Friday, February 29, 2008

The mud continues to pour out

More mud at the old Mud Volcano. They are compensating the victims, and diverting all transport away from the area. I'm not up on my mud volcanoes, but I wonder if this is going to be the biggest one ever!

Ontario's burden to pull trigger on AECL

There is no way that Harper will cover cost overruns if AECL gets an Ontario nuclear plant. As I said before, AECL may have built on time, on budget in smart countries, but now they have to deal with OPG! And cost overruns benefit the techno-bureaucracy tremendously (look at Bruce!). The more the project runs into trouble, the more overtime they get!

There's a clean way to build a nuclear plant on time, on budget, and there's the ridiculous way. Both OPG and Bruce are choosing the latter! There wouldn't be any cost overruns if they estimated right, but there is a strong incentive to low-ball the costs, in order to ease approvals.

Factors affecting Bruce:

-absolutely shit rock.
-no room
-a big ugly waste repository is going under them
-their lease doesn't allow it

Factors affecting OPG

-no room at site
-tons of dirt to move
-big quarry right beside them
-a love of very old seismic analysis

USGS Earthquake Notification Service

This is lots of fun. You can sign up for ENS and get notices of earthquakes. I just did it. I also used a predefined profile for Canada, where I set the threshold lower.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shrekian Analysis - Summing up

I've had my fun, and I think I've stumbled as far as I can go. To go further would mean hard programming, and my fans know I don't do the work thing!

To sum up: Cheap computers and clustering means that we can go to more elemental physics for our seismic analysis, much the same as the way the movies model all types of material behaviour, for our entertainment.

The compute-saving assumptions of the past are dangerous and misleading, especially once you wander out of California. For example, they show excessive amplification with stiff buildings on firm ground, which has never been observed in the field (Experience Data).

Further advances in explicit analysis await somebody with more energy than an old man!

I hope you all had as much fun with this series as I did!

Explicit finite element examples

I'm just running the examples, in order to learn new things. I'm really looking for non-linear properties, and I mostly see linear and bi-linear materials. As I've said before, these codes, such as the one I'm using (Impact), are built totally around Newton's F=ma. There are no eigenvalues, modes, and other horrible California assumptions.

This next example has been quite important in seismic engineering - the sliding block. This example just shows a pushed block sliding, but could be extended to blocks sliding under seismic shaking. I had done this at work, with the fancy analysis packages. If you could get dynamic friction, then you could start to model earthquake fault rupture.

Bird-killing wind farms

They all said "You're making a big poop out of nothing." Wind farms don't kill birdies! Well, I've scoured the news forever to find something, and here it is. Yes, people, wind farms make whoopi-burgers! Those poor cranes, chopped and diced. And they're putting up more and more of these horrible bird grinders!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wave Prop 3

Today I simulate a shake table. These horrible things are in every seismic lab in the country, because they look sooo cute! And you can get a lot of pork money if you build the 'world's biggest' shake table.

In terms of Shrekian Analysis, we have to do terrible things to emulate a shake table. First, it is a massive steel thing, driven by huge hydraulic actuators. So you glue down your building to something that has a seismic reflection coefficient of 1.0. That is, everything is reflected back. They sometimes try to approach reality by putting in internal damping, or soil springs, but this has the irony that only crummy buildings get to absorb energy, and crummy foundations have some damping. It is better to build a crummy steel building on soft soup, than a decent stiff building on rock!

For my Shrekian shake table, I put on a big block of aluminum, and glue it down to solid steel. In proper terms, it means that I constrain the lower nodes to only roll in the x direction. I specify the x velocity as a sinusoid, at about the fundamental frequency of the block. This way I will get lots of resonance! You can see the lead propagation will be reflecting off the top and bottom boundary, and really starts shaking!


The fallacy here is that whatever you put on the shake table has 100% energy storage in resonance. In reality, a stiff structure such as a nuclear power plant, on a stiff foundation, has a high seismic transmission coefficient. That means the seismic energy goes in and goes out. There is no resonance. This assumption is costing Darlington about 1 billion dollars.

Next time, I try and show reality, as soon as I find absorbing boundary conditions.

Explanation of British earthquake

Our copy-cat press better note this down. There will be an identical article when we have our Toronto earthquake. Just substitute the local references.

Britain hit by earthquake for absolutely no reason!

Yes, who would think of earthquakes there? This is the land of tea and crumpets, and delicate knick-knacks on glass shelves. Wasn't even a very big earthquake. Now, Toronto, is considered to be even more earthquake-free, nobody can remember the last one.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Harper throws AECL a fish

Yeah! AECL, the voracious money eater, gets some lunch.

The government also throws a lifeline, in the form of $300 million, to problem-plagued Atomic Energy Canada Ltd., in part to fund the development of the Advanced CANDU reactor and improve safety at the aging Chalk River research reactor.

Wave Prop. 2

Here's a neatyoer video with the amplified deformations!


Power outages still bubbling away

The power grid is the most clap-trap thing ever. That means it operates in a Power Law, due to self-similarity. When this happens, as with earthquakes, there is an exponential increase in seriousness, at an exponential decrease in rate. For example, it make take 10 power outages of millions before there is one with 10's of millions.

This latest one is in Florida. It is unique in that the power people are blaming the nuclear power station, and they, in turn, are blaming a loss of outside power. It is this sort of circular dependence that will cause a massive blackout when we have an earthquake in Hamilton, or anywhere else in the East.

Darlington gets 5 years

Darlington gets a 5 year license to operate, which is great for everybody in this time of turmoil. I wonder what the 'unknown' conditions are? Now that it's all over, I can reveal my wish list of conditions.

1. That somebody who knows what they are doing annually certifies the interior strong motion recorders. I put that stuff in, but nobody knows how to operate it.

2. That they have someone do a decent study of the blasting next door. Sure, there's lots of 'rah, rah, don't matter' cheers, but that's a big blasting zone, and the new station goes up right beside it.

3. That they properly fix that Power Track once and for all. That is the clap-trappiest thing ever, just waiting for a disaster!

4. That they have their battery racks fixed. The last time I saw them, they were a total seismic disaster.

5. That they give up replacing those feeders. One billion dollars wasted.

Whew, that makes me feel better.....

Wave propagation analysis

Still moving along. Got sidetracked with model generation, which was a big waste of time. Figured out how to animate an impact.


This is the max displacement vector. You can see the fundamental starting to come in, which will be the block pulsing up and down. I'm always fascinated to watch the transients become the fundamentals. All of traditional seismic analysis skips the transients.

ps. 1st few frames are at the last.

Fish story!

At last, something for the last part of the name! Scientists are whining that the fast and stronger fish hit the line, and the nerds stay away. This leads to a population of nerdy fish!

From my experiments on the dock, it's the bold, aggressive, politically smart fish that get caught! If we didn't catch them, they'd go on to head major corporations, and government agencies! The smart fish don't touch the line and go on to write blogs!

So, yeah to fishing! Get rid of the alpha-fish! Who needs them?

Monday, February 25, 2008

New AECL boss

Was wondering who he was:

MacDiarmid is managing director of Holden America, a firm that designs and sources products for the rail industry. He was previously CEO of Laidlaw Transit and an executive at Canadian Pacific Railway.

AECL articles flood the damn place!

Can't keep up. Suddenly there are a ton of 'nuclear fiasco' articles! This one has AECL up for sale....again. And there's another weird one on how they are putting up a big show to sell reactors in Toronto. And another very friendly one at the Star goes on and on about how they can survive a one in 500,000 (per year) accident, but only mention the 1 in 500 year earthquake (an M6, for bing's sake!).

Well, can't wait for more articles!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Great Globe article

The AECL thing is now heating up again. The Globe has a great background article, since they interviewed a lot of people. Not enough on the seismic risk, though....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Harper gets a failing grade in science

This is a bit of an editorial, but it takes potshots at Harper. I, for one, would never do such a thing! For example, a giant party of toadies, meeting once a year at a ski chalet, are much better than a science advisor, simply because there are so many of them! And what's the diff, if Harper doesn't listen to any of them?

And what the hey? Nuclear may be moving ahead, because we are going 100% with AECL. I won't be able to complain that nothing's happening anymore.

Gates denies Dilbert life for programmers

It's not a loser job! Thus says old Bill, trying to drum up some numbers for the Redmond meat grinder. I think MS has some real trouble with finding talent, and it will only get worse.

Engineers flounder in the land of lawyers

Here is why we have disasters. Engineers have no chance in a legal hearing, run by hard-core bureaucrats. A big calculation error means nothing to them. "Not my job!" is the clarion call!

CNSC gives AECL home-court advantage

The new CNSC toadie has not wasted any time in following the gov't line. He's probably there forever now! CNSC is now kissy-kissy with AECL.

A year or two ago, I was on an earthquake CSA panel, when I found out that the CNSC was in a 'special relationship' with AECL, giving them a 100% advantage over any other vendor. I screamed up the line, saying that this destroyed any negotiation position for the company. Much to my surprise, this was actually taken up by senior levels, and the CNSC stopped.

Now, it's back again.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Svalbard seed vault shakes off earthquake

I thought that only polar bears would be affected by this earthquake, but they are making a big seed vault there! That was a nifty article! Of course, a hole blasted into a hill of solid granite could shake off any earthquake. They reported 'no damage', but something like this should have broad-band seismometers, or accelerometers, just for fun.

Action takes place when an earthquake is felt

I just like this story. Utah legislators were hurrying around, passing earthquake measures, as their chandeliers swayed. It shows how lonely the old Maytag earthquake guy is over here. Only when something happens, will the repairman be called in, probably too late. Oh well, we are always good at that barn door thing!

Earthquakes in the middle of nowhere

Two recent earthquakes, one in the wild west of Nevada, where the tumbleweeds roam, and one north of Norway. Since most of our world is empty of humans, most earthquakes go unnoticed, except for the seismometers. Still, one should realize that the big dart of the earthquake gods might hit your town directly!

Finite element modeling

I have closed my Seismic Analysis series for now, in order to pursue a modeling career (Ha!). This is necessary to get more realistic models, and to try to get automatic animation for the results. I want to simulate a shake table, which is the main bug-a-boo of 'old guy' earthquake engineering.

Modeling is like virtual Lego on steroids! Everybody should do it! You basically take simple geometric shapes in 3D, move them around a bit, and assign properties. People who want to start, should get Art of Illusion, and go wild! Here is one of my illustrations I used for Wikipedia, on 'cast in place' bolts.

These are just simple geometric shapes. The use of a finite element modeler just goes one step further, and can create a mesh of bricks for a Shrekian Analysis. As I said before, I'm now fooling around with gmsh, and I hope it does what I want!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Seismic Analysis - 5

Seismic Analysis
Seismic Analysis - 2
Seismic Analysis - 3
Seismic Analysis - 4

I now have wave propagation!

I have initiated a 'hit' constraint on the middle bottom nodes. The wave will now start to propagate into the medium.
And the last shot.

Note the leading 'fuzz' from the main pulse. This is most likely an instability propagating directly per time step. I used to get this all the time. The solution is to 'shape' the input curve into a cosine wavelet (smooth bump!), and to decrease the time interval. All in all, I am amazed at how quickly this runs, and I can specify 2 processors if I want to!

I was working on gmsh which is a better modeler. I intend to eventually model soil on rock, a structure on rock, and a structure on soil. Based on my previous modeling, it will show how the 'old guys' have it all wrong when they deal with structural resonance, mainly because of those deep horrible assumptions.

All in all, I'm very happy, and I'm glad I forced myself into this.

Seismic Analysis - 4

Seismic Analysis
Seismic Analysis - 2
Seismic Analysis - 3

Okay, we've got our steel plate, but if we gave it a shove, it would travel through space, whirling and spinning like a US spy satellite! That's the nice thing about Shrekian Analysis, we could model the satellite spinning through space, and then have the missile blow it up into a zillion pieces!

But we don't want that now. We want the plate to stay in one place so that we can deform it. That means we have to hammer in some sky-nails! These are very special, in that they nail an object to absolute co-ordinates, in the middle of the sky. I think they must penetrate into a parallel universe! In more mundane terms, they are called constraints.

I will now enter the program, and continue the tutorial.

Okay, I have entered the constraints and applied the loads.

The final step is to run the model. Fingers crossed!

OMG, it's running! Only using one processor, might be able to fix that when clustering.

It's done! Now, it should look like this.

That's a big, folded pop-can. Instead, my looks like this.

Which means that it didn't crumple, it just shattered and pieces flew all over the place! I most likely set the material properties wrong, more like glass than steel. Back to the drawing board!

This is fun! I'll keep mucking with it, until I get the tutorial right. Then, we attempt to put in a dynamic constraint to get some wave propagation, and we are on our way to seismic analysis!

AECL's McGee leaves

I don't know what to make of this. Perhaps it just means that nuclear guys are getting old, and should retire (like me!). I believe McGee was the main defender of Chalk River.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Engineering - The fun of letting your roof deflect

It's amazing how much things can deflect before they fail. That is why most designs are constrained by deflection limits, rather than chance of failure. You wouldn't want your floor to go bouncy-bouncy? And high deflection has some serious seismic implications. And so I come across this article.

Seems they might have forgotten that roofs with steel sprinkler systems shouldn't deflect too much, or the sprinkler heads will pop off, and interior ceiling systems collapse. Oh, no! When they called back the original engineer, he said the roof was nowhere near collapsing, and it was fine to bring back all the students. Taking this to the extreme, you could design the roof to never collapse at all. It just sags until everything inside is squooshed, and then springs back again after the snow melts!

Intel gets into home heating

Intel has come up with a system that could heat a small home. You should see the heatsink for an average core-duo, I can imagine this thing comes with a separate fridge! Oh well, the better to do seismic analysis with!

Japan earthquake simulator

This is absolutely the craziest thing!! You don't need to understand Japanese to see the video.

Of course, in Toronto, we don't need such a fancy setup. Just get into a camper, and drive down our pothole-laden streets!

Seismic Analysis - 3

Seismic Analysis
Seismic Analysis - 2

And so we plunge into the cold water. I have chosen the Impact explicit finite elements program, since it is closest to what I have worked with before, and has many neato features. As well, I finally got it to look normal on my system, so I am encouraged.

As well as my earlier home-spun efforts, I had a chance to work with Ansys Ls-dyna, which is a horrendously expensive commercial program, that I managed to con the bosses into getting! Unfortunately, it only worked on the sleazy Windows boxes, beloved of all dysfunctional techno-bureaucracies, and I couldn't go far with it. Impact is written in Java, and has the ability to cluster, so it is interesting. I don't know if it is still being supported, since the last posts look rather old.

I shall now open it and work through the tutorial.

OH MY GOD! It's working perfectly! I've created a steel plate, and it has built-in materials! That was such a bastard with the commercial codes! Here's my plate. I can't stand it anymore, I need a snooze!

Seismic Analysis - 2

Seismic Analysis

Here, we pay homage to our hero in this difficult endeavor.

That's right, it's Shrek! That series of movies did more for the science of physics modeling, than 30 years of engineering. Those guys just recently won an Oscar for particle dynamics, which is used for simulating water, smoke, clouds, explosions, etc. They use big clusters of Linux computers, and each run probably uses more power than any seismic analysis. Unfortunately, all the smart guys are either working for Hollywood, or doing crash analysis for cars, and there isn't much literature available.

So, with Shrek in mind, we will take a totally different route for seismic analysis, starting with a clean slate, and using modern computing techniques. With an iPod being more powerful than the computers I used 30 years ago, we have no need for the old 'compute saving' shortcuts.

Now we start. Think of very small chunk of concrete, suspended in the air. This particle is subjected to various forces, such as gravity. It has a defined mass, measured in kilograms. Newton gave us a very great gift, to calculate what this particle will do next: F = M a, or a = F/M. That means the acceleration of the particle (defined as a 3D vector), will merely be a vector sum of all the forces divided by the mass (keeping consistent units is a bitch!).

Although this particle would love to be in a Hollywood explosion, for us, it is embedded in a civil structure, and will only fly in an earthquake, if it is made of Montreal Mafia concrete! But, assuming a normal structure, this 'hunk' has restraining forces. We model this as simple springs, all around the hunk, so that if it moves to the right, the spring force increases to push it back to the left.

In fact, this is all we really need to model the physics, except that we are now going to thousands of hunks. If the conglomeration (structure) is as boring as a Toronto suburb, then it's not moving. For that, we need a 'forcing function', such as would be provided by an earthquake.

The Shrekians perfected a marvelous technique of explicit time domain modeling. This what I used with my own computer code 30 years ago, and had I been smarter, I'd be rich! With it, we make the time steps very small, so that we can predict exactly what our hunk will do in the next time step, by summing the forces in this time step. This type of calculation is 'explicit' in that we don't have to do any fancy recursion or anything, and thus lends itself to be solved by large computer clusters.

In the next article, I shall finally open up a computer program, that I have never seen before, and have no great confidence in myself, to get it working!

Japan earthquake warning system

I'm glad they are admitting that the system has limitations. The worst being that it issues both false positive and negative alarms. Then it will be just like the fire alarm in a sleazy student residence!

I can't really see these things working for the general public, but they are good for trains, tunnels and bridges. As they said in the article, maybe it will encourage more preparation, or discussion of earthquake scenarios.

Here in Canada, we really need earthquake scenarios to save lives. Nobody knows what to expect, and everybody will be running around like headless chickens when it happens. An earthquake in Canada will be a "Katrina of the North".

Porsche bitchin'

I always thought that before we engage on very expensive CO2 reduction thingies, we should reduce air pollution in general, which gives us many immediate benefits. One thing to do is a congestion charge, which they do in London. Now, they want to increase the charge for ridiculous cars (for the city!). Naturally, Porsche is screaming.

In Toronto, we should have a 400 series congestion charge, and nail the trucks and race cars. This is far better than building stupid bird-killing wind farms, or thinking about shoving mobile CO2 into the ground, where it's bound to come back. (Actually, expensive sport cars are very efficient when run at the speed limit on the highway -- ha, ha... as if they ever do!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Seismic Analysis

My next series will be on seismic analysis. I wrote a fair piece of that Wiki article, and I've been involved with the trade for many years. For those purists, I'm referring to civil seismic analysis, which is the study of soils and structures to seismic shaking.

The prime motivator for the start of seismic analysis was the observation that buildings shimmered and shook in earthquakes, like a dancer on the good juice! As well, it was noted that buildings on soft soils would act extra bad, if both the soil and building had matching resonance frequencies.

Thus, seismic analysis started down the road of studying resonance, and never really got off that streetcar! And what better way to study resonance than to muck up everybody's minds with eigenvalues! This has been designed as mental torture for young engineers, and filters them out by killing them! You young'uns might have to learn this crap, but it is not conducive to good thinking. I have met many people who spout eigenvalues, and eigenvectors, and have no clue what they are talking about.

Early seismic analysis was also contaminated by the California experience, where most historic earthquakes were long rumbly things that totally activated the soil basins, and thus resembled long sinusoids of varying frequencies. They could characterize these sinusoids with the simple mechanical contrivance of a series of oscillators. Thus, you could measure the maximum motion of a 1 Hz oscillator, a 5 Hz one, etc. Since engineers love everything mechanical, you could actually build one of these 'response spectrum' boxes, and they were used for years in nuclear power plants.

I'm just going into these ancient assumptions, because they are still used today, simply because they are 'tradition'. If you are ever in a position to be snowed by a fancy seismic analysis, simply ask what are the underlying assumptions, and how do they relate to modern science? They will just die!

In this series, I will attempt to do something never done before by an engineer on a blog: I will start a legitimate seismic analysis from scratch, using programs I've never used before! I take the risk of looking like a complete fool, which is something that the 'distinguished' people would never do. I'm only keeping a 'live blog' to motivate me to do something that seriously hurts my brain!

Beer and Science

Ok, it now becomes clear to me on what happened to Science in this country. It was all swilled away! Now, in my misspent youth, I thought beer was good for Science. I had many wonderful creative discussions in the pub. Did I remember those conversations?

Coffee houses might be better for Science. It can be argued that coffee started the Renaissance, and all sorts of good things. But beer halls, maybe not so much.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More on delta sinking

This article didn't make a spick of sense to me, but maybe it does to others...

They said that people thought the subsidence was in the deep rock. Who the heck thought that? The Army? They come to the conclusion that the consolidation is in the soft muck at the surface. Ya think?

I really like the comment that this is a good thing, since you can anchor structures 300 feet down!

I love articles like these!

SRL - Caribbean

This paper comes under the category of "HOW THE HECK DO I GET A JOB LIKE THIS?"

I just loved the maps in this paper. Here's a general seismicity map showing the Caribbean Plate acting as a big hot thumb over the American plate, which is a bit fatigued from its journey.
Ah, can't you hear the sea breezes now?

Of course, where there is plate subduction, there are volcanoes!

You can just feel that plate melting, and burbling up molten rock!

Rock Mechanics - 7

Rock Mechanics
Rock Mechanics - 2
Rock Mechanics - 3
Rock Mechanics - 4
Rock Mechanics - 5
Rock Mechanics - 6

I've always tended to approach analysis slightly differently than most people at the old company. They always wanted to go for the 'Big One' that proved a political point, such as 'the reactor is safe'. I always called that 'Snow, by analysis'. I used analysis to improve the fundamental science, since I knew what uncertainties were (as opposed to them!), and I wanted to see the effects of 'what if's'.

I love working with wave propagation model (no, not that kind!) This is the most fun a dynamics person can have cheaply! My first work was with code I had written myself, and then I eventually went to commercial code. But for that, you needed powerful Linux computers, and not the namby-pamby Windows crap that bureaucracies like to buy! Needless to say, in modern times, I overran the computing power I had, and became bored. Still, I learned something.

With my simple wave modeling, I showed that the tunnel was a small fraction of the seismic wavelength, and did no 'funny stuff'. To show funny stuff, I propagated into beds of soft soil, and saw tremendous amplifications!

I concluded, that under normal, well-designed conditions, a tunnel had nothing to fear from earthquakes, and this has been proven out in the field. But what of poorly designed underground structures? They had a serious problem...

Thus I created (just now!), Harold list of tunneling bo-bo's:

-Don't rely on grout! Any water channels get reactivated by seismic motions. The tiniest amount of differential movement can shatter grout. Many tunnels have been instantly flooded after an earthquake.

-Don't have open zones, or major fractures near your cavern. Earthquakes can suddenly change the regional groundwater flow. Seismic ground motion from very far away can dramatically affect well levels, and even blast natural gas into the air.

-Build in a lot of margin. The stress impact of an earthquake is less than the stress changes you would expect over the life of the cavern. It has to be designed so that there is no chance of spontaneous failure, or rockbursts.

This is the end of this series.


I'm writing this for my speaking tour. I'm asking my two people what they think!

Introduction: Harold W. Asmis, MASC, P.Eng.

Harold has enjoyed a long career in Geophysics, Rock Mechanics, and the science of earthquakes. Graduating from Engineering Science at the University of Toronto, he did his Masters in the Civil Engineering Department, studying rock mechanics, and the dynamics of underground structures.

After his Masters, he started immediately at Ontario Hydro (now Ontario Power Generation), where he stayed until he retired last year. For the first ten years, he enjoyed a wide range of activities, including analysis for tunnels, designing geophysics programs for new sites, and investigating regional geology.

The latter part of his career was devoted to studying the science of earthquakes, in support of the nuclear program. His greatest joy was initiating the Southern Ontario Seismic Network, which has now grown to over 30 stations. As well, he designed and raised internal funds for the Rouge Valley fault investigation, which became a major scientific research effort. At the very end, Harold enjoyed experimenting with new analysis techniques for seismic design, involving specialized explicit finite elements computer programs.

Harold is now enjoying retirement, writing his blog, and taking opportunities to educate the public on the scientific fundamentals of earthquake preparation.

US nuclear industry dissolving in lawsuits

I found this article interesting. The US signed hard contracts in the 1980's about taking nuclear waste to Yuk-yuk Mountain, and now there isn't a hope in hell it will ever work! So the utilities sue for every penny different from Utopia, where the government would take away all the waste.

Now, they are paying penalties that are more than the cost of a reasonable facility!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Keen gets her day in court

Ok, let's add a messy court battle to all this crap going on! No nuclear plant in my lifetime, I'm afraid. And it would have been so much fun!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Greek earthquake a damp squib

This could have been a damaging earthquake in this area. Normally they are, so I'm interested in why there was no damage. The area is in extension, so most earthquakes are normal (as opposed to thrust). That means most of the seismic pulse is directed downward. As well, it might have been in an isolated area, and perhaps most structures are on rock. It will be interesting to find out more about it.

Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum stare at themselves

The CNSC and AECL will conduct a totally unbiased review of their actions during the last isotope fiasco that has doomed nuclear in the country forever.

Considering that neither of them have a boss, it will be a headless review -- the blind leading the blind. I am extremely interested in what they have to say. I can see it now:

"CNSC and AECL have conducted a joint review of their actions. We find that everybody was absolutely perfect in every way! We have agreed to disagree in the future, so that nobody will ever be blamed again!"

Statement from Harper: "This review shows that I was absolutely right on everything!"

Statement from Opposition: "They were absolutely wrong on everything!"

More SRL on cratons

You gotta love cratons! They are the oldest crust on earth, and a source of all the diamonds, and other deep minerals.

This paper makes the proposition that there is something special about the outer edges of cratons, that makes them prime areas for earthquakes. This makes sense, since if they are general stronger than the surrounding rock, then things crush up against them, like an icebreaker in pack ice.

It starts with my most favourite picture, that of the New Madrid seismicity.

Note the big thrust zone in the centre, and the two shear wings. This is the Mama of all such zones, which would be proven if only they had decent seismic monitoring (1 km accuracy) in our ENA zones. In the 1800's all three 'wings' let go in a short time!

Now, they plot it in relation to the world, and also zooming in on North America.

You'll have to click on it to get more detail. Our favourite seismicity areas (Ottawa and Hamilton) are more in the interior, but still look related. I just tend to think they cluster on the edge because that's where the craton got the most beat-up during the Wilson Cycles.

Rock Mechanics - 6

Rock Mechanics
Rock Mechanics - 2
Rock Mechanics - 3
Rock Mechanics - 4
Rock Mechanics - 5

I was working on the sub-theory that propagating seismic waves could only carry a little bit of stress, due to the general weakness of the rock. For that to hold, the basement of ENA would have to be at its Limit State, which means it is as close to failure as you can get, and still be relatively stable.

At the time there was a lot of evidence in favour, and subsequent papers continue to support this. Essentially, we have an ancient craton, that has been pushed and pulled to a great extent over the last billion years. It would get greatly pushed (compressed) in between expansion cycles, when it was over cold mantle. It would be pulled (tension) when the heat built up underneath, and the continents were splitting up again.

Currently, we are in a big cold trough, and the craton has settled in. This puts it a generally high compressive state. You can see that whenever the water head is increased by about 10 m (induced earthquakes), you get earthquakes, or when a large extent of rock is removed (as in quarrying), of about 3 m.

Into this mix came glaciation, which had a tremendous effect on the rock. Although a uniform ice load would merely act as a big wet blanket, the ice loading is far from uniform. During surges, and retreats, it builds up a very high shear stress, combined with high water pressures being injected into the rock. I don't think that anyone has appreciated this, except moi!

Although the glaciation relieved some stress, it also shattered the rock, through hydrofracturing (which is the splitting of rock through injected fluid pressure). My prediction from this, was that we would see extensively fractured rock down to about 1 km, at relatively low stress, then we would see unfractured rock at very high compressive stress. In other words, the measured stress increased with the rock's ability to hold it.

I was lucky to have this sub-theory tested with the construction of the mostly useless URL (Underground Research Laboratory), which was a great "FEED ME!" AECL gift. This mine went about 1 km down, where they encountered great big 'sub-horizontal' features, which were essentially underground rivers hooked to the surface. Seeing that this was probably not a good thing (except for Bruce!), they proceeded to go under these rivers.

What they encountered was extremely high stresses. So much so that the rock virtually exploded when touched! We really couldn't put used fuel here because of all the heat produced, and the rock would be shattered within a decade! Thus, URL ended both with a bang, and a whimper!

So, in the end I had good justification that the maximum stress from a seismic wave was only about an atmosphere, and the PGV was limited to about 5 cm/sec. This was scarcely enough to spill a coffee in a mine, and shows how even large earthquakes mostly do nothing to mines. Still, I was determined to model it in a computer, because that was fun!

Nuclear power plant costs soar

Actually, that's probably for all heavy construction, including bird-killing wind turbine farms! So, every day that the party-people here sit on their thumbs, costs go up another hunk. This also makes it really bad for cost estimates, which always look on the sunny side of the street!

State of nuclear in Asia

Here's a nice scholarly article on the state of nuclear in Asia. I must admit that I started skimming it towards the end, since it is very long. I'm quite amazed at how many nuclear plants are in the area, and that Japan has 45 tons of plutonium! I-ran would like a little of that!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Red, red, wine!

I thought this article was the end of the world as I know it! Imagine saying in the headline that red wine was no good! Nearly choked on my Shiraz! Fortunately, they say that one glass is good, but the body digests the alcohol in an hour. So, one glass every hour is good!

CNSC job application out

The job for CNSC toadie is now officially advertised. They'll get $200K per year, and 5 years off their lifespan! Since Harper is firing anybody who can think, you just know who's getting this job.

This is probably about the same money Hydro was offering for their new nuclear leader, and they gave up. I can't imagine anyone with any talent taking either of these jobs, at that money. However, I can now imagine their announcement when someone takes the job.

"Lunnie Jr. is well qualified to be taking this position. He has a degree in advance basket-weaving from Port Albert internet university, in the northern BC pot country. Due to his connections, he has exemplary service in the Department of Eider Down Job Preservation. Lunnie's first job will be to purge the CNSC of all the nasty Liberal hacks, or any number of random scapegoats he can dig up."

Self-monitoring people get all the money

You get 2 extremes of people: politically sensitive, self-monitoring people, and non-self monitoring people (like me!). This article shows that the popular chameleons are good at parties, and political organizations, but can never turn their checking system off. That's why you should never marry a 'party person', but you are always forced to work for one!

Of course, since these people are constantly focussed on 'tuning', they never actually think. This allows all the situations, that I am constantly bitching about.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Transmit data, not electricity

This is a nice concept. Instead of people bitching about giant server farms (not considering the power-hog computers it's replacing), you could locate them where they are wanted, such as the Lake Huron north shore! Or further up in the middle of nowhere, but these things need some brains to run them, and being north of the Arctic Circle might affect the hiring! So, if you are beside a big power dam up north, you could put in a server farm, instead of an aluminum smelter, and transmit the 'product' via fiber. This, being an article by Geist, he has to slip in a copyright thing. :)

Every country in the world on US copyright watch list

I just like this article. And don't give me the "copyright cartels are people, too" crap, since I'm not on any extremist side. I would just love the US to put trade sanctions on every country in the world! And we should watch out for legislation that allows lawyers to attack our kids.

I was just thinking how dumb the record and movie industry are. They are stuck on distributing digital data on hard media, which is doomed to die. If they have some internet distribution, it costs the same as the hard media. They need some brains to expand their thinking. For example, people recently were 'dying' to see Hany Montany, and were paying thousands for a ticket. They could have put locally 'live concerts' in a ton of digital theatres, and made millions more. They could organize local 'shoot ups' for that Amy character!

Happiness is only billions away

Here's a bunch of happy optimists! Team Candu, which is 99% AECL, is willing to assume all the costs, in today's tight credit economy. They will build the second Pt. Lepreau, for the export market.

I know they are totally ignoring seismic, but it will be interesting to see what will happen. I give it a good chance for a major earthquake somewhere along the east coast, and then all their happiness will vanish, and they struggle to justify their design. Shit happens, my friends!

Yeah, cost overruns again!

Ah, most of my misspent working life was in the land of "Ballooning Costs". I remember when we were building Darlington, we had a "Scheduling Department", who's only job was to rewrite the schedule, after the fact. They were never right!

I always figured we did well, if it was only twice as expensive, and twice as long. What causes this sort of thing in the nuclear industry? The official, isolated 'estimators' never talk to anybody who knows anything. For example, the ridiculously low price for Pickering A. They piled on all sorts of requirements to clean up the paperwork, etc. At the time, the people 'in the know' just rolled their eyes at the cost estimate!

Now, Bruce is in the same boat with AECL. Quel surprise! Up to 3.05 billion, the ratepayers share half the overrun, then it gets worse for the owners. Who wants to bet the cost is exactly 3.05 billion? Actually, I think they are lucky they can hold it to that.

The new plant at Darlington will also be grossly under-estimated. They are adding things that are almost impossible to do. Whenever you get into 'new engineering', you know you are doomed! Cost estimates only work when you are doing something 'tried and true', and already done a zillion times.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Poor people want a nuclear plant

The north shore of Lake Huron is the most beautiful and desolate place. The only industry is fishing, so I can appreciate they want a nuclear plant. The water is cold, and there is room for transmission lines.

I guess I'm the only one in the world that could tell them that they don't have a chance. All the records of my geophysics there were destroyed by the NDP! There's not a speck of solid rock more than 100 m wide. The surface goes up and down like a Ruffles potato chip!

Internet speeds

A long time ago, I knew the Cable way of Internet access was going to have problems. They essentially created a small single hub Ethernet network for a bunch of houses. The whole segment might be 10-100 Mbits. As long as everybody was involved in bursty web viewing, with no uploading, then everything was peachy.

Alas, everybody has become a consumer and creator of content. That means I upload my water polo videos to Youtube, and download lots of cruft. My traffic is no longer bursty, and I can tie up the whole segment, so that the "old lady down the street can't get her email", as the cables-guys like to say.

Needless to say, I went with the other monopoly, which has individual connections to the main switch. All of my roadblocks are elsewhere, perhaps with their DNS servers, or other things. I can only get my speeds, in the morning, from a super-server.

But I think the cable companies are the worse off, with their local chokepoint (Bell is just being cheap!). As such, they are forced to do selective pruning, which is a major invasion of privacy. Naturally, people are up in arms, but you really have to ditch the cable companies.

Harper's War on Science

I guess it's not just the Ontario Tories that want us to be a Northern Alabama, the Feds want to kill science, as well. It's certain that Harper doesn't need a science advisor, since he wouldn't listen anyway! Perhaps, if had such an advisor, he wouldn't have looked so stupid in the recent nuclear fiasco.

Normally, I think we are better off with basic science than the States, especially when they have their whole southern half rejecting the scientific method. Now, with Harper's war, we can probably forget a new nuclear industry, forget geology, and go back to a nice comfy bygone era!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Montreal stand-up routine

I'm back from a Montreal water polo trip, and boy, is that a different city from Toronto! First off, if you're an engineer, DON'T LOOK AT THE BRIDGES! I tell ya, they have a different sense of safety there. I think it comes from Gallic shrugs, and chain smoking. I can see it now, if another bridge fell down, there would be Rene Levesque smoking away and shrugging his shoulders!

Boy, do they get snow there, and there's absolutely no room for it! Try to park when half the lot is a ski mountain with lifts!

But the way back was the best, we started at Montreal at 0 degC, and by the time we got to Toronto it was -14! Go figure!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My novel

Recent events have possessed me to write a "Great Canadian Novel", but I know it would be unhealthy, and I am fighting with my daemons.

My novel would be called "Office Face", and is inspired by my many years in a 'faceless' bureaucracy. It has many characters founded on real people, but I am forced to add some 'normalcy' to them, because nobody would believe the real thing!

There is Zork, the nuclear-working environmentalist, who makes Suzuki look sane. He rides his bike to work every day, wearing shorts, even in the winter. After that, he gives himself a sponge bath in the washroom, with used paper towels, and dries his cup with a used paper towel.

There's Zitler, who is a great fan of Hitler, and has even adopted a phony Hitler accent. He's fat and stinky and gets his way by holding his breath and popping out the stink like a skunk. He handles management reviews by screaming blue murder every time they try to dock him. Then he holds long meetings with them, until they can't breath!

We have Zack, who never was qualified for his position, but nobody checked for 30 years. He knows every chapter and verse of the union contract, so nobody can touch him.

My favourite is Zigfield. He looks exactly like George in Seinfeld! He's a total shit magnet, since everything bad is attracted to him. It is best to stand beside him in an earthquake!

The manager is a total ripoff from Boston Legal, and we have the sexy office queen from other shows.

People better off being warm

Ok, I've just cleared out a second foot of globally-warmed snow on the driveway. I'm leaning towards the 'warming is good' camp! However, I just don't believe it is coming. I'm more inclined to go with the Russian scientists who say that "Warming is over, pals! Get ready for some real shit!".

If some Suzukiist comes after me for running my snowblower, I'll bury him with snow!

Waddington against Harold

I'm always the one to point to other opinions, and show what a fool I am. I don't take myself seriously, and I don't want others to do so. This is the opinion of John Waddington, who was the AECB/CNSC director before Ms. Keen came in.

Basically, he goes with the 'poof' defence, which states that there won't be much radioactive spray around to hit the lonely fisherman at the gates. I've always had some trouble with that argument. As these past months have shown, and the Japanese nuclear thing, there are tremendous consequences with being stupid. Right now, the whole nuclear expansion concept has been frozen, and think of what would happen if that reactor did what I would expect it to do in an earthquake!

Sure, Chernobyl didn't kill as many people as we thought it would, 3 Mile Island didn't release any radioactivity, the giant hole at Davis-Besse wasn't tested, but is this a good-thing argument? I'm a big believer in open systems, and that these companies should be more open with their stupidities (like me!), so that things can be improved. Right now, they are greatly rewarded for clamming up (50 years operating safely!), when you know they had a lot of 'close calls'. I never reward people for being silent (I just assume the worst!), and I don't think the public should, as well.

More signs of AECL to the knackers

They got a bank and everything looking into this. I think they're paying the bank more than AECL is worth! Of interest, is the fact that AECL doesn't stand out for the Ontario reactors. Probably not a big deal, since not a speck of the required scientific work is being done for these things.

SRL - New York Marathon

This paper was fascinating. Every year, the marathon starts from Staten Island and goes immediately over this long suspension bridge. Thus, the marathon starts as a progressing step function load, with a very sharp front (hot-shots!), and a long raggedy tail (old guys!).

What they did was to put both accelerometers and real-time GPS on the bridge to see what happens. They tried to make it sound serious, like it's relevant for earthquakes and all that crap, which is what you probably have to do in the States, but we know it was just for fun!

The accelerometers measure fast vibrations, like something you would feel. The energy would mainly come from all the pounding feet. The GPS measures slow deflections, and the bridge deflected down about 350 mm.

Here's a model of what the runners did to the bridge.
The runners come as a wave, and excite some very low frequency vibration modes of the bridge. The period (7 seconds) is quite a bit lower than you would expect from earthquakes, and vertical would not be a major thing in an earthquake. But it's good fun!

Finally, they attempted to stitch together the GPS and accelerometer results into one very broad-band record. This might be the most important part of the paper, since we are deploying a full range of stuff for earthquakes: seismometers, accelerometers, and GPS. It would be important to know if we can just use broad-band seismometers with GPS, and ditch the accelerometers.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ecuador volcano goes for it!

I went to Ecuador, Quito, and visited a market town south of there, very close to this volcano. The whole place is ringed by volcanoes! To an earthy-person, the scene is terrifying, especially when the jet lands. There is not a speck of room for an approach, so the jet spirals down, just like Baghdad! The air is crystal clear, so there you are landing in this circle surrounded by huge menacing volcanoes. Still, it's a wonderful place to visit! I can imagine how the jets have to land now!


We are most privileged to witness the rise of a new political force, following Capitalism, Communism, Marxism, Maoism, etc.

The leader lives right here in Canada, and he is sufficiently old, and bearded to play the part. We will all rise up and jail the politicians! We will throw out the old economic textbooks, and write new ones based on Suzukiism!

Young people, throw down your iPods! They are a product of economics, which will destroy us all! Let's take 'Limits to Growth' (1972) out of the garbage can, and back on the shelf! Although they predicted we'd all be dead by now, maybe they were only off a few decades.

I'm looking forward to the imminent publication of "The Suzukiist Manifesto". It will be required reading in our new world.

My SRL is in!

And it's a real good one! The front cover is the NYC marathon as it crosses a long suspension bridge. One article discusses the use of accelerometers and GPS to monitor the passage of the marathon, and how it excites different vibration modes, from regular traffic. I love accelerometers, since I spent a good part of my brain juice installing a system at Darlington.

I'll discuss the other articles in time, but first we'll go over the main opinion piece. This was written by Thorne Lay of the University of California, Santa Cruz (what a place!). The title: "Is Bigger Really Better?". Basically, he is being really careful, since he is stuck in the rotten system, but makes many points how each science effort has to parade in front of Congress, because nothing else is funded any more. The NSF money for small seismic money is being sucked up by ocean research vessels. Only the 'earmarked' glamorous things get funded, like "drilling the stupid San Andreas"!

This poor guy has to say everything 'between' the lines! He wants the small, valid projects funded. We are blessed to be in Canada, where there have been several 'big' initiatives, but they go through the normal grant process. Our seismometers were funded this way! Bottom line is that I will never see Anna, Ohio, monitored like I would like it to be.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

MDS acts the jerk

Well, I don't have to worry about some bad reaction from them. They're not taking any calls, and have made themselves as scarce as a Lunn under a rock!

Might be that this whole reactor fiasco was huge lie on their part! Might be that all the North American hospital people are idiots! Nevertheless, we continue to have a sword over our collective head by relying on a rusting junk heap for vital isotopes. There's probably a 10% chance per year that a million other potential disasters will shut this thing off, and Harper won't be able to do a thing about it.

AECL dons the sackcloth and ashes

Mea culpa! So, we didn't pay any attention to the pump thing, but that was sooo yesterday! We're much better now! In fact, if we had to put on another earthquake pump, we'd be on it like a pig in shit!

Rock Mechanics - 5

Rock Mechanics
Rock Mechanics - 2
Rock Mechanics - 3
Rock Mechanics - 4

Having determined that there were generally low PGV's for solid rock, I was prepared to slide to home plate, by going back to Rock Mechanics! This subject is mostly about the behaviour of cracked, wet rock, which is exactly what have in earthquakes.

I was running a finite-differences wave propagation computer code, which I had written myself. In it, I could view traveling seismic waves, look at the generated stresses, and bounce waves off tunnels! All in all, better than Nintendo! Best of all, I could make the rock properties non-linear, and I found that if I introduced the tiniest non-linearity, the wave propagation would fail.

What's the source of true non-linearity in rock? It's when the stress disturbance of the wave causes some energy absorption in the rock. This can come from water flow in and out of pores, or sliding along a fracture. I was most interested in what could induce rock to slide.

That was fairly easy to look at, since you can't really disturb rock without making a ton of micro-seismic noise, and the South African gold mines had been wired up for sound, a long time ago. They had the great ability to actually generate earthquakes, and you could see the effect by mining through it afterward! In general, I found that the micro-crack damage zone was very confined to the actually slipped fault, and the seismic waves only induced rock failure, at a distance, if things were extremely unstable.

My next step was to estimate how close my target rock (Eastern North America, ENA) was to failure. This would also help determine the maximum induced stress, for if you knew what could cause micro-slippage, you would have another confirmation, along with the low PGV. For that, I ventured into Grand Geology, and Induced Seimicity!

Hope springs eternal

Just in time for the Silly Season, Bush proposes a humongous science budget. All the Big Science gurus are beaming. Of course, Live by the Pork, Die by the Pork.

That's why I can't get anywhere with my Big Theory of Interior Seismicity, mainly because most of the seismic zones in the States are not instrumented to a reasonable standard. Seismic monitoring, was included in the Big Science promises. They did manage to waste money on the Drill the San Andreas Project, but that's only good for Superman movies.

Stupid about my new Toyota Hybrid

When you are an "Internet Pundit", you tend to carefully cultivate your aura of invincibility. Not me. I figure if I point out my 'Senior Moments', then the nasty people will leave me alone, since they never admit they're wrong!

So, as I had mentioned, we got this nifty Camry Hybrid. I don't think it saves that much gas money, since I put Ultra in it, and zoom it a lot. My wife uses it to drive to work, and there it gets about 6.5 l/100 km, which is exactly the same as highway mileage at 120 klicks. I think the '93 V6 Camry probably does 10 in the city and 8 on the highway. The big ugly van does 12 on the highway, and probably 20 in the city.

So when I got it, I looked rear window defroster lines, and said: "Those dolts, they mucked up the lines. The top 3 inches doesn't get any heat! So much for the vaunted Toyota quality!" Finally took in into the dealer for the first oil change, and mentioned this. The young guy there didn't have a clue! When I picked it up, an old guy said "It's the FM antenna!". No wonder it gets such good reception, with an arrangement like that!

So, I'm feeling like an idiot, but the old guy said lots of people are have a problem with that. So I think it's Toyota's problem! They should have some fine writing on the rear glass, saying "This is the antenna, you idiot!".

Stupid pump finally connected

Yeah, everyone's happy! They might fail to realize, that insistence on the pumps might just have been an attempt to make the best of a bad situation.

Looking back, I can imagine that somebody said "OMG, at least fix the stupid pumps!". Then it is amazing that AECL muttered a teenage "I'm getting to it.", and then never did it. Even more amazing was that the CNSC was asleep for 17 months. In the old AECB that I knew, somebody would have said, "Let's paddle up the river, and see how they actually did those pumps!". After all, AECL could install the pumps, and still screw it up....

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Brunswick jumps into nuclear pool!

Yeah, NB joins Alberta in the Candu wannabee sweepstakes! They've got some bad-ass seismicity down there, and they mucked it up the first time, but nobody cares. :( Still, I think they are on solid rock, so that makes up for things.

ps. I now have a speaking engagement for my seismic stand-up routine! The big boys can pay me if they want something..... but I don't think they want to swallow their medicine!

Linux on Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L

I'm just putting this in my blog to help other people who search on this.

Most Debian-based installers don't work. They get hung up on the Grub install, and it throws a Grub error. Just continue and install Lilo instead and forget Grub, since it won't work until they fix something (spent 2 days on this!).

To do anything more, you have to build a new kernel. You can use 'defconfig', but the killer here is the fussy drivers for the sata drives. You need the 'experimental' piix drivers, and kill the standard piix. As well, you need to look in the gigabyte network drivers, and pick r8169.

The new kernel should work and you can install the Nvidia drivers from the Nvidia site. This gets everything working, but my son wants the spiffy 3-d compiz interface, which is proving to be a problem.

ps. Got compiz working! Man, is that a neat 3-d desktop, with rotating cubes, bouncy things, weird effects and everything!

Talent is the limit to growth

I just saw this article, which confirms my thoughts that getting talent is the main problem for the huge techno-bureaucracies. If MS is viewed as 'uncool', then they are dead. If OPG is cheap and nasty to its employees, then it is dead. But recently I heard that they might have softened up a bit, and are actually 'considering' dishing out a t-shirt to the engineers! Yeah!

Wait! I was just thinking of my former life. We had an office downtown, with a gym and daycare. At lunch, we would all go to fantastic authentic Chinese places. The only thing bad was that there was no air in that stupid building!

Then OPG went through one of its 'intensely cheap' cycles. They built this horrible office building, in Pickering, with nothing but giant truck yards for miles around, and no sidewalks! It was horrible and depressing. Everybody was upset, and they should have put Prozac in the water. I counted the days to my retirement. Now, I'm happy-happy!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Holland sinking equivalent to New Orleans

Ok, so I get blasted for criticizing New Orleans incompetence. I researched a bit and found that Holland is just as bad. This is a nice article, and shows that Holland was sinking 3 feet per century, which I think is the same as New Orleans. So, these guys are still alive, so what's the problem?

New Orleans sinking

A study which says New Orleans is sinking - ooooooh! I'll bet the Army paid a lot for that report! But the good old Army will carry on, spending billions to try to fix it! No matter what they spend, it won't be enough, and they'll cheap out on a dike or two. As well, notorious Louisiana corruption is bound to have its effect.


I love that word! I would never use it, however, since it's rude. :)

This is another article outlining the general situation. I think I've said all these things before.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rock Mechanics - 4

Rock Mechanics
Rock Mechanics - 2
Rock Mechanics - 3

At the time, 30 years ago, PGV was never recorded, let alone discussed. So I made a study of the Modified Mercalli Index, which had recently been tied to PGV, and was the best surrogate. The PGV approximately doubled for every jump in the MMI, and I began to collect stories about the several point difference between rock and soil.

Thus began my classic report Seismic Ground Motion on Rock and Soil (which I loved!). In that report, I looked very hard for situations where there were both rock and soil reports of ground shaking. It was difficult, since nobody ever reported where there wasn't any damage!

I was lucky to find this absolutely inspirational book in the old library at Hydro (since kaput!): Freeman,J.R., 1932. Earthquake Damage and Earthquake Insurance. He was a total rationalist, and looked at actually earthquake damage and non-damage. (I should have stolen that damn book!).
He noted that there was no damage on Telegraph Hill (solid rock), and buildings designed with a flat 10% lateral load did quite well. The difference in intensity between the hill, and the landfill harbour was about 5 points! Later, I had the opportunity to walk the Hill, and view the harbour, but I digress.

I had lots of stories, for example the 1944 Cornwall earthquake. On the Leda clay, people couldn't stand up, and there was extensive damage. But according to my old grandfather-in-law, there was nothing on the highlands (hard till). The 1925 St. Lawrence earthquake devastated the river lowlands, but didn't wake the guests at the Chateau, nor plink off any icicles!

After this, I concluded that PGV was exceedingly low on solid ground (rock or hard till), and soft sludge could amplify by a factor of 10 to 100 times!

I, therefore, went with a max of about 5 cm/s on rock for Eastern North America (ENA), and set about to check the stress levels for this PGV. As well, I had to determine the 'sensitivity' of the rock to stress changes.

AECL Clarifies Inaccuracy

This is an old one, but the title of the press release caught my eye. What happens when you clarify an 'inaccurate' statement? Does it become more clearly inaccurate? Have you improved the inaccuracy? Could you clarify falsehoods, lies, damn lies, and statistics? I'm just wondering...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Nasty people cut internet cables

Why couldn't it be an organized attack? You just need a sleazy ship and a nice sharp anchor. You'll probably hear some more, as this ship goes on a world cruise!

Britain has to jack up salary for ugly nuclear job

Britain was offering about $180K and an office in the middle of nowhere. Nobody wanted the job. They've now jacked it up to $4-500K and a swanky office in London. Maybe they're even throwing in a flat! Now they are attracting Americans!

OPG has given up hiring a Gregory Smith replacement, someone to boldly lead the new nuclear charge. They were offering $100K and an office in a nuclear plant. Look to see (if you can!) an internal invisible guy taking the job, which we'll never hear about!

All the more drat for me! I will never tap in the money-hose, if this keeps up!

Jaws Microsoft attacks Yahoo

I'm just putting this here, because this is BIG news! Holy crap!

Yahoo has been a big loser lately, and I'm glad the shareholders are getting some money from a bigger loser, who is guaranteed to drive this into a hole.

Media now says Maple reactors will never work

Ha! They had to interview an 'anonymous insider' who said they will never work. I'm a non-anonymous insider and I say the same thing!

Actually, they'll totally work, if the CNSC does the toady thing, and holds their collective noses. What's a little power surge amongst friends? Who cares if AECL is clueless on the physics? One might say that it is better to fire up these losers, than keep the old crap running forever.

Of course, these new reactors are as bad seismically as the old one, but what the heck? You can always use the AECL argument that these are 'research' (ha, ha!) reactors and will only poof a little bit when they blow.

Actually, I really like the Belgian champagne glasses design! You just make the cherries out of enriched uranium, and let the water flow! It would glow such a nice cheery blue!

"We see no evil!" says IAEA

Looks like Japan got what they wanted, but other scandals might keep things closed for a while. Sometimes I wish people would add a bit more to "I don't see any damage!", like whether they could have seen it, if it was there. "I don't see any evidence." is a very toadyish thing to say.

That said, I wish there had been a good SQUG experience data review of the plant, looking at what was and what wasn't damaged. I would have like to see some reasoning, rather than a hand-wave from the Popes.