Have a heart (or How fact checking can save lives)

What the internet has done for the distribution of information, it has also done for the distribution of bad information.

Social media has empowered the everyman with the ability to reach large audiences in a single post. These comments on or revelations of current events are often readily accepted by people within the sharer’s circle.

The pitfalls of this form of communication being accepted as a valid source of news, and even health information, should be obvious. Anyone can share anything in what I am convinced is the Wild West era of the World Wide Web.

I’m a fact guy, and the internet facilitates that inclination quite well. This is perhaps why I have been routinely distressed by the faulty information that I witness being passed along by well-meaning friends.

One of the most distressing things I’ve seen shared multiple times is a self-administered “Cough CPR” technique, which is suggested for people having a heart attack while alone.

While everyone that shares the technique surely does so with the best intentions, the fact of the matter is that the technique is not recommended by the American Heart Association.

“Cough CPR” is meant for use in very specific circumstances, and the consequences could be fatal if an individual attempts to self-administer. Instead, individuals should learn the symptoms of a heart attack so they can seek help as quickly as possible.

It is easy to understand how such information is so easily passed along. Every year 715,000 American’s experience a heart attack; of those 525,000 are new heart attack victims.

The chances are high that most people have someone they love who has experienced a heart attack. On its face, the information is helpful, and the concern is highly relatable. It makes sense that on a very personal level people would want this information to be true.

Our hopes and good intentions can blind us and disarm our normal skepticism.

The grand irony is this: We assume that no one would blindly pass along such delicate health advice without knowing it to be valid, and then we proceed to shatter the basis of that assumption by doing precisely that.

Former Glassjaw, Thursday, and From Autumn to Ashes members announce Kickstarter for new band

Former band members of Glassjaw, From Autumn to Ashes, Thursday, and Judge have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund an EP to be recorded with producing heavy-hitter Ross Robinson.

Members of the band take time to talk in a video listed on their Kickstarter page to address the goals of their project.

Kickstarter is a website that allows people to seek funding for projects via crowdsourcing.

Earlier this month Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars, a television show that ran from 2004 to 2007, sought to raise $2 million in 30 days to fund production of a Veronica Mars movie. Within 11 hours of the Kickstarter campaign the goal had already been met. As of right now the project has raised $3.8 million, and still has 19 days left.

The band is, quite fittingly, calling itself Get Involved! And consists of:

Todd Weinstock , one of Glassjaw’s two guitarists from 1996-2004.
Brian Deneeve, formerly on guitar, piano and back vocals for Autumn to Ashes from 2001-2008.
Tucker Rule, former drummer of Thursday from 1997-2012.
Lars Weiss, guitarist for 80’s hardcore band Judge.
Derrick Karg, who is the lead vocalist of Derrick and the Black Sea.

Vocalist Derrick Karg is the only member I had no knowledge of, and listening to his work with Derrick and the Black Sea I was pleasantly surprised. I am a big fan of heavier bands enlisting vocalists capable of really singing. Glassjaw and Thursday are among my favorite bands, and though I never really listened to Autumn to Ashes, I was aware of the band’s talent.

While describing the band members’ influences, Weiss gave future listeners a hint of what to expect. He seems to suggest a heavy sound influenced by 80’s new wave. “It’s not straight hardcore, but it’s not metal either,” Weiss said.

Indie rocker Conor Oberst’s band Desaparecidos mocks Megadeath’s Dave Mustaine

Anyone who attended the recent Desaparecidos tour might have noticed a bit of audio played between the first two songs of the set.

The audio features a voice resembling that of Mickey Mouse ranting as if he was a conspiracy theorist upset with president Obama.

Following Desaparecidos’ show I attended at the Blue Moon in Tallahassee, Fla., I was unable to find an article which pinpointed the source of the audio track.

I was able to locate the audio of interest, and although not everything is perfectly audible, I was able to isolate a line of text and search for matches on Google.

It turns out the audio track is mocking  Dave Mustaine for comments he made that accused President Obama of staging mass murders in order to take away gun rights.

The audio features a near verbatim quote of Mustaine’s comments.

 “Turns out in my president is trying to pass a gun ban. So he’s staging all of these murders, like the Fast and Furious thing down at the border and Aurora, Colo., all the people that were killed there. And now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple.

I don’t know where I’m going to live if America keeps going the way it’s going. It looks like it’s turning into Nazi America.”

The Institute for Humane Studies visits Troy University




The Institute for Humane, a libertarian organization from George Mason University, hosted a two day educational seminar called “Does Freedom Matter?” at Troy University this passed weekend.

Four speakers lead lectures and discussion on several topics such as the nature of rights, politics and government.

The discussions were often framed by providing the listener with brief philosophical history lessons about such thinkers as Aristotle and Adam Smith. Other presentations confronted issues differently.

One presentation titled “The Bourgeois Era: Why Some People are Rich While Others Are Poor,” tried to make sense of economic disparities by comparing overall wealth distribution to the past, while deriding government, as well as some private, attempts at remedying problems for the third world as being disastrous and counterproductive.

Another presentation titled “How to be Ruled by Eccentric Rich Guys: Campaign Finance “Reform and the Future of Free Speech” tackled the topic of campaign finance reform and asserted that limitations on an individuals ability to promote an idea with their money is the same as limiting how much they are allowed to say, and is thus a violation of free speech.

Attendees were treated to breakfast, lunch, and dinner in exchange for attending the event. And in an note-worthy display of libertarianism, attendees were invited to a social event at the end of each day where free beer was provided to those over 21.

The narrative of the event was decidedly one sided, but questions were welcome from the audience and exchanges were all cordial. 

ImageImageBibb Graves Hall, where the event was held.Image
Attendees before the lectures began. There were approximately 80 in attendance the first day, and around 40 by the end of the event.
Daniel J. D’Amico, assistant professor of ecnomics at Loyola University in New Orleans giving presentation, about how humans naturally create functioning societies, called “Spontaneous Order.”

Trevor Burrus, research fellow from the CATO institute, giving his presentation about campaign financing.

A fitting way wash down two days worth of lectures on maverick ideals? Perhaps.