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Author Topic: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America  (Read 95363 times)

jjj

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #300 on: September 28, 2015, 02:44:19 pm »

Isaac has a point. Any increase in energy costs has to be paid for. There's no free lunch, as Russ would say. If we push through measures as a result of alarm and panic, to build expensive new power plants, whilst making redundant the existing coal-fired plants that could still be functional for many years into the future, then we are wasting resources, unless the new energy sources are in reality more efficient and the electricity cheaper than that produced by the older coal-fired plants.
A bigger waste of resources/money would be continuing to invest with old methods with a whole host of serious problems, which are not even cheaper.

Quote
A fundamental principle of economics is that one can't spend the same energy twice, just as one can't spend the same money twice. One always has to prioritize. The money spent on a new solar farm could instead have been spent on alleviating poverty in 3rd world countries, or even on alleviating poverty in America.  ;)
Except that will never ever happen. It doesn't even happen now without lots of money being spent on solar farms. Cheaper energy will however have a much greater impact on such things anyway.
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Rob C

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #301 on: September 28, 2015, 02:51:18 pm »

EVERYONE benefits from a less polluted and poisoned world.
EVERYONE benefits from sea levels not rising.
EVERYONE benefits from the competition for limited energy being got rid of.
In fact I cannot think of a way of making life better for the most number of people than to have clean local [and therefore very cheap] energy production everywhere. This would also have a knock on effect of solving many other issues, not to mention that limited resources are the main reason for most conflict.


Saw a spot on France 24 this evening; Jakarta is already below water-level in some places including some of the most expensive real estate as well as poor. They are crying out for attention to rising waters. Sympathy for the Maldives?

It's very real.

Rob C

amolitor

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #302 on: September 28, 2015, 02:55:39 pm »

I think the positions have changed slightly.

Nobody denies any longer that the temperature is rising and that sea level is going up. The denial now is that it's caused by human activities.

Interestingly, the other side is moving toward the position that, while it's caused by human activities, it's too late and there's nothing to be done about it.

So, in terms of actual pragmatism, the two sides are very close: do nothing beyond seek high ground, and hold on tight.
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Rob C

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #303 on: September 28, 2015, 04:44:46 pm »

I think the positions have changed slightly.

Nobody denies any longer that the temperature is rising and that sea level is going up. The denial now is that it's caused by human activities.

Interestingly, the other side is moving toward the position that, while it's caused by human activities, it's too late and there's nothing to be done about it.

So, in terms of actual pragmatism, the two sides are very close: do nothing beyond seek high ground, and hold on tight.


I fear that you are probably right. Apart from food problems, think of the money that's going to drown with all that prime seaside property. Where wlll all those millions of peole go? Will they just riot and try to get themselves squatted into higher properties? Maybe that's why there's little appetite for gun control: we're gonna need them thangs real soon...

On the other hand, if half of that volcanic island in the Canaries does fall off, will it matter about higher ground unless it's up the Andes?

Rob C

Ray

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #304 on: September 28, 2015, 10:13:26 pm »

Nope; better fix the problems now, if it's not already too late, than pay lip service to the environment but continue to rape it instead.

London and Glasgow were dying under smog back in the 40s and 50s; when coal was replaced for many uses the smogs vanished. Look at Paris today, China, what more does it take to open eyes?

Rob C

We have fixed the problem, Rob. We've introduced emission controls through legislation and cap-and-trade policies, resulting in new technologies to reduce virtually all the harmful emissions that were a common problem in the past. A modern coal plant using the latest technology produces miniscule amounts of air pollution. The processes of mining the coal, and consequent environmental damage are another issue.

The air pollution in China is partly due to their use of cheap, old-fashioned coal-fired plants without adequate emission controls, in addition to the increasing amount of noxious emissions from petrol and diesel cars as increasing numbers of Chinese become able to afford a car.

However, modern coal-fired power stations are not good at eliminating that clean and pure gas called CO2, which is essential for all life and is greatly appreciated by plant life in particular, which usually flourishes in elevated levels of CO2.

The following article provides some very detailed information on this aspect of CO2.
http://web.uvic.ca/~kooten/Agriculture/CO2FoodBenefit(2013).pdf

Here's a summary that I've extracted for you, in case you can't be bothered reading the whole article, Rob.  ;)

“The rising level of atmospheric CO2 could be the one global natural resource that is
progressively increasing food production and total biological output, in a world of otherwise
diminishing natural resources of land, water, energy, minerals, and fertilizer.

It is a means of inadvertently increasing the productivity of farming systems and other photosynthetically
active ecosystems. The effects know no boundaries and both developing and developed
countries are, and will be, sharing equally,” for “the rising level of atmospheric CO2 is a
universally free premium, gaining in magnitude with time, on which we all can reckon for the
foreseeable future”
(Wittwer, 1995).

To give a perspective on the scale of these benefits, the researches have attempted to calculate the monetary value of such increased agricultural production which is directly attributable to increased CO2 levels. They estimate that between 1961 and 2011, the increased value of crops worldwide, directly attributable to increased CO2 levels above pre-industrial levels, was 3.2 trillion dollars.

Furthermore, it is estimated that the continuing benefits of elevated levels of CO2 between 2012 and 2050 will amount to an additional 9.8 trillion dollars worth of agricultural production.
Mind you, that's only about 250 billion dollars worth of food per year, but probably sufficient in quantity to provide the additional food that the millions of undernourished poor people in the world require.

In case you're interested in the hard facts relating to the emission controls that have been put in place since those smoggy days in the 1940s and 50s, the following link provides some revealing information.
http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/studies/the-facts-about-air-quality-and-coal-fired-power-plants/

Ciao
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amolitor

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #305 on: September 28, 2015, 11:37:09 pm »

The paper on CO2 and food production was. What a hoot. Thanks.
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Ray

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #306 on: September 29, 2015, 12:37:46 am »

I think the positions have changed slightly.

Nobody denies any longer that the temperature is rising and that sea level is going up. The denial now is that it's caused by human activities.

Interestingly, the other side is moving toward the position that, while it's caused by human activities, it's too late and there's nothing to be done about it.

So, in terms of actual pragmatism, the two sides are very close: do nothing beyond seek high ground, and hold on tight.

Andrew,
Climate is always changing. That's what climate does. It's either getting warmer or colder during any period of time, although calculating a precise figure for a global temperature is actually impossible. There's always a wide margin of error, and data is frequently being re-evaluated and manipulated, and temperatures reconstructed.

In the past 2,000 years or more, up to the present time, there have been 3 warm periods that are at least reasonably well documented: The Roman Warm period around the time of Jesus Christ. The Medieval Warm Period during the time that the Vikings flourished in Greenland, around 1,000 years ago, and the Modern Warm Period that we are experiencing today.

Warm periods are generally preferred. Civilizations tend to flourish during warm periods. If it's true that our CO2 emissions are contributing to this Modern Warm Period, then that might actually be a good thing. As the climate descends into another cool period in the near future, in accordance with previous natural patterns, our CO2 levels could protect us from the worst of the cooling.

Of course, the AGW alarmists have done their best to cover up the existence of these previous warm periods in recent history. One such cover-up was Michael Mann's Hockey Stick graph which has been the subject of much 'fraud' litigation.

Another dismissal of the Medieval Warm Period, by the AGW alarmists, is the claim that it was not a global phenomenon. However, such dismissal is based upon a lack of evidence and lack of historic data from other parts of the globe, and as we should all know, an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.   ;)

One of my favourite photographic locations is the area around Siem Reap in Cambodia, where the ancient Khmer temples of Angkor are located. I just love walking around the ruins photographing the bizarre mixture of crumbling temples and giant tree roots, but the history of this place is also fascinating.

It's always been a mystery to historians why the Khmer population just relocated after being conquered by the Thais during the 14th to 15th centuries, leaving behind a huge civilization with a vast network of canals and a flourishing agricultural system, which became a lost city in the jungle until it was rediscovered by the French colonialists in the 19th century.

However, the mystery has now been solved by Australian scientists.  According to an analysis of tree rings, climate change was the main cause of the collapse of the Khmer civilization. During the same time (approximately) that Greenland was icing over, causing the Vikings to become more isolated and making living conditions more harsh for them, the snows and glaciers in the Himalayas (another favourite photographic location) refused to melt during summer, as they had done in the past during the build-up of the Khmer civilization.

The Khmer civilization was totally dependent upon the water from the melting snows of the Himalayas flowing down the Mekong and filling up their dams. After a number of years of drought due to a cooling climate, the civilization would have been in deep trouble. The population would have begun moving to other locations in search of food. The Thais would have seen this state of affairs as an opportunity to attack, which they did. The local population would have seen no reason to hang around or even return to the place later, so the city became lost in the jungle.

Man-made CO2 would have had no bearing on this disaster, but Shhhh! Don't spread it around, otherwise the development of sustainable energy might slow down.  ;)
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Ray

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #307 on: September 29, 2015, 12:55:53 am »

The paper on CO2 and food production was. What a hoot. Thanks.

What part is a hoot, Andrew? Can you point to anything in those articles that is not reasonably factual? Establishing that increased CO2 results in increased agricultural production is something that can be done with certainty, in real time, without having to rely upon dubious computer projections based upon limited and shaky data. Farmers have been injecting CO2 into their greenhouses for decades, in order to increase crop yields.
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tom b

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #308 on: September 29, 2015, 01:59:44 am »

This thread has gone way off topic. It was about, "The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America". As a casual observer from Australia, it once again seems a product of wedge politics.

The Republicans seem to be saying, "We are working and can afford our health care. Why should we support those who can't afford it!".

The Democrats seem to have no answer.

The result is that you have a world class health system for those who can afford it and a third world health system for those who can't.

Cheers,

« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 02:09:28 am by tom b »
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Tom Brown

AreBee

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #309 on: September 29, 2015, 04:34:38 am »

Tom,

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The Democrats seem to have no answer.

Perhaps they are speechless at fellow human beings saying "Why should we support those who can't afford it!".

Quote
The result is that you have a world class health system for those who can afford it and a third world health system for those who can't.

The epitome of capitalism.
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Rob C

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #310 on: September 29, 2015, 05:38:14 am »

Tom,

Perhaps they are speechless at fellow human beings saying "Why should we support those who can't afford it!".

The epitome of capitalism.

Not quite, Rob: the epitome of the failure to employ the fruits of capitalism to better effect.

Rob C

Rob C

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #311 on: September 29, 2015, 05:42:03 am »

Ray, a prodigious amount of research there, in your reply to Andrew.

Wouldn't it have been easier and far less time-consuming for you to have come right out and stated: you're all gonna die, at least once terminally; why waste money on medicine?

;-)

Rob C

AreBee

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #312 on: September 29, 2015, 06:05:15 am »

Rob,

Quote
Not quite...: the epitome of the failure to employ the fruits of capitalism to better effect.

In principle, yes; in practice, no.
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jeremyrh

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #313 on: September 29, 2015, 08:13:09 am »

Ray, a prodigious amount of research there, in your reply to Andrew.

Well, a prodigious amount of typing, anyway. In terms of actual research, as undertaken by scientists doing that whole "using data and making verifiable hypotheses" thang, I think the jury has returned and the verdict is pretty clear that man-made CO2 is causing climate change and it ain't gonna be pretty.
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jeremyrh

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #314 on: September 29, 2015, 08:17:53 am »

What part is a hoot, Andrew? Can you point to anything in those articles that is not reasonably factual? Establishing that increased CO2 results in increased agricultural production is something that can be done with certainty, in real time, without having to rely upon dubious computer projections based upon limited and shaky data. Farmers have been injecting CO2 into their greenhouses for decades, in order to increase crop yields.
As usual in natural systems, the truth is a complex affair. For example: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11655-climate-myths-higher-co2-levels-will-boost-plant-growth-and-food-production/

Predicting the world’s overall changes in food production in response to elevated CO2 is virtually impossible. Global production is expected to rise until the increase in local average temperatures exceeds 3°C, but then start to fall. In tropical and dry regions increases of just 1 to 2°C are expected to lead to falls in production. In marginal lands where water is the greatest constraint, which includes much of the developing world but also regions such as the western US, the losses may greatly exceed the gains.
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Ray

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #315 on: September 29, 2015, 08:39:03 am »

This thread has gone way off topic. It was about, "The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America". As a casual observer from Australia, it once again seems a product of wedge politics.

The Republicans seem to be saying, "We are working and can afford our health care. Why should we support those who can't afford it!".

The Democrats seem to have no answer.

The result is that you have a world class health system for those who can afford it and a third world health system for those who can't.

Cheers,

The thread is not entirely off topic. Obama is no doubt doing his best to rectify the great inequality of access to medical resources among American citizens, but he's also very much in favour of reducing CO2 emissions.

Both plans require money and both are in conflict unless only the rich pay for both causes. That is, increased taxes on the rich to pay for increased medical services for the poor, and increased taxes on the rich to pay for increased energy costs that result, at least initially, from tackling CO2 emissions.
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amolitor

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #316 on: September 29, 2015, 10:14:31 am »

What part is a hoot, Andrew? Can you point to anything in those articles that is not reasonably factual? Establishing that increased CO2 results in increased agricultural production is something that can be done with certainty, in real time, without having to rely upon dubious computer projections based upon limited and shaky data. Farmers have been injecting CO2 into their greenhouses for decades, in order to increase crop yields.

The paper is an absolute maze of simple linear predictions ("so we divide this by that and get 1.8 which we then multiply by this other thing to project 50 years ...") based on controlled experiments without any consideration of the fact that there are other factors when you get out into the real world.

Simply boosting CO2 does indeed increase production in some dimensions (starches and sugars, but not proteins). Combine that with temperature rise and changes in water availability, and the simple linear prediction almost certainly falls apart.

These are complex dynamical systems (that's a mathematical term which means "chaotic") and you can't make useful predictions by laying down a ruler, or fitting polynomials (he does fit a polynomial on one occasion).

The absolute failure to mention potential issues and problems, to discuss weaknesses of the analysis, and so on, mark this clearly as an unscientific position paper, as opposed to anything useful or interesting.

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Ray

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #317 on: September 29, 2015, 11:11:13 am »

As usual in natural systems, the truth is a complex affair. For example: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11655-climate-myths-higher-co2-levels-will-boost-plant-growth-and-food-production/

Predicting the world’s overall changes in food production in response to elevated CO2 is virtually impossible. Global production is expected to rise until the increase in local average temperatures exceeds 3°C, but then start to fall. In tropical and dry regions increases of just 1 to 2°C are expected to lead to falls in production. In marginal lands where water is the greatest constraint, which includes much of the developing world but also regions such as the western US, the losses may greatly exceed the gains.

Now that comment from the New Scientist is revealing. If one accepts that predicting the world's overall changes in food production in response to elevated CO2 levels is virtually impossible, despite the obvious fact that plant growth can be observed in real time under varying levels of CO2 in greenhouses and out in the open with CO2 wafted over the plants, then one must logically accept that predicting the effect of CO2 on global climate change, using flawed computer models and without the benefit of real-time testing, is not just virtually impossible but actually impossible. One can't have it both ways. One can't have one's cake and eat it.

The article accepts the fact that all plants could benefit from rising CO2 levels when water is a limiting factor, then goes on to state the bleeding obvious that increased plant growth will level off when limited by water or nitrogen.

The author of that article seems to have missed the point, which is, for a given supply of water and nitrogen, and at a given temperature, most varieties of plants will respond with increased growth when given increased CO2, up to a certain level of CO2, which I believe is around 1500 ppm or about 4x the current atmospheric level.

For example, in the desert with no water at all there is no plant growth no matter how high the levels of CO2. When there's a good shower of rain, the desert begins to bloom and it will bloom more magnificently with elevated levels of CO2. However, if the wet weather in the desert persists and one gets continuous rain for unusually long periods, the plant growth will not continue to increase at the same rate if there is a lack of nitrogen in the sandy soil, which is quite likely in a desert.

Plants do not live by CO2 alone. They obviously need water, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and a few other macronutrients. Agriculturists know this. Whatever the level of atmospheric CO2, they will add appropriate amounts of water and macronutrients to achieve maximum crop yield, if they're sensible and able to.

If one imagines a science fiction scenario whereby we were able to reduce CO2 levels from the present 400ppm to pre-industrial levels of around 280ppm in a very short period of time, say a few months, then the following year's agricultural production would be significantly reduced when using the same amount of water and macronutrients. That's the point.
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Ray

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #318 on: September 29, 2015, 11:20:59 am »

The paper is an absolute maze of simple linear predictions ("so we divide this by that and get 1.8 which we then multiply by this other thing to project 50 years ...") based on controlled experiments without any consideration of the fact that there are other factors when you get out into the real world.


Have you read the paper, Andrew? On page 8 there is the following statement.

"Located on the Internet at http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php,
the CO2 Science Plant Growth Database lists the results of thousands of CO2 enrichment experiments conducted on hundreds of different crops growing under varying environmental conditions over the past few decades. This database was used to calculate the mean crop growth response to a 300-ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration for each crop listed in Table 1."


And here is a statement from the above mentioned "co2science.org" site:

"In this section of our web site we maintain an ever-expanding archive of the results of peer-reviewed scientific studies that report the growth responses of plants to atmospheric CO2 enrichment.
"

Of course there are always changing factors in the real world. However, in order to determine the effect of elevated levels of CO2 on plant growth one has to try to keep all other factors the same. It would be plain silly to compare the growth of plants exposed to elevated CO2 levels in a desert with the growth of plants in the wet tropics exposed to reduced levels of CO2, then claim that reduced levels of CO2 result in increased growth."

I can't understand your objection, Andrew. You're not in a state of denial by any chance, are you?  ;)
 

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amolitor

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Re: The Tyranny of Medical Bills in America
« Reply #319 on: September 29, 2015, 11:32:36 am »

Yes, I read the paper. I have read many papers, scientific and otherwise. I've written some, again of both kinds.

The cited paper is a position paper, not a scientific one. I'm not sure why you think citing other papers makes this one good. Anyone can cite anything. Bad papers almost invariably cite tons of papers.

As to the larger question, it is perfectly correct to say that we cannot reliably predict the total consequences increased CO2. Nobody is saying we can.

I would elaborate, but it seems pointless.
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