How do you become an empowered health care consumer? A recent blog post on the Forbes magazine website, authored by financial planner/doctor Carolyn McClanahan, suggests that the relationship between doctors and patients is entering a third phase of its long-term evolution. Phase one was paternalistic, where the doctor told the patient what to do and the patient was expected to do it. With the rise of the Internet, the relationship has become more informational—the doctor provides the patient with a number of choices, and the patient chooses one of them.
Which is America’s most popular alcoholic beverage: beer, wine or liquor? The Gallup organization found that beer is America’s choice when it comes to alcoholic consumption, and that has generally been true since the polling company has been asking the question. Today, 42% of Americans answered “beer” when asked which beverage they drink most often, compared with 32% naming wine, and 20% who prefer one of a variety of liquors.
Do you fast—that is, do you give up food periodically? If you don’t, you should probably consider changing your habits.
Why? A variety of researchers have begun studying the health benefits of fasting, and they’ve made some interesting discoveries. When you skip eating for a day or two, your brain seems to respond by adapting new pathways, and also producing beneficial proteins that promote the growth of neurons and the strength of the synaptic connections between them.
What is a dollar worth?
If you answered that it’s worth a dollar, you must be living in Illinois. A research report by U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found that the prices for a particular basket of goods and services—food, transportation, housing and education—are higher in some states than others. Illinois came in at almost exactly the average; a $100 bill will buy $100.70 worth of the items. People living in the District of Columbia, the nation’s most expensive area, would have to pay, on average, $118.10 for the same basket of items.
The joke among futurists is that flying cars are 20 years in the future and always will be. But a company called AeroMobil has recently demonstrated an elongated, road-ready flying vehicle with stowable wings that can navigate both city traffic and the airspace between landings and take-offs from the world’s airports. Meanwhile, a company called South by Southwest is about to launch a flying roadster that will sell at roughly the cost of a high-end Tesla.
If you think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, step back and look at the bigger picture. One important statistic is child mortality—the number of children who perish below 5 years of age. Over the last 50 years, the world has experienced a hundredfold decrease in this key measure of health, to the point where, in the more developed nations, it is now lower than 1%.