Friday, June 23, 2017

Snake Safety

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Now that summer is here, and reptiles are out and about, here are some snake bite procedures in a quick and easy format - from the South Dakota Reptile Garden web site:

"In the United States there are approximately 5,000 - 7,000 venomous snakebites every year. However, generally only 10 - 15 are fatal. In Australia, the country with the highest percentage of deadly snakes, just 3 to 4 people are killed by venomous snakes yearly. What to do if bitten:
  • DO Remain calm - death from most snake bites is not instantaneous.
  • DO IMMEDIATELY GO TO THE HOSPITAL! At the hospital, they will administer antivenom, if needed. Antivenom is the only effective treatment available for treating snakebites in the U.S.
  • DO Avoid anything that thins your blood or accelerates your heart rate: alcohol, cigarettes, aspirin, etc.
What NOT to do if bitten:

Do not attempt the following, they can cause harm and waste your valuable time getting snake bite treatment from a qualified medical professional:
  • DO NOT Use a tourniquet. A tourniquet is extremely painful and will cut blood flow to the wounded limb. This may cause the limb to die and require amputation.
  • DO NOT Cut X’s over the fang marks and suck out the venom. Snake venom spreads quickly and efficiently through the lymphatic system. It is almost impossible cut deep enough, quickly enough, or to suck hard enough to pull an adequate amount of venom out to make a difference.
  • DO NOT Apply ice to slow the spread of venom.
  • DO NOT “Electrocute” the bitten area to neutralize the venom.
These are all instances of improper snake bite treatment, will cause severe pain, permanent tissue damage, and possible amputation."
* * * * * * * * *


Great Basin Rattlesnake
The American Association of Poison Control Centers would like to offer its new poster on snake bite safety to Scouts and Scouters free of charge. A proof of the poster can be found here . The poster features information about what to do, and what not to do, in the event of a snake bite as well as information on how to identify venomous snakes. It also features a map of the United States that shows where venomous snakes live and information about the poison help line.

Poster Proof
The poster is 18 inches by 24 inches in size. If you would like to order posters, please email with the number of posters you would like and your mailing information.

In the spirit of KNOW risk vs. NO risk, we can all take a tip from the Boy Scout Handbook: “Being able to identify venomous snakes is a good first step toward staying safe where they live. If you leave snakes alone, they are likely to avoid you, too. Use a hiking stick to poke among stones and brush ahead of you when you walk through areas where snakes are common. Be careful where you put your hands as you collect firewood or climb over rocks and logs.”

Prepared. | For Life.™

Friday, June 16, 2017

7 Essential Knots You Need To Know

Sometimes YouTube is the clearest instructor.

This video shows the following:
  • Square Knot - Scout #4a, T #3a
  • Clove Hitch - 1C #3b
  • Sheet Bend - 2C #2f
  • Bowline - 2C #2g
  • Figure 8 loop
  • Two Half-Hitches - Scout #4a, T #3b
  • Taut-Line Hitch - Scout #4a, T #3c
The only required knot or hitch not covered in this clip is the simple timber hitch (1C #3b), so here's a simple illustration:

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Show improvement

Tenderfoot requirement No. 6c states: Show improvement (of any degree) in each activity listed in Tenderfoot requirement 6a after practicing for 30 days. These activities are
  • push-ups, 
  • sit-ups, 
  • sit-and-reach (they eliminated pull-ups in 2016, YAAAYYY!), and 
  • 1-mile walk run (up from 1/4 mile).  
So, what constitutes "improvement?"  The handbook says to record the number of repetitions done correctly, or the overall run time.  However, taking the "of any degree" clause at face value, improvement can mean more than more reps.

For example, you have a new Scout who struggles with push-ups, and on his initial try he performs 24 "shoulder-shrug" push-ups.  You've seen these before - he sticks his posterior into the air and just kind of drops his upper body an inch or two while shrugging his shoulder blades together and dramatically bobs his head up and down.  So, you give instruction (this is the second time - you gave instruction before starting the stopwatch, too) on how to do a proper push-up - back straight, arms underneath, use chest muscles (really, it's an inverted bench press, isn't it?) and lower yourself to just above the ground.  Improvement could mean that after 30 days he only does 12 push-ups, but his form is impeccable.

Same with sit-ups.  Improvement could mean more repetitions, improved form, or even the same number of repetitions, but he's not as winded this time.

Running isn't just about speed, it's about endurance.  If your hypothetical Scout took 11:32 minutes and walked most of the way, crawling across the line, improvement might mean that 30 days later, he still takes 11:32, but he didn't walk, didn't complain, and didn't hold his aching side - his fitness and ability has improved.

Lateral thinking can help you come up with many ways to measure improvement and success.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Friday, June 9, 2017

Outside-the-Bag Thinking

The Black or the White Pebble?

Many, many years ago in a small Italian town, a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the merchant’s beautiful daughter so he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgive the merchant’s debt if he could marry the daughter. Both the merchant and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. The moneylender told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag. The girl would then have to pick one of the pebbles. If she picked the black pebble, she would become the moneylender’s wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him, and her father’s debt would still be forgiven. But if she refused to pick, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble-strewn path in the merchant’s garden. While they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked her to choose.


What would you have done if you in her place?  If you had to advise her, what would you have told her to do? Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:
  1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble from the bag. 
  2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the moneylender as a cheat. 
  3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment. 

The quick-thinking girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out one pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled it onto the path where it immediately became lost among all the others.

“Oh, how clumsy of me!” she said. “But never mind, if you look into the bag, you will see which pebble I picked.”

Since the pebble remaining in the bag was black, all would assume that she had picked the white one, for the moneylender dared not admit his dishonesty.  And the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an advantageous one.

MORAL: Most complex problems have a solution - sometimes we just have to think about them differently.

Prepared. | For Life.™