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Welcome back to This Week in Ideas, where we share the best stories shared on Freethink’s internal Slack channels. Let’s get started.

HTC spends big on VR in (where else!) China: Tawainese tech company HTC will spend $1.5 billion on a VR initiative in China. The race for a market-penetrating VR system is officially on.

Google Earth through VR will blow your mind: “Never have I uttered the phrase ‘holy f—k’ so many times in one virtual reality session,” writes Mashable’s Adario Strange. “That's how amazing the new Google Earth VR is when you experience it using the HTC Vive.”

**China goes all-in on gene editing:** The cutting edge (and somewhat controversial) gene-editing technology CRISPR has finally been tested on a human being. And it didn’t happen here in the U.S.: “On 28 October, a team led by oncologist Lu You at Sichuan University in Chengdu delivered the modified cells into a patient with aggressive lung cancer as part of a clinical trial at the West China Hospital, also in Chengdu.” One American researcher anticipates the trial will lead to a 21st century medical technology race between China and the U.S.

The biggest internet issue in the world isn’t net neutrality: It’s actually free speech.

A cancer “vaccine” developed in Cuba is coming to the U.S.: “The country has a whole arsenal of unique drugs locked behind the U.S. embargo,” writes The Atlantic ’s Sarah Zhang.

What science says to do if your loved one has an opioid addiction: Over at 538, Maia Szalavitz has written “an evidence-based guide about what the science of opioid addiction recommends for people trying to help a loved one suffering from addiction.”

Up Next

Catalysts
How Old Skool Café Helped This Teenager Overcome Adversity After Trauma
How Old Skool Café Helped This Teenager Overcome Adversity After Trauma
Catalysts
How Old Skool Café Helped This Teenager Overcome Adversity After Trauma
After suffering a violent gang beating, Desiree Maldonado experienced major medical and emotional issues. She turned from a shy and nerdy 14-year-old kid to a hard and angry rebel. This is how one restaurant job changed her trajectory.
By Lise Metzger

After suffering a violent gang beating, Desiree Maldonado experienced major medical and emotional issues. She turned from a shy and nerdy 14-year-old kid to a hard and angry rebel. This is how one restaurant job changed her trajectory.

CATALYSTS
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
CATALYSTS
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
Hordes of bright orange lifejackets are strewn across the rocky beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. Discarded...

Hordes of bright orange lifejackets are strewn across the rocky beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. Discarded after a perilous journey at sea, they exemplify the risk that refugees are willing to take in search of a better life. A Minnesota fashion start-up creates jewelry from discarded refugee life jackets. There are currently 26 million refugees worldwide....

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.
Watch Now

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...

Catalysts
How This Non-Profit Weaves a Family of Support for Struggling Teens in Baltimore
How This Non-Profit Weaves a Family of Support for Struggling Teens in Baltimore
Catalysts
How This Non-Profit Weaves a Family of Support for Struggling Teens in Baltimore
“Everyone - no matter their age, race, or background - needs a network of supportive relationships to help them...

“Everyone - no matter their age, race, or background - needs a network of supportive relationships to help them thrive.”

#fixingjustice - Harm Reduction
A Day in the Life of a 'Violence Interruptor'
A Day in the Life of a 'Violence Interruptor'
#fixingjustice - Harm Reduction
A Day in the Life of a 'Violence Interruptor'
Freethink followed Andre T. Mitchell, the founder of Man Up!, and his violence interrupter team for a day in...
By Michelle Frankfurter

Freethink followed Andre T. Mitchell, the founder of Man Up!, and his violence interrupter team for a day in Brooklyn as they responded to a recent shooting in a nearby neighborhood.

24 Years For a Crime He Didn’t Commit
24 Years For a Crime He Didn’t Commit
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24 Years For a Crime He Didn’t Commit
When a prisoner serving a life sentence is suddenly found to be innocent, it often makes national news. But what happens after the cameras go away?
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There are around 2,200 exonerees in the U.S.—people who were convicted of a crime and then later proven innocent by their own doggedness or new evidence in a case. When they are freed from prison, their lives are often saddled by the same issues that hold back people who actually committed a crime—lack of education, no job skills or employment history, and the stigma of having spent years in prison. While their release is...

#fixingjustice - Prosecution
Exclusive Interview: How Miriam Krinsky is Leading Us to a Smarter & More...
Miriam Krinsky
#fixingjustice - Prosecution
Exclusive Interview: How Miriam Krinsky is Leading Us to a Smarter & More...
Her organization is bringing together a new generation of prosecutors with a shared vision of fair, compassionate,...

Her organization is bringing together a new generation of prosecutors with a shared vision of fair, compassionate, and responsible criminal justice reform.

Row New York
Helping Kids Through Rowing
Helping Kids Through Rowing
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Row New York
Helping Kids Through Rowing
Inside the surprising program helping disadvantaged kids in New York thrive.
Watch Now

In the middle of New York City sits an unexpected sight: a boathouse; and inside is an unexpected group of rowers: middle and high schoolers from across the city’s fragile communities. Every year, in this place, thousands of kids show up to find something in themselves — whether strength, confidence, discipline, or community — that can make a difference in their lives. Row New York is one of the most successful after-school...