Navigating the increasingly complex (by design) world of healthcare

Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from July 2, 2017. It’s a collection of podcasts, videos, and other links for people who love to learn online and are fascinated by the world. Click here to get playlists emailed to you as they come out.


Sometimes I need to hear things a dozen times in a dozen different ways for it to start making sense. Healthcare is a big debate and spread throughout the playlist below are the recent things I’ve found the most helpful for making it all a little less confusing.


Econ Talk: Robin Feldman on Drug Patents, Generics, and Drug Wars 65 minutes
A really excellent discussion that unpacks some of the complexity around generics and the games drug companies play to keep cheaper options off the market. From the guest’s book: “Granted, one cannot fully blame companies for engaging in behavior that is strongly in their economic self-interests when regulation is unclear or riddled with loopholes. If society wishes its interests to prevail, then the legal system must bring the incentives of the players into proper alignment with the goals of society by creating either sufficient incentives or sufficient disincentives. We cannot expect the rats in the maze to run in the direction society wishes if the cheese is located at the other end. And, as the generic system in the United States currently operates, the cheese is poorly located.”

Vox’s The Weeds: Senate Republicans’ health care idea: Make the poor pay more for less 63 minutes
Three experts in health policy, including Vox co-founder Ezra Klein, hold nothing back in their opinion on the Republican health care bill. A scathing end to the episode: ““You promised lower deductibles, and you’re delivering higher deductibles. You promised lower co-payments, and you’re delivering higher co-payments. Trump promised not to cut medicaid, and he’s cutting medicaid. I think if you parse your own bullshit, you were promising normal people, who don’t even get Obama Care benefits, that they would get lower premiums, and your bill doesn’t do that at all.”

Radiolab: Revising the fault line 48 minutes
If you combine Radiolab, free will, mental illness from brain damage, and the law, you’re guaranteed an episode that will make you think. Robert Krulwich’s summary of the free will position from their neuroscientist guest: “That everything we choose to do is in some sense chosen for us, that if you know enough stuff about anyone, you know what they’re about to do next.”

Imaginary Worlds: Imagining the Internet 24 minutes
Who was the first author to imagine the internet? None other than Mark Twain in 1904. This episode is a quick and excellent tour through how fiction has helped us/failed us in preparing for the internet age. A new favorite quote from the episode: “Science fiction allows us to fight our moral battles in advance.”

Pessimists Archive: The Walkman 23 minutes
Cars are an abomination! Video games will ruin us! Smart phones are disconnecting us from reality! These are the familiar fears that always spring up around new technologies. The whole premise of this show is to look at what the tech pessimists of the past have said around specific high profile inventions.


Smarter Every Day: Why do cameras do this? (rolling stutter explained) 7 minutes
Your phone video does some funky stuff to any high speed object like a propeller. You won’t be disappointed you clicked to watch this.

Healthcare Triage: Cystic Fibrosis, Life Expectancy, and the Greatest Healthcare System in the World 5 minutes
“Care has improved so much that people with cystic fibrosis are living on average into their 40s in the United States. In Canada, however, they are living into their 50s”. Ouch.

Last Week Tonight: Vaccines 27 minutes
Vaccinate your kids


New Republic: The Rise of the Thought Leader- How the superrich have funded a new class of intellectual
“Whereas public intellectuals like Noam Chomsky or Martha Nussbaum are skeptical and analytical, thought leaders like Thomas Friedman and Sheryl Sandberg “develop their own singular lens to explain the world, and then proselytize that worldview to anyone within earshot.”

Vulture: The best podcasts of 2017 (so far)
A list from Nick Quah of Hot Pod.

Check this out: If you like soundtrack/classical/electronic type music as you work on stuff, give this a try. Music is generated for you by an AI to either focus, relax, nap, meditate, or sleep. It seems to be free for only a trial phase, but I listened to “focus” while writing this and it was pretty great stuff. And what I really mean is if you don’t like my writing, it’s totally’s fault.