Water Cooler 6/29/17 - Open Thread - Canada Regulating Google Globally; 2/3 Patients Can't Pay Deductibles; Fricking Lasers

watercooler

Canada Claims Jurisdiction Over Google Worldwide

No surprise here, the internet destroys borders, in an effort to control their citizens governments try to take control of the internet.

Canada’s Supreme Court upheld a British Columbia court ruling today that ordered Google to de-list entire domains and websites from its global search index.

The 7-2 landmark ruling stems from case Google v. Equustek, which began when BC-based technology company Equustek Solutions accused distributor Datalink Technology Gateways of relabeling one of its products and selling it as their own online. Further, Equustek also claimed Datalink acquired trade secrets in order to create a similar competing product. Datalink first denied the accusations, then fled the province, continuing business operations, mostly outside of Canada. Datalink representatives never appeared in court, and Equustek won default judgment.

Though Google was never directly named in the lawsuit, Equustek requested that the search engine remove Datalink search results until the allegations could be tested. Google did so voluntarily, de-indexing over 300 websites associated with Datalink, but only on the Canadian version of the search engine.

The Supreme Court of BC then granted a broader injunction ordering Google to stop displaying search results globally for any Datalink websites, which Google appealed in the Supreme Court of Canada. The court found in favor of Equustek, rejecting Google’s argument that the right to freedom of expression should have prevented the order from being issued.

—The Verge

I know it’s Canada, the 51’st state where maple syrup and bad drivers come from, at least that’s how most Americans think of our friends to the north. Turns out they have a pretty repressive and arbitrary set of laws of governing freedom of expression. This type of ruling allows them to export their restrictions on speech worldwide. Worst case it reduces the internet from a global forum, to a patchwork of regional fiefdoms, or a place where the most restrictive set of rules governs. I hate to support Google but good luck to them in dealing with this.

 


Due To Obamacare Increasing Costs Two Out Of Three Patients Can’t Pay Their Deductibles

Yet another entire class of reasons Obamacare is horrible

Premiums aren’t the only part of health plans that have soared under Obamacare.  For those people who are lucky enough to actually be able to afford a plan, you simply bought yourself the opportunity to cover even more of your healthcare costs out of pocket as deductibles have also soared.

In fact, a new study from TransUnion Healthcare reveals that 2 out of 3 patients (68%) couldn’t afford to pay their hospital bills in full in 2016, up from 49% in 2014.

A new TransUnion Healthcare analysis revealed a significant rise in the percentage of patients that didn’t pay their hospital bills in full. Approximately 68% of patients with bills of $500 or less did not pay off the full balance during 2016 – up from 53% in 2015 and 49% in 2014.

“There are many reasons why more patients are struggling to make their healthcare payments in full, the most prominent of which are higher deductibles and the increase in patient responsibility from 10% to 30% over the last few years,” said Wiik, author of the book and also principal for healthcare revenue cycle management at TransUnion. “This shift in healthcare payments has been taking place for well over a decade, but we are seeing more pronounced changes in how hospital bills are paid during just the last few years.”

But that’s not even the worst of it, patient responsibility on 14% of hospital bills in 2016 exceeded $3,000, an obligation which only 1% of patients were able to cover on a timely basis.

– 63% of hospital bills were $500 or less; of those hospital bills, 68% were not paid in full in 2016.

– 14% of hospital bills were $3,000 or more; of those hospital bills, 99% were not paid in full in 2016.

– 10% of hospital bills were $500 to $1,000; of those bills 85% were not paid in full in 2016.

Meanwhile, the soaring deductibles are putting even more pressure on razor thin hospital margins and have caused a rash of closures since 2010.  Per CNBC:

–Zero Hedge

At this point you would think that Obama would be hoping for his legacy to be destroyed buried and forgotten.

 


Army Mounts and Tests Laser On Apache Helicopter

Is it the future yet ? Sure seems like it. I carry around a multiprocessor multi gigahertz supercomputer in my pocket, robots are flying overhead watching us, and now it’s laser weapons everywhere.

A high energy laser mounted on an Apache AH-64 attack helicopter acquired and hit an unmanned target. The test was conducted by Raytheon and the U.S. Army Apache Program Management Office in collaboration with U.S. Special Operations Command at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

It was the first time a fully integrated laser system successfully shot a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds, proving the feasibility of laser attack from Apache.

The system tracked and directed energy on a stationary target at a slant range of 1.4 kilometers. (Slant range is the line-of-sight distance between two points at different levels.)

The data collected from the test, including impact of vibration, dust and rotor downwash, will help shape future high-energy laser systems.

“Our goal is to pull the future forward,” said Art Morrish, vice president of Advanced Concepts and Technologies for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. “This data collection shows we’re on the right track.”

For the test, Raytheon coupled a variant of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, an advanced, electro-optical, infrared sensor, with a laser. The MTS provided targeting information, situational awareness and beam control.

—Raytheon(Hit the link to see video of the test)

This is really pretty big and definitely game changing. While normally I’d point out that our military never met a weapons system that was too expensive directed energy weapons are looking to be disruptive in the way that dreadnoughts and aircraft carriers were to the navies of the world. These technologies can provide point defense capability against the guided missile system that have been dominant as anti armor weapons. They can also serve as those point defense systems.


Quote of the Day

Imagine you & your spouse are hugely in debt from overspending, so you call a meeting & agree each of you will spend more.

That’s Congress.

—Justin Amash


Drink up That’s it for the Watercooler today. As always it’s an open thread.