Tag Archives: How To

Bowline Knot

The bowline knot is recognized as one of the most versatile knots out there, and often referred to as the King of Knots. It is an easy knot to learn, and even after weight is applied, it is an easy knot to undo. Most commonly pronounced bo-lin, this knot likely dates back to a nautical start hundreds of years ago. There are some who suggest that Ancient Egyptians may have even used this knot.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 2.36.29 PMThe main purpose of the bowline is to create a fixed loop at the end of a rope. This knot can be tied around an object directly, or tied in advance so that the loop could be later secured over a pole or cleat. This knot holds up best if there is constant pressure pulling against the knot. The main problem that the bowline can have is working its way loose if the load of the knot is absent or constantly changing. While this may be a possibility, the bowline is still commonly used for mooring boats, rock-climbing, and even emergency rescue purposes when a harness is not available. When pressure is applied to the knot, it gets tighter, but the loop remains the same size, so there is no risk of the loop tightening and harming the victim. Because the knot tightens on itself, it is sometimes used in the equestrian world, and is even advised by the Federal Aviation Administration as the knot to tie down lightweight aircrafts.

Bowline knots are easy to learn, and can even be tied with one hand after practice! To start though, one of the most popular devices for learning is to think of the rope as a rabbit and a hole. The rabbit will come out of the hole, go behind and around the tree, and back down the hole. First, a loop is made in the rope with your left hand, which will look like a number 6. This is the standing line, which will stay in place. In your right hand, you will have the tail of the rope. The tail will come up through the loop and go under the standing line. Finally, the tail of the rope continues around the standing line and goes back through the loop. Then, just remember to pull it snug. Once the knot is completed, it should look like the rope is wearing a little life jacket.

Written By: Jaclyn Lucas

How to use a Dichotomous Key

One of my guilty pleasures is taking personality quizzes online with silly titles like, “Which Flavor of Ice Cream are you?” or “Which Teen Heartthrob is Your One True Bae?”. They ask questions like “Do you like long walks on the beach?” and you answer “yes” or “no” before it leads you to a new question, ultimately ending (you hope) by telling that yes, indeed, Zayn Malik is your One True Bae! These quizzes, though often frivolous, are utilizing a very scientific process to lead you to an answer. This tool is called a Dichotomous Key.

A Dichotomous Key is a tool used to categorize living organisms based off their characteristics using simple yes / no questions. The process of using a dichotomous key is simple; begin by observing the whole organism you want to identify. The key will ask questions that lead to alternate possibilities or end in your desired identification. Let’s walk through our example below!

  1. Choose an animal you want to identify
  2. Does this animal have a backbone?
    1. If NO – Octopus
    2. If YES – continue
  3. Is the animal a fish?
    1. If NO – Catalina Island Fox
    2. If YES – continue
  4. Does the fish use camouflage to blend in?
    1. If NO – continue
    2. If YES – Giant Kelpfish
  5. Is the fish pink?
    1. If NO – Juvenile Garibaldi
    2. If YES – Juvenile California Sheepshead


-Max Veenema wrote this How to.


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