Keep It Simple and Take Credit
Why Obamacare failed to gain more popularity:
There are parts to it that are unambiguously good — like, Medicaid expansion is good, and why? Because there’s no fucking strings attached. You don’t have to go to a goddamned website and become a fucking hacker to try to figure out how to pick the right plan, they just tell you “you’re covered now.” And that’s it! That’s all it ever should have been and that is why — [Jonathan Chait] is bemoaning why it’s a political failure? Because modern neoliberal, left-neoliberal policy is all about making this shit invisible to people so that they don’t know what they’re getting out of it.
And as Rick Perlstein has talked about a lot, that’s one of the reasons that Democrats end up fucking themselves over. The reason they held Congress for 40 years after enacting Social Security is because Social Security was right in your fucking face. They could say to you, “you didn’t used to have money when you were old, now you do. Thank Democrats.” And they fucking did. Now it’s, “you didn’t used to be able to log on to a website and negotiate between 15 different providers to pick a platinum or gold or zinc plan and apply a fucking formula for a subsidy that’s gonna change depending on your income so you might end up having to retroactively owe money or have a higher premium.” Holy shit, thank you so much.

This point has been made before on Obamacare, but the tendency behind it, the tendency to muddle and mask benefits, has become endemic to center-left politics. Either Democrats complicate their initiatives enough to be inscrutable to anyone who doesn’t love reading hours of explainers on public policy, or else they don’t take credit for the few simple policies they do enact.
Democrat  neoliberal  obamacare  mixed.blessing  overcomplication  risk  simplicity  taking.credit  from instapaper
21 days ago
Do Proteins Hold the Key to the Past?
Under the right conditions, proteins can survive for millions of years. In recent years, proteomic studies of art works and archeological remains have yielded biological information of startling clarity, revealing gossamer-thin layers of fish glue on seventeenth-century religious sculptures and identifying children’s milk teeth from pits of previously unrecognizable Neolithic bones. In 2008, researchers were able to sequence the proteins of a harbor seal that remained on the surface of six-hundred-year-old cooking pots found at an Inuit site in northern Alaska.
proteomics  art.conservation  archeology  from instapaper
21 days ago
Will an ambitious Chinese-built rail line through the Himalayas lead to a debt trap for Nepal?
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has ambitions to reshape the global economy by connecting more than 60 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa through trade and infrastructure projects. All told, it’s envisioned that nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will in some way be connected through BRI projects in the future. Some economists estimate BRI could increase global trade by 12%.

Despite these benefits, many questions have been raised about China’s motivations for the initiative, and whether Beijing can afford the US$1 trillion it has committed to infrastructure projects and its partners can afford the debt they are taking on. Some fear BRI could be a Trojan horse for global domination through debt traps.
China  dominance  belt.road.initiatives  debt.traps  from instapaper
25 days ago
Hierarchically porous polymer coatings for highly efficient passive daytime radiative cooling
You are currently viewing the abstract. View Full Text Log in to view the full text via AAAS login AAAS login provides access to Science for AAAS members, and…
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Five-minute neck scan can spot dementia earlier, say scientists
A group of almost 3,200 patients, aged 58-74, had ultrasounds on their necks in 2002, before having their cognitive functions monitored for up to 14 years, from 2002 to 2016.
People with the most intense pulses, which pointed to a greater and more irregular blood flow, were up to 50% more likely to suffer reduced cognitive functions, the research found, because the strength with which blood traveled into their brains caused damage to the brain's network of blood vessels.
Pulses become more intense when arteries near the heart are worn down -- usually by lifestyle factors such as poor diet and drug use -- and can no longer "cushion" the blood flow coming from the heart.

When healthy, arteries around the heart can regulate the blood being pumped from the organ, ensuring that it flows smoothly and at a constant rate to the brain.
But damage to the arteries means blood flows more aggressively and irregularly through vessels and into the brain, which can damage its network of blood vessels and cells. Over time, the researchers believe this led more frequently to cognitive decline in participants in the study.
"What we do know is that the blood supply in the brain is incredibly important, and that maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia," said Carol Routledge, Director of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, who was not involved in the research.
Vascular dementia is directly caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, and this can also play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease, studies have found. Those two conditions make up the vast majority of cases of dementia.
dementia  hypertension  cardiovascular  vascular.dementia  alzheimer's  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Solving Microplastic Pollution Means Reducing, Recycling--And Fundamental Rethinking
What Dove and a growing number of materials scientists envision to reshape our relationship with all plastics is to move from physically recycling plastics by grinding them up to chemically dismantling them to weed out all the impurities that taint recycled plastic. Such a method would take a PET bottle, for example, and break it down into its most basic molecules, separating out added chemicals to provide the building blocks to remake virgin polymers. In this way plastic would become its own perpetual raw material, the way glass and paper are (although the latter are physically ground up, not just chemically broken down). “With some plastics, there’s no reason why you can’t infinitely recycle,” Dove says. “People just haven’t looked at it. It’s not been considered something that’s important.”

For the polymers that cannot be unraveled into their most basic molecules, Dove thinks it should be possible to at least chemically break them up into other small molecules that could be used for different purposes, such as fuel or pharmaceuticals. Ideally, scientists would devise chemical reactions that did not require too many harsh compounds and are not too expensive. That would give value to the plastic waste that currently has no, or very little, value. Currently, “it’s much cheaper to burn them or to throw them away in landfills, and that’s the core of the issue,” Wagner says.

Making discarded plastic valuable could also provide incentive for cleaning up the plastic waste already in the environment. “If we can create something high-value from cheap plastic waste, there might be an economic argument to go and dredge this out of the ocean,” Dove says. “We’re a long way from that, but that’s what we’d like to achieve.”

A few scientists have already begun to look at ways to clean up some of the microplastic waste, which could remain in the environment for at least several hundred years. Cleanup is difficult because the plastic particles are small and varied in nature, and the ecosystems in which they are embedded are vast. Researchers have found enzymes and bacteria that can break down certain types of plastic, but they need to figure out how these might be deployed without any potential negative side effects, such as producing greenhouse gases. Agroecologist Esperanza Huerta Lwanga, of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the College of the Southern Frontier in Mexico, for example, hopes to test whether earthworms that possess plastic-munching bacteria in their guts might be able to remediate soil littered with plastic from the burning of trash.
sustainability  remediation  microplastics  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Inhabitat - Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building
stack effect A dark, damp house becomes a sustainable, sun-soaked abode by Lucy Wang 0 2 days ago Formerly cold, dim and damp, a terrace house in Northcote,…
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Taurine levels and localisation in the stratified squamous epithelia
Quantitative analysis demonstrated that taurine was highly concentrated in the epidermis
taurine  skin  squamous  from instapaper
5 weeks ago
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