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The Dawning Virtual Age. Editor’s note: Sasa Marinkovic is the head of software marketing for the computing and graphics group at AMD. We all experienced a colorless world not too long ago — a colorless computing world. The arrival of graphics processing for personal computers 30 years ago banished monochrome and grayscale displays and triggered a revolution in computer-graphics-enabled applications, gaming and entertainment. This revolution continues today thanks to the tremendous advancements in computer processing power, graphics, video and display technologies. Those advancements are fundamentally transforming personal computing and catapulting users into an ultra-realistic realm of visual possibilities that only sci-fi writers imagined two or three decades ago. Television and PC image quality has steadily improved to today’s incredibly detailed, vivid, and lifelike Retina and Gorilla Glass and high-resolution 4K displays. Virtual Reality: Beyond the Headset But we are not quite there — yet.

So, What’s Missing? The World Cracks Down on the Internet. In September of last year, Chinese authorities announced an unorthodox standard to help them decide whether to punish people for posting online comments that are false, defamatory, or otherwise harmful: Was a message popular enough to attract five hundred reposts or five thousand views? It was a striking example of how sophisticated the Chinese government has become, in recent years, in restricting Internet communication—going well beyond crude measures like restricting access to particular Web sites or censoring online comments that use certain keywords.

Madeline Earp, a research analyst at Freedom House, the Washington-based nongovernmental organization, suggested a phrase to describe the approach: “strategic, timely censorship.” She told me, “It’s about allowing a surprising amount of open discussion, as long as you’re not the kind of person who can really use that discussion to organize people.” China’s place in the rankings won’t come as a surprise to many people. Legal Pot in the US Is Crippling Mexican Cartels. Marijuana has accounted for nearly half of all total drug arrests in the US for the past 20 years, according to the FBI’s crime statistics. And according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), a large portion of the US illegal drug market is controlled directly by Mexican cartels.

The DOJ’s National Drug Intelligence Center, which has since been shut down, found in 2011 that the top cartels controlled the majority of drug trade in marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine in over 1,000 US cities. Now, those cartels and their farmers complain that marijuana legalization is hurting their business. And some reports could suggest that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is more interested in helping to protect the Mexican cartels’ hold on the pot trade than in letting it dissipate.

Seven Mexican cartels have long battled for dominance of the US illegal drug market: Sinaloa, Los Zetas, Gulf, Juarez, Knights Templar, La Familia, and Tijuana. “Is it hurting the cartels? Inside the ‘DarkMarket’ Prototype, a Silk Road the FBI Can Never Seize | Threat Level. The homepage of DarkMarket, a prototype for a decentralized online black market. The Silk Road, for all its clever uses of security protections like Tor and Bitcoin to protect the site’s lucrative drug trade, still offered its enemies a single point of failure.

When the FBI seized the server that hosted the market in October and arrested its alleged owner Ross Ulbricht, the billion-dollar drug bazaar came crashing down. If one group of Bitcoin black market enthusiasts has their way, the next online free-trade zone could be a much more elusive target. At a Toronto Bitcoin hackathon earlier this month, the group took home the $20,000 first prize with a proof-of-concept for a new online marketplace known as DarkMarket, a fully peer-to-peer system with no central authority for the feds to attack. DarkMarket’s experimental interface. (Click to enlarge.) DarkMarket, Taaki and its other developers admit, is still just an experimental demonstration. Here’s how it works: LSD, Reconsidered for Therapy.

Photo He heard about the drug trial from a friend in Switzerland and decided it was worth volunteering, even if it meant long, painful train journeys from his native Austria and the real possibility of a mental meltdown. He didn’t have much time, after all, and traditional medicine had done nothing to relieve his degenerative spine condition. “I’d never taken the drug before, so I was feeling — well, I think the proper word for it, in English, is dread,” said Peter, 50, an Austrian social worker, in a telephone interview; he asked that his last name be omitted to protect his identity.

“There was this fear that it could all go wrong, that it could turn into a bad trip.” On Tuesday, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease is posting online results from the first controlled trial of LSD in more than 40 years. “Their anxiety went down and stayed down,” said Dr. Peter Gasser, who conducted the therapy and followed up with his patients a year after the trial concluded. That Six-Serving Bar of Marijuana Chocolate? My Son Ate It.

Legal Marijuana Businesses Should Have Access to Banks, Holder Says. Photo Attorney General said Thursday that lawful marijuana businesses should have access to the American banking system and that the government would soon offer rules to help them gain it. The rules are not expected to give banks a green light to accept deposits and provide other services, but would tell prosecutors not to prioritize cases involving legal marijuana businesses that use banks. “You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places. They want to be able to use the banking system,” Mr. For marijuana growers and retailers in the 20 states that have legalized the drug for recreational or medical use, money and banking are perhaps the most vexing challenges of doing business. “It’s a security risk not just for the industry but all these other folks,” said Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, who added that he was encouraged by Mr.

Like many other retailers, Mr. TEDification versus Edification. Essay: Simon Sadler Top left: Buckminster Fuller. [Image via Wikimedia]. Top right: TED stage. Bottom left: Russell Brand, 2013. I. R. Clearly we live in an era of counterculture lite, although its two main divisions — Californian and European — are sparring as if the old stakes were on the table (perhaps they are). Left: Russell Brand, GQ awards ceremony. II. The increasing resemblance of society and its spaces to a theme park was referred to in the 1990s as Disneyfication. The largest of these nodes is the entire United States of America — TED reflects something of that uncritical American enthusiasm for technology traceable to Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and the founding fathers.

New students of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley epistemology might begin by studying the TED Talk as a rhetorical technique. 1. 2. Left: Stewart Brand, Marin County, California, 1978. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. TED conference, Long Beach, California. And of course, that “D” in TED literally stands for us. Graham Hancock Tries Changa. Obama Says Marijuana Is Less Dangerous Than Alcohol. Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke |

Active ingredient in pot sets off a feedback that reduces intoxication. As far as marijuana is concerned, most of the attention has recently focused on the start of commercial sales of the drug. But this week, the mediator of pot's mind-altering effects, the chemical THC, also graced the pages of Science, and not simply because it's easier to obtain in Colorado. As with many other illicit drugs, THC can be used to tell us about how the brain works. And, in this case, it has identified an entirely new bit of signaling that normally helps limit the drug's intoxicating effects.

The study came about because some scientists were curious as to whether drugs altered steroid signaling in the brain. We tend to think of steroids as muscle-building molecules, but things like testosterone also affect behavior in both men and women. And the brain also produces a specialized set of hormones that regulate behavior and cognition. That's a somewhat surprising result, given that pregnenolone isn't thought to be very exciting. Cutest Grandma Ever Goes To Colorado Marijuana Shop Just To Witness History. History was made in Colorado on Wednesday when recreational marijuana was legally purchased by throngs of eager pot enthusiasts for the first time in U.S. history.

But one adorable 83-year-old grandma from Chicago, who wishes to only be identified as "Nana Perry," visited a Colorado retail marijuana dispensary not to buy weed, but just to witness the history unfold. "You're lucky to be living in this state that you're in," Nana Perry says in the video that dispensary locator WeedMaps.com posted to their Instagram page. "I've seen a lot of life, I'm 83 years old, been through a Depression and I don't know how many wars, but I'm considering this one of my more important days.

" Barry Bard, the editor for WeedMaps.com who shot the video, told The Huffington Post that Nana Perry dropped by Denver-based pot shop The Clinic Colorado with her family, including her two grandchildren, who live in Denver. The woman was then given a tour of The Clinic Colorado to see history in the making. Drug war by the numbers (Infographic) The Motherboard Guide to New Psychoactive Substances.

Image via Flickr / CC. Don't let that label fool you. What you've maybe been hearing referred to as "new psychoactive substances" are only "new" insofar as they represent the most recent wave of mind-altering laboratory drugs to flood today's global online market for so-called legal highs. Some of these substances are indeed novel, sure, though many others are not "new" inventions whatsover. They've simply been laying dormant until time inevitably comes to replace the newest banned drug.

Either way, the rate at which these designer narcotics are being deliberately tweaked, multiplied, and strewn across the Dark Web's one-stop pharmacies is so outpacing existing international drug regulations that officials are scrambling more than ever to try and figure out how the hell to tackle the problem, if in fact it can actually be tackled. That's one of the big takeaways from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2013 World Drug Report (pdf). If only. Well, sort of. NBOME-series Or, beans. Few Problems With Cannabis for California. But at a time when polls show widening public support for legalization — recreational marijuana is about to become legal in Colorado and Washington, and voter initiatives are in the pipeline in at least three other states — California’s 17-year experience as the first state to legalize medical marijuana offers surprising lessons, experts say.

Warnings voiced against partial legalization — of civic disorder, increased lawlessness and a drastic rise in other drug use — have proved unfounded. Instead, research suggests both that marijuana has become an alcohol substitute for younger people here and in other states that have legalized medical marijuana, and that while driving under the influence of any intoxicant is dangerous, driving after smoking marijuana is less dangerous than after drinking alcohol. Although marijuana is legal here only for medical use, it is widely available. Advocates for marijuana legalization see the moves in Colorado and Washington as the start of a wave. Craig T. What We Can All Learn from G-Cloud and the Singapore Government. Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I changed my mind on weed. Dr. Sanjay Gupta says we have been "systematically misled" on marijuanaDEA lists marijuana as a schedule 1 substance with "high potential for abuse"Most recent research on marijuana has been on its negative effects, Gupta saysStudies on marijuana require approval from National Institute on Drug Abuse (CNN) -- Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called "Weed.

" The title "Weed" may sound cavalier, but the content is not. I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning. Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Well, I am here to apologize. I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. Dr. Medical facts of Marijuana WEED: A Dr. Using Silk Road. Please enable JavaScript for math equation rendering. The cypherpunk movement laid the ideological roots of Bitcoin and the online drug market Silk Road; balancing previous emphasis on cryptography, I emphasize the non-cryptographic market aspects of Silk Road which is rooted in cypherpunk economic reasoning, and give a fully detailed account of how a buyer might use market information to rationally buy, and finish by discussing strengths and weaknesses of Silk Road, and what future developments are predicted by cypherpunk ideas.

The website Silk Road (SR), a drug marketplace operating in public, needs little introduction at this point, after Gawker’s 2011 article went viral, drawing fire from the likes of US federal Senators Schumer & Manchin. It was probably the single most famous commercial enterprise using Bitcoins; some speculated that demand from SR patrons single-handedly pushed the exchange rate up by $5 the weekend of the Gawker article. Julian Assange et al 2012 write: No. Safe. Using Silk Road.