Contents

A collection of navigational, survival tricks and related topics.

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Finding directions and time using the Sun and a divider. , posted on May 6, 2015 . This is my recommended method of finding North using only the Sun, the approximate date in the year and your bare hands !

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Latest divider43.jpg Survival Blogs Navigating with an AM MW radio receiver, The Scorpius constellation, Quick fire making using sunlight.,The Orion constellation, Rice as emergency food , Using GPS in off-grid situations, Identifying moderately bright navigational stars, Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars,…

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Latest 20160105_145215C How to Blogs Simple determination of East Asia lunisolar New Year

Simple determination of East Asia lunisolar New Year

MoonShapesNAngles5C

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

When traveling to or working with East Asia countries Westerners are sometimes puzzled by their Calendar and long New Year festivals which vary from year to year on the Western Calendar.

This blog gives simple explanation to Westerners the rules of East Asia Lunisolar calendar which is based on Celestial observations and has been designed to give season information to users.

To easily understand this article, readers are advised to first read the simple summary on stars in the sky [1] to know the declination, right ascension and the date of a star.

Simple calculations [2] shows that each lunar month is 29.530 days. Two lunar months has a length of 59.06 days. The lunisolar calendar used in China since ancient time has had Winter solstice falling on the 11th month of the year since more than 2000 years ago, since 113BC (Han Dynasty II p.38 [3]) .

The solstice point (the point from ecliptic most South of the celestial equator) is moving slowly in the sky and is currently opposite to 90 degree Right Ascension.

1. New Year time is just a convention.

A lunisolar year can be made to start at any of its seasonal point, the point can be in the Winter or in the Summer. It all comes to a matter of convention. For example, the Burmese lunisolar calendar has its New Years starting when the Sun enters the constellation Aries.

For East Asia lunisolar calendar making, there are two major alternatives for determining its New Years as in the following.

2. Simple rules.

MoonShapesNAngles5C

Figure 1: A new Moon is the Moon with a thin white crescent on its leading edge (top right corner of the picture) which is first visible  right after sunset on the Western horizon.

If the calendar makers want their people to have simple and clear rule on the start of a New Year, they can define the New Year starting on the Second New Moon after Winter Solstice day.

This would be easy for ordinary people and people in remote areas to work out their two last (11th and 12th) lunar months of the year, and have enough time to prepare for the New Year festival.

3. Precision rules with uniform determination of months.

polrnorthq2c30.jpgFigure: The Eastern Asia lunisolar Calendar requires each of its lunar month has a characteristic star in the sky to match with the seasons. There are 12 chosen characteristic stars. A lunar year has either 12 lunar months (normal year) or 13 lunar months (leap year). Any lunar month not containing any of those 12 chosen characteristic stars is called a leap month and is named after its preceding month.

If the Calendar Makers insist on astronomical precision with uniform determination of months then they can define each month having to contain a star at regular spacing of Right Ascension, that is 11th month having some star of 90 degree R.A. on the meridian line at midnight on one night of the month and so on [4], [5].

Therefore they would require that

11th month has a star of 90 degree R.A.,
12th month has a star of 120 degree R.A.,
1st month has a star of 150 degree R.A.,
2nd month has a star of 180 degree R.A.,
3rd month has a star of 210 degree R.A.,
4th month has a star of 240 degree R.A.,
5th month has a star of 270 degree R.A.,
6th month has a star of 300 degree R.A.,
7th month has a star of 330 degree R.A.,
8th month has a star of 0 degree R.A.,
9th month has a star of 30 degree R.A.,
10th month has a star of 60 degree R.A.,

any month that has no star in the above list is called a leap month bearing the same name as its preceding non-leap month. Therefore it is hard for ordinary people to know the beginning of the Year.

4. Most probable choice.

I would think that the ancient Calendar makers chose the first alternative rather than the more difficult second alternative.

The second alternative also has an additional complication that there is a precession of Equinox at a rate of 360 degree per(approximately) 25,920 years. In 2000 years the Winter Solstice has moved by 27.7 degrees (about one month). Chines Calendar Makers would have noticed it and saw the need for adjustment had they chosen the second alternative but I could not find any literature about that kind of adjustment.

It is most likely that Chinese Calendar Makers had chosen the first alternative. Their choice may have had influence on Calendar Makers of neighboring countries.

If East Asian Calendar Makers chose the easy rules of for determining New Year day then the 1st month of any East Asian New Year would contain a star that has a date of 18 February(= 21 December + 59.06 days), 59.06 days after Winter Solstice. That would come to a simple rule for star watchers (for the current configuration of Earth orbit):
The New Year starts on the second new moon after Winter Solstice day and the first lunar month of the lunisolar calendar should have a star of 18 February (= 21 December + 59.06 days) of Right Ascension of nearly 152 degrees (near to Regulus of Leo) on its meridian at midnight.

References

[1]. tonytran2015, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, https://survivaltricks.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/finding-north-and-time-by-stars/

[2]. tonytran2015, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, https://survivaltricks.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/finding-north-direction-and-time-accurately-from-the-horn-line-of-the-moon/

[3]. Sima Qian, Records of History by the grand historian (translated by Burton Watson), Qin Dynasty, Han Dynasty I (Rev. Ed.) and Han Dynasty II (Rev. Ed.), the Res. Cent. for Transl. The Chinese Univ. of Hon Kong and Colubia Univ. Press, Hong Kong and New York, 1961.

[4]. Helmer Aslaksen, The Mathematics of the Chinese Calendar, http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/aslaksen/calendar/chinese.shtml, accessed 19 Jan 2017.

[5]. Ho Ngoc Duc, Thuat toan am lich (in Vietnamese), https://www.informatik.uni-leipzig.de/~duc/amlich/calrules.html, accessed 19 Jan 2017.

Navigating with an AM MW radio receiver

radiosony

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia)

Every natural disaster emergency kit is recommended by authorities to include a battery operated Amplitude Modulation Medium Wave (AM MW, also called AM Broadcast) radio receiver to receive critical information and instructions.

The radio receiver can actually do much more than receiving information and instructions. It can find the direction to nearby broadcasting stations and even find your location on any map showing the stations.

The technique is applicable when there are nearby (closer than 100km) AM broadcast stations. It is useful  to regions near the terrestrial magnetic poles where  magnetic compasses do not work well, to desert crossing and to coastal boat travel when other modes of navigation are not available (such as when in bad weather and without any working magnetic compass).

1. Basis of the method.

An AM broadcasting station in Medium Wave sends electromagnetic waves out from its antenna at the speed of light. The invisible EM waves propagate outwards from the broadcast station’s vertical antenna. The antenna continuously releases consecutive, expanding circular magnetic lines of alternating (clockwise then anti-clockwise) orientations. The circles spread out in all directions. When a receiver receives the signal, the alternating magnetic field is at right angle to both the spreading (propagation) direction and the alternating electrical field which is almost in the direction of the broadcasting antenna.

Most AM radio receiving Medium Waves (0.5MHz to 1.6MHz) use ferrite rod antennas to capture these magnetic field lines. The ferrite rod of an AM MW receiver is usually placed inside and along the top edge of the (usually flat) receiver.

sharpradio

radiosony

Figure 1: A (1960) battery operated multi-band AM radio with a fair sized signal strength indicator in a small window on the left of the dial. Its pulled out rod antenna is only for Short Wave reception, an internal long ferrite rod antenna is used for Medium Wave reception. Figure 2: A compact AM/FM receiver WITH an internal ferrite rod antenna for AM MW reception. It can properly receive AM signals even without any earphone.

 

When an AM MW (also called broadcast band) radio receiver has been tuned to a station, you can notice the signal strength varies when its ferrite rod antenna is rotated on the horizontal plane: The received signal is weakest when either end of the rod is pointed directly at the transmitting station, and it is strongest when the rod is at right angle to the line of sight to the station.

CAUTION: Many compact AM MW radio receivers do NOT have ferrite rod antennas, they use their earphone wires to receive the electrical component of the broadcast waves. This method of finding directions does NOT work with such receivers.

 

2. Simple direction finding.
Rotate the top edge (with the ferrite antenna) of the receiver by a full horizontal turn and notice the two opposite directions where signal receptions are weakest. When this happens, one of the ends of the ferrite rod is pointing exactly at the station and the station lies on the line through the top edge of the receiver. Additional information from somewhere else is needed to tell in which of the opposite directions the station may lie.

 

3. Finding the receiver on a line through the station shown on a map.
If the direction of the top edge of the receiver relative to true North is known, the locus of the receiver on the map is a straight line through the broadcasting station.

 

4. Finding the receiver on a circle through two stations shown on a map.

arcbearing

Figure 1: Any map showing the locations of the broadcasting stations S1, S2, S3,… can be used to locate the position R of the radio receiver. Any receiver with the angle from R-S1 to R-S2 being 40 degrees (an example value) in the clockwise direction must be on the circle drawn through S1 and S2 for that example value of 40 degrees. The example circle is called the circle bearing the angle of 40 degree in the clockwise direction for viewing the line S1-S2.

If two stations S1 and S2 are shown on a map and A is a directed (signed) angle from the line to S1 to the line to S2 then the locus of the radio receiver is the circle through S1 and S2 bearing that directed angle.

For example, if the angle from R-S1 to R-S2 is 40 degrees (an example value) in the clockwise direction, the receiver must be on the circle drawn through S1 and S2 on the map for that example value of 40 degrees. The example circle is called the circle bearing the angle of 40 degree in the clockwise direction for viewing the line S1-S2.

5. Finding the receiver as intersection point of three circles through three stations shown on a map.
If three stations S1, S2 and S3 are shown on a map as in the figure of the last section and the directed (signed) angles between the directions to S1, S2, S3 are all known, the receiver is on the intersection of all three circles through each pair of S1, S2 and S3 bearing the respective directed angles between them. Usually, only two circles are needed to draw the intersection point, which is the location of the radio receiver R.

6. Limitation of the method.
a. The method works well if there are non-interfering AM broadcast stations within 100km of the navigator and the terrain is nearly flat.

b. When there are high atmospheric electrical activities it may be hard to find the direction for weakest reception by the ferrite rod of the broadcasting signals.

c. Many compact AM MW radio receivers do NOT have ferrite rod antennas, they use their earphone wires to receive the electrical component of the broadcast waves. This method of finding directions does NOT work with such receivers.

d. The method does NOT work with Shortwaves as shortwave signals are not received through ferrite rod antennas.

e. Note that Philips from Holland had a famous radio model, L4X00T, with a fold up/fold down rectangular antenna loop for shortwaves, which can also be used to find out the direction of the incoming shortwaves in the same way as described in preceding sections. However shortwaves bounce and they do not accurately show the directions to the stations.

 

PREVIOUS SURVIVAL blogs

The Scorpius constellation, posted January 8, 2017

The Orion constellation., posted December 26, 2016

Rice as emergency food.

Using GPS in off-grid situations.

Slide Sky-Disks with grid masks showing azimuths and altitudes.

Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars.

 

Your fiat money (Part 2).

fiatmoneyc60.jpg

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

1. Fiat money

The simple basis for accepting the fiat money is that those who had done works for the government have the fiat money (a form of certificates) and the population at large have to exchange goods and service for those certificates to pay their own tax (those who don’t pay will be jailed) and buy some goods or service from the government.


2. Pushing for public use of the fiat money as a storage for wealth.

A government will require that its people pay their taxes and government service fees with its fiat money. They must do it or face having no government service or even face punishment.

People in that country have to obtain the money from government employees (who have been paid with fiat money) by supplying them with goods or service.

So the government has created a demand for its fiat money at the time of tax payment.

It is clear that a fiat money requires neither trust in nor support for the government nor any gold or silver holding by the government.

As long as the fiat money has NO EXPIRY DATES, the population at large may prefer keeping it even outside tax time to keeping perishable goods as a form of storing their “wealth” for rainy days.

This second step of using fiat money to store “wealth” relies (rightly or wrongly) on the belief that the government will not suddenly declare those certificates invalid (demonetize some denominations).

The pre-WW2, Nazi government of Germany is most known for operating its economy with neither gold nor foreign currency backing using only its own fiat money.

The coupon system in communist countries is also similar to fiat currency with the difference that coupons are not freely transferable and may have expiry dates.

3. Fiat money sets its own value against goods and service.

If all government employees are self-sufficient homesteaders spending little money then the fiat money exchanges itself with a lot of goods or service from other people who need them to pay taxes. The population at large has to compete hard for fiat money in order to pay their tax!

If all government employees are like drunken sailors spending money easily then the fiat money exchanges itself with little goods or service (and the drunken sailors may then complain that they had not been paid much !) .

It all follows the rule of Supply and Demand between government employees and the population at large.

4. A government can influence the value of its fiat money.

A government can lower the value of its fiat money by reducing its tax while keeping the payment to its employees unchanged. It can also do that by offering to buy some type of goods from its citizens for government usage or government storage .

Conversely, the government can increase the value of its fiat money by increasing its tax while keeping the payment to its employees unchanged. It can also do that by selling to its citizens goods in government stores (including foreign currency)  or rights to use some government resource.

However, when its tax is too high, a government risks causing a revolt by its people (as the British empire had bitterly found out with its taxes on its American colony). On the other hand, if tax is too low relative to government payments, there is a risk of high inflation and the population may try to avoid fiat money until tax time, when they absolutely need it for paying their taxes.

5. Keeping the value of fiat money constant.

It is easy to see that for an unchanged population and an unchanged economy, the fiat money has a constant value when government’s yearly payment is equal to its collected tax.

If the government’s collected tax is more than its payout (having a budget surplus) it will sit on a stack of its own fiat money. In this case, it can even use its own fiat money to buy gold from the population at large.

If the government’s collected tax is less than its payout (having a budget deficit) it will need to draw from the stack of fiat money it has saved up from previous years or it may even have to sell its gold reserve to the people to get back some of its own fiat money to make up for the short fall for spending.

So the gold reserve is just a buffer to cover for years of low tax collection.

6. The gold reserve of a country does not need to be of any fix ratio to the total of fiat money in circulation.

The gold reserve only determines the total of all consecutive budget deficits before the government run out of gold to sell to the people to uphold the value of its fiat money.

Any government with good record of never having budget deficit does not need any gold reserve. However, some gold reserve is always kept as a precaution against multiple years of natural disasters.

A government with reckless overspending will have to sell its gold and rights to use national resources until the day it has nothing left to sell. Then the value of its fiat money may plunge.

Leaving aside the question of whether its gold was undersold or not, the British government might be right in selling its gold reserve in the 1990’s if it can be absolutely certain to always have NO budget deficit from that time, even in the face of natural disasters.

7. Borrowing from the population.

When the government want to borrow X units of its fiat money from its citizens, it may have to conduct an “auction”.

It may offer to all of its people to give the government any each of their spare $90 now to receive $100 in 1 year time.

Too many of its citizens may accept the offer and the total amount of their money may far exceed the requirement of the government. If that is the case, it may next say No, not $90 anymore, but $91. The amount may goes up again until the acceptance has only about X units, the amount it requires.

Anti-corruption requires that the bidding process be public and transparent.

This is the idea of Treasury Bonds, or Government Debentures.

If the final auction price is $97 of current money for $100 of money in 1 year time then the Treasury Bond rate is (100-97)/97 or 3.1%.

8. The foreign exchange value and the bond rate of a fiat currency in a growing economy.

When the economy goes strongly, there is anticipation of budget surplus and government developing more growth or adding to its  gold reserve and there is more confidence in its fiat currency. Its fiat currency is in strong demand by its neighbors to buy its goods and service, hence its exchange rate may rise.

At the same time, its people feel good and want to use their existing money to set up shops or factories. The Treasury Notes auction offers are now less attractive and there would be fewer participants therefore its Bond rate rises.

The converse applies to a weakening economy.

References

[1] . tonytran2015, your fiat money, https://survivaltricks.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/your-fiat-money/, posted on Jan 9, 2017

[2]. , posted on December 1, 2016

[3]. Venezuela follows Indias footsteps in demonetization scheme, econotimes.com, http://www.econotimes.com/Venezuela-follows-Indias-footsteps-in-demonetization-scheme-445257

PREVIOUS MONEY Blogs

Your fiat money

fiatmoneyc60.jpg

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).
You need to know about your money in order to understand the many actions of your government.

1. Fiat money

Figure 1: Government employees are paid with fiat money. All citizens have to pay their taxes with that fiat money.

Nearly every country in the world uses money issued based on its governing power. Such a money is called fiat money.

A fiat money is not guaranteed by any goods such as gold or silver. A fiat piece of money is just a certificate of some amount of work done for the government by some of its employees and those certificates can be used by anyone to pay taxes to or buy some goods or service from the government.

Refusal to pay taxes results in jail terms. Therefore the population at large have to exchange their goods or service for those pieces of fiat money from government employees so that they can have fiat money to pay their taxes to avoid jail terms or to buy goods and service from the government.

It is quite risky to keep too much of any fiat money. The threat of demonetization alone can make the holders of the money suffer and submit to whatever oppressive demands from the issuer of the money if they don’t want to lose all its value. (Even China has been under US pressure when it owned about $1200 billions US in debt in 2016.)

Some people can manage to keep just only enough of fiat money to pay their taxes and daily expenses and so they can survive any devaluation or demonetization.

References

[1]. How Much US Debt Does China Own, about.com, http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/moneymatters/ss/How-Much-US-Debt-Does-China-Own.htm., accessed Jan 10th, 2017.

[2]. Tyler Durden, US Treasury Gives Explicit Warning To China, Germany And Japan Not To Devalue Their Currencies, zerohedge.com, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-29/us-treasury-gives-explicit-warning-china-germany-and-japan-not-devalue-their-currenc, Apr 29, 2016

[3]. , posted on December 1, 2016

[4]. Venezuela follows Indias footsteps in demonetization scheme, econotimes.com, http://www.econotimes.com/Venezuela-follows-Indias-footsteps-in-demonetization-scheme-445257

PREVIOUS MONEY Blogs

The Scorpius constellation

scorpiussaggigridaltc30.jpg

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

Celestial navigators who do not use declination and right ascension begin their navigation by learning the various bright, easily identifiable constellations in the sky (There are no more than 10 to learn.).The Scorpius is usually chosen to be the second constellation to be learned since it is as large as Orion and is useful when Orion is out of sight.

The Scorpius is a crowded, large Southern constellation of June. Part of it is always seen in the sky of June for the whole night, attains its highest elevation (or altitude) about midnight and is immediately South of the most Southern point of the Ecliptic. Scorpius can be seen on the rising side before sunrise in January, seen for the whole night in May and seen on the setting side after sunset in November.

It has the size of 30 degree (in angle) and  has the shape of a hook oriented 55 degree clockwise from the great circle arc through the Celestial poles. Arabian sky watchers see a resembling to the body and tail of a (now declawed) scorpion and gave it the name Scorpius.

The brightest star of Scorpius is Antares but it is so close to the ecliptic that it is often outshone by the Moon and bright planets traveling on the ecliptic. Antares often requires extra care for proper identification. Identifying Antares give a good practice to star identifying.

1. The Scorpius on a Mercator sky-map.

mercator8gc30.jpg

Figure 1: The Scorpio constellation is in the shape of a hook, is close to the ecliptic and one third from the left edge of this Mercator sky-map. Figure 2: A common Asian scorpion.
The Scorpius has too many stars and its brightest star Antare can even be overshone by planets wandering near to it. Therefore its identification often requires additional care.

2. An alternative merhod of recognizing stars in the Scorpius

Figure 1: Alternative method of recognizing the brightest stars of Scorpius Saggitarius and Ara.

I found that it is easier to recognize the bright stars of three constellations Scorpius, Saggitarius and Ara together. They ressemble a tree with two side roots rising at right angle from a ground line.

The two brightest stars of all three constellations are Antares and Shaula in the Scorpius.They are separated by 17 degrees in angle. They line up with two other dim stars to form a straight line (delta Scorpius, Antares, Shaula and kappa Scorpius) which is slightly longer.

The South-trailing end of this line continues to be the bisector of a right angle line formed by five stars zeta Sagittarius, Kaus Australis, Shaula, theta Scorpius, alpha Ara.

The line of two brightest stars looks like a tree sticking up at right angle to the ground line formed by dimmer stars in line with alpha and epsilon Ara. The tree has two side roots (Shaula-Kaus Australis. and Shaula-theta Scorpius-alpha Ara) originating from Shaula and each is at 45 degree from the tree trunk.

After the bright stars have been identified, each constellation can be identified using its conventional map as given in [1] and [2].


3. Taking photos of the Scorpius.

Figures 1 & 2: Photos of the Scorpius Constellation taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The original photos have been digitally enhanced. There are three bright dots in a straight line at the top of the first photo. The two on the left are two planets on the ecliptic. The third one on the right is delta Scorpius. Antares is the bright dot under the three in line.

The Scorpius is adequately bright and its photos can be taken using a smart phone such as a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with no extra attachment.

4. Easy identification of Scorpius by a slide sky map.

Observers who are not quite familiar with the Scorpius constellation can use the slide sky map described in reference [2] to confirm the its identity. The latitude of the observer, time, and North direction are required for identification using a slide sky map.


References.


[1]. tonytran2015, Finding North and time by stars in the tropics, survivaltricks.wordpress.com,Finding North and time by stars in the tropics, posted on May 25, 2016


[2]. tonytran2015, Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars., posted on October 7, 2016


[3]. tonytran2015, Finding North and time by stars, survivaltricks.wordpress.com,Finding North and time by stars, posted on August 28, 2015

[4]. The Orion constellation., posted December 26, 2016 

PREVIOUS SURVIVAL blogs

The Orion constellation., posted December 26, 2016

Rice as emergency food.

Using GPS in off-grid situations.

Slide Sky-Disks with grid masks showing azimuths and altitudes.

Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars.

Quick fire making using sunlight.

20161222_131508gballfirec60.jpg

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

You may already have in your possession some excellent lenses for making fires. Knowing about them will help you make fire quickly from sunlight when facing an emergency. All lenses described in this blog can make a cigarette smoulder in less than 30 seconds and can light up that cigarette afterwards.

1. Concentration of radiating heat flux by a lens.

The radiating heat flux from the Sun is concentrated by a factor C given by

C = Pi*d*d/(Pi*f*a*f*a) =

C = (d/f)*(d/f)*(1/a)*(1/a).

where d and f are respectively the diameter and focal length of the lenses and a is the angular diameter of the Sun (a = 0.5*3.14/180radian = 0.0087 radian).

The angular diameter of the Sun cannot be changed. It is obvious that we have to increase the ratio (d/f), which is called the aperture number of the lenses, to increase the heat flux concentration. The deciding factor for success is the aperture ratio of the mirror or lens system.

C = 13200*(d/f)*(d/f).

This concentration of heat flux is remarkably high for any lens system with D/f of more than 1/3 and can be used to ignite properly prepared tinder to make fire in survival situations.

The calculated concentration of radiating heat flux can only be achieved using precision optics. Any imperfection on the surface of the lens disperses the image of the Sun and reduces the concentration drastically.

2. A transparent perfect sphere.

crystalballc70.jpgcrystalball2c70.jpg

Figures 1 & 2 : A small clear sphere.

You may have a small clear glass sphere somewhere in your household either as a decorative item, or as a bottle stopper, etc…

The small transparent sphere I use here is a small (25.4 mm diameter) clear quartz sphere often used as an item of curiosity and often called a “crystal sphere” by fortune tellers.

Calculations using geometrical optics show that (for n=1.5) the focal point is about 0.5 radius outside the surface of the ball and the equivalent focal length of the sphere is about 2r×(3/4)= 1.5r

Even if only rays of distance less than 0.5 radius (from the central ray) converge on the spot, the aperture of the sphere is still
D/f = (2*0.5r)/(1.5r) = 1/(1.5),

a high value for aperture.

At an aperture value of 2/3, the concentration of radiating heat by sunlight is

C = 13200*(D/f)*(D/f) = 6000.

The actual aperture number of this clear sphere is higher than 1/1.5 and the sphere can be used as a lens to light up cigarettes using sunlight.

Figures 3 : Lighting a cigarette by a small 25mm clear quartz sphere.

The above photo also demonstrates the danger of leaving clear glass balls on any combustible surface. When the afternoon Sun comes down to an elevation of 41degree (= arcsin 0.6666), the image of the Sun is exactly on the combustible material and combustion becomes a real possibility !

The concentration factor of C = 6000 is only realized with a perfect sphere. For any body of revolution of nearly spherical shape, the concentration of radiating heat flux is much lower, and may come down to C = 100 when there is some appreciable astigmatism. For this reason, PRECISION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SIZE for transparent spheres.

I prefer having a small perfect sphere to a large approximate sphere.

 

3. A watchmaker double staged ocular.

Figures 1 & 2 : A watch maker monocular.

Figures 3 : Lighting a cigarette by a watch maker monocular.

A monocular is a compound magnifying lens used by watchmakers to see small details of watch movements. It is a simple version of the oculars used for each eye in common sport binoculars.

Every first aid kit for hikers should have this light weight and useful device and a pair of sharp tweezers for detecting and removal of hurting spikes or splinters sticking in the skins.

The lens nearer to the eye of a proper ocular has a large diameter to give the eye a wide field of view. The double stage makes tiny object has a large image at infinity.

When sunlight travels in the reverse direction from the back (big) end to the front (small) end it will focus at a tiny spot outside the ocular and about 20mm from the front lens.

The aperture ratio D/f of this compound lens is about 1/2.

If the dark end of a cigarette is placed at that bright tiny spot smouldering will begin in less than 1 second on a sunny day.

If the oculars of your binoculars are thread removable then you can also use them in emergency but keeping in mind that taking apart a pair of binoculars will allow dirt to contaminate it.

The concentration factor of C = 13200*(d/f)*(d/f)  is only realized with a lens having perfect spherical surfaces. For any lens with only approximate shape, the concentration of radiating heat flux is much lower, and may come down to C = 100 when there is some appreciable astigmatism. For this reason, PRECISION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SIZE for any monocular.

I prefer to have a small quality monocular than a large one with low quality.

4. Aspherical condenser lenses.

Figures 1 & 2: Different views of a fused quartz aspherical lens.

I was lucky to be given a fused quartz, thick aspheric lens. Its aperture ratio is about D/f=1/1.5 while other thin spherical, glass lenses have a ratio of less than 1/2.5.
The concentration of solar heat flux is much higher when using it than when using an ordinary magnifying glass.

Figure 3: A one battery LED torch with a thick aspherical lens at the front.

The front lenses of zoom focus LED torches are low cost substitutes for such aspherical lens. They do work exceptionally well and are even unbreakable since they are made from (acrylic ?) plastic.

Disadvantage.

The disadvantage of using any such aspherical lens for making fire is that it is heavy and it has very short distance from its flat side to the bright focal point. Sunlight coming to this bright focal point from many widely separated directions and it is difficult to direct them all to the trough of the dimple at the center of the end of a cigarette. I found that it is less easy to light up a cigarette using an aspherical lens than using a good monocular of the same diameter.

Again, it is important to also note that PRECISION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SIZE for any aspherical lens.

I prefer to have a small quality aspherical lens than a large one with low quality.

 

5. A flexible Fresnel lens for wallet.

Figure 1: A thin flexible Fresnel lens for wallet. Concentric grooves can be noticed at the right hand corners of this picture.

The lens is usually made of thin, flexible, soft clear plastic of the size of credit cards. This type of lenses is sold as wallet sized magnifying glasses for map reading.

A Fresnel lens has high aperture ratio and can be used to light up cigarettes with ease. However it needs to be properly cleaned after each use as it is easily scratched.

6. Method of lighting up a cigarette using a small lens.

1. A cigarette or its imitation made up from rolled up toilette tissue sheets with darkened ends seems to be the readily available suitable tinder sticks for making fire using sunlight.

2. A conical dimple should be made at the dark end of a cigarette. The depth of the dimple should be about the size of its radius. That is a conical concave surface should be made out of the dark flat tip of the cigarette. This tiny concave surface reduces radiating heat loss from the fire to be started at its trough.

3. A precision lens is used to focus sunlight onto the dark end of a cigarette. PRECISION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SIZE as the high concentration of sunlight depends on precision of the lens surface.

4. The axis of the lens system should point exactly at the Sun to have maximum amount of sunlight converging on the focal point.

5. Sunlight should be focused on one point on the surface of the dimpled end of the cigarette to blacken it. Smoke should be seen arising from the spot within 10 seconds after focusing. Other points of the surface should then be smothered to have all the surface gradually blackened. 

6. Sunlight is now focused on the trough point of the dimpled surface. Smoke will be seen and the trough will glow red when assisted by gentle wind blowing toward the other end of the cigarette.

7. The cigarette should now be smoked or blown externally so that hot fume from the flame end travels toward its other end to heat up the adjacent zone to ready it for combustion.

8. A strong red glow indicates that the cigarette has been burning. It can now be used to start up a fire.

 

References

[1]. tonytran2015, Making fire and lighting cigarettes with sunlight, survivaltricks.wordpress.com,  Making fire and lighting cigarettes with sunlight, posted on February 27, 2016

[2]. tonytran2015, Mirror for making fire using sunlight, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Mirror for making fire using sunlight, posted on April 13, 2016

 

PREVIOUS SURVIVAL blogs

The Orion constellation., posted December 26, 2016

Rice as emergency food.

Using GPS in off-grid situations.

Slide Sky-Disks with grid masks showing azimuths and altitudes.

Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars.

 

 

 

 

​The Orion constellation.

orionsamsungn2photo-640alignedc30b.jpg

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

Celestial navigators who do not use declination and right ascension begin their navigation by learning the various bright, easily identifiable constellations in the sky (There are no more than 10 to learn.).

The Orion is usually chosen to be the first constellation to be learned. The Orion is a bright, easily identifiable constellation of December. It stays in the sky of December for the whole night, attains its highest elevation (or altitude) about midnight and is right on the Celestial equator.
It has the size of 30 degree (in angle) and  has the shape of a waisted rectangle. Western sky watchers see a resembling to man in an armor vest and gave it the name Orion. Pacific sky watchers see its two brightest diagonal stars as the ends of a large stick in the sky.

It is never blinded by the Moon or any bright planet as the ecliptic is well away from it. As it is quite bright and has easily identifiable shape, it is usually used as the base (anchor marks) to start locating other stars.

1. The Orion on a Mercator sky-map.

mercator8gc30.jpg

Figure 1: The Orion constellation is right on the Celestial Equator and one third from the right edge of this Mercator sky-map.


The three dim stars in a straight line starting from the waist band and almost at right angle to it (not shown in this simplified Mercator sky map) are called the Dagger stars. The Dagger is at right angle to the Celestial equator and points along a great arc in the North to South direction on the Celestial sphere.


Rigel  or Beta Orionis is bright star at the South leading corner of the waisted rectangle. Betelgeuse is bright star at the North trailing corner of the waisted rectangle. Bellatrix is a less bright star on the North leading corner of the rectangle.

Rotating the line Betelgeuse – Rigel by 90 degree in the anti-clockwise direction gives the line Betelgeuse – Aldebaran, (Aldebaran is also called alpha Tauri).

Extending the line Bellatrix-Aldebaran by another 50% makes it reaches Pleiades group of stars (not shown on this simplified Mercator sky map). This group has millions of stars fitting within an area as small as the area of the Moon (The area is equal to that of a fingernail on a fully extended arm). Most people can see a brush shape made of 7 brightest stars of this group.

On the trailing side of Orion lies the brightest star in the sky. It is Sirius. Rigel -Betelgeuse  – Sirius form an almost equilateral triangle on the trailing side of the line Rigel – Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse is the star of December 20th and the December solstice occurs on the 21st of December, on the following night .

The night when the brightest star Sirius attains its highest altitude at midnight is the first night of a new (Roman) calendar year (Is it a coincidence?).

2. Taking photos of the Orion.

Figure 2: Photo of the Orion Constellation taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The original photo has been digitally enhanced.

The Orion is quite bright and photo can be taken using a smart phone such as a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with no extra attachment.

References.

[1]. tonytran2015, Finding North and time by stars in the tropics, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Finding North and time by stars in the tropics, posted on May 25, 2016

[2]. tonytran2015, Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars., posted on October 7, 2016

[3]. tonytran2015, Finding North and time by stars, survivaltricks.wordpress.com, Finding North and time by stars, posted on August 28, 2015

 

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Rice as emergency food.

Using GPS in off-grid situations.

Slide Sky-Disks with grid masks showing azimuths and altitudes.

Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars.

Rice as emergency food.

20161230_192839ricegrains2c60.jpg

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

Rice takes up not much storage space. 5kg of rice is just a small bag. The bag can provide energy (carbohydrate) food to a 60kg person for about one week. The food still needs to be supplemented with protein food (meat, for muscles building) from other sources.

1.00Kg of raw rice turns into 2.56kg of cooked rice. That is the raw rice has only about one third of the weight of of the cooked meal.  It is easy to carry. All you need to turn any raw rice into cooked rice is just clear, fresh water and fuel to boil it for about 20 minutes (or 10 minutes using a pressure cooker).

Asian armies have been using rice as their transportable energy food since ancient time to present time. Those army people eat rice supplemented with locally picked vegetables and freshly caught fish or shrimps or meat as their sustainable full meals.

However you need to familiarize your digestive system with it to build up the enzymes for its efficient digestion. You can start this by eating one rice dish at restaurant to see how does your body get used to it. Have a least one rice dish each month to build up the digestive enzymes in your body.

Once your body has got used to digesting rice you can carry only a small weight of rice with you for camping trips and have no fear of starvation.

1. Cooking rice.

Use a deep cooker (its depth is more than half of its diameter). Place raw rice into it, to a height of no more than 1/4 of its depth. Add clean, clear water to the cooker until the water reach half its depth.

Keep the water simmer for about 15 minutes until there is no more water between the rice grains. Let the cooker stand for another 5 minutes to have rice grains fully softened.

You can now eat the cooked rice with other foods like green vegetable, fried eggs, cooked fish or meats.

2. Storage and stock rotation.

One single 5kg bag can feed you for one week. Keep the plastic bag intact and store it in a dry place (When stored in a dry place, a bag of rice can be kept for more than 2 years). Make sure that your stock is rotated and get neither more than 6 month old nor moldy.

3. Varieties of rice.

In South East Asia, where rice originates, the markets supply more than 20 types of rice.

As a consumer, you need to choose between only few main types:

Short grained rice (available in Australian or American supermarket)

Long grained rice (available in Australian or American supermarket) which is tastier and cost a little bit more.

(White) Sticky rice (also called glutinous rice, available only from Asian food stores and is more expensive) for cooking flavored sticky rice during festival time. The sticky rice is also used to make fermented Vietnamese sticky rice balls. The latter can also be left to be fully fermented and used to make Vietnamese Rice Wine (similar to Japanese Sake) of white colour.

Purple sticky rice is similar to White sticky rice, but produces Rice Wine of a different flavor and of deep purple colour.

White sticky rice has slim, fully opaque grains while ordinary rice has fat, translucent grains as in the pictures of the next section.

4. PRECAUTION against buying fake rice.

Figures 1&2: Real rice grains (common variety bought from largest Australian supermarket Safeway on October 2016) from different angles. Each grain has its individual size, characteristic shape and surface texture. You will see similar grains in your bag of genuine rice with a 10X magnifying glass or with a watch-maker glass, also called a watch-maker monocular.

Since you have rice as emergency food, you don’t want to have fake rice in your stock. You should only buy American or Australian grown rice sold through reputable supermarkets for your supply. When vigorously boiled in water, real rice will eventually dissolve to produce carbohydrates (sugar).

Fake rice has been rumored to be produced as a weapon of war to trick an enemy army into eating it and become weakened. There have been reports of fake rice made from plastic appearing in Asia and Africa. It has also been suspected to be made from potatoes powder added with industrial synthetic resins.

5. Testing for fake rice.

Author Nkem Ikeke [1] has a given the following series of six tests to spot fake rice.

1. The mortar and pestle test: If the powder gives yellow discoloration, it is fake.

2. The fire test: Get a lighter and burn a handful of rice. If it catches fire and smells like burnt plastic, it is fake rice.

3. The water test: Fake rice floats in water, real rice sinks.

4. The mold test: Boil the rice. Leave it in a warm place for like 2-3 days. If mold does not appear in a few days it is fake. Real rice get moldy very quickly

5. The boiling test: Observe the rice while boiling. If it starts forming a thick layer at the top of the pot, it is ‘plastic rice’.

6. The hot oil test: Drop some grain into some real hot oil. If it is plastic, it will melt or stick together or stick at the bottom of the pan.

The original article also has photos of real versus fake rice.

References

[1]. Nkem Ikeke, WARNING! 6 tests to help you spot fake rice, naij.com,
https://www.naij.com/1053229-warning-plastic-rice-floods-nigeria-heres-6-tests-help-determine-rice-fake.htm, updated 22 December, 2016.

[2]. ‘Plastic rice’ seized in Nigeria, bbc news, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-38391998, 21 December 2016.

[3]. Nigerian officials row over ‘plastic rice’, bbc news, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-38414337, 23 December 2016.

PREVIOUS SURVIVAL blogs

Using GPS in off-grid situations.

Slide Sky-Disks with grid masks showing azimuths and altitudes.

Slide Sky-Map for displaying tropical stars.

Bankers given outrageous incomes by their boards.

moneyd20.jpg

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia)

When looking at the ratios of incomes of directors to office workers of (Australian and probably American and English) banks you will notice something outrageous. I use the Australian figures but it is almost the same in all English speaking countries.

 

From the sources

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/q/bs?s=CBA.AX&annual
https://au.finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=CBA.AX&annual,

it is seen that for the year of 2016, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has

Total Assets                           933,078,000,000
Total Liabilities                    872,322,000,000

>Net Asset                                60,646,000,000
Net Income (after Tax)            9,227,000,000
Common Stock                          34,129,000,000 shares

The ratio of Net Income After Tax to Net Asset is  9227/60646 = 15%  and is ordinary for banks. Yet the salary of the CEO, chief Ian Narev, is $12.3 million.

 

“Australian CEOs are paid 93 times average worker wages, according to a study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2014.”

“In a follow-up study in 2005, Prof Shields found that “the rise and rise of bank CEO pay is both performance insensitive and perverse”.”

see: http://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2016/09/27/bank-ceo-pay/

 

“For the following year, a large proportion of bonuses for the CEO will be measured against performance on non-financial measures such as diversity and culture”, they “were “essentially HR policies” that were part of executives’ and the CEO day job.”

“Ownership Matters revised its recommendation to “against”that kind of payment”

see: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/financial-services/cba-slapped-with-first-strike-on-executive-pay/news-story/794f32fefd0e0b50524d8d8b0ff9ffef

“The first strike by share holders against the remuneration report only needed a 25 per cent protest vote, the rebels won an absolute majority with 51 per cent.”

“Some fund managers believe that non-financial hurdles are a load of bollocks. There was a feeling they (the executives) were being paid extra just for doing their jobs.”

At another Australian ANZ bank, “the remuneration report released this week shows former chief executive was paid all up around $90 million since 2007 for a strategy now being dismantled by his successor.”

see: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-10/cba-remuneration-report-voted-down/8012454

“Under the “two strikes” rule, if a company receives two consecutive votes of more than 25 per cent against its remuneration report, it sparks another vote on whether to force the board to stand for re-election.”

see: http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/commbank-caves-in-to-pressure-pulls-plan-to-pay-ceo-ian-narev-a-culture-bonus-20161108-gsl2ly.html

“Historically, executive pay has not always been at the current controversial levels but has steadily increased since the mid-1970s, an increase which has continued after the global financial crisis.”

see: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-28/australia-should-compare-ceo-and-average-worker-pay-like-the-us/7884240

So you see that bankers have been pampered too much.

(Notes: The office workers, tellers at banks are not called bankers, they are called office workers and the CEO pay is 93 times their average pays).

CASHLESS trading will only further enhance their positions and they love it.