Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nuclear seismic monitors - Part 2

OMG! Somebody just clicked big, so I will continue. This story is very painful to me, and now they say that bad memories are best repressed!

This happened in the mid 90's. I was obsessed by the fact that these in-plant accelerometers never worked. My thought was that if you could feel the earthquake in the plant, or surrounding neighbourhood, you better get some readings, or you would lose credibility. (Ha, ha, to that now!)

The economic benefit of these instruments would be in restart after an earthquake. There had been a nuclear plant in our sister seismic zone down near Cleveland, Ohio. It got hit by a nearby M5.0, and some instruments registered 18%g. The new plant was in hot standby at the time, getting ready for start-up. It was shut down for 6 months, until they got their act together, on what really happened. At that time, the USNRC had some balls.

Now, some utility people got the lesson that you shouldn't have any seismic instruments working, because then you can bullshit, and the plant would never have needed to shut down. That's why they all jam screwdrivers in their instruments! :) I was idealistic, and got they idea that somehow the public would be interested if a plant shut down during an earthquake, and it would be difficult to start up again without hard scientific data. I really wanted to be able to start up rapidly, since if an earthquake happened in January, we would be up shit creek. Japan had a reactor shut down 'forever' because none of their instruments worked. I now realize that the cnsc whimps would allow startup even if the place had blown-up transformers, and leaks all over the place.

Be that as it may, I was idealistic at the time. I designed a 'non-triggered' system, similar to our seismic monitors in the region. It would be networked, and should an earthquake be declared by the GSC, we could go back into the buffers and retrieve the data. This was a simple system and would work. We designed it for Bruce B.

Then the bottom fell out. Some looney director took an interest and declared that P*ering would be the first plant. My heart fell.... these guys didn't know how to butter bread! He stated (at some drinkfest) that his people were the best, and knew how to do all of this, without me.

But at this time the whole place fell apart. Bruce was split off, and I was chummy with the nuke-president. Suddenly, he was kicked out when Pick had their tube blowout, and the knives were after me. I had to hide! To top it off, the main president committed suicide by letting in some diabolical Americans, and they were in charge! I had them after me when I was trying to defend intellectual freedom. I was destroyed, and only the union protected me in my hermit cave.

Throughout all of this, P stumbled along with the seismic system. They mixed two incompatible concepts (triggering and buffering), and did all sorts of bizarre things. I couldn't go after them anymore.

-too painful! Will come back another time, maybe...

Once again, nuclear seismic monitors don't work. Part 1


However, workers at the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona, about 50 miles (80 km) west of Phoenix, felt the 5.8-magnitude quake on Wednesday, the plant's owner told the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The earthquake did not register on the plant's seismic monitoring equipment.

One of my most heart-breaking episodes at the old company was to do with in-plant seismic monitoring. All the US plants have them, but they never work! There have been many earthquakes where they should have worked, but they didn't. I have some faith now that Diablo Canyon works.

We never had to install them in Canada, but non-working systems were the 'fashionable' thing for the rest of the world. Suddenly the cnsc (then aecb) felt naked when schmoozing with other regulators. "Quel horreur, yew don't have ze seismic monitors? We laugh at your small penis!"

So, they issued an order that all Candu plants must have in-plant seismic monitoring. Bruce nuclear promptly ignored them, so they hit at sappy OPG even harder! They knew who was more gutless than them!

When I heard of this, I thought 'OMG, these things never work, and we don't have any place for the wiring. We have to think of something new!" That's when my drift into depression started.

-to be continued if anybody's interested.

Top 50 Employers - no institutions


I remember one year at the old company when there was this big push to make the 'Top 50'. We all groaned! We had this big survey to fill out, and we were brutally honest. The people who were happiest weren't smart enough to figure out the survey!

I don't think we made the Bottom 50! As usual, there was a big kerfluffle about how miserable the survey results were. New initiatives were launched, we had several big meetings where they gave us free coffee.

The next year we filled out the survey again. This time they didn't give us the results, but said we were 'improved' from last year. Then, no more surveys, and no more free coffee!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bruce Nuclear Waste - The Big Lie

One day, perhaps not in my lifetime, they will actually move on the underground Bruce nuclear waste repository. Right now, they are totally paralyzed by the Fish, terrified of what he'll say next.... :)

I'm having fun looking up the concept of tunneling in karst. Here is a perfect picture of the Bruce site.

The Bruce site is below the collapse cliff. The windmills are on the top. You just have to look at the old air photos to see this. Since the lake is just at this level, all the caves are filled up. The karst topography is caused by deep dissolution of soft rocks, such as salt and gypsum. The weakness allowing the water ingress, is caused by the Grenville Front, one of the many megathrusts of southern Ontario.

Now, you must remember kiddies, that all I'm telling you is not acknowledged by anybody, since there is no money in discovering bad geology. All the money is in confirming good geology for the rich guys. They tried really hard, and actually found a layer in the rock that wasn't beaten up as badly as the other layers. They confined all their studies to this layer, and the boreholes were lucky enough to go through some solid chunks. Yeah!

But getting to this amazing layer is going to be tough, far worse than the Niagara Tunnel. They will have to inject large amounts of grout, and here is what someone says about that:

Grouting is a procedure in which grout is injected into different kinds of spaces. This procedure has had broad applications in modern civil engineering, especially in karst terrains, for nearly 200 years. Ingredients for the preparation of mortars and grouting suspensions include cement, clay and fillers, bentonite, asphalt, additives for stability and water. During their construction, thousands of tons of materials are injected into the karst underground. Some ingredients and chemicals used in the preparation of mortars and grouting suspensions may be toxic, neurotoxic or carcinogenic, and may be irritants or corrosives. Their use is dangerous to both humans and the environment.

Ooooh! Sounds nasty! Do they mention this in their environmental impact statement? No. That's the Big Lie!

Legal Statement - The above was presented for the public interest. It is protected by the recent Supreme Court ruling.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shotcrete Fill - Tugging the Dragon's Tail

In our last report on the Niagara Tunnel, we noted that the overbreak will be filled in by layers of shotcrete, in preparation for the main liner. I was worried about this, since it reduces stability, or the safety factor. Since we don't know anything about the tunnel, this may or may not be a problem.

I am working blind here, since all the information about the main rock burst has been kept secret. I curse a pox on the houses of OPG and the Ministry of Labour for this! This doesn't do the country any favours.

Be that as it is, I feel no shame in making wild guesses, since I am the best I have! :) If I had seen the damage, I would have noted how the 4 ft rock bolts pulled out, and whether there was horizontal or vertical force. My suspicion would be that the side of the tunnel bucked first, before the roof fall. You would tell that by seeing the side bolts thrown out, instead of merely sheared.

If the failure was due to roof pressure, then we are increasing the chance of another rock fall (another forgotten borehole? ha, ha!), as per the diagram.

The shotcrete adds extra weight to pull the roof, without the added stability of an arching action. Note that the overbreak has always had a slight offset, as if the tunnel were intersecting the principle horizontal stress at an angle. I found this to be bizarre, since we always measured nearly uniform stresses in the Paleozoic, and only strong NE polarity in the granitic basement. Perhaps the stress is much great than I imagined? I sure wish there had been pictures for the failure, since this would tell us more about the stress than anything.

So, why are we tugging the dragon's tail? Because this work will be done directly under the rock mass on a light platform. You are pulling at a giant unstable rock mass! Like digging at the toe of an unstable slope. Is it enough to pull it all down? Unfortunately, we shall see.... If it were me, I'd be layering on styrofoam.

On the positive side, once they get the liner in, they should be able to fill it up with water before they see the cracks. Then, they only notice water flow reduction in about 20 years. Of course, we'll never hear about it!

New Jersey Sinking - Boo Hoo


Interesting article on sea level change, and the sinking of the east coast. My goodness, we started warming the earth significantly the very first day of the steam engine! Whatever are we to do?

There is also a longer cycle of sinking due to the passive margin cooling. That would be seen in much older sediments. Reminds me of the long-term sinking around Hamilton due to the fault motions.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New books for Christmas

I have a Sony PRS-700 bookreader. This is currently the top of the crop, with a backlight and touch screen, which makes things a bit glary, but you learn to live with it. Costco just got in a cheap ebook, which seems to have a nice screen.

These readers support epub, which is an open standard. The nasty-bugger Kindle does not support open standards, and you are forced to buy books from them. What I have discovered is that I can now check out books from the Toronto Library. I don't have to steal them anymore!

You need to have your old crappy xp machine around, since all this drm crap is Windows. You run Adobe digital editions to transfer the borrowed books to the sony. You have a lending period of 21 days, and you can return early, but you get a limit of 10 books!

The more people do this, the more electronic versions of books they buy!

Niagara Tunnel Starts Lining

Yeah, my Christmas anxieties are over! I was finally reduced to drinking NOTHING! in order to let my pills work. It is appropriate that I'm getting nothing on my ad clicks! Now I can be my old nasty self...

When I wrote Niagara Disaster, I was always worried about the lining. How were they going to do it? As we recall, with Niagara rock, we don't want to put in a stiff lining, until the rock has completely relaxed. So now I have found out, since they have started the Over-break Shotcrete Carrier.

This beautiful machine trundles along with a template, and allows them to paste over the over-break with layers of shotcrete. You can see the arc at the top which tells them how far to go. Shotcrete can only be placed in layers, so the 10 foot overbreak might take a long time to fill in. Looks like no room for rockbolts, so they are merely adhering to the existing layers, adding a bit more pressure to fall.

Look at the bottom (invert). This is the final thickness of their baby-smooth concrete lining. All water tunnels need to be smooth, and fairly straight, which keeps the flow laminar. The final lining matches this thickness, and will also be smooth.

And here's the beast for the final lining!

A classic slip form. That is why the shotcrete lining has to be nearly smooth, and this will put in the thick concrete lining. They will most likely be installing a rebar cage, but I don't know.

And now for something completely different.

This is a random shot somewhere in the tunnel, maybe the repaired section. My eye went immediately to the lower left where we see a spall. OOOOhhh! Is it a stress spall?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rubik's 360

Boy-genius older son solved it in 30 minutes, using a dynamic 'rhythm method', just by 'feeling' it. We had hoped for more of a challenge.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Deep Fluids Give Rumbly Tumbly


I was wondering if they'd ever get something out of the Parkfield science extravaganza. This latest tidbit comes from the 600 m deep seismometer array. Seems that there is a deep rumble that is sensitive to earth tides, and this has to be associated with pockets of fluid. The reasoning, of course, is that pockets of fluid can be extremely sensitive to slight changes in the local combined stress.

This pocket of fluid, trapped in rock can gather volumetric strain, and produce a significant effect at the narrow mouth. A classic effect is a Whistling Cave, where slight changes in air pressure cause strong winds at the entrance.

The rumbling at 15 km depth probably doesn't mean much to the real world of earthquakes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Who's Worse -- Blackberry or Google?


I'm doing this to pump up my visits, and my ad clicks (nothing!). :)

Still, this is the 'final battle' in the mobile internet wars. I'm not including MS, which is out of it right now. We're talking massive email systems here! When the googy-phone and unlimited data plans become available, Blackberry better have their act together to hold the corporate market, but they have the advantage of clinging to MS, who dominates corporations.

The Corpo-Gov Blog

BC Gov Blog

This is an interesting Christmas gift for me. The rise of the corpo-gov blog in Canada. As we know, our lives in Canada are dominated by cartels and self-similar institute-cracies. Normally, you'll never see any brains from these, they just like to fill the wrong tanks at nuclear plants.

But, perhaps some people are realizing this? Did some hero kill themselves to bring out a blog in BC? It's bland, but the editor seems to have brains. I wish them luck!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Libel Chill Thaws a Bit


Journalists across Canada, as well as bloggers, can now use the defence of "responsible communication on matters of public interest" as a defence against libel.

Yeah! We can thank Conrad for this. Any implication that he might be a crook was squashed by vicious lawyers. This might give the timid media a bit of courage....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Geological Witchcraft Thrown Out of Court


The Basel criminal court said it acquitted Markus Haering because he had not deliberately damaged properties or acted carelessly on the heat mining project, which aimed to be the first to generate power commercially by boiling water on rocks three miles underground.

Yeah, he won't be burned at the stake! It looked dicey for a while, but they never did catch him throwing the newt eyes down the hole, so he's free for Christmas!

Christmas Wishes

Time of the year for happy wishes, and these are the things I'd do with infinite power and money.

Nuclear Waste

Shut down the attempt to bury waste in the Geological Armpit of the World (Bruce). Sell AECL to China for a buck, and start cleaning up Chalk River (probably worse than Hanford!) Set up the Geofish Nuclear Research Institute at Port Hope. Put in a nuclear reactor for the high-speed electric trains connecting it to Montreal and Toronto (only stops!). Throw in billions to find a way to get cheap neutrons for Canada, by solving the Maple New Physics Issue. Use the neutrons to burn old nuclear waste, which we would temporarily store in a giant underground nuclear warehouse, and make nuclear isotopes. Bulldoze any vegetative Hopians who object.

Seismic Risk

Set up the Geofish Seismic Research Institute. Retire all those tired Emergency Measures people. Instrument all the eastern seismic zones to show they are all Sisters in Seismicity. Whap all those nuclear people on the jewels to get them ready for an earthquake. Be more aware of soft soils.


Set up the Geofish Geological Institute. Do a full 3-D representation of the crust in the east down to the Moho. Figure out what it means.

Merry Christmas!

Linux Unfriendly Website

So, here's my sad 'Christmas Shoes Worthy' story. I could do my banking with Debian Linux and Firefox until last week. Then it could no longer connect at their on-line banking site. So, I emailed my concern, and all I got back was 'Nobody else has complained.' I did some further research and found this happens when they get an ms-droid who follows the company line. My xp computer connects.

I did more research, and I used

It could not connect. I wrote and said I would be much happier if they said they tested it with anything other than MS, but again I got the same answer. All their quality control depends on complaints! I've been told this type of story a zillion times, and I'm usually right! It takes a long time for others to complain.

So, for my Christmas gift, I want somebody who knows these protocols to tell the president what they screwed up. It is also, probably, bad security, to follow ms shortcuts.

On the other hand, it could be bugs in my latest unstable upgrade, but that's no fun. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Earthquake Taiwan


I love earthquakes in Taiwan! They have such great monitoring, and they actually release the data, unlike the Japanese! Can't wait to see what PGV is needed to blow out windows of a hotel....

Friday, December 18, 2009

China will buy candu!


MISSISSAUGA, ON, Dec. 18 /CNW/ - An expert panel appointed by the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has concluded that CANDU(R) technology is the ideal nuclear reactor design to further China's nuclear power program using thorium as an alternative nuclear fuel source. The panel also noted the ability of CANDU pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR) to reuse uranium recycled from light water reactor fuel and unanimously recommended that China consider building two new CANDU units to take advantage of CANDU's unique capabilities in utilizing alternative fuels.

Yeah, our problems are solved! China will buy candu for a buck, and all those old guys will get nice trips to see the Great Wall! Then, we can buy a candu from China! Hope we can sell OPG to them, as well.....

Candu 'Crown Jewel' argument starts


"We're concerned that this is effectively Canada's new Avro Arrow," he said.

"The real asset is what might be called its human capital," said one source, who spoke on condition of not being identified.

Geologists and Beer


“I started getting on to wine and other stuff for a while, but I became an outcast among my geology friends,” said geologist Laura Webb of the University of Vermont. ”So I had to retrain myself to drink brew.”

Earthquakes and Tunnels


Here's a nice article, but everything's down, and I won't discuss it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going Once, Going Twice.....


OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada put its Candu nuclear division up for sale on Thursday, saying the operation needed outside investors to boost its chances for growth at a time of expanding nuclear power generation and also help cut the cost to taxpayers.

Hey, maybe this is actually the real thing! The carcass is to be rendered and sold for parts! I suppose somebody will give more than a buck, if there is a big package slipped under the table.

Most likely GE buys it, just for the existing upgrade business, like botching up Pt. Lepreau. Who knows?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Global Warming - Phony Facts Fly


Plimer went off at a tangent, starting to list the numbers and kinds of submarine volcanoes. This, I soon found, was a characteristic tactic: when faced with a tricky situation, he starts throwing out random facts.

Doddering old scientists cannot face attack-lawyers (equivalent) on television. Why do both sides want to produce dramatic sound bites? By definition, a soundbite cannot survive a lawyer-type attack. Volcanoes have produced a lot more carbon - in the past - than we do now, and I think this got all mucked up. I did something on the carbon cycle.

Anyway I wouldn't touch all this with a 10 foot carbon-fiber pole!

OPG - Once More into the Breach


They're going to try to sell OPG again! Now, the unions will start their advertising - Giving Away Our Crown Jewels. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quasi-Quantum Computer Does Images


I just thought this article was cute, and proves that Mr. Google deserves to take over the world (Muhaha!).

It's not a purist definition of quantum computing, but does a good job with images.

Nuclear - Alberta giveth and taketh away


Environmental groups, however, hailed the lack of public subsidies as "the final nail in the nuclear energy coffin" in Alberta, while concerned residents insisted the government didn't heed their concerns.

Cagey old Alberta - opening the door, and yanking away the Halloween treat! Well, we can forget about them now....

Messy rooms get the earthquake cleanup


"We believe we pretty much know how to keep a building standing," said Ian Buckle, director of the center's Large Scale Structures Laboratory. "Now, it's the contents of a building that's the next challenge. It opens up a whole new arena for us."

This is a 6-axis shake table, which will be cute to run, since nobody installs 6-axis accelerometers! Still, this is funny. Many times I have said to people: "Don't put heavy things over your bed!" I once saw a bedroom near Ottawa, on the bouncy Leda clay. It had the most deadly, heavy, pointy trophies, on a shelf, right over the kid's bed. I told them, and they thought I was weird....

Monday, December 14, 2009

A seismometer in every garage


I almost wanted to skip this, just like the neighbouring 'tweet' article, but, what the hey! I was just surprised at the cost - $4000, which they described as 'cheap'.

People have been working on cheap accelerometers for houses, for years. There's that one project that uses laptop accelerometers. Are any of these things better than tweets? I think not.

For a seismometer to be of any use, it has to be calibrated. Throwing it into a garage usual means terrible foundation conditions. Can they record minor seismicity long enough to see how the site responds? Maybe, with the big-bucks thing, but at that price I still think it's better to install something nicer.

Deep Plume Under Yellowstone


Isn't this the cutest thing? Now, the same media that reported the Tilapia Fallacy, will now go shrill on how Yellowstone will soon blow up.

This brings up the Hotspot Controversy, of which I have written. Mainly, how deep do these suckers go? But this hotspot is almost sheared off. A fresh plume would be rising vertically. This hotspot, sir, is dead. It has met its Maker, it is no longer among the living!

CRTC Shattered - Wireless Cartel Broken


I was bitching the other day on how you can't get any bandwidth in Canada, and how this would destroy us. Well, the buzz among the brilliant young people (my son :) is that Glob-alive will be offering an unlimited data plan for a reasonable price. This immediately destroys the voice cartel, since you can now use Google talk on a Google phone! These young people are busy organizing the world, and the cartel was severely crimping them.

Right now, all our bandwidth has been crimped to support long-distance charges, which is where they get all their money. For the past 10 years, there has never been a need to charge for long distance, since, once internally digitized, there is no extra cost. Now, everything will be digitized at the input.

I have no love for the cartel, may they rot in hell. Now, on to the other cartels!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mammoths Had No Impact


It's "very unlikely" that a meteor or asteroid colliding with the Earth caused an abrupt climate change leading to the extinction of the woolly mammoth and other large mammals 13,000 years ago, says the University of Hawaii at Manoa leader of a team that investigated the theory.

They were wiped out by a lack of carbon dioxide!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Grouchy Grandpa - 50,000 hits a day!


Because Stephen McIntyre is an enemy of climate change believers, a man who, essentially, double-checks the math behind research accepted as green gospel.

In my good moods, I'd love to be like this! But then I curl up into a ball! He just checks the math, but nobody does the physics!

For me to get that type of traffic, we need the Toronto Earthquake! :)

2nd Geothermal Down the Toilet


The project’s apparent collapse comes a day after Swiss government officials permanently shut down a similar project in Basel, because of the damaging earthquakes it produced in 2006 and 2007.

At least they aren't going to pillory the project geologist! Good grief, what do geologists know about rock mechanics?

Obviously the next geothermal project should be right on the Hamilton fault! Lots of potential energy there.... Seriously, if water is the driving element of all 'internal' earthquakes, then we'll probably get earthquakes with most of these 'hot, dry rock' geothermal attempts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Alberta and Nuclear Power


Albertans will finally find out next month whether their energy-rich province will kick-start Canada's so-called nuclear renaissance.

Ha! They are waiting to give approval to a wild dream. There is no way that bankrupt Alberta can go ahead with a nuclear station in the middle of nowhere, even if it does make the oil sands less dirty. People may have to realize that our constant problem with nuclear has been to find the talent. For the 40-50's we robbed Europe. For the 70's we robbed India, and in the 80's we sucked out China (they've all gone back!). Now, even if we can get drunken Russians (or Romanians), they are not going to Alberta!

Even now, it is absolutely hideous to work at OPG's Factory Engineering buildings. Only the truly dying will go there. And Chalk River, the Seismic Death Trap? They're all just the living dead. :)

Now, if we want a nuclear business, we should gather our pennies, and put a billion or two in a giant research facility, right by the Toyota factory (or Port Hope). Put in some high-speed trains to Toronto and Montreal, so people don't feel desolate. Let a thousand intellects bloom!

Blame Canada


But they might be surprised to learn that nuclear medicine in the United States is dependent on one 52-year-old, leak-prone nuclear reactor that is currently offline, should have been shut down for safety reasons a decade ago, and moreover, undermines international nuclear nonproliferation goals.

Why doesn't anybody add that it's a Seismic Death Trap? Anyway, this weird article goes on to state that nasty Canada sweet-talked the US into doing nothing about isotopes. But really, the US couldn't build anything major like a reactor, unless the pork could span all states. And that is difficult to do!

Broken Tunnels


This is a most amazing story. They have broken, not one, but two TBM's, in the same manner, and in the same place!

Because of high groundwater pressure and soft soils in the deep tunnel route, officials decided to use a new kind of machine rarely used in the United States. The machine pumps a liquid slurry in front of its cutting blades and then sends a mix of slurry and dirt through pipes to the surface.

Now they are trying to tack on some welds. The darn things are just going to break again, since they don't know what broke them in the first place. Judging by the conditions, and the depth (320 feet!), they have gone way beyond the Niagara Tunnel in adventurism. I wish them luck.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Geologist charged with stirring up earthquakes


The project designer and geologist, Markus Haering, has been charged with property damage and will have to stand trial in a Basel court next week. He could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

I suppose they will put him into the stocks and throw rotten fruit at him. Alas, I have nothing funny to say about this, since my blog is dying.

New OPG office building beside incinerator


CLARINGTON -- A proposed 240,000-square-foot Ontario Power Generation office building has cleared the next Municipal hurdle, but until new nuclear reactors here get the go-ahead, the office's construction is on hold.

Carrying on the tradition of putting these things in cheerful surroundings.

Darlington Session


The objective of the half-day session is to provide information on reactor technologies in order to allow the Panel to acquire an understanding of the reactors' principal design features, layouts, key operational parameters, overall normal operation, key safety systems, and the key similarities and differences of the technologies.

Non-funny tone:

Three designs to be presented. We are glad they cut that down, instead of 5 or 10. Still, they will have to gloss over things to jam that much into a single session.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another Slowpoke Gone


This should also happen to the McMaster Slowpoke. All the time now, I'm driving right by it, when I'm doing my daughter's laundry trip. It looks very sad, and I hope they don't juice it up for isotopes.

Christmas for volcano-people


Somebody is happy. Money from the stimulus fund is going to stimulate volcanoes......

Overwhelming Mandate


“Whether people are pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear, they don’t fault the process,” said Krizanc, adding the organization will need an overwhelming mandate from a community before it would be considered as a site.

I think they've added 'overwhelming' as something new. Probably like wanting the Olympics.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rock Burst Silly Season


"Solidarity already warned in November this year that mining safety will have to be increased particularly in the silly season -- the last two months of the year in which there are traditionally more mining accidents."

'Tis the season for more rock bursts, la la lalalalalal......

I never knew that! The study of rock bursts in these mines formed the basis for my thoughts on all sorts of things. But this concept of more deaths being a 'silly season' is a bit weird.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Isotope Venting


How long must Canadians wait for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government to settle on a remedy for the shortage of medical isotopes?

Hello? I just included this little tidbit to show the thinking processes of the bankrupt newspapers. :)

Harper is just as hopeless in this issue as all the other politicians have been. There aren't any brains left in all these institutions, since they completed their march to hard-core politicized self-similarity.

And could Keen have saved us all? Pulease! She was an uber-hack who drove out all the remaining brains in the regulator. I don't know why they have made her into a god.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Build it here, dammit!


A Korean consortium was picked to build Jordan's first small-scale nuclear research reactor, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Friday.

"This is the most brilliant achievement so far in the 50-year history of the Korean nuclear industry. The deal will give us a chance to step up as a big-three producer of research reactors along with Argentina and Russia,"

We have obviously dropped out of the research reactor biz, what with all our failures, and bureaucratic entanglements. If we can't get India to build one for us, why not these guys? We should build it on solid, seismic-happy ground, like Port Hope! Then, our union people will be perfectly good to run the thing to the ground, and keep shoveling in fuel. The isotope business doctors will be happy, and all is good for Christmas! :)

Openhazards Web Site

Openhazards Web site

Neat, it geolocates you and automatically gives a hazard of where you live. All these things should be taken with a grain of salt, since your exact foundation conditions skew things by an order of magnitude. But it's interesting.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tungsten Carbide Wedding Rings

Tungsten Wedding Rings

So, these guys ask me politely what it would take to put a link on my blog so they can plump up their Google ranking. Perfectly honest, and not like that link spam. I'm thinking, like a bottle of wine's worth of ad clicks or whatever, or I'm thinking - the nerve of these buggers, I am incorruptible!

But then, the concept of tungsten carbide wedding rings just rocked my whimsy! This stuff is for armor-piercing bullets! It will last forever! What if Tiger and super-model got this? They could build in a glass cutter, so she wouldn't have to smash the car window with a 9-iron!

So, I do this for free! Happy weddings to everyone!

New TunnelTalk Articles


They have an email alert system, which I get when they have new articles. These articles look good, although I have a great desire to pooh-pooh the concepts of some of them, but I won't.

Fault mechanics and earthquake prediction


Don't you just love those stock photos they always use on an earthquake story?

Seismologists believe that the buildup of stress deep in the earth causes earthquakes. Monitoring such stress has proven impossible to date.

Yeah! The above statement is the new 'global warming' of seismologists. Nobody can contradict this religion, or face exile and poverty. This, of course, means there are no earthquakes here in the east, because there hasn't been any localized build-up of stress in millions of years (or more).

The model does use simple physics, which is a great step up from just wiggle-line interpreting. It says you have to build up the stress, then BAM, then nothing until it starts all over again. Good for them! I'm not arguing. I'm hiding.....

Bell line speed woes

Misc. Stories

I visit this old guy once a week, as part of my heroic volunteerism (Hi G!). He's 77, and can walk my legs off! I also got him into seeing my blog, and clicking on the ads (You better!). Cindy the Wonderdog comes and visits the whole household, including their murderous parrot.

So, one day we're walking on the river, and it starts to rain. In the wild areas, Cindy is a good dog off the leash (Don't tell that to the Dog Police!). So we duck under the Eglinton bridge, and it just starts to pour! There are these two nice chairs looking over the new graffiti, which is very nice, so the two old guys sit down and chat. I totally forget about the brown mutt! When the rain stops after a few minutes, I look around and she's gone. My heart sinks, and I'm ready for a tragedy, since she did something like this 5 years ago. So I go up to the road and whistle, and there she shows up! Seems a very nice couple had corralled her. They said she was playing in traffic! Whew!

Another day, we were walking again in the river valley, when we smelled something awful. G kept looking at his shoes, and I kept looking for overflowing sewers. It came and went. I began to suspect the dog, but she never came closer than 30 feet for some reason. I finally got her, and bent down for a sniff. GACK! CHOKE! WANNA BARF. OH GOD, I TOUCHED HER!

She had rolled in something long dead! Stay away from us, I told her, and we headed for the old ice rink. There was always snow that she could roll in. She went nuts in the snow, and that was enough to keep down the gag reflex. Finally, I had to put the stinker in the car, and give her a bath.

So, here's the title story. I've had 7 Mbits download from rotten Bell forever, but now I finally noticed that various servers were choking at that speed. Before, they could never get their overall throughput to match that. I don't have any choice here, since bankrupt Rogers has never upgraded our squirrel-infested lines, even though they say they did.

Naturally, I wanted to bump up the speed, since I have graduated to Youtube TV on the PS3, which is a great addictive time-waster. I would save the money by cutting off my Bell satellite, which had become horribly expensive ("Our new minimum plan, at a big hike, now comes with more channels!"). I phoned for the 16 Mb plan. -"Oh yes sir, you qualify, no problem!" After several days, nothing happened to my speed! I phoned technical support, and 7 Mb is the max my DSL line can handle! Mad I was! I got back to service, and asked for my old plan back. "Oh no sir, we don't offer that sweet plan anymore, it's 6 Mb for the same price, and we have to charge to bump up your download max".

Bugger! So today I checked, and the bleeps have choked the line to exactly 6 Mbits! And they are sending me a new modem because they were blaming that for the speed limit. Geez, the life of a monopoly. No wonder Canada is going downhill.

World's Best Geophysics Job


"We live in Hawaii and enjoy it, but we forget how special and unique it is," she said. "It is one of the most outstanding volcanic features on Earth, and scientists want to understand it."

This is much better than studying earthquakes in California! At least you can live away from the active volcano. Ah, what a job, beautiful Hawaii, a nice computer room with Sunacle computers. What could be better?

Tsunami Four Storeys HIgh


The wall of water towered 14m (46ft) and included as many as three major waves, researchers have found.


Old reactor vessel ready for Botox


Everything now hangs on the success of the test welds, which are being applied near the corrosion spots on the huge, cylindrical vessel that contains the NRU's nuclear reactions and 65,000 litres of heavy water to cool and moderate the reactor. Nitric acid is blamed for the corrosion.

In a nutshell:

-35 year old aluminum vessel has been subjected to nitric acid - Can you say fizz?
-it's totally worm-holed and probably has a micro-structure of moldy bread
-in the world's worse seismic zone (due to Leda clay), and would do something dramatic in an earthquake
-they can't detect the 99% (almost through) wormholes

Now they are pasting over the known leaks with aluminum spray. The vessel is so hot it should just be hauled away and dumped in the back forty, like they've done with all their other rad-waste. Chalk River should be shut down. ... But that's just me talking.

Build Another Reactor on the Seismic Pit


The panel's report, released yesterday, urges Canada to keep pumping out its own isotopes, with a multipurpose reactor that could cost as much as $1.2-billion.

At last the silly news comes pouring in! I was dying. First of all, we have to get India to build it for us. Second, they would build it on the seismic death trap from hell - Chalk River. There would have to be a heck of a lot of 'global warming' corruption to get the seismic approvals for that swamp.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cheaper to dump nuclear waste in the backyard


Nevada lawmakers said the analysis reinforces their contention that taxpayers are better off finding an alternative to the Yucca Mountain repository. Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign requested the report, along with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Yeah, the bean counters are magnificent!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ancient Earth a Warm Bath


He found through the isotopes preserved within the rocks that temperatures in the early ocean, at least in some spots on Earth, was about 40 degrees Celsius, which can be described as warm bath water. Previous to these findings researchers believed conditions were much hotter, around 70 degrees Celsius, 3.4 billion years ago.

This is too subtle for me! Hot is hot.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

OAU Water Polo Stills

Holy Cow! I'm finally through the tons of video I shot on the weekend. This is the end of the Ontario varsity water polo season. Our girls (McMaster) won a tough bronze, which is great, considering they had almost all rookies this year.

Now I have to figure out how to down-scale this hd tv to dvd!

Ambitious Inmates and the Asylum


The Chalk River Employees Ad hoc Taskforce plans to launch a publicity blitz this week to try to rally support behind the beleaguered Chalk River NRU reactor, which employs close to 3,000 people and pumps hundreds of millions of dollars annually into the local economy.

I can't comment on this, since it sends water up my nose.

CNSC Raises Eyebrows


That tritium (Nuclear Waste!!) report was ridiculous, but we all know what happened to the CNSC over the years. As I have said, there is a consequence of having people think the CNSC is just a toadie clown car. It causes panics over stupid things, and interferes with a rational plan regarding nuclear energy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pickering Meltdown


So, I put up this piece of fluff, to say I've been at the Ontario University water polo tournament (finals) all weekend. That was exciting! As usual, my daughter was amazing! (biased opinion). I have so much video, and I'm slowly working through it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Old Pickering


I just consider this article as something the dying media write. There is nothing here! When I've got nothing to write about, I don't write! I shouldn't even be writing about this!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Beer for Linux


The drink, named "Tactical Nuclear Penguin" is so strong that it should be served in small measures usually reserved for spirits.

Its maker, BrewDog brewers of Fraserburgh described the 32 per cent proof tipple as its "most audacious and ambitious project to date".

Gotta have something about Linux once in a while.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Toyota Factory Security Cracked



This just goes into the 'technical misc.' file, and I'm interested because I really want my very own Highlander, and the other half won't give me the money! :(

It is obvious that these thieves just went up to the cars and drove away. I'm also surprised that nobody had a lo-jack, since I always thought it was a matter of time before the car encryption is cracked.

You can click ads and help me save up. At the current rate, I will have enough in 150 years, give or take a century.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Swine Flu Shot

I just got mine! The Toronto clinics are empty! Soon they'll be cutting back on staff to maintain a permanent 30 minute line, like they do at my local supermarket! So get it while the going's good!

Now, I'm ready for the party season with all the university kids. Let's Part-eh!

West Coast Dog's Breakfast


Nobody has a clue what is going to happen there, but many try to step up to the plate. Most likely, it's the Cascadia subduction zone that will slip down in a manner identical to the big 2004 Sumatra M9. Even though it slips on a shallow-dipping fault that goes under the cities, the shaking will not be so big a deal. You would get a heck of a lot more from local M7's! What will be big is the tsunami and permanent elevation changes.

So, I think the main seismic hazard is from an urban M7, right under Seattle or Vancouver, or Portland. If you design for that, the 'Big One' is taken care of. (How long can you tread water? --Cosby).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Caught like a deer in a taser!


Seismic vessel


That is such a cute ship!

Geology Olympics


Four students will be finally chosen from among the training camp participants, who will represent India at the fourth International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) to be held at Yogyakarta, Indonesia from September 19 to September 28, 2010.

Geology Olympic Events

Beer Belch

Olympiums drink an appropriate amount of beer and attempt to knock down a beer coaster house at 1m, by belching. No fair trying to use other orifices!

Geological Hammer Throw

Oympiadies throw a geologic hammer at an outcrop 30 m away. 1 point for hitting it, 1 point for hitting someone else, 2 points for getting the pointy end sticking in, and 3 points for pulling it out and discovering gold.

Hell, I can't think of any more. Help me out here!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Albania and Ontario


As you can see, my favourite new site is TunnelTalk. It is the future of journalism. Conventional journalism is being flushed down the toilet. The media outlets are all closing, Kady O'Malley, who I just pant over, with her silver Blackberry fingers, (such a blur! swoon...), has been kicked out of bankrupt Rogers. Maybe CBC is the last bastion, but who knows how long that will last?


So, how will the middle son earn a living? The future will be micro-niche sites, that earn money from advertising. Really, where can Robbins spend their ad money anyway? TunnelTalk looks like it is run by two smart ladies that got kicked out of the local television news, which is dead. They own this niche!

This article looks at a big Albanian tunnel fiasco. To summarize: corrupt or incompetent government (who can tell which?) interferes directly with a technical project, and pushes it to be completed in a very short time. Not much investigative work is done, and rock is assumed to be good. In fact, it turns out to be very bad.

They find a willing contractor who hits the tunnel from 4 faces simultaneously. Temporary lining collapses, perhaps from an unseen borehole. They make it difficult for reporters to talk to them.

In this case, it would have been best to proceed with a pilot tunnel, to check the rock conditions, and perhaps do some grouting, or packing with sacrificial rockbolts.

Give AECL to India!



A better, more realistic way to rescue the Canadian nuclear industry would be to sell AECL to India and use Indian technology for our next generation of Ontario reactors.

This is a good idea. We don't have the people anymore to do this, and when we did do it, we brought a heck of a lot of people from India! I think that only the Russians and the Indians can build a nuclear reactor these days.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sudbury Impact


Two American geologists have theorized that something happened to change the ecological balance, killing off the iron-loving bacteria and swinging conditions on the planet in favour of oxygen-producing microbes.

I had read about this earlier, but this is a good article on the subject.

Airport uses base isolators


The world’s largest seismically isolated building, the new international terminal at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport, is now complete and open for business.

Stretching across more than 2 million square feet, the terminal doesn’t sit directly on the soil, but rather on more than 300 isolators, bearings that can move side-to-side during an earthquake. The whole building moves as a single unit, which prevents damage from uneven forces acting on the structure.

I haven't been a great fan of these things, but it looks like it could work here. I was more interested that they were using explicit finite elements (Dyna) to run the simulations. I love this stuff! I've done some of this code here, and I tried to push it at the old company. It's the only way to do earthquake analysis.

Now, if somebody would run these simulations for the whole shebang, from actual seismic generation, they would find it is better just having a good foundation, rather than using these base isolators. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Geofish Caused the Niagara Tunnel Collapse


"The crown fall happened in a area surrounding a 20-year old bore hole," said Ernst Gschnitzer, Project Manager for Strabag. "The hole had a long time to deteriorate and eventually the ground gave way."

I didn't exactly drill that borehole, but it was drilled shortly after I helped define the St. Davids Gorge with geophysics. That was just after the old Geotechnical Engineering Department broke up, and I was shuffled to nuclear. Before that, we always grouted up an exploration borehole, in fact it was the law because of possible natural gas in the region. My old colleagues have a lot to answer for!

So, the TunnelTalk article is out. I'm glad they could pin the 100 ton collapse to a single old borehole, because without that extraordinary cause, the whole tunnel would be suspect. The Queenston Shale is totally impermeable, so that was one heck of a hole to have caused water damage! I'm glad all the other holes didn't do this.

The sandstone has proven to be abrasive, and I think there are more sandstone layers ahead for them. I'm glad they talked to the reporter, since I wasn't expecting much. Oh well, it's good be wrong, since I was way too gloomy on this. If my mechanism is correct, we shall have some more major collapses, but for now, let's regard this happy article as a Christmas present! :)

Nuclear Waste Worth a Fortune


Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG) reported a net income surge in the third quarter despite falling customer demand. Profit gains were mainly due to returns in investment branches set up to manage nuclear fixed asset removal and nuclear waste management, the company said.

But, they are going to blow it all on their Niagara Tunnel, and digging waste into Bruce karst.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shipping Cranes in Earthquakes


Container cranes are used to load and unload ships in ports and are critical to port operations. Past earthquakes have highlighted the vulnerability of container cranes to damage from even moderate earthquakes.

I was about to give this my "Most Hopeless Research" award, but I've canceled that (it sounds nasty!). All research is interesting in some way. Still, you can see that the nature of the shipping crane makes it a 'disposable item' when an earthquake hits. The best you can do is have some other area ready, with cranes ready to erect. But the cranes aren't the problem here. Dock areas are almost always on dirt fill, put directly on muck. The seismic amplifications are 10 to 100 times, and not much survives. These shipping cranes are mobile on absolutely flat pavement, and that just isn't going to stay that way.

I think this project is more like designing earthquake-resistant shelves in a brick china shop. :)

Geologists Do Math?


Introductory geology courses at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and across the nation will teach rock-solid math skills to undergraduates studying the geosciences with the help of a new Web-based program.

“In the 1980s, we witnessed a decline in the amount of math included in introductory geology texts that coincided with an attempt to attract more students to the major,”....

Now, I know a lot of geologists, but they don't do math. :) They probably buy lottery tickets!

The preceding was a joke! I do not know of any Geologist Barbie Doll that said "Math is tough." Geologists are fine human beings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tunnel Talk Talks to Me

Well, they are probably the only ones with enough brains to do a spread on the Niagara Tunnel. All they need to find is another rock mechanics expert to review the pictures. I've never found one who blabs like I do, but maybe they can. Trouble is, if you blab, you lose credibility and income, by definition. To paraphrase: "I'm not going to join any club, who will have me as a member, and I'm not going to believe any expert who tells me anything."

Geology and Evolution


A team of scientists led by the University of Adelaide has reconstructed a history of marine barriers, mountain building and glacial cycles in New Zealand over millions of years, using the first complete genetic history of the moa.
So, something interesting does happen in NZ! (besides geology scandals!) In a neat reversal of roles, you can get an idea of geology dynamics by looking at the dna of ancient species. Of course, our good neighbours down south, won't appreciate this.....

But the rest of us can enjoy the complexities of evolution.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Water polo stills

I'm quite proud of these stills! I'm filming in hd video, but was zooming in real close to try to get stills. The video is terrible when you do this, but the stills are good. You then select frame by frame to get a good moment. Most is blurry because the shutter speed is slow, but some frames crystallize. I then use the 'unsharp' mask to eliminate the slight motion blur.

Far better than shooting stills in water polo, where the splashing water makes things difficult.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Big Becky starts to warm up again


Work had been disrupted since Sept. 11 when there was a collapse of rock from a 25-metre section of the tunnel's ceiling. It occurred about two kilometres into the tunnel, more than three kilometres behind the spot where the tunnel-boring machine, nicknamed Big Becky, is cutting into the rock face.

This is all from a local news outlet, and is directly from the official mouthpiece. However, we learn that the collapse was much worse than I thought, with 25 m of lining taken out. That must be at least 500 tons of rock! I'd love to know how much extra overbreak there is now! And it's all been fixed with mesh and shotcrete.

We also learn that it completely blocked access to the TBM so I wonder how much 'scheduled maintenance' they got done. As well, we find out the Ministry of Silly Walks and Rock got involved, which is interesting.

So, do we think the tunnel is better off for having barfed up all this rock? Surely we must go with all those silly earthquake scientists who think that once rock fails, it will never fail again? (latest ENA earthquake theory). Sadly, the new configuration with the steep vertical arch is even more unstable under high horizontal compressive stresses. The rock failure will just want to work its way to the surface. And all the other rock will want to join in on the party!

After the rock failure in Scotland, and the recession, I can't believe these guys can get credit, investment, and insurance. Most amazing...

Where are those dang Tunnel News people anyway?

Nevada more contaminated than Port Hope


Over 41 years, the federal government detonated 921 nuclear warheads underground at the Nevada Test Site, 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Each explosion deposited a toxic load of radioactivity into the ground and, in some cases, directly into aquifers.

Good old Reid-country is on a new kick to suck money from Obama. This water moves so slowly that it will take 6000 years to reach the nearest pitiful community (I'm sure the dust got there a lot sooner!). Nevertheless, Nevada wants compensation for all that water!

Forget the fact that they sucked all the money out of California with their gambling, they want more!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Scottish Tunnel Does the Niagara


The £150million Glendoe scheme ground to a halt just two months after it opened following rock falls within its massive water tunnel.

Thanks to Hypocentre who pointed this out to me. We've already had our rockfall in the Niagara Tunnel, even before it's built! I wonder if it was the same contractor? Can't be too many of those around the world....

Oh, pooey, it's some other Austrian-sounding company - Hochtief. It was 20,000 tons of rock, and they used an unlined TBM tunnel.

Maybe they're Austrian cousins?

Investigations of the exact quality and condition of the rock at the location of the rock failure and the exact causes of this embarrassing, costly and serious situation for a brand new hydroelectric power station project continue.

NZ Power Station Really Does Have a Problem

This is scandal is really perking me up! From unknown sources, we have this map of recent epicentres around that canal I wrote about.

Under intense pressure from the utility, the little newspaper buggers have completely zapped the article, but I hope somebody can find it. Basically, this canal area has been riddled by earthquakes, with many new fault traces showing up all over the place. Suddenly, without word to any of the local workers, they decide to drain the canals. Que passa? These poor guys are caught trying to save the fish with their bare hands! A decent human being would have pre-netted before draining.

Ah, local geologist, who is very nice, deserves a high paying job, yada yada, is suddenly badly misquoted, and soundbited to death by the local media. Her point was that these things don't suddenly happen, and there must be a reason. Most likely, the canal has been split by earthquake faulting.

"Ah no! She is crazy!" cries the mouthpiece of the utility. "We don't even know what earthquakes are, so how can it be an earthquake?" Poor lady is mucked by having a mud wrestle with porcine people.

So, although they are attempting to squash all this, the internet is harsh. As a geotechnical engineer with many years of experience with these stupid canals and water tunnels, my scenario is this: They suddenly found themselves with less water at the gate than expected. The canal is on porous volcanic shit, and uses a fairly thin clay lining, under some sort of erosion rip-rap. It is very easy to rupture, and when it does, a lot of water leaks out, which is instantly shown at the gate. You drain the canal, but it is very nasty to find this sort of thing. I would suggest an electromagnetic survey, to try to find soggy bits.

Now, of course I could be all wrong, but when utilities play this game, I rise to the challenge, and make up the nastiest explanations.... :)

Nuclear Dumpster


Fragmented federal-provincial energy policy jurisdictions and political gamesmanship result in domestic market inertia effectively thwarting any prospects for a Canadian nuclear revival;

No comment.



But, Scharnberger added, the fact remains that there’s a lot that isn’t known about this series of small earthquakes, of which 817 have been reported to date, several of a magnitude about 2.9 but most registering at less than 1 on the Richter scale.

No comment.

Sloppy Seismic Shenanigans


SAN FRANCISCO — The Bay Bridge fix that halted traffic across the span for more than five days was not inspected by federal authorities, The Examiner learned, despite public promises from the state agency that oversees the structure.

No comment, I'm going down again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NZ Utility More Opaque Than Ours


Geologist Donna Falconer claims Meridian's explanation doesn't stack up and believes they are looking for damage in the canals.

"You only have to drive along the canals and see all the heavy earthmoving gear ... They are looking for leaks down in the zone where all this seismic activity has been."

I'll have to go with Crazy Donna* here! What are they doing with this? Most likely they have a significant increase in water leakage, as measured at the gate. So, you've got to drain it and look, in the middle of night, when nobody sees you! Ha, Ha!

*term of endearment.

Earthquakes Slow Down Nuclear Plants


The NRC has asked Westinghouse to revise the design of the AP1000's shield building, which is the outermost structure of the reactor. Regulators said it was unclear whether the shield building, as designed, would be able to withstand earthquakes, tornados or other disasters.

Yeah! Earthquakes are back to totally muck up the plans of mice and men!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Creepy Fault


With an average of four mini-earthquakes per day, Southern California's San Jacinto fault constantly adjusts to make it a less likely candidate for a major earthquake than its quiet neighbor to the east, the Southern San Andreas fault, according to an article in the journal Nature Geoscience.

These sections are always fascinating. What makes a fault section less 'crunchy', and more of a slow grind. It could be rock type, but I think it has something to do with water. At this section the rock does not have a large difference between static and dynamic friction. It is the equivalent of grinding two bone-dry bricks against each other. However, I can't believe that water is totally out of the picture here, so I think this section will surprise us one day.

Being a slacker at work


The goal of a great career, the goal of really powerful people, is to work as intensely as they can for the shortest amount of time possible. That's what you want to do.

This is my book! But, it's too much work putting out a book, so I don't think this guy is a real slacker, he just pretends to be. I always found that people who worked every second were pretty dumb. I always found ways to do a tenth the work, and then just flow like I was everyone else!

And at the end, I felt I earned more than Bill Gates, normalized by income per time worked!

Belfast Tunnel


The city was built on a material known as Belfast sleech — a complex mixture of sand, gravel and boulder clay that has caused serious headaches for the team building the Belfast Sewer Project.

Now, that's some serious tunnel work! Only one minor collapse, and they haven't yet stopped to demand more money!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Radioactive Pickle

"You start with the world where you and I are getting an exposure from the sun, from the soil we walk on, from the brick in our house that on average is about 400 millirems a year -- which is dangerous," said Tom Lenhart, a former member of the federal-state Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards. "The EPA would never allow that kind of exposure. So you are starting from a baseline of dangerous exposure, and this is what makes regulating it a nightmare."

We can't live.....

Seriously, if you cut down the standards to ridiculously low levels, you can't do anything. I mean, you can't dig this stuff and dump it somewhere! Of course, the natural gas would displace coal, which throws out more radiation than Port Hope!

Drilling into a Volcano


The boreholes at Campi Flegrei won’t likely hit magma, researchers say, as the holes will reach only half as deep as any known reservoir, and even if it does, the result will not necessarily be a disaster. It could, rather, provide researchers with important new information about the inner-workings of volcanoes in general, and Campi Flegrei in particular. Meanwhile, Naples will simply have to hold its breath.

Dum, dee, dum, I'm drilling into a volcano....

The Mystery of Hot Springs


That warm brew is laden with minerals. And its source is generally thought to be “meteorological”—that is, rainwater that soaks deep into the Earth, where it’s heated by geothermal forces.

But new research at James Madison University’s Department of Geology offers an additional explanation.

Last fall, associate professor Steve Baedke and then-undergraduate Nick Silvis took several samples of the thermal waters of the geological region known as Warm Springs Valley.

Tests by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California showed traces of a rare helium isotope—a signature of water not from the top layer of the Earth, the crust, but from the middle layer, the mantle.

I've always wondered how you can get a hot spring in the middle of very stable crust. How the heck is it possible? Now it appears that there is a really deep connection. If this water comes up, then replacement water has to go down, in a huge flow system. I find it quite amazing.

Smithers-man Goes for Toronto


The guy who likes to pick 'technological winners' is running for mayor. We need him to scrape up enough money for the Pan-Am games!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Life of the Driver

So, it's great having all the kids, and associated sundry over for dinner Saturday night. Today, I'm paid for it by driving Mr. Politics to KIngston, and then Miss WP Princess to Hamilton. Whew!

Luckily, I'm the master of the 120 Sleep! I'm zooming along the 401 in an empty zone, and I can click my eyeballs to lock, and go to a Selective Temporary Lobotomy (STL). Then, an hour later, I suddenly wonder where I am! I'd love to see this on a PET scan! I think it must be some ancient evolutionary advantage:

The mighty hunter, sitting on a ledge, waiting for the prey. ZAP! STL to conserve energy. Something wanders in to his field of view, lets go the spear, and hopes it's edible!

2 million years ago, the great Division of Labour between the sexes. The man invents power tools, so he can get alone more. The woman talks, and ZAP STL! Those men unsuccessful at it do not become successful breeders.

Modern times, any woman talking to you, STL! You must still be totally alert for sharp objects, or 'attention checkers', such as "I'm going to sign us up for dance lessons."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pickering Unit 8 Now Down for Over 1 Week

As I mentioned earlier, if it was down for more than a week, it's probably the sinking transformer, since most anything in the switchyard can be fixed quickly. We cannot expect any clarity from these guys themselves, since they are bound by commercial secrecy. Up to a point! :)

If it is the transformer, we can expect it to be down for several months, provided they have a spare, ready to go. If it turns on tomorrow, forget I said anything. :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Niagara Tunnel Taking a Rest

On November 1st 2009

Scheduled maintenance of TBM is in progress
The Invert Concrete Bridge is 2,640 meters (8,661 feet)

On September 11th 2009

The tunnel is 5418 meters (17,775 feet) long
Over-break is 3.5 meters (9.8 feet)
average 5-7 meters per day
elevation below surface 89 meters (294.5 feet)

mining halted following a fall of ground at 3,600 meters
pending debris clearing and repairs to the effected area
as well as a scheduled six week shut down for maintenance of the TBM
mining has been delayed

Sorry everybody. I had assumed the reason we weren't hearing anything was the result of some evil squelching of the news. But, brand new on the site, they are telling us that everything has stopped for maintenance. Whew!