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Things You Should Know

Disclaimer: This site is not meant to be all-inclusive and is meant to make people aware of certain important things. The solutions presented here may cause injury or death. If you have any questions, check more detailed references.

I'm sure we all remember the book "Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten". This book must have been written by a woman from the Midwest because there is a lot of stuff that isn't in here that I think you should know, so here it is. Most people already know this stuff, but not everyone does. If you are an adult and are offended by any of these items, I make no apologies. I am making these as basic as possible. Imagine a droid fresh out of the box and you are trying to train it for the first time. We all do stupid things. Every thing on this page has been done by someone at least once. Awareness is the best defense.

Albert Einstein

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."


LOL stands for Laugh Out Loud, and is used as an expression in chat rooms and e-mail. It is a quick way to say "ha ha ha, wasn't that funny? Can you believe that I'm so funny?" Sometimes it is used in multiplayer online gaming after someone does something buffoonlike (is that even a word?), such as tossing a grenade at one's own feet and blowing thyself to pieces. Or perhaps one person accidentally loses a race to flip over a vehicle and gets crushed in the process. Or two players could both be out of ammo and proceed to melee each other repeatedly, even though shields regenerate so neither player will prevail.


If you need to find something out, go to http://www.google.com Every other search engine is a copy.


If you want to find out what a particular word means, go to http://en.wikipedia.org A wiki is a document open for the public to edit. A wikipedia is an encylopedia turned into a wiki.


The Internet is always capitalized. There is only one Internet. If you have a bunch of computers connected to each other, but nothing else, then you have A internet. But how many internets do you know of? That's so Windows for Workgroups.

Driving a Car

There are lights on your dash. Most are very important. Some aren't really that important.

The "oil" light or the one with a can with a spout is the most important. If this light is on, it means that a pressure switch is not sensing enough oil pressure. It is usually set very low, so if it comes on, your oil pump is sucking air. If this light comes on, shut the engine down ASAP. If you are on a freeway, get to the side immediately, then shut it down. This is why I like manual steering and brakes, because you can safely coast with the engine shut off. Let the engine cool a bit, then check the oil level. If you can't see any oil on the dipstick, then the engine is dry. Get some more oil before attempting to start the engine again. Fill the crankcase up with oil.

Overtemp Light/temp gauge. If your temp gauge starts to climb rapidly/and or leaves the "normal" range, shut the engine down as soon as possible. Do not try to make it to the next exit. Doing so will damage your engine... specifically the head gasket, then the valve guides, then the rings and finally your engine will seize. Let your engine cool off for about a half hour. Use a rag to open the radiator. If you decide to drive the vehicle again, be prepared to shut it down again. Even doing this will damage the engine due to the heating/cooling stresses on the engine.

Stuck Throttle(improperly called "accellerator")

There have been many stories in the news about people's new cars running out of control killing pedestrians and/or other drivers. If your car starts to accellerate, but you didn't ask it to, quick put it in neutral. Pull to a safe spot on the side of the road. Then shut the engine off and call a tow truck and have your car taken to a service station. Don't worry about your engine overrevving, because that is a secondary concern.


Drive down steep hills in a low gear. The steeper the hill, the lower the gear. If you have an automatic, the lowest gear is 1. The next lowest is 2 and so forth. If you leave your car in a high gear, you will have to use excessive braking to slow down. Excessive braking heats up the brake pads/shoes and drums/disks. Hot brakes don't work very well and give off a distinctive odor. I was in a car driven by a friend and she went right through a stop sign on a busy intersection at the bottom of a very long/steep hill. The car was full of teenagers and we all could have been killed. Her parents and teachers neglected to teach her what I am sharing here. Where did society go wrong?

Puddles and Braking

If you drive through a puddle, your brakes may become wet. Press your brakes gently to see if they still work. If not, you can gently "ride" the brakes to dry them out. My older sister couldn't stop once and she didn't know why.

Rattles, Noises, Rumbles, Squeaks

If you are driving a car and it starts to make a "new" sound, get in the right lane, pull off the freeway get somewhere safe. Check it out. See if you can figure out what is making the noise, and if not, or if it is not safe, call a towtruck or get to a service station. Use your best judgement, but noises are generally not good. Once my sister was driving on Crow Creek Road (a gravel road) and the car started making noise. By the time she reached me (she was picking me up) the lug nuts were almost completely loose on one wheel. The holes were all rounded out and the rim was destroyed. If she had pulled over and done "mid-flight" she would have seen this and could have tighten up the lug nuts. Of course, it was my fault the lug nuts were loose!

Lug Nuts

If you change a tire, make sure the lug nuts are very tight. If not, the tire can come off the vehicle and you could loose control. I have personally seen wheels come off of 2 vehicles. Both were approaching. The first was a bus along the Seward Highway near Rainbow. The tire hit a Pinto in front of us. My father was driving a 1972 Ford F150 and he made an incredible sideways skid to avoid hitting the Pinto (GAS TANK!) or bus (WORSE!) he had 2 kids in the front and 2 in the back. We were soooo lucky that day. The second was a station wagon along Jewel Lake Road.

Winter Driving Tips

This is a very extensive subject, and I will have to expand upon this when I have more time. I've lived in Alaska for 38 years and learned to drive when I was 15 or so. I've had a lot of experience with a variety of vehicles so I have a lot to share. I also have a good grasp of physics and kinematics which helps. The best car by far was the Subaru Wagon with a good pair of Riken's. That car drove like it was on rails, even on ice. The horizontally opposed engine reduces the center of gravity.

Subaru Center Of Gravity

This makes it so all wheels get equal weight during cornering, which means better traction and control. This also applies to stopping. Does 4WD help you stop? Some people say no, but they've never driven a 4wd. The interconnecting shafts help to keep the wheels turning at the same rate. When you stop, if you pump the brakes or have ABS, this interlocking helps prevent 1 wheel from skidding. The rotational inertia of the shafts and gears help keep them synchronized. Bumps cause wheels to leave the road. This will reduce traction. Torque on an axle will reduce traction. Torque can be from braking, mere deceleration, or accelleration. Remember an object in motion remains in motion. A straight road with no intersections or possibility of moose running out is the safest place. Lights about to turn yellow are the MOST dangerous. THat is why all traffic lights should be replaced. If there are traffic lights, they should heat the pavement right before the intersection. Of course, you might have some rear-enders, but that is much, much better than a T-bone.

Cold Engines

Engines have many moving parts. Gaps are built into the machine, and are filled with oil. When the oil is cold, it is thick and doesn't lubricate very well. Let an engine warm up before placing a heavy load on it or spinning it up to high RPM. I cringe whenever I hear someone goose the throttle on a cold engine. If they only knew the damage they were doing. Learn about your engine. Find out where the temp gauge stops after it warms up. Drive easy until it reaches this stable point.

Cold Other Things

Seals, shafts, bearings all are subject to damage when cold. Be careful.


When you buy a new generator, lawnmower, or other small 4-stroke engine, put oil in it. Many times they are shipped without oil.


If the ground shakes and/or the tide goes way, way out, a Tsunami may be created. If you are in a coastal area, get to high ground IMMEDIATELY. 100,000 people may have been saved by this info. I only heard of one 10 year old girl making the connection, thanks to her teacher. How soon society forgets.

Avalanche Zones

If you live below a steep mountain and it snows a bunch, you might want to stay at a friends house. The snow could slide off the mountain (this is called an avalanche) and it could kill you.


If you live under a cliff and it rains a bunch, you might want to stay somewhere else for a while. The land above you might slide and kill you. It could crush your house, with you in it. If you walk on the top of a cliff, you might slip and fall off and die. The cliff itself may collapse, taking you with it and that could kill you.


If you are driving down a road, and see water flowing over it, STOP before you get to the water. You might even want to back up (check for cars behind you first). Wait for the water to at least stop flowing before you try to cross it. Your car will probably stall, depending upon the car and how deep the water is. If the water is flowing, it could sweep your car off the road into deeper water. Your car will fill with water and you could drown (die).


Just because a house was built on blue clay doesn't mean it is safe. If you live on blue clay in an earthquake zone, you should move. Zoning commissions, contractors, developers, realtors, insurance companies don't really care if your house is swallowed by a gaping crevasse. They've already made their money off of you.


Don't walk, snowmachine, mountain bike, ski, dogsled, skijor or travel in any other way on glaciers, unless you are properly trained. Snow could be covering a deep crevasse. You could bust through the snow and fall to the bottom. This most likely will kill you (and anyone/thing else with you).

Glacier Faces

Don't boat (including kayaking) in front of the face of a tidewater glacier. Pieces of the glacier could break off (calve) and crush you. You will probably die.

Boating in Fjords

When glaciers recede, they leave behind what is called a terminal moraine. If this happens to be out in a fjord somewhere, the wave action will eventually wash away the morain above the water. What's left is called a sill and can be very dangerous. Winds coming off the glacier can cause large swells. Once these swells reach the sill, they turn into seas, curling and crashing down. If you are in a small boat, you could get swept into this area and capsize your boat. If you are the captain of a big boat, you should know enough to have a chart, which will show the sill.


Icebergs can flip over. Don't climb on them because they could crush you.


Northerly latitudes have high tides on ocean coastlines. Don't drive on the beach unless absolutely necessary. If you park, park above the high tide line. If you park below the high tide line, don't sleep in your car. You may wake up in a car full of water that won't start.

Bering Sea/Gulf Of Alaska

If you are the captain of a ship and you decide to sail near Alaska either for fun or money, BEWARE. The water here can be quite treacherous. If you are piloting a cruise ship and it is the winter, you might want to avoid this place altogether, expecially the Aleutian Island area. Waves can easily reach heights of 50 feet and sometimes 70 feet. These waves could knock out the windows of your bridge, disabling your ship once water gets on your engine controls. If you have engine trouble, don't try to fix it on the open ocean, get to a port first, and certainly call the coast guard ASAP.

Slinging Heavy Loads with Nylon Webbing

If you are lucky enough to be a helicopter pilot, you may want to consider using steel wire rope to sling loads. Nylon webbing can melt from heat generated due to flutter cause by airspeed/wind.

Radio Propagation (cell phones)

Everyone is doing wireless... YEEHAW. Us EE's (Electronics/Electrical Engineers) and Ham Radio Enthusiasts have been doing this for a long time. There is a lot to radio propagation and this is only meant to cover the basics. The little pointy thing on your cell phone or wireless network hub/adapter is called an antenna. That is where the radio waves come and go from you device. If this antenna is blocked by metal, it won't work so good. Make sure the two antennas trying to communicate aren't blocked by anything, especially metal. Hold your cell phone upright. If you lay it down, the antenna doesn't work as well. Multipathing is a problem for cell phones. This is why certain locations are better than others, even a few feet away. If you are interested in learning more about multipathing, email me


Smoking is very, very bad for you. You shouldn't smoke. Especially don't smoke in bed. You could fall asleep and the linens could catch on fire. Since you are asleep, you won't know what is happening and you will be burned alive (die).


Alcohol can be a very bad thing. I don't recommend drinking. If you choose to drink, certainly don't drive or operate machinery.


If you are under 10, you can stop reading this page. If you are female and are over 10 and under 70, you may get pregnant if you have sex. If you are over 10 and don't know what sex is, talk to your parents. I include this here, because I see evidence that not everyone is aware of this fact.

Drinking and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, do not drink any alcohol. This causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and your child will be severely impaired. It is simply not worth it. You do not deserve to be a mother if you can't give up the booze.

E-mail me if you think I'm super smart or a jerk. Remember, I'm just trying to help.

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