An ambitious organization called the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is seeking to provide free web access to every person on Earth in a project dubbed the Outernet. MDIF plans to launch hundreds of satellites into orbit by 2015 and say the project could provide unrestricted Internet access to countries where web access is censored, including China and North Korea. At the prospect of telecoms operators trying to shut the project down before it gets off the ground, project lead SyedKarim said, "We will fight ... and win." read more
RT: Italy's constitutional court has overturned a law equating cannabis with cocaine and heroin, a decision could see 10,000 people released from the country's jails. The court ruled the law was "illegitimate," without elaborating further. The law, passed by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in 2006, has been blamed for Italy's swelling prison population, as sentences for selling, growing or possessing marijuana effectively tripled. Italian prisons are operating beyond capacity, with 62,000 inmates residing in facilities meant to house 48,000. The prisoners' rights group Antigone claims that 40 percent of all inmates are currently serving sentences for drug crimes. Following Friday's verdict, the previous drug law and its far more lenient sentencing regime automatically takes effect.
Journalists and psychologists are quick to describe someone as being a porn "addict," yet there's no strong scientific research that shows such addictions actually exists. Slapping such labels onto the habit of frequently viewing images of a sexual nature only describes it as a form of pathology. These labels ignore the positive benefits it holds. So says David Ley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in practice in Albuquerque, NM, and Executive Director of New Mexico Solutions, a large behavioral health program. Dr. Ley is the author of a review article about the so-called "pornography addiction model," which is published in Springer's journal Current Sexual Health Reports.
"Pornography addiction" was not included in the recently revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual because of a lack of scientific data. read more
Dale Hansen, a local sportscaster from WFAA in Dallas, TX, offered his two cents about the NFL's reaction to Michael Sam's declaration that he is gay. I welcome anyone who can put forth a valid argument against Hansen's? read more
The Ecologist: New research predicts that coastal regions face massive increases in damages from storm surge flooding over the 21st century -- to $100 trillion annually, more than the world's entire economic product today. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, global average storm surge damages could increase from about $10-$40 billion per year today to up to $100,000 billion per year by the end of century, if no adaptation action is taken. This staggering figure represents the upper end of the estimate that storm surges will cost between 0.3 and 9.3% of global GDP by 2100, taking into account expected GDP increases. But timely investments in coastal protection could cut that cost by more than 99.9%, the authors conclude. "Countries need to take action and invest in coastal protection measures, such as building or raising dikes, amongst other options," said Jochen Hinkel, the lead author of the study. read more