Friday, January 7, 2011

Tickle your noodle.

Since I started this blog I have shown you some projects and introduced a little psychology into the mix.  I have added a coupe of rants and a few comparisons but I havn't put out anything fun, so I thought that I would tickle your noodle a little bit with some thinking and a Survivology 101 lesson at the same time.

The other day when I put my son down to sleep and turned off the light he asked how that worked.  How what worked? I replied!  The light; he said.  After thinking for about a second, I said well thats magic, if you flip it up the light goes on and if you flip it down the light goes off.  Well being that I always look back and anayize everthing that I can remember, I had an apiffany.  Although I explained the mechanical operation of the actual light switch I didn't actually tell him how it worked.  But then, thry this on a five year old;

There is a constant electrical current traveling through the walls in the wiring, this wiring passes the switch which creates a break in the current, when you throw the swith, that is to close it you allow the current to pass through the circut and travel to the light fixture.  At the fixture the negative and positive currents follow separate paths that meet in the middle at the filiment.  When they meet the elecrons rub together on a microscopic level creating a friction that generates two energies.  The first is heat and the remainder is photons,  the energy is too great to be contained by the vaccume of the bulb and the energy passes through it and is dipearsed around the room.  The heat is small and dissapates quickly but it keeps the bulb hot.  The photons are not as afected by the resistace of the air so they bounce around the room creating the illusion of light.  The photons bounce off the surface of the objects in the room  and shatter into the various colors of the rainbow.  Depending on the properties of the surface some of the colors are reflected and some are absorbed, the reflected colors blend and that is what creates the images and the colors that you can see.  If you flip the switch down it breaks or opens the circut so the current can't reach the light fixture and the room  goes dark.  This is actuallly way to simplified but you get the point on how hard that would be to explain it to a five year old in a manner that he could really understand it.  I dont even think that it is possible.

Now grranted that is too much information for a child but he can understand that its magic.  Better than that he can understand how to use that magic when he needs it and the outcome is predictable even for a child with limited knowledge and experience.  In time, given a new situation and a new environment he can understand how to use that magic perfectly to accomplish a task that is totally new.  He may even learn to recognize different light switches and even dimmer switches.  He may even learn to use a clapper effectively by discovering that sound is the on and off switch. Now that is magic, wait no its not, its just technology, there is nothing magical about technology.

With that said look back at my post about analyzing patterns and predicting the outcomes or manuplating them to your advantage.  It is magic.  We, like the child do not need to understand all the complicated processes that make it work in order to use it to our advantage.  We only need to know that it is there and know how to initiate it and what the likely outcome will be.  So I guess that in that line of thinking, Magic is the technology of the gods, and we are not even capable of understaning all of its complexities but we can sure as hell use it if we know what to look for.  Now trouble shooting why it didn't work that time is not quite as easy as changing a light bulb but it will be learned in time and increases the effectivness of the magic for future uses.

I hope that was fun for you to think about,  remember that the cornerstones of survivology are doing, recognizing, anayzing, and cataloging the outcome.

If you go through the day and learn nothing at all then you did it wrong, that in itself is a lesson.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finally, a good example to follow! In politics?

Yesterday the balance of power shifted in the House and Republican John Boehner became the speaker.  His first act was to have the entire house read the Constitution of the United States of America.  I do not recall in recent history when another professional politician made such a common sense decision.  The next thing you know he will have them reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before each meeting.  Wouldn't that be revolutionary?  They still may not make good decisions in the spirit of the Constitution that affect US, but at least we know that they have read it and we can hold them accountable.

I, David Williams, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

I have taken the above oath 11 times during my career even though it never expires.  If you have taken that oath or a similar one EVER, you might want to brush up on the constitution as well.  Might as well follow a good example.  If you have not taken the oath, you do not need to join the the Constitution, take an oath, and take some action.  As Jack Spearco put it "the revolution is you"!
It might not hurt to brush up on the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, You might be surprised but a lot of Americans couldn't tell you the difference.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Come join us in Reno!

I have been honored by having been asked to speak at this upcomming winter safety event in Reno.  If you are in the area this is a good way to get out and meet our kind of people.  What I mean by our kind of people is the type to grab oppertunity and go enjoy the wonderful resources that we have available in this country.  All are invited and I encourage you to support the Sierra Club in your area, and the conservation efforts that they make to keep our public lands open, clean, well managed and available for all of us to enjoy.  If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem! 

General Meeting January 2011

January 13: Winter Safety in the Backcountry
Location: Girl Scouts Building 605 Washington St, Reno NV
Time: 7:00pm social/ 7:30pm meeting begins

The Great Basin Group of the Sierra Club welcomes David Book, Washoe County Search & Rescue Volunteer, to discuss winter safety in the backcountry. David is a Sierra Club member in our group who has assisted on hundreds of search and rescue calls locally and in Northwest Nevada. We also welcome, GYSGT David Williams a survival instructor from the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Sonora, California. This is an informative discussion which will offer practical advice for backcountry safety and local resources for more training. An REI representative will have a display of winter gear to view and discuss. This event is open to the general public. Please join in the discussion and help us raise the awareness of winter safety in our local community.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vacation is over, back to work!

Well its that time again, BACK TO WORK.  I have had the last couple of weeks off but rather than spend them sitting on my ass or pecking at the computer I decided to get stuff done.  I had the oppertunity to take all the kids skiing at June Mountain and at Mammoth Mountain.  I built a charcoal forge and a propane gas forge in the garage.  For the propane forge I used the "Oliver upwind burner" design and I am very pleased with the output.  So in light of that I have started making knives.  Keep in mind that I am still trying to figure this process out so mistakes will be made but it is a hell of  alot of fun making them.  Thanks to Luke Swenson at Swenson Custom Knives for information and resources and thanks to Dwane Dwyer of Strider Knives for his help and information.

So to date these are the knives that I have made, Now I guess that I need to learn how to polish them and work on how to photograph them....Its harder than you my think. 

This is my version of a early American trade knife, it is O1 with oak scales and stainless liners but I put it through a process to "age" the hande and erode the softer grains.  It is now my dress up knife. 

This is a picture of the filework that I did on the trade knife, it goes all the way around the tang and ends just before the cutting edge begins.

 This is a stout "man version" of the flimzy bird and trout knife.  It is also in O1with a single bevel scandi grind.
This is a bushcrafter that I made for my wife "little hands" it is made from an old Case farm tool blade and has a thin pink liner visable on the spine.

This is a large bushcrafter made from a Case farm tool blade and has red oak hande scales.  This is for a friend at work and the metal came from his farm equipment and the oak came from his fathers saw mill.  In this picture you can see my makers mark on the blade.

This one is a small patch knife for black powder hunting.  This one was hammer forged from the shank of an old broken screwdriver.  I think that I prefer to make knives from the stock removal method but I will likely use both methods until I settle on a favorite.

In addition to the above knives and projects I also built a filing jig to help me get a clean perfect grind on the knife blades.  I made an anvil from an old piece of railroad track and my wife bought me a new Lincoln wire feed welder so I salvaged some old bed frames from the dump and built a welder cart.  I also converted an old wood stove to a welding table and use the stove itself to store some blacksmithing tools and other odly shaped tooling and black powder bullet casting supplies. 

All in all it was a productive vacation but the show must go on, so soon Ill be back on the mountain training Marines to fight and survive in the harsh environment.

As far as new years resolutions go I have made a few!
1. To make some new friends and contacts in the survival community (build some bridges).
2. See more, learn more, and do more!
3. Solve as many problems as I can find.

In light of those resolutions I have commited to speaking at the Great Basin Group of the Sierria Club's Winter preparation meeting,  I will also tag along for a winter hike (snowshoe) with the group later in January or early February to help them expose some holes in their personal preparations for trips into the back country.  For those that do not keep up on the latest news, we have recently lost two people (that I know of) here in the sierrias one was on a snow shoe trip in the back country and the other was a ski instructor that was snowboarding out of bounds.  Both were experienced in the outdoors.

So get off your ass and do something or don't it is totally up to you but don't bitch when you realize that you missed the oppertunity to have an adventure or learn a new skill.