The furious to-do about Obamacare has obscured a basic fact about modern Americans: most of us, certainly the middle class, are sheltered by a complex web of insurance. Some insurance coverage is privately provided, such as life, accident, fire, flood, travel, liability, burial, and consumer product insurance. And some is government-provided or -required: Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, bank deposit, car, health, mortgage, food, crop, disaster insurance, and so on. All of these, without which American middle-class life as we know it would not be recognizable, are relatively recent developments. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 2, 2014 -
How to think of the risks of Autism. "As a statistically minded neuroscientist, I suggest a different approach that relies on a concept we are familiar with: relative odds. As a single common measuring stick to compare odds, I have chosen the “risk ratio,” a measure that allows the bigger picture to come into focus."
A succint NYT op-ed that is also a good primer on assessing health risks in general as well as the impact of media coverage on skewing risk perception.
posted by storybored
on Mar 30, 2014 -
, released in 2011, adds an interesting twist to the classic boardgame: it introduces permanent, game-changing modifications to the board and game pieces every time it is played. Last year, the designer of the game, Rob Daviau, gave a fascinating talk on the design challenges inherent in such a game. The video of that talk is now freely available to watch
. [more inside]
posted by tocts
on Jan 7, 2014 -
Take Back Your Pregnancy
When she got pregnant, Emily Oster, associate professor of economics at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, she found herself faced with the laundry list of rules that pregnant women have been handed for years regarding coffee, alcohol, soft cheese, deli meats, and so on. But when she looked at the studies behind the guidelines, she was surprised to see that most of them failed to make the distinction between causation and correlation. [more inside]
posted by kat518
on Aug 13, 2013 -
Predicting Google Shutdowns.
"In the following essay, I collect data on 350 Google products and look for predictive variables. I find some while modeling shutdown patterns, and make some predictions about future shutdowns. Hopefully the results are interesting, useful, or both." Gwern
exhaustively analyzes Google products past and present with an eye to establishing what's not long for the bitverse. tl;dr? Results
posted by mwhybark
on May 4, 2013 -
The problem is that cinema, as I define it and as something that inspired me, is under assault by the studios and, from what I can tell, with the full support of the audience. The reasons for this, in my opinion, are more economic than philosophical, but when you add an ample amount of fear and lack of vision and a lack of leadership you’ve got a trajectory that is pretty difficult to reverse.
- "Retired" director Steven Soderbergh
speaks to the San Francisco International Film Festival about the state of cinema
, full audio at bottom of page 2
posted by Artw
on Apr 29, 2013 -
argues that we should be more concerned about low risk events that we encounter with greater frequency. Meanwhile, Lonely Island
argues that we should be more concerned about low risk events that we encounter with greater frequency.
posted by dgaicun
on Jan 29, 2013 -
Betting Against the American Dream
. In 2005, just as Wall Street started to get cold feet about the housing market, the Magnetar
hedge fund helped create a new wave of billion-dollar mortgage-backed securities, pushed bankers to include riskier sub-prime mortgages, and then shorted the securities, making millions when the bubble finally burst. Traders on both sides of the deals pocketed enormous fees even if their banks went under when the securities failed. Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica
, This American Life
, and NPR's Planet Money
track down some of the big winners in the housing/financial crisis. No time to read or listen? It seemed so much like a scheme from The Producers
, they even recorded a show tune to explain it all
posted by straight
on Apr 15, 2010 -
Last Tuesday, The Augstine Commission
- an independent council created earlier this year to study NASA's human spaceflight objectives - released their findings
. While many are responding to the report's grim findings on NASA's budget woes, former aerospace engineer Rand Simberg
has a criticism of his own: "If our attitude toward the space frontier is that we must strive to never, ever lose anyone, it will remain closed. If our ancestors who opened the west, or who came from Europe, had such an attitude, we would still be over there, and there would have been no California space industry to get us to the moon forty years ago. It has never been 'safe' to open a frontier, and this frontier is the harshest one that we've ever faced.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing
on Sep 12, 2009 -
"Death Risk Rankings
calculates your risk of dying in the next year and allows you to compare that risk to others in the world." Fun with mortality data and statistics from Carnegie Mellon University.
posted by OmieWise
on Sep 4, 2009 -
? Then you may like Strategy Game Network
[requires registration.] Strategy Game Network has similar gameplay and in addition to the classic map, there are many alternative maps. With 24 hour turn limits it isn't a huge time sink, just play a few minutes a day.
posted by schyler523
on Nov 14, 2008 -
"You're a goddamn cheat Chris!"*
were a string of words shouted at most of my childhood family reunions. For decades the males of my extend family have vented their most masculine, primordial, and often intoxicated angst around this small board
. Today we find ourselves dispersed - DC, Florida, Rwanda, Los Angeles, etc - unable to throw temper tantrums over the loss Irkutsk. That is, until we discovered: THE CONQUER CLUB
* I have no relation to these people
posted by Dr.James.Orin.Incandenza
on Mar 1, 2007 -
Your Disease Risk
is an interesting new website that quantifies your risk of contracting various diseases. From a Wall Street Journal story on the site: "The site goes beyond the standard questions about age, cholesterol and family history and explores the variety of lifestyle choices, environmental issues and other factors that can influence health risk. The questions are based on risk factors that have been established through credible scientific studies."
posted by bove
on Oct 31, 2006 -
is a flash game, similar to Risk. The goal is to conquer the entire board. Start easy, with just the two player version (play goes up to 7 players max). In order to "win" a square, the randomized total of your die roll must be higher than your opponent's total. Tie/Lose, and all your dice (but one) are removed from your square. After each turn, the number of dice you earned is randomly distributed among your conquered squares. Strategically, it's good to build a solid base of contiguous squares, and staff your front lines with more dice than your edge squares.
posted by jonson
on Aug 2, 2006 -
Mainstream Media to American Democracy: Drop Dead!
Brad Friedman ask alarming questions about the complete lack of attention which has been paid to the GAO report on electronic voting technology
(PDF link) released more than a month ago, which confirms what security experts have been saying for years: these systems are vulnerable to multiple independent attacks targeting system and network vulnerabilities, access controls, hardware controls, and overall management practices. If you're short of time, at least read Rep. Waxman's fact sheet
Ultimately, there is no real security on these machines; the report shows that overturning election results would not be at all difficult for even a single moderately skilled attacker. And now Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are wondering if American Democracy has died an electronic death
in the wake of massive discrepancies between final pre-election opinion polls and the results of several citizen initiatives designed to reform Ohio's electoral processes.
posted by dinsdale
on Nov 16, 2005 -
Play RISK using Google Maps
. From the FAQ: For some reason I decided a bit after the API for Google Maps came out that it would be awesome to be able to play Risk on it... I've always been a gamer and thought this was the perfect step.
posted by KevinSkomsvold
on Nov 8, 2005 -
Here is an excellent article on Rationality versus Values
. Personally though, I'd rather be free of more mundane risks such as traffic accidents than say, extraordinary risks such as being held hostage in a theatre... but that's just my opinion.
posted by titboy
on Oct 28, 2002 -
has spent his life looking for beauty in warzones. This flash site pulls together some of his most vivid images, including the iconic image of a young girl from Afganistan. But his work hasn't been without a few dangers: "I've had a couple of close calls in my career, but part of my brain that's concerned with self-preservation is very large. I was almost drowned in India and I was in an airplane crash in Yugoslavia, where I found myself about 10 feet underwater. Miraculously, I was able to swim out from underneath the seatbelt. But I came within a fraction of an inch of not making it. I'd rather take the risk and have the adventure, than to be timid and not take those risks ... It's the best life."
posted by feelinglistless
on Feb 23, 2002 -
In praise of bad habits.
Interesting lecture that postulates our bad habits make us human, and help fulfill an evolutionary need for risk. The lecturer also poses some interesting moral questions about the "health police":
"Engaging in risk - smoking, drinking, creating the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases, eating fat, sugar, salt and avoiding too much exercise - is characteristic of a different strata of society - the poor and marginalised, the working classes, ethnic minorities and 'deviant' groups. When the proponents of healthism are urging changes in lifestyle in order to achieve, in their terms, 'well-being', they are advocating changes for others much more often than they are for themselves. In this sense they are essentially moralists seeking to stigmatise specific members of society."
posted by kittyloop
on Nov 28, 2001 -
The problem isn't too much greed, but too much cowardly greed.
"Spineless lenders, weak-kneed investors and meddling regulators intent on reducing risk pose a greater threat to the global economy than the volatile financial markets... 'The critic's image of the global financial markets as a giant casino is wrong," [writes British financial writer Daniel Ben-Ami], 'On the contrary, the modern financial markets are more often characterized by a fear of risk-taking than a reckless disregard for danger.'"
posted by tranquileye
on Aug 2, 2001 -