Thursday, November 29, 2007

A small bit of news today: apparently Lost on Purpose has been in heavy rotation on a radio station somewhere in Spain. I think it's Madrid. Here is a link to the show's tracklisting.

You can also listen to all the shows via this etherweb thing, but I don't know why you'd want to do that unless you just want to hear a couple songs that aren't available as mp3s.

Of course, you could also buy the album. No pressure.

I can't post a picture today for some reason...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I got a great email from an anonymous Canadian in response to my Sicko post the other day. He (is that giving away too much info) has graciously allowed me to post it here:

I read your blog entry on Sicko and I feel like I got to give you some infos about that. I am a French Canadian which means that I speak French and that I enjoy socialized medicine. I have a few friends in pharmacology (I am studying law/intellectual property/biotechnological law) and I can tell you that the pharmaceutical industry has never slowed down in Canada.

Here's why. Even if the government is paying for health care, you get to purchase some of your drugs yourself. Usually, people here have an insurance policy provided by their employer covering an average of 85% of the cost of medication. You can get an additional insurance policy for the remaining 10-15%. As for the poor and unwashed, the government has a policy for them. They need to be eligible to social security but most of the people are anyway.

So the pharmaceutical industry still makes money. They create new medications which the government pays for. In order to lower the costs, the government finances part of the research through public funds and universities. You see, most of the research is done by students and their professors. The government finances their education (yeah going to law school here costs me about $2000 a year lol) and the pharmaceutical industry provides them with the newest research fields and they pay for the results.

In our medical system, nobody gets left apart. The waiting for some surgeries might be slightly longer but they make sure it won't be damaging to your health. Come live in Canada, you'll enjoy it lol!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let me tell you a story about my Thanksgiving shopping woes. I'm trying to buy an xbox 360, and I've done all the research in the world on the system. I want to buy the Pro Holiday Bundle (with two, albeit worthless, free games), and I want to make sure I get an HDMI-enabled unit and the new Falcon motherboard. 99% of people reading this will have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure.

I also wanted to get a deal on the system. I finally had my Black Friday chance so I bought a system at Circuit City and got a free controller. While standing in line I had ample time to look over the box and found nothing but good news - it was manufactured on 10/12 by team FDOU (again, you have no idea what this means) and its power consumption was 175 watts. Therefore, I likely had a Falcon motherboard. It also had HDMI. It was exactly what I was looking for, and I was overjoyed.

Then I took it home and the power supply didn't work. I called Microsoft support and I tried different power outlets all over my house, and even drove to my girlfriend's to try it out. No dice.

So I called Circuit City, and they told me to bring it in and they would replace it. Of course, when I got there, they had sold out of the system. They credited my account and now it's as if nothing ever happened. The free controller deal is over, and I'm still without an xbox 360. And now, as a matter of principle, I can't just go out any buy one without getting some kind of deal. So I am forced to wait. This vexes me. I am terribly vexed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A lot of things have been going on but I haven't felt like writing about them for some reason. I am forcing myself to write this.

I watched Sicko last night. It was better than I thought. It's very, very compelling, and even though I'm sympathetic to the issue it pulled me even more in that direction. I remember being in high school and a teacher or textbook was discussing socialized medicine and the main counterargument, as I remember it, was that American medical companies were responsible for the vast majority of innovation in Western medicine because they were driven by profit. If American health care was controlled by the government than creating a new drug would no longer be a gold mine - it's value would be capped.

However, according to the movie British doctors make more money if they make more people well. I'm sure a government could reward medical research corporations the same way. Even an innovation contest, like the X Prize, could work in the medical (or any) system, ie - set a goal and reward for researchers to attain.

It would be good to see the other side of the story, where the American system bests the Canadian/European one. Undoubtedly there are myriad examples. But I think a utilitarian approach is best for approaching nationwide medical issues, and it'll be hard to justify the low level of care so many millions are experiencing in America today.

Don't get me started on how much vacation time Europeans get. It's ridiculous and unfair, and I am insanely jealous.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I am notoriously behind the times when it comes to new music. So after many unfulfilling trips to Amoeba music the past few months I finally found a 'new' band I really like - Silversun Pickups. Most of you are probably yawning right now, since you like "Lazy Eye" when it came out last year, but so what.

I can't remember when I first heard of Silversun Pickups - it was probably two years ago at least. I just lumped them into the same category as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - LA bands that played around the Eastside and started getting big. I had heard BRMC and was pretty unimpressed, so I never paid SSPU any attention.

Well, they're good, and if you're lamer than me and haven't heard them yet go to their website and listen to "Little Lover's So Polite". I really wish I wrote this song.

FYI - I first heard them at The Well, a bar with a killer jukebox on the first floor of my office building. It was one of those moments where I heard the song and immediately asked 'who is this?'. It's that good.