Independence Day Milestones
July 4 is the Independence Day holiday in the United States. Two milestones arrived for this year’s holiday.
One milestone arises because July 4, 2012 marks another step on the path towards a degree of relative financial independence for millions of Americans who are persons with "pre-existing conditions." Today, pre-existing conditions typically render a person unable to purchase standard medical insurance – at standard rates – unless the person is obtaining insurance as part of a large group plan that takes all persons regardless of their health history. Under the federal health care statute informally called Obamacare, persons with pre-existing conditions become legally entitled to purchase health care insurance regardless of their pre-existing conditions. The freedom takes effect on January 1, 2014. The freedom drew closer when our Supreme Court issued its June 28, 2012, opinion affirming the constitutionality of the statute – the opinion is in the case titled National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. The opinion is extensively analyzed in many places, including an extensive summary on Wikipedia.
Science also brings all an independence milestone that illustrates the power of political and informational freedom In the world of science. Thus, today, physicists at CERN announced apparently having found the much sought after Higgs Boson particle that is fundamental to various theories about the workings of the physical world. Notably, this discovery – like so many others today – arises from scientists freely collaborating across national borders, and working in massive multinational teams confronting incredible amounts of freely shared information. Specifically, the teams in this instance were comprised of about 6,000 physicists using massive amounts of computing power to collaboratively analyze data on 800 trillion collisions between particles. The vast scale of the undertaking is detailed in the following quote from a New York Times article:
"Physicists had been holding their breaths and perhaps icing the champagne ever since last December. Two teams of about 3000 physicists each — one named Atlas, led by Fabiola Gianotti and the other CMS, led by Dr. Incandela —operate giant detectors in the collider, sorting the debris from the primordial fireballs left after proton collisions. Last winter they both reported hints of the same particle. They were not able, however, to rule out the possibility that it was a statistical fluke.
Since then the collider has more than doubled the number of collisions it has recorded.
The new results capped three weeks of feverish speculation and internet buzz as the physicists, who had been sworn to secrecy, did a break-neck analysis of some 800 trillion proton-proton collisions over the last two years. They were racing to get ready for a major conference in Melbourne that started on Wednesday and where they had promised an update on the Higgs search." (emphasis added).
Happy Independence Day – it’s an opportunity for persons anywhere to celebrate the power of freedom of thought, speech and information, and the power to provide relative financial freedom to persons who are at excess risk of disease due to their genetic code and/or epigenetic changes arising from their journey through this world.