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Mapping a Monster Volcano

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the shhh-it's-sleeping dept.

Earth 105

bmahersciwriter (2955569) writes In one of the biggest-ever seismology deployments at an active volcano, researchers are peppering Mount St Helens in Washington state with equipment to study the intricate system of chambers and pipes that fed the most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This month, they plan to set off 24 explosions — each equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake — around around the slumbering beast in an effort to map the its interior with unprecedented depth and clarity.

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And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408293)

'most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This month, they plan to set off 24 explosions — each equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake — around around the slumbering beast in an effort to map the its interior with unprecedented depth and clarity.'

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 2 months ago | (#47408295)

It's always a bad idea to assume a good idea.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about 2 months ago | (#47408319)

What could go wrong?

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408357)

Keep in mind the scale is logarithmic. Magnitude 2 is nothing to worry about. It really is a bit of sensationalism to even include that in the article. I'd much rather see the explosions given in megatons.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408671)

I'd much rather see the explosions given in megatons.

~15 kg of TNT worth of energy, so about 0.000 000 015 megatons. Although surface explosions, and even buried ones, couple their energy poorly to seismic waves, so they will actually be using 1000-2000 lb of explosives (according to their public information sheet on their website, doesn't say what kind of explosive). So alternatively about 0.000 001 megatons.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47411519)

One millionth of a megaton? What does that work out to?

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

Otter Popinski (1166533) | about 2 months ago | (#47408549)

For starters, you could accidentally let the clowns out of the circus.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408589)

Because the Clowns always get out of the Circus when you mine too deep for the Candy. >:)

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408781)

Nothing. Even if you dropped a nuke into the volcano, it wouldn't cause a volcanic eruption.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47410471)

It could. Think of it this way. If I have a compressed air cylinder just sitting here, nothing is going to happen. But if I start hitting it with a hammer, eventually it will weaken the cylinder to the point where the pressure is too great to maintain, and the cylinder will explode.

Lacking any evidence otherwise, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that an explosion could cause whatever is holding back the pressure in a volcano to become weakened and rupture.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408823)

No worries, it's actually a secret plot by the Scientologists to release Xenu.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47409437)

I guess Washington is going to become the new Florida.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

lbmouse (473316) | about 2 months ago | (#47408389)

Nothing like pokin' the bear.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 months ago | (#47408469)

But it is scientist approved.
Or are you going to go back on the scientific process and just join the same group as climate change deniers.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408521)

your statement seems to indicate faith in arbitrary scientists. The Scientific process is great and all, but even some experiments are, just that, experiments to collect data and prove some hypothesis, if the experiments are risky in themselves... idk. I at least think toying with our only planet's seismic activity in the name of science is risky.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408685)

Isnt this how Kyrpton was destroyed? Playing around with the planets interior? Why are we doing this?

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408845)

Your statement indicate you have no idea how volcanoes work. Volcanic eruptions are caused by phenomenons that occur deep below the volcano itself. Nothing you do on surface can cause an eruption. Even nuking the volcano would not cause an eruption.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47409133)

That depends on the yield and placement of the nuke, doesn't it?

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47410529)

Your statement indicate you have no idea how volcanoes work.

Not completely, but I know pressure is involved. I also know that if I start hitting a compressed air cylinder with a hammer, it will weaken the metal and cause it to rupture, exploding. So with those two things in mind, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that setting off a large enough explosion in or around a volcano could potentially trigger an eruption.

If I am wrong, then please explain why. I love learning more, and "you're wrong, just trust me" does not teach me anything.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47411459)

The closest explosion to the volcano itself will be nearly 20 km, with most of them further than that. If it was just a matter of pressure, than the pressure from those explosions would be the same as a magnitude 4 Earth quake within 200 km, and that has happened dozens of times in the years since the eruption (not counting the earthquakes right next to the volcano). Either way it is just a matter of time if that were the case. Also you would expect more such complaints to come up in relation to proposals to strip mine areas just outside the national park there, using far more explosives than this would use...

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47414407)

Ok, so in this instance, it won't. While that is good to know, the AC [slashdot.org] that I was responding to (which may or may not be you) was claiming that man-made explosions can never trigger volcanic eruptions. And that still seems unlikely, that regardless of the explosive power of the explosive, regardless of the makeup of the landscape, it can never happen.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (2)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a month and a half ago | (#47423115)

proposals to strip mine areas

There are intermittent efforts to develop various mineral resources in that area. But the details in the press are limited. What I can see is compatible with anything between literally tearing a mountainside apart and turning it into dust to driving an adit into the hillside and following a vein. That's a large variety of different mining techniques.

The people of the area have procedures for assessing environmental damage likelihood, and for balancing the likely effects of employment in a mining operation versus the (possible / probable) loss of tourism income. I'll let them argue that question.

Meanwhile, at the weekend I'm thinking of going up a very nice mountain which I know, but where there is ongoing disagreement between the locals (who want to develop a gold mine and have jobs to keep the young men in the area) and the regional capital (who want to keep the hillside pretty for tourism). And as both a geologist (interested in the minerals) and a mountaineer (who loves the whole area), I'm going to keep my mouth shut and my ears open.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a month and a half ago | (#47423077)

As I say up-thread, the important issue is the length of fracture that you can create with your explosion, and whether that penetrates far enough into the volcano (cylinder) to increase the stress level in the remaining material to the point at which the fracture will continue to propagate after the fracture initiating event (explosion).

Understanding fracture propagation is a pretty basic part of materials science, and (probably) fundamental to many courses in mechanical engineering. (I'm a geologist, and we covered it un structural geology. But mechanical engineers of my acquaintance when I was a student studied the same material at a different part of their course. They also did a bit of geology - you need a bit to understand what you're building foundations in/ on.)

Try https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] for a starter.

Incidentally, I've seen a charged compressed air cylinder fall 10m and land on rough boulders. With about 250bar of air inside, we leapt for shelter, expecting it to go off like a bomb, but it didn't. So, somewhat gingerly, the person who dropped it came down the rope and carried on "Sherpa-ing" it into the cave where the diver was going to use it. We gave the a hydraulic test the next day, and it passed, but with that dent in it, it was never going to pass a visual inspection, so it was relegated to the back of the club's air bank.

I don't recommend treating cylinders like that, but they're not as delicate as you'd think. Well, not the steel ones ; I don't know anyone who uses aluminium tanks.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a month and a half ago | (#47423037)

Wearing my "Rig Geologist" hard hat, I'd not say that.

Even nuking the volcano would not cause an eruption.

You could trigger an eruption with a relatively small explosion - enough to displace a few hundred cubic metres of rock - BUT only if the volcano were already on the brink of erupting already. You'd need to have magma or gasses to within a few hundred metres of surface.

You'd feel the earthquakes from the rising magma for at least several days before the event. You might not notice the earthquakes - if you had a lot of background seismic activity, for example - but getting magma from a deeper magma chamber to within a few hundreds of metres of the surface would result in both earthquakes and also appreciable ground movement. Which is precisely why volcanic observatories deploy networks of local seismographs, tilt-meters, and latterly (D)GPS stations to, errr, observe the volcano they're trying to observe.

Basically, I agree with you. But we do have techniques capable of causing fractures in rocks for up to several hundreds of metres, so there is a necessary caveat.

(Just to poke a popular screaming point for the geologically ill-informed, most oil and gas wells subjected to fracking are several kilometres below any exploited aquifers. but fracking fractures rarely exceed a couple of hundred metres in length.)

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

h5inz (1284916) | about 1 month ago | (#47409075)

Soviets made a safety experiment with a nuclear reactor in Chernobyl. It didn't go wrong at all.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (2)

Carnildo (712617) | about 1 month ago | (#47411171)

Soviets made a safety experiment with a nuclear reactor in Chernobyl. It didn't go wrong at all.

Correct. The 1982, 1984, and 1985 tests [wikipedia.org] of using rotational energy of the turbines to power the emergency pumping system all went just fine. The 1986 disaster happened when the operator ignored the test procedure (specifically, the instruction "Reduce reactor thermal output to between 700MW and 800MW. If reactor thermal power output drops below 700MW, abort test and shut down reactor" -- the operator reduced the power to 30MW, raised it to 200MW, and attempted to perform the test).

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47413571)

Wikipedia claims that it (the 700MW limit) was not in the official regulations at that time. Wikipedia also claims that "Operating Procedures and design documentation for the RBMK-1000 is extremely contradictory," My point is that it is a fact that people have messed up dangerous experiments before and probably will be.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#47408917)

There's absolutely no difference between "faith in scientists" and "faith in wise men". If you believe the conclusions of some area of science because you did some research and you understand, at least shallowly, the arguments and evidence, then you can claim a difference from religion. But anything you just believe because the "smart people" say it's so? That's religious faith, plain and simple.

(It's also quite silly to disbelieve something just because of its source, of course, though skepticism is often warranted.)

If you can observe it, it is not religion (4, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 1 month ago | (#47409221)

But anything you just believe because the "smart people" say it's so? That's religious faith, plain and simple.

Wrong. There is one HUGE and critical difference. I can at any time I wish attempt to duplicate the experiment of the scientist. With religion there is no possibility of confirming the assertions of religious "wise men" because they are making claims that cannot be falsified. For example I haven't actually gotten out a telescope to confirm the existence of the moon Titan around Saturn even though plenty of scientists assure me it is there. However I can actually do so any time I wish. That is not religion, it is simply pragmatism. I don't have time to confirm everything for myself but I'm willing to lend more credence to observations I can replicate myself if I so choose.

Religion is taking something on blind faith that cannot be confirmed with observation. That is enormously different than trusting to a scientist who is describing his observations.

Re:If you can observe it, it is not religion (1)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | about 1 month ago | (#47409349)

The fact that you COULD observe it, doesn't mean you actually will. Thus, until you actually observe it yourself, your knowledge of reality is still coming through faith. For one, you believe that the person telling you these things actually knows what he is talking about, and also that he is not attempting to lie to you. I very much doubt that many could afford a telescope that could see Titan, and so their knowledge will never rise above a simple belief that the scientist knows better than he does and he is not deceptive.

Faith in a human being can go wrong, but, let's be honest, there just isn't enough time, nor talent, nor energy nor equipment to verify everything that the experts say. Our knowledge of these things comes through hearing them from others, and thus implies at least a rudimentary faith in their competence and veracity. I might add that the confidence we have in the findings of others is necessary for the progress of human knowledge. No one would get very far if each of us had to rediscover calculus or remeasure the basic physical constants of the universe. It is faith in the metaphysical assumptions of truth, veracity and verifiability that make science possible, but the large corpus of observation is largely based on confidence in another human being.

I might add that the criteria of 'duplication' in many of the most advanced areas of physics are close to impossible for all but a very select few. Not everyone can build a hadron collider in their backyard....

Trust != Faith (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 1 month ago | (#47409535)

The fact that you COULD observe it, doesn't mean you actually will.

Which is irrelevant. Nobody has time to observe everything themselves. If it becomes important that I confirm it for myself then I will take the time and effort to do so.

Thus, until you actually observe it yourself, your knowledge of reality is still coming through faith.

Wrong. Trust is not the same thing as faith. I trust that which I have the ability to confirm even if only in theory. I trust the scientific process because I have copious evidence that (in general) it works AND I always have the option of confirming for myself if needed. There is no need for me to try to confirm every scientific observation myself. There is no need for BLIND faith either because I always have the option to confirm the observation should I feel the need.

I very much doubt that many could afford a telescope that could see Titan, and so their knowledge will never rise above a simple belief that the scientist knows better than he does and he is not deceptive.

No one needs to buy a telescope to see Titan because you can simply borrow one. Any local astronomy club almost assuredly has one you can use. And even if you did need to buy one, such a telescope is not very expensive. I have one sitting 30 feet from me as I type this which isn't terribly powerful or well maintained.

I might add that the criteria of 'duplication' in many of the most advanced areas of physics are close to impossible for all but a very select few.

As long as the results can be duplicated independently by more than one group then we are good. Some observations are more difficult than others but they remain observations rather than blind faith. Your argument is a strawman.

Re:Trust != Faith (1)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | about 1 month ago | (#47409989)

Actually, by definition, faith is:

defn: [merriam-webster.com] : strong belief or trust in someone or something.

Thus your ability to confirm is based upon a certain trust in the validity of the scientific process. It does not mean that it is unreasonable, but simply that it is of something that you cannot observe.

As far as the 'duplicated independently', certainly that increases the validity of the measurement. But the question arises: what if there is only one instrument that can measure the phenomenon [such as CERN] ? How much is this really duplicated independently? If the ruler is marked wrong, everyone will be measuring wrong. The foundation of science is more subtle than just the ability to duplicate observations.

Re:Trust != Faith (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 1 month ago | (#47411681)

Yes, Science is a philosophy, the scientific method is the implementation of that philosophy. The only faith required by Science is that the real world exists and can be observed by others [youtube.com] .

Re:If you can observe it, it is not religion (1)

Tamerlin (940577) | about 1 month ago | (#47416883)

The fact that you COULD observe it, doesn't mean you actually will. Thus, until you actually observe it yourself, your knowledge of reality is still coming through faith.

That's not at all correct. It's based on reason.

When a competent scientist publishes a result, they also publish the methods that they used to achieve it. Part of the scientific process is to validate them by having 3rd parties reproduce those results. That becomes evidence.

Incredibly stupid people will claim that because it's not proven it must be wrong, but science is rarely cut and dried as the religious imbeciles want everyone to believe. When 98% of the scientific community says that there is a 90+% chance that we're right about a given assertion or hypothesis, then I believe it, because I understand the rigor of the scientific process, not because of faith in some vague, amorphous all powerful being that you really shouldn't think about because thinking about it leads to thinking and thinking leads to free will, and people with free will who can think stop believing in religious foolishness and stop giving money to the corrupt church.

Re:If you can observe it, it is not religion (1)

lgw (121541) | about 1 month ago | (#47409369)

Wrong. There is one HUGE and critical difference. I can at any time I wish attempt to duplicate the experiment of the scientist.

Sure, that's cool. Have you? Or are you taking it on faith?

With religion there is no possibility of confirming the assertions of religious "wise men" because they are making claims that cannot be falsified.

BS. Most of religion centers on claims about the right way to live - perhaps to have a happy life, or a successful community, or so on. Very testable claims. It's only the crazies who focus on the overlap between religion and biology/cosmology. That was never the interesting part of most religions anyhow.

For example I haven't actually gotten out a telescope to confirm the existence of the moon Titan around Saturn even though plenty of scientists assure me it is there.

Really? I have. It's fun. Or maybe it was Jupiter's moons (it was decades ago), but in any case, I certainly did the most basic and shallow and easy tests, as a child, before I was willing to believe people in this area of science.

Many of the details I of course take on faith - after all, it won't affect my daily life if they're wrong, but I do try to follow the math and understand the more important experimental results in each area of science I care about. Only in quantum mechanics do I feel I'm still taking too much on faith, as the math there is just so much damn work to even understand the most basic results.

Religion is taking something on blind faith that cannot be confirmed with observation. That is enormously different than trusting to a scientist who is describing his observations.

Again, you have a very narrow view of religion. I suspect you've spent as little time studying religion as you have studying science, yet you have these very strong opinions about both - opinions based, I guess, on taking "what smart people say" on faith!

You not understand does not equal faith (3, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | about 1 month ago | (#47409829)

Sure, that's cool. Have you? Or are you taking it on faith?

Boy did you miss the point. The point is that I COULD. That is hugely different than simply taking what someone else said as the final word without questioning. What makes processes like science or open source software so powerful is not that I have to check everything myself to trust it. What makes them powerful is that I always have the opportunity to check for myself. If you cannot see the difference then there is not much I can help you with here.

BS. Most of religion centers on claims about the right way to live - perhaps to have a happy life, or a successful community, or so on.

Religions are based on nothing of the sort. Most religions are a philosophical interpretations of collection of fables detailing things that cannot be proven to reassure and generally to gain power over those who are insecure and afraid. All that nonsense about the "right way to live" is simply trying to put a digestible coating on a pile of unprovable nonsense. Telling people "god said to do it" is much easier to explain than actually making a rational argument about why killing other people is a bad idea.

Very testable claims.

Really? Prove to me that Jesus actually rose from the dead. Prove to me that there was a garden of Eden. Prove to me that Jesus or Mohammed actually said any of the things they are reputed to have said. Prove to me that there is a diety of any sort. The bible, the koran, etc upon which the major religions are based are based on nothing testable at all. They are stories told to prey upon vulnerable people's insecurities so that others may gain influence and power. Organized religion gives "answers" that cannot possibly be true or proven or known.

Only in quantum mechanics do I feel I'm still taking too much on faith, as the math there is just so much damn work to even understand the most basic results.

So because you are inadequate to the task of understanding quantum mechanics it becomes faith? Perhaps you feel the need to drag things you don't understand down to your level so you don't feel so bad about yourself. The observations are there to be made and whether you understand them or not is irrelevant to their existence. You not understanding doesn't make it faith. It simply means you don't know and there is no shame in admitting that.

Again, you have a very narrow view of religion. I suspect you've spent as little time studying religion as you have studying science

You know nothing of my background so you can keep your insults to yourself. I've plenty of background in both - enough that I find your assertion rather bemusing.

I have no patience for those who blindly follow religious dogma out of insecurity and then try to drag rational discourse down to the same level. If you want to believe in absurd things you have no basis for then by all means have at it. But don't expect me to follow along or condone your lunacy for even a moment.

Re:You not understand does not equal faith (1)

lgw (121541) | about 1 month ago | (#47410953)

Boy did you miss the point. The point is that I COULD. That is hugely different than simply taking what someone else said as the final word without questioning.

I don't get it. You're in fact taking what someone else said as the final word without questioning, but that's "hugely different" than taking what someone else said as the final word without questioning? Because you could do something you didn't? I'm not finding that argument coherent.

I'm skeptical by nature. Sure, there are many things I take on faith because they're just not interesting or important enough to question. I think that's true for everyone. But anything I have a strong opinion on, I've done some research myself, not just trusted the word of others. It seems from this thread that you don't work that way. You're arguing that you're not taking stuff on faith because it's possible for you to do the research, but you haven't? If that's your argument you're just wrong - you're still taking those things on faith.

You seem to have a very cynical view of religion, so extreme that you have your own personal definition of "on faith" that makes that phrase an insult? That's odd.

Sure, some religions are coupled with fables and creation stories and gods. Some aren't. Some have those things, but few think they're the important bit. Most world religions have lots of advice on how one should live - as an individual, as a member of a community, that their believers live by. You can look at whether those believers are happy and successful (did you know the average family income for Hindus in America is well into 6 figures?), or living in barbarous middle-age conditions. Some have an explicit focus on engineering the mind to make yourself happy - that seems neat, does it work, are they happy? These are very much testable philosophies of life.

Are you seriously arguing that it's rational to have strong opinions about X when you haven't done even the most basic diligence about X?

Re:You not understand does not equal faith (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 1 month ago | (#47412765)

So, I really like what you wrote here, because reproducibility is such an important part of science, and a lot of people miss it. At the same time, I'd like to quibble with one point:

Really? Prove to me that Jesus actually rose from the dead. Prove to me that there was a garden of Eden. Prove to me that Jesus or Mohammed actually said any of the things they are reputed to have said. Prove to me that there is a diety of any sort. The bible, the koran, etc upon which the major religions are based are based on nothing testable at all.

Verifying what happened in history is tough, but earlier I made a list of testable claims from various religions [slashdot.org] . I don't know if they're worth going to the effort of testing, but there they are.

Re:You not understand does not equal faith (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47412883)

Religions are based on nothing of the sort. Most religions are a philosophical interpretations of collection of fables detailing things that cannot be proven to reassure and generally to gain power over those who are insecure and afraid.

Did you notice the transition from a description of religion in general to "most" religions?

I did. It is called moving the goalposts. As an atheist, that offends me greatly. The guy calling you out is correct. Religion is too big of a basket - both collectively and within each religion itself - to lump 100% as fairytale fable faith.

Likewise, scientists are too ecclectic in process and action to lump 100% underneath the scientific method. In point of fact, it wouldn't surprise me that faith has LESS to do with religion than the scientific method has to do with scientists.

Lemme 'splain.

The only priest I know spends his hours fundraising for a broke-ass school in a poor neighborhood while holding together a rundown church. Other activities include urban renewal, recruiting new members to the church (they need the MONEY not the BELIEF). Likely there is food pantry and other charity for members but I don't know much about that. All the funerals too. A BIG BIG problem is that they have more funerals than baptisms. Both are work but the disproportion of one means keeping the community together gets harder and harder. He deals with people problems not which magic sky monkey to believe in problems.

Again, I'm an atheist. God can fuck off and all his followers can follow in the fucking off.

Some guy tailers his abstract with the "right" keywords to get published? Fuck him!

Re:If you can observe it, it is not religion (1)

meglon (1001833) | about 1 month ago | (#47410327)

Again, you're simply making stupid comments about something you don't know much about. You do not understand science. You can play your little word games, but in the end, you're just a religious mook trying to justify your belief.

Re:If you can observe it, it is not religion (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 1 month ago | (#47410771)

You conveniently ignore the religious aspects of modern left-wing thought in the environmental area. Who are Ghandi and Nelson Mandela but modern-day saints who can do no wrong? Nobody is allowed to ask how Mandela's people invented necklacing [wikipedia.org] because it is heresy.

Be real, real careful about claiming that science supports you and you alone. It has a nasty habit of turning against you. Because it is, you know, evidence-based.

Re:If you can observe it, it is not religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47411257)

Nobody is allowed to ask how Mandela's people invented necklacing [wikipedia.org] because it is heresy.

Mandela certainly wasn't a saint and was involved in violent actions prior to his imprisonment. But the necklacing incidents I read on that page are linked to his wife Winnie Mandela not to him.

Re:If you can observe it, it is not religion (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 1 month ago | (#47411861)

It has a nasty habit of turning against you. Because it is, you know, evidence-based.

The fact that you have just questioned Mandella without consequence provides strong evidence that there is no barrier to questioning Mandela other than self-censorship.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47409649)

There's absolutely no difference between "faith in scientists" and "faith in wise men". If you believe the conclusions of some area of science because you did some research and you understand, at least shallowly, the arguments and evidence, then you can claim a difference from religion. But anything you just believe because the "smart people" say it's so? That's religious faith, plain and simple.

(It's also quite silly to disbelieve something just because of its source, of course, though skepticism is often warranted.)

Not exactly.

The difference is that the body of knowledge from which the scientist have derived their expectations has been well tested. Geology has earned the faith placed in it by being correct in the past.

By contrast religions usually don't hold up to even trivial levels of critical thinking, and the only predictions they can make are sufficiently vague as to be useless.

The situation is analogous to trusting your spouse vs a random nigerian prince.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

meglon (1001833) | about 1 month ago | (#47410299)

You're attempting to argue that science is the same as religion. It isn't, and the fact you'd suggest such a stupid thing only reveals you don't have an understanding of science. I'd suggest you stick with something you actually know something about, which is clearly not science, or anything to do with the scientific principle.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 1 month ago | (#47411053)

You're attempting to argue that science is the same as religion

No, I make no such argument. My argument is that taking something on faith is the same regardless of which "wise men" you believe without diligence. Sure, it's often more practical to understand the argument and evidence for science than for religion - but that only matters when you actually do the work. Until you do, you're taking that belief on faith.

The Relativity of wrong (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 1 month ago | (#47412133)

You're arguing that people put their faith in the title people wear rather than the diametrically opposed philosophies they follow. The fact that you have so many people disagreeing with you demonstrates that is not the case. What you are claiming is that what Karl Popper called the "republic of science" (AKA scientific consensus) has no place in Science and that you must personally test each and every claim. That is a ludicrous claim, it demonstrates an immature understanding of philosophy and epistemology. It's also the same old argument climate deniers and creationists use when they claim that "consensus" has no place in Science, it's simply an emotional reaction that puts ones mind at rest when confronted with evidence that unsettles it.

Of course the real problem with your argument is that unlike religion, Science does not claim absolute truth. It claims to have the most accurate answer available at this point in time. A point more eloquently expressed by Asimov in his essay The Relativity of wrong [tufts.edu]

Re:The Relativity of wrong (1)

lgw (121541) | about 1 month ago | (#47412277)

The relativity of wrong is unrelated. I love it that your argument for consensus is "see, the consensus of people disagree with you". Nice.

My argument is dead simple: you either have done the work to understand why something is right, or you are taking it on faith that the Wise Men are right. Sure, some Wise Men are more reliable than others, and that's great for them, but you are just lazily operating on faith until you do the work.

If you want to claim "but I put my faith in Wiser Wise Men than those guys do!" OK, fine, but so what? Everyone in history has always believed that!

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 1 month ago | (#47411607)

There's absolutely no difference between "faith in scientists" and "faith in wise men".

Sure, appealing to authority is unscientific but to assume there is no qualitative difference in the opinions of the two groups simply implies you think that all opinions are equal. Many people do express that ideological view, but they obviously don't believe it since nobody would go to the hairdresser to get their appendix removed.

What you are really talking about is informed trust. Why do you trust scientists to follow the scientific method and report honestly? Why do you trust wise men to selflessly mediate between you and your imaginary friend? Why don't you trust the barber to cut your appendix out?

skepticism is often warranted

More than that, skepticism is the fundamental principle that Science is built on, and it's no accident that it is shunned by religion. Climate deniers, creationists, flat earthers, etc, are not skeptics. A genuine skeptic practices self-skepticism (ie: questions and tests their own beliefs), refusing to change one's opinion in the face of overwhelming contra-evidence is dogma, AKA pseudo-skepticism.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 1 month ago | (#47411773)

Sure, appealing to authority is unscientific but to assume there is no qualitative difference in the opinions of the two groups simply implies you think that all opinions are equal

It's not that all opinions are equal, but that blind faith is blind faith. Science is great because you can do the diligence and confirm the opinion, or at least understand the argument. But until you do that, the difference is as yet immaterial.

It amazes me how many people have strong opinions about issues they don't understand. I take a lot of things on faith: pretty much everything in my life that's both unimportant and uninteresting. But I don't have strong opinions on those things - I know I can't back up my beliefs. But for something I have a strong opinion on, say relativity or evolution, I can explain the science, qualitatively and with simple math. I understand the predictions made, and how they are confirmed, And, most importantly, I understand the arguments of the skeptics - I don't dismiss them out of arrogance, I understand where they're coming from and why they're wrong.

Similarly on issues like abortion, or normative ethics, I can explain in detail why anyone who's too certain about their stance just hasn't thought deeply enough about the issue, because those are areas where there's just no way to reach certainty except ignorance.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47412787)

You follow that line of argument, you wind up at hard solipsism (unable to prove anything, even existence itself). That's real useful.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 1 month ago | (#47412943)

BS. That's sophomoric laziness and extremism. The goal is to be able to make a solid argument, not philosophical certitude!

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 1 month ago | (#47409167)

Yes and scientists were in control of the research center that had to inoculate their staff as a precaution because they screwed up and let out some anthrax. Scientists also stored and then lost some recently found smallpox virus in friggin' cardboard boxes.

Scientists fuck up too and the bigger the play field, the bigger the fuck up.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47408475)

Yes, those explosions are really surface blasts, even the ones up to 25m deep.
It's kind of when you scratch an itch, it's not like it's going to break a bone or anything.
As to being the equivalent of a magnitude 2, so what. A magnitude 2.5 is in the you won't even feel it category as it's less than light which doesn't even start until 3.
A magnitude 1 is said to be the equivalent of blowing up 6 ounces of TNT.

Of course, if you still want to be afraid of that, I know a few dozen "invasive species" you can over-react about, and let's not forget the microscopic amounts alcohol in many of the drinks and foods that kids consume. :p

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408717)

A magnitude 1 is said to be the equivalent of blowing up 6 ounces of TNT.

Equivalent energy in seismic waves of a magnitude 1 quake can be said to be about the same as a 0.5 kg of TNT, but that doesn't mean it is the same shaking as you get from blowing up a 0.5 kg of TNT. Most of the energy doesn't go into the ground vibration, and you need a lot more. Although they claim up to a magnitude 2 like effect, which is equivalent to 15 kg of TNT, they will be using over a 500 kg of explosives per explosion.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (2)

dslbrian (318993) | about 2 months ago | (#47408555)

'most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This month, they plan to set off 24 explosions — each equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake — around around the slumbering beast in an effort to map the its interior with unprecedented depth and clarity.'

It will be fine. The guy planting the explosives is going to be wearing a red shirt (for safety). Last name was Smith or Jones or something, didn't catch the first name.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47408567)

'most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This month, they plan to set off 24 explosions — each equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake — around around the slumbering beast in an effort to map the its interior with unprecedented depth and clarity.'

It will be fine. The guy planting the explosives is going to be wearing a red shirt (for safety). Last name was Smith or Jones or something, didn't catch the first name.

You probably won't need to remember his first name anyway.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47408731)

It will be fine. The guy planting the explosives is going to be wearing a red shirt (for safety). Last name was Smith or Jones or something, didn't catch the first name.

Excellent! Then it WILL be fine. At least for me.
Not for him maybe, but he won't be missed, we barely knew him.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a month and a half ago | (#47423041)

Last name was Smith or Jones or something, didn't catch the first name.

Alias [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (3, Funny)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about 2 months ago | (#47408621)

Oh No! All of those volcano researchers and their peers/collaborators probably haven't considered what could happen when the charges go off. Some doofus from the internet better warn them via posting on a random message board!!!

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47412805)

A million geeks' stomachs cried out in agony as they got a little more distended from raising their Mt. Dew to you.

Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a month and a half ago | (#47423193)

Do you think they're al going to be set off at once?

If they did that, how would they know if they're listening to a delayed echo from shot point #7, indicating a magma chamber at 17km depth, or a differently-delayed echo from shot point #13, indicating a magma chamber at 27km depth, or a differently-delayed echo from shot point #4, indicating a magma chamber at 7km depth, or a differently-delayed echo from shot point #2, indicating a magma chamber at 2km depth, ...

It gets repetitive, doesn't it? That's why deconvolving [wikipedia.org] seismic data is, and always has been, a major consumer of computing resources.

Watch some video [youtube.com] of a seismic array being shot. They (well, "we" - I do some seismic-while-drilling work, though I don't claim to be an expert) fire one gun at a time, then listen for an appropriate number of seconds (the "two-way time" to collect the echoes. Then they fire the next gun in the array (or wait for the gun to re-charge, if there's only one gun), and listen for the echoes ... it gets repetitive. With every shot (hundreds of thousands in a survey) recorded up to kilohertz for each of up to thousands of hydrophones, each one of which has it's GPS position recorded at all times in the recording phase (because where things are matters) ... you rapidly climb through the tens of terabytes of data.

Oh no, they say he's got to go (2)

hubie (108345) | about 2 months ago | (#47408333)

This the kind of lead-in you'd expect for the beginning of a Godzilla-style movie.

Re:Oh no, they say he's got to go (2)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 2 months ago | (#47408479)

"You fool of a Took". : ).

Re:Oh no, they say he's got to go (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47408579)

This the kind of lead-in you'd expect for the beginning of a Godzilla-style movie.

I was thinking of something else [imdb.com] .

blast radius (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408349)

I live within the blast radius (Portland) of the majestic Mt St Helens. I saw the 1980 eruption from my back yard. 24 explosions around the mountain? What could go wrong?!

Re:blast radius (2)

Sowelu (713889) | about 2 months ago | (#47408715)

I'm out of the blast range up north (Seatac) but would still hear it if it went off.

That said, magnitude 2 is basically "hit the ground real hard with a sledgehammer". A nearby major construction site causes a lot more vibration, so does a big truck on the freeway.

Re:blast radius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408765)

No you don't.

Blast zone was 19 miles.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1... [wikipedia.org]

Mt St Helens is 35 miles from Portland.

Re:blast radius (3, Interesting)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 2 months ago | (#47408951)

I live within the blast radius (Portland) of the majestic Mt St Helens. I saw the 1980 eruption from my back yard. 24 explosions around the mountain? What could go wrong?!

I lived quite a bit further away, about an hour north of Seattle, but we actually felt the blast as a minor tremor. Someone in my family actually joked "Well, there went Mt St Helens". There was quite a bit of news about a possible pending eruption, of course. We were pretty shocked when we heard what had actually happened though.

Since when does Slashdot cite The Onion? (1)

Darth Twon (2832799) | about 2 months ago | (#47408363)

Oh wait... This is for real? I'll just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Sounds funny (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about 2 months ago | (#47408387)

Like they're going to tickle the volcano's nose, maybe, if they're lucky, it will sneeze and they'll get all kinds of data!

Re:Sounds funny (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47408599)

Like they're going to tickle the volcano's nose, maybe, if they're lucky, it will sneeze and they'll get all kinds of data!

Would kinda suck for Vancouver, though.

Re:Sounds funny (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 1 month ago | (#47409511)

True but it will cut Americas Carbon foot print and global warming by 98.6%

(Made up numbers may it may not exist in my math. Please see raw data below)

Data blows

Bad (1)

JO_DIE_THE_STAR_F*** (1163877) | about 2 months ago | (#47408397)

"I have bad feeling about this..."

Around Around (2)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about 2 months ago | (#47408429)

The volcano is so big they have to wrap explosions around it twice.

Bah (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 2 months ago | (#47408449)

You're just paying for the name, it's not any better than the no name volcanoes you get at Newegg.

Boom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408465)

"Jamie wants big boom!"

neighbors? (1)

slugstone (307678) | about 2 months ago | (#47408489)

i hope they do not wake the neighbors.

Monster Volcano? (4, Informative)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#47408583)

Mt St Helens isnt that big as far as volcanos go. The main reason so much was damaged in 1980 was because it blew out sideways

Compared to others in recent geologic history it was just a fart.
(compare with Krakatoa 1883, or Santorini 11610 BC, or the various Taupo eruptions)

Re:Monster Volcano? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408835)

Indeed and don't forget about the Yellowstone Caldera. That sucker is going to be huge when it goes off. The main reason why Mt. St. Helens receives so much attention is because it was so closely monitored at the time. To this day it's one of the best studied volcanoes in the world.

It was a destructive event, but the only loss of life was from people that were taking risks they knew about or made a choice about. The lahars and pyroclastic flow did a fair amount of damage, but not that much compared with real significant eruptions.

Re:Monster Volcano? (3, Interesting)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 1 month ago | (#47409017)

"Monster Volcano" is perhaps a bit overstated, but comparing it to a super-volcano-potential such as the Yellowstone Caldera is perhaps a bit unfair. After all, no volcano in the world today can really compare to the potential of that one.

I live nearby (relatively speaking), and got a chance to see the devastation first-hand within the first year or two after it occurred. The forest service built a viewing station where you could look out over the devastated landscape, and, even neater, watch the forest start to grow back. It's easier to dismiss it as geologically minor when you haven't personally seen the miles and miles of trees snapped and laid down like so many matchsticks. On a human scale, it's incredibly massive, and was damn impressive to see.

Nearby... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47409455)

I can't dismiss it either, considering my car got covered in ash from it. What made it impressive was that I was in Texas.

Re:Nearby... (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 1 month ago | (#47410389)

Yeah, that was the weird part. I lived close enough to feel the blast, but the winds blew all the ash east (I lived north of it), so didn't see a bit of the stuff. Felt bad for some folks in eastern Washington, who got blanketed by several inches of ash, if I recall. Fortunately, they're much better equipped for snow removal than in Western Washington, so that was fortunate. I'm guessing by the time it got to Texas it was a much lighter dusting? Still pretty impressive.

Re:Monster Volcano? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 1 month ago | (#47410007)

After all, no volcano in the world today can really compare to the potential of that one.

I disagree. I can think of two, just in the US - the Long Valley caldera in eastern California and the Raton hotspot of New Mexico. Further, the largest volcanic eruption of the past 20 million years occurred at Lake Toba in Indonesia. What is special about that site (perhaps a large, geologically "rapidly" replenished reservoir of high viscosity, high volatile content magma?) may occur elsewhere in the Ring of Fire and other subduction zones.

Re:Monster Volcano? (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 1 month ago | (#47410333)

After all, no volcano in the world today can really compare to the potential of that one.

I disagree. I can think of two, just in the US - the Long Valley caldera in eastern California and the Raton hotspot of New Mexico. Further, the largest volcanic eruption of the past 20 million years occurred at Lake Toba in Indonesia. What is special about that site (perhaps a large, geologically "rapidly" replenished reservoir of high viscosity, high volatile content magma?) may occur elsewhere in the Ring of Fire and other subduction zones.

Sorry, I meant currently active volcano. Unless I missed a major geological event, I'm presuming there aren't any currently active supervolcanoes.

Re:Monster Volcano? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 1 month ago | (#47410425)

Sorry, I meant currently active volcano. Unless I missed a major geological event, I'm presuming there aren't any currently active supervolcanoes.

I'm not sure about the Raton hotspot, but the rest is currently active. Just not active on human timescales.

Re:Monster Volcano? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47410629)

Look for Tondano, Taupo, Toba, Campi Flegrei... And regarding the actual danger with Yellowstone, you would need first to delete 99% of the money-grubbing articles and videos (OMG a heartquake at Yellowstone! Let's make a quick video that repeats all the scary stuff already repeated everywhere! - bang, 200 000 viewers...) If you want to know better, take a look an an article like this one :) http://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/supersleep-sweet-little-yellowstone/

Re:Monster Volcano? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47409181)

Or Solfatara in 2015.

Re:Monster Volcano? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 1 month ago | (#47412045)

F*cker woke me up early on a Sunday morning. Can't get much worse than that.

Setting off a bunch of huge explosions.. (1)

jjn1056 (85209) | about 2 months ago | (#47408627)

right on top of a volcano... What could possible go wrong?

Re:Setting off a bunch of huge explosions.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47411115)

I don't know but if I lived nearby I would be nervous.

Mt. St. Helens ins't the monster volcano... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47408659)

Wait til they decide to map the real monster... The yellowstone caldera - that thing is the nation killer, possibly world-killer if it ever goes up.

Re:Mt. St. Helens ins't the monster volcano... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a month and a half ago | (#47423227)

The yellowstone caldera - that thing is the nation killer, possibly world-killer if it ever goes up.

It's not "if it ever goes up" ; it's "when it goes up AGAIN" ; there have been 4 or 5 major eruptions of Yellowstone in the last couple of millions of years.

"World-killer"? Evidently not. Nation-killer? Possibly. Very destructive, when it next goes off? Certainly.

Am I concerned? See 2 minutes into this video [youtube.com] .

Interconnected series of tubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47409055)

It is just an interconnected series of tubes, pipes and chambers. When pressed, it produces lava instead of beautiful tunes of soon independent Scotland, freedoomm! Crap, 54% against.

"Mount St Helens in Washington state" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47409135)

...Not to be confused with the much larger and better known Mount St Helens in Washington, DC.

Poor title. Mt. St. Hellens is not a "monster". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47409309)

Just an average size.

Now had the volcano been Yellowstone... up to 1,000 time more powerful than the eruption of Mount St. Helens

The next eruption (2)

GlobalEcho (26240) | about 1 month ago | (#47409693)

My prediction:

The next eruption, if it happens within the next couple of years, will be blamed on this experiment. This will happen regardless of any scientific support for such blame.

Re:The next eruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47411683)

Either way, the Lawyers will get rich...

Not to worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47410833)

Will probably kickstart the Yellowstone megavolcano

So ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 1 month ago | (#47412003)

... virgins were not enough?

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