Home / The Lede / The Lede: Police in Texas Look for Better Way To Handle Mental Health Calls; Plus, More on 5G, And Poison Darts for Birth Control!
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The Lede: Police in Texas Look for Better Way To Handle Mental Health Calls; Plus, More on 5G, And Poison Darts for Birth Control!

The Lede, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018
By David Royse

Good day.

The state of the union is … ?

Here’s some good music for your working/listening pleasure today
As some guy named Bruno noted when he put this on YouTube back in 2007, ‘U’ll love this song.”

To my friends in the television business I apologize, but wouldn’t it be better for everybody else if Woodrow Wilson hadn’t decided to actually read his State of the Union message to Congress, instead of just sending along a written message like EVERY OTHER PRESIDENT before him, starting with Jefferson, did?

Even after Wilson, Presidents Coolidge, Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower all delivered at least one written State of the Union instead of going up to The Hill to actually give it as a speech. But, that was, of course, before TV.

You can find a bazillion stories about the SOTU elsewhere, so I won’t get deeply into it here, except to say that Trump is supposed to discuss plans for an infrastructure package.



Speaking of infrastructure spending, yesterday I brought you the story from Axios about the Trump Administration’s interest in having the government build the next generation wireless network, known as 5G, for the fifth generation. After a day of nearly everyone panning this idea it occurs to me that a couple pieces of nuanced context are worth adding to the story on the second day.

One: Fortune reports, (though without a source) that the idea is coming from the low levels of the administration, and not necessarily from the Oval Office.

Two: AT&T and Verizon. at least, are already well on their way to rolling out 5G – something I should have noted for contextual reasons in yesterday’s Lede.

AT&T said earlier this month that it hopes to have a “true” 5G network in 12 markets by the end of this year. And as we reported at LedeTree last month, Verizon wants to be in five markets with 5G speed this year.


GOOD IDEAS: Fort Worth, Texas police try a different way of dealing with mental health calls.

From a story this past weekend in the Star-Telegram: 

A police unit whose work looks more like that of social workers instead of police. Not only is the team responding to mental health calls – it’s being proactive, trying to check in on people who may need mental health help,.

“The team was formed in part because Fort Worth police want more relationship-building interaction with people who may have mental health issues, team supervisor Sgt. Marcus Povero said.

“Several deadly force instances that our officers had been involved in dealt with mental health consumers,” Povero said. “We ended up having to use deadly force against mental health consumers and they had to use deadly force against us. So, the chief of police made the decision to begin this unit to find ways to intervene before we get to those types of deadly force situations.”

… Povero said the role of the team’s officer is geared toward starting a dialogue, not looking for reasons to make an arrest.

“They’ll do a in-house visit, they’ll talk with them and see how they’re doing,” Povero said. “They’ll make sure that they are on their medications and that they’re keeping their appointments. So, it’s really just a check-up.”

Other Interesting Mental Health Stories This Week

From Columbia University: “A new study challenges the popular notion that psychiatric medications are overprescribed in children and adolescents in the US.

Also: Medical News Today Recently Published its List of the Top 10 Mental Health Apps



“Hey, shoot me up with one of them arrows, doc. I got enough kids. Don’t kill me, though.”

Lower body image of man with bow and arrowSo this is really interesting: university research into the poison used by traditional African hunters – and whether it might give us a male birth control concoction. Presumably, it would not be delivered by arrow or dart, though that would be kind of fun for doctors and nurses, probably.

Either way, since this is a heart-stopping poison, I’m going to wait and see what happens before I sign up for this one.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota writing on their research in The Conversation:

After decades of research, development of a male birth control may now be one step closer. My colleagues and I are working on a promising lead for a male birth control pill based on ouabain – a plant extract that African warriors and hunters traditionally used as a heart-stopping poison on their arrows.

… Today, men have just two choices when it comes to birth control: condoms or a vasectomy. Together, these two methods account for just 30 percent of contraception used, leaving the remaining 70 percent of contraceptive methods to women. An estimated 500,000 American men opt for a vasectomy each year – a small number given the need for contraception. Vasectomy is an invasive procedure to do that’s also difficult and invasive to reverse.

When it comes to birth control options for men, the need is clear. Unplanned pregnancy rates remain high across the globe. It’s time for more options.


Fortune: “More than 100 child health advocates, medical experts, and civil society groups are urging Facebook to discontinue Messenger Kids, suggesting that it poses a danger to children and undermines their healthy development.”


Life Worth Living

Yesterday, I told you about the most popular course at Yale – a class on how to be happy. It seems they’re really into this whole idea of living well there. The Yale Divinity School has a course called Life Worth Living – and it’s so popular that it’s gone global. Already offered, in addition to Yale, at the University of Sheffield in England, Yale said last week that it now will also be offered at the University of Hong Kong. “The goal is for students to develop skills in the life-long process of reflecting on, and discerning, the good life,” Yale says. So who is going to be the first joker to show up in class with a nice cigar and a glass of Cabernet?

News You Can Use for Leading Your Best Life: From UCLA: Go Have a Curry. Curcumin may boost memory powers, and improve your mood!


EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS PAY OFF: Research led by the University of Minnesota and published in JAMA Pediatrics found that kids who participated in an intensive childhood education program from preschool to third grade were more likely to achieve an academic degree beyond high school than those in a similar group that received other intervention services as children.


Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern Partner on Cleantech Entrepreneurship Center

An important drug discovery tool just got 10 times faster, thanks to Purdue researchers


When a recent weather phenomenon created an unusually low tide and exposed part of the bottom of the Mobile Delta, a writer went out looking for a ship that should have been in the mud somewere thereabouts. He found something – and archaeologists from The University of West Florida and other experts are trying to determine if it is the Clotilda, the last ship to bring slaves to America.

“The hunt for the ship has inspired numerous searchers over the years, but the Clotilda has long escaped discovery, until perhaps now. ….

“In maritime history, this is major. This is an internationally significant discovery, if it is the Clotilda,”

It’s a long story – but a fascinating piece of work if you’re interested in American, particularly Southern and Civil War, or maritime history.


Sniffer Dog TrainingRELATED, BUT NOT REALLY: 

Another interesting archaeology-related story I came across recently: At Penn, the vet schools’ Working Dog Center and the Penn Museum are teaming up to test whether dogs’ ability to identify and distinguish odors may assist in the effort to prevent smuggling of archaeological artifacts. READ THE STORY FROM PENN



Chrysler Pacificas for Waymo, from Reuters

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Tuesday it will provide Alphabet’s autonomous car company Waymo with thousands of Pacifica hybrid minivans as the company readies to roll out its first public ride-hailing service later this year. –  Coming at this with a much better headline is ArsTechnica: “Waymo Orders Way Mo’ Self Driving Mini Vans.” Now That’s How You Do It.

ALSO – SELF-DRIVING WAYMOS COMING TO THE 404 (That’s Atlanta, for you non-area code slang speakers)


Venture Capitalists are Pouring Millions into Start-Ups that Help Chinese Find Apartments, from Bloomberg 

“China’s urbanization, along with a younger generation’s demand for better quality of life and control of property prices, has sent the rental sector into high-speed growth.


The next couple days are big for tech company news. Earnings reports are out tomorrow from Facebook and Microsoft, among others. On Thursday, we’ll get earnings reports from Alphabet, Amazon and Apple.


California’s Cannabis Industry Mostly Outside the Banking System 

“Industry leaders estimate that 70 percent of the more than 1,600 recreational and medical dispensaries in the state are still dealing in cash. They must lug stacks of 20s, 50s and 100s to the tax collector every month, payments that are growing after California on Jan. 1 initiated a 15 percent cannabis tax on top of sales taxes.” The story from The San Francisco Chronicle


It’s Super Bowl Week. So I’ll look for at least one good Super Bowl-related story each day this week. I’ll start with this preview of Mich Ultra’s Super Bowl ads, with Chris Pratt from Ad Age

RELATED: TV advertising is changing dramatically

Stranger Things

Sadly, January comes to an end with three recorded selfie injuries, at least one of which ended in death. They occurred in in Croatia, Colombia and India. If you wish, you can track these yourself at the Wikipage for reported seflie injuries. .

Go ahead and take selfies, people. But be careful.

Have a good Tuesday

If you know someone who wants to add some interesting stories about how the world’s changing to their daily media diet, forward this to them.

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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