Computer Memory

An early memory core frame from IBM main frame before solid state. Thought you all would like to see this. Look at all the weaving.

rona black photography

Computer Memory by Rona Black

An abstract macro photograph of a Ferrite Memory Core plane from an early IBM mainframe computer. This grid is made up of fine wire threaded through tiny magnetic ferrite rings (cores). Magnetic core memory, a type of random-access memory (RAM), was introduced in 1955 and succeeded in the 1970s by solid-state memory in integrated circuits.

The Museum of Modern Art has three in its permanent collection, but none on display.

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Bárðarbunga – Nature of the beast


Dyngjujökull. Photograph by Eggert Norddahl. Used by explicit permission. If you wish to use the image contact Volcanocafé via our email. Dyngjujökull. Photograph by Eggert Norddahl. Used by explicit permission. If you wish to use the image contact Volcanocafé via our email.

First let me write one thing, and that is that we are not in Kansas anymore. And with that I mean that we are in totally uncharted country. Icelandic Met Office has the best volcanologists on the planet, and they pretty much never make a mistake. They are quite simply the best and their reputation at this site is set in solidified lava.

So, when people like that in an hour first states that a small eruption has started and an hour later recant on the statement it does not hamper our confidence in their abilities, it is instead a sign of how “out there” what we are seeing right now really is.

What is happening now is really like if you walked down a familiar street and turn…

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Bárðarbunga loves Grimsvötn = True

This is extremely interesting. It is worth reading.


Photograph by Eggert Norðdahl. All rights reserved and used under permission. Photograph by Eggert Norðdahl. All rights reserved and used under permission.

I once again reiterate that it is Icelandic Met Office and Almannavarnadeild ríkislögreglustjóra that has the authority to issue warnings for Iceland in regards of eruptions and jökulhlaups.

For airborne ash advisories it is in the following order London VAAC and IMO that issues advisories. That being said here follows a brief update upon what is happening in Bárðarbunga and Grimsvötns fissure swarms.

Volcanic love in the ground

Who would have thought that the two largest volcanoes of their type on earth could make love to each other? Well, let me expound a bit on how they do it physically. For anyone who is a bit sensitive, this is where you should stop reading. It will get very graphical.

Since the seismic swarm started there has been quite a lot of confusion about what is going on, and where…

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One day late last September, my classroom began being dismantled. There was nothing I could do about it. It was completely out of my hands.

The logging trucks came and began removing the trees from the 720 acres of woodland where I had learned and where I had taught. I did not own this privately held land. I was a constant trespasser upon this ground, a violator, and had been one since childhood, instructed by my grandmother to always carry a jacket when exploring a piece of private property. The jacket was not to fend off a chill, but to hang over any ‘No Trespassing’ sign so you could honestly say you couldn’t see any sign in case you were caught violating.
no trespassing
Using this method, Grandma and I gathered apples, pears and blackberries from abandoned farmsteads and with my Aunties, I gathered up bushels of black walnuts, hazelnuts and an assortment of botanicals used medicinally and for Native American ceremonies. Continue reading “Violators”

Tales from the Psychiatric Nurses Station – Child/Adolescent Part 1

It has been a while since I’ve written on here so I thought I would come on and say hello.  Alot has happened on the unit that I have worked for about a year.  Among the lack of sleep from my thoughts racing due to the kids on my mind from all of their traumas to being in school again to work on my Bachelors degree.  I’d like to give you two the brief case studies  on my most memorable patients and how they’ve impacted me.

Over the past year I have learned a lot about child and adolescent psychiatric care.  Never before in my life did I think a small child would have to endure the pain, horror, and terrifying abuse that some of these children have had to face. Seeing the look on the faces of these children who have been sexually abused by relatives, family friends, or rarely strangers; rips at your very soul.  I find sleep escapes as the child’s face enters my mind’s eye, an image of them cowering in the corner fills my thoughts. I’m paralyzed with reality and I am not a confused child who is inexperienced in the trials of life and all that is evil.  I am not the abused.  The same child has been to 4 or 5 different foster homes in the span of 4 weeks.  She has no one to love her and she asks me “can you be my mommy?”

Continue reading “Tales from the Psychiatric Nurses Station – Child/Adolescent Part 1”

The Future Can’t Wait, No Place to Hide….

Future Shop B/W at the new Uptown mega mall in Victoria
Future Shop Uptown mega mall in Victoria BC – Flicker

While watching the tube as I ate breakfast the other day there was a commercial on from one of the large consumer electronics companies. Japanese, if I remember correctly – though I do not remember which one. It showed a large factory turning out various new gadgets using all these robotic arms and what not. The message being that their product was not touched by human hands or some such.

Continue reading “The Future Can’t Wait, No Place to Hide….”

Consumer Electronic Show – 3D Printing. Make you own stuff.

3D printer objects - Flicker

I have been aware of 3D printing – the ability to create out of plastic what ever you can design on your computer – for a while. But except for those who have built their own, it has been put of reach to all but engineers in large corporation and research facilities. Continue reading “Consumer Electronic Show – 3D Printing. Make you own stuff.”

1% to 2% or 60%. HUH!!

This is beyond belief and has an awful smell to it.

The key passage: According to the new study, only 1 to 2 percent of a reactor core’s cesium 137 could escape during a total blackout. Previous NRC estimates concluded that 60 percent of the cesium inventory could escape.

We are talking about a nuclear reactor here folks. With numbers this divergent I think we have good cause to be very worried. I very strongly suspect that there is yet another big lie being told here. And I also suspect that given how big it appears I’d bet it’s somehow associated with an equally large amount of money. When we’re talking nuclear you just don’t make errors this big. Or reassess in the fashion indicated here. Don’t believe it. This is a huge crock.

(Source: NRC is adjusting previous projections of how much and how quickly cesium 137 would escape in the case of a total blackout

The nuclear crisis at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan has caused a nuclear frenzy where leaders around the world are questioning the safety of their plants. For instance, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for global nuclear review after visiting Japan, and U.S. senators demanded that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) repeat an expensive inspection of the country’s nuclear power.

But now, the NRC is close to completing a large nuclear study that may ease a few worried minds.

The NRC has been working with Sandia National Laboratories (a Department of Energy lab) on a study that revises previous projections of how quickly and how much cesium 137, which is a radioactive material made when uranium is split, could release from a plant after a nuclear core meltdown. The NRC has been working on the study for six years, and it will not be completely finished until next spring. But the nuclear watchdog group, Union of Concerned Scientists, has obtained an early copy of the report through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The new study is based on how much and how quickly cesium 137 could escape an American nuclear plant if a total blackout were to occur. A total blackout means complete loss of power from the grid, and backup diesel generators and batteries have failed as well. This leads to a nuclear meltdown. NRC scientists said that a total blackout would be rare at an American plant, but it is better to be safe than sorry. In addition, the NRC wanted to update previous projections related to cesium 137.

The NRC focused on two different types of reactors in the U.S.: the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, which has boiling-water reactors like Fukushima Daiichi, and the Surry Power Station in Virginia, which has pressurized-water reactors. Over 100 different plants were studied. Through computer models and engineering analyses, the NRC has concluded that the meltdown of a typical American reactor would lead to “far fewer deaths” than previously thought.

According to the new study, only 1 to 2 percent of a reactor core’s cesium 137 could escape during a total blackout. Previous NRC estimates concluded that 60 percent of the cesium inventory could escape.

In addition, the new study found that one person in every 4,348 within a 10-mile radius of a nuclear meltdown would develop a “latent cancer” from radiation exposure. In previous estimates, it was one person in every 167.

The NRC said that large releases of radioactive material would not be “immediate,” meaning that people within a 10-mile radius would have plenty of time to evacuate the premises. It concluded that the chance of death from acute radiation exposure within a 10-mile radius would be near zero, but some would be exposed to high enough doses to experience fatal cancers decades later.

“Accidents progress more slowly, in some cases much more slowly, than previously assumed,” said Charles G. Tinkler, a senior adviser for research on severe accidents and an author of the study. “Releases are smaller, and in some cases much smaller, of certain key radioactive materials.”

The NRC’s revised projections report tells what temperatures, flows of water and steam pressures would occur in a nuclear meltdown, as well as when leaks would begin after the meltdown. The NRC concluded that Peach Bottom would not release enough radioactive material to cause fatal harm to any human immediately, but could increase the chances of fatal cancer later on. As far as Surry goes, the number of people living within a 10-mile radius was so small that the death toll would be a fraction of a person.

Despite the NRC’s rigorous revisions, there are always critics. One notable critic would be Edwin Lyman, a nuclear physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Lyman’s stance is that the NRC is always painting “an overly rosy picture” in regards to nuclear safety in the U.S., and that the new study is no different.

According to Lyman, the new study assumes that 99.5 percent of the people in a 10-mile radius would be successfully evacuated. He also said the study assumed that average weather conditions were present during the hypothetical meltdown, but if rain was present, radioactive materials could be washed “out of the air into a small area” infecting people who live there.

Instead of a 10-mile radius, Lyman suggested that the study focus on a 50-mile radius in regards to eventual cancer deaths because the average population within 10 miles of a nuclear plant in the U.S. is 62,000, while the population within 50 miles is five million.

The NRC countered Lyman’s concerns with the fact the report was “intended to present the best estimate and not the worst case.” Also, the NRC noted that earlier projections estimated one eventual cancer death per 2,128 people in a 50-mile radius while the new study estimates one eventual cancer death per 6,250 people.

Lyman concluded that this new study reconfirms how dangerous nuclear reactors are because the NRC’s estimates are based on so many variables, such as several reactors of different designs and ages as well as locations with disparate population densities. He said a difference of a factor of three “is not important.”

Keep in mind that the study is not yet complete, and that the NRC could make changes after public comments are received in 2012. The NRC hopes to use this study to propose safety improvements for aging American nuclear plants, which could lead to cost-related benefits and increased use and placement of new cheap and clean power-producing plants.

Unlimited Water Found – Not For Us Though

Biggest cloud of water in universe discovered

Our world is slowly running out of fresh water with projections looking more than a little grim for this most important of resource. Not to worry though. Although it’s quite a walk from here scientists have found a new resource that will likely meet our needs for a long time. I had no idea there was water just floating around in space this way. Who knew? LINK

Astronomers have found an enormous cloud of water – containing 140 trillion times as much as is found on Earth – floating around a distant quasar.

It’s also the most distant and therefore oldest body of water ever found, they say, with the observations revealing it as it was 12 billion years ago, just 1.6 billion years after the Big Bang.

The quasar around which the cloud floats is one of the most powerful known objects in the universe and has an energy output of 1,000 trillion suns. Its power comes from matter spiraling into the central supermassive black hole, around 20 billion times the mass of our sun.

The amount of water estimated to be in the quasar is at least 100,000 times the mass of the sun, equivalent to 34 billion times the mass of the Earth.

“These findings are very exciting,” says CU-Boulder associate professor Jason Glenn. “We not only detected water in the farthest reaches of the universe, but enough to fill Earth’s oceans more than 100 trillion times.”

Measurements indicate that there’s enough gas present for the black hole to grow to about six times its already massive size – although some of the gas may end up forming stars instead, or be ejected from the quasar host galaxy in an outflow.

In the Milky Way, there’s at least 4,000 times less gaseous water than in the quasar, partly because most of the water in our own galaxy is frozen into ice. And while water vapor in the Milky Way is found only in certain regions, a few light years across at most, the water in the distant quasar appears to be spread over hundreds of light years.

The discovery was made with a spectrograph called Z-Spec operating in the millimeter wavelengths at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory in Hawaii.

“Breakthroughs are coming fast in millimeter and submillimeter technology, enabling us to study ancient galaxies caught in the act of forming stars and supermassive black holes,” says Glenn.