Curbing health bills brings different cost: High-deductible insurance cuts premiums, but some fear it leads consumers to

More examples of how the free market can’t cope with “products” which are both vital for our survival AND unpredictable. Shared risk is part of the solution. That’s what insurance delivers. But even that requires an arbitrary assessment of self risk and is, crucially, determined by your initial asset base or income. And under that system, far too many (depending who you believe, for example, between 25 and 40 Million in the richest country on the planet – the USA) can’t afford to get ill. Unfortunately and inevitably, most of them, one day, will…

Moderate drinking can reduce risks of Alzheimers dementia and cognitive decline

Not new but a welcome reminder – especially on New Years Eve! Have a good un.

the simple insights are often the best

Religion may have evolved because of its ability to help people exercise self-control

Self-control is certainly evident in the buddhist monk or hindu guru. It is not impossible that it is a primary element of many religious people. But what we see doesn’t fit that model anywhere near as well as the alternative explanation for the evolution of Religion, where the veneer of self control was always an excuse for Social Control.

The plain fact is that religion makes people more submissive, more sheeplike; easier for Authoritarians to control

Researchers link blood sugar to normal cognitive aging

another excuse for continuing the exercise and caloric restrictions…

Experts uncover weakness in Internet security

this is an official “oh shit” finding. Not good news at all. They talk of some browsers having addressed the problem but I don’t know how long it would take to roll out SHA1 or higher in place of MD5, but I suspect it could be months rather than days and that’s a very big window of opportunity for the Russian Hackers I’ve just stumbled – and thousands of others – to exploit this weakness. Ouch…

The critical issue is “how long will it take for those CAs still using MD5 to switch to SHA1 or higher?” Individually we can check the signing algorithm of each Certificate and “refuse to trust” them if they use MD5. Can’t see that happening, though. If you want to do some online banking and you find they’re using MD5, you’re hardly going to stop until they fix it!

Russias hackers pose growing global threat

Actually, I believe they could be doing us a big favour. They are forcing the adoption of higher and higher levels of security. I hold the same view about virus writers. They’re extremely good for developing our digital immune systems.

Eventually it will dawn on people that we have to protect ourselves from ALL sources of attack. Terrorists, hackers, fraudsters, police states and governments.

Online protest of Facebook ban on breast-feeding photos draws tens of thousands

I hate facebook. And this story illustrates one of many reasons why. But I will watch with interest. If the facebook community force the facebook fascists to capitulate, I might be forced to nod a tinge of respect in their direction…

Scientists eye unusual swarm of Yellowstone quakes

hmmm… I get queasy when Yellowstone gets queasy. That is one mother we don’t want to see getting angry…


dis man can rite!

Madoff investor kills himself at his desk – Americas, World – The Independent

Collateral Damage?

Common food additive found to increase risk and speed spread of lung cancer

Oh good, another dietary toxin to worry about…

Study: Facial expressions of emotion are innate, not learned

Nice bit of research. Lifetime blind people show the same facial expressions of emotion that we do. They couldn’t have learned them, hence that part of our behaviour must be genetic.

Third-hand smoke: Another reason to quit smoking

This is either appalling journalism or sloppy science. I see the assertion that the risk of so call 3rd hand smoke is “real”. I see no evidence to back up that assertion. The mere fact that traces of toxins are in the environment does not constituted proof of risk, merely evidence of threat. Only if the data shows that the threat is delivered in a proportion of the affected environments should we conclude that there is a real risk.

Natural disasters killed over 220,000 in 2008

How long, I wonder, before Global Warming Deniers begin to sound as bigoted and out of touch as holocaust deniers?