Monday, November 30, 2009
So, I put up this piece of fluff, to say I've been at the Ontario University water polo tournament (finals) all weekend. That was exciting! As usual, my daughter was amazing! (biased opinion). I have so much video, and I'm slowly working through it.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I just consider this article as something the dying media write. There is nothing here! When I've got nothing to write about, I don't write! I shouldn't even be writing about this!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Beer for Linux
The drink, named "Tactical Nuclear Penguin" is so strong that it should be served in small measures usually reserved for spirits.
Its maker, BrewDog brewers of Fraserburgh described the 32 per cent proof tipple as its "most audacious and ambitious project to date".
Gotta have something about Linux once in a while.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Toyota Factory Security Cracked
This just goes into the 'technical misc.' file, and I'm interested because I really want my very own Highlander, and the other half won't give me the money! :(
It is obvious that these thieves just went up to the cars and drove away. I'm also surprised that nobody had a lo-jack, since I always thought it was a matter of time before the car encryption is cracked.
You can click ads and help me save up. At the current rate, I will have enough in 150 years, give or take a century.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Swine Flu Shot
Now, I'm ready for the party season with all the university kids. Let's Part-eh!
West Coast Dog's Breakfast
Nobody has a clue what is going to happen there, but many try to step up to the plate. Most likely, it's the Cascadia subduction zone that will slip down in a manner identical to the big 2004 Sumatra M9. Even though it slips on a shallow-dipping fault that goes under the cities, the shaking will not be so big a deal. You would get a heck of a lot more from local M7's! What will be big is the tsunami and permanent elevation changes.
So, I think the main seismic hazard is from an urban M7, right under Seattle or Vancouver, or Portland. If you design for that, the 'Big One' is taken care of. (How long can you tread water? --Cosby).
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Caught like a deer in a taser!
That is such a cute ship!
Four students will be finally chosen from among the training camp participants, who will represent India at the fourth International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) to be held at Yogyakarta, Indonesia from September 19 to September 28, 2010.
Olympiums drink an appropriate amount of beer and attempt to knock down a beer coaster house at 1m, by belching. No fair trying to use other orifices!
Geological Hammer Throw
Oympiadies throw a geologic hammer at an outcrop 30 m away. 1 point for hitting it, 1 point for hitting someone else, 2 points for getting the pointy end sticking in, and 3 points for pulling it out and discovering gold.
Hell, I can't think of any more. Help me out here!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Albania and Ontario
As you can see, my favourite new site is TunnelTalk. It is the future of journalism. Conventional journalism is being flushed down the toilet. The media outlets are all closing, Kady O'Malley, who I just pant over, with her silver Blackberry fingers, (such a blur! swoon...), has been kicked out of bankrupt Rogers. Maybe CBC is the last bastion, but who knows how long that will last?
So, how will the middle son earn a living? The future will be micro-niche sites, that earn money from advertising. Really, where can Robbins spend their ad money anyway? TunnelTalk looks like it is run by two smart ladies that got kicked out of the local television news, which is dead. They own this niche!
This article looks at a big Albanian tunnel fiasco. To summarize: corrupt or incompetent government (who can tell which?) interferes directly with a technical project, and pushes it to be completed in a very short time. Not much investigative work is done, and rock is assumed to be good. In fact, it turns out to be very bad.
They find a willing contractor who hits the tunnel from 4 faces simultaneously. Temporary lining collapses, perhaps from an unseen borehole. They make it difficult for reporters to talk to them.
In this case, it would have been best to proceed with a pilot tunnel, to check the rock conditions, and perhaps do some grouting, or packing with sacrificial rockbolts.
Give AECL to India!
A better, more realistic way to rescue the Canadian nuclear industry would be to sell AECL to India and use Indian technology for our next generation of Ontario reactors.
This is a good idea. We don't have the people anymore to do this, and when we did do it, we brought a heck of a lot of people from India! I think that only the Russians and the Indians can build a nuclear reactor these days.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Two American geologists have theorized that something happened to change the ecological balance, killing off the iron-loving bacteria and swinging conditions on the planet in favour of oxygen-producing microbes.I had read about this earlier, but this is a good article on the subject.
Airport uses base isolators
The world’s largest seismically isolated building, the new international terminal at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport, is now complete and open for business.
Stretching across more than 2 million square feet, the terminal doesn’t sit directly on the soil, but rather on more than 300 isolators, bearings that can move side-to-side during an earthquake. The whole building moves as a single unit, which prevents damage from uneven forces acting on the structure.
I haven't been a great fan of these things, but it looks like it could work here. I was more interested that they were using explicit finite elements (Dyna) to run the simulations. I love this stuff! I've done some of this code here, and I tried to push it at the old company. It's the only way to do earthquake analysis.
Now, if somebody would run these simulations for the whole shebang, from actual seismic generation, they would find it is better just having a good foundation, rather than using these base isolators. :)
Friday, November 20, 2009
Geofish Caused the Niagara Tunnel Collapse
"The crown fall happened in a area surrounding a 20-year old bore hole," said Ernst Gschnitzer, Project Manager for Strabag. "The hole had a long time to deteriorate and eventually the ground gave way."
I didn't exactly drill that borehole, but it was drilled shortly after I helped define the St. Davids Gorge with geophysics. That was just after the old Geotechnical Engineering Department broke up, and I was shuffled to nuclear. Before that, we always grouted up an exploration borehole, in fact it was the law because of possible natural gas in the region. My old colleagues have a lot to answer for!
So, the TunnelTalk article is out. I'm glad they could pin the 100 ton collapse to a single old borehole, because without that extraordinary cause, the whole tunnel would be suspect. The Queenston Shale is totally impermeable, so that was one heck of a hole to have caused water damage! I'm glad all the other holes didn't do this.
The sandstone has proven to be abrasive, and I think there are more sandstone layers ahead for them. I'm glad they talked to the reporter, since I wasn't expecting much. Oh well, it's good be wrong, since I was way too gloomy on this. If my mechanism is correct, we shall have some more major collapses, but for now, let's regard this happy article as a Christmas present! :)
Nuclear Waste Worth a Fortune
Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG) reported a net income surge in the third quarter despite falling customer demand. Profit gains were mainly due to returns in investment branches set up to manage nuclear fixed asset removal and nuclear waste management, the company said.
But, they are going to blow it all on their Niagara Tunnel, and digging waste into Bruce karst.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Shipping Cranes in Earthquakes
Container cranes are used to load and unload ships in ports and are critical to port operations. Past earthquakes have highlighted the vulnerability of container cranes to damage from even moderate earthquakes.
I was about to give this my "Most Hopeless Research" award, but I've canceled that (it sounds nasty!). All research is interesting in some way. Still, you can see that the nature of the shipping crane makes it a 'disposable item' when an earthquake hits. The best you can do is have some other area ready, with cranes ready to erect. But the cranes aren't the problem here. Dock areas are almost always on dirt fill, put directly on muck. The seismic amplifications are 10 to 100 times, and not much survives. These shipping cranes are mobile on absolutely flat pavement, and that just isn't going to stay that way.
I think this project is more like designing earthquake-resistant shelves in a brick china shop. :)
Geologists Do Math?
Introductory geology courses at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and across the nation will teach rock-solid math skills to undergraduates studying the geosciences with the help of a new Web-based program.
“In the 1980s, we witnessed a decline in the amount of math included in introductory geology texts that coincided with an attempt to attract more students to the major,”....
Now, I know a lot of geologists, but they don't do math. :) They probably buy lottery tickets!
The preceding was a joke! I do not know of any Geologist Barbie Doll that said "Math is tough." Geologists are fine human beings.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tunnel Talk Talks to Me
Geology and Evolution
A team of scientists led by the University of Adelaide has reconstructed a history of marine barriers, mountain building and glacial cycles in New Zealand over millions of years, using the first complete genetic history of the moa.
So, something interesting does happen in NZ! (besides geology scandals!) In a neat reversal of roles, you can get an idea of geology dynamics by looking at the dna of ancient species. Of course, our good neighbours down south, won't appreciate this.....
But the rest of us can enjoy the complexities of evolution.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Water polo stills
I'm quite proud of these stills! I'm filming in hd video, but was zooming in real close to try to get stills. The video is terrible when you do this, but the stills are good. You then select frame by frame to get a good moment. Most is blurry because the shutter speed is slow, but some frames crystallize. I then use the 'unsharp' mask to eliminate the slight motion blur.
Far better than shooting stills in water polo, where the splashing water makes things difficult.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Big Becky starts to warm up again
Work had been disrupted since Sept. 11 when there was a collapse of rock from a 25-metre section of the tunnel's ceiling. It occurred about two kilometres into the tunnel, more than three kilometres behind the spot where the tunnel-boring machine, nicknamed Big Becky, is cutting into the rock face.
This is all from a local news outlet, and is directly from the official mouthpiece. However, we learn that the collapse was much worse than I thought, with 25 m of lining taken out. That must be at least 500 tons of rock! I'd love to know how much extra overbreak there is now! And it's all been fixed with mesh and shotcrete.
We also learn that it completely blocked access to the TBM so I wonder how much 'scheduled maintenance' they got done. As well, we find out the Ministry of Silly Walks and Rock got involved, which is interesting.
So, do we think the tunnel is better off for having barfed up all this rock? Surely we must go with all those silly earthquake scientists who think that once rock fails, it will never fail again? (latest ENA earthquake theory). Sadly, the new configuration with the steep vertical arch is even more unstable under high horizontal compressive stresses. The rock failure will just want to work its way to the surface. And all the other rock will want to join in on the party!
After the rock failure in Scotland, and the recession, I can't believe these guys can get credit, investment, and insurance. Most amazing...
Where are those dang Tunnel News people anyway?
Nevada more contaminated than Port Hope
Over 41 years, the federal government detonated 921 nuclear warheads underground at the Nevada Test Site, 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Each explosion deposited a toxic load of radioactivity into the ground and, in some cases, directly into aquifers.
Good old Reid-country is on a new kick to suck money from Obama. This water moves so slowly that it will take 6000 years to reach the nearest pitiful community (I'm sure the dust got there a lot sooner!). Nevertheless, Nevada wants compensation for all that water!
Forget the fact that they sucked all the money out of California with their gambling, they want more!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Scottish Tunnel Does the Niagara
The £150million Glendoe scheme ground to a halt just two months after it opened following rock falls within its massive water tunnel.
Thanks to Hypocentre who pointed this out to me. We've already had our rockfall in the Niagara Tunnel, even before it's built! I wonder if it was the same contractor? Can't be too many of those around the world....
Oh, pooey, it's some other Austrian-sounding company - Hochtief. It was 20,000 tons of rock, and they used an unlined TBM tunnel.
Maybe they're Austrian cousins?
Investigations of the exact quality and condition of the rock at the location of the rock failure and the exact causes of this embarrassing, costly and serious situation for a brand new hydroelectric power station project continue.
NZ Power Station Really Does Have a Problem
This is scandal is really perking me up! From unknown sources, we have this map of recent epicentres around that canal I wrote about.
Under intense pressure from the utility, the little newspaper buggers have completely zapped the article, but I hope somebody can find it. Basically, this canal area has been riddled by earthquakes, with many new fault traces showing up all over the place. Suddenly, without word to any of the local workers, they decide to drain the canals. Que passa? These poor guys are caught trying to save the fish with their bare hands! A decent human being would have pre-netted before draining.
Ah, local geologist, who is very nice, deserves a high paying job, yada yada, is suddenly badly misquoted, and soundbited to death by the local media. Her point was that these things don't suddenly happen, and there must be a reason. Most likely, the canal has been split by earthquake faulting.
"Ah no! She is crazy!" cries the mouthpiece of the utility. "We don't even know what earthquakes are, so how can it be an earthquake?" Poor lady is mucked by having a mud wrestle with porcine people.
So, although they are attempting to squash all this, the internet is harsh. As a geotechnical engineer with many years of experience with these stupid canals and water tunnels, my scenario is this: They suddenly found themselves with less water at the gate than expected. The canal is on porous volcanic shit, and uses a fairly thin clay lining, under some sort of erosion rip-rap. It is very easy to rupture, and when it does, a lot of water leaks out, which is instantly shown at the gate. You drain the canal, but it is very nasty to find this sort of thing. I would suggest an electromagnetic survey, to try to find soggy bits.
Now, of course I could be all wrong, but when utilities play this game, I rise to the challenge, and make up the nastiest explanations.... :)
Fragmented federal-provincial energy policy jurisdictions and political gamesmanship result in domestic market inertia effectively thwarting any prospects for a Canadian nuclear revival;
But, Scharnberger added, the fact remains that there’s a lot that isn’t known about this series of small earthquakes, of which 817 have been reported to date, several of a magnitude about 2.9 but most registering at less than 1 on the Richter scale.
Sloppy Seismic Shenanigans
SAN FRANCISCO — The Bay Bridge fix that halted traffic across the span for more than five days was not inspected by federal authorities, The Examiner learned, despite public promises from the state agency that oversees the structure.
No comment, I'm going down again.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
NZ Utility More Opaque Than Ours
Geologist Donna Falconer claims Meridian's explanation doesn't stack up and believes they are looking for damage in the canals.
"You only have to drive along the canals and see all the heavy earthmoving gear ... They are looking for leaks down in the zone where all this seismic activity has been."
I'll have to go with Crazy Donna* here! What are they doing with this? Most likely they have a significant increase in water leakage, as measured at the gate. So, you've got to drain it and look, in the middle of night, when nobody sees you! Ha, Ha!
*term of endearment.
Earthquakes Slow Down Nuclear Plants
The NRC has asked Westinghouse to revise the design of the AP1000's shield building, which is the outermost structure of the reactor. Regulators said it was unclear whether the shield building, as designed, would be able to withstand earthquakes, tornados or other disasters.
Yeah! Earthquakes are back to totally muck up the plans of mice and men!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The Creepy Fault
With an average of four mini-earthquakes per day, Southern California's San Jacinto fault constantly adjusts to make it a less likely candidate for a major earthquake than its quiet neighbor to the east, the Southern San Andreas fault, according to an article in the journal Nature Geoscience.
These sections are always fascinating. What makes a fault section less 'crunchy', and more of a slow grind. It could be rock type, but I think it has something to do with water. At this section the rock does not have a large difference between static and dynamic friction. It is the equivalent of grinding two bone-dry bricks against each other. However, I can't believe that water is totally out of the picture here, so I think this section will surprise us one day.
Being a slacker at work
The goal of a great career, the goal of really powerful people, is to work as intensely as they can for the shortest amount of time possible. That's what you want to do.
This is my book! But, it's too much work putting out a book, so I don't think this guy is a real slacker, he just pretends to be. I always found that people who worked every second were pretty dumb. I always found ways to do a tenth the work, and then just flow like I was everyone else!
And at the end, I felt I earned more than Bill Gates, normalized by income per time worked!
The city was built on a material known as Belfast sleech — a complex mixture of sand, gravel and boulder clay that has caused serious headaches for the team building the Belfast Sewer Project.
Now, that's some serious tunnel work! Only one minor collapse, and they haven't yet stopped to demand more money!
Monday, November 9, 2009
A Radioactive Pickle
"You start with the world where you and I are getting an exposure from the sun, from the soil we walk on, from the brick in our house that on average is about 400 millirems a year -- which is dangerous," said Tom Lenhart, a former member of the federal-state Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards. "The EPA would never allow that kind of exposure. So you are starting from a baseline of dangerous exposure, and this is what makes regulating it a nightmare."
We can't live.....
Seriously, if you cut down the standards to ridiculously low levels, you can't do anything. I mean, you can't dig this stuff and dump it somewhere! Of course, the natural gas would displace coal, which throws out more radiation than Port Hope!
Drilling into a Volcano
The boreholes at Campi Flegrei won’t likely hit magma, researchers say, as the holes will reach only half as deep as any known reservoir, and even if it does, the result will not necessarily be a disaster. It could, rather, provide researchers with important new information about the inner-workings of volcanoes in general, and Campi Flegrei in particular. Meanwhile, Naples will simply have to hold its breath.
Dum, dee, dum, I'm drilling into a volcano....
The Mystery of Hot Springs
That warm brew is laden with minerals. And its source is generally thought to be “meteorological”—that is, rainwater that soaks deep into the Earth, where it’s heated by geothermal forces.
But new research at James Madison University’s Department of Geology offers an additional explanation.
Last fall, associate professor Steve Baedke and then-undergraduate Nick Silvis took several samples of the thermal waters of the geological region known as Warm Springs Valley.
Tests by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California showed traces of a rare helium isotope—a signature of water not from the top layer of the Earth, the crust, but from the middle layer, the mantle.
I've always wondered how you can get a hot spring in the middle of very stable crust. How the heck is it possible? Now it appears that there is a really deep connection. If this water comes up, then replacement water has to go down, in a huge flow system. I find it quite amazing.
Smithers-man Goes for Toronto
The guy who likes to pick 'technological winners' is running for mayor. We need him to scrape up enough money for the Pan-Am games!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Life of the Driver
Luckily, I'm the master of the 120 Sleep! I'm zooming along the 401 in an empty zone, and I can click my eyeballs to lock, and go to a Selective Temporary Lobotomy (STL). Then, an hour later, I suddenly wonder where I am! I'd love to see this on a PET scan! I think it must be some ancient evolutionary advantage:
The mighty hunter, sitting on a ledge, waiting for the prey. ZAP! STL to conserve energy. Something wanders in to his field of view, lets go the spear, and hopes it's edible!
2 million years ago, the great Division of Labour between the sexes. The man invents power tools, so he can get alone more. The woman talks, and ZAP STL! Those men unsuccessful at it do not become successful breeders.
Modern times, any woman talking to you, STL! You must still be totally alert for sharp objects, or 'attention checkers', such as "I'm going to sign us up for dance lessons."
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Pickering Unit 8 Now Down for Over 1 Week
If it is the transformer, we can expect it to be down for several months, provided they have a spare, ready to go. If it turns on tomorrow, forget I said anything. :)
Friday, November 6, 2009
Niagara Tunnel Taking a Rest
On November 1st 2009
Scheduled maintenance of TBM is in progress
The Invert Concrete Bridge is 2,640 meters (8,661 feet)
On September 11th 2009
The tunnel is 5418 meters (17,775 feet) long
Over-break is 3.5 meters (9.8 feet)
average 5-7 meters per day
elevation below surface 89 meters (294.5 feet)
mining halted following a fall of ground at 3,600 meters
pending debris clearing and repairs to the effected area
as well as a scheduled six week shut down for maintenance of the TBM
mining has been delayed
Sorry everybody. I had assumed the reason we weren't hearing anything was the result of some evil squelching of the news. But, brand new on the site, they are telling us that everything has stopped for maintenance. Whew!
The Constant Hand
OTTAWA - The federal government has given another $200 million to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to complete the overdue, over-budget refurbishment at Point Lepreau and another running into trouble at the Bruce nuclear plant in Ontario.
Yeah, they are the best! I love 'em!
No Brains, No Nukes
TransCanada then confirmed this past July that the project would cost at least $3.4 billion, adding it "may exceed that amount by approximately 10 per cent" – or another $340 million.
This would bring the total overrun to nearly $1 billion, or 36 per cent above the original cost estimate.
Hey, this is not bad for an overrun! But I think they are being coy with the true cost, since the delay has monetary value. Much like they hide the best-estimate true cost of the Niagara Tunnel!
If something actually works, I think twice as expensive and twice as much, is pretty good! Trouble is, nothing is working anymore!
No Physics for Earthquakes
Big earthquake news while I was away. More crapxxxx news that all our existing seismic zones in ENA are locked up and dying. New earthquakes will either never come, or suddenly show up in unfractured, quiet rock. This is a very old hypothesis, related to the 'mountain paradox', which means that New Madrid can't exist, and bumblebees can't fly*, because there are no mountain ranges around the fault zone. OK, leave out the bumblebees.
I rejected that hypothesis a long time ago, because these zones do exist, and they've existed for a heck of a long time. Otherwise, we'd have zones all over the place! Think of the seismic rates, and the need to have virgin territory all the time.
To have these zones exist, in the bumblebee-flying sense, you need some new physics, new mechanisms, and a way to eliminate the stress-lock problem.
*it is my memory that the existing physics could not explain the flight of the bumblebee, until they discovered micro-vortices.
Back From Maffie-Mo
- Drive like a maniac!
- Don't look at the Maffie concrete!
Anyway, she enjoyed riding shotgun, and zipping through traffic like a madman.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Lottery closes for Darl show
Funding recipients are Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Clarington Board of Trade, Northwatch Coalition for Environmental Protection, Safe and Green Energy Peterborough and Mouvement Vert Mauricie.There ya go. I'm sure the board of trade will be an exciting participant!
Do the Shakin' Two Step
Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center at Ewa Beach, said he suspects the Samoa earthquake tipped the earthquake fault "over the edge" for the Vanuatu earthquakes.
This article gives us a great illustration, and a quote from Gerard Fryer, who used to talk to me at one time!
French low level rad waste in surface cells
French radioactive waste authority Andra has entered a consortium with Areva TA to design of a disposal facility with three Lithuanian partners for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste on the model of the CSFMA, a similar French facility located at Soulaines-Dhuys, Aube district. The Agency will provide its expertise, notably for the design and safety assessment of the future facility.
The future facility will accommodate the waste resulting from the dismantling of Lithuania’s Ignalina nuclear-power plant.
I just find this interesting. In Ontario, we are going for the swiss-cheese karst of Bruce.
Les French Back Down on EPR Design
The bodies asked in a joint statement that the control and safety systems within the reactor be independent from each other to avoid both systems failing at the same time.
Ha, it took a lot of regulators, all lined up with sticks to force this change!
Three Gorges Dam reaches maximum
BEIJING, Nov 2 (Reuters) - China's vast Three Gorges reservoir will see a increasing number of landslides and other geological hazards as the water reaches its maximum level this autumn, a magazine report warned on Monday.
The Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest, aims to tame the mighty River Yangtze and provide cheap, clean energy. Reservoir engineers began withholding outflows last September to push the dam's water level up to 175 metres (574 ft) above sea level.
This should be exciting!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Company starts up new venture for mine-scale reactors
During the summer and fall, CRPC management began discussions related to the venture with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), AECL, Natural Resources Canada, and a number of the Ministers that serve of the House of Commons Natural Resources Committee. The technical team has been studying a number of options for reactor design and whether CRPC will develop its own reactor, or work with a vendor design that will meet the needs of remote communities and mines in Canada. The goal is to have the reactor design selected by the end of November, 2009.
Well, somebody's drinking the nuclear juice! Just noticed they hired all sorts of old guys that I knew. This is probably one of those 'village' nuclear reactors that are buried and forgotten when the mine closes. Maybe it's better than burning diesel fuel...
New Darlington Plant Rises from the Dead!
And they immediately gave employment to the two people they just tacked onto the board!
On Feb. 24 this year, at 9:30 a.m., for example, wind generation west of Minnesota's Twin Cities was so plentiful relative to demand that wind farms were paying more than $10 an hour to utilities to take their electricity. Wind generators can afford to sell at a small loss because they make $19 a megawatt-hour from a federal production tax credit.
This is a nice article. I was surprised the wind generators do the nuclear plant trick.