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Comment: Re:Seems he has more of a clue (Score 1) 694

by RockDoctor (#49601987) Attached to: Pope Attacked By Climate Change Skeptics

People don't seem to understand that it takes decades for the global climate system to reach a new (warmer) equilibrium following the introduction of a force into the system.

Mere decades. It'll take decades of millennia for the Earth's natural systems to bring matters back to something approaching the previous conditions. Of the order of 120,000 years for the PETM.

Comment: Re:What am I missing? (Score 1) 100

by RockDoctor (#49601945) Attached to: A Cheap, Ubiquitous Earthquake Warning System

Natural gas valves could be shutoff at the building or even better at the substations.

What is the blowdown time for your pipework system?

You might be surprised to learn that the flammable fluids industry has some experience in these matters. The last time I was in a position to hear a major gas plant blowing down, it took about a half hour to dump the flammables inventory into the flare stack. (Well, you could leave the gas blowing in the wind. Until it finds an ignition source and flashes back to the source.)

Since gas distribution networks run a low (hundreds of Pa) pressures, their blowdown times are going to be correspondingly long.

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 1) 480

Recent navy research has shown it may be easier to concentrate oceanic C02 than atmospheric, meaning we could eventually retrofit old oil platforms with a nuclear core and fill up tankers with synthetic fuels.


I'm pretty dubious about your un-sourced "navy research" assertion, but I'll let that pass on the assumption that you're talking about it being easier to "mine" large areas of wind. Or something similar. I can envisage there might be a basis to that.

But as someone who is approaching my 30th year working at sea in the oil and gas industry, I don't see how you can associate "oceanic" with "oil platforms". The huge majority of offshore development is very close inshore, and in very shallow water. I'd been working for 5 years before I worked a well in water depths more than 400ft, and nearly 20 years in the game before I went into water over a thousand feet deep. (Today, I'm on an exploration well in [classified] water. Deeper than Macondo.)

As a geologist we could sit down and argue the definition of "oceanic" on water depth until the cows come home, but until you're in ultra-deep (8000ft +) off the coast of Angola, you're really stretching the limits of the geologist's definition which is based on the nature of the crust under the sea. If it's mafic (sheeted dykes over gabbros/ cumulates, with a kilometre or so of sediments), then you're talking about "oceanic" ; otherwise, you're just on the wet bits of continents.

I've done the months of waiting-on-weather to be able to get to work in borderline oceanic situations (4 hours helicopter from base, with two refuelling stops en route ; work out the go/ no-go conditions for that flight if you like). There is not a lot of real oceanic oil exploration equipment out there. And because of the mechanical constraints of steel legs, cable anchor line and so-on, the large majority of the coming UDW prospects are going to be developed from subsea manifolds producing through a flexible riser to an FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading facility). When the flow rates from the field fall too low for economics, it'll be anchors a-weigh! for the FPSO for re-fit onshore for the next project, in with the UDW drilling rig to plug and abandon the wells, retrieve the jewellery (sub-sea trees etc) and crash cages, then off to the next location. Nothing left behind apart from a thin skin of rock cuttings on the seabed.

Are you seriously proposing putting nuclear reactors on ready-for-abandonment oil platforms? The bloody things are held together by the paint keeping the rust in place! They literally do not even have scrap value. I've been woken too often by a big lurch as a big wave hits the platform and I wonder "Is this it?" ; and I'm a damned sight better at dragging on an immersion suit and looking after myself in the sea than most inanimate lumps of rusty steel.

Comment: Re:I hate these archaeology posts lately (Score 1) 133

by RockDoctor (#49599639) Attached to: Liquid Mercury Found Under Mexican Pyramid
It may be easier to take a photo than it is to get permission to publish it. If nothing else, many academic journals take a dim view of researchers publishing the gist of a paper before the paper itself is published. Prior publication may get your "original" paper dropped.

I've probably done more photography underground than you have, by several hundreds of photos. It's not actually an easy task, particularly if you're needing photos up to research standards let alone publication standard.

Comment: Re:Bad use case (Score 1) 128

I take that point, but my thought on reading the concept was "Great, so now you have hundreds or thousands of people bobbing around in the sea in indestructible survival capsules. Where they die slowly of thirst and starvation, as most of the local boats have been wrecked by the tsunami, or parked a kilometre inshore, or are being used by their owners to search for missing friends/ relatives, or to bring in supplies from nearby devastated areas.

Then I look out of the window at the (nearly) indestructible TEMPSC ("lifeboat" to you landlubbers) and remember the 3 or 4 that were found floating around the wreckage of the Piper Alpha. (One was seen to impact the water a mile from the platform, having flown the intervening distance. It held two burned lifejackets and no bodies. Figure that one out.) They were found several times each, as different S&R assets came into the hot zone and moved back out. They got in the way of the search for survivors, and being composed of highly visible, highly buoyant materials, continued to be a problem until S&R assets were deployed to tow them away and tie them up out of the way.

I'm sure the guy can engineer a fine piece of aerospace. But that doesn't make him the right man to engineer a marine safety system. (Note : a system ; it's more than just a device.)

Comment: Re:Here's to hoping they don't find oil (Score 1) 152

by RockDoctor (#49556105) Attached to: Yellowstone Supervolcano Even Bigger Than We Realized

What is the solution,


As in "Oh, Yellowstone is erupting. I'll get some popcorn to watch until all the news broadcasters are dead. Then get on with my life."

A Yellowstone supervolcano would be devastating for the United States and most of Canada. At home, we might even get some ash fall (but we get that from Iceland already). Wouldn't be good for crops for the next couple of years, but we could probably use a 50% population drop. It'll be back in less than a century. Fuck up comms ofr a couple of years too, but the world will go on.

Comment: Did iTunes ever work on XP? (Score 1) 368

by RockDoctor (#49556021) Attached to: iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users
It destroyed my daughter's machine when I got her an iMP3 player one Xmas and she tried to install iTunes as instructed. Obviously she hadn't taken advice to back up her school work to the file server, so that was my weekend fucked.

Never considered an Apple product since, and only touched them on occasions (to move them out of the way).

Comment: Re:Or it could be their breakfast. (Score 1) 89

by RockDoctor (#49499379) Attached to: World's Oldest Stone Tools Discovered In Kenya
Try reading the article?

The sediment in which the flakes were found was dated by magnetostratigraphy to have been deposited 3.3 million years ago, meaning the flakes cannot be younger than that age.

Remarkably, the article's authors did actually put that information into the article, so that people could possibly read it and become better informed. It's a shocking new concept called "communication".

"Time is money and money can't buy you love and I love your outfit" - T.H.U.N.D.E.R. #1