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What Does A Vice President Do Anyway?

There are only three essential tasks

We have good news for you: Election season is almost over.

After enduring months and months of campaigning from dozens of candidates with heated debates, vicious attacks, and relentless fundraising, citizens will soon head to the polls to choose the next president of the United States.


Sadly, for many, our choices are pretty limited. Our two major party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, both boast the lowest approval ratings of any presidential candidates in the past 10 presidential cycles. But, it’s still important to exercise your freedoms and head to the polls Tuesday, November 8 to cast your ballot. When voting, it’s also important to remember one key factor: who will be the vice president of the United States?

As many have described, the VP choice is a mere “heartbeat away” from the presidency. In the aftermath of a tragic presidential death, who would you want running the country, Tim Kaine or Mike Pence? (To get to know these guys a bit more, read up on GOOD’s story here.)

But even as VP, these men are more than just a warm body waiting in second place. Here are a few key tasks the vice president of the United States undertakes:

Presiding Officer of The Senate

In this role, the vice president acts as the tiebreaker in the United States Senate. The VP also presides over the joint session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College and announce the next presidency. Counting the votes can often lead to an awkward situation, with several candidates, including Vice President Al Gore and Vice President Richard Nixon, having to announce their opponents as the winner. Aside from a tiebreaking vote and official counter, the VP has no real power or influence over the Senate.

Advisor to the President

Though not a technical role, the VP will often act as an informal advisor to the president, depending on the relationship between the two. Trump, for example, has noted he would likely hand over all foreign policy matters to Mike Pence if elected.

Warm Body

We know we joked about a VP being more than this, but this truly is their main job and most important duty. In total, nine vice presidents in U.S. history have had to step in to become president of the United States during their term, some through the death of the president, others through impeachment. It’s imperative the person sitting next to the president be ready at a moment’s notice to take control of the free world, have a grasp on all foreign and domestic policy matters, be ready to handle nuclear codes, and probably understand our relationship with the aliens most certainly hiding out at Area 51.

It may seem like a simple job to only have three real tasks, but make sure to watch tonight’s vice-presidential debate to make sure you like your second choice before you vote on November 8.

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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





Culture
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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