11 February 2013

Artificial Floes for Polar Bears

Jan 17, 20
This blog was originally posted on Care2's site by me:
Polar bears are drowning and starving to death because their ice floes are becoming fewer and farther apart. They must swim increasingly long distances to reach the next floe and often do not make it. I cannot stand the idea, so I've written to a few wildlife conservation groups and a few lawmakers in Washington D.C. about a possible solution to their plight. I did not request or expect a reply from any of them; I simply wanted to get my idea out there.

The concept could be expensive and possibly infeasible, but I had hoped to start people thinking about it and whether it could be done and how.

We create bird boxes to replace the forests we destroy, so that they have a place to build their nests. We create (or protect) caves and mines for bats to return to each night and hibernate in without being disturbed or killed by humans. There are many other artificial devices and habitats we create to help offset the damage we have caused to the natural hives, caves, trees, et cetera, that we have destroyed. What about doing something similar for the Polar Bears?

My idea was to create artificial floes on which Polar Bears could rest between real floes and give birth and raise their cubs, if necessary.

The basic idea was to use whatever was handy that would float, withstand the pressure of the occasional ice floes bumping into them, could weather the cold and damp, et cetera. Instead of sinking them to create artificial reefs, what about using derelict ships and barges and anchor them at intervals amongst the ice floes that are left.

All that is needed are the low, floating, flat platforms, which would soon be covered with ice and snow. They must be able to hold the weight of the ice and snow and be low enough for the bears to climb up on, which would require some modification to most ships' hulls, but barges might be low enough already to accommodate access for the bears.

Should the idea of using derelict vessels of various types not be feasible or should there be too few of them that could be used, floes could be manufactured, which might actually be an easier and less expensive option.

A floating steel platform of an appropriate surface area could be made with perhaps small, artificial caves on them. Again, these would be placed in the Polar Bears' habitat by the dozens or even hundreds to replace the natural ice floes that are fast disappearing. They must be anchored for obvious reasons.

[It may be found that each bear female will require her own floe with a single artificial cave on it. I suspect they require their own space, especially when they have cubs to protect.]

If enough people see this, begin thinking about it, perhaps someone in authority - whether private or governmental - will begin the process of gaining permits (if required), collecting donations or having funds authorized, creating designs, manufacturing, placing and anchoring them.

Maybe a petition for citizens of the world to sign will be required to force the authorities to act. It need not be limited to the United States. This could easily be a worldwide effort, a petition signed by people of all the nations to the authorities of all the same nations to act.

Losing the Polar Bears to extinction because they have no place to rest or procreate or raise their cubs should be a worldwide concern.

If anyone knows of an effort already underway to build artificial habitat for Polar Bears, let us know about it. Should that not be the case, perhaps we can begin the petition to our top world leaders and spread the word via Care2. The leaders would, of course, delegate to their respective environmental people to at least begin the process and I think that's more than is being done at present.

05 February 2013

Wood Hobby Projects

When I don't have much to do in the evenings, I often will make wooden objects, just for fun.   Most are made scaled down, but some items are made full sized. 
  This is a small model of a Ballista, which fires arrows at an enemy's walls or troops; not this one, of course, just the full sized ones back in Medieval times in Europe.   This and the Trebuchet models, shown later, all work quite nicely.
The next item is myself holding a full length, practice, Oak Bastard Sword, with a leather wrapped hilt.  It's longer, at about 48", than the more well-known Long Sword, which is about 39" long.
Next is an assortment of odd-shaped Boomerangs and, yes, they work just fine.  Depending on the bevel one imparts to the "wings," they will either come back to you or overshoot your position by a hundred yards, but one has to know how to throw them or they'll just fall to the ground, hard.  At top is the more recognizeable Boomerang shape.  The three at the bottom are not quite full sized.

Next is a model of a Catapult, both ready to fire and after firing the marble.

I made a prototype Child's  Picnic  Table, which I hoped to market, but now have just the prototype listed in Craig's List.  It could be used indoors or outdoors, has no preservatives or coating on it, yet, but does have outdoor hardware on it.  The bucket gives you an idea of its size.  Its length is 3'.
Here is a two-foot high Trebuchet, another form of catapult.
Next is my first Oak Longbow.  I made it out of a 1"x2"x 6'  length of Oak.  The originals were made of saplings or tree limbs, which I'm planning on doing, but have not gotten around to, yet.  I hadn't strung this one as of this photo.    I must make my own bows such that they are not in excess of perhaps thirty pounds draw, whereas a man's hunting bow can be in excess of an eighty-pound draw.  This is because one of my neck muscles was removed eight years ago, which renders my left arm somewhat unusable for holding the bow out straight in front of me at a heavier draw.
This is another version of a Trebuchet made out of popsickles.

Model Short Sword and Ax, the Short Sword made of Oak and the Ax made out of model airplane plywood.  Again, not quite full sized.
Three different Trebuchets.  The bottom one is designed to lob tennis balls and the bucket contains the weight, whether it be water or rocks or...
Two types of Trebuchet made of popsickle sticks.  The pocketknife should give you a further idea of their sizes.
These Recurve Bows are also made of 1"x2" Oak slats and are about six feet in length.  I have not made a proper string for either, yet, nor are they fully strung.  Both of these have different style handles.  I did not have - or want to make - a steam cabinet to curve the wood, so I used  a hot water bath  instead.  It wasn't quite as efficient, but it did work.  After bathing in hot water (or steam) for a period of time, one clamps these to a form until fully dried.
I shaved off too much wood for a few of my earlier bows and ended up making shorter bows instead.  If a broken bow could not be salvaged, I could cut off the handle and incorporate it into a new bow.  I hate to waste good Oak or any other wood (or, in fact, leather for those projects).