Saturday, October 26, 2013

Health care exchange, NSA, smart cars and local election

Affordable Care Law continues to be in the news. Now the focal point is bad software for Healthcare Exchange, which was supposedly to be the easiest part for the implementation of the law. Besides all the politics involved, the one question I had was how the programming contractors were chosen. Were technical experts involved in evaluating the contractors competency? Were there multiple bids for the contracts? .... all the routine check points in a business transactions. Too frequently management/administrators who know nothing about a specific technology are easily fooled by fancy presentations.

National Security Agency (NSA)'s monitoring of communication is in the headline news. I was not surprised that intelligent agency spying on foreign countries, terrorists and related people. What surprised me was that the government spy on heads of governments of long time alleys. There was report that  some state department official claimed the spying helped to make some decisions at UN. If this was true, what did it imply? incompetency of state department? opportunist policy, impatience, instant gratification - just to know the other side's decision ahead of time?

Smart Cars are not really in national news, but in commercials at national news time.  Sensor technology that help drivers to complete difficult tasks such as parallel parking, detection of cars in blind spots, are really beneficial. Technology that help drivers to prevent accidents due to fatigue, inattention, is good in some It sense, but really bad technology. A fatigued person should not drive. A driver should pay attention to the road ahead. It encourages bad behavior and habit. What it really does is to groom a population that relies on machine or others for their own behavior. It makes people dumb, make dumb dumber.  I used to be able to remember a route after driving once on it, and remember route on a map. Due to relying on GPS, I lost this ability. How many times does GPS make you to make wrong turns?

Our local election this year will determine the tax increase for city's school district, and several propositions to amend state constitution. Local elections impact our daily life. This election, it is about school funding, and future water supply to  Texas' fast growing population. The fact is, if we don't vote, those who voted will make the decision for us. We voted this afternoon. In addition I sent email to community crime watch list to remind my neighbors to vote.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Random Thoughts: Affordable Care Act and etc

What I heard from media and government propaganda about the Affordable Care Act, was that it "will reduce the cost of medical care" when the 50 million (16.9% of the population) uninsured are enrolled in medical issuance,  which made sense to me. So I am not opposed to the new law.

However, what is not publicized is the cost to the 83.1% insured people. I got the cold truth today when I enrolled for my 2014 benefits - my deductible jumped by 20% and my premium increased by the same amount. I had not had deductible change for some time, and the premium is much larger that the increase from 2012 to 2013. According to USA Today, a family had their medical insurance from Dallas public school increased by 30% for the cheapest plan available. Their medical insurance cost was nearly 20% of the employee's pay!

Even though I still see the benefit of forcing everyone to have medical insurance, I am not mad any more at the extremists in congress who caused recent government shutdown in the name of defunct the law.

For a difficult change such as this health carer reform, the government should have provided a full picture of the consequence of the change, letting citizens know the long term benefits the change will bring as well as pains associated with it. Otherwise when it hurts, those who might be able to tolerate the pain if they knew that it was coming, will not tolerate the pain, and become an opponent of the change. With mounting glitches in the new system, and acute pains to some in the 83.1% of the insured, the opposition to the affordable care act will grow - this time it will not only be those who oppose it for ideological reasons, but also those for economical reasons such as those like the aforementioned family in the USA Today's story.

At the open enrollment time, we should have positive answers to the following questions:

1) do you have your annual physical exams?
2) do you have your teeth cleaned twice a year?
3) do you have eye exam at least every two years?
3) do you buy life insurance to protect yourself and your family?

Take action to protect yourself and your family!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Acadia Miscellaneous

In addition to adventures, one thing we looked forward to when visiting Acadia was to have fresh lobsters at great price. After a couple tries, we realized that we should not expect low price lobsters at Bar Harbor or any other small towns adjacent to Acadia. We did have quite a few lobster dinners - the lobsters were delicious but at price comparable to that at Texas.

At the rocky shore, tidal pools are places to check out the world under water at low tide time.

There are also many in land glacier ponds in Acadia National Park, the main ones are Jordan pond and Eagle Lake, Echo Lake and Long pond which provides totally different vistas than the shorelines.

The remnants are everywhere, most prominent, even to layman's eyes, is the balance rock on  South Bubble

There are many small things that add to Acadia's beauty, such as a hovering seagull over the boulders, the sound of bell on a buoy propagating over the Frenchman bay , white sail boats by harbors, sea birds on a pier, .....