August 30, 2005

Disaster Math, long will the pumping take.

So, I got to thinking, if New Orleans is under 12 feet of water in 2 or so days, how much water is that? Can the pumps possibly drain that much? So I the math.

According to a number of site, the best number for pump capacity is 47,000 cubic feet per second, or about 22,701,000 gallons per minute. For this thought experiment, I'm assuming that the water is pumpable (ie, at the mouth of the pump). Reality won't bear that one up, but anyhow.

About 181.6 square miles, or 119,040 acres, will be submerged to a depth of 12 feet. There are 325,851.427 gallons to the acre foot, so the total water in the basin is about 465,472,246,441 gallons. Looks like a lot of water, to be sure. This amounts to about 15 straight days of pumping. Most of these conversions courtesy of Google Calculator, which actually knows Acre Feet!

The problems:

1) The pumps will not be able to run full bore, they will certainly get clogged with debris and require frequent maintenance.

2) The basin is not uniform.

3) The levees will take some time to repair.

4) The pumps will have to be powered up, and electrical power delivery will be tricky.

The solutions (pure, sci-fi speculation)

1) Maybe more pumps can be brought online..

2) Levees could maybe be fixed by sinking old single skin oil tankers filled with sand/cement and dropping those massive sandbags (3000lb ones) as filler. Fill em with quick setting cement and you're golden. Before you worry about the environmental cost, consider an entire city disintegrating into the Mississippi, that's not good for the fish at all.

3) Australian used diesel/electric locomotive engines to power their cities when they had some power delivery problems, this would be a decent way to deliver the electrical power needed for the pumps.

This of course doesn't address the vast crushing destruction that this much water will wrought.

More math:


1) The jump in the unemployment rate when these people can't go to work tomororrw.
2) The vast cost of rebuilding or,if warranted, mass relocation. (if $100,000 per family, then 250 billion, still less than Iraq, mind you.)
3) The loan defaults on the housing, and what that will mean to the home loan architecture in the united states.
4) The cost to the insurance industry almost guarantees they'll pull the same stuff they did during northridge here in California. This will bankrupt a great number of large insurance companies.
5) No more beads will be sold in New Orleans. I suspect Tampa's Ybor will become the cajunesque party capital of the US.

Sorry folks in New Orleans, my condolences, this is very sad. California welcomes you! Update: No way to get tankers into the lake.

August 24, 2005

London Eye

Originally uploaded by cdibona.
Posted a few pictures on my flickr account of the London Eye. The eye can hold 800 and is well, quite large. Clickthrough for a few more pictures.

August 22, 2005

High Speed Flash Photography at Foo Camp

Make magazine let me shoot some snaps during the high speed flash photography session at FooCamp. High Speed Flash Photography at Foo Camp 05 - a photoset on Flickr. Check em out! More of Foo later...

August 18, 2005

Anonymous Posting on, now with Captchas...

Since the good folks in the Blogger team have enabled comment captchas, I've shut off the requirement that you must have a blogger id to comment. So....there you go. Good job blogger folks. Spammers should die.

August 17, 2005

My new background, courtesy of Henry P. Babbage.

I was at the London Museum of Science, which has a variety of ancient computers on display, including implementations of Babbage's difference engine. Bloggers picture uploading mechanism resized this to 1024x768, but its a good picture. Click, share and enjoy. Pretty terrific museum, if you like learning :-)

August 16, 2005

Last Mushrooms....

I changed my profile picture here on Blogger, so no more mushrooms over the eyes. I figure since Google went to the trouble to have my mug photographed, I should use the picture. Julian Cash, a very creative photographer, took the mushroom picture. You can see it in all its glory on his site.

Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

A fellow Googler and a friend of mine, Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO, has started to Blog. Check him out if you are interested in the search engine marketing/optimization space. I'm sure he'll be very funny too.

Richmond, lovely richmond.

I liked visiting, but this story about people being trampled for cheap laptops reinforces why Henrico county is not right for me.

August 15, 2005

August 12, 2005


From: SA Business Day:

Surrounded by trimmer figures in suits, he looked out of place — a throwback to the mythical days of late-night coding, libertarian politics and takeout pizza.

They're talking about me :-) See, this is why I can't lose the ponytail, it's a statement, man. (I have been biking to work to be, ahem, less developer like.)

It's an interesting article, anyway, I love open source because, in the end, the pony tails can always stick around. Maybe I'm the idealist, though.

August 8, 2005

IGN's Top 100 Games - Where is Starflight?

I, like many gamers, read the IGN's Top 100 Games list. Before I go futher, I -hate- lame, lazy, list articles. They're lazy lazy lazy. Also, they are so easy to criticize, and yet are criticism proof as they are usually totally lazy. So, take the IGN list for instance. It misses so much becase there is no way you can adequetly cover the games business with something as straightforward and linear as a stupid numbered list. Of course, next month it will be the "20 best mmorpgs" or the "10 best fps!" or some other lameness.

My complaining about the format aside aside....forgetting to mention Starflight was an abomination and it makes babies cry. Don't get me started about wasteland or tw, either.

Google News all Feedy Like

While many might say this is quite overdue, I'm just happy to point it out: About Google News Feeds. We'll add these to the api & interfaces list tomorrow on Code, but I figured...why not blog it here? In short: Google news now has Atom and RSS 2.0 feeds for all the catagories and for custom news searchs. I suspect we'll see a good amount of uptake from this, especially when combined with the Maps API.


Wow. That's all I gotta say about the new AIM Triton Ads. Check it out. That's not a 'wow' in a good way, mind you.

August 7, 2005

Deviant Art needs Rearchitecting, or.....going down in 5...4...3...2...

I see load balancers, and a new architecture in DA's future, it's pretty unusable, except Sunday morning at 9am. I have a friend who posts there and I'd love to see his other work. But that's really not an option as whenever I try to surf the site, it rarely returns anything to my browser, and I usually experience timeouts.

I watched Brad give his 'scaling livejournal' talk at OSCON last week, and it was quite good, I think it should be required reading for anyone looking to scale a lamp stack based app. I'm not sure that is what DA is based on, mind you, but maybe it should be if it isn't. Anyhow, DA is great stuff, but since you can't see great is it really? Also, it seems the perfect site to attach feeds to users...maybe I'm just missing it and they're really there. Regardless...