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Government

New Study Shows Why Big Pharma Hates Medical Marijuana (washingtonpost.com) 415

HughPickens.com writes: Christopher Ingraham writes in the Washington Post that a new study shows that painkiller abuse and overdose are significantly lower in states with medical marijuana laws and that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. The researchers "found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law... In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year."

[P]ainkiller drug companies "have long been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana reform, funding research by anti-pot academics and funneling dollars to groups, such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, that oppose marijuana legalization..."

Australia

Energy Prices Skyrocket in South Australia (yahoo.com) 269

Slashdot reader sycodon quotes an article from AFR: Turmoil in South Australia's heavily wind-reliant electricity market has forced the state government to plead with the owner of a mothballed gas-fired power station to turn it back on. The emergency measures are needed to ease punishing costs for South Australian industry as National Electricity Market prices in the state have frequently surged above $1000 a megawatt hour this month and at one point on Tuesday hit the $14,000/MWh maximum price...
"A planned outage of the Heywood Interconnector to Victoria, coupled with higher than expected gas prices and severe weather conditions have contributed to large-scale price volatility in the energy spot market in recent days," said South Australia's energy minister, Tom Koutsantonis. The Australian Associated Press adds that "The state Labor government has invested heavily in wind and solar energy at the expense of baseload power, a move critics say has left the state exposed during poor weather. Mr. Koutsantonis has described the energy volatility as a failure of the national energy market because a lack of interconnection means South Australia often produces more renewable power than it can sell into the grid. But opposition spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the government had been too hasty to invest in renewables."
Republicans

Paypal Founder Peter Thiel To Speak At Trump's Republican Convention (nbcbayarea.com) 268

Slashdot reader speedplane writes: The New York Times is reporting that renowned Venture Capitalist, Paypal Founder, and Gawker Litigation Funder, Peter Thiel will be speaking at the Republican National Convention. The original story does not state what Thiel will discuss at the convention, only that he'll be speaking the last day, but there's plenty of speculation.
Facebook issued a statement that though Thiel is on their board of directors, his appearance was "personal," saying Thiel "is not attending on behalf of Facebook or to represent our views." NBC reports Thiel will be the first openly-gay man to speak at the convention in 16 years, "as party leaders refuse to soften the GOP's formal opposition to gay marriage," noting Thiel "has been a staunch supporter of Donald Trump's run for the oval office, previously supported Ron Paul for president and has identified himself as a conservative libertarian in the past... Other speakers will include four of Trump's children, Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin, and actor and former underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr."
Censorship

Starbucks and McDonald's Announce Porn Blocks On Their Wi-Fi Networks (cnn.com) 284

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN Money: Anti-pornography groups have succeeded in their efforts to get Starbucks and McDonald's to block porn on the chains' Wi-Fi networks..."We had not heard from our customers that this was an issue, but we saw an opportunity that is consistent with our goal of providing an enjoyable experience for families," McDonald's said in a statement... Starbucks said Friday it's will do so the same thing at its company-owned stores around the globe as well. "Once we determine that our customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn't involuntarily block unintended content, we will implement this in our stores," said a Starbucks spokesperson. "In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behavior that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi..."
Meanwhile, this week, the Republican Party officially added the "public health crisis" of porn to its platform.
Government

Jill Stein Pledges To Pardon Snowden and Appoint Him To Her Cabinet (zerohedge.com) 175

Iamthecheese writes: Trump hates him. Clinton misrepresented him. Most mainstream media outlets call him a traitor and worse. But if you vote Stein, Snowden will be in the presidential Cabinet. "The presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein promises to grant NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden -- who many describe as a true American hero -- not just a full pardon, but a promotion to the upper echelons of government should she win the White House," reports Zero Hedge. "[Snowden] has done an incredible service to our country at great cost to himself for having to live away from his family, his friends, his job, his network, to basically live as an expatriate," Stein asserted during a town hall live-streamed to supporters on her Facebook page, US Uncut reported. "I would say not only bring Snowden back, but bring him into my administration as a member of the Cabinet," she continued, "because we need people who are part of our national security administration who are really, very patriotic. If we're really going to protect our American security, we also have to protect our Constitutional rights, and that includes our right to privacy." Her pardons would also extend to CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou and Chelsea Manning. Kiriakou first revealed proof of waterboarding and various other torture tactics employed by the government, while Manning leaked the Afghan War Diary and Iraq War Logs, which included footage of U.S. helicopter airmen deliberately gunning down journalists, to Wikileaks. Reddit co-founder and MIT student, Aaron Swartz, who leaked academic research to the public, would also receive a pardon under her presidency. "[Swartz] was a proponent of free and liberated internet and for sharing our resources on that internet, who was basically hounded into suicide by a very oppressive Department of Justice. So, he -- in my mind -- is another one of these heroes that we need to remember and be very thankful for."
Censorship

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Blocked In Turkey During Reported Coup Attempt (techcrunch.com) 153

An anonymous reader writes: In response to an attempted military coup, the Turkish government has reportedly blocked social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. TechCrunch reports: "Turkey Blocks, a Twitter account that regularly checks if sites are being blocked in the country, reported at 1:04 PM Pacific (11:04 PM Istanbul time) that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were all unresponsive, though Instagram and Vimeo remained available." Some Turkish users were able to update their social media accounts likely through a VPN or other anonymizing service. One user posted a video on Twitter that shows what appears to be a fighter jet flying very low over the Turkish capital of Ankara; another user has tweeted a video of a helicopter opening fire in Turkey. The Associated Press reports that Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirim, has confirmed the coup by a group within Turkey's military. The following statement from the group was reportedly read on local television: "Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the general security that was damaged. All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue."

UPDATE 7/15/16: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a statement in a FaceTime call to CNN Turk urging Turkish citizens to take to the streets to defend "Turkish democracy." He urges the Turkish people to convene at public squares and airports, saying there is no power higher than the power of the people.
NASA

How President Jimmy Carter Saved The Space Shuttle (blastingnews.com) 237

MarkWhittington writes: Eric Berger has published an account in Ars Technica about how President Jimmy Carter saved the space shuttle program. The article is well worth reading for its detail. In essence, around 1978 the space shuttle program had undergone a crisis with technical challenges surrounding its heat-resistant tiles and its reusable rocket engines and cost overruns. President Carter was not all that enthused about human space flight to begin with, adhering to the since discredited notion that robotic space probes were adequate for exploring the universe. His vice president, Walter Mondale, was a vehement foe of human space flight programs, maintaining that money spent on them were better used for social programs.
Republicans

145 Tech Leaders Say 'Trump Would Be A Disaster For Innovation' (cnn.com) 360

An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNN: "We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation," wrote 145 technology leaders in an open letter Medium post published Thursday. Some of the leaders are from tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple, others from small startups, venture capital firms, nonprofits and universities. "We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field. Donald Trump does not," reads the letter, which was signed by well-known names like Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, IAC's Barry Diller, Reddit's Alexis Ohanian and Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales. "His reckless disregard for our legal and political institutions threatens to upend what attracts companies to start and scale in America. He risks distorting markets, reducing exports, and slowing job creation," reads the letter, published by chief marketing officer at Color Genomics and former VP at Twitter Katie Jacobs Stanton. Moreover, Trump has shown "poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works," they wrote, citing his proposal to "shut down" parts of the Internet and the fact that he has revoked reporters' press credentials. "We stand against Donald Trump's divisive candidacy," the letter concludes. "We embrace an optimistic vision for a more inclusive country, where American innovation continues to fuel opportunity, prosperity and leadership." Meanwhile, Jon Swartz writes from USA Today that "If there was any lingering doubt as to tech's favored presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton put an end to that Tuesday with a tech plan that reads like a Silicon Valley wish list."
Republicans

Donald Trump To Announce Mike Pence As Vice-Presidential Running Mate (theguardian.com) 410

Donald Trump has selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate. A senior GOP official, cited by many media outlets today (including the WSJ), confirmed the news, adding that the announcement will be made Friday. The Guardian reports: Pence brings several qualities to the Trump campaign that Republicans have found lacking, not least of which experience in government. The 57-year-old spent 12 years in Congress, including two years in a leadership role with the House Republican Conference. He was elected governor of Indiana in 2012, and gained a degree of national notoriety that's to a controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which he signed into law and then wanted revised, after many argued it would allow discrimination against LGBT people. A Trump-Pence ticket could send a message to Republican dissenters who feel they cannot support a candidate who has proven inconsistent on guns, abortion, LGBT rights and other social conservative issues. Just before the Indiana primary election, the staunchly conservative governor endorsed Ted Cruz, Trump's leading opponent and a far-right senator from Texas.An anonymous reader shared a BuzzFeed article on Pence today. The article digs into some of the opinion pieces Pence has penned over the years. In one such article, Pence wrote that "smoking doesn't kill." "Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill," he wrote. In another piece, he argues that Carbon Dioxide "can't be the cause of increased global temperatures" because it is "a naturally occurring phenomenon in nature..." not an unnatural one.
Privacy

'Fourth Amendment Caucus' Aims To Fight Government Surveillance (usatoday.com) 212

schwit1 quotes a report from USA Today: An unusual coalition of 13 Republicans and 12 Democrats on Wednesday announced the creation of the House Fourth Amendment Caucus to protect Americans' privacy rights against calls for increased government surveillance in the wake of terrorist attacks. The group named itself after the Fourth Amendment because the lawmakers fear that the government is increasingly seeking the power to search Americans' electronic data without a warrant. They see that as a threat to the Constitutional amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. "In the face of difficult circumstances, some are quick to pursue extreme, unconstitutional measures; the Fourth Amendment Caucus will be a moderating influence that gives voice to countless Americans whose rights are violated by these ill-conceived policies," said Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich), who joined the group led by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Ted Poe (R-Texas).
Government

Theresa May Becomes UK's 'Spy Queen' and New Prime Minister (arstechnica.co.uk) 238

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: Theresa May has become the new British Prime Minister. As she sat down with the Queen on Wednesday, a controversial surveillance draft legislation that looks to significantly increase surveillance of Brits' online activity will be debated during its second committee stage day in the House of Lords. Ars Technica reports: "The Investigatory Powers Act could be in place within months of May arriving at Number 10 -- if peers and legal spats fail to scupper its passage through parliament -- after MPs recently waved it through having secured only minor amendments to the bill. As home secretary, May fought for six years to get her so-called Snoopers' Charter onto the statute books." According to Ars Technica, Theresa May's key political moments on the Investigatory Powers Bill start in 1997 when she became the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead. During her opposition years, her home affairs record shows that she generally votes against the Labour government's more draconian measures on topics such as anti-terrorism and ID cards. Mid-2009: May votes against requiring ISPs to retain certain categories of communications data, which they generate or process, for a minimum period of 12 months. 2010: She was appointed home secretary in coalition government between the Conservatives and junior partner the Liberal Democrats. 2011: The previous government's shelved Interception Modernization Program is rebranded as the Communications Capabilities Development Program (CCDP) by home office under May. Mid-2012: The CCDP morphs into Communications Data Bill, which is brought before parliament. Late-2012: May's Snoopers' Charter bid fails as deputy PM Nick Clegg orders the home office to go back to the drawing board. Mid-2014: May rushes what she characterizes as an "emergency" Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill through parliament, after the European Court of Justice invalidates the Data Retention Directive for failing to have adequate privacy safeguards in place. Late-2015: British security services have intercepted bulk communications data of UK citizens for years, May reveals to MPs for the first time as she brings her revamped Snoopers' Charter bid -- this time dubbed the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) -- before parliament. Mid-2016: MPs support thrust of IPB as it passes through the House of Commons. July 13, 2016: Theresa May becomes the UK's new prime minister as peers in the House of Lords undertake a second day of committee stage scrutiny of the Investigatory Powers Bill. UPDATE 7/13/16: Boris Johnson, the former London mayor who led the Brexit campaign, has been made foreign secretary by the new Prime Minister Theresa May.
Businesses

Guccifer 2.0 Drops New Documents (thehill.com) 106

Joe Uchill, reporting for The Hill: Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who breached the Democratic National Committee, has released a cache of purported DNC documents to The Hill in an effort to refocus attention on the hack. The documents include more than 11,000 names matched with some identifying information, files related to two controversial donors and a research file on Sarah Palin. "The press [is] gradually forget[ing] about me, [W]ikileaks is playing for time and [I] have some more docs," he said in electronic chat explaining his rationale. The documents provide some insight into how the DNC handled high-profile donation scandals. But the choice of documents revealed to The Hill also provides insight into the enigmatic Guccifer 2.0. The hacker provided a series of spreadsheets related to Norman Hsu, a Democratic donor jailed in 2009 for running a Ponzi scheme and arranging illegal campaign contributions. The DNC responded by assembling files to gauge the exposure from Hsu to its slate of candidates.
United States

Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton (cnn.com) 644

It's official. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday endorsed former presidential rival Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee ahead of the party's July convention. Sanders said Clinton will make an outstanding president and that he is proud to stand with her. "Hillary Clinton understands that if someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty," Sanders added. CNN reports: "I have come here to make it as clear as possible why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president," Sanders said at a joint rally here. "Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination and I congratulate her for that." The 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist, who has been a thorn in Clinton's side over the last year, pledged his support to his former rival: "I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States." Clinton, speaking after Sanders, declared: "We are joining forces to defeat Donald Trump!" "I can't help but say how much more enjoyable this election is going to be when we are on the same side," she said. "You know what? We are stronger together!" Full remarks of Sanders can be found on this blog post.
Government

Congress Is Trying To Expand The Patriot Act (rare.us) 174

An anonymous reader writes: The house is scheduled to vote in an hour or so on expanding provisions of the patriot act, allowing massive financial information sharing to include dozens of new offenses ("specified unlawful activities"), including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The house bill is H.R. 5606. My quick read is that this essentially lets FEDGOV expand massive semi-secret databases of financial transactions without a warrant while protecting banks from liability for helping them. In 5 years from 2002-2007, for example, with a smaller ability this led to 35,000 suspects but there were only 21 search warrants. Call your representative. Rare.us reports: "The proposed bill, H.R. 5606, expands Section 314 of the Patriot Act to cover non-terrorism or money laundering related investigations. Critics claim that the bill is a threat to the privacy of innocent Americans and is being rammed through Congress without debate. Section 314 encourages law enforcement to share information with financial institutions on money laundering and terrorism. It also encourages financial institutions to share information with each other." The report says the House Liberty Caucus, led by Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.), opposes the bill, claiming that Treasury Department regulations will compromise the privacy of Americans as it will all but mandate financial institutions to share information with the government. The caucus also opposes the bill because it is being brought to the floor under a suspension of the rules, and is not being considered under "regular order." The bill's sponsor, Congressman Robert Pittenger (R-NC) described HR 5606 as an attempt "to stop the flow of illicit dollars to criminals and terror organizations."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Delivers 210,000 Signatures Opposing Trans-Pacific Partnership (eff.org) 101

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "The TPP is simply bad for tech users and innovators," writes the Electronic Frontier Foundation, arguing the proposed trade agreement for the Pacific Rim "exports the most onerous parts of U.S. copyright law and prevents the U.S. from improving them in the future, while failing to include the balancing provisions that work for users and innovators, such as fair use." At a press conference, the EFF delivered 210,000 signatures gathered in conjunction with other activist groups "to call on Democratic Party Leader Nancy Pelosi to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership from going to a vote during the 'lame duck' session of Congress following the November election."

More signatures are still being collected online, to be delivered on July 21. In a statement, the EFF adds that the TPP also "does nothing to safeguard the free and open Internet, by including phony provisions on net neutrality and encryption, trade secrets provisions that carry no exceptions for journalism or whistleblowing, and a simplistic ban on data localization...to buy off big tech."

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