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The Epic Failure of the War on Drugs in Mexico
There is widespread acknowledgement that persisting in doing what we’re doing right now cannot work.
What’s happening in Mexico today is like what was happening in Chicago during the 1920s, the days of Al Capone and alcohol prohibition times 50. You have massive levels of violence, 60,000 or more dead in these drug-related wars. You have incredibly high levels of violence and corruption and intimidation. You have narco gangs essentially becoming the sovereign authorities in certain parts of the country. You have incredible victimization. You have drugs more available than they’ve ever been. When you knock out one major drug lord they’re replaced by another one or three or five or ten. You have the military and the police being corrupted. You have government officials being intimidated. You have journalists being killed. And toward what end?
Nobody sees this approach working. And so it’s very interesting to listen to the comments of President Calderon who has been president basically from December '06 until December, 2012. And you hear him on the one hand leading the drug war, feeling he has to fight against the gangsters and the narcos - and there’s some justice to the fact you can’t let the gangsters take over territory - but at the same time saying, "Let’s open this up." He says to the United States, "If you can’t reduce your demand for drugs, you better investigate market alternatives" - by which he means options of legal regulation and legalization.
And he’s just following in the footsteps of his predecessors. Vicente Fox, his predecessor, is openly calling for the legalization of all drugs. Fox’s predecessor, Ernesto Zedillo, was a member of this Latin American and global commission calling for major drug policy reform.
You have the business leadership in both Mexico City and Monterrey independently of one another setting up commissions trying to call for a new drug policy and serious research into alternatives. You have the leading fellow on the left, Javier Sicilia, the Mexican poet whose son was killed in a horrible killing and has now become the moral voice of the left, leading caravans across Mexico and the U.S. calling for more socially just policies.
So there is the emergence of a movement in Mexico really to open this up and a widespread acknowledgement that persisting in doing what we’re doing right now cannot work.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
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Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.