Monday, November 19, 2018

1917 Woods Dual Power

Woods Dual Power - Photo: Wikimedia
The first hybrid gas-electric car did not come out in 1983 but in 1917. The Woods Dual Power was built by the Woods Motor Vehicle Company of Chicago. Because the gas engine was so rough but supplied more power and electric cars were smoother but had limited range, the Woods Motor Vehicle Company wanted to supply a car that gave you the best of both worlds.

The best part is, it was a full hybrid (listen up GM) with regenerative braking. The engine was a parallel hybrid that included a 12-hp, 4-cylinder gasoline engine as an auxiliary drive system in addition to the electric drivetrain. The electric engine could propel the car up to 20 mph. Together with the gas engine, the dual wood power could get up to 35 mph.

The gas engine and electric engine were connected using a magnetic clutch. The gas engine became magnetized when activated (by a lever controlled by the driver). The copper disk was pulled against the flywheel connecting the electric motor to the gas engine.

Only the electric motor could be used while going in reverse. Why? Because the engine had no clutch and so the gas engine had no gears!

The car battery designed for this car was about half the size of the batteries in other electric cars of the time. Once the car got up to 20 mph, the gas engine could be engaged, allowing the electric motor and gas motor to work together. The battery could be recharged or discharged by another lever. Recharging was done by the gas motor (at speeds over 6 mph) or by braking on level ground or when coasting down hills. A conventional brake pedal was only used at speeds of less than 6 mph.

Available for only $2650 (remember this was 1917). Wire wheels were a luxury, costing an extra $25. Or you could 'pimp' your vehicle out for another $100 (paint and trim).

Ultimately, the first hybrid was a commercial failure. It was built only in 1917 and 1918. It was too expensive, too slow, and too difficult to service to be a commercial success.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman - Photo: Wikimedia
Sometimes when we think of legionary outlaws who gave their life efforts to help a downtrodden and oppressed people, figures like Robin Hood or some other dashing male hero springs to mind.  In black history, we have just such a character but this champion of her people did not ride the forests with merry men.  Harriet Tubman, a humble and diminutive black woman truly qualifies as such a profoundly legendary figure that her exploits would rival Robin Hoods or any other hero of cultural legend.  Small wonder she was often referred to as “Moses of her People.”

Harriett Tubman was born in 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland to a slave family of the estate of Anthony Thompson.  During her slave years, she endured many hardships and harsh treatment which left her with scars and even as susceptibility to epileptic seizures that resulted from a head injury.  It was common for slaves to change hands and that was part of Harriet’s life as well.  Finally, in 1849, she ran away to freedom but she by far did not run away from her people.

Over the next few years, Harriet Tubman became a true warrior for the salvation of her people who were locked in slavery.  Harriet didn’t just find a safe place and count her blessings for making it to freedom.  She saw the need for the Underground Railroad in the salvation of hundreds more like her and it became her life’s mission to maintain the regional stations of that railroad for as long as it took to give liberty to all who had the courage to flee slavery via that resource.  

Harriet Tubman showed the kind of courage, resourcefulness, and intellect that a field general for any army would be proud to boast.  All totaled Tubmen lead thirteen separate missions to bring African Americans to freedom along the Underground Railroad.  That means that she personally lead over seventy slaves to freedom and had a direct influence on the freeing of at least that many more.  And by keeping the Underground Railroad operational and out of the reach of slave hunters and authorities who sought to shut it down, she indirectly was influential in the salvation of hundreds, perhaps thousands more.  Who can say how many prosperous and influential black families in this country today owe the lives of their ancestors and the success they have achieved since those dark days to the brave work of Harriet Tubman.

When the Civil War came, Harriet didn’t retire satisfied that she had done her work for her people.  She continued to work tirelessly for abolitionist movements and to do her part for the war effort.  She became one of the first ever female spies for the North during the war and her military abilities were so well developed that she actually was put in a position of leadership to command the raid on Combahee Ferry in 1863.

After the Civil War was over, Harriet Tubman continued her work on behalf of abolitionist movements and for women’s rights until she retired to write her memoirs.  Her contribution during this crucial time in black history was so revered that the US Postal Service honored her with a stamp in 1978.  

There have been many heroes and heroines in the long uphill struggle for liberation, freedom and equality for African Americans in this country.  During this brutal time when Harriet Tubman stood in the gap for her people, the plight of black Americans was as much life and death as any other time in history.  Small wonder her name is revered as one of the icons of the fight for freedom prior to the Civil War.  And small wonder she was referred to as Moses to Her People and will be remembered in that way for generations to come.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Experiencing the Parallels between Victimology and Criminology

Photo: Flickr
All too often, society is inclined to allow criminals to receive leniency for their crimes as a result of the environment in which a person may have existed.  Even if the criminal was not influenced by their environment to commit the crime, the criminal is liable to adopt the persona of the victim in order to gain sympathy. 

This is often successful because when more well-off individuals are in the presence of those that are considered to be less fortunate, they may feel guilt.  In many cases, this guilt is not necessary.  However, if an individual begins to express their opinion that by adopting the role of a victim the criminal is dodging the responsibility of the crime, they will likely be criticized greatly for their thoughts.  

Victimology, even if it is sincere, is often a way in which individuals justify a crime to themselves and to others.  For example, one of the most commonly held beliefs within the United States of America is that of the great American dream, in which everyone is happy, living in a nice house and the parents have stable occupations making a comfortable living for their families.  This does not at all reflect the reality of inner-city slums and poor rural areas.  By clinging to the belief that no matter what, even without trying in some cases, individuals deserve to experience the American dream, they may be inclined to take what they feel they deserve rather than try to work for it.  Some people will rationalize that they have no means to work for this dream, and they had no choice but to act out in the way that they did.  However, this blaming of society does not change the reality of the situations.  By allowing one person to get away with a crime because of a victim mentality would be a slap in the face to the people that do work to succeed.  

Herein lays the most important parallel between victimology and Criminology. While it is simple to blame society for one’s troubles, this does not begin to solve the problem.  Individuals from all sides need to think about how society may impact the role of the criminal and to take steps in order to change things.  This way, when an individual tries to adopt a victim mentality, we can state as a society that there were other options.  By outlining the different options in such a setting, even more, people can be exposed to the ways in which society is working to stabilize equality between different categories of individuals and work to reduce crime as a product of environment or surroundings.  Criminology works to examine how society and the criminal interact, and this needs to be looked at under extreme scrutiny in order to find the causes of problems and work toward successful solutions.

There are also instances in which those who are perceived to be in a seat of power will become corrupt.  It is important to look at this too.  Individuals may attempt to adopt a victim role in this scene as well in order to appeal to the sympathetic public.  Aside from sociopaths, individuals have moral standards that will tell them what is wrong and what is right.  For anyone to adopt the role of the victim in order to gain sympathy is a ploy against the considerate nature of others.  When it comes to crime, the people that should be playing the role of the victim are those who were victimized during the act of the crime.  For individuals that live, they are many times much stronger than people may have believed them to be, and it is nauseating that the criminal will then try to adopt a role that the person they violated will not even take on in the courtroom.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

On the Nature of Evil

Eugène Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People (1830, Louvre) - Photo: Wikipedia
In psychological terms, evil is an aberration of the ego. An evil ego has a strong desire to dominate other egos. An evil person knows that terror is the most effective way to dominate other people because terror induces incapacitating fear. People who are stricken with fear cannot take effective action to defend themselves and while they are in that state, an evil person can do anything they want to do to them. This aberration of the ego can be termed "sick" because the perverted ego will inflict pain and suffering in order to experience the joy and thrill of being in total control. A healthy ego will not do that. A healthy ego is self-sufficient, peaceful, joyful in its natural state, and it has a desire to help and serve others. A healthy ego does not have a desire to dominate and it will not purposefully inflict pain and suffering. The concept of ego domination has been practiced throughout human history but it has not necessarily been fully understood by the practitioners. 

However, in the 20th century, the Nazi's not only fully understood the concept, but they were the scientists of evil. They perfected the science of terror for the first time in history. "Blitzkrieg" is the term for warfare that terrorizes without warning, completely surprising the victims and totally incapacitating them by knocking them out before they have a chance to understand what is happening to them. Torture on a mass level is the method for keeping a population in a state of terror. This is the sick psychology of evil.

In religious or spiritual terms, evil is an aberration of the soul. The soul can be defined as that which was created in the image of God so it is naturally peaceful, loving, happy and eternal. Let us assume that God gave his/her children the gift of free will. Let us also assume that in the beginning, there was a soul named Lucifer who was an angel. In response to the gift of free will, all the other angels exclaimed, "Thank you very much, God, how beautiful your gift is!" Their response was not surprising because the angels were simply reacting in accordance with their true nature. Lucifer retorted, "Really. I can do anything I want to do now? OK, fine. I want to be God." Lucifer's vanity was the aberration. Not particularly liking Lucifer's retort, God banished Lucifer from heaven. 

Lucifer's reaction to being banished from The Fun House was to dedicate his existence to wreaking as much havoc as possible. God was caught in his/her own trap because free will precludes interference. But I have to assume that God has a vastly superior intellect and undoubtedly foresaw this possible outcome. Almost all believers think there is a Master Plan. If there is one, it follows logically that evil is a part of the plan because otherwise, the Almighty would have put a stop to it immediately.

Anybody who has a basic grasp on the reality of human existence knows that it's not possible to manifest everything we want and desire by applying our free will, concentrating our minds, working hard to get what we want, or even through the power of prayer. There is a will in our universe that is infinitely stronger than our free will. If our will and desire happen to be in sync with the infinite will, then we can manifest our desire. If our will and desire are not in sync with the infinite will, we can try, try, and try again ad infinitum and nothing will happen except that we will frustrate ourselves. Someone once said, "When the Karmic Door is shut, even if you have the right key, the lock won't turn." For example, all my life I've had an overpowering desire to be rich and famous. Say what you want about me, but there's no question that I have a powerful will, a powerful mind, and I'm a high energy person who pursues his dreams with great vigor (oh thank you, JFK). Now witness the fact that I'm still destitute and completely unknown!

Individual free will tends to have very limited power. On the other hand, mass free will can be defined as what occurs when many millions of individuals unite in basic agreement behind a common purpose and mass free will tends to be unstoppable. I believe that when masses of people unite behind a good purpose, the universe smiles and says "Go!" Now consider what has occurred as a result of the aberrant free will unleashed by the dictators of the 20th century. World War II is believed to have been necessary in order to stop Hitler once and for all. But there was a moment in time when the expenditure of millions of American lives would not have been necessary. Winston Churchill knew when that window of opportunity had opened up but he was unable to muster the forces of resistance in time. America was isolationist and England could not do the job alone because Nazi Germany had become too powerful by the time Churchill had achieved political control of England. We have seen many atrocious people ascend to power in various countries. A few examples are Stalin in Russia, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and Idi Amin in Uganda. The list of atrocious dictators is a long one but I'd like to focus on Saddam Hussein because he is our creation in the sense that we trained him, armed him, and even supported him against his enemies in the mistaken belief that he would remain "our boy". By the time our government understood that big mistake, it was too late and we have paid dearly for our government's mistake. The invoice for our cost is still mounting and our soldiers are still dying in a foreign land.

There is an answer to the problem of stopping evil on Earth from getting out of control, and the answer does NOT involve having America police the world. Why should the American people pay the cost of having a world police force? The cost of our military might is in the trillions and the debt affects our daily lives by increasing our cost of living dramatically. The reality is that evil must be resisted and overcome the very moment it first manifests itself before its power grows and becomes unmanageable. But the responsibility for dealing with planetary evil should not rest on the United States alone. An emasculated body already exists whose proper job it should have been to assume that responsibility. I'm talking about the United Nations and I'm suggesting the creation of a United Nations Rapid Strike Force which should possess the best weapons, technology and training possible. It's not too late to re-invest the United Nations with the power, the authority, and the freedom to act without being stopped in the Security Council by one major power and I'm suggesting that the United Nations Charter be revised to give it the power to act on the basis of majority rule in the General Assembly. A majority vote in the General Assembly is the truly democratic method of reaching an appropriate decision to send in the Rapid Strike Force.

Consider how many lives have been lost in the 20th-century wars against evil governments that expanded their destructive power outside their own borders. We must understand that somebody needs to stop these governments whenever they wreak havoc on their own people, not only because terror is WRONG, but also because massive governmental cruelty is the warning sign that an evil government is in the process of expanding its power. We should not wait until a country like Iraq becomes dangerous outside its borders. By the time that happens, a war (legal or undeclared) is necessary and too many lives are lost. It's no longer practical for us to believe that individual countries have an inherent right to do anything they want to do within their own borders. Even the smallest atrocious government can endanger the world if they are able to develop nuclear weapons. They can even buy or steal nuclear bombs. I believe that whenever terror and torture become methods of governing, the concept of territorial autonomy needs to be abrogated - if not in the name of human rights, then it should be done for our own protection. A United Nations Rapid Strike Force is the answer because the window of opportunity to eliminate an atrocious government without excessive expenditure of lives occurs during the beginning of the government's expansion of power, and that window is only open for a short period of time. The idea is to blitzkrieg evil before it gets a chance to blitzkrieg us.

Of course, I realize that America would have to release some of its power and accept the possibility that a decision could be implemented with which America would not agree. But that would be a small price to pay in order to save thousands or even millions of American lives. That would also be a small price to pay to get out from under the crushing debt that has been and is being incurred for maintaining the gigantic military force that Americans believe is justified in order protect ourselves and to police the world. I believe that it is the responsibility of the world to police itself. If you've gotten this far in your reading and you agree that my idea has merit, please write to your representative in Congress. That would make me feel much better about being destitute and completely unknown. (Text from 2007 !!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Different Types of RC Car Bodies

Photo: Flickr
The term "RC car body" usually refers to the shell or outer covering of the RC car. This gives the general appearance of the RC car. There are some things you should know about RC car bodies:

Two classifications - there are two general classifications of RC car bodies. These are based on how you get them:

a) Pre-built- This is the type of RC car body that comes with pre-assembled cars. This type of RC car body usually has a look that's more or less similar to other bodies that a company builds. It is often the case that people buy this type of RC car body in order to showcase the craftsmanship. Many pre-built RC car bodies are based on real cars. This means that you can buy almost any type of car you can dream of.

b) Customized- There are people who choose to shun the uniform look of pre-built RC car bodies and prefer instead to add their personal touches to its look. Customized RC car bodies are often made use of by longtime enthusiasts who want to accomplish one of two objectives:

1) Aesthetical enhancement- People who want to make their RC cars look better than what's conventional often try to customize their own RC car bodies. There are many who succeed in this endeavor, but there are also a lot of people who just end up buying a new pre-built RC car body.

2) Performance enhancement- There are those who design RC car bodies to achieve the objective of enhancing a car's performance. Many people who customize RC car bodies often do so in order to improve the aerodynamics of their vehicle. This helps them speed up the RC car.

There are also certain recognizable types of RC car bodies available today:

1) Realistic- This, of course, refers to the various types of RC car bodies which are modeled after real cars. It is often the case that this RC car body type is based on a winner of a competition such as the World Rally Championships. It could also be based on "cool" cars such as the Hummer.

This RC car body type is often judged by its faithfulness to the original. It is also highly regarded for the craftsmanship. People who own this type of RC car body often make use of it in "on-road" races as it minimizes the potential for damage.

2) Monster Truck- This type of RC car body is made for one thing: bashing. It is often the case that people who have this type of RC car body make use of their RC cars to leap ramps, "off-road" races, and generally to have as much fun with their vehicles as possible. The monster truck RC car body is often made to be durable which means that it can survive most of the maneuvers that owners put it through. This is the undisputed king of RC car bodies.

3) Racing buggy- These are vehicles made to race. Whether it's off-road or on, it is definitely made for speed. This type of RC car body is made to conquer every type of terrain you put it in. It has a distinctive triangular shape meant to make this RC car body more aerodynamic as you use it to dominate every race.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Gain More Respect: Getting a Hold of Poker Etiquette

Photo: Pxhere
As poker rises in popularity, so does the number of ignorant players who just play for kicks. They disrupt the whole flow of the game and give it a lot of disrespect. A certain instance is when one says "bad fold, bad fold!" when he/she sees that the rather ragged flop has hit his/her hand. It is very annoying for all the players in the table and has cut off the bluffing element of the round since one has declared that he/she has one or two of the cards on the table.

Anyway, follow these basic guidelines of good behavior to ensure that the game is fair and enjoyable.

Don’t Talk About Your Cards after you’ve folded them

This is one of the most common breaches of etiquette that people do. Similar to the situation above, there might be instances wherein someone just bangs at the table and fusses over what a horrible fold he/she did. Again, it takes the life of the game and takes out some strategies that may be used on the round.

If You Want To Show Your Cards, Show It to Everyone

There are times when one asks an opponent to show their hand to them. Sometimes, they accede to the request and show it to them. But the problem is that they seem to keep it to themselves as a cute little secret. Don’t do that in a casino or even in a cash game. It annoys a lot of people. Keep the game fair for everyone.

Muck Your Hand Properly

There are lots of moments where one just throws their card like it was literally trash. Sometimes, the cards flip over and your hand will be shown to a few people who even cared about looking at you. Again, this takes out the element of fairness in the game because the other player may use this as a basis of calling or
folding given that card can’t possibly be a kicker for his/her opponent. So to speak, you’re wrecking the game for a couple of unknowing players. Keep things
formal and fold your hand properly by sliding it to the dealer using both hands.

Don’t Splash Your Chips

When betting, some people just toss in their chips, making a horrid splash that makes it difficult for the dealer to count. This takes up unnecessary time and drains all the energy of the round and disrupts the natural flow of the game. Bet properly by stacking your chips and sliding it over to the center of the table. Doing that shouldn’t be very difficult.

Pay Attention!

There are people who space out in the middle of the round and it takes a little nudge or a tilted eyebrow to get him/her back to earth. Don’t make everyone remind you it’s your turn, please. A lot of people take poker very seriously and a good number even gamble with this game as a profession. Respect the game, and you’ll get respect in return.


Honestly, if you want to be respected at the poker table. Don’t be a brat but be a mature person who loves to play the game. Minding your manners is a part of that. Actually, people shouldn’t even talk about this because it should be a customary task. And not only does it help you in the poker table, but also in life in general. Play the game properly and you’ll both get respect and admiration from your peers because of your class and love for the game.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Belize as the Ultimate Adventure Vacation Destination

English Caye - Photo: Flickr
One of the most favorite adventure vacation destinations of people nowadays is Belize, a small nation on the eastern coast of Central America. And why not? Being a place that is strategically located on the Caribbean Sea, Belize has all the adventure and has to offer compared to any place there is. 

Belize can be found between the Hondo and Sarstoon Rivers, Belize is popular for the Belize River that flows down at the heart of the country. Geographically speaking, the north of Belize is characterized by flat and swampy coastal plains. Other places are heavily forested and consist of flora that is highly diverse. 

Its south area is composed of low mountain ranges of the Maya Mountains while its Caribbean coast is lined with soft coral reefs and some 500 islets and islands called "cayes." Belize boasts off the Belize Barrier Reef which is known as the longest in the western hemisphere and is considered as the second longest in the whole world, next to the Great Barrier Reef.

Off to an extreme adventure 

When people speak of Belize, only two words will come to mind—romance and adventure. If you are planning to go to Belize for an adventure vacation, it is a must that you familiarize yourself with the place by knowing a dose of its rich history. You should also familiarize yourself with going around the place such as knowing various means of transportation such as buses, cars, motorcycles and bicycles. You should also have any idea what to expect from the place in terms of accommodations, foods, and activities that you can do. 

For an ultimate adventure vacation, the following are just some of the romantic things and exciting activities and places that you can visit:

1. The Great Barrier Reef. Being one of the world’s greatest treasures, a trip to Belize would mean nothing if you have not visited the longest reef in the western hemisphere, The Great Barrier Reef. You will definitely the visit because it doesn’t not only give you an amazing nature experience but a sense of adventure as well. 

2. Visiting the caves. Caving is indeed one of the most adventurous activities that you can do while in Belize. Here, you can witness various formations of caves with abundant limestone and wet climates.

3. Exploring the island by land. This can be very tiring but thrilling because you get to explore the place on your own and at your own pace. You can do your exploration by taking a golf cart ride, cattle cars, and though bikes that are available for rent.

4. Sea adventure. Exploring the seas can be as exciting as rediscovering the land. To relish the beauty of the island and its waters, rent a charter boat with a guide to go around the island or you can rent a kayak that will take you to various parts of the island. You can also rent boats for boating; you can go fishing, and do various water sports such as jet skis, wave runners, diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kite surfing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and catamarans.

Aside from the activities mentioned, one great thing that makes Belize a favorite adventure vacation destination is the climate which, is tropical and is generally very hot and humid. This makes it a perfect getaway destination for people and couples who love beaches while basking in the warm and pleasant weather.

Although the climate here is generally hot, rainy season also occurs from May to November so don’t opt to go there during those times.