Health, Fitness and Recreation

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The High Return on Investment for Publicly Funded Research
Center for American Progress | Sean Pool and Jennifer Erickson
In order for the U.S. to maintain its role as an innovation-driven economy, “government must provide three key public-good inputs that allow innovation to blossom: investments in human capital, infrastructure, and research.” The authors cite and summarize the contributions of influential research funded by the U.S. Government through the Dept. of Energy Labs, The National Science Foundation, The Human Genome Project, The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Apollo Space Program.


Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities
Bicycling Magazine | August 29, 2014
#1: New York City 
“Over the last few years across the United States, numerous cities have made cycling improvements, but none has done as much as quickly as New York. In 2008, powerful and moneyed naysayers scoffed when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled an ambitious plan to transform New York’s mean streets and reclaim them for people instead of cars. Gallons of green paint were spilled to create a citywide welcome zone for cyclists. There are now more than 350 miles of new bike lanes, … encouraging even casual cyclists to ride up Broadway and through a car-free Times Square.”


The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet
Wired | June 2, 2015
#18: Minneapolis 
“The city boasts 120 miles of what it calls “on-street bikeways” and 90 miles of off-street lanes. The latter is less interesting for urban cycling, but Minneapolis is quickly becoming the go-to city in America for building infrastructure. An impressive (for America) modal share helped push it onto the index, and we like the political will coming out of City Hall. A respectable bike-share system is helping cement the bicycle in the transportation foundation of the city. Seeds have been planted and a garden is growing. American cities—often content with baby steps—are in desperate need of leadership, and Minneapolis has emerged as a contender.”


When Adding Bike Lanes Actually Reduces Traffic Delays
CityLab | September 5, 2014
“To see what we mean, let’s take a look at the bike lanes installed on Columbus Avenue from 96th to 77th streets in 2010-2011. As the diagram below shows, the avenue originally had five lanes—three for traffic, one for parking, and one parking-morning rush hybrid. By narrowing the lane widths, the city was able to maintain all five lanes while still squeezing in a protected bike lane and a buffer area.

Rather than increase delay for cars, the protected bike lanes on Columbus actually improved travel times in the corridor. According to city figures, the average car took about four-and-a-half minutes to go from 96th to 77th before the bike lanes were installed, and three minutes afterward—a 35 percent decrease in travel time. This was true even as total vehicle volume on the road remained pretty consistent. In simpler terms, everybody wins.”


PAUL MCGANN, DENNIS WAGNER and JEAN D. MOODY-WILLIAMS | Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Service to America Medals 

“Reduced preventable patient harm in U.S. hospitals, which resulted in an estimated 2.1 million fewer medical errors and saved nearly 87,000 lives and $20 billion.”

Background: Patient Safety Improvements Save 87,000 Lives and $20 Billion | AJMC


Jaques Reifman and the APPRAISE Team | U.S Army Medical Research and Material Command
Service to America Medals
“Developed an artificial intelligence system for medics to quickly detect if severely injured patients in transit are hemorrhaging, improving survival rates by preparing trauma centers to act immediately upon the patient’s arrival.”

Background: Automatic Detection of Internal Bleeding in Air Ambulances | Medgadget


 

The Quiet Revolution and a Submerged Para-state
Public Goods Post 
Under normal circumstance, it would be safe to assume that “public goods” are delivered by public agencies.  But current circumstances are far from normal.  Over the last several decades, more and more public goods have been delivered by a para-state, a privatized government virtually hidden from view. We taxpayers still pay, but our money goes to a growing army of corporations on the public payroll.

Private corporations operate programs, deliver services and even manage other contractors. Some citizens receiving public services encounter only private contract workers, so are unaware that they are receiving a government service. While some forms of contract procurement have been in place since the nation’s birth, the very nature of contracting has changed as it has grown in scope. Basic governmental functions are now outsourced to for-profit corporations. Read more…