Sunday Links

  • This is absolutely a must-read article on health care technology and health care spending, and the way they interact in a manner unique to health care. Jonathan Skinner (and Amitabh Chandra, in the paper they co-authored) argue that there are three categories of health care technology: blockbusters, good-for-some, and expensively useless (not terms they use), and that to reduce health care costs we’ll need to figure out how to get rid of the final category. Seriously: read it
  • Bralima (owned by Heineken) brews and distributes Primus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s most popular beer. To get to Goma and other eastern DRC cities, it pays (or paid, now) M23 and other rebel groups an estimated $1 million per year in “tolls.” Very fascinating article in Foreign Policy that brings up a lot of important and uncomfortable questions
  • An estimated one-third of Somalia’s 10 million people have a mental illness – and the nation’s only trained psychiatrist died in a car crash last year
  • Building a computer program to play Limit Texas Hold’em (using neural networks) against human players is cool; it’d be much more interesting to see a program that could consistently win at No Limit, though (sidnote: how horrible would it be to constantly hear Phil Hellmuth’s voice complain through the machine?!)
  • Farhad Manjoo (who’s moving to the Wall Street Journal!) wrote an entertaining article about The Onion. I think The Onion’s editor is wrong – seven days a week will probably dilute the concentrated funny that streams out of the organization – but that also seems necessary for its survival (sidenote: I had no idea it stopped printing in Madison! I read it religiously during Wednesday classes)

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