Category Archives: Uncategorized

158 Newgrange (just for fun)

158 Newgrange (just for fun)

On a recent trip to Ireland we had the opportunity to visit and explore Newgrange. I had seen the sight on several TV documentaries and was anxious to experience it for myself. The following is taken from Wikipedia:

Newgrange (IrishSí an Bhrú or Brú na Bóinne) is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) west of Drogheda on the north side of the River Boyne. It is an exceptionally grand passage tomb built during the Neolithic period, around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.

The site consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and chambers. Human bones and possible grave goods or votive offerings were found in these chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front, made mostly of white quartz cobblestones, and it is ringed by engraved kerbstones. Many of the larger stones of Newgrange are covered in megalithic art. The mound is also ringed by a stone circle. Some of the material that makes up the monument came from as far away as the Mournes and Wicklow Mountains. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it is believed that it had religious significance. Its entrance is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice, when sunlight shines through a ‘roofbox‘ and floods the inner chamber. Several other passage tombs in Ireland are aligned with solstices and equinoxes, and Cairn G at Carrowkeel has a similar ‘roofbox’. Newgrange also shares many similarities with other Neolithic constructions in Western Europe, especially Gavrinis in Brittany, which has both a similar preserved facing and large carved stones, in that case lining the passage within. Maeshowe in Orkney, Scotland, with a large high corbelled chamber, and Bryn Celli Ddu in Wales have also been compared to Newgrange.

It is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site. Newgrange consists of approximately 200,000 tonnes of rock and other materials. It is 85 metres (279 ft) wide at its widest point.

Images of the interior follow:

Healthcare Revisited – Insurance Companies

Healthcare Revisited –   Insurance Companies

I am not convinced that putting a middle man into providing health care makes much sense? If they can do it more efficiently, it does, but the facts are disturbing as you can see from the following:

Health Care Premiums Also Used for Lavish Salaries, Luxury Items, Underwriters


A significant portion of health insurance premiums goes not for actual medical care but for private jets, generous CEO salaries, and underwriters who decide when to drop patients who become too expensive, according to a Senate committee report.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, wrote to 15 of the biggest health insurance companies in August, asking them to provide information on how much of policyholders’ monthly premiums was spent on medical care versus the amount that went to administrative costs and company earnings.                                                                                                                   Such figures are known in the insurance industry-speak as “medical loss ratios.” But when insurance companies balked, saying the information was confidential and proprietary, Rockefeller’s investigators went digging through public documents and found that much of policyholder premiums were going to nonmedical costs.                                                                                                                       The insurance industry has long pointed to federal data that says about 87 percent of every dollar that people spend on premiums goes toward actual medical care, but Rockefeller’s investigators found the average for the top six insurance companies is closer to 82 cents on the dollar for medical care.                                                                                                                      That five-point difference represents billions of dollars. And when investigators broke down the information by insurance type, they found that people who buy individual insurance from those companies rather than being part of a small or large business, get the least bang for their buck. On average just 74 cents of every premium dollar for individual coverage goes to medical care. Coventry Health Care had the lowest figure at 66 cents”

I suspect the health insurance companies are excited by the Affordable Care Act. Now all of us must have health insurance, and we pay the penalty if we refuse!  We are better off taking the middleman completely out of the process.                                                                           That said, I am not in favor of completely decimating private medical insurance as long as they can provide comparable and competitively priced services. The fact that Medicare’s administrative costs run less than 2%. The average costs and profits for insurance companies at 26% is telling.                                                         How are the baseline countries handling health insurance? I am confident that an efficient system similar, to one already in place in another country, can be implemented by us.

Healthcare Revisited – Hospital Costs

Healthcare Revisited – Hospital Costs


Total health care spending in America was approximately $3.5-trillion in 2017, and about 32% of that amount — or $1.1-trillion — is spent on hospital services.”

Hospitals are an area where our costs are completely out of whack! I have no idea why we are so out of line with the other countries.

There are numerous documented examples of hospital financial abuse in this country. Overcharges for OTC medications, overprescribed testing, and phantom charges are among these examples. In the U.S. we pay more for hospital services than in all other countries. Do we receive superior care in exchange? Considering where we rank in terms of quality of care, it is doubtful.

This area cries out for some serious baselining. I have not been able to locate the cost of a hospital day for all of the baseline countries. But there is little doubt that they all have a lower per day cost than the U.S.

I am reprinting this chart to illustrate the issue. It contains the numbers for a couple of baseline countries, France and Spain.