News Roundup 12/9/09

News Roundup 12/9/09

News Roundup 12/9/09

Science, technology, and life.
Dec. 9 2009 11:30 AM

News Roundup 12/9/09

Today's highlights in science, medicine, and technology:

1. Adultery and texting. Tiger Woods isn't the first guy to cheat on his wife or get caught by his own text messages. Look at Kwame Kilpatrick and John Ensign . And for poetic value, don't forget Mark Sanford. Wise up, cheaters: Your tryst is soon over, but your text messages are forever .

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.


2. Abortion coverage. The Senate voted down a copy of the Stupak amendment , which would bar abortion coverage under any health plan that covers anyone who is federally subsidized. The even better news for pro-choicers is that the Senate's two most pro-life Democrats, Ben Nelson and Bob Casey, are refusing to declare the defeat of this amendment a deal killer for their votes on the overall health reform bill. So it looks like the Senate can pass the bill without the Stupak restriction.

3. Medical cost controls. Health insurance is expensive in large part because we lack the guts to say no to costly procedures. But it's much cheaper for pets . Why? One big reason is that we don't go to the ends of the earth to prolong Fido's life. Human life is more valuable than pet life, but it isn't priceless. Maybe we should study pet health care and insurance to remind ourselves how and when to say no.

4. Marijuana. The Los Angeles city council is finally moving to rein in the "medical" marijuana dispensaries that have run amok in that city. It's about time. Los Angeles has become a poster child for the hazards of legalizing pot. If you want pot to be legal, you'd better demonstrate to a disgusted and anxious public that it can be regulated and managed responsibly.

5. Drone mission creep. Unmanned aerial vehicles aren't just for killing bad guys in Pakistan anymore. They're now being sent over ocean waters to monitor smuggling of drugs and immigrants. Domestic surveillance won't be far behind, since tireless eyes in the sky are a huge help to law enforcement. But don't worry, the drones won't shoot you. They'll just track you and record your behavior on video.

Speaking of live monitoring: You can get these updates in real time by following the Human Nature Twitter feed .