It’s hugely fashionable these days to make analogies between Obamacare and all kinds of things. So I will jump right on board: Obamacare is like my toilet, and I can explain why.
Jon and I are remodeling our condo in Dallas, and as part of this project we bought a gorgeous one-piece dual-flush Kohler toilet for $700. Sure, it’s a little pricey, but it’s beautiful, its design means there will be no leaks and it will be easy to clean, and in the long run it will save us a lot of money.
Unfortunately, since we’ve never done this before, we made some stupid mistakes. We didn’t realize that, due to the construction of our bathroom, the plumbing for the toilet is placed too close to the wall for the size of the toilet.
In fact, we discovered that the underlying construction of our condo is flawed: the “rough-in” distance is 9.5 inches, which is a non-standard distance to the wall. After calling around, we discovered that there is only one company that makes toilets that could possibly fit, and it is a cheap company that makes cheap, poorly-made toilets.
Thus, we have bought this beautiful, gorgeous, expensive toilet that will save us money in the long run if we could install it. However, we can only install it with a lot of disruption and cost. Specifically: we would have to tear up a portion of our concrete floor, move out the underlying plumbing so that it is farther away from the wall, and then re-pour concrete.
It would be costly, it would be time and labor intensive. It would mean several more days before we are able to use that toilet. It will be inconvenient in the short-run.
On the other hand, we could return the nice, beautiful, expensive toilet, and just say: Hey! Our plumbing is messed up, but it would be too disruptive and expensive to fix it. We’ll just settle with buying the cheap, low-quality toilet. Sure, it will have ongoing problems. Sure, it will probably¬† cost more in repairs and water-waste in the long run. But at least it can be fixed quickly, and we won’t have to pay very much right now.
So, my friends, let me ask you what the smart consumer decision is in this situation.
Faced with this kind of toilet dilemma, what should an intelligent, thoughtful consumer do?
Pay a lot more in the short run, break open the floor, deal with the mess and disruption in the short-run, so that in the long run we can have a nice, gorgeous, cost-saving toilet?
Or return the expensive toilet, and spend $99 on the cheap toilet that fits the existing plumbing, and will continue to break year after year?
Obamacare is exactly like our new toilet.
The headline of this article, copied from the headline of a news article at MSN.COM, is a lie. It is 100% false, and MSN.COM should be sued.
It’s an attention-getting lie, and it’s typical of the way media reports scientific findings. It is intended to generate page views on their “news” website. However, I find it despicable because it is utterly and completely wrong. It’s actually filling people’s heads with nonsense.
The actual study tracked people’s mood in relation to different activities through the day by having people share information about their mood and activities over text messages.
Thus, people rated sex as bringing them the most happiness during their self-reported activities over the course of the day.
There are three immediate problems with this:
1) People are notoriously bad at knowing the causes for their feelings. Just because you feel like sex brings you more happiness than children, doesn’t mean that sex actually brings you more happiness than children do. Some people “believe” that eating fat free cookies is good for them, and would gladly tell you this on a survey… but that doesn’t mean that eating fat free cookies is good for them.
2) When people are voluntarily self-reporting on their activities during the day, there is a gigantic selection bias on the types of activities they are likely to report. You may get a warm, soft satisfied sense of contentment watching your children play that never enters you consciousness enough for it to occur to you to send a¬† text about it. By contrast, a big event like sex or partying is something more likely to trigger you to think, “Hey! I should send a text about this!”
3) Finally, there are qualitatively different kinds of happiness. When people think about “happiness” are they¬† thinking about excitement and fun, or contentment and satisfaction? Short-term excitation is one type of happiness, and it is very easy to report on because it comes in a burst and is usually associated with a specific activity. Long term comfort and motivation is a different kind of happiness, and is more likely to come about because of the overall circumstances in your life or a general background state of being (such as having children or believing in God), and therefore there is no discrete trigger to let you know “Hey I should text about this”. That makes this second type of happiness much more difficult to measure through self-report.
The title “Sex and alcohol make you happier than kids and religion” is funny and snarky and a tiny bit anti-establishment, as well as re-affirming what a lot of people want to think. As a result, it makes a good headline.¬† Bravo, MSN.COM.
But it’s wrong. The true title of this article should have been:¬† “People believe that sex and alcohol produce more of the type of short-term excitation that people are motivated to send text messages about than children or religion do.” That would be an accurate title for this experimental result.
The moral of the story: Don’t ever trust media headlines.
Those of you who follow this blog know that I’ve done amateur video production on a number of projects, including political videos for Liberal Bias Video and random weird stuff for my personal Youtube channel.
Well, I’ve branched out again, and this time shot a funny “spoof” interview video for Kernel Magazine. I’m doing a hard hitting interview with model Carson Nicely. He was involved in making a series of videos targeted specifically towards catering to the lustful fantasies of straight women: hot guys doing chores around the house!!
I get to talk to him about what that experience was like.¬† It’s funny. Check it out:
The direct link to the video on Youtube is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHWvRBJFeik
As always, if you find it worthy, go ahead and click the green thumbs-up “like” button on Youtube to give me some online love. And try to be patient enough to watch all the way through. We’re both shirtless starting at 2:48, if that makes a difference to you.
Either way, enjoy it and have fun!