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A year ago, the Ebola crisis in West Africa became all too real as American healthcare workers from afflicted regions returned for treatment in the U.S., and a visiting West African national took ill and later died at a Texas hospital.

Although Ebola was successfully contained, a recent incident in New Jersey points to a gap in healthcare security that remains as troublesome as ever.

According to a May 25 Associated Press article, an American suffering from symptoms that very well could have been confused with Ebola — Lassa fever — allegedly failed to inform hospital workers in New Jersey that he had recently returned from a trip to Liberia.

Hospital officials said they had asked the man about his travel history and that he did not say he had recently been to West Africa, CDC officials said.

Lassa fever, a West African hemorragic illness that is typically milder than Ebola, spreads in much the same way: direct contact with infected bodily fluids. Severe cases may lead to death, proceeded by fever, vomiting, organ failure, shock and bleeding from the eyes, nose and gums. The unidentified New Jersey man died of organ failure before he could receive antiviral treatment at the second NJ hospital he checked into after taking ill, the report says.

The CDC is currently in the process of tracking down people who came in close contact with the returning traveler on his way back to New York via a Morocco flight. The mystery is, why didn’t the patient himself notify hospital workers that he had recently returned from West Africa?

Ebola, Lassa fever or something else entirely — in whatever form the next infectious disease story takes shape — illustrates that the American healthcare system remains a “sitting duck” for infectious diseases imported by ordinary travelers, let alone terrorists.

Efforts to monitor infectious diseases are only a first step. This story begs the question as to why we do not have a proactive public health safety strategy in place. There ought to be a nationwide searchable database that doctors and hospital administrators can access at any point of entry into the healthcare system to verify international travel history on patients who are either too ill to disclose their travel history or for reasons only they understand choose to withhold such critical information.

The CDC and Congress needs to act now to make passport activity available to healthcare workers in much the same way law enforcement may run a license plate check to determine if there are outstanding warrants on an individual during a traffic stop.

Police officers are not forced to rely upon the people they pull over or arrest to self-disclose prior run-ins with the law, nor should healthcare workers be forced to rely on patients to volunteer their international travel history. In today’s globalized world, we can no longer afford to leave critical health and safety information to chance.

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Can the United States of America afford a decades-long war with ISIS? Can the U.S. contain Russia should it annex its neighbors? Can we confront North Korea if its dictator teams up with a nuclear-armed Iran? Will Big Government have an incentive to secure our borders if we need new and future taxpayers — legal and otherwise — to service the interest on our debt?

There’s no doubt the United States has the best-equipped military in the world. But that may not add up to a whole lot of security if we don’t get a handle on the national debt — before it’s too late.

“I.O.U.S.A.” is as relevant today as it ever was when it debuted in 2008 on the heels of former Comptroller General David Walker’s two-year Fiscal Wake-Up Tour. The only difference? Instead of ~$9 trillion the U.S. is running a deficit today in excess of $18T. That works out to a staggering $3 million per minute — for a figure currently in excess of $56K per American!:

Social Critic:

Dynamic pricing, long the norm for airline tickets — the same computer-generated practice responsible for hour-to-hour price shifts for hotel rooms and goods sold on Amazon.com — has come to bear on the nation’s housing markets. Day-to-day increases and decreases, worth hundreds of dollars, are not out of the ordinary in many rental markets. Society must decide: Are such trends genuinely reflective of market demands or are high-speed revenue management programs also driving market trends in much the same way high-frequencey trading has been criticized for spawning stock market volatility?

Key Questions:

1) Does the emergence of dynamic pricing in the real estate sector allude to a sophisticated means of price fixing and collusion?

2) Should we amend laws pertaining to “unfair advantage” to account for novel forms of technology — to compensate for the reality that ordinary consumers are no match for a multimillion-dollar computer algorithms?

3) We might be able to walk away from an over-priced hotel room or airline ticket — to vote with our pocketbooks. But we don’t have the luxury of skipping out on necessities like food and housing. Should dynamic pricing strategies be employed in all markets — even those for which bubbles and busts may have a particularly invasive, deleterious reach?

How has dynamic pricing impacted housing costs in your neck of the woods? Join the discussion in the comment section!

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Originally posted on TIME:

In strong-growth markets like Charlotte, landlords are adopting dynamic pricing strategies similar to the airlines and Amazon.com—meaning the asking rent price for apartments can change by hundreds of dollars in the blink of an eye.

The Charlotte Observer recently took note of how commonplace it’s become for rent rates at large apartment complexes in the city to be dictated by software algorithms that track supply and demand — and then tweak asking prices accordingly. The result is that if a handful of units are scooped up by renters over the course of a weekend, the monthly rental rate for similar units in the complex could soar on Monday, if not sooner.

Rent prices can and do change all the time, occasionally with quick, dramatic swings. During one particularly volatile ten-day period, the Observer tracked the monthly rate for a one-bedroom apartment at one complex as it rose from $982 to…

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