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Friday, January 16, 2015

Links - 16th January 2015

Think preventive medicine will save money? Think again - ""Preventive care is more about the right thing to do" because it spares people the misery of illness, said economist Austin Frakt of Boston University. "But it's not plausible to think you can cut healthcare spending through preventive care. This is widely misunderstood." A 2010 study in the journal Health Affairs, for instance, calculated that if 90 percent of the U.S. population used proven preventive services, more than do now, it would save only 0.2 percent of healthcare spending. Some disease-prevention programs do produce net savings. Childhood immunizations, and probably some adult immunizations (such as for pneumonia and the flu), are cost-saving, found a 2009 analysis for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The vaccines are cheap, and large swaths of the population are vulnerable to the diseases they prevent. The cost of providing them to everyone is less than that of treating the illnesses they prevent. Counseling adults about using baby aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease also produces net savings. The counseling is inexpensive, the aspirin even cheaper and the costs of heart disease, which strikes one in three U.S. adults, are enormous. Screening pregnant women for HIV produces net savings, too. Those, however, are exceptions. One big reason why preventive care does not save money, say health economists, is that some of the best-known forms don't actually improve someone's health... The second reason preventive care brings so few cost savings is the large number of people who need to receive a particular preventive service in order to avert a single expensive illness... 217 high-risk smokers would have to undergo a CT lung scan for one to be spared death from lung cancer, according to a database of studies maintained by Dr. David Newman, an emergency physician at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. One hundred post-menopausal women who have had a bone fracture would have to take drugs called bisphosphonates in order for one to avoid a hip fracture. By comparison, only 50 people with heart disease must be treated with aspirin for one to avoid a heart attack or stroke, making this a good buy... The Trust suggests such steps as extending bus lines to parks so people without cars can go someplace pleasant for physical activity and other "community-based" efforts. These strategies save more money in healthcare spending than they cost."

Firebombs thrown at police in Stockholm riot - "The events in Ragsved in southern Stockholm came after week-long riots in Husby on the other side of the capital in May last year when hundreds of cars were burnt as police battled immigrant youths after a Portuguese man was shot dead by police... "What is quite unusual here is that this was seemingly somewhat planned ahead," police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said. He said firebombs and piles of paving stones were already prepared when police arrived and the approximate 30 people behind the riot were reported to have been masked."

Ivar Ekman | How Immigrants Are Changing Sweden's Welfare State - "Tino Sanandaji is among the last people one would expect to argue that immigrants pose a threat to Sweden’s way of life. An economist at Stockholm’s renowned free-market think tank Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Sanandaji is a member of a Swedish elite that has long defended open borders. And his own life offers a clear example of an immigrant success story: Sanandaji arrived in Sweden from Iran in 1989, with his mother and younger brother, when he was nine years old. With financial assistance from the Swedish government, Sanandaji was able to attend the elite Stockholm School of Economics. From there he moved to the United States, where he earned a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Chicago. And yet Sanandaji now argues that Sweden should stop taking in people who share his background. “Immigration has meant that Sweden has imported a bunch of social and economic problems that to a degree didn’t exist before,” he tells me, sitting in a modern conference room at his office in the upscale Östermalm neighborhood of Stockholm. “For a number of reasons -- a long period of peace, a homogenous population -- Sweden has had a unique combination of welfare, growth, and equality. That idyll is to a certain degree over... In 2000, 11 percent of Sweden’s population was foreign-born. Today, the proportion is closer to 17 percent, higher than any comparable country in Europe -- and higher also than the United States, where only 13 percent of the total population is foreign-born. And far from slowing down, the trend is accelerating... economic growth has been sluggish since the 2008 financial crisis and, even more worryingly, jobs have become scarce -- especially in the sorts of low-skilled sectors that newly arrived immigrants have traditionally flocked to. Unemployment is now stubbornly stuck above eight percent. Among foreign-born Swedes, the rate is twice as large... the hallmark of Swedish society has been a combination of very high social trust and a marked degree of individualism based on a duty to work. Sweden is becoming the clearest case study of a question being asked across Western Europe: Can a modern welfare state be reconciled with rapidly increasing diversity at a time of rapidly dwindling job prospects?”
Comment: "I'm working on my PhD in Political Sociology from a very reputable world-renowned school, and I'm finding myself silenced in discussing some of the same issues that your article has pointed out, being accused of bigotry, xenophobia, islamaphobia, etc, which affects my professional reputation. Some other concerns that I've had (research on Security and asymmetric warfare) has also been related to the connection between Welfare fraud and human trafficking in Europe and the UK. Unfortunately, I have to abandon my research in this area. Not an easy topic to discuss or for people (especially academics) to entertain."

Why women should never go halves on a first date - "Despite being a feminist and despite being more than capable of affording my own dinner, I still want a man to pay for me on dates... Paying for a women on a date has nothing to do with feminism."
Cue people calling her a fake feminist

Speech by PAP Secretary-General Lee Hsien Loong At the PAP 60 Rally 2014 Sunday, 7 December 2014 - "they tell the people: “Vote for me so that I can check the PAP. I can make the Prime Minister and his ministers work harder.” If everybody accepts what they say, then we will have a lot of checkers; no workers and if they spend all their time checking on one other, there will be a gridlock, like in other countries. There is no way you can run away from the truth. There are so many seats in Parliament. That’s all. For every one more “checker” we have in the Parliament, there will be one fewer “doer, thinker and leader” in the Government, to serve the nation, to serve the people. Eventually, there will be no more PAP to check, there will be no able team of ministers working and solving problems for Singaporeans, no progress for Singapore, no future for Singapore. That will be the last check, because it will be checkmate for Singapore! So a great deal is at stake, Comrades."
If checks on a government are so bad, let's just implement a dictatorship for greater efficiency

Timeline Photos - Channel NewsAsia Singapore - "NAME A BABY DOLPHIN: We recently broke news that Underwater World Singapore has a pink dolphin calf, and now here is your chance to name it!"
The comments are flooded with dolphin-rights activists trolling. If keeping dolphins in captivity is 'slavery', people clearly have nothing better to do. And why don't they go after zoos which keep primates?

Every country needs a political party like Sweden’s Feminist Initiative | Christian Christensen | Comment is free | theguardian.com
Comments: "It's impossible to have a grown-up discussion unless you all agree? Doesn't sound like a very exciting discussion."
"I suspect you're being somewhat disengenuous about this Party's true motives. Back in 2005 shortly after its foundation, instead of tackling a mainstream platform, the FI presented proposals to abolish marriage and create "gender-neutral" names. Is that still their agenda? I also wonder whether they have hoovered up any ROKS members, Sweden's largest women's shelter organization. The former head, Ireen von Wachenfeldt, was notorious for asserting that "men are animals.""
"This is definitely the most depressing story of the day. They are not idealists.
Idealists articulate a happy and positive vision for the future. That's not what feminists do. Most feminism I've seen here, Jezebel, other places is primarily concerned with trying to prove at all costs and using any tenuous arguments available, that women are victims. Whether they think of themselves as victims or not."
"Cool. I'm all for it. a world free of gendered power structures and discrimination sounds brill. I suspect some of the eye rolling you encounter comes from the fact that most people don't think that's what feminists generally want though. most of us can agree with the general gist, but then someone tells you that society's a rape culture, wants to ban stuff left right and centre, pretend domestic violence is an exclusively male-on-female problem, suggests condemning accused rapists on the basis of hearsay outside the constraints of criminal law, artificially engineer company boards so that "women of colour" are massively over-represented, and get everyone to agree that Thomas The Tank Engine is evil. And that's all stuff self-proclaimed feminists have said in this paper, by the way. I really wish I was making it up but I'm not."

Sweden debates hitting men with domestic violence tax - "The Left Party says the idea of men collectively paying for the social costs of violence towards women is similar to the principle of poor people paying less tax than the rich"

Guardian: Thomas the Tank Engine is Racist Because the Evil Trains Pump Out Black Smoke - "By exposing her children to this endless twaddle (remember, the above is only the stuff she feels comfortable publishing) the author is projecting her bizarro notions of class, race, work, and of course the must have guilt burden of the season: the environment, onto her unassuming and likely uncaring kids. Why should children be lumbered with the distressing political correctness of their parents in lieu of a guilt free, enjoyable childhood? "

MP David Lammy apologises for BBC Pope race 'innuendo' claim - "David Lammy was commenting on a BBC Twitter message, which asked "will smoke be black or white?". Mr Lammy, tweeting from the Commons chamber, said the BBC message was "crass and unnecessary". He later apologised after Twitter users pointed out the role played by black and white smoke in announcing the election of a new Pope."
This reminds me of people who claimed calling Libya a tribal society was racist

Why Believing In Astrology Is Not As Harmless As You Think - "Astrology is also bad for us and our interpersonal relationships. Because it tells us to pre-judge people according to their astrological signs, it basically makes us complete assholes"

Paranormal Beliefs Come (Super)Naturally to Some - "Women are more likely than men to believe in haunted houses, communicating with the dead, and astrology. Men, on the other hand, show a slightly greater proclivity than women to believe in extraterrestrial beings"
This is one reason why women are more religious
Addendum: "Kathleen, a New Jersey counselor who treats both men and women for a variety of issues, isn't surprised by the finding that women are, in some cases, bigger believers in the paranormal. She suspects it's a function of how men's and women's brains work. "Women are just more receptive, more intuitive, and more plugged in, whereas men tend to be logical and sequential," she says. "In my work, I find that women are much more inclined to speculate about hypothetical situations.""
More evidence that women are more irrational than men

Why Lawyers and Economists Can't Communicate, And What It Means For Tax Policy - "economists want to know why tax law works the way it does and how it changes behavior. Lawyers focus on the mechanics of how the law works. It is a bit like the difference between and theoretical physicists and engineers."

Toa Payoh resident's Christmas decor to stay - "Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Zainudin Nordin on Thursday (Dec 11) said the makeshift Christmas structures and decorations put up by a Toa Payoh Lorong 7 resident will remain a fixture for the community. Mr Martin Silva has been putting up Christmas decorations outside his ground-floor HDB flat in the common area for the past three years and, for that, received a series of fines from the Town Council, according to a report by the Straits Times. Commenting on this on Thursday, Mr Zainudin said on his Facebook page that he understood the Town Council's concern, as it has the responsibility to make sure the common areas are not for private use and is safe for all residents. "But at the same time, if residents have good ideas to bond the community, we should encourage them," he said."
And they complain Singaporeans are apathetic...
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