Reigniting The Meaning Of Citizenship Through National Service

It’s been a long time since a common rite of passage among our nation’s men was to put on a uniform and defend your nation, community, and family. Yet at a time of increasing hyperpolarization in our country, as well as the deteriorating state of our nation’s youth in mind, body, and soul, national military service may be an idea worth considering once again.

National service has been ever-present in our country’s history. From militias in the Revolutionary War era to the wartime drafts in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, to peacetime drafts through various parts of our nation’s past.

The legacy from those eras of conscription still remain in the form of the Selective Service system, which many of us remember being notified that we needed to register for upon reaching age 18.

The Selective Service system also has been the subject of debate in recent years, as many persons have considered whether women should register for it as well – such as during the 2016 Presidential election when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called for such.

Among other republics and democracies in the world national service is relatively common, from the nations of Europe to Africa, from the Middle East to Asia to South America. Conscription began falling out of favor since the end of the Cold War, as the general state of worry over military conflict faded.

Yet in recent years conscription has made a comeback. French President Macron has been trying to reintroduce military conscription in order to “foster patriotism and heal social divisions.” Norway recently expanded its military conscription in 2016 to include women, as Sweden has now re-introduced conscription as well.

Perhaps the most noted military conscription program is that of Israel, which requires all men and women to serve about two years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), with few exceptions. While brought about by military necessity, it has also cultivated an Israeli citizenry that has the character, grit, and sense of duty to keep their nation thriving.

It used to be that way in America, as serving in the military was a relatively common experience. In 1980, veterans totaled 18% of adults in the United States. In contrast, by 2016 that number had fallen to 7%.

At a time when our nation is reeling from divisions along seemingly every line possible, it is worth considering a common and shared experience as national service to reconnect our country together. The benefits are very clear in other nations, as despite often no overt military conflict conscription still provides a variety of security and social benefits to the country.

Undoubtedly the implementation of a conscription program, not seen in our nation for almost half a century, would be difficult initially. Not only have the times and culture changed, but so has the very nature of our armed forces.

Our military nowadays is an extremely high-tech organization and finding how to best utilize the massive manpower from our almost 330 million person nation would require careful delineation.

Furthermore, many of our nation’s youth, estimated currently at 71% of those between the ages of 17 and 24, are grossly unfit for military service. Creating a new conscript category and integrating them usefully into the nation’s military would be challenging, but given how seemingly every other nation is able to do it effectively we undoubtedly can find a way to as well.

The idea of national service would undoubtedly require a significant period of pilot programs and testing. The idea has been proposed frequently in the national discourse throughout the years and particularly during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. It is a big, nation-changing policy that certainly, if it gets further traction and consideration, would be a serious national debate.

National service is a very realistic program that could do a lot in solving many of our nation’s otherwise seemingly unsolvable problems, as well as reigniting reflection on the meaning of citizenry in a republic.

I think it is worth considering at our present time, as, although it seems a big change, nonetheless could revive our American spirit and heal our nation in an extraordinary way.

 

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DoubleStar Exhibiting Edged Weapons Line at BLADE Show 2018

New collaborations from Kim Breed and Hakim Isler will be on display at Table #20H at Atlanta’s Cobb Galleria Centre, June 1 – 3, 2018.

Drakon Blade with Cerakote finish
Drakon Blade with Cerakote finish

Winchester, Ky. (Ammoland.com) – DoubleStar Corp, manufacturers of high-quality, US-made AR components, rifles and pistols, will be exhibiting its edged weapons line at BLADE Show 2018, to be held in the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, June 1 – 3, 2018. New collaborations from Kim Breed and Hakim Isler will be on display, as well as product staples such as the Brimstone Folder Knife, Drakon™ Blade, Fang™ Blade, MOTAC™ Blade, Fury™ Machete and Wrath™ CrashHawk. There will also be Drakon Blades in several special Cerakote® finishes debuted during the show.

DoubleStar recently announced two new collaborations with BLADE® Magazine’s Field Editor, Kim Breed, and with published author, television star and Iraqi War veteran, Hakim Isler. The Chico Diablo-X, designed with Breed, and the Path Seeker, designed with Isler, are affordable production versions of their designs that will be on display for the first time at the BLADE Show.

DoubleStar’s Edged Weapon Division was first unveiled at BLADE Show 2017. It is led by Rob Cabrera, its Director, and the designer of Filo Bladeworks. In addition to Breed and Isler, the Edged Weapon Division now features edged weapons designed by Ret. Sergeant Major and owner, operator and founder of TCT Knives, Darrin Sirois, as well as designs by the founder of FILIPINO COMBAT SYSTEMS, Tuhon Ray Dionaldo.

BLADE Show, hosted by BLADE Magazine, the world’s number one knife community and publication, is the destination for the best selection of knives and knife products found anywhere. Globally recognized exhibitors and legendary makers gather under one roof to introduce attendees to the largest selection of blades, knives and outdoor gear and accessories in the world. Over 700 tables, 450+ booths and 40 display tables of the world’s best and most in demand knives will be on display. From renowned custom knife makers to the industry’s best in mass production, BLADE Show is a cut above the competition. Tactical, utility, hand-forged, camping, art, hunting, fixed, folding, kitchen, Damascus, military, antiques and other knives, as well as the equipment and materials to make, sharpen and maintain them, will all be on display at the world’s largest knife show.

For more information about DoubleStar, visit www.star15.com.


About DoubleStar Corp.:DoubleStar

DoubleStar Corp., located in Winchester, Kentucky, was formed when customers of J&T Distributing, a leading manufacturer and supplier of thousands of AR15 parts and accessories, requested complete rifles and pistols crafted from the same high-quality, U.S.-made components. DoubleStar now manufactures and supplies not only the commercial market but military and law enforcement forces across the world with rugged and dependable firearms. www.star15.com

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ALRANZ Congratulates Ireland

ALRANZ congratulates the Republic of Ireland on the repeal of the 8th amendment. The Irish Times has reported exit polls predict a landslide in favour of changing the constitution to permit the government to introduce legislation allowing pregnant people to access abortion care in Ireland.

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Edinburgh makes case for ‘tourist tax’ with new research

Edinburgh has made a clear signal that it wants to be the first city in the UK to introduce a ‘tourist tax’ for visitors who come and stay in the city. In a controversial move, the council would follow in the footsteps of tourism hotspots like Venice, Paris and Berlin who charge visitors who travel to the cities.

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Oxford Faces Anger over Failure to Improve Diversity Among Students

Oxford’s glacial progress in attracting students from diverse backgrounds has been revealed in figures showing that more than one in four of its colleges failed to admit a single black British student each year between 2015 and 2017.

Several of the most prestigious colleges, including Balliol, University and Magdalen, each admitted two black British students as undergraduates during the three-year period.

The worst figures belonged to Corpus Christi College, which admitted a single black British student in those three years and attracted a dozen such applications.

Overall, white British applicants were twice as likely to be admitted to undergraduate courses as their black British peers – 24% of the former gained entry and 12% of the latter.

David Lammy, the Labour MP who has repeatedly criticised Oxford and Cambridge universities for failing to improve their track record on admissions, said the latest data released by Oxford showed little had changed.

“The university is clearly happy to see Oxford remain an institution defined by entrenched privilege that is the preserve of wealthy white students from London and the south-east,” he said.

“If Oxford is serious about access, the university needs to put its money where its mouth is and introduce a university-wide foundation year, get a lot better at encouraging talented students from under-represented backgrounds to apply and use contextual data when making offers, not just when granting interviews.

“The underprivileged kid from a state school in Sunderland or Rochdale who gets straight As is more talented [than] their contemporary with the same grades at Eton or Harrow, and all the academic evidences shows that they far outshine their peers at university too.”

The figures show marked variations between colleges, including wide gaps in the proportion of state-school and female students admitted.

Across the three years, less than 40% of Balliol’s British undergraduate intake were women, while Trinity College admitted three students from independent schools for every two they admitted from state schools.

Samina Khan, the university’s head of admissions and outreach, denied that the variation in admissions by colleges was hampering Oxford’s efforts to widen access. “I think the admissions process here does work, it’s fair and it’s transparent. It’s a strength of our undergraduate admissions,” she said.

In a press release accompanying the figures, the university said it “recognised the report shows it needs to make more progress”. It said it was adding 500 more places to its spring and summer school programme for students from under-represented backgrounds.

The expansion is to be part-financed by a £75m donation from the philanthropists Sir Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman, which will also be used for Moritz-Heyman scholarships for British students eligible for free school meals or from households earning £16,000 or less each year.

The summer schools allow prospective A-level students from disadvantaged backgrounds to spend a week at the university and receive advice in making their applications. Students who attended the programme, known as Uniq, have a 34% chance of a successful application, compared to 20% for UK-wide applicants.

The data shows Oxford has struggled to recruit black and minority ethnic students to some of its most famous degree courses. PPE, the influential course in politics, philosophy and economics that has trained generations of politicians and policymakers, had 10 black British students enrolled between 2015 and 2017.

Oxford’s highly regarded course in English literature and language, taken by literary figures such as JRR Tolkien and Jeanette Winterson, admitted six black British students in the space of the three years.

Seven of Oxford’s 25 largest courses received fewer than 10 applications each from black students in 2015-17 and admitted only very small numbers.

In the three years to 2017, not a single black British student was admitted to theology, biomedical sciences or earth sciences courses. None of the 30 black British students who applied to study computer science or psychology gained entry.

Khan said Oxford faced particular challenges in convincing students from minority backgrounds to widen their aim away from law and medicine, where the majority of black British applicants applied, to pursue less competitive subjects.

“It’s less of a challenge in terms of the students, because the students want to do English literature or want to do theology and religion. It’s usually the parents or the community that say: ‘what job are you going to get after that?’” Khan said.

“So it’s the parents we really have to convince and turn around. But what we are working on is to show them that a degree from Oxford opens doors to so many careers, and that we have an excellent progression route from our degrees on to graduate employment.”

The figures are the first tranche of detailed data on admissions to be voluntarily released by Oxford. The university said it planned to release further spreadsheets offering more detail on Wednesday, and to make the release an annual event.

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When She Told Me Her House Only Cost $4,000 I Knew I Had To See The Inside

What if I told you that an Austin-based startup company developed a home that could end the homelessness problem in America? After reading this article, you’ll start to believe it is possible. For just about $4,000, you can download a home, print it and have it up and ready for occupation in less than a day. Isn’t that amazing?

While the company’s printable dwellings are still in the concept phase, they offer a gargantuan opportunity to people who live on the streets or in shelters. Being able to have an affordable place of their own could be a game-changer.

Watch the video below to see the inside!

The homes will first debut in El Salvador. And if they work well there, their use could expand to other parts of the world. And the hope is that billions of people could have a safer and better place to sleep at night.

The homes currently cost about $10,000 and require about 24 hours of building time. But when things get up and running, they could cost as little as $4,000.

The startup company is based in the innovative Austin, Texas. And the home was unveiled at the popular SXSW festival. The house had 650 square feet and a workable inside.

About 1.2 billion people on the planet do not have adequate housing.

A spokesman from the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities said, “History has been punctuated with advances in technology and materials that provide an order-of-magnitude decrease in cost and time required to build a new home. And while recent decades have brought major advances in personal technology, construction practices remain relatively unchanged since the 1950s. Icon aims to change this, ushering in a new era in construction to meet the needs of the future.”

The project is still being figured out. And Icon, the startup, has teamed up with New Story, a nonprofit organization that invests in international housing. Together they plan to introduce this new home to people in need in El Salvador. Over the next 18 months, they hope to build 100 of these affordable homes.

New Story has helped people in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake left millions without adequate housing.

Icon uses a Vulcan printer to create these homes. They create a schematic and upload that into the program. Then the printer takes that blueprint and “prints” the house. Basically, it does the work of contractors by laying the cement.

The model home that was on display in SWSW had a living room, a bathroom, a bedroom, and even an outdoor space (porch). Everything about the home is 3D printed except for the abode’s roof. It was built on the Icon lot. And they plan to use this 3D printed house as more office space so they can further tweak the design and make it better. Hopefully, they will be able to help homeless people sleep better at night very soon.

When prototyping is finished, Icon will relocate their Vulcan printer to El Salvador and start doing good work for people in need.

Do you think this new housing idea could change the world for the better?

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A new Noah’s Ark for the galaxy?

Since we’re moving forward with privatizing space exploration at a rapid pace and Elon Musk thinks he’s going to have somebody on Mars in the next decade, people are already looking ahead to what comes after. I don’t mean Jupiter or Saturn. I mean… way out there. We need to get off this rock eventually and out to the stars, but we still don’t know the answer to the big question. Is there anybody out there or is Earth the only place where life arose? The broadest consensus among scientists these days seems to be that the galaxy almost has to lousy with life. But there are still some in that field who aren’t so sure. If the rest of the galaxy has no habitable worlds we’re in a lot of trouble.

Now there’s one scientist who wants to hedge our bets and make it far more likely that we’ll find other worlds with life on them. How? He wants to send the life there ahead of us. I first saw this story at Mysterious Universe, but it’s popping up in a few other places as well. And the man with the plan is no kook from some Reddit forum. He’s mathematician and theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson. You might recognize his name as the guy who came up with the Dyson sphere.

So how does Dr. Dyson plan on seeding the galaxy with life? Read on.

Dyson is back in the news this year with a new proposed technology the English-born visionary believes could seed life throughout the universe. Dyson calls his idea the “Noah’s Ark Egg” and describes it as a “way of making space colonies highly cost-effective.” In an interview with influential science fiction author Neal Stephenson and Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director of the theoretical research center Institute for Advanced Study, Dyson outlined his vision for sending the eggs out into the cosmos in order to spread the Earth’s biodiversity to distant exoplanets and speed up the colonization process:

The Noah’s Ark Egg is an object looking like an ostrich egg, a few kilograms in weight. But instead of having a single bird inside, it has embryos — a whole planet’s worth of species of microbes and animals and plants, each represented by one embryo. It’s programmed then to grow into a complete planet’s worth of life. So it will cost only a few million dollars for the egg and the launch, but you could have about 1,000 human beings and all the life support, and all the different kinds of plants and animals for surviving. The cost per person is only a few thousand dollars, and it could enlarge the role of life in the universe at an amazingly fast speed.

I understand that somebody operating at the level of Freeman Dyson deserves an audience when he proposes a plan and I wouldn’t brush him off lightly. If the technology to do something like this is actually going to be available in the next few generations I’m sure mankind will consider taking on the project. But should we?

If you’re approaching this from the assumption that most of the stars only have dead, rocky worlds (hopefully with some water) circling them, I can see the appeal. Why not give life a leg up and kickstart it with something we’d probably recognize when we eventually arrive? And if you could land actual people there somehow in embryonic form (?!) then we’d definitely know what to expect.

But here’s the other disquieting thought. If there is life on many of those rocky worlds, should we really be crashing arks full of all manner of Earth organisms on them? To answer that question, think about the reverse scenario. If a space egg crashed somewhere on Earth and spilled out a bunch of alien goo and wriggling things, you’d be running away as fast as you could and calling the CDC hotline. Truly alien organisms, particularly of the microscopic kind, could turn out to be lethal and the native lifeforms, including us, would likely have zero natural defenses against them. It could be the pandemic to end all pandemics.

Do we really want to do that to the life of whatever sort that’s evolved on some other world? It just seems like a rather poor way to introduce ourselves if, by chance, there’s other intelligent life out there someplace.

For a bit more perspective on Dyson and how he approaches these heavy questions, check out this short video where he explains why he sees no conflict between his Christian beliefs and the scientific work he engages in. (He also knocks Einstein for turning science into a religion.)

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