A thought experiment: If Virus Tests Were Sodas

From Paul Romer's website:

Imagine a world in which the only way to get a soda is to get your doctor to write a prescription. It costs $20 per can. Your insurance company pays. The economy produces about 100,000 sodas each day.

If you lived in this world, do you think you could get people to scale up the production of soda to a level of millions of cans per day? It would be a challenge, but not because it is hard to produce and distribute soda.

Because they have to keep total costs from running out of control, insurance companies, health care providers, and government regulators have cobbled together a system that limits access to soda. One part of this system is an expensive regulatory process that has to approve:

the ingredients in each particular brand of soda; the insert that comes with the soda informing patients about its risks and benefits; the delivery system used by the soda supplier, be it a glass bottle, an aluminum can, a paper cup, etc.

Then, everyone decides that they want more soda. Why, they ask, can’t the nation produce enough soda for everyone to have some each day?

[via The Browser]

Photo by Jonny Caspari on Unsplash Read the rest

Three artificial pancreases: a special trio of Catalog of Missing Devices entries

EFF has just published an update to its Catalog of Missing Devices (a catalog of things that don’t exist thanks to the chilling effects of Section 1201 of the DMCA): a trio of ads for future artificial pancreas firmwares that illustrate the way that control over devices can magnify or correct power imbalances.

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Luna's prime real-estate and how to seize it

Though 1967's Outer Space Treaty says no country can lay claim to the moon (and thus no person can get a deed to lunar territory), the treaty does allow for commercial and scientific installations on Luna, and there are some very small, very valuable bits of crater rim that could be squatted in this way, to the enormous benefit of whomever gets there first (and the detriment of all others). Read the rest