Antibacterial Soap

New research concludes that plain soap is as effective as antibacterial soap in the consumer setting.

[W]ashing hands with an antibacterial soap was no more effective in preventing infectious illness than plain soap. Moreover, antibacterial soaps at formulations sold to the public do not remove any more bacteria from the hands during washing than plain soaps.

Anojja, this one’s for you.

Is TV good for Indian Women?

This article from the Economistophile’s Marginal Revolution (emphasis my own). To important to summarize, so I will copy the whole thing.

Cable and satellite television have grown rapidly throughout the developing world. The availability of cable and satellite television exposes viewers to new information about the outside world, which may affect individual attitudes and behaviors. This paper explores the effect of the introduction of cable television on gender attitudes in rural India. Using a three-year individual-level panel dataset, we find that the introduction of cable television is associated with improvements in women’s status. We find significant increases in reported autonomy, decreases in the reported acceptability of beating and decreases in reported son preference. We also find increases in female school enrollment and decreases in fertility (primarily via increased birth spacing). The effects are large, equivalent… to about five years of education in the cross section, and move gender attitudes of individuals in rural areas much closer to those in urban areas. We argue that the results are not driven by pre-existing differential trends. These results have important policy implications, as India and other countries attempt to decrease bias against women.

Employer charging unhealthy employees

I love this idea.

In late June, the Indianapolis-based hospital system announced that starting in 2009, it will fine employees $10 per paycheck if their body mass index (BMI, a ratio of height to weight that measures body fat) is over 30. If their cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels are too high, they’ll be charged $5 for each standard they don’t meet. Ditto if they smoke: Starting next year, they’ll be charged another $5 in each check.

In short, the healthy will not subsidize the unhealthy as much.

Question 1: Is this move legal? The article hints that this is within the guidelines of HIPAA. However, is this/could this be a form of discrimination? There is more discussion of this at the end of the article.

Question 2: Will these penalties even matter? The average consumer carries over $8000 of credit card debt, probably at a very high interest rate. There are many many options to consolidate that debt to lower interest options and save thousands in interest per year. Would a consumer that does not take charge of their credit card debt, notice and take charge of deductions off of their paychecks?

Despite the outstanding questions, I applaud Clarian Health for taking the lead in fighting rising costs.

What is “bump”?

I have been spending a fair amount of time on forums these days. One constantly confusing post that I would see is a single word, “bump”, with no other content in the post.

Finally, after seeing it today, I decided to look up the answer:

To bump a thread on an Internet forum is to post a reply to it purely in order to raise the thread’s profile. This will typically return it to the top of the list of active threads. BUMP is sometimes used as a backronym for “Bring Up My Post/Post count” or as a recursive acronym “Bump Up My Post”.

Thank you Wikipedia!