Saturday, March 21, 2009

Free Health Care

Free health care here in Canada is great, we can see a doctor whenever we feel the need, without worrying about being able to afford it. When we are in an accident or have a major illness we can obtain excellent care at no cost (as long as we don't get stuck in the lineup in emergency).

The downside is that it is still based on the monetary system, and the government is always looking for places to cut funding. At the family doctor level, they are not always up to date on the latest advances in technology. They are also limited in the amount and types of testing that they can recommend. This results in many people falling through the cracks and not getting the advice & treatment that they need.

We need access to regular testing of our state of health, including genetic analysis, nutritional analysis, and detection of life threating illness. The public education system in addition to teaching critical thinking and science needs to teach what is known about nutrition and personal health care. I would prefer to focus on my own area of expertise and not have to read medical and biology scientific papers just to keep myself going.

If the government funded health care system is not willing to provide these basic services, they need to allow private clinics which provide these services. Here in Canada, if you want to maximize your health care, you need to fly to the US or elsewhere, and pay out of your pocket. The problem with this is that in addition to the health care costs you have the additional travel and accommodation expenses.

All I am asking is that the public system does its best to keep up with science & technology, as well as focusing on prevention, and early detection. In addition, allow me to explore other options without having to leave the country.

The scientific & technological revolution is on the verge of providing us with virtually unlimited resources for enhancing and extending our healthy years. Now is the time to embrace this so that we all can be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

The economic collapse is not a valid excuse for stopping progress. It is not a sudden end of resources, it is the disintegration of systems based on bullshit, and limited thinking. It just means we have to apply a little more intelligence, science, & technology to the way we do things. Health care, like any system can be optimized by applying engineering, science, and critical thinking.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blog Engineering

After a twitter discussion between myself @wburris and @ thzatheist I was thinking I should write a blog about some of the topics that came up.

Part of the discussion was about applying scientific & engineering techniques to solve a wide range of problems in society. While thinking about what to say, I realized that I don't even have the skills to engineer a blog. In high school English, I spent the time thinking that this was a waste of time, because physics & math were a lot more interesting and useful. Looks like I was partially right, because I faild first year university Physics & Calculus. This was partly because my high school preparation in those areas was inadaquate, but also because I had no study skills.

The problem was not that English class was a waste of time, because it was English and not Physics or Math. It was a waste of time, becuause there was no discussion about the purpose behind it. There was no talk about critical thinking and how to organize ideas. I hope that the education system has improved some since the sixties & seventies, but it probably hasn't.

Throughout adult life, I have often thought about how to learn these skills, and often start working through a book to teach myself, but easily get distracted. My work life is made easier by learning more about computer programming and electronic circuit design, so working through a writing book, still feels like a waste of time.

I think that the reason my communication skill have been somewhat effective, is because of the number of books I have read.  In grade 2, I ignored the librarians suggestion that "The Secret Garden" was too advanced and took it out and read it cover to cover.  I haven't stopped reading since.  See Spot Run style books in grade one were very boring.  I have lost track of how many books I have read, but 1 book per month since 1964 would be a good estimate.

Since the theme of this blog is about finding ways to enhance the ability of my mind, its time to get busy on learning how to learn, how to think critically & how to write.

Monday, March 2, 2009

War Is Good

Of course I don't believe war is good, but I was talking to someone who insist that it is.

His first argument is that it contributes to the economy, therefore it is good. My response is that it may create short term jobs, but the end result is negative. First off the tools of war are destroyed in the process of war, so have no secondary contribution to the economy. Second infrastructure is destroyed, causing the need for reconstruction and further debt loads. Third and most important, lives are lost.

According to him, loss of life on a massive scale is good, because if there had never been any wars the planet would be so crowded from overpopulation, that we would all be starving. Maybe over population would be a problem now, if all the past wars had not taken place, but maybe not, we can't assume that. We may have found other solutions to the problem, if that was our most dire problem. Because we have acted like savage beasts in the past, does not mean that we should continue in that manner.

I work under the assumption that killing humans is wrong, and advocate doing whatever is possible to end violence. If this causes overpopulation, then we will work on solving that problem. Do not assume that war is the best solution to this problem.

The problem with over population, seems to be a lack of resources, but is it really a lack of resources, or is it a lack of application of brain power. For example, we will probably run out of oil in the near future, but this is only a major problem if we never find alternatives. If we spend all our effort searching for oil we will not find alternative ways of doing things and alternative sources of energy.

The real problem is beliefs. We believe that there is no solution so we don't look for one. We believe that the other guy is the problem, so we don't do anything about improving ourselves. We believe that our beliefs are the truth, and all other beliefs are false.

Be careful what you believe in, because the mind has the habit of turning your beliefs into reality. Its not that your beliefs cause the universe to reconfigure to conform to your beliefs. There is no hidden Secret here that will make all your wishes come true. What is happening is that your mind is very good at filtering reality, so that you only see evidence that appears to support your beliefs and don't see contradictory evidence. Your beliefs also drive your actions, both consciously and subconsciously.

If we start believing that every life on this planet is valuable, and that our problems are solvable, we just might start doing things differently. The status quo is not acceptable, we as a global society, and as individuals must constantly strive for better ways of doing things.