When you apply for a drivers license in Oregon, you’re now automatically registered to vote. State officials say the DMV program — the nation’s first opt-out law — is the simplest way to bolster voter rolls and keep addresses up-to-date — important in a state that votes by mail. So far, in the first week, four times as many new voters signed up as the Beaver State used to register in a month. It remains to be seen whether they actually cast a ballot.
It’s a rule of thumb for criminologists that crime spikes in the summer: not only are more people outside, but heated arguments also sometimes lead to violence. In Rochester, N.Y., beat cops now track tiffs across the city and send a summary of the dispute to a central database, where analysts can predict which are most likely to escalate. While this predictive policing may sound like a real-life “Minority Report,” law enforcement’s seven-month-old strategy appears promising and is being looked at by other departments nationally, including Milwaukee.
A former addict walks out of rehab and is suddenly bombarded by temptations: old drinking buddies, familiar haunts, relief from stress and anxiety. A mobile app, A-Chess, checks in throughout the day to help alcoholics avoid the bottle. It’s pre-loaded with high-risk locations like bars and liquor stores the person frequented. When nearby, the app automatically sends a message, “Are you sure you want to be here?” and alerts other contacts the patient has pre-programmed, like his sponsor or a family member. Along with virtual counseling and other smartphone apps, these modern tools are helping with the hardest part of getting clean: staying that way.