What you should know about the US Army

 

Every year, young Americans consider serving their country in the military. But just very few of them know anything about this great institution. If trends hold steady, more than 79,000 people will walk into recruiting stations this year. And to help them, I’ve created this article with some things you might or might not already know about the Army.

 

It is older than our country

The birth of the nation is on the 4th of July, 1776. However, the Army can be considered the country’s “big brother.” This is true because the Continental Army of 1775, led by the future President George Washington, was formed before Thomas Jefferson could write the Declaration of Independence.

Colonists were organized into some sort of rag-tag militias with no actual structure or even a unified chain of command. Things changed on June 14, 1775, in Boston, through a resolution from the Continental Congress.

 

Most presidents wore the uniform

Twenty-four out of all the presidents of the nation served in the Army. Of those, 23 were officers. Teddy Roosevelt is the only president to date to have been awarded the prized Medal of Honor, albeit posthumously.

There even are some celebrities who have joined its ranks. Figures such as Elvis, Humphrey Bogart, and Johnny Carson have made headlines, but they are not the only ones to do have done so, as some had served the country before they made it to the big screen.

 

It is our second-largest employer

The Army doesn’t kid around. With more than 2.2 million people on the payroll, Walmart is the only corporation that’s larger than this huge part of our country. The Army holds the second spot since it has more than 1 million active-duty and reserve members.

While severe budget cuts brought the actual number of soldiers in uniform down in 2015, to the round amount of 1,042,200, our Army still beats the next-largest employer, Yum Brands, which has somewhere around 523,000 employees.

Also, Army bases and all the other Army-owned properties, which are scattered across the country, add up to around 24,000 square miles of land. If you were to combine them in one area and declare it a US state, it would be our 42nd-largest state, after West Virginia.

 

Sea life and the Army

This next fact sounds like it is taken straight out of a futuristic SF novel, but it is true. For humans, there’s the minimum age limit of 18 required to enlist, but there are no actual limits regarding age or even species for non-humans to work for the US military force.

The US Navy Marine Mammal Program, a more underground division, utilizes the advanced intelligence, behavioral traits and training capability of dolphins and sea lions to perform secret tasks such as ship and harbor protection, more delicate missions such as equipment recovery, and in some instances, even mine detection and clearance.

How to get great military gadgets

 

Modern technology is helping us in various unexpected ways. The truth is, without military technology, we might not be able to do things like hunting and protecting ourselves anymore. With the help of this post, I will reveal some of the coolest military gadgets of the era and how you could get your hands on them

If you’re a fan of tactical gear, then you will for sure appreciate these tools ideal not only for outdoor adventures but emergencies too. Without beating it around the bush, let’s get to our topic.

Get to the source

The best way to obtain military accessories is by going to the source. Of course, you’ll have to know someone one in the Army who can facilitate this gadget-acquiring process for you; it can be fuss-free as you’ll skip many intermediaries and even paperwork.

One thing that you’ll have to know is that you cannot acquire weapons or other dangerous things, and you should never do this behind the back of the proper authorities. It’s not only illegal, but you’ll never know if what you’re buying is safe or not.

 

The Internet is your best friend

Some of the most sought-after military gadgets include helmets, backpacks and little tools like flashlights and knives. And the good news is that you won’t have to look for an army outpost to obtain them, as the Internet is your greatest ally.

You can find plenty of alternatives that have the same extreme build quality and which are reliable in many situations. Manufacturers nowadays offer excellent craft for a small price, and more importantly, they offer variety so you can find products that will not only stand the test of time but also look good and that will suit your style too.

These brands usually ship anywhere, so even if you live in Alaska, you’ll still have the chance to buy premium military gear. Other sellers have military clothing items available, so you can protect yourself when hunting – while at it you could also opt for something with camo patterns so you can completely blend with the environment.

You could also take advantage of the buying guides some of the website offer, which I think are essential if you’re not an expert on the topic, as they help you make an educated buy.

Go local

And the last tip is to browse local shops, which from time to time sell these types of products. Even Target has some for sale, although the options are limited and the quality questionable. There are specialized shops which have higher prices, but they only sell products that respect all the health and quality standards, so you know your gear will help you, not stay in the way of you having fun.

What it’s like to be a veteran

 

The life-altering decision to willingly join the military comes with many side-effects that the general public is rarely aware of. A large part of this never-ending commitment is both physically and mentally transforming. For many veterans, the memories they accumulate changes their core, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.

Military service is undeniably difficult, demanding and ultimately dangerous. However, returning to civilian life can pose just as many challenges for men and women according to a recent Pew Research Center study.

The good news is that 72% of the total number of the surveyed veterans reported that they had a comfortable time readjusting to civilian life. The other 27% said re-entry was challenging for them, a proportion that is too high for us to sit around and do nothing.

Why do some of these heroes have a hard time adjusting to civilian life, while some of the others make the transition with little effort? The answer is complicated, and it can change from one person to another.

A great deal of a veteran’s life is adjusting to injuries. Some lucky ones escape service without losing any body parts, but there are some who lose limbs and fingers, and even the sense of self. When they finally get home to their families, they have to learn how to live daily life with their disabilities, which takes a toll on their mood and life quality.

According to the same study, veterans who had been commissioned officers and the people who had graduated from college or similar institutions are more likely to have a simple time readjusting to the post-military life than the exposed enlisted personnel and high school graduates.

In contrast, veterans who have experienced emotionally traumatic experiences while serving the country, or the group who returned home with severe injuries, were usually diagnosed with PTSD, and thus they found it incredibly difficult to live the life they had before enrolling.

This is why a large chunk of the time gained upon returning home needs to be spent on rebalancing the mind and going to a psychiatrist, to fix those underlying issues. Some even become addicted to drugs, legal or illegal.

The good news is that those who are married and have kids have increased chances of living the life they always wanted, as it is vital to have emotional support and a familiar figure when coming back from missions. Also, higher levels of religious belief dramatically increase the odds that a veteran will accept living a civilian’s life.

So the news is not all bad. On the contrary, numbers show us that most veterans are happy and pleased with their success in the military. It is vital that a veteran who experienced any kind of trauma or distress in the army seek out help when coming back home, in order to repair the damage because they don’t have to live in pain or fear.

How to make the most of your stargazing endeavors

 

Polluted skies are awful, and there’s no denying that they can ruin the entire experience of a stargazer. That’s why I usually take my equipment and drive out of town in case I want to have a good look at the celestial objects that interest me. Recently, I’ve taken to going out with my son, and I like that we can do a bit of bonding while I tell him the basics of optics, physics, space, and all that jazz.

The first thing you have to do, in my opinion, if you want to make sure that everything goes as planned, is to find a place that’s really dark. You can see a lot more if the sky is less polluted with light, so make sure to retire to some spots such as a state park or any open area where there aren’t too many buildings, street lights, or the chance of traffic is unlikely.

The next tip I would suggest is studying constellations. You don’t even need an expensive telescope to look at stars, but you may want to know which ones you’re looking at. Some of the basic star groupings you might want to know are the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, and Cassiopeia, as you can use them as indicators for the other stars and planets.

I also recommend going online and searching for several forums. It’s much likely to get some help from someone who is passionate about the same topic as you than to ask around in hopes that some of your friends might be into your hobbies. Most stargazers out there are nice people, and they can help you do a lot of things, be they picking the right beginner’s telescope, finding the perfect places to watch the sky at night, or getting additional lenses and accessories.

Above all, I think that it is important to emphasize that you first have to find out as much as you can about the equipment you own and only then use it outdoors. What I mean by this is that, once you have purchased a telescope, you need to take some time to get accustomed to it and learn how to use it by reading the owner’s manual. Everyone knows this, to be sure, but hardly anyone does it.

If you own a photo camera and you haven’t taken the time to read the manual, you might not be able to make the most of it. And that’s a shame, given that amazing pictures can be taken even with the most basic models of digital cameras. Get to know your telescope and be patient with yourself and with the device and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s worthless just because you haven’t yet learned how to use it.

This solar system is similar to our own, says NASA

 

 

I’m a big fan of NASA and space discoveries, and so that’s why I take the time to go online and find out if they’ve announced any groundbreaking finds. Recently, I came across this article from The Independent, according to which the organization has found a solar system that is extremely similar to our own.

The similarities don’t pertain to the way the planets are organized inside the system or any other details of this sort, however. They mostly refer to the fact that the system does have a star much like our own and is about one fifth of the age of our solar system. What this means is that it is currently undergoing the changes and cataclysmic processes that have defined our planet.

The constellation is called Eradinus and the star which resembles the one around our sun has the name Epsilon Eridani. NASA are currently interested in studying the modifications that this particular star is going to go through especially as it comes with an inner and an outer disk, a gap that appears to have been caused by the other planets in the system.

While all of this does not seem like something we should be extremely excited about, the fact of the matter is that it could tell us a lot about the way in which our own solar system has evolved over time. The ancient past of the Earth and the other planets surrounding it hasn’t been studied enough and our resources for this are limited, at best. Besides, most astronomers are interested in finding out how things are going to develop in the future rather than dwelling on the past.

Granted, this might be a good idea after all, given that even our planet is going through changes that are likely to affect it indefinitely, but maybe grasping the ancient history of the Earth wouldn’t be a bad thing, after all. Furthermore, this new solar system could tell us how life evolved on our planet. There are multiple theories in this sense, but for now, what we know is that our planet is the only one that can sustain life. Wouldn’t you want to know if there are others like us out there? I know I would.

Colonization is something else that has been preoccupying me for a while, and it might be quite likely to occur in the next couple hundreds of years. Unless we man up and learn how to respect our environment, we’ll have to find some other planet to ruin with our awful habits. I know some people don’t like thinking of such scenarios, but in my opinion, they are quite likely especially as humanity doesn’t seem to stop breeding anytime soon.