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Tuesday Watercooler


A close up of a cannabis plant.

The World Health Organization now disagrees with the UN about cannabis — and other drugs.

Tonight’s video is “How Heavy is Air?” from TED-Ed.

Too often we think of air as empty space — but compared to a vacuum, air is actually pretty heavy. So, just how heavy is it? And if it’s so heavy, why doesn’t it crush us? Dan Quinn describes the fundamentals of air pressure and explains how it affects our bodies, the weather and the universe at large. Lesson by Dan Quinn, animation by Sandro Katamashvili.

The United Nations still favors the international drug war. But the World Health Organization, a subsidiary, appears to be opposing its parent organization and calling for decriminalization. From the Economist: 

A report just published by the World Health Organisation, an agency of the United Nations, makes a discreet but clear call to decriminalise drugs. And not just cannabis—the report goes as far as recommending the decriminalisation of injecting drugs, which implies the harder sort.

The call comes in a new report on how to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV among ‘key populations,’ including drug users. Have a look at page 91 (page 113 of the PDF). Under ‘Good practice recommendations concerning decriminalization,’ the WHO recommends that for people who use or inject drugs:

– Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration.

– Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize the use of clean needles and syringes (and that permit NSPs [needle and syringe programmes]) and that legalize OST [opioid substitution therapy] for people who are opioid-dependent.

– Countries should ban compulsory treatment for people who use and/or inject drugs.

Thanks to M. Christian for this link.

Bonus: Body armor for your Barbie Doll, via Boing Boing

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Photo by Coleen Whitfield released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and