Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

3/15/2011

Kilotons o’ fun

Filed under: — stan @ 5:35 pm

On Saturday afternoon after the stair climb, we paid a visit to the the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. Since I like to collect Cold War memorabilia, this was right up my alley.

They had a special exhibit there about Las Vegas during the Cold War. Apparently, the nuclear tests going on just over the mountains were a big tourist draw. In the exhibit, they had a mannequin that had been nuked in one of the tests where they built towns out on the test site to see how ordinary houses would stand up to nuclear attack. They also had other artifacts from the 1950s nuclear testing era, and overall, it was a very entertaining collection.

Of course they had a gift shop. I got a DVD of a film about Lookout Mountain Air Force Station, which was the top-secret Air Force film studio that filmed all the atomic tests. We went to see that on a bike club ride last year. I also got a shirt with a picture of Miss Atomic Bomb 1957, and a couple of other little things.

All told, this was a very interesting and entertaining museum. It’s affiliated with the Smithsonian, which I find tremendously amusing, since it’s very hard to believe that anything in Las Vegas could be worthy of the august Smithsonian.

One quarter million…

Filed under: — stan @ 6:20 am

The M9.0 Tohoku Earthquake in Japan last Friday has caused a spike in interest in earthquakes. That’s pushed the USGS Earthquake Notification Service, also known as my Pet Project, past its latest milestone.

Yesterday, I saw that ENS had passed 250,000 subscribers. It still amazes me that something I invented is used by so many people worldwide.

After the M7.2 Sierra El Mayor Earthquake last year, it processed about 700 earthquakes and sent 4,600,000 messages. But at that time, that was enough that the system ground to a halt under the load. This time, the system ran fine the whole time. I checked the logs, and in the first 24 hours after the Tohoku Earthquake, it processed 308 events and sent about 4,500,000 messages about them. I’d done some re-architecture of the database last year to increase its performance, and the system ran fine this time.

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