What is the Problem with Using a Breathalyzer?

bAcross the nation, it is illegal for anyone to operate a moving vehicle if the concentration of alcohol in their blood, or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), is above 0.08%. Law Enforcement in all 50 states is cracking down on those driving under the influence to ensure safety on our roads. A valuable tool they use to weed out the drunk drivers is the breathalyzer. However, recent studies have shown the measurement of what they are exhaling into the device may not be as accurate as it should be.

There are various elements that can play a part in a miscalculation of a breath test. Things such as a bad battery, an excited amount of breathing, or even a recent burp can throw off an individual’s actual BAC. Research is starting to show that any of these contributing factors could determine whether someone goes home on their own or in the back of a patrol car.

Rate of metabolism

The rate at which a human body absorbs alcohol is different for everyone. Some people may have a lower alcohol metabolism, meaning that their body may still be trying to absorb the alcohol they just ingested, which causes them to give off a higher BAC reading. If someone does in fact get tested while their body is still absorbing their last drink, it could cause them to blow out an invalid reading on their test. This in turn could play a part in whether or not they have a DUI on their record.

Breathing

How a person breathes can play a significant role in the different alcohol levels they will show in a breathalyzer test. For example, if someone were to hold their breath for 30 seconds, it would cause the device to give off a higher reading than what is actually in their system. On the contrary, if a person were to breathe heavily almost to the point of hyperventilation they may have a significant drop in their BAC reading. Research has shown that breath tests can vary up to 15% from the actual Blood Alcohol Content.

Residual alcohol in the mouth

If someone has taken their last drink within a short period of time, they may have residual alcohol lining the inside of their mouth. This causes their reading to be much higher than the amount that is truly exhaled by their lungs. Other substances that contain small amounts of alcohol like mouthwash, breath fresheners and flue/cold medicine can also play a part in a Breathalyzer giving off a false reading.

Belching, hiccupping, or vomiting

Much like having residual alcohol in the mouth, these natural reactions from your body can also throw off a breathalyzer test, making it seem that you have been drinking more than you did. Attorneys have pointed out that if any of these have occurred within 20 minutes of being tested, you may have a misleading concentration of alcohol vapors in your mouth that will give out a higher than normal reading.

Calibration

The majority of Breathalyzers need to be re-calibrated every six to twelve months to ensure that their reading is as accurate as possible. However, a failure to do so for an extended period of time can cause the device to give a skewed reading. Low batteries in the device can also produce inaccurate readings.

Drinking and driving is of course a problem. However, getting arrested for an inaccurate reading on a breathalyzer test is also a problem. An errant mistake or a flaw in a number of variables can be the difference between you being home sound asleep or being put behind bars.

Sladen West is a freelance writer dedicated to helping others stay safe through general auto safety education and a good online defensive driving course.

5 Indie Bands You Need to Know

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Are you tired of 30 Seconds to Mars? Does Vampire Weekend make you cringe? Is My Chemical Romance so five minutes ago? The good news is that when it comes to Indie music, there’s always something new to listen to. Strap on your best hipster duds, leave the razor in the cabinet and check out these five Indie bands you need to know.

Foals

Haven’t heard of Foals? Well, thank God those days are over. Five guys, two guitars, one drum, one bass, one keyboard — and three albums of awesomeness. Their latest release, Holy Fire, features 11 intense tracks with a kind-of-but-not-really 80s moody edge. Fans sometimes prefer their earlier release, Total Life Forever, because of its more original sound and its similarity to their first album, Antidotes, but new listeners may find Holy Fire more accessible.

Dirty Projectors

Every true Indie fan appreciates a little weirdness now and again, and when that mood strikes Dirty Projectors is your sound answer. The band has 11 members but sounds much smaller; distinguishing characteristics include incredibly nuanced vocals, abrupt changes in tempo and stylized, ethereal lyrics. One fan known to the writer described Dirty Projectors as sounding like “disorganized sex.” But in a good way.

Tame Impala

If you love the Beatles but want to step a foot in the Indie scene, try Tame Impala. Featuring a 60s vocal vibe and a synth-heavy sound, their two albums, Innerspeaker and Lonerism, hearken back to the earlier era’s acid rock. Especially listen if you love a good bass line.

Kimbra

Technically speaking, Kimbra may not be strictly Indie, but she’s versatile enough and talented enough to fit into a number of categories. Sometimes singing entirely a capella, sometimes using the loop pedal, sometimes giving a pop vibe and sometimes getting bluesy, each and every Kimbra song is a complete original. Check out the album Vows.

Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez is the best half-Swedish, half-Argentinian, folk-Indie-Spanish guitar player and singer working today. In fact, it’s very likely that he’s the only one meeting that description. Luckily, it matters not; his music is so cool that’s why Sweden is cold.

But seriously, Jose Gonzalez’s melodic, distinctive Spanish-style guitar and wistful, sweet vocals are perfect for everything from long road trips to out-of-town tournaments to making dinner to reflecting quietly on a Sunday afternoon. Try the tracks Down the Line, Killing for Love, Lovestain, and In Our Nature.

French Miami

Off-the-beaten-path time signatures, a little bit of synth and a little bit of guitar, French Miami brings back the 80s, but in a 21st century way. The downside? Their songs sometimes run a bit long. But no matter: check out the tracks God Damn Best, Science Fiction, Older and Suge Night Driving.

photo credit: laviddichterman via photopin cc

5 Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid

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If you want to get the best results possible from blogging, the following list will help you avoid being tripped up by five common blogging mistakes:

Not Using Data

If you really want to get analytical about your blogging, you can use an A/B testing tool to see what elements of a post perform best. But even if you’re not at the point of wanting that much detail, you can still benefit from taking time to look at the data collected by a program like Google Analytics.

While there’s no specific way you have to use that data, one of the most common uses is to see which of your existing posts have the highest level of engagement. Once you know that information, you can use it to guide decisions about future posts you publish.

Only Writing for Your Own Blog

Since you probably want your content to reach as many targeted readers as possible, you don’t want to limit yourself to your existing audience. Instead, you can expand your efforts with strategies such as guest blogging. By occasionally publishing a post on a relevant blog, you can attract new readers who hadn’t previously read any of your content.

Relying on Stock Photos

Engagement and usability studies have confirmed that pictures can enhance the overall appeal that posts have for readers. However, that’s only the case if the pictures used are extremely relevant and generate some type of interest. If you’re only using really generic stock photos, you can actually hurt your blogging efforts.

Since pictures do take a little longer to load, if you’re not using great ones, people loading through slower connections — lsuch as a smartphone — may ultimately abandon your blog before the post has a chance to load.

Avoiding Any Type of Social Promotion

People use social media to discuss everything from alcohol rehab centers in Florida to sports games. Since it’s where people spend a large percentage of their online time, it’s definitely worth experimenting with Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter to see if they’re a good fit for promoting the content that you publish.

Ignoring Comments and Emails

Whether you’re a one-man operation or blog on behalf of a big company, one of the main goals of business blogging is to attract new customers. Since a reader who takes the time to leave a comment or send you an email is obviously interested in what you’re writing, be sure to capitalize on those opportunities.

While it can take some time to hit the right stride with your blog, as long as you stick with it and remember to put the above tips into action, you’ll begin seeing the results you want in less time than you likely expect.

photo credit: Mexicanwave via photopin cc

Social Media Tries Sending Condoms to Batman


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Photo credit: Facebook

Running a social media campaign means putting yourself at the mercy of your online followers. The situation has a more than passing resemblance to a popular pseudo-philosophical truism: Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.

In the unpredictable world of social media, the bear isn’t just capable of getting you. He’s likely to steal your hunting rifle and beat you over the head with it while his buddies take cell-phone videos and post them to Facebook. It doesn’t matter if you manufacture handmade dolls, food, online services or organic garden products—you have to be prepared for a little chaos.

Sending Condoms to Batman

My dad used to use the expression “sending coal to Newcastle” to describe a pointless exercise. More often, I’ve heard the term “selling refrigerators to Eskimos.” Both expressions are dated and clichéd, but thanks to social media I can now replace them with a new truism: Sending condoms to Batman.

No, I haven’t been frequenting the Batman fan-fiction forums. I’m referring to how pranksters sabotaged Durex’s latest social media campaign.

Durex, as you may know, manufactures condoms. They have, or rather had, a new smartphone app, SOS condoms, which would have provided rush delivery for those who have a sudden, aching need for protection. To promote the new service (which is equal parts brilliance and insanity), the company launched a social media campaign asking users to vote on the city where the service should launch.

Doubtless, Durex expected to hear big-city names like Paris, London, New York and Montreal. They didn’t get the city they deserved, or even the city they needed. What they got was Batman.

Batman, Batman

According to Wikipedia, who are never wrong (don’t tell me different, I beg you), Batman is a city in the Batman province of Turkey. In addition to being the most badass hometown of all time (Admit it—you’d love to tell people “I live in Batman”), Batman has a conservative Muslim population.

Geography lesson aside, someone nominated Batman as a worthy recipient of SOS condom, and Facebook users reacted, well, pretty much as you’d expect. By the time the final vote was in, Batman won the SOS Condom campaign with 1,577 votes. I remain amazed the number wasn’t much higher.

So Long, SOS Condom

Naturally, Durex wasn’t thrilled with the result. Durex had to announce they were scrapping SOS Condom and moving onto other campaigns. Batman residents (Batmanians? Batziens?) were a bit put out over the whole thing as well.

Disaster or Unexpected Success?

While members of the Durex social media team undoubtedly see the campaign as a failure, let’s look at the big picture. The story was all over the online news. Yes, people will laugh. For years, the company will be known as the manufacturer who tried to send condoms to Batman, even though they did no such thing.

Then again, when life kills your parents, you become the Batman. The disaster went viral, exposing Durex’s name to thousands, if not millions, of people. And from now on, their name will be associated with the world’s most popular superhero, without paying a cent in royalties.

Over the long term, Durex may profit from this. I mean, if I was buying condoms, I’d want the one’s Batman uses.

Who Says SEO is Dead?

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People have been talking about SEO for so long that you might have thought the backlash would kill it once and for all. It happens to every fad, right? But SEO isn’t a fad; it’s a business practice, and business practices take off because they work, not because they’re cool. If you’re hearing that SEO is dead, don’t believe it – completely.

There are simply too many websites, and too many people searching for them, to not optimize your blog or website for search engines. It is true that some people deride SEO because it could jeopardize their own industries or jobs. On the other hand, recent changes have changed the relevance of traditional SEO.

So does SEO matter or not? Let’s hear from both sides:

It May Be on Life Support…

The marketing world has been abuzz over a recent Forbes article, which expands on SEO consultant Adam Torkildson’s prediction that, thanks to Google’s efforts to reward content quality, SEO will be dead in two years. A few factors may be adding to this idea:

Social Media Growth: Web users rely more and more on their social networks to stay connected. Plus, social networks have done a better job of eliminating fake users than search engines. That means companies at least know their social audiences actually exist, and aren’t just fake accounts or robots.

Smarter Search Engines: Google and other search engines are updating their algorithms to differentiate between authentic content and pure link-building. This means a mediocre blog stuffed with keywords and links will rank far below content with relevant information.

New Focus on Quality: Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have made it much harder to achieve high rankings with black-hat SEO strategies. You now have a better chance of ranking high by producing quality content rather than using the usual shortcuts.

…But It’s Still Breathing

The problem with declaring SEO dead is that the term is so broad that no one tactic can truly represent it. Marketing didn’t die with the rise of social media, did it? So contrary to popular belief, there are a few signs that SEO is still alive.

Things Change: Like any other marketing practice, SEO changes and evolves along with the markets and technology. Maybe the old tactics don’t work as well as they used to, but a smart marketer will replace them with emerging practices.

Search Engines Still Matter: According to research, 80% of all search traffic on Google finds its way to organic searches. This shows two things. First, people still use search engines to find what they’re looking for. Second, search engines still produce quality results.

So Do Keywords: People looking for Lancaster social security lawyers could use generic terms like “lawyer” or “need help,” and end up with thousands of unrelated results. So keywords are still the best way to find the most relevant sites for your particular quest.

Once again, SEO seems to be the Elvis of marketing practices. Here’s the difference, though: where Elvis really is dead, SEO is not – at least not yet.\

photo credit: matt.searles via photopin cc

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