Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hack a Nerf Dart Gun- Shoot Faster and Longer Distances

I inadvertently learned how to hack my kids' NERF N-Strike Nite Finder Dart Guns this morning.

Of course, they had already broken most of their darts the first day they received the guns. My wife had tried to help them out by gluing back together the rubber suction cup part to the Nerf shaft part. But the glue ended up clogging the inside of the gun shaft where the air is forced out to shoot the dart.

After I put my younger son's gun back together, it suddenly shot darts out much faster and for a longer distance. I exclaimed to them, "I must have taken the safety out!" Of course, my older son said he wanted his safety taken out also.

I took his gun apart and figured out what had made the difference: one spring. This spring allowed a little forked piece to recoil back and create an airtight chamber after shooting, causing the gun's spring loaded shaft to slow down. Removing this spring allowed for a much faster and longer shot.
Here's what you do:
  1. Take all the screws out of the gun. There are 14 on the side and one on the bottom where you can insert batteries. Note: A little piece at the top of the gun will probably pop out. You can insert it when you put the gun back together.
  2. Remove one inside screw in the middle of the gun holding the orange shaft in place.
  3. Pop the the right-hand side part of the orange shaft out part way.
  4. Remove the right-hand part of the shaft, as shown in the picture on the right.
  5. Open the shaft and remove "the spring", as pictured above.
  6. Piece gun back together. Remember to replace the screw inside the gun that holds the orange shaft.
  7. Be sure to insert the two yellow dart holders and the orange beveled gun tip before you screw the gun halves together. You may also have to hold the orange spring puller on the back of the gun in place. I found that the spring holding it in place wanted to pop out.
  8. Please email me with any questions or make a comment.
  9. Enjoy!
Get a nerf gun just like this:
--> NERF N-Strike Nite Finder Dart Guns

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Keep the Cincinnati Neighborhood Gardens Program Funded in 2009 & 2010

Sign the Petition
Please Keep the Cincinnati Neighborhood Gardens Program Funded in 2009 & 2010

Mayor Mark Mallory, Vice Mayor David Crowley, and the Cincinnati City Council:

We, concerned residents of Cincinnati and Hamilton County respectfully request that you fully fund the Cincinnati Neighborhood Gardens Program for $40,000 in 2009 and for $40,000 in 2010. Cutting this program to $0 does not seem an acceptable solution to budget constrictions.

The Neighborhood Gardens Program has 4 currently stated goals:

* Assist low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in developing vacant lots into gardens

* Supplement these residents' food budgets with fresh produce
* Clean up and maintain Cincinnati neighborhoods
* Provide access to educational recreational opportunities

Listed are examples of the current Neighborhood Gardens Program benefits:

* 42 Community Gardens
* Over 600 Gardeners
* Provides outreach to over 2000 community residents
* Donated 1524 Pounds of Food in 2007
* Recorded 7,384 Volunteers Hours in 2007

We believe these goals and achievements are an excellent argument for the programs continued funding.

Additionally, the City of Cincinnati's own "Climate Protection Action Plan" calls for the expansion of the current community garden program on pg. 180 under Recommendation #3. This underlies the importance of Vice Mayor Crowley's recent proposal (Item: 200801277 ) that city controlled vacant lots be offered at nominal costs to residents who will agree to farm or garden the land and maintain it free of blight or nuisance conditions.

Cincinnati's "Climate Protection Action Plan" also sites the American Community Gardening Association, saying," community gardening improves peoples' quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, reducing family food budgets, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education."

The budget states that part of the reason for the programs financial cuts are the City's desire to fund the Cincycare Pilot Program, which will serve 2,000 residents of Cincinnati. While we recognize the importance of health care for all and believe this a great goal for the City, we also believe that this goal can be met without cutting the Neighborhood Garden program.

Solutions to consider:

* Most simply, the budget of the Cincycare pilot program could be cut to $460,000 per year in 2009 and 2010. This represents only 8% of the total budget of this pilot program, while the cut to the Neighborhood Gardens program is 100%.
* Currently, the City Manager's Budget Message of 2009/2010 states on pg. 39 that TOTAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT is $4,898,000 in 2009". Page pg. 14 states that the Economic Development budget will show increased revenue from $0 in 2008 to $46,510 in 2009. This money could make up the difference in funding the Neighborhood Gardens program, considering the loss to the Economic Development budget would only be 0.9% of the Economic Development budget.
* The Strategic Program for Urban Redevelopment (SPUR) budget went from $0 to $500,000 in 2009 and $500,000 in 2010. Some of this money could be utilized to fund community gardens?

The benefits of community gardens programs are many and they are finding support more and more within communities around the country. Directly and indirectly, local and nutritious food helps contribute to solving many problems our city, county, state, and nation faces, including: the health care crisis, energy independence, climate change, food security, and economic stability.

We encourage you to fully fund Cincinnati's Neighborhood Gardens Program in 2009 and 2010.

Thank you,

Concerned Citizens of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Sign the Petition