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Visits in the Night

January 8th, 2012  · stk

A ClustrMap|NASA Mashup

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring - except Scott, who was playing with PhotoShop! Sorry, but "Visits in the Night" isn't about Santa Claus coming down our chimney. It's about creating a "night-time" display using a satellite image from NASA, merged with our worldwide website visitors tracked on ClustrMaps.

Ever since November 2005, we've been tracking the locations of many of our randsco.com visitors by using an application developed by Marc Eisenstadt, called "ClustrMaps". (Hover the globe in "Site Tools" section of the sidebar, for the regular map thumbnail - like the one that also shows here). Since that time, we've logged over 2 million visitors!

When you click the globe in the sidebar (or the thumbnail above) you'll be directed to the ClustrMap website, which shows a much larger visitor map for our website (clicking on country regions shows even greater detail). Since inception, Marc and the ClustrMap team have been continually adding features to their service and they recently won "Best Free Web Tool" in the 2011 Edublog Awards.

Not long ago, when I clicked on the globe and went to the larger, world-wide map, I noticed that the dots showed first and that it took a few seconds for the underlying "map" to reveal itself. I thought, "The dots by themselves, make an interesting display." They reminded me of a NASA image I once saw, showing urban lights across the world at night. (The image below. Click it for an even larger version).

NASA Composite Satellite Image of World Lights at Night

Earth at Night: Lights from urbanized areas show up clearly on this NASA image (a composite of hundreds of images taken by orbiting DMSP satellites).

Our ClustrMap at Night

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Updated: 8-Jan-2012
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Not Your Normal Call

November 29th, 2011  · stk

As a volunteer firefighter, you train in preparation for many different kind of emergencies. This one came across as a "river rescue", but it turned out to be much different than that. These calls don't happen very often - thank God - and it's something straight out of a Hollywood movie.

"Swift-water Rescue"?

When you're a volunteer firefighter, you never know what kind of emergency you're going to attend. You try to prepare for anything. Sometimes, however, a call comes across for which, no amount of training, can help. This was such a call. Something a screenwriter in La-La Land might come up with.

The call came across to us as a river rescue, but it was ... and turned into ... something much more bizarre.

Man Arrested after Hours-long Pursuit

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Updated: 29-Nov-2011
Web View Count: 31470 viewsLast Web Update: 29-Nov-2011

Canada Post on Strike

June 20th, 2011  · stk

Did you know Canada Post is on strike? The Canadian postal system shut down over a week ago. The United States is no longer accepting mail addressed to Canada. Who cares? In the age of text messages, email & a myriad of private parcel delivery companies to choose from - is Canada Post even relevant?

Canada Post is on Strike? Who Cares?

 Canada Post Strike 2011 - Mailbox closed

My seven (and a half) year-old daughter recently participated in day-long "Hands-Across the Border" event, where girl scouts (Brownies) from Canada and the United States traded goodies and celebrated at the near-by Peace Arch border crossing. Alex had obtained some nice "City of Nanaimo" and "Canada Flag" trader-pins from our MLA, Leonard Krog, when Rachel visited his office a couple of weeks ago.

"What's this got to do with the Canada Postal Union strike?" you might ask.

Well, Alex wrote a very nice, colorful, personal letter of "thanks" to MLA Leonard Krog and we took it down to the post box this morning to mail it. We couldn't put it into the outgoing mail slot, as it had been covered over with the Canada Post "closed" sign shown above.

"Oh, right," I told Alex, "Canada Post is on strike, so there's no mail delivery."

Sadly, MLA Leonard Krog will have an easier time finding his mail here, than he will finding it in his mailbox (an e-mail from his website will let him know that he can read his "Canada Post mail" here!)

This incident made me curious about the Canada Post strike. I know the Postal Union members have been on strike for a while and that mail delivery stopped over a week ago. But ... why are they on strike? If the strike doesn't affect me much, how many others don't care? How relevant is Canada Post in today's world of electronic mail, Skype, cell phone text-messaging, FaceBook, Twitter and private parcel services (e.g., UPS, Fed-Ex & DHL)?

The Irrelevant Postal Strike

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Updated: 24-Oct-2011
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Filed in:Adventures

Boating & Fishing Safety Tips

June 19th, 2011  · Zooey

Kinda like Tom Sawyer, we were paid $55 to allow someone to write an article on Randsco. We are not otherwise affiliated with BoaterExam.com. This "advert post" by Zooey, is now part of an Randsco SEO experiment (write-up to come after data are collected. In the meantime ... a big "sorry" to our loyal readers who subscribe by RSS or eMail! We're not suddenly turning SPAMMY on you!

Fishing and boating are exciting family-oriented activities that can be both fun and educational. They can also be quite dangerous, especially when we lack awareness or are not properly prepared. It is for this reason that British Columbia now mandates a BC boating license regardless of boat size and other aspects. In fact, this kind of regulation is now popular throughout Canada and the United States because the statistics show that it saves lives.

Read full story...

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Updated: 20-Jun-2011
Web View Count: 25327 viewsLast Web Update: 20-Jun-2011

Five Tips for Hiking with Kids

April 25th, 2011  · Nicole

In her first article for randsco.com, guest author Nicole provides five tips for hiking with kids. Just because you have young kids doesn't mean parents have to put away their hiking gear. Hiking with kids is a great way to combine family time, healthy exercise and teaching children about the natural world. Learn more!

Five Tips Help Make Hiking with Kids FUN!

It is definitely heart-warming to see kids bathing in bubbling brooks, climbing over rocks or boulders and appreciating the flora and fauna as they pass them by. Hiking and camping with your own kids is a great way to teach them about the beauty of nature, cooperation and healthy living.

If you’ve been taking your kids on hikes and would like to make it an even better experience (or want to and fear that they'll whine and complain) - this article will arm you with five ideas that will increase your chances for a successful outing!

5 Quick Tips for Hiking with Kids

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Updated: 18-May-2011
Web View Count: 25223 viewsLast Web Update: 18-May-2011