Snowden: A Traitor In a Hero’s Clothing

Edward Snowden

The already tenuous relationship between the United States government and the nation’s citizens was thrown into a tailspin in 2013 when Edward Snowden, an analyst for the National Security Agency leaked classified documents concerning a government surveillance program to a journalist. The programs, which allegedly monitored the phone calls and email communications of ordinary citizens and leaders alike, at home and abroad, did not sit well with Snowden, leading him to “blow the whistle,” violate his oath of office, and possibly risk his own life to defend the privacy of the American people. Continue reading

The Zodiac Revealed


In the late 1960’s, California’s Bay Area suffered a rash of seemingly random murders, which to this day remain unsolved. The killer, who is credited with at least five separate murders, sent cryptic messages to local newspapers, taunting the area’s law enforcement agencies for not being able to capture him. Calling himself “The Zodiac,” and adopting a symbol with which he would address his letters, he continued to kill and threaten more murders until suddenly, the deaths and letters mysteriously stopped. Police officers investigated the case furiously, frustrated by the fact that the killer wore a mask and outfit, and by the droves of imposters who came forward to erroneously claim responsibility for the attacks. Continue reading

The Death of a Poet


The circumstances surrounding the death of famed writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe are just as sordid as the details of his relatively short life. Poe met his end at the young age of forty in 1849, just days after being found barely conscious in the gutter in Baltimore, in what was reported to be some sort of raging stupor. To this day, the actual cause of his death is hotly debated by historians, both of the armchair and professional varieties. Theories still abound concerning Poe’s demise, ranging from diseases such as rabies, syphilis, or a brain tumor, to alcoholism and drug abuse, to suicide, and beyond. Continue reading

Reckless Injustice


In 1995, the town of Agoura Hills, California, which beneath its seemingly idyllic surface lay a reality of broken homes and drug-addicted teenagers, was rocked by tragedy. The affluent suburb, some fifty miles north of Los Angeles, was the setting of a backyard brawl that ended up in the death of a well-liked local teen by the name of Jimmy Farris. The documentary Reckless Indifference delves into the incident, which occurred at the home of a known drug dealer and ultimately sent four teenage boys to prison for life on the charge of first degree murder. Continue reading

The Google Effect


In Nicholas Carr’s 2008 article for The Atlantic titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” he presents the argument that the meteoric rise of the Internet has sapped the collective attention span of the human race, negatively impacting the way people find and ingest information, as well as how deeply they engage with their chosen material. While the title of the article is an oversimplification, Carr quite effectively posits that the overwhelming availability of information provided to the world by the Web strains one’s ability to concentrate on any one piece for too long. He relates the decline of his own attention span when it comes to reading, stating that he used to “spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose,” but now finds that his “concentration starts to drift after two or three pages.” Continue reading