Rent a person who does nothing

2020s, Thought Provoking

In Japan, a man rents himself out

Morimoto commits to “doing nothing” and basically just gives back-channel feedback when someone speaks to him. “I myself don’t like to be cheered on by others. I get upset when people simply tell me keep on trying. When someone is trying to do something, I think the best thing to do is to help lower the bar for them by staying at their side,” he explains.

This story is so quintessentially Japanese. I doubt if the same concept would work in another culture without being corrupted in some way.

An experiment that reduced theft and burglary by 93%

Thought Provoking

The case for prescription heroin.

Very interesting piece about an experiment to prescribe heroin to addicts in one area of England in the from 1982 to 1995.

He expanded his heroin prescription programme from a dozen people to more than 400.
The first people to notice an effect were the local police. Inspector Michael Lofts studied 142 heroin and cocaine addicts in the area, and he found there was a 93 per cent drop in theft and burglary.

Since the clinics opened, the street heroin dealer has slowly but surely abandoned the streets of Warrington and Widnes.

What I find interesting in discussing solutions to the drug problem is that nobody considers the money argument. Take away the market by providing the supply and the market in pushing drugs disappears.

And something nobody predicted took place. The number of heroin addicts in the area actually fell. Research published by Dr Marks in the Proceedings of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh compared Widnes, which had a heroin clinic, to the very similar Liverpool borough of Bootle, which didn’t — and found Widnes had 12 times fewer addicts.

This approach is worthy of more investigation. It seems to have worked better than other experiments that I know about.

The independent reports that methadone treatment doesn’t work as well..

The last authoritative academic survey found that although more addicts on methadone were trying to give up drugs completely than patients receiving prescribed heroin, the methadone users were three times more likely to “top up” with drugs bought illegally.

Home Office civil servants, meanwhile, concede in private that they are becoming increasingly alarmed at the number of people who are dying from misusing methadone.

Sugar & Obesity

Economy, Food, Thought Provoking

Very interesting article in the Guardian today about the type of foods we are eating and the effect it has on obesity levels in society. The main lesson? Processed foods contain even more sugar than ever and that is what makes people fat in the developed world.

At New York University, Professor Anthony Sclafani, a nutritionist studying appetite and weight gain, noticed something strange about his lab rats. When they ate rat food, they put on weight normally. But when they ate processed food from a supermarket, they ballooned in a matter of days. Their appetite for sugary foods was insatiable: they just carried on eating.

The full article here.