Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

metric Montana draftsman

Earlier this year I decided to give go at using metric measurements. That system has many advantages facilitating gauging and related calculations. For target ranging through optical scopes using mil-dots, plus calculating hold-offs and hold-overs, it is far more fluid than the MOA, foot, inch, yard system. Thus I have lived in a mixed-system world for the last six months. Setting up my new studio, radio shack, reloading, hobby area requires quite a bit of design, millwork and cabinetry … all needing to be done before I could have a nice mechanical drawing station set up. I am incredibly happy with the cheesy little 30-dollar “interim” drawing board I bought to draw plans for my drawing table and more. I […]

emergency medical inventory

I retired nurse friend of mine shared her list with a group of us. I, in turn, am sharing it with you. Field Hospital Inventory (* denotes essentials) Trauma bag Personal protection gear – each in separate zip lock bags vinyl and nitril gloves – your size and some large size if different (*) surgical masks (*) plastic (food service type) apron eye protection Cleaning supplies sm. bottle of surgical (green) soap or plain dish soap fingernail brush hand towels Normal saline – burn and wound cleanser (*) baking soda – acid burns sm bottle vinegar – alkaline burns plain salt – to make more normal saline gauze sponges 60 cc syringe – or cheap condiment squeeze bottle small pack […]

winter heat

In 1980 I built my dream house on a south-facing hill with winter solar gain thoroughly designed in, and an efficient woodstove as the only other heat source. Both Good News and Bad News: it was in Northern California. That meant ample supply of oak, madrone, eucalyptus, live oak and other hardwoods that put out A LOT of heat (30 – 36 million BTUs per cord), little creosote, smoke, ash, and burned long per fireplace loading. The bad news was cultural, political and governmental. I did not fit there, moving from my childhood homeland in March of 2000. I had not heated with firewood again until 2013. Hardwoods are essentially unobtainable while the fir and pine (13-20 million BTUs […]

greenhouse design

I enjoy old-school mechanical drawing, drafting and design … with paper, pencil, T-square, triangles and such. Having a simple drawing board, perhaps even a genuine drafting desk has been on my short list every time I end up with a home that has space for it. My new studio may well be the place this happens, but not until we are fully moved in and settled. Meanwhile, I have a lot of projects that really require some planning and drawing to insure they fit together well, have the right materials, and in some cases, communicate to the builder when I am subcontracting the work out. In other words, I have a lot of drawings to do before I can get […]

become an amateur radio operator

Thursdays 4:30-6:30pm Darby Library meeting room July 13th – September 7th Handy in many situations, radio communications can be life saving when phones and Internet are down or out of reach Ham radios start where walkie-talkies leave off, with licensed radio operators communicating around the corner and around the world. ARRL License Manual costs $29.95 includes chapters on every aspect of the licensing exam and numerous practice tests Darby Thursday study sessions are FREE YOU can be an amateur radio operator No electronics background required Click this link for a .pdf poster advertising the class:Ham-radio-class-poster-7-2017 Below is a .jpg image of the class advertisement. TESTING SESSION JULY 17th For those ready to test for Technician, General or Amateur Extra […]

analog calculators

In this age of converting everything to digital, bits, bytes and button pushing, my recent trip to a beginners’ long-range shooting school (see my first 1K) brought the power of slide rules back into my world. I am also [re-]discovering the beautiful metric system of measurements. The normal, average, mundane, commonplace answer to everything today is “I have a computer that does that”. Substitute “smart phone”, calculator or other electronic alternative to knowing how to actually do stuff and you have the answer to 99.9% of the computational questions asked today. I am not going to conjure up ways in which that dependence on electronics could fail us. Needless to say there are times, places and circumstances where it could. […]

midnight prowler

At 0030 last night Beagle Brain went off as if the zombie apocalypse had begun at our door. In a flash I had my robe on and was in the front room. The motion-detector flood lights were on, but everywhere I looked was vacant of mammalian beings… or anything at all visible but the snow, river and trees that normally occupy our riverside yard. Yet Beagle Brain was barking at extreme pitch, far more so than the normal ‘won’t shut up cuz there is a deer walking in the woods’. I continue investigating, then see a flash of a man walking by our front window! Briskly. I dash to the side window to catch a retreating view… big parka, fur-faced […]

radio communicating options

Handy in many situations, radio communications can be life saving when phones and Internet are down or out of reach. This 2-hour overview covers walkie-talkies across the yard to ham radios around the world. What radios should you have for emergencies? What do they cost? What do they do? How can you be sure they will be available when you really need them? Regular, non-technical people become Ham radio operators all the time. Should you? If so, how? I am offering one of the classes on the calendar for the Darby Adult Education Spring 2016 session. Darby School District Adult Education The class currently has 5 people signed up. It will be canceled if there are not 7 or more. […]