By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-still-don't-do-it department
An anonymous reader writes: After the legalization of marijuana in multiple states around the U.S., many are worried about a corresponding uptick in car crashes as people drive while under the influence of pot. But according to a new federal study (PDF) commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those fears seem unfounded. They report that after adjusting for other factors (people who tend to drive after using marijuana also tend to be more crash-prone in general), there was no statistically significant increase in crash rates by drivers who tested positive for the drug. It's still a bad idea to drive high, but driving drunk is far, far worse: "One substance was shown to have a major influence on crashes: alcohol. The study confirmed the enormous danger of drinking and driving, even after age and sex adjustment: drivers with a 0.05% blood-alcohol level were found to be twice as likely to be in a crash. For a person weighing 180 to 190 pounds, that could be a single can of beer, glass of wine, or shot of liquor. At 0.08% (two drinks), the likelihood is quadrupled, and at .20% (four drinks or more), the risk is higher by 23 times."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-we-all-just-get-along department
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Quanta Magazine:The physicist Freeman Dyson and the computer scientist William Press, both highly accomplished in their fields, have found a new solution to a famous, decades-old game theory scenario called the prisoner's dilemma, in which players must decide whether to cheat or cooperate with a partner. The prisoner's dilemma has long been used to help explain how cooperation might endure in nature. After all, natural selection is ruled by the survival of the fittest, so one might expect that selfish strategies benefiting the individual would be most likely to persist. But careful study of the prisoner's dilemma revealed that organisms could act entirely in their own self-interest and still create a cooperative community.
Press and Dyson's new solution to the problem, however, threw that rosy perspective into question (abstract). It suggested the best strategies were selfish ones that led to extortion, not cooperation.
[Theoretical biologist Joshua] Plotkin found the duo's math remarkable in its elegance. But the outcome troubled him. Nature includes numerous examples of cooperative behavior. For example, vampire bats donate some of their blood meal to community members that fail to find prey. Some species of birds and social insects routinely help raise another's brood. Even bacteria can cooperate, sticking to each other so that some may survive poison. If extortion reigns, what drives these and other acts of selflessness?"Read Replies (0)