Sunday, October 08, 2006

Back to normal

I'm back in California, eBay items start ending tomorrow, and I have a zillion prints to order and another zillion plus a book or two to mail out Tuesday. (Monday's a postal holiday for those who don't know.)

It's very odd catching up on the news after a break. North Korea announced they had a successful nuke test and nobody can confirm it? Hello? I used to work in a seismology lab when I was getting my BS in physics and I was going through old results for various reasons and I was always running into nuke tests. The tests were in Nevada, and our instruments were in Southern California and they pegged the scale. They showed up as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake. I got fooled by a few of them, thinking they were real events, until I realized they always happened at the same time of day. It's possible to do a frequency analysis and figure out what the event was but as a practical matter if it came from Nevada and was around that size and the right time of day there wasn't any real point in investigating it further. But I know more professional setups will automatically filter out man-made events like explosions.

Anyway, point being, it's not exactly subtle when you set off a nuke, even a small one. And since that's a geologically active area, Japan has a massive network of instrumentation watching for quakes along with software that automatically figures out the energy involved and if it was man-made or not. It's all automatic.

Well, either way, it's good to be back!


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