Archive for January, 2006

Does windshield icing concern you?

NASA is bragging about technology in new anti-icing windshield spray that was an outcome of efforts to reduce airplane wing ice problems.

Ice Free is a spray for automobile windshields that can provide protection up to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, according to its producers, WorldSource Inc. Applied prior to inclement weather, it prevents ice or snow from bonding on windshield surfaces.

Peepholes in frost covered windshields due to drivers too lazy to clear windows for proper vision on a frosty morning are a major safety hazard. This product could be a solution if people weren’t too lazy to use it.

But none of us take shortcuts in the morning, right?

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ELU – Emergency Living Units and RV Sales

RV News Magazine reports on the shipments of RV’s every month. This month they describe what they are doing to separate the FEMA housing efforts for Katrina victims from ‘normal’ RV sales. RV’s to meet FEMA’s Emergency Living Unit (ELU) specifications are much like other RV’s.

In October, 10,500 ELUs were reported by manufacturers but not counted in the RV total. An ELU is defined as a trailer built to F.E.M.A. specifications in compliance with the RV standard but without holding tanks.

Towable RV sales are up 5.1% compared to this same period last year. Motorhome sales are off 28% and conversion vehicles are off nearly 7%. “Year to date, RV totals have now reached 324,800 units, up 1.5% above the first ten months last year. This does not include ELU counts.”

The graph of sales activity over the last ten years shows steady growth except for the 2001 economic dip effect. The numbers show that trailers are something like 70% or more of RV sales.

A University of Michigan study says “Nearly 8 Million U.S. Households, Up 15% Since 2001” – a new record in RV ownership. “Those under age 35 posted the largest gains in RV ownership rates over the past four years … The typical RV owner is age 49, married, owns a home and has an annual household income of $68,000.”

Perhaps this is why there is renewed interest in the WBCCI and the price of older Airstream trailers seems to be going up.

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Check these sites

Celestron makes telescopes and other devices to assist the amateur astronomer. Check their new products page for what’s happening on this front. There was one that looked like a pair of binoculars but had GPS and stuff built in so it could tell where you were looking and inform you about the objects in that direction. The Binocular Basics page has some good information that the bird watchers might find usefull, too.

If you are still looking up, Universe Today appears to have removed their free ebook but the site still has good stuff for the off world crowd.

Missouri Trailer Trash is about Roy and Bonnie’s new neighborhood but I think they are a bit upscale from the places pictured on this site.

If you have a fancy new digital SLR camera and want to know how to clean it properly, check out Digital Camera Cleaning Techniques.

And if you are curious about caffeine, there is an FAQ that, as a side interest, explains why dogs and choclate don’t go together very well.

Glen-L RV Plans. Links to suppliers might be useful for your project.

Professor David Cope at UC Santa Cruz has some music that might ring your chimes. Its artificially created in the style of famous composers to illustrate how we know what we know about how music is put together.

If you are trying to get to cell service from marginal sites or from inside your Airstream, Digital Antenna might have a solution for you.

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Coffee, more on coffee, the AeroPress view.

Fast, separate water heating from brewing, easy to clean, small amounts, – this sounds like characteristics useful for RV living. Gizmag reports on The AeroPress Coffe Machine: a new concept in an ancient art. This is a way to make coffee in small amounts (1-4 cups) and is easy to clean. The AeroPress web site has a good rundown on the various methods used to make coffee to contrast with their method.

It does appear that this machine is a good alternative to a French Press, not too expensive, and allows experimenting with brew temperature and time to figure out how you like it best. A separate pot to heat water is going to be needed and a thermometer and stopwatch if you are real picky about your coffee.

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Need ideas? Try the practical sailor.

The Practical Sailor says they take the guesswork out of boat and gear buying. Their tips page. While you may not be too worried about man overboard retrieval systems, the golden rule for electronics, tank venting, product notes on maintenance free batteries, and other tips may be of interest. Its quite a list. Many are short PDF files.

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Keeping fit to enjoy life

US News (06ja16) has a good article that balances some of the hysteria and simple mindedness in the obesity problem. Amanda Spake says Stop Dieting! Forget the scale, the calorie counting, and forbidden foods. They may be doing more harm than good.

What is being learned is that this is not a simple issue. Your diet is only a small part of your weight. Genetics, lifestyle, activity, and habits are so much of an influence they make most dieting efforts to change weight useless over time. The understanding of the role of obesity in terms of disease and other ailments is also being clarified. All of this has been around a long time, for instance consider Bailey, the Fit or Fat author.

The message, though simple, seems difficult to put into practice. Work on fitness and be active. Make change in small steps. Eat healthy. Be healthy. Build good habits.

For the RV enthusiast, this means not snacking while going down the road. Stop every hour or two and get in a short walk. Take time for meals and emphasize the salads, fruits,and soups. There’s more. The US news article can provide a good start for ideas to stay fit and be able to really enjoy your RV.

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Old age eyes

M. DeGraaf answers the question Why does eyesight deteriorate with age? at Scientific American.

in what might be the earliest reference to cataracts in the Bible (Genesis, Chapter 27, Verse 1) we learn that, “And it came to pass, that Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim…” The truth is that, with today’s treatment options, there is no intrinsic reason for our vision to worsen with time. In theory, we should be able to retain undiminished our capability to accept, process and experience visual sensory input.

“presbyopia from the Greek words presbus, meaning old man, and opia, meaning eye.” easily handled with reading glasses; “blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids” dry eyes have fixes, too; cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration – there are diseases that need detection and treatment.

In summary, as our population ages, society is not fated to having millions of people with “dim” eyes. Rather, with proper proactive ophthalmic care and an emphasis on the development of new therapies for blinding diseases we can continue to make “great vision” a reality for those past the first blush of youth.

As with many indications of growing older inhibiting what we can do, a healthy lifestyle and appropriate maintenance and management can help us enjoy the RV lifestyle for a long time.

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Looking up in 2006? Plan ahead with free ebook.

Universe Today is offering a guide to the skies for 2006. Its an almanac for skywatchers with a page for each day of the year. Lots of pictures. Interesting trivia – did you know Galileo died on January 1642 and Stephen Hawkings was born on that day 300 years later?

Its a big download but looks worthwhile.

What’s Up 2006 – 365 Days of Skywatching (13.5 MB)

This is a FREE 407-page downloadable book containing What’s Up material for every day in 2006. You can download the book to your local computer, go to the day you like and print off the page to take outside with you nicely formatted. It’s also got tons of other material including general skywatching advice, equipment selection, and hundreds of beautiful photographs. We’ve been working pretty hard on this. :-)

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The Oregon Coast

A destinations section on the Oregon Coast has been added to the Sierra Nevada Destinations page. This is just over the hill from the Great Basin but is definitely a place to tour and visit if you get the chance.
Oregon coast Schwartz Park
There are photo galleries for Ecola State Park and the Heceta Head Light House, Schwartz Park, Silver Falls, and Umpqua areas.

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