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Welcome to This Week in Ideas, where we share the best stories we’ve been discussing amongst ourselves. We hope these stories nourish your curiosity.

Can we treat opioid addiction with implants? There’s no silver bullet for America’s opioid abuse problem, but a new clinical trial suggests some simple, novel solutions are on the way: “In a 15-minute in-office visit, a doctor will insert four white, tube-like flexible implants into a patient’s upper arm. Those implants are each the size of a matchstick and will drip-feed Buprenorphine directly into the bloodstream and up to the brain. The drug will then fasten onto the same neural receptors triggered by heroin or prescription narcotic painkiller use, effectively curbing one's desire to get high.”

Better haircuts thanks to virtual reality: Virtual reality startup 8i (which you can learn about in a forthcoming Freethink episode!) is about to change how hair stylists learn their craft: “The VR experience features two photo-realistic humans—a stylist and a client—in a 360-degree environment. Students can step into the hairdressers' shoes, and shift position in the virtual salon to watch from any angle.”

Google’s AI wants you to respect its privacy: “Googlers Martín Abadi and David G. Andersen have willingly allowed three test subjects -- neural networks named Alice, Bob and Eve -- to pass each other notes using an encryption method they created themselves.” Good thing Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil.”

Live sports through Amazon Prime are on the way: The company is “in talks” with the NBA, the MLB, the NFL, and others about the possibility of a streaming service for Prime members.

Up Next

Health & Wellness
Looking for Natural Anxiety Relief? Try Improv
natural-anxiety-relief
Health & Wellness
Looking for Natural Anxiety Relief? Try Improv
In a judgement-free setting, improv requires the mind to focus on the present, providing natural anxiety relief for performers.

In a judgement-free setting, improv requires the mind to focus on the present, providing natural anxiety relief for performers.

Catalysts
This Social Enterprise is Cleaning Up Chicago One Street at a Time
Transitional employment
Catalysts
This Social Enterprise is Cleaning Up Chicago One Street at a Time
This nonprofit is not only polishing the streets of Chicago, but providing a "clean slate" for its interns. Those with a criminal background, dealing with addiction recovery, or domestic violence, are welcome to take part in job training and counseling.

It's a muggy Wednesday morning in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, the temperature and humidity rising before the sun. Lena, decked out in her eye-catching slate shirt and chartreuse vest, leans slightly out into the busy rush-hour traffic, sweeping litter (wrappers, cups, lots of cigarette butts) from the gutter into her dustpan. On the sidewalk, she empties her collection into a cart. As she moves down the street,...

Wildfires
A Community at the Frontlines of the War on Wildfire
A Community at the Frontlines of the War on Wildfire
Watch Now
Wildfires
A Community at the Frontlines of the War on Wildfire
When facing literal hellfire, this community effort may be the only way to protect homes and lives from devastating wildfires.
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California is burning like never before, with wildfires damaging nearly one million acres in 2018 alone. Despite the State’s best efforts, preventing forest fires doesn’t seem possible from the top down. With climate change accelerating the frequency and scale of these wildfires at an alarming rate, experts are turning to private citizens to help with forest fire prevention and control. Or as we like to say, to help fight...

Culture of Change
Drone Racers Are A Thing and They’re Amazing
Drone Racers Are A Thing and They’re Amazing
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Culture of Change
Drone Racers Are A Thing and They’re Amazing
Blistering speed. Big money. 11-year-old world champions. Is drone racing the next big sport?
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Yes, drone racers are a thing and they’re amazing. The Drone Racing League has gone from a dream to ESPN in a few short years. We met world champion Paul Nurkalla, aka Nurk FPV, and got an inside look at how the DRL is striving to be the next big sports league. Somewhere between esports, NASCAR and Star Wars sits drone racing, also known as FPV racing. It’s a breathtakingly fast spectacle where drone pilots fly quadcopters...

Dispatches
Air Travel Could Be Stopping the Next Plague
Air Travel Could Be Stopping the Next Plague
Dispatches
Air Travel Could Be Stopping the Next Plague
Our hyper-connected world might be protecting us against devastating plagues.

Our hyper-connected world might be protecting us against devastating plagues.

Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
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Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
These seniors are tackling the stigma around death by decorating their own coffins.
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Most people are afraid to even talk about death, but New Zealand’s Kiwi Coffin Club is facing it head on. Founded by Katie Williams, a former midwife and hospice nurse, members build and then decorate their own customized coffins as a way of celebrating their lives and highlighting their unique personalities. "Death's pretty natural, you know," says Williams. "It shouldn't be a frightening sort of situation. It's part of...

Crossing The Divide
Making America Dinner Again
Make America Dinner Again
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Crossing The Divide
Making America Dinner Again
What happens when you put people of all political persuasions together over dinner?
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In the wake of the 2016 election, Tria Chang and Justine Lee felt frustrated and confused by the results. But they also realized that they didn’t know a single Trump voter. And most of their friends didn’t either. Tria and Justine wanted to find a way to get out of their bubble and talk to people who had different views. So they started Make America Dinner Again. At each dinner, they bring together eight people from across...

Culture
This Army Sergeant Started a 24-Hour Hotline For Service Members with PTSD
This Army Sergeant Started a 24-Hour Hotline For Service Members with PTSD
Culture
This Army Sergeant Started a 24-Hour Hotline For Service Members with PTSD
First Sgt. Landon Jackson battled with severe PTSD and turned his experience into a 24 hour hotline that gives...
By Mike Riggs

First Sgt. Landon Jackson battled with severe PTSD and turned his experience into a 24 hour hotline that gives service members an outlet whenever they need it.