RSSCategory: Quality of Life

Rage and Injustice

October 18, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More
Rage and Injustice

When people ask why laws must be changed to protect behavior that seems “outside” social norms, it can sometimes be difficult to make the point that rights must accrue to individuals and their choices or they mean nothing. So when a woman is stoned in some backwater country for adultery (whether she is in fact married or not) or a young girl has her clitoris snipped off without having any say in the matter or when a child is allowed to die from a treatable illness because his or her parents believe that only prayer can save them or when people are denied basic civil rights because they don’t play the social game the same way as everyone else or—

If this were an issue of a racially mixed marriage, everyone would be aware and outraged. In this case it is not, it is a lesbian couple with children, who suffered a dual outrage—the first being denial of partner’s rights at the hospital where one perished and the second being the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the survivor against those who callously disregarded their basic humanity. The assumption by strangers that because they didn’t fit some cookie-cutter definition of Normal that their fundamental humanity could be abridged in a life and death situation is not something that is redressable other than by law, because without a law people will make up any old justification to be assholes. And without a law, the rest of us will let them get away with it.

Read the story. Be outraged. But do not be silent.

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Dying in prison

October 14, 2009 | By | Reply More
Dying in prison

Fascinating photo essay of Louisiana prison hospices. Yes, those are human beings behind bars–there simply must be a better way to deal with most of them than letting them rot behind bars. The essay starts with a mind-blowing statistic: In Louisiana, one out of every 55 residents is behind bars, many of them for life.

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Die, Caps Lock, Die

October 12, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More
Die, Caps Lock, Die

One of my peeves against propagated obsolete legacy is the caps lock key for computers. I hate it. In the 32 years that I’ve been using computers, I don’t think that I’ve ever hit it intentionally. It is where it is because typewriters used it to mechanically lock down the shift key.

But I have yet to meet anyone who types in all caps, except to indicate online screaming. Even then, it isn’t hard to hold a shift key with a pinky while typing with the other 9 fingers.

But now there is a fix! In every version of Windows since W2K, there is a secret patch that lets you convert any key to another. I’ve chosen to make CAPSLOCK into a simple shift. If I really need to lock caps, I can do it through software, or convert another useless key (e.g. scroll lock) into caps lock.

I found the magical tool in JohnHaller.com’s Useful Stuff essays: Disable Caps Lock. It’s a simple registry tweak that he found at annoyances.org (where they have full technical details).

Just download and launch the tweak. You get warnings, But it works! Just follow the directions and you’ll never be bothered by caps lock again.

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The twelve countries with the highest quality of life

October 5, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More
The twelve countries with the highest quality of life

The twelve countries with the highest quality of life do not include the United States. We come in at number 13, which means that we”re not doing badly as a whole. But we’re not doing as well as we should be doing, assuming (as many conservatives insist without reference to any metric) that there is no greater country than the United States. We were beaten in the rankings by many “socialist” countries, such as Norway, Canada, Sweden and France.

The U.N.’s measurement system is the Human Development Index, a complex objective formula, not a subjective determination. Some of the many dozens of factors that go into the HDI include the following:

  • Adult illiteracy rate
  • Asylum seekers by country of asylum
  • Average annual change in consumer price index (%)
  • Children underweight for age (% under age 5)
  • Combined gross enrolment ratio in education (%)
  • Earned income (estimated), ratio of female to male
  • Female adult literacy rate (% aged 15 and above)
  • Female estimated earned income (PPP US$)
  • Female life expectancy at birth (years)
  • GDI rank
  • GDP per capita (PPP US$)
  • Government expenditure on health as a percentage of total government expenditure
  • Government expenditure on health per capita (PPP US$)
  • Healthy life expectancy at birth (years)
  • Human development index value
  • Human poverty index (HPI-1) rank

Consider, also, this recent news from the Commonwealth Fund:

Although the United States now spends $2.4 trillion a year on medical care — vastly more per capita than comparable countries — the nation ranks near the bottom on premature deaths caused by illnesses such as diabetes, epilepsy, stroke, influenza, ulcers and pneumonia

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