Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Padang is a Death Trap


Although this earthquake and resulting tsunami were tragic, it was really a very ordinary earthquake for this type of geology. I'm learning nothing from it scientifically.

It is actually a benefit if a smaller earthquake improves the situation for the real earthquake to come. With earthquakes, people are like teenagers, they totally ignore your nagging, until something whaps them in the head! We have learned here, for local tsunamis, that there is no time to recover from the earthquake before the wall of water hits. For Padang, the only escape is some rickety bridge that will be the first to fall down. The streets will all be clogged with debris.

Let's say the M9 doesn't hit for 10 years yet. Can something be done? They should build 'escape islands' that won't fall down in the earthquake.

I think it's worse when we have situations like Toronto where there will most likely never be a 'wake-up' earthquake. Nobody is prepared.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thanks to Everybody!

Got my fine-wine Google cheque today! And as the days get shorter, it is ironic that I can't guzzle the wine like at the cottage! As winter approaches, my serotonin goes down, and alcohol tends to chew it up.

But here's to stocking up for next summer! And thanks for clicking on the horrible ads! I don't think I would bother, if it weren't for some minor pat on the back (and minor it is!).

Things we are watching out for:

Earthquake - there has to be some earthquake around here some day!

More rock bursts in Niagara - it's all set up, there's no reason for it to stop.

A whisper from Bruce - When are they going to start up Niagara of the North?

Starting up Chalk River - Ha!

Blowin' in the Wind


An information meeting came close, at times, to transforming into a witch hunt, after more than 400 people crowded into the Manvers Arena to voice concerns over a proposed wind tower project.

The answer, my friend.

This sort of thing used to be confined to nuclear waste. Now it's anything! They should just have permanent signs "NO NOTHIN'!"

Soon the pol-cor people will be whining: "We'll only put wind turbines where people want them", just like they think they can do with nuclear waste. "We don't want any tur-moil!"

No water for a night

In an earthquake, you should be ready for no water for 3 days. In that case, it is good to have a hot water tank, rather than a smoggy in-line heater.

We got a taste of that at the old manor yesterday. We've been plagued by water main pressure drops all summer, but this was a doozy! The driveway down the road was lifted by a watermain break. Note to the wise - if you have a shitty old water main under your driveway, do not go for expensive patterned concrete!

Naturally, our professional screaming neighbours all screamed at the city. First the city said 3 hours, then more screaming, and they said 1 hour. What's it off their nose? They're off in an hour! The trucks all came and then sat there for 4 hours! We didn't have water from 5 pm to midnight. Then in the morning, all the water was mud! I'm still flushing everything!

If this happens to you, don't forget to flush out the hot water tank a few times over the next week, and turn up the temperature, if you have it too low. The soil is a wonderful source of Legionella!

Tsunami Work


Malaysia’s SOP has been lauded internationally because it ensures that during a disaster, there is no conflict between the army and the police and there is only one chief of operations, who also controls all the government agencies.

“And, unlike other countries, once an area is cordoned off as a disaster area here, even the politicians were kept away from the area, unless authorised,” he said.

Ha, ha! Keep the damn politicians out! Sounds like a plan.

Geological Timelessness


Earlier this summer, Head and two other geologists convinced the bureaucracy in the geology world that the Quaternary period -- the interval of geological time in which humans evolved to present -- actually started about 800,000 years earlier than originally accepted and written about in geology books.

Yeah! The arcane world of geological philosophy! The discussion probably took place in Hogwarts, with everybody wearing long white beards, and pointy hats.

Monday, September 28, 2009

US Dribbles Out Seismic Money


Thirteen universities, including St. Louis University, are receiving a total of $5 million in stimulus money to upgrade earthquake monitoring networks.

The St. Louis University Earthquake Center will receive $121,389 for upgrades in addition to equipment that will help the center monitor activity in the New Madrid seismic zone and prepare the region for the possibility of a seismic event.

Yeah, it's better than a kick in the head! But not really serious. My hope was always that these zones would get monitored sufficiently to prove or disprove my hypothesis about interior earthquakes. One zone (Hamilton) is not enough, you would have to find evidence of fluid activity in all zones. Oh well.

Whales or People?


It's tragedies like the Chi-Chi earthquake that send research vessels into the world's waters a few times per year to try to improve our understanding of how, when and why earthquakes hit. But the technology they use to do that — long submersible cannons called airguns — has drawn loud criticism since the 1990s from marine mammal experts.

This is a nice balanced article. The extremist whale-huggers would let everybody die, as long as the whales were safe. A very fascinating battle.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sichuan Quake - One in 4 Thousand Year Event


PARIS — People who were killed, injured or bereaved in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake had the cruel misfortune to be victims of an event that probably occurs just once in four millennia, seismologists said on Sunday.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, Shen Zhengkang of the China Earthquake Administration and colleagues said the May 12, 2008 quake comprised a strong seismic wave, unusual geology and the failure of three subterranean "barriers" to resist the shock.

One in 4 thousand years. So, this earthquake really shouldn't have happened, according to the small-minded thinking of our local city bureaucrats. This is waaaay beyond living memory! But, ha ha! Nature has a way to fool ya! There are an awful lot of places with remote odds, so one is going to be set off every few years. Makes one wonder how you really prepare for earthquakes. Should you plan for 1:100, 1:1000, or 1:4000? I know that nominally our nuclear plants plan for 1:10000, but I've had words about their competence in past blogs. If the Toronto area planned for 1:1000, they'd actually have to admit the possibility of earthquakes! That ain't gonna happen, folks!

Nuke Refurb and Niagara Tunnel in a Race


OTTAWA - The Point Lepreau nuclear plant is not expected to go back online until roughly February 2011, 18 months later than planned.

The delay could double NB Power's original $400-million estimate of the cost for replacement power.

A glorious race of who can be the slowest, and cost the most money!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wind Protectionism


The McGuinty government is making sure that any green-energy revolution in the province is, to a large extent, made in Ontario by Ontarians.

I just like this picture. Sends shivers down my spine! And now they are going to suck us into Obama-protectionism!

Giant Underground Nuclear Waste Conference


In the middle of nowhere! I hope the Canadians show up, they like the middle of nowhere. Did you notice that there isn't a peep from any of those 'wasters' lately? Did they lose all their money in a Ponzi scheme? Is anything going on with the Bruce site?

New earthquake research project in Canada


Carleton is one of eight universities participating in a new $5-million Canadian network that will help identify, assess and mitigate urban earthquake risks in Canada.

Announced Thursday, the Canadian Seismic Research Network is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and is headquartered at McGill University.

“A high percentage of Canada’s urban infrastructure was constructed prior to the adoption of modern seismic design provisions in the 1970s, and many of these have been found to be deficient,” said Prof. David Lau, Carleton’s team leader.

Researchers and graduate students at Carleton will conduct research to ensure Canada’s critical infrastructure — hospitals, schools and bridges — remain operational after a seismic event.

This is really good news. Provides work for the poor academics. I'm quite happy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Utah Quake Hazard


Ok, here's the scoop - you are told that a big fault zone rips every 1500 years, and the last one was 1500 years ago. Quel Horreur! It could happen any day now!

Then, somebody steps in and says - Whoops, we found a big one only 500 years ago!

Now, do you hype all this up to get more grant money, or do you say - whew!

Carbon Capture Sheer Folly


Why don't we do more of these reports? We could call them the Sheer Follies! There would be a lot of acts here!


Act 1 - Carbon Capture

Lord Oil wants to be respectable for Lady Publican. He arranges a complex plan, with music, showing how all his nasty body odor can be sealed in a can.

Act 2 - New Nuclear

Prince Neutron arranges a giant masquerade ball to confuse everybody! As part of the show, he randomly selects groups to be hosts, and suddenly, poof, they disappear!

Act 3 - Geological Waste Disposal at Bruce

Nasty Baron von Plutonium arranges a visit to Hell, complete with collapsing caverns, tons of water, and trainloads of grout. Escaping radionuclides are represented by the Cirque du Soleil.

Act 4 - Niagara Falls

The final gala parade has an explosion of water, rocks and shotcrete. A thousand singers belt out 'Rocks Keep Falling on my Head'.

What Lies Beneath the Dock

As you know, we had a miserable, cool, wet summer, but the fall is nice. Just spent another 3 days at the cottage, with one day of solid rain that sucked all the life out of me!

When it was nice, dog and me would watch the sunset on the dock, and do some fishing. I just had a little piece of worm on a hook, and was looking for some small fish to amuse the dog (the marina now has a Lab that looks for fish and jumps in and catches them!). Anyway, there was nothing! Probably because the big monsters under the dock are eating them. Every time we have kids up, we tell them to snorkel under the dock and look at the big monsters. They are always awed.

So, both nights, I toss most of my worm at the end, and it doesn't sink a metre, before - flash! it instantly disappears. Obviously, this gives me a way to catch them, but somehow I don't want to.

Well, this was the day I finally pinged a red squirrel with my air gun! These things get too bold around humans, and then dig into your cottage. You should see what they did to my neighbour! So, every few years I have to put the Fear of Nasty Humans back into them, so they don't get into my place. Right now, they were so bold, they practically ran over me and the dog! So I got out the air gun, and shot after one. I'm not a great aim, but I was getting within mm's of them, and making a great big loud noise on the wood. And you know what? Not a clue, just like a Niagara tunneler! They'd go like nothing happened. Finally, I got it, and it jumped like 6 feet! Took it's little friends with him, and I never saw them again. Now I won't have any fun for another few years!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nuclear Money Goes into Wind


Get ready country people! The guy who botched up ehealth, and nuclear has got you in his cross-hairs! Transmission lines and wind farms. Why not wind turbines on top of transmission lines? All you whiners in Nanticoke, worrying about a fantasy nuclear plant -- HE'S COMING!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Niagara Tunnel Patches Up, Moves Ahead


New mention of the 'small rock fall' which I am calling a rockburst. I think the difference between the 'temporary' and 'permanent' lining is another 8 inches of shotcrete, but I don't know. A nice quote:

The client noted in its H1-’09 report that realignment of the tunnel had enabled the machine to improve progress, reducing rock overbreak to minimise excavation in the Queenston shale.

But, surprise!, things are just as bad above the Queenston Shale! They should have stayed just under the Whirlpool Sandstone, and popped out at the last minute. I include a chart for clarity.

A Volcano in Australia


I may be accused of squeezing the remote odds, but this takes the cake. A 2000 year return period? Good old Aussies! Yellowstone will probably erupt first. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Port Hope to be Dug Up


They'll dig up the soil, and put it in capped storage. The big danger here was leachate, and dust. As well, they had numerous problems with radon in basements.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Feds tell NB to shove off


Just like Ontario tried to suck money out of the feds for new nuclear plants, now NB want money to paper over a botched update. Both have had the door slammed in their faces!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Proposal to Ding Nuclear Station

Ding is a large 4 unit nuclear station on the north shore of Lake Ontario. It was designed and mostly built in the 70's, and as such suffers from a very old seismic design basis. This is now proving to be rather useless when checking out modern equipment, which is seismically qualified to modern standards.

ding used a base seismic ground motion that could never exist in the real world. It was a combination of soil motions in California, and grossly amplified by erroneous assumptions. The ground motions in the upper stories of this extremely stiff building were calculated to be a factor of 10 over the base. No amplification has ever been observed in this type of structure, but it might be as high as 1.5.

ding needs to abandon the original assumptions, and go with modern experience data. As well, being Ontario, they should base their approach on peak ground velocity (PGV), rather than peak acceleration. As such, they are safe to take some of the worst assumptions from modern geology, and construct scenario earthquakes. Most likely an M6.5 under Hamilton, and a local M5.0 near the plant, along one of the nearby mega-thrust basement structures.

Even under these circumstances, we only get a PGV of 10 cm/s, on the rock, and perhaps 20 cm/s on the till foundation of the turbine hall. Since these are plainly non-damaging levels, I would propose a new standard for ding. That is, not to merely have the safety systems undamaged, like a Japanese plant, but to make the whole plant operational during the scenario earthquake.

Ontario faces a grave situation when the Hamilton fault finally lets go. Under current circumstances, all the nuclear plants are expected to shut down, since they are totally unprepared for earthquakes. Like Japan, they will have 'funny business', leaks, and exploding transformers. Like Japan, the plants may not turn on for months. Should this happen during a cloudy January, wind-still cold snap (with the coal plants dismantled), Ontario is buggered.

As well, it is a little-known secret that nuclear plants need the power of another nuclear plant (or giant coal plant) to start up. This is called a 'black start'. It is possible to harden ding, so that it stays up, and merely goes to 60% because of electrical grid disruptions. This is a much better social situation.

ding can achieve this by running a seismic margin assessment on the plant, using a screening level of pgv of 30-50 cm/s. As with all nuclear plants (like Japan), ding is immensely strong in some areas, and very weak in others. It is the weak areas that will fail and close the plant.

Once we acknowledge that earthquakes are possible in our area, then this becomes the major social issue. Perhaps that is why nobody will touch it, since it is so grave, and makes previous ice storms and blackouts look like a picnic. The concept of all our nuclear plants bundled up like a Japanese 'quake-hit' reactor is too horrible to contemplate.

A Tale of Nuclear Waste


This article is way too long for me to read, but some people may be interested in how two towns in Sweden are competing to get a billion-dollar facility. Personally, I think the geology is unsuitable at both sites, but they hope to compensate for geology by making it the richest copper and exotic metals mine (slightly radioactive) in the world!

Mafia finds a cheap way to get rid of nuclear waste


I think we can sell this to Obama! :)

Finance Dampens Nuclear Hopes


The original nuclear renaissance bloomed on the concept of infinite, cheap credit. Then came the credit crash. Now, this plant may be killed because of credit risk, and a propensity for nuclear costs to go through the roof.

What I really want to note though, is that this new nuclear plant is on the most deadly of seismic zones, right at the edge of the sinking passive margin, and an area known to have large historic quakes. Are they doing anything about this? Will they? No, they won't put in a penny for new science.

Harper told to make AECL 'smarten up'


There is a 'lack of focus', and so they should delay any sale of AECL. I like listening to the 'big guys' yelling at each other. It reminds me of giant walruses bashing each other on the beach.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cauterizing the brain with sunshine

Had a very nice two days at the cottage. Plenty of sunshine, no bugs, water like ice. Did all the man stuff like painting and chopping wood, and all alone with the dog. My mind is totally off the Niagara Tunnel of Death. Let them kill people, who cares? Nothing I can do. :)

Hey, somebody is doing a scientific wiki of me at Geofish Clarified! I have no ideal who it is!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time to sink again

I've had my run for a while. Nobody is clicking ads. Nobody cares that the Niagara Tunnel is starting to explode. I'll try to recover again. Many thanks to everybody!

Calling Gus Klados!


Ok, we need this guy for the Niagara Tunnel. When they halt the project and start the inquiry, this guy will be great.

I once attended a meeting where a famous big consultant told us how to handle being an expert witness at a trial. All these guys were sucked up in doing this at that time, abandoning engineering. Anyway, you had to have a history of never saying anything, and only say three things at the trial - Yes, No, and Could you clarify the question?

I can't do that. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Niagara Tunnel - And So it Starts - CAVE INS!


Ok, this is getting a bit too freaky for me. The rock erupted 2 km behind the head, in a zone where there had been overbreak, which must have been just before the sandstone. They call it a 'temporary lining', but I don't see much diff. with the final lining.

The rock squeeze is coming faster than I thought. At first I thought they would get stuck in the bad sections because the Squeeze would get them. But then they miraculously Squeaked through, and just left behind this bizarre tunnel profile.

At that point, counting on the Luck of Fools, I pronounced (in my brain) my Main Chance prediction.

They will get away with their funny lining, and will only notice unusual longitudinal cracking before they fill. They will either paste over the cracks and ignore them, and start the water fill.

After 10 years, they will start to notice the tunnel water flow slowing down, and this will set up as a trend. By 15 years they will finally drain the tunnel, and see severe lining damage, much like every other ill-conceived tunnel in this area.

Now, I must amend this prediction to include:

Before they fill, they will have numerous cave-ins. They will dig these out and paste over them.

Now, my real dilemma in my prediction is guessing where exactly they will have the most trouble. I'm not too sure where in the strata this cave-in occurred.

Niagara Tunnel Leaves Sandstone - Into the Breach!

As of September 9th 2009

The tunnel is 5404.2 meters (17,730 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)

The Invert Concrete Bridge is 2,000 meters (6,561.6 feet)

Holy Crap! I was wondering what would happen when they left Sandstone Paradise! Now the over-break is back to where it was, and they've slowed to a crawl again. From the picture, they are back to pasting over the over-break! Damn, I hate being right!

There is so much science in this tunnel, but nothing will be done. Everything we could have learned will be lost. The other day I ran into a 76 year old civil engineer, who used to be an expert on immersed tube tunnels. They don't do those any more, but here was the last of the much vaunted 'Canadian Expertise' in tunneling that ruled the world in the 70's. It was all treated as a trade secret, and died with the experts.

Now it is all forgotten, and they had to go with Austrian contractors, who don't know squat, compared with what the Canadians knew.

Venezuela Earthquake

Tectonic Summary

The September 12, 2009 earthquake offshore of Venezuela occurred at a shallow depth as a result of right-lateral strike-slip faulting. The tectonics of this area are dominated by the eastward motion of the Caribbean plate with respect to the South American plate, at a rate of approximately 20mm/yr. Major fault systems in the region include the Boconó fault further to the southwest, and the San Sebastián and El Pilar faults which run from west to east near the earthquake epicenter; these faults accommodate the majority of the motion between the two plates. The location of today’s event indicates it may have occurred on the San Sebastián or El Pilar faults, though further analysis of the earthquake is needed.
The region surrounding the September 12th event is known to be seismically active, and has hosted strong earthquakes in the past; previous damaging earthquakes include an M6.5 quake in July 1967 that caused approximately 240 fatalities, and an M5.4 quake in May 1989 which made more than 2000 people homeless in the Tucacas area.


This is a fascinating area for me. The Caribbean Plate is like a bulge that has burst through the North and South American 'wall'. All around it we have volcanoes, and beautiful tropical islands. At the bottom, this bulge has to grind past South America in a giant strike-slip fault, exactly like the San Andreas. So, Ven. is a copy of California, even with wacky politics! :)

With this geology, I'm surprised that their historical seismicity only shows smaller earthquakes. This is not right! A place like this with 20 mm/yr movement should have huge earthquakes! Maybe they are yet to come...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

ACR-1000 All-Clear for Canada

These systems will be used to build AECL's new ACR-1000 reactor, which earlier this week was assessed by the
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission as having no fundamental barriers to licensing the next generation reactor in Canada.


This generally is part of the useless noise, except for this little gem. I love it.



You've got to be fascinated with the Him's. That was a major study for me, when I was all into plate tectonics. The basic story is that India has a strong push north from deep forces, and is kersmashing into Tibet like a big bulldozer.

But that really mucks up basic physics. How can India be 'pushed' and only deform on the top? Why doesn't it stop? So, the devil is in the details. Now, they are beginning to get some hard data, which I think is fantastic.

Now, I think the physics becomes clearer. There is a subduction component which always pulls things along as the denser crust sinks back to its maker. The upper sediments are scraped off like a spatula pushes scrambled eggs, and these form the mountains. Heat may raise the rest of the Him's, but it is not a compression buckling which I had earlier thought of.

Isn't the world amazing?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Feds Bitchin' About Ontario


Yes, evil Ontario is hanging the Feds up to dry by 'suspending' the nuclear decision. "it's totally unfair!".

Ok, kids, stop arguing. Ontario isn't suspending nothing, they are giving up on the ability to do anything. And AECL couldn't do anything even if somebody wanted them to do something! Thus, is the way of all things. We're going to have to give up on all the perfect self-similar institutions and organizations -- they can no longer actually build anything. Hopefully, others will take up the slack, but I don't really see them coming down the road. Do you?

Twitter Slides Towards Ads


I tried the twit one time. I couldn't keep out the flood of spam and stupidity, so I quickly burned everything! But all these darling internet services have one thing in common -- they're free and they don't interfere with anybody. And they don't make money. As soon as they decide to turn the screws for revenue, they are spit out like a sour gumdrop.

So, can the twit-people figure out a way to stop burning money, and squeeze out the juice? It will be fun to watch. I know I can't live without my ads!

Geophysics in the Arctic


Hey, nobody gives a hoot about airguns in the Arctic, because this is war! This is an interesting article, and shows how everybody is cooperating scientifically.... for now. :)

Another idea for bridges


"So, I've been smoking up, like, and here's this idea....It's fantastic, man! Bridges break, man, and that's a bummer. Let's put in this unbreakable shit, and No More Broken Bridges! Is that an idea, or what? We could make a movie, man -- Knocked Down. I could be in it!"

Swine Flu at University

Two days after starting her wild orientation activities at Mac, the daughter is sick in bed. She says it's just a bad cold (she just had one). I said that she should take her temperature, but no thermometers in the vicinity. I also said she should tell somebody, but they don't have any procedures in place. I think she's the sort of person who would just curl up, and not want to bother anybody.

I hope her roommate is a person of action. If it is pig flu, then everybody is going to get it anyway. I somehow suspect that the much-vaunted vaccine is going to be a tad late.

ps. Looks like it was just a bad cold!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Only contract workers know how to use the internet


I'll bet all the bright ones left.

Reminds me of a story. I was once in charge of a dream to get internet access to the corporation. I was working with some bright people who set up the security gateway, and I did a usenet server, and email. This was way before normal people knew about it. So what happened? All the bright workers used it for porn! They were union, so they didn't get fired, but they totally clamped down and destroyed our efforts. 5 years later, they came out with a horrible, controlled system, and they they gave up on heavy controls, because it was unworkable.

So now it looks somebody found a loophole in their draconian system, and did the porn again! They could only fire the desk-contractors, and not union, but I think now all their brighter engineers are contractors.

Purdoo gets big earthquake funding


I can never figure these things out. Suddenly, some place which has never done anything about earthquakes get big pork funding for an earthquake centre. It happened at Booffalo, and now it has happened here. They must know somebody.

Still, since they are starting from zero, maybe they'll do something great. Like listen to me! But most likely, they'll just stay the course as to not offend their godfather....

ps. note how I never spell anything right to save me from PR types and lawyers. :)

My Very Last Few Days

So, I was a big hit at the corporate party, since the Americans always find us depressive Canadians very funny. They're lucky they caught me on a 'up' cycle, since I thought they were going to hire me as Chief Corporate Comedian, but then they would expect me to be up all the time, and I would have to snort cocaine. :)

The next day I did final preparations for the middle kid to go to his crooked house at Queen's, in Kingston. We got him this cookbook for fresh students, which promised to get them off kraft dinner everyday, which is what he lived on all last year. It started with the basics, such as boiling water, and telling what is the proper colour for a carrot.

My son suddenly all got into this book, and was cooking. It didn't have any pictures, so when he made poached eggs, it was one big stringy mess. "Doesn't that look nice?" I tried not to barf.

With this book, we had to get a knife set and spice rack (both at costco). Anyway, that night, I was dreaming about my job as corporate comedian, when I got up in the middle of the night for a glass of water. With my usual skill, I dumped a slug of water down an open lung, with no air. Oh god! I couldn't cough, but the water went up through my nose, like the movies. The only sound I could make was a strangled 'eeep', which woke up the wife, but she was totally useless.

I knew to get my head down, but there I was. The mystical half of me was saying "Isn't this a nice way to die? No lights down tunnels, no floating bodies, just peacefully fading away." The rational side of me had been through this before. In Mexico, I was body surfing on a beach, when a giant group wave hit me. I was tumbled around like a sock in a washer, but the rational brain said this can only last 10 seconds, if you follow the bubbles, so I popped out.

So, my rational brain was saying "Get real, nobody dies on a mouthful of water. You got three minutes before you really die. This can't last more than 20 seconds." And so it did, and suddenly I could yell "That was something!". Later, my son the lifeguard told me he would have stabbed my lungs like they do for lung-filling gunshot wounds. LEAVE ME ALONE, ALL YOU PEOPLE!

So, you would think that would end my final last days, but no, I had to drive to Kingston. There I put up his computer, and spent 3 DAM HOURS getting the wireless bridge to work. Vista 64 doesn't play nice with strange hardware.

Bats or Earthquakes?


This is a sad and pathetic story from some third-world area. Seems they have to make a choice between roof leaks and pesky bats, or doing something about the earthquake threat. And buildings in just sad shape are surely going to poof, in the event of a shaking.

In the end, you've got these crumbling buildings full of students, which are going to collapse. Does that sound familiar?

US wants to go it alone


This is interesting. The famous US politicians, who can't get much done, have ordered a new isotope reactor, without actually worrying about the money. They have a tendency to order up things, but not paying for it at the last minute.

Just like Canada, they can juice up an old university reactor, or build a new Maple-type reactor. Either option is not yummy. From what I've read, the nasty part is not the reactor, but the isotope processing, which should not be done in a populated area.

Now, I joke about the Maples, but nobody has a new design for an isotope reactor, so it has to come out of the blue. I wish them luck!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Coziness Costs


And nobody is as cozy as the people up here in Canada, where it is very cold, and only a handful of remaining nuclear people.

Ancient Nuclear Plants


Old nuclear plants never die, they just leak away.

Corporate Party

Right now, I'm having a cup of tea, and I'm strung out to the max! Big corporate bbq at the manor tonight, and I'm having trouble being the perfect stay at home house husband. Well off to bbq the salmon, chicken in advance, make the salads, and then do the steaks...

Nuclear Bundles on Strike


Nope, they're not making these things anymore (for a while). That reminds me of my association with these things, of which I wrote in Water Laser.

When the first bundles were spit out of the brand-new Darlington, I was well-connected with the fuel people, and they would talk to me. They showed me amazing pictures of how badly these things were smashed. I concluded that this was no simple vibration, but a non-linear water-hammer, much like my pressure-balance shower (sometimes it makes the house rattle!).

As I have mentioned before, these things have an amazing non-linear response to water flow. This has never been scientifically investigated, and remains one of the horrible things to await us with the new candu design. As usual, I got thrown out of this whole investigation, when it became apparent that there was a cheap and dirty solution. Of course, the vibration continues at a lower level, and shakes the whole plant.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Throw Out Science - Make Money


This is a great study on why science is on the decline in bureaucratic counties like Canada. If you have doubt about achieving something, then throw out all the science! Thus, with a deliberate effort to squash all readings, we have this guy reaching the North Pole, and tons of people believe him to this day, include some who should know better.

When you want to build a Niagara Tunnel, throw out all science and claim victory! Who can oppose you? When you want to build an underground nuclear waste facility, in the World's Worst Rock, throw out the science and go on faith. Better still, actually do the science, and tear up anything you don't like, just like Perry!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Battling Bobbling Bridges


Seismic work on bridges. They should figure out a way to not allow a massive traffic jam right on the bridge, and also to throw red lights as soon as the system detects an earthquake.

Newbie Nukes


Yeah! A standard article on new nuclear in the States. Doesn't say much.

A Weekend to Remember

Ok, here was the scene as it was laid out to me. I had to get the baby girl off to McMaster residence (first year), but first we all had to get to my niece's wedding in Boston on Sunday night!

There were 5 of us, which is a real awkward number to travel with. I looked at the airfare for 5 from Toronto, and nearly died! Then I looked at driving to Buffalo, and taking Jetbloo. Toronto - $800 return vs. Buffies - $150 return. So I took that option.

5 is awkward for taxis and hotel rooms, but we got a nice suite that holds 5, right near MIT! It was a great flight with real legroom, which you don't get with a certain big red airline.

Boston is really neat, so many tunnels now! I was looking for falling concrete in the tunnels, but didn't see any. Oh! Did I mention that on the way down I finally went through the Thorold Tunnel, which has an infamous history, and started our massive work on rock squeeze. Which was all ignored for the latest Niagara Tunnel.

So, this wedding was located in the New England Aquarium, which was fantastic! I could down my double Scotch, while staring down penguins! We had our own private time there. They had a big tent for dinner and dancing, and a live band! A fancy wedding, right out of the movies!

So, on the way back we dumped the daughter, and I'm sure she's glad to see us go!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nobody wants gas plants either


I'm not going too far down this road, because it's political.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Empty Nesting

We are all busy this week at the Manor. This is the first year that every single kid is pushed out the door and off to university, and we'll be all alone with the dog.

If you raised your kids to be independent thinkers, then this is the time you really want to say: "GET OUTA MY HOUSE!". I'm glad that they'll have to learn about washing underwear, and keep the fridge from going all fuzzy. Don't forget to visit!

Westinghouse AP1000 Finnished


Ok, I was all hot for the AP1000 for Ontario. Seems it isn't certified in the US, and they are running into Finnish-like problems with the regulator. So, these people are treading down a well-worn path....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Binomial Statistics


You may think of this as you wish, but I once read a great book that said, if you suspect the process to be binomial (like a plinko game!), then you can expect excursions of 2-3 times, and should not over-steer them. This applies to sales results, profits, quality, etc. In other words, it might just be the nature of the distribution, and nothing you can do.

Few Days in the Cheesy Concrete City

So, I spent the last few days doing my beer run in M'al, which is a code for a certain big city that has very good French restaurants, cheap booze, and scary concrete. I never mention anything in a clear manner, for fear of psycho-fanatics, who have no sense of humour.

This time the weather was fantastic, and I was driving through the city with the hybrid instead of the van. My brain has to click into 'Psycho Mode' in order to survive driving there, but now I do it quite easily. Not as psycho as that 'courier cruncher', but close enough.

The weather was so nice, and we had a very nice dinner in an open second-story patio restaurant in the old quarter. I love that restaurant! After, we had a nice walk, and smelled the stinky horses.

On the way out, they were repairing a bridge (that I never look at), and the traffic was backed up for 20 km! (opposite to our direction!) I kid you not! Love that place!

Earthquake Experiment Ended


They decided that there was no money in generating earthquakes, so they have closed up shop, and vow to plague some other area. Good luck!

Finland Sets an Example

Three Stooges Wonderland


I just love these stories!

Steel Fuses


It is the goal of structural steel designers to make a building with replaceable energy-absorbing elements, and then put the building back together again. They think from within their specialty, and wish to totally ignore the foundation, and the physics of the earthquake. Thus, we have had 'basement isolation', and all sorts of goodies.

Here is another one. Alright then students, what do they forget? They forget that a building is filled with all sorts of non-steel elements, like people, and waterbeds, and drywall. Hospitals are full of things that don't like to roll down unlevel floors. Yet, I can't totally get down on these things, because they now require decent real-time seismic analysis.

So, you will see these things installed, until something new comes along.