this week i

published our preliminary analysis of privatized medicare market entries and exits in 2016.  but it was no phd.

see the internet as an invitation into the worlds of other humans. like any drug, this dangerously grants the opportunity to forgo living oneself.

rank sort order chord progressions and the choice for trouble in mind comes out on top.

elevate claire mccaskill to my favorite senator, with barbara mikulski bowing out.

woke up early to listen.

the original latin word insula also gave us the latin word peninsula.  pana meant almost in latin.  so pana plus insula meant almost an island.  so it was a piece of land mostly surrounded by water, but still connected to the mainland so not technically island.

submitted a new kind of bug report.

broke up habitual tuna lunch with everything-goes lunch.

paid $25 to go for a walk.  don't miss the flightpaths and the flamingoose.

lost it when the drunk guy on the subway platform who had been yelling about soccer waved his hand while the train pulled in, as if flagging a taxi.

ate a comfortable late breakfast and then i left.  this is the standard.


this week i

estimated the eligibility of the remaining uninsured under the affordable care act.  who can enroll in what government-assisted coverage, by state.

biked along the river.

ate an oreo ice cream bar in battersea park.

was blown away.  athabaskans first and last, but aztecs, viking burials, and cambodian flag-reminiscent hindustani temples in between.


this week i

landed in northern europe.  first-world nations are all alike.  every developing country is fucked up in its own way.

think of each language as one set of sounds, uniform within the lands of its speakers.  but until the radio wave, that was never the case - local dialects morphed and modulated across every town and village until a more powerful population-center imposed its own patterns of speech from afar.  mandarin was the local tongue of beijing at just the right time, while madrid still struggles to homogenize catalonia.  meow.  communication evolves far faster than life.

am up there.  las vegas and raleigh both lie within the latitude range of the sahara desert, london north of calgary, paris above ulaanbaatar.

listened some more.  cognates: rich (english) reich (german) rex (latin)..

of course hell's most famous resident is the devil, another germanic word converted to christian use.  the original hebrew version of the old testament used the word satan or sahtan.  when the old testament was translated into greek, satan was translated as diabolos which meant slanderer.  the latin translation basically just used the same greek word.  and that word gives us a modern word like diabolic.  but the anglo-saxons looked for a native word to describe the fallen angel.  so they used deovil, which meant an evil spirit or devious person.  and the devil got his modern english name.

in latin, com meant with and pan meant bread, so a companion was a person who was with you when you ate your bread

guess in the next few hundred years, the technology to implant a memory might be refined enough to establish an entire skill.  traditional scholarship and studying could become obsolete.  in the other direction, how many people do you think my ancestors have killed in the past thousand years?

install classical music at startup on any new windows machine -- "C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe" -- inside folder -- C:\Users\[[username]]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

ate breakfast and then worked.

read in the park..

(1) this new era of inequality

the historic events of 1988, when nigel lawson, margaret thatcher's chancellor of the exchequer, led the british parlaiment in voting for a reduction of the top marginal income tax rate to 40 percent (that rate was 83 percent when the iron lady first came to power in 1979).  one conservative mp got so carried away that he is reported to have said that "he did not have enough zeroes on his calculator" to measure the size of the tax cut that he had just helped to approve for himself.  it was a grim moment and fully merits the use of atkinson's sharp talons.
this break with a half-century of progressive tax policy in the united kingdom was thatcherism's distinctive achievement (just as the tax reform act of 1986, which cut the upper tax rate in the us to 28 percent, was the distinctive achivement of reaganism).  it would never really be called into question by new labour during the years of tony blair (for whom atkinson has no special fondness), any more than reagan's tax cuts were by the democrats during the clinton or obama years

(2) this new era of sloppy journalism

fivethirtyeight exemplifies a troubling tendency in digital journalism-a preference for gathering data available on the web itself rather than developing new information by picking up the phone or going into the field


this week i

waited at b2 for the elevator, the electronic panel says it's coming up from b3. doors open for me, and a deliveryman exits and halts immediately to look around. i enter and see the floor fourteen button pressed, don't say anything, and watch him orientationally whirl as the scene closes on him.

feel superior to conspiracy theorists while still comfortably acknowledging that at least a few of these cockamamie ideas must have made it through reality walls composed solely of atoms obedient to heisenberg's uncertainty principle.  so out of your wildest imaginings of military cover-ups and alternative universes, admit that a handful might have thwarted their self-evident impossibility.  the less credible ones rank at the batshit-mindblowing end of the spectrum where human civilization doesn't change much but our core beliefs disintegrate.  if keebler elves painted flamingos pink every morning, you might rethink your relationship with religion even as your bank account goes unscathed.  at the other edge, conspiracies sound more sinister, also more plausible: perhaps the masons do indeed puppeteer our leaders or siphon off our oil reserves, perhaps celebrities regularly fake death to retire.  can you agree that in any set of thousands of unlikely events, it's also likely that at least one or two do in fact occur?  because pick a point - any point - across that continuum that we've just visualized.  our perceived environment can never be complete.

rank a proper one when time gets cut in thirds.  any more often, and consciousness becomes a ping-pong ball.  an evening-ending commitment.

reacted like the double-rainbows guy when i found the roll of paper towels that i was looking for.  this is glorious, being drunk is tiring.

browsed the spanish airwaves for something subtitled instead of dubbed.

sense that masturbation might've been an evolutionary wrong-turn.  are you perpetuating the species?  no, just practicing, sorry.

woke up and it hit me: latin music is fucking dorky.

proffer a method for quantifying mis-aligned belief. "on the topic of physical beauty, on a scale of 0-10 how would you rank your personal appearance where a five in the middle means that exactly half of the country is more beautiful than you and the other 50% of the country is less beautiful than you."  is it possible to measure the difference from 50%?  on average, do americans over- or under-estimate their personal appearance?  less superficially on income inequality: a survey might ask where people think it is, where it actually is, and the level beyond which the government should intervene. on a scale of you think your household is richer or poorer than the average household?  it doesn't even matter where the midpoint technically is -- the central question: "does the average american over- or under-rate themselves on this topic?"

learned tsunami detection uses buoys.

wonder if those with first-world childhood illnesses are the attempted branch sprouts of our evolutionary tree?  is every non-trauma patient in a pediatric hospital actually the living embodiment of small-scale darwinian mutation?  are children afflicted by diseases unrelated to hygiene or nourishment in reality being burnt by the sparks of evolution?

bet people on elevator security footage are terribly interesting.

propose a revolution in elected office, a pledge to relay direct democracy. place each vote on a website with as much notice as possible, however constituents vote electronically, you will vote.  become legally bound to the registered preference of the residents within the district.  soundbite: "i am a candidate running on a platform of direct democracy. my constituents will be encouraged to enroll in an online system that will allow them to cast their votes in my stead. my role as a member of parliament will simply be to present each vote to a forum where everyone may cast a ballot directly or - for citizens with less free time - contribute their tally to the vote of any other individual. i only wish to doom representatives in the legislature.  forget ideological capitalism or rigid socialism, i am the first candidate who will embody direct democracy."

would study the evolution of fruit for the symbiosis.  in the history of life, first there were plants, then there were animals, and then there were seed-bearing plants.  what parade of forest seed-spreading creatures morphs you from a root to a raspberry?

remember that i was here when obama won iowa.  this country has always been good to me.


this week i

published our annual survey of employer health benefits, highlights courtesy of the new york times.

wanted chocolate ice cream after dinner.  she ordered something i'd never seen, looked like shredded mozarella with a sweet sauce sandwiched between two oversized communion wafers.  i took a disapproving bite, waved my cone scoldingly: "why did you order this?  cheese is not postre."  my cherry-on-top flew off, she caught it mid-air, popped it in her mouth and started chewing before i could protest.  dessert.

fight with the army you have.

would like to know, by nation, what percent of the population lives on the road grid.  that is, what share of people can walk to a government-built pathway ultimately connected to any major city.

realized that - as most older americans only went to grade school but much of the younger generation has a bachelor's degree - there's a similar thing here: younger colombians finish high school, while much of the elderly rural population cannot read.

recall the wisest thing my father ever said to me, on the historical behavior of kings and emperors.  "the ruling circle tended not to believe the local mythology.  they understood that the purpose of religion was control."

wheeeee motherfucker.

register on ethnic identity: my mother tongue matters more than my blood.  continuing why we say what we say.

when we're counting and we get to the teens, we have thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, and so on.  and each of those words basically combines the root number with the word teen which meant ten more than and teen is obviously derived from the word ten.  so thirteen literally means ten more than three.  and fourteen literally means ten more than four.  and we do that all the way up to nineteen.  but why don't we do that for eleven and twelve?  i mean we don't have oneteen and twoteen.  well those two numbers use a different way of saying the same thing in old english.  eleven was anleaven where an meant one and leaven was an early version of the word left.  so anleaven literally meant one left.  and its meaning was implied as one left over ten.  so when you count to eleven, first you count to ten and then you have one left and that's what eleven means.  well what about twelve?  well it meant the same thing.  in this case, two left.  and from two left, we get the contracted word, twelf, or twelve in modern english.

shopped at the supermarket.  a woman photographed the newly-installed citibank atm.  i bought toothpaste and peach iced tea.  no romance.

found yogurt with nerds exactly as revolting as you might expect yogurt with nerds to be.

read and ate.  and yet, somehow, the dishes in my sink are dirty once again.

(1) the parade of fools

some parents feel that the immunity produced by the chicken pox vaccine is inferior to immunity by natural infection because it does not last as long.  to carry immunity through adulthood, when chicken pox can be quite serious, one must get a booster in adolescence.  "so what?" my father says.  i am trying to explain the phenomenon of chicken pox parties to him.  i say, "some people want their children to get chicken pox because," and pause to think of the best reason to give a doctor.  "they're idiots," my father supplies.

measles has killed more children than any other disease in history

(2) american empire

elevating terrorism into a threat that is held to be the equivalent of the communist threat of old is bizarre

three-quarters of china's top two hundred exporting companies - and these are chinese statistics - are foreign-owned

walked in the park.  the smile is the most important part of any person.