Why poor kids can’t find a dentist

For those of you interested in Medicaid coverage for dental work (you know who you are), Slate has a great article with some interesting facts:

Two-thirds of Medicaid children do not visit a dentist in a given year


One Maryland dentist reported that his staff called 748 dentists listed as Medicaid providers and found that only 23 percent would take new Medicaid patients


Maryland’s Medicaid payments for common dental procedures ranged from 37 percent to 73 percent of the market rate

(While you are at it, take a look at how the dental profession turned itself around in the past thirty years, from being nearly “extinct” to quite lucrative today)

Infrared grills

A key patent on infrared grill technology has expired. Backyard grills will soon have this technology built into them at a fraction of the cost today.

From the article:

The grills are still powered by propane and have traditional gas burners that heat mostly by convection — or hot air. But they also can cook foods with radiant heat generated by one or more infrared burners. (Infrared falls between visible light and microwave energy on the electromagnetic spectrum.)

Why is it important? The grills get hotter – up to 900 degrees, vs. 700 degrees for normal gas. This lets you char food more quickly at the onset. As well, the max temperature can be reached more quickly than with current technology. You can cook foods in “half the time”, according to this guy with a ponytail.

How much will you pay? Models are being released in the $500-$1000 range, whereas previous versions cost >$5000.

Cable TV over your phone line

AT&T is offering a challenge to Comcast and other entrenched cable companies through it’s U-verse service. Currently being offered in southern CA, it claims to offer more choice than the cable companies’ offerings.

I’m not convinced. They have not tried to unbundle the package, to let users pick and choose their own channels. Plus, the lower package offerings are still overkill – 100 channels at $60/month. Honestly, who watches more than 10 of those 100 channels?

The Sandman

An interesting perspective on Spiderman 3’s Sandman:

Considering his strength and versatility, I bet any construction firm would have hired him in a flash. Since his primary motivator was health care for his daughter, maybe a Public Works department would have been a better fit, what with the better benefits and all.

Why did Sandman finally talk to Spiderman at the end of the movie? Why didn’t he do this earlier? Why did it have to happen only after a lot of destruction happened? Despite having seen the movie a few weeks ago, the plot holes of the movie still bother me.

10 items or less Cheaters

I read an article about a study of cheaters in the “10 items or less” lane in supermarkets. The study was done by John Trinkaus at the Zicklin School of Business in CUNY, who covertly monitored these lanes over a span of nine years. Emphasis is my own.

As many of us may have seen for ourselves, Trinkaus found that some shoppers using this lane had more than 10 items. Some cunningly placed their items in groups of 10 and paid for each group separately. Trinkaus found that about 80 per cent of all the supermarket lane cheats were female van drivers.

More details about these female van drivers:

Trinkaus has also shown that 96 per cent of women van drivers break the speed limit, compared with 86 per cent of male ones, and in one study, a staggering 99 per cent of female van drivers failed to come to a complete stop at a T-junction with a stop sign, compared with 94 per cent of the total.


Incorrect use of English

I saw this site on incorrect word use and common English errors a long time ago, and recently rediscovered it. It has a list of 1202 incorrectly used English words. Fascinating to at least scroll through.

Those who know me know that my favorite is irregardless. I love the site’s smarmy response:

Regardless of what you have heard, “irregardless” is a redundancy. The suffix “-less” on the end of the word already makes the word negative. It doesn’t need the negative prefix “ir-” added to make it even more negative.

Monkeys and Typewriters

Thanks, Erich, for the link!

Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five pages consisting largely of the letter S, the lead male began by “bashing the hell out of” the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it.