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tehgrandchampion 2 points

In case of paywall:

Iceland’s success in cutting substance abuse among teenagers may be tested in the west of Ireland with a pilot scheme involving 7,000 young people.

Imposing guilt on children and penalties on suppliers will not work, as the issue is a societal one, Icelandic director of the Planet Youth project Jon Sigfusson said in Galway.

He outlined how his country’s project was so successful that Iceland went from having one of the highest to one of the lowest rates of substance abuse by teenagers over a 20-year period.

The initiative is now being tested in 18 countries in Europe, along with Latin America and several African states.

Mr Sigfusson, who was invited to Galway by the Western Region Drugs and Alcohol Task Force, said that children are not responsible for their own well-being and parents must take a greater role.

“Children are not to blame for not reading a brochure that somebody gives them about drugs, they are not responsible for their own well-being – we are, the whole society,” he said, and the problem could not be tackled by a government on its own.

Parents’ role

Imposing higher prices or marketing restrictions would not prevent alcohol abuse, he said, given that that one of Iceland’s jokes was that one needed to be a millionaire to have a drink problem.

Rather, creating an unattractive environment around alcohol misuse was more likely to be effective, he said.

Contrary to what parents might think, surveys done by Planet Youth had found that children wanted their parents to know where they were at night.

“They don’t want their parents to have no interest,”Mr Sigfusson said. For this reason parental factors were key, he said, adding that giving children parental time, support, care and warmth were crucial.

The community focus of Planet Youth involves changing the social environment by reducing the amount of unstructured, unsupervised leisure time and increasing parental involvement.

Community involvement

Access to activities, not just sport, are vital, and success can be seen at a local level with community involvement, he said.

The scheme gathers evidence from teenagers at a community level through a 27-page survey, which informs community workers about the lives of the teenagers. The information pinpoints risk factors.

“When you have this information on the table you can take it to government and say ‘listen here is something that needs to be addressed’,” Mr Sigfusson explained.

“Sometimes it’s a governmental thing and the government can do it through legislation, sometimes the people in the local communities can use it and they don’t need to go to government for everything,” he added.

Western Region Drugs and Alcohol Task Force community liaison worker Emmet Major said it was hoped to test the scheme in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon this year, with four projects in four local authority areas.

tehgrandchampion 12 points

Rendezvous with a former neo-Nazi

A few phone calls later and I'm sitting in a car with photographer Eva Tedesjo on our way to Varnamo. Hours later, in a deserted hotel lobby, I meet one of the people who has sown fear in my life and that of my family.

Martin had been an active neo-Nazi since he was 16. He dropped out in 2016. Now he is 30.

We start with what we have in common: Now he, too, is threatened by Nazis.

"The last time I was threatened was yesterday; one of the leaders of NMR wrote on Facebook that I should die. Another has said that I should have my throat cut," he said. "I save everything. One day I may go to the police and then I'll have it in black and white. My neighbors keep an eye out. The other day they saw a skinhead outside the house who was taking photos of the cars, probably to check if any of them were registered to me."

What made you finally leave neo-Nazism?

I fell for a woman of foreign origin and started to see her in secret. I was completely confused and wondered what was wrong with me. We were very fond of each other. But I said later that it wouldn't work because I would be exposing her to risks.

Who was the first person you got in touch with when you decided to leave neo-Nazism?

Lennart, my old bowling teacher. I call him Dad. I had nowhere to go.

Have you received any other help?

I phoned the local authorities. They said they had no plan for drop-outs. They didn't care a bit. So I emailed AFA [Anti-Fascist Action] and said that there was no help to be had in this shitty place. They offered to let me speak to another dropout. Then I rang the mental health service and got to meet a psychologist.

Why AFA?

They were the only ones who called me an idiot. Consistently. No one had ever set a boundary for me or tried to stop me. People are so damned afraid to say that it is wrong of you to be a neo-Nazi. If anyone had said "For God's sake, Martin," when I was 16, I don't think I would have been radicalized.

tehgrandchampion 3 points

Rendezvous with a former neo-Nazi

A few phone calls later and I'm sitting in a car with photographer Eva Tedesjo on our way to Varnamo. Hours later, in a deserted hotel lobby, I meet one of the people who has sown fear in my life and that of my family.

Martin had been an active neo-Nazi since he was 16. He dropped out in 2016. Now he is 30.

We start with what we have in common: Now he, too, is threatened by Nazis.

"The last time I was threatened was yesterday; one of the leaders of NMR wrote on Facebook that I should die. Another has said that I should have my throat cut," he said. "I save everything. One day I may go to the police and then I'll have it in black and white. My neighbors keep an eye out. The other day they saw a skinhead outside the house who was taking photos of the cars, probably to check if any of them were registered to me."

What made you finally leave neo-Nazism?

I fell for a woman of foreign origin and started to see her in secret. I was completely confused and wondered what was wrong with me. We were very fond of each other. But I said later that it wouldn't work because I would be exposing her to risks.

Who was the first person you got in touch with when you decided to leave neo-Nazism?

Lennart, my old bowling teacher. I call him Dad. I had nowhere to go.

Have you received any other help?

I phoned the local authorities. They said they had no plan for drop-outs. They didn't care a bit. So I emailed AFA [Anti-Fascist Action] and said that there was no help to be had in this shitty place. They offered to let me speak to another dropout. Then I rang the mental health service and got to meet a psychologist.

Why AFA?

They were the only ones who called me an idiot. Consistently. No one had ever set a boundary for me or tried to stop me. People are so damned afraid to say that it is wrong of you to be a neo-Nazi. If anyone had said "For God's sake, Martin," when I was 16, I don't think I would have been radicalized.

tehgrandchampion 8 points

Article pasted here due to auto-playing video on the website.

As more Americans move to cities, rural American towns — and even entire states — are looking for new ways to incentivize people to move to the countryside.

While 54% of Americans lived in rural places in 1910, that number fell to 19 percent by 2010, Zillow reported. To revive their communities, these places are hoping that everything from cash grants to paying off student loans and giving away free land will help draw a younger generation to them.

But it's not just small towns that hope to draw more people to them with these programs. Some cities like Baltimore and even entire states like Alaska will pay you to be their newest resident.

Tribune, Kansas By paying off up to $15,000 worth of student loans over five years, the Rural Opportunity Zone program hopes to draw younger people to towns like Tribune, Kansas located in Kansas' least populated counties.

"We knew we needed young people in our community, and so we were looking for opportunities to bring them back," Christy Hopkins, community development director for Kansas' least populated county, Greeley, where Tribune is located, told Zillow. "Since beginning the ROZ program, Greeley's population has increased by 55 people—25 of them being direct program participants benefiting from the student loan incentives."

Marne, Iowa Only 45 minutes away from Omaha, this Iowa town will give you free land to build on if you build a house on it that is at least 1,200 square feet.

Curtis, Nebraska If you build a single-family house in Curtis, Nebraska within a certain timeframe, you can get the lot of land it's built on for free in the town's Roll'n Hills addition or near the Arrowhead Meadows Golf Course. **

Harmony, Minnesota To incentivize people to build homes in this town, The Harmony Economic Development Authority has a program that will give you a cash rebate based on the final estimated market value of the new house. There are no restrictions on age or income level and rebates typically range between $5,000 and $12,000.

Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore is not a small town, but the city's two programs that encourage people to buy homes there are worth considering. If you qualify, Buying Into Baltimore will give you a $5,000 forgivable five-year loan, while the Vacants to Value Booster program will give you $10,000 for a down payment and closing costs if you buy property that is considered to be distressed or formerly distressed.

New Haven, Connecticut While New Haven is also not a small town, its programs for new homeowners can add up to $80,000 after you consider the $10,000 forgivable five-year loan for first-time buyers, $30,000 of renovation assistance, not to mention up to $40,000 towards college tuition.

Alaska There are too many programs in Alaska that encourage people to move there to mention just one town. If you finance an energy-efficient home the entire state has an interest rate-reduction program for you, while Alaska also offers programs to encourage veterans and live-in caretakers of physically or mentally-disabled residents to move there.

Colorado If you have a permanent disability, Colorado has a program that will help you finance your first home. The state also offers a down payment assistance grant for everyone that offers up to 4% of a first mortgage, with no repayment necessary.

Wyoming If you like fixer uppers, consider Wyoming. The Wyoming Rehabilitation & Acquisition Program, takes foreclosures and abandoned houses and after rehabbing them puts them back on the market for low-income households. The state also offers another program that encourages people to fix-up older homes that need more than $15,000 worth of repairs.

tehgrandchampion 4 points

Crucially, this is part of a wider trend that is also happening in other EU countries. The desire of citizens to bring democratic accountability back down to local or community level is routinely belittled. Analysts commonly hold it to be synonymous with nationalism, nativism, or populism. But this is a dangerous simplification that misses the many benign elements of such burgeoning local politics.

.........

More or less everyone is now rightly calling for dialogue. But by this stage, the EU should be able to offer something more concrete than simply saying that it would be good for the two sides to talk. Substantive ideas are needed for what a solution might look like. Although the Partido Popular (PP) government is rejecting EU mediation, the union should be contributing ideas for innovative governance models. Talk of federalizing the 1978 constitution has been around for a long time; yet after the events of last weekend it may now be difficult to enthuse many Catalans with traditional formalized versions of federalism alone. Rather, fresh proposals may be needed around embryonic notions of democratically participative confederalism.

tehgrandchampion 7 points

Crucially, this is part of a wider trend that is also happening in other EU countries. The desire of citizens to bring democratic accountability back down to local or community level is routinely belittled. Analysts commonly hold it to be synonymous with nationalism, nativism, or populism. But this is a dangerous simplification that misses the many benign elements of such burgeoning local politics.

.........

More or less everyone is now rightly calling for dialogue. But by this stage, the EU should be able to offer something more concrete than simply saying that it would be good for the two sides to talk. Substantive ideas are needed for what a solution might look like. Although the Partido Popular (PP) government is rejecting EU mediation, the union should be contributing ideas for innovative governance models. Talk of federalizing the 1978 constitution has been around for a long time; yet after the events of last weekend it may now be difficult to enthuse many Catalans with traditional formalized versions of federalism alone. Rather, fresh proposals may be needed around embryonic notions of democratically participative confederalism.

tehgrandchampion 9 points

Facebook’s goal was to make bots that communicated in English—but since the bots ended up building their own little code, Facebook stopped working on the prototype, and built another, smarter bot that did work in English.

“While the idea of AI agents inventing their own language may sound alarming/unexpected to people outside the field, it is a well-established sub-field of AI, with publications dating back decades,” Facebook researcher Dhruv Batra wrote in a blogpost last night, calling recent coverage irresponsible. “Simply put, agents in environments attempting to solve a task will often find unintuitive ways to maximize reward.”

https://www.facebook.com/dhruv.batra.dbatra/posts/1943791229195215?pnref=story

tehgrandchampion 14 points

Curiously, they don’t spend so much time on one of the great economic and political risks posed by the rise of the electric car: its potential to be a jobs killer.

The auto industry is fond of saying that if it were a country, it would be one of the world’s largest economies. Its figures show it supports around 7m jobs in the US alone and close to 13m in Europe.

Robots may have encroached on the assembly line already, but wait until the beguilingly deceptive electric car takes off. It might look like any other car from the outside but inside, it is more like a computer on wheels, a very different beast to the internal combustion engine vehicles we drive today. You can get a sense of the disparity from a recent report by some enterprising UBS financial analysts, who tore apart one of GM’s $37,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric cars to see what it cost to make. They found it was $4,600 cheaper to produce than expected and concluded that, with further cost falls likely, electric cars would probably disrupt the industry faster than widely understood.

The report did not dwell on jobs but for an auto worker, its findings are frightening. It said the Bolt had just 24 moving parts compared with 149 in a VW Golf, mainly because electric motors are so much simpler than combustion engines.

That suggests the car industry of the future will need far fewer people to make not just vehicles, but the components that go into them.

There is also the auto repair and service market. Combustion engines have spark plugs and oil that need changing. Electric motors do not require anything like the same amount of maintenance.

It is hard to know exactly what this will mean for the world’s car workers, not all of whom will switch easily from doing an oil change to rebooting a car computer.

https://archive.fo/06t4Q < In case of paywall.

tehgrandchampion 1 point

In a paper published this month, the researchers explained their methodology: Using a neural network trained on 17 hours of footage of the former US president’s weekly addresses, they were able to generate mouth shapes from arbitrary audio clips of Obama’s voice. The shapes were then textured to photorealistic quality and overlaid onto Obama’s face in a different “target” video. Finally, the researchers retimed the target video to move Obama’s body naturally to the rhythm of the new audio track.

https://youtu.be/9Yq67CjDqvw

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