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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
Shedding the Stigma of Substance Use
Shedding the Stigma of Substance Use
Catalysts
Shedding the Stigma of Substance Use
By achieving fitness goals together, The Phoenix community is peeling off the shame, regret, and stigma often associated with addiction.
By Esther Landhuis

By achieving fitness goals together, The Phoenix community is peeling off the shame, regret, and stigma often associated with addiction.

Catalysts
Diversity in the Outdoors: Bridging the Adventure Gap
diversity in the outdoors
Catalysts
Diversity in the Outdoors: Bridging the Adventure Gap
This DC nonprofit is defying statistics by promoting diversity in the outdoors and connecting people from all walks of life with the wonders of nature.

This DC nonprofit is defying statistics by promoting diversity in the outdoors and connecting people from all walks of life with the wonders of nature.

Building Community
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
Building Community
This Chicago Urban Farm Grows Opportunity, Jobs
Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with...

Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with employment barriers, whether due to prior convictions, medical concerns, poverty, homelessness, or any other issues which make gainful employment difficult.

3 Ways To Think About the Future
3 Ways To Think About the Future
Watch Now
3 Ways To Think About the Future
Why don’t we have a moon base? A cartoonist and a scientist explain.
Watch Now

Zach Weinersmith, creator of the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal webcomic and Kelly Weinersmith, professor and scientist, explain how to think about the future - a focus of their new illustrated book “Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything.” The New York Times best-selling book has been praised for its exciting and nuanced looks at ten technologies that could change the world...

CIVIL
Meet Civil, The Startup That Wants to Save Journalism with the Blockchain
Civil Blockchain
Watch Now
CIVIL
Meet Civil, The Startup That Wants to Save Journalism with the Blockchain
Can the blockchain fight fake news, restore trust in the media, and save a dying a industry?
Watch Now

The news industry is in crisis. Traditional ad models have not transitioned well to the digital world and many newspapers have closed their doors. Clickbait has risen as the pressure to get views at any price rises and quality suffers. People trust the media less and less, which has made it increasingly easy for special interests to manipulate public opinion. But Civil, a new startup, wants to help solve these problems by...

Dispatches
The Eternal Sunshine of the Stressed Out Mind
The Eternal Sunshine of the Stressed Out Mind
Dispatches
The Eternal Sunshine of the Stressed Out Mind
Researchers at Cambridge University have finally figured out how the brain stops stressful thoughts and memories...

Researchers at Cambridge University have finally figured out how the brain stops stressful thoughts and memories from taking over our minds.

Crossing The Divide
Where Muslims and Jews Worship Together
Where Muslims and Jews Worship Together
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Crossing The Divide
Where Muslims and Jews Worship Together
When a Jewish community lost its place of worship, help came from an unexpected place.
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When an imam invited a Jewish congregation to worship in his mosque, many of his members left in protest. But the initial controversy has since given way to an inspiring example of tolerance and compassion.

Wrong
We’re All Gonna Starve!
We’re All Gonna Starve!
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Wrong
We’re All Gonna Starve!
A revolution in food production turned predictions of a population bomb into a worldwide boom.
Watch Now

A pervasive fear of overpopulating the world swept America and other countries in the late 1960s and ‘70s, but a revolution in food production turned predictions of a population bomb into a worldwide boom.