Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Power of 1980s-1990s TV

I cover a lot of mysteries on my blog. Missing people, unsolved murders, some more missing people... Some have been solved, but many more never will be.

The older a case is, the less likely it is to be solved. This is especially true if you didn't grab the world's attention like Madeleine McCann:

Or captivate the nation like Natalee Holloway

Over time, a missing persons case drops out of the news, sadly. New cases come along, grabbing media attention, and eventually people forget. Additionally, today's cases can't possibly get enough attention due to something called narrowcasting. Narrowcasting basically means this:

It was something we studied in broadcasting in 1990. Instead of three channels, like people had in the "old days," we'd already gone to more than 100. We knew even then that the future would bring even more channels. We discussed the possibility that someday people could just watch whatever they wanted, whenever we wanted. And no, we had NO idea something called the internet would bring that!

Today if someone disappears, the message can be distributed through a variety of sources. TV news, radio, newspapers, online publications, personal Facebook feeds, Facebook groups, online forums, podcasts, YouTube videos... The list goes on. Unfortunately, each of those methods only reaches a small segment of the market.

Nothing makes that clearer than watching old episodes of Unsolved Mysteries on Amazon Prime. Other than the bad 80s/90s hairstyles, the one thing that is most glaringly obvious is that when cases showed up on Unsolved Mysteries, chances were they were going to be solved.

If a missing person or criminal on the run was still alive, someone, somewhere was going to call that hotline and report the person. Why? Although Unsolved Mysteries was not the top-rated show of its time, it still had more viewers than today's number one shows. More people were watching...mostly because we didn't have that much else to do if we were home.

Today we have Amber Alerts, which let us know when a child is in immediate danger. But what about cold cases? Who's getting the word out about Bryce Laspisa, who disappeared from his overturned truck in 2013?

Or Leah Roberts, who disappeared while traveling in 2000?

There are so many cases like these. Too many to count. Thousands upon thousands of faces, leaving behind grieving family members. If we had a show with the reach Unsolved Mysteries or America's Most Wanted had back in the 80s, would we see more of this?

What cold case would you like to see solved?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Introducing Twenty-Four Days by Jacqui Murray

Today we have a new book that's sure to fulfill your thirst for a fast-paced adventure. Jacqui Murray is a favorite author of mine, so I can't wait to dig into this one.


What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the sentient artificial intelligence who thinks he's human:

An unlikely team is America's only chance

World-renowned paleoanthropologist, Dr. Zeke Rowe is surprised when a friend from his SEAL past shows up in his Columbia lab and asks for help: Two submarines have been hijacked and Rowe might be the only man who can find them.

At first he refuses, fearing a return to his former life will end a sputtering romance with fellow scientist and love of his life, Kali Delamagente, but when one of his closest friends is killed by the hijackers, he changes his mind. He asks Delamagente for the use of her one-of-a-kind AI Otto who possesses the unique skill of being able to follow anything with a digital trail.

In a matter of hours, Otto finds one of the subs and it is neutralized.

But the second, Otto can’t locate.

Piece by piece, Rowe uncovers a bizarre nexus between Salah Al-Zahrawi--the world’s most dangerous terrorist and a man Rowe thought he had killed a year ago, a North Korean communications satellite America believes is a nuclear-tipped weapon, an ideologue that cares only about revenge, and the USS Bunker Hill (a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) tasked with supervising the satellite launch.

And a deadline that expires in twenty-four days.

As America teeters on the brink of destruction, Zeke finally realizes that Al-Zahrawi’s goal isn’t nuclear war, but payback against the country that cost him so much.

Buy Links:


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and  Twenty-four Days. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Author Links:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mystery Monday: Dog Suicide Bridge

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

Every day, across the globe, owners walk their dogs. Usually they do so on a leash, especially if they're on vacation...

Yet there's a bridge in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, where people throw caution to the wind. Despite seeing this warning, people still cross the bridge without putting their dogs on a leash.

This is especially surprising because the bridge has a pretty telling nickname: "The Dog Suicide Bridge."

Yes, you read that correctly. Since the 1950s, legend says that one dog each year has jumped from the bridge for reasons that are unknown to everyone. As you can imagine, the strange occurrence was a favorite of supernatural theorists. Could it be a demonic spirit, luring the dogs to their death?

Some sort of disruption in the time-space continuum? A doorway into another dimension? A disturbance in the magnetic field?

Naturally, experts want a more scientific explanation. An animal habitat expert named David Sexton set out to determine whether a scent was drawing the dogs toward something. He concluded that mink urine odor was luring dogs to leap to their deaths.

Another expert questions whether dogs have been committing suicide in large numbers at all. While he did find that some dogs have leaped since the 1950s, he believes the number is much smaller than "one per year."

Why do you think dogs jump from the bridge?