atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1099: 8.5 hours without juice later....

Yeah, after I finished the prior entry--I think it was about 6:45 PM--the power quit. I had enough battery in the laptop to get it shut down. (Note to self: look into buying a new battery or two for the laptop. It's only been a year since I got it.)

I tried to nap, but couldn't since I'm such a light sleeper; every little noise disturbs me. (A 20" box fan normally provides enough white noise to let me sleep. But not without power.) By the time I gave up, it was dark, and with a few small exceptions it seemed that the entire town was without power. It was pitch freaking black from Balmoral Racetrack to Steger. It was so dark outside I could actually see my shadow cast from the light of the crescent moon

It's unusual for a storm to knock out power over such a wide area here. The last time it happened was 1985, and the power went off, on, off, on-but-really-dim, POW the line fuse on the pole blew, and then it was off for nine hours, and all over town, too. This time?

This time, the power just went off--click--and that was it. I mean, it was like someone threw a switch. I kept thinking something (like maybe a tornado) had gotten one of the high-tension lines that feed the town, just by the way the power failed. And taking eight hours to get it back up would seem to support that.

Well, it's all speculation, and I suppose there'll be a story about it in the paper or something relatively soon. Further details as I get 'em.

The power came on at 4:25 AM.

* * *

...somehow, the spellcheck got turned on again, even though it doesn't show as on. WTF.

* * *

A few links for this morning:

This guy looks like a moron, so his behavior at his graduation ceremony does not surprise. It does fall into the "what the hell is your problem, douchebag?" category. Once again proving that graduating from high school and reaching the age of 18 do not automatically mean a person is an adult. Guess someone still has a lot of growing up to do.

* * *

Non-African heterosexuals can relax! The UN says the threat of a heterosexual AIDS pandemic is over!

There were plenty of people who said that the predicted heterosexual AIDS pandemic was scaremongering. The disease just doesn't affect the heterosexual population the way it affects homosexuals and habitual intravenous drug users.

I'm also skeptical about the African exception. If, for example, you show up at a clinic in Africa with tuberculosis, you're automatically considered HIV-positive. Even if the only disease you actually have is tuberculosis, suddenly you've got AIDS, too. We don't actually know what percentage of the population of Africa is HIV-positive.

On the other hand, the Africans themselves don't help matters. Teaching them "safe sex" and providing condoms doesn't help, because they ignore the advice and ditch the condoms. HIV has little trouble being transmitted via heterosexual contact--it's not as easily transmitted as it is during homosexual conduct, but it does happen--and too many Africans refuse to accept the responsibility to act to contain the spread of the disease.

* * *

All this time we thought paper couldn't be strong. The article discusses tensile strength, which is all well and good, but it doesn't its strength in other mechanical modes.

This "nanopaper" can withstand roughly 31,000 PSI of pressure without tearing. This is for a sheet 0.05 millimeters thick--approximately normal paper thickness. Ordinary paper can only withstand about 145 PSI.

This is, as I said, tensile strength: take a strip of paper between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, and pull the hands apart. The paper is experiencing tensile stress; the ordinary stuff you get from OfficeMax or Wal-Mart can take about 150 PSI before breaking, and this new stuff can handle 31,000 PSI--about as strong as a similar-sized piece of steel.

It also sounds as if this stuff is pretty easy to manufacture; you treat plant matter with an enzyme and then throw it into a blender. (I'm oversimplifying it a bit, here.) When you're done, you've got cellulose paste; drain the water and let it dry, and you've got "nanopaper".

Not much different than how we currently make paper.

* * *

I can't take this one seriously. The big earthquake in China was triggered by an underground nuclear test? Is that what we're being told?

On the one hand, it would not surprise me at all to learn that China was experimenting with something like that. On the other hand, it would also not surprise me to learn that someone decided that this geologically unstable area was going to be a test site and that all debate on the subject was crushed.

Jerry Pournelle likes to quote--I think it was--Napoleon when he says that you should never attribute to malice that which is attributable to incompetence.

...all of this, though, presupposes that you could actually trigger an earthquake by setting off a nuclear bomb in a fault, which I don't even know. It's a Hollywood trope--heck, I've used it myself!--but I have no idea how well-based in reality it is. It should work, but as far as we know no one has ever actually tried it because of the shortage of fault lines that don't have major cities nearby. Our theories as to what earthquakes are, and why they happen, would support the idea; but we just don't know.

What I do know is that the article I've linked to is full of speculation and unverified sources; and since it's China, if the ChiCom government did cause the quake, I doubt we'll ever actually know it.

* * *

Not a lot else to report here. I looked at Commonwealth Edison's web site in hopes that there would be some kind of report or something on outages, but there isn't. (Of course.) Guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow....

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