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Science Killed Itself Over COVID-19   The Serious You: How Current Events Affect You

Started Sep-15 by WALTER784; 8502 views.
WALTER784 said:

the Captain called for battle stations which is the highest readiness state in the Navy... it's basically a call to "get ready for war"! And they repeated that it was not a drill twice and then called battle stations again.

I wonder how many times the cold war got within a razor's edge of full blown nuclear war that may not be declassified during our lifetimes.

As a pre-teen I already had assumed the worst case scenarios - whatever government was hiding was probably going to be very bad, so it was best to assume the worst and act accordingly just because they were very opaque.

Thus, as a 12 year old I had my bedroom wall covered with aviation sectional charts that had been carefully cut and joined on the edges to form a huge contiguous map of the entire CONUS. Then I had drawn concentric circles around all the major metropolitan areas over 1 million population. About a 25 mile radius of the city centers were filled in with red high-lighter. 25 to 50 mile radius was orange, and 50 to 100 mile radius was yellow. Then I extended long fallout trails from west to east from all of those, to further mark out no-go zones that might be hundreds of miles downwind from the radioactive ruins of the cities. I also marked the same for any highly restricted airspace and air bases / military facilities, as these were likely to be first strike targets.

And essentially that was one of the reasons I took a few nuclear physics courses and tried to learn everything I could about the effects of nuclear weapons. Because my assumption was, it was inevitable they would be used on US soil, probably by the 1980s at the outside.

I still have a rather high quality bootleg of the ABC made for TV movie that aired circa 1983 called "The Day After". I wore out a VHS tape of it, studying details.

Some bonus things - I learned how to build and fix nearly anything. Wiring, plumbing, just about anything to do with digging basements or cellars and assorted unconventional construction techniques. I've kept some 25 to 30 year old cars and trucks running.

It really never occurred to me back then that I'd live to see old age without a nuclear war in the middle.


From: WALTER784


Well, whether we'll be nuked or not... nobody can really say, but an EMP bomb can do much more damage to the infrastructure.

Now if your 25 or 30 year old cars are parked in a garage with a Faraday cage round them, they should be fine. Otherwise the solenoid and alternator might not work. Newer cars have all kinds of electronic components that would be fried, and electric cars... LOL... they too would become immovable permanent garden fixtures.

But if you're building a nuclear fallout shelter, you would also need an air filter system with changeable filters too.


WALTER784 said:

But if you're building a nuclear fallout shelter, you would also need an air filter system with changeable filters too

I built a filtration system that was plagarized from the Rainbow vacuum. Essentially outside air went through an ordinary furnace filter which could be either changed or stuck in another air path and back-flushed to get more life out of it, on the theory that re-supply of fresh filters would likely be years or decades away and one has to have room for food as well as filters.

The next stage was an electrostatic separator. It used a high voltage (about 40 kv) DC source and some "fuzz" that would essentially put a strong negative static charge on any particles in the air. This then passed through a series of parallel plates that had a positive charge. The particles would stick rather strongly to the plates, while the air would pass through, stripped of a lot of particles.

If the particles were radioactive, this would also be a quick and easy way to observe as particles would lose their charge quickly.

The next stage was the water tank. This had about 100 gallons of water in it, and was sort of like a concrete fish tank. Air was forced through a "sock" (really a burlap bag) where it formed a froth about 2 feet underwater. It took a bit of pressure and a pretty powerful fan to overcome the hydrostatic head but nearly everything still in the air would be wetted and thus trapped by the water.

This had a purge drain system to change the water periodically.

Lubbock, Texas was the perfect location to test everything with real dust and chokingly dense particles. Lubbock and surrounding South Plains in the 1970s and 80s was notorious for its dust storms. A wind storm would arrive and dirt from recently harvested cotton fields would rise to altitudes as high as 17,000 feet. Visibility could drop to mere feet.

Everything was brown. The sky was brown. The air was brown. If you cough it's brown. Brown dust would touch the water in toilet bowls and leave a brown muddy layer in the bottom until you flushed. Everything was gritty. Soft foods became "crunchy". So did milk and any other liquid drinks in an open glass.

So, I built this contraption in a large storm cellar that was being converted into a fallout shelter. Oh, storm cellars are kind of common up there because, well, Tornado Alley.

We had this student who has severe allergies and if a dust storm was forecast, would usually check into the hospital where they could if necessary intubate him and supply a lot of abuterol and sometimes epinephrine., and put him in a well filtered isolation room.

He volunteered to test the system, and we had a couple of other people with him and a phone in case someone needed to call 911 should the filtration system not work as we had expected.

Sure enough the dust storm arrived. It howled for 2 days straight. He said he had zero symptoms from the massive load of soil and pollen and other stuff swirling all through the city and surrounding 60,000 square miles or so that made up the Texas Panhandle, a good part of Okahoma, and eastern New Mexico that had been transformed into a "brownout".

We tested the airlock and decontamination process. I went in and out a couple of times but by the end of the dust storm almost everyone involved in the project was packed into the shelter.

Now I don't know if enough particles made it in that, if they were truly radioactive, would have posed a danger or not - but we watched the local weather on a TV down there of all the footage of cars with headlights on that couldn't see one another, drivers unable to see pavement markings and running up on curbs, and a tale of one American Airlines flight from Dallas that descended to about 16,000 feet to see if any planes could possibly make it in or out on Day 3, once the wind started dying down to only about 20 mph with 35 mph gusts. They climbed back up out of it and went back to Dallas, saying they were worried the dust was starting to sandblast the airplane and engines.

It was day 5 before enough dust settled out after the howling wind died down, before grounded flights could finally depart LBB or arrivals could safely land.


From: WALTER784


$1,661.87 in cats (ROCKETMAN_S) said...

He said he had zero symptoms from the massive load of soil and pollen and other stuff swirling all through the city and surrounding 60,000 square miles or so that made up the Texas Panhandle

Wow... that was quite an extensive test.

The electrostatic separator part was quite interesting too... yeah... I guess it would be like a large magnet to pull out the radioactive particles. Not to mention pumping air through the water to filter it out further!

You seem to have done quite an elaborate and in-depth study as well as implementing a unique filtration system.

Japan uses a lot of porous rock as filters to clean rivers and lakes so you might want to take a look into that as well! Water and air will flow through them but as the holes are so tiny, they filter out quite a bit of the unwanted sediments... and like you said with your air filtration system, you just reverse the flow and can easily blow out all the trapped unwanted sediment as well. I would be interested to know if you could find some way to use that in your filtration system.


fine porous rock like a natural HEPA filter is kind of hard to find around here. It would have to probably be shipped thousands of miles from where quarried to build a useful filter.

However, we have an abundance of sand. The space between sand grains while small, isn't small enough for things like smoke sized particles.

The electrostatic separation was inspired by devices on the ceiling of a night club, over the bar and surrounding the dance floor. They had the trade name SmokEeter, and the electrostatic charge sucked smoke in one end, actually provided some air flow from the ion movement, and blew much cleaner air out the other end.

At closing time, they would shut down the units right over the bar first, discharge the high voltage, and then the positive collector / anode plates could be easily unseated once the cover was removed. They'd just put the anodes in the dishwasher to clean away all the tobacco smoke residue and related gunk, then put the clean ones in.

the other units would continue to operate to keep removing smoke from the air - now that all the drunk cowboys and cowgirls were no longer smoking like chimneys, there was no more input of fresh smoke, so the air kept clearing while the first group of units were cleaned.

Once other bar cleanup was taken care of, at some point they'd shut down some more units, remove the plates, clean and re-install.

And finally once the interior air was somewhat cleared out, they'd shut down the remainder and clean them.

Last step, they'd start them all back up for about the last 30 minutes as all the final bookkeeping and related things were done, and then shut off around dawn as they went home and locked up to be ready for yet another night.

Without them, the smoke would be so thick you could cut it with a butcher knife, your eyes would be watering, and visibility would be well below IFR Category 1 landing conditions.

It probably saved a lot of people from second hand smoke induced cancers compared to the poor ventilation of such places in the 1920s to the 1960s.


From: WALTER784


Japan has numerous volcanos all over the country. Many of them dormant, but much of the understructure has natural pockets of pumice. These pockets are mined and cut to make square or round brick/block like filters. It's quite light in weight and is porous. 

Pumice - Wikipedia



From: Showtalk


I don’t think of Japan as volcano country. It’s almost never discussed in our media.

Pumice in the US is apparently not found in contiguous pieces big enough to cut into useful shapes like filters.

I have seen it mostly sold here as toilet scrubbing sticks to remove lime scale, and similar applications.

But the bubble size in the pumice I have seen are way too coarse to be useful for filtering.

Now activated charcoal, on the other hand, may have a surface area of several acres in a couple of tablespoons of material. So it is great for absorbing all sorts of sub-microscopic material and is used in a variety of industrial processes, such as to yank heavy metals from water

This, however, isn't really a filter per se - it exploits the electrostatic attraction forces at very small scales to grab stuff out of the water (or air) and hang on to it.

A synthetic material is often used in water filtration systems - it's activated charcoal manufactured in a block that requires the fluid to be filtered to pass through its microscopic pores.

This does make an effective filter, but you need a series of progressively finer and finer pre-filters upstream to get rid of fine sand, silt, and finally bacteria, and often unwanted chemicals that can bind to the carbon matrix and let the pure water go on to the reverse osmosis membrane which finally only passes water molecules and excludes salt and other dissolved minerals.


From: WALTER784


What about shale like that found all over Florida if you dig deep enough?


Shale is kind of closed cell porosity until you break it up to release the trapped material. That's how they are getting oil out of it in the Bakken and a few other places. Drill horizontally into the seam, then apply ungodly amounts of hydraulic pressure to frack it and inject sand to act as proppant and hold open the cracks once the fluid pressure is relieved.

Probably not enough porosity to pass a reasonable amount of air through at any reasonable sized filter area. You'd probably need to make a couple of entire walls out of the stuff to get enough area to force enough air through at reasonable pressure to adequately ventilate a shelter.

Like a filter 8 feet high and 16 feet wide, maybe a half inch to a quarter inch thick, and maybe 3 or 4 PSI differential to force the air through, which means a lot of mechanical support, like a bazillion smaller panes supported by, say, steel beams, so the pressure doesn't just make it implode.

now I've got to do some more research on shale porosity when it's quarried unaltered from the ground.

I know that it metamorphoses under heat and pressure into slate, which is quite non-porous. They used it for some castle roofs all over Europe for many thousands of years. And it is used as pool table sub-surfaces, beneath the felt, because it's heavy and flakes off nice and smooth.