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Leif Pagrotsky on Sweden’s Drug Laws

Pagrotsky: We have a tradition of extreme damages from alcohol, for 1,000 years. There were periods in the 19th Century when the average consumption of spirit was about a liter a day per person, and that is a very heavy tradition to carry, so generations of Swedes have been fighting alcohol abuse, and it is imbedded in our culture now. And there is very strong support for restrictive policies towards alcohol, including high prices, restrictions and young people being able to buy, if you’re not 18, for instance, or if you’re not 20 in some cases, and membership of European Union has made this more difficult. Alcohol consumption is now going up again, and some healthcare, some health problems you can derive from this is now visible. Liver cancer, and you can see accident in traffic and so on that is related to alcohol, because it has been more difficult to control sales and use of alcohol now, and prices have come down also rather dramatically. But this is an element of globalization, of international competition, of open borders, and unfortunately the mentality of Swedish young people and the Swedish people have not changed in line with it, so now, when alcohol becomes more available and cheaper, we have not, at the same time, become more international in our ways to handle alcohol. When we get the opportunity, we still drink heavily at concentrated times, and then accidents occur. The debate is between two sides. One is the traditional restrictive policies: high prices, restrictions on access, and the other one is we are part of the world, why should we be different? The abuse is a consequence of, that we treat alcohol as something very special. By treating it something very special, it looks attractive, and that is the starting point for the abuses. My point is that this second hypothesis has been proved wrong. We are different. We have different cultural backgrounds. They are deeply imbedded and they are staying on. Then, as a responsible politician, as a responsible parent, it is my view that we must shape our policies in line with this, but I do support measures to make it easier to modernize it, to make it more flexible, but the fundamental element of having a restrictive policy when it comes to alcohol is firmly in my belief.

Leif Pagrotsky says high alcohol consumption rates lead to tight controls on drugs in Sweden.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
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Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
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How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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