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Links With Your Coffee - Sunday

  • Combatting the Oprah Effect : Respectful Insolence
    I know, I know, it's a huge surprise to anyone who reads this blog, but there you go. Over the last four years, I've had numerous reasons to be unhappy with her, mainly because, as savvy a media celebrity and businesswoman as she is, she has about as close to no critical thinking skills when it comes to science and medicine as I've ever seen. Arguably there is no single person in the world with more influence pushing woo than Oprah. Indeed, she puts Prince Charles to shame, and Kevin Trudeau's is a mere ant compared to the juggernaught that is Oprah's media empire. No one even comes close. No one, and I mean no one, brings pseudoscience, quackery, and antivaccine madness to more people than Oprah Winfrey does. Naturally, she doesn't see it that way and likely no one could ever convince her of the malign effect she has on the national zeitgeist when it comes to science and medicine, but that's exactly what she does.
  • FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: Hope for Fundamental Health Care Reform? (tip to Mark)
    Most industrial democracies employ some form of single-payer health care system. These systems not only deliver universal coverage, they also provide better health outcomes at far lower cost than the largely private health insurance system used in the United States. One of the main advantages of single payer is that it avoids the for-profit private insurance industry’s costly maneuvering to limit reimbursements and avoid issuing policies to the people most likely to need coverage. Many health policy experts agree that if the United States were building a health care system from scratch, a single-payer system would be the way to go.
  • Dice-O-Matic hopper and elevator - GamesByEmail
  • Richard Feynman plays the bongos - Boing Boing (video)
  • P. Z. Myers posts a felid « Why Evolution Is True
    baby-pygmy-marmoset.jpg

  • Fears of Muslim anger over religious book -Times Online
    'Does God Hate Women' by Jeremy Stangroom and Ophelia Benson cites attitudes to women and criticises Mohammed's marriage
  • Review: How storytelling shaped humanity - opinion - 25 May 2009 - New Scientist
  • Green Promise Seen in Switch to LED Lighting - Series - NYTimes.com
    To change the bulbs in the 60-foot-high ceiling lights of Buckingham Palace’s grand stairwell, workers had to erect scaffolding and cover precious portraits of royal forebears. So when a lighting designer two years ago proposed installing light emitting diodes or LEDs, an emerging lighting technology, the royal family readily assented. The new lights, the designer said, would last more than 22 years and enormously reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions — a big plus for Prince Charles, an ardent environmentalist. Since then, the palace has installed the lighting in chandeliers and on the exterior, where illuminating the entire facade uses less electricity than running an electric teakettle. In shifting to LED lighting, the palace is part of a small but fast-growing trend that is redefining the century-old conception of lighting, replacing energy-wasting disposable bulbs with efficient fixtures that are often semi-permanent, like those used in plumbing. Studies suggest that a complete conversion to the lights could decrease carbon dioxide emissions from electric power use for lighting by up to 50 percent in just over 20 years; in the United States, lighting accounts for about 6 percent of all energy use.

 

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