Erika Diaz talks to challenger Lisa Ollivier and incumbent John Fullerton about their background and qualifications, their vision of the school board’s role, their support for vocational education and the district’s implementation of Common Core.
Ms. Diaz: Great job. Thanks to EHS’s Media Production Class and Access Humboldt for putting these interviews together and putting them online. Vote Nov. 5.
Friday, Dec. 6: 9 felonies, 26 misdemeanors, 0 infractions
Humboldt County Superior Court Calendar: Tomorrow
24500 - 25301 Brooktrails Dr (Garberville office): County Roads
Liberal Jon: 2013 Post Election Recap Continued
Mad River Union: AFD Releases Details Of Deadly Arcata Fire
Times-Standard Breaking: Downed power lines cause outages in southern Eureka
Times-Standard Breaking: Coroner identifies man who died in Arcata house fire Saturday night
… or “Jimmy Kimmel, Start Your Engines!”
The Humboldt Journal of Social Relations has just published its long-awaited all-weed issue, “Current Perspectives on Marijuana and Society,” in cooperation with the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research. The whole thing is available online, in PDF form, and there’s a whole lot to dig into.
HSU’s PR department highlights what seems to be the lead story: A paper by David C. Peters of Wayne State University puts forth research from Michigan showing that marijuana can be an effective “reverse gateway drug” — one whose usage can help wean addicts to opiates or prescription medication from those far more dangerous substances. A companion paper, by Rashi Shukla of the University of Central Oklahoma, aims to debunk the old marijuana-as-gateway-to-danger-drug hypothesis that has driven so much of marijuana policy for so long.
Elsewhere in the Journal:
- A NORML staffer writes on the difficulties of testing motorists for cannabis-related DUI violations
- A sociologist looks at a network of Florida small-time growers who are mostly in it for the fun
- A pair of papers look at problematic gender stereotypes in the Humboldt County grow scene and the drug policy debate
- A comparative look at local regulatory efforts in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego.
- Book reviews, book reviews, book reviews!
Meaty stuff! If anyone’s willing, I’d love to dig in and kick around the research and findings right here. LoCO Book Club time.
Press release from Humboldt State University:
HSU Journal Challenges Popular Marijuana Claims
A number of common assumptions about marijuana use require more scrutiny based on hard scientific evidence instead of limited anecdotal data, according to a Humboldt State University academic journal.
A wide-ranging special issue of the Department of Sociology’s Humboldt Journal of Social Relations cautions, for example, that the so-called ‘gateway’ concept—that marijuana consumption necessarily leads to harder drugs—is oversimplified. The sequence of individual drug use, whether one drug leads to another, appears to vary more than the gateway theory suggests.
In some instances too, according to one of the journal chapters, marijuana appears to be a ‘reverse-gateway’ drug that may reduce certain forms of opiate use among some patients.
The latest edition of the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, published annually, comprises solicited, peer-reviewed contributions from a national audience of marijuana research specialists, most of them non-HSU academics. The editors were Ronald Swartz, chair of Humboldt State’s Department of Social Work, and Beth Wilson, chair of the Department of Economics. Humboldt State’s new Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) sponsored the issue.
Co-editor Wilson, a member of the HIIMR, said there are too few scientific studies of marijuana because of the difficulty of obtaining data. “Given the changing legal landscape,” she emphasized, “it is increasingly important that we have a better understanding of marijuana’s effects on the economy, the environment and society.”
Added Swartz, “This collection of peer-reviewed articles supports a growing consensus in scholarly, professional and policymaking communities that expanded research is necessary to keep up with a rapidly developing marijuana-related landscape.”
One of the eight journal submissions cautions policymakers that there is no one-size-fits-all regulatory regime for cannabis. Notably, it says, there is a distinction between the palliative and curative effects of marijuana. Therefore “a dual regulatory approach may work best.” Some elements of the plant could be approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and others could be sold as “herbal supplements,” according to the analysis.
Journal contributors underscore that hard empirical data are essential if the laws and regulations governing marijuana are to be effective and just. For example, field sobriety tests should be developed for driving under the influence of marijuana, one of the journal articles recommends, because it is more difficult to infer motor function impairment from blood tests for past marijuana use than it is for alcohol. Many states are adopting zero tolerance laws that focus on drivers’ past use of marijuana rather than present impairment. Such laws are premature because they will not be verifiable until accurate field sobriety tests can be set up.
Regarding the gateway controversy, contributors say that although there are numerous academic studies of whether marijuana is a gateway drug, the subject remains in serious dispute—again illustrating the need for more, and more comprehensive, scientific research.
Sgt. Todd Dokweiler of the Arcata Police Department confirms to the Lost Coast Outpost that police showed out in force in the Sunset area of town earlier this morning, after reports came in from Arcata Elementary that an adult with a rifle was seen on campus. The school went on lockdown.
However, Dokweiler said it was eventually determined that one kid saw a guy with a white squirtgun at some point this morning. That information passed from child to child, rapidly deteriorating in the process, until the panic alarm was sounded. All is clear now.
In celebration of your achievement and of the responsibility we all have to make the world a better place, take a listen to the only speech you’ll ever want to hear twice.
In a commencement address at CalTech, Krulwich makes the case that reasoned thought doesn’t sell itself.
You’re lucky enough to have found both the time and money to further your education, and now you can share the wealth. In doing so, Krulwich argues, your delivery matters. A lot. Think of all the liars, writers, TV and radio shows, and second-rate raconteurs you’re competing for attention with. The trick is to understand how the importance of your work is mainly limited by how good you can tell its story. Don’t talk about science, tell them a story.
Congratulations again, and good luck.
Hank Sims / Thursday, April 11 @ 8:13 a.m. / Education
There’s a pretty interesting experiment going on at South Bay Middle School, the newish 7th/8th-grade charter on the campus of South Bay Elementary, across the highway from King Salmon.
Last month, the administration bought each kid in the school a $376 Chromebook for use on campus. The students check out their machine at the start of classes and carry it with them throughout the day. Teachers are moving their written assignments and grading to the cloud. According to the district superintendent, one English teacher hasn’t photocopied a single sheet of paper since the switch was made.
It’s the latest step in South Bay’s transition to a curriculum that puts technology at the forefront, and Superintendent Paul Meyers says everything’s going swimmingly so far.
“Kids are at school more, kids turning in assignments more … it has just revolutionized our classrooms,” Meyers told the Lost Coast Outpost earlier this week.
The money for the machines came from savings the school instituted last year, when districts around the state started saving up cash to prepare for the possibility of the failure of Proposition 30, the measure on last fall’s ballot that preserved funding for California’s educational system by raising sales taxes and income taxes on high earners. When Prop. 30 ended up passing, South Bay was one of the schools that found itself sitting on a pile of cash.
When it came time to look at what to do with that cash, laptop programs were at the top of its list. Public schools are constantly looking to distinguish their programs in this day and age, hoping to lure parents who have become accustomed to shopping around for their kids’ education. South Bay has positioned itself as a tech-centric school — it had previously secured a direct fiber-optic line to campus — and computers for kids was clearly its next priority. The administration looked at options, and eventually settled on the inexpensive Chromebooks, which also have the advantage of being wired into Google’s free suite of software services.
So have there been any downsides? Not many, according to Meyers. The kids’ computers are wired to connect to the Internet only through the Humboldt County Office of Education’s network, which is equipped with all the latest and greatest pornography filters. Someday soon the school hopes to set up proxies that will allow the kids to connect to this network through their home Internet connections.
Aren’t the devices distracting? Kids, like the rest of us, sometimes can’t help zoning out into the glowing screen sitting in front of them. But Meyers said that the faculty have developed a shorthand language for calling the kids to order: Devices out! Lids up! Lids down! Devices away! The students have no problem following orders, he said.
In any case, Meyers said, the benefits of having students wired into a world of research materials at their own desks far outweigh the downsides — and are probably more reflective of the actual world the students are coming into. One of the reasons he’s so excited about the program is that it levels the playing field. It’s not only the students from affluent neighborhoods who get to work with these tools. Between 60 and 70 percent of South Bay students qualify for the federally subsidized free and reduced lunch program, so the school is bringing modern equipment to a population that otherwise might not have access.
Meyers likened the Chromebooks to the little chalk tablets that students were issued 100 years ago — about the same size and shape, useful for all sorts of things, but infinitely more powerful. He expects them to become just as ubiquitous over the coming years.
“We’re probably the trailblazers right now, but I think other schools will be coming behind us next year,” he said.