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When veterans steps into a combat zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan they are stepping into uncharted territory. Upon returning from combat many times they find they are different. Often it is difficult to understand how they are different, but they know that they have changed. These lasting effects many times lead to self medication with alcohol and drugs, as well as violent outbursts and flashbacks which land the veteran in hot water with authorities. There are many judges and lawmakers, themselves veterans, who have seen this problem and are initiating a new program which institutes a separate court system for these cases. Recognizing that these brave men and women should not be lumped in with the rest of our country’s criminals, they have developed what they call Veterans Court. These courts give a presumption of leniency to these veterans in an effort to get them the help they need and return them to the productive, proud members of society they once were. These courts aim to prevent the alienation and out casting of combat veterans the United States saw during and after the Vietnam war, resulting in staggering amounts of veteran homelessness and suicide, forming of outlaw motorcycle gangs and illicit drug use. Read more…

Comment » | Military, News

Jeopardy Episode to Feature Man Vs Computer

↳ Posted on February 9th, 2011 by Ben Spera

I just watched an awesome episode of NOVA about IBM’s Watson, an impressive piece of artificial intelligence software that can answer and respond to questions vocally. According to the documentary IBM has been developing this app for over 4 years and it will finally be debuting on a Jeopardy episode on Monday. The document showed the preliminary rounds of Jeopardy it went through before producers green lighted the official episode. Maybe as a programmer I understand the enormity of this, but I think anyone can appreciate being able to just talk to your computer in normal, natural language. If you’re free on Monday evening I suggest you check it out.

Comment » | Computers, News

Romanticizing Reagan

↳ Posted on February 7th, 2011 by Ben Spera

Now I know the title of this article alone is probably going to get some people ready to rumble, but just hear me out. I am by no means here to Reagan bash. He was a great president and arguably the best in recent times. I don’t deny that, what I take issue with is Reagan’s recent induction into sainthood, with people giving him a lot more credit than what he deserves. People inevitably tend to only remember the good things about people, and allow the not-so-good ones to fade in oblivion. It’s been twenty years, and a lot of things have faded from America’s memory. So next time you proclaim Reagan to be the savior of our republic, just keep what you read here in mind. Read more…

3 comments » | History, Politics

50 Years Later: Still Bringing Our Vets Home

↳ Posted on February 5th, 2011 by Ben Spera

Many Americans may not know that throughout WWII, Korea, Vietnam and almost every military conflict, we aren’t always able to locate and identify our veterans’ remains. A promise commonly repeated in the Marines was  “we never leave a Marine behind,” this slogan is commonly repeated throughout the entire U.S. military. Every man and woman who gives their life defending their country deserves a proper funeral and to be buried in the country they so loved. That is why the Department of Defense established the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office. With over 88,000 Americans missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War they have their work cut out for them.

I stumbled on their website: Very interesting and sobering website which includes a list of those recently identified and brought home, as well as those still unidentified. I recommend everyone take a look.

2 comments » | History, Military

After getting hammered by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has withdrawn her proposal to cut more than $4.5 billion in benefits for disabled veterans. “The problem of government spending must be solved, but not on the backs of our nation’s war heroes,” Bachmann wrote after removing the benefit cuts from her proposal. Why the change of heart? Bachmann’s spokeswoman, Becky Rogness, said Bachmann’s office didn’t study how a cap on VA health spending would affect local VA centers.

I’m not going to harp on the fact that the Congresswoman even considered this idea, but instead just thank her for her quick response to the concerns of our country’s veterans. Thank you Rep. Bachmann.

Comment » | Military, News, Politics

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A Libertarian Case for Net Neutrality

Posted on January 25th, 2014 by Ben Spera

14137_large_net_neutralityAs a libertarian you may be uneasy with the concept of net neutrality. Like me, you feel inexplicably drawn to this neutrality but feel guilty for it. You think to yourself, “I’m a free-market libertarian, by God! Regulation is wrong! Why is my instinct betraying me?” It’s because we don’t live in perfect world. We live in an economy that is far from free and is infested with government regulations and corporate manipulation. The internet service industry is a picturesque example of this.
Read more…

Astronomers Find Habitable Planet

Posted on January 12th, 2014 by Ben Spera

PlanetThe Kepler Space Telescope, launched in 2009 by NASA, has found a planet with a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 C), and it is believed to be covered in land and water like our own planet. Kepler 22B has a year of 290 days, sitting just 15% closer to it’s sun then we are to ours. Read more…


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