Karts and Karting

Karts and karting are rapidly growing in popularity, not only in the United States and Canada, but also in Australia and Europe. With the possible exception of bowling, no sport has won more new fans in recent years. Karting interests not only boys and girls but also adults of all ages. A kart is made of a frame, four wheels, steering and braking devices, a seat, and a small power plant. In a certain sense kart driving can be compared to speedboat racing, because he rider has the feeling of moving very swiftly, although really the speed is not very high. This is because people in in both racing boats and karts travel very close to the surface, the lower the speed seems to be. When you sit in a kart that is speeding along at 30 miles an hour, with the wind striking you directly and the roar of the small motor in your ears, the feeling is similar to that of traveling more than 70 miles per hour in a standard automobile. Karts can make very sharp turns, which adds to the thrill of driving.

Karts are quite safe to drive. Because they are so close to the ground, it is almost impossible for them to be upset, and serious accidents are rare. A kart may cost as little as $60, although some cost more than $600. But whatever the cost of the vehicle, the upkeep is small. Because a kart is light, weighing under 100 pounds, it can be placed in the back of a station wagon, on the top of any hardtop, or even in the car trunk, and carried to the place where the fun begins. When not in use, it can stand on end in the garage.

Why is karting so popular around the world? Well, it is thrilling, interesting, safe and inexpensive way to satisfy the love of competitive speed that is inborn in most people. Karting is more a competitive sport than a spectator sport. The person who has the most fun is often the one who is driving. Karts can be obtained in various ways. They can be purchased from a manufacturer or dealer. The three largest mail-order houses now lists karts in their catalogs. A kit can be purchased and the car put together from the kit. Or you can build your own machines, if you have the ability and equipment to do so. However, certain parts, such as wheels and engines, are better if purchased.

As karting has grown in popularity, the karts themselves have become more elaborate. Some now on the market have fine upholstery and beautiful aluminium bodies. The basic idea of the kart is not a new one. Almost as soon as automobiles, appeared, young people started trying to make their own junior copy of the car. Often when a lad could get an old motorcycle engine, the thought of putting it to work as a power plant for a small car (or a motorbob, as it was called many years ago) came into his mind. Karts are manufactured in many of the United States and Canada. This shows the growing popularity of karts.

A few words of warning should be given. Before any reader starts to plan his kart, he should look over the general area in which he lives, to make certain that there is a place where he can drive it legally. He must also be sure that he can drive it safely. Driving karts on highways is not generally permitted, and karts are not yet licensed or generally insured. However, there is no doubt that karts will soon be licensed and insurance on them will be required. It may even be that an operator's will be given before a person is allowed to drive one.

One of the popular places to drive karts is the parking area of a large supermarket after closing hours or on Sundays, when the yard is empty. karting is most popular in the South and Southwest of the United States because the regions have more days of fine weather. The kart owner can enjoy his racer more often and so get a better return on his investment. There are many excellent courses, some with lights for night driving, baby-sitter service, restaurant and rest-room facilities. The International Kart Federation recognizes 13 classes of karting. The classes divide the drivers into categories, or groups, according to engine class, driver weight, driver age, or combinations of these. Frequent meets are held by classes and for drivers of different ages, so that almost everyone has a chance to win a trophy.

It is always possible that neighbors will protest the noise and have a track closed. But the kart of the future will very likely have mufflers and will be about as quiet as any motorcar today. Most kart courses are now located at some distance from residential neighborhoods. There is a fine course at Oroville, California. It is situated near the airport, so there are no complaints from neighbors because of noise. This course is privately, owned, and members of the local karting club pay a lower daily fee to use it than do nonmembers. Spectators pay a nominal amount, and the refreshment stands make money for the owners. This is about the way most kart courses operate.
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History and How To Make Kites

People have enjoyed making and flying kites for at least 2,000 years. It is exciting to watch a kite lift in the breeze and rise until it is just speck of color in the sky. The word "kite" is the name of a bird of the hawk family, known for its grace in the air. A kite may be a simple arrangement of two sticks, crossed and covered with paper or cloth and flown at the end of a string. Or it may be a more elaborate shape, such as a box or a pyramid. In the Orient, kites are made also in the shapes of birds, fish, and butterflies. Many are beautifully decorated. One of the largest kites is the Chinese dragon kite. It is a long train of individual kites connected by sticks. The first kite represents the dragon's head, and a number of circular kites behind it represent the dragon's body. This kite is so long that it must be launched by several people.

No one is sure who invented the kite. Some historians believe it was invented by Greek named Archytas about 400 B.c. Others believe it was invented 200 years later by Han-Sin, a Chinese general. But we do know that making and flying kites have been popular pastimes in China, Japan, Korea, and other countries of the Far East for many hundreds of years and still are today. In China the ninth day of the ninth month is known as Kite's Day, or the Festival of Ascending on High. it is the tradition for people of all ages to fly kites on that day.

In Japan Children's Day is celebrated on May 5. Each family flies a fish kite from a bamboo pole in front of the house for each boy in the family. The Japanese also enjoy a sport known as kite fighting. Each kite flier coats a portion of his kite string near the kite with a mixture of powdered glass and glue. When all the kites are in the air, a player tries to cross and cut the string of another kite with a sharp, glass-coated part of his own string.

Flying kites is a popular hobby in many countries of the Western world, too. In the United States, kite tournaments are held in a number of cities each spring. In Europe and the United States, kites have also been used in scientific experiments and have been put to practical uses in both peace and war. In the two Scottish students, Alexander Wilson and Thomas Melville, sent up a train, or connected series, of kites with a thermometer attached to each in order to find out the temperature of the upper air. In 1752 in the United States, Benjamin Franklin used a kite in his famous experiment with electricity. He wanted to prove that lightning was a form of electricity. To do this, he had to find a way to attract lightning and test it. He decided to fly a kite into a thundercloud during a storm. He hoped the lightning flashing in the thundercloud would travel along the kite string so that he could reach out and feel it. It did. Franklin also got an electricity shock. (we realize today that Franklin's experiment was extremely dangerous. A person who comes into contact with electricity while he is wet may be killed by it.)

Many years later, kites played a part in the development of the airplane. Before they built and flew the first airplane in 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright experimented with huge box kites strong enough to lift a man into the air. The box kite is shaped like a long box with open ends. The sides are covered except for an open section in the center. This kite was invented by Lawrence Hargrave, an Australian about 1892.

In the early part of this century, the United States Weather Bureau used box kites equipped with instruments to obtain information for weather forecasts. Trains of box kites were sent up to great heights. Kites have also been equipped with cameras in order to take pictures from the air. During the Spanish-American War in 1898, a tailless kite invented by William A. Eddy was used for this purpose. A photographer stood on the ground and clicked the shutter by pulling a string attached to it. The Eddy kite was developed from a kite used by Malay natives. It is built on a framework of two sticks crossed in a T, the cross stick bent like an archer's bow.

During the Boer War in South Africa(1899-1902), man-carrying kites flew British soldiers over enemy territory so that they could report on the enemy's movements. In World War II the Germans developed a man-carrying kite that could be flown from a submarine.

Kites were also used as targets in gunnery practice by the United States during World War II. Life rafts were equipped with kites, too. These kites were used to fly wire radio antennae or aerials into the air. In this way radio signals could easily be transmitted long distances.

You can have fun flying a kite you have bought in a store. But you'll find there's a special thrill in flying a kite you have made yourself. There are three main types of kites: the flat kite, the bow, or Eddy, kite, and the box kite.

You don't need special skill or expensive equipment to make a kite. But you must be willing to work slowly and carefully. You'll have your reward the first time you feel the kite string tighten in your hand and see your kite begin to rise.

The Flat Kite
The flat kite is the easiest to make and the most familiar. You will need one stick 36 inches long and one 30 inches long. The sticks may be round dowel sticks 1/4 inch thick. It is best to use sticks of pine or spruce to keep the kite light in weight.

Make a crayon mark in the middle of the 30-inch stick and a mark 9 inches from one end of the 36-inch stick.This stick is the upright. Place the two sticks in a T shape so that the crayon marks are together. Glue the sticks at this point. Then wind string in an X shape around the two sticks ate the point where they have been glued.

You can use special kite string, fishing line, or cotton twine both in making the kite and in flying it later. (When you fly the kite, it is easier to let out string if it is wound on a reel, rather than in a ball.)

With a small saw or knife carefully cut a slit or notch in the end of each stick. Put a drop of glue in each slit. Now outline the kite by drawing a piece of string through each one of the slits. Knot it firmly. The glue will help hold this string in place. Let the glue dry.

Place the framework of the kite on a large piece of tissue paper, gift-wrapping paper, newspaper or thin plastic. Cut the covering so that it is 2 inches larger then the framework all around. Fold the 2-inch margin of the covering over the string and paste it down.

The decorate of paper kite, paint it with poster paints or watercolors. But be careful not to tear the paper.

Now you are ready to attach the kite string. The string is not fastened directly to the kite, but two slack strings called the bridle. The bridle helps keep the nose, or tip, of the kite titled upward at a good flying angle.

To make the bridle, put the kite on the floor with the paper covering facing you. Tie one and of piece a piece of string 40 inches long to the top end the other end to the bottom of the upright kite stick. Tie a second piece of string, 34 inches long, to the two ends of the cross stick.

Pick up the two strings of the bridle at the point at which they cross, and attach the end of your reel of kite string at this point. After trying out your kite, you may find that you need to adjust the length of the bridle string so that the kite flies well.

A flat kite is also needs a tail. The weight of the tail helps keep the bottom of the kite down and the nose tilted up. The tail also steadies the position of the kite in the air, It acts somewhat like the rudder of a ship. When the wind pushes the kite too hard in one direction, the surfaces of the tail act as an opposing force to to the wind, so that the kite can remain steady.

To make a tail for your kite, you will need a piece of string at least 8 feet long. (after you have flown the kite, you can adjust the length of the tail if necessary.) Cut some cloth into 6-by-2-inch pieces, or fold 6-by-4-inch pieces of tissue paper into several lengthwise pleats, and unfold the pleats at each end. Attach each of paper or cloth, at its center, to the tail string. Leave 6 inches between pieces. Tie the tail to the bottom of the upright kite stick.

The Box Kite
To build a rectangular box kite, you will need four sticks, each 36 inches long and 3/8 inchsquare. These will form the outer framework of the kite. You will also need four sticks, each 15 1/2 inches long and 3/8 inch square. Two of these shorter sticks will be crossed in an X to brace one end of the framework, and two will be crossed to brace the other end of the framework.

You will also need strips of paper or cloth 48 inches long and 14 inches wide to wrap around the framework of the kite at each end.

Fold down 1 2-inch margin along the entire length of both strips of covering material, both at the top and bottom edges. Paste down the edges of these margins. This will make the covering stronger.

A box kite should not need a tail. This is because these kites have several surfaces and each surface acts as an opposing force to the wind. If the wind flows too hard against one surface, another side of the kite swings around and the kite is steadied.

Now glue together the two ends of each strip of cloth or paper to form two circular bands. Allow exactly a 2-inch overlap at both ends of the strips so that the two 48-inch strips will become two 44-inch bands. On these bands make four crayon marks, 11 inches apart, along both edges. Slip the four long strips of wood inside one band of cloth so that the ends of the sticks and the upper edge of the cloth cloth are together. At each set of crayon marks glue a stick of wood to the inside of the band of cloth. This will be one box of your kite.

Make crayon marks 11 inches apart, apart on the other band of cloth. Slip it around the uncovered ends of the sticks and the bottom edge of the cloth meet. Glue the sticks to the inside of the second band of covering material at the crayon marks. Let the glue dry.

Cut shallow V-shaped notches in the ends of all four cross sticks. If the notches are too deep, the wood may split. Fit one cross stick like one arm of the letter X across the inside of one box of the kite. It should be placed in the center of the box about 5 inches from the top. Now place the other cross stick above it so that it forms the other arm of the letter X. Turn the kite upside down and put the remaining cross sticks in place just as you did with the first two.

Attach the kite string to one of the upright sticks at a point just below one of the boxes.

The Bow, Or Eddy, Kite
The bow kite is one of the best fliers. To make a bow kite, you need two flat sticks, each 36 inches long, 1/4 inch thick, and 3/8 inch wide. One will be the bow stick, and the other the upright. Make a crayon mark in the center of a bow stick. Then soak this stick in water until it is soft enough to bend. Tie a string at one end and bend the stick so that the bow is about 4 inches high. Now tie the string to the other end of the bow stick. Mark the center of the bowstring with crayon.

Put the bow stick and string down flat on a table with the stick facing you. Make a crayon mark on the upright stick 8 inches from the top. Place the upright stick on the bow stick so that the two form a T. The crayon marks on the two sticks should meet. The upright stick should also pass over the crayon mark at the center of the bowstring. First glue and then tie the string to the upright stick at this point.

Notch the four ends of the two sticks and outline the framework of the kite with string, as you do in making the flat kite. Place this framework, bow stick down, on a piece of tissue paper or light cloth. Cut the covering, allowing a 2-inch margin all around. For this kite the covering must fit somewhat loosely, so fold over only a little more than an inch of the 2-inch margin, and paste down the edges. When you paste the covering, be sure to leave the bow stick and string free.

When the paste is dry, push the bow up and out the into the covering of the kite, so that the kite is no longer flat, but curved out. Attach a bridle like the bridle of a flat kite. Until you learn to make a perfect bow kite, you may have to add a short tail.
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Sewing Clothes

Sewing is one of the oldest of crafts. Primitive man learned to sew long before he learned to write. Thousands of years ago clothing was just an animal skin slung around a wandering wilderness man to keep him warm in winter and to protect him in summer from the hot sun and perhaps from mosquito bites. But when he learned to make needles from bones and thread from grass, he was able to sew the skins together. Then his clothes fitted better and were more comfortable. As people settled down and learned to produce food more efficiently they began to have more time to do other things. They learned how to tan skins to silky softness; they learned how to weave materials. They found out how to get dyes from earth, plants and insects. Through the years fabrics became finer, designs became more elaborate, and needles became sharper. Today clothing does more than keep out the cold or the heat of the burning sun. It improves our appearance.

Not too long ago only wealthy people could afford clothes made of richly ornamented, elegant fabrics. Today machines can turn out copies of old patterns as well as fresh, new designs. everyone has a wide selection of clothing to choose from. Although machines can do wonders in making garments and home decorations, individual taste can best be expressed by handwork. With a good knowledge of sewing and embroidery, you can make your clothing and your home truly your own.

Although you may not think of needles and thread as sewing tools, that is why they really are. They are the tools you need for sewing. The needle is a thin steel shaft with a sharp point at one and at the other and an eye large enough for a thread to go through. Needle come in assorted sizes and shapes. Some are thin; some are quite thick. Some have very small eyes; others have large eyes. The number on the outside of a package of needles will tell you its size. The lower the number, the larger the eye of the needle.

Needles have been made of many materials. Fine needles of bone, ivory gold, and bronze have been found in the ruins of ancient cities. The steel needles used today were first made in Germany in the 14th century. Sewing thread is of different thicknesses to suit different materials and is numbered according to its thickness. The lower the number, the thicker the thread. For most materials #50 or #60 thread is suitable. But for sewing very thin materials, such as organdy or net, you need #100, which is a finer thread. The color of the thread should match the material as closely as possible. If you can not get an exact match, choose a color. that is darker than the fabric rather than one that is lighter.

A thimble, worn on the middle finger of the hand you sew with, is a most helpful tool. It protects the finger that is pushing the needle through the material. A metal or plastic thimble will not get sore from pushing a sharp needle, but your finger will.

Stitches of Sewing
As we know sewing is the making of stitches. A stitch is a made by a threaded needle stuck in and out of one or more pieces of fabric. There are different kinds of stitches for different kinds of work. Some stitches are long and loose because they are used just to hold material in place for a short time. Some stitches are small and close together, to make a strong piece of work that will last. Most stitches are easy to learn, and practice will make them even easier.

Running Stitch. The Running stitch the basic stitch for all sewing, is just what it sounds like. Running from right to left, the threaded needle goes into the clothes and comes up again quite close to where it went in. In again, out again, one stitch at a time. With practice you can learn to take two or three evenly spaced little stitches at one time, and soon the needle will indeed be running, pulling its thread behind, leaving a straight little path of stitches.

Basting Stitch. A basting stitch is used to hold material in place temporarily, until permanent sewing is completed. When the permanent stitches are all in place, the basting stitches are pulled out. Basting stitches are nothing more than long, loose running stitches.

Back Stitch. A back stitch is used in sewing a seem that needs to be extra strong. The back stitch starts just like a running stitch. When the needle and thread come out at the end of the running stitch, just put the needle and thread back into the same hole from which you started the running stitch. But this time bring the needle out a little ahead of where the first stitch ended. Make two or three running stitches, and then repeat the back stitch.

Hemming Stitch. Hemming is useful stitch for any work that needs a flat, neat finish. Hemming is not a running stitch; it is a one-at-a-time stitch, slanted and as small as possible. Before hemming, turn under the raw edges of the material you are going to hem. Then fold the hem to whatever size you want. Baste the folded hem to the main part of the material. Now pick up the tiniest bit of material you can, right beneath the folded edge of the hem. To get your needle through the material and the folded hem at the same time, the needle must be a little slanted. Draw the needle through, and the continue taking the tiny stitches from right to left. The smaller your stitches, the lest they will show on the right side of the material.

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