Sayonara and Other Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2011 by lvdt74

This is it, the last blog of the semester. So let’s have a bit of recap of how the semester has been and how it has gone.

This was the first blog I’ve ever consistently kept up with, and my experience has been that it was pretty good. It has been a pretty easy assignment but I feel neither here nor there about it. I do feel as if it has made me a better writer though, just because it has allowed me to put words on “paper” more often than if I had not blogged.  I think that sometimes my writing fell to the wayside and was put off for longer than I would have liked to get it down, but that was mostly due to the fact that life gets out of control and it takes some time to get that control back and for life to even out. I felt that writing about something that interested or affected me made the experience much more enjoyable and easier to write about. Topics affected life and were easy to care about made the task of blogging much less difficult and menial. I am not really the kind of person that has too much going on outside of school and I don’t have a hobby would add up to a great difficulty in me having the content to fill a weekly blog, so I do not think that I will continue to blog at all. This said, I did enjoy the topic I blogged about and I achieved my stated goal in my first blog: I tied a monkey’s fist this weekend! I did not blog about it though, because I thought my topic of knots that would be useful over the summer months to be a more prudent topic so I hope at least some of you will get something out of those blogs.

Blogging was an interesting assignment, and it gave me an opportunity to read others blogs too. But I cannot say that I think that blogging would be a viable form of modern conversation. I do think that it is a good tool for proliferation of information. I am a firm believer that the only medium of interpersonal interaction, as far as things of a personal nature go, should be air, meaning that dealings are best when done face to face and in person. So thankfully if you think that I’m a crazy codger this means this is the last time you’ll have to read about my opinions. If you didn’t mind me I appreciate your putting up with me. Good luck.

-Carl

Summer Knots: Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2011 by lvdt74

 

This is my second installment in knots that you might find useful in your activities over the summer break. Where in my last installment I talked about knots for climbing, this time I am going to be talking about some useful fishing knots. With the river here in San Marcos I’m sure that some of you have spent at least some time down there testing your luck against Mother Nature trying to lure some of her watery children out with a hook. But enough of my annoying loquaciousness, the point of the blog today is to give you guys an idea of some good knots for fishing, this is plain Jane fishing I’m talking about here, not fly fishing or anything else fancy like that. I’m going to try and give some variety in the knots so you can shop around and see what you like. Believe me with almost three months of summer you will find some knot you like the most. I’m going to start with some knots that are used to tie your line to the hook.

Uni Knot:

  1. Pass the running end through the eye of your hook. Lay the end parallel to the standing end.
  2. Double back and wind the running end around the two parallel segments at least six times.
  3. On the seventh wind (or more) pull the line parallel with the standing end tight.
  4. Pull the knot down onto the hook.

 

Offshore Swivel Knot:

  1. Create a bight in the line.
  2. Pass the bight through the eye of the hook.
  3. Pull the bight back to the line and hold it there.
  4. Take the hook and pass it through the hole that has been created 4-8 times.
  5. Pull the knot tight.

With these knots it is important to remember that your line must be moist, so that your line does not fray and ruin the integrity of your line. These knots are also used primarily for monofilament fishing line.

There is one more knot I would like to tell you about. It is a knot that is used to tie your fishing line to your reel. Which is kind of important. It is called the Arbor Knot.

Arbor Knot:

  1. Pass your line through the mechanism.
  2. Use the running end to tie an overhand knot with the standing end inside the knot.
  3. Tie another overhand knot in the line.
  4. Tighten.

Well folks there’s one more blog left in the class and it’s not going to be about knots. I hope you all enjoy your summer break and maybe give some of these knots a try. Have a good one.

-Carl

Desire

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2011 by lvdt74

I’m almost really glad I waited until the last minute to write this blog because Congress got together at the last minute Friday night and got a budget plan passed that cut 38.5 billion in government spending for the rest of this fiscal year. So that’s a win for American government and good news for all people.

First there are some things I would like to address for the sake of people who may or may not know. There is a difference between the national debt and the national deficit. The deficit is how much our spending exceeds our earnings for a single year. And the debt is the sum of all deficits. In this article from BBC news (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13067836) the report says that in the next 12 years the government plans to cut 4 trillion from the deficit. That means the government was planning on overspending by 33.3 billion dollars every year for the next twelve years. That’s a lot of number, albeit the government does take in approximately 2.7 trillion dollars on taxes every year according to my Political Science text book. Another point is that the deficit is just going to be “cut” not eliminated so the government is still planning on spending money they don’t have which makes no financial sense whatsoever.

I’m disappointed that our government has let the situation get this bad. Both sides knew a resolution would be reached because a government shutdown would result in a loss of face for both sides, something neither side is interested in, so of course some sort of resolution was going to be reached no matter what. I’m a strong believer in integrity and honor. Many people in American society do not posses either quality, in any realm or political sphere. If people would step up, take responsibility and got what needed to be done done, things would never have gotten so bad. Politicians aren’t the only ones who are corrupt out there, the people are just as bad and have incriminated themselves by allowing this action to happen. People may claim that it is the Republican’s fault and others may say it’s the Democrat’s fault, but this is an issue that has been building over many years under every party’s nose and neither side has done nothing about it. This is what is depressing.

I am an American and I will be proud. I believe that we have the potential to be the greatest country in the world again. We just need the desire.

Summer Knots Pt. 1

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2011 by lvdt74

Over the course of this semester while writing for this blog assignment I have had a few requests for instruction on how to tie a couple of knots, which is really cool because it means that people realize that knots have some significance in life, and maybe that the knots I’m teaching will find some way to be helpful to those who do read this blog. So my last couple of blogs that are not assigned prompts will be on how to tie some knots that you might find useful over your summer break, because let’s face it summer is right around the corner.

It has come to my attention that at least one of our classmates will be going to go rock climbing over the summer break. Luckily I know a little bit about climbing and guess what? There are knots involved, and this is an activity that is heavily reliant on knot skills. You have to trust your life to the knot you tie while climbing so your knot skills have a strong correlation to survival rate. Don’t let this scare you, because there will most likely be an experienced climber there to help make sure you don’t die.

There are two styles of rope that are used when climbing: traditional and webbing. Traditional style rope is the kind of rope everyone is familiar with. Webbing is difficult to describe,  but it looks similar to the seat belt in your car. Today I am going to concentrate on the knots that are tied with traditionally styles of rope.

The Figure Eight:

This knot has no use by itself, but it is necessary to know how to tie because it provides the frame for the Figure Eight Follow-Through, and is helpful to know when tying the Figure Eight on a Bight.

The Figure Eight Follow-Through:

This knot is used to safely tie your harness onto your belaying line without the use of a carabiner. To tie, simply take the running end and follow the “path” of the knot backwards onto itself.

Figure Eight on a Bight:

This knot is used in the same manner as the Figure Eight Follow-Through but instead a carabiner will attach your climbing harness to the belaying line.

The Stopper Knot:

This knot is used to keep the running end of your line away from the operation of your climbing gear and is primarily a safety knot.

This is by no means a comprehensive discussion on all climbing knots, but rather one on some of the more common knots tied with traditional style rope. Make sure you recieve climbing lessons or climb with an experienced climber before going out on your own.

-Carl

A Simple Equation —-> A Simple Solution

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2011 by lvdt74

So, Japan + Earthquake + Tsunami + Nuclear Reactor = No Fun

Are there any questions or confusion? Good I’m glad we are all clear on what has happened and how it’s bad for the citizenry of Japan.

            But I think the discussion about the safety of Nuclear reactors in the U.S. is neither here nor there in ethical terms. By now the United States has sent the support it is willing and going to send. Now that assets have been used to help, it would be a good time to take a closer look at our own nuclear reactors and make sure we have learned from the mistakes of the Japanese. It is right to do so now that Japan is picking itself out of this crisis. As far as nuclear power goes, I’m in favor of it, but let’s look at where our reactors are and make sure their geographic location is safe! Let’s not put reactors on fault lines (Japan) and away from Mt. Saint Helens, because honestly the architecture of nuclear reactors are sound and has met the required regulations in the United States, which were tightened as a result of the incident on Three Mile Island. As long as reactors are kept away from big waves and earthquakes and all will be well.

            I believe these concerns about the soundness of the reactor designs are valid but not timely. Nuclear reactors have the potential to have a devastating effect on the people that live in close proximity to it should a reactor melt down. But honestly it makes sense to not build things that are in dangerous places, prone to violent natural storms. People should realize things of this nature during the planning stage. It should not take a disaster for an “Ah ha” moment for people to realize their mistakes about nuclear reactors. The world should have learned its lesson from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island (along with this list of others http://www.atomicarchive.com/Reports/Japan/Accidents.shtml )about the dangers of nuclear energy. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Knot Your Average Blog: Joining Knots

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2011 by lvdt74

I’m not sure how many of you have been following the blog, or maybe even trying to tie these knots even just for laughs. But it’s cool even if you haven’t. This post is for those that have tried tying the knots I’ve been blogging about the past couple of weeks. I’m going to be talking about the Square Knot and the Sheet Bend. These two knots share the same purpose but in different situations. The idea behind these knots is to join two pieces of line together. Use the Square Knot if the two ropes have the same diameter and the Sheet Bend if they do not. These knots can be used in pretty much any situation or the Square Knot anyways, since it is much easier to tie and untie, that you need a knot for. But as far as the knot’s intended purpose goes it might be useful if say, you needed to extend your clothes line that I taught you how to make in an earlier post, or maybe your heaving line isn’t quite long enough to reach someone you are trying to rescue at the bottom of a cliff or overboard the side of a ship, again another situation I’ve mentioned in a previous post.

To tie the Square Knot:

  1. Take both ends of the line in each hand.
  2. Cross the end in your left hand over the end in your right.
  3. Pull it under like you are tying your shoe.
  4. Then take the line end in your right hand and cross it over the left.
  5. Pull it under and tighten the knot.

The knot should, look like this when you are done.

 

To tie the Sheet Bend:

  1. Make a bight in one rope.
  2. Take the running end of the other rope through the eye of the bight from the rear.
  3. Pass the running end around the back of the bight.
  4. Bring the running end back to the front of the bight.
  5. Pass the running end under itself when you went through the eye.
  6. Pull the knot tight.

The knot should look like this upon completion.

 

These knots may seem relatively easy, but it is good to practice them and any knot that you may one day use. Because the first time you try to tie a Sheet Bend, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll do it wrong, cause it’s just a weird knot like that. But go for it and it should be easy pretty quick.

Thanks

Carl

What History Has Shown

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2011 by lvdt74

The English pretty much had things down pat. They used the people’s belief in God and the power vested in the Pope by God to vest the divine right to rule in a monarch. Not so tough huh?

America. A bunch of lawyers and terrorists(and I mean that from the English point of view) created the government we have today. It  took us two tries, but we got it after that.

If there is one thing that we have learned from intervention in Muslim states it is one thing. “That once the United States plays a major role in the ouster of a Middle Eastern leader, it bears responsibility for whatever state emerges in its place.” That is the lesson learned from Iraq and known by politicians and laymen. The article from the New York Times on 6 March 2011 makes it seem that young people are informed on the political climate and how they affect that climate. Which leads to my point: the United States should practice a noninvolvement policy in regards to Libya.

If the people of Libya want freedom and rights and they are willing to fight for them, they will eventually earn them through the blood and the ink that will be spilt to forge the government that gives freedom and personal liberties. The young people of Libya must choose their side; the oppression of Qaddafi or freedom. Once that has been decided a civil war will ensue and it will form something new for their people. And they should do it themselves.

Let me draw a parallel. America won its independence with minimal outside help. Even though the French fleet really did help at Yorktown, guess what!? The French racked up a huge debt helping us in the war and it only fanned the flames of the French Revolution! And then in the American Civil War … there was no outside help, the world let us hash it out on our own with minimal intervention.

We have enough of our own troubles and debt to keep us busy for a while.Let’s leave the Libyans to themselves and let the Arab League or the African Union help them like the New York Times article on 7 March 2011 says they wants to. Now is  the time to set the precedent for American Non-involvement.

Now is the time to break the precedent for American involvement in foreign affairs and to set a new precedent for non-involvement those affairs and hash out our own domestic affairs.