Friday, September 9, 2011

Big California blackout - no earthquake


I always like studying blackouts.  They are truly fractal, which means they are self-similar, just like earthquakes.  If you plot the size of blackouts and the number per year (frequency), on as log-log, you will most likely get the standard straight line of a similar earthquake plot.

This is what you would expect with a chaotic system, and I think I once wrote something about this.  But nuclear plants rely heavily on the grid, and they used to make the assumption there would never be a big blackout, much like earthquakes.  They just can't handle exponentials, and chaotic fractal systems!

Of course, they also don't realize that we will have a big blackout with a big earthquake.  Everything hinges on those back-up generators and electrical systems, which have the seismic fragility of a cheap condo.

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