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Sandy Hook Truther Arrested for Threatening to Kill Parent of Murdered Child

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In recent days, the dark online conspiracy theory that pizzerias across the country are enabling Hillary Clinton–related satanic pedophilia has led to a number of incidents of real-life harassment and the arrest of a man who fired a rifle inside Washington, D.C.'s Comet Ping Pong restaurant. These bizarre "Pizzagate" rumors have been circulated not just by anonymous online weirdos (and, mysteriously, by automated "bot" accounts based in countries such as the Czech Republic) but by Donald Trump's prospective national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

That a Trump administration figure would promote such bizarre allegations is not surprising, though; Trump himself has praised and been interviewed by Infowars proprietor Alex Jones, who believes that the Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook massacre was staged by actors. In Florida, meanwhile, the Department of Justice has just announced the arrest of a Tampa, Florida–area woman who—believing, like Jones, that the deaths at Sandy Hook were faked—threatened to kill one of the bereaved parents of a Sandy Hook victim. From the DOJ:

On or about January 10, 2016, Richards made a series of death threats to a parent of a child killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting. The parent resides in South Florida. Richards’ believed that the school shooting was a hoax and never happened allegedly motivated her to make the charged threats.

The parent in question, Len Pozner, is what New York magazine described in a September piece as "the de facto leader of the [Sandy Hook] anti-hoaxer movement"; he operates an advocacy organization for family members of mass-killing victims who've been harassed by truthers and has filed a lawsuit against one prominent Sandy Hook denier for invasion of privacy. Pozner told the magazine that he was actually once an Infowars listener himself before losing his 6-year-old son Noah in Newtown. Said Pozner: "I probably listened to an Alex Jones podcast after I dropped the kids off at school that morning."



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jhamill
1 day ago
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Why are we calling people who believe that real events didn't happen "truthers"? That implies that the people who believe IN the conspiracy theory are the ones who are correct, not that they are crazy, delusional people who believe in a fantasy idea that is factual incorrect.

I'm not sure what we should call them, or if we should label them at all but, we definitely shouldn't be including the idea of truth to something that is not remotely connected to the truth.
California
synapsecracklepop
1 day ago
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I would give anything for somebody to do a study on "these people" (the birthers, the truthers, casual nazis, etc etc) and correlate with opioid use. I can't help but imagine, every time I read a story like this one, that this population of trolls is suffering from brain damage from long-term/heavy use of "legal" drugs.
Atlanta
wreichard
1 day ago
I've started reading up on chemicals and am rapidly coming to the conclusion that we could be doing almost anything to our brains unwittingly.
acdha
1 day ago
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Washington, DC
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chrishiestand
1 day ago
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I didn't even know this was a thing. Another example of the danger of a mind lacking critical thought.
San Diego, CA, USA

ClassDojo Is Teaching Kids Empathy In 90% Of K-8 Schools Nationwide

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At a time when empathy is in decline—and bullying is on the rise—educators see promise in the app's lessons on kindness and respect.

At a time when empathy is in decline—and bullying is on the rise—educators see promise in the app's lessons on kindness and respect.

No sooner had the fifth graders in Jennifer Ellison's reading class finished watching a series of videos about empathy than they came to her with an idea. They had noticed that when Ellison directed students to pair off and read with a partner, one student in particular, who is autistic, became anxious in the face of social pressure.

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synapsecracklepop
8 days ago
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Not just popular with K-12 - my kids' preschool (and friends' preschools) all use it. Primarily for the parent-teacher communication and safe-sandbox-for-sharing-pictures-privately aspects, but savvy marketing on CD's part nonetheless.
Atlanta
JayM
8 days ago
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Atlanta, GA
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New Zealand to Compensate Organ Donors

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New Zealand will now compensate live organ donors for all lost income:

Today’s unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid.

“The Bill effectively removes what is known to be one of the single greatest barriers to live organ donation in NZ,” Mr Reid says. “Until now the level of financial assistance (based on the sickness benefit) has been insufficient to cover even an average mortgage repayment, and the process required to access that support both cumbersome and demeaning. The two major changes that this legislation introduces – increasing compensation to 100% of lost income, and transferring responsibility for the management of that financial assistance being moved from WINZ to the Ministry of Health – will unquestionably remove two major disincentives that exist within the current regime.”

Eric Crampton (former GMU student, now NZ economist who supported the bill) notes that a key move in generating political support was that New Zealand MP Chris Bishop framed the bill as compensating donors for lost wages rather than paying them. A decrease in the disincentive to donate–an increase in the incentive to donate. To an economist, potato, potato. But for people whose kidneys fail in New Zealand, the right framing may have been the difference between life and death.

This is also a good time to remind readers of Held, McCormick, Ojo and Roberts, A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Government Compensation of Kidney Donors published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

From 5000 to 10 000 kidney patients die prematurely in the United States each year, and about 100 000 more suffer the debilitating effects of dialysis, because of a shortage of transplant kidneys. To reduce this shortage, many advocate having the government compensate kidney donors. This paper presents a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of such a change. It considers not only the substantial savings to society because kidney recipients would no longer need expensive dialysis treatments—$1.45 million per kidney recipient—but also estimates the monetary value of the longer and healthier lives that kidney recipients enjoy—about $1.3 million per recipient. These numbers dwarf the proposed $45 000-per-kidney compensation that might be needed to end the kidney shortage and eliminate the kidney transplant waiting list. From the viewpoint of society, the net benefit from saving thousands of lives each year and reducing the suffering of 100 000 more receiving dialysis would be about $46 billion per year, with the benefits exceeding the costs by a factor of 3. In addition, it would save taxpayers about $12 billion each year.

The post New Zealand to Compensate Organ Donors appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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synapsecracklepop
8 days ago
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Yay, NZ!
Atlanta
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After he was gone, a shy man comes to life in words left behind

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Stephen Wheeler was a manufacturing specialist by trade and a shy man by nature. He once told his daughter he’d always wished he’d kept a journal or written something to leave behind.

“But who wants to read that crap?” he told her.

Read the rest...



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synapsecracklepop
8 days ago
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Over the last decade, I've gone from asking questions to being asked. It DOES feel nice to make something good come out of the quagmire of years between "recently diagnosed" and "long painful slog toward death," and to be seen by others who know how much it sucks, even if they never know what you look like. i'm glad his community's admins were able to share that value with his family.
Atlanta
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superiphi
4 days ago
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This, first and foremost, is the internet. Not the anger, not the trolls, not the polarisation...
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom

It's Never Too Late To Quit Smoking, Even In Your 60s

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One more coffee, one more cigarette/One more morning, trying to forget — Van Morrison, You Just Can't Win.

Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Older people who smoke may think there's no reason to give up the habit. After all, hasn't the damage to their bodies already been done?

But it turns out there's a benefit to quitting even later in life. Research published Wednesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that older adults who quit smoking in their 60s had a lower chance of dying in the years that followed than contemporaries who kept smoking.

"It's never too late," says Sarah Nash, an epidemiologist and one of the study's authors.

The results are based on data from more than 160,000 participants older than 70 who were part of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Participants completed questionnaires about their smoking history in 2004 or 2005 and were tracked until the end of 2011 to see who had died.

The study found that it's definitely best to avoid smoking entirely. During the follow-up period, 12 percent of participants who never smoked died, compared to 33 percent of current smokers. And the earlier people quit the better, but there was still a benefit even for late quitters. Of those who quit in their 30s, 16 percent died. In their 40s: 20 percent. In their 50s: 24 percent. And in their 60s: 28 percent.

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Still, people who quit in their 60s had a 23 percent lower risk of death during the study than current smokers, says Nash, who conducted the research while she was a fellow at the National Cancer Institute.

One limitation of the study is that the "current smoker" category included anyone who was smoking when they completed the questionnaire, which means it likely included people who went on to quit during the follow-up period. But if that happened to a significant degree, the true mortality gap between people who smoke and those who quit would only be larger.

The researchers also looked at deaths from smoking-related diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory infections, and saw similar trends.

The research also reinforces the well-known point that it's important to try to prevent people from picking up the habit in the first place. Most smokers start during their teenage years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And among current smokers, the earlier the study participants started, the higher their likelihood of dying during the follow-up period. Of those who started when they were younger than 15, 38 percent died, compared to 23 percent of those who started when they were 30 or older.

Until now there have been hints from other research, but no solid proof, that people in their 60s and 70s could benefit from quitting.

"Based on less substantial data, we've been telling the public that it's never too late to quit, because it will benefit health and prolong life," says Norman Edelman, a physician and senior scientific adviser to the American Lung Association who wasn't involved with the study. Now, he says, he'll have more concrete evidence to offer to patients, especially to older smokers who assume that the damage from years of tobacco use can't be reversed.

Edelman says he gives the same smoking cessation advice to older smokers as to younger ones: Use a program (the ALA has its own, as does the American Cancer Society) in conjunction with pharmaceutical help, such as nicotine replacement products or prescription medications (such as Chantix or Zyban). Your odds of success are greater if you use both, he says.

He says older smokers should be sure to speak with their physicians about potential side effects of tobacco cessation medications.

Katherine Hobson is a freelance health and science writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. She's on Twitter: @katherinehobson.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.
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synapsecracklepop
8 days ago
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My grandmother smoked from age 6 to about 55. (Growing up on a tobacco farm in the 1930s probably had something to do with the early start.) She eventually developed dementia and died, but she never got any kind of cancer or other common smoking sequelae. Maybe she's not the only one?
Atlanta
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superiphi
3 days ago
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Lungs can repair a lot if you stop wounding them daily
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom

A Reflexive Liar in Command: Guidelines for the Media

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The Washington Post on November 27. Headlines like this are a step toward recognizing the plain reality of today’s politics.

A man who will literally have life and death power over much of humanity seems not to understand or care about the difference between truth and lies. Is there any way for democratic institutions to cope? This is our topic in the post-Thanksgiving week.

***

Being back in China in the U.S.-election aftermath naturally leads to thoughts about how societies function when there is no agreed-on version of “reality,” public knowledge, or news.

We take for granted that this was a challenge for Soviet citizens back in the Cold War days, when they relied on samizdat for non-government-authorized reports and criticisms. Obviously it’s a big issue for China’s public now. But its most consequential effects could be those the United States is undergoing, which have led to the elevation of the least prepared, most temperamentally unfit, least public-spirited person ever to assume the powers of the U.S. presidency.

The United States is seeing both a chronic and an acute new version of this public-information problem. The chronic version, recognized but nowhere close to being solved, is the rise of separate fact-universes into which different segments of society silo themselves—occurring at the same time as the “normal” news media are struggling against economic and other pressures.

The acute version is the emergence as president-elect of a man whose nature as a liar is outside what our institutions are designed to deal with. Donald Trump either cannot tell the difference between truth and lies, or he knows the difference but does not care. Tiniest example: On a single day during the campaign, Trump claimed that the National Football League had sent him a letter complaining that the presidential-debate schedule conflicted with NFL games (which the NFL immediately denied), then he said the Koch brothers had begged him to accept their donations (which they also flat-out denied).

Most people would hesitate before telling easily disprovable lies like these, much as shoplifters would hesitate if the store owner is looking at them. Most people are fazed if caught in an outright lie. But in these cases and others, Trump never blinked. As part of his indispensable campaign coverage this summer, David Fahrenthold (and Robert O’Harrow) of The Washington Post offered an astonishing documentation of Trump being caught in a long string of business-related lies and simply not caring.

The news media are not built for someone like this.

Read On »

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synapsecracklepop
10 days ago
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I'm leaning toward "don't report on another damn thing he says - report only on his actions." If nothing else, it would drastically diminish the amount of coverage, since he talks a lot and does very little.
Atlanta
acdha
10 days ago
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Washington, DC
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gazuga
10 days ago
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The traditional media needs new competencies and new tools if it's going to get out of this trap. One tool all networks should be building is a live fact-checking chyron for every scheduled White House correspondence, every Rose Garden speech, and every SOTU.
Edmonton
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