Democracy and the WikiLeaks cables


Good read: Whispering at Autocrats.

I hadn’t previously heard of the relation of the demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt to the cables, but that’s interesting (and maybe me just not paying close enough attention).

As someone who has spent his entire life in a democracy, the thought of millions of people, a majority of a country, being willing to take orders from someone that they dislike, and who oppresses them, feels completely odd.  Plus, trying to get “change” in the West often means donating money to politicians or volunteering to get them elected, so it’s all the more amazing that people are risking their lives to improve their country.

Fight over paying for health care in Quebec


Interesting to see a looming fight over a clinics attempt to charge for “necessary” medical treatments in Quebec: Charging for health care in Quebec.

I’ve thought about two-tiered systems before and while I don’t object to a tiered system in principle, assuming no one lost any existing coverage, I don’t think it would work in practice. I can’t see how you could stop all the good talent from going to the more expensive clinics. Maybe you force all tiers to use the same pay scale, but then the more expensive tiers could afford more staff and equipment?

That doesn’t sound great either. I guess the biggest reason I’m not opposed to tiers here is because we effectively already have one: rich people go to the US if they need something done quick. If we could find a way to keep them here it may not be a bad thing.

Ownership of digital downloads

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Some more perspective on an issue that’s been bothering me for a while: Who owns your digital downloads? (Hint: it’s not you)

Even though it feels antiquated, and I never use them after ripping the music, I still buy CDs.  It gives me the peace of mind that if I lose all my digital backups, I’ve still got the music.  I’ve bought a few albums on iTunes to try it out, but it still doesn’t feel quite right.

I’m avoiding eBooks for the same reason.  I’d like to try a Kindle, or similar, but the restrictive usage rights, without a (significantly) reduced price, are holding me back.