Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Padua JOTI "Light of the Peace" Video Project

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A Scout Group in Padua contacted me during JOTI (see my First JOTI). They want to make a video greeting of peace for the Light of the Peace event and are asking for some help.

They are hoping to get short video or audio greetings from Scout groups around the world by November 16th so they can put together and post the final video before the event on December 13th.

The example text for the greeting is:
"Ciao Italia, Ciao Padova, we are [your name or group/association name] from [your country]. We also join your message: Together Scout to Live the Peace"
Padua is located in the Italian province of Padova.

If your group is interested and can put together and post a video you can contact them at joti@avsc.it.

I'm told they can handle a variety of formats including avi, mp4, mpg, mov, wmv, and ecc.

The 433rd will send be sending a message!

On another note, wouldn't it be nice if some of the spacecraft outreach programs would consider something similar. It would be much more interesting than just sending lists of names.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

TD Coin Counting Machines Pass Scout Apple Day Workout!

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Apple Day is one of the biggest fundraisers for many Scout groups. Every youth has a donation tin. People donate their spare change, loonies, toonies, and some even donate bills. Many do not even take an apple or the little button hole donation card. (When we used to go door to door, one elderly gentlemen actually donated an apple to us!)

Every year it has been a large effort by people in the group to count and roll all the coins in all those tins and get them to the bank and make a deposit. This year after a couple of personal test runs, I can report back that the TD's coin counters are robust and reliable. We counted over 40 tins worth of change in just over an hour. It would have been faster if we were not concerned with a per tin tally. We were duly impressed by the performance and reliability of equipment.

In addition to the things I learned before (see Free Coin Counting Service!), here are a few more things, I found out about the machines:
  • They don't take 50 cent pieces (neither does the bank because they can't give them out).
  • The blue lights mean the bin is full.
  • When you have a lot of coins, very occasionally good coins will get rejected. Put them through again.
  • It seems to know when you've checked for rejected coins. And don't rush it at the end of a cycle.
In addition to the 2002 Canadian 50 cent piece that I bought back from the group. I also have a 2004 British Penny, and a 2000 Albanian 5 Leke piece.

I also wish to thank the staff at the 1440 Royal York branch and the patient customers behind us (who all said they'd wait for us to finish).

First JOTI

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I had been hoping to arrange to do a full and proper event around JOTI, but this was not to be. Instead I'll report on my JOTI baby steps.
  • JOTI coincided with Apple Day which is a major fund raiser for our group. As a result this put a bit of a crimp in scheduling an event around JOTI. I had hoped to see if there was an Internet connection at our meeting hall and Apple Day coordination centre but wasn't able to do so.
  • The second challenge was setting up a computer and test the requisite chat software to ensure it operated correctly. Again, time and other commitments were the enemy.
  • I fell back to e-mail and web chat. I found the web chat software to be finicky. At one point I seemed to be connected but out of channel where no one could hear me.
  • e-mail using the station lookup proved reliable but far less interactive than the full JOTI experience promised.
I sent hello messages from our group to a number of groups in such places as: Alaska, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Barbados, Iceland, Brazil, Croatia, Sweden, Ireland, Mexico, Egypt, Norway, Israel, Finland, and others. I also received some hellos from several different groups around the world. Below I've listed their web sites (if they have them).
  • Dalyellup Scouts in Western Australia, here. Hi Joanne.
  • Palmerston North Scouts in New Zealand, here. Hi Penny, Harry, William and Edward
  • 243rd Tuscany Scouts in Alberta Canada, here. Hi Aklea Scott.
  • Oulu Finland, here. Hi Andrew.
  • AVSC in Padua Italy, here. Hi Ugo.
  • 9th Benoni in South Africa, here. Hi Joy and Peter.

Also, some of the groups may not have yet had a chance to reply to the messages but should be able to find me through this web site's E-mail Me widget.

Unfortunately, the JOTI search stations / send message doesn't cc you back. If you don't keep track of who you said hi to - you could be out of luck.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Skies Badge - South Africa

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Here are the requirements:

This week the I received my first exchange in the The Great Astronomers Badge Swap.

The Skies Badge from the 9th Benoni Cubs in South Africa.

  1. Identify TWO constellations and the Southern Cross
  2. Make a pinhole planetarium and show THREE constellations
  3. Identify FOUR cloud types
  4. Visit a planetarium or spot a satelite and record the time of sighting and its path across the sky.
My thanks to Akela Joy!

Please click on the BadgeSwap label below to see other related badges and entries.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Spaghetti Western Orchestra?!

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This past weekend I had the chance to see the Spaghetti Western Orchestra at Harbourfront.

The Spaghetti Western What-estra? I hear you thinking. Orchestra is a bit of an overstatement if you judge by their number of performers (5), but perhaps not by the instrumentation (100+) or talent they bring.

In addition to the copious array of traditional instruments, you will find a Theremin, beer bottles, corn flakes, baby boots, rubber gloves, scripts, clocks, plants, coat hangers, and many many more.

The show combines a story line based on the old spaghetti westerns; the music of the composer of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; sound effects; comedy; audience participation; and sing-a-long. Even the mistakes are choreographed. It's well put together and enjoyable.

For more on the SWO including more video clips and their US tour schedule, check out their web site.

The Great World Wide Star Count - Oct 20 to Nov 3, 2008

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The Great World Wide Star Count is a great event which will let you get out observing and help determine how clear our skies are. It's timed for any evening between 7pm-9pm which makes it a perfect event for Cub/Scout meetings. Or even better a camp!

The count is a simple event, you observe Cygnus (the Northern Cross) in the north or Sagittarius (the Archer) (also known as the "Teapot" asterism) in the south and match the number and patterns you see to a set of magnitude charts provided on the site.
  • Get your activity guide (available in several languages) and magnitude charts (and take the online quiz).
  • Pick your site.
  • Make sure you let the your eyes adapt to the dark for 20 to 30 minutes before observing. A flashlight free hike is a great start.
  • Record the latitude and longitude using a GPS device, Google Maps, or a topographic map.
  • Record your results along with the date and time.
  • Report your results online as before November 7th.
Other things you might need:
  • A planisphere or star finder. For a free download, read Build your own Planisphere (Star Finder)!
  • A red flashlight to preserve your night vision.
  • Weather appropriate clothing.
  • Hot chocolate for afterwards.
This event is very similar to a light pollution awareness program called The Globe at Night which ran from Feb 25 to Mar 8 and was based on the constellation Orion.

Good counting!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Carnival of Space #75 @ Lab Lemming

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Join the Carnival here.

Update: Ooops. Carnival 74 was at Kentucky Space.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Welcome JOTI 2008 Particpants!

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Welcome from the 433rd Toronto Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and Venturers to all Jamboree on the Internet participants.
Please stay and check out this web site.

Thanks, Mang
( Mang433HWCA on JOTI )

Link back to JOTI Community Search

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coat Drive for Romero House

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Click here to read about our coat drive.

Apple Day Reminder 2008 !

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Please click on this link for infomation on Apple Day schedules and what Apple Day is about.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Custom Jigsaw Puzzles

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While I was on vacation this summer I visited one of my favorite stores and found they had a very cool new product - custom jigsaw puzzles from digital photographs!

The possibilities for this are just about endless. There are the usual applications like Christmas Cards, Vacation Photos, and Art Photos.

The store has some recommendations on their web site for what makes a good puzzle and an order form. If you want more information check out Board Silly in Old Orchard Beach Maine.

Hopefully it will be used only for good and no one will bring back the "Purple Dread" - a 5000 piece puzzle of pure hideous unvarying purple. :)