The keto craze

Kaila Acheson – Anchor staff

In this day and age influenced heavily by modern science, diets are increasing in number but yet it is still difficult to tell if  they would actually be beneficial to your health. A recent fad has been the Ketogenic diet because it is fairly easy to follow and many people have seen success. The question is, what does the Keto diet do to your body?

The Keto diet was discovered by Dr. Russell Wilder in 1923 while working at the Mayo Clinic, attempting to find a treatment for epilepsy. Keto mainly focuses on low carbs, moderate protein and high fat.

Supposedly, it can both help someone lose weight and improve their overall health. Studies have shown that Keto does not only help you lose weight, but can also help with chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Keto works by eliminating carbs from your diet and primarily consuming natural fats. By doing this, the body burns more fat for energy, feeding the brain energy. This puts the body in a state called ketosis.

Graphic courtesy of Tasteaholic

According to U.S. News, the Keto diet does not rank high in effectiveness in comparison to other diets. Keto is effective in the realm of weight loss, yet is ranked low in effectiveness on overall health. Being in a constant state of ketosis can become harmful because without the consumption of carbs, the body only burns fat. Fat is necessary on the body and carbs are an essential part of your diet. With the absence of carbs, dehydration and a chemical imbalance in blood flow, become a dangerous possibility.

Although there is evidence of Keto being bad for your health, if it is not followed to the extreme it can have its benefits. A woman reported to Business Insider the effects of the diet on her after one month and she claimed that it “vastly improved her life,” but she did admit to cheating and consumed some carbs every week.

After exploring both sides of the story, it is difficult to tell whether the Keto diet is a good option for someone trying to make a lifestyle change. Overall, research seems to have shown that if the Keto diet is followed in moderation and some carbs are consumed, then it would not be harmful to your health.

Solar power vs. fossil fuels. Who will reign victorious?

Victoria Stromberg – Anchor Contributor

Solar power, what is it? Well, solar power is actually radiant energy that is being emitted by the sun and converted into electricity. Solar power can be compared to fossil fuels, where we get most of our oil from.

Today, the world gets most of its power from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and most well-known, oil. It is also not a secret that a major contributing factor to climate change and environmental downfall are fossil fuels mixed with greenhouse gas emissions (trapping heat in the atmosphere). In fact, according to the EPA in 2012, the greenhouse gas emissions totalled a whopping 6,526 million metric tons. That is 82% of all human caused greenhouse gases. However, these nonrenewable energy sources are slowly coming to an end in terms of supply, and the need for other energy-obtaining resources are vital.

This is where solar power comes into play.

Photos courtesy of Victoria Stromberg

Solar power is a more efficient way of harnessing energy and converting it into electricity. This is because it is a renewable energy source that will never deplete, rather than fossil fuels, which take years to form. Not to mention, solar power is a cleaner way of getting our energy. The use of clean in this context means non-polluting, and not emitting greenhouse gases into the air, which is a plus because it will not contribute to global warming such as fossil fuels already have.

Solar panels are the way we are getting our energy from the sun. In Rhode Island, there are multiple solar farms either already built, or being proposed as per Governor Gina Raimondo’s executive order to generate 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020. This factor will be of great help to the environment in terms of eliminating already-existing pollution, and the way energy is obtained from here on out.

A brand-new Solar Farm has just finished construction at a capped landfill in North Providence a few months ago.

“This to me, was a no-brainer,” said Mayor Lombardi on his decision to propose a solar farm in this area. “I know it’s the right thing to do.”  

Solar energy is an up-rising practice that is expected to bring down human greenhouse gas emissions into the air quite considerably, seeing as Solar panels release little to no emissions at all. It is important to take solar power, and the damage of fossil fuels seriously for the years ahead.

According to the UN Climate Change Report, we have 12 years to “take action” before the rise in temperature will make it quite difficult to reverse. In their words, the level of global warming between 2030 and 2052 will cause extreme weather, including the sea level to rise causing severe flooding.

All in all, the need to eliminate the use of oil, coal, and natural gas is vital to the earth as of right now. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have determined that carbon dioxide emissions need to hit zero by the year 2075. This is where everyone worldwide needs to make an effort. If possible, get solar panels, reduce the use of oil in homes and lessen the contribution to the pollution of this beautiful planet. It is possible, but there is a lot of hard work ahead.


Mike Dwyer – Anchor Staff

Nowadays, facts come at you fast. News cycles and timelines are on overdrive. Fake news is common place. Clusterfackt is an ongoing series that asks readers to question everything. Think of it as an exercise in critical thinking. Each week readers will be given a giant clusterfackt of scientific findings meant to replicate the dizzying news loops that dominate our lives. However, there’s a catch. One statement within the clusterfackt is entirely false. Identify the falsehood and win a prize by emailing and don’t repeat anything you read here without doing your research!

In last week’s issue we cited a totally real study from Gordon Pennycook and David Rand which demonstrated that an ability to think analytically as measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test could predict the susceptibility of subjects to fake news. The CRT is designed to measure the ability of respondents to overcome “gut” reactions and come to the correct answer.

The test was created by psychologist Shane Frederick, according to whom there are two systems of cognitive activity. System one is short shrifted and instinctual while system two is conscious and deliberate. The CRT presents three questions meant to provoke an incorrect response from system one that will then activate the deeper thinking of system two, that is, if respondents are able to recognize the error of their initial response.

At the end of last week’s issue we left readers to ponder the three questions from the original CRT. As promised, here are the answers, including the reasoning behind each solution:

  1. A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? The response from system one might be that the ball costs 10 cents. Ideally, system two would then be activated and might analyze the problem as such: The ball costs X and the bat costs $1 more than X. So we have bat + ball = X + (X + 1) = 1.1 because together they cost $1.10. This means X= X+(X+1) = 1.1. Therefore, 2X= X+1 = 0.1, which makes X equivalent to 0.05. This means the ball costs 5 cents and the bat costs $1.05.
  2. If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? The “gut” reaction might be that it will take 100 minutes. However, if it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, then it takes 1 machine 5 minutes to make 1 widget (each machine is making a widget in 5 minutes). If we have 100 machines working together, then each can make a widget in 5 minutes. So there will be 100 widgets in 5 minutes.
  3. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? At first, respondents might be tempted by the quick thinking of system two and say it will take 24 days for half of the lake to be covered by the patch. However, read more carefully, the question stipulates that every day forward the patch doubles in size. So every day backwards means the patch is halved. So on day 47 the lake is half full and on day 48 it doubles once more, covering the entire surface of the lake.

If you answered one or even all of the questions incorrectly you are not alone. In a survey of 3,428 people an astonishing 33 percent missed all three questions while 83 percent missed at least one of the questions. Even very educated people made mistakes. Only 48 percent of MIT students sampled were able to answer all the questions correctly. While the CRT is not a measure of an individual’s intelligence quotient, correct answers on the CRT have been found to correlate with higher IQ.

Now that our readers have had a bit of practice perhaps they will find the falsehood hiding in this week’s issue. As promised, somewhere during this article I have once again lied and given readers some bad information to root out. Was it that “totally real” study from Pennycook and Rand? Qualifying markers in speech often precede a lie to make it more believable, but in all fairness this is not a definitive hallmark of dishonesty. Maybe it was the part about Shane Frederick- is that even a real person? Are these the actual questions from the CRT? Does the CRT actually exist?

Any one of these things could be absolutely made up. Which begs the question, why are you still reading this series? Why trust or entertain an admitted liar? In the last month alone I’ve told readers that forensic otologists have theorized that Sir Isaac Newton suffered an inner ear imbalance, a lifelong condition which led to his discovery and study of gravity in 1492; that menacing pygmy clowns made Egyptian pharaoh Phak Tes-Falsiti laugh to death in 2500 BCE while the Ancient Roman senate kept a stock fool known as “stupidus” who took part in the assassination of Julius Caesar- mistaking it for a practical joke; that the mathematical model designed to test the viability of common conspiracies failed when attempting to calculate the probability of lizard people running a vast globalist government because there was not enough data on the secret-keeping abilities of reptilian life forms; and last week I provided an incorrect date for the midterm elections not once, but twice. Forensic otologists, Pharoah Phak Tes-Falsiti, nefarious lizard people- all of these statements were absolute rubbish. Roman theatre did have a stock character known as “stupidus”, but there were no clowns present during the assassination of Caesar.

Sometimes, falsehoods are just more convincing when they include a tinge of truth. Normally, Dwight Myers does our fact checking section but he was unavailable this week because he doesn’t exist. Next week, we’ll explore why it is that humans have an inherent desire to fool others and to be fooled themselves. Why do we engage in fantasy and what purpose does it serve?  

Many is more powerful than one when working to end pollution

Victoria Stromberg – Anchor Contributor

If everyone was to start doing small things every day to improve the environment, the world would be a healthier place. There is a growing problem with pollution in the environment and more specifically, oceans. But how big is this problem?

The effects that plastic pollution alone has had on ecosystems and food chains in the ocean is astronomical. Seabirds across the globe are being discovered with plastic in their digestive systems, as they mistake the plastic for food on the ocean’s surface. Plastic has been found the digestive tract of not just birds, but in animals ranging from whales to sea turtles and even small crustaceans. Filter feeding animals such as Baleen whales, that use their large mouths to sift through plankton and krill, ingest plastic by mistake as well. In serious cases, ingestion of plastic can kill these animals.

According to an environmental research letter by Albert A Koelmans, 99.8 percent of plastic that has landed in the oceans since the 1950s has settled below the surface of the ocean. Since then it has accumulated to 8.5 million tons annually––that is a lot of plastic to be hanging out on the ocean floor.

This is unsettling.

Plastic, while being a main contributor, is not the only issue that is reducing populations and damaging marine life. Another problem is fishing nets being abandoned in the sea causing animals such as birds, sea turtles and even whales to get caught in them while they are swimming.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic

According to The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), an estimated 640,000 metric tons of fishing gear are left in the oceans each year. This includes 25,000 nets that are recorded lost or discarded every year.

Although there are non-profit organizations and businesses out there responsible for working to remove debris in the ocean, they can not fulfill this alone. There are things that everyone can do at home to reduce the amount of plastic build-up in not only the ocean, but all ecosystems both land and sea. These underlying factors of pollution can all be reduced if there was a focus on worldwide sustainability.

As for what the average person can do from their own home, there are countless things that people do throughout their day that they don’t even think about.

The easiest things to do to preserve the environment are as follows: Reduce, reuse, recycle! Reduce your intake of plastic, get a reusable water bottle so there is never a need to buy copious amounts of plastic bottles. When shopping at the market, think about it, ask yourself if the supermarket has paper bags rather than plastic? If so, jackpot. The less plastic we use, the less plastic that mistakenly ends up where it does not belong. If you live near the coast, like us Rhode Islanders, an important way to contribute is to go to local beach cleanups, or donate to these groups and organizations. As far as fishing gear goes, clean up after yourself. The most obvious solution is do not discard fishing gear and nets into the ocean when they are no longer used. Discard them the proper way, by finding local places near you that work to recycle fishing nets, or distribute them to places that do. A little can go a long way.

Cannabidiol and its health benefits

Kaila Acheson – Anchor Contributor

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is becoming an increasingly popular substance due to the medical purposes it serves. The effects of CBD can range anywhere from alleviating everyday anxieties to being a potential combatant of cancer.

CBD oil is an extract from the cannabis plant, but unlike the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most prevalent chemical in cannabis that is produced when smoking marijuana, it does not get you psychologically high. CBD has been shown to have the same medicinal properties as marijuana, but since this substance does not get you high, it is legal in all 50 states.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic

There are no laws stating that CBD cannot be used by the general population due to it being fairly new to the market.

According to, the health benefits of cannabidiol vary but include: relieving chronic pain, reducing anxiety and depression, diminishing acne and preventing seizures. CBD interacts with your reward centered neurotransmitters as well as more complex areas of your brain to reduce anxiety in most users.

Along with this myriad of health benefits, studies also show that CBD  oil has anti-tumor effects and could also be beneficial to heart health.

CBD oil can be taken in the forms of oils, pills, edibles, drinks and vape juices.

It can be found in local smoke shops and some online retailers. Although it is becoming increasingly prevalent, cannabidiol is not as well known, as the golden oil is often stigmatized by its cousin, THC.

As a result, it is either associated with the substance or left unknown by many. Organizations such as Project CBD have a mission to educate nationally about the medical uses of cannabidiol due to the great success that has been seen with it thus far in the medical field.


Mike Dwyer – Anchor Staff

Nowadays, facts come at you fast. News cycles and timelines are on overdrive. Fake news is common place. Clusterfackt is an ongoing series that asks readers to question everything. Think of it as an exercise in critical thinking. Each week readers will be given a giant clusterfackt of scientific findings meant to replicate the dizzying news loops that dominate our lives. However, there’s a catch. One statement within the clusterfackt is entirely false. Identify the falsehood and win a prize by emailing and don’t repeat anything you read here without doing your research!

In last week’s issue we got a bit meta-factual by taking a look at the science behind fake news and conspiracism. In observance of the 2018 midterm elections Clusterfackt is going to take a break from its usual fast paced fackt-ery  and dig a little deeper into the psycho-social implications of falsehood.

Perhaps we can inoculate ourselves before we enter the voting booths next Tuesday. Perhaps readers will recognize that I have already lied- the election is this Tuesday- and will wonder if that’s this week’s falsehood. But is it a falsehood if the falsifier admits to its fabrication? One might similarly ask: does tagging news stories as “fake” reduce the effect they have on public opinion? Do unfounded facts gain a footing through authentic belief or is it just entertainment?  

Bad information plays an important role in public discourse and the ubiquity of magical thinking cuts across all demographic lines. The twisting of truth is by no means a modern phenomenon. However, the rate at which falsehood is disseminated nowadays creates a conundrum for critical thought and fact checking. When false information or half-truths are repeated online, in social media or in cable television, it has an effect on the public’s perception of reality, producing sound bites that are as comical as they are Orwellian.

Take for instance the double-think employed by Rudy Guliani when he said “the truth isn’t the truth” on Meet the Press last August. The Host Chuck Todd doubled over in amusement at what he had just heard. But does Todd deserve to be so incredulous? Is Chuck Todd immune to fake news?

Last week, as authorities were still searching for the pipe bombing suspect, Todd himself engaged in delusion, saying he “feared that this could be some Russian operation” designed to divide the public. Guest panelist John Podhoretz, when given a chance to correct Todd was instead amicably complicit, saying “it is a very strange moment and we have no idea where it comes from.”  

Podhoretz’s agreement sounds eerily similar to the deflections made by certain Republican senators when asked to refute false news claims. One of the primary features of fake news and conspiracy claims is their non-falsifiability. In a recent TEDtalk, Quassim Cassam, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick in England said that the consequence of this “implanting of doubts” in the minds of others results in a “loss of confidence” and ultimately a “loss of knowledge.”

Last March, a paper published in the journal Science sought to shed some light on the nature of falsehood through psychological methodology. The study’s 16 co-authors defined fake news as “fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent” and went on to analyze the individual, institutional and societal factors which contribute to this problem.

One of the studies co-authors, Steven Sloman, a professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University told National Public Radio that the problem is threefold, “First, because of technology, anyone in the world can be a source of news…Second, we are inundated by information. We just don’t have time to separate the facts from the falsities…Third, the huge variety of news media in our culture means that people have the freedom to tune into news sources that tell them what they want to hear, and we all like to hear news consistent with our beliefs.”

Sloman pointed to another research paper by Gordon Pennycook and David Rand that explores this cognitive bias. Pennycook and Rand started by asking “Do we use our reasoning abilities to convince ourselves that statements that align with our ideology are true, or does reasoning allow us to effectively differentiate fake from real regardless of political ideology?” Pennycook and Rand were able to demonstrate that an ability to think analytically as measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test could predict the susceptibility of subjects to fake news. The CRT is designed to measure a person’s ability to overcome “gut” reactions and come to the correct answer.

The original test consisted of just three questions:

  1. A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
  2. If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
  3. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?

Tune in next week for the answers to the CRT. In the meantime, think critically and analytically and make sure to go out and vote next Tuesday.

Mike Dwyer is a 2013 graduate of CCRI’s school of nursing and has since worked as a registered nurse in and around his hometown of Newport, Rhode Island. Writing has been a life-long passion (Re: obsession) and in 2016 Mike enrolled at RIC to pursue a BA in English literature. He is a senior planning to graduate next Spring, after which he will stay local, stay weird, and pursue a graduate degree.

Nico-Teen and the power of The Juul

Samantha Scetta – Editor-in-Chief

Graphic by Wiley Sadowski

Everyone knows cigarettes are no good, right?

Cigarettes have been classified as a group one carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as there is convincing evidence of cancer causing agents in cigarettes. Just a few known carcinogens contained in cigarettes are acetaldehyde, vinyl chloride and formaldehyde.

These chemical compounds are absent from the slew of new age smoking devices such as electronic cigarettes and electronic vaporizers. From a marketing perspective, it’s understandable why these products have been so popular with such a young audience– vaporizers are not directly linked to cancer.

Nicotine is one of the chemicals both tobacco and electronic smoking devices have in common, and just might be the reason that so many young people are partaking in the habit of socially smoking once again… Minus the formaldehyde and vinyl chloride, of course.

The notorious chemical commonly known as nicotine is found in the device labeled as a “Juul” which can be easily overlooked as being a flashdrive and is certainly spotted at bus stops and in the hallways of many high schools nationwide.

According to the Juul’s website, the pod inserted into the Juul contains approximately 200 puffs, which is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes. Assuming someone is going through a pod per week, they would be smoking approximately 5 packs of cigarettes a month.

“Juling in the Boys’ Room”

Juul is still relatively new for substantial research to be done on its harmful effects, however there is plenty of available research demonstrating scientific proof that nicotine is harmful to an adolescent’s neurological development.

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is located at at the front of the frontal lobe and is an area of the brain that deals with executive functions such as planning and decision making, as well as other complex behavior such as impulse control and organizing attention. Most neurologists have determined that he PFC is not completely developed until the age of 25.

The chemical nicotine reaches  receptor molecules on the outside of cells in the brain, specifically those in the prefrontal cortex. Nicotine causes these cells to then release certain chemicals, such as dopamine, to travel along a gap (synapse) between the nerve cells in the brain. When they reach the nerve cell they were traveling to, the dopamine releases the message to the nerve cells which gives nicotine users a temporary high.                             

With prolonged nicotine use the cells will change, and users end up craving nicotine because the brain is unable to produce their own “feel good” chemicals without a stimulant, which explains anxiety in people who are facing nicotine cravings. It is thought that young people are more susceptible to addiction to nicotine because they adopt the ideology that they will have the physical ability to quit nicotine anytime they want, whereas adults don’t underestimate the addictiveness of the drug.                                                                                                                                         

Although there is not as much research on the subject of nicotine on teenage brains as is probably necessary for our society, enough evidence exists to determine that teenagers who are addicted to devices such as Juuls will need the same interventions as those that are addicted to cigarettes if they decide to stop partaking in the habit.


Mike Dwyer – Anchor staff

Nowadays, facts come at you fast. News cycles and timelines are on overdrive. Fake news is common place. Clusterfackt is an ongoing series that asks readers to question everything. Think of it as an exercise in critical thinking. Each week readers will be given a giant clusterfackt of scientific findings meant to replicate the dizzying news loops that dominate our lives. However, there’s a catch. One statement within the clusterfackt is entirely false. Identify the falsehood and win a prize by emailing and don’t repeat anything you read here without doing your research!

This week Clusterfackt is going to get meta-factual by taking a look at the misconceptions, magical thinking and conspiracism that pepper our public discourse. Unconditional belief in the unproven, or disproven, is not a uniquely American phenomenon but there is something particularly theatrical about the way we indulge in the fantastic. Let’s take a look at some of the facts regarding America’s love affair with the unreal. As always, one of the following statements is entirely made up- see if you can spot which one!

A recent poll reported that one third of younger millenials do not believe the earth is round. The headline circulated among a few major outlets and seemed to confirm suspicions of America’s scientific decline. When the data from the poll was reviewed by Scientific American it was found that most outlets misrepresented the responses of participants. Firm belief in a flat earth was less than two percent, however, uncertainty and ambivalence about the shape of the earth was found in approximately 15 percent of all age groups. Much of the initial reporting indulged in typical millennial bashing. Some suggested that younger respondents were simply being ironic and that flat earth theory was incongruous with the science of climate change, a topic that is popular with this age group. However, the Flat Earth Society has officially endorsed the science behind man-made climate change. The official Twitter account for the society put out a statement on climate change, saying “it would be nothing short of irresponsible to question something with so much overwhelming evidence behind it, and something that threatens us so directly as a species.”

A 2013 survey found that 51 percent of American voters do not believe the official account of JFK’s assassination, 21 percent believe aliens crashed at Roswell, seven percent believe the moon landing was a hoax, and 13 percent believe President Obama is the antichrist, including five percent of Democrats. Even more worrisome, the survey found that four percent believe earth’s societies are secretly run by shape-shifting reptilian overlords. The results of the poll were widely circulated with sensational headlines such as Atlantic magazines “12 million Americans believe lizard people run our country.” The study had a sample group of 1,247 voters meant to be reflective of the American population, whereas Atlantic magazine has a circulation of more than half a million. Recent studies suggest that exposure to conspiracy theories increases one’s likelihood of believing in conspiracies, as does a willingness to conspire. Belief in one conspiracy is often correlated with belief in others and some form of conspiratorial belief is found in nearly all demographics. Providing evidence to the contrary was found to only further cement belief in the conspiracy.

An Irish physicist and cancer researcher has created a mathematical model to predict the failure probability rate of conspiracies involving multiple actors based on examples of previously exposed scandals such as the NSA PRISM project, the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments and the FBI forensic scandal. His model predicts that conspiracies involving more than a thousand active secret-keeping participants quickly become untenable. Using the mathematical model to run simulations on the viability of some of the most popular conspiracies, results suggest that it would take 411,000 people for the moon landing hoax with a failure time of 3.68 years, climate change fraud would require 405,000 conspirators and would have a failure time of 3.70 years when accounting for all the scientific organizations taking part and 22,000 shadowy figures could hide the truth about vaccines from the public for 3.15 years- 34.78 years if only the CDC and WHO were in on it. The model failed when attempting to calculate the viability of lizard people because little is known about the secret-keeping abilities of reptilian life forms.

Goretober: does science justify your favorite horror scenes?

Lucille DiNaro – Business Manager

Final Destination 3 James Wong 2006

The death of Erin Ulmer in the Final Destination series was not unexpected, but the manner of her death certainly was. In this film, Erin accidentally stumbles against a nail gun that was carelessly left on a stack of boxes by her boyfriend Ian. Upon hitting the nailgun, it begins to rapidly discharge, puncturing Erin with several nails to both her head and her hand, making Erin the fifth survivor of the Devil’s Flight roller coaster to perish.

Erin most likely suffered from internal brain hemorrhaging and massive blood loss. Brain hemorrhaging is the result of an artery of the brain bursting, which causes intense swelling of the brain and localized bleeding in the surrounding tissues. Often, a brain hemorrhage is the result of a stroke, aneurysm, head trauma or tumor.

While some people are able to survive a brain hemorrhage, Erin has little to no real-world possibility of survival. The ability of a person to survive such a trauma is reliant on the size of the hemorrhage and the amount of swelling. In Erin’s case, the multiple wounds she sustains would require immediate attention if she were to have any chance at survival.

The Final Destination franchise certainly loves to toy with impalement, and Erin’s death is no exception.

Final Destination 5 Steven Quale 2011

Candice Hooper’s death in this film has been described as one of the most disturbing scenes of the Final Destination series. While practicing on the uneven bars, Candice’s vision is blurred after one of her fellow gymnasts accidentally blows chalk into the air. Rather than slowing down and dismounting the bar, Candice attempts to execute a tkachev and suffers a fatal fall, her spine snapped on impact.

People love watching the olympics because they illustrate the awesome power and ability of the human body. Through this scene, Quale reminds us that no matter how adept the athlete, death is not exclusive.

Samir Said, a French gymnast who competed in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, almost suffered a similar fate, when a faulty dismount resulted in his leg being broken and bent in the opposite direction. While these bone-jarring impacts are common for gymnasts, one would be wrong to assume that these injuries often result in death. Rather, they are quite the abnormality.

Candice likely suffered from a manubriosternal dislocation, an injury in which the body of the sternum is displaced, often the result of direct trauma. In 2007, only four years prior to the movie release, only 10 cases of manubriosternal dislocation have been described. As such, medical professionals have yet to establish a standardized operative procedure for the injury. However, both external rehabilitation and invasive surgical procedures have been utilized for treatment purposes.

While long term effects of manubriosternal dislocation include chronic pain, periarticular calcification and progressive deformity, the injury is certainly not fatal, and this should come to no surprise. Generally, harmful injuries do not result from high velocity, but from high acceleration. In this particular scene, Candice is accelerating at a relatively normal rate. It is very likely that she would sustain an injury given the circumstances of the scene, but much to the chagrin of Final Destination fans, it is probable that Candice would live to see another day.

Goretober: does science justify your favorite horror scenes?

Lucille DiNaro – Business Manager

As a continuation from our last issue, The Anchor’s second installment of this column will continue to search for the truth behind filmmakers most grotesque horror scenes. To what extent does the silver screen translate to our everyday lives?

“The Last House on the Left” Dennis Iliadis, 2009

This 2009 remake of Wes Craven’s film of the same name is the story of a family vacation gone terribly wrong. John Collingwood and his family are tormented by a teenage boy and his sadistic companions, Krug, Francis and Sadie. As the movie meets its climax, John paralyzes Krug from the neck down and places his head in a running microwave oven. Krug is barely able to realize what has happened before the electromagnetic waves cause his head to explode, resulting in his death.

In a microwave oven, an alternating current forces atoms reverse polarity at an extremely high rate, creating violent friction which causes the water in your food to vibrate and heat up. This process is what causes food to cook and produce steam. Iliadis cleverly uses this concept to help the viewer draw visual parallels between Krug’s head exploding to the more common pressurized-steam explosion of a microwaved potato.

Fortunately for Krug, this entire scenario can be debunked by the simple fact that most modern microwaves can not operate without a door. Even if they could, the skin effect––the tendency of a high-frequency alternating current to flow through only the outer layer of a conductor––would effectively protect Krug during the limited time he spends under the microwave.

Human skin can withstand microwave frequencies to some extent, but Krug’s skin would suffer severe burns. The blood vessels in his retinas would likely fry, rendering him blind and his ears would not be able to withstand the microwave’s electromagnetic pulse energy.

While a microwave may not seem like a particularly terrifying deathbringer in this scenario, that doesn’t mean we can eliminate microwaves as a weapon altogether. The United States Department of Defense has studied the lethality mechanisms of radio frequency and high power microwave technologies since the 1980’s. Interestingly enough, research has shown that the United States could be headed towards an entirely new class of directed energy weapon systems. Maybe directors can consider these if there ever is another remake.

“Hereditary” Ari Aster, 2018

One of the more shocking scenes to appear on screen this year was the death of Charlie. After months of movie promotion which framed Charlie as the centerpiece of the film, viewers were astonished when she was decapitated a mere 30 minutes into the movie. Suffering from anaphylaxis, Charlie stuck her head outside the car window in the hope of catching her breath. Her brother, already in a panic, swerves to avoid a deer, driving Charlie right into a telephone pole.

What is so unnerving about this scene in particular is how closely it mirrors real life. We each live so certain of what is next to come, ignoring the fact that chaos and tragedy are but one bad decision away. Charlie’s death in this movie is a finality both on and off screen. Decapitation and internal decapitation almost always amount to a loss of life.

Forensic pathologists approach decapitations differently if they occur post-mortem or antemortem. Postmortem decapitation is often the result of a hanging and rarely occurs in the modern day. Antemortem decapitation is often accidental, or the result of suicide or homicide.

An autopsy of a man whose death was quite similar to Charlie’s found that the larynx, pharynx and parts of the lungs and heart were removed with the head upon decapitation. As Charlie’s body came in contact with the indirect force of the telephone pole, we could expect a similar result. Maybe think twice before sticking your head out the car window, and always wear a seatbelt.