Multiple news outlets reported that the former Apple CEO passed away today. He's credited not only with co-founding Apple, Inc. but with entirely reshaping the Silicon Valley — and, by extension, the world. Jobs stayed with the company up through August, even though he was battling pancreatic cancer. His successor, Tim Cook, took the executive chair on August 24. Jobs created a phenomenal legacy. May he rest in peace.
So declared researchers at John Hopkins University, who administered "magic" psilocybin mushrooms to subjects in a clinical setting, and found that those who took the drugs became more "creative, empathic, and curious, up to a year later," ABC 7 reports. Now, progressive scientists are suggesting new uses for the drug, as a therapy for cancer patients and even cigarette smokers. Sounds magical.
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1. Amazon.com reached a tentative deal with Democratic and Republican leaders of the state legislature, agreeing to scuttle its attempt to overturn the state’s new online sales tax law in exchange for not charging its customers sales tax until September 2012, the LA Times reports. The deal also gives Amazon time to convince the US Congress to establish a national standard for online sales taxes. But if Congress fails to do so by next September, then the online giant will start charging sales tax to its California customers. It’s unclear, however, whether Governor Jerry Brown will endorse the deal. Last week, Brown threw cold water on a proposal by Amazon to put off sales tax collection until 2014.
And, in a letter to staff at the company he helped create in 1976, he recommended chief operating officer Tim Cook to be his successor. Cook was actually on the short list since Jobs took medical leave in January. He's been running day-to-day operations at Apple for 13 years. It looks like the company heeded Jobs' advice, since it announced in a press release issued today that Cook will be taking Jobs' place in the executive office. Jobs, meanwhile, will serve as chairman of the board while he battles cancer and other undisclosed ailments. This afternoon tech analysts were all a-Twitter, opining about Jobs' resignation and legacy. Merc columnist Chris O'Brien contends that the Apple titan "reshaped Silicon Valley in his own image." Many call it a tectonic shift, but also admit they knew this day was coming.
This year, one item on every East Bay city’s wish list is the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s proposed second campus. Ah, the romance! Beyond improving the Port of Oakland and keeping the A’s stadium, Mayor Jean Quan hopes a new lab at the Brooklyn Basin along East Oakland’s waterfront could be the big-ticket item to win Oakland’s future.
Okay, so it's not exactly light reading, but this week's cover story, by Rachel Gross, is a fascinating look at the intersection between the brain and behavior; at the ways in which seemingly unrelated self-destructive habits can compound each other; and at evidence that sheds new light on the science behind impulse control. Meet Jacky, a Cal student whose twin struggles — first, with bulimia, and later, with shoplifting — illustrate recent findings about how, as young women with bulimia age, destructive impulses within the brain grow stronger to the point where they may become insurmountable. Her story is, yes, intense, but it'll also make you rethink your beliefs about eating disorders, brain chemistry, and the extent to which we're controlled by biology. Read it all here.
*apologies for the vaguely awkward choice of words?!
So says playwright Mike Daisey, who excoriated Apple for its abhorrent labor practices in his theatrical monologue, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. And he's right, according to a new report from the Hong Kong-based advocacy group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM). Despite promises to reform, Foxconn appears to be dragging its heels. As of March and April, many of the factories in southern China were still forcing workers to sign "no-suicide" pacts, stand for 14 hours a day, and commit to 80-100 hours of overtime per month. Read the entire study here.
After careful consideration, officials at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have whittled the list of locations for its coveted second campus down from 21 potential sites to six finalists. And they are:
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1. Three Oakland city councilmembers blocked Mayor Jean Quan’s plan last night to put a parcel tax measure before voters in a special mail-in-ballot election in July, the Chron and Trib report. Quan’s proposal was considered an urgency measure, because the city did not provide ten days advance notice of last night’s vote. As a result, Quan’s plan needed approval from at least six of the eight councilmembers, but Ignacio De La Fuente, Libby Schaaf, and Desley Brooks voted against it. The $80 a year parcel tax would have raised about $11 million for the city annually, and would have helped close Oakland’s $46 million budget deficit. Quan has asked Council President Larry Reid to reschedule a vote on the measure so that the ten-days-advance-notice requirement can be met.
2. The Oakland council also stymied an effort to renew a $2 million contract with the city’s main private security contractor, ABC Security, in the wake of allegations that the company violated city campaign finance laws, the Chron and Trib report. De La Fuente and Councilwoman Jane Brunner had argued that ABC’s contract should be renewed, even though the company was rated only sixth best among those who bid for the deal. ABC’s owner Ana Chretien is a long-time close friend of De La Fuente and is one of the largest campaign contributors in city politics. In addition, last month City Auditor Courtney Ruby said that ABC appears to have violated the city’s prohibition of making campaign donations when a contract is up for bid. However, the council voted 5-3 last night to award the contract to Cypress Security, which was rated highest among the firms that bid.
Pulling all-nighters can make you euphoric — but it won't last, and your euphoria might trigger joy-killingly risky behavior, according to a study just published by UC Berkeley researchers.