Wednesday, September 28th, 2022


A Matter of Life and Debt

"The game in this Dallas-Fort Worth suburb began with fireworks and a four-airplane flyover. A trained eagle soared over the field. And some 12,000 fans filled the team's new stadium, a $53 million colossus with the largest video screen of any high school venue in Texas. Atop the stadium was also a big name: Children's Health. Business has been good for the billion-dollar pediatric hospital system, which agreed to pay $2.5 million to put its name on the Prosper stadium. Other Dallas-Fort Worth medical systems have also thrived. Though exempt from taxes as nonprofit institutions, several, including Children's, notched double-digit margins in recent years, outperforming many of the area's Fortune 500 companies." You wouldn't be accused of being sick in the head for assuming that these highly profitable hospitals were serving the highest earning patients. But the opposite is true. "Nationwide, many hospitals have grown wealthy, spending lavishly on advertising, team sponsorships, and even spas, while patients are squeezed by skyrocketing medical prices and rising deductibles. A KHN review of hospital finances in the country's 306 hospital markets found that several of the most profitable markets also have some of the highest levels of patient debt." NPR: Some hospitals rake in high profits while their patients are loaded with medical debt.


Nigh Five

"Ian strengthened early Wednesday into an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane, with 155 mph winds just a tick below Cat 5 strength and a wind field that covered almost half of the state." Ian is making landfall in Florida and it looks like a bad one.

+ "Waffle House has become the unofficial barometer of a storm's intensity." And 21 of them are already closed in Florida. Here are the latest updates from CNN and ABC.


Don’t Bogart Those Goldfish Crackers

"I just went camping this weekend, and I watched people get drunk off their butts in front of their children ... but me taking a couple of hits back at the cabin away from the kids is totally not okay? That's crazy to me." WaPo (Gift Article): Marijuana's last taboo: Parents who get stoned. (If I even suggested a family camping trip, my kids would know I was baked out of my mind.)


What Can Brown Do For You?

I'm dubious that there is a specific sound or music that soothes all sufferers of ADHD. I'm guessing, like most external factors, different sounds work for different people. But either way, it's an interesting topic. NYT (Gift Article): Can Brown Noise Turn Off Your Brain? "The noise sounds like wind, or heavy rain, or the steady hum of an airline jet. It sounds like water rushing somewhere in the distance, like a gentle fan ruffling currents of cool air. It's soothing, steady, slightly rumbly. Welcome to the cult of Brown Noise, a sometimes hazily-defined category of neutral, dense sound that contains every frequency our ears can detect. Brown noise is like white noise but has a lower, deeper quality. It gained a fervent following over the summer, picking up speed in online ADHD communities, where people made videos of their reactions to hearing it for the first time. Many said it allowed their brains to feel calm, freed from an internal monologue." (I'm in the market for sounds that can free me from external monologues...)


Extra, Extra

Kip on Truckin': Imagine how fast you'd have to run to achieve a 4.37 mile. Now imagine running 25 more of those. Eliud Kipchoge just smashed his own marathon world record. If you haven't seen Kipchoge's documentary, The Last Milestone, this would be a good time to do it.

+ Weather Vane: "This spring, an unknown sender delivered emails and packages containing more nude pictures of Mr. Adame, 39, to Spectrum NY1, the television station where he did the morning weather report. Then the pictures arrived at his mother's house. Last week, after the latest round of pictures arrived, NY1 fired Mr. Adame." NYT: Sex, Revenge P-rn and Webcams: The Firing of a TV Weatherman.

+ A Moment to Remember: "The cognition of Alzheimer's patients given the drug, developed by Eisai and Biogen, declined by 27% less than those on a placebo treatment after 18 months. This is a modest change in clinical outcome but it is the first time any drug has been clearly shown to alter the disease's trajectory." Success of experimental Alzheimer's drug hailed as historic moment.

+ Church and Skate: "Utah's Catholic leaders had mobilized against HB90 arguing that it threatened the sacred privacy of confessions. More importantly, it met with disapproval from some members in the powerful Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormon church, whose followers comprise the vast majority of the state Legislature. HB90 was dead on arrival." Churches defend clergy loophole in child sex abuse reporting. (The question is which part of child sex assault churches don't defend.) "In 33 states, clergy are exempt from any laws requiring professionals such as teachers, physicians and psychotherapists to report information about alleged child sexual abuse to police or child welfare officials if the church deems the information privileged."

+ Deli Counterfeit: "Three men have been charged with securities fraud and market manipulation in alleged schemes that temporarily inflated the market value of a tiny New Jersey deli ... The delicatessen ... was known for its cheesesteaks and bagels but also for the fact that it was publicly traded on the stock market, where it was valued at over $100 million."

+ Pipe Bombed? "On Sept. 27, Danish and Swedish authorities reported three 'really big' holes in the pipelines—two in NS1 and one in NS2—which run underwater through the Baltic Sea. The cause of the leaks has not been confirmed, but according to European officials was most likely an act of sabotage by Russia." Potential pipeline sabotage could extend Europe's gas crisis by years. Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow urges American citizens to leave Russia immediately.

+ Shared Goal: "At worst I'll be dismissed from the national team. No problem. I'd sacrifice that for one hair on the heads of Iranian women. This story will not be deleted. They can do whatever they want. Shame on you for killing so easily; long live Iranian women." Iran footballers show solidarity with protests over Mahsa Amini's death.


Bottom of the News

Restaurant menu screens are looking at you to decide what you might want to eat. "You'll walk up to a kiosk in a quick service restaurant and a tiny camera will scan your features, registering your height, age, gender, and mood. Instantly, it will adjust its display, selecting meal options picked just for you." (Good, because I feel like an idiot every time I say Venti.)

+ From Pickled Fish to Italian Red Meat, Lay's makes a wide range of chips for its customers in China.

+ I included a non-gift link in yesterday's newsletter. Here's the gift link for this from the NYT: Six-Figure Artworks, by a Fifth Grader. Andres Valencia's paintings have sold for more than $125,000. And he's 10 years old. (Really, the kid is the one who should be getting you gifts...)