This is a little known group from Duluth, Minnesota that is growing in popularity like wildfire. They play modern bluegrass and are extremely talented… they also have some pretty awesome music videos.
*Iowa State Daily column by me*
“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” This is the Scout Oath, which nearly 100 million members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have recited weekly since 1911.
It is this oath that led a committee of professional and volunteer scout leaders to announce an affirmation of its policy of “not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals.” The Boy Scouts of America is not a Christian organization — instead promoting Christian faith — but to publicly reaffirm the long-held policy after a two-year internal debate simply astonishes me.
To put it simply, the anti-gay announcement was a business decision pressured by a religious organization. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the single largest contributor to the BSA and has stated that if the organization allowed homosexual members, the church would withdraw all monetary and asset donation. (The second-largest contributor is the United Methodist Church, which hasn’t stated they would cease funding.)
As I was once a member of the Boy Scouts and of the Eagle Scout rank, I am slightly embarrassed and ashamed that I had a place in this bigoted organization. I am very proud of the things I learned and would never wish to replace the experiences I had, but I was also ignorant as an adolescent. I would also like to think that my troop was a little more liberal than the Bible thumpers of the South, as I don’t ever recollect an issue during my term in the BSA.
In a little over a decade, the Scouts have lost about 20 percent of their members, and the numbers are still on the decline. Amidst the greatest LGBT movement in world history, I can only imagine that this announcement will strike down the Scouts and quite possibly be a fatal blow if they don’t change their policies to suit the morals of today’s society.
Though the BSA is a not-for-profit organization, the Scouts still need money to fuel their programs. With membership already lacking, donations in the coming years might be difficult for BSA, which largely relies on public (and government) funding. Not to mention, a lot of donations come from Boy Scout alumni; the estrangement of current and future alumni has the potential to put the Boy Scouts on a panhandling soapbox — much like that of many churches today.
In a way, I am glad that this reaffirmation was made. It removed the stagnant policy that was an unspoken written rule on the verge of taboo. More people, especially the younger generation, will no longer support the Boy Scouts and will not send their children through the discriminating program. No law needs to change; the BSA is still completely protected by the Constitution, and that is the beauty of a free society. The change of becoming a less discriminating organization needs to happen internally; and this ruling, though pathetic, might just finally teeter the Boy Scouts towards a truly moralistic organization.
Some BSA groups, including the largest council in Minnesota, have publicly stated that homosexuals will remain welcome in the ranks of the troops regardless of national policy. The council through which I came, in the Chicago area, has stated to its council members that this is a national policy that cannot be locally changed and they urge members and leaders to write in to voice their opinion.
If you wish to contact the BSA and voice your opinion, here is the mailing address at which you can reach them:
Boy Scouts of America, National Council
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, Texas 75015-2079
I am in the process of formulating a well-authored letter, and coming from one of their well-honored Eagle Scouts, it will be taken seriously. I strongly suggest you, too, write in — especially if you were involved in the Scouting program.
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/InsanityIsJustAStateOfMind
*Iowa State Daily column by me*
“You think it’s hot here?” were the words I recently read on a church sign here in Ames. When the church makes light of the heat in relation to hell, then you know the sun is blazing, and the pavement is searing. Medians on Lincoln Way literally buckled out of the ground, students frolicked through the sprinklers in front of the library, and multiple people were admitted into Mary Greeley for heat exhaustion.
As of the end of June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its data concerning the first six months of 2012. In the 48 contiguous states, the 2012 year-to-date weather statistics show the highest recorded heat in the more than 100 years the United States has recorded temperature. The administration’s statistics also showed the last 12 months were the hottest in recorded history. June was the 14th warmest on record, April was the third warmest on record, May was the second hottest, and March was the hottest in recorded history. All the while, the summer of 2011 was the second warmest ever, and the past winter was the fourth warmest. Of the top 10 warmest 12-month periods since 1895, four of them have occurred since April 2011; and all of the top 10 are from no earlier than fall of 1999.
A topic of great debate in the last two or three decades is global warming. The topic has even switched sides of the aisle during that time (which is humorous in its own). The debate of whether or not it is happening no longer exists. Earth’s temperature is rising. The numbers bolster the observations. I recently spoke with a man who grew up on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, not too far from Mount Kilimanjaro. He said that when he was a child, he would stand in his yard and see the mountain completely covered with glacier and snow. Now there is hardly a snow cap. It wasn’t until this man came to America and heard the global warming debate he became convinced that was the cause. This is just one at-home example of receding glaciers and melting snow packs.
As the late Christopher Hitchens once said: “The argument about global warming is not whether there is any warming but whether or not and to what extent human activity is responsible for it. My line on that is that we should act as if it is.” This is exactly the position I feel everyone should take, regardless of your stance on the issue. He went on to powerfully state, “We don’t have another planet on which to run the experiment,” which is blatantly true. Is our ego as a species so high as to assume we are correct in our predictions, that if unappreciated, could potentially turn Earth into another Venus? Hopefully the answer is “no.”
You have undoubtedly heard some of the implications of a runaway greenhouse effect: rising sea levels, shrinking ice caps, ocean current neutrality, extreme weather and increased solar radiation, to name a few. Once it becomes “runaway,” things get scary: oxygen depletion, acidification of water and total collapse of the ecosystem.
These scenarios all seem far and gone impossible. But this is exactly what would happen experimentally if Earth lost its climate balance. Most climatologists and astronomers believe Venus is a direct example of this. What would it say about us as humanity if we let this happen?
Dan Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard, said in a TED talk: “If we’re not here in 10,000 years, it’s going to be because we could not take advantage of the gift given to us — because we underestimated the odds of our future pains and overestimated the value of our present pleasures.” It would say we are arrogant and inept. Do you want to be outlived by the dinosaurs 1,800 times? Let alone the cockroaches. A little shame and humility can go a long way.
It’s not about whether we are correct or not, it’s about the implications of correctness. If we are incorrect about the literal and figurative mountains of evidence then all we do is blush our cheeks and learn and nothing abominable happens. But if the evidence proves to be kosher and we fail to keep ourselves honest, then the detour to the boulevard of annihilation will be lifted, and that’s a road we don’t want to give ourselves the opportunity to cruise.
Iowa State Daily article by me: http://www.iowastatedaily.com/opinion/article_279015be-d043-11e1-9159-001a4bcf887a.html
*Iowa State Daily column by me*
Nationalism nowadays is generally an inadequate mentality. It estranges one nation from an ever globalizing world. A world that will need to work together to accomplish great things. But I need to admit, it was a bittersweet moment when I heard that CERN‘s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva discovered a Higgs boson like particle with nearly 100 percent accuracy on America’s Independence Day.
If you aren’t familiar with the latest news (and I dearly hope you are) for nearly 50 years the proposed Higgs boson particle was the most sought after discovery in science. Some have argued it would be the greatest human discovery to date.
Ironic undertones, as not too long ago Congress canceled a project already underway in Texas called the Superconducting Super Collider, which was to build an accelerator three times as powerful as the European counterpart. Congress cut funding due to cost, which was budgeted to $12 billion, similar to that of the International Space Station. Although the NASA budget is not under the same allocation as the Super Collider, just to put it in perspective, the recent bank bailout was of a greater monetary cost than NASA has ever spent in the half century it has existed. To say that the science isn’t affordable, let alone worth it, is a tall tale.
The fall of the Soviet Union brought a cease funding mentality as far as the U.S. government was concerned, regardless of the dreams of scientists, nerds and children alike. Keeping-up-with-the-Joneses was no longer an issue of significance.
What concern does this have with the Higgs boson particle? Well, the Fermilab accelerator in Illinois (the world’s second largest operating accelerator) had been searching for the particle for decades. Fermilab had had hints of the Higgs particle for years but didn’t have quite the power of the new Hadron Collider. In 2010 Fermilab asked for $100 million just to keep it running, less than a third of a thousandth of a percent of the national budget. The request was denied, and America’s most capable accelerator was shut off.
The Super Collider would’ve been 20 times the power of Fermilab’s accelerator and already more powerful than the recently built Hadron Collider, significantly increasing the likelihood of verifying Peter Higgs proposition of the Higgs particle — and therefore keeping our nation at the forefront of science. Not because the United States should be at the forefront but because it’s the intelligent and natural thing to do, and competition fuels the dreams of tomorrow.
Once verified, the discovery of the Higgs boson particle will be eternalized in history just as were the theories of Einstein, Bohr, Darwin, Newton and Galilei to name a few. What each of these great scientific discoveries has in common is that in each of their current times, no one knew quite exactly the implications of such discovery, not even the discoverer. But each was paramount in expanding the bubble of knowledge humans have.
Without Einstein, we would have no GPS and no knowledge of the relation of time and space. Without Bohr, we would have little understanding of atomic structure and quantum mechanics. Without Darwin, we would have no modern biology. Without Newton, we would have no calculus, at least not until much later. Galilei is the father of modern science, according to Einstein. And Peter Higgs very well could be the father of understanding the fabric of space itself.
And what do we have to say about it? Yahoo’s top article was about Justin Bieber on the Fourth of July, the day CERN discovered the particle. You would need to scroll through several pages of news to find anything related to the Higgs boson particle. The same reaction is represented all over America. Nobody seemed to give a damn — unless you were in the science community. Back when Einstein was set to prove his theory via a solar eclipse, the entire world was bridling with energy in anticipation for his results. Once the results came, headlines around the world celebrated science. The Times of London read “Revolution In Science.” The New York Times read “Einstein Theory Triumphs.” Beers were named after the nutty man himself. He was eventually labelled person of the century by Time.
Americans need to restore their drive for discovery. It is requisite for our society to remain a card player among current and up and coming first-world nations. The stone age is only a stone’s throw away in species terms; let’s not let it throw back. We all know about our Nobel Prize Laureate; let’s keep the reputation that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Every one of us needs to push and advocate scientific discovery. Open up your children or future children to it. Even if you don’t care about it, it’s guaranteed to affect your life in every way possible. When you reach the ripe old age of “kick the bucket,” you can say you were alive when the Higgs boson particle was discovered.
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/InsanityIsJustAStateOfMind
There are so many videos this guy has that are amazing, it’s difficult to just pick one. I chose this one simply because I can’t imagine the amount of time and effort it took to piece together every single part in ‘Paradise’. All sounds are produced by Mike’s voice. Check it out.