Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Whales and Physics


A lesson on the application of physics to everyday life.

Background:  Nothing to do with whales

The main reason that the Darlington upgrade is going to be a fiasco is that there is no physics in their seismic qualification procedures.  Put that to modern equipment, and everything fails.  Case in point - When I was with the old company, one department feathered its nest with fancy seismic analysis.  The physics pointed to 'experience data' which showed no problem with piping.  The basic physics was that these systems experienced dynamic live loads 10 times that of a seismic input.  The old analysis, however, showed that the pipes would fail, until they ran much more expensive analysis (and overtime), and then it barely passed.  :)

Now Whales

We are starting to have better physics for whales.  The non-physics approach is like piping analysis which relies on vague stories, and old wives tales.  For whales, the common belief that that a seismic air gun blows their eardrums or something.  This is as strong as tons of other phoney correlations, like you-know-what.

Science is now showing that if you don't blow an airgun right beside the whale, they may experience the sound pressure of someone shouting, or a lighting strike on water, which happens all the time.  Yet, they themselves produce the sound pressures of a roaring jet engine.  Therefore, there is no stress on them, which is shown by observation (experience data).  Now, what are you going to believe?

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