Shell Games

Back to Basics….

As some of you may have noticed, there have been more than a few research papers and write-ups mentioned or linked here on the Café.  Some of the concepts that are discussed in them may be outside of the casual readers realm of knowledge… either by never hearing of it, or by having forgotten much of it.  A lot of it is easy to forget if you don’t use or think about it often.

To start, a long time ago (about 2500 years) in a place far far away (unless you are in Greece near 37° 58′ 0″ N, 23° 43′ 0″ E) it came upon a guy, that if you keep cutting something in half, then cut those parts in half, eventually you will get to the point where you can’t cut it in half anymore.  This indivisible smallest part of something was the birth of the idea of an atom.  The idea may not be fully greek, since the idea does show up in ancient Indian texts also.  But in more modern times the concept has held true with a slight modification.  (layman’s version)  An atom is the smallest division of something that still holds characteristics of the parent material.  In this case elements.  If you take an atom of any element, when you tear it apart, what you have left does not in any way behave like the parent atom did.  (except maybe for the single proton that you find in a Hydrogen atom.


Imagesource: Wikimedia Commons

Atoms are made up of subatomic particles.  Protons with a positive charge.  Neutrons with no charge (neutral) and electrons with a negative charge.  These particles reside in specific areas of the atom… the Nucleus, and the Electron shells (cloud).  In the Bohr model of the atom, (thought up by famous Dane Niels Bohr) the electrons orbit the nucleus in shells.  From Wikipedia “The 1st shell can hold up to two electrons, the 2nd shell can hold up to eight electrons, the 3rd shell can hold up to 18, and 4th shell can hold up to 32 and so on.”

Neutrally charged atoms have an equal number of electrons as protons.  Add or subtract electrons and you get an ion of that atom.  (negative ion – an excess of electrons).  But it still remains and acts like that element.  It’s identity is principally determined by the number of protons.  The number of neutrons is usually quite close to the number of protons, but when you deviate from the normal you get “isotopes” of the element.  Isotopes can either be stable or unstable. Unstable ones tend to decay by releasing /some sort of radiation.  Uranium 238 (the most common isotope of uranium) is inherently radioactive in it’s natural state.  U238 decays through the Alpha process and releases 4.267 MeV of energy in the form of two protons and two neutrons (an alpha particle).  The end product is Thorium 234.  By itself, U238 is not fissile, meaning that it can not sustain a chain reaction.  But if neutrons passing by are slowed down, they can be captured and make plutonium-239 which is fissile.  The slowing down of fast moving neutrons is what made the Oklo natural reactor function.  Most elements have isotopes.  In general the ratios of the different isotope concentrations are somewhat fixed, with only processes like neutron capture or radioactive decay being able to change that.   However, some biological processes can alter these ratios.   If you are playing soccer, and you encounter a soccer ball that has a mass of 7.3 kg, you are not going to want to kick it around, let alone bounce it off your head or chest.  Usually, soccer balls are around .4 to .5 kg.

Fair warning: This is an absolutely HORRIBLE thing to do to another person. DO NOT try to replicate this “stunt.” The guy filming the video is lucky to have only lost a friend. It is irresponsible and (if real) probably put the victim in the hospital to have his foot looked at, plus, potentially costing him his job.

Likewise, heavier isotopes may be more difficult for a cell or organism to use, so they would preferentially use that material that they were best suited for.  This isotopic signature (the ratio) is used quite a bit to puzzle out how material got to where it is at.

In my sulfate digging, I ran across more than one researcher who was looking for an isotopic signature in the sulfate try and determine it’s source.  From what I have read, they were unsuccessful.  But It did set me to thinking about the sulfate signal in the ice-cores.  Sulfate that settles onto the ice does not have to have come from the stratosphere.  It should really be no different in appearance from tropospheric originated sulfate.  So, just because you see a monster SO4 spike in the Vostok or GISP core, that doesn’t  mean that it was from the stratosphere.

Other fun things about the atom.  The Shells (orbitals) that the electrons orbit in, can be manipulated by the addition or release of energy.   Light can excite an electron to jump to a higher energy orbital.  When it falls back it will release an amount of enegy.  You probably witness this on a day to day basis in fluorescent light fixtures.  Mercury vapor, excited by the electric current passing through it, releases ultraviolet light.   The white light that you see from the bulb is due to the phosphor coating on the inside of the glass envelope, which goes through a similar process, though it’s electrons are responding to the UV light and releasing visible light when the electrons drop back down to a lower energy orbit.  Technically, those bulbs are off 50 to 60 times a second (depending on your power grid) as the AC current reverses.  Lasers operate based on achieving and maintaining a population inversion of the number of excited atoms to non-exited atoms.  Once they cascade, the energy is released in sync with all the other excited atoms.

Sorry for the diversion….  But stepping a bit further into the realm of  “funky things that you can do with atoms,”  as noted earlier, atoms can (and do) absorb photons… well, specifically, the energy from the photons.   When they do, they remove (attenuate) light at that spectral frequency.  I mentioned in a previous post that carbonyl sulfide can be dissociated by light in the UV-C range (≈200 nm)  This would show up as an absorption line in light passing through the gas.   A similar thing happens at the atomic level, but it’s from electrons being shoved into higher energy orbitals.  This was discovered as emission and absorption lines, the Lyman and Balmer series (and others) of spectral lines.  This was a really tidy reinforcement of the Bohr model of the atom.   This characteristic has been used to analyze gases from the magma entry points into the sea in Hawaii to determine what sort of stuff happens when sea-water interacts with magma.  (I’ve mentioned some of the results when yammering about HCL as a byproduct of this action.

Well, I hope this helps to either jog your memory, or at least help with some of the stuff in the papers that we occasionally link to.

Enjoy.

GEOLURKING

Caveat: This is mostly first year physics stuff.  I reserve the right to be outright wrong.  But if I am, a polite person would provide the needed corrections in addition to slapping me silly.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  Author C Clarke

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133 thoughts on “Shell Games

  1. Yep… I done it. Wasn’t intentional either. I hadn’t even added illustrations or graphics.

    My bad. Its supposed to rain tomorrow (with sporadic tornadic activity) and I have to go drive in it. I was trying to get this out of the way. It’s a bit rough… (no pics), but there is a really nice video of how to loose a friend in it. (yes, it’s related to the post… specifically about biological organisms liking to work with things of a familiar mass)

    • Thanks GeoLurking, just read throught it, but i have to do that some more times…too much inof to graps it in just a few minutes. Thank you for this post.

  2. Thanks – interesting and timely reminder of chemistry class. I vaguely remember most of it – obviously I did listen a bit while I was busy connecting Bunsen burners to water taps.

    That is a truly nasty prank, although I admit to having done the opposite. Mate and I are mucking about on the beach beneath white chalk cliffs. I happened upon a very large chunk of expanded polystyrene packing foam. It had obviously spent some time in the sea and looked just like a very large piece of very heavy chalk. The look on mate’s face in the split-second before it hit him in the chest was priceless.

    • Hi Ukviggen,
      I haven’t watched the video above… You gotta draw the line somewhere, and broken ankles are about where it’s at for me… But your story gave me a nice little chuckle :chortle: 🙂
      I’m off to Lanzarote on Saturday (early) and have just realised that the Calcutta Cup kicks off at 4pm (not 130) yay 😀 I’ve gone from a mad rush to catch the second half to a leisurely check in, followed by a mooch into Puerto del Carmen and the chance to choose which “British Bar” to watch it in… I’ve one in mind though, close t’ hotel and nice enough…
      My prediction? England to win the tournament (probably not the Grand Slam) by a nose depending on which French team turn up and how it goes vs Ireland at Landsdowne Road… 🙂

      • FYI, the video cuts to color bars about where the ankle damage would have occurred. The event is inferred by the scenes leading up to it. Even though the idea behind the prank fits the mass issue and biological organisms example, I didn’t want to inspire some half wit to actually try and replicate it, so I put the warning in.

        There are some idiots out there who would actually try to repeat it. That’s one reason that I know that humanity is doomed. No apocalypse needed. Mankind is just that sick. I just hope they take the path of “Darwin recipient” before they actually hurt somebody.

        • When I first moved to Brighton, I lived in a Bedsit, I knew some of the guys…
          Anyway one night I came home (from work) to find a banana skin; nicely set- up on the (tiled; not paved) path to the front door… With a perfect view from X’s bay window…
          Normally I hate confrontation, but they’d left the banananana skin out on the wrong night…
          They were suitably chastised…
          X was a guitar player of some talent ( but little wherewithal otherwise…) tother considered homelessness a career option…

        • Well, for the sick f#@$ that get a titillating thrill watching someone writhe in agony… I always hope that they get what they are after… but not vicariously.

          • That video was definitely not as it seemed. Fortunately!!!! If you do watch notice that the painting is far too bad to convince anyone it was a real football. Also it was only painted on one side, the side toward the camera, so if his mate hadn’t been aware that it wasn’t a proper ball he would have noticed before he kicked it. So thankfully just a fake video but stupid to give other idiots ideas!

          • Ok this is a story of my Cowboy/Indian Pop. You see as he got older he paid for that life as a cowboy- lots of broken bones, arthritis,etc. Because he moved deliberately
            people thought he was weak,etc.He was working in a hardware store, when this punk decided to play a “trick” on him by nailing his work boots to the floor. he used them
            to unload frieght as he lashed them tight around his bad ankles ( separate incidents involving both equine and bovine creatures and being rolled on/run over.) .Pop saw
            what he had done, Simply walked over to the Punk,and placed his hands on his shoulders and looked at him with what I always called his “Wolf eyes” when he
            was mad .”Say Bob, I need some help here. Someone nailed my shoes to the floor.”
            “I need YOU to help me unload that load of Batteries.” He had this way of communication of his ah anger that he had a look of a Timberwolf looking at a nice fat sheep… Bob unloaded the truck while pop watched…

      • Oh you lucky thing. I’m “well jell’ as my daughter would say. There’s nothing quite like watching sport on holiday with beer at 2 Euros a pint. When we were in Lanzy I watched the Reading/Arsenal 7-5 thriller in a little bar in PdC. Great fun.
        Have a lovely time and I also hope England do well, although not too well as my green genes come to the fore around this time of year …

        • “Well Jell” ROFL 😀 I must take the very next opportunity to drop that into a conversation…
          Have just realised what COYR stands for…
          Lansdowne Rd is not a place England particularly like to visit, I would be a little more confident if we were playing Ireland at Twickenham…
          We are going to attempt a walk from La Corona to Jameos del Agua following the route of the tube, so I will be revisiting your schplendid articles…
          The local brews are not bad, I think the Dorada just edges the Tropical, but as long as it’s wet and icy cold…

  3. I got some mins so i am going to try to update the community on whats going on in the volcano wrold.
    Mike Ross linked a youtube video of White Island some days ago. He did it again today on Eriks blog eruptions.
    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=316885808431778
    If you compare the 2… here is the old one…http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=315762708544088
    it really looks as if the crater floor would be drying up.
    What this means… no clue… i am a layman.

    • Ah the bad boys of Kamchatka . The “Green Tomato summer makers for the US
      west coast…
      Speaking of that there was a 5.3 off the coast of Coos Bay/ Bandon Oregon this Am…

  4. Schteve here my script for capuring the webcams to timelapse:

    Pre-requistes:
    Linux OS
    perl is installed on your OS
    RPMFusion is installed on your OS (this is a repository that allows yum install of ffmpeg)

    I have created a /root/tolbachik on my OS and in there i locate 2 scripts:

    photoGrab.pl
    convert.sh

    photoGrab.pl is used to pull jpegs from the webcam sites and save it into a sub-directory on you system. I create a subfolder for each volcanoe i want to watch..

    convert.sh is used to pull all the jpegs in a sub-directory into an mp4 in the same subdirectory. After i do this i normall mv the jpegs into an archive sub-folder

    an example of execution for tolbachik every 60 seconds:

    perl photoGrab.pl tolbachik 60

    then after a while you can run the conver.sh:

    ./convert tolbachik

    Here are the 2 scripts (between the tags:
    photoGrab.pl:

    #! /bin/perl -w
    my $jpg;
    print “$ARGV[0]\n”;

    #argument 1 is the name of the volcano to watch
    #argument 2 is the time to sleep in seconds between webcam updates
    #you need a sub directory of the same name in which to save the jpegs too
    #THERE IS NO ERROR CHECKING
    #to capture tolbachik tun: perl photoGrab.pl tolbachik 60
    my $volc = $ARGV[0];
    while(1)
    {
    for(my $i=0; $i<360; $i++)
    {
    @timeData = localtime(time);

    $month = $timeData[4] +1;
    $year = $timeData[5] +1900;
    if($volc eq "stromboli")
    {
    system("wget http://www.ct.ingv.it//sezioniesterne/webcam/WebcamEolie.php&quot;);
    #open the file and search for the string match
    open (TEST_DATA, "WebcamEolie.php");
    while ()
    {
    if($_ =~ m/^Ultimo aggiornamento/)
    {
    #change Sqt to pic some other webcam view
    #Sqt = close up thermal
    #Sqv = close up visual
    #there is also Spt, Spv, Vvt and Vlv
    m/(Sqt\/\d{8}\/\d{4}\/Sqt\d{4}.jpg)/;
    print (“$1\n”);
    $jpg = $1;
    }
    }
    close(TEST_DATA);
    unlink (“WebcamEolie.php”);
    system(“wget http://www.ct.ingv.it/dati/webcams/$jpg“);
    }
    if($volc eq “colimo”)
    {
    #I think this was colimo, but it was offline at the time i added it and never tested it
    #system(“wget http://www.opentopia.com/images/data/cams/9360/big.jpg“);
    }
    if($volc eq “tolbachik”)
    {
    system(“wget http://www.emsd.ru/video/Tolbachik/img_1.jpg“);
    #TODO add timestamp to jpeg image, note the timestamp is local time, it should really be changed to the timezone you are capturing the image from
    #system(“./addTimeStamp.sh img_1.jpg $timeData[2]_$timeData[1]_$timeData[0]_$timeData[3]_$month_$year”)
    }
    if($volc eq “whiteIsland”)
    {
    system(“wget http://www.geonet.org.nz/p/volcano/cameras/latest/whiteislandcraterfloor.jpg“);
    }

    if($volc eq “tongariro”)
    {
    system(“wget http://www.geonet.org.nz/p/volcano/cameras/latest/tongariro.jpg“);
    }

    #move the image into sub_folder and add timestamp to filename.
    system(“mv *.jpg ./$volc/$year$month$timeData[3]_$timeData[2]_$timeData[1]_$timeData[0].jpg”);

    #time in seconds to sleep before grabbing the next picture
    #for tolbachick every 60 seconds, whiteIsland and tongario every 900 seconds
    sleep $ARGV[0];
    }
    }

    convert.sh (note the copyright, I have modified this script a slight bit from where i copied it from)

    #!/bin/bash

    # Simple Camera Image Archiver by Stephen Cropp of skcservices.com
    # Copyright (C) 2011 by Stephen Cropp

    # This script is released under the terms of the BSD license.
    # You can find a summary and text of the license terms at the following website
    # http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BSD/

    # THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY STEPHEN CROPP “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED
    # WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
    # MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO
    # EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT,
    # INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES
    # (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR
    # SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER
    # CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY,
    # OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE
    # OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

    #ldate=$(date +%Y%m%d -d “1 hour ago”)
    #lhour=$(date +%H -d “1 hour ago”)

    #archive=/root/tolbachik/archive
    #recordings=/root/tolbachik/recordings

    volcano=$1

    x=1;
    for f in $(ls -r -t $volcano/*jpg); do
    counter=$(printf %04d $x);
    cp “$f” /root/tolbachik/tmp/cam1_”$counter”.jpg;
    x=$(($x+1));
    done
    ffmpeg -y -f image2 -r 4 -i /root/tolbachik/tmp/cam1_%04d.jpg $volcano/timelapse.mp4
    rm /root/tolbachik/tmp/cam1_*.jpg

    Let me know if you have any problems

    Here you are Greg – it was stuck in the vaults
    Kilgharrah

    • Thank you very much for sharing your script, Greg. Since I once spend one hour sheepishly downloading an image every minute from Tolbachik I can very much appreciate this (although don´t use Linux). You don´t know by chance how to achieve this in a Windows OS?

        • Don’t be disheartened. Cygwin is essentially a virtual linux machine. All I was mentioning was that with all the socket calls that the script uses, there might be an issue when Windows imposes it’s protections on the Cygwin environment.

          A lot of opensource programs achieve cross platform windows functionality by using Cygwin.

          I’ve run into this sort of thing when fiddling around with Pearl for Windows. (3.51 and 2K) It can get quite obstinate. During this timeframe, I’m pretty sure that B Gates may have had a few uneasy feelings as I was cursing his very existence. And I wasn’t the only one.
          Collective Ill will may actually have an effect.

          • You could pull down VBox, install it and run your favorite Linux version as a VM within Win. Still have socket call issues depending on what you do. Cheers –

          • I second the Virtualbox (or VMWare) solution. Quite slick on reasonably endowed computers–mainly RAM memory.

            A live CD or USB flash drive is also a painless quite handy way to try out Linux and see if it might suit you.

    • Thanks Greg, I am unfortunately not running Linux either… Dfm who comments and plots here uses it, and maybe others (lurkers?) So I hope it will spark some interesting comments/ videos.
      Would you mind if we snagged your instructions and put them somewhere safe for future reference? I have an idea that Dfm is in Tenerife and it would be a shame to lose this in comments…

    • Thanks for this — really useful. This is great with the process description and commenting, I look forward to working through it and learning more Linux scripting.

      • Hi mnsteve, please feel free to share yr results here 😀 Timelapses are great for us amateur observers, and can be schpectacular… This is way beyond my amateur codiot abilities; (excel, movie maker and wordpress is pushing the computer skills envelope for me…) but I love the idea of setting the script running when you leave for work then coming home to see what you’ve got…

        • This may be of interest to those intimidated by that PERL script. Greg motivated me to look into this and I found a script that makes timelapse from a webcam dirt easy.

          Stop Motion and Time-Lapse Toolkit from CorticalCafe
          http://corticalcafe.com/software_stop_motion_toolkit.htm

          It’s a Linux (bash) script but the author thinks should work in cygwin under Windows. (If enough interest I might be persuaded to check it out and create a HowTo for Windows users.)

          It has basic but very adequate options and looks kind of command line-ish but don’t let that put you off. It was very easy to create a timelapse of Etna–sorry don’t know how to post videos. (somebody care to educate me?)

          Being a bash script it might be easy to have it work with Greg’s script to make it a little more volcano centric.

          • Hi mnsteve,
            best to upload to:
            http://www.youtube.com/
            Select upload, follow the instrictions, if you copy the link from the page where you actually watch yr video, it should automatically embed here…
            You will need to register, but if you already have gmail or another google account your user name and password will work…
            Cheers for your research, I would be very interested in something reasonably straightforward which works with windows 🙂

          • Hi mnsteve and schteve42

            I took a look at the script you referenced. It looks quite simple, and as the author pointed out it might work in cygwin…but in my opinion cygwin is bloated with lots of stuff you dont need, I am looking at a windows option that is very light weight.

            Perl might be a bit scary to those who do not program, but Perl contains regular expression capabilitty that i dont think is possible in bash script. The regular expressions is used to pull out the link to jpeg from php pages. You can see an example in my script for Stromboli.

            I am working on a windows version of my scripts that is very light weight, it uses wget, ffmpeg and batch files…no Perl, no cygwin (but off course the ability to pull jpegs from php is lost, but i dont think that is a big deal).

  5. Thank you Lurking. Once again you work your ” magic” . I remember struggling with these concepts in the late 1950’s in my science classes. Then we were supposed to just learn and accept. I always wanted some more “in depth” explanation. Thinking back I have a nasty feeling Miss Gutteridge (Unkindly nicknamed “Splutter-Guts” due to the fact nobody ever wanted to sit at the fron bench within range of her voluminous amount of spittal produced when she got angry or excited) did not actually fully understand most of the physics in the syllabus.
    The result was, that as I could not fully comprehend or rather visualise the construction of an atom., or rather it’s size, I decided I was not very bright and switched myself of from asking “Silly” questions.
    Thankfully over the years I did not give up on my blonde brain. I know one should never look back and feel regrets but I know now that if I had more faith in myself I could have perhaps taken different life paths. I now revel in the fact that I actually really understand posts like this and that it is OK to ask questions.
    A nice revision post and reminder that going over old ground reinforces knowledge and often provides insights that trigger questions.

  6. Talking about Uranium to Thorium decay which produces alpha particles: They become Helium isotope 4 when catching two electrons. It is naturally and always formed in earth´s crust (someone said UrTh a while ago 😉 ).

    Another, but rare, Helium isotope is Helium 3 (two protons, one neutron). It is thought to be produced by fission and bombardement with high-energy cosmic rays, so what we find on earth was produced before our solar system even existed. It is primordial and depletes over time into space.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3

    Vulcanologists often look for the He3 to He4 ratio in volcanic gases relative to the ratio in earth´s atmosphere (Ra) to have a clue about the source of the magma. It it´s of deep origin, it still should contain relatively high Helium 3.

    Hawaii´s magma has up to 30Ra, meaning it may tap from pristine, mostly undegassed mantle, mid oceanic rift basalts about 8Ra.

    Fun with atoms 🙂

    • This is the sort of thing that this post was intended to augment. Thanks!

      (btw, also thanks for the He discussion, I have been searching for decay products for quite some time in order to try and puzzle out the He ratios)

      Humor is where you find it: The other day, I was talking with my stepson, he asked about where the heat for the magma comes from. I led him into the kitchen and handed him a banana. Then I went into a talk about heat of accretion and how the Uranium 238 and Potassium 40 decay augments the normal heat loss. Then I told him about the banana. (rich in potassium)

    • Doesn’t Helium 3 also come from the solar wind and isn’t it one of the main reasons to go out and harvest it on the moon & meteors?

  7. I’m not sure if this was ever mentioned on here, but I figured it’s worth posting.

    http://japandailypress.com/japanese-scientist-predicts-mount-fuji-to-erupt-by-2015-1021229

    It’s another “eruption prediction” of Fuji (seems we get these every 6 months?). While I have no clue how they’re measuring the pressure inside the magma chamber, or better yet, how they know the magma pressure prior to eruption 300 years ago, there are a few noteworthy points in the article.

    Most notable to me is the mention of cracks in the edifice, and a collapse of a roadway tunnel, indicating inflation in the volcano. I really think this is just another typical “scare” article, but if there are phreataic events along with growing cracks in the mountain, perhaps there is some truth that an eruption *could* be coming within the next decade.

    • This came out a few weeks ago, and was soundly blasted for “measuring” the pressure in the chamber… which is pretty near impossible to do.

      However, what the rebuttal failed to note, was that it can be calculated based on deformation and the ever versatile Mogi model and it’s cousins. Sure, you get a hefty margin of error, but it gets you into the ballpark where you can at least start thinking about it.

  8. When speaking of electron shells it is better to state the number of permitted electrons as:

    2+6+10+14
    s +p +d +f

    When looked at this way, the pattern is obvious.

  9. Regarding the webcapture..i will see if i can do it in Windows, i was thinking of cygwin myself…..the main reqequirements are:

    wget (to get the jpeg from the wecam)
    ffmpeg (to convert the jpeds to video)

    the rest is just scripting which can be done with a bat file

          • No not really, If you write it you are the author, so do as you please, and i would appretiate it very much if you would write a post out of that.
            Just send it to my email or in case you want to edit it yourself, just let me know.

          • Just one thing even though it is not really fitting with this topic… posts look nicer if they have an image added. Seems posts with images also get more attention.

    • Greg, see my reply to your script discussion above.

      The Timelapse Toolkit script I found is stand alone but I think there is great potential to have it work with your script. Also found another one called fswebcam that might be very useful but haven’t checked it out yet.

      Wouldn’t mind corresponding with you on this. I make not claim to expertise but I do like tinkering with scripts.

        • OK, I’ll leave the Windows/cygwin how-to on the back burner. Didn’t relish working in windows again anyway.

          Meanwhile I’ve used fswebcam to enhance the stopmotion script referenced above to get some additional features–like cropping just the portion of the webcam image that you’re interested in. Have a good example (tobalchik) of it but still having issues with youtube–maybe I can get a dragon to attach it to this comment.

  10. Updates from Iceland: large steam columns visible today going above Hengill volcano. Probably either there are dong fracking in the steam holes, or Hengill has increases geothermal activity today. So far, no earthquake swarm started there.

    Second update: some curious earthquakes have taken place in recent days around Eyjafjallajokull, Katla, Hekla, Vatnsfjoll, Tindfjallajokull and Torfajokull, that region, all neighbouring volcanoes close to each other. The quakes have mostly bad quality, so probably one of these is the responsible volcano, it looks like Torfajokull.

    Also an interesting swarm north of Tungnafellsjokull.

  11. Hi folks, I have a post or two ready, on Icelandic volcanoes. To where (email address) should I send to? To Spica?

    • Best to send to Spica… Will look forward to those Irpsit, I may have to take a sneaky peak… 🙂
      Lizzie and I are thinking of paying a visit to Iceland in the next year or so, and I have a (possibly silly) question… Is there a time of year when there is a decent chance of seeing the Northern Lights but with (potentially) good enough weather to visit some volcanoes?
      We are fairly able walkers, definately not mountaineers…

  12. To Schteve

    I’m catching up to the last posts and seen your excel questions relating El Hierro.
    If I can be of any help I have some material….and some way to get the data from some format to another.

    Feel free….

    • Hi Dfm,
      I think I have solved it now… thanks though. I may pick your brains at some point in the future.
      Karenz and Cryphia kindly provided me with speadsheets, but then I could not get them updated properly… It spurred me on to do the whole thing myself; I had not previously noticed the Text to Columns tool in the Data dropdown menu :blush: Once I’d found that, it was quick work… and I have some plots already done. The post won’t be finished for a while, partly because the goalposts keep moving…
      Have you been to Tenerife? I noticed that you have not been around for a while.

      • Yup got back today. Litterally A-ma-zing. I did a few hikes around 2000 m in the lava fields. Got bigger/more effective lungs in the process. Visited a lava tube. Saw some fumaroles about 3600 m high. Got still bugger lungs in the process. Had to get back…

        If you want to reuse some plots feel free to ask. Also I know quite well ffmpeg and avconv (the last version). For the spreadsheet I do it the “hard” way. I download the last txt file from ign open it replace spaces with “,” save, open in opencalc (or xl) and save as csv. I’m too lazy to do a script for that.

          • Sorry I’m not gonna edit that, too funny…
            One good thing about using the (admittedly crappy) microsoft os (I’m still using xp and excel 2003, which at least are bug free…) is that when you know how, these things tie together quite well, the lost days were spent trying to do what you describe above to obtain a database… which windows would not accept, even when I threatened it with the “fine adjuster”
            Glad you enjoyed Tenerife, was it yr first time? The Canadas are awesome, and you made it to the very top too?

          • Ahh Microsoft. Remember the _NSAKEY musings?

            Quite some time back, while knee deep in getting my mail-server up and running, I ran across a story about an ISP up in Georgia that had their mail server seized by the FBI. They way the story went was that they had done nothing wrong. An application that the FBI used to gather evidence had inadvertantly dumped it all on the mail-server and they wanted to rummage through it and pick it out of all of the spool files. Then I learned about this beauty and quit using US based antiviral software for a while.

            It’s only paranoia until you find out that it’s real.

          • What ya gonna do, hey….google and amazon give it up to any government that has the ability to interfere with their market…

            You may have noticed that I’m a sci-fi/ dystopia afficianado…The 5th Element (movie) portrays this well (and schtylishly)

        • Bah… all I saw was a massive steam plume rising above the trees from 5 miles away.

          And in the back of my mind. ‘Yeah, it’s the paper-mill, but wouldn’t that be a trip if it were real?’

          • Did you have shore leave in Santa Cruz de Tenerife?
            Maybe you schtopped off in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria too?
            Though I guess you weren’t on a pleasure cruise…

          • No.. this was today as I was trying to get to a small town 55 miles inland over in the next county. At the time I was negotiating with another vehicle as to who owned the lane. Neither one of us won the lane arbitration. The law of gross tonnage won. We both deferred to the tractor trailer rig. He weighed more that the two of us combined, he can have the lane. Looked up and saw the plume and the mental note scribbling began.

            As for cruises… the last time I was at sea was in 2000. The last non US port I was in was Cobh. And the last overseas love that I had was Murphys Stout. Along that same line of thought… the last mass grave I went to was for the Lusitania victims. I did run across a few headstones (not part of the Lusitania grave) that read ‘Ó Súilleabháin’ which was a bit creepy. On my mothers side, we are sullivans. It was the sort of thing that makes you stand there and ponder your existence, and grow impatient for that beer.

            There is a museum in Cobh that details some of the history of the place, and significant events, such as the potato famine. One placard noted that the US had sent some aid in the form of corn meal. The placard listed a few recipe’s for how to cook it. I found that a bit funny. Corn meal was a regular fare in the form of corn bread, fritters, and all sorts of items when I was growing up. The US Navy had a use for it that I was unaware of until I saw it on the messline one evening. Essentially, it is chill macaroni with a layer of cornbread cooked on top. It may sound odd, but it’s good. I have yet to duplicate it. Great with Tabasco sauce, (though I am not fond of tobacco sauce… too vinegary for me)

          • Murphy’s is an excellent breakfast stout, very good with a proper fry-up: eggs, bacon, sausages, white pudding, baked beans, mushrooms, bubble n’ schqueak etc…

          • I made up about 12 lbs of venison sausage last week. It got decent comments, though to me, they look more like brats. I sort of cheated and snuck a some extra cayenne into the mix before stuffing the casings.

            I also found that I hate the smell of casings.

  13. Overheard today:
    “Are you in the military?” ‘Yes.’
    “I’ll need to see a copy of your orders” ‘Uh, whats that? ‘

    I just silently sat there, mentally shaking my head. (I wasn’t party to the conversation, but if you are going to feign military service, you had better know the right answers, and be prepared for the consequences of when it is found out you are lying. This person actually was in the military, but their bag of clues had just run out.)

    • I once got the third degree for saying “eight-teen” instead of “one eight” while reciting my SSN, because the guy said his keyboard only goes to 9. I would have explained how he could have fixed that problem but he was a Marine Staff Sergeant, and I don’t like being yelled at.

  14. Woot!

    Hello!
    I am Rita, I am 27 y.o.
    I search for boy-friend.
    My photos and new message for you here:

    Website address redacted.


    The exciting thing about this spam, is that the address that it hit has only been active for 2 weeks, and was only been used to reset an ICQ account. (yeah, I still have an ICQ account. At this point, what difference does it make?) In the three or so years since it was linked to ICQ, it has been dead. (Until I had it reactivated)

    {grin}

    • I’ve got an old e-mail account from the 90s that probably has a million spam messages in it. Too bad I forgot my password and username!

  15. I’ve quoted Author C. Clarke before. On of the ideas that he came up with (at least it’s attributed to him) is the idea of putting satellites into orbit so that they could relay communications across the world. This is the Clarke Belt. At about 35,786km elevation, at this elevation, the orbital period of a satellite would be 24 hours and it would seem to hang in one spot in the sky.

    On February 15, 2013, 2012 DA14 is projected to pass within this distance to the Earth. There is no evaluated risk of impact.

    But if it didwhat would it be like? At about 8930 meters, this 45 meter chunk of rock would detonate, Tunguska style, and possibly shower the surface with chunks of debris moving up to about 5.6 km/s. Essentially, a shotgun blast.

  16. Hi Geolurking

    nice and good post about atoms and some the basis leading to analysis technique un chemistry.

    well done again.

    To Schteve
    could not make it to the very summit I will explain why later this could be useful counsel to other people. Anyway the view from the platform is really impressive enough plus you can hike a bit around so well worth the trip.
    Was a first time on tenerife (but went to LZ a few years ago and to CG last year) and there are really more things to do volcano related there. Also Teide is a pretty large and complex volcano.

  17. I simply want to tell you that I am just beginner to blogging and honestly savored this website. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your website . You absolutely have excellent articles and reviews. Cheers for sharing with us your webpage.

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