Replacing Obama Care; Who is responsible for my medical bills? March for Science! Climate models; and other matters.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The map is not the thing mapped.

Eric Temple Bell

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

Between 1965 and 2011, the official poverty rate was essentially flat, while the government spending per person on poverty programs rose by more than 900% after inflation.

Peter Cove

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

bubbles

Last week started well. I got the taxes off Monday, walking down the to post office perhaps a half mile away, figuring that the walk would do me good. It even seemed to. But from the moment I got back to the house, things started going downhill. My cold got worse. My get up and go got up and went. I had little to no interest in anything, my balance got worse, and the best description of my mood was malaise. It got progressively worse. I managed enough energy to get through a couple of chapters of Godson and Starborn or whatever — the book Steve Barnes, Larry Niven, and I are writing – and I think I made decent improvements, but after our story conference and lunch Wednesday I settled back into malaise, and didn’t some out until this morning. I still don’t have a lot of energy, but at least I feel like doing something.

I’m typing worse than usual. But at least I’m typing. And I’ve got up the energy to arrange to see my primary physician next Thursday, and arrange for Mike Galloway to drive me in my car, and I’ll get bank work done and we’ll have a decent lunch I’m actually looking forward to. So I can hope this was just an episode that’s now over. With luck and the grace of God I’m through the worst of this and I won’t slip back into the fit of malaise. Wish me luck. Just noticed I wrote wish me muck; I’ve corrected it, but I hope it wasn’t a portent…

bubbles

When Mr. Obama famously said “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan”, he clearly made a false statement. Since it is unlikely he had any idea of the details of the scheme that eventually became law under the name “Obamacare”, he may well have believed it, but that is not what happened.

The usual Republican statement is that “millions of Americans have lost their health care.” Pro Obamacare organizations, including some that claim to be “fact checking”. Say

It’s true that insurance companies discontinued health plans that had covered millions of people who had bought them directly rather than through an employer. That’s because those plans didn’t meet the coverage standards of the new law.

But those policyholders didn’t lose the ability to have insurance. In most cases, insurers offered them an alternative plan, though there were some instances of companies exiting the individual market altogether.

Note what was said here: they lost their health care plan, because it did not meet the standards of the new law, not because they were not satisfied with their plan. Obamacare does not care about your satisfaction, or needs: it sets standards witch your health insurance must meet or you are not permitted to purchase it. Whether this was known to Mr. Obama at the time of his statement may be questioned, but the fact that Obamacare would set standards surely was. It would not take a great deal of intelligence to infer that if you set standards in law – such as that your health care plan must offer abortion and contraceptive services, no matter your sex or age – some people would not be allowed to keep their plans and would not want to pay for those “standards” – but in the rush to get Obamacare passed before the Democrats lost control of the Senate to an incoming new Senate, perhaps that can be excused.

bubbles

The problem with repealing Obamacare is that “millions now have healthcare insurance who never had it before.” Not only do they have “insurance” but it meets the standards of Obamacare, offering services that many never had before.

Of course most of these newcomers do not have insurance under any same definition of the word. They have assured medical care, not insurance; and they can afford it because they are given massive subsidies. This is not insurance, it is free stuff; and if you try to take it away they will make a big fuss.

Insurance is simple: a group of people get together and agree to pay each other’s medical bills. They pay premiums, which, collectively add up to more than they are going to spend on medical services; in other words, it’s a money losing proposition for most of them. But among the insured will be some who will suffer catastrophes, medical emergencies costing more than they could possibly have saved up for and which would have left them destitute. Proper insurance deals with those unforeseen matters; you have paid out more in premiums (or membership dues) than you would have spent if you merely took care of those yourself, but you are spared the catastrophes. Most of the others in your association have paid for your problems, so you don’t have to. On the other hand, you have contributed to paying off other people’s debts.

This is how insurance works, and it has proved effective over the years. The primary assumption is that you re responsible for paying your medical bills, but you have ganged up with others who will help you pay if they get too big for you.

And there’s the rub: you and your associates are responsible for your medical expenses. The rest of us are not. If you get sick, I have no obligation to pay your doctor for you, nor you to pay mine. But under Obamacare, many, who thanks to the subsidies, have no obligation to pay for any medical expenses, their own or mine or anyone else’s. They will not easily give up the right to “insurance” with obligations: to subsidies that allow someone else to be obliged to pay for their medical expenses.

For an enormously detailed and mostly correct exposition on all this, see

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1957

.

The point is that it is not easy to repeal Obamacare, because there are a very many people who get free stuff from it, and they will not willingly give it up.

bubbles

One “solution” is to do what Obama and Nancy Pelosi obviously wanted to do: socialize medicine as it is socialized in many other countries. The government pays your medical expenses. We all insure each other. Each of us pay something more than we would have paid under the old “pay your own” system many of us grew up under, and the obligation to pay for medical service no longer rests with the individual or family: your medical expenses are my obligation, as mine are yours.

Of course this leads to questions: who determines what will be paid? Will all doctors be paid the same amount? What of those who say you’re not paying enough and want to opt out? Do we enslave them? Do we allow them to make private deals with those who can pay? Perhaps we say “You are compelled to put a certain percentage of your time into general service, but you may sell the rest.” Now do we pay Inspectors – presumably physicians themselves – to determine whether our part time general service physicians are giving their best services to the general public, or are they holding something in reserve for those who pay? We’ll have to fix that! Or perhaps when you graduate from medical school you must spend a certain number of years in general service. That would work, wouldn’t it?

This is not likely in the minds of any of the Republicans who are planning schemes to replace Obamacare. On the other hand, simply repealing Obamacare and going back to what we had before leaves some number of “insured” who never had “Insurance” before now without “insurance”, and a media to tell their painful stories with maximum pathos.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has much to say on this:

Governing Majorities and Health Reform: Part One

http://www.gingrichproductions.com/2017/04/governing-majorities-and-health-reform-part-one/?utm_source=Gingrich+Productions+List&utm_campaign=2836a07ec9-healthreform_2017_04_21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd29bdc370-2836a07ec9-51726965

Fox News

 

image

April 21, 2017
Newt Gingrich

To receive Newt’s weekly newsletters, click here.

Republicans are struggling with the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

They should be.

Health is a matter of life and death. People pay very personal attention to it. In the end, regular people skip past the macro policies that shape the nation and ask, “what about me?”

In our immediate network of family and friends, Callista and I know an older woman with a history of breast cancer who has had both hips replaced, a middle-aged woman taking anti-rejection medicine for a recent liver transplant, a young woman (30) diagnosed with breast cancer, a dear friend suffering from a rare disease in which his red blood cells no longer carry oxygen, and the list goes on.

In every case, the individuals and their family and friends will ask: How does this health care bill affect me? Will I be better or worse off? Their natural bias is against change, because they have adjusted to the current system and know how they are getting care today.

I am not arguing against repealing and replacing Obamacare. It is a failing system that will ultimately cripple the country and leave millions without insurance coverage. I am suggesting that its replacement must be carefully thought out. Every House and Senate Republican who deals with this issue, along with the leaders in the Executive Branch, will be asked a lot more questions about this bill than they would about other legislation. They must be able to answer those questions. [snip]

The entire essay is worth your consideration.

bubbles

I recently came across two numbers about AIDS and HIV. First, the annual cost of treatment for HIV is $20,000 a year. This is required: skimp on it, and the HIV will blossom into full fledged AIDS, and your annual treatment cost will rise greatly until you are dead. The 20 grand a year will keep you functioning for decades.

I presume but do not know that the $20,000 a year goes mostly for the drug “cocktail” that mitigates the HIV effects, and it is paid for by “insurance”, or in some cases by the government; I doubt that few individuals pay or are expected to pay for their expensive cocktails. This will last for at least twenty years.

The second number I learned is that there are about 50,000 new cases of HIV per year. If you multiply that by 20,000, the cost becomes $1Billion for each succeeding year. This will last for decades.

image

 

 

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/ataglance.html

MSM means men who have sex with men.

It is not politically correct to draw any conclusions about such statistics, and probably racist, sexist, and homophobic as well.

bubbles

A long time ago I said, in Galaxy, that I thought the federal money invested in the National Science Foundation to make grants was about the best tax money ever spent. The was true under Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and possibly under Johnson, but after Reagan it became politicized, and I cannot make that statement any longer. Still, my lifetime career has been in favor of science, and I have always encouraged investment in the national labs, both civilian and military, and most of the universities. It is now no longer true at all, and those who favor science – as opposed to political machinations need to stop and start over.

As to the March for Science, held last “Earth day”, I’m not always fond of this source, but for this it will do:

‘March for Science’ invokes God, Hitler, Gay Marriage, Racism, Sexism – Blames GOP for making climate worse

http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/04/24/march-for-science-invokes-god-hitler-gay-marriage-colonialism-racism-sexism-blames-gop-for-making-climate-worse/

By: Marc MoranoClimate DepotApril 24, 2017 2:11 PM with 0 comments

Climate Depot’s Round Up of Coverage of the alleged ‘March For Science’

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano: “Having spent the day in DC on April 22 interviewing the marchers, it struck me about how this is first and foremost a march for endless government funding, ideology and in support of a no dissent policy. (Another new study gives plenty of reason to dissent: New Climate Study Calls EPA’s Labeling Of CO2 A Pollutant ‘Totally False’) The Trump administration can help make science great again by resisting these pay up and shut up demands for taxpayer research money.” See: Bloomberg News: Obama ‘stashed’ $77 billion in ‘climate money’ across agencies to elude budget cuts

Watch: Princeton Physicist Dr. Will Happer criticizes ‘March for Science’: ‘It is sort of a religious belief for them’ – Dr. Will Happer on Fox News: Asked about more government funded science?  Happer: “We’ve had 8 years of very highly politicized so-called research on climate. It’s not what most of us would recognize as real scientific research. Something where the outcome was demanded before the funding was provided. We should tend to real environmental problems and fix them and stop chasing these phantom problems that are really just religious dogma.”

Watch CNN Debate: Bill Nye blows gasket when a real scientist Dr. Will Happer schools him on ‘climate change’

You can no longer be in favor of science; those causes have been politicized, supporting them is evil. I make no doubt that there are still dedicated true scientists remaining in the universities, but they keep a low profile now; the noise is all made by those who claim to speak in the name of science, just as many other academic organizations are dominated by political agents who claim to advocate scholarship, but seem to favor much that has no scholarly purpose at all. I wish that were no longer true; but academia has become a political fighting ground, and true science is neglected or even despised.

bubbles

Positive News about Donald Trump

President Trump has some good points that nobody speaks of and I find these points worth considering:

<.>

President Trump has saved taxpayers more than $86 billion in regulatory costs during his first three months in the White House, according to a new study from a conservative group.

The American Action Forum (AAF) points to several Obama-era regulations that Trump has either rolled back on his own or with the help of Republican lawmakers using the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

This includes the Education Department’s school accountability standards, the Environmental Protection Agency’s waters of the United States rule and the so-called “blacklisting” rule for government contractors.

</>

http://thehill.com/regulation/329720-study-trump-has-eliminated-86b-in-regs

$86B is a success this president can take most of the credit for; the next is harder to associate with him but I’m sure he’ll take credit for it and most will believe it:

<.>

The number of out-of-work people collecting unemployment checks fell to a 17-year low in April, underscoring the strongest U.S. labor market in years.

</>

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/number-of-people-collecting-unemployment-checks-hits-17-year-low-jobless-claims-show-2017-04-20

Unemployment is not infinite; this could simply mean people are no longer eligible. Further, unemployment rates are cooked numbers and anyone who knows the meaning of “U3” and “U6” knows this. Neither number is accurate since people stop being counted at a certain point.

Labor force participation rate remains at 63% despite the cooked numbers and the rosy picture the media tries to create.

Even if President Trump governs over real improvement, we would need to consider the realities of the business cycle and place much of that credit with the previous president since this cycle lasts 7-11 years before any changes actually manifest in the economy. It seems the media assumes most people slept or were absent when the teacher mentioned this in their high school civics or American government courses.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

bubbles

Climate Science/Religion

Jerry,

Climate Science/Religion needs it’s Martin Luther to guide it away from Religion and back to Science.

There seem to be many parallels between today’s Climate Modelers and Luther’s Catholic Church. One of the more obvious is the Modelers selling of indulgences (models that produce the results desired by the worshipers of Global Warming/Climate Change.) in return for Government Grants that allow a continuing rush away from Scientific Enquiry.

If we are to return to a rational view of our challenges and adopt solutions that minimize economic damage, we must STOP shouting down those whose views do not agree with ours and engage in free and open debate.

Bob Holmes

 

Scott Adams: ‘Climate scientists probably believe they have convinced about half of the public to their side using their graphs and logic and facts. That’s not the case. They convinced half the public by using fear persuasion disguised as facts and logic.’

<http://blog.dilbert.com/post/159792630956>

—————————————

Roland Dobbins

bubbles

Middle East Countries Venturing Into Space

Space May Be the Next Frontier for Crude Oil Giants:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-23/space-the-final-frontier-seen-for-earth-s-crude-oil-giants
Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are developing space programs and investing in nascent private space commodity initiatives, said Tom James, a partner at energy consultant Navitas Resources. “Water is the new oil of space,” said James.
If the United States doesn’t establish a strong space presence, other nations will — and they might be unfriendly to the United States. It’s a shame that instead of spending money on a good space program ourselves, we spent money on buying oil, and now that money will be used so other countries can get into space.
Terrier1

Take the high ground, boy, or they’ll kick hell out of you in the valley.

bubbles

Bloomberg on Aspen Pharmacare

Dear Mr. Pournelle,
I would like to discuss health care courteously; and outside any liberal echo chamber, in hopes that we might learn something from each other. I am beginning to think that at present people who care about our country are so polarized this may not be possible.
However, I’ve been continuing to search for reports which could indicate whether Aspen Pharmacare’s increases in the price of cancer medications were in support of new, improved medications. I have found no such indications. The most complete report I’ve found so far is in Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-30/old-cancer-drug-gets-1-000-plus-price-hike-in-frugal-u-k
“The chemotherapy known as busulfan is more than six decades old, and part of doctors’ standard arsenal against leukemia. It’s not scarce, and by all accounts, it should be dirt cheap. Instead, its price has soared like that of a prized antique.”
Aspen Pharmacare does not have the reputation of a villain. It seems to have been instrumental in providing anti-HIV medications in Africa. However, as best I can tell, Aspen purchased the rights to five existing anti-cancer medications from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and then raised the prices. No new or improved medications have been mentioned. Apparently, existing British and European laws attempting to control drug prices do not apply reliably to generics, on the assumption that market competition would handle this. However, it is also apparently possible to gain monopolistic control of a generic medication, especially if the market for it is small. In those circumstances no real market competition exists.
To my mind, this is interesting because it offers a real-world test of the hypothesis that markets will suffice to produce an optimal allocation of medical resources. But that, as I understand, assumes active competition and a rough parity between buyer and seller.
I do *NOT* maintain that government management will solve this problem. I don’t think there is any easy solution: as Mr. Trump has observed, health care is complicated. Beyond that, as I’ve said before, I don’t believe we humans are much good at producing stable solutions. To anything.
But I do think honest discussion might help us find better partial and temporary solutions. And in human societies that’s usually the best we can do. As I think it was Poul Anderson observed, buying time is always a good investment.
Yours,
Allan E. Johnson

What am I to say? I defend free markets as being, generally much more efficient than directed economies. Freedom implies being free to do the “wrong” thing. The remedy is generally not simply to force the “right” thing, and the motives whop do the compelling are often no more clear or pure than those of the compelled. I do suspect that FDA regulations often aid the monopolist, since for small markets there simply is no incentive to invest in certifying a generic which can then be sold by others as well as you. Medical trials are expensive and often boring. I understand the revulsion people have toward those who grind the faces of the helpless; but unless they actually break laws, compulsion to force “the right thing” often has even worse consequences. The Almighty can rely on His angels to have the purest of motives, but He is fully aware that humans are able to defy His will. Alas, that often applies to those sent to remedy things.

I do not know enough to contribute much to an honest discussion. In particular I have heard nothing I remember Aspen has said in their own defense. I do understand that their monopoly is created by government regulations which are said to be needless.

bubbles

Small business exemptions

“If you want more people working, make it simpler to hire them. Exempt more small businesses from regulations.”
The first sentence was perfect, the second was truly horrible.
Why would a small business get an exemption denied a large one?
I’m a small businessman and I survive by being more efficient in my niche than large businesses. But if a large business could better my efficiency why in the Jesus H. Christ would you want to subsidize an inefficient me?

Fred Zinkhofer

I print this, but since I do not seem to understand you, I cannot reply. I know there are regulations that apply to large businesses, but not to small ones; and I know that there are businesses that would expand were it not for those regulations. It seems reasonable to me to make the exemptions larger; if not double, then perhaps half again.

I do not understand your reference to subsidies. I certainly would neither compel nor forbid you to expand your business.

bubbles

Oh this is rich, kinda reminds me of the “manhunt” for the recent “Facebook killer”. A fast food worker identified him before he shot himself. Now CIA and FBI are on a “manhunt”‘ problem is they don’t know who they’re hunting for:

<.>

CBS News has learned that a manhunt is underway for a traitor inside the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA and FBI are conducting a joint investigation into one of the worst security breaches in CIA history, which exposed thousands of top-secret documents that described CIA tools used to penetrate smartphones, smart televisions and computer systems.

Sources familiar with the investigation say it is looking for an insider — either a CIA employee or contractor — who had physical access to the material. The agency has not said publicly when the material was taken or how it was stolen.

Much of the material was classified and stored in a highly secure section of the intelligence agency, but sources say hundreds of people would have had access to the material. Investigators are going through those names.

</>

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cia-fbi-on-manhunt-for-leaker-who-gave-top-secret-documents-to-wikileaks/

They do not even know what classification of worker they seek and they’re going through “hundreds” of names? Something this important didn’t require signatures, logs, etc? Who is in charge of security over at CIA and where did they go to school to learn how to do it?

If something like this happened in the military, a chain of custody, logs, etc. would quickly identify the person. You notice PFC Manning remains incarcerated in a US Army disciplinary barracks while Edward Snowden drinks vodka and harasses the United States government as he continues to remain out of their grasp. Can we expect any less in this instance?

I have more comments, but what’s the point? Clearly security protocols at CIA remain in desperate need of review and restructuring.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

bubbles

Ancient Stone Carvings Confirm How Comet Struck Earth in 10,950BC, Sparking the Rise of Civilizations.

<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/04/21/ancient-stone-carvings-confirm-comet-struck-earth-10950bc-wiping/>

—————————————

Roland Dobbins

bubbles

bubbles

Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

bubbles

bubbles

War? ; More on sarin; Dark Matter;

Monday, April 17, 2017

Emancipation Day (Celebrated)

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

“Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

bubbles

Printed the taxes, wrote the checks, packed them all in envelopes. And decided to walk down to the Post Office to see them go into the slot. My tax program told me I didn’t need to do that; the taxes had to be postmarked on April 18, Monday the 17th being the day on which we celebrate Emancipation Day; a day I had never heard of before, and still know little about. The Post Office was busy. I saw mailmen on my walk, and remembered that I read the Wall Street Journal this morning even though it’s not usually printed on holidays. Everyone seemed to going to work as usual, I know of no one who actually got a holiday, but we did get an extra day to mail in our taxes. Very odd.

Since I’m still feeling plain lousy from this cold I was happy to take the day off, and I don’t feel much like working on fiction; but I have interesting mail on a variety of subjects, and from the subdued – well, mostly subdued – hysteria in the news anchors’ voices, this may be the last journal I ever write. Brink of War, they’re saying. Even President Putin is saying that the two most dangerous men on the planet are Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, we’re very close to nuclear war, and of the two the more dangerous is the President of the United States. Interesting.

I must admit I would sleep a bit better if General Curtis LeMay and the SAC he built were still in action. General LeMay adopted “Peace is our Profession” as the motto of the forces he commanded, and he meant it; but if we were ever in a war he planned to win it with the fewest American casualties. If I were a younger man I might well be in the mountains, or up at Rogue River, but the days when I was an editor of Survive Magazine are gone. It was exhausting just to walk a mile or so to the Post Office on level ground.

It is not even amusing to plan a war with North Korea, since the only way to preserve a great part of the South Korean population is to eradicate a large fragment of the population in the southern part of North Korea. They have divisions of fairly good artillery along the border, and Seoul is within their range. And when I say a lot of artillery, I mean massive amounts of it, with ammunition; we know where most of it is, but we haven’t enough counter battery fire, even if we strike preemptively. And unwanted casualties will be high no matter what we do.

I’m glad I’m not playing that war game.

Of course the likelihood is that it will all go away, a few billions will change hands, and something surprising will happen.

Meanwhile I’ll try to recover from this pesky crud

bubbles

MIT expert claims latest chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged

A leading weapons academic has claimed that the Khan Sheikhoun nerve agent attack in Syria was staged, raising questions about who was responsible.

Theodore Postol, a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), issued a series of three reports in response to the White House’s finding that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad perpetrated the attack on 4 April.

He concluded that the US government’s report does not provide any “concrete” evidence that Assad was responsible, adding it was more likely that the attack was perpetrated by players on the ground.

Postol said: “I have reviewed the [White House’s] document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria at roughly 6am to 7am on 4 April, 2017.

More: https://www.yahoo.com/news/mit-expert-claims-latest-chemical-100819428.html

FYI: I tried to view the original article on IBT but was deluged with pop-ups.

Like you I thought this Syria chemical attack stunk to high heaven from the git-go. Don’t blame Trump since he is entirely dependent on his advisors on matters like this (Real estate moguls not real knowledgeable about chemical weapons and military matters; see nuclear triad).

Know we had virtually no intelligence on Syria as late as 2007 and doubt this has changed much. Presume we get what we have from Israel and other actors with an agenda.

Blair S.

That is essentially what I know from my own sources; I see no reason why Assad, who is quite popular with the minorities including Christians and Druze, most Shi’ite sects, and even Kurds, would risk everything to kill 03 civilians in a town of no importance.

bubbles

: Dark Matter

Jerry,

This item came to my attention last week:

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/dark-matter-bridge

In response:

It’s well established that on an intergalactic scale, most of the matter in the universe appears to be on the surface of “cells” that are reminiscent of bubbles or foam in the early universe, and appear as filaments in projection onto the field of view.

This is a 17 year old press release on the subject:

http://www.cfht.hawaii.edu/News/Lensing/

The result reported below appears to be a very localized precision measurement of one of the “filaments.”

That said, there is an increasing amount of evidence (of analysis) that the fewer approximations made in a general relativistic model, the less that model supports a requirement for dark matter. On the other hand, it seems increasingly evident to me that GR is a classical approximation to a quantum reality which does not involve or require real distortions of spacetime – such apparent distortions are mathematical artifacts of GR as a model of gravity. On the gripping hand, it’s not immediately apparent to me (from intuition, not from reading any of them, so take this with a grain of salt) that the GR models are properly accounting for whatever phenomenology resulted in the foam-like structure of the macroscopic universe. And on the other gripping hand (wait…) the article below appears to confirm a level of gravitational lensing not consistent with the luminous mass of the filament, which would appear to be a localized measurement confirming localized dark matter.

This is the original press release associated with the Wired article:

http://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/2975-waterloo-researchers-capture-first-image-of-a-dark-matter-web-that-connects-galaxies

And – Monthly Notices is publicizing the article by allowing free downloads:

https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article/468/3/2605/3059154/The-weak-lensing-masses-of-filaments-between

If I am reading this right – on a skim of the press releases and the conclusion of the paper – this means that there is an apparently dark matter filament of mass 1.6E13 x the mass of the sun (at 5 standard deviations; this is 20 times the mass of the Milky Way galaxy) connecting two visible galaxies that are 40 million light years apart. 

In other words, the article asserts that a localized concentration of dark matter has been detected. This is something that likely would not be consistent with “alternate interpretations” based on whole universe modeling 

Assuming this is repeatable and confirmed by observations of other filaments (one five sigma observation is not sufficient for conclusions of this type), it would make something that has the properties of dark matter an observed reality.  What it is, of course, remains to be determined.

Jim Woosley

A matter of some importance, and evidence to boot. I have great respect for Dr. Woosley’s judgment.

bubbles

Free markets, health care, etc.

Allan E. Johnson described a foul deed done by Aspen Pharmacare and closed his comment with this:

“Whatever arguments can be made for the virtues of a free market, I don’t think any such market can be claimed to exist when a company can place the lives of its customers in danger unless they pay whatever price the company sets.”

When a company can set any price it pleases, then it is not operating in a free market, by definition. As you have frequently declared, in an unrestricted free market, anything and everything can and will be traded, including human flesh. That Aspen Pharmacare has done this thing cannot legitimately be laid to the charge of the free market, but rather to the evil that lurks in the hearts of men.

Richard White

Del Valle, Texas

 

Freedom and ethics

Dear Doctor Pournelle,

Once again, reportedly, someone SOMEwhere, has used freedom in some way to gain an advantage . Alert the media that human nature is pretty much what it always has been.

It may be ethically reprehensible for a pharmaceutical company to pull from the market effective and safe proprietary DRUGS IN order to reduce competition for a newer drug and even increase its’ price, as the London Times has reportedly alleged some company has done. A free market allows unethical actions, as Dr. Pournelle has more than once pointed out. If this behavior is so troubling, perhaps a movement could be started to solicit millions to billions of Dollars, Euros or Renminbao to buy the drug patents for the old drugs, and produce them in sufficient quantities and sell them at cost. I support such an effort. Or perhaps you can lobby your legislature, President for life, Dear Leader or absolute monarch to do so on behalf of the world, or at the least for your own citizens. Go for it. But whining that someone somewhere has done something you find offensive, however legal, is merely the sound of a five year old who WANTS it, but has no idea how to GET it in any way other than to have it handed to them, preferably with a spoon and nanny.

There will always be horror stories. If you turned the production and distribution of these drugs over to a government agency, do you believe there would be total fairness?

? Does Mr. Alan E, Johnson have such faith in the judgment of government bureaucrats, concerned as much with the construction and maintenance of their little empires as any corporate bureaucrat with theirs?

I might also point out, though I do not know, that the new drug is probably more effective. Or safer, or otherwise an improvement over the older ones, else why was it developed, and presumably at great cost?

Everyone wants new, more effective and safer drugs. It’s like the old children’s tale of the Little Red Hen. All the barnyard animals want a slice of fresh baked bread, but none except the Little Red Hen are willing to do the work to have it. Paying for new drugs is the equivalent of doing the work to have them. Drug researchers and testers are not slaves, and want to be fairly, even lavishly, compensated for their sixty hour work weeks and years without vacations. Not to mention their decade or so of higher education, usually resulting in six figure debt to some government agency all too willing to send goon squads to ones domicile should you miss a few student loan payments.

The difference between the Crazy party and the Stupid is that the Crazies won’t even discuss such matters. They just want the Magic Want Of Other People’s Money.

Ah well, I suppose soon enough the Robots will pay for all of us, and the Entidled (sic) may sit about like the character’s in Philip Jose’

Farmers classic award winning story “Riders of the Purple Wage”, playing endless games of Gin Rummy and waiting for the next hand out.

Fine with me, as I will do my best to see that my descendants live free under sfar suns, rather than sit with Mr. Johnson’s to grow fat and shout “GIN!”

Petronius

bubbles

Re: United Airlines Passenger Incident(s)

Jerry,

Further perspective and perhaps information on that United Airlines passenger incident, some of which might have come your way already. 

In contrast to first reports the flight was not overbooked. Instead the airline wanted to move employees around to staff flights the following day. Bumping customers off flights to accommodate moving employees certainly makes one’s attitude toward customers a little clearer.

United Airlines says controversial flight was not overbooked; CEO apologizes again

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/04/11/united-ceo-employees-followed-procedures-flier-belligerent/100317166/

It seems that in negotiations to avoid additional Federal rules United Airlines boasted that ticketed passengers are guaranteed seats.

United Airlines Promised Federal Regulators That All Ticketed Passengers Are Guaranteed Seats

http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/united-airlines-promised-federal-regulators-all-ticketed-passengers-are-guaranteed

This passenger on United Airlines the week before the passenger dragging was threatened with being put in handcuffs and forcibly removed from the aircraft to make room for another deemed somehow more worthy. Note that this was on United Airlines itself, not a subsidiary, which in the case of the dragging incident some are claiming to mean United isn’t at fault. Sounds like a corporate-wide culture, though.

United passenger threatened with handcuffs to make room for ‘higher-priority’ traveler

http://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-united-low-priority-passenger-20170412-story.html

This frequent long time traveler asserts that before boarding passengers are subject to Rule 25, which allows bumping, but after boarding passengers become subject to Rule 21, and Rule 21 only allows a passenger to be removed for security or safety reasons. Some out there defending the airline claim that refusing any order makes you a threat, a claim that is absurd. Declining to be bumped when not legally required to accept does not make you a threat. 

Why United is in Legal Trouble Over Removing a Passenger

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2017/04/why-united-is-in-legal-trouble-over-removing-a-passenger/

This might be the most significant thing to come of the fiasco. From the Duffel Blog! ☺

Pentagon awards contract to United Airlines to forcibly remove Assad

http://www.duffelblog.com/2017/04/pentagon-awards-contract-united-airlines-forcibly-remove-assad/

Sorry about the cold. Hope this finds you and Roberta further on the mend.

Regards,

George

I am glad I am not a United investor. I got out of airlines a long time ago.

bubbles

And I’m about of energy. Good night.

bubbles

bubbles

Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

bubbles

bubbles