Tuesday, July 28, 2009


A few days ago I got onto facebook and noticed that two friends had just posted their opinion on the facebook poll: Are you in favor of a Government run healthcare system. I decided to immediately follow suit, so on my facebook page there are three identical polls in a row.
All three of us were in favor of goverment-run health care.
All three of us have lived in Europe, where government-run health care is a reality.
I have two friends that have posted quite a bit about health care on facebook recently. One of them has lived in Europe (and actually, he's European, but living in the US and married to an American). The other one has not lived in Europe. Any guesses as to which friend supports government-run health care and which one doesn't?
I wonder if that trend holds steady for larger number of people--if living in Europe (or at least Western Europe) means you're much more likely to support government-run health care.
Anyone out there who's lived in Europe sometime in the past twenty years (and I'm not talking about a few months of study abroad) and doesn't support government-run health care? Let me know.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Front page news

The law firm that I clerk at made front page news on Cincinnati's newspaper a couple of days ago. Front, top, center. Not too shabby, considering there are only five attorneys at the Cincinnati location. It probably helped that a local sports team was involved (fans sued them and won). The important stuff the firm does--the life and death stuff (and the stuff that makes the money) may make the news, but not the front page. The stuff I'm working on won't be hitting page 22 of the local news for another year at least, if at all.
Anyway, we're visiting Utah/Idaho in two weeks, and I'm going to be dropping my name and my resume at a couple of law firms. Being the first person in my extended family to ever attend law school (although at least two relatives plan on following in my footsteps), and as my home ward is entirely lawyer-less, my attorney connections are limited to one friend's dad. So if any of you know any attorneys (especially ones that work for places that do environmental, medical, or pharmaceutical work) let me know. I'll need all the help I can get.
I still have two more years left, but now's the time to apply for summer work next year, and that job is usually the job that hires you on after graduation, so we might be spending next summer in Utah (or somewhere else out west) if I get lucky.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Alternative Medicine

The LDS Science Review (a blog from a scientist/Mormon) writes on alternative medicine--something our government has spent a ridiculous amount of money trying to validate, with almost nothing to show for it. The political power behind it, a Senator from Iowa, said, "One of the purposes when we drafted that legislation in 1992 . . . was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. Quite frankly, I must say it's fallen short. I think quite frankly that in this center, and previously in the office before it, most of its focus has been on disproving things, rather than seeking out and proving things."
Science is science. It doesn't care what your purpose was when you drafted that legislation. It cares about reality. And really, most of this stuff is not that hard to disprove. "Take this...it might be a herb or it might be a placebo." Then analyze the results. I'm sorry the good Senator is surprised the evidence all comes back negative. Or that fake acupuncture actually works better than real acupuncture. Or that any number of herbs work no better than a sugar pill.
Looks like Republican politicians aren't the only ones that are a little slow on understanding science--this Senator is a Democrat. If I ever again hear someone saying we shouldn't be spending money on some scientific endeavor--how about we cut this project first?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another undocumented LDS missionary article

Just thought I should provide this link to a newspaper article about missionary work and illegal immigrants.
I hope worthy young people will still serve missions, despite the inherent dangers of being deported.

Public opinion

What does "generally agree" mean? If I were to ask you if scientists generally agree that humans have evolved, what would you say? What percentage of scientists need to agree for scientists to be in general agreement?
An interesting survey looks at the info in the US.

First, unsurprisingly, 97% of scientists say that humans have evolved, while only 60% of the public believe that scientists generally agree that humans have evolved. Does 97% constitute "generally agree"? I hope so, but either 40% of the public doesn't believe so, or they're greatly mistaken about what scientists really think.

The most surprising, "people are stupid" moment, however, has nothing to do with evolution. It has to do with whether people favor the use of animals in scientific research. A full 43% of the public opposes it. That's right. Not too far from half. Seriously? Oppose using mice, fruit flies, etc. in scientific research? Do you have any clue where medicine would be without using animals in research? We'd still be in the dark ages. Surprisingly, Republicans and old people (for once) come out on the side of science here. College grads do too--but then again, college grads almost always do, while those who are least educated are the least likely to side with scientists.

There are some other interesting stats there about public/scientist opinions on nuclear energy, global warming, other good stuff. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Dominion--an awesome game. We played it with friends in Louisville on July 4th. Very cool. We need it.

Amazon.com--crappy service. I found what I thought was a deal, and after I bought it they emailed me to tell me the price was a mistake, and they weren't going to honor it. No chance to give Amazon a thumbs down on their website, and nothing but a weak apology. Boo.

Distribution Center--boo. Be warned if you order via mail (and when you live where we do, you don't really have another option). Two months for a simple, common order (and it's not the fault of the post office). Unfortunately, they have a monopoly for certain items, so be sure to order well in advance.

UC Law Review--Orientation on a Sunday morning? The only time during the week when I absolutely can't be there? And the time when almost every other church-going student has church? Really, now. We'll see about that.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Robin Hobb

Now reading (on the bus, because that's the only free time I have these days):
Robin Hobb: Assassin's Apprentice (and the other two books of that series).
It's the second-best fantasy series ever finished (the first being, of course, Lord of the Rings). Really. A good plot, a complex world, real, compelling characters, and great writing style. It's a gem.
I've read it several times. Fortunately my memory's not that great, and so much of it seems new to me.
Any other recommendations? Preferably series that are already finished, so I don't have to go back and re-read everything after the next book comes out?