Sit. Rep. #89: Fuzz, Mercator, & Cultures

Map Projections:

1- Think of projecting a picture on a wall.  It does not matter what the original shape of the object was when the picture was taken.  The picture on the wall is 2 dimensions.  The projection is 2 dimensions.  Our Earth is roughly a sphere.  Any map in 2 dimensions distorts that 3 dimension earth.
Gerardus Mercator,  a 16th-century Flemish cartographer (mapmaker), devised a projection that allowed sailors to sail the 7 seas in shorter distances and more accurately.  He projected all of the Longitude and Latitude lines to intersect at 90 degrees.  With the Long / Lat lines intersecting at 90 degrees, the sailors could plot and navigate a straight line to their destination.

But there are two huge flys-in-the-ointment using his Mercator projections.
1- The landmasses are severely distorted.  It gets worse as you approach the poles
2- The closer you get to the poles, the Mercator projections do not work.  Any land or ice mass at the poles goes to size infinity.

1B- Longitude and Latitude lines only intersect each other at 90 degrees at the equator.  The Latitude lines are also called parallels because they do not ever touch another Latitude line.  And they are ALL parallel to the equator.  However, Longitude lines all converge at the 2 poles.  Mercator built his projection based on the world as a cylinder.  Not as a sphere.

1C- Universal Transverse Mercator, UTM, helps with projection distortion, over the original Mercator projection, but does not completely solve it.  The USGS Topo maps use the UTM (and other projections).

2- UTM divides the earth into 60 sections at 6 degrees each (60 * 6 = 360).  The numbering starts at 180 degrees E or 180 degrees W (the same place).  So UTM zone #2 is East of UTM zone #1.  UTM zone #3 is east of UTM zone #2 and so on…  Most of North Carolina is in UTM Zone # 17.  The line for UTM zone # 18 is roughly Wilmington, NC.

K- I know this Scout.  She can tell you what all the symbols on a map mean.
L- I bet she is a legend.


3- Have you ever made a Fuzz Stick?    Pick a dead and dried stick about the size of your wrist.  Carve shallow shavings on all sides of the stick. REMEMBER to leave the shavings attached to the stick.  My favorite way to use a fuzz stick is to plant it upside down in the middle of the fire ring.  You put about an inch in the ground and the rest of the stick is ready to catch on fire.  Build your fire lay around the fuzz stick.  The Fuzz Stick gives you a place to lean tinder and kindling.  Be ready with more tender & kindling when the fire catches.

Leave No Trace applies when building a fire and collecting firewood.

3B- You can use the fuzz stick method if you only have wet firewood.  Shave off the wet layers completely to get to dry firewood.

M- The Scout rated the Sun.
N- She only gave it 1 star.

4- If you know that you will run into wet weather on a camping trip here are some tricks that I have used to make sure that I can start a fire:

  • Dryer lint in a plastic bag,
  • Waterproof matches, make your own or buy the expensive ones,
  • Lighter wood from pine or spruce stumps,
  • Firestarters, commercial or homemade,
  • Commercial fire log, too heavy for backpacking – slice off an end or a chunk to backpack,
  • Match Light charcoal,  you only need 2-3 briquettes in a Ziplock type plastic bag,
  • Sawdust or woodshop shavings.
  • Wax paper
  • Shaved fibers from the inside of bark

Do NOT use accelerants!

O- The Scout was really disappointed when she came in last in the astronomy competition.
  But they gave her a map of the stars for participating.
P- It was a constellation prize.

Merit Badge Hints:

5- American Cultures MB is real interesting.  How many different countries are represented in your school class?  Ever gone to a _______ Festival that showcases a new or different culture or country?  Try as many different foods as you possibly can.  Some festivals are sponsored by churches or community groups.  Take notes on what you see, hear, and taste.  You can also interview someone that will also count for your Communications MB.  Try to get (at least) one recipe to try out at home or on a camping trip.

Not lost – I hope,

Scout Skits: by Thomas Mercaldo

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