Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Snowboarding For Beginners

Photo: Pixabay
If you are interested in taking up a new hobby, and you enjoy thrilling, fast-paced action, why not consider snowboarding?  Increasing in popularity year on year, snowboarding has always been highly fashionable and is no more accessible than ever, so you really have no excuse for not giving it a go if you are interested.  In this article, we will look at the equipment you will need, where to get started, and the things to watch out for when snowboarding.

First thing’s first - get yourself online.  Look around, and find out exactly what snowboarding involves.  It is a dangerous game, and highly physically taxing.  Additionally, it can be quite expensive, so you need to try to ensure it’s right for you.  Next, you need to look for a board to get you started, and some clothing for wearing on the slopes.  First off, forget about buying a top quality board.  You need to start off with something cheap and cheerful, designed for beginners.  You can find these easily online, and you may also be able to come across some models in your local extreme sports shop.  Alternatively, you could try to pick one up second hand from a friend, or from another snowboarder.  You also want to make sure you look cool whilst you're out there! Check out some of the highly fashionable snowboarding wear, and kit yourself out from hats to sunglasses to thick socks - make sure you’re prepared for the elements before you set off.

It is worth looking around to find lessons in your local area. Lessons range in availability, quality, and price, although you will often find recommendations or local adverts particularly helpful.  Again you could look online for some tips to get you on your way.  If you do take lessons, it is important to take on board what the instructor says from both a performance and safety perspective.  Additionally, get out there and practice between lessons if you ever want to improve.  If you stick at it and work hard, you will eventually see an improvement, and find the sport significantly more enjoyable also.

It is also good to note that snowboarding is a highly dangerous activity and people do get hurt.  Before you even think about snowboarding, take some lessons in safety, and make sure you are fully equipped both mentally and physically for avoiding injury to yourself and others.  Snowboarding is responsible for many accidents every year, and it is an extreme sport after all - if you’re of a weak disposition, it is perhaps not the best sport for you.  Having said that, snowboarding can easily be performed safely with a bit of common sense, and a bit of research, so make sure you’re prepared before you get out there.



Warnings aside, snowboarding is great fun, if you like this sort of thing.  Many people adopt the mantra that you should try everything at least once, and as far as snowboarding is concerned, this is definitely true.  Try snowboarding once, and join the legions of followers who enjoy snowboarding at every opportunity.  Chances are there are clubs and associations in your local town, so get yourself along and join in with like-minded people.  Your level of experience doesn’t matter, as long as you go along and participate, you will gain a lot from it, and you will definitely have a good time in the process.





Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for "loitering" in 1958.
Photo: Wikimedia
When you sit back and take in the phenomenal achievements of black history, it is natural to be moved to admiration by some of the great figures of black history including Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver and many more.  But one name stands head and shoulders above the rest and that is the name Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s legacy of change and his call for the end of racism and segregation in American society is without question the voice that has moved America as no other has done.  For while many have shown tremendous leadership, Dr. King clearly demonstrated a vision for the future of America in which black and white worked, lived, played and worshipped together as one society, not two.

The honor and reverence all American’s have for Martin Luther King, Jr. are evident in how honored his name has become since his tragic death at the assassin's hand in 1968.  All around this nation, virtually every U.S. city has named a major road after the great civil rights leader.  He singularly has a U.S. holiday named after him, an honor usually reserved for presidents.  He has been honored on the U.S. stamp and no school child gets through his or her elementary education without knowing the key phrases from Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

Dr. King’s career in civil rights is inseparable from the early struggles of the civil rights movement from the late fifties going forward.  Our images of him walking side by side with his people unifying them behind his leadership and facing tremendous hatred and racial bigotry to take a stand in America to say without compromise that racism would not stand in this country anymore.  

Those images of Dr. King working and marching with others who shared his courage to step out and make a change for the better are indelible on the American consciousness.  For Dr. King was not a leader who sent his messages from the safety and comfort of a far away office.  No, he was there, in the midst of his people, marching on Washington's arm in arm with the everyday men and women of this country who banded together to fight the evils of racism.  It took tremendous courage for Dr. King to take to the streets with his people like he did and it was a risk that eventually cost him his life.  But his courage inspired thousands to be courageous too and be one people, one brotherhood who would no longer allow racism to be the rule of law in America.

Dr. King’s famous speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on a hot August 28, 1963, has become so central to our American heritage that it is quoted with reverence by scholars, students and all people seeking their own inspiration from this great man.  This speech ranks with Kennedy’s inaugural speech and the Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as words that have inspired this nation like none other have been able to do.  It is impossible not to get goosebumps reading these key phrases from that historic speech.

* I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"
* "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
* "Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

When reading Dr. King’s prophetic words to us all, his ideas become our ideas and we all become challenged to make his dream come to life.  And that is what is truly the definition of a great leader.




Saturday, December 22, 2018

Finland the last unspoilt wilderness

Rauma Finland - Photo: Pixabay
Why have your honeymoons in Finland? The largest unspoiled wilderness in Europe awaits you on your Finnish honeymoon! Not to mention picturesque islands, pleasant towns and cities with countless museums and art galleries to visit.
Helsinki is built on a peninsula, is both the cultural and financial center of Finland. Vibrant parks and tranquil waterways are found all over the city, and the sea breezes ensure that it is refreshingly free of smog. There are many notable art museums to visit, plus regular operatic and ballet productions at the city’s theaters. A short ferry ride will take you from Helsinki to Suomenlinna Island, where you can enjoy a picnic, explore a huge ruined fortress and visit several museums.
Turku, on the southern coast, was the capital of Finland until 1812 and is the oldest city in the country. Its cathedral and castle both date back to the 13th century, and are well worth visiting! Another notable castle of interest is the 15th-century Olavinlinna Castle in the stunning Savonlinna lakes area of Finland, which includes two museums.
Rauma is the largest wooden town still in existence in the Nordic countries and is a listed World Heritage site. Goldsmiths, lace makers and other artisans all work in the old town! There are many house museums and a lively market square. Rauma is without a doubt one of the most charming towns in Scandinavia!
To discover a unique culture with both Finnish and Swedish influences, visit the Aland province, which even has its own flag. Made up of over 6,400 islands, this beautiful region is best explored by bicycle or on foot. The midsummer festivities are celebrated in style here and you can witness performances of traditional folk dances all year round.

A relaxed country with numerous highlights, Finland is a tranquil, scenic and welcoming honeymoon destination!




Friday, December 21, 2018

Christmas in the United States and Canada


Many of the celebrations in the United States that are associated with Christmas were traditions brought by German and English immigrants. Along with the well-known and practiced tradition of a brightly decorated Christmas tree, other traditions brought by these immigrants include Advent calendars, Christmas greeting cards, gingerbread houses and gingerbread cookies. 

Christmas in the United States today can be seen as focused around family, travel, shopping and decorations.

Family and travel go together during Christmas in the United States because family members often have to travel fairly long distances to be with each other at one location. The growth of cities that have primarily an economic activity, suburbs for residences, as well as the fact of different industries being found in certain geographic locations, are among the reasons that family members often live great distances from each other in separate states.

Christmas and its festivities, therefore, present a wonderful opportunity for many members of the family to gather in celebration and see each other in an intimate setting. The traveling involved makes the Christmas season a busy time of the year for rail and air travel.  The occasion of seeing many family members at Christmas is also linked to the activity of shopping that is an important feature of Christmas in the United States. The Christmas season officially begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday and which now ranks second in shopping for a single day to the Saturday before Christmas.

         Much of the shopping that is done is to purchase gifts for friends and family. Gifts for family members are usually exchanged after dinner on Christmas day when everyone gathers in the room with the Christmas tree. Gifts are usually left at the base of the Christmas tree in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. 

Gifts may also be exchanged before Christmas at parties held by friends and parties held at workplaces.

Second, to gifts, shopping is also done at Christmas for decorations. While the Christmas tree may be the centerpiece of attraction, garlands, wreaths, candles and decorative lighting placed outside on lawns or along rooflines are also used to create a beautiful holiday appearance for homes.

Canadians enjoy Christmas activities that are similar to those celebrated in the United States. That is so because in the 1700s when some German immigrants in the United States migrated to Canada, they continued to practice many of the activities associated with Christmas. The geographical proximity of the two countries also means they share many things, so similarities in Christmas traditions wouldn't be an exception. 

One thing that accounts for the difference between the two countries, however, is the Eskimo population in Canada. Eskimos in Canada celebrate a festival during winter and have other traditions that are absent from American Christmas celebrations.

A practice also exists in Nova Scotia in which small groups of masked individuals march around about two weeks before Christmas. These masked groups attract attention by creating a stir with much bell ringing and engaging in a noisy caper in an aim to get candy, sweets and goodies from onlookers.



This tradition bears some similarity to Jonkonoo celebrations in the neighboring islands of the Caribbean. Those celebrations also involve masked individuals, including some that appear on stilts that make them as tall as trees. The parade of Jonkonoo regale onlookers with various antics and present a minor scare to some children, who are then calmed with candies and other treats.

In Nova Scotia, onlookers can try to calm the noise and rowdiness just a little if they can correctly guess the identity of the masked person. A correct guess puts an end to the noise as the mask is removed, exposing the individual. For their part, maskers also play nice by friendly nudging answers from children about whether they have been naughty or nice and handing out candies and treats accordingly.





Thursday, December 20, 2018

Basic Components for a Home Theater

Home Theatre - Photo: Wikimedia
Many people never bother looking into purchasing a home theatre through sheer fear of the decisions that may need to be made in the process. Many among these aren't even sure of exactly which components are included in a home theatre or which ones are needed in order to create an effective and entertaining home theatre. For this reason, many people simply do not bother going through the process of looking at their options when it comes to these wonderful systems on the market today much less ever bother actually purchasing one.

If you are one of the many who have experienced some degree of confusion when it comes to the individual parts and pieces that are included in a home theater system and what they do, hopefully, you will gain a better understanding once you've finished reading. The first thing to understand is that there are varying degrees when it comes to home theaters. The following components are the makings of a very basic home theater that will provide excellent functionality. They are not however inclusive of every possible piece or part that could make up a home theater system.

Off to the basics, the first thing you'll need when creating a home theater for your family to enjoy is a television. It might seem a little too obvious to some but I have yet to find a box kit that includes a television-mainly because the choice of screen is for many the most personal aspect of selecting a home theater. There are essentially three choices in today's television market: front projector, rear projector, and plasma. There are variations within each of these and the prices fall anywhere from modest to quite costly. This is the component that most home theater owners spend the most time contemplating and it affects the types of components that will be most effective later on in terms of things such as high definition and other choices you can make.

A receiver is another important component. You will probably have a DVD player or recorder of some sort as part of your system; you may have a Tivo and cable box or satellite and will probably have speakers of some sort for your system. The receiver is the box you plug them all into-it receives all of these inputs and correlates it so to speak. This is the ultimate traffic director when it comes to your home theater and I suggest you spend a good portion of your home theater budget making sure that this is a good quality part.



Speakers are where your sound will flow. One of the best things to me about a home theater is the ability to experience surround sound very similar to what I experience in theaters while having the ability to put my feet up or snuggle under blankets (which simply can't be achieved in a theater). Speakers come in all shapes and sizes and are also quite personal for some consumers while give and take for others. You can purchase these are part of a kit in order to make the selection process easier.

Finally, you have your DVD player or recorder. If a high definition is important to you, you now have that option. If your television isn't HD ready or capable, I'd pass and go for an older (less expensive) model of DVD player until something more up-to-date is called for. These items are a great start for any home theater and you can build, expand, and upgrade over time for an even better system. Enjoy!




Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Earliest Airports

Kill Devil Hills - Replica of hangar used by Wright Brothers - Photo: Wikipedia
Open spaces such as racetracks, golf courses, polo fields and fairgrounds made for the earliest airfields. These offered flat and smooth surfaces with predictable winds, which were essential for initial gliders and fixed-wing aircraft to take flight.

Together with locations situated on prairies or close to water where winds could be predicted, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, were popular choices for early controlled and powered flights.

While Huffman Prairie near Dayton, Ohio entertained the Wright Brothers’ groundbreaking 1905 flights of the Flyer 3 and the Parisian ground of the Champ de Maneoeuvres, Issy-les-Moulineaux witnessed Louis Blériot’s pre-1910 flight models, neither of these grounds facilitated passenger flights.

The first commissioned airports were in Germany in 1910, which were primarily for the Delag-operated Zeppelin airships. Delag then constructed airship sheds in many German cities situated near rail hubs from 1913. These could handle passengers and maintenance of their airships. Prior to World War I in 1914, close to 34,000 passengers across 1,600 flights had been attended to in these airports.

By 1912, the United States had 20 airports, which were mostly converted from fields and country clubs. In comparison, over the course of World War I, 67 military airfields were established on farms and parks, although with the understanding that most would be reconverted when the war ceased.

There was even a failed attempt at a passenger service in South Florida in 1914, where a waterside building was modified to cater to passengers and aircraft supplies. With the close of World War I, 980 fields were listed as official airfields. Yet, unfriendly golf courses and insufficient racetracks rendered most of them unusable by aircraft.

The first regular airmail flight took place on May 15, 1918, on a polo field situated in downtown Washington, D.C. Dry Nevada lake bottoms, gas stations found on roadways, and even packing crates which housed airplane deliveries, served as “aerial garages”, otherwise known as hangars and maintenance shops. The post-World War I military parade grounds of Le Bourget and Tempelhof were converted into airports.

By 1919, five air stations, including emergency stops, were constructed by the U.S. Postmaster Otto Praeger between New York and Chicago. The Federal Government convinced local Chicago businessmen to contribute to a $15,000 hangar, with potential profits from passenger travel.

In 1920, scheduled international flights became commonplace in the United States with passengers traveling by Aeromarine West Indies Airways between Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba. With 145 airports by the end of 1920, the airport system slowly began to take shape across the nation.

Early Post Office air stations featured 2 perpendicular runways and a tower with a light beacon of the intensity of 500,000-candlepower. These stations eventually evolved into 2,000-foot by 2,000-foot square designs by 1924, which facilitated multi-directional takeoff and landing regardless of the wind.

Airport fields were typically the size of 70 to 100 acres, with gravel or cinder covered surfaces to assist drainage. The fields were relatively bare, commonly with only one hangar, and bare essentials such as gasoline and oil storage, and telephone connection – all spread out to guard against fire or crash accidents. Most were built on the square postal air station design, although variety came in the form of perpendicular T-shaped strips or rectangles.

From the 1930s prior to World War II, pilots relied on airmarking to fly during the day. To aid navigation and identification of airports, rooftops or hillsides were visually marked. The 50,000-candlepower beacons were used for night flight instead.

The growth of airports began slowly in Canada, but it eventually grew to 77 air harbors by 1930 from an initial 37 in 1922. The Prairie Air Mail Service started to link Winnipeg with Calgary and Edmonton, where its older municipal airport opened its doors in January 1927.

Across the world, airports continued to experience growth. Australia saw 181 public airports with passenger flights and support capabilities by April 1936. This was on top of the 200 designated open landing areas. The Soviet Union had a massive airport linking system, which stretched across Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Leningrad, Kiev and Tashkent, north of Afghanistan. The Soviet airline Aeroflot served the world’s biggest domestic air network, with over 500 million passengers catered to by 1975.



Despite the majority of airlines preferring to fly from grass or water, and perhaps protestations from Henry Ford, the first laid hard surfaced runway in the U.S. was publicly unveiled in Newark, New Jersey, on October 1, 1928. It measured 1,600 feet in length. In 1929, Pan Am became the first airline in the U.S. to build its own airport – the Pan American Field. Part of the 116-acre field was rented to its competitor Eastern Airlines. As a precursor to radio communication between airplanes and ground staff, Pan Am used a radio station for Morse code signaling in 1930.

The Berlin Zentralflughafen Tempelhof was widely recognized as one of the world’s largest building in 1938. With simultaneous boarding facilities available for 300 planes and a handling capacity of 300,000 passengers annually, the Tempelhof roof could also accommodate 100,000 visitors watching airplane arrivals and departures. Its model of charging visitors admission fees was duplicated by countless airports trying to cash in on the public’s growing flight fascination.




Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Famous Ford Flops

Ford Edsel -Photo: Pixabay
American automakers sometimes take the brunt of the criticism for producing models that are ugly, useless, or even downright dangerous. Ford has had its share of beasts through the years in addition to several winners including the current Mustang for which demand cannot be met. For the fun of it let’s take a look at some of the Ford models that have been derided down through the years.

Model T – What?! How can the car that introduced mass production make the list? Well, the car was fine, but Mr. Henry Ford’s statement, “…you can have any color you want as long as it is black” has been attributed with the rise of General Motors [who gave its customers a choice in colors] which eventually dethroned Ford as the top automaker in the world. No, the Model T was fine, but Mr. Ford’s marketing strategy was not.

Edsel – In September 1957, Ford launched a new division – Edsel – and introduced to America one of the weirdest looking cars. Sporting a “horse-collar” shaped grille – some equated it with a toilet seat – the Edsel line was hyped by Ford and rejected by consumers wholeheartedly. Expecting to build 200,000 Edsels in its first year of production, only 63,000 were built. Other “radical” aspects of the Edsel included a “floating” speedometer that glowed upon reaching a particular speed and an awkward push button transmission with controls attached to the hub of the steering wheel. Even with a quick makeover completed in time for the next model year, the Edsel limped along only to be pulled one month after the third model year vehicles were released.

Pinto – Hey, even I owned one! With a 2.3L inline four-cylinder paired with a 4-speed manny tranny, the Pinto was Ford’s answer during the 1970s to the onslaught of Japanese cars flooding the market. The compact rear-wheel-drive coupe, three-door hatchback, or wagon sold fairly well until disaster hit: the revelation that the Pinto’s gas tank was capable of exploding during a rear impact scared buyers away. Mercifully pulled after the 1980 model year; replaced by the popular Escort.



Mustang II – Ford tarnished the Mustang name during the 1970s with this forgettable and ugly model. Resembling a bloated and stretched Pinto, the Mustang II was weak, poorly made, and a terrible competitor against its arch-rival, the Camaro. All was forgiven by the early 1980s with the return of a newly designed Mustang. Today’s Mustang, on the other hand, is a sold-out success story as it took its styling cues from a Mustang of another era: the fastback cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Before you point your finger at Ford, don’t forget to recall some truly forgettable models, foreign and domestic. The Toyota Van was panned for its ugly styling and for having an engine that had to be dropped from the engine bay in order to do a tune-up; the Chevy Vega – a Pinto wannabe; AMC’s Pacer – the Jetson’s car; the Suzuki Samurai and Isuzu Rodeo – flip over specialists; the Yugo – a thinly redone 1960s era Fiat; and countless other cars not worth the mention. You hope that automakers learn from their mistakes, but don’t count on it. Maybe in another generation, we will see a truly forgettable Ford show up, but for now, there isn’t one in the lineup... hooray for that!






Monday, December 17, 2018

Paintball Basics

Photo: Pixabay
Paintball is a safe, simple yet challenging and strategic sport that is played usually by two teams, each with at least two players. Adults and kids alike enjoy this sport as they often refer to it as an advanced or improvised game of tag.

Tournaments attract many spectators of all ages, as it is a very exciting game to watch. 

Paintball games are of various types, however, the most popular game often played is called "capture the flag". The object or the goal of this game is for teams to advance to the opponent’s base, move the other team’s flag to its destined location, at the same time guarding your own flag.

The paintball field has many obstacles such as tires, forts, old cars, hay and the newest are “inflatables” that are constructed as a refuge for team players; making the game all the more exciting, as if participating in an actual game of war in videos.  

When one is hit, it can hurt briefly and at times give players bruises.  Players are typically required to be in long sleeves shirt and pants, making sure that the colour is not identical as that of the judge and complete paintball gear such as mask, helmet and goggles for safety.

The sport of paintball has a distinct and accurate set of rules that are strictly followed. The producer of the tournament is the absolute authority in regard to either an alteration or addition to the rules; marshals oversee the event, and their decision is always final. No dispute on the paintball field is accommodated or entertained. 

A military approach to paintball is useless, as that knowledge is recognized and understood by the teams. A team’s tactic should be carefully planned; your team’s line of attack will not be known by the opposing team, and there should be a quick switch of plans in case something goes wrong.



There must be a lot of teamwork involved, as everyone moves through the field. As a team member moves, there should be others to guard and keep watch and give off covering shots when necessary.  A team that moves together with a common objective will have a great chance of succeeding in this game.

Communication in the field is also very important.  A team-mate can shout the position of the opponent. The moment that a player is seen, the game for that player is up; so there is no reason for you to keep quiet; instead, inform the others the location of the enemy. 

The excitement of this game concludes when you are seen and eliminated - a situation that all team players struggle to avoid.





Sunday, December 16, 2018

MARINE ELECTRONICS

Photo: Wikimedia

Autopilots The first self-steering gear was introduced in the 1920s to control model yachts but it was not until 1948 that the principle was applied to full-scale yachts. Standing at the helm for lengthy periods, monitoring instruments and keeping a good lookout can be very tiring. An autopilot relieves the helmsman from steering the correct course leaving him free to maintain a proper watch. The autopilot can be set to either steer a compass course or a course relative to the wind. A fluxgate compass or electronic wind indicator feeds information to a microprocessor which then makes the necessary rudder movements to return the vessel to it's required course. The mechanical power is applied to the rudder by either electric linear activators, hydraulic pumps or rotary drives. GPS/Chart
plotters can be used to input navigational instructions to the autopilot.

Battery Chargers will keep batteries fully charged thereby extending their working life.

Chart Plotters Typically a chart plotter consists of an antenna, mounted high on the boat, to track GPS signals and a display unit sited either at the at the navigation station or the helm of the vessel. The vessels position is sent from the antenna to the display unit which in turn shows it graphically on the chart. The Chart itself will look similar to its paper equivalent and show depth, land mass, navigational aids such as buoys and potential dangers in the form of wrecks and obstructions. The user can add waypoints to the chart and zoom in and out of the display. Chart plotters can be connected to drive an autopilot and/or send GPS data to a fish finder or radar. They can also interface with a laptop enabling complex passage planning to be done away from the boat and then entered into the chart plotter after arriving at the boat.

Magnetic Transmitting Compasses work like traditional compasses using magnets to determine the vessels orientation to the earth's magnetic field they then transmit the boats heading to an electronic display. They make steering easier than with conventional compasses because they display steadier headings and do not suffer from the "lag" that occurs when making a turn. They can interface with chart plotters, autopilots and radar. Fluxgate Compasses consist of two pieces of readily saturated magnetic material with coils wound around them in opposing directions. AC current is passed through the coils and the material is saturated in one direction and then the other. The earth's magnetic field affects slightly the time at which saturation occurs, earlier in one coil and later in the other. The difference is then calculated giving an output proportional to the earth's magnetic field. They are accurate to 0.1 of a degree. Their output can be displayed digitally to the helmsman or they can interface with autopilots, chart plotters and radar.

Echo Sounders work on the same principle as sonar. A transducer emits a narrow beam of high-frequency sound. This is reflected by any solid objects and the time between transmission and receipt of the echo is measured. The speed of sound through water is known and so the range or distance to the seabed can be calculated. That is then displayed in meters. Forward-Looking Sonar (FLS) enables you to see the underwater hazards before you're actually on top of them. A typical range for an FLS is 150 meters.

An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is a piece of equipment designed to float free of a vessel in distress. It then sends a radio signal that can be detected by Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) satellites. They relay a message to a ground station that in turn can instigate a search and rescue operation.

Fish Finders use the same technology as sonar. A narrow beam of high-frequency sound is transmitted by a transducer, this is reflected by solid objects such as the seabed. By developing this technology fishfinders provide displays that show where the fish are and they can differentiate between baitfish and larger species

Global Positioning System (GPS Receivers) - This system was originally designed for military purposes and is owned and operated by the United States Department of Defence. 24 satellites are arranged in a "birdcage" around the globe, they are positioned in such a way that at any place on the earth's surface a direct line of sight can be established to a minimum of 4 satellites. A fix is obtained by measuring accurately the distance between a satellite and the GPS receiver at a precise time. Because the exact position of the satellite is known, these distances provide position lines which are converted by a microprocessor within the GPS receiver to readouts of latitude and longitude.

The log is used to measure the boats speed through the water. A paddle wheel or impeller, mounted below the waterline is turned by the flow of water, this generates electrical impulses that are fed to a microprocessor that displays both speed and distance run.



Inverters - On most boats today you will find domestic equipment of one sort or another. For onboard entertainment, there are televisions and stereo systems. With the popularity of chart plotters comes the PC or laptop. Maintenance often requires the use of power tools. Liveaboards might have a washing machine, dishwasher or microwave. Can take 12v, 24v or 48v supply and convert it to a stable 110 v or 220v AC supply.

Navtex can perhaps best be described as a continuously updated telex service providing navigation and weather information within specified areas. An onboard receiver, tuned to 518kHz, the worldwide Navtex frequency, if left turned on will either print out or display the latest messages sent from a local station. The service is available up to 400 miles from the coast.

Radar enables you to see what otherwise would be invisible. They offer the greatest benefit at night and in fog or rain and are of particular value when close to shore or in busy shipping lanes. They consist of an antenna and a display. The antenna sends out a stream of RF energy which is reflected back off hard objects. When this energy is bounced back it is converted to a signal which displayed to the user. The antenna rotates every few seconds, the display continuously calculates the direction of the antenna and so a precise bearing to the target is calculated. The time is measured for the energy to be reflected and so the distance of the target is also displayed.

Satellite Phones consist of an antenna, a modem and a normal handset. They are powered by an iridium battery. Their range is anywhere covered by in Inmarsat Mini-M satellite. Voice, fax, email and data can be transmitted.

Satellite TV requires an antenna and of course a television. Reception is available within a "footprint" which is based on EIRP (Effective Isotropic Radiated Power) of a transmitting satellite. The EUTELSAT together with the two ASTRA satellites covers Europe. NILESAT and the two ARABSATs cover Africa and the Middle East. Good coverage is also available in North, Central and Southern America.

SSB Radio has a range of several thousand miles. You will need an FFC license or the equivalent in whichever country you plan to operate it. Power consumption is a consideration. Up to 100 Watts may be required for transmission. SSB radio requires several items of equipment. A transceiver capable of SSB operation, An antenna, this must be 8 metres long and in practice, most boats use a backstay or shroud for the purpose having fitted the necessary insulators. An antenna tuner matched to the transceiver model. If you want to send an email you will also need and radio modem and computer.

VHF Radio The power required to transmit is minimal, all sets have the option of transmitting on either 1 Watt or 25 Watts and the lower power should be used whenever possible. Unlike telephones that allow you to both talks and hear at the same time, most VHF sets require you to press a transmit button prior to talking. This is known as simplex. Duplex sets are available but are much more expensive. VHF radio waves travel in straight lines so the aerial should be mounted as high as possible, preferably at the masthead.





Friday, December 14, 2018

The Star of Bethlehem Explained

The Adoration of the Magi (circa 1305) by Giot...
The Adoration of the Magi (circa 1305) by Giotto, purportedly depicting Halley. 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For centuries astronomers have speculated about the famous Star of Bethlehem, which the three Magi (the three wise men/the three kings) followed to the place of Christ's birth. Of course, the star may defy scientific explanation altogether, and be viewed as a miracle. Nevertheless, various astronomical theories have been proposed, including that the star may have been a comet, or a supernova (an exploding star), or a "planetary conjunction" (a gathering of planets in one part of the sky). In this column, we'll examine two of today's most popular theories, both of which hold that the planet Jupiter played a key role.

First, though, it's useful to recall what the Bible says about the most famous star in history:

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come to a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel."

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." Matthew 2:1-12

If you Google "Star of Bethlehem," the Web site of a best selling DVD, The Star of Bethlehem, ranks at the very top. The DVD features American attorney, Sunday school teacher, and amateur astronomer Rick Larson, who has conducted extensive research into the scientific, historical and theological aspects of the Star of Bethlehem.

After a careful review of scripture, Larson identifies nine characteristics of the star that, he believes, any scientific theory of the star must meet in order to be compliant with Christian belief. For example, we can see from Matthew 2:1-12 that the star signified the birth of a king, that it was associated with the Jewish nation, and that, "it stopped over the place where the child was" - Bethlehem.

Larson then draws on his study of ancient history to address the all-important issue of the year that King Herod died. According to Matthew 2, after the birth of Jesus, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, urging Joseph to flee Israel and take Mary and the infant Jesus to Egypt so as to avoid the wrath of Herod, who had issued orders that all male children in his realm under the age of two be executed. Later in Matthew 2, an angel informs Joseph that Herod has died and that it is safe to return to Israel. So the argument goes that we should subtract two years from the year of Herod's death to estimate the year Jesus was born. Knowing Jesus' estimated year of birth allows astronomers to run computer simulations of the positions of the stars and planets as they appeared in the night sky during the approximate time frame of Jesus' birth.

Most historians and biblical scholars put Herod's death at around the year 4 BC, meaning Jesus would have been born sometime around 6 BC. But Larson points to recent historical research arguing that Herod died in 1 BC, which would place Jesus' birth year around 3 BC.

Using modern astronomical software, Larson then runs computer simulations of the night sky over the Middle East in 3 and 2 BC and reaches two remarkable results - both involving the planet Jupiter.

Viewing the night sky from Jerusalem in mid-September of 3 BC, an observer could see Jupiter, known as the "King Planet" (from classical mythology) in conjunction with (i.e., close to) the star "Regulus," known as the "King Star. Furthermore, Regulus is in the constellation (area of the night sky) "Leo," which represents a lion, which was the symbol of Judah.

Furthermore, Larson notes, the planets in the night sky move relative to the 'fixed' stars: If you note the position of, say, Jupiter relative to stars such as Regulus from night to night, then you'll note that Jupiter generally moves eastward across successive night skies. However, occasionally, Jupiter will seemingly halt its eastward movement, and begin moving westward across successive night skies. (This is an optical effect - called "retrograde motion" - resulting from the fact that Earth's orbit around the sun lies within Jupiter's orbit around the sun. Jupiter, Saturn and other planets outside Earth's orbit demonstrate the same retrograde motion as we view those planets from Earth, which itself is in motion in its orbit about the sun. Our planet's orbital motion combined with the orbital motions of the outer planets cause the retrograde motion optical effect.) As Jupiter switches from moving eastward to moving westward (or vice versa), Jupiter appears to be stationary relative to the stars. In this way, Jupiter appeared to stop "over the place where the child was," as we read in Matthew 2.

But, Larson argues, this conjunction of Leo with Regulus may have marked the conception of Jesus. If we run the computer simulation of Jerusalem's night sky forward nine months into June of 2 BC, we find that Jupiter and the planet Venus - two of the brightest planets in the night sky - come into extremely close conjunction, so much so that the two planets appear together as one, very bright 'star' in the night sky!

So the conjunction of Jupiter with Regulus in 3 BC, and/or the conjunction of Jupiter with Venus nine months later in 2 BC, may very well have been the star the Magi followed.

If we return to the Google search results for "Star of Bethlehem," we find the Web site of professional astronomer Michael Molnar, who takes a different approach to the star of Bethlehem. In his book, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi, Molnar explores not only the Biblical account of the star but also the point of view of the Magi, whom Molnar argues were astrologers/astronomers: In the ancient Roman world, astrology and astronomy were indistinguishable. The Magi were held in high esteem in Roman culture and were considered to be very knowledgeable, indeed, wise men.

Molnar, who does not believe in astrology, nevertheless has extensively researched the astrological beliefs prevalent in the Roman world. He argues that modern astronomers who think about the Star of Bethlehem make a mistake by focusing on what spectacular displays may have appeared in the night sky around the time of Jesus' birth, such as the appearance of a very bright star. The focus on amazing heavenly displays is a bias of relatively modern astronomers, Molnar argues. The Magi of ancient Rome, Molnar explains, were primarily concerned with the logic of their astrological system, which placed primary emphasis on the locations and arrangements of the planets in the night sky - the sequence of planets in the night sky, what constellations they were in, how far above the horizon they appeared at sunrise, etc.

So, for example, the fact that Jupiter and Venus were so close to one another that they appeared as one, very bright star would not necessarily be significant to the Magi. Rather, the Magi would be much more interested in knowing whether Jupiter was to the east of Venus or to the west of Venus, the constellation(s) in which the two planets were located, and how high above the horizon the two planets appeared at sunrise.



Accepting the consensus view of most scholars that Herod likely died in 4 BC, Molnar considers the positions of the planets in the night sky two years earlier - in 6 BC - and finds a particular arrangement of the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars and Mercury, together with the Moon and Sun, that would have been of great astrological significance to the Magi, indicating that a king was being born. Furthermore, the centring of this particular planetary arrangement in and around the constellation Aries was significant, in part because in Roman-era astrology Aries was the sign of Judea. So to the Magi, the arrangement of the stars and planets in 6 BC led them to believe that a great king was born in Judea. Moreover, we should bear in mind Jupiter's retrograde motion, as well as the spirit of revolution in the air at the time - the notion that a messiah would soon lead the Jewish people in revolt against the Roman Empire. All of these factors combined, then, would naturally have induced the Magi to travel to Jerusalem - the capitol city of Judea - to inquire as to the whereabouts of the newborn king.

So whether we take the more Biblically-oriented analysis of Larson or the more astrologically-oriented analysis of Molnar, we find compelling scenarios that support the notion that the Star of Bethlehem was a real, historical event.

    Richard Pickering is an astronomer for Name A Star Live, which lets you express your feelings in a romantic, meaningful way by 'naming a star' for a loved one. While no star-naming service can change the scientific designations of stars, only Name A Star Live makes it real by providing you: Virtual Planetarium astronomy software; an opportunity to view your star live using an online telescope; and the launch of your star name into space!
    Article Source: EzineArticles



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.