+
Democracy

Powerful PSA uses reverse psychology to drum up support for assault weapons bill

In 90 seconds, it totally nails the absurdity of how we live.

gun violence assault weapons march fourth

A March Fourth PSA shows how our daily lives are impacted by mass shootings.

Those of us who live in the United States have a strange relationship with gun violence, no matter where we fall on the beliefs-about-guns spectrum. We have to. Our mass shootings statistics are too bizarre, too absurd to be real, and yet here we are, constantly living in a combined state of denial, disbelief, disillusionment and despair.

We don't have to live like this, and yet we do. Thanks to a well-funded gun lobby, our incredibly unhealthy ultra-partisan politics and debatable interpretations of the Second Amendment, most meaningful pieces of legislation put forth to curb our gun violence problem don't get passed. Everything but the guns gets blamed for our mass shooting problem, so we keep reliving the same nightmare over and over and over again.

A group of moms lived that nightmare on the Fourth of July, when a gunman opened fire on a parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing seven and wounding 48. They immediately banded together with a singular purpose—to convince the government to ban assault weapons, which are increasingly becoming the weapon of choice in mass shootings.


They formed March Fourth two days after the parade shooting and organized a march in Washington, D.C., less than a week later. "I just want to go to DC, scream at the top of our lungs that we want these weapons of war banned, and not shut up until they listen," said founder Kitty Brandtner.

Her quote to WGN9 News was even more succinct: "They f**ked with the wrong moms."

Now March Fourth is holding another march at the Capitol on September 22 and they're inviting anyone and everyone to join them. In a powerful PSA promoting the march, Americans describe what they "love" and "enjoy" about living with mass shootings—a bit of reverse psychology that makes the absurdity of our reality painfully clear.

The truth is no one wants to live this way. And we don't have to. We can choose to take action to at least attempt to prevent mass gun violence. The assault weapons ban that was in place from 1994 to 2004 had an impact. One analysis shared in The Conversation estimated that the risk of a person in the U.S. dying in a mass shooting was 70% lower during the ban.

Before someone swoops in with the "How do you define assault weapon?" argument, the current Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 bill that has passed the House and sits before the Senate offers a lengthy definition of the kinds of firearms it includes right up top. Read it here.

See more information about joining March Fourth's September 22 march at the U.S. Capitol at wemarchfourth.org.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less
True

You could say Marine biologist, divemaster and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Erika Woolsey is a bit of a coral reef whisperer, one who brings her passion for ocean science to folks on dry land in a fresh, innovative and fun new way using virtual reality.

Images courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Her non-profit, The Hydrous, combines science, design, and technology to provide one-of-a-kind experiential education about marine life. In 2018, Hydrous produced “Immerse 360”, a virtual underwater journey through the coral reefs of Palau, with Dr. Woolsey as a guide.

Viewers got to swim with sharks, manta rays and sea turtles while exploring gorgeous aquatic landscapes and learning about the crucial role our oceans play—all from 360° and 3D footage captured by VRTUL 2 underwater storytelling VR cameras.


Hydrous then expanded on the idea to develop two more exciting augmented adventures using Meta Quest 2 technology: “Expedition Palau,” a live event where audiences can share a “synchronized immersive reality experience”, which includes live narration from Woolsey, and “Explore,” a “CGI experience” to enjoy the magic of the ocean at home.


www.youtube.com

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to explore and study coral reefs around the world,” Woolsey said, sharing that it was “heartbreaking” to see these important habitats decay so rapidly while the latest scientific reports did not clearly lead to widespread compassionate action.

“How do we care about something we never see or experience?” she reflected. As she discovered, virtual reality would be a powerful solution for eliciting empathy. “VR has the ability to generate presence and agency and make you feel like you’re there. It's that emotional connection that can bridge scientific discovery and public understanding”

The combination of virtual reality and the ocean’s natural breathtaking beauty is, as Woolsey puts it, a “match made in heaven” for getting people more engaged in ocean education. “When you’re floating you can look up and down and all around you…seeing a school of fish surrounding you and reefs in these cathedral-like structures. Rather than watching a video of a scientist, you get to become the scientist.”

Hydrous also has special kits to provide middle school students hands-on learning about ocean life. In addition to a journal, activity cards and a smartphone VR viewer, each kit includes lifelike 3D printed model pieces of a coral reef so that middle school students can try building their own.

These reef models even turn white when temperatures rise inside the aquarium, which mimics the real “bleaching” that corals endure when they die due to higher than normal ocean temperatures. Students really do become scientists as they figure out how to bring color back to their reef.

While it’s true that the health of our oceans affects us all, the growing threats our oceans face—pollution, overfishing, climate change—don’t always affect us on an empathetic level. Through the use of technology, Woolsey has created an innovative way to connect hearts and minds to one of the Earth’s most important resources, which can inspire real and lasting change.

“We can’t bring everybody to the ocean, but we’re finding scalable ways to bring the ocean to everyone.”

To learn more about Hydrous, click here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


Keep ReadingShow less