- To hell with the pig... I'm going to Switzerland.

Bubbles! Sink Ships?? (Tuesday, May 4, 2004)

Well, clearly I was out of my mind last night. Everything is going just fine with Claire and I. I'm completely over-reacting, and I just need to chill. No worries. After she left, I watched a show on the Discovery Channel, explaining the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. Turns out the culprit is (get this, Claire!) BUBBLES! Yes, that's right, the whole show was practically devoted to bubbles of methane gas leaking from the sea bed in the Bermuda Triangle.

They showed a bunch of cool experiments showing how an underground seismic disturbance (like an earthquake or landslide) could cause the release of a very large amount of methane bubbles into the water. This disruption causes the density of the water to fall rapidly, and also for the surface to become very active — producing very sudden hundred foot waves. The combination of the sudden waves and loss of water density can cause boats to be momentarily but instantly submerged, filling them rapidly enough with water to sink them.

The same phenomenon can affect aircraft, too, because once the bubbles erupt at the surface, they release the huge quantities of gas into the air. Once again, the presence of the gas, which is lighter than air, causes changes in the air's density, which disrupts aircraft altimeters and lift — the plane will experience a sudden loss of lift, while at the same time, the guages will show a rapid ascent. If a pilot tries to fly according to the guages, he could send the plane straight into the ocean. The other effect the methane gas has on aircraft is that it can disrupt the operation of the engine of the plane. They did an experiment using the engine from a World War II era plane, and they were able to show that as little as a one percent concentration of methane in the air around the engine was enough to cause it to suddenly cut out.

I'm only surprised no one came up with this theory sooner — and it makes sense, too, because the activity would be localized, meaning it isn't unnatural for several plans or ships to go down right in the same areas. And in other parts of the world, for example, Cameroon in Africa, underwater gas deposits have been responsible for other strange behaviour. In Cameroon, there is a lake that has a large amount of carbon dioxide trapped at the bottom, and occasionally it escapes in large quantities in a sort of fog that displaces oxygen, killing animals in its path. I recall that some time ago, over six hundred people and countless animals were killed by this phenomenon. Interesting stuff all around. I love the Discovery Channel.

So today, I pretty much blew off work to work on the computer architecture project with Dave. We decided to do it on hyper-threading, and put together a pretty good presentation. Unfortunately, the professor showed up a half hour late, as usual, and then decided he was going to lecture for an hour and a half before the presentations. So needless to say, we didn't get through all the presentations, and we'll be doing ours next week before the exam. Lucky us.

Another interesting thing to note about today, is that there's a virus on the network at Mason, and silly me, I didn't have a firewall protecting me from GMU, nor did I have Windows up-to-date on its patches, so my I caught the randomly-reboot virus. Peachy. So now I'm in the process I've trying to put my machine back together. My virus checker was so out of date, that it crashed every time I ran it. So I downloaded the latest McAfee version from webMethods, and installed that. It's been scanning since around 9:00, over 87,000 files scanned so far, and it's probably only about half done. I'm hesitent to run any programs or do any real work because I don't want to lose any data or allow the virus to spread before it's cleaned off. But it looks like I may have to let it run all night, and finish up in the morning.

While that's been running, I watched the Nets get pounded by the Pistons. New Jersey only had 56 points at the end of the game — one basket better than the lowest score in a playoff game in NBA history. And the Nets are supposed to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. But I guess they aren't out of it yet — they can still come back and win the next few games to advance. But I'm not counting on it — Detroit is clearly the better team.

I also managed to remember to eat tonight, which is a rare switch — I made the last leftover porkchop, macaroni and cheese, and a couple pieces of bread. Yummy all around. I also folded some laundry and changed the sheets. Exciting stuff. Okay, I'm ready to have my computer working properly again.

Tomorrow, I think I'm actually going to go to work, and y'know, get some work done. Tomorrow night, I'll probably try to write my term paper for geography — it shouldn't take too long, and it will be a lot more pleasant than studying for software engineering, which is what I probably should spend tomorrow night doing. Otherwise, not too much is going on. Now, it is time to stare at the virus scanner progress for a few more minutes, then get ready for bed. G'night!

—Brian (5/4/2004 12:18 AM)


No comments.

(no html)

Disclaimer: Opinions on this site are those of Brian Ziman and do not necessarily
reflect the views of any other organizations or businesses mentioned.