Monthly Archives: December 2009

Author Response: “Legalize All Drugs Now!”

HIGH by Brian O'Dea

Brian O’Dea, author of HIGH: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler (Other Press 2009), responds to comments posted to his “Legalize All Drugs Now!” essay from September 23rd, 2009.

I was interviewed recently by a young reporter who grew up in the midst of the so called “drug war”.  As far as she was concerned, it is perfectly alright for our government to wage a war against the weakest of our citizens, even though her entire premise for it being acceptable  was built on a foundation of lies, untruths, omissions, and a complete disregarding of the facts.  Numbers issued by the DEA have notoriously distorted the facts for years (a simple example is found in their excessive valuation of the drugs they seize), and even only recently, under extreme pressure from LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition –LEAP.CC) have they changed a blatant lie on their home page regarding marijuana.

At any rate, I digress, let’s return to the interview. Continue reading

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Your Brain on Swine Flu

The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley

by Amanda Ripley, author of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—and Why and a contributor to TIME Magazine.

One of the strange things about influenza pandemics is that they happen in slow motion, giving us time to reflect.
Looking back, it’s clear that one major challenge was (and will be) striking the elusive balance between reasonable mobilization and overreaction. We want people to wash their hands and stay home when they are sick; we don’t want people to stone buses carrying a sick passenger from another country.

How do we dial up—or down—our response to a pandemic in real time? It might help to shape public warnings and communication according to how the brain actually works. Continue reading

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