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The Lede, Hope in the Opium War and a True Worldwide Web

The Lede, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
By David Royse

Good Day 

THE LEDE: 

News from the New Opium War

Thursdays are the day I have been writing about the “New Opium War,” stories about the effort to find a solution to the Opioid epidemic.

Today, as another vexing problem has taken center stage in the nation following an unacceptably large number of deaths, the issue of the nation’s gun violence epidemic, there may be a glimmer of hope that we can find solutions to these sorts of problems.The news brings only a faint glimmer of this hope – because the new data have a mixed story. But the data, released this month by the CDC, show that in some places, the number of drug overdoses declined in the year that ended in July of 2017. Have people in some places found solutions that have started to turn the tide against this menace?

The news isn’t all good – and if the problem is starting to be lessened, it’s certainly not the case everywhere. While the numbers of OD deaths have declined in 14 states, most places continued to see increases in overdose deaths last year, including some incredibly large spikes.

So it wouldn’t be accurate to say the nation is turning some kind of corner, even with the good news of some declines.

I wrote about the new data, and what might be working in this fight this morning. You can read that here.

MORE OPIOID NEWS

In Florida, lawmakers are considering limiting how many opioids patients can be prescribed, but are trying to figure out how to allow for cancer patients, the terminally ill, and trauma victims who truly need pain relief to still be able to get it. From the News Service of Florida

A maddening look from The Washington Post at how marketing of opioids may have started all this in the first place.

THE FOLLOW

Best headline on SpaceX’s launch this morning:

Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 Just Launched the First of 11,925 SpaceX Internet Satellites

So much of the attention on SpaceX’s latest launch, has been on the fact that it is carrying a Spanish earth observation satellite called Paz, but not giving much attention to the two small prototype satellites on board.

Today’s Falcon launch carries 2 SpaceX test satellites for global broadband. If successful, Starlink constellation will serve least served.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 21, 2018

They’re the first step, as Futurism notes in the story linked above, to an audacious plan to put thousands of satellites into oribit with an eye toward providing the Earth with worldwide web, that actually is, worldwide. Global internet coverage is the aim. More from Engadget. The two satellites are called Tintin A&B.

NOTES FROM THE AGE OF DISRUPTION: 

Uber: 
Is expanding the roll out of UberPool Express, its cheaper carpooling option that requires riders walk a block or two to a convenient pick-up location.Some would say, it’s kind of like a bus.USA Today

Amazon:
Amazon has its own venture capital fund, looking to help out companies that showcase the Amazon Echo. Fast Company

The Age of Disruption:
And on the general notion of disruption – with Airbnb and hotels as a case study. Citylab

HOW WE WILL WORK

ROBOTS ON THE FARM

From Commodities Now:

“Robotic technology is quietly transforming the world of agriculture. In this article, we describe how this market will plausibly grow to become a $45B industry by 2028.

“Tractor guidance and autosteer are well-established technologies. In the short to medium terms, both will continue their growth thanks to improvements and cost reductions in RTK GPS technology. Indeed, we estimate that around 700k tractors equipped with autosteer or tractor guidance will be sold in 2028.

“The rise of fleets of small agricultural robots: Autonomous mobile robots are causing a paradigm shift in the way we envisage commercial and industrial vehicles. In traditional thinking, bigger is often better. This is because bigger vehicles are faster and are thus more productive. This thinking holds true so long as each vehicle requires a human driver. The rise of autonomous mobility is however upending this long-established notion: fleets of small slow robots will replace or complement large fast manned vehicles.”

ROAD WARRIORS

Your Transit News: 

Zagster Gets $ to Expand Dockless Bike Share. Zagster

MARIJUANA AND OPIOIDS: An update on the way medical marijuana legalization reduced opioid deaths, with some interesting nuance. Denver Post

GATEWAY? AND MORE ON OPIOID LINK: Experts also are challenging claims about medical marijuana’s impact on teen recreational use . Another paper published today looks at the current evidence of the effects of medical marijuana laws and finds little support such laws increase recreational marijuana use. The article also looks at the same paper updating the link between marijuana and opioid overdose deaths. Science Daily

FEDERAL MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWSUIT: Who is the lawyer suing Jeff Sessions? Leafly

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“What we must do now is enact change because that is what we do to things that fail: We change them.”

Lorenzo Prado, survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, speaking in Tallahassee.

If you know someone else who has hope about how new ideas, things, and companies can make all our lives better, forward this email to them so they can subscribe too.

Want to read past editions of The Lede? Find them all here

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About David Royse

David Royse
David Royse is the Editor-in-Chief of Ledetree.com. He has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years, including stints with The Associated Press and The News Service of Florida. He enjoys writing about health and medical science, and hopeful stories about scientific breakthroughs and new technology.

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