May 29 2014

Obamacare Death Panels Rising

People who thought it was ridiculous that health care rationing would be a core part of Obamacare (and thus the instantiation of the “Death Panel” monicker) probably were the same dupes to think Obamacare would let you keep your doctor, keep your insurance, lower your cost and expand coverage.

And of course these same gullible people also probably thought that doing the website for the Democrats’ crazy scheme would be a cake-walk for the Feds.

Thankfully, Obamacare (and the VA scandals which expose the future of government run healthcare for all Americans) is finally waking people up to the reality behind the years of Obamacare hype and propaganda. The epic failures in both these areas is beginning to sift the dupes from those able to think without a media-driven safety net. Reality is hitting liberal fantasy.

The stories of real Americans with real needs who were covered prior to Obamacare are stacking up like chord wood.

Major Update: Death Panels have been around the VA for years it seems:

Most doctors have their personal VA stories. In my experience at VA hospitals in San Antonio and San Diego, patients were seen in clinics that were understaffed and overscheduled. Appointments for X-rays and other tests had to be scheduled months in advance, and longer for surgery. Hospital administrators limited operating time, making sure that work stopped by 3 p.m. Consequently, the physician in charge kept a list of patients who needed surgery and rationed the available slots to those with the most urgent problems.

Scott Barbour, an orthopedic surgeon and a friend, trained at the Miami VA hospital. In an attempt to get more patients onto the operating-room schedule, he enlisted fellow residents to clean the operating rooms between cases and transport patients from their rooms into the surgical suites. Instead of offering praise for their industriousness, the chief of surgery reprimanded the doctors and put a stop to their actions. From his perspective, they were not solving a problem but were making federal workers look bad, and creating more work for others, like nurses, who had to take care of more post-op patients.

End Update

For example:

A Sonoma County man battling more than a dozen tumors in his body is fighting a new battle with his insurance carrier, who has denied coverage for his treatments.

Jeffrey Rusch of Camp Meeker knew the news was bad when an MRI found 20 tumors in his brain. Two days later, a C-T scan at Sutter medical center in Santa Rosa brought another devastating blow, discovering a large tumor in his lungs, and more in his liver and bones.

The family received a letter from the insurance provider, saying his hospital stay didn’t meet the criteria for medical necessity.

“It’s like an attack on my family. It feels that way,” Rusch said.

Jeffrey and Zoe have been Anthem members since 2008, and estimate they’ve paid $100-thousand in premiums.

“I would call saving my husband’s life medically necessary,” Zoe said.

That is why the monicker “death panel” was spot on  for what is coming thanks to government run healthcare.

Example 2:

Guam – There is an ongoing crisis within the dialysis community. At least one local medical transport company has been forced to cease services for dialysis patients because the claims contractor for Medicare, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, is refusing to reimburse Medicare claims unless patients are on a ventilator.

The changes have caused mass layoffs and now the Guam Fire Department may be affected too.

On May 12, after four years of medical transport coverage, dialysis patient Rodney Calimlim was informed by Guam Medical Transport that he would no longer be able to utilize transport services to and from dialysis. GMT General Manager Jared Ada says it was an awfully tough decision to make.

Example 3:

Some consumers who bought insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law are experiencing buyer’s remorse after realizing that their longtime doctors aren’t accepting the new plans.

Before the law took effect, experts warned that narrow networks could impact patients’ access to care, especially in cheaper plans. But with insurance cards now in hand, consumers are finding their access limited across all price ranges — sometimes even after they were told their plan would include their current doctor.

Michelle Pool is one of those customers. Before enrolling in a new health plan on California’s exchange, she checked whether her longtime primary care doctor was covered. Pool, a 60-year-old diabetic who has had back surgery and a hip replacement, purchased the plan only to find that the insurer was mistaken.

Example 4:

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights how two related entities authorized by the Obama health care law – the Independent Payment Advisory Board and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation — both have the power to ration care. This April 23 op-ed by Lanhee J. Chen and James C. Capretta adds to the documentation provided by NRLC demonstrating that rationing of health care is built into the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

What happens to doctors who violate a “quality” standard by prescribing more lifesaving medical treatment than it permits? They will be prevented from contracting with any of the health insurance plans “qualified” under the Obama Health Care Law. Few doctors would be able to remain in practice if subjected to that penalty.

This means that a treatment a doctor and patient deem advisable to save that patient’s life or preserve or improve the patient’s health–but which exceeds the standard imposed by the government–will be denied even if the patient is willing and able to pay for it.

Example 5:

Because no one should go broke in America because they get sick. Insurance companies will be required to cover with no extra charge, routine check ups and preventive care like mammogram’s and colonoscopies,  because there’s no reason we shouldn’t be catching things like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse.” Says the President.

It was promises like those and a move to Durant to take care of her aging mother, that led Janet Grigg to the healthcare marketplace. Although, what she says she has found, is something the cancer survivor says, is hard to believe. Grigg, who is  a colon cancer survivor says she went online to the marketplace, put in her personal information and picked a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. Then, went to the doctor for her annual cancer screenings.

“And when I got there, they had said to me, that the card would not be accepted. That they had, in fact received a memo. And I was like ,really, I just saw the doctor two weeks ago.” Grigg explains, after her second visit to University Medical Group in Durant.

That visit is also where Grigg says billing employee’s told her the previous visit would have to be paid for out of pocket, as well as, any future visits to the facility. But she says that’s not the most surprising thing she found.

“That I would not find a doctor within a 400 mile radius from Dallas up to Oklahoma City that would in fact take the plan that I had chosen.

Example 6:

The private insurance companies that sell policies on the insurance exchanges set up under the ACA are embracing this shift to the leaner and meaner networks, and telling customers that they need to shed their dependence on “lavish” health plans and wake up to the new reality.

“We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has,” Marcus Merz, CEO of PreferredOne, an insurer in Golden Valley, Minnesota, told the New York Times. “We’re all trying to break away from this fixation on open access and broad networks.” Mr. Merz and PreferredOne stand to profit handsomely from the cost-savings from shrinking networks, as the insurer has grabbed about 60 percent of the market on the Minnesota Obamacare exchange.

Insurance companies have long sought to restrict patient choices in provider networks, and Obamacare is proving to be the vehicle to make it happen.

The size of the Obamacare networks vary from state to state, but many of them exclude at least some large hospitals or doctors’ groups. In New Hampshire, for example, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only insurer offered on the exchange, and Anthem has excluded 10 hospitals in the state from its network.

An Associated Press survey found that only four of the nation’s 19 top comprehensive cancer centers are included in the Obamacare networks in the states where they are located. In Washington, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is not covered by the networks of five of the eight insurance companies participating in the state’s exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center reported that it was included in less than half of the Houston-area exchange plans.

In New York, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is only fully covered by two of nine New York City insurers. While in Buffalo, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute is only covered by five of the 16 statewide insurance plans.

Example 7:

In Nevada, the recently filed lawsuit alleges that numerous state residents have been going uncovered despite enrolling and paying for insurance.

The lawsuit says that one plaintiff, Larry Basich, had a heart attack at the end of last year and required costly surgery on Jan. 3 – in theory the third day of his new insurance. But the legal complaint says his payment wasn’t processed properly, leaving Mr. Basich stuck with more than $400,000 in bills.

The plight of Margaret Figueroa in New York State garnered news headlines this month as the Staten Island resident told of losing access to specialized doctors and treatments for her chronic condition. For now, her former doctor has offered pro bono care while she seeks a longer-term answer. The physician said “there are a lot of patients falling through the cracks,” according to a news article on the Staten Island Advance website.

Each of these, and the 1000′s more out there, are a powerful political add that will resonate with a public experiencing the reality that is Obamacare. And no amount of fanciful political spin can remove those experiences and these stories from the American psyche. Which will explode in November.

HotAir notes the coming fun for employer based healthcare:

More employees are getting hit with higher health insurance premiums and co-payments, and many don’t have the money to cover unexpected medical expenses, a new report finds.

More than half of companies (56%) increased employees’ share of health care premiums or co-payments for doctors’ visits in 2013, and 59% of employers say they intend to do the same in 2014, according to the annual Aflac WorkForces Report. It’s based on a survey of 1,856 employers and 5,209 employees at small, medium and large-size companies.

DC sticking it do the little guy while their political allies rake in the profits.  Always the same old story.

7 responses so far

May 14 2014

Russia Highjacks America’s Space Station

Published by under All General Discussions

 

 

In my last post over a month ago (sorry, just have not been feeling the blogger fever recently) I predicted the foolish act The Obama administration made in cancelling all American human launch vehicles (Shuttles and the follow-on Constellation Program) would lead to us being blackmailed by Russia – the only country capable of sending and retrieving astronaut from our Low Earth Orbiting Space Station (ISS):

This is as dumb a move as I have ever seen. If this escalates Russia will maroon our people in space. Or it can just bring everyone back and leave our investment orbiting above our heads out of reach. Stopping emails from Russia to NASA counterparts? Really – that’s their plan?

There are times I hate being right – and this is one of those times:

Russia is to deny the US future use of the International Space Station beyond 2020 and will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites as it hits back at American sanctions imposed over Ukraine crisis.

Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced a series of punitive measures on Tuesday against the US in response to sanctions imposed after Russia annexed Crimea.

The two countries have long cooperated closely on space exploration despite their clashes in foreign policy.

The Space Station is manned by both American and Russian crew, but the only way to reach it is by using Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

As I noted when news first came out of the Constellation Program cancellation, the Obama administration violated one of the basic tenants of ALL US Space Programs:

After 3 decades of flights, everyone knew a next generation of manned space vehicles were needed to continue the 50 year dream initiated by President Kennedy. And so, under President Bush, the Constellation Program was initiated and it returned to our Apollo roots for it’s inspiration.

And now, for the first time since 1961, we do not have any vehicles to shuttle our astronauts into space. We cannot fly our own people to the International Space Station, the 2nd great endeavor we embarked upon in the 1970?s and 1980?s. We spent billions developing and building the Space Station and we just recently marked 10 years continuous operations there – yet we now need to pay Russia to get us to and from it. We can’t do it on our own anymore. (Technically this is a violation of law, which mandates we must be able to perform all our space missions with our own assets so no nation can hold us hostage – a minor detail this administration has clearly ignored).

Want to know how bad Obama has let this country slide into irrelevancy? Look up at the Space Station at night and realize on the hard work and tax payer money we spent putting it into orbit was squandered by someone who could blow billions on poor healthcare schemes, but could not find the money needed to RETAIN our access to space.

 

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Apr 03 2014

Obama Uses NASA As Political Club

Published by under All General Discussions

America has this amazing International Space Station (ISS), which it spent tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to build and deploy in orbit over two decades. A historic human achievement.

A few years after the ISS was finally completed, the short-sighted incompetents inside the Obama administration cancelled the only program we had for getting to our space station. Leaving us to rely on Russia to ferry our astronauts up to and back from our space station. This of course has made the US completely reliant on Russia to use and exploit the ISS.

But with the cancellation of the program, this leaves NASA with no replacement for the Shuttle fleet when they are retired at the end of 2010. This means that the U.S. will now need to rely on the Russian Space Agency to get our astronauts into space. (Currently only the Russians and Chinese have the capability to send men into space.)

Fast forward to the current day and a belligerent Russia. Having annexed the Crimea from the Ukraine, the geniuses inside the Obama administration are once again displaying they ‘not-ready-for-prime-time’ on the big stage. If you have an Achilles’ Heal, you don’t lead with it when trying to employ diplomatic pressure on Russia:

In an internal NASA memorandum obtained by The Verge, NASA said that the suspension includes travel to Russia, teleconferences, and visits by Russian government officials to NASA facilities. NASA is even suspending the exchange of emails with Russian officials….

“Given Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation,” a spokesman said. Operations aboard the International Space Station, which is a wholly collaborative effort between the two nations, are exempt from this suspension.

Just last week, a trio of astronauts, including two Russians and one American, launched into space on a Russian rocket, headed for the International Space Station. Without a shuttle program of its own, NASA depends on Russians to ferry its astronauts to and from the station, and pays them $70.7 million per seat. The U.S. space agency is working with private American companies to develop rockets and break out of Russia’s transportation monopoly.

This is as dumb a move as I have ever seen. If this escalates Russia will maroon our people in space. Or it can just bring everyone back and leave our investment orbiting above our heads out of reach. Stopping emails from Russia to NASA counterparts? Really – that’s their plan?

Pathetic.

3 responses so far

Mar 31 2014

Apocalypse Now!

H/T Drudge for the image

Must be the year of the Chicken Littles. First we have a tortured version of the biblical story of Noah and the great flood:

Lost within the film’s extreme environmentalist message is that the actual sins of the pre-Flood people were a rebellion against God and also man’s inhumanity to man.

Noah’s misanthropy is revealed many times in the film. For example, when the girlfriend of Noah’s son Ham is caught in a trap and is about to be overtaken by some marauders, Noah leaves the girl to die at their hands. The film’s Noah wants to totally destroy the human race and doesn’t want his sons to have children. In perhaps the most shocking part of the film, Noah plans to kill his unborn grandchild, the child of Shem’s wife, if it is a girl.

We all know Hollywood and Christianity rarely cross paths. And the ignorance of Hollywood to scripture equals its ignorance of science and math. Got to say, Hollywood as the edge on weird and non functional clothing. But beyond that the place really is only fair at mimicking real life. True, they make lots of money. But does Hollywood (and their ilk) really make a positive impact on humanity?

Not with this kind of misrepresentation. Who do they think they are fooling? Themselves at most.

So am I surprised at the PURE COINCIDENCE of the debut of a green-stained movie about Noah’s Flood and the release of hysterical alarm bells in a new the IPCC Chicken Little report?

Professor Berry is one of three leading academics who have contributed to the health chapter of a Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report due on Monday. She and co-authors Tony McMichael, of the Australian National University, and Colin Butler, of the University of Canberra, have outlined the health risks of rapid global warming in a companion piece for The Conversation, also published on Monday. The three warn that the adverse effects on population health and social stability have been ”missing from the discussion” on climate change.

”Human-driven climate change poses a great threat, unprecedented in type and scale, to wellbeing [sic], health and perhaps even to human survival,” they write.

The so called unprecedented warming does have precedence.  Early last century there was another similar rise in temps – followed by a dip. And over the millennia Earth, Man and Nature have experienced and adapted to much of the same.

The fact is, the alarmist know the gravy train is not coming their way and are panicking. They now fear their plans to take over the energy sector of the world (scary, given what they just did to the healthcare sector of the US) is all but gone. Trillions in green boondoggle funds slipping away.

But it is even worse than that. And they are just now seeing the other shoe dropping. If Global Warming (not seen in almost 2 decades now) fizzles out as huge over reaction – guess what else slips away? The billions of dollars now being flushed down the green-toilet of wasted research. Another 10 years of no warming (or even cooling) and the gravy train will leave the green station for good.

So it is no wonder Hollywood (and their complete lack of basic science knowledge) have probably timed the release of Noah with the release of the IPCC report? Because as everyone knows – American’s are just a bunch of ignorant dupes, easily played. We would never be able to connect those dots!

Update: Hot Air goes for the Ghost Buster analogy for IPCC!

Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger,” the report declared.

Too funny. That all looks to be the likely result of government intervention, not CO2, IHMO – end update

BTW: the worst Hollywood technical goof I have to endure is in the movie Battleship – a movie I really enjoy. In that movie the satellite LANDSAT 7 is supposed to be a Deep Space communications satellite communicating with the alien invaders and their home world.

I guess Hollywood doesn’t get why the bird is called “LANDSAT”. LANDSAT 7 is a low earth orbiter. Deep Space is defined as from the Moon’s orbit out.  It is also not a communications satellite (which are at a much higher orbit and actually look stationary from Earth’s surface). LANDSAT 7 faces Earthward – making measurements of the “land“. Therefore it whips around the world ever 90-110 minutes (depending on its orbit design, I just did not look up the specific orbital period). Which means it is only overhead 5-15 minutes and then only maybe once a day.

I have to just get through that crap in the movie, which shows a serious intellectual laziness that someone in Hollywood could not take the time to just Google the mission page and comprehend what it means. And if you can’t comprehend, then ask someone who can. I get through it, but every time I am amazed at the ignorance on display.

I mean – duh!

One response so far

Mar 25 2014

Statistical Confusion: Do Video Games Make Youths Agressive?

Published by under All General Discussions

This story had me rolling because it is based on a very shaky conclusion. And yet, the media ignorantly (and yes, I chose that word carefully) report it without any comprehension of the concept of statistical linkages.

Youths who play video games are more likely to think and act in aggressive ways, suggested a study out Monday of more than 3,000 schoolchildren in Singapore.

The research, published in JAMA Pediatrics, a journal of the American Medical Association, was based on more than 3,034 children who were studied over the course of three years.

Frequent use of video games was linked to higher rates of aggressive behaviors and thoughts, according to self-reported answers to survey questions by the children.

The other possible (and probable) conclusion is aggressive kids enjoy aggressive video games, non-aggressive kids enjoy non-aggressive games.. You can naively run the same kind of  study and conclude wearing dresses makes one more likely to become female. Or playing football makes one more likely to become male (or aggressive, or large and muscular, etc).

Of course there is a correlation between aggressive games and aggressive personalities!

But I am confident if you compare those who prefer a good game of Life to those who prefer to play football, you will find and even STRONGER correlation. But it does not mean the game created the human psyche.

Duh!

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Mar 24 2014

Aborted Babies Are [almost] Soylent Green

Published by under All General Discussions

This shocking headline at Drudge pretty much encapsulates the heartless, consumer-driven nature of modern society. Where individuals are throw away commodities. Where consumption obliterates the human rights of some to feed the needs of others. Today humanity is hitting a point I once naively thought was too cold, callous and abhorrent to reach. We have a whole new meaning for the term “Green”, renewable energy:

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

If we can burn dead humans – aborted because of the myth they are not viable individuals – and use them for heat, how far are we from using them as food? The reason I ask is this news story puts us up against one of Science Fictions most disturbing takes on humanity – the movie Soylent Green:

The 20th century’s industrialization has left the world permanently overcrowded, polluted and stagnant by the turn of the 21st century. In 2022, with 40 million people in New York City alone, housing is dilapidated and overcrowded; homeless people fill the streets; 20 million are unemployed with the few “lucky” ones with jobs scraping by, and food and working technology is scarce. Most of the population survives on rations produced by the Soylent Corporation, whose newest product is Soylent Green, a green wafer advertised to contain “high-energy plankton”, more nutritious and palatable than its predecessors “Red” and “Yellow”, but in short supply.

Spoiler Alert: Soylent Green is made from the corpses of the dead. The story basically predicts out of control humanity consuming itself as it decays into pointlessness.

But really, using bodies for food or for heat – what’s the big diff?

It really is disturbing since it is a scientific fact embryos are unique human individuals. This can be proven beyond any doubt using the same scientific methods we use to identify victims and criminals in court every day. If you test the DNA of an embryo – even at the 4 cell stage – it will demonstrate that the embryo is a unique human being, distinct from mother and father.

Just as the mother’s tissues cannot be mistaken for her children’s at any crime scene, the same holds for aborted embryos and fetuses.

So how is it society will not allow parents to kill and burn a new born baby for heat, but a hospital can if that same “baby” is just a few weeks younger?

Update: Interesting round up and comments over at Hot Air:

I can imagine three camps. One is the “so what?” group. If “life” doesn’t begin until viability (or birth, for the hardcore abortion warrior), then yeah, this is medical waste. You don’t cremate tumors, do you? Toss it in the incinerator. Next is the group that wants to distinguish between miscarried babies and the aborted. The parents of the former saw a life in the making even if pro-choicers didn’t; the remains should thus be treated with due decorum, as a consolation to the bereaved. The remains of the aborted needn’t be similarly respected. Finally, there’s the group that’s uncomfortable with treating fetal remains as waste (or fuel) under any circumstances.

5 responses so far

Mar 20 2014

Why Russia Is Laughing At America

Published by under All General Discussions

There is an aspect of the current aggressive Russian actions that people probably completely overlooked, and that is a stupid, short sighted decision made by this administration a few years back. That decision has made the US impotent in the face of Russia today. I wrote about that decision at the time:

Short Sighted Fools In DC

There is a rule on NASA missions that we can never design or implement a mission which relies on foreign resources to succeed or be safe. It has been a major barrier to international joint efforts forever because just about everything in a space mission is critical to its success. You can’t have a successful Hubble, for example, if you can’t get it into orbit, can’t communicate with it on a daily basis, can’t respond quickly to anomalies.

The norm is for a  mission to be self sufficient in terms of US resources to operate within all expected and emergency scenarios. Until Obama, Pelosi and Reid took charge that is.

Now the International Space Station is incapable of being supported by American technology and resources. Not since the Democrat fools in the last Congress and this White House retired the space shuttle fleet AND ALSO cancelled the program to replace that fleet with another (cheaper) mode of transportation (i.e., the Orion program):

The Obama Administration’s proposed cancellation of the Constellation program in February 2010 and was signed into law October 11, [2010]

This job killing myopic act illustrates the clumsy, unthinking rashness of this White House and the last Congress. Apparently the President wanted Americans with shovels working, not exploring space and holding onto our technical edge in that final frontier of humanity. This White House is the first since Kennedy to halt America’s leadership in having people in space.

Today the International Space Station we spent billions of tax payer dollars to deploy can only be accessed via Russian manned launch systems. America has no method to send or retrieve our astronauts to this national treasure without Russia.  And Putin knows this. Everyone knows this.

We are being held hostage because Democrats made a bone-head decision and violated a common sense law regarding America’s access to space. And that is why we can only bluster and bluff as Vlad marches into Crimea.

3 responses so far

Mar 04 2014

Salt Brine Spray For Roads A Hazard

Published by under All General Discussions

Major Update: Did more researching to confirm the health concern I have, and discovered this [pdf]:

This material is water with 26% dissolved salt. …
Airborne mists are corrosive …
Contact with material may cause irritation to the eyes and skin. Flush immediately out of eyes and/or off of skin.
Prolonged and/or repeated skin contact with this material may cause irritation and dermatitis.
Inhalation of salt mists may be irritating to the nose, throat and lungs. Ensure adequate ventilation is available
I am thinking I was right about the health issues related to driving through a mist of this stuff - end update

It has been tough this winter, with all the cold temps and snow. But what has been even worse is the new process for salting the roads. It is a complete disaster, both from a driver safety perspective and from a health perspective.

To understand why driving on the roads has become such a hazard, you have to realize governments have moved from the traditional salt crystal method to a salt brine spray with additives to make it stick like hell to the road – and your windshield:

The traditional road de-icer is road salt, which is fairly inexpensive. However, a significant amount of salt must be distributed onto the road in order to be effective. Whether applied as solid crystals or as a brine solution, salt is ineffective at melting ice below about -10F or -23C.

Some municipalities prefer to spray a brine solution prior to a predicted snowfall. This helps prevent the initial accumulation of ice or snow.

This salt brine mixture was probably OK. It has been in use since around 2009.  But like any salt, it will be washed away with the melting snow and ice.  Which is how is should be. If the salt can wash away, it won’t remain to be a driving and health hazard. But someone got a bright idea and ran square into the law of unintended consequences:

Although the mix of sugar beet juice with salt brine costs far more than pure brine, it can be cost effective simply due to the greater stickiness of the combined fluid. It does not require as many applications during the course of a winter.

More here:

A splash of beet juice, a dollop of molasses, a squeeze of cheese brine. In the coldest weather, the recipe for safer roads often goes beyond the usual sprinkling of salt.

Across the nation’s snow belt, transportation officials are in the market for cheap and environmentally friendly ways to make rock salt work better by keeping it on the roads longer and melting ice at lower temperatures.

In Milwaukee, road crews are experimenting with plentiful cheese brine, a leftover from cheese making. New York and Pennsylvania are among states trying sugar beet juice, while molasses and potato juice are flavoring roads elsewhere.

While on the surface this sounds grand, the fact is the very ‘stickiness’ that saves money makes driving and breathing dangerous.

It begins with tire spray:

Car and truck tires (especially truck tires) pretty much atomize the water on the road and throw it up in the air as a mist.  And when a road has been treated with the “sticky” variety of salt brine it comes down on your windshield and sticks – in some areas literally like molasses. I attempted to drive to work today, and was unable to go very far because my windshield required CONSTANT cleaning. My washer reservoir was full (I now drive with extra bottles in the car), but I would not have made it the 20 miles I need to go without pulling over and refilling. Strangely, it was not wet enough on the road to allow me to slipstream behind someone and use their tire spray to save on washer fluid. It was too dry on the road – and too sunny.

Every snow, when the sun is out, has 100′s of people pulled over while 100′s more drive by with their windshields coated with sticky salt brine. Now that is a recipe for disaster! It is not making roads safer.

Worse, that sticky, briny mist is carrying salt and other road dirt into the air and into our lungs.  Look at what the salt does to the cars, roads, rails and nearby trees!  Now just imagine what your lungs look like.

I personally put my car on internally recycled air when the salt is down. I was having huge breathing issues until I did. Think of how much you are inhaling of atomized sticky salt brine when you drive? And heaven forbid you have asthma or other breathing issues.

This is an engineering disaster. It sounded good on paper, but in practice the sticky salt brine has created dangerous driving conditions with salt-caked windshields, the need for people to pull over on busy roads to fill washer fluid, and a very likely health risk that makes second-hand smoke look quaint.

Hopefully we learn our lessons before too many people get hurt.

2 responses so far

Mar 03 2014

What Real Science Tells Us About Current & Historic Climate

Well its about time I get back to current events. The big milestone at work is past, so we can all go back to something resembling a 40 hour work week. [Note: the emphasis]. So let’s begin with reality – and climate.

I ran across this article on WUWT, and I really wanted to emphasize a portion of the document:

Perhaps the simplest way to expose the fallacy of “extreme certainty” is to look at the historical record. With the historical record, we do have some degree of certainty compared to predictions of the future. When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time. Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today. There is some correlation, but little evidence, to support a direct causal relationship between CO2 and global temperature through the millennia. The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming.

Today we remain locked in what is essentially still the Pleistocene Ice Age, with an average global temperature of 14.5°C. This compares with a low of about 12°C during the periods of maximum glaciation in this Ice Age to an average of 22°C during the Greenhouse Ages, which occurred over longer time periods prior to the most recent Ice Age. During the Greenhouse Ages, there was no ice on either pole and all the land was tropical and sub-tropical, from pole to pole. As recently as 5 million years ago the Canadian Arctic islands were completely forested. Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species. There is ample reason to believe that a sharp cooling of the climate would bring disastrous results for human civilization.

What the settled science indicates here is very important. We live – today – on an an unusually cold Earth.

Got that? Compared to recent geological history, the Earth we inhabit is colder than usual. The Little Ice Age we have been coming out of (until recently) was even a more rare event. That means the odds are Earth’s climate will warm up again. It really is only a question of when, not if. And it will do so whether humans are around or not.

So wen people babble on about Global Climate Change and the fear of a warmer Earth, they should be immediately challenged to explain why the current rare COLD conditions should be maintained instead of going back to the norm? And even better, how could humankind achieve such a reversal of natural forces beyond our current comprehension?

And when these scientifically challenged (and yes, this group does include people with PhDs) point to CO2, then simply point them to the other historic fact: it has been much warmer and much colder than today on Earth. And during some of those periods, there has been TEN TIMES HIGHER than today! That means managing CO2 will do NOTHING to warm or cool the planet.

These two facts – scientifically based and not seriously challenged in terms of what happened in Earth’s geologic past – obliterate the entire argument about Global Warming induced by us meager humans via CO2. Vaporized as a logical conclusion.

Michael Mann might have an ego the size of a planet (dude: that is a comedic analogy to a paranoid robot in Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy – so put your lawyers away), but just because he thinks he can change the forces of nature does not mean he actually can!

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Feb 10 2014

Commenting Disabled For Now

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Word Press is under a serious attack. basically bots are creating accounts, trying to get access. I have turned of new accounts. You may be able to comment if you had an account. Will take days to fix.  I will probably have to authorize every new comment.

Please be patient.

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