LCS Discussion Group Bill Schrader Pavillon 13/5/2015 @ 12:00

A – Nicholas Kristof quotes studies saying that racial bias is detectable in children as young as 3 months.  This test will reveal that most of us are biased on race, gender, age, and disability.  Apparently bias cannot be reasoned away, but disappears after prolonged familiarity – hard work, but fun!  What can each of us do?  What can society do?

B – Apparently when the measles vaccine was introduced in the fifties, doctors noted that childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.  Only recently have we recognized that measles lowers natural immunity for many other infections for several years and this explains the old data.  I believe that prevention, in general, saves us from unnecessary illness, if only because the lack of illness keeps us robust and less susceptible in general.  Agree?  What are the implications for public health policy?

C – While not generally known, up to 1,000 US forces are participating in three command exercises with Ukrainian forces.  Is this wise?

D – As you may have noticed the nascent Marxist in my economist’s psyche, can be a tad impatient with peoples bland acceptance of runaway inequality.  This article argues that our anger is dulled by consumerism, one of the root causes of inequality.  Apparently, markets are broken up into small social clubs, so a slum dweller in the right clothes rejoices that he is the coolest dude in his, otherwise terrible, neighbourhood.  This consequence of overly large high schools makes us more “happy” than we would otherwise be.  Are the plutocrats super smart, or are we super dumb?

E – Apparently we can control drug resistant bacteria simply by rotating our available varieties of anti-bacterial drugs so as to make the wild bacteria “forget” the temporarily dormant drugs.  Even penicillin can become fully effective for a while.  I would argue that not only drug companies, but hospitals and doctors, will resist this idea because “magic pills” are overwhelmingly preferred to a managed response.  After all, both sides make money out of pills, while “management” is relatively costly and free to the sick.  Can you change my mind?

F – What is your reaction to the conservative win in the UK?  How can they fail to follow Alberta’s lead so completely?

G – You probably know that Telsa is making domestic batteries for off-the-grid solar power.  At the same time, according to a Forbes analyst, they are introducing huge batteries for utilities that are significantly cheaper than current (pun) peak power generators.  Some argue that this is a turning point in the strangle-hold of carbon-based power.  Do you?  What will Koch do?