Monday, January 11, 2016

Forcing the old guys into retirement -earthquakes

I have a great joy in hearing from the young people who are getting into one of the million things that I write about.  The worst thing about science and engineering right now is the chokehold by old guys.  We know about the problem in academia with tenure, but this sort of thing is everywhere.  Can you imagine what will happen if they come up with that magic pill that lets everybody live to 120?

Old guys like me should go into retirement, but there is no more compulsory retirement age.  pooh.  The consequences are that Science becomes more philosophical rather than 'hard'.  The best work comes from people in the 20-40 age bracket, then they should go into management.  :)

For earthquake science, the best way to force out the old guys is through a flood of hard data.  With this, you can employ the razor edge of pure Scientific Method.  Old guys hate that, since their power depends on never being proven wrong.  Unfortunately, stupid people have all the money.  Sucks.

That's why we need 'Uber for Science', or a sharing economy for hard-core science.  Right now, the only thing I'm thinking of is a distribution of cheap accelerometers.  If we have a 'learning' earthquake that is well instrumented, we can blow out a lot of bad assumptions, and make room for young people.  Old guys will never go for this, so it has to be a popular movement.

Things that this will do:

-permanently kill 'peak acceleration' and replace it with peak ground velocity (PGV)
-kill standard modal seismic analysis, and replace it with finite differences.
-produce a window of opportunity to use rock mechanics for earthquakes

Unfortunately, this 'earthquake revolution' will be stillborn.  The Evil Seismologist Cabal has control, and will spend all the money on stupid early warning.  The Evil Engineering Cabal will spend all the money on stupid shake tables.  The young people will have to go with this or starve.

But I must end on a hopeful note or I will get depressed.  The next person who will win that 1 billion dollar lottery may like causing trouble in the scientific community.  :)

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