On Wednesday, Google announced that it would be experimenting with building an ultra-high-speed broadband network -- delivering up to 1 gigabyte of data per second, which is about 20 times as fast as what most broadband subscribers get today -- serving somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 lucky consumers in a small number of communities to be named later. "Imagine sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the Web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York," Google says. "Or downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes.
Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration announced a new initiative to increase the safety of imaging devices that use radiation, like CT scans. This came about because of a New York Timesinvestigation detailing horrifying cases of patients being given overdoses of radiation when going in for routine scans. Hospitals are employing incredibly powerful equipment that can -- and has -- killed people if used incorrectly. The machinery sometimes lacks systems that would prevent these deaths, like an alarm telling the technician when they're about to deliver an overdose of radiation.
If you want to understand the depths of Republican intransigence on health-care reform, I'd encourage you to read Ezra Klein's interview with Sen. Lamar Alexander. Alexander is not the most conservative senator, or the one most prone to the kind of bomb-throwing and mendacity that characterizes some of his colleagues. Which is why it's so revealing to hear him actually try to explain his position to an interviewer willing to press him.