Monday, August 23rd, 2021


The Costa Living Longer

It's no secret that healthcare can cost you an arm and a leg. But in some cases, you'll be billed for a few additional body parts. What determines whether the rate you're paying for a procedure is high or higher? The deals negotiated by the health insurers. How well are they negotiating on your behalf? "In many cases, insured patients are getting prices that are higher than they would if they pretended to have no coverage at all." And how wide is the range? An example: The price for a colonoscopy at Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak is …$728
with a Blue Cross plan. $999 with a Cigna plan. $1,801 with a Humana plan. The Humana price is so high, there's no point of getting colonoscopy. You know you've been cleaned out. NYT Upshot (gift article for ND readers, regardless of insurance carrier): Hospitals and Insurers Didn't Want You to See These Prices. Here's Why.

+ "We've starved our public-health sector. The Costa Rica model demonstrates what happens when you put it first." Atul Gawande in The New Yorker: Costa Ricans Live Longer Than Us. What's the Secret? (Their coast is rich, not their health insurance operators.)


It’s More Than Just a Dry Heat

"Even if you had a hot and dry year, historically that wouldn't necessarily have led to all of a sudden fires exploding everywhere." In today's West, it's hard to imagine that wildfires used to serve a positive purpose. That changed. The Science of How Wildfires Got So Hellish.

+ The West's megadrought is so bad, authorities are airlifting water for animals.


Withdrawal Symptoms

The early days of the Afghanistan withdrawal were hampered by poor planning and intel, and the critiques are warranted. But the media needs to stop pretending those errors are the only part of the story. Few experts think we should have stayed longer. I'm hearing that many of those who served there are relieved it's finally ending. The Afghan government was remarkably corrupt. Leaving was never gonna be pretty. A story, even a tragic one, can have nuances, especially when it was built on 20 years of making mistakes and misleading the public. "I served in Afghanistan as a US Marine, twice. Here's the truth in two sentences. "One: For 20 years, politicians, elites and D.C. military leaders lied to us about Afghanistan. Two: What happened last week was inevitable, and anyone saying differently is still lying to you."

+ The Pentagon is calling on US airlines to help with Afghanistan evacuations.

+ Biden wants to extend the deadline for evacuations. The Taliban don't. Here's the latest from BBC.


Express Approval

The Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID Vaccine Gets Full Approval From The FDA. This will enable more mandates and hopefully convince more folks to get vaccinated.

+ Israel finds COVID-19 vaccine booster significantly lowers infection risk. While you're getting ready for your booster, WHO is calling for a delay to prioritize under-vaccinated countries. The truth is that both are necessary for your health. Whatever variants emerge elsewhere will find us eventually.

+ Trump booed after telling supporters to get Covid vaccine. With Trump, the GOP created a monster they couldn't control. The same is true for Trump and his base. It's easier to spread lies than to corral them.


Liquid Assets

"Early every day, 14-year-old Fabrício Conceição de Jesus grabs the board, walks down those stairs and transitions from the world of the favela — where he's another kid struggling to survive in an unequal society — to the world of surfing, where he's considered one of Rio's most promising new surfing talents." WaPo with a photo essay: In unequal Brazil, a surfing talent rises from the favela.


Tennessee Flash Floods

The storms in the NY area got more coverage over the weekend. But Tennessee was hit hard. "Search crews worked through shattered homes and tangled debris on Monday, looking for about a dozen people still missing after record-breaking rain sent floodwaters surging through rural Tennessee, killing at least 22 people."

+ In pictures: Deadly flooding in Middle Tennessee.


Spread the (Real) News

"Moderation is a plan to remove what is harmful. Curation actively finds what is helpful, contextual, and, most importantly, truthful." What if we focused less on stopping the lies and more on promoting the truth? A Harvard professor predicted COVID disinformation on the web. Here's what may be coming next.


Dry Umping

"The eeriest thing about the robo-umpire is the silence." The New Yorker's Zach Helfand: Invasion of the Robot Umpires. Meh. The different zones umpires have is a key part of the game.


Taint My Bag

"UMZU also bills him as a microbiome expert, based on his claims to be the first person to complete the Duke University neuroscience course in three years, and to have cured a brain tumour with nutrition, supplements and exercise. A now-deleted page on Walker's personal website claims that his passion for health began when he performed an illegal bladder stone surgery on a man in Mexico at the age of 16." Wired: They wanted big balls. This startup said it could help. (Nuts.)


Bottom of the News

The man behind Roy Kent explains how he went from the writing room to playing the hit show's fan-favorite character — and why he identifies so much with him.

+ The Best of Roy Kent - Season 1. (The best of Roy Kent basically means all of Roy Kent.)

+ Season two of White Lotus just dropped: Matt Gaetz elopes to California, marries girlfriend.