Humanity’s Weakness Is A Competitive Advantage | The Return of ISIS | Cannabis Addiction

APRIL 30, 2019  /   SUBSCRIBE


“Study the past if you would define the future.” – Confucius

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell



Banging On Pots And Ganj: Raising Awareness Of Cannabis Addiction: Psychologist Aaron Weiner, director of addiction services at a clinic in Illinois, has a sobering perspective marijuana advocates won’t want to hear. “There is no debate that marijuana is both physiologically and psychologically addictive,” Weiner says. He cites a 2004 study that shows cannabis withdrawal can lead to irritability, anxiety, negative mood, loss of appetite and impaired social functioning. Withdrawal symptoms tend to be more severe in heavier users, and have also been observed in non-human primates. Addictive behavior in pot smokers emerges more slowly than with substances such as opioids, and cannabis withdrawal isn’t the living hell of getting off those drugs.

But the symptoms of addiction are relatively consistent. Cannabis use can begin as a social activity and then “it becomes the way you relax and cope with your problems,” Weiner said. For problem users, it becomes more central to their lives and takes precedence over seeking fulfillment in work and relationships. In Weiner’s practice, cannabis addiction is second only to alcohol; he estimates one in 10 adult cannabis users will become problem users. But compared with alcohol, the consequences of excessive adult cannabis use are less understood.

To the marijuana industry’s credit, legalization in US states does not appear to have led to a jump in youth cannabis use. It has however led to significant increases in adult use, a trend all but certain to continue as more states legalize the drug and it becomes more socially acceptable. “We don’t need more stoned people,” Weiner said. “When you’re stoned you’re not at your best and anything that increases that behavior is not good.” By this logic, alcohol shouldn’t be commercially available either, but it is in much of the world. Scores of countries have weighed the drawbacks of legal alcohol and decided allowing it is better than the alternative. (Guardian)



Seven Dead In Cyprus: A 35-year-old Cyprus National Guard captain has confessed to killing seven women and girls. He has been in custody for a week but has not been charged. Multiple killings are rare in this country of just over one million people. The scale of the crime has shocked the populace and critics are accusing authorities of bungling the investigations and failing to adequately investigate when foreign workers were reported missing. The discovery of a Filipino woman’s body in an abandoned mine shaft triggered the investigation that led to the captain’s arrest. The woman and her six-year-old daughter had been missing for a year. Police said the captain may have met the woman on an online dating site. (NYT)

ISIS Claims Sri Lanka Bombings: Fugitive Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has appeared in a propaganda video for the first time in five years. In the video he recognizes the terror group’s defeat in the eastern Syrian desert town of Baghuz several weeks earlier. This was only Baghdadi’s second appearance on video, the first being when he proclaimed the existence of the now collapsed caliphate in mid-2014. He appeared heavier and seemed somewhat limited in his movements. He spoke for just 40 seconds, saying in part “The battle of Baghuz is over. But it did show the savagery, brutality and ill intentions of the Christians towards the Muslim community.” Written text appeared on the video referencing the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka which killed more than 250 people in churches and hotels. The text said: “Americans and Europeans failed as we congratulate our brothers in Sri Lanka for their allegiance to the caliphate.” (Guardian)

It’s Not Me, It’s You: What began two decades ago as a web-based community of socially awkward young men describing their romantic troubles as “involuntary celibacy”, (later “incel”) has devolved into an unrecognizable hate group comprised almost entirely of men and boys who pollute their online forums on Reddit with posts blaming women for their sexless lives. The open-minded support group of the early days has degenerated into a place where praise of mass killers is not only tolerated, but normalized. The community, which numbers in the tens of thousands, embraces a profoundly sexist ideology that fundamentally rejects women’s sexual emancipation, labeling women as shallow, cruel creatures who will choose only the most attractive men if given the choice. One individual who calls himself Reformedincel has become a kind of historian of the movement; he documents the nature of the incel community and how its changed over time. Bottom line, according to Reformedincel: “Rage has completely taken over.” (Vox)

Europe and the Far RightSpain election: Socialists win amid far-right breakthrough: Spain’s governing Socialists have won the country’s third election in four years, but are short of a majority. (BBC) And Austrian deputy leader endorses far-right term ‘population replacement’: Heinz-Christian Strache says term associated with extreme right is a ‘term of reality’ (Guardian)



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The Military Preps For Skynet: Upwards of 80,000 people live on what the US Army says is the world’s largest military base, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Around 10 EST last Wednesday, the power suddenly went off and didn’t come back on for another 12 hours. Residents on the base reported some of what occurred as a result of the blackout on Facebook and Twitter, from traffic issues caused when traffic lights went out, to getting official documents updated, to overall confusion about the lack of updates from official sources. On its Facebook page, the US Army apologized for causing concern, explaining that what came as a complete surprise to tens of thousands was part of a required military exercise to gauge readiness and resiliency, and “to identify shortcomings in our infrastructure, operations and security” in the event of a real-world cyber-attack. (Verge) Additional read: Global Military Expenditures Are Up, Driven By Top 2 Spenders — U.S. And China (NPR)



Humanity’s Weakness Is A Competitive Advantage: Adam Waytz is a psychologist at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management who studies how people think about minds. His research has primarily focused on the domains of anthropomorphism (treating non-humans as mental, humanlike agents) and dehumanization (treating humans as mindless savages or automata). Waytz says, depending on which forecasts you believe, we should be either moderately concerned or extremely concerned about robots taking our jobs in the near future. Simply put, nobody is safe from being replaced by software, algorithms, and machines, and there’s lots of advice out there about how to prepare for the coming “replacement.”

Waytz analyzes the theories, but suggests trying to immerse oneself in their dictates can be exhausting. So his argument is this: those who feel threatened should relax. That’s right — worrying tends to make matters worse and leisure could actually give people an edge. When Waytz visited the San Francisco Bay Area to interview people in the technology industry for his research on the psychological consequences of automation, he asked everyone he met the same question: “What is something a human can do that a robot cannot?” His favorite answer was this: “A robot’s mind cannot wander.” Hence, Waytz says, the capacity to let our minds wander can give humans a surprising edge against advancing technologies in the battle for jobs. (Sloan Review)

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“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” – George Orwell

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