Monday, August 31, 2009

Hot Water Tank

My 'Livclean' thread has gone on 'forever'. Now they are moving into Ottawa, and my first thought is "OMG Earthquakes!". But it's probably not any worse than Hamilton.

But what sparked this was the sudden disappearance of our water pressure in Toronto. Right now I only get a dribble upstairs, but more downstairs. Most likely a pumping station just blew up, and we'll never hear about it on the news. Well I thought, I always have the emergency water in my hot water tank!

So are these tanks good or bad on earthquake-jello Leda Clay in Ottawa? Do they require extra bracing? My immediate thought for some of these houses is to take down the chimney, and put in a tankless hot water heater, but I think that requires a chimney! A high-efficiency tank doesn't need a chimney, but what is the value of a house without a chimney? If you make people aware of earthquakes, down goes the property values, and that's why no city every pays any attention to the issue.

So, I sit here, waiting for my water pressure to go back up, and not wanting to go to the little boy's room. :)

Long Drought

Sorry, there's nothing to write about, and nothing coming in on my ad revenue, so I tend to descend this vicious circle -- why should I write if nobody's interested? I think this will be a problem with all authors and creative people in the future. A person I know, who is an expert in Linux, sucks in all his movies and books from the air, and reads on his Sony bookreader. How's that going to play in the future? There is some hope for books, in that the libraries are getting together with Sony for a lending scheme.

This week we're starting to load the kids for university. I was just at Kingston, where #2 son has a teensy-weensy room in a teeny-weeny house. We filled it up. He's a writer, I wonder how he'll make his money, certainly all the newspapers will be gone by then. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Hot Air


I'm impressed with these people. They are going to get 25 million Obama Bucks to do studies on a silly idea. They want to do this in Kern County, famous for massive earthquakes, and totally busted up rock. I wish them luck....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Salt Closes In


Salt was always somebody's Great Idea. "That salt always creeps and seals itself -- Yeah!"

So they threw in a lot of hot radioactive steel barrels just for the heck of it. Lo and behold, the barrels instantly rusted, and the heated salt started to flow like water. "Ja, zat ist not gut!" they said. :)

But, they still talk fondly of salt in the US, since they killed off Yucca...

Tired Old Seabrook Gets a Name Lift


No comment.

NRU on Tight Leash


I'm not that hopeful that the Leaky Bucket can be restarted. I also hope it doesn't get restarted, since I consider it a Seismic Death Trap.

But it's always fun to watch them go at it. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Seismic Ship Fun


I hope your readers are smart enough to realize this Devon Page has only his own agenda here. I work on a seismic research ship and it has been proven over and over again that seismic testing does not hurt marine life. I have seen whales and dolphins swim a few hundred feet from our air guns. These are intelligent animals and if it was bothering them I am sure they would leave. However, if you wish to save the fish and mammals any possible discomfort at the expense of Human lives then you can blindly follow Mr. Page and his fanatics.

Dolphins and whale probably love seismic ships. The air guns might stun some munchies within a metre or so. Not a speck of scientific evidence that this does them harm, next the creationists are going to sue about fossil hunting!

Things PIcking Up - Jobs Down


I was attracted to this article because I love nuclear motors. These things are magnificent, and never a problem with seismic. I noticed how they are doing well, but shedding jobs like crazy due to automation, and sending things out. The only way to survive.

Whistling in the Nuclear Graveyard

"A nuclear waste repository could be damaged by earthquakes and other natural phenomena over such a long time period."


Yeah earthquakes!! Another blah, blah article about the feeble plans for nuclear waste in Canada. They should concentrate on the prototype for disaster, the underground storage at Bruce. But, our favourite media types are being led by the nose by big money. I feel sorry for them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pickling Vinegar

So, we had a season or two of the pesticide ban, and the lawn at the old manor house is starting to look shabby. I used to just pour on the Agent Orange, and watch her smoke! I never fertilized, so I didn't have grubs.

Now, lots of things have happened. My neighbour's infestation of funny leaves has continued to jump my fence, like an invasion of Orcs from the Evil Dark. This summer, because of the rain, I have grubs eating the soul of my front yard. I needed a weapon!

Yeah for Pickling Vinegar! This isn't your average french fries vinegar, this hurts you when get sprayed with it. I mix a spray jar with a dollop of liquid Tide, and I'm ready! It kills anything!

I might be going a bit nuts with it, the neighbours are asking about the crop circles in my grass, but it is working. First I killed off a fire break around my grubs. Scorched Earth, Baby! Then I have discovered that light sprays on weed infested zones may selectively kill the weeds, and just brown the grass. I hope the grass comes back! Anyway, it must be better than the Roundup I used to use, where nothing ever grew back. I'll reseed the dead zones in the fall.

A full blast kills the weeds in the driveway stone work. I AM INVINCIBLE!

Living Fossils


A neat article about the search for living fossils.

Ice Age II

Ok, my brother-in-law is stuck at home for a while. He foolishly stuck his arm under a falling load, and ripped out all the tendons. Amazing what they can do with surgery, but now he's home on WorkComp. So, I suspect he gave me a huge slug of ad money, which went to a ridiculous 6 bucks today. Normally, it's 6 cents!

So I'll continue with ice modeling. I'm sure I did this before, but I can't find it. My Rock Mechanics series touched on it, but that was mostly on seismic effects. Anyway, after intensive thought, I realized the only way ice would affect granite bedrock under high horizontal stress, would be through shear, and water injection. I modeled the biggest bang I could get from an ice sheet with this approach, and it turned out that an advancing ice sheet could produce a rapid rise in ice loading, which generated underground shear stresses. If we had high-pressure melting under that sheet, then we had our high water pressures.

I assumed our ice could rise rapidly to several km's of height, limited by the strength of ice, and that the water pressure would be equal to ice load. With these numbers I could easily induce failure in a rock mass, along sub-horizontal fractures, leading out from the ice front. These could penetrate to a depth of about 1 km.

Somewhere around that time, we discovered that the underground test mine (for waste) was riddled with these open fractures down to 1 km in depth. I then cast the pronouncement that we would always find these, and that it was a hopeless search for a 'naked granite' waste repository. They promptly threw me out! :)

I then did some further work on what would be a good repository, but nobody listened.

US Nuclear Plants Will Never Be Decommissioned


Read that article. Think how it will read 20 years from now. It's the same article, isn't it? :)

Bitchy Strong Motion


These accelerometers weren't defective, they were on bad locations. It's funny that they think bedrock might be bad as well. That's the trouble with classic accelerometers, they are never used until the big earthquake, and you can never tell if the location is good. Since I had such bad experience with these things, I always insisted on wide-range broadband seismometers, which you could calibrate for site effects. Seismic intensity for housing could then be calculated using standard amplification techniques.

Ice Age and Nuclear Waste


What will get us first? - Global Gorming or The Ice Age? These guys are preparing for the ice age.

That reminds me of a story. Back in the day, when nuclear money was paying for good science, I studied the effect of ice ages on deep rock. I quickly discovered that the important thing was not the next ice age (like this study), but -- what had all the previous ice ages done to the rock? For I knew from mining experience, once the rock was shattered, it was just going to move along the existing planes of weakness, and not do anything different for the next ice age.

So the first thing I did was to conduct Einsteinian Thought Experiments. Back in those days I was brilliant, and untreated for depression. My mind would race at full speed 24 hours a day! Not healthy for the long term. But I digress.

I thought, what is the absolutely worse thing an ice age could do to deep rock. Sheer weight of the main sheet would do nothing, it would actually stabilize the rock, since we had high horizontal stresses, and higher vertical stress equalizes things. If these guys are just thinking vertical stress, then they are in the pay of the nuclear industry. (Wait a sec! They are!)

I'll stop there for now. I'm in a mood now where I think I'm wasting my life blogging into the ethersphere, and have got to look for volunteer work. Trouble is I hate most things most volunteers do, so I have to confine myself to teaching or some such thing. Certainly I don't have any chance of working again with the nuclear industry or earthquakes, since they are all dead. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sitting on the Dock Fishing

We had another 2 days of summer, but that looks like that's all she wrote. At least the polar bears are happy, and the Gories will eventually have to find another way to make money.

In the evening I always take Cindy the Wonderdog down to the dock for some fishing. It's not a complicated affair. I take one worm and my rod, and my fishing pack. We fish mostly for rock bass, which are a pest in the lake. I catch them and throw them on the dock, and Cindy snaps at them while they are flapping. Somehow she grabs them without spiking herself, and takes them up. Most of the time they get out of her mouth, and fall back into the lake, but I think she chomps them pretty hard.

Well yesterday, the whole place was swarming with young largemouth bass. We could see them from the dock. I kept pulling up bass and letting them go. I even got a fairly large one. The ones I catch are not the local dock fish. The ones under the dock are huge and old friends. They always wait until I give up fishing and dump the rest of the worm in the water. They can usually tell by the brass swivel I use when I'm lazy.

Once in a while I fool them. I take off the swivel and tie the hook directly onto the monofiliament. Then I thread the worm on to hide the hook. I put the drag on light, and hook the big one! That's fun!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Geothermal Drilling Stopped


The scientists who told of delays in the project spoke only on the condition that they not be identified, in order to preserve their access to company progress reports.

I love that quote! That's what always happened to me in the big company. I mention that they are headed for disaster, and they cut off all my access to the data!

So, this project takes a hit from Geology! And the wind turbine companies are all going bankrupt! Looks like we can't do anything! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Global warming will never cease, no matter how cold it gets


I just like the logic here, it's amusing.

Doctors Order Feds to Pull a Rabbit Out of a Hat


Yes, as if doctors and lawyers weren't at the heart of technical troubles for Canada. They are all Power People, who revel in secretive bureaucratic power groups, as a model for every other wannabe to follow. What possible model would allow us to build new nuclear facilities again? Can you just order bureaucratic incompetents to produce a miracle?

Could anybody penetrate the Secret Order of Doctors to produce a digital health record? Can anybody trim the power of lawyers to probe and prod every aspect of companies? All technical people I know live in terror of Power People. Can their intellectual energy be released? Only if nobody pays any attention to them for a while, like RIM. Once successful, all companies follow the secret bureaucratic model of the doctors and lawyers.

That is why I always hunt for the little sparks of intellectual creativity. You never know where you'll find it, but you certainly know where you won't find it.... :)

Toronto Condo Bust


I got out of my depth a while ago, and thought there would be a spectacular property bust in Toronto, much along the line of Japan. It hasn't happened yet, since private sellers are on strike waiting for better prices. But I have no idea about the condo market. I still see all those condo cranes around the city, and I wonder how they keep afloat. This one was started by the Russian Mafia, and even they ran out of money! We don't have the good drug money up here, like Miami!

So if those guys are out of money, what about the thousands of other condos? The individuals are covered by deposit escrow accounts. The only people who will suffer are those who just got possession, and now want to sell. Once again, I have no clue!

Juicing Up Hamilton


More pressure to juice up the Mac reactor in Hamilton. Why are these research reactors located in some of the worst seismic zones in the country? And do you think they put a speck of seismic design into these things?

When the Big One rips Hamilton, it will be a Fist of God earthquake like the one that hit Japan. It won't have a large extent, like Armenia, but it will be intense for Hamilton. I am not in favour of the Hamilton Option, until someone acknowledges the seismic hazard. Of course, once they do, they'll have to shut down the existing reactor. :) and maybe do some seismic prep for Toronto???

Canada Nuclear Waste


Here's a nice long article on Canadian nuclear waste. Sounds like a PR job for the nasty buggers ---whoops! Did I say that out loud? at the waste company. Well, we know that everybody loves them, and they'll do a great job in spending money.

Blind Leading the Blind


Somebody has latched on to the idea of using the small garden reactors to power a remote mine. We all know how well they close up abandoned mine sites, which litter the remote north. And these people know less about new nuclear than a certain big company!

Water Pipe Monitoring


I was once quite into this type of operational monitoring, and this reminds me of a story.

The Darlington fueling machine was notorious for breaking down. It was suspected to be a dynamic cause, and I was called in because I had earlier installed the seismic monitors.

Long story short - I was totally ignored, blah blah. But I really studied active ultrasonic monitoring for failure analysis. This did what those pipe monitors do, it listens for the sound of breaking metal, which is very distinctive, and travels a long way over pipes, beams, and rail tracks. Nearly all these failures are from fatigue, and if you look at one of these metal failures with an electron microscope, you will see thousands of little fractures. Each one of these would have produced an ultrasonic signature. I was convinced this was a great thing for structural monitoring, but it was too modern for a place caught in a 30 year old time warp.

So instead of this, they went for constant manual inspection, which cost a fortune, but kept people employed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Feeds Suck Out My Brain

I was contacted by a Feed Mill, and I wrote a little blurb for them. This was supposed to drive more traffic to my site, and hopefully I get more Google Doogles! But I have a sneaky feeling these automatic sites just suck out my brain and put on their own advertising, and no wine for me! How else can they live?

I don't know if anybody has an opinion whether these things are Parasitic Blood-Sucking Vampires, or whether they provide a good service. I'm 'dying' to know.

ps. those that have read me long enough know that if I don't get enough Google Snoogles (from ad clicking), I tend to grab my football and go home. This is probably the only way that authors will be able to get revenue in the future, or else I can't see anybody bothering to write.

Polar Bears Happy with Miserable Summer


I'm not saying nothing, or all the Gories will attack me. They'll just say this is an exception to the 'long term 20 year trend'. Poopies! Nevertheless, they are a powerful force.

Leaving behind the fact that there are people who passionately believe that 20-year (15 actually) trends will continue 200 years into the future, it is good to know that somebody is having fun with my horrible cottage year.

Rocky Mountain Earthquake


1959 M7.5 earthquake, on the Rocky Mountain Front. I never studied this earthquake because it just caused landslides, and was in the middle of nowhere. Still, it shows that the whole front is probably active and that Banff and such should be aware of it.

These are pure 'active displacement' earthquakes, like the San Andreas. If you had regional GPS stations installed, you would notice some action that supported the direction of faulting for this earthquake. The intraplate earthquakes around our place are 'stress relief' earthquakes, and show no regional displacement. This gets scientists greatly confused.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The German Relatives -II

We did the full bag today at Niagara Falls. Wow, jungle heat at 36 deg. C., and millions of people! We have this identical picture, taken at night, go figure!

Did the little shake and squirt show, and went down into the tunnels. Then the WWW - White Water Walk, and the Maid of the Mist. Geez, and hour and a half in the heat to wait for those darn boats! So much fun!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The German Relatives

Nothing's more fun than taking relatives from Germany to the cottage. My cousin's grandson had never experienced the cottage life, and it finally was a good, hot, cottage weekend.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Singing Hot, Hot, Hot.

Today we started the first heat wave of the summer, and I'm going to the cottage. Yeah! Now we see the reason for having one! I had relatives from Germany fly in today, and their weather has been worse than ours! So they weren't too used to our heat.

So the dilemma was when to start the air conditioning. I normally cool down overnight, using baseload, and set the temp. fairly warm so it starts in the evening, but today I wanted it to start earlier. I looked at the demand curve, and saw it tapering off at 4:00 pm, and that's when I started.

I was thinking of those stupid city power cutoffs where they give you $50 to lose all your freedom. That means you can't turn on your air conditioning until a bureaucrat says you can. I had enough of bureaucrats all my life!

Whale Huggers and Geophysics


Ok, if you knew something was going to harm the Internet Squirrel, then I'd say stop it. But all this fuzzy-wuzzy stuff about whales and geophysics is ridiculous. We know that earthquakes have a zillion times more sound energy, and the most they kill is the squid. Whales pump out a lot of sonar to stun the squid. I'm sure lightning striking the ocean does something, and storm waves crashing on the beach set the whole world ringing.

I hope the court throws them out. :)

Canadian University Games

All three kiddies are now in university - ouch! I just found out that those dastardly institutions hide a little gem from you. If you produce a letter that your kid is covered for health and dental, they credit you $150. Queens and UofT hide it in their fine print, and I only found out this year from Mac. Hell, that's a lot more than my Google cheques!

World's Best Disclaimer

Tom Campbell is a former Ontario deputy minister of health and chair of Ontario Hydro. His wife is involved with a company that has an interest in this field but they adhere to the principle of thinking independently.


This is another 'Raise the Maple' comment, from somebody who doesn't know anything more than the rest of us. However, he's probably living off his wife, like myself, and she does isotopes.

I need a disclaimer! .... -->

His wife is involved in earning a living. She tells him what to think, and he ignores her.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rusty Bucket Defies Fix


Let's imagine we are going to patch up a leaking rusty bucket, rendered paper-thin. Can I weld on some patches? Would a coat of paint work?

None of the above. I am quite glad that we will never see that thing working again. As I've said before, even if they used all the glue and binder twine in Canada, it would still be a seismic death trap.

These days, I mourn the death of my 93 Camry. It was my mother's car, and it was perfect for 17 years. Then all of a sudden it had a massive heart attack and the engine seized. Off to the scrap yard. So sad. Perhaps, I should have patched it up?

Weekend of Summer Missed

Poopies, we get one weekend of summer this year, and I'm stuck in the city!

More on Japan Big One


These last two quakes have really got the pot roiling. I don't think anything is going to happen, but it sure is interesting.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another earthquake brushes Japan

I'm only mentioning this because it is a bit bigger than the 'Beyonce Quake', the other day. It's in the same general area, and would have people scared that something is going on. But really, the odds of something bigger happening in the next few days, is the same as if these quakes didn't happen. In other words, we might go through dozens of 'suspicious' patterns before The Big One.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Niagara tunnel goes for immediate casting

That's the giant floor caster moving down the tunnel. It can be seen that the rest of the tunnel has been finished by shotcrete. So, they are just going to follow the overbreak, and let the tunnel vary in cross-section. Perhaps this doesn't do too much to water flow, not as much as all the corner-cutting they're doing.

It's very interesting in that they are going against decades of developed practice with the rock squeeze in this area. However, the contractor will be all cleaned up and gone before any trouble shows up. I'm not really going to harp on it any more, since this will only show up in 10 years.

Giant Catfish Threatens Japan


SRL Opinion - ENA earthquakes


Such variable fault behavior is being widely recognized in continental interiors. In many places large earthquakes cluster on specific faults for some time and then migrate to others.

The gist of this opinion is that age-old problem of apparent strain for New Madrid and other interior earthquake zones. At the heart of the problem is the question of how long these zones have been active at the rates now observed. New GPS studies have shown virtually no regional strain rate for the New Madrid area.

They are essentially proposing that all these zones flick on and off like Christmas lights. The implications are that the existing zones have shot their load and are now 'dead'. All of the measured seismicity is aftershock activity. The next big earthquakes will appear suddenly in some other magical zone, of which we have nary a clue!

This opinion is now entrenched the same as Global Cottage Warming (Ha!). Although I have written extensively of my model for ENA seismicity, the fight has gone out of me. People within these zones can now be like Toronto, and do nothing.

Nuclear Talent 'Decays'


What's the half-life of nuclear talent in Canada? Our best hope would be to put some decent talent on the radioactive waste issue, but we are really screwing that up! Our attempt for underground waste disposal up at Bruce will be a worse disaster than the Maples.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Seismic Noise

I just love this graph. If you installed the most super-sensitive super-broadband seismometer on the cold hard crust, you still come up with this problem of low-level noise. This is the equivalent of sticking your head on the earth and hearing the ocean! Because that's exactly what you hear! You can see all the various sources of this 'earth murmur' on the figure.

July SRL - Crustal Tomography

I just love this stuff! Every few years they gather up all the data from seismometers all over North America, and calculate the velocities directly under each seismometer. They do this with the signals of the earthquakes in the upper figure. The final picture can be also considered as the temperature of the crust at various depth slices.

Looking at the bottom figure, we see a big hunk of the crust is relatively cold. This is most likely the original craton, with cold, deep roots. As I have said before, the continents are made of the floating fuzz of silicon dioxide, which has come out of the rest of the molten rock, much like the head on a beer. Over the many tectonic cycles, this stuff has been squooshed together.

Note Ontario, it's not that cold and old. I find the pattern quite interesting, and wonder about it. If this is true, then it has some implications for seismic hazard.