The silver lining to all the bad news around diversity in U.S. tech

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This week the World Economic Forum released its Global Gender Gap report, which shows that the global workplace gender gap has grown bigger over the past year.

Sheryl Sandberg writes “the number of women pursuing degrees in computer science is dropping,” and USA Today reported that in the U.S., female participation in the computing and tech workforce will shrink even further, from 24% to 22% over the next 10 years “unless we take action now,” adding that the “solution starts with education.”

It’s true, the tech workforce in the U.S. is predominantly white and Asian males, and this imbalance is mirrored in university computer science classrooms. The numbers have historically been the same in grades K-12.  Research by the College Board has shown that females who take computer science in high school are 6 times more likely to study it in university.

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But since 2013, the numbers in K-12 have begun changing

In the face of this bad news “unless we take action now,” I’d like to call attention to the hundreds of thousands of K-12 teachers who are taking action now. The world should celebrate these educators and extol the awesome results of their action. Since 2013, in a short span of three years, over 400,000 teachers in grades K-12 have begun teaching computer science in their classrooms, starting as early as Kindergarten.

The charts below show the diversity of the 13 million students learning to code on Code.org’s Code Studio, which has in 3 years become the most popular coding platform in grades K-12:

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While most of these students are learning the simplest introductory computer science concepts, even in Advanced Placement (AP) computer science, the diversity picture has begun improving over the past three years, after a decade of stagnation. Since 2013, participation by females and underrepresented minorities in AP Computer Science has grown faster than the average. Of course, the numbers are still grossly imbalanced  – 78% of the students are white or Asian, 77% are male. We have a long way to go and the problem is far from solved, but the year-over-year change is finally headed in the right direction:

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This isn’t just happening in one school or in one state, it’s happening nationally. In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson passed a bill to fund access to computer science in every school, and in just one year Arkansas reported a 300% increase of females studying computer science, and a 600% increase among African American females. When Oakland decided to offer computer science in every high school, enrollment increased by a factor of 14!  Changes like this have spread across the country, from Rhode Island to Utah, from Broward County to Spokane, and in the largest cities like NYC, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

The new AP Computer Science Principles

What brings me the most hope is this year’s launch of the new Computer Science Principles, a new Advanced Placement (AP) course developed in partnership with the College Board. This course introduces students to the foundational concepts of computer science, with a curriculum and learning progression that has been designed specifically to attract and engage students who are traditionally underrepresented in the computing field.

The 2016-17 school year marks the first time this course is being taught at a national scale across hundreds of classrooms, with a College Board AP exam to be administered in the spring. Although the enrollment figures are not yet available for Computer Science Principles classrooms, I fully expect that the diversity numbers paint a very different picture than what you see in the traditional tech industry, or in traditional AP computer science.

The solution isn’t only about education

Of course, this isn’t purely an education problem. Unconscious bias or downright discrimination greatly impacts the gender and racial imbalance in computing. A recent study shows that women are 11 times more likely to land a job interview in tech if their gender is masked during the hiring process.

And reports show that tech companies do a worse job retaining or promoting female engineers. These are very real problems, and the solution isn’t simply to wait for education to address the hiring pipeline. But it will also be mathematically impossible to address the workforce diversity gap without addressing the same gap in the education, and the results in K-12 are an encouraging step in the right direction.

Celebrating the result of amazing teachers

At a time when most of the news you see or read is bad news, the story of what’s happening in K-12 computer science offers a beacon of hope. These numbers suggest we may be able to reverse the gender gap and racial imbalance in the tech workforce and to provide a ladder of opportunity to the youth who need it the most.

This change has only been possible thanks to the tireless passion of America’s teachers and educators, who have decided that computer science is important enough that it should be integrated into the K-12 curriculum in their public school classrooms. This isn’t just an idea, it’s happening. These amazing teachers are currently teaching computer science to our children today, at a record scale never seen before in US history.

We owe a debt of gratitude to these teachers, for bringing the opportunity to learn computer science to so many millions of students, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic background.

How you can help

The most impactful way you can help is to encourage a teacher to try offering computer science in the classroom.

If you want to go even further to help support this teacher-powered movement, you can volunteer to help in a classroom: sign up to help with an Hour of Code this December, or help a computer science teacher inspire students throughout the school year.

In light of all the bad news that is reported daily, the story of computer science in America’s classrooms provides a glimmer of hope. Working together, we can change anything. Help us spread the word.

Featured Image: Rawpixel/Shutterstock (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

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Guy Faceplants While Rock Climbing in Virtual Reality

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Admit it. Deep down inside there’s a part of you that will always love watching people fall down, and it’s overjoyed that virtual reality is making a comeback. Even if the Oculus Rift and other VR devices don’t change the world as promised, at least we’ll have videos of people falling on their faces while trying to virtually rock climb.

Thankfully, it looks like this guy survived his ordeal. The VR headset that led to his faceplant also probably helped protect his face from the impact with the floor. But sadly, his virtual counterpart didn’t appear to be so lucky.

[YouTube via Geekologie]

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The AdSense Guide to Audience Engagement is Now Available in More Languages!

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Thank you for your feedback on our recently launched The AdSense Guide to Audience Engagement and letting us know how it has helped you grow your online business. Now you can download the guide in 2 additional languages: Portuguese and Spanish.

Download the guide today, and like thousands of other AdSense publishers, learn how to engage with your users like never before. The guide contains useful advice and best practices that will help you drive engagement on your site, including:

  1. Tips to help your audience become familiar with your brand 
  2. Best practices to design delightful user journeys 
  3. Ideas on how to develop content that resonates with your audience 
  4. Ways to make your content easy to consume 
  5. Reasons why you should share the love with other sites by referring to good sources.

Ready? Download your free copy of the #AdSenseGuide now in any of the following languages:

Enjoy the guide and we’d love to hear your feedback on Google+ and Twitter using #AdSenseGuide.

Posted by: Jay Castro from the AdSense team

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Can AI dominate the web industry and other domains?

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2016 has been quite a ride for the players in AI, NLP and ML technologies. From the famous advent of Microsoft Tay at the end of Q1 to the numerous acquisitions of AI and chatbot companies during the latter half of this year, artificial intelligence has been in the headlines every other day.

In August there was an article on TechCrunch asking a very (seemingly) simple question: Can chatbots help build your next website? Being a web programmer who is working on AI and conversational interfaces, this stirred my interest even more and compelled me to check out the services listed therein — and a few others of the same category.

My excitement wore off when I found out these AI chatbots were not only at their teething stage, but also made simple tasks much more complex than the DIY builders they are supposed to kill. I researched deeper by checking out similar products of diverse industries, talking to celebrity bots on Facebook Messenger, discussing weather with Poncho, doing late night conversations with insomnobot-3000 and talking to Google Assistant on Allo about what the world is like around me.

The “web” side of chatbots

To start, I requested the private beta of Opla, which sent me an invite the same day. It was a very basic experience (especially when you can see through the coding logic) and it failed to convince me that there was a use of AI or machine learning involved in the process. Opla must be working on upgrading their product, so let’s wait for what they come up with.

As Webware’s free trial just let me create a template website powered by an admin panel, my dream of talking to Harley (their chatbot) remained unfulfilled. So, B12 was the next one in line, which asked me to set up a meeting time before they could enter me into their private beta (ain’t nobody got time for that).

The wave of conversational interfaces is one of those rising tides that every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to surf without even assessing the needs of their target market.

I searched for more services and found two others doing almost the same thing. One is a California-based startup called Mopro, which claims the “death of DIY,” and the other one is based in L.A. and is named RightClick. The former takes information from the user in the form of a questionnaire and gives a message that their “digital specialist” will contact you. I am still wondering where did I experience AI in the entire process and how was it different from any other agency that I call for a quote.

The latter, RightClick.io, started off well with their open-ended chat approach where the user can type in anything and responses were decent. But as you move forward, their bot also takes support from UI elements instead of a pure conversational format. The editing interface (as the name suggests) was completely based on right-clicking on the elements, which is quite intuitive to use. They also just use the phrase “AI” for their basic attempt toward a product that might be of some intelligence in the future. But it isn’t right now.

Great marketing, not-so-great value

AI is the new cool trendy phrase of our times. Anything that can respond to your message on its own (even if it is a pre-saved reply) gets labelled as artificial intelligence, which is a disgrace and demotivation to the minds actually working on NLP and machine learning.

The wave of conversational interfaces is one of those rising tides that every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to surf without even assessing the needs of their target market. For example, imagine a bot for an e-commerce website that responds on a conditioned pattern and fails to understand the actual user requirements, which (on an e-commerce site) can break into a hell lot of branches. This would not only piss off the user, but also hurt the brand image of the site — contrary to the belief of their marketing team, which tried to keep up with the pace that the industry is going with.

So, what’s next?

A ray of hope was seeing a recent post about a new bot-authoring platform that not only uses rules, but AI as well, to learn conversational patterns and intonation of the target users. This could be a big step toward empowering the entrepreneurs who are eager to adopt a baby chatbot and raise it like their own.

On the other hand, we have just said Hello to Google Allo and witnessed a big ripple in the AI ocean with the Google Assistant available within user-to-user chats. Moving forward, a disruptive move by Google would be to announce Allo for Developers, which is most likely to happen sooner or later.

To make the market more mature, tech giants are not only focusing on improving their products and acquiring companies to lead in the industry, they are making genuine efforts to educate the public and budding entrepreneurs about how they can contribute to and utilize the growth of the AI industry. One big attempt toward this was the announcement of a historic Partnership on AI between Facebook, Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft and DeepMind. This Partnership on AI initiative describes its reason for creation as follows:

“Established to study and formulate best practices on AI technologies, to advance the public’s understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society.”

In conclusion, it is best for business owners to stay on their toes to follow the rapid development in the AI space and decide to make a move when confident about the need of a chatbot in their business model. A smart move would be to integrate the conversational interface in the existing user experience first, rather than forcing the user to put extra effort and time to experiment with a bot that says “Sorry, didn’t get that” in response to every other message.

Featured Image: Askold Romanov/iStock/Getty Images

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Amazon has added even more useful skills to Alexa (AMZN)

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Amazon Echo SkillsBII

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Amazon recently added two notable new skills to its Alexa voice assistant along with expanded news coverage, increasing its offerings to over 3,000 total skills and counting.

  • MLB Audio is coming to Alexa-compatible devices just in time for the start of the World Series, reports TechCrunch. This means that subscribers to MLB products can ask Alexa to play their favorite team, and the device will turn on the local radio play-by-play of the specified team.
  • The Logitech Harmony skill brings voice control to users’ home theater systems,according to TechCrunch. The skill allows users to begin any activity that they have registered with their Harmony smart home hub, including entertainment devices such as smart TVs and home theater systems. For example, a user can simply say “Alexa, turn on Netflix,” and it will bring the streaming service up on the user’s TV.
  • CNN recently announced that it will be bringing its individual hosts and its larger news capabilities to Alexa. The media giant has long relied on the brand recognition of many of its hosts, such as Anderson Cooper, John King, or Wolf Blitzer, and this will only enhance this. This means that users can ask Alexa either for general news on a given subject area, a specific anchor, such as Cooper, or the latest breaking news.

Alexa is catching growing attention from mainstream content producers. The popular voice assistant has been popular with consumers since its inception, but only in the last year has Amazon added a large number of skills to it. Further, the Echo and Alexa have become a platform for Amazon to sell Prime products via voice ordering, creating a huge revenue stream for the world’s largest online retailer.

The company has expanded this revenue stream by introducing the new, less expensive Echo Dot, thereby expanding its overall addressable market for the device. Overall, BI Intelligence expects that the voice-activated personal speakers will become a key platform for tech companies to enhance their core businesses.

There are several challenges for companies taking this approach, however, because the U.S. smart home market has yet to truly take off. Quirky’s announcement that it was filing chapter 11 bankruptcy — and selling off its smart home business, Wink — highlights this well.

At its current state, we believe the smart home market is stuck in the ‘chasm’ of the technology adoption curve, in which it is struggling to surpass the early-adopter phase and move to the mass-market phase of adoption.

There are many barriers preventing mass-market smart home adoption: high device prices, limited consumer demand and long device replacement cycles. However, the largest barrier is the technological fragmentation of the smart home ecosystem, in which consumers need multiple networking devices, apps and more to build and run their smart home.

John Greenough, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on the U.S. smart home market that analyzes current consumer demand for the smart home and barriers to widespread adoption. It also analyzes and determines areas of growth and ways to overcome barriers.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Smart home devices are becoming more prevalent throughout the US. We define a smart home device as any stand-alone object found in the home that is connected to the internet, can be either monitored or controlled from a remote location, and has a noncomputing primary function. Multiple smart home devices within a single home form the basis of a smart home ecosystem.
  • Currently, the US smart home market as a whole is in the “chasm” of the tech adoption curve. The chasm is the crucial stage between the early-adopter phase and the mass-market phase, in which manufacturers need to prove a need for their devices.
  • High prices, coupled with limited consumer demand and long device replacement cycles, are three of the four top barriers preventing the smart home market from moving from the early-adopter stage to the mass-market stage. For example, mass-market consumers will likely wait until their device is broken to replace it. Then they will compare a nonconnected and connected product to see if the benefits make up for the price differential.
  • The largest barrier is technological fragmentation within the connected home ecosystem. Currently, there are many networks, standards, and devices being used to connect the smart home, creating interoperability problems and making it confusing for the consumer to set up and control multiple devices. Until interoperability is solved, consumers will have difficulty choosing smart home devices and systems.
  • “Closed ecosystems” are the short-term solution to technological fragmentation. Closed ecosystems are composed of devices that are compatible with each other and which can be controlled through a single point.

In full, the report:

  • Analyzes the demand of US consumers, based off of survey results
  • Forecasts out smart home device growth until 2020
  • Determines the current leaders in the market
  • Explains how the connected home ecosystem works
  • Examines how Apple and Google will play a major role in the development of the smart home
  • Some of the companies mentioned in this report include Apple, Google, Nest, August, ADT, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Lowe’s, and Honeywell.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the smart home market.

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This DIY Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Generator Is Simple to Build, Fries Small Electronics

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If you want to get your hands dirty on a semi-evil electronics project, this DIY EMP generator is fun—if not a little dangerous—build to try. It won’t fry much, except at extreme short range, so you should be careful with it, but you’ll learn a lot in the process.

The video above tells the tale, and the project is actually the work of YouTuber FPS Weapons. You can see near the end of the video how he used it to make an old Game Boy Advance boot loop itself, and how he fried a couple of old smartphones. Of course, if you build it yourself, you shouldn’t run around killing people’s peripherals, and anything even remotely well shielded can stand up to what this will put out—but the process of building this will teach you a bit about electromagnetic fields, and how to generate them and how strong they can be based on the power source you provide. Hackaday notes:

The device is pretty simple. A DC source, in this case an 18650 lithium battery cell, sends power to an “Ultra High Voltage 1000kV Ignition Coil” (as the eBay listing calls it), when a button is pressed. A spark gap is used to dump a large amount of magic pixies into the coil all at once, which generates a strong enough magnetic pulse to induce an unexpected voltage inside of a piece of digital electronics. This usually manages to fire a reset pin or something equivalent, disrupting the device’s normal operation.

While you’re not likely to actually damage anything in a dramatic way with this little EMP, it can still interrupt an important memory write or radio signal and damage it that way. It’s a great way to get the absolute shock of your life if you’re not careful. Either from the HVDC converter or the FCC fines.

That last part is important to note, so if you do decide to try this project, keep it to the confines of your own home, or the local hackerspace, where you can be free to experiment with things like this.

How to Make a Handheld EMP Jammer | FPS Weapons (YouTube) | via Hackaday

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FINALLY A Breakthrough That Could Make Condoms Extinct–Scientists Claim Male Contraceptive Injections ‘Show Promise’

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condom

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Elon Musk wants to put 1 million people in glass houses in Mars in just 40 years. Today, we’re still putting dick balloons over our meat popsicles to ensure we don’t get girls pregnant. Sex scientists have been asleep at the wheel for centuries and have perpetually ignored our calls for change. Condoms simply aren’t cutting it. Well, check that, they are cutting it–and by ‘it’ I mean the blood circulation to my hog. I say these things jokingly, but I’m not. It’s fucking bullshit.

snakeskin

Anyway, there has finally(!!) been a breakthrough in the male contraception fight–a hormone injection that has proved to be an effective method after 20 years of research.

According to BBC, US researchers say the jab was almost 96% effective in tests on around 270 men who were using it, with four pregnancies among their partners.

This study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, looked at men aged 18-45 who had been in monogamous relationships for at least a year, and whose partners had agreed to participate.

Each man had hormone injections–progesterone and a form of testosterone–every eight weeks, and were monitored for up to six months until their sperm count fell to under a million. The normal sperm count is 15 million per millilitre.

After they stopped receiving injections, they were monitored to see how quickly their sperm count returned to its normal levels. Eight men had not recovered their normal sperm count a year after the study ended.

Dr Mario Festin, the study moderator and member of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, said:

“The study found it is possible to have a hormonal contraceptive for men that reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies in the partners of men who use it.”

Are you ready for the bad part? There’s always a bad part.

BBC reports that the researchers stopped taking new participants after 2011, because of the side effects: depression and other mood disorders, acne, muscle pain. A total of 20 men dropped out of the study in the middle of it due to these concerns.

The researchers are now looking to combining different levels of the same hormones and different ways to administer the contraception (gel), in order to maximize the efficiency of the product while limiting its side effects.

[h/t BBC]

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FINALLY A Breakthrough That Could Make Condoms Extinct–Scientists Claim Male Contraceptive Injections ‘Show Promise’

Standard
condom

Shutterstock

Elon Musk wants to put 1 million people in glass houses in Mars in just 40 years. Today, we’re still putting dick balloons over our meat popsicles to ensure we don’t get girls pregnant. Sex scientists have been asleep at the wheel for centuries and have perpetually ignored our calls for change. Condoms simply aren’t cutting it. Well, check that, they are cutting it–and by ‘it’ I mean the blood circulation to my hog. I say these things jokingly, but I’m not. It’s fucking bullshit.

snakeskin

Anyway, there has finally(!!) been a breakthrough in the male contraception fight–a hormone injection that has proved to be an effective method after 20 years of research.

According to BBC, US researchers say the jab was almost 96% effective in tests on around 270 men who were using it, with four pregnancies among their partners.

This study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, looked at men aged 18-45 who had been in monogamous relationships for at least a year, and whose partners had agreed to participate.

Each man had hormone injections–progesterone and a form of testosterone–every eight weeks, and were monitored for up to six months until their sperm count fell to under a million. The normal sperm count is 15 million per millilitre.

After they stopped receiving injections, they were monitored to see how quickly their sperm count returned to its normal levels. Eight men had not recovered their normal sperm count a year after the study ended.

Dr Mario Festin, the study moderator and member of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, said:

“The study found it is possible to have a hormonal contraceptive for men that reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies in the partners of men who use it.”

Are you ready for the bad part? There’s always a bad part.

BBC reports that the researchers stopped taking new participants after 2011, because of the side effects: depression and other mood disorders, acne, muscle pain. A total of 20 men dropped out of the study in the middle of it due to these concerns.

The researchers are now looking to combining different levels of the same hormones and different ways to administer the contraception (gel), in order to maximize the efficiency of the product while limiting its side effects.

[h/t BBC]

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Scientists Might’ve Just Discovered Another Benefit Of Marijuana, One That Benefits In Hunting And Fishing

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justin trudeau pardon prisoners marijuana

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New research has shed light on a previously unknown benefit of cannabis, and it’s something that can benefit people worldwide. The research suggests that cannabis enhances an individual’s night vision, allowing them to see better at night.

This phenomenon was first observed in Jamaica when it was noted that local fisherman would smoke cannabis to help them navigate the coral reefs at night and not run their boats up onto the reef and sink. Observers were totally flabbergasted and baffled by the fishermen’s ability to see at night and suggested that the only conceivable explanation for this was the cannabis. From there the research kicked into place and the findings suggest that smoking cannabis does enhance a person’s night vision….something needed by fishermen and hunters worldwide (and not just recreational hunters, I’m talking about people out in The Bush hunting for dinner to feed the village).

via The Guardian:

Now, another study provides hard evidence for the claim, revealing a cellular mechanism by which cannabis might improve night vision. The findings, published recently in the open access journal eLife, could eventually be applied to the treatment patients with degenerative eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.
West had suggested that cannabis might improve vision by acting on the eye muscles to dilate the pupils, so that more light falls on the retina, but other experiments ruled this out by showing that marijuana constricts the pupils. It’s also possible that the drug can influence activity in the visual cortex at the back of the brain, but the CB1 receptor protein, which binds the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, is found at far higher levels in the eye than in the visual cortex, suggesting that any effects the drug has on vision are likely due to its actions on retinal cells.

You can read the new published study IN FULL HERE. Before you do, one thing worth noting is that in the most recent study they used African tadpoles in place of human participants to make the findings less subjective…and now for my rant.

Earlier this year the DEA made the decision to not reclassify marijuana, stating that the evidence of marijuana’s medical benefits isn’t conclusive, which is complete poppycock. The evidence isn’t conclusive because you’ve got HUUUGE pharmaceutical corporations spending billions to keep the public hooked on opioids because that’s how these companies remain profitable, and medical marijuana would free the public from a dependency on opioids and hurt the bottom line.

This isn’t a conspiracy theory, this is a very real war being fought by multi-billion dollar corporations and it’s fucking bullshit. I don’t even smoke weed regularly (almost never), or take edibles more than once every few years. I’m just a staunch supporter of legalization because it’s the right thing to do. Getting the public freed of opioid dependency is a MUST. If you’ve ever known anyone to die from pill addiction, which in my part of Florida it’s almost certain that you know a handful of people who have died from this, then you’re probably right alongside me in believing that weed must be legalized.

I say 1) FUCK the DEA’s findings, 2) vote ‘YES’ on legalization if it is on your state’s ballot this November, and 3) if you are looking for the world’s best/tastiest weed brownies recipe I’ve got you covered!!! Lastly, if you’re thinking about making a trip to the High Times Cannabis Cup this year and/or are curious about what Colorado’s like now that weed has been legalized you can check out my write-up from 4/20 a few years back when marijuana was very first legalized for recreational purposes (it’s also the only time I’ll eve get work to pay for my weed): The State Of Marijuana — A 4/20 Experience In Colorado.

…(h/t The Guardian via ELifeSciences)…

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Scientists Might’ve Just Discovered Another Benefit Of Marijuana, One That Benefits In Hunting And Fishing

Standard
justin trudeau pardon prisoners marijuana

Shutterstock

New research has shed light on a previously unknown benefit of cannabis, and it’s something that can benefit people worldwide. The research suggests that cannabis enhances an individual’s night vision, allowing them to see better at night.

This phenomenon was first observed in Jamaica when it was noted that local fisherman would smoke cannabis to help them navigate the coral reefs at night and not run their boats up onto the reef and sink. Observers were totally flabbergasted and baffled by the fishermen’s ability to see at night and suggested that the only conceivable explanation for this was the cannabis. From there the research kicked into place and the findings suggest that smoking cannabis does enhance a person’s night vision….something needed by fishermen and hunters worldwide (and not just recreational hunters, I’m talking about people out in The Bush hunting for dinner to feed the village).

via The Guardian:

Now, another study provides hard evidence for the claim, revealing a cellular mechanism by which cannabis might improve night vision. The findings, published recently in the open access journal eLife, could eventually be applied to the treatment patients with degenerative eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.
West had suggested that cannabis might improve vision by acting on the eye muscles to dilate the pupils, so that more light falls on the retina, but other experiments ruled this out by showing that marijuana constricts the pupils. It’s also possible that the drug can influence activity in the visual cortex at the back of the brain, but the CB1 receptor protein, which binds the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, is found at far higher levels in the eye than in the visual cortex, suggesting that any effects the drug has on vision are likely due to its actions on retinal cells.

You can read the new published study IN FULL HERE. Before you do, one thing worth noting is that in the most recent study they used African tadpoles in place of human participants to make the findings less subjective…and now for my rant.

Earlier this year the DEA made the decision to not reclassify marijuana, stating that the evidence of marijuana’s medical benefits isn’t conclusive, which is complete poppycock. The evidence isn’t conclusive because you’ve got HUUUGE pharmaceutical corporations spending billions to keep the public hooked on opioids because that’s how these companies remain profitable, and medical marijuana would free the public from a dependency on opioids and hurt the bottom line.

This isn’t a conspiracy theory, this is a very real war being fought by multi-billion dollar corporations and it’s fucking bullshit. I don’t even smoke weed regularly (almost never), or take edibles more than once every few years. I’m just a staunch supporter of legalization because it’s the right thing to do. Getting the public freed of opioid dependency is a MUST. If you’ve ever known anyone to die from pill addiction, which in my part of Florida it’s almost certain that you know a handful of people who have died from this, then you’re probably right alongside me in believing that weed must be legalized.

I say 1) FUCK the DEA’s findings, 2) vote ‘YES’ on legalization if it is on your state’s ballot this November, and 3) if you are looking for the world’s best/tastiest weed brownies recipe I’ve got you covered!!! Lastly, if you’re thinking about making a trip to the High Times Cannabis Cup this year and/or are curious about what Colorado’s like now that weed has been legalized you can check out my write-up from 4/20 a few years back when marijuana was very first legalized for recreational purposes (it’s also the only time I’ll eve get work to pay for my weed): The State Of Marijuana — A 4/20 Experience In Colorado.

…(h/t The Guardian via ELifeSciences)…

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