By request: grab bag

Another reader offers five unrelated quesetions:

1. Given what you've said about for-profit companies being the main source of medical innovations, do you think it's worthwhile to give money to private medical research foundations like the Michael J. Fox Parkinsons organization?

Depends on the foundation.  In general, yes, I think funds directed towards research are well spent, but you have the responsibility to look at the foundation's operations and make sure they're good at what they do.

2. What do you think makes single women in their 30's decide to get pregnant on their own using a sperm donor? Do you think this phenomenon will continue to grow?

The answer to the first part of the question seems obvious:  they wanted kids, and didn't meet the right man.  As to the second part, I doubt it will stay even as popular as it is.  Having kids is tough enough with a partner--even a deadbeat dad is usually more help than no dad at all.  Having watched the experiences of women who've done this, not to mention my married friends with small children, I sure as hell wouldn't go the solo parenting route.  I know a number of other single thirtysomethings who feel the same way.

3. What are your favorite parts of the Bible?

The Psalms.  Also partial to Ecclesiastes, Acts, and the Book of Job.

4. How should unemployment benefits be improved?

They should be replaced with guaranteed government part time jobs.  Only those who need it would take the benefit, and no one would stay on benefit longer than they had to. 

5. I think Jonah Goldberg once said the invention of the automobile did more to disrupt traditional societies than any political or legal change. Do you agree?

Probably true.  Certainly, it was the first step towards the sexual revolution.  It also disaggregated communities, separating peoples' business interests from their residential interests.  In my opinion, the latter was not a salutory development, and should have (but was not) been matched by larger regional government bodies to bring those interests back into alignment.


Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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