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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Nearby Radiological Emergency

This past week there was a radiological emergency at the Hanford Reservation.  The event caused a site-wide alert to shelter-in-place.  Very exciting.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Evaporative vs Refrigeration cooling

Once upon a time I lived in the Mojave desert.  It's the most arid place that I've ever been to, although from what I've seen, it's nowhere near as dry as the Sahara desert.  In the summer months, the sun is intense and the heat is brutal.  Any time you live in a desert, it's a great idea to try to keep the inside of your house from getting as hot as the rest of the desert!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Garage door alarm

I'm taking a brief break from Hydro failures and the depressing loss of life that goes along with it.  I have a post on the Johnstown flood in draft, and will get to that shortly.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd put up a post about a practical home improvement.  I thought of the idea after reading this article.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dam Failure: The St. Francis Dam

Below is a satellite view of the previous location of the St. Francis dam, a ways north of Los Angeles, CA.  (Click image to enlarge)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hydroelectric near-miss: Oroville Dam ***Update #2***

Ha!  This has been serendipitous...  I've been doing a series of posts about dam failures and near misses.  The posts are here, here, and here (with another post on the St. Francis dam in draft) - when lo and behold, we have an ominous near failure in real-time on the evening news right now.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hydroelectric Near-Miss - The Glen Canyon Dam

The Glen Canyon dam is a very large dam on the upper Colorado River, on the northern border of Arizona.  The Glen Canyon dam impounds the Colorado River in a man made reservoir named Lake Powell.

Below, Lake Powell.  The Glen Canyon dam is at the bottom left, under the words "Lake Powell".


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Nuclear War

During the recent presidential election, there was a great deal of Cold War-era rhetoric, and it un-nerved me a bit.  I wasn't worried about myself - I've had a reasonably long and healthy life.  I was un-nerved for our daughter.

I was hopeful that the belligerent words would calm down, and for the moment, they have.  But I suppose those that set them in motion might do so again.  Even so, there are often world events that are of concern.

Here's the thing:  The nuclear genie is out of the bottle.  I never dreamed a civilian nuclear reactor would melt down after the wake-up call of Three Mile Island.  Nevertheless we've now had Chernobyl and three of the Fukushima reactors contaminate large areas.  In fact, there is ongoing groundwater contamination at the Fukushima nuclear site...  That's plenty of contamination, even without intentionally detonating nuclear weapons.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

I realize that many, if not most visitors to this blog are from outside the US.  I'm pretty happy about that, because it means that the topics I post about appeal to a wide range of people.  Welcome here, everyone :)

Today is a uniquely US holiday, Thanksgiving.  I don't pay particular homage to this holiday, nor to its traditions.  I frequently have to work on Thanksgiving, and worked this one as well.  Our family will pretend that tomorrow is Thanksgiving instead.

Below is the famous Norman Rockwell painting of a family having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.   The name of the painting is "Freedom From Want", and sadly that's not how a lot of families in the world today live.  This is also NOT how our family serves a Thanksgiving dinner.


There are only three in our family, so the traditions that we follow are watching the Macy's Parade and eating a pretty big afternoon meal.  I am crazy about the stuffing, and it's the only chance I get to have any.   Sometimes we watch (US) football.  More often we retreat alone to carry on with our individual interests.  There is nothing wrong with that either, although it's not quite as much family bonding as what you interpret from the picture :)


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Still here!

This is not a dead blog!  Just busy with mundane stuff and having a bit of writer's block :)  Hang tight!