Thursday, February 23, 2006

Single-payer health systems: poaching off America

One of my favourite current authors, the very insightful and well-researched Malcom Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, in debate about the relative merits of the American and Canadian healthcare systems:

If you look at the level of medical innovation in the world in the last 25 years, virtually everything comes from America. Absent America, medicine in the world is in the dark; it is retarded; it is at a level that all of us would find unacceptable. What is happening right now is that all these cheap single-payer systems are essentially poaching. They are cherry-picking off the American system. The American system is pumping money into research, has got this free market system which is incredibly dynamic and incredibly innovative. Everyone else just sits back and cherry picks all of the things we come up with. What happens if there's no America tomorrow? What happens if we junk our system? Where does medical progress come from?

Which is something I've often thought myself. The day the Democrats get their NHS in the US of A, G-d forbid, will be a dark day for medicine.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A glimpse of the future

Following the introduction of the new "timewarp" protocol (the hypertext timewarp protocol, or httwp) I have discovered some pretty interesting websites from the near and far future. Since your browser may not be able to handle httwp yet, I've arranged a little mirror of the Republic World News site: it gives "Breaking News for the Islamic States of America".

Friday, February 10, 2006

Inevitable, I suppose

The funny T-shirt industry has caught up with the Muhammed cartoon craze. Soon we'll be seeing people everywhere standing up to the gunmen and defying the crazies.

Go on. You know you want one.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The discreet charm of the Polish policeman

I quite enjoyed this tale of an encounter with thugs in Warsaw, and the aftermath:

If you are ever, ever in Warsaw, I highly recommend you flag down a passing cop car and tell them you've been assaulted. You will meet with a kind of unconditional acceptance and emotional support that I didn't know could be found outside one's immediate family. The police will also go apeshit and run around with guns and screaming sirens in a way that very few families do, and for the police it's perfectly legal.

Cartoon protestors guilty of idolatry?

Some pretty incisive thinking going on here:

So the objection to the cartoons cannot really be founded in the Islamic image-ban. They are clearly neither idolatry nor invitations to it. On the contrary, the insistence that a mocking representation amounts to a gross insult to the prophet is much more like idolatry in that sense: a demand that the man be revered as incapable of representation as God is.

But then truly religious people wouldn't go around burning down buildings and threatening to kill people, now would they?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Drink milk, defeat fascist morons

Via Harry's Place, a list of Danish products that you can buy to support the brave stand of the Danish nation in the face of Muslim intimidation.

Interestingly, all milk is Danish! I had naively assumed that all the cows one can see on the train to Devon were producing milk for English consumption, but it seems I was wrong! After all, no lesser authority than the Muslim Public Affairs Committee of the UK has pronounced it so; who are we infidels to disagree?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mark Steyn on Hamas

Mark Steyn in usual top form on the recent victory of Hamas in the competition for all the Palestinian aid:

The media have long been reluctant to damn the excitable lads as terrorists. In 2002 the New York Times published a photograph of Palestinian suicide bombers all dressed up and ready to blow, and captioned it "Hamas activists." Take my advice and try not to be standing too near the Hamas activist when he activates himself.

...I'd like to believe this was a vote for getting rid of corruption rather than getting rid of Jews. But that's hard to square with some of the newly elected legislators. For example, Mariam Farahat, a mother of three, was elected in Gaza. She used to be a mother of six but three of her sons self-detonated on suicide missions against Israel. She's a household name to Palestinians, known as Um Nidal -- Mother of the Struggle -- and, at the rate she's getting through her kids, the Struggle's all she'll be Mother of.

Certainly sounds like a mother, anyway.