Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Health-Care Reform that Just Might be Workable

It may turn out that major health-care reform isn't politically feasible now. But that shouldn't stop us from making significant improvements to our woefully inadequate system.

The biggest problems with cost and coverage come from the insurance industry. And the only way insurance companies will learn to play nice without competition from the government is with new regulation.

Insurance companies have become de facto monopolies. If the only health care you can afford is via insurance offered by your employer, the insurance company has no incentive to keep you happy.


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City Council Keeps Busy

Macon Cowles was correct in his recent guest opinion; City Council has been working on myriad issues in addition to pops and scrapes.

Council recently approved a site plan for the former Junior Academy site on Fourth Street: a quarter of the property as low-density residential development similar to the surrounding neighborhood, and the rest as a "flex district."

Of course, there is no telling what that flex district will eventually become. The decision has been deferred either until nobody is paying attention or until it is too late (too much money invested).


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bikes Everywhere

Bikes in FlorenceThings have been quiet here at Insomnia Log for a few weeks, as I have been on vacation in Italy. Part of that trip was a bike tour, but something I noticed throughout the trip was the number of bicycles everywhere. Of course that is with the exception of the city of Venice, in which land vehicles of all kinds are absent.

In the region of our bike tour, there were many sport cyclists, and they were more fanatical than just about any I know here in the states. But in all parts of the country you see a different type of cyclist - people of all ages and body types, riding inexpensive bikes for real transportation. They are far more abundant than I've seen anywhere in this country.

It's certainly not because of better cycling facilities. In fact, the roads there are much less friendly to bikes than the roads here in Boulder. They are narrow, with no rideable shoulders or bike lanes, and lots of cars.

But generally the drivers and cyclists seem to get along. Drivers slow down for bikes and wait until it is safe to pass. They don't honk or yell at them to get off the road. The difference? Bikes are so ubiquitous. Everybody bikes, so you just expect them.

Why does everybody bike? For one thing, it's often just easier. With the narrow roads and traffic, sometimes it is just simpler to get on a bike. Some cities, such as Florence, have restricted cars. Plus, the price of gasoline is almost three times what it is here.

It's not perfect there. I've never been hit by a car while on my bike before, and while riding a country road my arm was struck by the side mirror of a driver who obviously tried to pass when he shouldn't have. But he did stop to make sure I was ok. (I was -- thanks to break-away mirrors.)

One other difference that I think helps cyclists and drivers get along is a cultural difference. It's hard to put my finger on it exactly, but when the government tells people the way things are going to be, Italians seem more likely to accept it than Americans.

Is there a take away for us? Perhaps it's as simple as getting more bikes on the road in order to get drivers more accepting of cars on the road.

So go out and ride!

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