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Nationhood and Social Cohesion

By Kevin Doremus | United States

Ideas of closed and open borders have dominated topics on migration in the American context.  The debates focus on what immigration policies should be instead of focusing attention on what is occurring in the international system. Questions of western identity infuse themselves into the discussion.  Western societies are gripped by the conflict between differing conceptions of the nation and idealism.

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Black Belts Banned in California Over Public Safety Concern

Ryan Lau | @agorisms | Satire

In a shocking new development in California Sunday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that would ban martial artists from becoming black belts. The measure passed through state legislature easily after the murder of an innocent man at the hands of a karate black belt.

Three weeks ago, 35-year-old dojo owner Jason Shreve was walking home from work when a masked man attacked him with a knife. In defense, he disarmed and broke the leg of the man, who died that night from hypothermia. One state senator called the act “inexcusable”, pointing to a recent rise in attacks by martial artists and comparing it to gun violence.

“You simply don’t see this pattern in other developed countries”, asserted Toni Atkins, the state’s Senate President pro Tempore. “And in those countries, people aren’t allowed to just turn themselves into military-grade weapons. This measure will certainly help to keep citizens of California safe”.

Penalties for Black Belts

The bill, which goes into effect March 1st, makes it a felony to knowingly promote a karate student to the rank of black belt or higher. Existing black belts may keep their positions, but may not advance in degree. Dojo owners in violation of the law will face a minimum fine of $100,000 and up to three years in prison. Black belts caught seeking training will also face a smaller fine of $5,000 for the first offense.

Additionally, it outlines severe penalties for practicing self-defense techniques in the real world. Lower ranks may continue to practice only in registered dojos. Anyone learning or teaching martial arts beyond a state-recognized location may face up to a year’s imprisonment. Black belts doing the same may also be subject to treason charges. The bill makes it clear that the government provides security for its citizens; therefore, the only reason people would need to turn themselves into weapons is to use themselves against the state.

In efforts to pacify martial artists in the state, California will be voluntarily buying back all black belts from March 1st to June 1st. Compensation will vary depending on the age of the belt and what school it came from. However, lawmakers warn that any citizen hoping to pass off their normal black belt for a martial arts black belt will face stiff penalties.

America’s Martial Arts Problem

Proponents of the law have pointed out how easy it is to begin martial arts training in America. Brown has previously noted that “it’s easier to begin the road to a black belt than it is to get birth control. You can just walk into a dojo and sign a form; the next thing you know, they’re converting your body into a deadly weapon. This practice is not American and does not represent the values we preach in California. I hope other states can follow our lead and bring this country out of the dark”.

All in all, the state legislature echoed Brown’s sentiment. They believe that the new measure will help to deter violence. Despite this, minority rights groups believe that the new law will unfairly affect minority colors.

“The government is clearly banning black belts while allowing white belts to still train”, remarked minority rights activist from the group Black Belts Matter. “I thought that we had abandoned these policies 50 years ago, but it appears discrimination in America is still rampant”.

Currently, seven other states require all martial artists to register themselves with authorities as lethal weapons. This move is unique thus far to the Golden State. However, the United Kingdom recently passed a similar measure that strictly outlawed all martial arts in formal dojos.

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Do Subscription Boxes Hurt Socialization?

Nickolas Roberson | United States

We all enjoy and love the subscription box services and products that we pay for and receive every month. Shaving products, popular culture merchandise, or even food and water; these services deliver easy-to-access, quality goods straight to our homes. However, how do these amenity providers affect our socialization?

Subscription Boxes: An Introduction

Companies provide boxes that are filled with niche products for the consumers they are targeting. These boxes are known as subscription boxes. Routinely fulfilled payments pay for the shipped goods. 

In the United States, there are an estimated 400 to 600 companies offering these subscription boxes. BlueApron (a meal kit service), Stitch fix (a personal styling service), Dollar Shave Club (a personal grooming product service), and Loot Crate (a pop culture product service) are some of the more popular services offered. This constantly innovating industry has grown from 4.7 visitors to their websites in 2014 to 41.7 million in 2018. This demonstrates increasing demand for these easy to access quality products. Additionally, a majority of the consumers of subscription boxes are 18 to 24 years old, and “prefer the convenience of online shopping.”  However, while online shopping and subscription boxes are extremely easy to purchase and are high in quality, this massive increase in popularity of them may have some negatives.

Marketplace Socialization

The physical marketplace has been the locality for much of humanity’s socialization. It’s where we learned the social skills that were vital for trading and general communication. However, the adoption of mass consumerism and the development of subscription services and boxes could harm socialization.

The vast majority of the aforementioned subscription box services are provided through online shopping. Now, this makes goods incredibly easy to access and purchase. This is tremendous, but there is no social interaction taking place. This, practiced en masse, would have a negative impact on the socialization of individuals.

New Technologies

This occurs through the immense increase in technological advancement taking place today. Cell phones read your face, voice commands control TVs, and personal computers contain alternate realities. With these new, innovative technologies and subscription boxes is a matter of time before individuals have total access to goods and services without leaving their homes. As a result, the death of socialization. 

Subscription services are an amazing product of capitalism. They provide cheaper and more convenient high-quality products. But everything in life has a tradeoff, and the loss of socialization is the tradeoff for subscription boxes.

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SPONSORED POST: Reactor Blasts Slot Game into Online Casinos

Note: This is a sponsored post and does not reflect the views or opinions of 71 Republic, LLC or its affiliates.

Red Tiger Gaming has unveiled what is likely to be amongst the last new video slots to have debuted in 2018. In the final week of last year, the casino software providers decided to unveil their new Reactor slot.

Although there are many games out there which are known as reactor slots, this is not one of them. Those titles tend to feature a cluster pays style of gameplay, but this Red Tiger game really is just a plain old video slot, albeit with a few nifty features.

Red Tiger Gaming’s Newest Addition

The new Reactor slot is set to feature 5 reels and 20 pay lines, with bets costing as little as 20p a spin on the game. There are plenty of gemstone and crystal-shaped symbols on the reels which can dish out decent wins in the new slot, although none of the graphics which appear in the new slot are going to blow anybody away.

It does help that this slot carries a non-progressive jackpot which is worth around 5,000 coins. However, whether that prize is enough for fans to get giddy about Reactor remains to be seen.

Win with Reactor Re-Spins

The Red Tiger Gaming slot might win over some fans with its special features, though. There is a wild symbol which appears as a ball of energy, and that can substitute for all other symbols. There is also a re-spin feature which makes the slot well worth a look.

When batteries land on the reels, re-spins are offered to players. Landing a single battery on the reels offers a single re-spin. However, the more batteries you land, the better the features become. Symbol swapping features, extra wilds, mega (colossal) wilds and multipliers worth up to 10x can all be added to your re-spin if you land enough batteries.

Where to Play Reactor Blasts This Weekend

Reactor officially launches this weekend at all top casinos offering Red Tiger Gaming slots. Players will also be able to find the slot for free over at Tunf right now. They can also point you in the right direction when it comes to leading casinos offering the game.

A list of Red Tiger Gaming casinos are recommended at Tunf, all of which carry this and plenty of other top Red Tiger slots to play. If you are thinking of reacting and playing the new slot in the near future, why not try it for free first?

The People’s Palace: German Architects Say Buckingham Palace Could Fit 50,000 Londoners

By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

German design team Opposite Office have unveiled a wild solution to London’s housing crisis: convert Buckingham Palace’s 775 rooms into a multi-story apartment building that could possibly house up to 50,000 people. Today, many Londoners struggle to find affordable housing in a city that has exploded for businesses but has yet to adequately address its growing rent problems.

The opposite of freedom is captivity. Captivity doesn’t necessarily have to be physical. Captivity can also be in our head. Monarchy is something that we associate with captivity. The monarchy in Great Britain is not oppressive but it is still a sign of power and the old days of royalty – days when the difference between social classes was very present. In London, as in other big cities, there is an extreme lack of housing, but the symbol of kingship, extravagance, wealth and wast remain. We understand this as a contradiction and want to blur these boundaries. Blur, to be truly free, because living space for all is freedom!” – Opposite Office Architecture Firm

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Floorplan of updated Buckingham Palace 

Buckingham Palace was first constructed in 1703 and is home to the monarch and administrators. The Palace has stood as a site for mourning and celebration through the four centuries that it has stood in Westminster.

To make space for so many Londoners, certain amenities would have to be curbed. Namely, the projected space would feature no corridors and folding screen walls would be used to divide the floorplan. The architectural drawings also include shared common spaces between single and double bedrooms.

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Architectural drawings of converted Buckingham Palace

The project also includes a projected addition that would sit above the Palace and over 8 staircases that would provide access throughout the converted space. Opposite Office’s co-founder Benedikt Hartl penned a letter to the Queen which read in part: “The refurbishment and extension of the Buckingham Palace will draw great media attention to the issue of affordable housing, whilst improving the social standing of Buckingham Palace.”

Designers throughout England and Europe have been working towards a solution for London’s housing crisis. Engineering firm WSP has suggested that as many as 280,000 homes could be built above unused space along the railroads of London and Cube Haus has proposed modular homes for awkward spaces throughout the city.

Still no insight as to whether prospective renters would get to the keep the guards.

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