Tag Archives: CNN

US response to Ebola mess: We got this

In response to the increasing need for assistance in the fight against Ebola in West Africa — already having spread through Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo — President Obama has volunteered 3,000 US troops, as well as supplies. What are the implications of this surge in US lives potentially exposed to the virus?

The U.S. will pledge 3000 troops to help aid people affected by the Ebola virus. Image from worldbulletin.net
The U.S. will pledge 3000 troops to help aid people affected by the Ebola virus. Image from worldbulletin.net

First, these troops will not be going in naked . They’ll have appropriate protection before entering areas of contagion. However, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee protection as the disease has steadily been spreading despite the best efforts of West African prevention and the international assistance that has already been given. Many troops will be helping with the disposal of bodies of those who have died from Ebola; which is one of the primary means of contraction of the virus, other than the transfer of bodily fluids.

Other than disposing of bodies, the US efforts will focus on training healthcare workers and building treatment and containment facilities. This all in the hopes of creating a sufficient foundation from which the disease can be managed before it spreads further through the continent.

This humanitarian effort will divert approximately $500 million from the overseas contingency budget focused on such things as the war in Afghanistan.

Over 2,400 lives have already been claimed by this particular outbreak of the disease and will only continue to rise and spread to other areas of the world, should it not be adequately contained.

The global response is escalating due to the many lives already lost and the absence of any real vaccine or cure, causing many families to turn their hopes towards black market medicines. These are a particular concern as the main method customers of this ideology are interested in is the blood of survivors. According to CNN “blood from survivors, referred to as convalescent serum, is said to have antibodies that can fight the deadly virus.” While the World Health Organization does tentatively approve of this experiment in a cure, they’re concerned about the non-prescribed or professionally-administered version desperate patients and families are turning to. This is due to the serious risk of further illness and death that can be caused by sharing blood and the insufficient research that has gone into this particular treatment method.

While natural and other immediately terrible disasters see a great response from the global and private world, health disasters usually don’t. Hopefully, however, with the response growing, the world will soon see the end to this disaster.

ISIS brandishes a new weapon of mass destruction: Twitter

As much of a threat as al-Qaeda has been in the past few decades, they’ve never gotten over the phase of cave dwelling and using cheap camcorders to publish their beheadings. Unfortunately, if you want to get people’s attention nowadays, you have to do it in 140 characters or less, and your videos must have the option to skip the ad before it.

Twitter is the new weapon. Graphic by Grace Higginbotham
Twitter is the new weapon. Graphic by Grace Higginbotham

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, commonly referred to as ISIS, is becoming the center of attention because of their ability to do what so many marketing companies are struggling to do — market their product through social media. The same sites you use to complain about biased refs in football and stand on your soapbox for whatever activism is going on that week are now being used to recruit terrorists.

Their attempts to reach out to the youth of the world goes as far as to draw on quotes from TV dramas and popular video games to use in their videos. They use tools like YouTube and Soundcloud to release reports and reach a wider audience. Every time their Twitter account gets suspended, they open a new one and start all over. They use infographics, have an annual publication, and post videos in a variety of languages. This new batch of terrorists has such a firm grasp on social media that the Department of State (DOS) has a hard time keeping up with it all.

Using careful phrasing and effective trigger words, ISIS is able to portray themselves as a group that vows vengeance for the oppressed Muslim groups and swears to seek justice against its oppressors, buying them a bit of support from people who would be interested in joining.

Using the hashtag #thinkagainturnaway, the DOS has been launching a Twitter war with ISIS recruiters in a way that would make the Drake Bell / Justin Bieber flame war seem trivial. Counterterrorism now comes in 140 characters or less. God bless America.

The worst part is that when they finally release the video of the beheadings, news sources like CNN rush to be the first to put it online so everyone can see. The virality of the content is through the roof, because there’s always a fringe group of people who are curious enough to want to see the beheadings for themselves.

Our elders like to complain that too much social media will destroy our generation’s ability to communicate with one another, but when it’s used to find potential terrorists around the world with little to no effort, it raises a whole new range of concerns that would make that aunt of yours scan through your recent Facebook statuses and find that one questionable post.

Much still remains to be seen about how credible the ISIS threat is, but one thing is for certain, they’ve really got a grasp on 21st century cyber warfare, and that is as scary as it gets.

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Celebrity news

Justin Bieber is a punk. We’ve known that for a while, but the media goes out of their way to make sure we don’t forget it. The latest video to surface is a recording of Bieber’s deposition in which he responded to questions rudely. It quickly hopped to the top of Facebook’s trending tab, with tons of comments pointing out his outrageous arrogance. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Celebrity news

January Outrage-o-meter: Richard Sherman and Chris Christie stir the pot

From Duck Dynasty to Chick-Fil-A, being offended has become a national pastime. It’s much easier to shut our eyes and plug our ears than it is to face the problems being brought up. So I present to you the first part of Whim’s 2014 outrage timeline where we’ll document every event that caused someone, somewhere, to overreact and do an analysis of who overreacted, and whether it was justifiable.
Continue reading January Outrage-o-meter: Richard Sherman and Chris Christie stir the pot