hello, America

by twit

How’s that American Dream™ treating you these days?

Via the BBC on July 17, 2008:

“The Measure of America reveals huge gaps among some groups in our country to access opportunity and reach their potential,” said the report’s author, Sarah Burd-Sharps.

“Some Americans are living anywhere from 30 to 50 years behind others when it comes to issues we all care about: health, education and standard of living. … the state human development index shows that people in last-ranked Mississippi are living 30 years behind those in first-ranked Connecticut.

… Of the world’s richest nations, the US has the most children (15%) living in poverty.

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China threatens to cancel the 2008 Olympics

by twit

From the Guardian on June 4, 2008:

Suspected terrorists, subversives and people with sexually transmitted diseases will not be allowed to enter China for the Olympic games, its organisers said yesterday.

If it was required that everyone arrive with their TB and measles vaccinations in order, it would make sense from a public health standpoint, particularly for a city as densely populated as Beijing. However, banning people based on an infection spread primarily through sexual contact is entirely different.

Questions remain about what exactly the Chinese government means by this new requirement. Do they mean all STDs? Symptomatic ones? Nontreatable ones?

The reason this will likely irreparably damage the 2008 Olympics is because statistically, a policy like this will cause significant numbers of athletes and spectators to be barred from entering the country.

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Thanks Boomers, now you’ve poisoned us all

by lestro

Thank you Baby Boomers. Thank you for your total lack of foresight and inability to recognize the consequences of everything you have done. You guys did a great job of making the world great for you and leaving it a total wreck for everyone who comes after you.

This morning’s report that millions of Americans are drinking water polluted with multiple pharmaceuticals reminded me of the movie “Idiocracy,” where all the crops die because the idiots in charge decide that if water is good, Brawndo (a gatorade-like substance) would be better and start using it to irrigate their crops.

It’s kind of like that, only slower and real:

“A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.”

But wait, it gets better:

“And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies — which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public — have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife…”

I’m no expert, but isn’t “persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals” ostensibly what killed Heath Ledger?

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