Thursday, December 13, 2018

All About Brain Anatomy

Brain Anatomy - Photo: Wikimedia
The brain is a fascinating and complex unit of our anatomy. The brain is responsible for so many things. It stores our short term and long term memories. The ability to learn is from our brain as well. Our emotions and triggers are stored in our brain. The brain is a source of information on everything we do and about who we are. 

The anatomy of the brain shows us just how complex it truly is. There is so much about brain science and the medical field have not yet uncovered. However, there is a great deal we have learned about the brain by studying the physical features of it. We have also learned from the neurological aspects of the brain. We have the ability to perform brain surgery and remove tumours as well as install plates for those who have neurological damage. This is a fascinating area of science and medicine that can be overwhelming to learn about in detail.

There are six main areas of the brain to learn about. The parietal lobe helps us understand written language as well as communicate with others. Our sensory cortex is located here, controlling the sensations we get with touching and amounts of pressure. This is also an area of judgment for size, weight and distance.

The occipital lobe is located at the rear of the brain. This is where visual information is processed. It helps users to recognize shapes and colours. The cerebellum helps us with coordination including balance and muscle movement that help you walk, talk, eat, and routine tasks involved in caring for ourselves. 

The brainstem is a very important part of the brain. It is connected to the spinal cord. This portion of the brain helps with required body functions including breathing, digesting, the regulation of the heart rate, blood pressure and being alert while awake. 

The temporal lobe is how we smell. This is surprising information for most of us who think only the nose is responsible for our sense of smell. This region is also used for short-term memory processing. 

The frontal lobe is a very important portion of the brain. It is responsible for planning, organizing, problem-solving, paying attention to details, behaviour, and emotions. This is the area of our brain we use the most in our daily routines and decisions.

Since the brain performs so many features, it is obvious why a brain injury can be so serious. It can result in death if areas such as the brainstem are affected. Brain injuries can affect how other areas of the body are able to function. Ironically, we only use about 10% of our brain!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Okanagan Mountain Range Ski Vacations

Okanagan is a mountain range that runs through valleys close to three mountain ranges. During the summer this is the perfect place to do some camping,  but when winter hits you will have great skiing weather and conditions. There are small resorts that are scattered throughout the area. The climate here will make for great skiing down the slopes and through the trails.

These scattered resorts are very quiet and peaceful. Lifts are available, but they are limited to specific times and dates. These resorts have great skiing around them, even though they are small. This area of mountains offers the most consistent weather conditions, and the resort offers to lodge for everyone that cares to stay - at a reasonable price. 

The mountain ranges offer different trails and skill levels, but most of all they provide you with the skiing vacation of your dreams. During the winter, temperatures in the Okanogan range often drop to zero degrees. The items you bring will need to keep you warm at all times and safe no matter which trail you may choose to ski.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Choosing A Radio Controlled Plane

Photo: Pixabay
When you buy a radio-controlled plane for the first time, you may have some difficulty choosing the plane that will introduce you to the remote-controlled hobby. You will want something that will be fairly cheap to purchase and will give you a chance to learn how to fly remote-controlled planes before you move onto more advanced planes. If you buy the first plane that you see, you could end up having a very bad experience for your first time, and be completely turned away from the hobby. This is why it is very important to know that there are many different characteristics that you can look for. In this article, I will go over most of them. So read on to find out about what you need to look for to have the best experience possible when you fly a radio-controlled plane for the first time.

First, you need to assess your own building skills. You can buy airplane kits that require you to build the entire thing from scraps of wood, or you can buy kits that just require you to snap a few parts together. If you want to make a huge, prolonged project out of your radio controlled plane, then you can buy one that requires full assembly. However, you should always be sure that your building skills are up for it. If you don’t want to spend the time required to do this, or if you don’t have the prowess to build it, then you can buy a plane that does not require any assembly at all. You just pull it out of the box, and you’re ready to go flying for the afternoon.

Next, you will want to look for something that has stability for people without are flying for the first time. It may not seem like it, but to fly a radio-controlled plane you need at least some skill. But, if you search for the right item you can find something that is more geared towards beginners. Slow flying speed is always a benefit, just as driving slow is a good way to learn how to control a car for the first time. You will want a light plane with larger wings that can catch the wind better. This will make takeoff easier. You will also want to look for planes that have flat bottoms, and wings mounted high on the body. If you get a plane that has all of these features, your maiden flight will be as smooth as possible.

Next, you need to consider the model of the airplane you are going to buy. You can get model replicas of almost any type of plane, from the first Wright Brothers’ plane to modern military jets. If you are buying a model plane, you are probably already interested in planes, to begin with. Think of what plane you are most intrigued by when you look through plane books and see if you can find a kit that is modeled after that plane. This will give you a personal interest in the model that you are getting. When you fly it for the first time, it will be almost like being in the cockpit of the actual plane.

After you have decided on these issues when picking your plane, the rest is just up to personal preference. But if you pay close attention to these and pick your plane carefully, you will find that radio controlled flying is a great way to spend your time. It is a very rewarding hobby, and it can last you a lifetime if you choose planes that are compliant with your level of skill. After all, you don’t want to go out on your first flight and then crash your plane directly into the ground or a tree. So choose your first plane carefully, and you can avoid being immensely frustrated in the future.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Teens in the City

Photo: Flickr
New York City offers a virtual treasure chest of fun things to do for teenagers. This age group is generally the most difficult to please and appease while vacationing. They are too old for the kid stuff and too young to appreciate some of the more 'grown-up' entertainment and of course, they don't want to look like they're having too much fun. From amusement parks to cyber cafes, from bookstores to malls and video arcades, to sporting events and sporting complexes New York City is a city that was almost made for teens to enjoy.

The trick to enjoying your New York City vacation while ensuring that your teen enjoys his or her time in the city is compromised. Agree to go watch the skateboarding in the park if he or she will suffer through a museum with you. You just might find that you each find something to enjoy about the other's activities. There are so many wonderful things to do and see in New York. You don't have to pay a lot of money in order to have a good time as many of these wonderful events are offered free or for very little cost. You can also purchase passes that allow free entrance to certain city attractions for one low fee. You will find that of the freebie offerings there is usually something that will appeal to various members of your family including your teens. 

Compromise is a good idea on any vacation with friends or family and it teaches your teens an important lesson-their opinion matters to you. They also learn to compromise, to share time and experiences, and to think critically. They are forced to weight all the things they would like to do and select the things that matter most to them to do. This is a very good thing for people to learn as early as possible and will be an invaluable lesson, as they grow older and eventually begin making their own decisions in life as well. I even try to offer the younger children a voice in what's going on. I offer age-appropriate choices and allow them to select the one that matters most to them.

Teens are often very hard to please or predict and their wants can change between the time it takes to open a pack of pop tarts and the time it takes to actually drop them in the toaster. Be aware of this when making plans with teens and go with the flow. You do not have to let your teen rule your vacation but by allowing him or her a voice in the decision-making process you might all learn some important and interesting things about each other.

Girl teens are often easily distracted by shopping-while New York City has some of the trendiest boutiques you may want to see if you can talk her into some of them any consignment or secondhand stores that abound. You can call it 'vintage clothing' if you must in order to get her in the doors but you can score some awesome deals on clothes that look barely worn if that and she'll have some nice additions to her wardrobe for a fraction of their costs if new. There are also some wonderful outlet malls in NYC as well. The trick with shopping any of these stores is to know the prices of things. Some things are excellent bargains while others are not so much. 

Teen boys will have a grand time at places such as Game Time Nation where they can play video games for endless hours. You can even try playing games together if you're brave enough. Fair warning offered here, teens are brutal in their victories and you will never live down your failures in the video game arena with them so study up beforehand. 

The most important thing to remember about vacationing with your teen is that you'd like them to have some fond memories of your time together, even during their teen years. Take care that you are including them in your plans rather than making their plans for them. It is time they are let into the decision making process to some degree even if it's allowing either or options or asking them to list a few things they'd like to do and you selecting from those. If you're having fun it is quite likely that they will eventually join in.48

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The American Quarter HORSE

Quarter Horse
Quarter Horse - (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is thought, by some, that the foundation American Quarter Horse stock has at its roots Arabian, Turk, and Barb breeds.  Others believe that the breed began with the acquisition of Chickasaw horses which were likely of Spanish extraction.  Their history seems to begin around 1690, when horses exported from England were bred with native horses in America.  The result of this cross was a small, stocky horse which was extremely fast in the quarter-mile sprint which the colonists loved to participate in during their off-time.  Even when pitted against Thoroughbreds, this little horse came in first more often than not.  Thus, the horse became known as the Quarter Horse.  

In the 1800s, when the pioneers began to move west, they wanted a horse that could endure the rigors and was always willing to work.  Their horse of choice was the Quarter Horse.  They quickly found that the breed was excellent to use when working with cattle.  Cattlemen soon preferred this animal because it seemed to know ahead of time what the cattle would do, and naturally moved to direct the herd where the cowboys wanted them to go.  Even after the automobile was invented, Quarter Horses were still used almost exclusively on many ranches.

In 1940, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) was formed.  From that year until the present, Quarter Horse breeders have worked diligently to perfect the bloodlines.  The Association has set forth strict guidelines with regard to registration of American Quarter Horses.  AQHs are allowed to have limited white markings on their faces and below their knees.  If there are white patches or spots anywhere else on the horse, it is considered to not be a true Quarter Horse.

The AQHA recognizes 13 colors as acceptable for the breed.  The most dominant color is sorrel, which is a reddish-brown.  The other colors are bay, black, brown, buckskin, dun, gray, grullo, palomino, red roan, and blue roan.  What is called a gray is what most of us perceive as white.  But, there are no "white" Quarter Horses.

There are two main body types which are acceptable for registration as Quarter Horses.  The "stock" type, which is shorter, more compact, stockier, and well-muscled, yet agile.  The "running" type is lighter and is bred and trained for sprinting.

Because this breed is very versatile, bloodlines are built with specific tasks in mind when producing the offspring.  For AQH's shown "at halter", the line is bred to have a heavier body appearance, because these horses are incredibly muscled.  For horses used as "reiners" and "cutters", the build is usually smaller and the horses possess cat-like quicker movement and powerful hindquarters.  Those bred for Western pleasure riding have a level "topline" and smoother gaits.  Those which will be used for racing have longer legs and a leaner body build and those bred as show hunters have a similar build to the runners, but their bloodlines will include traits which are suited to horses used for hunting purposes.  The whole Quarter Horse breed possesses speed, stamina, power, and an inherent willingness to please.

This horse is usually 14 to 16 hands (56 to 64 inches, or 142.24 to 162.56 centimeters) at the shoulder.  The weight can vary drastically, depending on the purpose for which the horse was bred.

The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States.  And there are approximately 3.7 million registered American Quarter Horses worldwide, making it one of the most populous breeds in modern history.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Dauphin Island and the History of North America’s Colonization in Miniature

Fort Gaines - Photo: Pixabay
Dauphin Island, Alabama is a barrier island at the Mouth of Mobile Bay. It is a tourist attraction, the home of around 1,200 people, the site of the Estuarium marine sciences laboratory and a164-acre Audubon Bird Sanctuary. It’s a pleasant, pretty and useful place that receives most of its income from tourism. On the face of it, one could hardly guess that Dauphin Island bore the name “Massacre Island” for 8 years, or that it was occupied by every major European power in American history at one time or another.

The earliest records of human activity on Dauphin Island are the burial sites of the Native Americans known as the Mound Builders. The Serpentine shell middens on Dauphin’s northern shore suggest that this culture had been using the island for 1,000 years before the 1st Europeans arrived in the Americas, possibly occupying it on a seasonal basis, and definitely using it as sacred ground for the honored dead. 

Spain got the jump on the rest of the Old World when it came to America’s. Since we attribute the continents “discovery” to that country (even if Columbus is to be taken at his word that he was, in fact, Italian) it is only fitting that Spanish explorer Alonzo Pineda was the 1st European to map the Dauphin Island in 1519. By standards of the time, his work is considered incredibly detailed and accurate.

It wasn’t until 80 years after Pineda made his map that the next great European colonial power arrived on Dauphin’s shores. In 1699 French explorer Pierre Le Moyne, sir d’Iberville, future architect of French Louisiana, was beginning his exploration of the mouth of the Mississippi. He and his men anchored on Dauphin Island and, in a textbook European misreading of Native American culture, mistook the human remains he found there as the aftermath of some savage (or savages’) battle or atrocity. Thus the Island received the name “Massacre Island”.

Bones or no bones, d’Iberville liked what he saw. Under the French Massacre Island became a settlement, trading-post and, for a time, the capitol of the Louisiana Territory, a.k.a. 2/3rd’s of the continental United States. As such, “Massacre Island” began to seem an inappropriate name. In 1707 the island was renamed Dauphin Island in honor of the “Dauphin” of France, the title given to the prince who is the heir to the French throne. 

Later events would suggest “Massacre Island” was a more appropriate name after all. In 1711 pirates raided Dauphin Island, with all the attendant murder, rape and pillage one might expect. In 1717 a massive Hurricane very nearly leveled every structure on the island. Then, horror of horrors, the British arrived. 

For the better part of 100 years, Dauphin Island was a microcosm of colonial European conflict in the Gulf of Mexico. Great Britain took it from France. Spain took it back from Great Britain. Virtually the only players on the North American field who didn’t reclaim it was the Indians. Back and forth it went until 1813 when a still green United States acquired the entirety of Mobile Bay, Dauphin included. The British took the Island one last time, for old times sake, during the War of 1812 (or actually a few months after; communications were very slow in the early 19th century), but after that Dauphin Island has remained thoroughly Alabaman until the present. 

Dauphin has seen a great deal of American history unfold, from cultures of the 1st immigrants who came via the Bering Strait, to the earliest efforts of the conquistadors, to the western European scrum over valuable New World real estate. All in all, that’s not too shabby for a little strip of land off the edge of Alabama.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Snowmobile History and Basics

Vintage Snowmobiles - Photo: Flickr
The snowmobiling industry has enjoyed a rich history that has made it possible to travel easily through the thick snow that often falls in Canada and the northern regions of the United States. For decades, snowmobiles have continually improved to meet the needs of residents who enjoy living in the colder climates and experiencing the winter months to their full potential. As with any major invention, however, the snowmobile industry was popularized by high-performance models and sports enthusiasts who have found ways to race the machines and compete against other snowmobilers in a variety of events. This industry has come a long way since the early purpose of the snowmobile as being merely a means of traveling through the snow with less difficulty.

The first patent for the snowmobile was issued in 1927 to Carl J. Eliason of Sayner, WI. His idea of a machine that traveled easily through the snow was simply called a “snow machine.” He used parts from a bicycle, a pair of skis, and some parts from an old Model-T Ford to create his first machine. It was a functional contraption, but it had its drawbacks and disadvantages. Eliason’s “snow machine” was more or less a great concept that was not perfected in a way to reach the full potential of the idea.

It was not until 1958 when Joseph-Armand Bombardier of Canada created and patented the machine that we know today as a snowmobile. Not only did Bombardier create and manufacture the first modern-day snowmobile, but he was also the first person to successfully market the machines to people throughout North America. His most popular model – the B7 Snowmobile – began being mass produced for sale in North America before introducing the more popular Ski-Doo model. The Ski-Doo was a more popular model of snowmobile because it was smaller and less expensive. Soon, the Ski-Doo replaced dog teams as a means to quickly travel across the snowy landscape. 

By the 1970s, less than 20 years after Bombardier received his patent for the first modern-day snowmobile, there were already 250 snowmobile races that were sanctioned across North America. The United States Snowmobile Association became the forerunner in snowmobile organizations. It began and continues to sponsor one of the more popular snowmobile races – a 650-mile marathon that begins in Winnipeg, Canada and ends in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was also one of the organizations that helped to get the Snocross snowmobiling event added to the Aspen X Games in 1998, which has created the largest increase in popularity for the snowmobile industry.

One of the reasons that snowmobiles have become so popular in North American society is because of their ease of use. Inexperienced users can learn how to ride a snowmobile in a very short time and begin experiencing the fun of speeding across the snowy trails. Many of the resorts in the snowy regions of the United States and Canada, including Utah, Michigan, and Alberta cater to the specific needs of vacationing snowmobilers. Winter vacation resorts commonly keep updated information on snowmobiling trails in the area along with lessons and clubs that snowmobilers of any experience level can take advantage of. 

Along with enjoying the fun that snowmobiles can provide is the responsibility of using the machines safely. When snowmobiling along trails or for long distances, it is a good idea to go with another rider and to let others know where you plan on riding to in case of emergency. Always bring extra food along with a first aid kit and the proper safety gear in the event that you get stranded. Before riding, inspect the equipment to make sure all of the parts are properly tightened and in proper working condition. Also, check the dangers of an avalanche occurring before leaving and try to avoid those areas. 

The snowmobile industry has made a huge deal of progress in the technology and popularity of the machines. Beginning as merely a means to travel across the snowy lands with less difficulty, the industry has enjoyed a surge of popularity due to the many recent racing events and competitions. Now, snowmobiles are popular among all age groups and they can be thoroughly enjoyed as recreational vehicles when proper safety precautions are followed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Persian Chess Shatranj

Shatranj - Photo: Wikimedia
Shatranj is the direct descendant of Chaturanga and had become popular in the Middle East and Persia for almost 1000 years. More so, the modern chess is also
believed to have gradually developed from Shatranj.

The term Shatranj was derived from the Sanskrit Chaturanga, where chatu means four and anga means arm. The game also came to Persia from India during the early centuries of the Christian era. One of the earliest references to chess found in Persia is the book "Karnamak-i Artaxshir-i Papakan", which was written around the 3rd to 7th century.

The game Shatranj adapted much of the rules of Chaturanga, including the basic sixteen piece structure. However, in later variants of the game, the darker squares were eventually engraved. The Shatranj also spread westward and achieved popularity and body of literature on game strategy and tactics from the 8th century and onwards.

The Rules of Shatranj

Initially, the setup of the game is the same as modern chess, although the position of the king of white shah, on the left or right side, was not entirely established. Shatranj is played using pieces, such as:
the king or shah,
the rukh or rook,
the fers or counselor,
the pill or elephant,
the faras or horse
and the baidak or pawns.
Almost all the movements of the Shatranj pieces are similar to modern chess with the exception of the two square movements of the pawn during the first move. There are also other differences of Shatranj compared to modern chess, such as: the castling, which was not allowed but later invented. In the event of stalemating, the opposing king will result in a win.

More so, if a player captures the entire opponent’s pieces apart from the king, that player will normally be declared the winner. However, if the opponent could
capture the last piece on the next move, the game will result in a draw.

The gameplay of Shatranj includes the openings. These were usually called tabbiyya or battle array when translated. However, due to the slow piece progress in the game, the precise sequence of moves was unimportant. Instead, the players aimed to reach a specific position, mostly ignoring the play of their opponent.

Additionally, the pieces used for Shatranj had values, which used a monetary system. Such values include: 
one dirhem for the rook,
two-third dirhem for the knight,
one-fourth dirhem for the alfil,
one-third to three-eighth dirhem for the fers,
one-fourth dirhem for the central pawn,
one-sixth to one-fifth dirhem for the alfil’s or knight’s pawn
and one-eighth dirhem for the rook’s pawn.

These values were established and estimated by as-Suli, who was the strongest Shantranj player during the reign of the al-Muktafi caliph, and al-Adli.

Early Beginnings of Shatranj

There are several works written about Shatranj during the Golden Age of Arabic. These recorded the analysis of opening games, knight’s tour, chess problems and
other subjects that are commonly found in modern chess books.

Shatranj players who have the highest class were also called grandees or aliyat. There were only a few players that fell under this category and the most well known are: Abun-Naam, Rabrab, and Jabir al-Kulfi, who were the three aliyat players during the al-Ma’mun caliph rule; Al-Lajlaj who was a great master of Shatranj; and Ar-Razi who won 847 games against powerful Shatranj opponents.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Defining Fly Fishing

Photo: Pixabay
I’ll bet that you have any idea about fly fishing, aren’t you? So, what really is fly fishing? Why bother asking this question? Well, it is relevant to answer the question given that fly fishing has been a matter of public policy. Definitely, this is the most obvious in the implication of certain fishing waters or organisms as clear to the phrase “Fly Fishing Only”. Some can perhaps assume that this is a reasonable current phenomenon. Nevertheless, some waters of the United States have been ignored for “flies only” as recent as 1903.

Probably the Atlantic salmon is the most ancient case of aquatic species being chosen as a prey to be captured with flies only. In the North America region, the existing defacto regulation states that this game fish can be sought only with that is called an “unweighted fly”. This phrase means that the shedding is done by means of fly fishing line as well as leader wherein no extra weight was affixed. This was the definition and the basic idea of fly fishing s suggested by some states such as New Hampshire.

To understand a meaning of fly fishing in a discreet manner you should initially observe what can make fishing with the use of a flying rod, an experience distinct from, for instance, an aid of a lightweight in a weight circling outfit. This article, therefore, suggests the following distinctions:

1. A particular fluid elegance in casting, the fishing rod line unrolling plainly from either a tight or open loop.
2. The efficiency to false-cast, whether to dry the fly line which is fed out or not to make sure of proper placement.
3. A chance of sensitive delivery of a fly and the drift with a little drag.

The prerequisites remarked brought them no ethical and moral requirements. The usage of a flying rod does not assign one on a much higher ground compared to the bait fishermen who exercises usual courtesy to his quarry. All we can complain about fly fishing is the base technical aspects, given that various environments past diverse constraints aside from those mentioned. Nonetheless, if one acknowledges any fact to the first proposition, subsequently, someone running on to a fly from a vessel may not seem to fly fish like the “chuck-n-duck” in fast water is not considered as fly fishing. Finally, acknowledging proposition number 3 would suggest the use of slinkies, lead and some hazardous methods best left cautiously to the circling rod.

It is factual that most states include, during the past 20 years changing their fishing regulations to permit the use of leader as well as on line in “fly fishing only” regions and still refer it as fly fishing. This has been known for the reason that a sudden dramatic change in the character of the “sport” itself.

Several candid longstanding fishermen were also mumbling for the definition loosening comprising those fishermen that had been working fervidly few years prior to the announcement of “Fly Fishing only” places.

Finally, with your own definition, fly fishing is pretty much like the ancient “free verse versus sonnet” cliché. Do you compose a poetry masterpiece within the terms of a certain style for simply the pleasure and elegance it affords, or do decide to work without considerations and strive to convince yourself and other people that it is still pure poetry? Regarding your fly fishing definition, was it sufficient? Well, I suppose so.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Discover The Benefits Of Home Brewing With Hydrogen Cells

Photo: Wikimedia
Visualize if George Jetson had his own microbrewery; what would it be like?  Would the look be lustrous and space-like?  How much superior and rapid could it would it operate? How about the formidable S.S. Enterprise?  Can you just comprehend Captain Kirk or Captain Picard enjoying a pint of their own galactic beverage? As well as what would provide power to the machine making such incredible homebrews?  Hydrogen cells are creating waves and news as well as the whole lot in between on a planet where shortages of energy are not about economical folklore.

What exactly is a hydrogen cell? What does home brewing have in common with energy conservation anyway?  Hydrogen cells are a class of fuel cell, which is, on the whole, an energy conservation device. Fuel cells deliver their own energy, almost always wit the service of a specific source of fuel and an oxidant. Hydrogen acts as the primary source of fuel and oxygen act as the oxidant.

Breweries want engine capacity to manufacture their ales and lagers, and in reality cannot be lacking power at any time. That is where hydrogen fuel cells play an important role; they keep the energy flowing.  And being able to "make" energy at home is pretty darn cool. It also helps you being both energy conscious and pretty cost conscious.  You might even grace the covers of some magazines.

What can hydrogen cells be used for? Currently, they can be looked at as especially useful support generators of sorts. Scores of companies, including several respected breweries are looking to fuel cells as a means to be extra self-sufficient as far as energy is concerned.  This could be excellent news for the future of making beer as a hobby; home breweries running on hydrogen cells.  There would be significant reductions in energy usage.

Can hydrogen cells help home breweries?  The hope for persons investigating fuel cells is that every individual will be able to exploit most of the advantages that this invention has to offer.  You would be able to provide electricity to so much, from your microbrewery to each electrical device in your home by reducing your energy consumption.  

There is a general shortage of information on the likely applications of hydrogen fuel cells. Even as some are using fuel cells, the level of what they have got to offer is still being studied.  The Sierra Nevada Brewery is using molten carbonate fuel cells and is projecting a reduction of more than $400,000 a year in energy expenditure.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

New York Wildlife

Central Park Zoo Area - Photo: Wikimedia
New York City might be a jungle according to many but the animals can be found in its many zoos. If you'd like to check out one or more of the many zoos in New York City I highly recommend purchasing a city pass that will allow you free admission to many of the area zoos. Keep in mind that some of the attractions inside the zoo will cost extra so you should expect to pay something for your day at the zoo(s) but every little bit you can save along the way helps and you will be surprised at how quickly you can recover the cost of your pass.

Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is the largest urban zoo in the U. S. and is open 365 days a year. Those that have city passes can enjoy free admission to this zoo. Once you've had your fill of the award-winning exhibits the Bronx Zoo has to offer you should check out the New York Botanical Garden, which is located nearby and offers great fun and many activities for children to avoid (this experience is another that can be enjoyed for no additional charge with the New York pass). Also nearby are Wave Hill, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Van Cortlandt House Museum. All of these activities are free with the New York pass and are all very much suited for family members of all ages.

Central Park Zoo

The Central Park Zoo offers a view of animals in their natural habitat rather than in cages. While this is becoming more and more of the norm as far as American zoos are concerned the Central Park Zoo was a relative pioneer in this particular process. Today the Central Park Zoo boasts an indoor rainforest; a chilled penguin house along with a pool for the polar bears while also being home to breeding programs for certain endangered species. While you're there be sure to have lunch in the Leaping Frog Café, which offers kid-friendly fare that is surprisingly health oriented (such as trans-fat-free French fries). If you walk through this 6.5-acre zoo wasn't enough exercise for your day be sure to stop by the bike rental area of Central Park, which is located nearby. 

New York Aquarium

The New York Aquarium while not exactly a zoo is another great place for the family to experience animal life. This happens to be one of the highlights of many trips to New York. Young and old alike will enjoy watching the marine animals play and frolic while learning important lessons about our marine friends. The aquarium is located at Coney Island and is near Astroland Amusement park if you want to make a day of it. The New York Aquarium offers free admission to holders of the New York Pass and Astroland offers discounts for these holders as well.

 Prospect Park Zoo

Prospect Park Zoo offers a unique experience for children to have interactive contact with more animals. This increased interaction makes the trip much more enjoyable for youngsters than many larger zoos which allow little interaction with animals or a very limited number of animals to interact with. The Prospect Park Zoo hosts more than 400 animals representing over 80 species. This zoo is located near the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art-all of which allow free admission for The New York Pass holders.

Queens Zoo

The Queens Zoo offers a unique experience for visitors in that it is less like a zoo and more like a prairie home for the animals it houses. This 12-acre park is home to 70 animals that live in very authentic habitats. If you choose to visit this particular zoo, be sure that you take the time to visit the barnyard area so that your little ones can feed some of the friendlier creatures. This zoo is located fairly near the Queens Museum of Art, the New York Hall of Science, and the American Museum of the Moving Image. These attractions are all free with the New York Pass.

If you are a true animal lover, then New York City has you covered for opportunities to get your fill. Who would have thought that a city this full of skyscrapers and commerce was also the home to some of the most beautiful and exotic wildlife in the world?  (2007)

Friday, November 30, 2018

Achromatic versus Apochromatic Lenses in Telescopes

Achromatic telescope made by Dollond with handle by Hooke - Photo: Wikimedia
In 1733, an Englishman, Chester Moore Hall, created the Achromatic refracting lens.  His design limited the color aberrations by using two pieces of glass that were both ground and polished.  These lenses usually were employed to see red and blue light.  However, the design does not block out all of the rainbow of color around the images.

Achromatic lenses are made from a convex and a concave lens.  The concave lens is usually made out of Flint glass, and the convex from Crown glass.  They form a weak lens together and can bring two wavelengths of light into a single focus.

Apochromatic refracting lenses are made to view red, green, and blue light wavelengths. The first ones were designed by the German physicist, Abbe.  

Some type of fluorite or extra-low dispersion glass is also used and the ending result is a crisp clear image free of the rainbow of color around it.  These types of refracting lenses are more expensive than achromatic lenses.

Apochromatic lenses require lenses that can handle three color crossings.  They are usually made from expensive fluoro-crown glass, abnormal flint glass, or transparent liquids that are used in the space between the glass.  These newer designs allowed for the objects to be free of color around the edges, and they produced way fewer aberrations than achromatic lenses.

Prices on these types of refracting lenses can run high depending on the size aperture you need.  Two to three-inch apertures for Achromatic refractors can run between $250 to $1000.  Three to five-inch apertures for Apochromatic refractors can run between $2000 to $10,000.  Decide which kind you will be using before you buy one.  You may just want to look at the night sky or you may want to gaze into the next galaxy.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

USA - Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain - Photo: Pixabay
Copper Mountain was referred to as the best ski slope in “North America” by the US Forestry Service, for its amazing resources and ability to cater for beginner, intermediate and expert skiers. Based only 120 KM from Denver airport and with 160 metres of pure skiing fun, Copper Mountain is the only place to go skiing in America.  

With a 3 Kilometre base and a summit of nearly 4 kilometres, it is no wonder the slope is big enough to handle over 30,000 visitors on a monthly basis. With twenty-two lifts, the Copper Mountain is renowned for its 6 men high-speed lift, 5 doubles, 5 triples, surface chairs, quad lifts, tubing zone and even quad lifts that can travel in excess of 40 kilometres per hour. 

The upper lifts close at 1500 every evening, meaning you get 30 minutes to complete your last run before your day's skiing is over. Opening at 9am in the morning Monday to Friday there is no excuse for not getting an early start. At the weekends the lifts open around a half an hour earlier, making it much easier to fit more skiing into your day.

In total Copper Mountain covers two and a half thousand acres, and stands nearly 800 metres tall. With 125 trails in total, 18% cater for expert skiers, 36% for advanced skiers, 21% for beginners and 25% for intermediates.  The snowfall in Cooper Mountain is also something to be reckoned with; the total snowfall from November to April of 2005/2006 (!) was 283.58, with March appearing to be the best month for snow. Although April to November provides the best snow, Copper Mountain also has an avalanche machine keeping the slop active for around 12 months in the year. This machine works by releasing a gas that turns water into snow. The machine provides genuine powdery snow that can even be altered to be icier, or softer to meet the needs of the skiers. 

The Copper Mountain is set to be active for 12 months of the year, as of some point in the next two years, whilst plans are also unveiled for an indoor facility. The massive success of Copper Mountain is said to be partially attributable to hosting world snowboarding events, and also offering other activities such as snow tubing which is becoming increasingly popular, as well as snowshoeing, hiking, biking and snowmobile vehicles.

When I last visited Copper Mountain major regeneration work had just begun. They had started re-building the lift, there were hotel and lodging developments, and they have even started investing in real estate. From what I understand you will be able to buy a property overlooking the amazing slopes in a small amount of time. They had also seen the importance and the market that exists for training skiing. When a facility has the best training facility, new skiers are more likely to come along, learn how to ski at Copper Mountain and then come back year after year. They have built a complex that will house and support their training team, and they intend to offer lessons for a great price to encourage people to learn how to ski at Copper Mountain. 

Copper Mountain is also home to freestyle snowboarding facilities which are becoming increasingly with teenagers looking to get started in winter sports. The snowboarding facilities include ramps, half-pipes, jumps and runs, whilst also being flood light, allowing the facility to operate much later than when the lifts stop functioning. 

If you have never been to Copper Mountain then you will soon realise why it is rated as the best Skiing facility in America. Did you know that many film scenes have been completed on this mountain? It may also surprise you to know that this is usually completed when there is no snow on the mountains, and an avalanche machine generates snow in the absence of any skiers or tourists.

(Article from 2007)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How To Keep Your GARDEN Healthy In Winter

evergreen perennials in a shade garden under w...
Evergreen perennials in a shade garden under winter light (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Old Man Winters' arrival doesn't mean that the Winter garden can be neglected. Keeping the garden on an even footing against the ravages that winter can bring is ongoing. Neglecting proper garden closing chores and winter maintenance tasks is only a recipe for a headache in the spring. Follow a few of these winter garden tips and a bountiful spring will be waiting in a few months time.

Setting the winter garden table
An interesting to look at and healthy winter garden depends upon taking steps in the late fall or early winter. Clean up the garden. Make sure that any garden trash is picked up before the snow flies. If this "trash" is left behind it presents an opportunity for bacteria to find its way into any cuts in the plant or onto the plant's roots. Bacteria growth, and possible disease, on the plant, is the biggest danger to a winter garden.

Watch out for color when trimming
If you have had your garden for at least one winter season you know what has color during winter and what does not. Trim this color judiciously looking for maverick branches, but be sure to keep the overall form of the shrub so that winter color can shine in a uniform way. If you are not sure, leave it alone and get a feel for what has winter color for next winter. If a shrub has a winter bud on it, leave it be as this is where the flower will come from next spring.

Trim out the cut or torn limbs
Chances are that a torn or cut (looks like a knife cutting into an apple about an eighth of an inch deep) limb will end up dangling, or on the ground, as winter progresses. Take care of it early and your garden will look sturdy and ready for whatever the winter has to offer. Look for a nodule on the limb (looks like a knuckle of sorts) and cut about one-quarter of an inch above it on an angle for a proper cut.

Weed to a clean ground
Weeds also present a messy problem through the winter. Not only will they decay and offer disease potential, they will also continue to grow their roots until the ground freezes hard. This will only make them more invasive in the spring. Besides, if you need to a clean ground you will have a nice clean contrast to the dormant plants in the garden.

A nice clean edge
Unless you are going for a more informal look, give a nice edge job to your garden flower beds before the ground freezes. Not only will this make for a crisp look during the winter months, as the edge freezes, but it will put you one step closer to a solid start in spring.

To wrap or not to wrap
If you look at many winter gardens you may notice that people have wrapped burlap or some other material around their evergreen shrubs. Generally, this is to prevent a snow load or high wind from damaging the plant. Unless you have the potential for a snow load or predictable high winds this is not necessarily needed. The wind issue is an issue, but remember that all plants need air circulation, no matter what type of plant they may be. If you wrap a shrub/plant to tightly air circulation will diminish and present the opportunity for moisture build up and disease. If you wrap your shrubs make sure to do it securely but with air circulation in mind.

It cannot hurt to a mound
Mounding around the base of a plant is intended to give the root systems of a shrub/plant a little extra insulation during hard winters. Depending upon which zone you happen to be gardening in the need for mounding rises and falls. In any case, you want to make sure that you compress the dirt of the mound with a firm push of the hands. This gets some of the air out of the mound and generally makes a mound of dirt look a bit nicer. It also shows that you took a little care in your gardening. This sometimes impresses people that visit your winter garden.

Trees are plants too
Take a few moments to assess your trees before the winter winds start to howl. Look for any branches that may have grown old, look to be growing across the desired vertical path of a properly trimmed tree or have died during the season. What you are looking for is any limb or branch that may rub constantly on another opening a wound in the bark. Generally, you would not want to cut a branch as winter approaches, or during the winter months, but sometimes you need to.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2007 Dodge Caliber: A Lean and Mean Machine

Dodge Caliber Hatchback - Photo: Wikipedia
The new 2007 Dodge Caliber has been set so as to be the very first car from Chrysler to offer a continuously variable transmission or CVT. This new vehicle will also hold the new World Engine family that has gasoline engines with four cylinders. Along with that, enter the 2007 Dodge Caliber with a new electronic all-wheel-drive system plus another new part – a 2.0-liter diesel engine. More power has been made to this vehicle, it seems. 

This new vehicle from the Dodge brand is targeting the market that holds the 20-somethings who are also first-time new car buyers. Their statistics show that mostly these consumers are those who have a median income of around $45,000. Although, of course, anybody who wants a Dodge Caliber can buy a Dodge Caliber. 

This vehicle sports five doors. It has a profile that is very much like a combination of a sports car and a coupe. Yet, it also has the strength, stance, and great functionality of a sports utility vehicle. The 2007 Dodge Caliber has a very sheer surface treatment. This evokes attention and exudes just what a Dodge is – bold, powerful, capable, and very street smart. Unmistakably, the 2007 Dodge Caliber is totally a Dodge vehicle. 

Aside from the change and improvement in power, the 2007 Dodge Caliber also boasts of new styling designs that is very much has a crossover feel. The design is very much a Dodge’s and it is very much predicted that it will make soaring sales internationally. It sports innovative features for its owners and users. The change in power now gives its driver the chance to do more things unlike previously. 

The 2007 Dodge Caliber redefines the whole idea of an entry-level vehicle. It comes with high value as well as bold styling that is unmistakably a Dodge and a very flexible interior that is the delight of its passengers. This vehicle has been designed so as to target the fancy of people and consumers who are opting for a Dodge attitude as well as the capability and versatility that a sports car could only hold. However, despite these, the 2007 Dodge Caliber still retains the affordability and excellent fuel efficiency of an entry-level vehicle. This vehicle gives its owners the flexibility to seat more friends and family as well as a store in more packages and stuff in its rear storage area. 

George Murphy, the senior vice president in Global Marketing of Daimler Chrysler, states, “Dodge Caliber is not your typical small car. The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber redefines the compact car by combining crossover styling with space-efficient packaging, interior flexibility, innovative features, and affordable performance. Caliber allows owners around the globe to be active, do more, and stand out – to live life to the fullest, and do so at a very competitive price.”  (2007)

Author: Joe Thompson

Monday, November 26, 2018

My Skiing Vacation To Europe

Photo: Pixabay
Sometimes ago, I went on a skiing vacation to France and had a great time by all accounts. The best part was that I went with all my friends, all of which had varied abilities, but we're all eager to give it a go. Some of my friends compete in competitions and the like, whilst others have only been on the slopes a few times in their life. The fact is that we were all really looking forward to it, and we were all sure to enjoy ourselves whilst we were away. Unfortunately, we don’t spend much time together, as we all go to different colleges, whilst others are trying to make it through the rat race. 

When we decided to book the holiday I was delighted to hear that everybody was able to make it and that everyone had promised to save up enough money to really enjoy themselves while we were away. The cost of booking the holiday worked out at around $300 for accommodation for the week as we were going to be staying at a backpacker’s location, and it was only going to cost $150 for return flights. We really felt like we had struck a bargain, and we were even more delighted when we heard that the cost of living would be really cheap when we got there. We had decided to save up $1000 each, which meant that we would have more than enough spending money for when we arrived. 

I have to say, I never quite expected Europe to be such an excellent skiing destination for people like us with mixed abilities.  Sure, there are the Alps, but I thought these were only the playground of the expert skiers.  How wrong I was!  There are simply loads of different places in Europe you can go, regardless of your skiing ability, and you’re almost guaranteed to have a great time.  Also, the facilities right on the resorts are out of this world.  It really is a great place to go skiing.

We arrived in France, and we were firstly shocked at how laid-back it all seemed.  It was some surrealist painting, except in motion, with strange, stereotypically French characters passing by.  Regardless of this initial culture shock, we soon got our skis on and experienced the awesome slopes for ourselves.  Trust me - France is a great place to go skiing with your friends, and a great place to go on a vacation if you’re looking to have a good time.

We chose France for our vacation, but there are loads of great European ski resorts, and in fact, some people even say that Europe is the home of the sport, and it is easy to see why.  If you’re looking for a great time, go for Europe, to experience a wholly different way of life, and skiing that is simply second to none.  Check out your travel agent for good deals, and remember that the more flexible you are, the cheaper your holiday.  By booking up the flights at the last minute, you can end up saving loads with some of the budget airlines, and by being totally flexible, you can avoid peak times, which means you can avoid peak prices.  Your vacation in Europe doesn’t have to cost the earth, but it can be a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

My Favourite Hobby: Snowboarding

Snowboarding - Photo: Pixabay
Since moving into the suburbs, I have developed a new hobby: snowboarding. Snowboarding is great fun, and the reason I got started is that I used to go surfing when I lived by the beach, and when I moved away from the coast I had to find something new to satisfy my fix for extreme, white-knuckle sport. When I moved to my new college, everyone was talking about snowboarding, and a lot of my peers considered snowboarding an excellent hobby. When they asked if I wanted to attend, I was more than happy to come along and take part.

The next thing I knew I was at the slopes, and I had to let everyone know that I had absolutely no experience of the sport whatsoever. They appeared to understand, and everyone was really helpful when it came to explaining how to get started. In fact, there were so many people trying to teach me what to do, I actually found that I would rather just one person would teach me at a time. The next thing I knew, I was going down the slope and had no idea how to break appropriately, or how to turn. OK, so I'll admit that getting tuition from a bunch of teenagers was hardly the best idea, but it ensured that I didn’t hold back on anything, and I certainly got off to a flying start. The fact is that you realize it is mostly just common sense, and the thrills that you get are amazing. When you are going down a slope at 30 miles an hour and you do not have to put in an effort to accelerate: that is like flying. 

The fact is that I also enjoy snowboarding because it is a great social activity for everyone to enjoy. I had just moved to a new area, and snowboarding really gave me an opportunity to get to know people and is actually the reason why I am friends with the people that I hang around with at the moment. After visiting the slopes a few times, my new friends and I have discovered more common ground, so now we enjoy other activities together, along with the occasional visit to the slopes of course!  I’d recommend snowboarding as a great hobby for anyone, particularly those with a passion for extreme sports, or anyone with a sense of adventure.  And it’s really great when you actually get involved - there’s a whole culture attached to it.

Some of my friends suggested taking up skiing, but this is something I think I'll avoid. It is almost like trying to compare a car and a motorbike. A car maybe burns less gas, it may be safer and may even turn corners with more precision, but what would you rather travel in for sheer thrills? Skiing just looks boring compared to snowboarding and the more I get into snowboarding the more my opinion is re-affirmed.  

I am glad that I moved away, and I am glad that I managed to find a sport that I enjoy more than surfing. I am hoping to start entering into competitions soon, however, I have a lot of catching up to do with my new friends first!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Basics about operating a snowmobile

Snowmobile - Photo: Pixabay
Once a person gets over their distaste for winter weather conditions, operating a snowmobile can be an addictive winter sport. Being in the wide-open landscape that is covered by a fresh coating of white, pristine powder can be breathtaking and even enthralling for first-time snowmobilers. It is also a great way for families to spend time together while remaining active during the winter months instead of gathering around the television for a few hours every night. After learning the basics of operating a snowmobile, conquering the white blanket of fresh snow will be an exhilarating activity that families and friends will undoubtedly cherish together.

The first thing to always remember is to wear your safety gear before operating your snowmobile. Safety equipment consists of a regulation helmet and a pair of goggles designed for cold weather activities. It is important to make sure this equipment is fastened correctly or else it could cause problems during the snowmobiling excursion. It is also a good idea to wear a snowmobile suit that is specifically designed to protect the body from the frigid elements of winter – such as a waterproof inner lining – so snowmobile riders do not suffer from a case of hypothermia. A good pair of gloves is also vital because the hands will be controlling most of the actions of the machinery. Cold hands do not make for quick reactions, so winter gloves are an absolute essential.

Next, get comfortable with the machinery. Sit on it, move around, and get familiar with the feel of the snowmobile’s intricate details. Find the right distance on the seat so that the handlebars are within an acceptable reach from your body. Stretching to reach the handlebars is not an effective method and neither is sitting too close so that you are scrunched up against them. Keeping the handlebars at arm’s length, as long as it is a comfortable distance, is ideal. Also, place your feet in the stirrups that sit on the front lower area of the snowmobile. Get the feel for the stirrups and do not take your feet out of them when you are snowmobiling. They are designed to help you stay in control of the machinery when you make sharp turns on the snowy terrain.

On the handlebars, find the throttle. This will typically be a lever that is on the right side of the snowmobile’s handlebar. Use your thumb to control the throttle, which negotiates the amount of speed desired. Similarly, on the left, you will generally find the brake lever on the handlebar. It does not take much pressure to pull the brake lever in order to slow down your snowmobile. For rides on softer and less compact snow trails, releasing pressure from the throttle will slow your snowmobile quickly. On more compact and smoother snow trails, however, you will need to apply pressure to the brake lever to achieve a stop. On the ice, as you would in a vehicle, pumping the brakes by applying and releasing pressure on the brake lever will result in a smoother and typically safer stop on a snowmobile.

Now that you have found the throttle and the brake (the two most important parts of any vehicle), you are ready to begin moving. To do this, apply pressure to the throttle. Apply ample pressure to slightly rev the snowmobile’s engine until it begins to move. As you move forward, turn the handlebars in the direction you want to travel. When making a sharper and faster turn, it is best to lean into the turn. For instance, if you are making a sharp right turn, lean your body to the right without removing your feet from the stirrups. The stirrups help to stabilize your body while helping to prevent the rider from slipping off of the machine. For beginners, ride your snowmobile on the trails that have been packed and already traveled until you get the feel for snowmobiling. Veering off into unpacked snow might get your stuck or even cause an accident with another snowmobiler. 

Following these basic steps is essential for first-time and inexperienced snowmobilers to successfully practice this fun winter sport. As always, safety is the first issue to be addressed before operating any machinery. But above the safety precautions, knowing how to turn and lean into a turn is important for operating any snowmobile safely. Once learned, it will most likely be a winter pastime that will be enjoyed for many frigid seasons to come.