Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Blowing your money on a sailing trip

For 6 of us, it cost half a new roof.  We wanted to get all the kids together for a possibly last time.  Any farther down the road, and there will a lot more to go, since the younger two are still single.

It was a great trip.  We chartered a 55 foot catamaran with a married couple as crew.  They did everything for us, food and drinks were all-inclusive, and it included several scuba dives for the certified ones.  She was a master chef and he was winning bar and dive-master.

I'm still recovering.  :)  It took 2 days to get your sea legs on very calm water, and another two days when you came back, to stop the floor from swaying.  I snorkelled on a lot of reefs and saw many pretty fish.

We'd love to do it again, but we have to build up the war-chest.  :)

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Annual Oklahoma Earthquake Predictions

These are not really predictions, in the sense that they have to be useful.  This is just an extrapolation based on the main hypothesis, and incorporating all known physics.  The hypothesis can be invalidated by a variation of the prediction, keeping in mind the uncertainties are huge.

Hypothesis:  OK earthquakes are caused by the injection of freshwater frack waste into the highly stressed Precambrian basement, which is riddled by major megathrust structures which can be mapped in Canada.

Extrapolation:  This is the big trumpy year.  We expect a huge increase in demand for frack waste disposal.  On the other side, the supply (available injection) is being restricted due to an assumption that mere pressure is causing earthquakes.  As with the 'war on drugs', the price of injection will go up.  We estimate that we can expect a doubling or tripling, from 30 cents a barrel to over $1.  As such, the lower grade 'produced water' will be priced out of the market, and they will shooting pure freshwater frack waste.

 We are noticing now that the seismic rate is going up to one m4 per week.  A rough idea of the total seismic energy rate is to just keep track of the larger earthquakes.  Forget about the m3's.  The 'powers' like to plot 3's as 'proof' the number of earthquakes are going down.  Every year, the seismic rate has been very low during the winter because they can't deal with fresh water when it freezes.  Last year, things didn't start moving until May, because of the very cold April.

We now expect March-April to have a rate of a 4 every other day, giving a rate of one 5 per month.  Please note that we do not use the busgus magnitudes because of severe directivity.  We generally go with the largest rating by seismometers around the world.

The summer will see one 5 a week.  This should give us a few 6's over the season.  We maintain good odds of a 7 this year with 8's next year.  We are very uncertain about the 'multiple' factor for these larger earthquakes.  Right now we seem to have a factor of 5, that is 5 m4's for an m5, etc.  Who knows about the m6's?

All in all, an exciting earthquake season.  Politically, we expect no voice from the busgus (defunded), or the EPA (purged).

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A new continent - Zealandia


I always follow good stuff in plate tectonics, and this is the best.  Of course, you've always could have seen it since the beginning of Time, in Google Earth.  :)

But this is all semantics.  The paper now says it should be a continent rather than pieces of rock.  And that's big news!  Like planet being demoted to planetoid and back again, and back again.

But trumpies can't build a hotel on it with Russian money.  It needs to dry out a bit.  Perhaps a new Ice Age might exposed prime property.  But it is interesting to note that this is what happens to any continent who loses its heat engine.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Finite Amount of Water Vapour - Part 3

If we use the 'fairy tale' method of Philosophy Science, we can say that the Earth has always (last billion years or so) had the same ratio of land to ocean.  If we look at hard physics, we can see a reason, which was outlined in my series on Earth heat radiation.

In a nutshell, since my articles are impossible to find, the Earth has struggled mightily to shed heat to outer space, not just the solar influx.

It's still doing it now.  So if the Trumpy Magical Galactic Emperor ordered more continental mass (because someone on Earth insulted him), or to kill everyone by drying up the Earth, he couldn't do it.  He would be Balanced.  The Earth has to shed heat, and it does it through the ocean basins, and circulation of ocean water, which is our big CHU (central heat unit) water cooler.

If you create more continent, you are insulating the chu. Can't happen.

However, His Royal Trumpiness could invoke magic and move the continents around.  Depending on his mood, he could create a Snowball Earth, or the Return of the Dinosaurs.  If he chose Snowball, then would evenly separate the continents for maximum Heat Radiation Efficiency.  If he wanted Dinosaurs to stomp us, then he would jam all the continents together.

So, with continents jammed together, we have the Mesozoic, and we get back to the title.  Remember those oceans of water?  They all come back because the continents are a giant thermal blanket, and the heat builds up.  This bakes the crust and gives us a huge amount of water vapour.  That thin band of clouds which we have now, becomes a huge band covering the earth.  Constant rain, and global warming (the real kind).  We large mammals can't survive, because it's too stinking hot!  Dinosaurs eat us.

The End.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Finite Amount of Water Vapour - Part 2

The classic picture is missing subduction, which takes away an enormous amount of water, and stashes it away like a chipmunk.  In fact, the total amount of water put away may exceed our existing water, but the uncertainties are huge.  Now, my bright SK grand-nephew, who appreciates physics more than any gormist, would ask:  'Given the chaotic nature of geology, wouldn't there be geological epochs where all the surface water gets sucked up, and all life ceases?'  (He wouldn't really say that, he'd say 'I like robots!'.  :)

In fact, Tyler, I write all these things for you.  After this era of mass stupidity ends, you will have to go back to the Scientific Method, to pick up all the pieces.  I blame the Internet and email.  :)

Yes, Tyler, just looking at energies involved, we could say that all the water could get sucked up, and stored underground, like Mars.  But it has never happened and never will.  There's some marvellous physics involved.

-to be continued, I'm getting tired, and future generations can't give me any encouragement, although Tyler thinks I'm a god.  :)

AW SNAP!  Applying physics to climate has activated my depression.  No more posts of any sort for a while.

I'm okay again.  :)

A Finite Amount of Water Vapour - Part 1

What is the acknowledged El Supremo greenhouse gas?  Water vapour.  But it doesn't act as a sheet of glass, stopping convection, it has wild convection.  It acts an insulator for the Earth's heat.  Without water, we'd be a dry dusty desert, horribly hot during the day, and perhaps -40 at night.

That's what saves us.  The ocean desperately tries to shed heat to outer space, but it can't do so without a lot of water vapour.  This condenses as rain, and falls back down.  The heat capacity (specific heat) of water is 4,000 times that of air (by volume).  There is a little heat shed above the clouds, but not much, as witnessed by smooth flights over regular rain clouds.

It's amazing that if condensing clouds were all over the world, we'd be in the Jurassic.  But we have limited water vapour.

The heavy colours are condensing clouds.  Only a thin band at the equator. All the water for us living at the extremes comes from air plumes branching off from this band.  The warm water of the ocean is always trying to pump out more vapour, but the darn stuff keeps coming back.  There has to be a way to get more vapour out and cover the Earth.

This is the classic water cycle.  It's the boring story I told all the kids to get them to sleep at the cottage.  They still talk about it!  But this picture is missing a huge amount of water.  Those new to boring stories might not know, but you'll have to wait for the next episode.

-to be continued

Arctic Ice Volume Goes Low

Ding, dong the Arctic ice is dead!

I've been watching the Gulf Stream for the past few months.  The main equatorial feed has been cut off, and it is cast adrift in the Atlantic.  Tell Europe about it!  They are freezing.  However, this has been causing the hot air plumes to flood the Arctic.

The weather in Toronto has been dominated by the weak North Pacific current, and we are getting weather from the straight west.  Gone are our prevailing NW winds.  The pine trees up north will have to rotate.

Rotate away from the West!

We get our ice ages when the NS ocean currents completely fail.  But not to fear, we are still in an Interglacial, and it should get warmer.  Nothing to do with carbon.

In the short term, however, we should be getting a cold decade.  The recent monster El Nino shoved a lot of heat off the Earth, and we Canadians will suffer for it, eventually.  But not this day!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Linux - Playing Riven under Wine

I had this vague notion in my head, that I would like to play Riven again.  It was the only game that I really liked.  Any other game required hand-eye coordination, which I never had.  :)

Every few years, I would try to get it to run on Linux, with Wine.  No luck.  The past few days I tried again and got it to work.  Yeah!  And just like the original.

Funny thing is though, when I went through the opening scenes, everything came back to me in crystal clarity, in a massive rush.  I suddenly remembered the exact place and hardware that I played it on.  I remembered all the stupid puzzles, and the fact that I could never do any of them.  I always had to use a walk-through.

I also remembered how this was like crackycokey, and something to be avoided at all costs.  The pain of addiction made my head throb.  So, I ran away from it.  :)

Still, it was a puzzle just to get it to work, and that was fun.  Good-bye Riven, I shall not miss you....

Left-overs of El Nino still screwing up the weather

That chart should be falling like a rock, as the Great Heat Dump comes to an end.  However, it is giving a little kick.  The ocean currents are still totally screwed up, and we getting weather again straight west.  Who cares?  I'm going to the warmth soon.  :)  Remember that throughout all the great warming and cooling periods of the geological history of the Earth, the tropics were always the same temperature.  :)

Toronto Listings and Sales Fall Heavily

I look at this as the beginning of a great crash due to the money laundering leaving Toronto.  Others can look at it showing that prices are up.  But these figures were also the same as the first day of the Vancouver crash, and every other crash.

My hypothesis of a big crash still holds with the January figures.  This is a seller's strike, hoping for a better price soon.  The spec house down the street has gone to renting.  So, for the next 6 months, buyers and sellers will be staring at each other, waiting to see who blinks.  The prices will flat-line.

At the end of that period, we'll start the shake-out.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Geotechnical Nightmares are finished

My two nightmares, over which I spilt a lot of geotechnical tears, are done.  The worst one was the sewer relining into a pit of quicksand.  They spent months and months of doing nothing, and finally they are filling the hole.  I guess nobody wanted to freeze it.  I suppose they are going to put up a bridge and bypass.

I estimate that's a $20mil waste of the taxpayer's money.  No news outlet will touch it, since it is geotechnical.  They'll take away all that nice sewer lining.  All for the want of a nail.  Actually, a tenbuck pump test, with a million dollar chemical grout.  :)

The erosion project, which is provincial, is finally gone.  They put topsoil on top of all the bricks.  They can still plant trees by getting a backhoe to dig a big hole through the bricks.  Grass should grow on it. This cannot be instantly declared a waste of money, but you can see the gully erosion starting.

ps.  actually one could have been worried that freezing would have broken up the sewer, so nogo on that.

pps.  gave this to the cbc, but nobody cares about a few million.

The Evolution of Organic Molecules

I was talking to a gormist, and he stopped the debate by stating that the early earth with the 20% methane was pure greenhouse effect (too hot), and then when the methane went away we got the Snowball Earth which froze everything.  This is typical 'efficient debating' which the trumpies and gormies use to win.  However, the facts are totally wrong.  Never debate with these guys!

Even though the methane eating bacterial mats showed up a billion years or so ago, there must have been at least a billion years of organic molecules fighting it out in the seas.  This has to be true, unless we want to bring in Galactic Seeders.  As usual, we shall trot out the Scientific Method.

Hypothesis - In the shirtsleeve temperatures of Methane Earth, random organic molecules appeared.  They fought the good fight of Evolution, by eating each other and improving.

Physics - Under the right conditions, molecules can 'reproduce' simply by seeding.  This is shown by ice in super-cooled water.  Introduce, the tiniest speck with the right surface, and suddenly the whole tank turns to ice.  We can venture into a thought experiment of the early earth, full of unorganized organic molecules.  Suddenly, one molecule can seed, and we get a growing blob of concentrated energy.  Different blobs fight for dominance by running into each other.  The best blob wins.  And so on.  Inside each blob are the conditions for more 'accidents' in seeding.  A billion years later, dna takes over the world.

Verification - Totally can't happen, since the successors ate the previous generations.  Once dna got into evolution, the record was wiped.  We might get a hint by looking at comets, and such.

ps.  With this hypothesis, somebody could put some money into soft-tissue fossils.  The concept being that pre-bacteria shale layers might have a spray of organic residue that can only be seen with the best atomic force microscopes.  Wouldn't that be something!

pps.  Instead of 3d seeding, you could also have linear chain seeding, with everything tangling, and seeding at the end point.  At the other end, in the centre, you would have an active point for mutation.  Would make a fascinating computer game.  :)  Reproduction would be done by tearing apart the blobs by active tidal forces making strong currents, leaving a whole bunch of active points.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The early atmosphere of earth

I wrote a series on how the Earth was so successful in getting rid the heat of formation.  It only took a few billion years before we had a shirtsleeve temperature.  We know that because proteins pickle at anything much above our body temperature.  Some bacteria like to be in the hot tub, but so do I.  :)

Just a couple of billion years ago, we had a methane atmosphere, with lots of other carbon compounds.  Greenhouse Gas City!  Yet, the little plant rascals got sunshine, and figured out how to use quantum physics to trap a blue photon.  They then polluted the atmosphere with waste oxygen, and kept it below the level at which they would burn up.  Oxygen is a horrible pollutant to life.  I'm surprised the greenies didn't object.  Oh wait!  Those were the greenies doing the polluting!

So with atmosphere of pure carbon, we didn't burn up with the Greenhouse Effect.  That's because there is no Greenhouse Effect!  We don't live in a greenhouse, we've got convection to save us all.  :).  I wish trumpypants was rational enough to go with this.


buy a vw diesel instead.


-sic, for search engines.  :)

ps. thinking of the physics, the early atmosphere was still 80% N2, since you can't create or destroy that stuff.  That meant 20% methane which was eaten by methane loving bacteria, producing 20% co2 which the greenies then ate, giving O2 farts.

pps.  Somebody tell Pam that they test those cars by running over baby seals.  :)

Vancouver leads Toronto to the Housing Gutter


Vancouver started it by looking into shell companies and laundry money.  Toronto stuck its thumbs into its eye sockets.  Then they hit with that 15% foreigner tax.  But really, that shouldn't have done anything, since ownership can be so easily hidden in Canada (Snow washing).  No smart laundry-man was going to pay that.

At the time, it was probably easier to move operations to Toronto with numbered Ontario companies.  I know that one minute buyers were lining up and fighting each other.  Then happytrump got elected, and the bond market lost a trillion dollars.  I think that's real money, even to the bag men.  :)

A massive attack on Canada was predicted with an eventual 65 cent dollar.  But trumpypants and Canada go up and down like a toilet seat.  Still, that was the final straw.  And of course, CBC had to add superfluous nails to the coffin with the whole money laundry investigation, even though nobody was listening.

So, for next week's housing figures look to see January sales plunge to the nether regions.  Our dauntless realtors will say it's just supply and prices are holding.  Yeah!  But not the point.  As with Vancouver, you get 6 months or more of no sales, and then prices start to tip.  A classic death spiral.  The BankCan can't do nothin'.  It shot its load the last time.

So, don't say anything, just watch and wait.  Some young people I meet while dog walking are happy for this, but he just got a job doing mortgages.....

ps.  early hype is pure spin.  Sales up over last January, so was December.  Must wait for the full figures.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mad King George Rides Again

Pity the poor American founding fathers.  They didn't have many models to go with.  They had monarchies, with Britain hosting a mad king.  And they had the Athenian wild and useless democracy.  So they muddled through with 3 levels of government, all meant to fight each other.

They fully expected a future generation to vote for another Mad King as president.  That's why they wrote a very strong constitution, and had the courts interpret it.  Now, we have the good fortune to witness the effectiveness of this strategy.  I am looking forward to very interesting times.  I can't wait to see the next proclamation from the old guy.  :)

Wild Weather

We are really into a post-El Nino weather pattern, which means 'anything goes'.  Right now, on this picture, we have both a high and a low plume from the Pacific.  These things will collide somewhere over Toronto.  The Gulf plume is quiet.  We have our best winter storms when a Gulf plume collides with a high Yukon plume.

The Arctic air is coming down on us, so everything is going to be a fine mess in the next few weeks.  Meanwhile, Europe is getting a full Gulf Stream plume, which should make for mild wet air, maybe.