Monday, August 30, 2010

Snap Fastener Tool


You may think this is a silly post, but I looked all over for this. On the boat, all the old snap fasteners are popping off. I tried the standard tools, but the snaps would pop off again. This tool splits the central post, instead of just curling it. It splits it like an apple cutter, and secures it. I am so happy!

ps. tale of the dock fish. We hooked this huge fish, that I couldn't pull in, about a foot long, and then this HUGER fish swam up to it and looked like it wanted to eat it! Nobody wants to look under the dock with the snorkel! I keep fishing for it.

Neato Hurricanes


You can just stare at this animation for hours! Note how they start to curl coming off Africa. Whether they hit or just curve away is totally dependent on the air pressure from Canada! (Rats, animation doesn't work on the blog, go to the original.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

400 Year Old Bubbly Opened!


Ever since my near-brush with movie fame (they finally contacted me and decided to go with a more amenable engineer, like the Niagara Tunnel!), I have been struggling with the cyclic nature of volcanoes. They tend to operate on the same sort of cycles as earthquakes. Some may think they get magically injected with booster juice every 400 years, but I think it is standard rock mechanics.

Start with a volcano blowing up. Has it used every speck of available magma? No, there is always a huge magma pool, and we puny humans only get a spitball. The magma relieves the pressure and then sits back in deep reservoirs. But the magma is much less dense that the surrounding cold rock, so it is actually the rock that is the supporting container. This support can go on for 400 years, but if that darn volcano keeps spitting out ash, it creates this huge weight that is like piling on elephants at the circus! Eventually, the bottom elephant has to collapse, and this squeezes out the next explosive spitball. KABOOM!

If there is a large magma pool and the rock blows open under the sea, then we get the giant boiler explosion. About 70,000 years ago they had such an explosion, that gave a nuclear winter for 10 years, and cut the world human population to just 10,000. That's right beside this volcano. Makes you think.

We are on a layer cake!


The North American continent is not one thick, rigid slab, but a layer cake of ancient, 3 billion-year-old rock on top of much newer material probably less than 1 billion years old, according to a new study by seismologists at the University of California, Berkeley.

This is an interesting article. It provides more weight to the idea that continental subduction jams nice warm stuff under us, and keeps us afloat! Otherwise, we would tend to sink as we cooled, which we are doing, but it would be a lot worse!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Krakatoa!


It was the seawater flowing in that caused the world's biggest boiler explosion!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

BC Fires Blow Smoke Rings

It's just a very nice satellite picture. The rings are over the Pacific Ocean.

Ontario Earthquake Flattened Web Site


OTTAWA — The June earthquake that was felt by more than 20 million people in Ontario, Quebec and the northeastern U.S. rattled more than just the ground.

Documents obtained under Access to Information show that within minutes of the 5.0 magnitude quake, Natural Resources Canada's website was paralysed by over a million hits.

That's probably 20 million hits wanting to come in, but only a million were able to destroy the site. I certainly got my hits, but I don't keep track of that anymore. As with all bureaucracies, they give the standard line: "It will never happen again." :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

San Andreas Hot Stuff


LOS ANGELES — Strong earthquakes along the San Andreas fault in southern California are more frequent than previously thought, so the dreaded "Big One" could be just around the corner, US researchers said Friday in a study.

If you are going to ignore the earthquake hazard anyway, this probably isn't relevant. :)

OPG Bleeding in Hot Summer


Ontario Power Generation has reported a loss of $29-million in second quarter, compared with $306-million profit a year earlier, affected by a decision to delay seeking a rate increase for its electricity.

“As a result, the rates that we receive for electricity from our nuclear and large hydroelectric stations have been unchanged since April 1, 2008, a period of 28 months.” chief executive officer Tom Mitchell said Friday in a news release.

Well, with a very hot summer, and all of us going into shock with the electricity bill, you would think these guys are making out like bandits! There must be a consequence of underpaying for power, perhaps these guys are sucking off the nuclear waste fund? Perhaps they are just piling on the Niagara Tunnel debt band wagon? Who knows?

British geology show


Well, now I'm collecting these pay channel shows, since my brush with Hollywood. This is the way to do a standard show... use somebody who is completely clueless on anything scientific, as long as he is cute! Use a lot of CGI, and don't forget the cute animals!

Do they bring in the talking head soundbites of real scientists? Is anything about the show real? Still it's better than 3-D meerkats!

Tiny village wants nuclear waste

Pinehouse officials sent a letter earlier this week to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) in Toronto declaring their intent to be considered as the future site for Canada's nuclear waste storage, a project estimated to be worth as much as $24 billion, said NWMO spokesperson Jamie Robinson.

Ah, the NWMO's wet dream! A tiny little village in the middle of nowhere, and you can sink the waste into open karst! :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Earthquakes of the Triple Whammy Kind


Reporting Wednesday in the British journal Nature, US experts said they found the 8.1 temblor unleashed two more extremely powerful quakes in very quick succession.

Each measured 7.8 magnitude and occurred close to each other, at a location more than 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the initial event.

I linked to this article, rather than the original Nature thing, because of 'triple whammy'. I love it!

This is nothing new in earthquake land. With better instrumentation you can divide out all the 'sub-events' or 'co-events'. No large earthquake is one big, smooth 'whoosh'. It's more like dominoes.

NRU Cooking With Gas


"The reactor is now operating at high power and can begin to create medical isotopes," operator Atomic Energy of Canada said in a statement.

Well, I can finally put this one to bed.... With their great skill at metallurgy, I expect no problems down the way..

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hollywood Adventures - II

Part 1

In this world, there are two types of people -- The Volcans, who are the standard volcanologists, and The Vulcans, who are the plumbers and engineers. I fear I am the only one in this latter category, but I shall continue to pretend there are more of us! (Does this sound like a bad Twilight sequel?)

Just to point out a difference -- Why do these volcanoes suddenly come to life? The Volcans believe that some mysterious spirit touches the magma pool, and it becomes active. The Vulcans assume that the surrounding rock has cooled and collapsed, and is now pressing on the resident magma pools, like some giant, ripe zit!

And so, into this conflicting world came our Movie People. They thought that the world was ready for a new volcano special. Apparently, there is still money in providing HD science specials for satellite. They have not heard of a double-dip recession, and I stand amazed...

They went to the most senior academic Volcan. My heart shudders at what happened, since I have read all the science blogs, and am most terrified of the Science Old Boys Club. As we know from Darwin's struggles, they hold a position until death. So the movie people talked to all the Volcans, and saw their nice table-top models of rising magma. They were convinced that sand and corn syrup were the ideal thing. But the mp's had a great idea -- What if we scale up this table-top sand volcano, with it's pipes and heaters, and make it 30 feet high! That would be neat!

This is the Volcan supreme model!

For what happens with sand, pressure chambers, and table-tops at 30 feet (the size of those roadside covered sand-boobs, for winter sanding), we have to review our scaling laws.

(to be continued)

Stromboli Is Not Happy


Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- A 4.5 magnitude earthquake hit north-eastern Sicily and the Aeolian Islands causing rockslides and injuries, according to Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology and the Civil Protection Agency.

The island of Lipari was hit hardest, and there were some reported injuries after the temblor caused rockslides onto a beach popular with tourists, Ansa news wire reported. The area, which is a popular summer vacation destination, hosts one of Italy’s three active volcanoes on the island of Stromboli. The quake happened at 2:54 p.m. Rome time.

We just had word in a previous post that trendy people want to settle on Stromboli. Not a happy camper! :)

When regulators abandon credibility


Parents on the Simcoe County Safe School committee say kids in 14 local schools are showing varying problems they fear are caused by microwaves.

Rodney Palmer says the symptoms seem to disappear on weekends, and the parents know there's no evidence showing Wi-Fi is safe at the levels the kids are being exposed to.

As we know, all our government agencies have been destroyed over the years. They have given up on bright people and have just become robots to the government of the day. This gives rise to 'Ignorance Panics'. Here is one example.

Epitaph for a Movie Career

I might as well tell the whole story of my shattered movie career.

I never got a penny out of this, except for a coffee. I must say that I loved these people, with all their creative juices, and would always do it again. I got really bubbly as well, and had to bash myself down with a stick!

It all starts with a live volcano, home to the movie stars. There are thousands of these things, and people all live up the slopes. The soil is fertile, and the view is spectacular. Obviously, there is one little disadvantage, and that is the predilection for blowing up and killing everybody!

But wait! Modern volcanology will save you! It is populated by extremely wise men who are treated like gods on TV. They can tell you exactly when it will blow up, and you can zoom away on your luxury yacht, without a care in the world.

Volcanologist Supreme

Now, I see this as a plumbing and rock mechanics problem, using any old fluid. They see it totally from the fluid point of view (magma). Everything else is just dressing.

So, I love the problem of the 'Rising Volcano'. That's when one of these volcanoes decides to get active, and you eventually have the problem of when to evacuate the movie stars, without getting them pissed off by going too early. The deep rock starts to inflate with new magma. The area starts to swell, and tiltmeters register the change. There are deep seismic signals, and volcanic tremor may be recorded. Some volcanoes never go the next step, so you can't press the panic button yet....

(to be continued).

Trendy People want homes on live volcanoes


Stromboli - which is home to just 850 residents - has a live volcano, which last erupted in 2002, generating two landslides and tsunami waves.

And in 1930 - its largest eruption in 100 years - flying volcanic bombs from the lava killed several residents and destroyed a string of houses.

Yeah! Soon all the trendy people will be living on explosive volcanoes!

Toronto Condo Market Finally Tanks


“My gut instinct tells me the condo market is skewered right now,” said Paul Johnston of Right At Home Realty Brokerage, the listing agent on the project. “It’s been a hell of a year. At the beginning, we finally had buyers after a year of banging our heads on the wall looking for them. But I think this year’s deals have already been done.”

This was one of my worst projections. For years Toronto has been full of sky cranes cranking up giant condo buildings. I kept saying that this was impossible, there was no market! But the speculation was huge, and I'm sure that most condos were empty, or rented on the cheap. Everybody was upgrading their condos, signing 2 year deposits for a new condo, confident they would sell their old condo at that time, for even more money. I thought there was going to be a crash years ago. Even the 'phony recession' didn't dent it, since everybody just went into more debt with the low interest rates.

Just driving home from the cottage, there is still unbelievable construction. All those condos are 'sold' by deposit. It should make for interesting times.

-ps. cottage weekend horribly cloudy and rainy and cool. Have finally started up the barrel sauna, and we still did a lot of swimming, making the neighbours wonder about us!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Volcano Scenario


Taranaki Blowout will run for six weeks from mid-September, with registered participants to get email alerts as "volcanic activity" steadily increases in line with the scenario developed by volcanologists.

"Not only will participants gain a better understanding of how an eruption is likely to unfold, they will also get good advice and information on how to prepare now for the day it happens in reality," says Taranaki Blowout spokesman Mike Langford.

This is so neat, and reminds me of my failed movie career, which has washed out, because I'll never hear from them again. :( Basically, as magma rises, there should be a series of alert levels depending on instruments, etc. The key is to not over or under react. Volcanologists usually botch this up. :) (Actually, there is a chaotic element which is bigger than their collective egos).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oracle Being Oracle


Oracle’s backstabbing, cutthroat legacy resurfaced last night in grand fashion, no doubt after all its execs flying back from LinuxCon cleared the runway.

Oracle had a huge presence at the Linux conference this week. Wim Coekarts, senior vice president of Linux Engineering at Oracle, delivered one of the first major keynotes at the show. Did he know?

I'm just doing this to add my condemnation to the blogosphere. There is nothing I can really do. I also think they are going to destroy Mysql, which is a real shame.

Volcano Lake


I'm collecting volcano pictures, since this had something to do with my movie deal. I'm in my gloomy phase now, since I told them they couldn't support a thousand tons on a structure. They had big dreams, now I fear they will cancel the whole project. :(

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Deep Ecuador Earthquake - blah, blah

Ok, at first glance an M6.9 at Ecuador has a chance of being newsworthy. Maybe a shallow earthquake right by Quito? I've been there, and an earthquake would not be pleasant. But, no, this is a very deep earthquake in the middle of nowhere. Next , please.... :)

Mt. St. Helens After 30 Years


Isn't it beautiful?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Slowdown in Seattle


So-called "tremor-and-slip" events have occurred about every 15 months since they were first detected in 2002. The latest was found early Sunday north of Olympia and west of Tacoma, and is expected to travel north under the peninsula toward Vancouver Island. UW scientists say it can't be felt at the surface, but over the course of several weeks can release as much energy as a magnitude 6 earthquake.

I blame the seismic instruments! If you didn't have those, you'd never know this was going on! And you'd be in the same boat, because we don't know what this means. But I'm sure it must add to the account for the future big earthquake.

France starts on nuclear waste


The French are doing this in some sort of limestone. It has the advantage of being impermeable, unlike the Swedish leaky sieve. But the French are doing this right. They aren't just picking some remote armpit-town, where they will just dig a hole. Instead, they put up a big fancy nuclear lab, and now are building the repository beside it. This gives the advantage of bringing in some brains, and lifting the whole area.

This is what we should do here. Set up a big nuclear lab at Wesleyville, dig the underground lab for a few years, keep it clean for world-class research, and then dig the big repository beside it. This is the place for the next linear accelerator for isotopes, or Maple III!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Giant Volcano Built


This is neat!

Eglinton Transit Starts


I didn't realize this was in full blast. It will go right by my place! Looks like they will use Lovats, which are great tunneling machines.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

No more trouble for Niagara Tunnel

August 7th 2010 -

At the beginning of the dayshift, the TBM is at 7576.6 meters (24,857.6 feet) at a depth of 90 meters (295 feet). The TBM is averaging 19 meters daily. There is no overbreak. The TBM has begun a 1,000 meter long arching curve (south-east) since reaching the 7,393.9 meter mark. The tunnel is beginning to veer away from following the Stanley Avenue route.

They poured in the huge amount of money, and appear to have clear sailing. The shotcrete overbreak plastering appears to be completed. Since this is now very boring, no more reports from my end. We only have to wonder about rock squeeze, but this can't show up for 30 years. :)

Diary Aug 8, 2010

-back from cottage, skin is quite dark
-went windsurfing a few times
-big movie meeting tomorrow

-nothing in the news, summer seems to be really dead
-only interesting thing is that Pt. Lepreau appears to be a complete washout. I'm sure they botched up the metallurgy in the new pressure tubes.
-haven't heard anything from Chalk River, they should be really boiling by now.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

cottage aug 5

Crappy blackberry. Keys always do different things.

Very hot. Power out for a while. Can't open fridge. Very sad.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

hot at cottage

This is so neat to have the blackberry working here. Very hot and gusty here. Had another call from London movie makers. I'm quite gloomy now as they want stuff that cannot be built. Physics is tough for them. I mentioned scaling laws and they thought I was just being a wet blanket. I always thought the nasa advisor for Armageddon blew his head off. :)

mobile test

At cottage. Testing blackberry.