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Buster Benson

No advice column.

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What's the easiest way to save a life?
bird poops on plum branch
I heard a This American Life about someone who gave their kidney to a stranger, after a long string of bad luck on the donatee's part.  Also, my friend's husband just went through a crazy 3-year ordeal trying to get him a new kidney.  It seems like a no-brainer.  We should all save a life by donating a kidney.  The risks aren't actually that high... bleeding and infection are the major complications to worry about.  And according to the internet, life expectancy is not changed at all for those who have donated a kidney.  On the upside, you SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE.  Also, if everyone did it, and continued to do it, we would have a surplus of kidneys to accept if and when our only kidney should have a problem.  But then again, maybe insurance policies would complain, and kidney surgens would get too rich.  If all cars hit the gas at once in a traffic jam, would we end up using more or less gas overall?  Probably less, right?  And all that free time.

Why does the United States export 1.4 million units of potatoes and import 1.2 million units?  Has Communism already won?

In any case, talking with a future nurse and a skeptical wife yesterday made me realize that I can start with giving blood, if I'm so gung-ho about saving a life.  Which seemed all too rational, and could not be argued with.  So we're going to the Puget Sound Blood Center this Monday (MLK Jr. Day and also Obama's National Day of Service) to see what that's all about.  And maybe to once and for all remember what my blood type is.

My brain is all over the place... like a monkey in a cage ready to get out and jump on trees.

What's the easiest way you can think of to save a life (other than putting one in danger first, Fight Club-style)?

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Why does the United States export 1.4 million units of potatoes and import 1.2 million units?

It doesn't say what kind of potatoes... we might import some kinds and export others. And sometimes different parts of the country might import them (from places like Prince Edward Island in Canada) as opposed to shipping them in from other states.

Why not ship them to other states rather than across the water and back? And mash'em all together into a mountain. Yummmmm...

it might also depend on what a "unit" is.

Like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind?

Actually, since ~50% of the US crop is produced in WA & ID, it could easily be more expensive to ship to, say, Florida than someplace like Mexico City or Vancouver, BC. (And it looks like Canada & Mexico account for quite a bit of our exports.)

And, apropos of your recent posts, seasonality might have a lot to do with it. We likely produce surpluses when the crop is in season, shipping the excess to places where they're not locally in season. Then when they're in season down there, we import them here, so that we can enjoy them year-round.

That sorta makes sense... though potatoes are pretty easy to grow and are available most of the year in at least 10 states:

But yeah, Mexico and Canada... I can see why that would take place. I need more data!

This is what I was looking at. It was confusing me.

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