A Spreading Cancer in Mexico
Reporting from Mexico for the December issue of the The Atlantic, author Philip Caputo writes that "drug trafficking and its attendant corruption are a malignancy that has spread into Mexico's lymph system."
• a Mexican law professor's conclusion that "17 of Mexico's 31 states have become virtual narco-republics, where organized crime has infiltrated government, the courts, and the police so extensively that there is almost no way they can be cleaned up."
• a U.S. government estimate that "the cultivation and trafficking of illegal drugs directly employs 450,000 people in Mexico."
Caputo's report is all the more distressing because of its moments of restraint. He uses the word "hyperbole," for example, to describe forecasts that "Mexico could become a failed state and the U.S. could find itself with an Afghanistan or a Pakistan on its southern border."
Among other places, Caputo traveled to Nuevo Casas Grandes, where the murder rate is "20 times as high as New York City." This blog last checked in on Mexico's drug war back in early October. So Caputo's piece amounts to a useful, specific, readable update.
One especially interesting passage explores the problems that arise when a country deploys tens of thousands of soldiers within its own borders to handle duties traditionally reserved for police. Caputo writes about "Javier Rosales, a medical technician who died after he and a friend were captured and tortured by soldiers." He continues:
Members of (Rosales') family went to the state justice office and the federal attorney general’s office to file a complaint against the soldiers and demand an investigation. They were turned away because, the officials said, charges of army misconduct fall under military jurisdiction. However, Enrique Torres, a spokesman for the Joint Chihuahuan Operation, told me that the army looks into such allegations only through internal investigations or when formal charges have been filed by state or federal prosecutors. It’s pure catch-22 ...
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.