Oregon decriminalizes drugs: Here are 3 metrics other states will track

It's "the biggest blow to the war on drugs to date," said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

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  • Oregon voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
  • The state also legalized the therapeutic use and sale of psilocybin mushrooms.
  • As the laws go into effect, other U.S. states will be watching to see how the experiment plays out, influencing future votes across the country.
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Why the US must break the grip of huge monopolies

Monopolies wield an immense amount of economic and political power and influence. So what can we do to make the economy more equitable?

  • According to Vanderbilt law professor and author Ganesh Sitaraman, America has a monopoly problem—a problem that is almost universally acknowledged as such, yet little is done about it.
  • Sitaraman explains how monopolies of today share DNA with trusts of the 19th century, and how the increased concentration and consolidation of these corporations translates to increased power both economically and politically.
  • "We need to think about reinvigorating our anti-trust laws and the principles of anti-monopoly that gave spirit to those laws and to lots of other regulations," he argues. Restoring faith in government and the economy starts with dismantling the things that make people question its allegiances and priorities.
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This interactive face recognition tool measures your attractiveness, BMI and age

A new interactive documentary "How Normal Am I?" helps reveal the shortcomings of facial recognition technology.

Credit: hownormalami.eu
  • The website is part of SHERPA, a European Union-funded "project which analyses how AI and big data analytics impact ethics and human rights."
  • The interactive documentary uses your webcam to analyze your face, predicting metrics like age, attractiveness, gender, body mass index and life expectancy.
  • Despite the shortcomings of facial recognition, there's currently no set of national laws regulating the use of the technology by governments or private companies.
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Study: Private prisons result in more inmates, longer sentences

The Labour Economics study suggests two potential reasons for the increase: corruption and increased capacity.

  • After adopting strict sentencing laws in the '80s and '90s, many states have turned to for-profit prisons to handle growing prison populations.
  • A new study in Labour Economics found that privately-run prisons correlate with a rise in incarceration rates and sentence lengths.
  • While evidence is mixed, private prisons do not appear to improve recidivism or cost less than state-run facilities.
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    Jon Stewart: Congress is abandoning veterans exposed to toxic 'burn pits'

    Stewart is supporting a new bill that aims to extend health care and disability benefits to veterans who served alongside burn pits.

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    • Thousands of American veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were exposed to burn pits, which may have caused diseases like asthma and cancer.
    • Burn pits were used as a crude way to dispose of waste, including plastics, body parts, dead animals, and hazardous chemicals.
    • Despite gaps in the research linking exposure to medical conditions, advocates say the benefit of the doubt should go to veterans.
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