Josh Harkinson

Josh Harkinson

Reporter

Born in Texas and based in San Francisco, Josh covers tech, labor, drug policy, and the environment.

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Poverty Flees to the Suburbs

| Mon May 20, 2013 11:38 AM EDT

Poor residents in cities and suburbs, 1970 - 2010 (millions)

Brookings Institution analysis and ACS data

Suburbs such as Highland Park (Detroit), Carol Stream (Chicago), and Forest Park (Atlanta) once stood for escape from the hard times of the inner city. Now their deceptively bucolic names conceal a national epidemic of suburban poverty. According to a report released today by the Brookings Institution, the suburban poor now far outnumber the rural and urban poor: Their ranks grew by 64 percent during the aughts to 16.4 million—a rate of increase more than twice that seen in America's cities.

What's going on here? Well, for one, Ward and June Cleaver's house wasn't exactly built to last. And as retiring baby boomers downsize and young millennials flock to hip inner cities, not that many people want to live in a half-century-old suburban tract home—except people with no other options.

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Could Federal Seizure Be the Beginning of the End for Bitcoin?

| Tue May 14, 2013 8:03 PM EDT

In what may be the first move toward a federal shutdown of the wildly popular online currency known as Bitcoin, the Department of Homeland Security today issued an order that has restricted the transfer of funds in and out of Mt. Gox, the Bitcoin exchange that handles some 60 percent of the transactions.

A creation of bank-fearing techies, Bitcoins are now worth more than $1 billion, and consumer interest has been skyrocketing. For more background, read our Bitcoin explainer.

Pot Breathalyzer Is Still a Police Pipe Dream

| Mon May 6, 2013 6:00 AM EDT
The SensAbues marijuana breath test.

As 4:20 threatens to become as popular as happy hour, police are scrambling to figure out a reliable way to make sure that the dude who's zoning out in the Taco Bell drive-thru isn't too stoned to drive. The problem is, roadside breathalyzer tests administered to drunks don't work for pot smokers, forcing cops to take suspected stoners into the station for a blood test. Now the Swedish company SensAbues is offering something of a fix. A study published in the Journal of Breath Research last week found that its proprietary breath-testing device can detect recent use of a wide range of drugs, including prescription meds, cocaine, and marijuana.

Yes, People Are Giving Their Pets Medical Marijuana

| Fri May 3, 2013 6:00 AM EDT

Is it ever a good idea to get your dog or cat stoned? California veterinarian Doug Kramer says the answer depends on whether your pet could be classified as a medical marijuana patient.

"I do think there are therapeutic benefits to it," says Kramer, who some years ago found that his homemade pot tinctures helped his own dog, a husky named Nikita, fight pain and regain her appetite after she came down with cancer.

Despite the spread of medical pot laws around the country, marijuana still remains taboo within the veterinary establishment; its medical journals won't publish anything about it, and Kramer is one of the few veterinarians even willing to discuss using medical marijuana for pets. He points out that a slew of medical studies on the effects of pot have relied on rats and dogs as substitutes for humans, suggesting that "mammals have the same cannabinoid receptors as humans do" and "would benefit in the same ways."

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