14 Years After Decriminalizing All Drugs, Here’s What Portugal Looks Like.
“In 2001, the Portuguese government did something that the United States would find entirely alien. After many years of waging a fierce war on drugs, it decided to flip its strategy entirely: It decriminalized them all.
If someone is found in the possession of less than a 10-day supply of anything from marijuana to heroin, he or she is sent to a three-person Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, typically made up of a lawyer, a doctor and a social worker. The commission recommends treatment or a minor fine; otherwise, the person is sent off without any penalty. A vast majority of the time, there is no penalty.
Fourteen years after decriminalization, Portugal has not been run into the ground by a nation of drug addicts. In fact, by many measures, it’s doing far better than it was before.”
Moral parochialism and contextual contingency across seven societies | Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences.
Human moral judgement may have evolved to maximize the individual’s welfare given parochial culturally constructed moral systems. If so, then moral condemnation should be more severe when transgressions are recent and local, and should be sensitive to the pronouncements of authority figures (who are often arbiters of moral norms), as the fitness pay-offs of moral disapproval will primarily derive from the ramifications of condemning actions that occur within the immediate social arena. Correspondingly, moral transgressions should be viewed as less objectionable if they occur in other places or times, or if local authorities deem them acceptable. These predictions contrast markedly with those derived from prevailing non-evolutionary perspectives on moral judgement. Both classes of theories predict purportedly species-typical patterns, yet to our knowledge, no study to date has investigated moral judgement across a diverse set of societies, including a range of small-scale communities that differ substantially from large highly urbanized nations. We tested these predictions in five small-scale societies and two large-scale societies, finding substantial evidence of moral parochialism and contextual contingency in adults’ moral judgements. Results reveal an overarching pattern in which moral condemnation reflects a concern with immediate local considerations, a pattern consistent with a variety of evolutionary accounts of moral judgement.
via Moral parochialism and contextual contingency across seven societies | Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences.
Can cheap wine taste great? Brain imaging and marketing placebo effects — ScienceDaily.
“When consumers taste cheap wine and rate it highly because they believe it is expensive, is it because prejudice has blinded them to the actual taste, or has prejudice actually changed their brain function, causing them to experience the cheap wine in the same physical way as the expensive wine? Research in the Journal of Marketing Research has shown that preconceived beliefs may create a placebo effect so strong that the actual chemistry of the brain changes.”
Latest figures from Cancer Research UK show smoking is the biggest avoidable risk factor, followed by unhealthy diets.
The charity is urging people to consider their health when making New Year resolutions.
Limiting alcohol intake and doing regular exercise is also good advice.
According to the figures spanning five years from 2007 to 2011, more than 300,000 cases of cancer recorded were linked to smoking.
A further 145,000 were linked to unhealthy diets containing too much processed food.
via BBC News – Life choices ‘behind more than four in 10 cancers’.
Red meat triggers toxic immune reaction which causes cancer, scientists find – Telegraph.
“Red meat has been linked to cancer for decades, with research suggesting that eating large amounts of pork, beef or lamb raises the risk of deadly tumours.
But for the first time scientists think they know what is causing the effect. The body, it seems, views red meat as a foreign invader and sparks a toxic immune response.
Researchers have always been puzzled about how other mammals could eat a diet high in red meat without any adverse health consequences.
Now they have discovered that pork, beef and lamb contains a sugar which is naturally produced by other carnivores but not humans.”