmodo has recently uncovered a trove of ‘60’s Boy’s Life magazines? Is there any kid on the planet who DOESN’T know how to do this? Or mixing baking soda and vinegar in airtight containers to make them pop their lids? Using waxed paper on slides? Just serves to remind me that once upon a time, a piece of chalk and a rubber ball, or even just a throwaway soda can could entertain a dozen kids for hours.
New Economic Perspectives: Obama wants to cut Social Security.
“Wall Street desperately wants to get their hands on your Social Security money, so they can manage it. If Wall Street were managing an investment portfolio the size of the Social Security trust fund and charging a somewhat typical 1% fee, they would make $27B per year. Wall Street desperately wants to get that money under their contact, and there are two basic ways to do it.” Beware.
Guardian.UK: Rainwater harvesting—dismissed by Texas voters but embraced by business.
“Rainwater collection played a key role in getting several Australian cities through their recent ‘millennium drought’. But the practice routinely gets overlooked in the United States, as underlined by the Texas plan.”
ProPublica: Loyal Obama Supporters, Canceled by Obamacare.
What engenders change? Pain. Multiply this event by many, many Democrats … and you have a Republican president in ‘16. Why the Tea Party pushed the government to the brink of default, I’ll never figure out. All they need do is sit on their fat a$$es and wait for the howling to start about the ACA.
ProPublica: Why Health Insurance Cancellations Shouldn’t Be a Surprise.
“Quantifying the impact of ACA on the individual — estimating the number of people affected — was always tough. Whether it would cause 60 percent or 80 percent of individual plans to be cancelled was hard to estimate because data on individual coverage is hard to come by, rules and products varied by state, the ACA grandfathering rules came out slowly and in pieces, and even things like the essential health benefit package varies a bit by state.” Anything over 50% is a huge impact, and the news media should have been all over it early on … no?
Guardian.UK: Why the 1% should pay tax at 80%.
CNN: Furloughed workers turn to food pantries.
I sincerely doubt Republicans are winning any voters this way.
CNnet: We’ve got the dirt on these luxury vacuum cleaners.
Guardian.UK: Why pregnant women are warned about everything.
“… the goal of this hysterical, toxins-under-the-bed risk assessment is to erase bad luck as a peril of reproduction. A miscarriage, a stillbirth, a birth defect – all of these things, by the modern terms of engagement, are avoidable by righteous and informed behaviour during pregnancy. Now this simply isn’t true, but if we can persuade ourselves that it is, all that natural empathy you would feel towards a woman in a dire situation can be safely tucked away under ‘She brought it on herself. With all the bottled water she left on her dashboard, and then drank.’”
PS Mag: The Way We Mourn Now.
“For inland populations, the government has placed QR codes on the burial sites; the deceased remain in individual graves for seven years then move to mass graves, ‘with Internet memorials set up to maintain offerings, reducing foot traffic during the annual Qing Ming holiday to honor the dead.’ Families who choose to bury their dead this way are offered a financial incentive, as the situation of land usage is considered a major environmental concern.”
New Mexicans, buy firewood now.
Our National Forests are a substantial source of firewood for local vendors … and due to the government shutdown, they’re NOT issuing permits. More than one vendor has indicated to me that supplies of good dry wood are getting short. Better stock up now, or have a price shock later.
CNet: For $49, a doctor will see you now—online.
Can it beat an HMO’s limit of ten minutes (or less) per patient, I wonder.
Guardian.UK: What’s it like to be a furloughed park ranger?
Guardian.UK: US markets close down on news of continued budget gridlock.
OK, haven’t you nerks cost us enough money already? You’re making Greece look good.
priceonomics: Making a Living Collecting Cans.
I found the article fascinating.
Guardian.UK: If the 1% stifles New York’s creative talent, I’m out of here.
This phenomenon has been the center of artistic/creative worry even in the 80’s. Can a city import or commute its creative class? It’s not worked in the past, that I know of.
Telegraph.UK: Potentially fatal legionella bacteria found in bags of compost.
Beware of this, you in the UK. Perhaps also other parts of Europe?
I posted this because a relative of my wife has just escaped a close brush with death, due to Legionnaire’s contaminated compost. We’ve been on tenterhooks since last week. His initial prognosis was the grimmest. Luckily, the British health care system’s pulled him away from the brink. The authorities tested, and the link to compost was conclusive.
Note that this was not an elderly person; a young, vital man was nearly killed from this bacteria. Manifests as flu-like to begin - if you’ve been fooling around with compost, and you’re not feeling so keen, go to your doctor sooner than later.
TG’s Political Wire: How to End the Debt Ceiling Crisis Forever.
Well, until the next crisis-du-jour, anyway.