Nerd Factor: Vampire Diets

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

Vampire Eating Meat Stock Photo - Download Image Now - iStock
The best Stock Image I have ever seen. Image from https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/vampire-eating-meat-gm184660146-17816443

I think it must be hard to be a vampire.  The supernatural powers are pretty cool. And while all the weaknesses are challenging to keep track of, that’s really just an organizational problem. Also, who wouldn’t enjoy living in a remote castle? Well not too remote. you’d want broadband and good wi-fi. I suspect the eating habits must be the real challenge. 

I don’t just mean the blood. I figure that every vampire just has to get over the blood, both in a moral and physical sense. I mean what’s a vampire going to do? Eat rats? Steal from the blood bank? I’m sure that’s fine for the brooding, anti-hero types, but it’s not going to keep the undead stamina up. Vampire feeding is no doubt very messy too. Still, that’s probably a lot like going to a barbeque. A bit of careful dining and some wet wipes should keep the face and clothes clean.

What I mean is that mealtimes must be challenging for vampires. In some ways vampires have access to the biggest menu imaginable. There are seven billion potential meals awaiting them on the planet. But for reasons of safety, a vampire must be a very careful eater. 


Mystic Magic: Spirituality VS Religion

Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

Religion vs. Spirituality: The Difference Between Them
A lady doing… something. Image from https://chopra.com/articles/religion-vs-spirituality-the-difference-between-them

There is a common belief among many people that spirituality and religion are the same. When we are blind to the differences, unintentional prejudice occurs to those most vulnerable. The main difference is simple and easy to understand. 

Religion is an organized set of beliefs and practices shared by a group of people or a community. Spirituality is the individual practice based around a sense of peace and purpose that is free formed without predetermined values. 

With that being presented as the definition of religion and spirituality used throughout, the biggest difference to me is that spirituality is a learned concept based on experiences while religion is taught and passed down from generations. 


Drug Punishment Inequities at Lynchburg

By Alyssa Wilson ~ Assistant Editor

Combating Drugs and Crime - United States Department of State
Drug Bust. Image from https://www.state.gov/policy-issues/combating-drugs-and-crime/

Several weeks ago, rumors started swirling on campus that a certain sports team was caught doing illegal drugs. Weeks later, there have seemingly been no ramifications to those students who are still on campus at the University of Lynchburg. 

While we as a campus newspaper generally don’t publish rumors, the nature of this conversation and to protect our sources, we are merely going to raise issues of inequity.

The university has a zero drug tolerance policy on campus which is proved through the many students who have been kicked off campus for marajuana use. According to pg. 81 of the student handbook,  any students found in possession of any drug marajuana and otherwise, will receive an automatic suspension from the University of Lynchburg. So, why are all drugs not being treated the same? 

Within a class I am taking this semester, we have been following the development of this incident on our campus. Although we as students have been talking about it, there has been no talk about these drug infractions being reported to the Dean of Students or Student Development. 

Assuming the school does not know about these infractions, what I find to be appalling is that the use of this illegal drug is not being escalated to the Dean of Students, but is being handled internally by sports teams. 

On the other hand, if the school does know, this presents extreme punishment inequities between both the use of the drugs and the students. 

Many of the students who are being kicked off campus for marajuana usage are not part of a sports team or any kind of organization where punishment is able to be handled internally by the leaders of that organization. Whereas, in a sports team setting, these students have some kind of protection by their coaches and staff. 

Again, this goes back to the question of whether or not the Dean of Students even knows about this incident, but from other things that have circulated around the student body it is not the first time there have been complaints about drug use and sports teams on campus nor will it be the last if it is not brought to administration’s attention. 

Regardless of administration’s knowledge of drug use, my question is if the university preaches a zero tolerance drug policy why is more investigation not going into these allegations of  drug infractions?

Living the Scream Life

By Dr. Mike ~ UL Communications Professor

3 Things You Didn't Know about Black Panther's Ulysses Klaue (Klaw)
Ulysses Klaw from Marvel’s Black Panther. Image from https://www.entertainmentearth.com/news/black-panther-villain-ulysses-klaue/

Some superpowers are pure wish-fulfillment. Everyone dreams of flying. Other powers seem like extensions of ordinary life, magnifications of what ordinary humans can already do. Sonic powers are an excellent example of this. As such, they appear more manageable. However, a would-be superhero or even an aspiring supervillain should be careful what they wish for when it comes to sound. 

For some, sonic powers become persuasive amplifications of the human voice. Take, for example, The Voice. An old school villain of the original Ant-Man who has nothing to do with a musical talent show, the Voice had the somewhat unsurprising power to get people to do what he said. He spoke and they believed or obeyed. Ant-Man beat him by inducing a severe case of crippling laryngitis. Other villains do similar things through music. The Hypno Hustler, an occasional foe of Spider-Man, uses technologically souped up instruments to control minds through disco music.

The Voice and The Hypno Hustler are about as goofy as you think, minor annoyances who fortunately do not possess the cunning to capitalize on their domination powers. They are also unable to affect people who are deaf or people with earplugs. Additionally, this sort of power must be demoralizing. Surely, even The Voice must wonder if he’s ever had a genuine human interaction and not just something he made someone do. The Hustler must worry that it’s the machines and not the music that creates his audience.  


A Deeper Look: The Last of Us – Loss and Second Chances

By Andrew Wheeler ~ Assistant Opinion Editor

The Last Of Us HD Wallpaper | Background Image | 1920x1080
(Promotional box art for The Last of Us, by NaughtyDog/Sony)

People may all be very distinct from one another, but one fear I would be pressed to believe we don’t all share is the thought of losing someone we love. 

While some may write off The Last of Us as simply another zombie apocalypse-type story, the reality is really more focused on a theme of learning to cope with death and push forward. We watch protagonist Joel lose his beloved daughter mere minutes into the experience, and from then on, we continue to get hit with the pressures of this apocalyptic world. The setting may seem fantastical, but the themes at the heart of the narrative are very real. 


The Met Gala 2021 Reveals Controversial Aspects of American Culture.

By Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

The Met Gala, also known as the fashion industry’s version of the Oscars, was not stopped by COVID-19 this year. American independence was the theme for this year’s event, showcasing some artist’s concept of what American pride can really look like. This prompt revealed some of the most controversial aspects of American culture, good or bad. 

Picture of Nikkie de Jager at Met Gala 2021. Photo was retrieved from People.com


Nerd Factor: PSA in the Brain

By Michael Robinson ~ PhD

Schoolhouse Rock' On Disney+: Still The Best Way To Teach Kids History
School House Rock Logo. Image from https://decider.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Schoohouse-Rock-.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=646&h=431&crop=1

Recently, I learned about an assignment in my son’s civics class. He must memorize the Preamble to the Constitution.  “I can’t say it,” I said, “I can only sing it.” In fact, the very second that he mentioned the subject, the song had popped unbidden into my head. It was another example of a highly successful earworm from the good people who made School House Rock! 

Back in my childhood, Saturday morning television belonged to kids. We could not wait to watch hours of cartoons and live-action shows. Peppered in among the programs were a number of public service announcements, small segments designed to help young people learn important information and demonstrate that the networks were not just money-grubbing entities trying to lure us to commercials for toys and cereal. I am always amazed at how deeply some of those items are buried in my brain. 

“The Preamble” is not one of School House Rock!’s best tunes. It eschews the more upbeat jazzy sounds of “Conjunction Junction” or manic frenzy of “Ready or Not Here I Come” in favor of a folksier solemnity. It works though. That thing is etched so deeply into my brain that I have to work hard not to sing the Preamble.


College Life: The Walk

By Rylee McDonal ~ Copy Editor

Forget the gym: Why a brisk walk is a really great workout | ACTIVE
A lady walking. Image from https://www.active.com/walking/articles/forget-the-gym-why-a-brisk-walk-is-a-really-great-workout-4064

Walking is something we overlook. It gets us from point A to point B. If there is something across the room, we walk to go get it. When we need to get to class, we walk to get there. We do not associate real significance with the act of walking. 

However, there are few moments and few milestones in our lives that are associated with this act. We learn to walk as babies before we start to run. We walk down the aisle to get married. We walk across the stage for a diploma or an award. For myself and others, we walk to enter into Greek Life.

The week of September 10, 2021, I rushed the fraternity, Sigma Nu. Being the person I am, I was anxious beyond belief. I had already missed two days of rush week to attend to my duties as part of the school newspaper, and felt I may not fit in with this new crowd. Thankfully, I was wrong. The week continued and I was invited to their Knighthood dinner. It was very relaxing and reassuring to be around people I could relate to.


Cook With Me: Blackened Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Hunter Epperson ~ Copy Desk Chief

Photo of blackened fish tacos with avocado sauce. Photo retrieved from FoodieCrush.com by Hunter Epperson Sept. 9. 

I am obsessed with the recipes on FoodieCrush.com. If you are looking for a quick and easy college student-budget friendly recipe, well this is for you!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes 

Cook Time: 15 Minutes 

Total Time: 25 Minutes 


Mystic Magic: Stone-Cold Facts About Crystals

Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

One of the most commonly growing practices in the United States is the usage of healing crystals. People are drawn to the beauty and energy these gems hold, but what are the limitations of this newly popular obsession? 

To be crystal clear, gemstones and crystals are not rocks. Crystals, atomically, are minerals. The major difference between minerals and rocks is the anatomic structure. 

Minerals are made of three dimensional patterns that are repeated throughout the inorganic solid. Rocks are typically irregular anatomically. 

To understand the modern context, it is important to have a grasp on the history of crystals.  This practice is believed to date back 30,000 years ago to the first usage of baltic amber amulets. This was about the time that humans had first emerged on the American continents. The reminiscence of amber beads was found in Britain 10,000 years ago. 


Historic Hysterics #6: LA Is Under Attack

Alyson Draper ~ Web Editor

A picture of an unknown object hovering over Los Angeles. Photo retrieved from the-wanderling.com by Alyson Draper. 

Everybody is aware of Pearl Harbor. Everybody knows about how that thrusted the United States (U.S.) into WWII and the ultimate feelings of having to constantly be at war. But I’m not talking about serious stuff like that. 

In true Historic Hysterics fashion, I will be looking at something strange that happened in Los Angeles in 1942. A full on battle was fought in the skies over the city that night, but what the army was fighting against remains to be highly contested. On February 24th, 1942, the buildings went dark and the sky lit up with anti-air shells, all firing at… something. 


It Is Okay To Put Yourself First Sometimes.

Hunter Epperson ~ Copy Desk Chief

Self-Care: Small & Powerful Ways to Celebrate You – Cleveland Clinic
Treat yo’ self. Image from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/try-these-small-powerful-ways-to-celebrate-you/

College students face many mental illnesses associated with mental burnout such as anxiety and depression

Some common signs of mental burnout can include mental exhaustion, a sense of dread about work, frequent feelings of cynicism, frequent feelings of anger, and/or frequent feelings of irritability. 

As humans, we tend to overextend ourselves by trying to help others or be involved in organizations, work, or other activities which consume our time.

As a consequence, we often forget to include ourselves or put ourselves first which means our health and wellness becomes impacted.


Nerd Factor: Fantasy Island Gets Creepy

Michael Robinson ~ PhD

Image from: https://www.hulu.com/series/fantasy-island-fee4965d-96a7-42b9-9ed2-1acf20ef8aa1

Guests are once again going to Fantasy Island. The newest iteration of the popular franchise, which began in the 1970s and returned briefly in the late 1990s, continues a familiar format. Guests come to the Island with fantasies to fulfill but often leave having learned unexpected lessons along with way. 

In its current form, the Island, capitalized here because it is treated on the new show as having magical powers and undefined intentions all its own, is run by Elena Roarke and her new assistant Ruby. The location of the tropical paradise is not revealed. I’ve always suspected that it’s somewhere near the islands on Lost and Gilligan’s Island myself, part of some incredible archipelago. 

A recent episode raised some questions for me though. At first, “Twice in a Lifetime” seemed like a fairly standard installment of the series. A guest named Nisha sought to discover her life partner, choosing from a fun-loving but not so ambitious boyfriend (Josh) or the serious future doctor (Savin) with whom her parents were trying to arrange a marriage. A second plot unexpectedly involved Javier, the pilot who flies guests to the Island on his seaplane, spending personal time with Elena Roarke. More on that in a moment.


Breaking the Stigma: Suicide

By Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

September is National Suicide Prevention Month | GUIDE, Inc.
Suicide Prevention Month Poster. Image from https://guideinc.org/2020/09/01/september-is-national-suicide-prevention-month/

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. As a survivor of  losing a family member to suicide, and falling victim to suicidal tendencies, this subject is close to my heart. There are several stigmas that society holds around suicide. I do not have a large enough word count to refute them all.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2019 in the U.S., men were more than three times as likely to commit suicide than women. It is believed by 93% of adults that suicide can be prevented. 427 suicides in 2019 were children under the age of 15. There were 1.38 million suicide attempts in 2019. Click here for more national statistics.

703,000 people die annually via suicide worldwide. In 2019, over one in a hundred deaths were the result of suicide. Men are twice as likely to commit suicide than women globally. Find these global statistics and more here.

We, as a community, society, and population need to do better to start a conversation. Science shows that speaking up about sexual health education helps people perform safe sex; so then why do we believe that not talking about suicide will fix suicide rates? 

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