Head Start as Child Care, and Other Links

Matt Yglesias defends Head Start: It’s not Pre-K, it’s day care.

Over the past two years, IBM’s researchers have shrunk Watson from the size of a master bedroom to a pizza-box-sized server that can fit in any data center. HT: Tyler Cowen.

Why there are too few doctors: government policy.

Does optimism shorten your lifespan?

Comments (12)

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  1. Sheldon says:

    Does optimism shorten your lifespan?

    I’d much rather be optimistic and die sooner, than be pessimistic and live longer!

  2. Aaron James says:

    “But we don’t need to take as given that the only way to become a doctor is to go to medical school. We’re just used to that way because that’s how it has been legislated for close to a century. One can certainly imagine motivated potential doctors learning to be doctors by apprenticing to existing doctors for a few years.”

    Although this can serve as a valid argument for many, I’m not sure many people would trust and agree to be treated by a “doctor” who learned their skills by watching or helping another physician for “years”. Education will always have a high level of importance when it comes to training and preparing soon-to-be professionals, most especially in the medical field. I think.

  3. Destinni Toffee says:

    Does optimism shorten your lifespan?

    As a single mother, I personally have to disagree with this study. There are many days when I would have just thrown in the towel if it weren’t for my constant optimism. A lot of this has to do with expectation. Of course if you overestimate the future, you will be disappointed when you are not that happy, which probably leads to more self-destructive behaviors and less self-love which would lower life expectancy. Conversely, if you underestimated future happiness, doesn’t it appeal to reason that you would be healthier upon finding out that you are happier than you previously thought you would be. Apparently these economists have never read “The Secret”, researched “the law of attraction” or investigated the oddities of quantum science. I will remain quite hopeful that the study is W.R.O.N.G. With Really Obvious Nonsensical Gaffes!

  4. Cindy says:

    If Head Start is most productively theorized as Child Care … hmmm. On one hand, you want to think that’s great because child care is an important part of putting people back to work. On the other, you hate to think that we’ve settled.

    It’s almost like saying “That refrigerator doesn’t keep anything cold, but it’s an excellent closet.”

  5. Herald says:

    “Why there are too few doctors: government policy”

    The Govt continues to meddle in policy that is counterintuitive to success.

  6. Hazen Zilla says:

    IBM’s Watson in Pizza Box

    I find it magnificently encouraging that we have finally harnessed the power of the silicon chip and integrated circuit to this degree. My fear is that, one day, Watson will right “almost all of the time”, and thus doctors and nurses will become more careless is their diagnoses. It is not outside the realm of possibility to imagine a world in which too many doctors blindly accept the recommendation with the largest degree of confidence. As we digitize, we must continue to focus on the innate skill, experience and intuition of a flesh-and-blood doctor which cannot be mimicked by a computer.

  7. Christian Boozer says:

    Matt Yglesias defends Head Start: It’s not Pre-K, it’s day care.

    Doesn’t this mean we should continue to fund Head Start since labor economists have proven that greater availability and lower costs of child care facilitates additional work that leads to greater income and payroll tax revenues?

  8. Gabriel Odom says:

    “Chris Coburn, the Cleveland Clinic’s executive director for innovations, said at the event that he fully expects Watson to be widely deployed wherever the Clinic does business by 2020.”

    I’m so happy about this. I did research many years ago into a Patients Like Me ( http://www.patientslikeme.com/ ) style predictability engine that would help caregivers notice patterns in rare health events, but this is far beyond anything I had dreamed.

  9. Desai says:

    @ It’s not Pre-K, It’s Daycare.

    For poor families, having access to that “day care” service is important.

  10. Buster says:

    Matt Yglesias defends Head Start: It’s not Pre-K, it’s day care.

    He’s correct — it’s doubtful the people who utilize Head Start think of it as school; rather they’re glad to have the kids taken care of for free.

  11. Devon Herrick says:

    Why there are too few doctors: government policy.

    Physicians are prone to make the claim that if it were easier to become a doctor, we’d all run the risk of being treated by a mediocre doctor. It is hard not to sympathize with this argument; we all would prefer to be treated by a talented doctor rather than someone with mediocre skills.

    There is a distinct skill set involved in becoming a doctor that doesn’t necessarily perfectly correlate with being a good doctor. By that I mean that there are probably people who would be good doctors, but who lack the skill set (or resources) required to endure the process of becoming a physician. Granted, the current regimen of undergraduate pre-med, then selective medical school, finalized by lengthy residency requirements does ensure only highly-intelligent, highly-motivated people become doctors. But that’s not to say there aren’t more efficient ways to ensure quality.

    Another thought comes to mind: our system of medical education is so costly that we error by making a physician’s time too valuable to spend with patients. As a result, physicians cannot afford to spend very much time during a patient encounter analyzing patient problems (third-party payment exacerbates this problem). A less-talented provider, who is not so time-constrained, could in some instances possibly provide better care by spending more time with the patient. There is some evidence of this: nurse practitioners (who are intelligent and highly trained, but have not gone through as extensive a training process as physicians) have higher customer satisfaction ratings than physicians because nurse practitioners spend more time with patients and listen to what the patient has to say. Especially for conditions that require patient education to ensure patient compliance, the current system doesn’t work very well.

  12. H. James Prince says:

    Slate.com took down the Matt Yglesias article. Does anyone have a cached copy anywhere?