Category Archives: Follow Up

Zap In Your Memories

By Daniella Lee

We hold our memories near and dear to our heart, but what if those same memories are just an episode from Full House? Earlier this week, we talked about the theory of prosthetic memory. This theory states that humans substitute memories or ideas they have seen in media entertainment in place of memories from their own reality. Now before you freak out and cause an early mid-life crisis because your whole life as you remember it is a lie, the concept of prosthetic memories provides an opportunity to re-examine the development of your personality. If you still think you were raised by three men and blurted out phrases like “how rude” when you didn’t get your way, then you might need an intervention (possibly with corny music in the background).

Prosthetic memories may force some harsh realizations about your childhood, but the media doesn’t have total control of your brain, yet. Scientists are discovering new ways to make memories, ones that don’t involve the media. Researcher Jan Born and colleagues from the University of Lubeck in Germany studied the different stages of sleep. The deepest stage of sleep, known as slow-wave, plays an important role in memory consolidation. This is the stage when information, or memories, get stored into the brain. In his study, Born set out to improve these memories by electrically stimulating the brain.

During the study, a group of medical students were given a list of words to memorize. On one of the several nights they would receive an electric shock. Born attached electrodes to the students’ heads. delivering a low-frequency, low-voltage electric shock while they slept. The stimulation that occurred forced the brain into slow-wave sleep. The following night, the students were given another list of words to memorize and put to bed without getting zapped.

The students remembered more words from the list the night they received the electrode shock. Born concluded that inducing slow-wave sleep could help to consolidate memories. In a typical night, humans only spend 20 minutes in this stage of sleep. Slow-wave sleep plays a vital role in strengthening our bones, muscles, immune systems and memories. Obviously falling into this deep sleep is important for the body, yet it’s so difficult to reach this stage. Born’s electric brain stimulation might not only help our memorization, but being able to reach slow-wave sleep can provide benefit to a healthy, longer life.

Born’s findings open the door to more research on slow-wave sleep and memory retention. If we start zapping ourselves into a deep sleep we can keep our real memories and stop using the media’s storyline for our life. If you still think you’re related Uncle Jesse, then we might need to up the voltage on that electric current and keep you dreaming for a while… possibly forever.

“Restoring Slow Wave Sleep Shown To Enhance Health and Increase Lifespan”
by: Jim English
Nutrition Review, 2010

“Boosting Slow Oscillations During Sleep Potentiates Memory”
by: Jan Born, Lisa Marshall, Halla Helgadóttir and Matthias Mölle
Nature 444, 610-613

New Vitamin D Intake Recommendations Released By Medical Panel

By Lizzy Sebuck

What a coincidence! During our weekly topic focusing on Vitamin D and health, new recommendations for Vitamin D intake have been reviewed and released by The Institute of Medicine Panel. As of November 30th, the institute’s research states that many people already get sufficient levels of Vitamin D intake from their usual diets. The new Vitamin D recommendation is based off of how much Vitamin D people need to support their calcium levels. While maintaining sufficient levels of Vitamin D can do wonders for your overall health, the panel concluded the newly released intake levels will specifically benefit bone health. Below are the new levels of Vitamin D intake recommended by the panel to support calcium levels in the body:

Infants – 400 units
Children/Adults – 600 units

Translation? 600 IU (units) of Vitamin D amounts to 5 cups of milk, or 5 oz of salmon. The reports say that this is a large improvement over previous years of Vitamin D diet regulations. So if you’re not much of a pill popper and want to steer clear of the supplements we previously referred you to, then try salmon for spin to get your Vitamin D. This research claims that taking too many Vitamin D supplements can have a negative effect on your health. According to this research, a healthy diet and some sunlight could just do the trick.

VIDEO HERE

So grab that grocery list off the fridge and jot down milk and salmon, we know what you’ll be eating for dinner this week.

Source:
Good Morning America

The Music World Beyond MP3

by Peter Muller

Music is in a weird place right now. Never before has a person been able to carry their entire music library in their pocket, clip four thousand songs to their shirt sleeve for a run, or buy just about any song under the sun from their cell phone. Hell, cell phones can even hear, identify, and suggest songs now!

With all these changes and conveniences come consequences and headaches; pros and cons. The music industry claims to be hurting more than ever, but smaller artists that would have previously not had a chance are filling up venues. CD sales are plummeting, MC Hammer is still broke, but Lady Gaga just bought another mansion and Lars Ulrich is still a raging douche bag. It’s all very confusing.

Sometimes it helps to take it back to a simpler time: We’re talking about vinyl records. You may scoff at the thought of having to flip through a stack of the huge, flat, and heavy 12” square sleeves that house those giant black discs. There’s a reason your parents probably keep them in the basement and refuse to throw them out; it’s called listening. Because, let’s face it, no one listens to music anymore. Today it’s all about that latest single; forget the rest of the filler album it comes with. Everyone just wants to download the song that everyone knows, the one that you heard on the radio and in that new movie trailer. A pop artist today can make more money off of one song than most used to make in an entire career, so why bother spending time making good music when they only need one hit? Along with attention spans, people’s ability to hear talent has gotten drastically insufficient.

That’s why vinyl is making a comeback in a big way. Almost every new album released on CD and iTunes is now available on vinyl too. Some speculate that vinyl may even be the music industry’s last hope. Why do you ask?

Because listening to music on vinyl is a completely different experience than clicking a song on your iPod. It’s not that easy or quick to skip around songs on a record, which means you’ll drop the needle at the beginning, walk away, and listen. What do you own when you buy an mp3? Not much but a bit of computer code stored on digital memory. With vinyl, you can honestly say you own a piece of music: a 12” square piece of art that the album artist chose to communicate the sum of their enclosed work to you. Everyone should experience pulling that inky black disc from its paper sleeve, being careful to only handle the edges as you work to connect the turntable spindle with the tiny hole and the center of a seemingly endless vortex of grooves. That’s a truly interactive experience that you’ll never get from those white ear buds as you run to catch the bus.

The sound is different too. There is an arguably different level of depth in the music that emanates from vinyl. Between the occasional pops, clicks, and hiss is a warm sound that your iPod will never be able to reproduce. It’s the audio equivalent of splitting wood to build your own cooking fire when camping out on a cool fall evening.

Convinced yet? If you’re ready to give it a try, we’re here to help you out. Vinyl technology has benefited from modern advances almost as much as cell phones, so you can forget that four foot tall, two hundred pound, compressed wood laminate turntable your dad has in the garage. Today’s turntables are barely larger than the record itself, and sometimes even smaller! We’ve searched high and low, testing out different set-ups in all price ranges to find you the best one for the right price.

There is no doubt, the reigning king of turntables is the legendary (and recently discontinued) Technics SL-1200 series. In reality, there is no reason to go off spending $600-1,000+ on some audio equipment to jump on the vinyl boat. We managed to put together an awesome home system for just over $200.

The Vestax Handy Trax ($130, available here) combined with the Numark NPM5 Studio Monitor Speakers ($90, available here) will get you spinning vinyl with excellent sound in no time at all. Containing all the basic controls you’ll need to play LPs (the big ones), 45’s (the small ones), and Bakelite 78’s (the really thick mid-sized ones your grandma may have left behind), the Vestax turntable even has a small built in speaker and runs on batteries for when you’re really hooked and need to share with your friends. The built in preamp means you can connect it to any stereo system or speaker set with ease via RCA audio cables (the red and white ones). We recommend connecting it to the Numark monitor speakers because of their dedicated amp, making the sound clear, loud and proud. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve been missing all this time.

Your mood may be affected by the music you listen to, but forming a physical connection to your music collection can change your life. Pull those old records out of the basement and raid your local record store (they could probably use your support), you’re guaranteed to expand your taste for good tunes and make some musical discoveries.

Internet Killed The Radio Star

By Lizzy Sebuck

Remember LimeWire? Back in the day LimeWire was the go-to network application free music. LimeWire was a free peer-to-peer file sharing program that is typically associated with the downloading of music and video in a few simple clicks. Now-a-days, if you want to download some large files, BitTorrent is the way to go (*not to say that the Occam’s Taser staff uses this technology. We’ve wised up since high school). Up until now, LimeWire provided quick and easy music downloads for those killer dance parties.

Turns out that, while LimeWire greatly assisted in the production of precious moments and slow dances everywhere, it wasn’t so awesome in terms of legality. On October 26, 2010 a U.S. federal court judge issued an injunction forcing LimeWire to prevent “the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality, and/or all functionality” of its software. Because of this injunction newer versions of LimeWire 5.5.11 and onward have been disabled from use by all who have downloaded the program. While older versions of the program have not been affected, it is strongly advised that music downloaders use caution in their entertainment endeavors. Today when visitors go to the LimeWire website, the following warning appears and prohibits use of the rest of the website content,

ATTENTION

LimeWire is under a court order dated October 26, 2010 to stop distributing the LimeWire software. A copy of the injunction can be found here. LimeWire LLC, its directors and officers, are taking all steps to comply with the injunction. We have very recently become aware of unauthorized applications on the internet purporting to use the LimeWire name. We demand that all persons using the LimeWire software, name, or trademark in order to upload or download copyrighted works in any manner cease and desist from doing so. We further remind you that the unauthorized uploading and downloading of copyrighted works is illegal.

It’s obvious that the LimeWire network is now facing some serious punishment for facilitating illegal file sharing among its millions of users. Corporations aren’t the only ones who can face charges for illegal file sharing though. Individuals who download files illegally can also receive some pretty harsh punishment. So STOP! in the name of music.The law shows no love.

Not convinced that you could end up in a pickle because of illegal file sharing? The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lays down the law when it comes to music entertainment and piracy on it’s website. We suggest you click around their site to see the trouble illegal file sharing can lead to. Within this past year alone not only has the major LimeWire network been asked to do the time for the crime, but individuals have also been asked to pay up! Earlier in November a single mom from Minnesotan was ordered to pay $1.5 million in damages for sharing 24 songs on the Internet. Sheesh! That’s less than three Spice Girls CDs! Moms aren’t the only ones being grounded for once, a grad school student in Boston was fined $675,000 for his illegal downloading. So if I were you, I’d hit the ‘stop sharing’ button on that Glee Soundtrack you’ve been dying to share with your friends. Tell them to spend the measly fourteen bucks themselves.

Illegal downloading no longer your cup of tea?

So you’ve decided you’re not going to use illegal downloading programs anymore? Good for you. Don’t worry though, you’re not S.O.L., we can help you get your music fix and avoid the long arm of the law. It’s obvious through LimeWire’s example that sometimes technology can land you in trouble with “The Man”, but new music entertainment technology also allows for some pretty convenient alternatives to piracy fines.


For those of you who haven’t head of Pandora , it’s a pretty cool streaming radio network that allows users to listen to their favorite bands for free! Pandora also introduces users to bands that are similar to the genre of music they are looking for. Pandora is also available as a free application on the iPhone, and can come in handy providing you with pump-it-up jams for your morning commute. Are you more of a ‘right here, right now’ kind of person? If you want to hear a specific song right away, then maybe Pandora isn’t for you.

Grooveshark is like Pandora in the sense that you can use it on both your laptop or as an App on your iPhone, but a little better. Grooveshark allows users to pick the exact song they want to listen to, right then and there, rather than directing them to a band that might sound like what they want to hear. Grooveshark also has the radio streaming option just in case users are open to hearing some music suggestions.

File downloading isn’t dead though! You don’t just have to temporarily lease your tunes through a streaming website to rock out. With online radio streaming programs, users essentially borrow the tunes they want to hear for a temporary fix. Jamendo offers free music for download and sharing for it’s users. This means that Jamendo users can keep the music files on their computer to enjoy whenever they want. The Jamendo website cites that “Jamendo is a community of free and legal music published under Creative Commons licenses”, which is how they escape through the legal loophole. This license is a more flexible option unlike the “All-Rights Reserved” copyright licenses. Unlike an All-Rights reserved copyright, Creative Commons was established using a more flexible model, “some rights reserved” instead of “All Rights Reserved”. Users can also review and rate the music they hear, as well as donate to the artists they feel deserve their cash.


For those of you who do have some spare change , there are also music entertainment programs that allow you to download, keep, and pay for the songs that you want. One option is through Rhapsody, an online music service that has been around for the last decade. Ten years ago may seem prehistoric to some, but don’t ignore the great deals that this service provides. Rhapsody offers users unlimited music downloads for a mere $10.00 a month! Pretty sick deal compared to what could be a $750.00 piracy fine.

For those of you who want to stick to a more well-known brand, Apple created iTunes as a compatible music service for all of its Apple products. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and you don’t already know this, you don’t have to work off of a Mac to use iTunes though (Jobs & Wozniak don’t really care which computer users are giving them money). iTunes offers users TV show rentals for just 99¢ an episode , songs are priced at 69¢, 99¢, or $1.29, and full albums are usually under $15.00. With the Beatles as a new artist available on iTunes, users can purchase The Beatles Revolver for only $12.99.

So, LimeWire may or may not be dead. It’s going to be okay, gang! You have alternatives to piracy to get your music fix. Maybe if you download legally it will make you feel just as happy as your closet Cher infatuation.

SOURCES:
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
http://www.riaa.com/physicalpiracy.php?content_selector=piracy_online_the_law
Single Mom Ordered to pay 1.5 Million
http://newsone.com/nation/associatedpress2/single-mom-ordered-to-pay-1-5-million-for-24-illegal-music-downloads/
Illegal music download fine
http://mp3.about.com/b/2010/01/06/student-to-challenge-675000-illegal-music-download-fine.htm

Office Etiquette: The Pain Train Is Coming!

by Peter Muller


Connecting to your emotions is one way to get through to your work colleagues, but simple office etiquette can go a long way too. Dealing with your co-workers day-in and day-out can come close to a roommate style relationship. Sharing a space in any setting means that everyone is getting to know each other very well and, like it or not, just like living with someone for a while, it’s the little things that eventually wear away at people’s patience.

Applying basic etiquette to the office can keep things positive for everyone. The rules are simple: leave things as you found them, clean up after yourself, if you finish something (like coffee) refill it, don’t be noisy, nosy, smelly (that’s good or bad smells!), don’t mess with other people’s stuff, and be polite. Although those may seem obvious, many people have problems remembering these rules once they clock in.

During the 2003 Super Bowl, Reebok took on the issue of office etiquette. In a series of advertisements, Terry Tate, a fictitious football player turned “office linebacker”, deals out his own style of punishment for bad behavior.

Although Feltcher & Sons may not be the safest place to work, office etiquette violations are definitely dealt with immediately and rarely repeated. Help avoid your workplace hiring an office linebacker by thinking of others before you steal that food from the fridge or take that call on speakerphone.

Emotional Intelligence: How Developing Your EI can Help You In and Out of the Bedroom

by Lizzy Sebuck

Getting in touch with your feelings won’t just give you an edge in the workplace, but improving your emotional intelligence can help your relationships and your more intimate moments too! Is your girlfriend saying you just don’t understand the way she feels? You jerk! Guys, you don’t need to sit down with a season of Sex in the City to get in touch with your feelings. Ladies, step away from the Braveheart DVD, there’s another way! Today at Occam’s Taser we’re here to educate men and women alike on how to express your feelings and emotions to your partner. This will allow for a stronger chance that your significant other will actually pay more attention to what you’re saying and less to distractions. Men have trouble interpreting the subliminal messages that women send through gestures and facial expressions, while women struggle to extract and understand emotions from their man. Strengthening your emotional intelligence can benefit your intimate relationships through increasing empathy and understanding, and can potentially lead you to find more compatible mates in the future.

“HE DOESN’T GET HOW I FEEL!”

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, right? Wrong. We’re not actually from different planets (although at times it may seem that way). Researchers cite that men and women have different cognitive processes of the brain that cause them to interpret and demonstrate emotions differently. Generally, women have a stronger emotional intelligence quotient than men because women are seemingly more in touch with their feelings. Emotional Intelligence, or lack thereof, can lead to lack of communication in the relationship. Emotions tend to remain uncovered and sometimes never discussed. So why do guys have a harder time getting in touch with their emotions? Some research says that its biological.

“Men are hard-wired differently,” says David Powell, PhD, president of the International Center for Health Concerns, who explains that the connection between the left brain, home of logic, and the right, the seat of emotions, is much greater in women”… “Women have the equivalent of an interstate highway, so they move readily between the right and left brains. For men the connection is like a meandering country lane, so we don’t have such ready access to feelings.”

The first step is admitting you have a problem, fellas. As soon as you accept and acknowledge the possibility that your girl might be right about your stone cold silence, you can learn to open up and express just how pissed you are that she ate that last slice of pizza.

“ALL SHE EVER DOES IS NAG!”


Sorry girls, just because you might have a higher level of EI don’t think you’re off the hook. Women generally broadcast their emotions whenever they feel like expressing them. While women do have a stronger, higher emotional intelligence than men, they don’t always express this emotional intellect in the most productive way.

Women don’t need a study or a blog to tell them that talking about their problems will make them feel better. No shit. However, in communicating and expressing your emotional intelligence with your man, its a two-way road. You may want to talk about your feelings til the sun comes up (aw), but you can’t force your guy to feel the same way. A part of the reason men and women have a hard time understanding one another is not only because of differing emotional intelligence quotient levels, but also because they communicate very differently.
When men decide to express their emotions they get to the point. Men are very literal in their speech and make sure to quickly state the issue. Women tend to be less point-blank, as they generally sensationalize conflict in relationships, while in the process losing their audience in conveying emotion. This can lead to a woman’s voice turning into the droning Charlie Brown teacher your male counterpart may otherwise hear when you speak. Try to take the opportunity to let your significant other talk, in the event that he does have something he wants to share. Listening is key in a mutually exclusive relationship. Even women have room for improvement when it comes to assessing emotions, but the first step is allowing those emotions from others to be expressed in the first place, so try to listen and allow for both parties to express their feelings.


There’s more than a few positive aspects to having highly developed emotional intelligence. Yes, your relationship will be stronger because of more communication and understanding. Yes, you may finally learn WHY your boyfriend shed a few tears during Field of Dreams. But the greatest benefit of them all is that studies actually show that having a higher emotional intelligence can lead to a better time in the bedroom. In a research study on emotional intelligence and sex, the results found a positive relationship between the female orgasm and high emotional intelligence.

“We found emotional intelligence to be positively correlated with both frequency of orgasm during intercourse … and masturbation …. Women in the lowest quartile of emotional intelligence had an approximate twofold increased risk of infrequent orgasm.”

Hallelujah. Yeah, that’s all I’ve got. Hallelujah. Note the negative side of this study though: “Low emotional intelligence seems to be a significant risk factor for low orgasmic frequency.” You know what that means? The research shows that having a low emotional intelligence may be the cause of fewer orgasms amongst women. Haven’t exactly experienced fireworks in the bedroom lately, ladies? It’s not just the guys here who have room for emotional intelligence improvement! The better emotionally connected you are to your partner, the more likely you will enjoy each other better in that intimate way.


Now, I’m no “Dr. Love” but I can tell you that communication is key for success in relationships. Developing your Emotional Intelligence Quotient can be accomplished in a few simple steps, and through this, better communication can be achieved. By improving your EQ, you will be better able to identify, assess, and control emotions and, from there, your relationships can significantly improve! First, learn what your Emotional Intelligence is by taking a simple test. From there, you can see the areas which you need improvement. Take note from your childhood crossing guard when it comes to love: Stop (and think about it), Look (and analyze your relationship), and LISTEN (to your partner). Your relationship will grow stronger, and hey, you may be able to test if the sex study is accurate. If you don’t want to listen to me, take a page from MensHealth:

“The moral of the story: when she talks, you listen (listen does not mean hearing her in the background. It means you are actually listening to what she has to say). This way she won’t have to keep repeating herself. But make sure that when you talk, she is also listening to you. Get it on!”

SOURCES
Big Boys Don’t Cry — and Other Myths About Men and Their Emotions:The truth about men, their emotions, and ways men can become more emotionally expressive.
Readers Digest: Dianne Hales
Love on the Line
Truity Williams
Emotional Intelligence and Its Association with Orgasmic Frequency in Women Journal of Sexual Medicine DOI: Burri, A., Cherkas, L., & Spector, T. (2009).
Women Who Talk Too Much

Drama & Trauma: Texting Can Cause Both

By Lizzy Sebuck

Text-slang and your education isn’t the only combination that might not be a match made in heaven – combining texting with other aspects of your life can be dangerous too. I know every time I pick up my ma for a ride in the Crown Vic she is constantly slapping at my hands for me to put down my iPhone and keep my eyes on the road. We’ve come to find that texting and text-slang can do more than damage your grade in English classes, it can actually cause massive trauma to not only your social life, and also be physically damaging. The combination of texting and driving has become such a serious issue that state governments are altering some of their rules of the road as people pay less attention to the traffic ahead of them and more to their Twitter feed. Those who engage in texting while driving are not only a hazard to themselves, but a threat to the unsuspecting drivers around them.

The trouble with texting is not restricted to the road, but often occurs in every day conversations amongst many teenagers as well. Invasions of privacy, sexting, bullying, and text-abuse have become a reality with the teenage use of texting. Text-abuse is a harmful way to bully because many teens keep it to themselves. Harassing someone via text is very different than bullying in the hallway. Harboring negative emotions caused by abuse has lead to instances of teen suicide in the U.S., a growing result of text-abuse.  In recent years there have been numerous social media campaigns urging youth to put down their tech-savvy phones and use caution when utilizing instant messaging technology (but don’t think you’re out of the doghouse either, Gramps). Today at Occam’s Taser we’re piggybacking on these campaigns to let you know the importance of their missions. A summary? Wise up young fools.

Text abuse has become a huge issue amongst teens in recent years. In an effort to inform the youth about the harmful effects of their words (in a digital form or not) MTV’s A Thin Line campaigns on sexting and text- bullying has been backed by celebs such as Buffy’s Michelle Tratchenberg and even Jersey Shore’s Vinny Guadagnino speaking out on these issues. With the development of more expedient instant messaging capabilities, humans can communicate with one another in a way that previous generations could not imagine. This new technology opens up a million possibilities for danger. Although students try to avoid bullies in the hallways, they won’t be able to escape this new medium which could compromise privacy with one tap on the share button. The creators of A Thin Line campaign declare their mission statement as follows:

“A Thin Line campaign was developed to empower you to identify, respond to, and stop  the spread of digital abuse in your life and amongst your peers. The campaign is built on the understanding that there’s a “thin line” between what may begin as a harmless joke and something that could end up having a serious impact on you or someone else.”

Their infamous commercials generated buzz within the teen scene when they started to screen in between popular MTV programming. These commercials broadcast images of what could happen to bullies if caught in harassment, or furthermore the harmful mental toll a person who is bullied experiences. Though somewhat outlandish, their commercials make a strong point; text abuse can be devastating for both parties involved.

This campaign not only covers bullying though, the A Thin Line campaign educates its audience on the dangers of sexting and spying through the digital screen as well. Teens have found sexting to be a thrilling way to get their crush to notice them, but it certainly doesn’t reflect too well on their image after the damage is done. The Sexting campaign informs its audience on the harsh facts, such as  “more than 50% of those who shared a sext have shared it with multiple people.” One risque picture or raunchy text meant for one person can quickly spread to the entire school with the click of a button. A Thin Line urges teens not to feel pressure to sext and reminds them that even if the receiver of a sext doesn’t share it with the whole class, that person will now think the sext-er will compromise themselves to send dirty texts anytime, or with anyone. Not the best look for a teen just trying to survive high school. In their Spying campaign, A Thin Line cites that “over 25% of young people say their BF/GF have read their texts without permission.” Going through someone elses phone history leads to nothing but negative consequences. Dating or not, when the other party discovers that their privacy has been invaded trust no longer exists and the relationship is compromised. What if the phone owner isn’t guilty of any looming suspicions?  The revelation that trust, or furthermore respect, is not a priority in the relationship will unravel the bond of that friendship.

A Thin Line lets audiences know that (watch out hackers) even if something incriminating to the relationship is found through snooping, calling out your partner on their actions may land YOU in trouble.  Sneaky acquaintances risk the loss of Facebook account access when reported to the site based off of their privacy policy, and phone invasions of privacy can even result in lawsuit! The goal behind the A Thin Line campaign is to let those involved know what could happen and furthermore, how to draw their line and put an end to textual-abuse such as sexting and spying.

Oh, Oprah. Your hypnotizing ways of doing things always seem so right, and copying you makes me feel like I too am doing good for society, like signing a pledge to not text and drive.  Oprah not only made a huge impact on American youth, but on parents who are naive to the text generation as well. Her No Phone Zone Campaign asked drivers to sign a pledge to swear to never text and drive at the same time, citing that 16 people a day die from texting-and-driving related accidents. The No Phone Zone campaign works to prevent the senseless deaths that result from reckless drivers who text and make calls while driving. As a nonprofit organization, the No Phone Zone campaign uses a newsletter, stories, and updates of new state laws regarding phone use to educate audiences on the dangers of phone use and driving. Oprah drew awareness to her program through a daily reference to it on her wildly popular talk show The Oprah Show, as well as asking each audience member in attendance to sign the pledge before taking their seat. Look at that, now Oprah’s gonna go save your life. At least Oprah kept it mostly PG rated, this PSA from the UK made headlines with how graphic it is. Gory? Yes. But it sure as hell makes the point.

If the gospel of Oprah wasn’t enough to bring awareness to the issue, a recent celebrity death drew much media attention to the risk of texting-and-driving. Celebrity Plastic Surgeon Dr. Frank Ryan (most famously known for performing 10 surgeries on Heidi Montag in 1 day) was allegedly tweeting from his cell phone as he was driving around California when he accidentally drove his car off of a cliff. You read right, drove his car off of a cliff. Celebrities such as Janice Dickinson, Gary Busey, and Lisa Rinna who knew and had work done by Dr.Ryan gathered at a candle light vigil after he died and spoke to the media about the tragedy and the unnecessary death of their friend, thus igniting a fire within entertainment nightly television to urge their audience to put the phone down. The following picture is the last thing Dr.Ryan tweeted before he died.

Your adorable Twitpic may not be worth the risk.

Texting can be more dangerous than you think. Text abuse such as sexting, bullying, or spying can lead to depression and death amongst teenagers, who are the primary users of text messaging devices, but just about every age group can be impacted by this harassment. The least significant negative outcome of text-abuse may result is a loss of credibility and the destruction of a once-spotless image. So please use some morals and ethics when texting. When driving, you can worry about changing your Facebook status from “0MG T0T4LLY 4L!\/3!!!” to “UGH ded “ at some other time, keep your eyes on the road.  So if you’re gonna text, try it out while being grammatically correct, have some respect, and keep your hands on the wheel and off your phone (thanks, ma).