Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hilarious comments for Bruce DGR

These are the comments about the process of the panel review for the DGR. It is exactly the same process currently being followed by the Bruce C dream. I don't know the schedule, but we should soon see a draft EIS which will be more fun than Bruce! Since this project is all about the geology, we should all expect a little more effort in this area (Ha, Ha!).

Some of the comments bitch about the CNSC taking total control of the panel review, making it a legal pseudo-licensing hearing. I don't really care, since I think its all courtroom stuff now, and I'm running like Hell! I'm off to the cottage now, where I can cool off my blogging fingers, and rest my troubled mind....

I hardly went through any of the comments, if somebody finds a jewel, let it be known!

Florida geology class

There is no geology in Florida. Just big sinkholes in limestone. They don't even have earthquakes! I have a very poor opinion of science education in the 'Bible Spice' zone, but this 'geology' class takes the cake!

With it, and some other bird courses, you can totally avoid science for your degree. Phew!

So, do these guys end up being politicians?

Monday, September 29, 2008

The end of the keyboard?

Here's something that affects all of us compulsive bloggers. Could we live without a keyboard? Now, I know the first impulse would be: "Waaah! I need my keyboard! I write thousands of words a day!" Now, I know that we bloggers are a bit weird, but compare this with the teeny keyboards of todays nifty Eeepc's, etc. I would love one, but the keyboard is tight on my fingers. If I wanted something as nifty as this, I might as well go keyboardless!

The software keyboard could expand on just the letters I am using. It could adjust dynamically to my typing style. Imagine typing with 10 finger squiggles, instead of large finger motions, in fact we may get a replacement for ugly qwerty!

If we ever are going to get small neato purse computers, where we can blog with free wifi at Starbucks, we are going to have to accept this, in one form or another, since the big ugly keyboard is unshrinkable.

Bruce EIS leaves out DGR data

As I've said the Bruce EIS deliberately goes 'grade-school' on their geology, mainly because of their audience. I thought they left out the results from the deep boreholes because they weren't done yet, but they are!

That's right, there they are! I can only find the glossy-happy review, but points go to anyone who can find the original report, although I suppose that would also be heavily edited. The good news is that the actual limestone of the repository is quite impermeable, although they say nothing about all the rock to get there. And the weenies stopped at the Precambrian! Why would they do that? I would have loved to see the rock quality there, and get a measurement of the stresses. After all they are on a giant fault, and these results would have been scientifically more significant than drilling into the San Andreas!

I would suspect that had they measured the stress in the limestone and Precambrian, they would have found alarmingly low stresses. After all the rock in such a fractured zone has to have some solid chunks! That's what they found with the Bruce A&B construction, the boreholes gave no indication of the larger bulk properties.

Horny Goat Weed

I can't imagine a better name for this stuff! But, seriously, seriously, the extract from this is as good as V*I@A^GRA. Apparently, the little blue pill can have some side effects, so something new is needed.

New York Earthquake

This is a very extensive article on the chance of a New York earthquake. We could have one like that for Toronto, but I don't think it would attract readership for the sad newspapers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Deep San Andreas hole gets its package

Last year, we learned how they had drilled 10,000 feet into the San Andreas to get some rocks (ooooh!). Now, they have installed the instrument package. It's not that I think this is an example of 'Glam-Pork Science Gone Bad', noooo. And it's not that there are better things to spend the money on (they wouldn't get funded by Congress).

Well, maybe it is a little. Still, one would view this project with interest.

Fish views go though the roof

Look at that! Yesterday, nearly 300, a new Fish record! Since I only earned 2 cents for all these views, I have to assume it was all the cheerful people behind the Bruce environmental effort. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bruce EIS - 4

Well, I've read the whole thing, in my usual manner (which involves a lot of blah-blah skimming!). I must say that I am totally impressed that a schlep like me could get access to read it! Ah the wonders of the internet age! In my day, we had one copy for the public, to be read only in a locked, airless, dim room, with no photocopies!

I must admit that their construction plan is total fantasy, but who's left to argue? I think they killed off (retired) anybody who knew what it was like there. Their plan is laid out like it was Darlington! Oh boy, are they in for a surprise!

Well, maybe they want to deliberately gloss over the mucky details. After all, the panel has no civil engineers. They are just concerned with the locals and birds.

Still, the geology and seismicity assessment is grade-school, and with the low PGV of about 2 cm/sec, I hope they can convince the CNSC that no extra seismic design is necessary. Just plop on any old nuclear plant!

Such is the charmed life of innocents! I wish them the best of luck! Myself, I am off to wash out my brain....

ps. I'm leaving this roadkill alone for now. It was just a prep for the real one at Darlington.

pps. Amazingly enough, they feel they have total power to choose whatever nuclear plant they want, and to never enter into any negotiations with OPG!

Bruce environmental impact statement - 3

Well, I've dipped my toe into this, probably at 10%. Still no mention of tons of grout injected into the deep rock ecosystem of bacteria. :)

I've discovered that Site A is pretty well their only option, with the other sites thrown in to look good. They have to present 'alternatives', and, of course, they just present worse alternatives! Most interesting from a seismic point of view is that they are infilling the bay to give them some more room.

Also interesting is the fact they are boring twin tunnels for both the intake and discharge tunnels. Considering that we had to dog-leg the Bruce B intake around a giant cavern, these pairs of tunnels present an added complexity.

This shows their 'alternatives'. I continue to be fascinated.

Seismic retrofit for Berkeley stadium

There isn't a greater seismic mess than the Berkeley stadium. A big fault goes right down the middle, and it holds 75,000 people for a big game. Now they have come up with a plan, and all they have to do is come up with the money.

I think the plan is a bit silly, since it is obvious the whole thing should be torn down, save a couple of facades, and build it in steel, on piles. But, they want to save it, with a bizzaro plan. Should be interesting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nuclear waste scattered over the countryside

This is one consequence of not having a rational nuclear waste plan. As every mom-and-pop shop stores their waste in the cupboard, it starts to roam. I'm sure that everyone will want a nice, shiny nuclear pencil!

Laptops for earthquakes

This project seems to be gaining speed, and may overtake Twitter as an instant earthquake locater. The accelerometers are getting cheaper, and better, so this can only improve in time. They should have cheap USB ones to put on the floor slab, which is better than a wobbly desk, but this would never have the volume production of laptops, and a chip placed on the motherboard.

Bruce Power II - Tiptoeing around the OPG lease

Nobody is interested in going through the Bruce documents, but I'm still reading them, and I recommend them for anybody suffering from random anxiety, which I am prone to do.

In the first place, the OPG lease makes no provision for a new plant which will be in competition with OPG's plans. The lease makes it very difficult, so Bruce is forced to work in very confined area, and merely imply that it is a natural 'upgrade'. Look to some serious courtroom drama, if this gets serious!

Now we can look at the big map. Oh look! There is a perfect site at the old OPG heavy water plant! Lots of room, easy access to water, straight-out switch yards, a dream come true! Oh drat! It belongs to OPG, and they hate Bruce! So no plant there.

Instead, they will be working on the tiny sliver of land beside Bruce A. Quite a squeeze! You'd think there would be an environmental effect of doing something so irrational, but it isn't in the documents. Shall we add a factor of two to the cost?

I'm just into the first few pages. More later.

Linda Keen can now go fishing

Yes, Ms. Keen has jumped off the hook, that was slowly turning her in the wind, and has gone for a stroll into the sunset. Now, the CNSC is totally free to devote itself to becoming the most governmenty board ever!

New record for old rock

Yep, right here in Canada! Very old rock has been dated. By comparison, all the deep crust under Toronto (and the nuclear plants), is a spring chicken, at only one billion years!

Summer in September

Oh, the magnificent life of a retired guy! I'm just back from the cottage again, after a glorious few days, just me, and Cindy the Wonder Dog. During the day, it was as hot as the summer, the only difference being the absolutely horrid cold water! First day I had the sauna going, and second day it was too hot.

Went for my usual fishing hike. It's always something to see a huge fresh bear turd, up in the woods. I called over the dog: "Listen here, dog, you know the plan! You are an expendable, two-bit pound puppy! Do your duty when you see the giant bear!" I don't think she listened to me.

Didn't catch a single fish! There is some natural law, that when the weather is really nice, the fish leave the area!

Today, I was going to linger a bit longer in the sun, but this huge Hydro crew came and started to clean up the back power line. I had just noticed that the trees were starting to touch the wires, and we all know what happens then! Anyway, it sounded like a bloody war zone, the dog was terrified, and I got a headache, so we got out as quick as we could.

I was getting things ready for a new roof. I'm putting on a steel roof, since it will last forever, and I'm noticing the asphalt singles are garbage now. Especially at the cottage, the severe weather hits them, they curl faster, and they grow lichen. But without that, the new big house down the road is getting it's shingles replaced after only a few years, the batch must have been bad, which is happening a lot lately.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bruce Env Imp - Part 1

I've decided to start the equivalent of a 'Book of the Month Club', only we'll call this the 'Self-Serving Document of the Month Club.' With this club, we won't criticize any document, no, that's too much acid. Instead, we'll go over the fine art of the document writer such as: gloss-over, redirection, snow, and lack of accountability. Then, we'll compare it to other fine documents such as: "Melamine - Safe as Houses", by the China Melamine Producers.

Today, we'll start with the very first page of the recent Bruce Env Imp Doc (my short-form). Observe, the masters at work:

It used to be in my day, that a submission would be stamped 'Approved', by the person that held total responsibility (not that he really held any responsibility). Now, they are terrified by that word, and only 'recommend' and 'accept'. What the heck does that mean? I think it is magnificent!

I haven't gotten any further into the document, because something got caught in my throat. Feel free to join the club, buy me a drink, and join in on our discussion! I won't proceed with my club, if there is no interest.

Food Fog - Feeble Fastidiousness

Run! We're in a Food Fog! More about the state of food safety in this country (NONE!).

Makes me wonder about all the other dark bodies that are responsible for both the vendor and consumer, such as:

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission - slightly separated, but still joined at the hip.

Fisheries - eaten any poison mussels lately?

Drat, can't think of any more!

I wonder what would happen if the air safety people had to promote the airline business as well. There would be an immediate response as airplanes fell out of the sky, and nobody would fly anymore. The air industry itself would demand a separation! But these food and nuclear things take forever to cause trouble, so the farmers and nuclear vendors are quite happy.

(I wonder if the Elevator safety people sell elevators?)

Bruce environment monstrosity downloaded

I downloaded from here. Oh, it will be so much fun to peruse (not!). I dare anyone else to try and wade through it. I also don't think that all those newspapers which parroted "Bruce declares everything hunkey-dorey", will tackle this.

As I've said before, it's never what's in the document that counts, rather than what is left out. Unfortunately, anything left out, is not in the mandate of the review panel. However, this is all just fun and games compared to the real one coming from OPG.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Food safety outcry

This article shows that people may have woken up about secret government organizations. They want some action. I seriously doubt that it makes a difference, but one day, when the disaster is even bigger, it might.

Here is my manifesto for food safety and other regulatory bodies. It tries to lay in some fundamental forces to prevent the rise of political toadies.

No decisions behind closed doors. Everything should be open, like some central banks. There should be written input, and a written justification for a decision. We don't want any meetings like the famous Listeria stand-up routine.

Staff input should be written and transparent. We want to prevent the creation of the large self-similar organization. This is a recipe for disaster. There should be external input at various stages, somewhat similar to what NASA is now doing.

More blogs by influential people within the organization. We, the public, need some indication of intelligence. The worst organizations are ruthless, Stalinist, and 'toe the line'. I've mentioned a few of these before. (HInt: waste).

California schools will also collapse

This is a very interesting article. It outlines the troubles of California schools, many of which are built to shoddy 1970 standards. Seems, they too, can't afford to fix them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

CERN is Human, too

I was worried that somehow CERN was above us all. That in their high quest to find the Higgs, they had transcended mere Humanity. Whew, that was a load of horse shit! Good old CERN is as flaky as anything else in Europe!

Power law article finished

Catastrophic Power Law and Everyday Life

A recent massive Toronto propane explosion, and the city's pitiful response has inspired me to resurrect my Claptrap article and beef it up for a Knol. I went back to it, after the big Canadian Listeria disaster.

Power Law is the fundamental force behind most large-scale disasters, such as earthquakes, and industrial accidents. It is a consequence of the fractal, self-similar ordering of most natural systems, and human societies. Disasters are a consequence of Power Law coming against the natural linear thinking of the human brain.

Fractal Ordering and Nature

Take a look at most natural scenes, and you will find them pretty. A rugged coastline, a cliff face, a beautiful tree, and a sunflower. All of them appeal to our sense of proportion.

These are all fractal patterns, and are created from the application of simple growth rules, applied over and over again. When this concept first came out, I studied it intensely, and could never get over the complicated math that accompanied it. I dismissed it as merely a way to make pretty pictures. Over the years, I have become to realize that it is one of the most fundamental forces of nature, and that the concept is very simple.

Take an everyday tree. You can derive some very simple rules for making that tree, simply by specifying the degree of branching (two, three, etc), the length of the base twigs, and then state that a new sprout is simply another tree growing off the shaft. The tree can become immensely complex! The 'roughness' of the tree is a consequence of the branching rules.

Geology is my love, and here's where fractals totally rule! Take this pretty picture, for example.

You can't tell the scale! Is it a polished mineral on a ring? Is it a rock face? It is actually a satellite image from the ASTER collection. That is why all photos of geology have something applied for scale, such as a notebook or a person.

Fractals have some important attributes that affect us in everyday life. Look at the pretty clouds, nice and fluffy. You can zoom in on the clouds, and still see the same patterns as in the larger clouds. Most clouds have the same fractal roughness, but limiting dimensions are important here! There is no practical limit on the small side, since you could zoom in forever, and it would be fractal, until you hit the scale of condensation droplets. But on the large side, there are varying limits.

On a nice day, the fluffy clouds are limited to a certain size, before the fractal pattern breaks down. In Ontario this summer, we have had rough fractal clouds with no limit on the large side. That means you constantly experience all types of weather on the same day! The cloud patterns are perfectly fractal on the satellite and radar. The sunny breaks and the rain follow Power Law. Lots of little ones, and then some super big thunderstorms or sunny periods. Very pretty cloud formations, very depressing weather!

Human societies love fractals. We organize ourselves in families, villages, regions, countries, etc. Most companies also organize in self-similar hierarchies. Every smaller group resembles the larger group as a whole.

Power Law

Power Law can be a truly horrible thing. It proceeds exactly like earthquakes. One day you are chugging along with just some minor rumblers, and POW! the Big One hits. That is because each smaller Magnitude is ten times more frequent, and each Magnitude upgrade is 30 times more damaging. This results in rare, damaging events that are totally not foreseen by most human minds. Think of it, just 1% of a given number of earthquakes has a 1000 times the hitting power!

This happens with all power-law disasters, even those that are totally man-made. It is normal human comprehension to think of things in linear terms - the pot is nearly boiling, a little more and it starts to boil. We always think we are going to get some warning of trouble. We always rely on a linear extrapolation of our past experience: "Oh, this hurricane could be a bit worse than last year's."

Inevitable Power-Law Disasters

Even earthquake and hurricane disasters, are in a sense man-made. Earthquakes make buildings fall on people, hurricanes breach levies. I find that power-law disasters are inevitable when you have an unstable fractal organization (self-similar).

Take a stable fractal organization: a tree. A twig breaks off, and the whole tree does not become weaker, in fact it is more stable because of the lightened load. But introduce a linear weakening mechanism, such as rot or disease, and then things become interesting. The branches falling down become power law. You get a distribution of many small branches falling, with one in ten being significantly larger. As the owner of the house right under it, you better chop it down soon, because there is a chance of major branches, or the whole tree falling.

A totally self-similar organization can act as a tree. Under certain circumstances, each small failure can set things up for a larger failure, especially if everybody acts in 'crisis mode', and just puts in short-term solutions. As an example, consider NASA before the first Shuttle failure. Everything was self-similar right from the top, everybody engaged in 'group think', and the failures were building up in a power law distribution. There were lots of minor failures of the o-rings.

How can this be prevented? First of all, as with earthquakes, by careful monitoring. Are the failures following power law? This is very difficult to do from the outside, since nearly all such self-similar organizations hide these things, from both themselves, and the press. Take for example, the French or Japan nuclear organizations, they would never reveal the countless minor incidents.

The public could demand more transparency from such organizations. The only cure is to cut down the maximum fractal dimension, by adding some 'hard blocks', or transparency. I believe that NASA is now doing this.

Transformer explosion

Whoops! I deleted something like this. My cache was screwed up.

Big secret Chinese nuclear transformer explosion. This is the same scenario that I'm always pushing for Pickering Unit 7, except they have this huge water deluge system that blows everything into the lake. (I had a link to a water and wax explosion, but I decided that's irresponsible, since youtube says so!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bruce Power Drops a Load

Thunk! Did you feel it? Did it register on all the seismometers?

Bruce Power submits a 4000 page report, which is quite a load. This is all on Bruce C, and they don't find any environmental effect. Who's going to read all this? I remember our old adage with the big company: If you have to submit, make it heavy!

Why do all this for a single twin plant? You know they want two twins. They've got the transmission capacity now. I just can't see that a single twin is worth it. Perhaps they think that if they get approval for one, then another one is easy. The old 'thin edge of the wedge' trick.

ps. My mistake, I find that they have now included the possibility of 4 reactors.

Earthquake bomb

People in Vienna thought this was an earthquake, but it was actually an old bomb that suddenly went off. Happens all the time, they said.

Give up your debit card

I just noted this, because recently I got a phone call that my debit card had been used where fraud was detected, and it was clamped down to small amounts. I had to go in to get a new one. Is it worth it?

I think the security on debit cards has failed, and they probably aren't worth having anymore. Back to cash, I suppose.

Canadian earthquake

This just in! An M5.2 earthquake right on the same mountain front where Bruce Power wants to put a nuclear plant.

Being popular is hard work

There, it's official! These guys say it's tough being on the top. And doing a search on 'Ontario nuclear waste' gets me! I slave over a hot keyboard every day, and what thanks do I get?

Horrible Ford Ad is Back

Don't click on it, you'll tear your hair out, but at least I get 10 cents a day for just having the dominatrix appear. You'd think Google would have some other ads, but no, if you're in Canada, this is the only one. Luckily, if you are out of country, you might get something else.

My drinks campaign has slowed down to nothing ever since Harbles did that amazing marathon run of clicking. He's probably still recovering! Stuck at $30, I don't think I'll get my $100 cheque (minimum amount) before Christmas. Still, I'm hoping all the Nuclear Waste folks will click, in the hope of getting me drunk and out of the way. :)

50,000 Unionized Scientists in Federal Government

I'm amazed.

Waste people want YOUR comments

A very sincere request from the NWMO to put in your comments on finding a willing host community for the used nuclear fuel (regardless of geology!).

I know this guy, since I've had some horrible run-ins with him in the past. His ghost-written statements drip with sincerity! I wouldn't touch any of this with a ten-foot pole since we have seen how some of these political people operate, and I'm terrified!

Anyway, he is also pushing the Bruce Nuclear Waste gravel pit, and we'll see how that goes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Melting permafrost taken out of the doomsday scenario

This is an interesting observation. A little touch of soil is a great insulator! I don't think it has much to do with the grand vision of things, but it shows that geology still has a part in the great climate debate.

The comments are a hoot, as well.

The Rise of Incompetence

I was inspired by the account of the Palin hack. The hack was as trivial as knowing the name of her dog, or in this case, her high school. But in this case, the real issue was the desire to have email outside the fishbowl of the gov't email (which had to be all made public).

When you are an old man, you wonder if everybody else is going crazy, or it's just you. In this case, I wonder about the 'Rise of Incompetence'. Why is it that the political short-term-ists totally rule the roost? Why has this become almost universal throughout government and business?

We see the results every day. Wall Street imploding, nuclear plants run into the ground before their time (Pickering B!), and giant health scares. For all of these, it has been found that the level-headed experts who went against the herd were fired. How can these political operators survive so much better now, than they used to?

I have to blame it on technology. It used to be that all communication was on paper. This ensured that people who could actually write, had the upper hand. Usually, that implied people who could think. Nearly every political person, like a king, needed that advisor beside him, who could write, and plan. King Henry could go and chop off everybody's head, but the real power was in the advisors. Correspondence in companies was buried in the huge paper vaults, never to be seen again.

All that changed, I remember, when the word processor came along. Soon, everybody, could write some trash, and circulate it to a million people. It became easy for the non-thinkers to band together, and get rid of anybody they didn't like. Even more so, all those emails became public property, so soon, nobody was doing anything important by writing. It all became verbal.

This totally shifted the power away from the thinkers, to the verbalizers. In the old company, the 'event horizon' of thinking, shrank from a lifetime, to under a year. Nobody cared if what they were doing was bad in the long term, since there was nobody to bitch about it, and if they did, you could fire them!

What's the trend for the future? I believe that all the chickens will come home to roost, and that this current cycle of blundering into crisis after crisis, will eventually end. They will have to deal with the issue of written communication, and I think everything should be opened up, or nothing opened up. In the meantime, expect more disasters.

Grumbling Earthquake

I'd grumble too, if I were an earthquake! Nobody shows me any respect, I'd say! Do you think it's easy being an earthquake?

Ah, it could be a whole stand-up routine, about blaming earthquakes for all the deaths, when it really is those sloppy humans...

OPG Getting into the Car Business

That's OPG, the long dangly thing! It's not merely OPG, but the nuclear part of it, which is based around GM-land. I love it, since it's very cool, and offers everybody a great chance for a party! Of course, OPG will have much more fun with this, than managing a total disaster, like Pickering B. You go, girl!

Bruce Power not in a hurry

Whew! I'm never in a hurry, so I can relax on all this stuff.

ps. Little birdies have told me that the Pickering B refurb now has a snowball's chance in Hell. All eyes are on Darlington refurb. (Hope they solve the vibration problem.)

Farmers chase away seismic trucks

This is a new development. Farmers are hoarding the geological information under their land, in the US. This will make it nearly impossible to extract gas in those areas.

I remember my experience with these giant beauties. The old company sponsored this huge survey all over southern Ontario, and then promptly forgot about it. It was magnificent! It actually hurts to stand beside one of these when they are in full thump, and the seismic waves penetrate almost to the bottom of the crust. However, we ended up paying for some new road resurfacing in some places.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Harpos terrify scientific boards

OMG! Can you imagine being in on this call, trying to figure out the greater consequences, and having this joker on the line? As well, once all this tastelessness (I found it rather funny!) got out, they would be terrified of a Harpo witch-hunt. I can imagine that anyone with brains would flee as soon as they could, much like I did from the old company.

As the Harpos purge every single government body of intellectuals, and free thinkers, we can easily predict the consequences -- more disasters!

ps. this was not a political message. Those others guys started the whole purge.

Pork Physics

I thought all the pork physics was dead, but this Homestake thing still lives. Apparently they are just mucking about now, scratching at the rock, but there is a big promise for something like the Sudbury Neutrino lab. Anyway, it's interesting to read, but I doubt it will survive the long term, especially when they have to live hand-to-mouth from the US Congress. Something like the big plans to put seismometers everywhere (woooooo -- SPLAT!)

Still, I understand some of the more glamerous big science projects survive...

Port Hope starts up again

Port Hope starts up the uranium thing again. There have been so many plants and things going on there, I just call it Port Hope. It's interesting that the same process of uranium hexafluoride is need for both enrichment, and just making plain old Candu fuel.

As you know, I had very high hopes for Port Hope becoming the Nuclear Centre of the World! They have the best site for a nuclear plant, and nuclear waste storage. But they are against everything, and deserve their leaky uranium plant. I suppose all their children will work at the fast food joint, and flee at the first opportunity.

Toronto financial woes shake the tree

This is starting to get interesting, as I have always been interested in the stability of the Toronto condo (and housing) market. It all hinges on the amount of strung-out speculators in the market. So far rents are holding, but the upcoming layoffs in the financial district look to change this.

If there is a high degree of speculation, as in the 80's, then there will be quite the crash, as people become desperate to sell. Right now, the condo market continues to defy gravity, and it is so fascinating!

China Milk - A Systematic Disaster

I'm just showing this article, because it relates to large systems that have a built-in disaster, waiting to happen. Many of our industries, companies and systems are the same. It looks like all the milk in China was contaminated by a very active Melamine salesman.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Annoying phone pitches are now called 'courtesy calls'

I just got a bunch of these. Is this a result of that 'do not call' registry, that I'm sure will be totally ineffective? I suppose that if they are all magically transformed to 'courtesy calls', then it doesn't count, does it?

Call away! I'll be as 'courteous' as I always am....

Hamilton and Toronto on the skids

We can't have our big earthquake now, Hamilton and Toronto don't need to be kicked when they're down. It can wait for a better time. :)

I was just interested in this article because it mentioned Hamilton and Toronto together, and these two cities will get the big economic hit when the earthquake strikes. Naturally, nobody prepares for it because there are bigger things on the table. When it happens, I'm sure we'll handle it as well as a propane explosion....

Squeaky Wheel Gets the Steel

Over in Vancouver, the other parents of the seismic death traps are bitching that the one school has complained successfully enough to jump to the head of the queue. They must have better PR people!

But the joke's on those guys! As I've said before, most likely the 'seismic upgrades' are totally useless! You can put all the steel you want in a pile of bricks, and it's still a pile of bricks!

Bruce Power out on a limb

I finally get some clarity as to this whole silly Bruce environmental assessment. The province doesn't seem to know what they are doing, as well. It would seem like a big waste of money, but I'm having fun with it. I hope they get to the 10 minute discussion on geology soon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bruce nails down a new power line

There's nothing stopping the new nuclear plants up at Bruce. The new line has been approved, which can take all the extra power from wind (ha, ha!). All that's left to do, is to watch the fat lady sing over at the Bruce hearings!

Silent earthquakes

Looks like Scientific American is now giving away old articles. Why not, their marginal cost is zero! This one is a 2004 article on silent earthquakes.

I always find SciAm articles to be too wordy, and I can't stand reading them, but there is neat stuff here, if you want to wade through it. I don't think that silent earthquakes now have the glamour they had 4 years ago, but they are an interesting part of the earthquake ecology.

Since we've always had these around, it's tough to tell if they mean anything. There's been an annual event under Vancouver, ever since they could measure them. To me, the interesting part is the installation of real-time GPS, required to record them.

Nuclear Geodynamics

Here is my latest utube video! Hope you enjoy it, and buy me a drink.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Funny Palin skit

This is absolutely hilarious! It took a while for me to find the best version.

So long, and thanks for all the fish

I love this observation! All the fish leave an area before an earthquake. Of course, there are lots of other reasons for fish droughts, such as weather, ocean currents, overfishing, etc, but I like the earthquake reason the best! It's at least as strong as many other correlations people like to put up.

Working on my next video

I'm really excited about this one! I'll call it 'Plasticine Tectonics', following my great hit 'Slinky Seismology'. I was going to go with animation, using Art of Illusion. I had this great craton, about to be hit with island arcs, but it was too bland.

The animation would show these things smashing into the craton. But animation is tedious! I don't know how those Pixar people can stand it! So, I've decided to just wing it, unrehearsed, and use modeling clay. I have to wait until everybody gets out of the house, or they'll think I'm crazy! The dog understands...

Unions want better food safety

Whenever you see the unions (or any 'association') push for a national goal, you have to drill in to find the angle. In this case, it is hiring more unionized safety inspectors. Now, I am not going to comment on the mind-set of inspectors, but they tend to be rather average. They would have not picked up on the latest Listeria mechanism. In fact, I can't think of any food incident that would have been prevented by unionized inspectors.

What they need are thinkers at the high level of decision making. This, unfortunately, is the realm of political toadies. Nobody is thinking about this, because their solutions would conflict with the political expedience of the day.

US futile search for science grads

No kid in the US wants to go into science. They've all been told by the Palinskis that science is a load of hogwash. They all want to be trial lawyers!

So, this article is a little bit sad. Boo, hoo, you need science to run nuclear plants, but they ignore science when building these suckers. And all the bright physics young people are over in Europe, making CERN rap videos!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A scientist writes on the supercollider

I just came across this. I found it amazing that the WSJ would publish the rational opinion of a scientist! Maybe I just don't read it much, with their on-again off-again attitude to the web.

I wonder how the Palin-ites react to all this 'creation of the universe' science? They must think it just a perverse joke of the Big Guy, to keep all those useless academics amused. Certainly, they don't want any of that shit in the USA!

Darwin Awards for those who do not evacuate

I'm continuously reading about this hurricane hitting Texas. There was plenty warning, the exact time, the exact effect, etc. Still, lots of people just drank beer on their front porch, knowing that there would soon be 20 feet of water over their heads.

Makes me wonder about 'earthquake prediction'. No matter how good it ever becomes (fat chance!), it will be worse than hurricanes, with false alarms. So, you could have this perfectly wonderful prediction, and nobody would do anything! It's like those stupid tsunami sirens.

I think that 'proud ignorance' of science will kill a lot of people. I can just imagine all these lipsticked pitbull politicians running around and saying 'Forget Science, do what I tell you to!'. Soon people don't listen to anything!

Same with the big food incidents. Just read that there was another big one in China with lots of babies affected. Wife and I were discussing that this will probably be the thing that eventually kills us. With Harpo-majority killing all science in the food safety board, I think they will allow huge self-similar empires to develop, with the resulting huge power law failures.

Vancouver schools seismic death traps

Perhaps not quite, but I do like a nice headline! I've been reading these articles for some time now, and have decided to say something. Seems some politician made a breezy promise, and then handed it over to some poor schnook to complete, with very little money. This guy took the few dollars and put it on a low-priority school that just needed some glue and binder twine.

Now everybody is in a great snit! Schools have always been built shitty, they are built from concrete blocks, and have giant windows in the wall, which is supposed to take the shear. The inner city schools are multi-story, with slab floors hooked on to the walls by a thread.

So, if an earthquake hits them, they collapse. And it's not going to be the 'Big One', which will be offshore, and just producing a tsunami. No, it will be an urban M7 that does the damage.

In reality, these schools cannot be fixed for a dime. As the gov't is finding out, it is a long and horrible process. I would even say that most of these death traps cannot be fixed at all, and have to be torn down. No politician promised that! And since there is no room in the city for new schools, they are in a real pickle.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Glorious Fall Days

I spent two days at the cottage, just me and the dog! It's quite cool now, so I spent a lot of time in the sauna, getting hot enough to jump into the ice water, and sun myself on the dock, until I froze, and back into the oven again!

Went for a hike in the morning to the back lakes to catch a fish for dinner. Cindy-lou loves these walks, and I love having her, to attract the bears! After a few casts, I got a hard bite, and then I hooked a beauty! I did some more fishing, but threw them back.

Back to the cottage, to do some more sauna, and later, to bbq the fish on a cedar plank. Was that good! I had fires to keep warm over night, and it's amazing how my big pile of wood was totally used up! I could never live here long. I don't do any work when I'm up alone, because of a fear that a big tree will fall on me!

ps. Many thanks to the little elf who is clicking the ads for wine. I'm absolutely not supposed to touch the stuff, so when I do, it had better be good!

pps. I am now working on another grand video opus, this time on "Nuclear Geodynamics". My utube videos are starting to get quite the audience, hope they come and visit here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Don't piss off the woman!

Oh, this is delicious! And it happened right here in Toronto! In South America, we would only expect a 'vital' part of the man flying out the window...

Final guidelines for Bruce C

In case anybody can't find it, here are the final guidelines. Mostly, it's the same gunk that I've seen for all of these. I don't think they are following the IAEA for a seismo-tectonic visualization (model) of the region. There is no mention of grout. (I guess that's just pouring concrete!).

Mostly, the proponent will pay lip service to all of these points, and the panel will pretend to read them. They mention that the panel will have a staff analyzing this as well, which I find interesting. I wonder who they are?

At least, when OPG is asked about 'alternatives' to Darlington B, they can always point to Bruce C, and vice versa!

Tuesday - not much

Sorry, not a thing to write about today.

-Harpo and the Weenie are slugging it out - who cares?
-Hurricane Ike may miss New Orleans and flatten Galveston
-Apple comes up with nothing, and Jobs is on death's door
-I've been having fun reading This Grumpy Guy
-no sips of wine yet.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Toronto housing not set to fall (maybe)

Here I am, predicting that housing in Toronto (condos especially) are a speculation nightmare, and the price is soon set to crash. But I see houses being sold (thousands not!), and along comes this article.

It comes the Price/earnings multiple in terms of rents, and Toronto is even. I got a taste of this when the son moved downtown. In a renovated 3 story Chinatown Georgian, there are 18 students, each paying $500 per month in rent! This house is a jammed row house, only 20 feet wide, if that. Their basement feels like a submarine, as you walk from living room, kitchen, to the bedroom cabins.

Now that's rent income!

(I still think we're due for a crash!)

French fried (almost)

Another day, another nuclear incident in France. :) I'm not going to say much because I love all the French wine I will buy with my ad revenue, so I will only say "Sacre blue!".

This can't be a totally trivial incident, since they sounded the French "Run Away!" alarm, so it will be interesting to hear more.

Big computer crash

I'm just adding this to my list of power-law disasters. Who knows what this cost? Perhaps billions? It might be quite a while before another crash tops this Magnitude 8! New York? Or a multi-day crash?

Customers bribed to watch ads

Once again, there is another attempt to get bored surfers to watch the stupid ads. This is especially important for mobile internet, which the Economist now states will be the main avenue for most people in the world.

I, of course, would love to bribe people to watch my ads! I could say, the more you click, the more I write, but everybody knows I'm a compulsive depressive, who does what he has to do.

Google takes over outer space

Not really, but Google is always looking for new worlds to conquer. I love Google Maps, and hate it when there isn't a high-res sat. view available, especially for the cottage! I want to examine my roof and see if it needs new shingles!

Seriously, I use the Google digital terrain models now, to trace the big faults that time forgot. They are so obvious on these shots, but this wouldn't be enough evidence for a nuclear panel, which rejects any science fresher than 30 years old! (Fine wine theory, I suppose.).

The Fallacy of 'Directed Brain Energy'

I'm quite surprised at this article. It says, basically, that if kill one branch of science (particle physics), then we can direct this surplus brain energy to solving the world's problems.

It implies that brain energy is a commodity that can be bought and sold. Is this what we have become?

On another note, the chief of Nasta sent a bitchy email complaining about political interference. That's rich, considering that they are a total creature of congressional pork. Live by the pork, die by the pork. Now they are in a real pickle with their useless space station because Russia has gone all nazi-ish.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Children disengage from science

One consequence of the politically expedient drive to daemonize Science will a general detachment of students. Thus, as the Cult of Sarah makes fun of scientists studying "The Sex Life of Cockroaches" (a famous attack!), we shove science out of the mainstream. Most science now depends on corporate money, which is notoriously short-term. Although this article applies to the UK, I'm sure that numbers are lower for the bible-belt states, and not so good for Canada either!

Oregon geology is complicated

I just like this one for the quote: "Just because the wells are going dry doesn't mean there is less water.". This statement is supported by the observation that "Oregon geology is complicated".

The result of this non-shortage of water is that the wells are going deeper, which means older water, and more arsenic and other nasties. This is problem throughout the whole region.

Federal Election Kicks Off

It's an epic battle between Weenie Deenie, and the Horrible Hippo! I don't think either of them will be good for Science.

Speaking of Science, this latest trend to destroy rational thought is, in itself, a scientific experiment. If everybody goes to Small Town Group Think, then what are the consequences? How long can this cycle last before we are racked by big disasters? Usually, we'll get a wake-up call, like the Soviet Sputnik, and we'll start a science cycle all over again.

Science forgotten

As this article highlights (put your Flashblock on!), North America has turned its back on science. I wasn't a big fan of the Texas super-collider, since it was a big pork project, but what has been done since? Is Canada any better under the Harpo regime?

Romania to build Nuclear Waste storage

This will be interesting to watch. Romania has brains, and it will be done right.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More on Bruce JRP

I didn't realize there's a lot on the gov't web site. This one has the proposed plan. It makes for fun reading.

This one shows how they are going to shoehorn in the reactors.

And this one shows where the 'tunnels from Hell' are going to go. Sure clears up a lot of things in my mind!

MO Science!

I suppose I'm the only one who will find this article bizarre. What is the fate of a science teacher in such a State? Are the happy? Do they have to watch what they say? Some districts say they can find lots of science teachers off the street, but they can't find anyone who speaks another language. Naturally, the history teachers are upset about any bonus to science teachers.

What about the state of Science in those States? Is it all controlled by Small Town Sarahs? I shudder to think. All they seem to want there is a work force smart enough to build cars, and somehow I think they may have trouble with that.

Questions for the Bruce panel

I love it now that the panel has been picked. You know their background, and you know what the panel will confine itself to. Obviously, you cannot pick any woolly scientific issues, since these people are not scientists. With this in mind, I have picked two issues which I think are within their remit, and understanding.


Bruce C will be like any other nuclear plant (such as Darlington), except it will consume trainloads of grout. You can probably take all the grout used in Bruce B (the records of which have been lost), and multiply it by two, for modern standards, and longer tunnels. Their is an environmental impact of making all that grout (tons of coal at St. Marys), transporting it, and the impact of injecting it into porous rock.

Stability of Seismic Hazard Estimate

Currently, the seismic hazard estimate is better than at Darlington. There are no scientific investigations currently in place, other than company-sponsored studies. The real question is the stability of this hazard estimate. The question to ask: "Is this seismic hazard estimate going to be stable over the next 10 years?". The environmental impact of a changed seismic hazard is immense. Many nuclear projects have been closed because they found a new fault, or the science changed. An abandoned nuclear plant is a terrible thing!

The Bruce site may be on the 'daylight line' of the Grenville Fault. This line is easily traceable over a large part of North America. Is there scientific proof for this? No. Is there proof against it? No. Will it always be a 'non-investigated' item? Who can tell, for there are a lot of data records of deep seismic reflection work, that has never been looked at.

Why is the site rock horribly fractured? This has never been looked at, but perhaps one day? The current non-interest in the site is not a stable situation. There are enough unknowns hovering around the plant to be a cause of concern.

Bruce nuclear panel picked

Here it is, hot off the press! I simply cannot understand why this loser concept is way ahead of the 'official' pick of the Darlington site. We looked at this many years ago, and could not pick a location on that 'swiss-cheesy' rock. Maybe now that the heavy water plant has been demolished, there is some more room.

As Mr. Bruce himself has defined it, this panel is just looking at traffic jams, and increased housing. All the nasty bits 'have been taken care of'. I googled the panel members and find they are all senior bureaucrats, two of them from the CNSC board. They are probably very good at sitting for long periods of time, I know I can't do it!

As with the US panels, all scientific information will be dismissed on procedural grounds. After the panel is done, any more scientific questions will be dismissed as 'having been addressed in the panel'. It's such a wonderful world!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Darlington political thingie starts to move

First announcement for the Darlington environmental thingie. This is just for boring comments on the process. And as Bruce Power has stated, this whole exercise is just to look at the impact on local traffic jams.

Science Insurance and food safety

This article is a bit too pushy on radiation, but the whole food safety issue is running on power law, and we just had a Magnitude 8 Listeria disaster. Turns out that all the previous breakouts may be following power law, and we are in for an M9, whatever that's going to do!

The chance of being killed by your hotdog has all the elements of what I have talked about before. It's run by a big political hierarchy, and all decisions are political. They don't pay their Science Insurance in order to properly defined the risk. Much like steriods, people assume everything is fine, as long as they don't hear anything.

Now, in response, they may build up the bureaucracy, more brainless inspectors, more management, more secrecy. Now, everything will be assumed to be 'handled', until the next time.

Never blog while high

This is a great reminder to not 'Bong and Blog'. It will come back to haunt you, since nothing is ever forgotten on the internet. This guy obviously wrote this non-sequitur post while puffing on something, and look what happened.

I've got lots of old posts on the internet that will hang around forever. If I ever went to a nuclear hearing, I would be roasted by people taking these things out of context. Far better, in politics, to have never written anything! Look where that gets people! BTW, I will never again mention certain American politicians by name, since my gal over at Science Notes, has found out it attracts paid Blogger-Assassins!

How not to do nuclear waste

Bit of a scandal back in my ancestral homeland. Seems they just tossed steel barrels into a hunk of salt. As anyone from Ontario will attest, salt and steel leads to rust on cars, road bridges, and barrels. Furthermore, the salt is full of natural fractures that leak water, in and out.

I was never a big fan of salt domes for nuclear waste. That was a big thing a few years ago. The US has one for intermediate nuclear waste. I much prefer fractured rock on faults, like our own hometown solution!

AECL Court Fun is Over

No more delicious quotes. They have reached a deal to stop smearing each other. Too bad, this would have been quite a show!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Left-Over Maple Ice Cream

Those good old Maple reactors used some strong juice! Now they got a bunch of it hanging around, and they should send it back. I can understand their reluctance in sending it back, it would really really close the chapter on this sad story. Perhaps it could be made to work? Perhaps I'm earning a lot of money from this web site?

Flashblock makes life easier

I just put in the add-on Flashblock, for my Firefox, which is really called Debian Iceweasel. It turns off annoying flash ads. It used to be that you could press the stop button, and it would freeze the animation. That would allow you to actually read! Now, you can't, and the girls jiggle while you are trying to read the latest policy papers from Sarah Small Town. (Did you know that Reagan actually wrote some good papers?) It just sucks!

Now, this nifty doodad replaces the flash with a symbol, and you can play the annoying ad, if you want to, by hovering over it and pressing the play button. It's so neat!

China's Long Beach

California had its Long Beach earthquake of 1933, where schools collapsed. The result was a whole series of codes for schools only, that has made it less likely that students will be killed in a school. This improves things tremendously, since not many people get killed in the single frame houses of the suburbs. Whether anything has been improved for urban kids, is another matter.

China now admits it made its schools out of wallpaper paste. China has the advantage of not having a zillion lawsuits involving everyone and their dog, even though 'whiners' might not be heard from again. But in a poor country, it is best to put the resources into actually improving things. That is why I'm glad they've taken a South African Truth Commission approach, and are only looking to the future. We, on the other hand, tend to look for scapegoats, which makes the actual guilties harder to pin down in the first place! This has not really improved things in the earthquake biz. I actually find that 'powers' devote most of their attention to ass-carpeting, rather than doing anything. Take that recent bus-beheading where they are suing everybody!

ASUS, give me a netbook!

This post is designed to attract the attention of that wonderful company Asus, who are giving away netbooks to bloggers. I do LInux, I like tiny laptops that crunch your fingers! I've written on the Asus EEEPC! GIVE ME ONE!


Search for Higgs Boson may change the world

On the other side of the spectrum from a "small town" VP, we have actual science. CERN, once again, is putting pressure on the internet to deal with the new data 'firehoses' from the latest collider.

AECL accused of 'Internal Confusion'

Ha, ha! That's calling a duck a duck! This trial promises to be a load of laughs!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Science Lab Gas Jets

I remember the gas jets in the old high school science lab. We used them to hook on our Bunsen burners, and boil things. Somebody was always leaving them on! I remember many times when the smell of gas caused everybody to leave that area.

Well, some boys apparently did the ultimate, turned on the gas and blew the whole place up! Wow! I worked in the labs after school, setting up for the next day, and I knew that would happen one day...

Very deep earthquake

This just in on the earthquake ticker tape.

Almost 550 km deep! Guaranteed not to cause upset stomach!

"Big Easy" was close to another bo-bo

That was dramatic video showing the levies being over-topped in New Orleans. This article discusses the point that the city was within a hair of being soggy again. At least most people were evacuated! But, of course, now come the complaints that they really didn't have to evacuate, and that they won't do it the next time!

Nuclear parts trouble

The so-called advantage of an AECL reactor is that you don't have to wait for the large pressure castings. Local businesses can make all the pressure tube fittings right here in Canada. But, we have trouble in paradise! The fittings business is a tiny bit shady!

(Nasty paragraph deleted)

At Least Nero Played the Fiddle!

This report could have been written by me, on a nasty day! But I'm not nasty anymore, since I'm not getting enough ad clicks for a bottle of wine! Still the report doesn't even mention an earthquake, which would have been fantastic!

So, when an earthquake comes and Hamilton burns in a glow of propane plants, transformers, and natural gas pipes, we won't even get some good fiddle music....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google tries again!

Constantly trying to break out of the search ghetto, Google launches a new browser. This one is open source, and is a slight variation from Firefox. If they can solve the '64 bit' problem with browsers, then I'm all for it!

I'm still trying to contemplate the concept of two open source browsers. Really, if one comes up with something good, then the other one has it the next day! If Google breaks its curse, and actually has a new success, then it might be in the corporate market, with Google Apps.

So, I see that Google has the 'corporate' 'blue suit' version of Firefox (which is for wild techies!). Apple has the 'creative types' with Safari.

Monday, September 1, 2008

BC town buys its own sirens

I have a strange fascination with sirens. They were everywhere in Toronto when I was a kid, and in University, I helped maintain the last of them when I worked at the airforce base. They are horrible, horrible things! They always go off when you don't want them to, and they don't go on when you want them. I can't imagine anyone willingly going to sirens.

The US nuclear plants are big on them, and so are these coastal areas. So, in a very modern world, what could be the alternative? Could we have electronic signs that normally sell soda pop in quiet times? Could every visitor with a cell phone register for emergency text messages? How about giant noisy fireworks? Anything but sirens!

Japan earthquake drill

Tokyo had a huge earthquake drill. They have a huge problem if the earthquake strikes during the day when the office buildings are full. But, preparation will save a lot of lives.