Colo. Tourists Highest “Pot” Related ER Visits

Since its legalization in Colorado, the number of emergency room visits for Marijuana related effects has sharply increased. However, based on a study conducted by the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, researchers have determined that the patients frequenting Colorado emergency rooms, are often “marijuana tourists” visiting Colorado from states that have yet to legalize marijuana.

With four states having legalized recreational marijuana, and more on the way, trends like these will undoubtedly become increasingly common as tourist of “green states” seek a legal high.

After spending the last four years in one of the pioneering states to legalize marijuana, I have had the opportunity to personally witness what I consider to be the millennials end of prohibition. As more states begin to discuss the legality of marijuana, the benefits of legal marijuana must be taken into account along side the disadvantages. These discussions will have historic repercussions, and it is up to the American people to make sure that we approach this correctly.

When studies like these are published, the potential of misinforming the public becomes a real threat. The University of Colorado’s study reflects an increase in out-of-state emergency room visits due to Marijuana. However, the issue with this study is that by its nature marijuana can remain in your system for a number of days after use, and because of that it becomes difficult to medical professionals to pinpoint the true cause of the emergency room visit.

 

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Courtesy of Leaf Science

 

As more states discuss the legality of marijuana, the issue is likely to take a national stage as the presidential race heats up. The issue of federal legalization, and oversight will likely take center stage as states begin to see the positive economical effects recreational marijuana has had on Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

The danger of studies like the University of Colorado’s, is that as presidential campaigns, and legalization efforts attract massive media attention “conclusions” and “facts” determined from studies like these continue to surface in speeches and debates all over the country. If society is not cautious with how it handles the budding topic, America could easily regress back into the Reefer Madness era.

(Featured “Reefer Madness” Image courtesy of 1936 Reefer Madness Film)

– Anthony

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San Francisco, The Next Fiber City

As more bay area residents continue to resist “techie influences,” Google’s recent announcement may help them win over some San Francisco residents. Google announced on Wednesday that it plans to bring its revolutionary “Google Fiber” to areas of San Francisco.

Google Fiber is a high-speed fiber-optic Internet provider. After its trial in small Palo Alto communities, in 2012 Google selected Kansas City, Missouri as its first fiber city. “Google Fiber was founded with the goal to make the web faster and better. Since we launched in 2012, we’ve been humbled by the overwhelming response.”

Google Fiber is unique because instead of following in the footsteps of cable and Internet giants like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T; Google wanted to connect more people faster and cheaper than ever before.

For the average household, Google Fiber provides 1000 Mbps (Mega Bites Per Second) Internet service for as cheap as $70 a month, nearly 150 times faster than what Comcast, and other cable giants offer. For a slightly higher price, Google Fiber can also include more than 150 HD channels, and 1000 Mbps Internet service for $130. However, the real difference between Google and its competitors is that Google offers basic 5mbps Internet service for free, by doing this Google is hoping to connect more people than ever before.

Google Fiber Packages:

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Courtesy of fiber.google.com

 

For Comparison: (Comcast Internet Packages)

 

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Courtesy of Comcast.net

 

Although competitors have similar services as you can see in the image below, Comcast is charging $300 dollars a month for a service that Google is providing for $70.

The services provided by Google Fiber are on an entirely different level than the services being provided by Comcast and its other competitors.

Since it’s initial installment in Kansas City, Google Fiber has spread to eight other cities across the United States, with further expansions being announced regularly.

On Feb. 16, 2016, Google announced that it plans to bring Google Fiber to neighborhoods and communities in San Francisco. Google’s expansion into San Francisco comes as no surprise; Google has a large office based in San Francisco, with its Googleplex headquarters just a few miles south in Mountain View, Ca.

As Google continues to push the limits of technology, it remains to be seen if its competitors will be able to adapt, or die out.

– Anthony

FBI, Cooks, Apple

In December 2015, two extremists attacked a government agency in San Bernardino, Ca. The terror attack left 14 people dead and wounded another 21.

On Feb. 16, 2016 – Apple CEO Tim Cook released a statement to Apple customers, more specifically iPhone owners. The purpose of Cook’s statement was to explain why Apple refused to further assist the FBI in unlocking the San Bernardino shooters iPhone.

Cook explained that Apple’s main reason for not assisting the FBI with this portion of the investigation is that by doing so they would be jeopardizing every Apple iPhone in the entire world. Apple prides itself on being a company that does everything in its power to protect the information its customers entrust in its products. Cook went on to state that by assisting the FBI, they would be putting iPhone users everywhere at risk.

The FBI has asked Apple developers to create a backdoor into the iPhone operating system so that a computer can be plugged in to try millions of passwords every minute until it unlocks the shooters phone. While this would assist the FBI in unlocking the shooters iPhone, Apple argues that by creating a “backdoor” into the iPhone would create a weakness in Apple’s operating system that could continue to be exploited without Apples control or knowledge.

Apple believes that the FBI is setting a dangerous precedent. In order to justify its actions the FBI has proposed using the All Writs Act of 1789. If the FBI were to use the All Writs Act of 1789, it would be an extremely rare occurance where the FBI would be able to expand its authority without the explicit approval of congress.

In public statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated, “The government would have us remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by “brute force,” trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.”

By taking this stand Apple is reaffirming its stance on privacy, and encryption, a stance that was emphasized by its late founder Steve Jobs.

This is an important issue for Apple as well as all technology companies as the conversation of Internet security, privacy and censorship continues to gain traction. We’ve seen France and other European nations implement regulations against tech companies through the “Right to be Forgotten”, and the discussion surrounding what is private information on the Internet.

– Anthony

A Traveling Seoul

Four years have never gone by so fast. For most students, college means football games on the weekend, “all-nighters” in the library, and desperately trying to wake up on time for those dreadful 8 a.m. classes. For Chase, college was a little different. While his first two years started off much like those of his peers, a decision made at the end of his sophomore year would change his life forever.

Chase, a senior at the University of Oregon, studies Economics, and General Social Science. He spent his childhood in Bellingham, Washington, and after graduation, he decided to attend the University of Oregon.

Chase, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, wanted to escape. After completing his first two years at the University of Oregon, he decided it was time for a change. He spent weeks researching the university’s numerous study-abroad programs, until finally he made his decision. He would spend the fall of his junior year studying at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

“I was really surprised when Chase told me he planned to study abroad in South Korea,” said Ben, Chase’s roommate. “He had talked about studying abroad a lot, and I knew he wanted to get away, but I figured he would have picked somewhere easier like Italy or Spain.”

For Chase, living in Seoul quickly became everything he had hoped it would be. Despite being terrified in the beginning, his uncertainty quickly grew into uncontainable excitement. The bustling metropolis provided entertainment and adventures for Chase and his roommate Jeff.

“Seoul is the fourth largest city in the world, it is absolutely nothing like Eugene.” Said Jeff, Chase’s roommate while he was in South Korea. “Living in a country that speaks a completely different language was difficult but it was the culture shock we were looking for. Our motto most days in Seoul was, ‘Stay Alive’”.

As his semester in Seoul neared an end, Chase became restless; after everything he had experienced in his three months studying abroad, he decided he wanted to see more. Shortly after his realization Chase found a way to extend the trip.

With a small budget, and a rough idea of where he wanted to go, Chase spent the next three months traveling and experiencing diverse cultures in 11 countries. Despite living on a budget and often times being alone in countries whose language he did not speak, Chase managed to travel from Korea to Japan, then to Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, and finally the Philippines.

“I am so glad I chose to study abroad while I was at the University of Oregon. The experiences I had in Asia changed my life forever.” Said Chase, “Deciding to travel on my own was the best decision of my life. When you are alone in a foreign country, you learn a lot about yourself, you are forced to be outside your comfort zone, every second of every day.”

Chase’s experiences in Asia were so life-changing that he has since changed his major, as well as the direction of his life. Before he began the trip, Chase tried his hand in the Business School, and even looked into education. However, after his trip he found his true calling and interest, international relations. Chase now hopes to work for an embassy in a foreign country, and eventually as an American Ambassador.

As he finishes up his last few credits at the University of Oregon, Chase continues to work within his passion.The university’s peer mentorship program allows Chase to continue experiencing diverse cultures, by meeting students from around the world. The peer mentorship program is one way the UO seeks to diversify the university as a whole.

The University of Oregon offers numerous opportunities for students to challenge what they are comfortable with. Whether that means studying abroad and diving into a foreign culture, or by helping an international student adapt to our foreign culture here in Eugene. Regardless of what you decide, the UO hopes and encourages all students to reach out and experience everything this great University has to offer.

– Anthony

San Francisco Fights “Techie” Influx

San Francisco, a city built on American’s pursuit of gold, currently finds itself fighting the advancements of yet another gold rush.

As housing rates continue to rise in the San Francisco, many residents place the blame on Silicon Valley based tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

While the precursors for the current housing crisis in San Francisco are dramatically different from the events that ushered in the Dot Com era in San Francisco, longtime San Francisco residents continue to worry about the haunting similarities between the two. Much like today, the success of Silicon Valley in the late 1990s to early 2000s directly affected the lives of its San Francisco neighbors.

The tech giant Google began providing transportation services for its employees in the mid 2000s. In an attempt to further accommodate (and recruit) employees, Google created a fleet of busses to drive its employees to and from work everyday. These busses run all to and from San Francisco all day picking up and dropping off employees all over the bay area. The luxurious “Google Busses” include Wi-Fi, real-time location information and was also the first service of its kind to exceed the 2010 EPA emission standards. The Google bus service hit 2.5 million rides in 2013, and continues to shuttle 6400 employees a day.

Despite efficiency, and attractiveness of the tech busses to Google and its associates, many San Francisco residents have actively spoken out against the busses. In both Oakland and San Francisco, protesters have non-violently and violently blocked the route of tech busses, forcing law enforcement to step in.

In drastic form, San Francisco residents protested the expansion of tech busses. Residents protested the expansion of the busses because of the rise in “no-fault” evictions within 4 blocks of tech bus stops. The increase in housing rates can be directly tied to the influx of wealthy tech employees looking for a convenient place to live in one the most expensive cities in the world. However, despite the public outcry, disgruntled residents and protest, city officials recently voted in favor of permanently adding Google Bus routes to San Francisco.

According to the Anti-Eviction Housing Mapping Project, roughly 69% of all no-fault eviction in San Francisco occur within four blocks of tech-shuttle bus stops. While landlords have always had the ability to administer no-fault evictions to their tenants, the rate in which they are occurring has continued to rise with Silicon Valley.

No-fault evictions occur when the tenant has paid their rent, but the landlord decides they’d rather have the property back. No-fault evictions typically occurred when the landlord decided to either renovate, or sell the property. However since the rise of Silicon Valley, no-fault evictions have been used to increase the price of rent. From 2011 to 2012, no-fault evictions increased by 42%, and from 2012-2013 the amount of no fault evictions rose to 57%.

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Evictions near tech buss stops. Photo courtesy of Anti-Eviction Project

While rental rates, and housing prices continue to rise in San Francisco, programs like the Anti-Eviction Project, are attempting to make a difference through community wide movements.

Other organizations like the San Francisco Giants, and its Mission Rock Initiative are other methods that organizations and groups are attempting to fight the housing crisis.

As San Francisco continues to grow into a technologically advanced city, thanks largely to the contributions of its Silicon neighbors, it will fall on the existing organizations and residents of San Francisco to protect the culture and diversity that has historically defined San Francisco.

To learn more about no-fault evictions, or what San Francisco residents are doing in response to them visit http://antievictionmap.squarespace.com/, or join activists by signing a pledge agreeing not to move into apartments and houses that have become vacant due to no-fault evictions. 

-Anthony

 

St. Louis Maps Out its Future

As the people of St. Louis mourn the loss of their NFL franchise, the St. Louis Rams, administrators and representatives of St. Louis are pushing to revitalize the city any way they can.

One option for increased revitalization efforts in St. Louis is the construction of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new facility. The NGA uses satellites to produce images and maps for the United States government and the military. Located in downtown St. Louis, the current NGA West facility is small, outdated, and vulnerable to a domestic terrorist attack. For those reasons, Director of the NGA Robert Cardillo is hoping to move the organizations western headquarters to a newly updated, safer location.

As it stands right now, Cardillo has the choice of two locations for the new NGA West facility. One of the facilities would be a 182-acre lot positioned near Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Illinois. The other location would be to build the new NGA West facility in the St. Louis Place neighborhood, a neighborhood in northern St. Louis notorious for its poverty levels, unemployment and crime rates.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is one of numerous politicians actively supporting a new NGA facility inside the city limits of St. Louis. Due to its current location in downtown St. Louis, supporters of this location believe that the agency should stay in the community that it has existed in for so long. U.S. representative William Lacy Clay is another notable supporter pushing for a new NGA facility in St. Louis. Clay believes that with the use of executive orders and federal funding, the new NGA facility would ignite an economic renaissance in a city in need of a catalyst.

St. Clair County is a popular potential location because it is not only double the size of the lot proposed in St. Louis, but is also located in close proximity to an air force base. The St. Clair County location fulfills the NGA West needs of protection, and the large plot of land would allow the government to build a state of the art facility away from the commotion and threat of a heavily populated metropolitan area. Supporters of the move to St. Clair County reference the protection and practicality of the agency and facility above economic renewal. The NGA is, “not an urban renewal agency”, stated U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, “They are an imagery agency for war-fighters.”

While no decision has been made yet, NGA director Cardillo plans to make his initial decision by the end of March and plans to finalize his decision in the following months. If Cardillo decides to move the NGA West headquarters to St. Clair County, the city of St. Louis will lose not only a sizable employer, but also the potential of consistent construction jobs over the next four years, just months after losing the Rams franchise.

This debate raises and interesting perspective as to whether the federal government and the NGA West will support the local community it has existed in for decades, or if it will move on to a new location in the interest of national security.

– Anthony

Whole Foods Needs Millennial Support

Continuing on a topic I discussed in a previous post, Whole Foods find itself once again in the news this week. This week a Forbes article reported that the organic grocers’ quarterly revenue was more than estimated, as Whole Foods continues to attract customers with its high-priced healthy foods.

If this quarter is a sign for the future of Whole Foods, things are looking up after experiencing a year of consistent decline in overall sales and public opinion. The decline in sales and opinion can be traced back to incidents within the organization in June of last year, when an investigation into Whole Foods revealed that the grocer was drastically over charging its customers. This development created a public relations crisis that continues to affect the organization to this day. However, after reporting a record quarter of $4.83 billion, Whole Foods looks to carry its success into next quarter.

Despite all the troubles Whole Foods has experienced in the past year, Whole Foods ended the quarter with its shares selling for 46 cents each. Six cents higher than the 40 cents analyst predicted at the beginning of the quarter. The rise in price per share can likely be attributed to the 3% increase in total sales this last month, where once again Whole Foods overshot analyst estimates.

After Whole Foods shady activities became public knowledge, pop-culture and public opinion labeled Whole Foods as “Whole Paycheck”. In an effort to repair its brand, and the public’s opinion, Whole Foods has continuously worked to diminish the negative reputation it gained through campaigns focusing on lower base prices and in-store promotions.  

Another way Whole Foods is looking to shed the negative impressions surrounding its brand, is by promoting cheaper healthy products, and by opening a new chain of stores called “365”. Whole Foods new chain of stores will feature lower prices and more of Whole Foods own products. Whole Foods hopes that with lower prices and a fresh image, 365 will attract more millennials as customers. 365 chains will also look to incorporate Whole Foods’ new digital coupon and promotion strategy as well, in order to reach customers easier.

As Whole Foods, and now 365 look to redefine the American grocery shopping experience, only time can tell if Whole Foods will finally be able to compete with the grocery giants WalMart, and Kroger.
–  Anthony