Tag Archives: medical tourism

On the Improvement of the Population

Two related stories, Slashdot‘s “Where To Draw the Line With Embryo Selection?” and Scientific Blogging‘s “Analyzing The Homicide Trend In Young Men” together evoke questions about the future of eugenics (improvement in the genetics of a population) and dysgenics (degradation of the genetics of a population) in the future.

Clearly we’re rapidly approaching adoption of relatively painless choice-based selection when it comes to the future generation. If parents really are concerned their kid will be unacceptably lazy, unacceptably dull, unacceptably slow, etc., they will be able to ‘load the dice’ by selecting embryos that offer the best hope in the desired dimensions. If we ban the procedure in the west, there’s no reason to think it won’t become a booming industry in China, in India, in Thailand, in Mexico, or in other countries already popular for medical tourism.

However, it’s likely there will be government controls anyway. Consider the thugs who commit crimes and cause other troubles. There’s nothing theoretically to stop them from selecting children that are more vicious, more hostile, and more anti-social than would otherwise be the case. To stop this, the government will ban these procedures. Though the underclass is as free as the rest of the population to seek medical tourism abroad, what did Voltaire say about freedom? Something like, In France, the law prevents both the rich and the poor from sleeping under a bridge at night!.

So we probably will have a de facto eugenics policy, where those who look to improve their kids are able to afford to do so, while those not able to are not able to afford the procedure.

Smoke + Fog

It was another day of firsts, including my first straight caffee mocha, my first sweet bun (or manto, steamed buns), and a visit to the first KFC in China.

It was also a day of true smog, thick fog plus the smoky grayness that had been growing since the last rain. A true rain clears the sky. The moist air we got from last night to this noon just made things miserable.

For instance, in this photo of Tianamen Square taken lengthwise:

Central Beijing, 2007

The far end is almost completely obscured. Compare that to the embarrasingly idyllic shots from last year:

Central Beijing, 2006

The air today was worse than anything I experienced last year, whether in Beijing or Tianjin. I’m exhausted from the lack of oxygen. My boycott of National Review and further photos will have to wait for a bit, I fear.

Medical Tourism

Today was a day of first. Today was my first day in a Beijing city bus (built as nice as American mass transit, and less scary co-riders), my first day with sour yogurt (like American yogurt, except with a tangy kick), and my first day as a medical tourist. But would orthopediatry with Chinese characteristics be able to save me money on my dental bill?

Peking University Dental Hospital

Read below to find out!

Only the best cars were in the parking lot — a good sign.

And while the hoi polloi busily lined up for a standard session.

The third floor gives a notice for “Special Department of Dentistry”

And a a first-class waiting room. (I was the only American there, and most of the fellow waiting patients were Chinese.)

With a nice view!

The dental hospital is run by Peking University, one of two big universities in town (and also the parent of Beijing University Press). Service was prompt and efficient. After checking in, I waited about 20 minutes to see a dentist. She checked my teeth, and noted one area where I would need a filling soon. (While not painful, the area was definitely more sensitive than my other teeth.) I told her to go ahead with the work, and the entire business was finished about 30 minutes after I sat down. My new filling actually looks nicer than my old one (white-colored instead of metallic), and it’s hard to beat the price.

Total Bill: 610 RMB ($80)

Some closing thoughts: The dentist spoke fine English, but without the idioms I was used to. For instance, instead of “bite down,” she would say “close your mouth.” However, I’m not sure if the dental jargon I’m used to is confined to the upper midwest, so perhaps I’d run into the same minor mysteries in other parts of America, too. I also noticed that the dentist was less ostentatious. I’ve always had weak enamol, and it was nice not be to be scolded for “grinding” (read: normal wear and tear on feeble teeth). Additionally, unlike back home the work was actually done by the dentist, with the (quite attractive) nurse playing a secondary role.

I’m happy with the service, happy with the cost, and happy with my filling.

Thanks, Peking U!