Monthly Archives: July 2017

The OneThirtySeven Newsletter

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If you’re already subscribed to at least some of our favorite email newsletters and want another recommendation, I’ll point your attention to the new OneThirtySeven newsletter by our friend Matt Alexander.

In this weekly dispatch — which came about as part of the reboot of One37 — Matt features a selection of long-form stories, insights, links, and interviews he believes will be of interest to readers, along with curated clothing and products from quality brands. What I love most about it though is that it stays true to his (deeply British) voice, even when it comes to sponsored content:

So, in addition to some #sponcon (ugh) on Instagram (ugh) that I’m two weeks late posting (ugh), I thought I’d include the promotion here, too.

Plus, genuinely, this is the outfit I’ve been wearing all week.

As a side note, the end of the “Drinking” section in Issue 2 made me laugh out loud, so there’s that.

The OneThirtySeven newsletter is $1.37 a month (see what he did there?) and comes with a 14-day free trial — enough for two issues and access to the archive. Give it a shot! I’m really enjoying it myself, so far.

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‘Decentraland’ – Using Ethereum Blockchain ICO to Sell Virtual Real Estate

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Decentraland is a virtual world that is using the Ethereum Blockchain to sell plots of virtual reality real estate. They’re selling an initial offering of the currency they call ‘MANA’, from August 8 to August 16, 2017, and they’ll have up to 2 million plots of virtual land that will be sold for 1000 MANA. They hope to create a virtual city with different thematic districts that will help with content discovery.

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The blockchain contract will contain a Bitorrent link or IPFS hash that contains the content for each virtual plot of land. They have a Unity plug-in, but are also planning on using A-Frame and other WebVR technologies to create their virtual city. They’ll be using using other blockchain technologies like district0x for secondary markets for reselling land, Aragon for distributed governance, uPort for self-sovereign identity, Ethereum Name Service for human readable names. More specific architectural details are described in their Decentraland Whitepaper.


I had a chance to catch up with co-founders Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano in San Francisco to talk about how Decentraland is using blockchain technologies to manage their virtual world, and why it’s important to create artificial scarcity to help with the discovery of virtual worlds.


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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip

The post ‘Decentraland’ – Using Ethereum Blockchain ICO to Sell Virtual Real Estate appeared first on Road to VR.

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We called & @NASAWebb answered, confirming 1st successful communication between the telescope & mission operations:… https://t.co/l4MDG4YkaA

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White House opioid commission to Trump: “Declare a national emergency” on drug overdoses

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In this Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 photograph, a jug of used needles at a needle exchange is seen in an industrial area of Camden, N.J. (AP/Mel Evans)

The White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued a preliminary report on Monday stating that its "first and most urgent recommendation" is for the president to "declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act."

"With approximately 142 Americans dying [of drug overdose] every day," the report notes, "America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks."

The commission, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, states that the goals of such a declaration would be to "force Congress to focus on funding" and to "awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will."

In 2015, according to CDC figures, heroin deaths alone surpassed gun homicides for the first time. More than 33,000 people died of opioid overdose, with another 20,000 dying from other drugs. A recent federal study found that prescription painkillers are now more widely used than tobacco.

Prescription overdose deaths began to rise in the mid-2000, following aggressive marketing and widespread prescribing of the drugs starting in the late 1990s. In response, state and federal authorities began cracking down on prescription opiate availability, introducing "abuse-deterrent" formulations, tighter prescribing guidelines, and operations targeting so-called "pill mills" that made the drugs widely available.

But in response to these interventions, many painkiller abusers appear to have switched to illicit street drugs. As prescription painkiller deaths started to fall, heroin overdoses increased dramatically. The latest development has been the emergence of powerful synthetic opiates like fentanyl, which are sometimes mixed with heroin with fatal consequences for unsuspecting users.

In his inaugural address, President Trump cited "drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential," vowing that "this American carnage stops right here and stops right now." Trump established the opioid commission to study the issue in March, with a mandate to "study ways to combat and treat the scourge of drug abuse, addiction, and the opioid crisis."

In addition to declaring a national emergency, the commission’s first report includes a number of recommendations that public health experts and drug policy reformers have been advocating for years. They include:

  • Expanding capacity for drug treatment under Medicaid;
  • Increasing the use of medication-assisted treatments, like buprenorphine and suboxone, for opioid disorders;
  • Encouraging the development of new non-opioid pain relievers;
  • Mandating that every local law enforcement officer in the nation carry naloxone, the drug that rapidly reverses opiate overdose;
  • Broadening "good samaritan" laws that shield individuals from prosecution when they report a drug overdose to first responders or law enforcement officials.

Notably absent from the report are a number of tough-on-crime measures that the President and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, have repeatedly help up as solutions to the opioid crisis, including building a wall on the Mexican border, expanding the use of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug crimes, and seizing more cash and property from individuals suspected of drug crimes.

"The interim report is mostly appropriately focused around dealing with the opioid crisis as the health issue that it is," said Grant W. Smith of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates for a more public health-centered approach to drug issues. "It offers a sharp contrast to the overall approach that the Trump administration has been taking to escalate the war on drugs."

However, Smith had some concerns about whether an emergency declaration would expand the powers of the President and Attorney General in a way that could allow abuse of law enforcement authority. He also noted that the Medicaid cuts discussed under various plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act could have devastated drug treatment availability, contrary to what the report recommends.

The commission’s report repeatedly addresses the president directly and encourages him to use his bully pulpit to raise awareness of the issue. "Our country needs you, Mr. President," it concludes. "We know you care deeply about this issue. We also know that you will use the authority of your office to deal with our nation’s problems."

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This animated short about a gay kid ‘outed by his heart’ is the absolute cutest.

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After much breathless waiting and anticipation, the animated kids short, "In a Heartbeat," was finally released on July 31, 2017.

The four-minute short film — which follows a closeted boy as he "runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams" — has captivated certain corners of the internet since its trailer was released in May and instantly went viral.

The finished film is just as adorable and sweet and pure and squee-worthy as fans were hoping.

People are just totally loving it.

Like, honestly, truly adoring it.

The short is only four minutes long and completely void of narration or dialogue.

But its creators, Beth David and Esteban Bravo — who completed the project as part of their college senior thesis project — were able to invoke so many relatable emotions to queer fans watching at home: the helplessness of puppy love, the adolescent dread of being outed as LGBTQ, the judgmental gaze from peers when you are outed as LGBTQ, and the comfort of finally learning you’re not alone.

The project’s 30-second trailer tugged at heart strings back in May, so you can imagine what a difference the full movie is making now.

"We’re very touched by the response we’ve gotten so far and we’re happy to know that our project has already had a positive impact on so many people," the creators said about two months ago of the film’s blossoming fandom. "It proves to us that there is a need and a want for media that addresses LGBT+ themes in a positive and lighthearted way."

The two hoped their film’s positive reception will lead to more LGBTQ-inclusive films being produced down the line.

Fans, it seems, passionately agree:

Take four minutes out of your day and watch "In a Heartbeat" right now, below:

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