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Thursday, November 29, 2018

U.S. Navy Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen

RIP J.C. Wiltsie, 5-31-69, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


     Crawdads, also known as crayfish, crawfish, crawlfish, crawldads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, mudbugs or yabbies are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters. 
     Some species are found in brooks and streams where there is running fresh water, while others thrive in swamps and ditches. Most crawdads cannot tolerate polluted water, although some species are hardier. They feed on animals and plants, either living or decomposing, and detritus. 
     The greatest diversity of crawdads is found in southeastern North America, with over 330 species in nine genera. In 1983, Louisiana designated the crayfish, or crawfish as they are commonly referred, as their official state crustacean. 

     Louisiana produces 100 million pounds per year with the red swamp and white river crawfish being the two most popular species to harvest. Crawfish are a special part of Cajun culture dating back hundreds of years. 

How to cook Cajun Crawfish

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Make Your Own Ice Melter

     Our front porch and steps are concrete so when they get ice on them it's impossible to to spread salt to melt the ice because of the damage it does to the concrete. 
     An easy and effective way, also cheap(!) is to make my own ice melting compound. First, I bought a 32 ounce (¼ of a gallon) Zep brand plastic spray bottle at Home Depot for less than $4.00. This spray bottle is great...it will squirt liquids 6-8 feet. Now that I think of it though, I should probably invest in a 2 gallon plastic watering can for about $5.00. 
     Put 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish washing liquid and two teaspoons of rubbing alcohol into the bottle and filled it with warm water. The original instructions said use a half gallon of water, but I didn't have a bottle that big. 
     One site I was on said this would not work, but it did. However, I have no idea as to how low the temperature has to be for it not to work, nor do I know how long the ice will stay slushy. I suspect it would be perfect for use where steps and walks are covered with freezing rain. 
     Of course, calcium chloride pellets are best because they are hygroscopic, meaning they draw moisture form the air and ice, which enables it to work when other deicers cannot. No other ice melter out performs calcium chloride pellets. It melts ice and snow down to temperatures of -25 degrees F. and it is safe to use on concrete and vegetation when used correctly. But it is expensive.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Pet Rabbits

     Dogs and cats are good pets, but each has its disadvantages. If you are looking for a pet that is as much fun as a puppy or kitten but not as demanding, doesn't make noise, doesn't shed and doesn't poop a lot, bunnies make wonderful pets. But, remember, rabbits live over ten ears and they are not low maintenance animals. 
     Bunnies are quiet; they make little to no noise. Rabbits have distinct personalities and they can be charming, affectionate and very interactive. Just like dogs and cats, some bunnies are rambunctious and playful, while others may be more shy and reserved. Like dogs and cats, rabbits bond closely with their owners and get to know them. They recognize them by voice and sight and will even come when called. They may even follow their owners from room to room. 
     Most rabbits don’t particularly like being held/picked up, but some will jump up on their owner's laps and even come when called. Like cats, some are aloof, some aren't. 
     Another advantage rabbits have is that they don't require much space...all they need is a couple of hours of exercise hopping around outside of their cage. They don't eat a lot, nor do the poop much...a litter pan in one corner will do. Yes, bunnies can be trained to use a litterbox, but it will take patience. They can also be trained to run an obstacle courses and to do tricks. You do it the same way as training other animals...positive reinforcement. It’s best to use treats that they only get during training though. 
     Vet bills. Rabbits. Like dogs and cats, should be spayed or neutered, so expect a vet bill. In addition, there are startup costs that can be a tad steep; actually pretty steep. A pen (dog pens are ideal), litter box, feeder and food dishes and rabbit-proofing materials for cords, etc, and you can end up spending a couple of hundred dollars. Litter, hay, vegetables and pellets can run $100 a month. Also, if the rabbit gets sick vet bills can be expensive. 
     One also needs to be aware that bunnies can be destructive! Even in a bunny-proofed your home, sometimes they can get into an off-limits area and wreak havoc by gnawing on your stuff. Rabbits are very curious and persistent and are ingenious when it comes to finding ways to gnaw on computer cables, wires, molding, couch piping, slightly frayed rug, etc. They also like to chew up paper. So, it's important to keep them from getting bored: empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products are a good way to keep them amused. 
     Being social animals they social interaction, plenty of exercise and a lot of enrichment activities, so can't be totally secluded although they do need a space of their own where they can go and relax. 
     Rabbits get stressed so be prepared for it when you bring one home. They don't like to travel, so you'll need a bunny sitter if you go on vacation. 
     While rabbits have a reputation for being cute and cuddly they can bite, scratch and kick. Aggressive behavior towards people can be the results of several factors. First you need to rule out health issues. Sickness is obvious, but raging hormones in rabbits that aren't spayed or neutered can also be a cause.
     Rabbits aren't exactly stupid. It's possible that they have learned that aggressive behavior gets them something they want. This is especially true if they don't like interacting with people. At some point they may have gotten scared and lashed out and the scary thing, like your hand, went away. So, the next time they tried it again and it worked again. It takes time to deal with their fear aggression and neither the rabbit nor the owner is going to like the process.
     Rabbits that are bored and frustrated tense up and that can lead to aggression. It could also be that the rabbit is fearful of people. In that case the best thing to do is sit quietly and let the rabbit investigate you. 
     Sometimes you'll run into a rabbit that is just plain mean and nothing you do will solve their aggressive behavior. In that case you can just Google “how to skin a rabbit” and “rabbit recipes.”

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Dealing With Some People

     The Book of Proverbs in the Bible has it right...Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Proverbs 26:4 The meaning is that we should not lower ourselves to the fool's level by answering his silly questions or arguing with him as if he were a sensible man. 

Darius Foutoux has an interesting observation on his blog. Another blogger summed it up...”We have no scale for stupid people. No measuring stick for stupidity. For smart people, sure. “She’s a genius. He’s a real Einstein. But what’s the measuring stick for stupid people? I mean who in history really stands out as the pinnacle of stupidity? It can’t be someone who’s merely narrow-minded, tunnel-visioned, and devoid of imagination”…READ MORE

13 signs your coworkers think you're dumb – an Business Insider article 
Five Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

Calculators of Every Kind

     The site is called Inch Calculator, but you can actually calculate just about anything. 

Construction calculators: Estimate the Bricks and Mortar Needed for a Project, Carpet Calculator and Price Estimator, Plant and Flower Calculator – Estimate How Many Plants You Need, Plywood Calculator – Estimate 4×8 Sheets of Plywood Needed, Post Hole Concrete Calculator, Lawn Mowing Calculator – Estimate How Long it Takes to Mow a Lawn, dozens more. 
Math Calculators: Compare Fractions Calculator, Decimal to Fraction Calculator, Least Common Denominator, Mean, Median, Mode, and Range Statistics Calculator, Percentages of all kinds, Slope Calculator – Find the Angle or Equation of a Line, Solve For Unknown Fraction Calculator, Surface Area Calculator – Find the Surface Area of Many Shapes, Volume Calculator – Calculators for Several Shapes and more. 
Other Calculators: Electrical calculators, Density Calculator, Steps to Distance Calculator – Find How Many Steps in a Mile, TV Size and Viewing Distance Calculator, Video Aspect Ratio Calculator plus many others. 

Two calculators I found amusing were on that calculates how many Ping Pong balls would be needed to fill a swimming pool and a child’s height prediction calculator. 

There are also many articles covering such things as:
# Actual Plywood Thickness and Size, Choosing the Fence Style that is Best For You
# Choosing Brick vs Concrete Pavers for a Patio, Driveway, or Path
# How High Should You Mount Your TV, Top 
# 12 Warning Signs Your Asphalt Shingle Roof Needs to be Replaced
and more.

There are also articles on project cost guides based on 2018 prices: 
# How Much Does it Cost to Install a Brick Wall
# How Much Does a Concrete Block Wall Cost
# How Much Does a Concrete Driveway Cost
# How Much Does New Carpet Cost
and, of course, many more.

Unit Conversion Calculators: Convert just about any measurement you can think of (speed, distance, linear measurements, volume, anything!) to another unit.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Why Don't Big Ships Capsize?

     Looking at the picture on the left, the ship looks extremely unsafe. Many ships seem to be out-of-proportionally tall, perched precariously on a hull which seems incapable of safely supporting a structure towering hundreds of feet into the air. So, what keeps these giant ships stable in a roll and reduces their potential to list to large angles in bad weather to the point that they just roll over? 
     At one time shipbuilders built a ship then put a hotel inside of it, but now they build a hotel and then wrap the ship around it. One expert claims that in the past there was a safe ratio between a vessel’s draft (below the waterline) and the portion that's above the waterline, but modern cruise ships are no longer built that way, making them dependent on stabilizers not only to combat rough weather but to stay upright with only slight to moderate winds and seas.
     Back in 2010, the Louis Majesty, a cruise ship hit by 26-foot waves off northeast Spain didn't capsize, but it resulted in two passengers getting killed and 14 people injured when water violently crashed through the windows of some of the ship's public areas. Experts said waves like those that struck the Louis Majesty are extremely rare and should be of little concern to the average cruise ship passenger. Still, the incident raised questions by potential passengers about the safety of cruising, especially, “How likely would it be for a cruise ship to encounter a wave that might tip it over?” 
     A professor and chairman of engineering at the Maritime College of the State University of New York, said it's not very likely and he would be as worried about it as an asteroid hitting the Earth. A captain at the California Maritime Academy said the only way that it could happen is if the ship were in extreme weather and positioned sideways to a 70- to 100-foot wave that would have the potential of rolling it over. He added that it would never happen because cruise ships avoid bad weather like the plague. They don't want the passengers in peril, they don't want to risk any injury or accidents. 
      How far can a cruise ship lean over to one side and still recover? It turns out, pretty far. In extreme cases, a ship can actually list 60 degrees and recover. When a ship lists 20 degrees, you almost can't walk on the deck. If a ship heels more than that, the problem is that you're going to get thrown off your feet and a lot of equipment and furniture is going to break loose and fly around. So, that possibility of injury is very high, but the ship should right itself without any problem. 

     Cruise ships seem to be getting bigger and taller and the big question is, does that affect their stability? It may appear that cruise ships are top heavy, but naval architects design them in such a way that all of the heavy liquids, machinery and the main engine are positioned very low, so the ship's center of gravity is also low even though it looks like the structure goes up high. 
     Modern cruise ships also have very intricate anti-heeling systems. They literally blast water from one side of the ship to the other side so that you can take a ship that might be rolling 20 degrees and when the anti-heeling system is turned on the roll will only be 5 degrees. Thus, because of the anti-heeling system on state of the art cruise ships, it's very difficult to feel any kind of movement on board. 
     If there is a tsunami warning, a cruise ship is only in danger if it is docked in port. A tsunami would go by entirely unnoticed on the open sea. But if the ship were still at port, an arriving tsunami would be devastating. 
     Whether a ship capsizes or not has a lot to do with its center of gravity. We think of gravity as a force that pulls things downward, but it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes gravity can make things turn and topple over, especially if they are high up and unbalanced. Throw a ball in the air and gravity pulls it straight back down. Not everything moves like this when gravity acts on it. Ships are not nice, neat ball-shaped, so gravity acts on them in more complex ways. Even so, all objects behave as though their mass is concentrated at the center of gravity. 
     A small boat can swing from side to side pretty freely and because it’s light and it takes only a small force to make it move in the water. This makes a small boat relatively easy to capsize. By sitting down in a small boat, you lower the center of gravity and make it more stable; the lower the center of gravity the more stable boats are. 
     Large ships have heavy engines underneath the water level which gives them a low center of gravity and makes them more stable. They also have a big keel, the vertical board running underwater from back to front along the central spine. The keel helps stop boats rolling or capsizing because it means more force is required to push the boat sideways through the water or rotate it. 
     For a more technical explanation, see HERE.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Spot Crime Map

Crimes in Brooklyn, New York
     SpotCrime is a crime data aggregator that maps crime incidents, plots them on Google Maps, and deliver alerts via email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, RSS and a multitude of other platforms. 
     The data comes from police departments, news reports and user-generated content. SpotCrime crime maps help you find what the crime report in your neighborhood looks like. They also analyze crime trends in neighborhoods and allow you to search for crime near any address. Type in your city or zip code to check the crime in your neighborhood. 
Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada

Five Facts About Crime in the U.S.

100 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.