Good Morning!

I’ve been playing with a few things. One is a Foucault pendulum. I’ve built it in the basement. It’s not complete yet. It needs a drive to replace the energy lost to air drag. I don’t yet know how to design such a beast. I’ve ordered some learning materials to aid in that. A magnet controlled by a micro-controler seems to be the ticket. Arduino is very popular. It looks like I’ll go that way.

I’ve also been getting back into photography. I’m taking small steps. While a nice DSLR would be great, I’m starting cheap with a bridge camera. I’ve got a Nikon P610. I wish it gave me more range on the shutter speed. That’s because I want to do some night photography. Nevertheless, it’s got some nice features. I maybe writing some Swift 2.0 code in the future to composite images into 4K video.

In the meantime, I’ve done this little clip just using iMovie and the camera’s built in functionality.


Sorry About The Lack of Updates

I’ve been otherwise distracted. I haven’t even downloaded Xcode 7 β2 yet. I have replaced my 17 year old Impreza with a new Impreza. Here’s a picture. It’s kind of nice. I didn’t know cars had come so far in those 17 years. My previous Impreza was a five speed manual. The new one has the CVT. A bit of adaptation is required. I think it’s a bit larger too.

Interfacing with the iPhone is not perfect. That may be user error on my part. Or it could be something else. Playing music and receiving phone calls hands free works. Sending text messages, having texts read to me, and originating phone calls does not. The rear view camera is next to useless. The iPhone won’t use the LCD display as a secondary display device.

2015 Impreza Sport CVT
2015 Impreza Sport CVT

Earthquakes in Nepal

On April 25, I sort of rushed this post out with no real content except links. This caused the blag plugin to complain. So for what it’s worth, I’ll add some content, specifically about earthquakes.

I’ve only been in one real quake. Real by Eastern US standards anyway. Virginia had a five point something that did damage to some buildings in the District of Columbia and shook my house near Philadelphia. I tweeted about it at the time under another account. The shaking lasted for a good long while and got me thinking about exiting the house. Fortunately, no actual damage was done. It was a bit unnerving though.

The USGS site I link to below is an interesting resource for earthquake information. Quakes more powerful than 2.5 on the MMS scale happen daily. That’s just powerful enough that you know it isn’t a truck driving by. The scale is logarithmic. A 3 has ten times the energy of a 2. Unfortunately, there is no real way to convert the strength of an earthquake into megajoules or megawatts, depending if you want to know the total energy released or the peak power.

This leaves us with a rather fuzzy comparison for the strength of two quakes of the same energy. Time is also a factor. The more shaking that goes on, the more damage that can be done. But what is more? Are we talking peak amplitude or simply duration at a specific amplitude? I don’t really know how that works on the MMS scale. This prevents doing a comparison of an earthquake to something like an atomic bomb or a tornado.

So what happened in Nepal? There were actually several quakes along the same fault line over the course of the day. Two were moderate and the one that made the news was major. I doubt the extent of the damage and casualties has been completed as I type this. It’s only the day after. It takes some time for all the assessment to be done.

The USGS tends to modify its numbers as more data comes in. It takes seismic waves some time to travel. Detectors around the world pick up the waves and transmit the data to the USGS and others. The data is collated as it comes in. This is one reason why you see different numbers reported. It is also possible that some numbers are based on the older Richter Scale. They don’t quite translate.

We live on a geologically active planet. Volcanic activity is pretty much a daily occurrence somewhere. And so are weak to moderate earthquakes. Fortunately the major earthquakes are rather less frequent. You can still expect to see them around the world every few years though. It also doesn’t much matter where you live to feel a moderate earthquake sometime in your life. There are fault lines all over this planet. Some are simply more active than others as the tectonic plates slide around on the mantel of the Earth.

Video embedded from LiveLeak.

If that doesn’t work for you, try here.

USGS Earthquake site.

USGS Earthquake page for the big one in Nepal today.