Author Archives: David Riemer
April 19th, 2013
Local news outlets in Boston are frenzied this morning after the fatal shooting of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police officer and an explosive-strewn car chase which tore through Watertown, MA late last night. Police are reporting that the same two FBI-identified suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings carjacked a man from the MIT area, leading law enforcement personnel on a chase into the suburbs which ended in the reported death of one of the suspects. State and federal law enforcement have coalesced in Watertown for a massive manhunt for the remaining Boston Marathon bombing suspect, identified as 19 year old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev of Cambridge.
Channel 7 is sensationalist. Cameras shake and wiggle across the screen. The same blurry pictures of the two suspects interlude the vacuous moments. As of 8:38AM this morning, the police have guns pointed at a Watertown residence as a reporter speculates wildly, trying to fill the suspenseful seconds with nervous rabble about the suspect’s background. He is an accomplished medical student. He has a driver’s license.
Is all this helping? My heart rate’s up. I’m glued to the screen. But really all I can think of is what will happen if this man is not taken alive.
January 28th, 2013
Conspiracy theories follow in the wake of all tragic events, so it is perhaps unsurprising that the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has generated its share of paranoid, anti-government myths.
Rather than pushing these ideas off the public radar, prominent news media outlets have showered the shocking claims of Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists with free publicity during the six weeks since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. The resulting coverage can only be described as an attempt to validate the old maxim “there is no bad press.”
You might have noticed that, with respect to the theories themselves, I have specified none of the outrageous claims, cited no names or places. I’m not going to. It doesn’t take much Internet savvy to uncover all the terrible, scandalous details on your own—which is exactly the problem.
Even though the overwhelming majority of the stories concerning theories is decidedly negative, the toxic rumors have been allowed to make the rounds.
January 16th, 2013
Aaron Swartz was a well known computer programmer and activist but it wasn’t until he took his own life at the age of 26 that he became a celebrity.
Swartz, responsible for key contributions to RSS coding and co-founder of Internet behemoth Reddit, was charged in with 13 counts of wire fraud in 2010 after downloading over four million scholarly articles from academic journal database JSTOR using MIT’s computer networks. A firm believer in the freedom and accessibility of public information, Swartz was made an example of by harsh Internet fraud laws too vague for the rapidly expanding Web. Seeing no possibility of avoiding jail time and with a history of depression, Swartz took his own life.
January 14th, 2013
Gawker is catching death-threat-infused flak for publishing a public record. What’s the big deal?
The website obtained a publicly available 446-page list of registered Manhattan gun owners from 2010 and published it with an accompanying article by John Cook. He called out gun users as “assholes” in the original headline, which proceeded to evolve following the immediate inflammatory responses.
Plainly visible through the “strikethrough” font, the headline became “Here Is a List of All the
Assholes Handsome Law-Abiding Citizens Who Own Guns in New York City,” until then finally changing to “Here Is a List of All the Assholes Handsome Law-Abiding Citizens Who Own Guns Some People in New York City.”
Gawker editors now face death threats but the publication isn’t backing down. Subsequent articles about the National Rifle Association published on the site stand by the original and have done little to quell the conflict.
January 7th, 2013
Steubenville, Ohio has earned its place on the collective front page of the Internet over the course of the last month thanks to a high school rape scandal dredged up from darkness by hacker collectives Anonymous and KnightSec.
When two members of the Steubenville High School football team, were charged with the alleged sexual assault of an unconscious girl who attended a team celebration in August, these groups stepped in to say that two prosecutions were not enough “when everyone present was guilty.”
True to form, Anonymous and KnightSec hijacked the team’s website, posting a video in which the groups demanded that the team issue an apology to the girl and her family by January 1, lest team members’ and officials’ personal information be posted online. That deadline has come and gone, and the authorities of Steubenville have doubled down on their commitment to protect the team.
December 31st, 2012
After a predictions of a Mayan apocalypse that didn’t pan out, Americans are hearing predictions of an upcoming financial apocalypse, the “fiscal cliff.” But sequestration and tax hikes on those making under $250,000, unlike the wrath of the Maya, seems likely happen.
But with the cliff looming, I feel like the media is fulfilling their role in society for the first time in a while. Although the facts that the media reports may seem somewhat repetitive—if only because nothing seems to be happening—responsible news outlets are doing their best (and that best, as with all things, varies widely) to prepare the public for the effects of an issue which is only days away from a non-solution.
August 29th, 2012
According to socialmediatoday’s Mark Lazen, RebelMouse, the auspicious fruit of the union between former Huffington Post technicians and the concept of Pinterest, suggests a new trend in social media and other online services. Lazen describes RebelMouse as an image-based conglomerate of original content and data from your other social networking sites. If this sounds like [...]
August 17th, 2012
Newly-anointed V.P. candidate, Paul Ryan, awed liberals and moderates alike when he named “objectivism” founder, Ayn Rand, as his political inspiration.
And I thought social Darwinism was a detriment to social mobility.
Although objectivism is, to an extent, an intuitive philosophy, Simon van Zuylen-Wood of The New Republic took the liberty of breaking it down into a few key points in a recent article.
Call me secretive, but if I’d been selected for V.P. one of my first steps would not be to publicly praise a polarizing figure like Rand—especially not when that praise links me to some choice adjectives like “chauvinistic,” “greedy” and “self-interested.”
August 17th, 2012
To my great relief, I’m not the only one perplexed by the professional social networking site, LinkedIn. While I have a profile at the behest of a few college professors, I am not too proud to admit that I have absolutely no clue what to do with it. In a recent article on socialmediatoday.com, columnist Chuck Hester answers a few of those burning questions to help make the most of the largely underrated tool.
Friends are to Facebook as connections are to LinkedIn. But unlike on Facebook, it’s actually sort of acceptable to connect to people you don’t really know. Branching out is what it’s all about—grow and evolve your résumé through networking and recommendations.
August 3rd, 2012
Investment capital firms are beginning to feel the heat during what can only be called a drought of creative entrepreneurship. With startup companies fainting left and right, investors are practically searching Craigslist for a scapegoat. Their most recent intrigue is small-minded thinking. “Dipshit companies,” as they’re called, strive to hit profitability and sell off to Google or Microsoft instead of trying to be Google or Microsoft.