(An intern on Facebook’s data team created this map of relationships. From the Facebook blog, he says: “After a few minutes of rendering, the new plot appeared, and I was a bit taken aback by what I saw. The blob had turned into a surprisingly detailed map of the world. Not only were continents visible, certain international borders were apparent as well. What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn’t represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made while travelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by the various forces of life.”)
Rethinking “dual eligibles”: “Because of generally poorer health and greater needs for high-cost services, the country’s 8.8 million dual eligibles are the most expensive population within the Medicare and Medicaid programs and the most difficult to coordinate care for.” Also, Medicaid fund shortages are causing a variety of cuts across states: “States can decide which optional services Medicaid covers, and dental care is among cutbacks in some places. Last year’s economic stimulus package increased the federal share of Medicaid money temporarily. But that money runs out at the end of June, when the federal government will go back to paying half the costs rather than 60 to 70 percent. So more cuts could be ahead.”
This year’s “war over Christmas” goes to bus ads in Ft. Worth, Texas: “A public bus rolls by with an atheist message on its side: ‘Millions of people are good without God.’ Seconds later, a van follows bearing a riposte: ‘I still love you. — God,’ with another line that says, ’2.1 billion Christians are good with God.’ Good times.