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July 2017

The OneThirtySeven Newsletter

http://toolsandtoys.net the-onethirtyseven-newsletter

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.

Subscribe

Source: http://toolsandtoys.net



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

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

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

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.

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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You probably haven’t heard of nature deficit disorder — but you could still have it.

When’s the last time you spent time in nature?

Real nature — not you standing under a tree for shade so you could see your cellphone screen better before hopping your city’s subway system.

When was the last time you actually sat on some real green grass, surrounded by living trees, plants, and wildlife that doesn’t consist of the pigeon you’ve named Joe that hangs out on your apartment window?

If it’s "been a while," you could actually have something called "nature deficit disorder."

If you have never heard of nature deficit disorder, you’re not alone.

While it’s not exactly a medical term, according to the man who coined the term — Richard Louv — there are very real problems that result from people losing their connection to nature. "[It’s] a useful term — a metaphor — to describe what many of us believe are the human costs of alienation from nature," he explains over email.

Louv in his garden. Image via Richard Louv, used with permission.

"Human beings have been moving more of their activities indoors since the invention of agriculture then, later, the Industrial Revolution," he explains.

Urbanization has only made the problem worse. Today, over half the world’s population live in urban areas, and according to the World Health Organization, over the next few decades, that number is expected to keep rising.

This means more and more people are living in crowded cities with very little access to parks, grass, or even a playground — which can take a huge toll on health.

Technology also makes everything harder — causing us all to spend more time staring at a screen than a real, live tree. This can wreak havoc on our mental and physical health.

That’s why Louv has spent his career trying to raise awareness for this issue and convince people to spend more time outdoors.

Growing up in Missouri and Kansas, Louv spent much of his childhood playing in the woods with his dog. But as he grew up, he began to realize just how difficult it was for him to find the time to spend outdoors.

Work, family and technology demands just made it tough for him to step away.

In fact, the only way he could "build" nature into his schedule was to take full-on "techno-fasts" with his wife, leaving all electronics behind as they disappeared into the mountains for a few days at a time.

Of course, it didn’t take Louv long to realize this struggle to find time for nature wasn’t unique to him or his family, so he decided to throw himself headfirst into researching this problem.

The result was three books, and numerous articles in publications like The New York Times, to plead his case with parents everywhere to make time for nature.

He also co-founded the Children and Nature Network, an organization dedicated to connecting families and communities to nature and the tools they need to make "nature time" a reality.

The good news is that it isn’t hard to "treat" nature deficit disorder — it just takes a little effort and, obviously, some time outdoors.

"We all can create new natural habitats in and around our homes, schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, cities and suburbs, so that, even in inner cities, our children grow up in nature — not with it, but in it," Louv says.

And the truth is, you don’t even have to spend a ton of time outdoors to start feeling the benefits of nature.

Start by looking for your closest park and go there. Take the whole family, and spend the day exploring. Take a hike if you’re up for it, or spend the whole day lounging by a lake.

"We need to schedule nature time," Louv says.

Every little bit helps.

Research shows that even a small dose of nature can reduce stress, lessen negative thoughts, and have positive effects on psychological well-being.

Some studies even suggest that bouts with nature can boost short-term memory, reduce inflammation, and improve your vision.  

And for kids, the benefits are even better.

"Studies strongly suggest that time in nature can help many children learn to build confidence in themselves," Louv explains, and it can help calm them down and focus in school.

Image by by Annie Spratt/Unsplash.

He notes, "Time spent in nature is obviously not a cure-all, but it can be an enormous help, especially for kids who are stressed by circumstances beyond their control."  

Contact with nature, Louv continues, allows children to see they are part of a larger world that includes them.

"Studies show that people who care deeply about the future of the environment almost always enjoyed transcendent experiences in nature when they were children," he says.

Spending time outdoors doesn’t just benefit us individually, it can also transform our relationship with the world around us.

"If nature experiences continue to fade from the current generation of young people, and the next, and the ones to follow, where will future stewards of the earth come from?" Louv says.

It is his hope that by getting parents involved in bringing nature to their kids early and frequently that we can all, collectively, change our relationship to the natural world for the better.

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