Archive for March 25th, 2012
Space scientists from the University of New Hampshire and multi-institutional colleagues report they have quantified levels of radiation on the moon's surface from galactic cosmic ray (GCR) bombardment that over time causes chemical changes in water ice and can create complex carbon chains similar to those that help form the foundations of biological structures.
Meteorites Reveal Another Way to Make Life's Components
Creating some of life's building blocks in space may be a bit like making a sandwich — you can make them cold or hot, according to new NASA research. This evidence that there is more than one way to make crucial components of life increases the likelihood that life emerged elsewhere in the Universe, according to the research team, and gives support to the theory that a "kit" of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by impacts from meteorites and comets assisted the origin of life.
Researchers are suggesting that there is a link between the number of friends you have and the size of the region of the brain — known as the orbital prefrontal cortex [blue tinted area] — that is found just above the eyes.
A generation ago, when “Annie Hall” won the Oscar for Best Picture, talk therapy occupied a prominent place in our collective imagination, whether or not you partook. If you wanted to spend several hours a week baring your soul to a stranger who was professionally obligated to listen and react, you went into therapy. Today you join a writing workshop.
Plenty of folks still seek therapy, of course, including writers. And not all of us are damaged individuals who write to work out our neurotic conflicts. (I’m sure there are plenty of well-adjusted authors, even if I have never actually met one.) What I’m suggesting isn’t a correlation, so much as a broader cultural shift — that literary endeavor has supplanted therapy as our dominant mode of personal investigation.
The waning of psychotherapy has clear roots in the rise of psychopharmacology. Drug companies have been hard at work over the past three decades, marketing meds to troubleshoot our faulty brain chemistry. As managed care has compelled more and more psychiatrists to trade their notebooks for prescription pads, the classic image of the patient on the couch has been replaced by a man with a pill in his palm.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant on Saturday after 20 months on a waiting list, and was recovering in a Virginia hospital, a statement from his office said.
Dick Cheney’s Health Care
Bill Moyers Journal … featured the California Nurses Association — not the usual Moyers Q and A with a guest, but a reported piece that examined the health care advocacy of a vocal and vociferous group that makes you realize what unions once were and could be. This union has fire in the belly, and the Moyers segment captured it beautifully. The nurses make no apologies for supporting national health insurance, the politically incorrect option they label “Medicare for All.” On camera, the union’s leader, Rose Ann DeMoro, characterized U.S. health care:
“There is no health care system. There’s a health care industry that’s major objective is profit-making, which means not providing the patient all of the care that they need, discharging patients early, patients without insurance being treated differently than wealthy people, frankly. And that is the health care system in America. Those who can afford it get to live and those who can’t suffer needlessly.”
To the nurses, no one exemplifies this health care disparity more than Dick Cheney, the vice president of the United States. And to press the point, they have embarked on a “CheneyCare” campaign, which gave the Moyers show an engaging opening that quickly grabbed my attention. Journal correspondent Rick Karr asked viewers to consider a hypothetical cardiac patient—a sixty-seven-year old man in a high stress job with a history of serious heart problems. The man has had four major heart attacks and a quadruple bypass; he has atrial fibrillation and needs a defibrillator to keep his heart on track. That man, says intensive care nurse Geri Jenkins, might have a hard time getting new insurance if he needed it.
The man, it turns out, is not a hypothetical patient, but Cheney, who has Cadillac coverage that buys Cadillac care simply because he is an employee of the U.S. government. He cannot be denied health insurance no matter how serious his heart condition; he can pick the best hospitals and the best doctors, and, according to the nurses, Cheney is alive today because of that care while many other people with similar conditions are not. The nurses have launched a CheneyCare ad campaign in newspapers and on the Internet, designed to make the argument for a radical change in America’s health care system—a change that would allow everyone to get the kind of care that saved Cheney’s life. Their ads declare that if Cheney were just a regular American, he’d probably be dead by now. That’s no garden variety campaign ad.
Full Disclosure: If we were 71, and we needed a new heart, we’d do whatever the heck Mr. Cheney did to get one installed. So, Godspeed Dick Cheney.