* “Aetna Joins Rivals in Projecting Loss on Affordable Care Act Plans for 2016: Health insurer will review how it will continue its public exchange business in existing states.” This is essential reading for FQHCs, and note: “In addition, Medicaid-focused insurers continue to do well.” It’s interesting to contemplate Tyler Cowen’s 2009 post, “What should we do instead of the Obama health reform bill?“, in light of recent news.
* My favorite recent grant program: “Re-announcment of the Community Training and Video Production for Walrus Haulout Public Education Video.
* A new Tyler Cowen book is coming out in February; the link goes to the post describing the book (and how to get a free copy of another book), and here is a direct Amazon link to The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream.
* “ How The Cures For Cancer Snuck Up On Us,” good news all round.
* “How The West Was Won,” which is actually about how and why “Western” culture took over the world because a) it’s popular and b) it’s not so much Western per se as the result of technologically oriented development.
* “You Should Read More Romance Novels: The libertarian case for bodice rippers,” file under “headlines I could not have imagined reading.”
* The pre-order page for Tom Wolfe’s new novel, The Kingdom of Speech. If Wolfe writes it you ought to read it. EDIT: Read it; you can safely skip this one. The research and really entire worldview are not so good.
* “Why Police Cannot Be Trusted to Police Themselves,” a point that seems increasingly obvious.
* “It turns out that putting money directly into the pockets of low-income parents, as many other countries do, produces substantially larger gains in children’s school achievement per dollar of expenditure than does a year of preschool or participation in Head Start.” Attention UPK legislators!
* “Israel Proves the Desalination Era is Here: One of the driest countries on earth now makes more freshwater than it needs,” an important point and one I didn’t realize.
* Mark Manson: “Is It Just Me, Or Is the World Going Crazy?”
* “How to Write a Novel,” amusing throughout and it seems that many quality authors use many different systems (or lack of systems). There is not one, single route to good end product.
* Oliver Sacks: “Me and My Hybrid,” from 2005, and his points still stand today.
* “US fertility rate falls to lowest on record” as Americans fail to reproduce themselves, driving the need for more immigrants (remember this data when you hear some kinds of political rhetoric). And: “More Old Than Young: A Demographic Shock Sweeps the Globe.” And: “Europe’s ageing population is set to wreak havoc with the economy.”
* “The Next Generation of Wireless — “5G” — Is All Hype: The connectivity we crave — cheap, fast, ubiquitous — won’t happen without more fiber in the ground.”
* L.A. isn’t a suburb. It needs to stop being planned like one. There’s still some truth in Dorothy Parker’s observation about LA being “72 suburbs in search of a city.”
* “Can 42 US, a free coding school run by a French billionaire, actually work? Just across the bridge from Facebook HQ, a radical education experiment is underway.”
Here is a startling fact: in 2014 there were 142,417 housing starts in the city of Tokyo (population 13.3m, no empty land), more than the 83,657 housing permits issued in the state of California (population 38.7m), or the 137,010 houses started in the entire country of England (population 54.3m).
A social bonus, too: “In Tokyo there are no boring conversations about house prices because they have not changed much. Whether to buy or rent is not a life-changing decision.” I would love to never have those boring conversations ever again, yet they seem everywhere around me.
* NSA attacked Pro-Democracy Campaigner, demonstrating (yet again) the ills of secret proceedings and near-unlimited power.
* “Aging out of drugs: Most addicts just stop using in time, without needing costly treatment. Why?” An important question for anyone providing drug treatment services or seeking SAMHSA grants.
* “It’s the first new U.S. nuclear reactor in decades. And climate change has made that a very big deal.” Nuclear power is still, oddly, underestimated; note that New England and Germany, both places with lots of superficial climate change worry, are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they used to—because they are phasing out nuclear plants and failing to replace them.
* “Cycling Matches the Pace and Pitches of Tech.” Probably a bogus trend story, but I like riding so I hope not.
* “‘I’ve done really bad things’: The undercover cop who abandoned the war on drugs: Neil Woods used to risk his life to catch drug dealers. But as gangs responded with escalating violence and intimidation – some even poisoning users who talked to the police – he started to see legalisation as the only solution.”