Marguax – surf film of professional French surfer, Margaux Arramon-Tucoo, making her own board

 

Shaper Studios presents a another treat by Michael Weybret.

Filmed and edited: Michael Weybret

Music: “Je Suis un Go-Go Girl” by The Lumiñanas

 

Learn more about the Affordable Care Act – the individual mandate: penalty and subsidies

If you can afford insurance but do not get it, you will be charged a fee. This is the “mandate” that people are talking about. Basically, it’s a trade-off for the “pre-existing conditions” bit, saying that since insurers now have to cover you regardless of what you have, you can’t just wait to buy insurance until you get sick. Otherwise no one would buy insurance until they needed it. You can opt not to get insurance, but you’ll have to pay the fee instead, unless of course you’re not buying insurance because you just can’t afford it.

*Note: On 6/28/12, the Supreme Court ruled that this is Constitutional.

 

ViaReddit – What exactly is Obamacare?

 

 

More details from Kaiser Health News:

Q: I don’t have health insurance. Will I have to get it, and what happens if I don’t?

A: Under the legislation, most Americans will have to have insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. The penalty would start at $95, or up to 1 percent of income, whichever is greater, and rise to $695, or 2.5 percent of income, by 2016. This is the individual limit; families have a limit of $2,085 or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater. Some people can be exempted from the insurance requirement, called an individual mandate, because of financial hardship or religious beliefs or if they are American Indians, for example.

Q: I want health insurance, but I can’t afford it. What do I do?

A: Depending on your income, you might be eligible for Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor and disabled, which will be expanded sharply beginning in 2014. Low-income adults, including those without children, will be eligible, as long as their incomes didn’t exceed 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $14,404 for individuals and $29,326 for a family of four, according to current poverty guidelines.

Q: What if I make too much for Medicaid but still can’t afford coverage?

A: You might be eligible for government subsidies to help you pay for private insurance that would be sold in the new state-based insurance marketplaces, called exchanges, slated to begin operation in 2014.

Premium subsidies will be available for individuals and families with incomes between 133 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level, or $14,404 to $43,320 for individuals and $29,326 to $88,200 for a family of four.

The subsidies will be on a sliding scale. For example, a family of four earning 150 percent of the poverty level, or $33,075 a year, will have to pay 4 percent of its income, or $1,323, on premiums. A family with income of 400 percent of the poverty level will have to pay 9.5 percent, or $8,379.

In addition, if your income is below 400 percent of the poverty level, your out-of-pocket health expenses will be limited.

 

Continue reading Learn more about the Affordable Care Act – the individual mandate: penalty and subsidies

California has lost its Republicans – not one holds office in our most populous state

Fading into irrelevance
The party of Nixon and Reagan holds not one statewide office in America’s most populous state

California gave America two of its five most recent Republican presidents. But the state party has fallen on hard times since the days of Nixon and Reagan. After having fallen for decades, the number of registered Republican voters in California now stands at just 30% (see chart). With the number of voters expressing no party preference rising fast, the party is in danger of slipping into third place in the state. No Republican holds statewide office in California, and the Democrats enjoy wide majorities in both chambers.

The picture is no prettier when it comes to elections for national offices. Republicans have not won a Senate election in California since 1988. The party now accounts for just 19 of the state’s 53 congressmen. The last Republican presidential candidate to take California was George Bush senior. As the most populous state, California holds over one in ten electoral-college votes. But neither Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, nor Barack Obama will bother to campaign here—although both regularly drop by to raise funds.

Keep readingThe Economist

Continue reading California has lost its Republicans – not one holds office in our most populous state

How the astronauts on the International Space Station get back to our planet

This Sunday (July 1, 2012), three members of the International Space Station crew will return to Earth on board a Kazakhstan-bound Soyuz craft, after over six months in orbit. Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers, two of the returning astronauts, and Joe Acaba, who arrived at the station in May, discuss life on board ISS, the visit of the Dragon capsule, and current activities in space.

FLORA LICHTMAN: Just another day at SCIENCE FRIDAY, calling space.

Station, this is National Public Radio. How do you hear me?

DON PETTIT: NPR, we hear you loud and clear.

***

LICHTMAN: Don Pettit, walk us through how you’ll get back to our planet this weekend.

PETTIT: We will get in our Soyuz spacecraft and under the command of Oleg Kononenko, and Andre Kuipers will be flight engineer one or board engineer one, and I’m board engineer two. And we work together to get this spacecraft back home, starting off with undocking.

We start off, we get inside, the close the hatch, we have to do a leak check, make sure the hatches don’t leak. And then we strap in and undock, and then we do a de-orbit burn. And then as we hit the atmosphere, the spacecraft separates so that only the descent module comes through the atmosphere in one piece.

And then our parachute comes out, and we go thump, roll, roll on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Read, or listen, to the full interviewAstronauts Prepare For Departure

Continue reading How the astronauts on the International Space Station get back to our planet

Library has more than books, creates a Fab Lab with 3D printer, podcast studio, green screen

What exactly is a fab lab?

“These spaces, known as Fabrication Labs (fab labs), Hackerspaces, and Tech Shops, share common goals: collaboration and ‘making.’ They exist to give their specific communities the ability to ‘make’ through sharing knowledge and skills. They provide the technology necessary to make almost anything.

However, these spaces often provide services to a specific or targeted group and are not easily accessible to ‘outsiders’ – traditional Fab Labs are tied to MIT and are generally found in underserved communities, Hackerspaces have membership fees, and Tech-Shops, on average, cost around $1.5 million to start. Imagine – what if the Fayetteville Free Library had similar tools as MIT at its fingertips (at an affordable cost), with the knowledge necessary to use them?”

***

The Fayetteville Free Library is excited to announce the addition of a new public service—the FFL Fab Lab.

“Community members will have the opportunity to use this digital media lab to create and edit videos, podcasts and use design software that might otherwise be out of reach. The Lab will also offer: Mac desktop, Podcasting station, 2 MakerBot 3D Printer Stations, Adobe Suite, Mac Creative Suite, a Green Screen Wall, Camcorders and digital cameras available for check out. Patrons can use the lab for two hour blocks of time when they present a valid library card.

The Fayetteville Free Library is the first library in the United States to offer a free, public access Fab Lab.

 

More informationFayetteville Free Library launched 3D printing Fab Lab

Continue reading Library has more than books, creates a Fab Lab with 3D printer, podcast studio, green screen

Real-time stats revolutionized journalism – what will they do to books?

It takes the average reader just seven hours to read the final book in Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy on the Kobo e-reader—about 57 pages an hour. Nearly 18,000 Kindle readers have highlighted the same line from the second book in the series: “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.” And on Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the first thing that most readers do upon finishing the first “Hunger Games” book is to download the next one.

In the past, publishers and authors had no way of knowing what happens when a reader sits down with a book. Does the reader quit after three pages, or finish it in a single sitting? Do most readers skip over the introduction, or read it closely, underlining passages and scrawling notes in the margins? Now, e-books are providing a glimpse into the story behind the sales figures, revealing not only how many people buy particular books, but how intensely they read them.

For centuries, reading has largely been a solitary and private act, an intimate exchange between the reader and the words on the page. But the rise of digital books has prompted a profound shift in the way we read, transforming the activity into something measurable and quasi-public.

 

The full story – Your E-Book Is Reading You

Continue reading Real-time stats revolutionized journalism – what will they do to books?

Paintballing with Hezbollah – they cheat, take hostages, and bring their own grenades

We figured they’d cheat; they were Hezbollah, after all. But none of us—a team of four Western journalists—thought we’d be dodging military-grade flash bangs when we initiated this “friendly” paintball match.

As my eyesight returns and readjusts to the dim arena light, I poke out from my position behind a low cinder-block wall. Two large men in green jumpsuits are bearing down on me. I have them right in my sights, but they seem unfazed—even as I open fire from close range, peppering each with several clear, obvious hits. I expect them to freeze, maybe even acknowledge that this softie American journalist handily overcame their flash-bang trickery and knocked them out of the game. Perhaps they’ll even smile and pat me on the back as they walk off the playing field in a display of good sportsmanship (after cheating, of course).

Instead, they shoot me three times, point-blank, right in the groin…

Yes, I remind myself, this is really happening: Four Western journalists (two of whom alternated in and out of our rounds of four-on-four), plus one former Army Ranger-turned-counterinsurgency expert, are playing paintball with members of the Shiite militant group frequently described by US national security experts as the “A-Team of terrorism.” It took nearly a full year to pull together this game, and all along I’d been convinced that things would fall apart at the last minute. Fraternizing with Westerners is not the sort of thing Hezbollah top brass allows, so to arrange the match I’d relied on a man we’ll call Ali, one of my lower-level contacts within the group.

 

Keep readingPaintballing with Hezbollah, is the path straight to their hearts

Continue reading Paintballing with Hezbollah – they cheat, take hostages, and bring their own grenades

Learn more about the Affordable Care Act – summary of Medicaid expansion and costs

Medicaid is the largest health insurance program in the United States.  Presently, Medicaid provides health and long-term care coverage to 59 million individuals.

Under the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), Medicaid is set to expand its eligibility for coverage to include persons with income levels at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Best estimates place the increase in additional enrollees at 16 million to 18 million.

The purpose behind the expansion of Medicaid under the PPACA is to reduce the number of uninsured in the U.S., an estimated 46 million.  Using analyses provided during the debate leading up to passage of the PPACA, 32 million of the 46 million will gain access to insurance under the new law, half of which will do so via Medicaid.

Assuming a somewhat equal replacement trend (those that fall off Medicaid due to death or change in economic status are replaced by approximately the same number of new eligible enrollees) over the phase-in period set for Medicaid expansion (by 2014), Medicaid will ultimately cover nearly 70 million people.  Per the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of expansion between 2010 and 2019 to the federal government is $434 billion with an additional $20 billion allocable as states’ costs.

 

ViaHealth Reform and Medicaid Expansion

 

 

With an additional 16-18 million people on Medicaid, cost becomes a big issue. Estimates have the total cost of the whole bill (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) at $828 billion. Take away from that $575 billion in savings from Medicare, and a bevy of new taxes.

Including higher taxes for those making more than $200K, taxes on luxury medical plans, on drugs, on high-cost medical equipment, on indoor tanning salons, and an annual fee to all insurance providers.

Added all together and the Congressional Budget Office estimates a reduction in the Federal Budget deficit, meaning that the PPACA and its increased Medicaid coverage pays for itself and saves money.

Of course, these are all estimates and subject to endless debate.

 

Source: Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Amended (pdf)

Continue reading Learn more about the Affordable Care Act – summary of Medicaid expansion and costs

5 hilariously ridiculous things that show up in every comic book

#5 Pained Corpse Gripping

Nothing is more traumatic in the world of comic books than destroying acres and acres of residential and commercial real estate for years on end, only to have one of your friends die in the process. Look how sad Cyclops is in this picture. He’s so sad, he’s lost control of his eye beams, which I think he controls in the way you or I might control a fart. Like it’s there and he can hold it in most times but if he pushes, there it goes. He just grief farted out of his eyes.

 

Continue reading 5 hilariously ridiculous things that show up in every comic book

Ring of Fire Derecho – travelled 600 miles from Iowa to D.C.

On Friday, a historic, record-setting heat wave covered a sprawling region from the Midwest to the Southeast. All-time high temperatures records of 109 were established in Nashville and Columbia, South, Carolina and tied in Raleigh and Charlotte which hit 105 and 104. Here in Washington, D.C., the mercury climbed to an astonishing 104 degrees (breaking the previous record set in 1874 and 2011 by two degrees), our hottest June day in 142 years of records.

 

 

…the coverage and availability of this heat energy was vast, sustaining the storms on their 600 mile northwest to southeast traverse. The storms continually ingested the hot, humid air and expelled it in violent downdrafts – crashing into the ground at high speeds and spreading out, sometimes accelerating further.

Peak wind gusts in the D.C. region include the following:

71 mph near Dulles Airport
70 mph in Damascus, Md.
79 mph in Reston, Va.
65 mph in Rockville, Md.
70 mph at Reagan National Airport
76 mph in Seat Pleasant, Md. (Prince George’s co.)
77 mph in Swan Point, Md. (Charles co.)
70 mph in Ashburn, Va.
69 mph in Leesburg, Va.

In addition, an 80 mph gust was clocked in Fredericksburg. To the north and west, 91 mph and 72 mph gusts were measured in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio

 

ViaCapital Weather Gang

 

Video of the NEXRAD Radar showing the ring of fire Derecho:

 

// Thx – Doyen