The Scottish government, led by the Scottish National Party, proposed decriminalizing all drugs for personal use to address its high rate of overdose deaths, the highest in Western Europe. The move was immediately rejected by the Conservative UK government, which affirmed its stance against softening drug laws. Scotland’s proposal argued that decriminalization would allow better provision of harm reduction services and reduce the stigma and fear associated with accessing treatment. It pointed to Portugal’s successful shift to focusing on treatment over criminal penalties over two decades ago. The plan also includes the introduction of supervised drug consumption rooms and regulated drug supply. However, Scottish Conservative Party’s justice spokesperson said legalizing class-A drugs wouldn’t solve the drug deaths issue. The decriminalization would require UK government approval, which appears unlikely. These contrasting stances on social issues strengthen the SNP’s argument for Scottish independence. (Associated Press)
Meta Platforms, previously Facebook, has launched Threads, a Twitter-like app championed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a “friendly” place for public discourse. In two days, the app attracted over 70 million users. Meta aims to manage Threads with the same rules as Instagram, its photo and video sharing platform. However, Threads will not extend Meta’s existing fact-checking program, removing a key strategy used in combating misinformation on Meta’s other platforms. Threads, being more “supportive of public discourse,” is expected to attract a news-focused audience. It faced immediate controversy, with various conspiracy theories and misinformation appearing within hours of launch. A future challenge will come when Threads links to the ‘fediverse’, a decentralized network of independent servers. Moderating content from non-Meta entities and dealing with abusive behavior or illegal material may prove difficult. (Reuters)
A recent study reveals that air temperatures as low as 34 °C under humid conditions can cause cardiovascular strain, marked by a steady increase in heart rate, before the body’s internal temperature rises. This research gains relevance as extreme heat events are becoming more frequent globally. The study involved 51 young, healthy participants performing light physical activity in an environmental chamber with increasing temperature or humidity. The onset of cardiovascular strain was detected about 20 minutes before a rise in core temperature, suggesting heart rate could be a useful early warning sign. However, critics caution that the delay between core temperature increase and its measurement could influence results. Research also shows that heat can affect resting heart rates. While the increased cardiac workload might not harm healthy adults, it could pose significant risk to older individuals or those with pre-existing heart conditions. (Nature)
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.
WORDS: The Biology Guy. (@thebiologyguy)
IMAGE CREDIT: Alex Koch.