Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Shale Gas Earthquake?


A spokeswoman for Cuadrilla, the company carrying out the tests, said drilling was suspended as a precaution following the earthquake, confirmed by the British Geological Survey as the area's second in as many months.

I love shale gas earthquakes!  They prove everything I have said about using rock mechanics for earthquakes.  It would be very unusual, or nearly impossible, to have an earthquake from the first fracking of the shale.  I wonder if they were testing an injection well, since that would be the main cause.

The Brits should get all their creaky Victorian seismometers and check it out!

Warm and cold snaps play havoc with Vikings


The Vikings were burning too much wood in 940.  Then it became very warm, and they could grow hay in Greenland.  They stopped burning wood, and a thousand years later it became very cold and they were driven out.  :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ontario Fruit Tree Spraying

Like everybody, I have some fruit trees in the backyard.  Ontario made my life miserable by banning all the horribly toxic stuff I used to pour on them.  So I had to use all my chemistry to mix up something as good.  Now, you know that I never put any of this stuff on my trees, since that would be illegal.  I am just coming up with a 'thought experiment' on what would be good, and has worked the last few years.

I just thought of 2 ingredients - one is a wettable powder organic fungicide.  I use Bordo Copper, since I figure that if I would accidently spray myself, it would prevent arthritis :).  The powder is great, since it has a wetting agent, and this is legal.  Next I put in some pyrethin, which is organic, but banned because my fruit trees may be on a swamp.  I would use Home Defence, if I actually sprayed it.  I put in about 60 ml for 3 l.  You have to spray every few weeks.

And here's something obvious, which I didn't know for years.  When the apples are about an inch in diameter, pinch out all the apples in a cluster, but the main, biggest one.  It really helps!

Update - May 31, 2018.  I have a new spray recipe.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Charlevoix earthquake of 1663 larger than New Madrid

Ah, I got the new BSSA.  I risk my life bringing you these little snippets, heavily flavoured by my own biased opinion.  NA-NA US!  Our earthquake was bigger!  And size is everything!

Now, I didn't actually read this article, since I find that these arguments are always rather arcane.  Was it soft soil?  Was it stiff?  Were people embellishing to get more money from the Pope?  We never really know.

I have more of these articles to 'read'. Bye.

Philly Earthquake - World Record Tiniest to Cause a Big Fuss


It comes down to this.  Nothing happening all week, and nothing to write about except this World Record Earthquake.  I never heard of an earthquake being so small, and so loud.  Their seismometer coverage in that area is the pits, so I suspect that the magnitude is actually higher.  These things usually are M3's.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Leda Clay Pottery


Lalonde gave Clague a gift for making his presentation — a small pot by a local artisan.
It was made with Leda clay.

Forget the contents of this article!  I want a Leda Clay Pot!  Does it liquefy when I jump up and down?

HIgh Temperature Seismic Detectors


This would be really good for nuclear plants, but we'll never see it there.  I love using mems for accelerometers, since they are so solid.  For example, at the old company, we had a big foo-for-all about the feeders, and millions were spent in useless seismic analysis.  But some measurements showed the feeders vibrated at more than 10 times what any earthquake could introduce.  Some of these sensors fixed on such things would do wonders.

HuffyCan Arrives


Well, I should just lay down my digital pen, and slink away...   I can see why they don't pay these guys anything, they're all pushing something!  :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Italy Shakes Down Seismologists


The judge said the defendants "gave inexact, incomplete and contradictory information" about whether smaller tremors in L'Aquila six months before the 6.3 magnitude quake on 6 April, which killed more than 300 people, should have been viewed as warning signs of the subsequent disaster.

That's the problem with people who do magic.  It's like feeding wild bears.  Everything is fine and dandy, until you run out of food.  Then the bears rise up and demand more, and probably kill you, thus denying them more food in the future.  So, the whole place is full of these bears, who overlook a certain leader's bunga excesses, and go after seismologists.

I am boycotting Italy.  And I call on the Great Powers of Earthquakery to rain down earthquakes upon their tiny heads!

Blackflies leaving da house

Just went overnight to the cottage to start the pump and fix everything up.  Avoided going up the long weekend, since the traffic is always horrible.  It was really nice, and we thought the blackflies would be as bad as 2 weeks ago, but then we saw the dragonflies.  It takes them a good couple of days to wipe out the blackflies, and it looked like they were half-way through.  We could sit outside, but with a fly candle-lamp.  Really nice.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tourist killed in Greek rockfall


So, this is up because the girlfriend of my son was due to be on this donkey trip, but got delayed and missed it.  Talk about missing the Titanic!

Intraplate Earthquakes More Deadly


PARIS — Knowledge of seismic risk is badly skewed in favour of earthquakes that occur on plate boundaries, such as the March 11 temblor that hit northeast Japan, rather than those that strike deep inland, a pair of scientists said on Sunday.

Yeah!  Here are two people, after my own heart, evacuating into the wind.  It's good to hear their voices, but we need a few more disasters yet.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fox and the Hound

In the little valley, there is a family of foxes (skulk?).  There are 5 little ones, and Cindy the Wonderdog plays with them, mainly by chasing them back into their den.  I wonder if they can really get enough food to feed 5 foxes.  People better lock up their cats!

Here is one kit.

And here is the dog, who would rather puddle in the water, then chase baby foxes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flawed engineering analysis finds flaws


I always said that if they stuck to their old ways of doing seismic analysis then no new nuclear plants will be built.  Now, it looks that way.  The bizarre physics assumptions that 'pass' the Japan-style BWR, now fail the AP1000. Didn't they learn from Japan that it is all crap?  I go on being amused.

This old-style analysis will pass a floppy jello nuclear vault, like the BWR, and fail a stiff shield building on solid rock.  It's all to do with response spectrum analysis, and using peak acceleration.  I don't expect this to resolve itself until another disaster.

Surprise! The Japan Earthquake surprised everybody


There are some good quotes here.

"Unfortunately, the quake happened where they hadn't inferred there was a stuck point—it was further away from shore," said Dr. Simons. Plus, the 9.0-magnitude temblor turned out to be 33 times as powerful as the expected 8.0-magnitude temblor.

"It's taught us a lesson that our short human experience and earthquake records can only provide a small window" into geological time, said Dr. Elliott.

Well, maybe this gets us away from our 'See Fault' approach -- I see a fault, therefore, an earthquake will happen on it.  Maybe it won't!

Geology: Nuclear Plants Be Warned, We are going back to the silly days


I started in the heyday of nuclear plants.  I talked to all these crazy people wanting to build them.  They didn't know what they were doing, and were going to totally rely on consultants to tell them everything.  Of most interest was the 'Fault a Day' phenomenon.  Somebody would find a smear on the ground like above, and declare it an 'Active Fault'.  Then they would place an M8 on it, and totally screw up any plans for a nuclear plant.  Thus, it became the fault that caused the earthquake.  This never happened in the east because all the faults are covered up.

Why are we back to this?  I think it is an extreme response to the extreme attitude of the nuclear bigwigs.  By digging in, and never doing anything on earthquakes for the last 30 years, they have left themselves open to this.  Now, do we support one silliness to counter another?  Why not?

OPG Squeezes


Increased profit on cost cutting.  Yeah!  I hear it's a real hell-hole in there now.

“At OPG, we understand that we can continue to operate nuclear units only if the people of the province accept that the units are safe,” Mr. Mitchell said.
“I can assure Ontario residents that these nuclear units are safe. But we are not complacent. In the wake of the nuclear event in Japan, I have asked Wayne Robbins, our chief nuclear officer, to lead a thorough examination of our units and our plans for preventing safety risks and/or responding to them.”

I'm glad the people of Ontario will accept anything they say.  Much less stress that way.  :)

Geologist Fights the Crazies


It may seem as though natural disasters are on the rise, but Dr. Nick Eyles says this has nothing to do with the end of the world, as predicted by a Christian Evangelist group. 
A professor of geology at the University of Toronto, Eyles says the illusion of increased disasters is due to rapid population augmentation in urban areas. 

I never thought the crazies would get press in Canada, but this is an age where everything gets published!  Look at me!  I'm glad it's his job, and not mine.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shallow M6 Turkey Earthquake

Just in on the ticker.  It couldn't happen in a more lonely place.  Still they estimate that 65000 people may have been exposed to Intensity 6, which is about 30 cm/s and will certainly roll those stone houses.

A Tsunami Can Run Over Any Seawall


Here's what happens to engineers who can't do physics.  Do you think any seawall would have held this?  No, because this is not a wave!  This is a giant sliding sheet of water coming towards you, like water held in a cookie tray.  Put a wall in front, and it jumps it, up to 100 feet high.  Putting faith in a seawall, is like assuming your plant can take an earthquake, without any thought (physics) put into it.

In the pictures, note that the plant is perfectly intact up a few stories.  Can you think of a better place to put backup generators other than the basement?  

Radon may predict earthquakes in a useless manner


This is strong evidence of something happening just before an earthquake.  It could be happening all the time, but they just looked carefully after the fact.  Still it is interesting to explore the proposed physics.

They were expecting 'every day' M8 earthquakes.  This was in their living memory, and they did not consider a rare earthquake.  In this way, they were evil twins to every other nuclear person in the world.  The big problem with large earthquakes is that they act as stacked dominoes, ready to fall.  You might get a signal for an M8, but not know that everything is set up for an M9.

All earthquakes are a stick-slip response to earth movement.  As such, they need a critical displacement, dc, to make the transformation from static to dynamic friction.  Think of standing in a slippery, wet bathtub, where the critical displacement is near zero.  As your foot starts to slip, it has no idea of the general balance of the rest of your body.  You can have a little slip, or rip down the shower curtains!

For this radon signal, it is assumed that a section of the fault is starting a rapid approach to dc.  It is most likely a small zone of 100 km.  The pictures show a couple of zones.  This movement supposedly releases radon.  I am having difficulty thinking of the fate of this radon through the deep ocean.  Is it coming up in bubbles?  Can it diffuse so rapidly?  Anyway, then this radon screws up the weather.  Thick ocean sediments also come to mind, as in how does the radon get through clay?

Maybe the little micro-tremors shake up the sediments and release methane, but I still think you need bubbling to achieve such a rapid result.  Off to the next M9 candidate!  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

US Nuclear plant seismic fragility still glassy


One reason the venting system at the plant, which was built by General Electric, did not work is that it relied on the same sources of electricity as the rest of the plant: backup generators that were in basements at the plant and vulnerable to tsunamis. But the earthquake may also have damaged the valves that are part of the venting system, preventing them from working even when operators tried to manually open them, Tokyo Electric officials said.

I am quite amazed that this isn't receiving more 'nuclear panic' notice.  I guess people don't realize the concept of seismic fragility, since you must combine it with seismic hazard to get seismic risk.  As well, all of this is expressed in terms of probability, and nobody does that well.

Release and relief valves have always had problems with earthquakes.  The same with electrical systems.  Short pipes between heavy masses get sheared off.  All of this happens at 10 cm/s, and we can expect all this to happen with a US BWR at relatively high probabilities.  The recent M6 Saguenay earthquake buggered up some valves on a plant, and could have caused deaths if the wind had been perverse.

So, you can have ridiculously fragile nuclear plants if you believe there is virtually no chance of an earthquake somewhere in the eastern US.  So little scientific work has been done by the plants in the last 30 years, it becomes easy to make this statement, if you ignore the uncertainties, as these guys are prone to do.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Marginal cost for extra bandwidth is cheap

I'm using Bell right now, with the Fibe 25 Mbit service.  This gives me 75 Gbytes per month, which is a little blip at these speeds.  For an extra $5 I can bump it up by 40 Gb, and do it again and again.  I have all the kids home right now, so I won't say how many bumps I've got!  :)  Still, I don't know what is required for good Netflix, since they send things down uncompressed.  Also, I have found you can get high compression ratios for video, that can be brought back to life (to 1080p) with the PS3 upscaler.  I really don't want the intense detail of blueray.  Who wants to see nosehairs?

The best compression comes from the blueray version, even if it is compressed to lower resolution, since the compression keeps the most important details.  The upscaler seems to work well with this.  I don't see a need for uncompressed blueray, and that's going to be over 10 gb a movie!

Japan has a divided electricity grid


The ability of power companies in western Japan to sell excess power to Tepco is hampered because the country is divided by grids that use different frequencies. Companies including Tepco and Tohoku Electric Power Co. transmit power to the eastern grid at a frequency of 50 hertz (cycles per second), while the rest of Japan uses 60 hertz.

Wow!  That's like dividing the country into left and right hand steering!  I just found this very interesting.

Bruce steam generators not going for a trip


The steam generators will now be thrown in the back 40, awaiting 'What Lies Beneath'.  They'll have to be chopped up, which is ugly.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Letter to Hudak

(Tim Hudak is the contender to the Ontario Throne)

Dear Tim, soon you will be taking power from the very tired liberal party.  On that day, you will be forced to dig into the muck, and discover our debts and liabilities are far greater than advertised.  The Niagara Tunnel is probably an extra 2 billion in the hole, and that doesn't include the expansion to the pumped storage required to actually make it all work.

You will find our nuclear plants are seismic death traps, and they are about to sink billions into a big wet hole up at the Bruce.  What to do?

We really need some new nuclear plants, but the people running the show are of the same quality that doomed Japan.  You need to clean house, or soon we are out of electricity.  You can't build the required nuclear capacity at Darlington.  We looked at it years ago and rejected it.  Go to Wesleyville, and immediately snag the parts for a few Westinghouse AP1000's.  Do the phony environmental assessments later, they always go through!

You've got to start all this soon, before you too, become as they are......


Japan nuclear plant would have blown without a tsunami


They had 50 minutes before the tsunami.  Now, the big 'what if' game is to think whether we would have had a meltdown on the shaking alone.  Seems like it.  The meltdown was in full play within 5 hours, but they still had plenty of battery power then.  Would the generators have flooded on their own from all the broken pipes?

External power was lost just from the shaking, and I've never seen a backup generator arrangement that was seismically rugged.  As more news dribbles out, I am convinced we can treat this as a pure earthquake matter.

As I have stated, the ground motions were low.  If there weren't hundreds of accelerometer readings, you would also get this by the light damage in towns that weren't swept aside.  Do we actually have readings from the nuclear plant?  No.

You realize, of course, that an earlier earthquake also damaged a nuclear plant.  In that case, all the readings were destroyed, and we never knew the seismic fragility.  I came to the conclusion that the ground motions must have been exceptionally strong, but now I have the feeling that they were similarly low.  What is going to be done now?  A rational approach might be to investigate why these nuclear plants are 'glass jaws', and perhaps something can be done.  But you know what will happen....

In the old days, engineering methodologies were always changed by big disasters.  Then, they would just say "Oops, Sorry!", and change things.  Now, we have all the legal liabilities, and nobody can ever admit they were wrong.  I wonder how many more disasters are needed before we admit that we are building things too fragile to live.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

US Blue Ribbons Flap in the Breeze


Commissioners were split on the wisdom of recommending anything relating to the safety of spent nuclear fuel pools, especially given unclear data about the Fukushima pool incident. "Why not get ahead of the curve and move fuel to low-density [arrangement]?" said nuclear expert and commissioner Allison Macfarlane of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. "This is not a hard problem. … It's fairly straightforward." But another commissioner, nuclear engineer Per Peterson of the University of California, Berkeley, said that new data from the Fukushima pool raises doubts about the reasons for the explosion. The issue of reracking fuel in less dense pools was omitted from the draft recommendations.

Is it evil of me to watch these people?  You can't find an 'interim' site for the waste, because people will immediately fight that it is really permanent, and politicians will get elected.  Now that we know all these US plants are fragile as glass, why worry about jamming the pools?  And we Canadians have our Chalk River NRC, which much have a fragility at least as good as a US boiling water reactor.

Can this be addressed in a positive manner?  Can I find a way to stop bitchin'?  I can see that right now Pickering is as fragile as any Japan reactor, and we will go straight to meltdown with 10 cm/s, but probably no explosions or massive releases.  Darlington is probably up to 30 cm/s, and the consequence is just prolonged shutdown, with no release.  Bruce is probably the same as Darlington, but the odds of actually hitting this limit are very low.

We can easily increase the ruggedness of these plants to something that can't be exceeded.  I would be happy if we could run these things up to 50 cm/s.  US BWR's have no chance to be improved, and the current fad of uprating probably knocks it down.  The boiling water reactor is like a big bell, ready to ring.

Due to the serious consequences, this will be ignored, and we can all sleep safely in our beds...  :)

Japan Nuclear Earthquake Lie Comes Out


The biggest lie to come out of the Japan earthquakes is:  "Everything was working swimmingly, until the basement generators were flooded."  Our own nuclear people have used this, since it is so comforting.  No need to worry about earthquakes, as long as you aren't on the ocean.

A source at Tepco admitted it was possible that key facilities were compromised before the tsunami.
"The quake's tremors may have caused damage to the pressure vessel or pipes," the official said.

I must emphasize that this was a very low level of shaking, around 10 cm/s.  Your house wouldn't even crack at this level.  Now, we are talking horrible boiling water reactors, which are like glass inside, but now we know that engineering analysis is crap, which I've always suspected.

Unfortunately, to have a meltdown at 10 cm/s means that all US plants of this type are not worthy to be operating, since the 1 in 500 chance for all of the East is probably over that.  Meltdown is supposed to be 1 in 10 million.  Of course, we now expect our local people to stand up, blue in the face, and say we cannot expect any earthquakes here, and so what if the reactors are fragile to the point of ridiculousness.  After all, they just passed a hand-waving safety review!

We can now add a lowest point to our fragility chart.

10 cm/s - nuclear meltdown

30 cm/s  - cheap condos tilted, plaster cracked on houses

50 cm/s - bricks fly, houses damaged

70 cm/s - cheap condos fall over, houses destroyed

100 cm/s - normal buildings damaged.

Despite all these new findings, our happy engineers will stick to conventional analysis, and use peak ground acceleration instead.  :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Costa Rica Earthquake - Deep Six

This just came in on the ticker.  Normally, I might think this is something, but it is a Deep Six, which means it is 70 km deep and on the descending slab.  Unless there is very bad luck, like in Spain, I don't expect much, maybe some landslides.

Geology Movie - Krull

This is a fantastic movie to test out the new big flat screen.  Made in 1982, it looks like a committee response to Star Wars.  Be sure to find a high-grade version -- I'm not telling you how -- nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Go through it first with your friends, and be amazed as you wonder what the hell is going on?  Then go through it again, plastered with your favourite beverages or whatever.  Now's the time to do running commentary!  Look at the fantastic sets, straight from Barbarella, with obvious totally flat lighting.  Admire the casting by the board room -- "Yes, we need a young guy who can't act!"  "Put in a plumber -- Everyone likes Nintendo!"

But the outside pictures are great, along with the horses.  This makes the movie, and you can see what the Lord of the Rings stole from this.  There are the same shots!  See Liam Neeson in one of this first movies, and watch his death scene, where you know he is saying "Thank God, I'm out of it now."

Think of the tons of fiberglass!  The King Kong special effects.  All was done before digital.  Think of people capable of interstellar travel going out on horseback!  It totally buzzes your mind!

As a geology movie, it beats The Core. :)

Happy Niagara Tunnel Day!

They've been setting up this party for a long time!  I've totally forgotten all their troubles, and the fact that they are billions over.  However, they won't come up with the 'final' price tag until the last bucket of paint is painted.  Isn't that convenient?  In the meantime, the debt is all holed up in some basement somewhere.

The same people are now going to dig the big Bruce vertical tunnel, otherwise known as a shaft for the radioactive waste storage.  I am now sworn not to whine about that, and fully support the attempt, since that is all I can do anyway.  Here's to incompetent tunneling!  It keeps us all amused, and the economy going.

Blogger Bluggered

A whole half a day of Blogger being down!  So much to write and so much forgotten!  Makes one wonder about all this 'cloud' stuff.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Japan Earthquake: Is 10 seconds worth it?


Japan has poured some $500 million into a sophisticated network capable of detecting the first vibrations of an earthquake, called "P waves." These initial pulses do not create a lot of shaking and travel much faster than the killer shock waves that follow.

Millions into this 'early' warning (with false alarms).  I sure as heck couldn't get out to turn off the gas in 10 seconds!  And yet they have ridiculously poor earthquake preparation outside of Tokyo.  I always have found their efforts to be totally Tokyo highrise oriented.  They also have huge areas of soft landfill, and their share of cheap condos.  Politics is everything here.

California wants to do this now.  It's a very glamorous thing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spain Earthquake: Location is Everything

Very tiny earthquake, the type people pooh-pooh about under Hamilton.  :)   Since I just came back from the blackfly-infested cottage, I'll assume it was your standard southern Europe stone housing.  As well, this earthquake registers as very shallow, so everything depends on location.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dance of the Plates

Now, I'm thinking out loud for my next talk.  I want to do the Precambrian geology of Ontario, which has every type of geological excitement, unlike that flat stuff on top.....

The Geology Play

Fish:  We start at the beginning, the Earth forms in a ring of rocks around a young star.  Gravity starts to pull in the chunks, like throwing together a big dough ball (these ladies know their cooking!).  We think it was hot, and a big glob of molten taffy, but it could have been cold and stony.  Nevertheless, this glob had a big dose of hot sauce -- radioactivity, and soon became very hot.

Lady:  Was that Red Hot hot sauce?

Fish:  Ok, Well the heavy stuff went down to the bottom, and the light stuff rose to the top, like boiling soup, or oatmeal.  At the surface, the oatmeal hardened to a scummy crust, and floated around.  Here is where we have the plate dance.  (The volunteers come up, young Tanya, and very old Gram)  (I need to figure out some good plates, maybe I can borrow some seat cushions).

Fish:  With the plates facing you, Tan and Gram approach each other, and she is then repulsed by his great age.  Once again, attracted by his money, they continue this back and forth dance.   Over the billions of years, North American and Europe have done this dance.  They are currently separating.  Sometimes, they go all the way around the earth, and meet on the Pacific side, and we get the great Rockies.

Fish:  Now, we hold the plates over their heads, and we have a vertical cross-section.  They come together again, but this time Tanya is young, fresh and hot Japan, and Gram is the old, droopy Pacific plate.  He dips into Japan, and enters underneath.  That feels good, and there are fireworks, volcanoes, and earthquakes!  Woo Woo!

-to be continued.

US Throws in Towel on Nuclear Waste


May 10 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama's panel on nuclear waste may recommend that spent fuel be removed from power plants and put into storage for decades until it can be sent to a permanent site, two commission members said.

We all knew that Yuk-yuk Mountain was dead, but the US doesn't have the will to do something else.  I think everything will be put into rusty barrels and piled in the desert.  They'll call that 'storage'.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Japan Sunk Coast


Normally, when there is subduction, you might think that the coast might rise up.  The subduction does raise the volcanoes in the back of Japan, but apparently drags down this part of the coast.  The mere fact that it is productive lowland shows that this has been going on for millions of years.  That's how the land changes, a metre at a time with big earthquakes.  They will have to fill in the land and rebuild, thus creating a hazard for another  earthquake.

It's the same when you look at the lowlands around Hamilton, and you can predict what will happen with the next earthquake.

Next Big House Talk

I love teaching, but I don't have the serotonin for it.  For these talks I really have to pump myself up, and then I usually suffer a crash afterward.  

Next, I'll do Ontario Precambrian geology, but in order to do that I'll have to go through plate tectonics.  Should be interesting.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Flat Screen Heaven

Just got a generic 50 inch plasma flat screen from Costco at $740!  Plasma is the best for dark viewing rooms at 50 inches, and the price is so much cheaper right now.  Apparently, lcd's are more popular at the big stores because they look much better under the harsh lighting.  The old projection tv went out, and it took 2 big sons and old man with a sore back (who didn't want to help!) to get it out of the basement.  Man what a load!

So neat, especially with the upscaling to 1080p of the PS3.

The Perfect Grad

So, the middle son has now graduated honours from Political Science at Queen's.  What the heck am I going to do with him?  What did that degree do?  He can't join the mindless nuclear bureaucracy, since I have poisoned that path for him.  Besides, I forbid anybody with brains to do that!

He needs a job.  He's bright, but not at the top with the lsats.  His essays are superb, but journalists are all dying everywhere.  He has great people skills, and good French, so I'm thinking sales of some bright business.  Still, it's a bit hopeless if he doesn't send in applications!  And it's too late to be a Quebec MP!

So, I'm sending this off into the ethersphere for some eccentric billionaire who needs great potential, but just a general degree.  Please help.....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Nuclear Regulator is Slack

Critics have long painted the commission as well-intentioned but weak and compliant, and incapable of keeping close tabs on an industry to which it remains closely tied. The concerns have greater urgency because of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, which many experts say they believe was caused as much by lax government oversight as by a natural disaster.


Surprise!  This is not Canada!

Gotcha there didn't I?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Japan nuclear plant closes to build up useless seawalls


I really wish somebody would look into the effectiveness of seawalls for tsunamis.  As I mentioned to my old ladies, if you plot the scales of 1000 km, and the depth of the ocean, you get a thin sliver of ocean, like holding water in a cookie pan.  Once that water starts to slide, it does not act like a wave, but like a moving slab.  Put a seawall in its way, and it just runs up it.  Under the right conditions these things run up hundreds of feet.

Just get the generators out of the g-damned basement!  Seal them for immersion, and ready to run once the water drains off.  Have an underground power cable laid to a safe zone.  These are just a few things.

Of course, our own crazy people aren't learning anything from all this.  Bring on The Linda to shake some sense into them.  :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Giving the Old Talk

Well, I gave my lecture to the old guys in the Big House, and I'm happy to say that only half of them slept through it.  I started with the Beauty of Earthquakes, to earthquake detection with Slinky's, fault mechanics using the old bathtub slip model, ending with the dance of buildings.  I really wanted to do the Earthquake Fault Square Dance, but not too many people were mobile.  There were lots of questions, and even some on why our skrungy nuclear people aren't doing very much.

Next time, I'm doing the living earth, or Ontario Precambrian Geology.  There were many bright old people, and I was happy to give them some intellectual stimulation, and they, in turn, gave me a great gift.  :)  ps. the concept of a blog was way beyond them.  :)

The Rise of Linda Keen


“We are in a different area. I just want to emphasize that again. We are in a different area than Japan. Having a nine-magnitude earthquake and a 15-metre tsunami is very, very low probability that will never happen in Ontario.”
That’s not the point, says former Nuclear Safety Commission president Linda Keen.
“You’re defending against yesterday's problem,” she said. The takeaway from Fukushima, she said, is not that nuclear plants should beware tsunamis: It’s that they should be much more risk averse, preparing for even the most improbable emergencies – what Ms. Keen calls the “black swans” of nuclear safety.

Really, she was not my favourite person when she took over the control board.  I mark the big decline from the start of her term, as she was just a Liberal staffer hack.  At that point, all the brighter regulators that knew something about seismic, all left, and I was twisting in the wind.  Of course, it went infinitely worse when she was kicked out.

But now, she's starting to be a bright spark in the nuclear debate.  I proudly declare her to be an Honorary Fish!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Geophysics That Time Forgot

Yesterday was my birthday, and tomorrow is my talk at the Big House.  I'm getting my talk all together, and I have to decide if I want to use plastic or steel slinkies.  So, going through my old bags of tricks, I come across this magnetic map.  At the old company, we paid for a high resolution airplane magnetic survey.  The resolution was so good you could pick out hydro-pole transformers, and old ship wrecks.  Here it is.

It's lovely!  Here you can totally pick out the boundary zone that defines the Hamilton fault.  Naturally, this sort of thing doesn't exist for the Big Company, what with their great need for Precambrian simplification.  :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In the end, Japan radiation not that much


But people, rather than sea creatures, are by far the biggest recipients of artificial radiation, and most of the exposure is intentional. According to the United Nations reports, from1988 to 2008, the number of examinations worldwide in diagnostic radiology more than doubled, to 3.1 billion from 1.4 billion.
For several countries, the United Nations said in a recent report, the doses from X-rays and CT scans “for the first time in history” have exceeded the natural background radiation.

This is an interesting article, reflecting what I've been saying all along.  Ok, Left Coasters, throw away your iodide pills!

Canada On-Line Census Sweat

So, the census things comes in the mail, and they tell you it's on-line, and here is a ridiculously huge sign-in number.  Then, once you sign in, they give you grievous warnings that you've only got 20 minutes to fill it in, or they time you out.  Now, they don't tell what the consequences of that are, so I take it to mean:

Fill out this undefined length survey in 20 minutes, or we come and Ladenize you!

Sheesh!  So you crack your knuckles and start the survey.  The length increases exponentially with the number of people in your house!  There is no clock on the screen ticking away, so you never know where you are.  Then, you complete it with a big sigh, and they give you a confirmation number that you better write down, so you can wave it in their faces when they come smashing in your door.

But wait!  That was only to fool you!  There's another big survey right after that, called the 'Household Survey'.  Is that still part of the 20 minutes?  Oh, God!  And that one is huge!  Anyway, it didn't 'time out' and condemn me to death, but who knows if there's a bureaucratic error?  :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Stop wind farm problems once and for all

Ok, so I Google 'Ontario wind farm health' and I get a host of wacko sites.  These things sound like anti-nuke infomercials!  "There can be NO DOUBT about blah, therefore everything we say is true."  And the farmies sound like big tobacco.

If there is any infrasound problem, it comes from self-tuning.  This has been the cause of every vibration problem I've ever investigated.  I've seen enough that I think there is tower-sway self-tuning, and not rotation wacking of the tower.  This is what happens when the wind goes over a forest of identical trees.

So, stop all this religious argument, and Hit the Instruments!  I propose, that for a modest fee (and expense account!), that we set up a whole bunch of wireless accelerometers on the top of each tower (solar powered!, more reliable).  In the hot summer, these can be excellent seismometers, since those blades never turn then.  When the wind blows, we will see self-tuning!  And then we can figure out how to detune the system.  Maybe use the blade-thumping phase delays to destroy tuning.  Surely Exxon can afford this!

The effect can only be measured by a proper infrasound detector, which is usually an enclosed volume of air, probably about the size of a human chest cavity.  We are looking for coherent waves, and not white noise.  In fact, the goal will be to change coherency to white noise, which shouldn't have a major health effect, unless it does.  :)

What I expect to see are rolling 2 Hz waves, going over the towers.  These will roll downstream for miles.  If the waves can be stopped from forming, we have solved our wind farm problem.

The other way to tackle it is to put wind farm executives in an enclosed room and start a pure 2 hz air pressure sinusoid.  See if they come out alive!

Wolfe Island Wind Farm Infrasound

Wolfe Island, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Just got a note from a lady living near there.  On certain days, it feels like living in a pump house.  The 2 Hz signal is universal with wind farms, and is caused by the fundamental frequency of the the tower support.  With the requirement to sync into the grid, these things can all sync up and start waving like dancing flowers.  The resulting infrasound can travel for long distances, but I'm sure it's worse over the water.

All I'm suggesting is that people keep detailed journals, and they get together.  I'd get involved, but I've got big jets flying overhead!  It's easy for seismometers and infrasound detectors to measure this phenomenon, but then what do you do?  Much like jet noise, the question is one of human tolerance, and effects on people.  This is one reason why I am against these things.  I am sure that one day it will be found that the effects are bad.

 Feb. 27, 2017 addition.  I have found that this picture is at the top of Google image search, attributed to me.  At the time I found it at the top of the search, and I have never bothered attributing top images.  This is so embarrassing!  not.  :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Canada Earthquake Week


In Ontario, they muck all emergencies together so that nothing is really planned for.  Nevertheless, we have a first real indication that they place earthquakes in Ontario.  Rather pathetic, but better than a kick in the head!  :)