Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Google, Antitrust and Making Money from a Blog


European Union competition watchdogs announced their investigation, after smaller companies accused Google of "unfavourable treatment" of their services in both unpaid and sponsored search results, the crucial listings that make the web navigable.

Oh, I just have to wade in here with my experience, even though lately I seem to be wandering all over the place.  I really seem to be heading for a manic-counter-reaction shutdown!  Anyway, I love Google, with their free support of my blog, and I use their stuff all the time.  But, they are absolutely ruthless and nasty when it comes to their core business of serving up sleazy ads.  I ran into that when I kept making fun of their ads while raking in wine money on Adsense.  But they slammed me down, and banned me for life, even though I promised that next time I'd be really, really good!

So, I have this intellectual blog, and am not making a penny from it!  I read somewhere that only sleazy blogs make money, especially anything to do with making money, or losing weight.  I just had a guy offer me $100 to inject a piece of link spam in one of my articles.  The fact that it had the stilted English of a Nigerian scam, gave me pause.

So Mr. Google, I still love you!  I hope the Euros don't beat you up too much, but you can probably afford to the clear up the national debt of Ireland all by yourself!

New Madrid States Develop Scenarios for M6.0 Earthquake


Middle Tennessee residents would see chimneys collapsing and structural cracks in older buildings, but they would feel the loss of power most.

"We'd be plunged into darkness, some of us without feeling the quake," Heidt said, as downed power lines and collapsed stations shut down electricity to 2.6 million in the eight states.

"All communications would be out. All air travel would be out as the FAA air control would go down. All rail travel would fail. Ports would shut down; oil and natural gas pipelines could be off line."

And this is just an M6, which is a reasonable scenario for Toronto.  They have braced some electrical systems, but the whole valley is mud soup which amplifies things by 10-100 times.  Southern Ontario could do something with all those old sub-stations around Hamilton...

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Diplomatic Facebook and Technology

Geofish quote:  "Technology is not kind to bureaucracies"

This Wikileaks episode accurately parallels my experience with the old company, when the new internet technology became available.  Apparently, all this diplomatic crap came from the equivalent of a diplomatic Usenet or Facebook.  Everybody and their dog had access, and could store it all on their laptop unencrypted.  It's probably been released a zillion times.

This is exactly what happened with the companies, except that there was no Wikileaks, only lawyers.  For a company, all of this can be released with one lawsuit.  Many new companies had engaged in a internal internet free-for-all.  Our company was also at the leading edge of this, thanks to me.  So what happened then?  They clamped down, and no information was available on any channel.  No emails, no colourful language, no analysis, no brains.  Everything was done on private channels, with a different story down each one!  I remember the IT department was telling one story to the techies, and a different one to the execs. Nobody made any decisions in meetings, because that would be recorded in the minutes.  So, it was all private, and all decisions appeared arbitrary.

What happened?  -- Total 'gut' governance.  You can see the results.  (Niagara Tunnel)

Does it have to be this way?  Is there any way to have reasonably open discussion, but in a closed sphere?  I don't think so, since all communication has to be decrypted to be read, and then this can be stored in a 10,000 email inbox by your typical busy power-person.  If the US goes completely private-verbal-channel, then we are doomed!

You can think of technology ideas - closed tablet viewers with no storage - custom encryption to each recipient, etc.  Any suggestions?

Tiny scratches caused Pt. Lepreau calandria tubes to fail


It is the first refurbishment of a Candu-6 reactor but the procedure to polish the ends of the tubes was developed during the refurbishment of a Candu-6 reactor in Wolsong, South Korea. That project started about a year after the New Brunswick refurbishment but is now further ahead.

It was the Koreans who figured this out!  With my new nuclear design company for Ontario, I'm throwing out all those old Canadians, and bringing in Koreans!  :)   *

* for the unionized humour-impaired types, please note that nobody pays any attention to me, and you shouldn't either.

Toronto Living - Going to the garbage dump

This is just a narration to help anyone in a similar boat.

Our neck of the woods has gone to bin pickup.  These are giant plastic buckets that don't fit anywhere, so if you ever are designing a new house, design around these things!  Well my super-giant recycling bin is always full because they only pick that up every other week.  Recently, I've been ordering the presents over the internet, and filling up with packaging material.  They used to pick up extra recycling in clear bags, they even say so on their web site.  But they don't do that anymore!

Two collections in a row, I dutifully took out all the bags, and they metaphorically spat on them.  I emailed 311-Toronto, but I couldn't wait.  Thank goodness my son borrowed the van on the weekend and took out all the seats without replacing them (grumble, grumble).  I piled in all my bags, and a few extra garbage bags.

Went off to the Ingram transfer station, got lost once, not very good signs.  When you go in, it's like the American border, you have to wait for a red light, and go on a scale.  Naturally, I screwed it up, and had to back all the way off the scale.  Then I gave a $10 deposit.  I entered the big stinky building,  blleeccchhh.  After more conversations, I just threw the stuff out on a big pile.  Afterwards, I had to go on the out-going scale, and got $5 back!  I'm drinking Pomegranate tea and my nose memory still isn't clearing!  Shoved a Bounce sheet up my nose.  NOT WORKING!

After I came back, 311 came through and said they would book an extra pickup for tomorrow.  Sorry, I said --I've had my life experience...

Ontario Varsity Water Polo - OUA Allstars

Yeah the girls!  Wish I could list everybody's name, but maybe that's an invasion of privacy!  (Hint: daughter on right)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Water Polo in Canada

I just came back from a weekend of Ontario University water polo.  With the women, it was Carleton, U of T, and McMaster.  After years in the audience (which makes me an expert!), I still have a feeling of sadness.  This is no reflection to the people running water polo things, but the whole thing hits me as very small-minded and parochial.  Countless people will do anything to get their small corner to win, to the detriment of the sport.  So, good luck to them, may they always do things as they see fit!   :(  (They are very defensive.)

Fun Earthquake Preparation - Ontario Earthquake


When the magnitude 5.0 event actually happened at 1:41 p.m., those best laid plans fell apart.

The Earthquakes Canada website crashed within minutes. So did phone lines to the government seismologists. (The Government Operations Centre, a federal nerve centre for disasters, was reduced to regurgitating news lifted from media websites.)

Looks like we got the Canadian version of a Wikileaks release!

This has happened before.  They centralize everything, and it all comes in like a big sewer flood!  The system always crashes.  Then they bump it up 10% and say it will never happen again.  When the earthquake happened, I got all my information from Twitter, and the US site.  My blog went up to 10,000 hits!  When we have our Toronto earthquake expect some real fun!  :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Zealand Earthquake Equivalent to M7.8 in Low Frequency Seismic


 "We've known for quite a long time that there's stirrings under a placid surface," she said.

I think this will go down as the most complex rupture of all times.  This is what I've always said, and this is what they are saying now.  Although M7.8 in low frequency (non-damaging) it was only an M6.0 (Parkfield) in generating damaging Peak Ground Velocity (PGV).  As they say here, this had to come from a spaghetti mess of fractures.  I wish they would have had borehole accelerometers.

In comparison, many M7's are 'clean', in that they are a simple rupture of a smooth fault.  As mentioned in my popular 'Kobe Earthquake' article, this can produce horrendously high PGV's that will knock anything down.

The earthquakes that we can expect around my neck of the woods will be 'clean punchers'.  They are characterized by a relatively flat b-curve, which means not a lot of warning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How Ontario can actually build nuclear plants

This will never be followed, but is my little Christmas present to the poor beleaguered people of Ontario.

Establish the Ontario Nuclear Design Corporation.  This will resemble the old Ontario Hydro as I once knew it.  Hire some smart people at the top.  The old company used to have a smart guy, but there was such a public outcry that they were paying him more than a useless Ehealth drone, that he quit and packed off to the States for more money.

As such, this company will have minimal political interference, and can pay the market rate for brightness.  No unions!  It will be located in downtown Toronto, not a depressing truck yard in Pickering!  The main goal of the company is to jam 2000 MW into the Darlington postage stamp site.  It has several choices.

It can take the AECL Maple II design and try to fix it.  It can take the Westinghouse AP1000 plans, and jam two plants together.  Or it can take the Darlington design and shake all the silliness out of it, such as the vacuum building, and fix the goddang fuel tubes so they aren't a Water Laser.

The end result will be a design, and enough talent to supervise the construction.  Then you can deal with the political patronage, the mafia, and the unions.  Such is life, and these things will make it twice as expensive as it should be, but should compare with the industry average.  :)

Ontario to pour billions into imaginary ACR1000's


The energy plan specifically calls for the refurbishment of 10,000 megawatts (MW) of nuclear generation and the new construction of 2,000 MWs at Darlington to maintain an overall capacity of 12,000 MW, roughly half the province's supply of electricity.

Yeah, it's finally happening!  I can work again, for surely they'll want to know something about earthquakes?  :)

Maybe not, because the happy guys in Ottawa don't care...

Notice that they are still trying to jam 2000 MW on the Darlington postage stamp.  That can only mean the incredible power density (per sq ft) of the Maple II, also known as twin ACR1000's.  You could only get one AP1000 on that site.

Man, I really need an earthquake right now.....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ontario 'Up Front' with energy costs but not Niagara Tunnel


They will lay everything on the table.  But the fiasco of the Niagara Tunnel will be ignored.  Ever since they had that roof collapse, it has been gold-plated everything.  The curves were sharpened to get through it quicker.  All of this has a cost.  I find it interesting that a billion dollars borrowed from one hand is going to pay down the hydro costs of another, yet my estimate it that we're down a few billion on this project.

Maybe I'm wrong?  They could always open their books.......

Another California Earthquake Simulation


Wow, do you know they burn the midnight supercomputer oil just to run these things?  The big basins stay red the longest, and you do notice some directivity.  I can't help feel that they are overshooting the actual knowledge of basic physics, to spend so much time on these.  What do they really learn?  Is it just an excuse to have supercomputers that beat the Chinese?

Linux and the iPod Touch

When you had a lot of kids grow up in the house you find a lot of old ipods stuck in the corners.  We just completed a huge cleanout of kid junk in the house, and I found 2 ipods.  There was a very old ipod 30g which didn't power up at all, and an ipod touch.  I wanted to use it for some portable music on a free-standing speaker that just fit that ubiquitous ipod connector.

I had dipped into this before, and found the ipod touch had introduced a whole new encryption that Linux couldn't break at the time.  But now it has!  It was actually remarkably easy, involving some googlyizing, but Debian had all the components ready to download.  I could then use 'ifuse' and 'gtkpod' to wipe out the horrible rap music of my son, and put in Christmas music.  Of course, if there are encrypted itunes songs, then you can't really do much with them.  Such is the fun of drm!

In the end I don't really know what I did, since I went to a lot of web sites, installed a lot of stuff, and rebooted a few times before everything worked.  It really needs some simple instructions.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Contaminated steam generators - last kick at the can


This is funny.  I love how they abuse the English language!  1600 tons of waste, and 90% of it pure plutonium.  But if they let this through, there will be millions of tons, and nobody will want to fish in these lakes (and not because of the killer jumping carp!).

Please, save your juice for the important things, like the radioactive waste storage on top of an active fault!  Perhaps it is best to send everything to Sweden.  :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hamilton-Burlington, Ontario Fault Revisted

In the early days of my blog, I was very intense about our very own Hamilton-Burlington fault.   It was like going against global gorming!  Now, that I'm calm, I just hope they don't drill and inject for shale gas!

This started with a series of emails from a house owner in Burlington.  I said that if you are on soft ground, and felt the recent Ontario earthquake strongly, then get an earthquake rider on the house.  I estimate $20K damage over 20 years (drywall, furnishings, windows).  Today, instead of ranting, I'll go over an interesting old paper in the BSSA.  Text copy in italics, interspersed with my comments.

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America; October 2004; v. 94; no. 5; p. 1902-1918; DOI: 10.1785/012003007
© 2004 Seismological Society of America
Seismicity of the Southern Great Lakes: Revised Earthquake Hypocenters and Possible Tectonic Controls
Savka Dineva, David Eaton and Robert Mereu

Abstract (extract)

Three preliminary focal mechanisms of earthquakes with magnitudes mN 3.1 to 3.8 show unusual normal faulting, with nodal planes in almost the same direction as the magnetic trends, N42°E-N52°E. Proximity of the earthquake clusters to large bodies of water, coupled with colinearity with magnetic anomaly trends, suggests that both surface water and pre-existing basement structures may play significant roles in controlling intraplate seismicity in the southern Great Lakes region.

Historical seismicity to 1990, locations are weighted to population centres.

Tectonic Map, note Grenville Fault Zone goes right by the Bruce Underground Nuclear Waste Facility

B-curve.  The big earthquakes are Cleveland, but fit right in the pattern.  

The b-curve shows our odds of getting a 'big one'.  Note that if we go to 1 in 100, or 1 in 1000, we are going quite big!  This curve would clip (go vertical) at M7, due to the 30km length of the Ham-Burl fault.

Beach balls showing alignment with fault.  

Cross-sections showing depth.

Their conclusions are rather weasely, like somebody finding evidence that the sun is more important than CO2 for global climate.  But these last figures tell all.  Note that there is some depth to the Hamilton fault, but shallower as you go into Buffalo.  This shows a perfect relationship between causative fault, and surrounding stress disturbance.  All of this is perfect for predicting a likely large earthquake.  When it happens, don't say we didn't warn you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hope for AECL


Industry observers have speculated some potential buyers of AECL might only be interested in servicing existing Candu reactors, a business model that would ultimately see the AECL technology fade away.

“We do require the federal government to participate as an investor,” Day said, but insisted that private investors would put up a “substantial majority” of the new company’s capital going forward.

He wants to take the design of existing large Candu reactors like the ones now in service at Ontario’s Darlington nuclear station, then enhance and develop it in new-build reactors going forward.

There goes the ACR1000!  Don't you feel that the bidders are starting to resemble the bottom half of the Toronto mayor candidate list?

Monday, November 15, 2010

California earthquake probabililties

Another fine picture from the new SRL.  This shows the probability of a sizable earthquake before my 88th birthday!

The Hayward fault looks hot!

Great earthquakes are back!

So, I'm looking through the new SRL, and I see this.  It's a pretty graph.  Looks like we had a bit of a holiday for the last 30 years, which has now ended.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Port Hope Lashes Back!


Bully for them!  Let's keep Port Hope a total backwater!  Keep the foreigners out!

My thought is that they should just leave that radioactive dirt there.  They don't need any foreign dirt!  Radioactivity is good for you.  Think of all the natural hotspots of the world, and see how healthy the people are.  It cleans out cancer.  Go to Radium Springs!

***Note that this is not sarcasm, but parody.  I always hope that Hope embraces its radioactivity, and becomes a leading nuclear research centre where we finally put the left-over nuclear bits in a dry underground facility that then heats the place!  I guarantee you that everybody will be extremely healthy, since money is the number one determinant of health, and it will be the most monitored place in the world.....

China Earthquake Building

Video Link

Blah, blah, this building went up in 6 days.  The video is fascinating.  Look at the steel bracing!

These are more like energy-absorbing elements, rather than stiff diagonal bracing.  That must have been fun to analyze!  Of course, when there's an earthquake these things will all be buried in drywall, and impossible to replace.  Might as well just take down the whole building.

To do it in 6 days, you have to be sure of the weather, and start the drywall without weatherproofing.  This is where they started the cladding.


I'm assuming that because we always clad those things in concrete for the jet planes.  So, this hotel is off my list, I'm not schlumping my tired body up 15 floors, even if there were a staircase.  :)

Nuclear Accident Analysis


Inspectors this fall focused on Westinghouse's crash analysis. Their report identified several concerns, including what inspectors deemed a failure to adaquately consider the effects of an airline strike that hits an annex building, penetrates another structure and heads toward an equipment hatch.

When I was with the old company we were constantly plagued by the Nuclear Safety Department thinking up  some new whacko accident scenario.  No probability was too small!

So now it's the airplane thing.  It's not enough to think of a general hit, it has to thread it's way through buildings and into a fully open equipment hatch! (which are hardly ever open).  And do we think we'll have new nuclear soon?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Battle of the Naked Scanners


This is a very interesting battle, and even gets my 'Quote of the Week' award!  All our 'safe dose' regulations have basically been derived from background radiation (cosmic rays), and the more intense doses of radiation workers.  So, we know the amount of dose that doesn't bother anybody, and can even compare an intense dose to some fraction of a cigarette. I, myself, am a big fan of the rising 'Radiation is good for you' school of thought! (8 million years of evolution can't be wrong!)

So, we have these scientists pulling a rabbit of of the hat.  They just got together and said that 'non-penetrating' radiation is worse per dose than hot gamma rays because it all stops at the skin.  Makes a good story!

Oh, but I have to end with my quote award:

The Office of Science and Technology responded this week to the scientists' letter, saying the scanners have been "tested extensively" by US government agencies and were found to meet safety standards.

Doesn't that just give you the tingles?

Nuclear Waste - Finland only wants 100,000 years


Look at that nice drippy rock!  And only going 420m, it seems like a dream to build.  As they said here, the US wants a million years, and they're never getting that, so that means the waste will rust along rivers forever!

In Canada nothing happens.  Just look at how well the underground waste repository at Bruce is progressing!  (NOT!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Maybe no big earthquake for BC


Still, everybody is going to get wet!  But really, these 'megaquakes' don't really put out much ground motion, since they rupture rather slowly.  Decent construction can handle that.  It's just that all those luxury condos might get their bottom floors wet!  So, if I were a zillionaire and could actually buy something in Vancouver on the sea, I would check the foundation (better be rock!), and I would go up a few storeys.  Maybe not the top, since I think that's going to throw around a few people!

Linux and the 1TB Drive

OMG!  I just installed a 1tb hard disk!  This takes me way back when I was doing Unix administration, and first contaminating the old company with Usenet.  The concept of a 1tb database was mind-boggling!  We thought of huge disk farms and Oracle.  I think I was working with 1g drives or smaller.

But 1tb drives are commodity now.  I just zipped through the Internetz and ordered it.  Then I put it my machine to replace a 120G drive (pooey!).  Dang, don't forget to zap the old fstab!!

fdisk took care of it, but it was confusing, since this is very large, and wants to be a logical drive.  It broke it up into sdc1 and sdc5.  The first one is some phoney overhead, and the second is what you format.  I used ext4 since it is a higher number than ext3 :)   I hear it has some neat features for large drives, but who cares?

When you finally redo fstab and get it all working, it seems to cut down to 900G, but what the heck?  You can fine-tune to eke out a few more gbytes.

I'm using this for backups of video and pictures.  You just don't get anywhere with cd's and dvd's anymore!

Ontario up a Nuclear Creek


Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty warned Ottawa back in June that its effort to sell Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. could scuttle a provincial proposal to buy new reactors from the company, a deal that would boost the long-term value of the federally owned corporation.

I'm not saying anything, it would just be nasty (something about getting fingers out), and that's not good for me....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Curiosity Kills the Cat

We had a wonderful time at my son's Master of Engineering convocation.  Seen here

So, the lady giving the speech is very famous, and she had just visited top universities in Shanghai, and Cairo.  All the students were very bright, but the Chinese students didn't question anything, and the Cairo students were very pessimistic.  All wanted out.

My son has a great job where he enjoys intellectual freedom.  Other people in the place are only confined by their blinkers.  Someone was manually converting files in a tedious manner, and he said "Let's Google it" and quickly found a script that did a week's worth of work in 10 minutes.  They were glad, but you don't want to be that brilliant guy in the office who does all this without credit.  Soon, they step on you!  Still, he is in the Age of Innocence.

I was that guy when I first joined the old company.  I never did anything tedious, always found a better way.  When other people were doing things 'stupidly', I stepped in and increased the productivity ten fold.  It was great, and we were building things.  Then came the thought crimes.  I couldn't mention 'stupidity' in another department, so I constructed a 'thought box'.  I just stayed in my own box.

We stopped building, and the thought crimes increased.  Couldn't increase somebody's productivity because it made them look bad.  Increasing productivity ten fold put somebody out of work!  Then they collapsed my box to zero.  Couldn't look at the internet because it was evil.  Couldn't go for a certain solution because it was a thought crime.  I was always getting into trouble because my concept of the box was bigger than their concept!

In Canada, we are run by big monopolies that declare everything (internally) a thought crime.  Naturally, new ideas must be confined to a very narrow band of acceptability.  Rewards are given to ideas that one would think would be part of their job!

To the new graduates, I suggest staying out of the confines of thought crime (although they pay very well).  And as that lady said, it is better to travel.  Expand your mind for at least a few years, before 'reality' sets in.

Port Hope Cursed by Celebrities


Calling Port Hope a “tragedy,” Caldicott says people should never be exposed to radioactive material. Even so-called low-level radiation causes high-level doses when it gets inside the body and turns cells cancerous in a “silent process” that takes five to 60 years, she says.

Yeah, a zero-tolerance jet-setter!  She probably sucks in more radioactivity than any Hoper!  All that radioactivity (jet-setting, mountain living, field ploughing) is probably equivalent to half a cigarette on every Sunday.

Only Seedy People Want AECL


Both prospective buyers are offering far less than what Ottawa believes the company to be worth, based on a confidential valuation provided by Wall Street investment firm Rothschild Inc.

And neither is willing to make a commitment to finance the completion of AECL’s Advanced Candu Reactor – known as ACR-1000 – technology the company is relying on to compete in both foreign and domestic markets.

These companies probably just want to break it up.  Poor Ottawa, they had a dream that some big rich nuclear company such as Westinghouse would see the error of their ways and buy AECL to push the Maple-2 (ACR1000).

This is sad.

Arkansas Earthquake Meeting


Very interesting, the downside of shale gas drilling.  They decided to get rid of all that radioactive water by injecting it deep into the tail end of the giant New Madrid fault mechanism.  This is probably Not a Good Thing!

With all the shale gas work going on, I expect more of this in the future.

Monday, November 8, 2010

South Carolina does some earthquake preparation


A long time ago I used to write scientific papers and went to conferences.  These were my glory years in the old company.  :)  I went to Charleston for a conference, and looked at all the old buildings that survived their big earthquake of 1886.  I looked at all the new construction, and it didn't look like they gave a hoot about earthquakes!  Now, they are holding school drills.  Very nice, more than Toronto.

The source zone at Summerville really looks like one of my 'Growing New Madrid' zones.  I wish they could afford to put decent seismometers on it.  When will it produce the next big earthquake?

Phone Spam

I seem to be home a lot, so I answer the phone.  It is interesting to see how the phone scam business is evolving with technology.  It used to be that some poor underpaid local schnook called and tried to sell me something.  I always listened for a few seconds, and said I wasn't interested and hung up.  You could always here them screaming 'Wait!'.  *

Then technology moved on.  The past year or so, we've had automatic war dialers.  The defining point here was that you always said 'Hello' twice, before some hideous recording started.  I hang up whenever there is a delay.  Some delays are noisy, and some are absolutely dead quiet.  Then, a few months ago, this weird one started where you heard a phone ringing, and then somebody picked up and said 'Hello?".  Damn, they're calling me!

Most of these calls are from India.  I can tell because the sound quality is terrible, and there is horrendous cross-talk.  Really, what's it to them if I hang up?  I sometimes let them try to pronounce my name, if I'm slow on the reflexes!  I even hang up on calls from India from "Bell Canada".  They're always trying to sell me crap I don't need, and lately I've been able to cut some services from them.  Yeah!

This past few weeks, I've been getting calls from fine young ladies, who say perfectly "I'm sorry, I dialed a wrong number."  It used to be that I asked them what number they were trying to dial, but these ladies are very sure of themselves, and hang up instantly (usually takes a second of babbling to realize it).  What scam is this?  Are they checking my phone number because I always hang up on everybody?  I can't wait to see!

* I remember a thread one where people were bitching about these phone calls, and doing nasty things like hanging up.  There was always a reply "Oh, think of the poor people making these calls!"  Now, with everything automated and coming from India, I won't get a bleeding-heart reply.  :)

Nuclear plant transformer explosion - Indian Point


I love transformer explosions!  Not that I would like to be near one, but the whole 'thang' surrounding transformers, maintenance, etc.  Transformers are the first thing to blow in earthquakes.  Most likely they tend to catch fire, and require huge dousing systems, and the oil is all washed into the lake.  I don't know if this one just blew to smithereens, without a fire.  Then the oil is just scattered to the four winds without dousing.  :)

In the old company, the maintenance on transformers was crap.  I was constantly surprised that they just didn't  blow up on their own.  Their seismic robustness was near zero, so we can expect transformer fires and explosions with the scenario earthquake.  Transformers, block walls, and wobbly pressure tubes are the main seismic susceptibility for these plants.  None of which will lead to anything dramatic, but they won't be back up very soon.  If I were King of the World, I would like to harden up Darlington so it can stay up during an earthquake, but soon the whole thing is going to be ripped up anyway!  :)

Cinderblock Walls and Earthquakes


So here we have a 4 storey single thickness block wall.  You would think they would be banned in earthquake country.

In some of the nuclear plants we have a boatload of these 'Handyman Specials', which were block walls thrown in after the main construction.  In Pickering A, we were forced to jack them up with steel, because of the seismic checking system we used.  The other plants have never used this system.

That's one of the reasons that my favourite scenario earthquake, which is an M6ish earthquake in Hamilton will shut down all the nuclear plants.  They will be a bitch to start up again, especially with block wall damage.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And now for something completely different...

Cost, time overruns on Bruce refurbishments not cause for concern for Darlington, says ministry


No comment.

More New Zealand Earthquake Damage Revealed


"People are calling us, saying that they had always felt like there was something in the house, but since the earthquake it had become more intense," he said.

Ah, but will the insurance pay?

Retrofit a Scenic Bridge

Wow, would that thing go in an earthquake!  Being California, this bridge is constantly jammed with cars.  They are going to have fun retrofitting it.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wobbly California Hospitals


This is a very interesting article.  There is a real question of what to do with facilities that are serving a vital function, but yet will fall down in a breeze!  :)   The US always has this little problem of letting the inner cities rot, so a lot of the problem is there.  Nearly all the inner cities would do badly in an earthquake.

California is in debt up to its eyeballs, so its options are limited.  We'll just wait and see, shall we?

Ice in Iceland begins to melt


REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Torrents of water are pouring from a glacier that sits atop Iceland's most active volcano, an indication that the mountain is growing hotter and may be about to erupt, scientists said Monday.
The flood that began Thursday at the Grimsvotn volcano is similar to one in 2004 that lasted five days and ended with an eruption that disrupted European air traffic, University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson said.

I find it interesting that the ice begins to melt without a seismic signal.  But this is probably due to the fact that the volcano is very isolated and under a lot of ice.  That means they probably can't pick up any earthquake under an M3.  If somehow they had borehole seismometers right at the site, I'm sure there would be a lot of 1's and 2's.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Volcano Merapi Gets Serious


The Volcano Mitigation and Geological Disaster Agency warned of worse in store as magma pushed towards the surface from depths of 6-8km, compared with a maximum 2km deep when the mountain previously erupted in 2006.

"This is the scenario I dislike the most, because the deepest magma is pushing up now," said the agency's chief, Surono. "The eruptions haven't stopped, the tremors are getting stronger and one big explosion could be the result. I've never seen it act like this. We don't know what to expect."

Now, if they followed the Geofish theory of "Rock Mechanics Controls Everything, Even Volcanoes', then they would know what to expect.  Basically, for Reflux Volcanoes, everything depends on the strength of the surrounding rock forming the 'container'.  When the volcano spews the first time, the pressure drops in the magma chamber.  This drop can only happen by the surrounding rock taking the stress!  Volcanologists don't do math!

So, provided the magma chamber doesn't have a direct tap to the underworld (and I think that only happens when it is first formed')  then everything is happy-happy as long as the rock holds up.  Well, it doesn't!  The same thing happens as in my theory for earthquakes, the rain makes a hash of rock strength, and it slowly fails.  In the picture, there may be just a small failure, or it may be large.  It follows the same fractal law as earthquakes.  If you could map this failure and sinking, you would know things.

So, now it looks like it's going to be a big one!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hauling Out the Snowblower

In Canada, this is time for "The Great Turnover", which is when we pack away the lawnmower, and bring out the snowblower.  I have a small spot in the shed for them, so I have to make sure of the exact timing.  It would be horrible if we had a warm spell and the grass started growing!  No worries this year, since the forecast looks miserably cold for the next week or two.

Thank God for gas stabilizer!  I just throw it in the lawnmower, and run it for 5 minutes.  This lazy method has always worked for me!  For the snowblower, I just change the oil, since in Toronto I'm sure I'm using 1% of the designed duty cycle for these things.  I always get new gas at the turnover, winter and spring, since this is the best thing for easy starts.  If I have extra old gas, it just goes in the car.  This year, the lawn mowing was ridiculous and I had no extra gas.

NRU to close in 2016 if we're lucky


“I think it is clear that NRU will close almost certainly in 2016 and there is a risk of the Petten reactor closing soon after that … We are not clear where the capacity is ultimately going to come from,” says Alexander J. McEwan, MD, professor and division director, division of oncologic imaging, department of oncology at University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

This was an interesting article.  Personally, I don't think the rusty bucket can live that long, but it is still a very short time to plan alternatives.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bruce rehab only $1 billion over


Well, that's nothing for projects in this neck of the woods?  Why bother coming up with an estimate in the first place?  We should just come up with some maximum 'worth it' number.  Then we would exceed that!  :)

Ontario E-Health Still Lives!


Yeah, billions made no difference!  This was the situation before e-health, and remains afterward.  Doctor offices are using their own, extremely expensive software, from companies that they, themselves, own.  Thus, huge amounts of money go to their investments.  None of it works together, and there is no central record.  This maximizes doctor revenue, and I can't see it changed anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Now, Seismic surveys are blamed for killing clams!


Well, I think it's funny....

A long time ago, the US Navy conducted some super-powerful sonar tests that were equivalent of exploding huge bombs underwater.  Some whales turned up dead somewhere.

Ever since then, low-power seismic exploration work has been tarred with the same brush, especially if it coincides with some other interest, such as stopping oil companies, or demanding money.  Do you know that some whales use powerful sonic blasts to stun their prey?  Ironic, isn't it?

There has been a lot of seismic work, and it does not have the effects of dynamite fishing.  These clams were grossly over-fished and trying to recover.  Devastated stocks have all sorts of problems coming back, mainly because of the poor genetic pool.  Damn fishermen..