“The thing that staggers me about the Republican hatred of this law [the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a., Obamacare] is its abstract quality. They never address the real problem of our massively inefficient private healthcare market, which is a huge burden on the economy. They never address how to help the millions of uninsured adults get the care all human beings need. They appear to regard a Heritage Foundation, free-market-designed, private healthcare exchange system as some kind of communist plot. They do not seem to believe there is any pressing problem at all. And they have nothing constructive to offer.” – Andrew Sullivan

“Poverty damages children’s dispositions and blunts their brains… poverty in this country is now likely to define many children’s life trajectories in the harshest terms: poor academic achievement, high dropout rates, and health problems from obesity and diabetes to heart disease, substance abuse and mental illness.

Children are now our poorest group, with almost 25 percent of children under 5 living below the federal poverty level.”

Poverty as a Childhood Disease – NYTimes.com

By PERRI KLASS, M.D.
May 13, 2013

Poverty is an exam room familiar. From Bellevue Hospital in New York to the neighborhood health center in Boston where I used to work, poverty has filtered through many of my interactions with parents and their children.

“The evidence is overwhelming. Year after year, actively managed mutual funds fail to beat index funds. Studies have born this out repeatedly over various time periods in bull and bear markets.”

John C. Bogle, founder of Vanguard, takes you through an extraordinary example of how an extra 2% fee on your fund can rob you of 2/3 (That’s TWO-THIRDS) of your potential earnings over time because of how compound interest works.

Actively managed funds have higher fees than the index funds they fail to outperform, fees that also reduce your compounded earnings. In other words, you’re being robbed twice.

The Retirement Gamble – FRONTLINE

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/retirement-gamble/

The Retirement Gamble raises troubling questions about how America’s financial institutions protect our retirement savings.

Ugh. It kills me to see how Lumosity has exploded the past few years since I was working on that CMU study – ads all over the place – and know that people are spending hard-earned dollars on things like this. Keep yourself mentally active for sure – as well as physically active and socially engaged – but don’t drop dollars (or let your parents or grandparents drop dollars) on something like this. “The science of picking someone’s pocket through their skull” indeed.

Brain-Training Games Don’t Actually Make You Smarter

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/04/brain-games-are-bogus.html

All the new research shows that playing learning games makes you better at the games, but not at anything anyone might care about in real life…

Nelson: Hey Simpson, I hear your sister dumped Christianity!
Bart: Who cares?
Dolph: I’ll tell you someone who cares. He’s got long hair, works as a carpenter, has a lot of crazy ideas about love and brotherhood!
Jimbo: His name’s Gunther and he’s dating my mom. Sometimes he buys us beer.
Bart: I thought Kearney was dating your mom.
Kearney: Hey, she came on to me.

A friend and I are at dinner before going to see Lincoln:

Me: When did Lincoln open?
Friend: Tuesday, I think.
Me: *eyes widen* So it’s opening week?
Friend: Yeah, I think so.
Me: Oh, man. Do you think the theater is going to be full? It’s the weekend. 9:30 would be the primary show.
Friend: Oh, man, maybe.
Me: Well, we can go buy tickets first, and then go get a drink. But we may have to come

back a little early to make sure we get a seat.

We get to the Waterfront and go into the theater to buy tickets before going across the street to grab a drink. I ask the woman selling tickets, “Have the shows for this been crowded?”
She shakes her head emphatically.
“Oh, I was just wondering, in case we need to come back over early to get a seat.”
She shakes her head emphatically again.

We came back over 15 minutes before and had no trouble getting a seat. Looking around the theater, we could have come back five minutes before and had no problem getting a seat.

I severely overestimated the public’s interest in history.

I recommend seeing this film for the crazy facial hair, a reminder of how little you remember about mid-19th century history, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (*purrs* You traumatized by that pile of amputated limbs, baby? Jessica can comfort you.), and the amazingly quick wit and strong oratory skills of Thaddeus Stevens. Seriously, I want to be Thaddeus Stevens.

It absolutely ripped my guts out to watch this.

Today is Thanksgiving, and on this day between 13.4 and 16.5 million children in the United States live in poverty. That’s roughly 1 in 5 children, the fourth highest child poverty rate in the developed world. There are approximately 46 million people living below the poverty line in this country, meaning that about a third of our nation’s poor are children.I think what made me the saddest was hearing the awareness and the weariness in the voices of these children so young. I was also sad because these children are all so clever, and, despite the land of opportunity rhetoric, research has shown that social mobility in the United States is strongly tied to the income and education of one’s family, more so than in many other developed countries.

Of people who spent more than half of their childhood poor, 45% were poor at age 35. For people who spent less than half of their childhood in poverty, the figure is 8%.

And this was a bonus story not in the film. This girl is so bright: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/poor-kids/seras-story/

Every year, like clockwork, as soon as the time change happens I start to have problems with seasonal affective disorder. I feel really depressed, I go from sleeping 7 hours a night to 12, I can’t stop eating junk food. Last year I bought a

 light box (mine is actually a lamp), and it made a noticeable difference in my quality of life. There’s some research to back this up as a treatment too. They’re a little pricey, so if you have this problem, and you’d like to try one out before you buy one, you’re welcome to come over to my house and use it.

And as a bonus sometimes the light makes me feel really hyper and high, although according to the Internet that’s a sign of bipolar disorder. Pffffft. Whatever. I’m not bipolar. *goes out and spends $5,000 buying watches for a bunch of strange men she then has sex with*

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/health/policy/light-boxes-may-help-melt-those-winter-blues.html?_r=0