[rescue] SparcCenter 2000E on Ebay

Phil Stracchino alaric at caerllewys.net
Sun Jun 22 19:04:39 CDT 2003

On Sun, Jun 22, 2003 at 04:31:02PM -0700, Scotty Logan wrote:
> >>U.S., and Germany. Of the 13 countries compared, only Germany ranked 
> >>lower
> >>overall than the U.S.
> >
> >Explain why this is then?
> Probably that pesky integration of the former [GD]DR.

This sort of bears tangentially upon one of the thoughts I had when
considering those statistics.  Germany makes a poor showing, after
having just rejoined East Germany where health care and living
conditions were, by all accounts, pretty wretched for those not of the
Party elite.  And the US makes a poor showing in numerous areas,
including life expectancy at age 1 ...  but I can't help wonder how much
of that particular statistic is not due to any particular failing of US
health care so much as it is a symptom of the War on Drugs, thanks to
which one of the leading causes of death among males aged 14 to 22 is
drug gang members murdering each other.  The severe drug problem in the
US also probably has a major impact on the incidence of low birth
weight and infant mortality.  Raise your hand, please, if you *haven't*
heard the stories of babies being born already addicted to crack because
the mother smoked four or five bowls a week throughout her pregnancy.

(Correct me if I'm wrong, but last I knew, the US also still had one of
 the highest smoking rates among industrialized nations.  I also seem to
 recall reading that US life expectancy for males recently surpassed
 that for women, not because men's health *improved*, but because the
 increase in smoking by women shortened their average life expectancy to
 less than that of men.)

"Figures don't lie, but liars figure," as the saying goes.  Statistics
themselves mean little without examining *why* the numbers are what they
are.  A statistic saying "Last year, 4,000 Ford Wombats had major 
mechanical breakdowns, vs. 19,000 Toyota Muskrats" looks pretty bad for
Toyota, unless you know that the Wombat is a new model of which only
22,000 were on the road last year, while Toyota has sold 492,000
Muskrats over the last 10 years and 465,000 of them are still running.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the US healthcare numbers aren't bad.
The US healthcare-for-profit-first-and-foremost system is very badly
broken, and desperately needs fixing.  I'm just saying that sometimes
there's more to the story than just the visible numbers.

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