Publisher's Note: America’s promise
By Jody Reese
In international rankings our country’s children never fare well in science and technology testing, but that’s not what I saw last Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Arena. High school teams from all over northern New England gathered to complete in the FIRST robotics competition.
Homemade robots raced around a small track to score by passing large red and blue balls over metal bars. In the first stage of the competition the robots used their own artificial intelligence to find the balls and race around the tract. That lasted about 20 seconds and then the students used remote controls to move their robots around the track.
Robot team supporters wore colored T-shirts and cheered their teams as if it were an NCAA basketball game. Students danced in aisles. You might say it was geek heaven.
While it’s true that American kids do lag in science testing, no other country in the world has our inventiveness or our sense of possibility. We do need to encourage more kids to go into the sciences and fund that training.
We should be confident that even though we rarely win the science testing awards, it’s our people who still lead in innovation. It’s American kids who created MySpace, Facebook and Google — the latest Internet sensations.
FIRST not only teaches the engineering behind robots, but teaches the students to think critically about how they are going to build a robot to win. This teaches a kind of entrepreneurship that seems to enhance that natural boldness in many American students.
However, we the taxpaying public need to do our part by making sure that we support efforts to expand science teaching in high school. In too many cases, it’s the wealthier school districts that have the advanced science programs while poorer districts just struggle to offer a course with a Bunsen burner.
We should be proud of our students and get behind them with more than platitudes.
Clegg wants skinny for all
Hudson state Sen. Bob Clegg underwent weight loss surgery recently and lost more than 100 pounds. Now, he supports legislation in New Hampshire that would require insurance companies to pay for the surgeries. According to the Concord Monitor most already do. Cigna is the only major insurer that doesn’t cover it.
Clegg’s argument is that forcing insurance companies to pay for the surgery will, in fact, save those insurance companies money over the long run by making those patients healthier.
While I bet Clegg is right and insurance companies should pay for the surgeries, it’s a little odd to hear Clegg, who voted against mandatory motorcycle helmets, supporting a mandate on a private company.
If, as Clegg argues, covering the stomach surgeries was economical, why wouldn’t Cigna already cover it and if it chooses not to in spite of the long-term economic advantages, isn’t Clegg conceding the market can be shortsighted and just plain wrong?
While it may seem easy to organize the world into black and white positions, the world is a gray place and our solutions need to deal with the realities of the world, not our fantasies.