Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Special

Ok, here's a last minute tip for those pumpkins.  We buy these pumpkins on the last trip to the cottage, and they are pretty for the fall.  Now, on Halloween, we want to carve them.  All of a sudden our kids run away!  Last year we managed to trap and blackmail two of them!  They all whine -- oh I don't like the gunky insides!  Whoops, I have a drunken party to go to!

So now I was stuck with the damn pumpkins.  So this is the great suggestion from a friend.  Charge up your cordless drill and stick on a 1/4 inch drill.  Look at your pumpkin and rotor off the bottom at high speed.  Don't touch the top.  Take the big spoon and goop things out the bottom.  Take your pumpkin face off the internet and quickly draw it.  Use the drill as a router and zoom through the pattern at lightning speed.  Trim the edges.  Place your pumpkin on a battery candle.  Woo wooo!

Water polo this weekend and I got great video.  Here's the first quarter, and there's more on the site.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Linux and borrowing library ebooks

I think for all of us our XP is dying on the old machines.  There are so many exploits out there, that there is no defense.  So, the rich people can jump on the ms upgrade treadmill, but some of us want to use our old hardware, since it is perfectly good for the internet.

The only trouble with desktop Linux is that every stinking utility out there is for xp!  You buy any device and it only communicates to a computer through windows.  Thus, I maintained an xp machine to the very end.

But you can have your Linux and xp too!  Linux has an emulator called Wine.  On my 64 bit Athlon x2, it runs faster than xp ever did!  Nearly every xp utility runs on it, and only games are a pain, since they always accessed the deep processor instructions.

Now, my major problem was to keep borrowing ebooks from the Toronto library.  I want them to increase their collection, so I use it.  The only problem is that publishers want to stick to useless Digital rights management (DRM), and you can only use this on Windows, since they are closed binaries.  So, on first sight, you are screwed!

But fire up Wine, and start installing windows programs.  You need Firefox for a browser, Adobe Reader and Digital Editions (DE) for the books.  Use Winetricks to install the gecko engine for deep IE features that the Adobe needs.  Now, the trick is to stay totally within Wine when you are doing this.  You go to the library with your wine firefox, and you get your book.  This downloads a small text file with the extension .acsm.  These are just instructions for DE.  Firefox shows the file, and it opens automatically with DE.  Now you can read the book, just like you were a slave to ms!

This was the most difficult part, for you can't download the acsm file using Linux, since you get the whole Unix-Dos text file incompatibility thing.  For those that want to download to their reader (for me Sony PRS700), you are again screwed since DE can't handle the DRM crap right to the sony.  You have to do something Linuxy!  I don't want to tell, but it's quite simple, involving installing Python 2.7 on wine, installing the xp binary for Pycrypto, and running 2 magic 'inept' scripts to 'D-DRM' the epub file.  Then just use your standard sony usb disk connection to put it in the 'books' folder.  Nobody's out of pocket since you are just reading the book!  Don't put the clean epub on the internet, since I like it for authors to eat and write new stuff!  and erase the book after the lending period.

The principle of the drm is fascinating in its stupidity.  DE requires you to 'register' with your email and password.  You are only allowed to do this on 6 machines (or OS versions), and if you screwed up a lot, you can't read old books you bought.  From this registration, DE creates a powerful RSA encryption key, which on the surface seems unbreakable.  It communicates with the library, which pays big bucks for a DE server.  But, the program must have the ability to store the key, and de-en-crypt.  This is held sloppily, and the scripts extract it.

When you buy books, the same drm works, and you can lose the key, so you can't access them anymore, even though you paid for it!  So, I would always clean the epub for bought books for archival purpose, and you can put them on any reader, since the epub standard is common and open.

Earthquake Songs

Cute Article

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Death of my XP machine

OMG!  I maintained an old computer on xp, even though it was an Athlon 64 x2.  That's because there is so much crap that only runs on windows.  Despite my best efforts with anti-virus stuff, it finally got so hosed with corruption, that I terminated its life.  I put Linux on it, since I couldn't see myself paying for win7.

Now I can't borrow books from the library anymore, since I can't get Adobe digital editions running on the xp emulator (Wine).  It's sad.

Canada 6th from the top on corruption


Really, who could keep up with Denmark?  I'm sure we aren't angels because of a certain province, and a certain tunnel.  A lot of this government money is totally secret, and that's how they rank, on how opaque things are.

Wait until we start to build a nuclear plant!  That's as opaque as horse scat!  :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another day, another Indonesian Earthquake

This is probably near the edge of the big earthquake.  An M7.5 is nothing around here.  Still, sometimes bizarre damage can happen.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Zealand Earthquake - Geotechnical Report


This is a great read!  I didn't realize that nobody has basements, and that the soft soils are so thick.  I still think their 'instructed' solution is right out of the loony bin, but I love the report!

Niagara Tunnel Wonderful

I just thought I'd keep this up once in a blue moon, since it is so boring.  After pouring extra billions and virtually replacing the machine, it is going swimmingly at 13 m a day, with no overbreak.  Since they had all this extra money, they shouldn't have cut the corners and made the curves sharper, when they thought they actually had a budget.  Now, this looks cheap!  :)  and it cuts the water flow and pressure head (total energy).

Bruce Rehab Delayed


Bruce Power's refurbishment plans hit a snag recently when a group of environmentalists opposed the transportation of old radioactive generators along the St. Lawrence River to be recycled overseas. 

Is this the actual reason, or is it the fact that there is no demand, what with all the industry dying.  It makes me wonder about the Darlington rehab, which is even more expensive (and they have a zillion people working on it!)  And don't worry about OPG shipping out the old steam generators!  They'll do what they've always done, and just dump them in the back forty. :)

Bruce Nuclear Website


Wow!  The next thing ya know, they'll be using Twitter!  :)

The website doesn't work for me, probably designed for IE only.  Have a look if you like lots of speeches by old-guy bosses.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Madrid Fault: Dead or Alive?


You can read this article where the first guy says the fault is dead, and a link at the bottom says the fault is alive.  I think it is very much alive and growing, and we might find out soon in Arkansas.  :)

New Zealand Earthquake - They go for land dams


The consultants presented a range of nine options for fixing areas of liquefaction and ground-spreading, but said in their report they had been "instructed" to focus on the treatment of perimeter areas. This was lowest-cost option with the least social disruption.

Yeah for 'instructed' consultants!  I'm not saying anything, because those NZers are sooo touchy!  But Holy Crap, what are they thinking?  They are containing the jello so it doesn't slip out of the bowl.  But jello does as jello will, and this is like containing dry sand in your fingers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LInux Xerox 6125N laser printer

My old laser printer started to do something horrible, so it was off to to get a new colour laser printer. I found this printer which had good reviews.  The Linux printing site lists it as a paperweight, but actually it works quite well.  You just hook it up to the network, give it a static ip through the panel, and fire up Cups.  The printer is under the make 'FX', which is a Fuji thing.  I actually installed the driver through some other instructions, but I think it is there under the standard cups drivers.

It doesn't do duplex :( but it's a very nice printer.  You need to change the defaults under cups to make the tray work.

New Zealand Earthquake - Land Remediation


Brownlee said Cantabrians would need to remain patient, with remediation work to strengthen entire suburbs not expected to start until next year.

This is interesting.  I can't wait to get the whole geotechnical report!  How the heck are they going to do it?  Scrape all the loonshit off?  Put on a huge pile of sand for a year?  Use huge vibrators?  This all tends to imply that they wipe out all the houses first.

CNSC wimps out on contaminated boilers


The extra information released Monday looks at three areas of the controversial plan that many opponents say have not been properly addressed. They include questions about the environmental impact of shipping boilers that contain radioactive material, scenarios for dealing with an accident, and more details about the rules for moving the material through international water.

They just can't do it, can they?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Costco Wine Time Again

I've been making some fabulous wine with the Costco wine kits.  I make a batch Spring and Fall.  This year they have a Shiraz I'm trying.  This wine is good to drink after 6  months in the bottle, and great after 2 years, but I never get that far.  :(.  I used to get Gooble ad money to buy 'top rack' wine, but they found out that the intelligence of my readers did not match their ads, and they banned me for life.  Nevertheless, if I could really keep this wine for 2 years (I find some hidden bottles once in a while), then it's just as good as my $25 Vintages wine.

The secret is to never let Toronto tap water anywhere near your wine!  Use those big 18L water bottles at Costco.

Sideline:  Damn site.  I discovered a technical flaw in their programming, and do you think I get through to anybody?

Fractal Guy Dead


On 14 October 2010, the genius who coined the word - Polish-born mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot - died, aged 85, from cancer.

Unfortunately, there is no definition of fractals that is both simple and accurate. Like so many things in modern science and mathematics, discussions of "fractal geometry" can quickly go over the heads of the non-mathematically-minded. This is a real shame, because there is profound beauty and power in the idea of fractals.

Well, I read his book, and never really understood his explanation.  But it is extremely important for earthquakes, and not everybody realizes this.  I've also used it to explain why corporations and bureaucracies suck.  It's all to do with self-similarity, which is either the defining element of fractals, or a subset, which I can never figure out.

With regard to earthquakes, all the fractal papers are hiding behind the pay wall, and are incomprehensible.  I've done my best to explain it, but I hope that others do better.   :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Arkansas Earthquake Gets Interesting

At first I thought -- another cluster, blah, blah.  But this M4.4 has sharpened my interest.  Note that it is just on the tip of the New Madrid zone.  Anyone who has read my story on these interior earthquake zones, knows that they only survive by growing.   I expect great things in the future.....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ottawa Earthquake Exercise


The training, which is taking place between Thursday and Sunday, will simulate a major earthquake and test the response of an elite group of Ottawa's emergency rescuers.

The 65 members of the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, along with 100 members of the national Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, will take part in the four-day exercise, which is being put on by Public Safety Canada.

I don't think we should fool ourselves into thinking that this has anything to do with earthquake preparation in Canada (east of the Rockies, anyway).  These are those elite people that zoom off to Haiti or Vancouver, or some other foreign country.  :)  There is nothing done for this area.  :(

More on dynamic pop-ups - Michigan Earthquake


As the readers here know, what happened in Michigan was not an earthquake, but what some people in Canada call a 'Frost Quake'.  That's because it mostly happens in winter, when the frost causes the delamination of the highly stressed surface layers.  Although freezing probably helps weaken the lower layers, these things happen any time of the year.

This picture shows a granite layer, but I see it mostly in limestone.  They are quite a thump if you are near them when they let loose.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Innovation for Canada


Through the review, the Conservatives hope to determine why Canada lags other developed countries in terms of innovation, private-sector investment in R&D, as well as the commercialization of research. Canada continues to perform poorly in these areas, despite the fact that the federal government has invested in billions to spur innovation through tax breaks, grants and other forms of support.

I always wonder about this issue in my bloggings.  Could it be that all this money is tied up tighter than a drum in bureaucratic mediocrity?   When's the last time you heard a free thinker?  Are we too polite to rock the boat?

I also think we have returned to Soviet Central Industrial Planning.  That's where the government picks the 'winners' and pours in the money (Smitherman was the best!).  I don't think anybody is reading their history, when you strive for absolute control (Harper?), the economy goes down the rat hole.  I look to Brazil for innovation.  :)

Oklahoma Earthquake Size Argument

The Fed's want to keep this as an M4.3.  The local guys want to pump this up to an M5.1.  Article.

OGS research seismologist Austin Holland said continued analysis of the survey data showed the epicenter was about 8 miles southeast of Norman, south of Lake Thunderbird near E Post Oak Road and 84th Avenue SE. Initial reports rated the 9:06 a.m. quake as magnitude 4.5 or 4.3, but Holland said further analysis showed a consistent magnitude of 5.1.

I think people really want to pump up  their local earthquakes.  :)

ps.  Right under an artificial lake.  Could this be water related?

New Zealand Earthquake Aftershock Sequence

As I've always said, something is very weird about this earthquake.  I'm saying it's a 'hard rock' complex earthquake, that rupture in distinct sections.  The maximum section was probably an M6.0, in terms of strong ground motions, which were about 1-2 cm/s on firm ground.  There were no near-field recordings on firm ground.

Since the instrumentation was inadequate to resolve this, we can look at the aftershock sequence.  On one hand, we have this article, which says everything is perfectly normal for an M7.1.   For those of you who believe the official line, you can stop here.  :)

However, for an M7.1, I would expect the aftershock sequence to cascade down from an M6.0.  Here is a graph from the Parkfield M6.0.

This is what I grew up with!  Of course, there must be exceptions, but I've never seen any.  Now, the Parkfield was a very 'clean' M6, which means that it ruptured in a single 'whoosh'.  Many, many large (M8 or more) earthquakes have also ruptured in distinct segments, and that requires very good instrumentation to reconstruct the sequence.  The destructive M7's on blind thrust faults have also ruptured clean.

As usual, I'm just relying on my experience, and don't want to engage in any academic hissy fights.  :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Noisy Pop-up Debuts in Michigan (Earthquake)


Too bad these geologists in Michigan don't study Canada much.  We have these all the time.  If you cross-cut them, you find that a highly-stressed layer of limestone buckled and popped up.  I can't find a single stupid picture of them outside of the paywall, but we did a ton of work on them.

Seismic qualification of diesel generators


I remember doing this at work.  These things are in ships, trucks, and trains, where they easily work at over 2g.  They have also been exposed to major earthquakes, where they work flawlessly, mainly because the operational vibration far exceeds any earthquake.

Yet, they have to put them on a stupid shake table.

Monday, October 11, 2010

US Nuclear Bites the Big One


The challenging competitive position means the private sector will not finance new reactor projects in those markets without loan guarantees. Yet the commercial risks mean the guarantee offered to Constellation was on terms that the company considered prohibitively expensive.

With no carbon tax (ie. gas cheaper than water), then there is no nuclear.  Even these fancy loan guarantees do nothing, since this was the plant most likely to actually start flinging dirt.  I don't think the nuclear waste fiasco helps either.  Dang, the only hope for more money in the earthquake biz was The Great Nuclear Revival.

As with Ontario, all the industries that need electricity will go to China, and that they'll start going wild with nuclear, at the last minute, when everything starts browning out (and the wind doesn't blow).  :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Global Warming Rises Above Science


One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. 

With the word incontrovertible, we no longer have Science, since any scientific theory must be open to be 'falsifiable' by new evidence.  If I say the world is young, and all the geology and fossils are a big trick by God, then this is not science.  But everybody tries to mix science and dogma.  Anyway, read this letter, he should have a grouchy blog like mine!  Anyway, this whole thing has passed out of my concern....  :)

ps. why can't I have some of those billions?

Toronto Fish Ladder - The Beaver Strikes Back

The big salmon are swimming up the Humber.  I saw one over 2and1/2 feet!  Here's one shooting up the river with a rooster tail.

But the ladder is gummed up again!  Mr. Beaver has blocked the fishies!

He put a nice fresh dam there.

When asked, Mr. Beaver replied:  "It's my seaway because I live beside it!  I'm not letting any fish through, because they're big and smelly, and I don't like them.  I have a lot of political beavers backing me up on this!"

San Andreas Can Rip a Big One!


Recent research showing that a section of the fault is long overdue for a major earthquake has some scientists saying the southern portion of the fault is capable of a magnitude 8.1 earthquake that could run 340 miles from Monterey County to the Salton Sea.

They're saying that a section which blocked the 1857 M7.9 earthquake, can no longer do so.  That makes the possible rupture length jump from 200 to 340 miles.  I don't think that really makes a big difference, but the article is going on and on about it.  I still think the local M7's on blind thrust faults (like Kobe) are the bigger threat.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pt. Lepreau New Tubes Go Down the Tube


NB Power has announced that Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. will have to start over with one of the most important parts of the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear plant.

No comment.

Packing Up the Cottage - Canadian Thanksgiving

It's Canadian Thanksgiving, and it's time to close the cottage.  For those of you suffering from Global Warming, here's the deal:  It too damn cold here other than a few months.  At the end of our summer, we must take all the fun boats up and protect them from 40 below temperatures, and 10 feet of snow.

All the water must be drained from the plumbing, and that isn't enough, because if one drop remains it has the explosive power of a Brazilian Blowout!  So, I also have to pour in a lot of plumbing antifreeze (that stuff is 80 proof!).  Then everything is tuck-tuck in bed until May.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Door to Door Energy Predators - Just Energy

I thought when Direct Energy heisted the hot water market that all this door-to-door energy thing was gone.  After all the price of natural gas is tanking!  But my daughter who is a student at a house in Hamilton was crying because she just signed something when Just Energy came to the door.  They made her believe they were legit because they had her gas billing name.  What do students know about this crap?


They made my daughter cry!  I'm having her go to the landlord, then go to the university if she has to.  I am now conducting this campaign.

ps. I almost forgot that Conrad Black might be cleared and back in town again to scare everybody.

Friction - The New Frontier


This is something I've said from the very beginning of my blog -- that friction is nothing to sniff at!  Although I can wax eloquently forever on dynamic friction, the big earthquake boys ignore it.  So, these people had some fun.

By the way, Mr. Writer, they are not challenging the laws of physics, merely refining them.  So, when each little contact zings, it sends out an earthquake.  All the contacts form a fractal pattern, so that everything is fractal, or self-similar.  They still don't mention the role of water molecules on the surface, which act as a contaminant, resisting new adhesion.  If they did the experiment in a vacuum, the contact points would not release suddenly, but just gently roll along.  Actually, with that amount of smoothness, they wouldn't even be able to pry the blocks apart in a vacuum!

I am sooo happy!

Take the Flu Shot


This is totally rational, and yet I can't get the wife to do it!  As we know from all the hysteria recently there is very little rationality floating around.  News organizations like to grab their sound bites from anywhere, and the cranks sound good....  :)

No New Power Required for Ontario


The McGuinty government is pulling the plug on a controversial gas-fired power plant planned for Oakville, following stiff opposition from local residents who complained it would be too close to neighbouring homes and a school, sources say.

This is interesting because it is at the old Ford plant, which is the ugliest place in the world.  But we won't need power if nobody believes we'll have power in the future.  Win-win for everybody!  :)

Hey, we just need Pickering to fold up, while the Darlington fix-up is being mangled.  All my years in the industry really lead me to think this has some meaty probability.  :(

Everybody in New Zealand Earthquake Can Rebuild on Same Land


Almost every Canterbury resident whose property was damaged in the earthquake will be able to rebuild on their land, Earthquake Relief Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

Brownlee shot down suggestions entire suburbs would be demolished and said land that could not be built on was limited to "pockets" in different areas, although he would not say where they were.

People who did not want to rebuild on their land even if it was deemed safe would have to make that decision themselves, he said.

As you can all see, I'm not putting a speck of intelligence into the NZ earthquake anymore.  Everybody there has total trust in their government agencies.  There was no political pressure here, and everybody can build on muck, er wonderful ground, again!

Toyota Locking Lug Nuts

Ok, so the new car smell is off the 2008 Camry Hybrid, and I'm taking it to my favourite local gas station for an oil change and tire rotation.  What the heck!  The tires are locked and the lug nut key is missing, probably from the last time Toyota rotated the tires.  So a quick look on the net and these things are The Spawn of the Devil!

Apparently, they break all the time, in the lug nut, and then you are screwed.  I'm having them all cut off and replaced with regular lug nuts.  I mean, really, when's the last time you saw this in Canada, with production tires!

Also, I'm planning on getting new cheap tires at Costco!

ps. does anybody find this new Google Instant Search useful?  It drives me nuts!

OMG! The Sun has something to do with warming cycles


New data indicates that changes in the Sun's output of energy were a major factor in the global temperature increases seen in recent years. The research will be unwelcome among hardcore green activists, as it downplays the influence of human-driven carbon emissions.

Notice how they don't use 'data' as a plural?  I hate data as a plural!  Data is a single lump, and should be singular!

What was the topic again?  Oh, yeah, the minor sunspot cycle can influence climate.  What about all the other sun and orbit cycles?  Maybe they do, as well?

I'm still bubbling CO2 into my fish tank.  It makes the plants grow nice.  And of course, all that lovely beer in the hot summer --- burp!

Another nail in the Yucca coffin


WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission tossed water on the embers of the Yucca Mountain project this week, directing agency scientists to halt a formal review of the nuclear waste site.

...There has been wide speculation among officials in various states and industry-leaning bloggers that a final ruling has been delayed because Jaczko favors Yucca termination but has not gathered a majority among three other commissioners to join him.

...Jaczko, a physicist, has served on the NRC since 2005 and was designated chairman in 2009 by President Barack Obama. Previously, Jaczko was a top aide to Reid, who fought the Bush administration to nominate him and later to appoint him to a second term.

The NRC commissioners do most of their deliberations in writing or behind closed doors, and other agency officials have not been able to shed light on the Yucca case that many attorneys expected to be settled by the end of the summer.

I just wanted to throw this in to show that we Canadians aren't the only ones with a scientific credibility problem in the 'mucky' areas.

British top influential scientists


The panel of experts said Sir Paul was a "seasoned political operator and a robust campaigner with a reputation for speaking his mind on issues from stem-cell research to science funding".

I was reading this, and realized that we Canadians don't have anything like this.  We only have that crazy guy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reaping the Consequence of Scientific Toadification

Years ago, when the old company started it's Stalinist purge of all independent thought, I went into deep contemplation:  What if the whole country totally went this way?  What if the government wiped out everybody who possessed independent thought?  And then it happened!

Since I had experience with this in the nuclear bizz, I knew the result would be bouts of mass hysteria.  There would be nobody to tell people to calm down, and no logical thought.  Oil tankers go through the damn  Seaway!  Do the whales get wiped out when lightning hits the water?  Can soda fizz kill us all?

I can predict it gets much worse.

iphone4 general reception problems

The distant relative is having trouble with general reception of the iphone4 in Toronto.  It is taking minutes to hook on when emerging from the subway.  The cheapie phone takes seconds!  He may take it back and see if he can get a new one.  Maybe it's just us, way up north....

Diary Oct 6, 2010

-went to the cottage again, just me and the dog.  It's amazing that all the wood you cut up and split, just keeps you going for those days.  I can never build up a big supply!
-water is extremely low, have to throw the motor right up, and paddle into my marina slot.
-nothing to write about, just hysteria about those radioactive boilers - what are people going to do if something real pops up?
-I really wanted to do a mechanical stick-slip demonstration, but I just can't make the effort to find the materials. It's still bouncing in my head.
-the eastern section of the SSA has a session on 'seismic hazard and nuclear power plants'.  Man, that takes me back!  Too bad I'm so dirt poor that I can't do these things.  I have no idea what new things they actually got for a whole session.  Probably just those sad seismic hazard studies.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Earthquake Survival - 3 Days is Insufficient


Even assembling a search and rescue team to deal with the catastrophic collapse of the Northridge Meadows apartment building didn't happen fast because firefighters' own families were affected by the quake, he said. Sixteen people died in the three-story complex.
Tripp said the standard warning that people should be capable of sustaining themselves for 72 hours was "naive," and that they should really plan for 14 days.

This is interesting.  All the standard advice is to have emergency supplies for 3 days.  Now, you have to be ready to camp for 2 weeks!  He's probably right, though.  If we have a 'standard disaster' one in a thousand (rare) earthquake anywhere, we can expect Katrina-like rescue efficiency.  :)