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Philosophical Stuff

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muskrat
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Post Number: 356
Registered: 06-2009


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Posted on Tuesday, 29 March, 2011 - 01:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The recent events in Japan and other countries are far removed from us here in South Africa. Not that we don't care - our hearts go out to all of those affected. But we don't really have first-hand experience of what it must have been like.

We spend a great deal of time and energy with our hobby/profession attempting to use electronics to control or modify our environment.

Last evening we had a severe tropical storm. It only lasted 50 minutes, dumped 55mm of rain and countless tons of ice in the form of small but powerful hail-stones, accompanied by a fierce wind.

In 50 minutes, our entire farm was obliterated. Not a single plant survived nature having a bit of fun.

5000 litre water tanks were tossed around by the wind as if they were made of cotton wool.

Nature is a harsh mistress. All our intellect, our ingenuity, our amazing inventions cannot hold a candle to the power of nature unleashed. I was in awe of that power last night, with a massive lump in my throat as I watched the farm crumble around me.

We are so insignificant in the overall scheme of things, aren't we?
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joe
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Post Number: 1067
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Posted on Tuesday, 29 March, 2011 - 02:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Brian,
I'm sorry for your loss and I hope you can recover from it... but thought provoking words.

I'm not sure were insignificant, but I'm starting to think that were here as tenants on this planet, and the landlords starting to get mighty upset with the mess were leaving, and at some point, I wouldn't be surprised if the lease gets terminated; and I bet we won't get our deposit back.

On a more scientific level, if humankind spent as much effort on the environment as he does on blowing people up, the planet would be a paradise by now.
Read my ramblings - www.techbites.com/joe-farr
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alec_t
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Post Number: 569
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Posted on Tuesday, 29 March, 2011 - 02:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'd like to echo Joe's words.
What rotten luck, Brian. I, too, hope you can restore things.

Best wishes,
Alec
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epithumia
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Posted on Tuesday, 29 March, 2011 - 03:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm truely sorry about that, Muskrat.

Although I do think this is, as you said, down to us being small rather than any force punishing us. This sort of thing is going on all the time, and some of us are unlucky enough to get in the way.

200 years ago we the west wouldn't even have heard about the Japanese earthquake yet.

Epi
If you need me, Neil and me will be hanging out with the Dream King. - Tori Amos
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muskrat
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Post Number: 357
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Posted on Tuesday, 29 March, 2011 - 04:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks for the comments. Let me first state that I am not looking for sympathy here - these things happen and it's a risk you take when you decide to farm.

Yes I'll recover - luckily the new seedlings, cossetted in their enclosure, survived. There will obviously be a delay before they will be ready, representing a hell of a financial loss, but the farm will be running again in a month or so.

".....if humankind spent as much effort on the environment as he does on blowing people up, the planet would be a paradise by now." Well said Joe, and I agree wholeheartedly.

Epi - you're right. Technology has given us almost instant communication. But I also sometimes wonder if this is a good thing.

I also agree that it's not about "being punished". It's ridiculous to think along those particular lines. It is indeed because we are small and to all intents and purposes, insignificant little blips on the planet's surface.

One is prompted to wonder, though, why the spate of bad weather, major tectonic plate movement, volcanic eruptions and so on is happening with such monotonous regularity,

Have we, with our rapacious greed, taken so much from the planet that it becoming unstable?

Makes you think, doesn't it?
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terrym
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Posted on Wednesday, 30 March, 2011 - 01:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

To my mind, this is just the planet going through it's normal rumblings. I very much doubt the human race as such, have any effect on the creation of earthquakes and other natural phenomena.

TM
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alec_t
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Posted on Wednesday, 30 March, 2011 - 11:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A thought:-
The average coefficient of linear expansion of rock is around 8 x 10 exp -6 per degree C. So if the planet's surface warms by 1 degree a tectonic plate could expand 8 metres per 1000 km of plate. I guess that would be enough to trigger earthquakes. So, if global warming is due to mankind's efforts then the human race could indeed have an effect on the creation of earthquakes.

Alec
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muskrat
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Post Number: 359
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Posted on Wednesday, 30 March, 2011 - 11:11 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Interesting, Alec. I believe the amount of plate movement required to trigger an earthquake is smaller than one realises.
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ant
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Posted on Thursday, 31 March, 2011 - 10:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello all,

I read somewhere that Japan had moved eight feet to the west.

I don't believe in global warming.

I should have thought that moon-influenced tidal forces in the crust would "smooth out" any expansion/contraction effects.

There was also the theory that if everyone in China jumped down off a chair at the same moment there'd be horrific earthquakes all over the place...

Regards Ant
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terrym
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Posted on Friday, 01 April, 2011 - 02:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"The average coefficient of linear expansion of rock is around 8 x 10 exp -6 per degree C. So if the planet's surface warms by 1 degree a tectonic plate could expand 8 metres per 1000 km of plate. I guess that would be enough to trigger earthquakes."

But what is it at 10km and more down from the surface, where most earthquakes originate? I was always taught that the lower into the earth you go, the less influence surface temperature has (even at 1mtr into the ground - think heat pumps etc). The molten core has more influence than surface temperature at those depths - yes/no?

TM
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alec_t
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Posted on Friday, 01 April, 2011 - 10:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

@terrym
I wasn't being serious . I fully agree that the core temperature is a major factor. However, if you increase the surface temperature (whatever you mean by 'surface') while keeping the core temperature constant then the temperature gradient and average temperature between the surface and centre of the Earth must both be affected (albeit very slightly) and hence expansion can occur theoretically throughout the plate thickness and the core material too. If we take the core temperature as 5000 degrees K then a 1 degree change at the surface gives an average-temperature change of 0.02%. Is that significant for earthquake triggering? (The jury's out).

"But what is it at 10km and more down from the surface" you ask.
Assume the radius of Earth is 6500km. With a linear temperature gradient (probably an invalid assumption;I'm open to correction) a 1 degree change at the surface gives a 6490/6500 degree change 10km down, i.e. ~1 degree by my reckoning.

Alec
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terrym
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Post Number: 990
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Posted on Saturday, 02 April, 2011 - 03:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hmm... It's a pity we know (relatively) so little about earthquakes.

Having lived with them for a period of 8 years, I know how frightening they can be.

Still, thought provoking stuff.

TM
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mikeb
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Post Number: 446
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Posted on Monday, 04 April, 2011 - 12:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

@Muskrat

Sorry to read of your hard work coming to nothing - but I advise you to get ahead of your competition and start to educate yourself about how changes to our/your climate will affect your business model.

Common sense says that sending 2 billions tons of any gas into our atmosphere every year cannot be ignored. What will catch your competitors out is that the weather chaos will increase rapidly as positive feedback effects kick in.

The global temperature increase was only made public when international weather observers found the trend. NASA suddely discovered a host of satellite 'bugs' which made all their figures too low. The US pulled the same stunt with the ozone layer - it was only after the Brits sent low tech weather balloons that the truth had to be admitted.

Dont be put to sleep by Governments controlled by big energy interests - get on the front foot.

I have an interest in Europe that relies on reliable winter snowfall in the Alps. I have significantly reviewed my plans.

rgds

mb
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alec_t
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Post Number: 590
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Posted on Monday, 04 April, 2011 - 08:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"I have an interest in Europe that relies on reliable winter snowfall in the Alps. I have significantly reviewed my plans."

Are you planning to convert your ski resort into a white water rafting centre?

Alec
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mikeb
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Post Number: 447
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Posted on Monday, 04 April, 2011 - 11:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

hahaha ... not quite, but you get the idea.

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