Watching R-rated movies, early alcohol use linked – Paging Dr. Gupta – CNN.com Blogs

Watching R-rated movies, early alcohol use linked – Paging Dr. Gupta – CNN.com Blogs

This kind of crap science just annoys the hell out of me – what they have identified is a correlation. This says absolutely nothing about any kind of causal relationship between R-rated movies  and early alcohol use.

The article quotes one researcher as saying "No one is suggesting that R-rated movies alone are the cause of early onset drinking but it’s certainly a factor". I would like to know what proof implies that “it’s certainly a factor”.

Again, statistical correlation does not imply a causal relationship!

Ben Roethlisberger deserves at least two-game suspension – Peter King – SI.com

Ben Roethlisberger deserves at least two-game suspension – Peter King – SI.com

More of the same crap I complained about with respect to Michael Vick, only worse in this case because Ben not only was not convicted of anything, he was not even charged with anything. Without getting into whether Ben is acting like an idiot, lets think about it this way…

Say you were accused of a crime. The police investigated, and let you go on your way. After further investigation, prosecutors decided that there was not enough evidence to charge you with any crime. Would you feel your employer would be justified in suspending you without pay for two weeks? Or would you be on your way to a lawyer if your employer tried this?

Everyone keeps saying that star athletes need to stop feeling that they deserve special treatment when they act out. Well, I agree – they should not be treated differently, either in terms of leniency or punishment.

US vs Canadian Healthcare – a follow up

A few weeks back I posted on my personal experience with US versus Canadian Healthcare

This week, I received the paperwork from my insurance company to sort out the expenses for my adventure in LA. Just to refresh your memory, while in LA I became very sick, and ended up going to an ER at a nearby hospital. While at the ER, I spent 8+ hours in the waiting room, and about 2 actually being treated. A doctor saw and evaluated me. I was monitored for heart rate, BP, etc., had some blood work, and was given an IV for fluids and some meds. I was then given a prescription and discharged.

The cost for this treatment? Just shy of $3500.

No wonder the healthcare system in the US is as screwed up as it is! 

US vs Canadian Healthcare – a story of personal experience

As anyone not in a coma knows, there is a great deal of debate in the US right now about Health Care Reform. During this debate, there are many references to the Canadian Health Care system, typically by Americans who have absolutely no idea what the hell they are talking about – including a former governor of Alaska. It is referred to as “socialized medicine”, and Americans argue that it reduces efficiency, costs the government great sums of money (note that the US government already spends more per capita on health care than the Canadian government does), reduces innovation, has longer wait times, and even leads to people dying while awaiting treatment.

I recently became ill while in Los Angeles for a conference. While being sick is never a fun experience, being diabetic and being sick while travelling in a foreign country by yourself is especially stressful.

However, this gave me an opportunity to experience the US health care system first hand, albeit a little superficially. Also, since my employer provides me with out-of-country health insurance, my experience is from the perspective of someone with health insurance, not someone without. In addition, my opinion of the US health care system is based on a single experience, not a broad sample.

Lets start with my arrival at the ER. I arrived at about 9 PM on a Tuesday evening.The first step was to fill out a little form with basic information – name, address, nature of my complaint. This form is passed through a little hole in the plexiglass partition, and my information is entered into their computer system. I then waited about an hour to see the triage nurse and be prioritized. Between myself, my wife and my kids, I have been at emergency rooms in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Alberta, and do not recall ever waiting more than a small number of minutes to be triaged. It should be noted that the triage process seemed to be mostly a “first in, first out” kind of process – I did not notice anyone being triaged faster based upon the nature of their complaint.

After being triaged, I guess I was ranked fairly low in terms of priority (hey, I was only vomiting up large amounts of blood), because I then sat from about 10 PM Tuesday evening until 4:30 AM Wednesday waiting to see a doctor. Many people came in, were treated, and left before I was seen, but I understand that once you are triaged, priority are based on who is at the most risk. I also understand that I was only seeing the “walk in” side of the ER – there was another whole flow of patients coming in through the ambulance entrance with a fair number of trauma patients. Still, 7 and a half hours of waiting to see a doctor is longer than anything I have seen in the Canadian health care system. And remember, I was at a private hospital in LA, not a public clinic. I would thus expect that this was on the good side with respect to performance.

Once I actually got to see the doctor, I was treated fairly quickly. Note that the goal was not to treat the root cause in my ailment, the primary intent was to stabilize my condition so that I could return to Canada for full treatment. At this, they were very efficient, and I was out in about 3 hours. It was also made much more smoothly because my out-of-country health coverage worked very well with the hospital’s admissions/accounting people with regards to payment. God only knows how the experience would have played out had I not had insurance.

In short, my visit to the ER in Los Angeles involved wait times which were significantly longer (for both triage and treatment) than anything I have ever experienced at a hospital in Canada.

To finish off the story, I will describe my follow-up treatment after returning to Canada. On the Wednesday following my return to Canada, I called my family doctor, and got an appointment to see her that afternoon. After that appointment, she referred me to a GI specialist, who I saw the next afternoon. He decided I needed an endoscopy, which happened the next day. Seems pretty efficient to me!

Perhaps Americans (especially American citizens) should educate themselves on the reality of the Canadian Health Care System rather than blindly believing the rhetoric of their politicians who are bought and paid for by the insurance companies and HMOs, or simply know nothing about the Canadian system which they are criticizing.

Republic Air CEO puts his faith to work

 Republic Air CEO puts his faith to work – The Denver Post

I find this extremely disturbing. It is part of a major trend over the last couple of decades whereby self-proclaimed “people of faith” try to inflict their beliefs on those around them. It is especially inappropriate when the CEO of a corporation makes it clear that the organizations beliefs are Christian beliefs. While the article says:

Bedford says he doesn’t try to convert anyone or require faith as an employment litmus test.

Unfortunately that fact that he makes it clear that the organization’s beliefs are Christian beliefs, any employee who does not share those beliefs is going to feel extremely threatened. If I am an Atheist, Wiccan, Buddhist, or an adherent to any belief system which does not match the Christian view of God, I would feel pressured to either pretend to share Christian beliefs, or leave. I would certainly feel like I had no career path in this organization.

I am not saying an organization should no put forward a value system. What is wrong is to bring an explicit statement of a specific religious doctrine into it. If his vision statements such as “every employee, regardless of personal beliefs or world view, has been created in the image and likeness of God.”, that is imposing upon me a creationist, fundamentalist view of the world, which is inappropriate.

Also implicit in this kind of thing is the commonly held belief (among “true believers”, anyway) that if you do not believe in God, and specifically a Judeo-Christian God, then you do not have beliefs, or morals, or values, or principles. I would put my beliefs and morals and principles up against any Christian on the planet – and am fairly confident my values are more “Christian” than those who support war, capital punishment, intolerance, racism, and yet call themselves “Christian”.

So, bring all the values and principles you want into a company, but please leave your religious dogma at the door.

PS – I did not mean to imply that my values are perfect, or that I am in any way perfect – only that being “Christian” is hardly proof positive that you have strong values, or any values at all for that matter.

Man fined $305 for smoking in workplace – his truck

 Man fined $305 for smoking in workplace – his truck – Canada – Canoe.ca

Ok, this is going to be another rant.

This is absolutely ridiculous. Another example of our government sticking their noses into things that are none of their damn business. Whether smoking is bad for me or not, it is none of the government’s business if I do it in an environment which is not harming anyone else (I do not smoke, by the way).

If they can give a ticket to a truck driver for smoking in his own truck with no one else around, what is next? Will they come into my house and give me a ticket because I work from home?

It is long past time to stand up to our governments and stop them from invading our privacy. It is none of the government’s business if I smoke when I am by myself. It is none of government’s business if I wear a helmet on my motorcycle, or a seatbelt in my car. I wear both helmets and seatbelts because I am a compulsive “rule follower”, but I should not have to. It is none of the governments business if I want to watch TV purchased from south of the border, without the CRTC’s interference. I should even be able to smoke a little marijuana if I so choose (I do not do that either).

Just think of all of the money our various levels of government could save if they would just stay the hell out of things which are none of their concern!