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  • Birth Certificates – What, Why, How

    Posted on April 6th, 2019 admin No comments

    The What, Why, How of Birth Certificates


    A birth certificate is an official government document that records the details of a person’s birth. Minimum information will be the name, date and place of birth, and parents of the individual.

    Why issue birth certificates?

    From at least the time of ancient Egypt, the state has wanted to keep track of its citizens through birth and census records, largely for tax purposes. In modern times, birth records help determine future needs for education, health, and other social programs.


    Why get a birth certificate?

    A birth certificate constitutes proof of identity; the mere possession of the birth certificate is a first step towards obtaining other documents such as a passport or drivers license.

    Whether you want a birth certificate for obtaining other documents such as a passport or for documenting a family history, you need to apply to the government in the place of birth. Most governments maintain a specific office for dealing with the “vital statistics” of birth, marriage, and death, though some jurisdictions may privatize the local permit offices.


    How to get a birth certificate?

    Regardless of the specific mechanism or bureaucracy, the process generally involves

    • filling in a form specifying certain details of the birth (which might include date and place of birth, names of parents),
    • swearing or testifying to the accuracy of the information and the right of the applicant to obtain the information, and
    • paying a fee for the service.

    This process may be done online for some states or provinces; in others it might be necessary to physically visit the appropriate government office.  Some places may have the records digitized and be able to provide a print copy immediately; other locales may require a wait of up to several days or weeks.

    While parents were probably issued an original  certificate at the time of birth of the child, any certificate obtained by the methods above will be a duplicate or extract, an official copy that has the legal force of the original.


    Can I get Uncle Joe’s birth certificate?

    If you are doing genealogy or family history, there may be limits as to what (or whose) birth certificate you can obtain.  It is probable that in most countries, historical records of over a certain age — 30 years, for example — are coPnsidered public documents, because the individuals involved are deceased  (there is still some debate as to what “rights” a deceased person may have).  In other cases, you might need to prove a relationship to the person whose records you are seeking in order to obtain the information.


    Birth certificates are useful to have, whether for proving identity, obtaining other documents, or pursuing family history.

  • Bad Credit RV Loans

    Posted on April 5th, 2019 admin No comments

    RV Loan May be Accessible Despite Past Bad Credit


    Bad credit history? Discharged bankruptcy? Don’t give up your dream of owning an RV and enjoying the freedom of low-cost vacation.


    About Past Bad Credit RV Loans

    Get a loan for a Green RV

    A credit company may describe an RV loan for someone with a bad credit history as a “superior loan” that will “save you hundreds of dollars in interest.” Take that with caution.

    A bank may also advance a loan for an RV, but banks tend to consider RV loans as “bad debt”. The Bank of Nova Scotia, in their advice on credit management ( http://www.scotiabank.com/cda/content/0,,CID11560_LIDen,00.html#smart) suggest that “Borrowing money to purchase a luxury item that has no future financial value” is an example of a bad debt. Why? Because where a car is considered almost a necessity for getting to work, an RV is considered a luxury item. An RV is a depreciating asset. Like a new car, an RV loses value the minute it leaves the dealer lot, and continues to lose value with every year and every mile. But unlike the car, an RV tends to sit in the yard much of the time, which in the bank’s view provides little future benefit­.

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/27/c3/14/27c314f8efc62c3b0b12364fe763a234.jpgSo if the banks, which are supposed to be cautious lenders, consider an RV loan to be a bad debt, even for someone with good credit history, why would other lenders be willing to give money to somebody with bad credit?


    Look for a Special Purpose Loan.

    One possibility is a loan for a specified object, which may be easier to get.  This will usually be a fixed rate loan offered by lenders for a particular purpose or purchase.   Such loans might include

    • motorcycle loans
    • boat loans
    • RV loans
    • lease buyouts

    Special purpose loans might sometimes be easier to obtain than non-specific loans.


    Why a Bad Credit RV Loan May Still be a Good Risk

    There are some reasons why bad credit RV loans are made available.

    1. Low delinquency – RV loans tend to have a low delinquency rate, according to the American Banker’s Association (as reported at rvbroker.com). This means that RV loans can be a relatively good credit risk when compared to other types of loans.

    2. Brokered Risk – The risk of a bad credit RV loan can be spread around. A loan can be brokered among several lenders, so that in the event of a default, no single lender takes the full hit. This reduced risk may make the loan more acceptable to the broker who offers the loan.

    3. High Interest – Loans to those with past bad credit may come at a higher interest rate. The profit from RVers with a good payment history can offset the loss from a few loans that go bad.

    4. Secured Loan – An RV is collateral that can be resold, if only for part of its value, so that a defaulted loan is not a total loss.

    5. Volume – An online lender with a large client base will be able to balance out a few bad credit loans against a solid base of good credit loans, thus reducing the risk exposure.

    6. Debt Consolidation – The RV loan can be made part of a total debt plan. If the credit company knows their client is working to manage things well, it’s easier to give them the loan.

    If the dream of family camping in the comfort and safety of an RV still shines, past bankruptcy or past bad credit doesn’t have to make the dream die. Shop carefully for the best rates, and work with the lender to carefully manage the debt.

    This article originally appeared on Suite101.com.

  • Amount of Sugar in Coke

    Posted on November 25th, 2018 admin No comments

    Earlier today, someone shared this on my Facebook timeline:



    Well,we all know that Coca Cola and other sodas are sugary drinks.  Note that the amount of sugar in the baggie looks pretty much equal to or greater than the volume of the coke can.  Looking at that, I wondered if that much sugar could even be dissolved in a Coke can full of water.

    A quick google showed that, according to an article by CBC,    Coke contains 39 grams of sugar in a 355 mL can.

    My wife has a nice digital kitchen scale (not legal for trade, but accurate enough for this), so let’s check that out and see what 39 g of sugar looks like.   I grabbed the sugar bowl, a teasp0on, and a snack baggie and headed to the kitchen to do some science.    I turned on the scale, set it to grams, put on the baggie, set Tare (removing the mass of the baggie from the measurement) and started spooning sugar into the baggie.   One…  Two… Three…  Four… Five…  Oops, a bit too much.  Take out 1/2  spoonful.   There:  39 grams of sugar.   Just under five teaspoons.


    Up against the Coke can, it looked like this:


    Four and a half teaspoons is a pretty hefty amount of sugar, but my baggie doesn’t look nearly as fat as the one in the meme, does it?  It’s about a third to a half of what is shown there.

    Facebook memes are often deliberately distorted in order to manipulate you.   Another excellent example of why I never believe at first glance anything I see on Facebook.

    Never share before you:

    • Examine.
    • Question.
    • Doubt.
    • Disbelieve.
    • Check.
    • Think.


  • More hate-mongering against refugees

    Posted on November 21st, 2018 admin No comments


    On the contrary, I applaud their action.   Amazing that this is still circulating on Facebook three years later — the comments were hateful, and 91,000 shares among xenophobes and haters — amazing.

    Back in 2015, the servers in an Edmonton diner donated their tips to help a Syrian refugee family, and the diner owners agreed to match the tips. Kim Franklin, one of five owners of the diner, was part of a group working with St. Joseph’s College and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton to bring a refugee family to Edmonton.

    “Being really concerned about people having to flee their homes, being stuck on sides of mountains trying to get away. These are people that are leaving because of conflict… It’s a terrible thing to have to flee your country, to leave everything that you know behind. It would be an awful thing so I’m hoping that we can give some safety and peace to these people.”    I wasn’t able to find a followup, but presumably the group, called House of Hope, raised enough funds to help their refugee family.   https://globalnews.ca/…/edmonton-diner-servers-donate…/

    As for the homeless, our governments collectively spend about $53,000 on each homeless person per year through various ineffective programs (though some figures go as high as $150,000 per homeless person). If you want to be indignant and irate about something, how about you look at THAT!   https://www.cbc.ca/…/opinion-jino-distasio-homelessness…

  • Bicycle Maintenance: What’s That Wobble?

    Posted on May 18th, 2018 admin No comments

    Got a kind of weakness or wobble in the front end of my touring bike.  Going to put it on the stand and have a look.  Might just be a poor weight distribution, as I don’t recall having this issue on earlier trips.   Probably I have a bit too much weight in the front panniers.

    * * * * * * * * *

    Spent some time truing the front wheel, and checked everything for tightness.   It was definitely better for this afternoon’s ride — 41 km, avg speed 17 kph.   A leisurely loop to Beaumont, a nearby town, with lunch in a park there.  But of course, today the wind’s from the south so I was riding into it part of the way coming home.

  • Weighing in for a Bike Tour

    Posted on May 17th, 2018 admin No comments

    I just weighed myself, my bike, and my panniers as part of my planned trip to Saskatoon. It’s an OMG total, for sure! Am I packing too much?   How much is the right amount of gear weight for a two-week summer tour?

    My friend Susan is planning to cycle solo to Newfoundland.  We’re both part of a cycling group and have been on many trips together.   I offered to travel with her for the first week, to keep her company and see her off.   She’s planning to loop south on Hy 13 in Alberta to Hy 31 and 15 east in Saskatchewan.   Okay, I said, I’ll come with you to Rosetown and loop up to Saskatoon and back.

    We did a 76 km overnight training run last week, fully loaded, into moderate headwinds.  Tough, tiring ride, but we both did okay.   I had 42 lbs (about 19.1 kg) and Susan carried 66 lbs (30 kg) of gear.  We both agreed that we needed to pare down our loads.


    When we first started training, it was March, about the coldest March in memory, and the forecast for May was more of the same.  High temperatures in the low teens, lows in the single digits and down to freezing.   I had lots of cold-weather gear and my panniers were stuffed full.  Long undies, warm base layer,  fleece pants, wool socks.

    But what do weathermen know?  Nothing.  Their computer models just provide a best guess (and meteorologists have the hubris to think they can predict climate!)  By the time May rolled around, we were seeing unseasonal highs in the upper 20s and lows around 10C to 15C.

    So, out went the long-johns, the fleece, and all the other stuff to keep me warm.  And out went a bunch of other stuff that I hadn’t used on any of my training rides, such as a nice plastic mess kit, an extra nylon tarp, some clothespins (I might regret leaving those).  Took out one bike jersey.  I cut down on spare undies and sox to two pairs of each in the pannier.  And I might yet cut down to a single spare of each.


    On the training runs, I had no insect repellent: too cold for bugs.  But now the mosquitoes have hatched.  Add bug spray.  OMG, 30C on Sunday?  Add sun-block.  A week of hot weather?  Hydration is vital.  Add another litre bottle of water.  With the two bottles in the cages, that makes 2250 mL of water…almost 5 lbs!!

    One problem with handlebar bag is that it’s so handy, anything you need quickly can go there for easy access.  One problem with a large Arkel handlebar bag is that you can put so much in it.  Bought a beautiful ultralight nylon wind jacket, only 4 ounces, gotta put that in.  Mini-binoculars, missed them on the training rides, toss them in.  Oh, need a ball cap….

    Stocked up on Clif bars, granola bars, fruit leathers.   Gotta have snacks to keep the energy up.  That’s one pound of stuff that will get lighter quickly!

    My panniers aren’t stuffed full.   There’s room in three of them (and the Arkel) for food, souvenirs, extra clothes, whatever.  Available room tends to get filled.  They won’t get lighter as I travel.


    After taking out and putting in, here’s what I have (all numbers are in pounds):

    • Rear rack bag (tent, sleeping pad): 5.2
    • Front A (sleeping bag, stuff sack, liner): 6.0
    • Front B (rain gear, repair stuff, electronics accessories): 6.0
    • Rear A (camping & cooking): 9.4
    • Rear B (clothing): 9.2
    • Handlebar Bag: 6.4

    Add that all up and you get… 42.2 lbs.  Exactly what I had before.  Who would have thought that the added mass of a little tube of sunblock, a bottle of bug spray, and compact binoculars would equal the stuff I took out?

    Now, that’s not really bad.   Most bike touring sites recommend a load of under 20 kg (44 lb).  Note that my bags are pretty well balanced left to right.  Ratio of rear to front is (5.2 + 9.4+9.2) to (6+6+6.4) or 23.8 to 18.4 or pretty much 4:3.   The recommended balance rear to front is 60:40.   I’m a little heavy on the front.  I might re-arrange while en route, or after tomorrow’s training ride.


    Add it all up:  44 lbs of gear.  Plus 5 lb of water.  Plus 30 lbs of bike.  Plus 165 lbs of me, fully clothed.

    That’s  242 lbs of stuff to move down the road with every pedalstroke.

    It sounds enormous.  I’m sorry I worked it out.



  • Scientists Wonder: Why Do We Dance?

    Posted on May 14th, 2018 admin No comments

     Why Do We Dance

    My wife and I are square dancers (and also do rounds and contras, ballroom, and social dancing).  Why do we love to dance?  Let’s look at some scientific answers to the question, “Why do we dance?”


    Kimerer LaMothe, Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today, labels dance as “a quintessential human experience.” She considers dance to be those movements which define who we are, as individuals and as a species. “Dance is not an accidental or supplemental activity in which humans choose to engage or not. Dance is essential to our survival as human beings.” In other words, circularly, we dance because we are human (she ignores the mating dances of many other species) and we are human because we dance.vector-kokopelli

    LaMothe feels that “Any dance tradition or technique represents movement patterns that those persons have found useful for connecting them to something they perceive as having value—whether tribe or tradition, pleasure or skill, community or divinity, heaven or Earth. Dance as movement is inherently relational.”


    An article in LiveScience takes an evolutionary approach. Here, dance seems to be defined as movement coordinated with rhythmic sounds. “The answer to why we dance – and even why some people are better dancers than others – can be found in evolution,” writes Assistant Managing Editor Denise Chow. “A study published in the Public Library of Science’s genetics journal in 2006 suggested that long ago the ability to dance was actually connected to the ability to survive.

    PSM_V41_D770_Dance_of_nahikaiAccording to the study, dancing was a way for our prehistoric ancestors to bond and communicate, particularly during tough times. As a result, scientists believe that early humans who were coordinated and rhythmic could have had an evolutionary advantage.” (For a detailed if out-of-date and now politically incorrect account, read “The Evolution of Dancing” in Popular Science Monthly, Oct. 1892)


    “A more recent study suggests babies are born to dance, with the ability to bop to the beat as young as 5 months old. The scientists aren’t sure why humans might have this innate ability.” There is an amazing number of cute Youtube videos of toddlers bopping to the beat. This is probably the best time to get the kids out on the square dance floor!


    Writing in Scientific American, neurologist John Krakauer suggests that we dance because “coordinated movement” acts to “stimulate our brains’ reward centers.” There seems to be a three-fold pattern involved in the neurological rewards of dance.

    First, movement itself provides pleasurable stimulation. “Scientists aren’t sure why we like movement so much, but there’s certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest we get a pretty big kick out of it,” says Krakauer. Most of us are familiar with the pleasant tiredness that follows exercise—and dancing.

    Secondly, “Music is known to stimulate pleasure and reward areas like the orbitofrontal cortex, located directly behind one’s eyes, as well as a midbrain region called the ventral striatum. In particular, the amount of activation in these areas matches up with how much we enjoy the tunes. In addition, music activates the cerebellum, at the base of the brain, which is involved in the coordination and timing of movement.”

    So combining movement with music is doubly pleasant. “Maybe synchronizing music, which many studies have shown is pleasing to both the ear and brain, and movement—in essence, dance—may constitute a pleasure double play.”Young people on the party .

    A third factor is social. “…Mounting evidence suggests that we are sensitive and attuned to the movements of others’ bodies, because similar brain regions are activated when certain movements are both made and observed. For example, the motor regions of professional dancers’ brains show more activation when they watch other dancers compared with people who don’t dance.”

    The result is a kind of neurological trifecta: music plus movement plus other people moving to music gives the brain a triple whammy of joy-juice.

    Whether the explanation is psychological, evolutionary, or neurological, the scientific answers to “Why do we dance?” all boil down to the reason my wife and I like to square dance: It’s friendship set to music, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun.


  • Happijac Wireless Wiring Kit

    Posted on April 19th, 2018 admin No comments
    Screenshot-2018-4-20 Amazon ca happijac

    Wireless Wiring Kit — I mean — WHAT??

  • Recertify That Propane Tank, or Buy New?

    Posted on March 27th, 2018 admin 6 comments

    I’ve got a couple of old propane tanks, so the question came up:  should I have them recertified, or should I just buy new ones?  One is a 30 lb RV tank and the other is a 20 lb BBQ type tank (though it came from a truck camper).

    A couple of years ago I was able to exchange a recently out-dated 30 lb tank for a recertified tank, full of propane, for $10, but that was a special deal, propane guy said customer hadn’t come back to pick it up and he wanted it out of the way.  Maybe a little shady, but I was happy enough.  Can’t expect a deal like that every time, though.


    A lot of outdoor/RF forums seem to thank that recertification is not worthwhile.    For example, this post by Clgy_Dave2.0, dated 06-17-12 on Alberta Outdoor Forum:

    It costs just as much to get them recertified as a new tank.
    Just buy new ones. Costco is the cheapest place by far. I bought two new 30lb’ers for $80. RV place wanted $89 EACH!!!!

    Wow, gotta love those 2012 prices!

    The consensus of such arguments seems to be

    • It’s inconvenient to recertify as you have to go to a place that will do it
    • The cost of recertification almost balances the cost of a new tank
    • If you recertify, you STILL have an old tank; why not go with new for peace of mind
    • New tanks can be had at almost any service station
    • Many places, such as Costco, sell new tanks quite cheaply


    Exactly how rigorous is the requalification procedure?  Posted by RIF, Oct 6 2015, on RV Network:

    I’ve had two cylinders re-certified, both times at propane dealers. Simple process. They just looked them over and tested for leaks, then slapped a new sticker on them. I think one place was $5 and the other $7.50 or so. Not a big deal and certainly cheaper than buying new cylinders.

    Many posters report having got a “new” or exchange tank at a service station, only to discover that their “new” tank has only a year or two left on its service date, or has even already expired!   It seems that some companies do not recertify the tanks; they simply clean them up, repaint them, and put them back into service.   If you exchange or buy a “new” tank from one of these bays, you are advised to check the date of manufacture before you accept the tank.


    A lot of people rely on assumptions or outdated information in making decisions of this type.  Is it, in fact, in 2018, cheaper to buy new than to recertify?   Here are the prices, as of the date of this post:

    Costs to recertify at TempHeat, Edmonton:20 lb tank

    • 20# recertification – $25.50
    • 30# recertification – $41.50
    • Cost to refill – $0.80/lb (to 80% capacity, $12.80 and $19.20 respectively)
    • So a 20# tank, recertified and filled, would cost about $38

    Cost of brand new tank, Costco online:

    • 20#  – $59.99
    • 30# – $79.99
    • Cost to refill – varies; at one time they had a flat rate offer of $9.99 for a 20# tank
    • So a 20# tank, filled, would be about $70

    Cost of “new” refilled, exchange tank at Alberta Co-op, Leduc

    • 20# – $65

    Cost of new empty tank at Co-op

    • 20# – $49.99
    • A 20# tank contains about 18 L and a 30# tank about 26 L
    • Cost to refill – $0.899/L  (to 80%,  $12.95; 30# $18.70)
    • So a 20# tank, filled, is about $63, not much different from the exchange cost.

    Why do I mention 80% capacity?   There is some headroom left in the tank to allow for expansion.  A good explanation is given here.


    Clearly, it is far cheaper to have a 20 lb tank recertified and filled at the place that does the recertification.  In fact, it is about half the cost of buying a new tank at Costco and having it refilled there, even if you can still get the $9.99 flat rate deal (which has apparently expired)

  • A-Printing We Will Go (3D Printing, That Is)

    Posted on October 18th, 2017 admin No comments

    Having spent most of the past week getting my Kodama Trinus 3D Printer up and running again, and having spent a little more time getting it properly adjusted and tuned up,   it was time to print.   Last spring, while playing with the 101Hero,  I had begun scouring the Thingiverse for interesting projects.  Most of what I found interesting was way beyond the ability of the 101Hero.  Also beyond my ability...then.

    But now, with the Trinus armed and ready, I decided it was time to tackle a few of them.

    Ready, Aim, Fire:  Micro Catapult

    To warm up, I made this micro catapult.  It works, and fires a little paper ball two or three metres.


    Getting the Cover On

    For one reason or another, I haven't put the enclosure on the Trinus.  Sure, it looks cool, and it's supposed to make the printer quieter, and it protects innocent eyes from the laser engraver when it's installed.  But it's also a bloody nuisance and I never quite got around to printing a filament spool holder for it that I liked.   But the enclosure has been on the floor in my office for months, in the way, holding up junk and dust.  Enough.

    So I got some cheap fidget spinners, extracted the bearings, and got to work.  BTW, did you know that only the center bearing is really good?  The others are a bit stiff.   Anyway, I printed these things that sit on top of the enclosure and hold the filament spool.20171013_184721[1]They seem a bit tippy, but in a few days I'll get them onto the enclosure and we'll see how they work.   Using them involves cutting a hole in the top panel of the enclosure and inserting this filament guide (this isn't mine; mine is in the garage being painted)da92284951d2f7f0e4927156010dc199_preview_featured

    Venus Fly Trap Box

    Okay, these were a trial run for the next project, a really cool thing called the Venus Box from Tom West, aka Prot0typ1cal.  To save you checking the link, here's what his looks like:

    It took over an hour to print each part, at relatively low resolution.  I did it with two modifications, putting teeth on it and using a fluted cover.  Here's my version:

    My Build


    As you turn the bezel, the "mouths" open and close.  It's a bit stiff yet, would have been better printed at a finer resolution, but with a little sanding and post-processing it will be great.  Here's what I'm aiming for, as done by jedynak:

















    Off to a good start, I think.

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