Saturday, February 28, 2009

OLPC African Initiative


Although I think Canada should take over the world with One Blackberry Per Child, we just don't have the balls. This is the next best thing, getting a Canadian university team together to push OLPC in Africa. Let's do it!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ontario Nuclear Spring is Late


Ontario has received the three bids, and the final decision is said to be made in June. This is not only an opaque process, but it is a late opaque process. But, we must be soldiers and accept what they hand down.

Elevated High Speed Railway in Earthquake-Land


Boring tone (due to lack of clickage): Debt-wallowing California to build high-speed rail line. Californians to abandon cars. Railway to be built on stilts which will throw trains 50 feet in an earthquake. Residents demand invisible tunnels. Governor to drive first train since it is bigger than a Hummer.

Huge Ontario Deficit, New Nuclear Nickled


BBC Tone: Ontario has thrown up the black curtains to hide a 13 billion dollar deficit. They are vying for first place with the Harper gov't for 'Least Transparency in the World Award'.

Some bloggers have speculated that the only way to waste sufficient money for new nuclear is to go back to the old way of Ontario Hydro gov't guaranteed bonds. The public is used to paying a 'deficit charge'. This huge deficit makes it more difficult to raise the money, and investors will rightly demand a pound of flesh. Ontario may be considering the use of Nigerian salesmanship to push these bonds, since they hold a sistership in the Transparency International rankings.

Less money for new nuclear will most likely result in a reduced scale, perhaps involving the use of a considerable amount of cardboard. Or perhaps the French specialty of more water in the concrete. Naturally, all geology and seismicity will be put on the back burner in these dire financial times.

CNSC Flush with Cash


Wikipedia tone: In a surprise move today, Ottawa forked over fifty million dollars to the CNSC 'fresh air' fund. Stocks in the rubber stamp business are expected to rise.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Seattle to Replace Shaky Expressway with Deep Tunnel



Dry Tone: This story has everything for an earthquake lover. A shaky expressway is to be replaced by a deep tunnel. "Nothing can go wrong with the tunnel". A less formal reporter than myself might look at all ironies. The tunnel is being designed by politics. The expressway will kill hundreds in an earthquake. I have such iron self-control!

Fresh Air for Nuclear


Formal tone: Head of CNSC compared to air. Audience laps it up.

Les French Sneer at Ontario


"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!" Thus, we have the ultimate French Taunt hurled at Ontario, just before they pick a new nuclear plant.

Will Ontario shrug off the cow tossed at them? I don't think so. Politicians are very sensitive to that sort of thing.

US Nuclear Waste Plan on Dripfeed


Ok everybody, forget getting a geology job at Yuk-Yuk Mountain. Obama has closed it, with only a tiny bit of money to create an illusion of progress. This is needed to prevent lots of lawsuits.

So, off to North Dakota! This is my random pick! Perhaps they don't have a powerful Democratic senator. So, we pick them to be the next 'toxic wasteland', as the good senator has said. Of course, the pandering populist has made sure that no state will ever host a nice nuclear waste repository. Such is the power of short-term thinking!

Microsoft Starts the Linux War


It had to happen, the Polish border has been crossed, the archduke assassinated. MS is now lashing out from its loser position. It has been threatening for years that it had patents, and now the tanks are rolling. I hope there is some public response.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lake Huron Sinkholes and Strange Life


A straightforward article on sinkholes. This is the first scientific mention of them, yet I've been studying them all my working strange life. That is, life is strange near those sinkholes, of which the Bruce site is infested. So that's why things are strange around there!
The scientists report strange growth. And there is something strange about wanting to put radioactive waste near these sinkholes. The scientists are wrong about sinkholes being all over the Great Lakes. They are only over the megathrusts of the deep Precambrian.

Strangely, there is never any mention of them in environmental assessment. Don't we want to save the stinky, poisonous cyanobacteria?

So here's to Giant Sinkholes That Go to the Centre of the Earth. May they live and prosper underneath the Bruce site!

Revamped Old EEEPC 701

The old beast was sick-malade and needed a fresh install. That was a 'journey', as they say. Now, I'm doing this report on it, in the kitchen, and torturing my eyes and my typing fingers.

I was looking for a fresh Linux distribution. Forget xp on this old hunk, and you'd be nuts to run xp on a netbook without all the virus crap slowing you down. There was one distribution that looked cute, but it had to go on a bootable usb disk, and I spent days on that. Finally I bought a USB cdrom that was on sale.

With that I could install a system on the epc. Full Ubuntu blew out the disk. I went with Xubuntu, but still had to run special eepc scripts. Now it's all working. I can go to Starbucks!

Nice Netbook Article


This might have something to do with geology. I mean, you're on the helicopter, or the train, and you want to write something. Right now, I'm playing with the old eeepc 700, which my son doesn't use anymore. It really is hopeless to type on. Most netbooks have migrated back up to the more expensive laptop, by being bigger and more powerful.

I want my Open-Berry net-booklet that I designed in an earlier blog. The minimal typing can be done with thumbs.

National Bank: "Dump AECL"


Yet another kick at the AECL can. The report has come in, and it states the obvious. Of course, the report was used to diffuse the issue in the first place! Perhaps we can have another report! We love reports!

And so we continue our game of chicken. Ottawa doesn't want to dump until the Ontario decision, Ontario doesn't want to decide until Ottawa makes a decision. Will we really have resolution in the Spring?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Radioactive Boss Shocked, Shocked by Public Reaction


I think he has to work a bit on his 'situational awareness'. Sounds like the uproar, about the deteriorating reactor, woke him out of a deep sleep. Then he compensated for it by refusing to answer questions. Still, we will be good Canadians, and assume the government is perfect.

Home-Made Wine Turns Out OK

A while ago, I was bitchin' that I earned so little money for my wine fund, that I had to resort to a wine-making kit. (Remember, as a depressive, I'm forbidden to touch alcohol!). Surprise! After 2 months in the bottle, this wine has turned out to be superb.

This was just the Costco Merlot wine kit. The secret is to use the big Costco jugs of water. Never contaminate the wine with tap water! Just follow the instructions.

This wine has a full body, slightly oaked, with a peppery finish. It's as good as a $25 Vintages wine, and better than the bulk wine I get in Montreal. In a few more months I expect significant improvement.

Blue Ribbons to Decide Fate of Nuclear Waste


Yes, right here it states that the blue ribbons will save us! We need some blue ribbons in Canada! They must be extremely smart. Over here we just got politicians who decide all technical matters. Thus we had a politician design for the Niagara Tunnel, where they are struggling just to save the machine. A political design for underground waste storage, and a great political compromise for new nuclear.

These politicians are so proud of themselves, that I'm not going to say anything. I'm just waiting for fruits of their loins, such as politically designed wind and solar farms, politically designed cars (they own the car companies!), and politically designed international finance.

Green Nuclear


Formal tone: An editorial saying that nuclear is green.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nuclear Date is Known, But --- Naah-Naah!


We know the date, but we'll never tell you! This is a detailed article about new nuclear in Ontario. A bit more gutsy than most Canadian media stories, but nothing new, and nothing risky. Our readers know all that anyway.

So, we will most likely follow the ultimate DOOM scenario (planned by the Niagara Tunnel people!): 2 AECL twin reactors, jammed on a ridiculous site, right next to a monster quarry. They will have the same famous 3 guys of Niagara fame run the whole thing with outside contractors. It's a SLAM DUNK!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

One Blackberry Per Child

Here's an idea I give to Mr. Blackberry, totally for free, so he can take over the world. I've been futzing around with this OLPC, which is now a friggin' disaster. Those poor schnooks got all the big players riled up: Micro-soup, Unintel, and a whole bunch of others. Then Asus came in and tried to steal everything with the eeepc!

Forget all those losers, Mr. B-berry! Here's what you do to win. What's the worst aspect of those laptops? The keyboard! You need a big ugly thing that elephants can sit on and break. Forget the keyboard.

Make up a super-cheap, slightly larger blackberry. Make it waterproof. Only have wi-fi in it, with gps, no phone. Get that neato Pixel screen that works in bright sun. Make it very high-res. Now, shoot for the moon! Use open source, not that blackberry shit! Use Sugar! But you need a way to load it, without those horrible, horrible USB sticks!

I can see classes grouped in tables, with a teacher walking around setting up lessons with his blackberry. Oh, we need a new name for the OBPC, which doesn't look too yuppie.

This will work people! Young hands can type just as fast with a b-berry. Classes can be taught without everybody looking at facebook! Even in North America!

Saturday, February 21, 2009



Formal Tone: There have been quite a few articles on soft stories, and how to fix them.

Brand New Army Levee Starts to Seep


Now, if I were all full of clicking courage, I'd go on a tirade again about army bureaucrats building things. But I won't.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Niagara Tunnel Update

So, I was contacted by this television production company that wanted to do "Raise the Niagara Titanic Tunnel'. But since nobody clicks on my ads anymore, I told them they would be in hostile territory. I just checked the progress, and the overbreak has increased!!! And they are crawling at a measly 6 m a day. I think they could dig with their fingernails faster than that!

Obviously anybody involved in the project will clam up. And there will be no taking fancy videos of all the rock choking the machine. Probably deadly dangerous down there, so they aren't letting the feds down either. Since there will be a legal case, anything you say will be used against you!

There's just little old me. And I'm not saying much, since I'm kept out of the loop, and I just assume the worse.

Geophysics in the News


An armchair Googler found this interesting pattern under the sea. (I haven't tried it yet). Ah, must be Atlantis, all the local rags insisted. But, it's just a plain old track artifact. You can see how the boat just diddled back and forth, on a very nice grid.

Nuclear Waste: Obama has it Both Ways


As part of the economic stimulus package, they have decided to do the equivalent of digging a hole, and filling it up again. They will put lots of effort into Yuk-Yuk Mountain, only to close it later.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Linux in World Education


I got myself interested in world education with my son going to Uganda, and meeting people who were near the top in education there. My initial idea was the XO with the One laptop per child program. But that's been blown out of the water with the big recession, and a clash of monstrous egos. Rwanda is still doing very well with this, but I don't know where they are getting the money.

My next move was to go with Sugar on a Stick, on an EEEPC. Sugar is the Linux interface for the XO, but now those XO guys are going with the nasty buggers (Don't use IE6!). I tried for a whole day to get some stupid USB sticks to boot computers! That's hopeless! Even if you get one to work for one computer, it might not work for the next!

This article shows another approach quite opposite to a laptop. It's totally tethered to main computers. But the question is: what are they going to run? Is Brazil going to be as bad as we are with computers in the class?

Anyway, I'm giving up trying to push the son. Right now I don't think computers are going to work in the classroom. Maybe those kids in Uganda will have to wait for a higher-grade cell phone.

Snakes Don't Complain


Yeah, Snakes on a Plane, coming to save OPG. It's amazing that the stations were designed with valves in totally inaccessible spots. Now we have snakes!

ps. latest daughter Toronto City's 50 m. She got beaten on the other 2 events. It'll be ready once it's cooked.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Where Icecubes go to Die

A really great HD sequence of the ice by the Humber River. The picture above was captured from the video. Look for the freshly planted trees underneath the ice! They can never figure out why their tree planting doesn't work out down here.

Famous Earthquakes for Me: Chi-Chi 1999

This was my most favourite earthquake. It totally vindicated my passion for PGV and pooh-poohed PGA. Yet, all the old engineers still go with PGA, simply because of tradition. I can never figure that out.

Reference1 Ref2

Here are the great graphs! Taiwan is massively instrumented, and unlike Japan, they know how to calculate velocity from accelerations records! It turns out that serious housing damage only starts at 60 cm/s, and below 10 cm/s there is virtually no chance of damage.

The sad fact is that only I know that PGV on solid rock, under Darlington, can never exceed 10 cm/s. So where does that leave all the seismic engineers?

Two Invisible Objects Collide


A case where luck has run out. The nuclear subs make a point of being totally invisible. So, they are cruising the ocean without navigation lights, so to speak. All they are doing is living on the odds they never collide, even though they like to cruise at the same depth, which is the oceanic max thermocline (reflects surface sonar). But lots of nuclear subs have sunk before, they don't really release anything.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Famous Earthquakes - Kobe 1995

With this mid-size earthquake (M6.7), we learned the true power of the urban earthquake, and something more. After the Armenia earthquake, and then this one, I became convinced there was a bit more to Magnitude, when it came to damage.

The fault that whacked Kobe was way off the beaten path. For years, Japan was only expecting earthquakes from these monstrous faults. Who would expect an interior fault? But this was a thrust fault and it did something very bizarre.

Digression: I'm getting all this from the EQE report! I finally found them all right here!

Now, I can only find the peak accelerations, which were around 0.6 g, but somewhere they must have the PGV's. Looking at the damage, and the videos, I think the PGV hit 1-2 m/s, which is huge! All this from an M6.7

But this was no ordinary earthquake, this was a 'super-pulse', where a high velocity pulse runs up the fault, and smashes the surface! Of course, the soft ground didn't help much.

Since all the water mains were destroyed, there were huge fires.

As always in an EQE report, they looked at things which should have been damaged, but weren't. You never find that in a 'standard' earthquake report. Well-anchored pumping and industrial facilities were not damaged. Well-designed building out of the main swamp were also not damaged.

Slow Slip in Costa Rica


As more real-time GPS gets deployed, we are finding slow-slip events at lots of places. This first became well known around Vancouver, where they were finding frequent 'slow quakes'. These are fault slip events that happen too slowly to produce seismic waves. Nobody really knows what impact they have on real earthquakes, but it is assumed that they build up stress on the 'stuck' portion, until the 'Big One'.

Water Polo Shots

I'm getting the hang of the new camera. The lighting in pools is really bad, so I can't get single shots, unless I go to 1600, and then it's all grainy. I can extract good shots from the HD video, though. I also learned that I can't pan fast, because the focus is lost.

Here's the daughter in a breakaway, and a few other things.

There are 2 other sequences on youtube.

Poisonous Dose of Polonium Cost $10M


Very nice article by James Lovelock, famous fan of the earth. Why did the Russians pay $10M to kill that guy? While they were making the stuff, they weren't making medical isotopes.

Of course I don't think we need the Russians to make us afraid. Look at that crazy Chalk River reactor! Verrrrry Scarrrrry, Kiddies!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Say Pal, Can Spare a Hundred Mil?


I'm being as peaceful as a lamb, since I'm a bit low in my ad coinage, but nothing stops AECL! The gov't keeps forking out those million dollar bills, like having a Hilton daughter! Of course, the next boyfriend, Ontario, wants Daddy to cover everything as well.

Mandatory Earthquake Retrofit


A very serious issue in a recession. Should we allow these buildings to kill people, or should we squeeze landlords? I would have to go for mandatory fixing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Earthquake Awareness Week


Down in the shadow of the New Madrid Fault Zone, they are having an event to raise earthquake awareness. Are they any worse off than Toronto? Perhaps not, since their big earthquake has already happened, and they are in a stress shadow.

The real danger is in all the New Madrid Wannabees, all around eastern North America. For these zones, everyone is asleep at the switch.

New Trends in Education

Now that I'm ready to be rejected by the education system, I've been doing a lot of research. If you want to see the most fantastic video on the OLPC in Rwanda, then click here. It is such a magnificent thing to save young brains!

But, I've got to ask myself, why can't these things work here? In North America and the 'developed' world. Why is our education system so stuck? So, I had a nice conversation with a local elementary teacher.

First off, these people work very very hard, and feel totally besieged! These teachers right now are in a big union fight with the government. The central Soviet control system keeps shoveling out curriculum changes, which they expect the teachers to deal with. Because of a year-end gov't deadline, they suddenly told my teacher friend to buy several thousand dollars worth of non-fiction books in 2 days, for grades 7 and 8! This is all psychological torture, just like with me and the old company.

That said, these teachers have developed a prison guard mentality. They have retreated into 'work to rule', and view the kids as a hostile force. They regard computers as being a detriment to education, since they generally have just a couple of broken PC's in the library, which the kids are always breaking again and again.

The private schools are making some advances to 'paperless' classes, since the kids are heavily filtered by wealth. I think this trend of 'hopelessness' also penetrates into the unionized universities, and we won't expect to see any major changes there.

So, will the developing countries leap-frog us? It will be interesting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Environmental Assessment Accepted for Pickering


This for the refurbishment of the B side. The assessment is independent of whether they are actually going to do it or not.

I'm not being snarky or anything, since I'm trying to be respectable. But I remember the environmental assessment for Pickering A, and how it was heavily steeped in seismic issues. That's because the A station was never formally seismically qualified, according to the ancient mysterious laws.

But Pickering B avoids all that by merely stating that has been seismically qualified, now and forever. Case closed.

I'm not getting too much into a sweat about this, since I believe there is very little chance of the project going through. The engineering is horrendous, and the plant is shot.

The Joy of a New Spa Cover

I love my hot-tub. We go in everyday, winter or summer. I have a roof over it, to keep the snow off my head. I also think it's fairly 'green', since I never have a soaker bath, and just a very quick shower.

Anyway, the torture of these things is the stupid cover! After a few years, the bromine always starts attacking the vinyl, and the foam starts to take in water. It starts to weigh an awful lot! I just ordered a new one from thecoverguy, and it's fantastic (brand new!). When I took off the old one, it nearly broke my foot! I'm going to cut up the old one and see if I can dry the foam for disposal. It's so saturated and moldy that it can't be recycled, and styrofoam is a bitch to recycle.

Cleaning Up Earthquake Wikipedia

I used to do extensive writing for Wikipedia, mainly on earthquakes, and geotechnical engineering. That was a few years ago. I left when I had some run-ins with the anal retentive types that dwell there. I hated them with a passion!

Now that I look once again at the articles, I find a lot of them have been dinged with a lack of citations. That's the problem with a lot of these subjects, there aren't that many quality citations, and perhaps some of them have evaporated. I find if you want to have a citation that lasts for years, you are pretty well confined to the USGS. The university sites depend on the local professor, and his current interests.

Now I'm going back to clean them up. I'll put in citations and remove the warning tags. Then somebody will get their knickers in a knot, and it starts all over again....

Tsunami Buoys Stolen by Fishermen


Ok, be very suspicious if somebody offers you a very good price on a tsunami buoy! This is a very good article on Padang, where tsunami warnings probably wouldn't do it any good anyway. The city has some serious problems, and a tsunami would come in very fast, right after the escape bridges have been destroyed. Probably the only hope would be the taller buildings, but how would they fare in an earthquake? And the available space is probably 1% of requirements.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ontario Outlaws Backyard Tribalism


I'm glad this is recognized as a barrier to economic growth. It should be extended to all the other vital things. Of course, a good Nimby-izer wouldn't stop there. They would say: "I'm not a NIMBY!" They would say it's a safety or environmental issue. Nobody Nails a Nimby!

High School Swim Meet

Once again my daughter pulled out gold medals for the regional meet, then it's the city meet, and finally the provincial. I include a tiny clip of the High Definition from my new camera. Youtube is getting a lot better with the HD, this one runs right away.

Crowd shot

I'm encouraged, and trying a longer video.

50 m free style

These are great tests of your internet quality!

Earthquakes and Social Policy

Another in my series of courses I would like to do.

To examine the 'threat' of earthquakes, and the social response, as exemplified by building codes, emergency planning, and general preparedness.

Every year, many thousands get killed by earthquakes. In most cases, they are totally unprepared, yet most areas of the world have accurate estimates of the seismic hazard. The course examines the social context of preparing for earthquakes. When is it 'too long' between earthquakes to prepare? Is a city with frequent earthquakes more prepared because 'Everything that can be knocked down, has been knocked down'? Is there consideration of 'major consequences', or is response only weighted by living memory.

We shall look at recent earthquakes, and areas with different probabilities of earthquake occurrence. This shall be a paperless course, with each student preparing a blog with unique viewpoints.

Radiation of the Living Dead

Wow, I got a little blip on the ad revenue yesterday, so I'll include this article.

In it, they essentially express my opinions, which is that nobody will ever be in any position to kill this zombie. It must go on, until there is a disaster. It's like a dangerous railway crossing in the city. Every day, trains and cars barely miss each other, and nobody can do anything because it costs too much money, and the street can't be blocked. We all know what happens.

So, I'm not saying anything cruel or nasty here, it's just a fact. Any don't forget, it is on a piece of ground that has the same seismic hazard as most of California, because of the soft clay. Since the seismic capacity is almost zero, with severe consequences, it has one of the highest seismic risks on the continent.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Linux on Cheap Laptops

This is the first of many course outlines that I am designing for my new occupation. Naturally, if it becomes formal, I'll flesh it out.

Linux on Cheap Laptops

Course Outline

There has been a lot of misunderstanding of the purpose of net-laptops (the term 'netbook' is claimed as a trademark). The basic requirements of the net-laptops were first laid out by the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program. In order to get the absolutely cheapest price, they stripped out everything, down to the core requirements for education. As such, by definition, the Cheapo (whatever!) will always be the most stripped-down machine that the market accepts.

Not everybody will accept this, since some will want to run games or major applications that they are familiar with. This machine is not for them. But if you want to get the minimum price, you have to accept Linux, and running all your applications on the Internet.

This course will cover the history of Linux, and how it is acceptable for a 'no-frills' portable computer. It will then go on to cover the basics of installation and maintenance. There will be demonstrations of the installation process on a typical Cheapo.

It is then expected that each participant will proceed as though they only had a minimal laptop, even though this would most likely be simulated by their own computer, or library facilities. We shall proceed to 'live the El Cheapo life', using internet facilities. The course will be graded by having each person creating a blog, and profiling what they have done.

At the end of the course, it is hoped that each participant will be comfortable with the 'Net Experience', and fully capable of utilizing the cheapest computer they can get!

One Netbook per Unemployed Person

I need an occupation for my brain. I realize now that I've been too nasty to the power industry, and I will never get a job with them, and constantly making fun of their disasters is too depressing. And they don't have a clue about geology or seismicity, so they will just try to ignore these elephants in the room, much to their cost.

And so, for a different tack. I've been reading extensively on the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program, but it has been totally shot by the global recession. And then I thought, what is the growth industry in a depression? It's sucking off Obama programs -- retraining!

I'm preparing myself to teach a course, not in geology or seismicity, that's for the Ivory Tower, but in my new idea of One Netbook per Unemployed Person (ONPUP). I'm whipping up my CV, and designing the course. Everything will be blog-based, so I'll put my progress up here.

If anybody has any contacts, let me know.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Diary Feb 7

basically have turned off the blog. comfortable with that, not having a 'black dog'. I think I was getting negative -- let them do what they want.

will continue to have Sat. update diaries.

working on adding streets to openstreetmap. very nice doing streets of all the places I have lived.

continuing to look at OLPC for Uganda, since the son is going there this summer. The project itself is suffering, but I was thinking about the Sugar operating system on a stick, and the possibility of trial on netbooks. eventually the XO2 will become available.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lots of stuff

There is so much hilarious stuff in the news this morning, but I'm not writing. My readership has gone way up, and the news people use me for stories. The Ontario government is about to make its big nuclear announcement.

And yet I get bothered by the cries for me to get a 'real job', with some money. Very depressing, with my much older siblings still working, and me just lazing around. I was hoping one day that this writing would be valued, but it isn't.

So perhaps my blog mission in life has ended, what with the Calgary zoo, and Obama admitting he screwed up. Of course, the political idiots, who never did anything, are now attacking the zoo and Obama, just like they always attacked me in the old company. Nevertheless, I think the dangers of secret self-similarity are becoming apparent, no matter what.

So, let the earthquake threat be ignored! Let the big institutions do their thing. The world does fine without me making fun of everybody.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Loonies for La-La Land


I don't even know why I post this. Hopefully, this handful of change is sufficient for the Ontario backroomers to pick the ACR-1000. I know they were looking for billions, but what the hey, it's a depression! With all the Americans going 'Buy America', it behooves us to buy Canadian.

Now, I'm afraid that some new readers are taking me seriously. This is a sad state of affairs! Next thing I know, lawyers for bat-mashers will be after me. Or maybe, if all the big boys take me seriously, we'll have all sorts of admissions, a la Calgary:

Yep, that Space Shuttle idea was really stupid.

OMG! That tunnel will never work!

A Brain Fart, keeping that reactor going!

Man, we didn't know what we were doing, when we picked Nanticoke.

But, it will never happen...

Calgary Zoo Comes Clean


Ok, this fits into several of my interests: corporate (gov't) transparency, and mysteries. I'm reading a lot of mysteries lately on my Sony reader (don't ask where I get them from!), and The Affair of the Stingrays has always bothered me.

As we recall, the Calgary Zoo (The Manor House), had a magnificent collection of stingrays. Many people came to the House, with lots of things to hide. They touched and fondled the stingrays. Quel Horreur, Hercule! They are suddenly dead! Mort! The suspicion is on those nefarious visitors. Did they harbour some grudge against stingrays? Did they stand to benefit from the will? Who snuck in the mysterious poison, unknown to Science, that suddenly killed them all?

Months of investigation by the Yard! Hercule Poirot smirks at them all! He has found the answer! It was Stupidity that killed the stingrays!!

But the most amazing thing was that the Manor House confesses! They admit it! All those accusations against the people came from their own inexperience, and cheap refusal to hire somebody intelligent. All is revealed, Hastings can write up another novel!

Japan Earthquake Reactor Ready to Go


The first reactor is ready to go, after a heck of a long time in the repair shop. These reactors were hit by a horrendous velocity pulse earthquake, the details of which we will never know, since the recordings were all screwed up. The only real damage might have been in the actual boiling water reactor, which is full of little things inside a giant bottle of steel (like one of those ships in a glass bottle!). We will probably never know what they actually did, since they really love a secret over there!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Famous Earthquakes - Whittier Narrows 1987

The full title is 'Famous Earthquakes I Have Known'. These are earthquakes that happened during my long earthquake career, and affected the way I think about earthquakes. Needless to say, I think a lot differently than anybody else! So, I have started this series to see where I went wrong. :)

The Whittier earthquake first introduced the term 'blind thrust' to my tiny brain. The fault rupture was along a previously unknown fault that ended in an anticline. It did not surface, therefore it was 'blind'.

This was actually quite a big deal in earthquake land! Previously, all thought had been bent towards the Big One, along mapped faults. They went through all this trouble of mapping faults, and preventing building right on top of them. Here was a kick in the head!

Once again, the main damage was on the soft soils, while most of the housing that was on rock (what passes for rock!), was essentially undamaged.

Whittier was one of the first urban earthquakes that was extensively instrumented. It was only about an M6, but produced very strong ground motions at a considerable distance. Although I never saw a paper on it, I believe it to be the first instrumented 'Fist of God' earthquake, which involves super-shear (high speed) motion on the fault, and a large velocity pulse. The results from this earthquake started to show the very tight relationship between PGV and general damage.

That, combined with the other earthquakes generally convinced Shakemap to go with PGV. Conventional seismic engineering goes with PGA (bah!).

I knew from my computer modeling and blasting data that PGV was directly related to the maximum strain of the plane wave (body shear), and that this translated directly to the induced shear in a structure. Nearly all the structures at Whittier failed in a mode of applied shear. This earthquake also did a number on the suitability of 'tilt-up' construction. For although this constuction was theoretically good, it was very susceptible to rust and rot.

Finally, I was impressed by the extent of interior damage for this earthquake. This showed you could have buildings survive, but be totally useless for further occupation, because all the flimsy lights fell. For 'Experience Data' on nuclear plants, it showed the importance of securing the lights in the control room.

San Fran Earthquake Report


This report could be a bit different. Its focus is mainly on recovery after a big earthquake. Things should not be as slow as New Orleans.

However, I don't think earthquake preparation is a big priority right now.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wind Farm Infrasonics


Yeah, another lonely outsider wondering about these new-fangled whirly bird-eaters. Does the thumpity-thump cause problems? Everybody used to be all hot against transmission towers and cell phones, but these things must really put out some really good electromagnetic waves!

I agree that we shouldn't put them absolutely everywhere without some good science. Of course, I say that about everything, and look where it's got me!

Chalk River Comments


A nice summary of the Chalk River fiasco. I think I've been saying something along that line for a while now.