November 10th, 2010

#2392: And it doesn't take nearly as much training to do.

Here's a letter to the Wall Street Journal about Medicare payments:
I took my Mercury to the Ford dealer and was charged $90 for a "mid-level diagnostic check," in which the mechanic plugs in a computer to get readings from the engine. I asked my office's billing supervisor, "What do we get for an EKG?," for this seems similar to what the car dealer did. In both cases, wires are hooked up to get diagnostic information through a machine that is interpreted by someone. In my case it is a patient, an EKG machine and I, the doctor, do the interpreting. I was told that Medicare "allows" $12.90 for an EKG.

ObamaCare does not address any of this. Is it any wonder that medical students who have, on average, $150,000 in debt to repay (plus interest) are not going into primary care?

Mark H. Gregory, M.D.
It takes no skill to plug an OBD-II scanner into a car's diagnostic port. It's such a brainless task that auto parts stores (AutoZone, O'Reilly's, Advance, et al) will do this as a free service just to get people to come into their stores, in hopes that these people will buy the parts needed to fix whatever's turning on the "CHECK ENGINE" light. It also takes no real training to interpret what the code reader reports, as even a relatively inexpensive code reader will tell you what the code means. "Dang, I need a new Throttle Position sensor!"

On the other hand, hooking up an EKG takes knowledge of anatomy, because there's no convenient diagnostic port on the human body. You need to know where to stick the electrodes and their positioning has a pretty narrow margin of error. Once the EKG has been taken, the doctor needs to be able to interpret what the squiggles mean, and that takes knowledge and experience which are acquired over months or years.

See the difference?

#2393: Whales are getting sunburns!! O NOES!

I just heard some of the most fatuous nonsense yet. "ABC World News" had a 15-second blip about whales getting "blisters", and "scientists think" it's sunburn caused by the thinning of the ozone layer.

Of course, no whale ever got sunburn before, oh, 1985 or so.

...

There was absolutely no sourcing of the story, nor any real data.

It's utter bullshit, anyway.

* * *

WEERD comments on the Carnival Splendor being crippled and having to be towed back to port, with all its primary power off-line.

He says, "I have no idea how those big boats are set up, but I’d think they’d have a redundant gen-set just to make sure something like this wouldn’t happen."

They do have a redundant genset. That's what's keeping the boat habitable: it's providing enough power to keep the boat lit and the plumbing working, but there isn't enough power to operate the entire ship.

Whether or not there should be a complete redundant power system for a situation which rarely occurs ends up being an economic question; the volume inside the hull of the ship is limited and expensive. The more infrastructure you put in the ship, the less room you have for payload.

The other problem comes from the nature of the issue at hand: the ship's power failure is the result of a fire in the generator room. If the fire damaged the power distribution system, it doesn't matter how many redundant gensets the ship has. This ain't Star Trek, where Scotty or Geordi Laforge can tap a few buttons on a console and totally reconfigure the power distribution network of the entire firkin' ship to bypass the damage.

* * *

The Anchoress emphasizes the breathtaking arrogance of a government which edits a report to support what it wants to do, then says, "There was no intent to mislead the public."

Oh, there was nothing but intent to mislead the public. As Ms. Scalia asks, "Why distort something unless your intent is to mislead?" (Emphasis hers.)

* * *

Meanwhile, TSA continues to be the job choice for perverts, yet illegals can still get permission from the FAA to be pilots-in-training.

The FAA regulations allow you to take a lesson or two before you have a medical certification, but you do have to get the piece of paper which says you're not going to faint at the controls or have a "dizzy spell" or something. You have to go see an FAA-certified doctor for that medical certification. You can get waivers for some things (I got one for my eyesight, being nearsighted) but some things are ineligible for a waiver. (Example: narcolepsy.)

But it's not the doctor's job to determine your immigration status. The point is, there is an apparatus in place to check the indiscriminate attendance of flight school; and in the wake of 9/11 we discovered that we need to beef that up. Nine years later we still have illegal aliens taking flying lessons.

This is yet another argument in favor of enforcing our goddamned borders.

* * *

Vox Day has a violation of "equal employment opportunity". Yeah, you can't restrict your hiring practices like that and still call yourself an "equal opportunity employer". I hope someone sues them over that.

* * *

Dennis the Peasant has a bit about an unnecessary light rail project in Ohio and how the Democrats and their media helpers are all upset that the Ohio governor-elect is going to oppose and cancel the project.

In general, it seems, Democrats really want all kinds of rail infrastructure this country doesn't need. If it was necessary, we would have it already.

* * *

Affirmative action bake sale!

The college in question got upset because an "affirmative action bake sale" puts the entire concept of affirmative action into sharp and easily-understood context; it reveals the true racism of the quota system.

* * *

In a stunning display of satire, Ann Coulter recommends changing the voting age.

* * *

I've seen an example of these "Li'l Pete" and "Li'l Kenny" trucks and I have to agree they look cool...but they're also pretty freakin' pointless. But, WTF, if that's your bag, go for it.

* * *

The people who do the "LOLCats" site have pretty well mangled the ease-of-use of that place. It used to be I could just go right across the title bar and click on the categories I wanted to see; but that one's been simplified and now I have to pick them out of a huge page--and so I've stopped bothering with even looking at the place. F it.

* * *

I went to the local non-chain grocery store--the one that's struggling--to pick up half a gallon of ice cream. Mom made apple crisp for dessert, and having made the mistake of breaking a lifetime of not eating it with ice cream, I must put ice cream on it else the entire experience seems lacking. (I don't eat pie a la mode so WTF.)

...anyway, needing ice cream, I hit the store...and they were selling Mexican Pepsi in 12 oz bottles. I snagged two.

Mexican Pepsi, of course, is not made with corn syrup, but real sugar, because Mexico has no sugar lobby that can make their government enact price supports. And besides, it comes in glass bottles, the way God intended.

The woman in line said, "Oh, Pepsi in mini bottles!" I explained it was Mexican and made with sugar, which pretty much ended the conversation. I would have gladly gone on to tell her that the glass bottle was crucial in maintaining the flavor, but then I would have sounded like some kind of weirdo.

Which, y'know, I am, but I don't like complete strangers to know it. At least not immediately.