Tag Archives: Brian Williams

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A makeshift memorial for the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary. AP Photo

It’s happened yet again. Another nutcase decided to go straight to hell in a blaze of gunfire, taking as many with him as he could. This time it was twenty six- and seven-year-olds and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the gunman’s mother, and the gunman himself.

And it’s not December 21st yet.

Of course this is a tragedy. It was a senseless loss of life and a rude introduction to the world-at-large for the children who survived. If you aren’t touched by this turn of events you have a cold, hard heart. If you aren’t praying for the families who lost a loved one in this mess or in any of the other shootings this year, well…may God have mercy on you when you need help and comfort.

It was big news on December 14th. Every TV news outlet had wall-to-wall coverage of the event. It was all over the news the next day as well, and tonight it was still the big story two days afterward. If you wanted news on anything else in the U.S. or the rest of the world, sorry, you were out of luck. According to the news propaganda machine it is all you’re supposed to be thinking about. Oh, please.

News is something that’s both current and noteworthy. Something you need to inform you about the greater world around you. Getting information to the public as it’s released about the pertinent facts of a situation is news. News is not showing the same footage over and over while talking vacuously about unconfirmed rumors when a situation is going down. News is not shoving a microphone into the face of someone whose world has just been torn apart and asking them “How do you feel?” And news is definitely not interviewing first- and second-graders to find out what they were doing when madness was roaming the halls of their supposed sanctuary from the daily world. Most of them can barely describe what they had for breakfast in a cogent narrative without dissolving into a string of “ums” and “ahs.” In this case it was news two days ago, and in the newspaper business of old it would be lining a birdcage today.

Yet if you were to complain to the news organizations about this type of coverage you’d get this answer: “We’re simply providing the coverage that people want at a crucial time.” (I know this because I’ve complained a few times about situations like this one.) We pretend we’re civilized and refined; that we’re above gawking at accident scenes yet we always slow the car down and try to see a flash of red or a limb sticking through a broken windshield. We don’t want to experience such a horrible loss ourselves so we hang onto every word of the witnesses and survivors to know what it “feels” like. Ultimately it boils down to dollars and cents to the broadcasters—every set of eyeballs watching their coverage means more possible revenue for their advertisers.

What the people of Newtown Connecticut need more than anything else is to be left alone. They would certainly welcome support from outside their community in the proper time, but that time isn’t now. The news organizations need to get out of town and respect their privacy. It’s time for grief and healing—and let’s not be the morbidly curious world that keeps it from happening.

UPDATE: 12-20-2012

Brian Williams made a comment last night before launching into NBC Nightly News’s Sandy Hook coverage. He said that NBC had “reduced their presence” in Newtown because the residents told them they wanted privacy now. Hallelujah! I’m happy that at least one news organization gets it and will do as they are asked. Sort of. Thanks, NBC!

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Large Hadron Collider–World Safe for Now

Most people have probably heard about the Large Hadron Collider (or LHC) by now.  If not, here’s the scoop: scientists have built a roughly 70-mile in circumference airless metal tube in Europe that borders three countries.  It’s buried underground, and has cost the countries and various member organizations billions of dollars to build.  Why?  Scientists hope that, by smashing atoms together and recording what happens during the resulting explosions, they can get an idea of what the universe looked like immediately after the “Big Bang.”  They know a number of different types of matter (the building blocks that make up everything) exist, but there are a number of things they’ve only guessed about.  Things like quarks, black holes, and so forth have all been theoretical up until now.  With this gigantic metal donut they hope to prove the existence of the things they’ve guessed about.    (Note that I’m not a particle physicist, nor have I played one on TV.  This is what I’ve been able to figure out by reading different sources of information.  If there are any scientists reading this who want to correct me, please go ahead.  Kindly.)  CERN has a lovely web site about it, with lots of impressive pictures, here.

Why does this matter (unintenional pun)?  By proving or disproving the theories that science has been operating on for decades, and learning new things along the way, then mankind may finally be able to crack the limitations of physics as we’ve known them.  Things like warp engines, intergalactic space travel, and many more mundane things may be invented as a result of these studies.  When the topic of black holes came up, some people became very nervous that the LHC might lead to the creation of a black hole capable of swallowing the Earth.  CERN was even targeted with a lawsuit that sought to keep them from turning it on. Scientists have pooh-poohed the idea, saying that any black holes that MIGHT be created would be on the molecular level and would cause no damage.

The initial turn-on test was today, and was considered a success.  According to the media, the test was quick and not under full power.  However, the LHC will be taken off-line during the winter for a comprehensive tune-up that will allow testing under considerably more power, involving larger explosions, next year.  News commentators made fun of the naysayers afterward.  Brian Williams of NBC’s Nightly News reported the test under the story title “We’re Still Here.”

As I mentioned, I’m not a particle physicist, but it seems to me that the creation of a catastrophic black hole event wouldn’t have occurred during these initial tests.  If such a thing were to happen, it would most likely occur after the device is fully tuned and making larger explosions.  So yes, we’re still here.  For now.  Next year, who knows?  Maybe we won’t destroy ourselves, but the energy generated during the LHC’s operation may result in more UFO activity and sightings…and wouldn’t that be more interesting than our sudden cessation of existence?

Oh, and by the way–to the two younger men overheard conversing in a restaurant lately about the LHC and the end of the world, it’s pronounced had-ron.  H-a-d-r-o-n.  The d comes before the r.  Although scientists involved in the testing might have been rejuvenated when the power was flipped on it was an unintended side effect.

Now back to life as we’ve known it…

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