the americana, fairy tales and health care

The Americana Hotel of Miami Beach, Florida, was designed by architect and Russian immigrant Morris Lapidus (1902–2001).  I can’t pin down the first reinforced concrete building, but the first skyscraper made of reinforce concrete was the Ingalls Building of Cincinnati, Ohio, built in  1903. The Americana, completed in 1956 took advantage of the flexibility of reinforced concrete to use curves and projected spaces that had not previously been possible. While the form is obviously different, Lapidus was inspired by the experimental shape of Frank Lloyd Wright’s late career buildings, especially the Guggenheim Museum. The Americana was part of a trend that came to be known as Miami Modern architecture style or “MIMO”, which was a part of the mid-century modernism, or the international style that begin to incorporate prefabricated materials. Even with the new curves, the building has a mathematical like repetition of pattern, almost a real life M.C. Escher in real life dimensions. My impression of the photo – the cars and general motif is more The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, than Madmen.

Mitt Romney, health insurance, and the myth that no one ever dies because of lack of health insurance

Whatever the true benefits, costs, and drawbacks of “Obamacare,” there have been sum unbelievably stupid things said about it, and I’ve even documented some of them by opponents of the PPACA, including the claim that Obama’s fixin’ death panels for grandma. Amusingly, the “Health Ranger” (a.k.a. Health Danger) Mike Adams really hates Obamacare, to the point of proclaiming shortly after it was passed into law that the PPACA would produce a health care dictatorship and doom America to Pharma-dominated sickness and suffering. He even called it a “crime against America.”

Unfortunately, laying out enough napalm-grade flaming stupid to defoliate the entire Amazon River basin is not limited to clueless wonders like Mike Adams. There are other clueless wonders out there who don’t seem to understand the real world. Unfortunately, one of them is running for President. Yes, I’m referring to Mitt Romney, who late last week made a statement so brain-meltingly out of touch with the real world that even I had a hard time believing that he actually said it. Ironically, enough, a mere couple of days after Mitt Romney put his cluelessness on display for the world to see, there also appeared a tear-inducing op-ed piece published yesterday in the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof entitled A Possibly Fatal Mistake, which described in a very personal story about a friend of his the health impact of not having health insurance for those millions of people.

The notion that emergency rooms are free medical care for those without health insurance is like believing that Little Red Riding Hood is detailed fact based account of something that happened to a girl in a forest once upon a time, talking wolves and all. Social-Darwinist Mike Adams and Mitt Romney are victims in away. They believe that if you cannot afford health care it is because of your moral failings. You lack the work ethic and moral grit that figures like themselves have in excess thus you deserve a life of pain and suffering, or death, But they cannot say that because of social pressure. Thus they are forced by that pressure to , as someone recently said, to shuck and jive around the issue with distortions, spin and lies.

The man O’Reilly is speaking to is Marc Lamont Hill, PH.D, a professor at Columbia University. The picture is by way of here. I wonder what the reaction would have been if Professor Hill had said to O’Reilly, “Let’s say you’re a Nazi – and you kind of look like one a little bit…”

Build Your Own Electric Ghost

With the slow and steady rise of household electricity in the early 20th century, spiritualists and mystics had new tools to convince people that they were able to communicate with and conjure supernatural beings. Skepticism was a prominent theme in the electrical hobbyist magazines of the 1910s and ’20s and writers who knew about how to create seemingly magical phenomena with electricity took a lot of pleasure in showing off how these tricks worked. The pages of magazines like Science and Invention, Electrical Experimenter and Practical Electrics were filled with articles explaining how the pseudo-supernatural effects were achieved, and how you could make them right at home to impress your friends.

There are some interesting pictures and diagrams at the link.