Does your smartphone hold the key to beating your smartphone addiction? This is the claim of a new app called "Pause" that promises to help addicted smartphone users rejoin the "real world." According to a poll from last year, 84% of the globe is "addicted to cellphones," and tech expert Mary Meeker claims that the average smartphone owner looks at their device 150 times a day. Dependence on this 21st Century narcotic can make life unmanageable, and not everyone can afford digital detox summer camp. But Pause, currently for iPhones only, operates on the assumption that forcing mobile-dependents to turn off their wifi signals can help them let go of their obsession—at least momentarily. “Pause is a mobile app designed to help us reconnect with real life," says the app's description. "Pause helps us to reduce our dependency on digital media and in turn free us up to do something more." The free app works by encouraging users to set their phones on "airplane mode," ceasing all wifi, 3G and cell connectivity for a stretch of face time with the real world. To boost motivation, Pause keeps track of how long you stay offline so you can try to beat your own “high score,” or even compete with your friends over who is able to go the longest without caving to the lure of connection. But while cutting off all modes of communication may be a short-term solution, it can't stop you from developing a Candy Crush problem.
The Mission Bay Sports Center, just north of San Diego, offers kids' summer camps, boat rentals, lessons ranging from standup paddleboarding to surfing or sailing, and—up until last week—large quantities of methamphetamine. After a year-long investigation by authorities, Mission Bay Sports Center's owner, Jason Boone, was arrested with seven others last Friday for using the business as a meth distribution center and drop location for drug buyers and sellers. Officials say they removed five pounds of meth from the building, along with heroin, marijuana and prescription pills. They also found $48,000 in cash, a bullet proof vest and a loaded .22 handgun. "It was a sophisticated use of the lockers at the Mission Bay SportCenter, where the drug couriers were able to access those lockers and use them as a dead drop," says prosecutor Jorge del Portillo, "Meaning they would drop in money or pick up methamphetamine from those lockers." Boone has pleaded not guilty to all 15 counts including transportation, sale, and possession for sale of methamphetamine. Nine people in total have been charged in the case, with the seven individuals already arrested arraigned last Friday. If convicted of the charges, their prison sentences range from 16 months to 10 years. Employees told NBC 7 San Diego that the summer camp will go on as scheduled today, with one staff member declaring: “Decisions people make do not affect us here. We were not involved."
Seventy-eight years ago, a newly sober New Yorker went to Akron, Ohio on business. Tempted by an urge to drink, he instead went to a phone booth and called the local church directory. He was referred to a woman who had been trying to help a hopeless alcoholic for the past two years. The New York businessman, Bill Wilson, asked if he could speak to the alcoholic, Dr. Bob Smith. The two men met on May 12, and Wilson laid out the foundation for what would become AA: he told his story—what it was like being a drunk, what happened to sober him up, and what his life was like on that day. They spoke for many hours and the two agreed to help one another stay sober, with Wilson moving in to the Smith household in Akron. Smith then relapsed and sobered up again. The date of that last drink—June 10, 1935—has since stood as the founding date of AA.
The story has been told in many forms—in Wilson and Smith's own stories in AA's Big Book, in AA Comes of Age, in Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers, and on the official timeline of AA. The first AA meeting began shortly thereafter in Akron, before Wilson returned to New York and began the second AA meeting in his Brooklyn home. Within four years, AA had 100 members. Today, AA has an estimated total of 2,133,842 members in 114,070 AA groups worldwide. And at least 53 other 12-step fellowships have sprung up, modeled on the AA formula.
More than one-third of those designated to drive their drinking buddies home drank and drove instead of abstaining, a recent study found. Researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville interviewed and breath tested more than 1,000 people—mostly college-aged males—as they left bars in an unidentified Florida town, over the course of a three month period. Of the 165 people who identified themselves as designated drivers, only 65% showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) of zero. Of the non-sober designated drivers, 17% had a BAC of 0.02%-0.049%, and 18% had a BAC of 0.05% or higher. The current legal limit is 0.08% or higher, though it could soon be lowered to 0.05%. The study’s lead author, Adam E. Barry, an assistant professor of health education at the University of Florida, says using a designated driver may no longer be an effective safety precaution, since many drivers believe they're okay to drive after a limited amount of booze. "While more of the designated drivers didn't drink than did drink, which is a good thing, you have people being selected because they're the least drunk, or the least intoxicated or they've driven drunk before," he says. James Lange, alcohol researcher and coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drug Initiatives at San Diego State University, says any amount of alcohol may be dangerous, since tolerance for alcohol can vary. "It would be difficult for me to make a blanket statement that a certain amount [of alcohol] is OK," he says. "The easiest recommendation is that they don't drink at all.
Officials are claiming Sean Benschop was "high" on marijuana and possibly codeine while operating the demolition equipment during last week's Philadelphia building collapse that killed six people and injured 13 others. Benschop has been missing since Wednesday, when the building collapsed on top of a Salvation Army store, killing two workers and four customers. Witness statements, toxicology reports, and evidence taken at the scene show Benschop, 42, was high at the time, and he admitted to investigators that he was taking painkillers due to a cut finger. His blood and urine were tested two hours after the collapse and CBS reported that police officers said he was speaking in an extremely slow and quiet manner, "as if he were whispering." Benschop, who also goes by the name Kary Roberts, has been arrested 11 times in the last nine years on drugs, theft and weapons charges. He was most recently arrested in January 2012 for aggravated assault, but the case was tossed out due to lack of evidence. Police raided Benschop's home on Friday to seize computers and other evidence, but still have no leads as to his whereabouts. Once he's caught, the charges against him will include six counts of involuntary manslaughter and six counts of risking catastrophe. The demolition contractor, Griffin Campbell, could also be facing charges. An attorney for one of the injured victims claims there were multiple federal safety violations and officials also found violations at two of his four other demolition sites.
High-fructose corn syrup—a staple in the many Americans' diets—may be as addictive as cocaine, new research claims. A team of scientists led by Francesco Leri, an addiction expert and Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Guelph, fed rats diets containing different levels of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). After training the critters to press a lever to control how much of the sweet substance they would receive, they found that certain rats responded to large amounts of HFCS in the same way cocaine addicts responded to the drug. The more concentrated the syrup, the harder the rats worked at pressing the lever to obtain more. Researchers say the findings may help explain the global obesity epidemic. "There is now convincing neurobiological and behavioral evidence indicating that addiction to food is possible," says Leri. Similar to cocaine addiction, the researchers say that some people are more vulnerable to food addiction than others, which explains why some are obese and some are not. High-fructose corn syrup is a common ingredient in many foods—especially in processed foods such as bread, meat, chocolate bars, soda, cereals, ketchup, soup, and nearly all fast foods. As a result of the study, the researchers say more should be done to educate the public about their food choices. The World Health Organization estimates that the global rate of obesity has more than doubled since 1980; more than 1.4 billion people were classified as overweight in 2008 and 500 million of overweight people were classified as obese.