Chinese Traffic Finger Jam Trap

August 26, 2010

So I heard of this traffic jam a couple days ago, which is kind of random because you shouldn’t ‘hear’ news of a traffic jam WHEN IT’S IN ITS NINTH DAY!

This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve witnessed secondhand.  If you haven’t gathered the jist from the title, there is (was) a massive traffic jam spanning 100km, or 9 days within China.  The jam is more-or-less over now but……………… come on.  This is ridiculous.  If this isn’t a sign that your country is getting a little ahead of itself, then holy shit, I don’t know what is.

“Drive topwise…. TOPWISE!”

Seriously, I cannot wait for China to explode.  It may not be until I’m in my 50’s, when they’ve got away with so much bullshit that I won’t even care, but oh man that’s gonna be some birthday.  Really though, this traffic jam is a sign of self-destruction.  Keep in mind that China is new to vehicles…. like very new, relatively.  And being new to vehicles means having the driving skill of someone driving a Model T…. in the 20’s.  Just instead of of driving a Model T on your way to eat crumpets at your cousin/sister-in-laws, you’re driving a lorry full of coal from Mongolia.  There are no driving schools, and needless to say no common sense or courtesy.

I actually randomly (and unrelated) found a YouTube video showing a very frustrating video of a traffic jam in a city in China.  Frustrating in the sense, that you know exactly how to resolve the traffic issue in this specific intersection, and it drives you crazy because eventually they figure it out, then 10 seconds later some other dumbass steps in and effs it all up again.  Alas, I’m way too lazy right now to post the video, so go find it yourself.

Anyways, what gets me about this is how driving reflects attitude, and I’ve been thinking about this ever since I’ve been able to drive.  Not only reflecting the attitude of the driver (which every can see and is pretty obvious), but the attitude from a political and social aspect.  It goes to show that driving is not related to common sense, it’s related to what people are exposed to.  If someone who just bought a car (i.e. in China) starts up a driving school in China, not that one actually exists, based on driving laws created by a bunch of other people who have never driven, then everyone’s going to follow their example.  Thinking their example is correct, no one would stop to think “Hey, maybe if I didn’t pull out in front of this guy, he would be able to turn left, and the one hundred cars behind him would be able to drive straight through…. but I need to get to my ex-boss’ cousins sons birthday party, so I don’t have time for thit shit”.  Really?

There’s actually a science based on traffic behaviour.  I read an article about a specialist on the subject, and he’s supposed to be the best in civil engineering (something that many towns and cities could use).  However, I think I’ll save that for a later post.

UPDATE:  I changed my mind about the video, here you go.

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Breaking News Video Awesome…!

August 26, 2010

So, I just found my new favourite website.

Which, now that I look at it a little more closely, I think I’ve been to it before.  Anyways, it’s called the Breaking News Video Network (BNVN), and it’s a site chock full of videos showing severe weather phenomena, as well as natural disasters and other atmospheric…. phenomena.  I don’t like to use the same word twice in a sentence.

This site combines my two favourite loves… severe weather, and watching it.  It’s fantastic stuff.  Lightning storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and now I’m watching floods.  Not so much extreme flooding, but just videos of cars driving through flooded streets.  I don’t know what it is about it, but I could watch it for hours.  Before geology, I always wanted to get into meteorology, but I figured it usually ended up with telling a weatherman what to say, or just overall sitting behind a desk and not getting to see much weather, except during your drive to and from said desk.  Also the program involved a lot of physics.  After that first year class, no thanks.  But now it’s related to everything I talk about, who knew!?

If you weren’t clever enough to find the two links in the above writing, here it is in plain sight below.

Breaking News Video Network


It’s a tornado, it’s an inferno!!… It’s a…. TOFERNO!!

August 25, 2010

Which incidently sounds like a tofurkey set on fire… to make it healthier, because all that’s left afterwards is a pile of ash.

Alright, well first off, I know I haven’t written a post in ages, because I’m the one that hasn’t written them, so calm down!  In my defense, it’s summer, or at least it was during my absence.  But now it’s drawing to a close, and I actually feel like writing a post.

Secondly… holy shit it’s a tornado of fire!!!

So after watching that, you may have noticed Brazil is having some fire issues, which I didn’t realize.  The publicity is more or less focussed on Russia, probably because it’s rampaging through villages (plural), and here in Canada, mostly in BC.  People are being evacuated a’plenty!  It’s crazy.  What I just realized as well is that this heat wave seems to be, dare I see….. worldwide!  It seems it’s pretty dry everywhere, or just lacking humidity, like in Brazil.  Here in Northwestern Ontario, we’ve had heat wave after heat wave, along with unusual rainfall which is completely unpredictable most of the time.  I’m not trying to get anybody’s opinions rowled up about global warming, because too be honest, it’s annoying (but feel free to comment).  It’s become such a hot topic over the past decade that the typical public has dumbed it down to a yes-or-no debate… Are humans involved in contributing to it, or no?  The whole debate is ten times more involved… and also, who gives a shit.  What would we do differently if you could come up with an answer to that question?  Basically people are asking “Was it our fault?”, therefore “Is it our problem?”.  I guarantee you, if someone somewhere says that humans didn’t contribute to the warming of the Earth, then it’s back to business-as-usual.

Why am I talking about this.  I just got my own opinions rowled up!!  OH THE IRONY!!!

Anyways, enjoy that video of the tornado of fire… and I’m back to blogging, so check back often!!  And for the randoms that actually bookmarked this page, I’ll make it worth your while!  Non-sexually.


Let’s ummm, plug that leak, ok BP?

June 1, 2010

So, I haven’t been writing anything about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico because I really thought BP would have their shit together by now.

But their latest attempt has yet again, hit the fan.  The oil spill in the Gulf, which occurred after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on April 20th, is now the 3rd largest waste of oil in history.  BP has come under a lot of scrutiny for their lack of success in cleaning up their mess, which is beginning to damage a good chunk of the US coastline.

Site of the Deepwater Horizon.

The company’s been brainstorming several different methods to contain the leak ever since the accident, but so far they’re coming up short.  Let’s go through some of the the list, shall we?:

Oil Booms: Large floating barriers that that go down just a few feet below of the surface of the water (oil floats), and contains the oil as it spreads.  So far, these are doing their job to a certain extent, sometimes rough seas, or just improperly placed barriers can cause oil so sneak through and reach the coastline… and there is a LOT of oil.

Controlled Burning: Basically, they try to contain the oil with oil booms, and burn it off.  Good idea, but it creates just as much atmospheric waste as it does marine.

Dispersant: I was too tired to look anything up.  BUT I’LL GET THERE!

Dome over leak: I honestly don’t know what they were trying out here.  They would put a giant dome over the remainder of the wreckage to contain the oil, then what?  Well, I guess while I was writing that, I realized they’d just try to pump it out.

Pipe to the surface: Basically another rig to suck up the oil to the surface, however the oil is a little too heavy to makes it way to the top, and the only to get enough sucking power to keep it coming to surface, is to build a new drill rig, which would probably take some time.

Top Kill Method: This was the most recent method so far that failed miserably.  I had my doubts when I heard about it, but I also had some hopes.  Basically it’s like pumping heavy mud and cement down through an adjoining pipe and ‘clogging’ up the leak.  Why it failed?  I couldn’t tell you, but it did.

Top Kill method.

So, what’s next?  It seems their final option, seems like the most obvious to me.  Cutting the pipe for a clean cut, and capping it off.  But they must have some reason for not trying it out earlier.  Earlier today, rumour had it that the leak would not be taken care of until August, which got me a little rowled up, but now they’re expecting a result in the next 24 hours.  I won’t lie, their back and forth makes me a skeptical.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings…

UPDATE: Well, they’ve attempted to cap that well, but surprisingly hasn’t received that much attention.  Maybe because IT’S NOT ENTIRELY CAPPED.  They put a cap over the BOP (Blow-Out Preventer), meant to prevent these types of accidents, however it’s not capturing all of the oil, only roughly a third of it (but rising).  They seem to be ok with it.


Earthquake in Haiti

January 14, 2010

As many of you may have heard, a fairly large earthquake devastated Haiti earlier this week.

The variables just didn’t work out for this, hitting an impoverished country such as Haiti, but the worst being that the epicenter of this earthquake was a measly 15km from Port-au-Prince, making the 7.0 magnitude quake all the more devastating.

USGS map showing epicenter of quake.

As mentioned, the main reason for such a disaster is the proximity to the epicenter, and taking a look at the tectonic plates around the globe, the Dominican Republic lies directly south of the plate boundary between the Caribbean and North America plates.  That is, the North American plate (correct me if I’m wrong) is subducting beneath the Caribbean plate, however the Caribbean plate is so small in relation because it itself is being subducted beneath the South American plate.  So basically it’s getting squeezed out and in millions and millions of years, will be completely subducted.

Simple map of the tectonic plates around the globe.

When people think of subduction zones, they’re pretty much thinking of a cut-and-dry scenario, where one plate goes under another, and that’s that.  However, depending on it’s orientation, there are several places along a plate boundary where they don’t meet head on, and you get what’s called ‘strike-slip’ faulting, where instead of one plate going underneath the other, they slide past.  Combine that with subduction, and you have an area like that in the Caribbean.  Eventually, the area that’s undergoing strike-slip will eventually subduct, but at the moment (geologically speaking), this small area slides past.  Now, even my explanation is pretty simple in relation to what’s really going on, but I’ll leave it at that.  Hopefully countries worldwide will come to the aid of the tiny nation of Haiti!

Below is a better picture of Haiti in relation to the plate boundary from Google Earth.

Google Earth image of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The red star is the epicenter of the quake, and the line to the north is the Caribbean-North American plate boundary. Click for hi-res photo.


More blackey holeness.

October 18, 2009

People seem to really be digging the black holes these days, but I don’t mind one bit, because as soon as there’s a story about one (and I actually hear about it), then it’ll be here!

So to keep on with that theme, Chinese scientists have apparently created an artifical black hole, without the help of the LHC.

blue-hole

Some type of experiment... can't really even make something up at this point.

It an attempt to actually capture and trap visible light, an 8.5 inch black hole was created.  However, don’t worry your pretty little heads, because unlike your typical black hole out in space, this one was induced magnetically, not gravitationally. The reason the LHC was so ‘frightening’ when it turned on, was for the fear of creating a black hole which would pull everything around into it’s blackey abyss, which includes this fantastic, oxygen-bearing planet of ours.  However, this one is not the same.  In other terms, instead of sucking in the surrounding light into it’s center, this artificially created black hole, bends the light towards the center, creating a relatively harmless black hole, except for all those stupid photons… AAAHAHAHAHA!  Useless I tells you!

Anyways, with the advancement of this technology, the hope is to create a ‘trap’ for light gathered from the Sun via solar cells.  Sort of like a storage for sunlight, which sounded a lot cooler when I wrote it.  Doesn’t that sound cool?!  Imagine carrying a briefcase of sunlight around!?  I know that’s not exactly what they intend to do, but it’s still cool… so shut it!


Stop embarrassing yourselves…

October 5, 2009

I understand the whole activist thing, and I don’t mind it at all,  but Greenpeace… really.

Yet again they attack the Tar Sands of Alberta.  Now, I’m a little torn to be completely honest.  I’m in the geology business, but I refuse to work for oil.  Not because I think it’s wrong, and the Earth is being destroyed yada yada, but because why would I want to work anywhere near the root of all current controversy?  No thanks… keep me out of Alberta.  But on the other side of the coin, in current times oil is pretty essential.  It’s too bad that it has become essential, but we’re in too deep now, and until we’re able to weasle our way of it, we’re going to have to keep using it.

Impressive...... the truck, I mean.

At least they're wearing protective gear.

Ok wait, I forgot to mention how I got to this.  The other day, 12 Greenpeace activists stormed an upgrader (a giant building where they break down oil for other uses… like say, gas for your car to drive to a Greenpeace rally).  The upgrader is located in the Alberta tar sands, and this is apparently the 4th time they’ve done this.  The first three must not have worked, because nobody cared.  Regardless, they’re protesting the ‘dirtiness’ of retrieving oil from the sands, and the energy it uses, and all the environmental implications.  Yes, it’s a dirty job… yes, it mostly revolves around giant corporations making money, and that’s a total downside to the system, and most people end up getting the shaft.  But, this will never change… again, we’re in too deep, and whether we like it or not, we rely on oil.

I hate to say it, but taking over factories, and chaining yourselves to trucks is not going to do a whole lot.  I’m glad you’re taking interest, but you’d have more chance of making a difference if you became a politician.  In fact, you’d have more chance of making a difference if you wrote a letter to a politician.  In case you’re wondering, there isn’t much of a chance… point is, aggressive activism such as Greenpeace demonstrations, do so much less than other forms of activism.

And unless these people that came from all over the world to protest, came by sailboat, or Davinci’s peddal-bird, and used bacon grease to run their trucks to storm the place, I’m calling them hipocrites.  I’m guessing they didn’t, since they’re probably vegetarians too, and don’t eat bacon.  It’s a humdinger if I ever dinged a hum…

(I’d say hummed a ding, but that just doesn’t seem right…)