Wed June 13


Tesla slashes thousands of jobs
— Elon Musk told employees that the company’s rapid growth had led to “duplication of roles and some job functions,” requiring it to lay off around 9% of its workers.  Around 3,600 white-collar workers will lose their jobs, but factory workers will not be affected.

Split California into 3 states? Voters will wiegh in
Mercury News
split-california.jpg— The effort faces strong headwinds. A poll conducted in April found that only 17 percent of registered California voters favored the proposal, while 72 percent opposed it.
— Even if approved by state voters, splitting up the state still would require approval from Congress — no easy thing in a sharply divided country. Voters approved breaking California into two states in 1859, but Congress never acted on that request.

Lawsuit targets rich family that owns opioid maker

The Guardian
— The state of Massachusetts on Tuesday sued the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, which has been blamed for spawning America’s opioids crisis, naming leading executives and members of the multibillionaire Sackler family that owns the pharmaceutical company.
— The lawsuit accuses the company, Purdue Pharma, of spinning a “web of illegal deceit” to fuel the deadly drug abuse crisis while boosting profits.

“Their strategy was simple: the more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more people died.”
— Maura Healey, state attorney general

Truck smuggling 55 people stopped in San Antonio
CBS News
— The San Antonio Fire Department rescued the people. Several were young teens.
— Some of the 55 were treated by Emergency Medical Services personnel for minor injuries. Five were transported to a nearby hospital. Officials say the injuries happened as the people were getting out of the truck.
— The remaining 50 people were taken to a detention center.

Use of common drugs linked to depression
ibuprofen-tricks.jpg— If you take Prilosec or Zantac for acid reflux, a beta blocker for high blood pressure, or Xanax for anxiety, you may be increasing your risk of depression.
— More than 200 common medications sold in the U.S. include depression as a potential side effect. Sometimes, the risk stems from taking several drugs at the same time. Now, a new study finds people who take these medicines are, in fact, more likely to be depressed.
— The list includes a wide range of commonly taken medications. Among them are certain types of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (used to treat acid reflux), beta blockers, anxiety drugs, painkillers including ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure), and anti-convulsant drugs.
— “The more of these medications you’re taking, the more likely you are to report depression,” says study author Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.
√ And of course, if there are drugs that cause depression, there are others that might treat it …

Psychedelic drugs could treat PTSD, depression
The Conversation
— It seems that psychedelics do more than simply alter perception. According to the latest research from my colleagues and me, they change the structures of neurons themselves.
— My research group has been studying the effects of psychedelics on neuronal structure and function, and we found that these compounds cause neurons to grow. A lot. Many of these compounds are well-known and include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocin (from magic mushrooms), N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT, from ayahuasca) and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, aka ecstasy).
— These are among the most powerful drugs known to affect brain function, and our research shows that they can alter the structure of the brain as well. Changes in neuronal structure are important because they can impact how the brain is wired, and consequently, how we feel, think and behave.

Four mega-popular quacks duping Americans with bad science
Raw Story
— Snake oil peddlers are an American tradition and these four, topped by TV guru Dr. Oz, are making a fortune by duping the gullible.

The woman’s libido pill is back and so is the controversy
— Advocates for Addyi are quick to point out that it’s far from a female Viagra, and not just because it’s generating a fraction of the sales. Viagra is used as needed to improve a man’s erection; it’s a question of blood flow, not necessarily desire. Addyi, on the other hand, is taken daily to restore a woman’s appetite for sex and treats a specific medical condition: hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

New Jersey passes “red flag” bill that would allow
guns to be seized from dangerous people
… Will these successes for gun violence groups at the local level encourage the NRA to double down on their gun platform in the midterm elections?
— Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois and Delaware are on deck to potentially pass similar legislation.

AT&T-Time Warner merger a green light for mega-deals
New York Times
√  Corporations plot to become monopolies in replay of the Gilded Age. US Department of Justice watches and shrugs.
— The battle for the future of media has begun.
— A judge’s approval on Tuesday of the $85.4 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal is sure to touch off a series of mergers as once-powerful news and entertainment companies, built for an era when cable was king, position themselves to compete against the likes of Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.
— How quickly are things changing? Netflix recently surpassed Disney to become the most valuable media company at $158 billion.
— That helps set the stakes for the pending clash between Comcast and The Walt Disney Company as each seeks to own the bulk of 21st Century Fox.
>>> A nightmare for consumers?
— AT&T’s win in court means a telecom conglomerate may soon own CNN, HBO, TBS, and a host of movie franchises.

9th Circuit threatens to revive Costco slave labor lawsuit
Courthouse News Service
 — A Ninth Circuit judge indicated Tuesday she might favor reviving a lawsuit accusing Costco of misleading consumers about slave labor in its supply chain for prawns.
– Reversing dismissal of the Costco suit would be a stark departure from another recent Ninth Circuit ruling, Hodson v. Mars, which found companies have no duty to disclose the use of slave labor in their supply chains.
– Ninth Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder admonished a Costco lawyer during oral arguments Tuesday: “You may be losing one member of the panel here in trying to say you can publicly announce you have a code of conduct that means you don’t tolerate this kind of thing, that that nevertheless means you’re not representing that you try to police it.”

Einstein called racism a “disease of white people.”
His diaries show that he had the disease
albert_einstein_53.jpg— Quotes from the volume make for unsettling reading. He describes “industrious, filthy, obtuse people” he met on his travels, and is particularly racist towards the Chinese, writing that “it would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races. For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s