Was our healthcare system created to enrich Big Pharma?

❝ An Irish drugmaker has jacked up the price of a painkiller to nearly $3,000 a bottle. The drug is 22 times more expensive than when the company acquired it in late 2013.

The sticker shock for Horizon Pharma’s Vimovo drug is magnified by the fact that the painkiller’s two main ingredients can be purchased separately — for just $36.

❝ Although patients typically pay just a fraction of the price for Vimovo, the dramatic price increase underlines what critics describe as a murky and wasteful system that ultimately leads to higher health care costs for all Americans.

Everything from corporate taxes to transport to insurance hustles are constructed around optimizing profits for pharmaceutical companies. We shouldn’t call this “healthcare” — it’s “profitcare”!

Obedient “local” news anchors repeat corporate memo – as ordered


Screencap/Deadspin

Over the last week or so, local television news anchors across the the country have joined together to paradoxically warn viewers about the “troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.” The identical, seemingly earnest editorial messages paid lip service to the importance of fact-checking and unbiased reporting, but they also complained about “false news” and “fake stories.” If that seems to echo the rhetoric of President Trump, it’s probably because the statement was written by one of his allies.

The anchors were forced to read the so-called journalistic responsibility messages word for word by their employer, the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of television stations in the country. The features were one of Sinclair’s now infamous “must-run” segments, consisting of conservative commentary that every Sinclair-owned station is required to air.

RTFA for exactly the sort of crap politics Orwell addressed in 1984.

Landmark: Colorado residents win the right to store energy

❝ Colorado is among the first states in the country to grant residents the right to store energy without discrimination in rates or excessive barriers in connecting to the power grid…

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the landmark Senate Bill 9 into law Thursday, which declares “that consumers of electricity have a right to install, interconnect, and use energy storage systems on their property, and that this will enhance the reliability and efficiency of the electric grid, save money, and reduce the need for additional electric generation facilities.”

❝ Energy storage, or battery, system prices have dropped within the price range of some households and businesses, allowing them to capture surplus energy generated from renewable sources.

Utilities in other states opposed to battery systems, which lessen their control over the grid, have moved to block or establish different rates for customers who use them.

The Free Market in the Land of the Free.

Watch the sky for Flying Whales


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❝ France has entered the global race to develop a viable cargo airship with a 500-foot blimp designed to lift lumber from deep woodland.

Flying Whales is joining a contest that includes defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp. and a clutch of smaller players. What’s different about the latest project is the combined benefit of the blimp being able to lift an industry-leading 60 tons, but without any requirement for mooring pylons…

❝ “There have been a lot of blimp projects over time and there have been many failures,” Flying Whales founder and Chief Executive Officer Sebastien Bougon said in an interview. “We have a solid base. The wood market alone justifies our investments, and we’ve got low-risk prospects beyond.”

The Flying Whale will be twice as long as a Boeing 747 jumbo jet and have a rigid structure with individual pockets of helium, technically making it an airship rather than a blimp, which relies solely on internal gas pressure. It will be powered by small diesel or electric engines but require minimal power.

I love airships. Being an old fart, I remember the sight of some pretty big navy dirigibles overhead during WW2. Truly impressive.

I want a ride!

Mako unmanned wingman “cleared for takeoff” — and lots of sales!


Kratos

❝ Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has been granted approval by the US government to market its UTAP-22 Mako ‘unmanned wingman’ internationally…

The US State Department has permitted the San Diego-based company to promote its Mako jet-powered unmanned aircraft system to certain undisclosed European and Asia-Pacific region countries.

❝ …The Mako offers fighter-like performance and is designed to function as a wingman to manned aircraft, as a force multiplier in contested airspace, or to be deployed independently or in groups of UASs. It is capable of carrying both weapons and sensor systems.

It will obey all orders. No educated, independent thought allowed.

Earlier post: https://eideard.com/2017/06/18/the-u-s-air-force-is-ready-to-try-disposable-drones/

Silent Spring 2.0

❝ Pesticides don’t just kill pests. New research out of the Netherlands provides compelling evidence linking a widely used class of insecticides to population declines across 14 species of birds.

Those insecticides, called neonicotinoids, have been in the news lately due to the way they hurt bees and other pollinators…This new paper, published online Wednesday in Nature, gets at another angle of the story—the way these chemicals can indirectly affect other creatures in the ecosystem.

❝ Scientists from Radboud University in Nijmegen and the Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology and Birdlife Netherlands (SOVON) compared long-term data sets for both farmland bird populations and chemical concentrations in surface water. They found that in areas where water contained high concentrations of imidacloprid—a common neonicotinoid pesticide—bird populations tended to decline by an average of 3.5 percent annually…

Pesticides and birds: If this story sounds familiar, it’s probably because Rachel Carson wrote about it back in 1962. Carson’s seminal Silent Spring was the first popular attempt to warn the world that pesticides were contributing to the “sudden silencing of the song of birds.”

RTFA. Please. Even the sound of a quarrelsome, Mogollon Raven is music to these old ears.

VW is tooling up 16 plants to build electric autos by 2022


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❝ Volkswagen AG secured 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in battery supplies to underpin an aggressive push into electric cars in the coming years, ramping up pressure on Tesla Inc. as it struggles with production issues for the mainstream Model 3.

The world’s largest carmaker will equip 16 factories to produce electric vehicles by the end of 2022, compared with three currently, Volkswagen said Tuesday in Berlin. The German manufacturer’s plans to build as many as 3 million of the cars a year by 2025 is backstopped by deals with suppliers including Samsung SDI Co., LG Chem Ltd. and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. for batteries in Europe and China.

❝ With the powerpack deliveries secured for its two biggest markets, a deal for North America will follow shortly, Volkswagen said. In total, the Wolfsburg-based automaker has said it plans to purchase about 50 billion euros in batteries as part of its electric-car push, which includes three new models in 2018 with dozens more following.

Can’t happen soon enough for me. We haven’t even narrowed down style for the next new car in our household. Leaders on spec right now are the Tesla pickup and the VW Mini-Micro. Electric-only folks.