Monday, December 31, 2012

Slab on the move - Alaska M4.1 earthquake

This is as exciting for me as the Arkansas sequence!  It is obvious that the slab is on the move, but at a very slow pace, and it may stop at any time.  So don't waste your panic juice!

With the slab moving down,  it was inevitable that the upper crust would see compression.  This last earthquake is too small to get a focal plane solution, but it is shallow, and I imagine it would show compression.  If things keep moving, we'll see more earthquakes here, and soon the Denali fault (terminal shear) will start singing.

As I have said before, no real earthquake has followed such an overture (just watched the new Lawrence of Arabia bluray).

Update:  Further discussion in the Geoscience community of g+.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Linux - Consequences on giving up the 386

Well, the disk drive on my main machine was constantly flaking out with io errors.  So I got myself a brand new solid state disk for Christmas.  Man that's fast!  But they are expensive, so I only got a 128 gb drive for the main Linux system.  General storage is still on old mag disks.

But, installing a new system ran right in to the current trend of abandoning the 386 (32 bits).  My Xerox 6125N only has a rotten old driver written in 2008, which needs 32 bits.  My new system has Debian Sid which has abandoned it.  It took half a day to figure this all out.

I upgraded

Basically you must run 'dpkg --add-architecture i386

then 'aptitude update'

then 'aptitude install ia32-libs-i386'  which is huge

Finally 'aptitude install ia32-libs'  and then run the device driver line.

My Nexus 4 Shipping!

This was a Canadian Dec 3 order, I just caught the 10 second window!  They missed Christmas, the donut heads, but this is for my son, and he can take it.  :)   They must be producing this thing in the thousands, instead of millions.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Galaxy Note II a Christmas Success

I call this a 'girlie phone', since the young 'real men' prefer to jam their phones 'naked' into their jeans' pockets.  Maybe the phone doesn't last, but they'll most likely lose it before it breaks.  :)

This phone is a 'phablet' and has to live in a purse.  If you have good young eyes you can do everything you can on a Nexus 7.  It has been a great success for the daughter.  Going unlocked means I am saving $50 a month over the old stupid Blackberry, and this pays for the phone in a year.  And finally the Android updates are over the air!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tablets - the cry for the old physics Java applets

My poor teacher friend.  He is a science and computer geek at heart, lost in a big private high school.  Every time they come up with a 'Good Idea', they smash him down.  First, they went totally MS, and he had to find a way to run Linux on sticks.  Now, it's all ipads for every one, and he's been sent away from techie stuff, since they don't like to hear him crying.

He loved all those MIT Java applets, that showed how gravity works, and other things important for posh students.  However, we know we can't run Java on the new things.  I looked it up for Android, and it has nothing to do with the Oracle lawsuit, it is just the conversion from keyboard-mouse, to touch.  The old things have to be updated, and who is going to do it?  I found out it's getting to the point where I can run Linux on my Nexus 7, and then I could run Java, but I can't see it working very well.  And I know this is going to be more hopeless for the i-world.

The concept of 'write once, run anywhere' is dead.  Nobody is interested.  The US educators are falling off the Fiscal Cliff.  Will they have to write 2 new versions of the old Java applets.  Not going to happen, and my friend screams in the dark once again.  Anybody know better?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Earthquake presents for Christmas

The world has given me some nice presents, in the form of minor earthquakes.  It's pleasant when they are small, yet reveal some interesting fault mechanics.

We've got to love Alaska.  They just had 2 M4+'s.  This is an active escalating zone, but it is quite likely that it might just get to some level, and then fade.  Nearly all the nasty earthquakes of history have given no warning.  I love this zone because there is subduction, which meets strike-slip transform, and it is all under a continent.  I don't know of any other place that is so interesting.

There have been lots of earthquakes in this zone, but almost nothing has broken above M3.  I'm not even sure about the mechanism here, but it is fascinating.  Would be a fun place to visit!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

One last day for my Nexus 4

When the store opened up for 10 seconds on December 3, I was sure I hit the 1-2 weeks window, at least the 3-4 weeks that appeared while I was hitting the 'Proceed' button a thousand times.  But there is nothing, and I think if they were really going to deliver Monday, my wallet would have been dinged by now.

So Sad!  No phone in the stocking this Christmas.  Yes, Google and Grinch start with the same letter!

No Earthquakes for Christmas

I have looked into the pattern of our World's Christmas Lights, and declare there will no earthquakes for Christmas, just as there will be no snow for Toronto.

Hold Everything! I didn't really say that.  My predictions are as good as global warming projections.  That's the wonderful thing about earthquakes, you have no clue whatsoever where the next big one will occur.  If it happens in the middle of nowhere, it's a big yawn.  Under a city, then it is news.

So everybody should give their house an Earthquake Christmas Present.  Accept the fact that there is a 1 in 500 chance per year of something really unexpected.  Do one thing for the house that will reduce the consequences.  Get that old chimney fixed or cut down.  Do not have heavy things over the kid's bed.  Have your camping things around where you can get them quickly.  If you are by the beach this Christmas and notice all the water leaving, do not go and pick up seashells!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Taste of Winter

So, silly me, we drove to Montreal this week, and came back today in the teeth of that winter storm.  Toronto never gets any snow, so I had to go to Montreal to experience it.  They had already got a foot of snow, and the sidewalks were horrible.  Walking around gets you really ready!  They really need those little sidewalk salter and sander machines.

This morning it was wet snow, but coming down like a real Winter Wonderland.  I have the new Hybrid, and I wasn't too worried about wet snow, but it was really heavy on the highway.  You get these high slush rows that want to throw you off the road (one car and one truck!).

My new Highlander Hybrid is the ideal road chariot for this, with the new super-stability control and the rear wheels that are electric and blast on in a flash.  I could see and feel this when I passed and hit the slush walls.  The stability light would be flashing, and I felt like I was on a boat!

Is all of this any safer?  Without all the fancies I'd be stuck in the slow lane, instead of electronic snow-boarding.  If I had winter tires, I could go 30% faster!  :)  As it was, the standard tires are quite aggressive, and held well, and the winter tires might be better in a snowstorm at -7C, when I wouldn't be driving anyway, since the salt just rolls off the highway.  Then you see a heck of a lot of cars in the ditch!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Clueless Swiss might be waking up to Canadian earthquake risk


Although British Columbia may have the highest earthquake risk in Canada, Ontario’s earthquake in June 2010 proved that other parts of the country also have exposure. It continues to be a case of when, not if, for the country’s next major earthquake.

I'm sure they're worried about massive death with the Gardner Expressway, and the destruction of Hamilton, or landslides in Ottawa.  Get your insurance while you can!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Amazon that Stole Christmas

Just wanted to say that screwed up my Christmas order.  I don't think they are as well organized as the US, and they are only a front for rinky operations.  My order got swallowed up, you couldn't complain until the last possible day of delivery, and when you do, they just say 'Have a nice day.'.  Arg.

Christmas Lights


NASA is changing the lighting in the big space box.  They have finally realized the importance of the colour of lights during the day.  As a northern sufferer of seasonal depressive changes, you have to be real careful.  Get a blast of bright bluish light in the morning, but warm out the light by evening.  I think that at Christmas a lot of people might be getting these 'full spectrum' lights.  Do not use them in the evening!  I'm currently slowly replacing the most used lights with LED 'warm white' lights.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Caribbean earthquake M4.3

My favourite cluster has broken through the M4 barrier!  This is the slowest progression ever.  Normally you might expect 10 M3's for an M4, but here it is like 100.  Nevertheless, a progression means that it is not merely responding to some deep movement, but the slab is on the move.  However, waiting for 100 M4's might mean I'm in the Home by then.  :)

2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

After 10 years, I have given up my Town and Country.  It was still going strong and could last another 10 years, but all my kids have grown up and I was tired of it.  The car was built during the 'German Period' and they put in Mercedes parts.  I understand that no other model was any good.

So I ordered a new car from and I saved at least a few thousand off the horrendous difference for a hybrid.  Don't buy this truck for gas savings!  Buy it because you are an engineer, and it is the best engineered car on the planet (that I can afford!).

All I can say is that it is a magnificent drive, with totally smooth power, and it corners amazingly, since the rear wheels are electric as well, and are used for boosts.  Soon I'll be off to Ottawa and Montreal, and can test the winter ability of the 4 wheel drive and the zillion stability things.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Male depression and machine guns from vending machines

So, another shooting, each time using more powerful weapons with machine-gun speeds.  I can only say that I am sorry, but, like earthquakes, you can expect much worse in the future.

I am an expert in male depression, since I have it.  :).  It is totally curable with a few simple pills, but hardly anybody takes them.  Hollywood makes it manly to 'fight' the depression with booze and vengeance.   I don't know how many movies I've seen that screw up male depression;  and, be assured, all of these shootings involve suicidal people who want something more than just blowing their head off.

So, try and take your local depressive to the doctor, but it will be nearly impossible.  We eagerly await a good blood test to positively identify it.  I am thinking of doing that open genetic thing, just to see if anybody can figure out the switches that turn it on.

So, basically, if depression hits a male, he will turn to thoughts of suicide, and start drinking a lot.  The drinking doesn't help.  I thought long and hard about suicide, but no easy way appealed to me.  In Canada, we can't get guns easily, and everybody fences off high drops.  The subway is yucky and you may survive.

So, at the time, if I could go to the local vending machine and get a shotgun, then it would be over.  Even better, if I could get a super-powerful assault rifle with a thousand rounds.  I always had dreams of shooting those things!  Failing all that, however, I did the more difficult thing and went to the doctor.  Aren't we lucky we have free medical!  Imagine in States, where it is cheaper to get the gun.

No moralizing here, since nothing will change in the US.  The bright side is that no terrorist suicide bomber would ever get noticed down there, and so they give up.  My nephew lives down in Connecticut, I hope everything is ok.


California earthquake - M6.3

Maybe we can't call this a Callie earthquake, since it is so far offshore.  I am interested in California again, since the oldest son got accepted for a Stanford MBA!  May the Earthquake Gods hold their thumbs for 2 years.

This earthquake may have not been felt anywhere, since it is right in the weak oceanic crust, and shows an extension focal mechanism.  The Pacific Plate slowly drags everything upward, towards being buried in Alaska.  For some reason, the San Andreas is incredibly weak, and concentrates all the strain, but the major transform fault could have been at this point, where the continent meets the oceanic crust, but it seems tightly glued.  Nevertheless, it is a boundary of different stiffness, so the strains in the weaker oceanic crust must be high, and this earthquake is a result.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Toronto's Gardiner - seismic death trap


So, how close do you get to static failure before you can say it has zero capacity for seismic?  I would say that now it has zero capacity, so the odds of massive death during rush hour is exactly 1 in 500 per year, which is the same chance as a large earthquake (M6.5 +) near Toronto.

You can be sure that the foundations are on soft soil.  Anyway, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it, since it will collapse in 6 years, thus putting the 'time at risk' at a very small window.  :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Big and Little Japan earthquakes: equal but opposite

I just did this in g+ communities, but I'll do it here, since you can do a better layout.  I can't see switching a blog to g+ yet, mainly because of the formatting.

So, we have the fault-plane solution of the big earthquake.

These are lower-hemisphere projections, which means the lower slab hammered down, and all those seismic stations in the white section got a positive compressive pulse.

Now the recent M7.3

Total surprise!  Same fault plane but all the stations got the opposite pulse.  Shows it is a true aftershock of the M9, perhaps with a bit of snap-back of the upper hanging wall.

I only looked at this because the M7.3 was on the cusp of the curve that starts the next segment to Tokyo.  Sometimes these earthquakes are more bizarre because of mixed stresses.  The recent M8 at Sumatra was one such.  Anyway, the upshot is that I can't make dark inferences about the next segment, and I doubt that any stresses carry through the oceanic crust, so we can't even say that the Tokyo segment is closer to failure.  Studies have shown that these segments are very uncoupled.

Friday, December 7, 2012

M2.8 East Texas earthquake - injection

I'm calling every earthquake in this area injection, unless somebody proves otherwise.  This is famous East Texas where anybody can get a jury verdict on anything.  :)  We can wait for more earthquakes, or this is just a one-shot if they stop injecting.

Japan M7.3 earthquake - almost not an aftershock

This is right at the southern end of the big rupture.  These smooth trenches have to maintain themselves by a big M9 every few hundred years, otherwise they would just get filled in.  Only an M9 has enough fault displacement to 'clean' things up.

This M7.3 is now at the cusp of a sharp bend, which stopped the last rupture.  The next segment goes to Tokyo, and is probably under some stress because of the M9.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

LInux - funny characters in a Calibre epub

I like to read old books and I have a Calibre library.  The best books have been converted to epub, and in general, this is the best to read on my Nexus 7.  I use Aldiko Premium to read.  But once in a while, you come across those horrible MS 'closed quotes'.  Instead of a nice double quote that's on your keyboard, they have to use the fancy typeset quotes.  This buggers up the reader to no end, and you see a box with an x in it.

So, use Calibre to convert the epub to text (txt).  Then use gedit, highlight the first funny box, and paste that into your replace, and replace with "  (double quotes).  Do the same for the closing quote.  Save and bring back into Calibre (delete the original).  Convert to epub, and it is beautiful!  You can do the same for your hoary old txt books, since it is such a nice conversion, and easy to read on the n7.

I find I can read with the lcd screen quite well.  I think the old problems were simply a matter of resolution.  You can brighten or dim the screen easily.  This is now my only reader.  Buy one!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Colorado injection earthquake - M3.9

This cluster is the last of the regular injection earthquakes in the US.  As we can see, they get bigger and bigger.  All other such places have shut down, with more scientific evidence.  They finally got around to calling the big OK M5.6 earthquake as injection.  Bully for them!

Looks like nobody lives around here, so they can keep going, and maybe break a new record.  :)

Alaska Earthquake M5.8 - The Cluster Gets Serious

We've had quite the weird cluster in Alaska, mainly veering away from the subduction trench and going right under Anchorage.

Unlike my favourite harmless cluster in the Virgin Islands, this one is escalating, with the fault plane solution showing it is right on the slab, and loosening things up.  Wish I had the pattern before the big one in '64.

As we see here, Anchorage is not happily situated with regard to earthquakes.  You are either on dirt, or on an eroding mountain.

They will be lucky to get out of this with an M7 or 8.  Here's where the rubber hits the road with regard to soft soil.  For 40 years, the US engineers have said that soft soil is wunderbar for earthquakes because the peak acceleration goes down.  This they attribute to 'soil damping'.  Going with this flow, the city is golden!

But, if you realize that peak acceleration is garbage, then you use peak ground velocity (PGV).  And soft soil amplifies PGV by a factor of more than 10, perhaps up to 100.  Because of this, all the building codes are wrong when it comes to soft soil.  This has been proven many times by other earthquakes, not in the US, so they don't really exist.  :(

I really hate for Anchorage to be the proof of the soil pudding, but somebody has to be, Virginia wasn't strong enough.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Message to Gus

Gus!  Lucy is going to hold the ball again, in 30 minutes!  Get ready to kick!

Update:  The above message was highly coded with MS-grade encryption.  I got a message that the Canadian store would open for N4 orders exactly 4 minutes ago.

Update2:  I just ordered 1 16 gb n4, delivery in 2 weeks, cart crashed.

Update3:  So neat!  As my cart stagnates, the delivery time goes up!

Update4:  16 gb model ordered, who knows when?

Summary:  I had signed up for the 'Notify Me' a long time ago.  After much bitching on my blog, they were nice enough to actually notify me that it was going for sale at 3pm eastern.  Of course, I believe this was all for me!  I used the Chrome page alert extension, and had a nice chime ready.  At 3:03, the chime sounded, the fish was on the hook!  With fumbling fingers I refreshed the page, and found only the 16 model and a limit of 1!  As I was fumbling it said 1-2 weeks.  I got to the cart, and it said it was stuck due to high volume.  As I watched, the delivery time switched to 3-4 weeks.  I kept hitting that damn Proceed button, and finally got through.  Now, it is dead.  Poor you!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nexus 4 in my hands!

My son's girlfriend stumbled in to the only 2 minutes that the Canadian store was open, and snagged the N4.  It's neato!  Apparently the LTE only works in downtown Toronto.

Linux: Making a photo poster

This is a fun thing for Christmas.  What do you do with all those digital pictures?  I've got mine backed up on a lot of disks, and they never see the light of day.  So, with the daughter finally ending her water polo career, I was going to make a big poster with her history of sports.

I used an old program called Fotowall, which is on the standard distribution, but hasn't been touched for a year.  It works well, and will throw your pictures on the mat, which you choose.  The nice thing is that it is totally compatible with Inkscape, so you make an svg, and finish it on Inkscape.

Then I export it as a high-res png which I then process with Gimp.  That's just to do a final cropping trim, since Inkscape leaves ragged edges.  I'm going to use something like 18 mpixs for the final jpg, which I will take somewhere.  Posterjack is good, but I'll probably use the local Costco.

Here is a sample, highly reduced to stop porn-revenge sites.  :)

Earthquake Climate Report: Alaska and Virgins

Predicting earthquakes is like predicting climate change.  No physics behind it, but everybody is oh so confident!  My favourite two clusters are now the Caribbean and Alaska.  Forget California, they're bankrupt!  :)

Anyway, these clusters show that things can go on a long time, and mean absolutely nothing.  Of course, tomorrow, when there is a big earthquake there, I didn't say this!  Just open this statement and forget the rest:  There's going to be a big earthquake.

Nuclear silly season starts


So, they got this big thing that they broke too early, and now they have to fix it.  There is no option, but we'll have quite a show!

Now, this station is on solid rock and doesn't have a seismic worry in the world.  Nevertheless, they will spend billions on seismic qualification that follows a script over 40 years old.  I was there when they did the first time.  Good for the economy!  :)