Newsweek Feb-20-15

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The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


dying dutch: euthanasia spreads across europe

In one of the last photographs my family took of my grandmother, she looks as if she’s been in a fistfight. Jean Bass Tinsley is lying in a hospital bed in Athens, Georgia, wearing a turquoise button-up shirt and staring blankly at the camera. A bandage obscures her fractured skull, along with the bridge of her bloodied nose. She is 91 years old. My grandmother essentially did this to herself. In June 2013, she fell out of her wheelchair headfirst, after ignoring her caregivers’ warnings not to get out of bed without help. Earlier that year, she’d broken both of her hips, in separate falls. Before that, her pelvis—all while trying to do what for most of her life she’d managed just fine on her own: walk. In her last year, dementia…

neil degrasse tyson is on your tv, on a mission

“We have to take a selfie! We have to take a selfie!” says Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, cosmologist and perhaps the only living scientist with cult-like celebrity status. On a Tuesday evening in January he is standing under the giant sphere of the Hayden Planetarium, where he serves as director, urging some friends to join him. Behind him are cameras on dollies and the simple set of Star Talk, his new late-night TV show for National Geographic’s channel: Three chairs and three microphones, one each for him and two guests: a scientist and a comedian. That’s it. No stage, no desk, no backdrop. Any accoutrements would look shabby next to the hulking planetarium dome and the multiple astrophysics PhDs anyhow. Tyson beckons with both arms to award-winning New York Times science…

father of the anti-vaccine movement sticks to his story

Andrew Wakefield is both revered and reviled. To a small group of parents, he’s a hero who won’t back down from his assertion that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine can cause autism. To most, however, he’s the man who authored a fraudulent study that has been refuted many times and was retracted by the journal that published it, a man whose views carry dangerous consequences for all of us. They will tell you that the former doctor—stripped of his license in 2010 by the U.K.’s General Medical Council for ethical violations and failure to disclose potentially competing financial interests—has derailed public confidence in vaccination programs that were safely eradicating serious and highly contagious diseases. In the wake of the most recent measles outbreak in the U.S.—which began at the Disneyland…

the birds of wall street

Wouldn’t it be great if the U.S. had a heat map of the entire financial system that could alert it to vulnerabilities and approaching calamities before a global crisis struck? While members of Congress squabble over a move in the House to erode provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a 64-year-old Wall Street veteran and MIT-trained economist named Richard Bookstaber is quietly working on an ambitious project that aims to do just that. “Most people in government don’t even know this is going on right now,” Bookstaber tells Newsweek of his work at the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research (OFR). Using what are called “agent-based models,” Bookstaber’s project focuses on how the actions of individual agents—such as banks or traders on Wall Street —create chain…

charter flights to cuba surge

It’s been a busy few weeks for the half-dozen or so companies licensed to charter flights between the United States and Cuba. In December, President Barack Obama announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba, and the easing of travel and trade restrictions started in mid-January. “We have just been inundated,” says Bob Guild, vice president of Marazul Charters, which has been around for 35 years and flies mostly between Miami and a few Cuban cities. In the second half of January 2014, Guild says his company received 30 requests for group travel. During that period this year—the first two weeks under the eased rules—the company got 1,300 requests from groups of Americans seeking to visit the island. In fact, Guild says he is discouraging people from packing their bags until…

sickness unto death

There’s taking a stand. Then there’s taking a stand in quicksand. And that’s where the Republican Party finds itself. After almost six years of gloom-and-dooming, every intellectually honest Republican has to admit Obamacare is making life better not only for individual Americans but for the country. It is saving tax dollars, beefing up American’s monthly budget and setting the country on a path of ever-lowering deficits. Some experts are even claiming the law has improved the care in hospitals. There were plenty of reasons to suspect Obamacare might have been a colossal failure—although none of them had to do with death panels, huge lines for treatment, a government takeover of health care, etc. But there were real economic issues that could have killed Obamacare, such as insurance companies refusing to participate, individuals…