Holiday spirit

I do not have a large collection of holiday and seasonal decorations. I have some decorations for Christmas, a few for Halloween, and that’s it. 

What few I have, I like a lot. I believe part of continuing to like them is that they’re part of the decor only a short time each year, so each time I bring them out of storage it’s like meeting an old friend — sometimes one that I’d forgotten but am terribly pleased to see. Continue reading “Holiday spirit”

Why should you not buy a Powerball ticket? Because of math.

Here’s the thing: your odds of guessing my home address, armed with only the knowledge that I live in Wisconsin, are still MUCH better than your odds of winning the Powerball lottery.

If you have ever thought of buying a Powerball ticket, or other similar lottery ticket, please read this blog post that explains why big lotteries are a waste of your money.

The hero within

Not long ago, I went to a party at a friend’s house in Pittsburgh. I was running late (as is my unfortunate habit). I have been to this friend’s house many times and know the way well, as long as I’m coming from my house in Butler. On this particular evening, I was coming from my apartment in Pittsburgh, so I didn’t know the way well. 

Already you can see that there’s trouble on the horizon. Continue reading “The hero within”

Reason #2978 why health insurance in the US is so expensive

From an opinion piece in the New York Times on the issue of society ignoring evidence that mammograms only increase medical procedures, they don’t save lives:

For years now, doctors like myself have known that screening mammography doesn’t save lives, or else saves so few that the harms far outweigh the benefits. Neither I nor my colleagues have a crystal ball, and we are not smarter than others who have looked at this issue. We simply read the results of the many mammography trials that have been conducted over the years. But the trial results were unpopular and did not fit with a broadly accepted ideology—early detection—which has, ironically, failed (ovarian, prostate cancer) as often as it has succeeded (cervical cancer, perhaps colon cancer).

More bluntly, the trial results threatened a mammogram economy, a marketplace sustained by invasive therapies to vanquish microscopic clumps of questionable threat, and by an endless parade of procedures and pictures to investigate the falsely positive results that more than half of women endure. And inexplicably, since the publication of these trial results challenging the value of screening mammograms, hundreds of millions of public dollars have been dedicated to ensuring mammogram access, and the test has become a war cry for cancer advocacy. Why? Because experience deludes: radiologists diagnose, surgeons cut, pathologists examine, oncologists treat, and women survive.

 Read the full essay.