Healthcare, Cancer, Puntland, Time Travel, Saudi Arabia, Pardons


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Health Care And The American Way

Tyler Cowen | Bloomberg | 20th July 2017

America has some of the most expensive medicine in the world. But why? “Once we focus on consumption, America’s health-care expenditures no longer appear so unusual. If you graph them per capita against individual consumption, the fit is very close across developed nations. Americans spend a lot on health care because we spend a lot, period. We treat a lot of health care as similar to personal consumption. We love the quick fix and we hate being told no” (760 words)

It’s Okay To Be A Coward About Cancer

Josh Friedman | Time | 21st July 2017

“You don’t battle cancer. You don’t fight it. If cancer wants you it sneaks into your room at night and just takes you. It doesn’t care if you’re John Wayne or John McCain. The ‘tough guy’ narrative is seductive. It suggests we have control over our fate, that we can will cancer away. These are lies we tell ourselves. And for some patients that’s helpful. It gets them through the day. It’s a useful tool. But courageousness is a standard that no sick person should feel like they have to meet” (1,120 words)

The Somali Pirates Are Back

Magnus Boding Hansen | IRIN | 19th July 2017

Expect more piracy in the Gulf of Aden. After four years of policing the shipping routes, Nato has moved on. But the pirates of Puntland remain, enriched by their diversification into human trafficking while the Gulf was closed to them. “The notorious arms dealer Gaagaale, ‘he who stutters’, no longer has a shed down by the roundabout. You can, however, still buy a Makarov pistol from him for $1,600 if you know someone who has his number” (2,500 words)

News For Time Travellers

Kristie Miller | Philosophers' Magazine | 25th June 2017

We cannot change the past. That way madness lies. But, in principle, if time travel becomes possible, we might “causally affect” the past without forking the universe. For example: Tim despises his violent grandfather. He travels back in time to kill his grandfather. He shoots his grandfather in the head, causing significant brain damage. “As it turns out, it is this brain damage that later causes his grandfather to be violent, which, in turn is what motivates Tim to try and shoot him” (2,400 words)

Addiction And Intrigue: Inside The Saudi Coup

World News | Reuters | 19th July 2017

Action-packed account of recent turmoil in the House of Saud. King Salman ousted his heir-apparent, Mohammed bin Nayef, on the grounds that “MbN” had become addicted to opiates prescribed to him as painkillers following an assassination attempt in 2009. This “high-stakes power grab” has elevated 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, “MbS”, the king’s favourite son, to regent. “The putsch went ahead after MbS struck up a strong relationship with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner” (1,700 words)

Eric Posner | 21st July 2017

“The problem for Trump is that if he pardons himself, and if our theory is correct, the self-pardon is itself an obstruction of justice. Trump would need to issue yet another self-pardon to relieve himself of criminal liability for the first self-pardon. Trump can continue self-pardoning himself at higher orders until the moment he leaves office. But the final self-pardon itself will be a potential crime like all the others. Whatever the case, he should be prepared to sign a lot of documents” (240 words)

Video of the day: Hotel

What to expect:

If you could run a hotel through an MRI scanner, this is what you might see (1’00”)

Thought for the day

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed
Ernest Hemingway

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