Challenges and prospects in the EU: Quality of life and public services | Eurofound

This flagship report brings together in-depth contributions in the area of quality of society and public services, based mainly on research carried out since 2016.

Recognizing the fact that the quality of people’s lives is profoundly influenced by their access to quality provision in areas such as education, health, housing and social services, the report pays particular attention to regional and social inequalities and, where possible, changes over time.

The starting point is the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) which has, since its inception in 2003, included questions on various aspects of quality of society, notably societal tensions, social capital, institutional trust, and the quality of services that are key for the well-being of the public.

Source: Challenges and prospects in the EU: Quality of life and public services | Eurofound

The Tricky Ethics of Google’s Project Nightingale Effort to Learn from Millions of Health Records | Nextgov


The nation’s second-largest health system, Ascension, has agreed to allow the software behemoth Google access to tens of millions of patient records. The partnership, called Project Nightingale, aims to improve how information is used for patient care.

Specifically, Ascension and Google are trying to build tools, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, “to make health records more useful, more accessible and more searchable” for doctors.

Ascension did not announce the partnership: The Wall Street Journal first reported it.

Patients and doctors have raised privacy concerns about the plan. Lack of notice to doctors and consent from patients are the primary concerns.

Source: The Tricky Ethics of Google’s Project Nightingale Effort to Learn from Millions of Health Records – Nextgov

Protests escalate in India over gang-rape and murder of woman | The Guardian


Outrage has continued to grow in India over the gang-rape and murder of a 27-year-old woman, with protesters taking to the streets and politicians calling for the offenders to be “lynched”.

Demonstrations spread to cities including Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata and MPs spoke out in parliament following the discovery last week of the woman’s burned body in Hyderabad.

Source: Protests escalate in India over gang-rape and murder of woman | World news | The Guardian

Indian states must provide clean air and water or pay damages, supreme court rules | The Guardian


The Indian supreme court has declared that state governments will have to pay their citizens compensation if they fail to provide clean air and water.

The judges, who have been vocal in their condemnation of state governments who have repeatedly failed to address the issue, said people had the constitutional right to live free of pollution.

The supreme court bench, made up of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta, gave the governments six weeks to explain why they should not be held accountable “for their failure in discharging their duties.”

Source: Indian states must provide clean air and water or pay damages, supreme court rules | World news | The Guardian

How exposure to pollution affects educational outcomes and inequality


Although we do not currently have comprehensive evidence on which pollutants are most harmful, the evidence we do have is worrisome and suggests a source of inequality that has not yet been explored in depth. Since African American, Hispanic, and low-income families are more likely to live in close proximity to sources of pollution like toxic waste and TRI sites, where housing is less expensive, it is possible that exposure to pollution is one mechanism through which poverty produces negative cognitive and health outcomes.

I recently conducted three causal studies on this topic to assess the extent to which pollution exposure might affect children’s cognitive and behavioral outcomes.

Source: How exposure to pollution affects educational outcomes and inequality

China: A Headband for Your Thoughts? | EE Times

China abruptly banned the use of headbands to monitor school children in a classroom, after the Western media’s coverage caused a backlash.

In a story entitled “China’s Efforts to Lead the Way in AI Start in Its Classrooms,” the Wall Street Journal last week sounded an alarm about China’s use of electronic headbands on little kids. Reportedly, headbands worn by school children monitor the intensity of each pupil’s concentration, while the relevant data collected by the headbands is sent to parents.

Thrown into the global spotlight by the Journal, China’s use of the futuristic wearable device on children triggered a backlash. Many Chinese also started asking on social media if school children’s privacy is protected and how the data is being used.

Source: China: A Headband for Your Thoughts? | EE Times

Medical Devices Need Security. Here’s How | EE Times


“Why [else] would a medical tool need security? The answer is fairly straightforward. It’s because there are a lot of counterfeit products and misused products in the marketplace,” said Scott Jones, managing director for embedded security at Maxim Integrated.

“According to the World Health Organization, roughly 10% of products in developing countries can be substandard or falsified. What we experience in the United States and other countries with well-established medical markets is that this problem exists — and it’s just not something that shows up in very many public articles, as the impacted companies don’t really like to expose the issue.

“We know that it’s a problem, and of course, if we’ve got such a product that’s counterfeit or maybe one that has been harvested from medical waste and reintroduced into the supply chain, then it’s a problem for patient safety,” Jones continued.

Source: Medical Devices Need Security. Here’s How | EE Times

Hong Kong hospitals find themselves on protest frontlines | Reuters


Hong Kong’s public hospitals, long known for professionalism, have become a new front in the anti-government protests that have engulfed the city for more than five months.

An incident in which riot police armed with shields and batons interrogated a pregnant woman at her bedside in a hospital labor ward has become a rallying cry for medical professionals who fear that patient confidentiality and high standards of treatment are under threat.

Source: Hong Kong hospitals find themselves on protest frontlines – Reuters

Behind Medicare for All: The Sleeper Issue No One Is Debating | Government Executive


.. imagine how it might work if we were to decide to federalize all private insurance.

After all, surveys show that three-fourths of Americans like Medicare, and more than 60% of those surveyed want to steer clear of making major changes in the program.

That makes it reasonable to think that Americans would want Medicare for All to be managed the way Medicare for those over 65 is now managed.

That, however, sets up an inescapable choice. To make Medicare for All work—indeed, to make any fundamental change in health care—we will either have to dramatically increase the size of the federal bureaucracy, or we will have to transform the insurance companies into a new role.

Source: Behind Medicare for All: The Sleeper Issue No One Is Debating – Government Executive

Why Air Pollution Is So Bad in Asia’s Cities | Council on Foreign Relations


One of the centerpieces of the Modi government’s platform has been addressing air pollution, but his efforts to ameliorate the matter have reportedly fallen short.

According to the latest data on air pollution, seven of the ten most polluted cities globally are in India’s Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP)—home to over half of the country’s population. One of the most common metrics used for air pollution is the concentration of suspended particulate matter that have a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5).

Various factors contribute to poor air quality, but one culprit, residential energy use, has been identified as a primary contributor to emissions in the IGP.

Source: Why Air Pollution Is So Bad in Asia’s Cities | Council on Foreign Relations