Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ice Pressure Ridges in Lake Erie

I was going to save this as something the nuke-opposition people could spring on the Bruce Mob at their parties, but I don't even think they'll go. I always love a good party, but I can't take the stomach acid of a direct confrontation.


This is a great story! It all started in the early 80's. Then Ontario Hydro had this great idea to export power to the States, by laying in a cable in Lake Erie. The lake is extremely shallow, and it would be easy just to throw down a cable. No?

The cable was planned to start from Nanticoke, right beside a certain ill-thought-out nuclear site.

Whoops, have to go for lunch! Deposit more in my Christmas bucket if you want to hear more.

Last Gasp at the AECL Corral


Two events are heading for a collision, like two cars in Quebec without snow tires. One is the ever-delayed Ontario Nuclear Political Decision, and the other is the Incapacitation of the Canadian Government on the Edge of a Depression Precipice.

How are they related? As this article shows, AECL is begging for some response from Harper, but he can't even tie his own shoes! These guys are slowly being swallowed by the GE Python. GE is building a new office tower right beside them, and already the AECL president is going to be sucked in, because it's all new and shiny.

That leaves the hated French Taunters.

When it all collides, it will be messy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Geoblog Meme: What would you like for your Geology Christmas Present?

I have decided to start one of those Geoblogger Memes that everybody goes ga-ga over.

My Answer:

I would like to be granted the Fellowship of the Royal Smart Ass. This would be lots of money to do what I am doing now. I would be able to buy toys, go to conferences, and actually get papers behind the Pay Wall. As Official Royal Pain, I could go to meetings, eat the cookies, and make fun of people!

Party Begins at Nanticoke


Oh, my 'No Nukes' buddy! Here come the parties! They are bringing in entertaining hired guns, and even serving food! Sounds like they are bringing in Cooling Towers, with no chance of tritium leaking into the lake! (just don't breathe!)

You have got to go! They even mention how they are going to do seismic, with no new regional geology investigations. Make sure the milk doesn't go up your nose when they say this!

Be happy, and enjoy the show! Don't harass these guys, since it causes too much stomach acid, and they have nothing to do with the BM anyway. They're just being paid a lot of money.

Old Alberta Not Dumped for Pretty Sask.


Looks like Alberta Jenn was getting worried by Sask. Angie, but not to worry. They are all special to the BM! Everybody is special!

But at this rate, there should soon be another starlet in their sites. Who could it be? Manitoba Paris? Northern Ontario Madonna?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Beck Tunnel Gets a Comment from the Top


Seemed to have missed this, when I was in my dying phase. The rock is crumbling all around them, but everything is OK. Hopefully, they can skoot right under the Whirlpool Sandstone and everything will stabilize. Still, I think the whole tunnel will eventually have to be abandoned, since they will never stop the rock squeeze. But before that fact is acknowledged, there will be a lot of fun attempts!

Bruce Power Meteorite Impacts Northern Sask.


We were all waiting for their objective feasibility study on a nuclear plant in Sask., and guess what? Yeah! They want to build one!

My Certificate

It's so beautiful, I just had to enter it into the nethersphere. My next day, actually doing something, caused horrible stomach pains, so I'm out forever.

Earthquake Swarm in Arkansas


I love the name Arkansas. It rolls over the tongue. They've been experiencing an earthquake swarm in an area noted for hot springs. Nothing grabs attention more than an earthquake swarm! We had one in Burlington, ON, about 20-30 years ago. You can send in all the seismometers you want, and you won't learn anything, it takes years of careful monitoring.

Seismic Siren


I had just written on infrasonic pollution, and this comes up as a deliberate attempt to communicate with elephants! In this case, the elephants are over-sonic-fied drivers!

Non-Seismic Garage Collapse


I'm not saying too much, for fear that the inhabitants of that city (which I will not name, for fear of search engines), will tear into me, with their usual nastiness.

Now, there has been recent scientific work showing that if an area is strewn with litter and graffiti, then it induces a bad attitude. In this city, cracked and disintegrating concrete is everywhere! I never look at the bridges! This leads to a big yawn whenever they see bigger cracks, or progressive failure.

Now, they may be blissfully unaware, but they are in one big seismic zone, that makes our Ontario zones look like mild cheese. What happens to all this concrete when it happens? I sure hope I'm not on a booze run at that time.

Story on Concrete Contempt

Heard this in a hallway. Seems when they were refurbishing a nuclear plant, the first ready-mix concrete truck rolled up to the gate and was stopped, because it might have a liquid concrete bomb. It was stopped for hours! When they finally let it through, they still poured! Eventually, they had to demolish and restart. In my day, we would have had concrete people who would have laid down in the form-work to stop the pour!

ps. You have stopped my ad money! I'm going to drift out again.

More Geology Disposal Info Dribbles Out


This is rare. I could never get to see The Record before, they must have removed the dumb subscription thing. Now we find out they managed to extract some solid core -- yeah. At least with my 'one day special' working on the inside, I did manage to find out something about this whole environmental hearing process. And boy, are they in for a surprise!

And Then There Were Two


AAAAAHHHHH! My last hope for rationality has flown the coop. I was still sticking to these guys at parties, because they offered the simplest plant, which could not easily be destroyed by nuclear bad management.

Now, Westinghouse has fallen by the wayside, along with some nasty comments by them. Ontario still puts on a brave face.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tales from the Twilight Zone - Standards

First, I got a note to join opposition to a certain new nuclear site on Lake Erie. I am in favour of rational nuclear plants. I am against blind nimby-ism, so I would never join a nimby effort to oppose Nanticoke. That said, I am making an effort to see that standards will be applied to this whole federal assessment process, and I believe this will solve our mutual little problem.

That said, back to my live blogging, slightly stale. Start with dinner:

I walk in. I've been out of this for a long time. Can I get back in without an anxiety attack? I talk to all the people. I tell them that I retired and had to heal for a year by blogging everything in my soul, but now I'm totally drained. That goes down well.

Magnificent food, absolutely terrible wine. Wish I could have brought in my own. I'm having a grand old time, joking and insulting all my old buddies! Found out I missed a whole maternity leave with one of the ladies.

Took photos of the awards. Got one myself. Nice desert and coffee.

Next morning, had to pay for my dinner by attending the meeting. Nobody on the outside can appreciate how surreal these standards meetings are. Time stands still. The methods they use for communication are stone age, but they all think they're too modern for them.

Can I sit through this? Will I activate my ulcer with all the bad memories of the old company? Surprisingly, I am handling it well. I have healed! I enjoy chewing on every word, as though I am watching Nature. I let the hostilities and serious insults flow over me like a warm sea breeze.

Now I am in a quandry. Should I be consumed to the inside for a tiny bit of money (essentially, no big money available)? Would I give up on the blog, because nobody has heard of such a thing? These are things I ponder while I'm in my blog sleep.

ps. I have gone through the fire! I will give up going into the real world, because nobody wants to pay me, and I will diminish, as a good elf. I will go into computer programming, and blogging.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Resting Phase for Blog

I'm now in a resting phase, since I am uninspired. I've had too many 'deaths' and resurrections to see anything into this, but one day I'll just slip into a blog coma.

Tomorrow, I go to my big CSA recognition dinner, along with a zillion other people being recognized. (If everybody is special, then .....). I then go to my first standards meeting, ever since I ran.

It would be good to quell my blog addiction, and put it to bed. I've given up on the Ontario nuclear scene, and comments on world earthquakes are a dime a dozen. The US has to totally give up on nuclear since they will never have a waste repository as good as Nevada, but I have some hope for Canada, after they get through all this initial silliness.

More Radioactive Waste Cans


I'm fairly neutral on this, but here is another example of giant waste barrels on a very bad place. I can't imagine these things leaking on the very first day, but they will age, and they are located on a major seismic zone, and right beside the Ottawa River.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Underground Nuclear Power Station

We did a lot of work on this in the early 80's. Thought it was a great idea! Turns out it wasn't so hot, since you had to deal with a lot of holes, and the heat dissipation was a problem.

Nevertheless, we did a lot of analysis, and some drilling at Bruce. That's how I got to know the site so well.

I also did some dynamic modeling, since the extra heat might cause rock spall and rock bursts.

As we all know, I decided that the Bruce site could never support an underground structure, so we walked away from all this silliness.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Seismic Risk to the Golden Horseshoe

I'm digging up more old papers. This one used the term 'Economic Core', which might not be appropriate now. :)

I got my name on these papers, in the latter, wasted years, by simply never telling the bosses! And they never read anything!

Here, we got in the influence of water, which I think is the key to seismicity in this neck of the woods.

Now, we're getting into some Serious Geology, as opposed to Simple Geology, which is what they use for siting nuclear facilities.

We paid a lot for this special magnetic survey. Pity nobody uses it, doesn't fit into Paris Hilton Geology.
Imagine what this would look like for the Bruce site!

Such nice seismicity depth profiles! This only comes from having a very dense array of seismometers.

According to every international standard that I have read, this starts to approach the level of effort required to site a nuclear facility of any type. Nobody does this in the States (except Diablo Canyon!), not in Japan, and certainly not in Canada. Will their feet ever be put to the fire? Will we rise above the rinky-dink and see Real Geology? Naah.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More the Merrier at Diablo Canyon


Yes Virginia, they have discovered another fault at scenic Diablo Canyon. Does it mean anything? Probably not, since the place is total rock rubble. At least they are looking! I've never seen a company so devoted to earthquakes. They even have in-plant accelerometers that actually work! Can't say that for anybody else.

Big Loss for Ontario Power Generation

OPG get hits hard. Paying my pension will put them further in the hole. The government will bail them out with a new nuclear plant.

Ontario Power Generation Inc. posts $142 million loss in Q3

TORONTO — Ontario Power Generation Inc., Canada's largest producer of nuclear power, has posted a $142-million loss in the third quarter, reversing a $113-million profit in the same period of 2007.

OPG says it experienced a significant drop in earnings from investment funds set up for nuclear fixed asset removal and nuclear waste management.

Fund losses for the three months ending Sept. 30 totalled $190 million compared with earnings of $92 million in the same period last year.

OPG blames the decrease on the global financial meltdown.

Toronto-based OPG says higher fuel prices also ate into its quarterly earnings.

The power company says it produced 27.3 terawatt hours of electricity in the quarter, exceeding the 26.2 terawatts produced in the third quarter of 2007.

Hydroelectric production accounted for 8.9 terawatts, nuclear production comprised 12.2 terawatts and fossil stations produced 6.2 terawatts.

CSA Standards - Back in the Game

I'm going to a free CSA recognition dinner (have to dust off the suit!), and the next day I'm attending my first meeting in over a year, even though they aren't paying me, and I'm sure the old boys are really, really mad at me for allowing them to enrage every geologist on the planet!

CSA stands for Canadian Standards Association. Normally, they do standards for toasters, but for some reason they were drafted to do standards for nuclear facilities. Who else is doing them?

Why do we need standards? We need some common definitions so that we can have intelligent discussion. If everybody just makes up their own definitions, like Bill Clinton on sex, and certain disposal places on 'good', then we have the situation where every gas station defines its own 'litre'. Who could compare prices?

Weights and measures are the oldest standard, but in the past 200 years, we have had engineering standards. It all started out in the 1800's when lots of boilers blew up. These could destroy a whole city block, or disintigrate an entire passenger boat. The boiler makers at the time were just hammering things together out of any old junk they had lying around. The boiler codes defined a certification process which could be legalized by cities and states. In the code, they specified materials, ways of construction, testing, etc.

The same went for elevators which used to fall down a lot. In fact, there is hardly anything you touch that doesn't follow an engineering standard.

Of course, standards have gone way beyond that, to open standards for communication, quality standards, toilet standards, etc. Now they want to work on standards for nuclear facilities, such as the geology and seismicity.

A good standard will handle definitions, and quality of work. Somebody wanting to put in a nuclear facility will have to say "This meets the soandso standard." As I've said before, vendors will want standards to limit liability. For example, it would have been great for the Niagara Tunnel to have followed some sort of standard for long-term tunnels.

I hope one day to have a standard for nuclear waste. This might eliminate some of the 'airy-fairy' things going on right now with Yuk-Yuk and certain other waste facilities.

Passive Continental Margins

This is a new book that sounds interesting. I can't afford to buy it, because my ad money is dedicated to wine, and I'm soooo close to my first 100 bucks, I can taste it!

A passive continental margin seems to be a more remote source of giant earthquakes, but nevertheless, it happens.

Does this resemble some place you know? That's right, it's Hawaii! The margin is always accumulating sediment from the rivers, minus all the overfishing. This slowly makes it a lot heavier. At the same time, the oceanic crust is cooling, making it slowly sink.

Once in a while it decides to rip! For something like Lisbon, it probably ripped for over a thousand klicks, while activating a ton of underwater sediment 'landslides'. This made for some huge tsunamis!

I find this fascinating with regard to the source mechanics. There aren't a lot of minor earthquakes dotted along the edge. This probably means that the fault is as smooth as a bathtub, and only tends to rupture in large bursts. Most faults are 'fractal rough', and have a lot of smaller earthquakes setting things up.

This type of earthquake is a threat to all the coastal cities, such as New York, but I think they are a very slow rate phenomenon. In other words, New York will get hit by local large quakes, before something like this happens.

Yuk-Yuk Mountain Slated to Die


There will never be another underground waste repository in the US after this. For if we decided to pick on North Dakota, they would follow the Nevada recipe to get out of their obligations. As well, no site can be 'certified' for one million years. And the transport issues will be the same.

Nuclear waste will continue to be sent to scrapyards, and stored in rusty barrels by rivers flowing into cities. As usual, there will have to be some sort of disaster to start things going again.

Geology is Simple


Bite my tongue...bite my tongue....bite my tongue.

Nothing found to stop radioactive waste plan


Posted -22 sec ago

Ontario Power Generation is halfway through the drilling and geological studies for its Deep Geologic Repository project and nothing has been found so far to stop the project.

DGR geoscience manager Mark Jensen said with 34 different rock formations from the surface to the 680- metre-deep site beneath the Bruce nuclear facility, the data coming back confirms old data from a Texaco oil and gas drilling record from 1969.

The low permeability in the limestone rock of the Cobourg Layer, where the site would be, would prevent migration of radiation. Seismic studies have revealed the calmness of the region and geochemistry that shows only prehistoric water migration, are the major points they'll use to justify the science behind the proposal.

"If we understand what happened in the past, it's easy to predict what may happen in the future," Jensen said. "Geology is very predictable, very simple. We'll be able to make multiple arguments as to why this site is a good fit."

Samples have been taken in three separate areas to "get a three-dimensional idea" of what's under the site.

The repository would be divided into two wing-like subterranean areas, with one housing sealed boxes of low-level radioactive waste like ash, compacted garbage and components that can't be compressed. The other would store used resins, liners and larger components with slightly more radioactivity. Plans allow for future expansion.

DGR managing engineer Richard Heystee said Sweden and Switzerland are working on similar projects.

"We're not the first out of the gate, and in some ways, it's a proven technology," he said.

They plan to give an update on their findings to the nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), on Dec. 8.

They hope to have the Environmental Impact Statement to the CNSC panel for review in 2011. If approved, they would hope to have a licence for construction by 2012.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Madrid Earthquake Scenario


This is a heavy report that only the truly masochistic will want to read. I'm not even dipping into, since I pretty well know most of it. Any of these earthquake scenarios are really bad, and I don't know how much it helps Society to work on this. Something a bit smaller might be more appropriate. It's like contemplating a Category-Infinite hurricane hitting New Orleans smack on!

Nevertheless, the story here is that they did a scenario! We don't do these in Canada, which is a shame.

Stress Accumulation and Relief in Ontario Rocks

Hey, I'm polishing my CV for the million-to-one chance that the old guys will pay me, and I came across this. I hope Google starts digitizing this soon, those old books are stinky! As well, I'm bored now that I'm not going to harangue OPG about their fiascoes any more.

This paper was written in my productive period, before I had to hide under a desk and accumulate my pension for the last 10-15 years. Now, with the Depression coming, I'm glad I did! The paper outlines some of our work measuring high horizontal stresses, and speculations as to the cause. This is before I discovered our stress banding in Ontario, due to the megathrusts.

I published a lot of these papers, with my mentor Dr. C.F. Lee, and maybe I can dig up some more. But I think I'll have to wait for Google until I can list everything with my name on it, since I can't remember anything!

Deep Disposal of Geology Sealed




Nuclear Wast Repository in Bruce County Could Go Deeper

Ontario Power Generation says bore hole drilling so far supports arguments in favour of locating a Deep Geologic Repository at the Bruce site.
The solid rock samples show the site is stable, strong and will isolate low and intermediate level nuclear waste from ground water supplies and from Lake Huron.
Spokesperson Richard Heystee says plans are to go 20 metres deeper than originally proposed and put the repository at 680 metres under the Bruce site in solid limestone.
The long-term undergound storage will be for waste now stored in containers above ground, including incinerated paper and cleaning materials, compacted waste and chopped up generator parts from the refurbishment projects.


Yes, the geology has finally been disposed of, and I'm out of the game. They have put up an old colleague of mine, a groundwater guy, against me. He was elevated to Management, so he can't retire as early as I did, and maybe doesn't want to.

So, everybody please believe what they are told to say. The rock is so perfect that the drilling results can remain secret. There is no need for a nuclear seismic standard on this, the old building code for garages can be used. The media will just parrot what the new spokesman says, and we are all happy.

Adobe 64 bit Flash


Yeah!!! I knew if I stuck with this 64 bit Linux, then one day everything would come together! This new Flash is the Shizzle! Gone is all that 32 bit plugin wrapper garbage! Now we need 64 bit Java plugins!

It is still essential to use the Flashblock add-in on your browser, if you go through a lot of news articles like I do. Every stupid page opens up at least 5 Flashes, with some drifting over the page! The old Flash used to seize up which made Flashblock essential, but now I find it so nice to be able to read without jiggly people running everywhere!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Doctor Office Advertising

Won't you be afraid to turn off the light?

Panama Earthquake


I was just wondering how an M6.2 could not cause any damage, but then I saw the historical seismicity for this area.

So, a 6.2 is nothing for this region! Since it is a subduction zone, it might even be deeper than 48 km.

Food Safety Admits They Were Political Drones


I'm just following this article on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, because they are a perfect example of a political self-similar hive, much like certain nuclear organizations. With such an organization, there will be nobody that stands out in a crisis.

They are attempting to solve this by going outside with a panel. Will this be a good panel? Will it help break up the hive? I don't know, but I suspect it will be a meek panel, directly dependent on the peacetime generals for their daily bread, much like certain nuclear panels.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bruce Power Digs Up Another Site


Meanwhile, back at the Alberta ranch, another site has cropped up. I'm not saying anything about this!

As I've said before, they don't intend to follow any nuclear site standard, and can cheaply have as many sites as they want! All they need is their National Building Code Map. It's up to the people to stand up and say "We don't believe you! Where's the beef? Where's the Standard?".

Because of this preference for no standards, I probably won't get my happy-money, because this requires direct approval of my favourite old boys, who hate me. Still if they believe that standards will be required, then they will pay, and I will believe....

But the vendors will want standards, which reduce their liability. If you build to an established seismic standard, and an earthquake does something unexpected, you are covered. If you build on a site that has met standards, then you have far less problems.

The problem comes when only the 'people' have the liability. For example, the Niagara and Deep Geology things. Nobody will demand a standard, and nobody cares about the disasters.

Deep Disposal of Geology Finishes Open Houses


Another round of open houses has finished. I was thinking of my potential work on seismic and geology standards, and realized that 'adequate notification' is the only standard working here. Usually the courts have decided what is sufficient community interaction.

The rest is all ad hoc, seat of the pants, make it up as you go along. Nevertheless, if I am going to accept the money, I must believe that the panels will eventually hold the utilities to some sort of standards. Of all the standards, the most difficult to the utilities would be seismic, and only if the panel requires it. This would also include a 'gold standard' defining what is sufficient geological work.

Anyway, even if people are clamoring to stuff money in my pockets, the actual cash has to come from the utilities, and they hate me. In the old days we had strong 'technical champions' who would stand up to the old boy network and say "You want a nuclear plant or not? Then leave me alone.". I haven't seen this happening. These guys still think they can dominate by using subservient consultants, much like the Niagara Tunnel fiasco. I expect another year or two of disasters before things become obvious.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Infrasonics Wrap-Up

Finally, we get to our original problem with the poor guy and the 5 km farm power line. Turns out this is a simple problem of bell ringing resonance. The line is too tight, and ringing like a bell. You only need a transformer on the line, and the 12 Hz harmonics will do the work.

Solving this might be expensive. Most transmission tower lines now dispense with the Stockbridge damper, by slacking the line a bit. However, the new multi-line arrangement now needs torsional dampers! This farmer could isolate the house from the tight line by putting in a pole to take the tension. Then a loose line to the house would not transmit the infrasonics. It all depends on how much you want to pay.

Watch Out, Santa is Coming!

I'm getting closer and closer to tapping into the huge fire hose of money that defines new nuclear build. When that happens, I'll have to become dull and corporate. This could be solved by having huge crowds scream out "Open Up, You Dingdongs!", and force blogs on them, but it won't happen. People will believe whatever 'they' tell them, without a Harold fighting for them, or knowing what Harold is doing. I will fight my internal battles alone, and probably eventually get kicked out (again!) by the high-ethanolers.

No matter what, I will have fun! And I will roll in the dough. (So I can buy toys!)

Infrasonics - Part 3 - Bizarre Resonances - B

So, as we have discussed, we will only really be concentrating on 'swing resonance'. You could theoretically apply a white noise to a bell resonance, to get high volume, but it can't really happen because of the mechanism of the forcing function. In reality, the other frequencies get in the way, and damp down the input. An opera singer can shatter a glass, but involves pure tones, and fine interactions.

I actually have two forms of swing resonance. One is detached, intelligent tuning, such as a trumpet (and the swing!), and the other is 'mechanism tuning', where the source 'automatically' tunes through basic physics.

The most abused term I ever saw was 'organ pipe resonance', as though it was a bell resonance responding to white noise. This was one of my biggest battles regarding the flow resonance at Darlington, and I was roundly defeated, due to an unusual property of this type of resonance, which will be mentioned later. But I digress.

The organ pipe resonates a given frequency depending on its length. It is an open-end sonic resonance, which means the compression wave zooms down the pipe, meets the open end and reflects back. An open end means it starts as compression and reflects back tension (negative pressure). A closed end would mean it reflects back positive pressure (compression).

As can be imagined, this is no bell resonance, since there is nothing more inefficient than an open-end resonance. Makes it useful as an instrument, since all that inefficiency comes out as sound! The organ pipe makes a very loud sound, with apparently very little input. How does it do that?

It has a self-tuning source! The air stream comes in flat and is directed to a knife edge. If nothing was happening, it would split itself evenly on the edge, and no sound would ever come out. But it is not stable! The slightest disturbance causes a wave to zoom up the pipe and reflect back. The negative pressure wave sucks down the air stream into the pipe, which starts another compression wave. If we had our handy-dandy accelerometer, we would notice an explosive exponential. Very tiny waves suddenly blowing up into full sound, where non-linear damping stops the pipe from blowing up!

Now, getting back to electrical lines, which I think started this whole thing, they also have 'galloping' waves which can destroy the whole tower!

Therefore, they can have these cute little things (Stockbridge Damper), which work in weird and wonderful ways.

The power line wobbles in the wind, but if it is stretched tight like a guitar string, it wobbles at a steady frequency. The air acts as a non-linear self-tuning source because of aerodynamic effects. As the line moves perpendicular to the wind, it actually experiences a greater force pushing it, because of lift effects, much like a spinning curve ball. The whole effect becomes an organ pipe, and can grow to tremendous levels!

Those teeny little damper can actually work, if they nip the first tiny vibrations in the bud, before it starts to grow. That would be like having a very tiny damper in an organ pipe to kill the first leaders. If you measured with your accelerometer, you would see the first waves could not grow to an exponential monstrosity.

That's where Darlington was 'fixed'. They mucked with the system, and stopped the leader waves, by changing the pump. They declared it 'done', and walked away, and also installed some small dampers, equivalent to the power line version. They never saw the full physics, which is not important to an operator, but really important for the next version, which uses higher flows! Ah well, I have recovered.

To be continued.

Infrasonics - Part 3 - Bizarre Resonances

You will find in this note, that most vibration problems, and most earthquake disasters, are caused by bizarre resonances.

Everyone thinks they know what resonance is, but they don't really. As the Inuit have many words for snow, followers of Haroldology have many made-up terms for resonance. The simplest is a 'ringing bell resonance'. You tap on the bell and you hear a nice tone, but you can't tap more on the bell, and get the sound louder. You can really whap the bell and get a loud tone, but this is a non-amplifying resonance. The effect can only be noticed if the bell can ring for a long time without energy loss, a tiny crack in the bell deadens it immediately.

This type of resonance makes pretty sounds, but rarely ever causes any problems. Nevertheless, I have seen many types of problem resonances that are analyzed with the inappropriate physics of the 'ringing bell'.

Destructive resonances always involve a self-tuning source. I call this 'swing resonance', since it is similar to pushing a kid on a swing. If you just randomly pushed at the kid with your eyes shut, she wouldn't go anywhere, and would give you the 'He's hopeless!' look. If you had the handy-dandy accelerometer that I want for Christmas, then you would be measuring a spectral peak at the main swing frequency (fundamental mode). But, nothing for the little wildcat.

But Dad's are smarter than that, and you start pushing at just the right frequency. You need very little energy, and soon she is yelling 'Higher, Higher!'. If the swing did not have non-linear damping, you'd soon be wrapping the little monster around the upper bar. Luckily, other forces, such as air resistance, and a tired old man, save her.

With your accelerometer on the swing, you see the final amplitude is hundreds of times greater than the input.

The world is full of swing resonances, with some ending up in massive damage.

(whew! not enough ad money, will continue later)

ps. I'm tired, coming back from Montreal water polo. Filled up a lot of bottles of wine at the giant self-serve vats. Bought cheap beer at the Costco. Luckily, I have sons and relatives who will take care of a lot of it for me.

Britain Tries to Relight the Nuclear Flame


A Candle in the Wind.

Britain was another administration (like Ontario) that thundered "We will not take any risk!". But now I think they are going to find the same number of interested companies, as Ontario! (ZERO!). They also had a very fuzzy idea of what they wanted to do.

Now, like Ontario, they are hung out to dry.....

Canadian Scientist Lobby for Pork Money


Say it isn't true! Some scientists with a rather loonyxxxxx unusual idea have gone directly to the media and the scientifically-literate (NOT!) Canadian politicians.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave..... This is US model for 'Big Science'. Do we want to go there?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nuclear Nanticoke Forges Ahead

This is a nice long article, outlining some of the 'reasoning' and chronology behind the Nanticoke Push.

I'm not going there, and I won't even be on the radio! Following the Federal rinky-dink process, there are no standards on the required level of effort. They can toss international and Canadian standards aside. Any mention of geology can be ignored.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Infrasonic Pollution - Part 2 - Measurement

I looked forever for cheap measurement systems, and finally did a search on 'usb accelerometer'. Boy are these neat! I found a stand-alone stick with a +-2g sensor, and its own memory, only for about 80 bucks. I'd get one, if I had any money. There are other tethered usb accelerometers, available for mostly for robots. In fact, the laptop seismometer project wants to move to usb accelerometers, because they can be attached to a structural element, and used with desktops.

For atmospheric infrasonics, I was looking at wide-band usb microphones, which are also reasonable.

Once you use these things, you should eventually get a power spectrum plot of the noise, something like this:

This is from Wikipedia Mains Hum. You will notice the big spread of harmonics. These are the muliples and whole fractions of 60 Hz. Notice the big spread into low frequencies.

For wind turbines, you will get a different spread. A base measurement is extremely important for mitigation, which we will discuss later, when I feel like it.

Using the 'Obama Stick'


Get used to this! The article has the first use of the 'Obama Stick', which means the nattering greenies are saying 'Obama wouldn't do that!'. Well, Obama is going to have a tough time pouring in a few months of cash at the Useless Big Three, and then cutting off their electricity!

Well, the greenies shouldn't be worried about Pickering refurbishment, since it will never happen. Those units have been thoroughly destroyed by the janitors. We have to move on to ridiculous new plants that nobody wants to build because they are so impossible. Meanwhile, China is going to put up 9 new reactors, while we get bogged down in one (or a half-dozen, if you believe Mr. Bruce!).

I think recessions clean up the bad things that went on before, and a severe electrical shortage will clean up the political pandering that is interfering with common sense. Will I still be around to write about it?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Infrasonics Driving You Nuts

I've been reading a lot about sub-30 Hz pulses driving people nuts. I first read about it with the wind turbines, and now someone has written to me about a hydro line.

You are not nuts, people!

Naturally, if you complain to the 'man', you will get contempt, because that is what they do. But I've been involved in noise testing for seismometers, and have found some horrendously powerful sources, that can't be immediately explained. They are most likely industrial. But, one of the biggest noise sources was the hydro tower system. These things sing in the wind!

So what to do? I would really like to form a company - Harold's Sonic Busters, but that sounds too much like work. Anyway, all we would have is a beat-up old seismometer. For hydro lines, the key is to 'detune' them with weights. This is done all the time on the big lines.

However, I am now going to look into the concept of a sensitive seismometer for the masses. If anybody has any ideas, let me know. For infrasonics, we may need a resonating element for the seismometer, like a balloon creates felt vibration with sound. Probably need a really big balloon for infrasonics! I know that Western U. has infrasonic monitors for meteorite impact, but that's probably expensive equipment.

Right now, I'm dying with a cold, and I'm going to Montreal this weekend for water polo, and wine bottle filling. In the meantime, keep those cards and letters and clicks coming!

ps. I have now found with the hydro line, it is not wind related. But the line is 5 km long, and acts like a perfect sonic transmitter (like my slinky!). It even has high-frequency zinging noises (p-waves?). I love dynamics problems, reminds me of Darlington!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The old garbage dump

GeologyJoe's video of tossing garbage at seagulls got me inspired. What a Gun-Totin' Babe Magnet he is! He's joined my followers, but I would never join his, in amongst all those 'facebook' women.

Anyway, we got the cottage when I was three, in 1957. My dad was a Crazy German, who absolute had to have a Hut in the Wilderness; they all did. We got the lot before the road reached it, but some of my earliest memories involve the old garbage dump.

It was just an offset from the road, overlooking a scenic gully. We'd toss our garbage in the gully. Every once in a while the local farmer would torch it, and bulldoze it. You should have seen the column of smoke, straight like a pillar, and you could see it for miles. All those juicy organic chemicals going up and just disappearing! Who cared, since everyone was smoking a pack a day, indoors.

The nice thing about this dump was the bears. They would hang around at the far end of the gully, a bit shy of the hunters who would regularly stake out the place. If you tossed your garbage real far, you could try to hit them. They were grateful for your effort!

Then the township moved in and made it a big garbage dump for the town. A ban on spring bear hunting made the bears bold. The mother and her cubs were real close when you tossed your bag, and you didn't want to hit them! Always towards the end of the summer, there would suddenly be no bears! If you asked the attendant, she just said "They're gone.". Oh yeah!! Were we a bunch of kids? Did the bears suddenly go back to the farm?

They didn't do that too long before they eliminated the open dump, and had huge containers to take to a transfer station. They put an electric bear fence around the dump, but still they had to actually lock the huge steel containers, because the bears could lift the lids! Finally, they sealed the holes in the fence, and no more bears.

Ah, the good old days!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Radioactive Beer Kegs

There's a great line in the Panda movie, and I butcher it: "If you flee from radioactive waste, it will come back and hit you in the head.".

First we have the article about Beer Kegs, and then we have an article about a hospital. Both are at the receiving end of blind local policies to keep radioactive waste out of their state or country. Take that Nevada! It's coming back in your poker chips!

Yes, Reid and all the nimbies only have so long, before it's kicked out the back of a pickup truck onto their front lawns. Oh I love the flight from rationality, like taking on limitless debt, it all soon comes to an end.

At the Harold School of Rationality, we don't like Yuk-Yuk Mountain much, but it's a good enough solution. Just ditch the dreams, such as 'one million years', 'kept from humanity forever', etc. It's not a religious solution, it's just a solution.

For Canada, we've got to something better than the Americans and find a cheap solution, bashed over the heads of the local nimbies. Who can afford pandering in these times?

Duke Solves the Nuclear Waste Problem


In an unbelievably straight-faced press release, Duke has solved its nuclear waste problem, for a new nuclear plant, by signing up with the DOE. No humour here, boys!

Thus, at one stroke of the pen, we can start construction of all these nuclear plants that have no financing, and no logical thinking. Will Duke make amends for this bout of silliness, by pouring some money into good science? No, and the Gods of Logic will whack them in the head.

I think they should start looking for another waste repository in North Dakota, and start all the screaming from there!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another Mini-Reactor


Fluffy Web Site

Another mini-reactor for poor African villages. This is just the ancient 'Slowpoke' or university reactor, using (probably) 4% enriched uranium. I say 'probably', because their web site has absolutely no technical details! Anyway, they are sold out for 6 years to the fabulously wealthy, so they can afford not knowing anything.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

No Love for Reprocessed Nuclear Waste


One way to continue the delay of Yuk-Yuk Mountain, is to say the used fuel should be reprocessed, like in France. That way all the Plutonium gets extracted and it comes back as an insoluble glass. Nothing to object about that, huh?

But some people take the 'homeopathic' view of nuclear waste -- as long as plutonium has passed through it, it is still bad.

I'm not in favour of reprocessing, solely to make the waste less hazardous. I don't think the overall hazard is reduced. Just put the stuff away in a retrievable format, in a stable geological formation, and wait until a nuclear reprocessor is the size of an iPod!

Wind is the New Nuclear


Aren't those wind turbines beautiful, out there in the pristine wilderness, with a rainbow! Well, the guy next door doesn't like it! He's a rich cottager, who made all his money in the city, sucking off nuclear power, and wants to move to the country. He's the same guy who would bitch about a nuclear waste facility going in next door.

And so these people have united to oppose wind power, with the same intensity once reserved for nuclear plants. I tend to be with them. If we want to go all wind power, we have to give up air conditioning, and have electricity 30% of the time, even when we don't want it! We'd need so many wind towers, you wouldn't be able to see all the electrical power towers we'd need to add, since they would have wind turbines on them!

A wind turbine is cute all by itself, and maybe the bats and birds are smart enough to go around it. A zillion wind turbines would destroy all the bats, and the bigger birds, such as the Peregrine Falcon.


Friday, November 7, 2008

New Nuclear Site - No New Science Expected

They actually went and did it! They formally applied for the site in Nanticoke. I don't know how they are getting away with just using the skimpy Federal Environmental Assessment rules, I thought new sites still went with Ontario rules. Did they win a blanket for all nuclear sites?

Time for me to do one of my geological assessments! God knows they won't do it! They'll just use the 30 year old 'stable layer cake' model, and remark on how wonderful it is that two major seismicity zones are on either side of the site, but not actually at the site!

In the good old days, when I used to walk 30 miles to school in a snowstorm, we would be doing some good science to support this. Now, it's all a big political show.

Are they just doing all these sites as some sort of grand diversion?
Where's another radio station?

Hurricane PALinOMA Drifts Out to Sea

I just saw the name of this hurricane, and thought it a fitting end for both the hurricane and political seasons. Hurrican PALinOMA, still has a lot of damage to do, before it leaves!


The hurricane totally disintegrated on the mountains of Cuba. No staying power!

Active Lightning Protection for Nuclear Plants


This is so neat as a technology story! If you want to spend an absolute fortune to prevent lightning strikes, you can! The story doesn't mention the amount of electrical energy required to operate this, but who cares at a nuclear plant! Just don't expect it to protect your wind turbines!

Great Lakes Along Great Circle

Here is a question via Highly Allocthonous, via somebody else. I'm elaborating on my answer given in the comments.

The question is, why do the Great Lakes form this apparent line, which may be a great circle, or a small circle. We Canadian Geologists would hrmmph at such a question, but then wouldn't be able to answer it in a simple manner.

The answer is that it is a morph (combination) of the gross geology, and glacial processes. Here is the isostatic rebound map. Isostatic rebound is a measure of how much the earth is still popping up since the last glaciation. It forms a good average of the maximum ice thickness, since the thicker the ice, the more the continent was pushed down.

This is pretty close! It forms the same pattern as if you pushed your thumb on a beach ball, which is a global small circle. Now we throw in the simplified geology.

The yellow represents sedimentary rock, and the blotchy stuff is 'granitic'. Again, it correlates with the Great Lakes Line.

So, north of the line, we have very hard rock, which would not like to have a Great Lake carved out of it, and below the line, we have mounds of dirt pushed by the last glaciation, which has buried all potential great lakes. In the middle we have the ideal zone for Great Lakes.

Now, I caution you not to look at any given Great Lake, and say it simply got there by being scooped out by glaciation. If that were true, we'd have just one Super Giant Great Lake along that line. Each lake has it's own unique geology story, and over the years, I've tried to point out a few.

AECL Swallows a Bitter Bruce Pill


The Bruce reactors are a bit muckier than expected, and this will cost more. But Bruce won't be paying for it! That honour goes to AECL, who has taken all the risk of cost overruns, since they have a deep federal backup (not!). After this, and the rotor dropping incident, will they be willing to take on more risk for the new Ontario plant? Can they?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bruce Geology News

I am so interested in the country news, every since I had my radio show, listened to by thousands, if you include the chickens.


Small Walkerton Group Hears More About Nuclear Storage

Fewer than a dozen residents came out to an open house in Walkerton on the Deep Geologic Repository at the Bruce site.
OPG spokesperson Kevin Orr says the open houses this week and next are a chance for one-on-one discussion about plans to put low and intermediate level nuclear waste in rock deep underground for long term storage.
One resident at the open house says the proposal could mean more opportunity for the Bruce site, and jobs to benefit the area.
The Deep Geologic Repository project started in 2001 when Kincardine asked OPG for a long term solution for low and intermediate level nuclear waste stored on the Bruce site.
Orr says the environmental assessment on the project is a slow process but on schedule.


Nothing mentioned about me!

California Hospitals to get Seismic Upgrades


Many hospitals in California are old brick buildings with scanty seismic resistance. It would compound an earthquake disaster if all the hospitals were knocked out. To remedy this, California passed a law forcing seismic upgrades to hospitals, but didn't provide any money.

As we know, California is the home of the taxpayers revolt, and the municipalities have no money. Everything they get is by raising a 'bond', whatever that means. This election raised bonds to fix up the hospitals.

My feeling is that all this bond raising is an excuse to get heavily in debt, and we know what this means these days. When they raise a bond, they tack on some extra tax. Does this cover paying it off in a reasonable time, or do they just cover the interest. Aren't people getting a bit worried about all these bonds?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nobody wants to build a nuclear plant in Turkey

One Russian bidder, that's all they got. I think it's a bit like Ontario, where everybody has suddenly got cold feet. I think they'd pull out if they could.

We have to face reality here. If we want a nuclear plant, it will have to be like Darlington in the big 80's recession. You just have to force it through, and enjoy the low prices. The ratepayer (tax payer) takes all the risk, and pays for the inevitable huge overruns. What's the alternative? Do they really expect that private companies will now take on a speck of risk? Will the US or France pay money to cover nuclear plants outside their respective countries? Does any government now have that kind of money, considering that they are guaranteed to be soaked?

Toronto Real Estaters Finally Smell the Petunias

Sales down, prices down.

I just like how those guys say they were right pushing this stuff all along, but those nasty buyers are listening to much to the US.

Fun Radio Show!

Radio Station

Every scientist should get out and meet the people once in a while. I hope I did some good, and not just incur the wrath of The Big Boys.

For all the listeners who have just found this blog, feel free to ask questions! (And don't forget to click ads!)

There was a lot of time to discuss various issues, which is what I like about radio. For TV, they interview you for an hour, and just chop it down to a 20 second sound bite, of their choice. That's why I'm never going on television, too many horrible experiences, and I'm too ugly.

Firstly, I dismissed all the 'horror scenarios" of radioactive waste floating down the lake. Not going to happen, no matter what they do. I said that even if they just pile it in the back forty, it's not going anywhere. Then mostly I bitched about the very poor quality of science going into this, especially considering all the money. I hope school kids will pick up on this.

Poor science will lead to a financial and operational horror story, much like the new Niagara tunnel. I told the story about the Bruce Tunnel from Hell, and how I never wanted to visit it. Most of all I said this was an express train on a single track, and nobody was going to throw themselves in front of it, especially me!

I truly hope the Big Money just ignores me. :)

ps. As of this minute, no spike in traffic, and no bricks through window. Proving that the hard-working listeners of daytime radio have got better things to do.

OPG Slammed for Rotten Nuclear Management

Article - Energy board slams nuclear bill

I'm happy here, just reporting what somebody else said. They haven't mention how Unit 7 was destroyed. I went through 30 years of this stuff, and I thoroughly deserve my retirement!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Harold on the radio tomorrow

My blog has got me on a country radio talk show. I love the country around Huron County! I'll be on at 10:15 AM on AM920! A radio show is great, since my absolute ugliness doesn't work against me.

Maybe country people are much friendlier at clicking on my wine fund, than these here city slickers!

ps. I just did it! Whew! Can't wait for the out of context sound bites: "Harold advocates just dumping all this crap in the back forty!"

Duke Nuclear Plant Costs Double, and Will Double Again

I don't know if this is a case of 'Costs Out of Control', or Duke just being ridiculous.

More Delays for Darlington B

"We must be the very best we can be." So, to continue the theme of "Best is the Enemy of Good Enough", we get another delay in picking the vendor.

IAEA Goes for Another Earthquake Trip


Off again to visit the site of the famous Japan Nuclear Earthquake. They lost the friggin' seismic records! These grey heads will look at the site, rub their beards, and have no clue what happened without those records.

Will the plant ever start?

Will other plants learn from this and have working accelerometers?

Bad-Concrete-itis Hits Another Nuke


So, this is no longer just a French disease! When you think about it, if all these companies are led by peacetime generals, then the concrete will be the first disaster. Their geology and seismic reports are a disaster, but nobody cares...

Monday, November 3, 2008

No one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

I just love this song! Watch it in high-res. Cheer you up for the day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another water polo tournament done

Nothing interferes with my wine drinking than a full tournament. This was in nearby Guelph, but involved a lot of driving.

From watson

I love this picture! I think there should be an ad campaign "If your girls aren't playing water polo, what are they doing?"

This tournament has been a great recovery from all that Bruce mad thing. I resolve not to mention another thing about those guys for at least a week! They just can't do anything worse!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Simplified Geology Leads to Cookie-Cutter Site Evaluations


With the grade-school geology that the Bruce Mob specializes in, it costs them nothing to hoist up another site flag. Like their 'Deep Repository Branch', they define all of Ontario geology as 'Stable Paleozoic over Stable Pre-Cambrian'. Considering that they and the Feds have adopted this 'Site a Week' strategy to annoy the infinitely slow Province, we take great joy in predicting their next moves.

What terrible sites will they come up with in the next few months?

Sarnia: With the extraction of salt and oil, giant sinkholes are now constantly opening up. There's an old power station in the middle of this mess, perfect for the BM!

Cornwall: Site of the famous 1944 earthquake, this area could use the jobs, and would welcome a phony site plan.

North Channel: I did the geophysics there, and found there was not a speck of solid rock big enough for a nuclear power plant. Perfect!

Ottawa River: There are several good sites on the Ottawa Graben, the biggest fracture zone in eastern Canada. The really hot zones are where the Ontario Megathrusts rip up the graben. Chalk River is one such site, so this would be great for the BM, and the Feds would like it too, since it takes attention away from the junky isotope factory.

Once they use up these sites, I could come up with some more, and the Province still won't have started anything at Darlington!

Ontario Declares Nuky-Nan to be a Phony Tactic

Oh, all those lobby meetings with the Federal Minister, have landed the Bruce Mob in Ontario's bad books. What is the BM doing with this? Why have they gone over to the Feds, to make this big production?

My theory is that it's a diversionary tactic to get the Bruce C swamp approved right away. They are saying to the Feds "Look, we can pick an even worse site than Bruce!".

These are really hilarious fun and games!