Author: William Ramage

Extraterrestrial Life is More Likely Than You Think

By William Ramage | United States

Extraterrestrial life has long been a well-debated topic. It is a commonly held belief that there is no possibility of life outside our own planet, when in reality there are millions, if not billions, of possible life-supporting planets. Additionally, it is possible that extraterrestrial life does not follow the same basis of life we do. For example, foreign life may not need water and oxygen, but rather could be sustained by different elements or compounds. The universe is such a vast, unexplored region, that the mere statistical chances for life other than us are so high, we can almost be certain of them.

Despite the universe being so immense and unmapped, humanity has already discovered many possible Earth-like planets, analyzing not even a fraction of the universe. We have even discovered possible life-supporting planets where we may have been reluctant to look.  For example, NASA found a very strong candidate not far from us. An American probe, Cassini recorded jets of water squirting from cracks known near the south pole of Enceladus — evidence, scientists say, of an underground ocean kept warm and liquid. The possession of water makes Enceladus a very strong candidate to support life. Water is one of the main factors that currently determines if an area can sustain life, and since Enceladus contains an underground ocean that is heated, any life forms living inside are protected from the harsh outside elements. This also expands far past one potential life-bearing planet. At first glance, Enceladus did not appear at all to be Earth-like, but at a closer look, it is. Given this, we may be overlooking many planets that have the potential to host life.

Some argue that all life must follow the same guidelines as life on Earth when in reality it is very feasible that life may not follow any of the guidelines we think to be true. It is such a strange subject to think about, yet it is a very possible factor in our search for extraterrestrial life. The very definition of life is tricky, since scientists have only one example from which to draw conclusions, and that’s Earth life. If this comes to be true, possibilities of life may be endless. We could find life anywhere which once seemed completely improbable. Unearth-like life may not rely on any water, may not rely on any oxygen, and may not have any organic compounds. We think we know so much about life, and we’re just assuming all life is like ours, but once we discover more about our universe, we will uncover more and more solutions to these issues, and also uncover new mysteries.

With all of this being said, probability is still one large factor in finding extraterrestrial life. The possibility of any life other than ours in the universe can be determined by one equation–and the results are shocking. Using the Drake equation, Scientists at the University of Washington came to the conclusion that the chance that we are alone in the universe is one in ten billion trillion. Based on this knowledge, it seems almost impossible for other life not to exist. Knowing this, we may become more enthusiastic to search for life. A newfound enthusiasm paired with such a high chance of coming to a successful conclusion will fuel and motivate our search for life.

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Government Shuts Down Because of Trump’s Ego

By William Ramage | United States

As of Saturday at midnight, the government is partially shut down indefinitely for the third time this year alone. This comes after Congress worked tirelessly to pump out a short-term funding bill in order to prevent this from happening yet again.

Even in a time as divided as we are now, the Senate was able to vote unanimously to pass the funding bill. They only required a signature from President Trump, who evidently failed to provide it.

The Senate chose their country over their party, and Trump chose his ego over his country, essentially blackmailing the rest of the government in order to get what he wants. This is simply rendering the system of checks and balances useless.

This is the first time in 40 years that the government has shut down 3 times in one year alone. Once again the president is putting his own personal prospects before the needs of the American people. Trump failed to provide a signature as the new funding bill did not fund his border wall.

Not only is the wall an unfathomable idea, but it is also not a required piece of infrastructure, and certainly not more important than the very government that controls our nation. Trump chose not to represent his people but rather himself, postponing the running of our democracy.

The crude, stubborn, and indifferent actions of our leader have caused more than 400,000 to be out of their job and out of pay until a deal is reached to satisfy our president and his childish behavior. He claims to bring back jobs to Americans yet he cannot manage to retain the ones that should stay steady and permanent.

Our president has gone rogue, not even adjourning to his own party. The needs of the American people should be the first priority of the government, and the egoistic desires of singular people in office should not even factor in.

Maintaining an operational government should be within the least of our lawmakers’ worries, however, it has continued to prove a struggle point for our underqualified president. The ability of the entire Senate to agree on this funding bill demonstrates that our greatly divided nation is able to unite over the important issues, however, our president is unable to even consider putting his wants aside for the needs of the entire population.

We cannot claim to be the best democracy in the world and set a precedent for other rising democracies if we cannot manage to keep our own functional and running smoothly. We need to put aside individual desires for the prosperity of our nation as a whole.

71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

The U.S. Stance on Marijuana Is Contradictory

William Ramage | United States

Multiple nations around the world are shifting towards marijuana-friendly policies. However, the United States has remained highly conservative on the issue. Despite numerous breakthroughs in the medical use of marijuana, the majority of the United States has yet to legalize any form of cannabis. Given this steadfast view on marijuana, why does the United States take such a liberal approach to alcohol?

The Alcohol Comparison

Alcoholism, drunk driving, and alcohol poisoning contribute to 88,000 annual alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. Alcohol is the third highest cause of preventable death in America, falling short to tobacco use and physical inactivity. On a global perspective, alcohol-related deaths account for 5.9% of total deaths.

In spite of this, modern society has normalized the use an abuse of alcohol. As a result, it often overlooks these looming problems. This normalization of alcohol is a result of alcohol use being prevalent throughout the majority of human history; we are simply used to it and have grown accustomed to it. In the early days of our republic, there was an effort to outlaw alcohol.

The Temperance Movement came from alcohol plaguing the common man. In fact, many would spend far too much of their wages on liquor. This negatively impacted his family and resulted in many inter-familial tensions. The movement was mildly successful but eventually died out completely.

Present day marijuana resistance, on the other hand, is essentially an unorganized, government-led temperance movement. It is preventing the population of our “free” country from using it medically and recreationally without a specific reason to ban it. In fact, a nationwide legalization of marijuana would be beneficial on various levels, far more so than alcohol is.

Marijuana and Medical Benefit

Marijuana has many health benefits, including being an effective painkiller. Cannabis can absolutely be an addictive substance. However, addiction is fairly uncommon and less dangerous, especially compared to opiates like morphine and codeine. These drugs, though, are legal in the United States for medical use. One can very easily overdose to the point of death from using these opioids, while it is impossible to do so from marijuana.

A number of studies have shown that marijuana use helps to curb vomiting and nausea in chemotherapy patients. The government should not be preventing these patients from receiving the treatment they need; it is unfair and the benefits greatly exceed the minor risks. There is also some evidence that suggests marijuana can target cancer cells without harming normal ones.

If applied on a national level, medical marijuana could cause a breakthrough in cancer research. Marijuana is a very low-risk drug, far more so than many legal ones. America’s decision to legalize cannabis in all forms is long overdue, and its strict policy on it is incredibly contradictory, given the legal status of other drugs, both recreational and medical.  

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Space: The Next Victim of American Expansionism

By William Ramage | United States

Manifest Destiny was the nationalistic ideology that westward expansion was inevitable, and that it was the destiny of the United States to occupy all of North America. It was the common belief that the land was provided by divine rule to nurture the nation, and the people of it were obligated to put it to use. The federal government went to great extents, often socially and morally unjust, in order to fulfill their destiny, such as the Mexican-American war, the Louisiana Purchase, and the construction of a transcontinental railroad. This not only benefited the land holdings of the Union but also a sense of national pride. Trade networks were constructed, and capitalism flourished.

Manifest Destiny was achieved to a great extent, leaving many expansionists with a temporary feeling of accomplishment. However, expansionism did not die when America reached its North American goal, and neither did the desires of the citizens; it has remained in society and continues to be a very big part of the American identity today. In modern America, opportunities for discovery and the ability to boost national pride in a peaceful way come seldom. However, often hidden in the shadow of “science and technology”, America’s quest for the colonization of Mars is essentially a modern-day Manifest Destiny.

It is in the progressive nature of Americans, a result of the ethics this country was founded on, to exceed expectations and set a high standard in everything we do. NASA leads the world in space exploration and is taking the global effort of Martian colonization into its own hands. When compared to other nations with exceptional space programs, the United States has continuously been the most successful and evidently had the most drive. The successful recent landing of Nasa’s InSight probe further advocates America’s expertise in this field. Space is the last frontier known to man, as humanity has managed to leave virtually no region on Earth unmapped.

The unknown and opportunity to explore, conquer, and obtain land has captivated Americans since the days of our founding fathers. As technology, science, and national pride began to climb as a result of the (mostly) successful conquest for North America, Americans were presented with the technological and financial means to map and explore an unimaginably large frontier. The desire and sheer will of accepting a task as mind-boggling as this was provided by themselves; the very reason NASA is as successful as it is.

In a nation infamous for its great political rifts, Americans have always been able to bond over exploration and discovery. This does not pertain solely to territorial acquisitions, but travels deeper. Contemporary American society will always have a desire to learn and deepen their understanding of the universe, an expansion of the mind. Therefore, modern-day expansionism is an effect of the American mindset and ideology and remains a prominent aspect of American culture as we all seek to expand our knowledge, liberty, and values of our country.

Expansionism is now at its greatest peak, as every day we get closer to providing social liberty and the greatest amount of political unity possible. Although America has expanded its territory and values to a great extent and already set a precedent for future democracies, it is still far from perfect and will continue to grow closer and closer to its ultimate goal of expanding ethically to all.

71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Trump’s Response to Khashoggi Killing Undermines American Values

William Ramage | United States

The killing of the Saudi journalist Khashoggi ordered by the Saudi Arabian prince is a direct attack on the very values our country was founded upon. It poses a distinct threat to our basic freedoms by the Saudi crown, especially as Khashoggi was working in America and the natural rights of our society should be applied to him. It is a direct act of social terrorism, and given the Iraq war and various American reactions to threats, America doesn’t take terrorism lightly. So why is the Trump administration’s response minimally invasive?

Trump has had many personal financial ties to the Saudi crown, as the Trump organization has received tens of millions of dollars from investors and Saudi business deals. This has been going on for a while as Alwaleed bin-Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, purchased a $20 million yacht from Trump; it occurred in  1991 and was part of Trump’s effort to avoid Bankruptcy. Similar patterns have continued, in 2001 the Saudi Arabian government purchased the entire 45th floor of Trump Tower in New York and up until 2016 paid a total of $5.7 million. Personal endeavors by our president are what is driving the American response to the murder.

The Trump administration is voicing the entire country’s view on behalf of the president’s personal financial values. A conflict of interest of this significance stretches beyond conservative and liberal views; this was quickly made evident in Congress. The Senate voted in an overwhelming majority to end American involvement in the Yemen war, thus punishing the Saudi Arabian government. In a nation as divided as present-day America, it is seemingly impossible to find issues the left and right can find common ground upon. This conflict is one of the few things the majority of America can agree upon, yet it is still in favor of the minority.

The conflict of interest is a violation of the emoluments clause and an abuse of federal power for direct personal financial gain. It is not in Trump’s best financial interest to punish the Saudi Crown.  The response is sacrificing the ideals and liberties engraved by our founding fathers for the economic prosperity of an elite organization. While a more aggressive reaction may stimulate a counter-reaction against America through the form of restricted oil trade, it is a price America should be willing to pay to defend its values.

The CIA has concluded that the Saudi crown prince was directly involved in the killing, as he exchanged messages with the aide who oversaw the execution just days before it happened. Trump has repeatedly bashed the CIA over this matter, claiming them as incorrect. Trump is undermining the CIA and disrespecting their findings and placing more trust within the Saudi Government, essentially defending a foreign government with a history of corruption over his own nation’s intelligence agency.

The United States has involved itself in spreading democracy and its values and liberating those who are suppressed by tyrannical governments. The Vietnam war, though highly controversial, was an American effort to liberate foreign peoples who have had their basic rights suppressed. If the federal government went to such a great extent to aid the Vietnamese and implant our democratic values, why is the modern government refusing to take a stand against a much more direct threat to our democracy?  America needs to take this opportunity to rise up and defend our liberties, as the biggest threat to American culture appears to be our own leader.

71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

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