The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 iSteve BlogTeasers
UPDATED - Are There Any Lessons to be Learned from the Oroville Dam Disaster?
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments

L to R: Eroding emergency spillway, damaged main spillway, (hopefully) OK dam

Up-Updates regarding Oroville, CA, northeast of Sacramento, where 160,000 people have been ordered to evacuate because America’s tallest dam is having all sorts of problems. Here are tweets from the local newspaper editor:

Screenshot 2017-02-12 21.29.47

That’s good news.

That’s in line with my top of the head calculations that they can lower the reservoir level one foot every maybe three hours by blasting 100,000 cubic feet per second down the damaged primary spillway. This appears to have stopped water overflowing over the concrete lip of the so-called emergency spillway, which is really just a concrete wall on top of a mountainside of dirt. When the reservoir level gets to 901 feet above sea level, water starts trickling over the 1,700-foot long concrete lip and down to the dirt.

This emergency outflow route had never been used in the 48 year history of Oroville dam. That was supposed to allow up to 250,000 cubic feet per second of outflow, but, not surprisingly, by the time they got to only about 12,500 feet pouring over the 1,700 foot long lip, they started worrying about the mountainside under the lip eroding away.

If the concrete lip of the emergency spillway gave way because the mountain it rests upon wasn’t quite there anymore, then the top part of the reservoir (maybe the top 30 feet?) would rush down the mountainside into the Feather River, wipe out the town of Oroville, and do who knows what damage to Sacramento 68 miles downstream. (Sacramento is not currently being evacuated.)

So they increased outflow down the damaged main concrete spillway up from 55,000 cfs to 100,000 cfs. That relieved stress on the emergency spillway. But …

Screenshot 2017-02-12 21.34.02

That’s the trade-off.

Here’s a pair before and after disaster photographs of the main spillway with a slider to compare them.

Here’s the weather forecast, which is very good in the short run and very bad in the mid-run.

Screenshot 2017-02-12 21.42.48

So they’ve got around 48 to 60 hours of dry weather to patch things up while they lower the reservoir.

And then another deluge.

If I’m reading this Weather Underground forecast correctly, Oroville is expecting 4.02 inches of rain in seven days beginning on Wednesday. That would be on top of the 34 inches of rain that have fallen in the area since last summer and filled the reservoir to the brim.

If they can continue to blast 100,000 cfs down the main spillway, and if that really lowers the lake four inches an hour, then they can lower the reservoir about 15 or 25 feet before it starts raining again.

Another questions is whether the upcoming precipitation will come down at higher altitudes in the reservoir’s watershed as snow (good) or rain (bad).

The first hit of rain on Wednesday or Thursday is likely to be warm, which is bad because it could help melt lower lying snow. But the later precipitation in the ten day forecast is likely to be cold and lower the snow level, so that’s good for getting through the next week or two.

Commenter James B. Shearer does the math on how fast they can drain the reservoir.

According to google the surface area is 25 square miles. There are 640 acres per square mile so 16000 acres. An acre foot is the amount of water required to cover an acre 1 foot deep. So to lower the level 1 foot you must remove 16000 acre feet of water. An acre is 43560 square feet so an acre foot is 43560 cubic feet. So 100000 cfs is about 2.3 acre feet per second. So you need about 7000 seconds or a bit under 2 hours to drop the level a foot. But that assumes no water is coming in.

Inflow into the reservoir had been running at 40,000 to 50,000 cubic feet per second for most of Sunday, or about half of the emergency 100,000 cfs they started sending down the main spillway around sunset.

But at 10pm inflow was suddenly down to 5,237 cfs. Perhaps they are impounding tributaries at upstream dams. Or, hopefully, all of last week’s big rain is down out of the tributaries by now. Update: at 11 pm PST, inflow is back up to 33,762 cfs. Here’s a graph of inflow by hour on Sunday

You can find a few dozen automatically updated Oroville Dam graphs here.

So it looks like the sharp dip in the late evening was only a temporary respite. However the overall inflow trend line is down due to dry weather.

I’m guessing that if it doesn’t rain, that inflow number will decline down toward about 10,000 CFS, which was the average inflow during dry days in early February.

So, if they continued to blast the main spillway at 100k, they could have a net outflow of about 90,000 cfs, or about 11 feet of lake level per day, best case scenario.

But if they continue to blast water down the main spillway, will that erode the 770-foot tall dam itself? I don’t know, but it would be worth worrying about.

And of course it’s going to start raining again, maybe on Wednesday. And it will probably rain for about a week for a total of 4 inches.

Unfortunately, the last set of storms that came through in early February and dumped 6.5 inches of rain raised the reservoir level by over 50 feet:

About 750,000 acre feet or 20% of the capacity of the reservoir was added between February 5 and February 11.

Inflow peaked at a little over 150,000 cubic feet per second on February 9.

This massive inflow was due to about 6.5 inches of rain falling from February 2 through February 9. That added over 50 feet to the elevation of the lake surface

Weather Underground is predicting 4 inches of rain for Oroville for the week beginning this Wednesday, so that might add say, 30+ feet to the lake, assuming the same level of average outflow down the crippled main spillway. Which is a big if.

It sounds like it’s going to be a very close run thing.

But here’s a question: how do we know this incoming rain storm will be the last big rain big storm of Winter/Spring 2017?

Well, we don’t.

Here’s Weather Underground’s historical average chart for Oroville, CA:

Heavy rains are normal up through the middle of March and then lighter rains into early May.

But, as the rains taper off in later spring, the snow melt in the Sierras speeds up.

Perhaps somebody ought to be wondering not just about the next 10 days but the next 100.

Perhaps there are some kinds of responses that might take a month to put into place, but could turn out to be very useful during, say, the Great Early April Warm Rainstorm of 2017 that suddenly melted the high altitude snowpack.

For example, the problem with both spillways is that they erode themselves. What if you could put in a pipeline or just a chute to pump water away from the vulnerable concrete structures and drop the surplus water away from their foundations and into a ravine below, say, the emergency spillway and then have gravity carry it down to the Feather River?

The problem is that you’d need something like 5,000 or 10,000 cubic feet per second of pumping capacity to make even a small dent in the problem.

Here’s another crazy idea: At least three tunnels were dug while constructing the Oroville dam: two for diverting the Feather River waters and one for a railroad. The rail tunnel was visible during the recent drought due to the low level of the lake

The two water diversion tunnels were dug in the 1960s to allow the Feather River to continue flowing while the dam was being constructed. They were each 35 feet diameter and had a combined capacity of at last 157,000 cubic feet per second, which they reached during the 1964 flood.

That’s a lot of cubic feet per second. Opening both would, theoretically, lower the lake about an incremental 18 feet per day, assuming the Feather River could carry that much water.

According to a UC Davis website:

Two diversion tunnels were constructed for diverting water around the construction area. Diversion #2 is now used as an outlet for the water being utilized by the underground power plant. The 35 foot diameter size of the tunnels was chosen to withstand the flows of previously recorded floods on the Feather River. After final completion of the dam in 1967, Diversion Tunnels #1 and #2 were plugged. They excavated a system of tunnels for the powerhouse, some of which connected to Diversion Tunnel #2.

Personally, I would not volunteer to put on one of those old fashioned deep sea diver suits and go down with a jackhammer to unseal Diversion Tunnel #1.

But maybe there is something that could be done with Diversion Tunnel #2 from inside the powerhouse? That’s a potential 78,500 additional cubic feet per second, which could come in handy.

UPDATE: Evacuation ordered for Oroville, CA and other towns downstream of the immense Oroville dam along the Feather River. About 160,000 people need to leave.

Screenshot 2017-02-12 18.29.07

KCRA in Sacramento is a good source of info. Here’s KCRA helicopter video from just before dark on Sunday that shows the lay of the land better than anything else I’ve seen:

http://www.kcra.com/article/evacuation-orders-issued-for-low-levels-of-oroville/8735215

And here are older videos:

The evacuation routes are crowded but moving:

They’re concerned that the Emergency (a.k.a., Auxiliary ) Spillway, which was never needed before Saturday, is eroding away. The Emergency Spillway is a 1,700 foot long concrete lip to the reservoir at a slightly lower elevation than the actual dam. It’s like the edge of your bathtub, if your bathtub was basically a big canyon. Water is overflowing the reservoir over the concrete Emergency Spillway lip onto a dirt mountainside and plunging down to the Feather River. But the overflow could erode the concrete lip, causing it to collapse, allowing the top 30 feet (?) of the immense reservoir, the second biggest in California, to suddenly head downhill toward Oroville, Sacramento, and the San Francisco Bay.

From the Daily Mail:

Department of Water Resources spokesman Kevin Dossey tells the Sacramento Bee the emergency spillway was rated to handle 250,000 cubic feet per second, but it began to show weakness Sunday at a small fraction of that. Flows through the spillway peaked at 12,600 cubic feet per second at 1 a.m. Sunday and were down to 8,000 cubic feet per second by midday.

So they have started letting water blast down the primary spillway, a huge concrete ditch, which has been eroding away for several days, to try to lower the reservoir before rains come again around Thursday.

They just started sending 100,000 cubic feet per second (99,969 to be precise) down the failing concrete primary spillway, up from the 55,000 CFS they’d been allowing to try to lessen damages to the concrete.

Screenshot 2017-02-12 18.18.24

You can follow the technical data here.

Presumably that will destroy the primary spillway faster, but whaddaya whaddaya? The good news is that inflows into the reservoir seem to be down to 42,369 cubic feet per second, so the reservoir level should fall.

It would be useful to know the arithmetic for translating net outflow of cubic feet per second into acre feet of water into change in elevation of the top of the reservoir.

Until it starts raining again, which now looks like Wednesday.

Screenshot 2017-02-12 18.24.01

Of course, warm sunny days will also melt the snowpack near the snowline above the dam …

The 770 foot tall dam, itself, seems to be okay.

But a lot of things have gone wrong that weren’t supposed to go wrong, so …

————–

Original Post on early Sunday morning: The good news is the drought in Northern California is over, which is also the bad news.

Oroville in the Gold Rush country of the lower Sierra Nevada northeast of Sacramento is the tallest dam in America and its reservoir is the second biggest of the giant California State Water Project.

Here’s an old clip of what the Oroville Dam concrete spillway is supposed to look like, with water falling in an orderly fashion down the 770 foot elevation loss, only splashing up at the very bottom before falling into the Feather River:

And here’s what it looks like after the latest rainstorm as the bottom half of the spillway has more or less exploded, with huge chunks of concrete flying through the air, with the water carving a new canyon down to bedrock.

The engineers had to reduce the flow over the spillway to keep the top half from eroding away itself and undermining the integrity of the reservoir. But this inability to shed water from the reservoir faster than it flowed in from the recent rainstorm meant that the reservoir overflowed for the first time in its 48 year history.

Starting Saturday morning, water started spilling over the “emergency spillway,” which is actually just a 1,700 foot long lip of the lake that empties out onto a mountainside, kind of like the edge of your bathtub. The purpose of the Emergency Spillway is to drain the lake before it overflows the earthen dam itself, which could erode the dam on it’s less hardened down river side, which could conceivably lead to various other bad things, ultimately resulting in, more or less, no more Sacramento.

So far, the Emergency Spillway seems to be doing its job, although you’ll have new video Sunday morning to check whether this last-ditch system is working as planned hoped. But, best case scenario, the repair job on the Primary Spillway will likely cost nine figures.

This reminds me of SlateStarCodex’s giant current post on Cost Disease: why do so many different things such as public works projects, health care, and education keep getting more expensive?

I don’t know if there are any general lessons to be learned from Oroville.

But the body language of the public works engineers suggests some guilt and fear on their part. California was pretty broke a half decade ago, but the state could have afforded to fix the spillway recently if flaws in it had been discovered, but the staffers didn’t seem to inspect it terribly closely.

They don’t look like California’s A Team.

I wonder if the quality of public works engineers has declined as we’ve moved from the construction to the maintenance era. Fifty to 100 years ago, building dams was a highly prestigious profession. Waterworks engineer William Mulholland was perhaps the leading citizen of California and his rise and fall inspired a famous movie,

But few dams have been built in this century and mostly we just want the ones that we already have not to collapse. That’s not particularly attractive to top people looking for a career.

From the comments:

Dr. X says:
February 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm GMT • 100 Words(Edit-1764510)
One lesson is that governments build infrastructure that they believe will be permanent, and often do not build failure contingencies into the design or have a good Plan B if it fails.

Following the adage “two is one, and one is none” the designers of the dam probably should have built two identical concrete spillways, so they could alternate flow while repairing the one not in use. They sort of had a last-ditch backup plan with the “emergency” spillway, but that is not a spillway at all so much as an overflow, and they certainly can’t use that for an extended period of time while repairing the concrete spillway.

Busby says:
February 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm GMT • 200 Words(Edit-1764680)
Scenario 1: Young newly credentialed engineer from Ivy League school forsakes high paying job at family construction firm for the opportunity to “make a contribution” out west like his admirable great grand father. First day on job discovers evidence of waste, fraud and abuse in dam maintenance program but gets no support from disinterested supervisor. Connects with old flame (Ivy drop out) female minority who has “mad computer skilz” now part of hacking collective devoted to rooting out government black programs. Aided by wise older guy, former Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for NYT (Morgan Freeman?). Team discovers family firm hiding behind six offshore holding companies provides substandard materials and pencil whips inspections and QA reports. Final act exposing family firm and the corrupt public officials takes place on the 7th green at Pebble Beach.

Scenario 2: Maintenance and Safety Managers spend years documenting deferred maintenance and requesting funds to ameliorate same. Politicians ignore same until disaster strikes. Since everyone is responsible, nobody is responsible.

Alterorbis says: • Website
February 12, 2017 at 8:09 pm GMT • 100 Words(Edit-1764787)
Whenever you look at sub Romano-British villas into the 5th to 6th centuries, you generally don’t find evidence of marauding barbarians or pillage. What happens is that if the roof caved in, or tiles were blown off in the wind, no one had the knowledge to repair it and so it was abandoned. Similarly if windows were smashed, glaziers no longer existed, so you had to move out of that room. Great halls where noble families once ate were repurposed as grain stores, or sheds for swine. At some point, a fire breaks out and no one is left who has the expertise to rebuild the house, so it gets abandoned.

Decline is very banal.

SF says:
February 12, 2017 at 9:18 pm GMT • 100 Words(Edit-1764855)
From the close up photos, it looks like there was a softer layer of brown soil upslope from a layer of hard gray and relatively impervious bedrock. My best guess is the ground water accumulated above the bedrock to the point that the soil was semi-liquefied, and eroded from underneath the spillway. This created a void where the spillway was not supported from below, leading to the failure. If this was the case (and I would give it a 51% probability) then it is more a problem with the original design and engineering in the 1960′s.

Steve Sailer says: • Website
February 12, 2017 at 10:41 pm GMT(Edit-1764932)@SF
That’s probably one reason it takes so long to build stuff these days — we know more about what could go wrong so we try to design in safety features for a host of contingencies.

Here’s a blog post I did in 2014 about dams featured in the 1970s movies Chinatown and Earthquake:

Why Are Infrastructure Projects So Slow These Days?
STEVE SAILER • MARCH 25, 2014 • 300 WORDS • 58 COMMENTS

One of the odder aspects of modern life is that it takes forever to build infrastructure. For example, the 2.7 mile paved walking path around the beautiful Lake Hollywood reservoir (which is under the famous Hollywood Sign), was washed out in places during the 2005 rains. The loop finally reopened in 2013, over eight years later.

In contrast, the sizable Mulholland Dam that created the Hollywood Reservoir in the 1920s was built in … 1.5 years (according to the bronze plaque on the dam) … it took at least five years less time to build the dam from scratch in the 1920s than to fix the road around the reservoir in the 2000s and 2010s.

On the other hand, as I was reading up on this dam, I saw that William Mulholland, Los Angeles’s titanic chief water engineer, followed up his Hollywood dam with his nearly identical St. Francis dam out in the northern exurbs, which also built in only a couple of years.

Unfortunately, the St. Francis dam collapsed in 1928, killing approximately 600 people. (In Chinatown, the depressed water engineer Hollis Mulwray is vaguely based on Mulholland post-St. Francis dam disaster.)

So, in the 1930s, Los Angeles went back and pushed a huge amount of dirt in front of the Hollywood version of the dam to keep from losing Hollywood. I hadn’t realized how tall the dam is under all the dirt until seeing this photo of the safety project from a 1934 Popular Science:

So, I don’t know. Maybe we have good reasons for doing things more slowly now?

 
    []
  1. BenKenobi says:

    When California sends its public works engineers, they’re not sending their best.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anonym
    • LOL: AndrewR, Frau Katze
    • Replies: @snorlax
    They're rapists!
    , @Anon
    Sounds like a chance for Trump to step in and show his building chops.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    /isteve/are-there-any-lessons-to-be-learned-from-the-oroville-dam-disaster/#comment-1764368
    More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. Anonym says:

    I wonder how many AA hires there are in that department. Demographically California now resembles a nicer area of Mexico. Sooner or later there will be more pee than punch in the bowl and it’s going to show.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Sooner or later?

    It's going to show?

    Keep up, Cochise.

    I invite anyone doubting that the crumbling infrastructure is a fiat accompli to drive over Altamont Pass.

    Check your shocks first...and your rims afterward.
    , @BenKenobi
    South Park did an episode with the boys going to a water park and it being swamped with minorities, to Cartman's horror. The B-plot consisted of Kyle's digust with with the percentage of pee in the pool.

    The two plots converged when the percentage of pee in the pool reached a critical mass and the water park, i guess, "erupted" causing total disaster. Percentage of pee was clearly a metaphor for the percentage of non-Whites in America (but of course I would interpret it that way).

    Here's a great song with Cartman asking God to get all the minorities out of his water park:

    "the lazy river has never been lazier."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45E4fWW2eaw

  3. The cracks and damage were well known, but there was no money to fix them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    But we did, apparently, have enough taxpayer money to start giving food stamps to noncitizens, giving cash assistance to aged, blind or disabled noncitizens, as well as free strollers and car seats and bicycle helmets to legal and illegal aliens for their many, many children.

    It's a great feeling to know that we paid for our own stroller and groceries AND paid for the stroller and groceries of the often nonworking noncitizens in front of us on line.
  4. Anonym says:

    Apropos. If only the dam were bigger and above Hollywood. One can wish.

    Read More
  5. Here’s some close-up drone video:

    KILGORE: We play Wagner. Erodes the hell out of the slopes!

    Read More
  6. …I wonder if the quality of public works engineers has declined as we’ve moved from the construction to the maintenance era. Fifty to 100 years ago, building dams was a highly prestigious profession. Waterworks engineer William Mulholland was perhaps the leading citizen of California and his rise and fall inspired a famous movie…

    My great-grandfather was a waterworks civil engineer c.1875-1900. He designed and helped build some medium size dams and waterway systems. His achievement in those days, according to his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, was considered to be equal to that of a cousin of his, who was an appellate court judge. Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri

    "Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then."
     
    It's still pretty awe-inspiring now. But then sometime in the 1960s, the environmental movement decided dams were evil. As John McPhee observed about environmentalists at the time,

    "The outermost circle of the [environmentalists'] Devil’s world seems to be a moat filled mainly with DDT. Next to it is a moat of burning gasoline. Within that is a ring of pinheads each covered with a million people – and so on past phalanxed bulldozers and bicuspid chain saws into the absolute epicenter of Hell on earth, where stands a dam. Conservationists who can hold themselves in reasonable check before new oil spills and fresh megalopolises mysteriously go insane at even the thought of a dam."
     
    Of course, a lot of those environmentalists were (and still are) literally living from the water supplied by that western dam and aqueduct system.

    I once wondered why it is that there can be droughts in the American Great Plains, when those plains are adjacent to the single biggest supply of fresh water on Earth (the Great Lakes). A bit of googling showed me (as it often does) that I was not the first one to ask this question, and indeed there were even some answers. After finishing the great California water projects, those engineers had gone on to plan perhaps the largest engineering feat in all of human history: a vast network of dams, reservoirs and aqueducts stretching all the way from Canada in the north down to Mexico in the south, from the Great Plains and Lakes in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west.

    The retrospective consensus seemed to be that it was never built because it was too expensive, about $30 bil. in the 1920s, if I recall correctly, but even adjusted for inflation, that doesn't seem so much when we're tossing trillions into corrupt banks and pointless wars. And, when repairing one lousy spillway is a nine-figure project, a continent-spanning system that would make the deserts bloom for a (inflation-adjusted) trillion or three seems pretty inexpensive by comparison (not to mention providing jobs other than bankster or war profiteer).

    I suspect the real reason it was never built wasn't so much the cost to build it as it was the specter of success: Malthusian force would bring about vast new settlements whose continued existence could be turned on or off at the flip of a hydro-switch. In other words, it was the first and biggest NIMBY victim. There was probably also some consternation about how would poor Mexico pay rich Canada for its water?

    But anyway, if it is ever built, it would surely make Civil Engineering Great Again.
    , @Mr. Anon
    "His achievement in those days, according to his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, was considered to be equal to that of a cousin of his, who was an appellate court judge."

    His achievement was much greater. Judges are mere transient functionaries of the state.
    , @RadicalCenter
    What your great grandfather did was far more socially valuable and admirable and useful than the typical judge.
    , @Anonym
    My great-grandfather was a waterworks civil engineer c.1875-1900. He designed and helped build some medium size dams and waterway systems. His achievement in those days, according to his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, was considered to be equal to that of a cousin of his, who was an appellate court judge

    Maybe there is some equivalency in income, but no way would I rate the accomplishments of a great engineer as similar to an appellate court judge (for someone like Scalia I might make an exception). The judge's decisions don't have to be right. The engineer's decisions are weighed on the scales of the universe's physical law, and if found wanting it will be self-evident with something like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
  7. Polymath says:

    Whatever general lesson we ought to learn, the one we will be instructed with is “women, minorities hardest hit”.

    Read More
  8. “Are There Any Lessons to be Learned from the Oroville Dam Disaster?”

    Aside from not being able to build things, “progressives” can’t foresee the dangers of not maintaining the civilisational relics that made their ascendance possible, which is why hedonistic liberalism is often the last gasp of dying civilisations.

    Read More
    • Agree: AndrewR, reiner Tor
    • Replies: @PMM
    It ain't a disaster. Any amount of erosion downhill is unimportant. It's only a disaster if the erosion starts moving up hill.
    , @pyrrhus
    Maintenance is boring...only conservatives would do something like that....
    , @TheJester
    Agree. The SJWs tend to disdain dams, power plants, cars, highways, power lines, corporate farms, and factories. The list goes on and on. However, it seems that they appreciate and partake of the comforts of modern civilization and its infrastructure. They take them for granted.

    The SJWs come across as petulant spoiled children who live in superficially sketched, idealized worlds divorced from reality and the common experience of humankind. Like children, they shun a consideration of consequences that they have never had the privilege of experiencing as they press their ill-thought-out projects on humankind.

    When things go wrong: "That's not my fault... that's not supposed to happen! Let me throw a tantrum to let everyone know exactly how I feel about this. And I need someone to fix it ... right now!

    Immobilized by the Cult of Victimization, I'm doubtful that the Millennial generation has the emotional maturity, the discipline, and the intellectual equipment required to carry Western Civilization to the next generation. They and their immigrant friends are "cashing out" Western Civilization as fast as they can. When it's gone ... it's gone.
  9. tyrone says:

    Hmmm a giant expensive contruction project,hey!California we just elected a president who’s great at that sort of thing , so be a little nicer .

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    We live in California but I say SCREW CALIFORNIA. They hate and look down on Americans in the non coastal states, constantly agitating to take more of our earnings and indoctrinate our children with sick ideas. So let them pay for their own infrastructure, including this dam.

    All the supposed big fed tax revenue contributions from Silicon Valley and Hollywood, are dwarfed by the immense financial and social costs that the left inflicts on the rest of us through their support for unending third world immigration into CA and the US.

    Trump should direct fed infrastructure spending disproportionately to states that voted for him, or to States that were close and could vote for him next time. Especially Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, the Plains, the Deep South.

    Particularly, he should direct funds to the whiter communities, which typically pay a disproportionate share of taxes or suffer a disproportionate share of our military's deaths and injuries, and whose white children are disadvantaged by racial discrimination under the the propaganda name affirmative action.

    More broadly, hey Californians, screw you, get lost, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. You deserve to suffer when your dilapidated dams or bridges collapse because you choose to spend money instead to bring in and subsidize millions of alien peoples to colonize us.
  10. Clyde says:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/28/william-mulholland-gave-water-to-la-and-inspired-chinatown.html

    The water spillover is exciting but my ESP says no Orville dam bust in 2017 but if next winter is rainy then maybe yes. I was at lake Oroville a few times a few years back and it was very muddy, shallow and receded very far back. It was an unhappy sight.
    With the current Oroville overflow….good luck channeling that much water and making it go the way you want it to go.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    How much money did you make off the Patriots' win? If the answer is "None," then your ESP is about as useful as a bucket of warm spit.
  11. I think a much bigger problem and impact is that California, with a lot of water to go around, will boom economically, and will bring in another 10 million residents.

    Read More
    • Agree: Lot, Daniel H
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    There is not a lot of water to go around even in Northern California, and the drought continues at dangerous levels in SoCal and much of the State. There ultimately will be life threatening water shortages and widespread violence as people kill to get water for themselves and their families.

    Also, CA will bring in millions more residents because of the generous welfare benefits and "free" healthcare and the weather, without much regard to the availability of good jobs or any jobs. Many people don't come here to work hard but to take advantage, and they're not deterred by a decline in good jobs here.

    You are thinking too sensibly. Think like a Californian when analyzing this situation, seriously.

    , @Neoconned
    And considering these ten million new people will come straight from the 3rs world quite literally and live ten to an apartment they're going to have even more strain on the environment and natural resources.

    Only next time there won't be 15-20 million white Baby Boomers to keep the fuckin trainwreck going.

    The average age of a white Californian is late 40s/early 50s. In 20 yrs it's going to be interesting.

    I'm shocked at the sheer rapid pace of foreign race replacement in California. Nothing like this has happened since the manifest Destiny era.
  12. Alice says:

    With the advent of atomic and quantum physics in 30s-40s, the brightest engineering types went into the fields that became modern physics, electrical engineering, materials science. With the space race, the best and the brightest went into the above and aerospace engineering. For the last 25 years, the best and brightest science and engineering types went into computer science and software engineering.

    Getting into the engineering at Cal is prestigious. But the whole college looked at the civ engs as the C students who washed out of all the other engineering majors. Because they were.

    And yes, it’s maintenance mode. What exciting new thing is in large scale civ eng? It’s in stuff overseas.

    Same reason teachers got dumber. As brightest women went into other fields, teaching (and that usually means work in daycare) is only for the average and below IQ.

    Read More
    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Faraday's Bobcat

    With the advent of atomic and quantum physics in 30s-40s, the brightest engineering types went into the fields that became modern physics, electrical engineering, materials science. With the space race, the best and the brightest went into the above and aerospace engineering. For the last 25 years, the best and brightest science and engineering types went into computer science and software engineering.
     
    Actually, for the past 25 years, the best and brightest have gone into finance. There are probably thousands of STEM PhDs wasting their talents hacking the financial system instead of inventing Mars rockets or curing cancer. Picture the water coming down that busted spillway, except imagine that it's money going into the pockets of the big banks.
    , @E. Rekshun
    the whole college looked at the civ engs as the C students who washed out of all the other engineering majors. Because they were.

    Environmental engineering is even lower. My employer recently de-funded our one "Energy Sustainability Engineer" when new senior execs realized it was worthless fluff. She had a masters degree in Environmental Engineering from a prestigious east coast university, but she didn't know how to work with spreadsheets.
  13. The Chinese are still building massive dams, and when you think of magnificent public works the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam have to be on your list. I spent 25 years in construction, nothing is better designed and built than a private project, such as a power plant. Government projects are often over designed and wasteful. The occasional appearance of a government engineer or employee, such as an EPA or OSHA inspector, on a private project, was viewed as an intrusion, even the workers had visible distain for them. The one similar feature in most government works , whether it is a dam, a spillway , a lock or a bridge is the lack of meaningful maintenance to ensure the integrity of the structure. No dam, bridge or spillway should fail because it was not inspected correctly and repaired correctly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Right now there is a big issue on the major bridge over the Delaware River that connects the PA Turnpike with the NJ Turnpike. A big truss member broke clear thru and left a gap of several inches. The load was taken up by other elements so the thing didn't just collapse into the river but it could have gone at any minute since the other elements were now overstressed. They didn't find the crack in a regular inspection - the bridge had just been painted and someone from the NJ Turnpike Authority was inspecting the paint job when he spotted the crack. They can patch the crack but now they have to test all the other elements that may have been overloaded and weakened so the bridge is closed indefinitely until they figure out whether it is safe or not.
  14. Civil engineering is one of the lower paid disciplines of engineering. A starting graduate starts out in the $50-55k range on average and tops out somewhere in the $80-90k range. Meanwhile, there are kids who get offers to make useless apps in Silicon Valley for $90k right out of school. So yeah, most civil engineers aren’t usually the A team anymore or even the B team. Anyone who has enough intelligence to pursue engineering will likely go for the better paying disciplines.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    In terms of coursework and course load, civil engineering is generally the easiest major in engineering school. Electrical engineering tends to be the hardest. It's the major to pick to have the easiest time in college and more of a social life, short of switching to lib arts.
  15. A more dramatic dam failure involving a hydro facility occurred at this hydro plant in 2009:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Sayano%E2%80%93Shushenskaya_power_station_accident

    At least the California operators so far have avoided the extent of the catastrophic failure of the above facility and loss of lives, and the emergency spillway appears to work as planned.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    Interesting article. Thanks.
    , @anon
    Amazingly, there are 29 pages on dam failures in U.S. Looks like dam failures are lot more common than normally understood.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Dam_failures_in_the_United_States
  16. It is probably just compensation and propaganda. The government could command respect if it set out to do so. In Texas, the university football coach is the highest paid public employee in the state. The respect he gets is due to the combination of merit, compensation and marketing (propaganda). So, if they jacked up the salaries and the prestige of a zero defects policy and then publicized it and celebrated it, then it would be attractive to the top people.

    Before anyone ever does a good job, he first wants to do a good job. To get those who want to do a good job, you have to pay them and reward actual good performance. If Apple and Google could do it, then, so can the state of California, but they would have to want to.

    Read More
  17. biz says:

    Things have really declined since Chief Hydrological Engineer was the highest prestige career for the Cappadocians.

    Read More
  18. The bottom half of the spillway looks in pretty good shape. The damage started in the middle of the spillway. As more water was released it started eating away at the concrete at the top end of the crater, working towards the top of the spillway. The water also cut out a trench to the right, facing it from the river.

    Read More
  19. I don’t pretend to understand all the maintenance and repair aspects of the Oroville Dam system. But anytime Californians talk about their water problems, my instinct as a federal taxpayer is to calm down and watch my wallet.

    It’s useful to remember that US taxpayers from other states heavily subsidize California water supply. The larger the share of their water costs that Californians must pay, the more likely they are to choose more sensible and efficient solutions. Yes, I know Californians are already stressed about water. They are making sacrifices and bickering with their neighbors about water. But US taxpayers have a right to ask Californians to pay a bigger share.

    When Congress enacted the lavish water subsidies in the Reclamation Reform Act of 1902 and related laws, part of the purpose was to encourage more Americans to move to California. Really. California was underpopulated. Back then, it also rained more.

    A century later, many billions of US taxpayer dollars have been spent to supply water in California. Where are we today? California is full of people. The climate is drier. There are many water-saving technologies and practices that Californians can learn from places like Australia and Israel — and perfect in the Golden State.

    After Californians have exhausted such solutions, it might even be time to consider crazy, radical measures like taking a look at immigration into the state. Curtailing immigration into California wouldn’t solve the whole water problem. But Californians in Congress are asking for billions of US taxpayer dollars to solve their water problems, some on an “emergency” basis.

    It’s fair and reasonable for federal taxpayers to ask Californians to get serious about managing not just water supply, but people supply.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    A lot of the water problem in California is a people problem. About a year-or-so ago, when California was in the depths of this last drought - the worst ever we are told - the snow-pack in the Sierras was at about the same level as it was in the mid-to-late 70s when California had a notable drought. By the way, Jerry Brown was governor then too. Maybe he's just bad luck. Anyway, the amount of snow in the Sierras wasn't any different than in the 70s. What was different was that the population of the state had increased by 80% since that time.

    California also has a power problem; they import about a third of their electricity.

    It's getting pretty expensive for the rest of the country to continue to pay for California's exquisite environmental sensibilities.
  20. bomag says:

    Bureau of Reclamation has struggled with spillway damage/failure on their dams. At higher flows, turbulence and the resulting cavitation were problems not anticipated by the initial designers. This looks like the issue here.

    Maintenance is definitely less glamorous than building, but no less important. I often wonder if the “wizards of build” might leave us with structures too complicated for the coming idiocracy to maintain. I hear rumors that the retiring managers of the electric power grid have no confidence in their replacements to maintain the thing.

    Maybe more of this is in store:

    https://www.wbez.org/shows/curious-city/why-the-1992-loop-flood-is-the-most-chicago-story-ever/b82c4d20-0af3-4cc6-b903-0e6f84df07ba

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    bomag, only a few here could use cavitation in a sentence, but then again, fluid mechanics is not a big topic at Steve's blog.
    , @anon
    Actually, it is not just power grids, our aging nuke and missile systems will become impossible to maintain and rot away eventually. 60-minutes had a program on floppy disk drives in missile silos for programming launches. http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/26/us/pentagon-floppy-disks-nuclear/

    And NASA buys obsolete parts on ebay http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/12/us/for-parts-nasa-boldly-goes-on-ebay.html
    , @anonguy
    DC's Metro system is a good example of governmental incompetence in designing and maintaining infrastructure.

    It was kind of ok when it first went into service. The lack of a third track, which makes it a more of an amusement park ride than a real subway, was annoying in how it hobbled the service, but it was tolerable and a reasonably usable system when first constructed.

    But over the past 15 years, incompetence in maintenance and operations has more or less destroyed it.
  21. @PiltdownMan

    ...I wonder if the quality of public works engineers has declined as we’ve moved from the construction to the maintenance era. Fifty to 100 years ago, building dams was a highly prestigious profession. Waterworks engineer William Mulholland was perhaps the leading citizen of California and his rise and fall inspired a famous movie...
     
    My great-grandfather was a waterworks civil engineer c.1875-1900. He designed and helped build some medium size dams and waterway systems. His achievement in those days, according to his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, was considered to be equal to that of a cousin of his, who was an appellate court judge. Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then.

    “Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then.”

    It’s still pretty awe-inspiring now. But then sometime in the 1960s, the environmental movement decided dams were evil. As John McPhee observed about environmentalists at the time,

    “The outermost circle of the [environmentalists'] Devil’s world seems to be a moat filled mainly with DDT. Next to it is a moat of burning gasoline. Within that is a ring of pinheads each covered with a million people – and so on past phalanxed bulldozers and bicuspid chain saws into the absolute epicenter of Hell on earth, where stands a dam. Conservationists who can hold themselves in reasonable check before new oil spills and fresh megalopolises mysteriously go insane at even the thought of a dam.”

    Of course, a lot of those environmentalists were (and still are) literally living from the water supplied by that western dam and aqueduct system.

    I once wondered why it is that there can be droughts in the American Great Plains, when those plains are adjacent to the single biggest supply of fresh water on Earth (the Great Lakes). A bit of googling showed me (as it often does) that I was not the first one to ask this question, and indeed there were even some answers. After finishing the great California water projects, those engineers had gone on to plan perhaps the largest engineering feat in all of human history: a vast network of dams, reservoirs and aqueducts stretching all the way from Canada in the north down to Mexico in the south, from the Great Plains and Lakes in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west.

    The retrospective consensus seemed to be that it was never built because it was too expensive, about $30 bil. in the 1920s, if I recall correctly, but even adjusted for inflation, that doesn’t seem so much when we’re tossing trillions into corrupt banks and pointless wars. And, when repairing one lousy spillway is a nine-figure project, a continent-spanning system that would make the deserts bloom for a (inflation-adjusted) trillion or three seems pretty inexpensive by comparison (not to mention providing jobs other than bankster or war profiteer).

    I suspect the real reason it was never built wasn’t so much the cost to build it as it was the specter of success: Malthusian force would bring about vast new settlements whose continued existence could be turned on or off at the flip of a hydro-switch. In other words, it was the first and biggest NIMBY victim. There was probably also some consternation about how would poor Mexico pay rich Canada for its water?

    But anyway, if it is ever built, it would surely make Civil Engineering Great Again.

    Read More
    • Replies: @IAmCorn
    Are you referring to the North American Water and Power Alliance?
    , @pyrrhus
    No, it was never built, as explained in the great 'Cadillac Desert' because environmental legislation would have required Environmental Impact Statements, and since the impacts would be diverse and serious, endless litigation. In addition, no polity is going to let California (or any other State) steal its water in this day and age....
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Almost, The US shares the Great Lakes with Canada and the states that touch the lakes and the Canadian government control the use of the water. We, those on the lakes, don't like to and won't share that precious resource.
    , @Intelligent Dasein
    I believe I read once that in pre-Columbian America, numerous beaver dams had accomplished much the same thing as the vast civic works project you are describing. The Great Plains as we know them today are in part the creation of the numerous fur trappers who laid waste to the beaver population before the area had been widely settled or surveyed. The new ecological balance that resulted was more conducive to the multiplication of the American bison, which swelled in to vast herds that further trampled and desertified the Midwest. That resulted in the Indians having to change their lifestyle to become more intensive hunters of bison, which change they pursued in the grossest manner possible, viz. by setting the prairie ablaze in order to stampede the bison over escarpments so that that they could "clean up" the injured ones, further exacerbating the desertification cycle. It is worth noting in this connection that the Hernando De Soto expedition traveled extensively throughout the American south and southwest in the 1500s and does not record ever having set eyes on a single buffalo.
    , @Opinionator
    They are right though. Dams are indeed evil.
  22. Scary story from the New Yorker about the impending breach/collapse of the massive dam in Mosul now that the lunatics are running the asylum:

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/02/a-bigger-problem-than-isis

    Some day a real rain will come.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bill
    That article is scary. It's scary at the object level since the Mosul dam failing would be really bad. It's also scary at the meta level. Dam engineers (promoters?) are portrayed as awfully cavalier about water leaking under/around their dams. "We'll just grout it!" Literally---they have been pumping vast quantities of grout into holes which keep forming under the Mosul dam literally every day for decades since it was built.

    That Canadian maniac with the cable show about renovating bathrooms so that they don't leak and rot your house's timbers would not be amused.
  23. Dr. X says:

    One lesson is that governments build infrastructure that they believe will be permanent, and often do not build failure contingencies into the design or have a good Plan B if it fails.

    Following the adage “two is one, and one is none” the designers of the dam probably should have built two identical concrete spillways, so they could alternate flow while repairing the one not in use. They sort of had a last-ditch backup plan with the “emergency” spillway, but that is not a spillway at all so much as an overflow, and they certainly can’t use that for an extended period of time while repairing the concrete spillway.

    (Of course, if the dam broke and took out Sacramento, some people might argue that’s not a bad thing as long as it takes the Legislature with it).

    Lotsa luck Californians… you’re gonna need it.

    Read More
  24. IAmCorn says:
    @Almost Missouri

    "Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then."
     
    It's still pretty awe-inspiring now. But then sometime in the 1960s, the environmental movement decided dams were evil. As John McPhee observed about environmentalists at the time,

    "The outermost circle of the [environmentalists'] Devil’s world seems to be a moat filled mainly with DDT. Next to it is a moat of burning gasoline. Within that is a ring of pinheads each covered with a million people – and so on past phalanxed bulldozers and bicuspid chain saws into the absolute epicenter of Hell on earth, where stands a dam. Conservationists who can hold themselves in reasonable check before new oil spills and fresh megalopolises mysteriously go insane at even the thought of a dam."
     
    Of course, a lot of those environmentalists were (and still are) literally living from the water supplied by that western dam and aqueduct system.

    I once wondered why it is that there can be droughts in the American Great Plains, when those plains are adjacent to the single biggest supply of fresh water on Earth (the Great Lakes). A bit of googling showed me (as it often does) that I was not the first one to ask this question, and indeed there were even some answers. After finishing the great California water projects, those engineers had gone on to plan perhaps the largest engineering feat in all of human history: a vast network of dams, reservoirs and aqueducts stretching all the way from Canada in the north down to Mexico in the south, from the Great Plains and Lakes in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west.

    The retrospective consensus seemed to be that it was never built because it was too expensive, about $30 bil. in the 1920s, if I recall correctly, but even adjusted for inflation, that doesn't seem so much when we're tossing trillions into corrupt banks and pointless wars. And, when repairing one lousy spillway is a nine-figure project, a continent-spanning system that would make the deserts bloom for a (inflation-adjusted) trillion or three seems pretty inexpensive by comparison (not to mention providing jobs other than bankster or war profiteer).

    I suspect the real reason it was never built wasn't so much the cost to build it as it was the specter of success: Malthusian force would bring about vast new settlements whose continued existence could be turned on or off at the flip of a hydro-switch. In other words, it was the first and biggest NIMBY victim. There was probably also some consternation about how would poor Mexico pay rich Canada for its water?

    But anyway, if it is ever built, it would surely make Civil Engineering Great Again.

    Are you referring to the North American Water and Power Alliance?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Yes, thank you. I couldn't find again it since my original Google Search over a decade ago.

    So it was actually for $100 bil. in the 1960s, which is anyhow about on the same inflation curve, and today would be close to a trillion dollars, or as they call it in DC, "peanuts!"
  25. kihowi says:

    I think this is another aspect of your idea that whatever can’t be talked about, won’t be thought about much. I bet in Asia, where shitty jobs are looked down on, the question “what kind of person would possibly want do this” is asked a lot more than here, leading to possibly interesting conclusions about the person or the job or the state of the industry.

    Which is of course the reason that we’ve switched to woolly thinking about this subject. Things might be noticed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @artichoke
    I was an engineer in California some years ago ...

    It's a solid middle class job, no better than that but no worse. It's no shame if your son becomes a civil engineer, but it ain't a theoretical physicist. Nor an appellate judge. The pay is only OK.

    But the red tape is ridiculous. Simple obvious things like "holy moly we'd better repair these things" become complicated and obfuscated and politicized, and as we see nothing gets done, but everyone keeps their jobs. If you actually push too hard to fix things, you'll be scapegoated and out the door. There's no surrender to obvious common sense. That just isn't the way anything is done in California, at least any parts that touches the government or regulated industry.
  26. Dr. X says:

    Since California seems to be so solicitous of the needs of Muslim refugees these days, maybe they can bring in some Iraqis from the Mosul Dam to fix Oroville!!!

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/08/middleeast/inside-the-mosul-dam/

    Read More
  27. George says:

    Seems a bit like Flint water crisis.

    Could spending trillions in Iraqistan have had anything to do with this?

    What happens when the pension crisis hits? see pensiontsunami.com

    Maybe they dont have enough Asian civil engineers

    Read More
    • Replies: @Marat
    Is this disaster an inevitable result of third world conditions imposed on former-first world edifices, or is it the true cost of playing Empire, or is it the symbolic fluid wave of the future, or is it simply an affirmation that gravity works?
  28. pyrrhus says:

    William Mulholland was not an engineer, and in fact appears to have had no formal education. This was kind of confirmed when the St. Francis Dam, which he designed, failed and killed about 1000 people, somewhat spoiling his reputation….

    Read More
  29. mukat says:

    Just guessing that CalTRANS is more into diversity than competence these days. Which of the two options do their patrons in the Cal legislature care about?

    A separate issue is the third party contractors willing to sign on to ill-fated projects if the project is big enough in $$; or if it is abroad from their head office. E.g., the Seattle big dig was always going to be a big risk. E.g., the San Onofre nuclear steam pipes from Mitsubishi – located outside of Japan HQ.

    Read More
  30. What a metaphor for the decline of California and the country in general .

    Read More
  31. The Z Blog says: • Website

    I was just recently discussing this with someone in the civil engineering/environmental engineering business. He was lamenting the fact that finding talent has become very difficult. Even with hiring foreign workers, there’s not enough talent at any price. His firm pays very well so it is not the Silicon Valley grift. He really struggles to find competent people.

    The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don’t see Jews and Asians in the field. They are in tech and the law. Another problem is the schools have made environmental engineering into a girl field. Those with talent want to either start families or go into management. Simply offering a high paying job as an engineer is not enough. The gals want a path to management.

    The biggest issue he sees is the younger generation is grossly unprepared for work. Because it takes years for a college grad to mature into a fully functioning adult, the cost of hiring these people is very high, which means most employers prefer someone in their 30′s and they will over pay them. My guess would be that government gets the worst of the worst now as a result.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Connecticut Famer
    Excellent point. The Croton Dam in lower Westchester County (NY) is a masonry dam which was constructed in the late 19th-early 20th century (scope out Wiki for further info). It remains alive and well, having been constructed by (if memory serves) Italian immigrant stone cutters. Stone cutting is rapidly becoming a lost art.
    , @Mr. Anon
    "The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don’t see Jews and Asians in the field."

    You didn't see them much 50-70 years ago either, when most of that infrastructure was first built. But thanks for the patronizing anti-white racial-supremecy.
    , @Formerly CARealist
    My nephew is pursuing a PhD in civil engineering. he wanted to just go to work out of college, but the jobs were being offered to the Master's guys. After interning at a gov't job one summer he said there was no way he'd work for gov't again.
    As a kid he loved digging holes and collecting rocks... exactly the sort that is destined to be a civil engineer.

    Another friend worked for the bureau of reclamation. All his stories were of fighting with environmentalists in order to get projects going. That and dealing with diversity hires.

    What's wrong with people that they can't see that hiring someone who can't do a job is a recipe for failure? It's just nuts.
    , @Alice
    Your first reason matched the one ientioned in an earlier post, but your third make me think of a bigger generality.

    The last two-three decades have had the Nerds win. But more than just nerds, they are Betas.

    The kind of man who was a Boy Scout in the 1930s or 50s was a competent, diligent, manly man, who more often that not, was bright. Maybe not brilliant, but bright.

    But now that man isn't the engineer. He's not the manager of engineers, even. The engineers are betas, less manly, more hipster, and not capable of the maturity needed to be good either physically or mentally with the responsibility of big scale projects.
    , @Robert Hume

    Another problem is the schools have made environmental engineering into a girl field. Those with talent want to either start families or go into management. Simply offering a high paying job as an engineer is not enough. The gals want a path to management.
     
    I've seen this in Department of Energy work. The few women in the field end up in management where the men don't want to go. The men would rather do design and research. Management is actually rather looked down upon as boring.
    , @Joe Schmoe

    The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don’t see Jews and Asians in the field.
     
    Oooh, those sexy Jews and Asians.

    LOL
  32. When the dam or levee is completed, it’s not over. Of course to meet safety and performance criteria, the structure should be inspected and maintained for the rest of its working life or until it’s removed. These are not insignificant costs and generally were not considered in benefit-cost considerations when these projects were built. All the big dams are built and there isn’t going to be any North America Water Project (NAWAPA) any time soon. Steve you are right in suggesting that prospective students may not be thrilled about entering a field that mainly is doing maintenance work–dam and levee inspection and maintenance strikes me at least as a bit unglamorous. Maintenance for a lot of water civil works projects is notoriously underfunded. There is all kinds of water infrastructure in the US that is beyond its design life and doesn’t get necessary $$$ for upkeep and upgrades. There aren’t many civil engineers in the US Congress. What congressman every got political payoff by running on a plank of infrastructure maintenance? The fed govt/Army Corps has a lot of aging infrastructure that it doesn’t know what to do with — it’s not as important economically as when it was built, Congress doesn’t provide enough $$$ for maintenance, and the states don’t want it. It’s a big messy problem.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Buck, California's Golden Gate Bridge Commission found $76 million to install suicide catch nets strung from both sides of the bridge. The fact that a jumper sails twenty plus feet into a steel mesh net should lead to some major injuries and probable law suits. I was an ironworker so I just had to walk on that bridge. Good lord it is a magnificent structure and seemingly well maintained by a crew of ironworkers and painters. A member of my local union, since deceased, worked on the erection of the GGB.
  33. Langley says:

    The cost of these projects is always greater in the end than their “estimates.”

    http://www.hawaiibusiness.com/how-much-will-it-cost-us-in-the-end/

    The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation was originally estimated at 2.3 billion. Last year the mayor guessed it would cost 10 billion.

    http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/34328982/lawmakers-question-caldwells-pitch-for-permanent-rail-tax

    It is not projected to reduce our traffic problem. It was sold as a jobs bill that would enrich well connected Democrats.

    Those folks are now fighting over how much of the tax money should go to the city vs the state.

    Our debt is unmanageable.

    Read More
  34. OT but bizarre:

    Steve,

    Have you noticed that a majority of the visitors to the NY Times and WaPo’s websites are Chinese? And I don’t mean by a little. I’m talking a huge amount.

    But if you look at the LA Times, China makes up a tiny portion of their readers.

    Something else that’s weird is that both NY Times and WaPo had huge increases in their visitors starting in the fall (which makes sense due to the election) while the LA Times visitors cratered (shouldn’t they get some of that same effect). Visitors also fell off a cliff to USA Today at the same time and USA Today like the LA Times has almost no Chinese readers.

    What’s going on?

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/nytimes.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/washingtonpost.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/usatoday.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/latimes.com

    Read More
    • Replies: @Faraday's Bobcat
    That's very interesting. Are the "visits" hacking attempts? An army of troll commenters paid to pick through every story? Or just some kind of fluke with the way visits are counted?
    , @Smokestack Lightning
    The New York Times has been pursuing an aggressive strategy to reach readers in China. The NYT has had a Chinese-language edition on its website for quite a few years. Now the Chinese government has been blocking the NYT website since October 2012. But recently the NYT has been aggressively using different techniques to get around the "Great Firewall of China" and to get its articles accessible to Chinese readers. And people within China have been using virtual private networks (VPNs) to make an end-run around the censors and gain access to articles in the NYT and elsewhere.

    https://qz.com/374299/how-the-new-york-times-is-eluding-chinas-censors/

    I got to see the Chinese censorship policy firsthand when I was in China about a year ago. Sure enough, there was no NYT. But also, for some reason, all of Unz.com was blocked, including iSteve. So I had to do without my daily iSteve reading for a few weeks. Also no Facebook. And nothing Google - no Google Search, Google Maps or Google Translate.
    , @Almost Missouri
    Part of it could simply that China has the world's largest population connected to the internet, so whatever they happen to look at will inevitably show up red--even if it is only the 38th most poplar site--in Alexa's somewhat misleading map that is based on absolute numbers rather than per capita.

    Another possibility is that fake news sites like the NYT are paying for fake subscribers from Chinese click-farms to keep their ad rates up.

    https://youtu.be/OZ6f14uwcjk
    , @Almost Missouri
    Citizen:

    Apparently it really is Chinese click farms holding up the MSM's ratings at this point.

    http://www.unz.com/forum/georgia-couple-get-prison-for-racial-threats-at-black-childs-party/#comment-1789005

    One of the commenters says that ordinary Chinese cannot access the NYT without special permission, so that scotches my first hypothesis.
  35. No more Sacramento???

    Now I’m praying for the whole dam bridge to give way. The entire water system of California was built by corrupt old white men anyway, right? Haven’t they seen the documentary Chinatown? The Mexifornians should have the courage of their convictions and abandon the whole racist-sexist-patriarchal system of dams and aquaducts.

    Read More
    • Replies: @bomag
    Yes, the new residents should not be burdened with YT's tainted infrastructure. The newcomers need to build it all to their lofty specs; it's the only way to ensure political purity, which is apparently the only thing that matters in this day and age.
    , @Lugash
    Casey Serin getting caught in the flood wouldn't be a bad thing.
    , @Alfa158
    That would be a real-life flushing of the Augean Stables.
  36. long lip of the lake that empties out onto a mountainside, kind of like the edge of your bathtub

    Sounds a bit surreal – a long lip (hmm, hmm), that turns into the “edge” of my (!) “bathtub” – – quite funny actually! Thanks!

    Read More
  37. Let me get this right.

    Not only does CA have a $1.9B budget shortfall, it now needs to find money and people to repair that damage.

    We need to ask Mexico to really send us their best, because the ones they have sent so far are just not making the grade and we can’t find Americans to do the work! </sarc>

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Peri, The $1.9 Billion dollar budget shortfall seems, at least to me, to be manageable. Chicago is light $10 billion on their pension funding and Illinois is $100 billion short for their pension payments. Buffalo's Public School budget approaches one billion per year. I think that number is way low.
  38. dearieme says:

    Never mind. In just a century to two your high speed railway line will be finished, allowing engineers and such to be transported at high speed from thingumybob to whatchamacallit.

    Read More
  39. Jack D says:

    This could just be a black swan event – the spillway was built to handle the 1,000 year flood and this is the 10,000 year flood instead.

    After Katrina, (NO was also built to a 1,000 year flood standard) I found out that the Dutch built to the 10,000 year standard.

    It really has nothing to do with waiting 10,000 years, it’s just the risk of the event happening in any given year. Each year the risk is the same whether it’s been 1 year since the last big one or 5,000. Maybe the risk of 10 inches of rain on one day in any given year is 1 in 1,000 but the risk of getting 20 inches is 1/10,000.

    It’s all a risk/reward expected value thing. If it costs an extra $1M to build to the higher standard but the risk is 1/10,000 then it’s not worth it unless the expected damages are more than $10 billion.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    The little boy has to stand there with his finger plugging the hole in the dyke for 10,000 years?
    , @E. Rekshun
    Maybe the risk of 10 inches of rain on one day in any given year is 1 in 1,000 but the risk of getting 20 inches is 1/10,000.

    After Tropical Storm Fay in 2008 (10 inches of rain in 20 hours), I had 3/4-inch of water in my ground floor utility room. I sucked it all up w/ my wet vac.
  40. Jack D says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    The Chinese are still building massive dams, and when you think of magnificent public works the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam have to be on your list. I spent 25 years in construction, nothing is better designed and built than a private project, such as a power plant. Government projects are often over designed and wasteful. The occasional appearance of a government engineer or employee, such as an EPA or OSHA inspector, on a private project, was viewed as an intrusion, even the workers had visible distain for them. The one similar feature in most government works , whether it is a dam, a spillway , a lock or a bridge is the lack of meaningful maintenance to ensure the integrity of the structure. No dam, bridge or spillway should fail because it was not inspected correctly and repaired correctly.

    Right now there is a big issue on the major bridge over the Delaware River that connects the PA Turnpike with the NJ Turnpike. A big truss member broke clear thru and left a gap of several inches. The load was taken up by other elements so the thing didn’t just collapse into the river but it could have gone at any minute since the other elements were now overstressed. They didn’t find the crack in a regular inspection – the bridge had just been painted and someone from the NJ Turnpike Authority was inspecting the paint job when he spotted the crack. They can patch the crack but now they have to test all the other elements that may have been overloaded and weakened so the bridge is closed indefinitely until they figure out whether it is safe or not.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Jack, I have done work for a local company that drilled new caissons to support new piers to brace that Delaware bridge. I saw photos that showed that the guard rails at the expansion joints (actually a gap in the rail) where the rails were leaning about a foot overboard and no one noticed.
    , @Anonym
    Right now there is a big issue on the major bridge over the Delaware River that connects the PA Turnpike with the NJ Turnpike.

    This should make counting the cars a lot easier, even if it means less people will be looking for America.
  41. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Basic rules of engineering have been codified for decades, and novice or incompetent engineers are almost never hired to do big and important projects. I doubt it was the engineering. Most likely the contractor broke his contract by supplying substandard concrete to save himself some money on the sly. In modern construction, it’s usually a crooked contractor who causes something to start falling apart prematurely, not a dumb engineer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Anon, I have to agree. I more often than not, saw structural and rebar members that are way over engineered.
    , @Anonymous
    Part of good engineering is understanding the human element. You can either dumb down to make something comtractor friendly or ride herd on the process. My favorite Larson comic of all time:

    http://www.stevevanderleest.com/fun/moat.jpg
    , @Mr. Anon
    "Basic rules of engineering have been codified for decades, and novice or incompetent engineers are almost never hired to do big and important projects. I doubt it was the engineering."

    I don't know. Big projects are made up of lots of small projects. I've seen things in government paid-for-and-built structures that range from annoying to frightening.
  42. Jeff says:

    Steve,

    I certainly think you’re onto something here. The extent of my experience is with residential construction.

    It’s very possible to have something built today that will be better suited to its purpose and last longer that what was built 20-50 years ago. How can I justify saying that? Well, there is a broader choice of materials available now, and many of the newer manufactured products are built to higher tolerances. We also know a lot more about which products will be durable as well as techniques/products to avoid. (for example – use techniques/products that minimize/prevent termite issues)

    Now, I’d also add that at least 80% of new construction doesn’t come close to maximizing these opportunities. Of course, it’s all about going with the lowest bid up front, then the work being done as cheaply as possible. Anybody that wants better will pay out-the-nose and fight an uphill battle the whole way. I did that for 8 months on the construction of my own home, but now that it’s done, I’m grateful for putting up that fight.

    Read More
  43. bomag says:
    @Dr. Krieger
    No more Sacramento???

    Now I'm praying for the whole dam bridge to give way. The entire water system of California was built by corrupt old white men anyway, right? Haven't they seen the documentary Chinatown? The Mexifornians should have the courage of their convictions and abandon the whole racist-sexist-patriarchal system of dams and aquaducts.

    Yes, the new residents should not be burdened with YT’s tainted infrastructure. The newcomers need to build it all to their lofty specs; it’s the only way to ensure political purity, which is apparently the only thing that matters in this day and age.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    bomag, Africa has worn out most of the infrastructure that the Colonists left them. The Chinese have stepped in to start over. Of course in a few years the Chinese will be the new Colonists in Africa.
  44. Lugash says:
    @Dr. Krieger
    No more Sacramento???

    Now I'm praying for the whole dam bridge to give way. The entire water system of California was built by corrupt old white men anyway, right? Haven't they seen the documentary Chinatown? The Mexifornians should have the courage of their convictions and abandon the whole racist-sexist-patriarchal system of dams and aquaducts.

    Casey Serin getting caught in the flood wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    Read More
  45. Jack D says:

    Apparently the debris from the concrete spillway is blocking the regular outlets from the turbines making the problem worse – that’s ominous because it was not planned for at all. Major tragedies usually happen when more than one thing goes wrong – they did not build the thing with the possibility that the turbine outlets would ever be blocked in mind. The good news is that the emergency spillway seem to be working as planned and it is pretty much idiotproof.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Langley
    "Major tragedies usually happen when more than one thing goes wrong –"

    (My former wife and I were dancing in the rain in Waikiki.)

    1) There was a 500 year flood going on in Kailua/Maunawili.

    2) The drainage canal that goes past Kaiulana subdivision had not been sufficiently dredged.

    THE NEW YEAR'S EVE FLOOD ON OAHU, HAWAII DECEMBER 31, 1987-JANUARY 1, 1988

    https://www.nap.edu/read/1748/chapter/6#38

    https://www.nap.edu/read/1748/chapter/1

    Three hundred homes in my current neighborhood (Coconut Grove) were flooded. Evacuation was done by boat and surfboard.

    The water stopped two houses from my present lot. If you dig in Kailua you will find brown sand for one foot. After that it is pure white. The father of my ex-wife was a hydrologist. He refused to live on the Kailua plain.

    , @El Dato
    Fukushima-with-water sure will propel "green energy".

    Why is the spillway so straight & narrow though? One would like to think there would be water brakes in the middle to get rid of the unleashed potential energy of the falling water masses.
  46. Pay for performance.

    The dam should be built by a private contractor.

    Instead of paying the contractor a large amount of money when the dam is built, the contractor should be paid a monthly fee forever.

    The contractor would be responsible for both the construction and maintenance of the dam forever.

    If the dam were ever deemed unsafe, the monthly fee would be immediately suspended until the dam is once again safe.

    If problems with the dam are not fixed quickly, the government should have the right to confiscate the dam without compensating the contractor.

    In addition, the contractor may be required to pay a large security deposit before construction begins that they will forfeit if the dam ever has serious problems.

    The same arrangement could be used for roads, electricity, and border walls.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Pitt, Contractors build according to the Architect's design and the engineer's specs and drawings. They get paid in installments after a certain amount of the project is completed and inspected. Any changes or modifications to the original drawings are paid as a separate item called "Extras". When the project is completed and punched listed ( any work that might not have been done in sequence), the contractor then waits for final payment and the Retention, which is a portion of monies due, usually 5-10% of the bid. Retentions are sometimes held for months if not years while the Architect, engineering firm and Project Manager argue over who owes what to whom. A bank usually holds and releases the money on a large project. In the meantime the contractors have had to make payroll, insurance, material purchases, equipment leases, insurance and fees. All major projects and contractors are performance bonded. These are some of the reasons that contractors frequently declare bankruptcy.
    , @Jack D
    There is a name for what you are proposing - it's called a "lease". But no one would ever lease you a dam under the conditions you are naming.

    Say that a dam costs $100 million to build and that the monthly fee (it's called "rent") is $10 million per year. Where is the contractor going to get the $100 million from to build the dam with? No one has $100 million just sitting around. He would have to borrow it from a bank but banks will only lend $ on a lease if the lease has very few outs. They have to be pretty sure that you are going to collect the rent that you are going to use to service their loan. And since facilities like dams last for a long time, you would have to keep raising the rent to keep up with inflation. And you pay rent forever but if the government finances it itself then at some point the bonds are paid off.

    The idea that the government would lease stuff instead of buying it is not totally crazy but it would have to be structured to make sense for both sides or no one would bid on it.
  47. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Off topic…

    Dr. Udge Report has political Grammy Awards as lead story with a big pic of FOREIGNER Adele. I bet close to zero of readers consider the insanity of allowing celeb foreigners to bash and cheap shot our president on our soil on live TV.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    But he is such a terrible fascist Nazi dictator that everyone in America is afraid to criticize him, so we have to bring in cheap foreign labor to do it.

    Oh, wait. Lemme think about that one and I'll get back to you.
    , @Lugash
    Readers of this blog, or the general public? It is easy to gloss over since she's a Brit celebrity.

    On a similar note, I did find it extremely jarring to watching Obama scold the UK on Brexit, while standing on their soil and next to the PM.
    , @Buck Turgidson
    Not really familiar w this 'Adele' person but I did see that over @ Drudge. I concluded that any picture that contains all of Adele is de facto a big one.
  48. El Dato says:

    Still better than the terror dam of Mosul, built on “rock” that has to be constantly filled with concrete, for political aggrandizment reasons:

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/02/a-bigger-problem-than-isis

    But, in the months that followed, American officials inspected the dam and became concerned that it was on the brink of collapse. The problem wasn’t structural: the dam had been built to survive an aerial bombardment. (In fact, during the Gulf War, American jets bombed its generator, but the dam remained intact.) The problem, according to Azzam Alwash, an Iraqi-American civil engineer who has served as an adviser on the dam, is that “it’s just in the wrong place.” Completed in 1984, the dam sits on a foundation of soluble rock. To keep it stable, hundreds of employees have to work around the clock, pumping a cement mixture into the earth below. Without continuous maintenance, the rock beneath would wash away, causing the dam to sink and then break apart. But Iraq’s recent history has not been conducive to that kind of vigilance.

    Nature gives a **** and will go medieval on you if you don’t build wisely.

    Read More
  49. @The Z Blog
    I was just recently discussing this with someone in the civil engineering/environmental engineering business. He was lamenting the fact that finding talent has become very difficult. Even with hiring foreign workers, there's not enough talent at any price. His firm pays very well so it is not the Silicon Valley grift. He really struggles to find competent people.

    The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don't see Jews and Asians in the field. They are in tech and the law. Another problem is the schools have made environmental engineering into a girl field. Those with talent want to either start families or go into management. Simply offering a high paying job as an engineer is not enough. The gals want a path to management.

    The biggest issue he sees is the younger generation is grossly unprepared for work. Because it takes years for a college grad to mature into a fully functioning adult, the cost of hiring these people is very high, which means most employers prefer someone in their 30's and they will over pay them. My guess would be that government gets the worst of the worst now as a result.

    Excellent point. The Croton Dam in lower Westchester County (NY) is a masonry dam which was constructed in the late 19th-early 20th century (scope out Wiki for further info). It remains alive and well, having been constructed by (if memory serves) Italian immigrant stone cutters. Stone cutting is rapidly becoming a lost art.

    Read More
  50. Lugash says:
    @biz
    Things have really declined since Chief Hydrological Engineer was the highest prestige career for the Cappadocians.

    LOL, nice one.

    Read More
  51. @Anonymous
    Off topic...

    Dr. Udge Report has political Grammy Awards as lead story with a big pic of FOREIGNER Adele. I bet close to zero of readers consider the insanity of allowing celeb foreigners to bash and cheap shot our president on our soil on live TV.

    But he is such a terrible fascist Nazi dictator that everyone in America is afraid to criticize him, so we have to bring in cheap foreign labor to do it.

    Oh, wait. Lemme think about that one and I’ll get back to you.

    Read More
  52. Langley says:

    In the first decades of the 20th century a tunnel was dug under the Koʻolau Range to bring water from the lush windward to the leeward side of Oahu. It made it possible to grow sugar on the dry Ewa plain.

    http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/arm/files/2012/12/Map5.pdf

    When I was young we could hike up Waiāhole valley with inner tubes and flashlights and ride the flow under the mountain.

    The sugar has been replaced by subdivisions that house people who are supposed to use HART (see rail posting above). There is now a battle over the ownership and use of the water. It is of course couched in environmental language.

    http://totakeresponsibility.blogspot.com/2013/02/waiahole-ditch.html

    What I found most interesting was the difficulty I had finding information on the construction of the tunnel. It seemed to be crowded out of the searches by environmentalists writings.

    My rich acquaintances that are building HART and other federally funded works projects always sell their products as saving the planet from global warming and the rising ocean.

    Its the fashionable thing to think I guess and they have to pay for their children’s Punahou tuition.

    Read More
  53. Alfa158 says:
    @Dr. Krieger
    No more Sacramento???

    Now I'm praying for the whole dam bridge to give way. The entire water system of California was built by corrupt old white men anyway, right? Haven't they seen the documentary Chinatown? The Mexifornians should have the courage of their convictions and abandon the whole racist-sexist-patriarchal system of dams and aquaducts.

    That would be a real-life flushing of the Augean Stables.

    Read More
  54. William Mulholland (1855-1935): born in Belfast, Ireland to Catholic parents (it would seem)…..mostly self -educated apart from his early education with the Christian Brothers.

    Read More
  55. Busby says:

    Scenario 1: Young newly credentialed engineer from Ivy League school forsakes high paying job at family construction firm for the opportunity to “make a contribution” out west like his admirable great grand father. First day on job discovers evidence of waste, fraud and abuse in dam maintenance program but gets no support from disinterested supervisor. Connects with old flame (Ivy drop out) female minority who has “mad computer skilz” now part of hacking collective devoted to rooting out government black programs. Aided by wise older guy, former Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for NYT (Morgan Freeman?). Team discovers family firm hiding behind six offshore holding companies provides substandard materials and pencil whips inspections and QA reports. Final act exposing family firm and the corrupt public officials takes place on the 7th green at Pebble Beach.

    Scenario 2: Maintenance and Safety Managers spend years documenting deferred maintenance and requesting funds to ameliorate same. Politicians ignore same until disaster strikes. Since everyone is responsible, nobody is responsible.

    Read More
    • LOL: Buffalo Joe
    • Replies: @Langley
    "Scenario 2: Maintenance and Safety Managers spend years documenting deferred maintenance and requesting funds to ameliorate same. Politicians ignore same until disaster strikes. Since everyone is responsible, nobody is responsible."

    My father-in-law worked for the Army Corp of Engineers.

    He talked about the "deferred maintenance" on the levees above New Orleans that his organization was responsible for. The politicians, state and federal, refused to do anything.

    Then in 2005 the flood from Katrina came down the Mississippi, washed away the levees and blacks rioted.

    They blamed a white guy named W.

    , @Buck Turgidson
    Well stated. Non-engineer politicians kick the maintenance can down the road over, and over, and over, hoping that the catastrophic failure does not happen on their watch. They get pretty much zero points for putting $$$ into maintenance and of course the expenditures can be huge and detract from more visible things being demanded and for which they will get political points. When the SHTF, all the former officials and leaders are long gone. No one politician is going to be blamed and in fact there may be good photo ops to cry, show that they care, and then milk the taxpayer for multi-millions in disaster relief because we are not heartless and it would be wrong to not do so. "What else is government for?" as a liberal friend of mine once asked. They might even milk the taxpayer for huge and questionable post-disaster repairs ($18B for post-Katrina work a good investment? I am sure there were no inflated cost estimates in all contracts and every $$ was accounted for.....in Louisiana.....). It also would be heartless to insist that people who decide to live in risky zones like floodplains have adequate insurance policies.
  56. @Anonym
    I wonder how many AA hires there are in that department. Demographically California now resembles a nicer area of Mexico. Sooner or later there will be more pee than punch in the bowl and it's going to show.

    Sooner or later?

    It’s going to show?

    Keep up, Cochise.

    I invite anyone doubting that the crumbling infrastructure is a fiat accompli to drive over Altamont Pass.

    Check your shocks first…and your rims afterward.

    Read More
  57. Compensation levels:
    enter “principal structural engineer”, “district structural engineer”

    http://transparentcalifornia.com/

    pay seeks adequate…..I suspect that they requested money for maintenance, but were blown off …per Cadillac Desert by Reisner

    some opinions

    http://www.revivethesanjoaquin.org/content/dams-or-diversions-how-get-californias-water-plans-back-track

    Read More
  58. Langley says:
    @Busby
    Scenario 1: Young newly credentialed engineer from Ivy League school forsakes high paying job at family construction firm for the opportunity to "make a contribution" out west like his admirable great grand father. First day on job discovers evidence of waste, fraud and abuse in dam maintenance program but gets no support from disinterested supervisor. Connects with old flame (Ivy drop out) female minority who has "mad computer skilz" now part of hacking collective devoted to rooting out government black programs. Aided by wise older guy, former Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for NYT (Morgan Freeman?). Team discovers family firm hiding behind six offshore holding companies provides substandard materials and pencil whips inspections and QA reports. Final act exposing family firm and the corrupt public officials takes place on the 7th green at Pebble Beach.

    Scenario 2: Maintenance and Safety Managers spend years documenting deferred maintenance and requesting funds to ameliorate same. Politicians ignore same until disaster strikes. Since everyone is responsible, nobody is responsible.

    “Scenario 2: Maintenance and Safety Managers spend years documenting deferred maintenance and requesting funds to ameliorate same. Politicians ignore same until disaster strikes. Since everyone is responsible, nobody is responsible.”

    My father-in-law worked for the Army Corp of Engineers.

    He talked about the “deferred maintenance” on the levees above New Orleans that his organization was responsible for. The politicians, state and federal, refused to do anything.

    Then in 2005 the flood from Katrina came down the Mississippi, washed away the levees and blacks rioted.

    They blamed a white guy named W.

    Read More
  59. PMM says:
    @The Alarmist

    "Are There Any Lessons to be Learned from the Oroville Dam Disaster?"
     
    Aside from not being able to build things, "progressives" can't foresee the dangers of not maintaining the civilisational relics that made their ascendance possible, which is why hedonistic liberalism is often the last gasp of dying civilisations.

    It ain’t a disaster. Any amount of erosion downhill is unimportant. It’s only a disaster if the erosion starts moving up hill.

    Read More
  60. @Jack D
    This could just be a black swan event - the spillway was built to handle the 1,000 year flood and this is the 10,000 year flood instead.

    After Katrina, (NO was also built to a 1,000 year flood standard) I found out that the Dutch built to the 10,000 year standard.

    It really has nothing to do with waiting 10,000 years, it's just the risk of the event happening in any given year. Each year the risk is the same whether it's been 1 year since the last big one or 5,000. Maybe the risk of 10 inches of rain on one day in any given year is 1 in 1,000 but the risk of getting 20 inches is 1/10,000.

    It's all a risk/reward expected value thing. If it costs an extra $1M to build to the higher standard but the risk is 1/10,000 then it's not worth it unless the expected damages are more than $10 billion.

    The little boy has to stand there with his finger plugging the hole in the dyke for 10,000 years?

    Read More
  61. Lugash says:
    @Anonymous
    Off topic...

    Dr. Udge Report has political Grammy Awards as lead story with a big pic of FOREIGNER Adele. I bet close to zero of readers consider the insanity of allowing celeb foreigners to bash and cheap shot our president on our soil on live TV.

    Readers of this blog, or the general public? It is easy to gloss over since she’s a Brit celebrity.

    On a similar note, I did find it extremely jarring to watching Obama scold the UK on Brexit, while standing on their soil and next to the PM.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "extremely jarring to watching Obama scold the UK on Brexit, while standing on their soil".


    ''You think our country's so innocent?'
  62. Langley says:
    @Jack D
    Apparently the debris from the concrete spillway is blocking the regular outlets from the turbines making the problem worse - that's ominous because it was not planned for at all. Major tragedies usually happen when more than one thing goes wrong - they did not build the thing with the possibility that the turbine outlets would ever be blocked in mind. The good news is that the emergency spillway seem to be working as planned and it is pretty much idiotproof.

    “Major tragedies usually happen when more than one thing goes wrong –”

    (My former wife and I were dancing in the rain in Waikiki.)

    1) There was a 500 year flood going on in Kailua/Maunawili.

    2) The drainage canal that goes past Kaiulana subdivision had not been sufficiently dredged.

    THE NEW YEAR’S EVE FLOOD ON OAHU, HAWAII DECEMBER 31, 1987-JANUARY 1, 1988

    https://www.nap.edu/read/1748/chapter/6#38

    https://www.nap.edu/read/1748/chapter/1

    Three hundred homes in my current neighborhood (Coconut Grove) were flooded. Evacuation was done by boat and surfboard.

    The water stopped two houses from my present lot. If you dig in Kailua you will find brown sand for one foot. After that it is pure white. The father of my ex-wife was a hydrologist. He refused to live on the Kailua plain.

    Read More
  63. BenKenobi says:
    @Anonym
    I wonder how many AA hires there are in that department. Demographically California now resembles a nicer area of Mexico. Sooner or later there will be more pee than punch in the bowl and it's going to show.

    South Park did an episode with the boys going to a water park and it being swamped with minorities, to Cartman’s horror. The B-plot consisted of Kyle’s digust with with the percentage of pee in the pool.

    The two plots converged when the percentage of pee in the pool reached a critical mass and the water park, i guess, “erupted” causing total disaster. Percentage of pee was clearly a metaphor for the percentage of non-Whites in America (but of course I would interpret it that way).

    Here’s a great song with Cartman asking God to get all the minorities out of his water park:

    “the lazy river has never been lazier.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45E4fWW2eaw

    Read More
  64. andy says:

    building and repairing dams is mostly manly men building stuff, so aside from being sexist, this is probably racist too

    Read More
  65. I wonder if the quality of public works engineers has declined as we’ve moved from the construction to the maintenance era.

    Ya think?

    Steve, that spillway is an analogy of America.

    (Yes, even immigration overwhelming our ability to absorb it, which I’m half-sure you already thought.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @bomag

    Steve, that spillway is an analogy of America.
     
    Yes.

    We have not been maintaining our borders, nor the quality and quantity of our demographics.

    Now the deluge.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    This guy argues otherwise, but I think you have a point.

    I've also wondered what percentage of infrastructure spending goes to building and maintaining infrastructure versus pensions, health benefits, salaries, etc.

    https://twitter.com/PeterGleick/status/831007250273538048
  66. Mr. Anon says:
    @PiltdownMan

    ...I wonder if the quality of public works engineers has declined as we’ve moved from the construction to the maintenance era. Fifty to 100 years ago, building dams was a highly prestigious profession. Waterworks engineer William Mulholland was perhaps the leading citizen of California and his rise and fall inspired a famous movie...
     
    My great-grandfather was a waterworks civil engineer c.1875-1900. He designed and helped build some medium size dams and waterway systems. His achievement in those days, according to his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, was considered to be equal to that of a cousin of his, who was an appellate court judge. Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then.

    “His achievement in those days, according to his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, was considered to be equal to that of a cousin of his, who was an appellate court judge.”

    His achievement was much greater. Judges are mere transient functionaries of the state.

    Read More
  67. syonredux says:

    Off-topic,

    Yale renames Calhoun College Hopper College (after Grace Hopper):

    Yale University will rename Calhoun College, originally named for a virulent white supremacist and vocal advocate of slavery, as Hopper College. The new name will honor Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a founding mind of computer science who invented the first compiler, worked on the Mark I computer at Harvard, and served as a technical consultant in the development of the COBOL language. Admiral Hopper already has a supercomputer and a Navy guided-missile destroyer named after her.

    The controversy over Calhoun College’s name and legacy has been ongoing. In 1992, student Chris Rabb petitioned for the removal of a racist stained glass window in the College, which depicted a chained slave kneeling at the feet of Calhoun. In 2015 and 2016, in the wake of the horrific Charleston church shooting, students mobilized to demand a name change, but Yale announced they would be keeping the name in April of 2016. Then, in July of 2016, dining hall worker Corey Menafee smashed a different stained glass window, depicting slaves picking cotton.

    Some activists cite Menafee as the reason for the administration’s about-face; others cite the current political climate and ongoing student advocacy for a more inclusive campus. Whatever the reason, as of July, Calhoun College will instead honor Grace Hopper.

    http://www.themarysue.com/yale-renames-calhoun-hopper/

    Read More
    • Replies: @El Dato

    student Chris Rabb petitioned for the removal of a racist stained glass window
     
    Remove racist stained glass from premises!

    This is a nice college though. Beautiful courtyard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calhoun_College)

    Also:

    The courtyard used to have a popular tire swing, which stood in stark contrast to the stunning Neo-Gothic architecture. In the Fall of 1990, newly appointed master Turan Onat made it his first priority to remove the tire swing as he sought "to restore the courtyard to a grassier state." The seniors immediately reinstalled the swing overnight and Onat quickly reversed his policy.
     
    Hopefully nobody will associate the tires and the swinging rope with racism or the swing will be out again.
    , @Diversity Heretic
    Let 'em change it: Yale is no longer worthy to bear John C. Calhoun's name anywhere on campus.
    , @dearieme
    Yale himself was a slave-trader. The bloody place should change its name.
    , @bomag
    From wiki:


    In 1957, a Senate Committee headed by Senator John F. Kennedy selected Calhoun as one of the five greatest United States Senators of all time
     
    Calhoun did many things besides advocating for the traditions of his day, but this gets lost in the current debate. By the way his opponents talk, you would think he came to work one day and decided to start the institution of slavery just to piss people off.
  68. Rod1963 says:

    Even in the best of times, infrastructure isn’t sexy and doesn’t attract much in the way of funding or attention compared to say protecting illegals, high speed trains and promoting sexual deviancy. It’s not surprising in the least that’s treated politically and funding wise as the red headed step child.

    We should consider ourselves lucky that the old school Democrats placed so much emphasis on public works and putting people back to work. At least we got something for our money. Imagine what the country would have looked like if today’s Democrats were running the shop back then. They’re would be no public works, roads, schools, etc. Just hand outs to perverts, feminazis and moochers.

    Read More
  69. Mr. Anon says:
    @The Z Blog
    I was just recently discussing this with someone in the civil engineering/environmental engineering business. He was lamenting the fact that finding talent has become very difficult. Even with hiring foreign workers, there's not enough talent at any price. His firm pays very well so it is not the Silicon Valley grift. He really struggles to find competent people.

    The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don't see Jews and Asians in the field. They are in tech and the law. Another problem is the schools have made environmental engineering into a girl field. Those with talent want to either start families or go into management. Simply offering a high paying job as an engineer is not enough. The gals want a path to management.

    The biggest issue he sees is the younger generation is grossly unprepared for work. Because it takes years for a college grad to mature into a fully functioning adult, the cost of hiring these people is very high, which means most employers prefer someone in their 30's and they will over pay them. My guess would be that government gets the worst of the worst now as a result.

    “The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don’t see Jews and Asians in the field.”

    You didn’t see them much 50-70 years ago either, when most of that infrastructure was first built. But thanks for the patronizing anti-white racial-supremecy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    As I noted the other day, Jews do not build civilizations. They let whites do the grunt work and then grab their lucrative little niche, skimming all the cream off the top.

    Steve, this is (somewhat) OT, but have you heard about the (white female) United Airlines pilot who showed up for a flight wearing street clothes and started ranting over the intercom?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4216218/United-Airlines-pilot-removed-flight-rant.html

    (It is somewhat relevant, given the fact that, "back in the day," boring pale male airline pilots tended not to have hormonal freakouts while on the job.)
  70. Luke Lea says:

    Have you heard about the gigantic Iraqi dam above Mosul, generally considered by experts to be the most dangerous in the world?

    https://goo.gl/KIHPYp

    If guns don’t defeat Isis, the water will eventually. And a great deal more besides, a million casualties or more some predict.

    Read More
  71. pyrrhus says:
    @The Alarmist

    "Are There Any Lessons to be Learned from the Oroville Dam Disaster?"
     
    Aside from not being able to build things, "progressives" can't foresee the dangers of not maintaining the civilisational relics that made their ascendance possible, which is why hedonistic liberalism is often the last gasp of dying civilisations.

    Maintenance is boring…only conservatives would do something like that….

    Read More
  72. @Anonymous
    Off topic...

    Dr. Udge Report has political Grammy Awards as lead story with a big pic of FOREIGNER Adele. I bet close to zero of readers consider the insanity of allowing celeb foreigners to bash and cheap shot our president on our soil on live TV.

    Not really familiar w this ‘Adele’ person but I did see that over @ Drudge. I concluded that any picture that contains all of Adele is de facto a big one.

    Read More
  73. El Dato says:
    @syonredux
    Off-topic,

    Yale renames Calhoun College Hopper College (after Grace Hopper):

    Yale University will rename Calhoun College, originally named for a virulent white supremacist and vocal advocate of slavery, as Hopper College. The new name will honor Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a founding mind of computer science who invented the first compiler, worked on the Mark I computer at Harvard, and served as a technical consultant in the development of the COBOL language. Admiral Hopper already has a supercomputer and a Navy guided-missile destroyer named after her.

    The controversy over Calhoun College’s name and legacy has been ongoing. In 1992, student Chris Rabb petitioned for the removal of a racist stained glass window in the College, which depicted a chained slave kneeling at the feet of Calhoun. In 2015 and 2016, in the wake of the horrific Charleston church shooting, students mobilized to demand a name change, but Yale announced they would be keeping the name in April of 2016. Then, in July of 2016, dining hall worker Corey Menafee smashed a different stained glass window, depicting slaves picking cotton.

    Some activists cite Menafee as the reason for the administration’s about-face; others cite the current political climate and ongoing student advocacy for a more inclusive campus. Whatever the reason, as of July, Calhoun College will instead honor Grace Hopper.
     
    http://www.themarysue.com/yale-renames-calhoun-hopper/

    student Chris Rabb petitioned for the removal of a racist stained glass window

    Remove racist stained glass from premises!

    This is a nice college though. Beautiful courtyard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calhoun_College)

    Also:

    The courtyard used to have a popular tire swing, which stood in stark contrast to the stunning Neo-Gothic architecture. In the Fall of 1990, newly appointed master Turan Onat made it his first priority to remove the tire swing as he sought “to restore the courtyard to a grassier state.” The seniors immediately reinstalled the swing overnight and Onat quickly reversed his policy.

    Hopefully nobody will associate the tires and the swinging rope with racism or the swing will be out again.

    Read More
  74. @syonredux
    Off-topic,

    Yale renames Calhoun College Hopper College (after Grace Hopper):

    Yale University will rename Calhoun College, originally named for a virulent white supremacist and vocal advocate of slavery, as Hopper College. The new name will honor Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a founding mind of computer science who invented the first compiler, worked on the Mark I computer at Harvard, and served as a technical consultant in the development of the COBOL language. Admiral Hopper already has a supercomputer and a Navy guided-missile destroyer named after her.

    The controversy over Calhoun College’s name and legacy has been ongoing. In 1992, student Chris Rabb petitioned for the removal of a racist stained glass window in the College, which depicted a chained slave kneeling at the feet of Calhoun. In 2015 and 2016, in the wake of the horrific Charleston church shooting, students mobilized to demand a name change, but Yale announced they would be keeping the name in April of 2016. Then, in July of 2016, dining hall worker Corey Menafee smashed a different stained glass window, depicting slaves picking cotton.

    Some activists cite Menafee as the reason for the administration’s about-face; others cite the current political climate and ongoing student advocacy for a more inclusive campus. Whatever the reason, as of July, Calhoun College will instead honor Grace Hopper.
     
    http://www.themarysue.com/yale-renames-calhoun-hopper/

    Let ‘em change it: Yale is no longer worthy to bear John C. Calhoun’s name anywhere on campus.

    Read More
  75. @Luke Lea
    Have you heard about the gigantic Iraqi dam above Mosul, generally considered by experts to be the most dangerous in the world?

    https://goo.gl/KIHPYp

    If guns don't defeat Isis, the water will eventually. And a great deal more besides, a million casualties or more some predict.

    When?

    Read More
  76. @Busby
    Scenario 1: Young newly credentialed engineer from Ivy League school forsakes high paying job at family construction firm for the opportunity to "make a contribution" out west like his admirable great grand father. First day on job discovers evidence of waste, fraud and abuse in dam maintenance program but gets no support from disinterested supervisor. Connects with old flame (Ivy drop out) female minority who has "mad computer skilz" now part of hacking collective devoted to rooting out government black programs. Aided by wise older guy, former Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for NYT (Morgan Freeman?). Team discovers family firm hiding behind six offshore holding companies provides substandard materials and pencil whips inspections and QA reports. Final act exposing family firm and the corrupt public officials takes place on the 7th green at Pebble Beach.

    Scenario 2: Maintenance and Safety Managers spend years documenting deferred maintenance and requesting funds to ameliorate same. Politicians ignore same until disaster strikes. Since everyone is responsible, nobody is responsible.

    Well stated. Non-engineer politicians kick the maintenance can down the road over, and over, and over, hoping that the catastrophic failure does not happen on their watch. They get pretty much zero points for putting $$$ into maintenance and of course the expenditures can be huge and detract from more visible things being demanded and for which they will get political points. When the SHTF, all the former officials and leaders are long gone. No one politician is going to be blamed and in fact there may be good photo ops to cry, show that they care, and then milk the taxpayer for multi-millions in disaster relief because we are not heartless and it would be wrong to not do so. “What else is government for?” as a liberal friend of mine once asked. They might even milk the taxpayer for huge and questionable post-disaster repairs ($18B for post-Katrina work a good investment? I am sure there were no inflated cost estimates in all contracts and every $$ was accounted for…..in Louisiana…..). It also would be heartless to insist that people who decide to live in risky zones like floodplains have adequate insurance policies.

    Read More
    • Agree: bomag
    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    politicians kick the maintenance can down the road over, and over, and over, hoping that the catastrophic failure does not happen on their watch...When the SHTF, all the former officials and leaders are long gone.

    Just like golf-plated six-figure lifetime pensions for cops, firefighters, and jail guards.
  77. @Alice
    With the advent of atomic and quantum physics in 30s-40s, the brightest engineering types went into the fields that became modern physics, electrical engineering, materials science. With the space race, the best and the brightest went into the above and aerospace engineering. For the last 25 years, the best and brightest science and engineering types went into computer science and software engineering.

    Getting into the engineering at Cal is prestigious. But the whole college looked at the civ engs as the C students who washed out of all the other engineering majors. Because they were.

    And yes, it's maintenance mode. What exciting new thing is in large scale civ eng? It's in stuff overseas.

    Same reason teachers got dumber. As brightest women went into other fields, teaching (and that usually means work in daycare) is only for the average and below IQ.

    With the advent of atomic and quantum physics in 30s-40s, the brightest engineering types went into the fields that became modern physics, electrical engineering, materials science. With the space race, the best and the brightest went into the above and aerospace engineering. For the last 25 years, the best and brightest science and engineering types went into computer science and software engineering.

    Actually, for the past 25 years, the best and brightest have gone into finance. There are probably thousands of STEM PhDs wasting their talents hacking the financial system instead of inventing Mars rockets or curing cancer. Picture the water coming down that busted spillway, except imagine that it’s money going into the pockets of the big banks.

    Read More
    • Agree: Clyde
    • Replies: @Pericles

    Actually, for the past 25 years, the best and brightest have gone into finance. There are probably thousands of STEM PhDs wasting their talents hacking the financial system instead of inventing Mars rockets or curing cancer. Picture the water coming down that busted spillway, except imagine that it’s money going into the pockets of the big banks.
     
    The busted banks, manned and guided by the best and the brightest, then bailed out by the common tax payer.
    , @lavoisier
    Some of the brightest for sure, but not the best. The best still choose fields that have genuine potential to improve the human condition like medical research or basic science.

    Most of the very talented who choose a career in finance have a focused ambition to make a lot of money and not much else.

  78. El Dato says:
    @Jack D
    Apparently the debris from the concrete spillway is blocking the regular outlets from the turbines making the problem worse - that's ominous because it was not planned for at all. Major tragedies usually happen when more than one thing goes wrong - they did not build the thing with the possibility that the turbine outlets would ever be blocked in mind. The good news is that the emergency spillway seem to be working as planned and it is pretty much idiotproof.

    Fukushima-with-water sure will propel “green energy”.

    Why is the spillway so straight & narrow though? One would like to think there would be water brakes in the middle to get rid of the unleashed potential energy of the falling water masses.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    I'm not a hydraulic engineer but I assume anything that would slow the water down would also tend to cause it to back up - in order to maximize the capacity of the spillway you want to make it as straight and smooth as possible.
    , @JW Bell
    It's smooth to avoid turbulence.
    , @AnotherDad

    Why is the spillway so straight & narrow though? One would like to think there would be water brakes in the middle to get rid of the unleashed potential energy of the falling water masses.
     
    Quite the reverse. Any "braking" you put into the spillway generates force on the spillway. Completely smooth "frictionless"--the old non-physical physics problem standard--flow and you could make it out of sheet plastic. Start putting in "braking"--i.e. friction--and the more it needs to be hard and firmly attached to the bedrock. The more costly and the more prone to failure.

    You're seeing "braking" now.
  79. pyrrhus says:
    @Almost Missouri

    "Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then."
     
    It's still pretty awe-inspiring now. But then sometime in the 1960s, the environmental movement decided dams were evil. As John McPhee observed about environmentalists at the time,

    "The outermost circle of the [environmentalists'] Devil’s world seems to be a moat filled mainly with DDT. Next to it is a moat of burning gasoline. Within that is a ring of pinheads each covered with a million people – and so on past phalanxed bulldozers and bicuspid chain saws into the absolute epicenter of Hell on earth, where stands a dam. Conservationists who can hold themselves in reasonable check before new oil spills and fresh megalopolises mysteriously go insane at even the thought of a dam."
     
    Of course, a lot of those environmentalists were (and still are) literally living from the water supplied by that western dam and aqueduct system.

    I once wondered why it is that there can be droughts in the American Great Plains, when those plains are adjacent to the single biggest supply of fresh water on Earth (the Great Lakes). A bit of googling showed me (as it often does) that I was not the first one to ask this question, and indeed there were even some answers. After finishing the great California water projects, those engineers had gone on to plan perhaps the largest engineering feat in all of human history: a vast network of dams, reservoirs and aqueducts stretching all the way from Canada in the north down to Mexico in the south, from the Great Plains and Lakes in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west.

    The retrospective consensus seemed to be that it was never built because it was too expensive, about $30 bil. in the 1920s, if I recall correctly, but even adjusted for inflation, that doesn't seem so much when we're tossing trillions into corrupt banks and pointless wars. And, when repairing one lousy spillway is a nine-figure project, a continent-spanning system that would make the deserts bloom for a (inflation-adjusted) trillion or three seems pretty inexpensive by comparison (not to mention providing jobs other than bankster or war profiteer).

    I suspect the real reason it was never built wasn't so much the cost to build it as it was the specter of success: Malthusian force would bring about vast new settlements whose continued existence could be turned on or off at the flip of a hydro-switch. In other words, it was the first and biggest NIMBY victim. There was probably also some consternation about how would poor Mexico pay rich Canada for its water?

    But anyway, if it is ever built, it would surely make Civil Engineering Great Again.

    No, it was never built, as explained in the great ‘Cadillac Desert’ because environmental legislation would have required Environmental Impact Statements, and since the impacts would be diverse and serious, endless litigation. In addition, no polity is going to let California (or any other State) steal its water in this day and age….

    Read More
  80. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    OT but bizarre:

    Steve,

    Have you noticed that a majority of the visitors to the NY Times and WaPo's websites are Chinese? And I don't mean by a little. I'm talking a huge amount.

    But if you look at the LA Times, China makes up a tiny portion of their readers.

    Something else that's weird is that both NY Times and WaPo had huge increases in their visitors starting in the fall (which makes sense due to the election) while the LA Times visitors cratered (shouldn't they get some of that same effect). Visitors also fell off a cliff to USA Today at the same time and USA Today like the LA Times has almost no Chinese readers.

    What's going on?

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/nytimes.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/washingtonpost.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/usatoday.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/latimes.com

    That’s very interesting. Are the “visits” hacking attempts? An army of troll commenters paid to pick through every story? Or just some kind of fluke with the way visits are counted?

    Read More
  81. Alterorbis says: • Website

    Whenever you look at sub Romano-British villas into the 5th to 6th centuries, you generally don’t find evidence of marauding barbarians or pillage. What happens is that if the roof caved in, or tiles were blown off in the wind, no one had the knowledge to repair it and so it was abandoned. Similarly if windows were smashed, glaziers no longer existed, so you had to move out of that room. Great halls where noble families once ate were repurposed as grain stores, or sheds for swine. At some point, a fire breaks out and no one is left who has the expertise to rebuild the house, so it gets abandoned.

    Decline is very banal.

    Read More
  82. @bomag
    Bureau of Reclamation has struggled with spillway damage/failure on their dams. At higher flows, turbulence and the resulting cavitation were problems not anticipated by the initial designers. This looks like the issue here.

    Maintenance is definitely less glamorous than building, but no less important. I often wonder if the "wizards of build" might leave us with structures too complicated for the coming idiocracy to maintain. I hear rumors that the retiring managers of the electric power grid have no confidence in their replacements to maintain the thing.

    Maybe more of this is in store:

    https://www.wbez.org/shows/curious-city/why-the-1992-loop-flood-is-the-most-chicago-story-ever/b82c4d20-0af3-4cc6-b903-0e6f84df07ba

    bomag, only a few here could use cavitation in a sentence, but then again, fluid mechanics is not a big topic at Steve’s blog.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Romanian
    If the golf ball ends up in one of those cavitation things full of sand, it's an awful chore to get it out :))
    , @kaganovitch
    On the contrary, as confirmed Russophiles we are all familiar with the Shkval torpedo, which achieves it's astonishing speed through cavitation.
    , @Anonym
    Anyone who has to deal with pumps will know what cavitation is. Anyone who has read Hunt for Red October should know what cavitation is as well.
  83. Mr. Anon says:
    @SenorDilys
    A more dramatic dam failure involving a hydro facility occurred at this hydro plant in 2009:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Sayano%E2%80%93Shushenskaya_power_station_accident

    At least the California operators so far have avoided the extent of the catastrophic failure of the above facility and loss of lives, and the emergency spillway appears to work as planned.

    Interesting article. Thanks.

    Read More
  84. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “The cracks and damage were well known, but there was no money to fix them.”

    I’m here to tell you that the pothole problem in Silicon Valley, due to all the recent rain, became extreme nearly overnight. Lots of tires being wiped out. I went by one large pot-hole a few weeks ago that had 5 cars off to the side with flats. I had 2 tires shot, not from any one big pothole, but just lots of long unavoidable ruts of small potholes. They really should pay me to drive on roads that are physically this bad.

    I’ve heard that water damage might be more expensive to fix than the results of the big Loma Prieta quake.

    California is way behind on its basic physical infrastructure.

    Meanwhile, California politics is no doubt concentrating on sanctuary cities and ways around US immigration laws. And, oh, yeah, high speed rail that will move lots of immigrants cheaply north into California real estate developers projects.

    Read More
  85. @Almost Missouri

    "Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then."
     
    It's still pretty awe-inspiring now. But then sometime in the 1960s, the environmental movement decided dams were evil. As John McPhee observed about environmentalists at the time,

    "The outermost circle of the [environmentalists'] Devil’s world seems to be a moat filled mainly with DDT. Next to it is a moat of burning gasoline. Within that is a ring of pinheads each covered with a million people – and so on past phalanxed bulldozers and bicuspid chain saws into the absolute epicenter of Hell on earth, where stands a dam. Conservationists who can hold themselves in reasonable check before new oil spills and fresh megalopolises mysteriously go insane at even the thought of a dam."
     
    Of course, a lot of those environmentalists were (and still are) literally living from the water supplied by that western dam and aqueduct system.

    I once wondered why it is that there can be droughts in the American Great Plains, when those plains are adjacent to the single biggest supply of fresh water on Earth (the Great Lakes). A bit of googling showed me (as it often does) that I was not the first one to ask this question, and indeed there were even some answers. After finishing the great California water projects, those engineers had gone on to plan perhaps the largest engineering feat in all of human history: a vast network of dams, reservoirs and aqueducts stretching all the way from Canada in the north down to Mexico in the south, from the Great Plains and Lakes in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west.

    The retrospective consensus seemed to be that it was never built because it was too expensive, about $30 bil. in the 1920s, if I recall correctly, but even adjusted for inflation, that doesn't seem so much when we're tossing trillions into corrupt banks and pointless wars. And, when repairing one lousy spillway is a nine-figure project, a continent-spanning system that would make the deserts bloom for a (inflation-adjusted) trillion or three seems pretty inexpensive by comparison (not to mention providing jobs other than bankster or war profiteer).

    I suspect the real reason it was never built wasn't so much the cost to build it as it was the specter of success: Malthusian force would bring about vast new settlements whose continued existence could be turned on or off at the flip of a hydro-switch. In other words, it was the first and biggest NIMBY victim. There was probably also some consternation about how would poor Mexico pay rich Canada for its water?

    But anyway, if it is ever built, it would surely make Civil Engineering Great Again.

    Almost, The US shares the Great Lakes with Canada and the states that touch the lakes and the Canadian government control the use of the water. We, those on the lakes, don’t like to and won’t share that precious resource.

    Read More
  86. Mr. Anon says:
    @IndieRafael
    I don't pretend to understand all the maintenance and repair aspects of the Oroville Dam system. But anytime Californians talk about their water problems, my instinct as a federal taxpayer is to calm down and watch my wallet.

    It's useful to remember that US taxpayers from other states heavily subsidize California water supply. The larger the share of their water costs that Californians must pay, the more likely they are to choose more sensible and efficient solutions. Yes, I know Californians are already stressed about water. They are making sacrifices and bickering with their neighbors about water. But US taxpayers have a right to ask Californians to pay a bigger share.

    When Congress enacted the lavish water subsidies in the Reclamation Reform Act of 1902 and related laws, part of the purpose was to encourage more Americans to move to California. Really. California was underpopulated. Back then, it also rained more.

    A century later, many billions of US taxpayer dollars have been spent to supply water in California. Where are we today? California is full of people. The climate is drier. There are many water-saving technologies and practices that Californians can learn from places like Australia and Israel -- and perfect in the Golden State.

    After Californians have exhausted such solutions, it might even be time to consider crazy, radical measures like taking a look at immigration into the state. Curtailing immigration into California wouldn't solve the whole water problem. But Californians in Congress are asking for billions of US taxpayer dollars to solve their water problems, some on an "emergency" basis.

    It's fair and reasonable for federal taxpayers to ask Californians to get serious about managing not just water supply, but people supply.

    A lot of the water problem in California is a people problem. About a year-or-so ago, when California was in the depths of this last drought – the worst ever we are told – the snow-pack in the Sierras was at about the same level as it was in the mid-to-late 70s when California had a notable drought. By the way, Jerry Brown was governor then too. Maybe he’s just bad luck. Anyway, the amount of snow in the Sierras wasn’t any different than in the 70s. What was different was that the population of the state had increased by 80% since that time.

    California also has a power problem; they import about a third of their electricity.

    It’s getting pretty expensive for the rest of the country to continue to pay for California’s exquisite environmental sensibilities.

    Read More
  87. @Buck Turgidson
    When the dam or levee is completed, it's not over. Of course to meet safety and performance criteria, the structure should be inspected and maintained for the rest of its working life or until it's removed. These are not insignificant costs and generally were not considered in benefit-cost considerations when these projects were built. All the big dams are built and there isn't going to be any North America Water Project (NAWAPA) any time soon. Steve you are right in suggesting that prospective students may not be thrilled about entering a field that mainly is doing maintenance work--dam and levee inspection and maintenance strikes me at least as a bit unglamorous. Maintenance for a lot of water civil works projects is notoriously underfunded. There is all kinds of water infrastructure in the US that is beyond its design life and doesn't get necessary $$$ for upkeep and upgrades. There aren't many civil engineers in the US Congress. What congressman every got political payoff by running on a plank of infrastructure maintenance? The fed govt/Army Corps has a lot of aging infrastructure that it doesn't know what to do with -- it's not as important economically as when it was built, Congress doesn't provide enough $$$ for maintenance, and the states don't want it. It's a big messy problem.

    Buck, California’s Golden Gate Bridge Commission found $76 million to install suicide catch nets strung from both sides of the bridge. The fact that a jumper sails twenty plus feet into a steel mesh net should lead to some major injuries and probable law suits. I was an ironworker so I just had to walk on that bridge. Good lord it is a magnificent structure and seemingly well maintained by a crew of ironworkers and painters. A member of my local union, since deceased, worked on the erection of the GGB.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Faraday's Bobcat
    The thing I can't understand about the Golden Gate Bridge suicides is why anyone would jump into the water. On the Marin approach there's a 100-foot drop onto bare gravel that can be accessed by climbing over a very modest railing. I don't get why anyone would pass that by, saying, "no, I'd rather jump from midspan, where I might well break multiple bones hitting the frigid water, then remain conscious while drowning." But I guess when you get to that point in life, you're not thinking straight at all.
    , @Muse
    Joe, are you one of the fearless Iroquois Iron Workers?
    , @Hidden Cat
    seemingly kept in good repair.... It is not. Before they approved the ridiculous suicide catcher... which of course will cost more than 76 million and yes likely do extensive damage... it came out the bridge is in terrible repair. IN particular the South Tower. Parts of it have never been repaired in all the years.

    I come from the generation that was raised, told, that the GGB was never not being repaired and painted. The work went from one end to the other, and then egan again...

    Absolutely appalling. And if I never hear from another whining relative of a GGB suicide it will be too soon.
  88. Lot says:

    Stephen Miller had his Sunday morning TV show debut today. I love the guy but it could have gone better.

    http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/stephen-miller-president-trumps-immigration-order-45438898

    He spoke too loudly and lacked the slickness of a lot of the guests. It probably would be better if he does future appearances in person rather than talking head uplink. It was also excessively tense, a little more charm and a joke or two would have diffused this. A good moment to be less serious was the mention of the stupid fake scandal about Kelleyanne Conway breaking some rule by “promoting” Ivanka’s clothing line.

    “I am no fashion expert George, but even I can tell both Kelleyanne and Ivanka have great taste and it isn’t illegal to say so. This is just the liberal media trying to create a fake scandal against two very intelligent and talented women who have been working tirelessly this past year with the President to make America great again.”

    On the positive side, he hammered the key points about illegal voting and illegal crime under hostile questioning. The most effective single line was probably that there are a million illegals with judicial branch issued orders of deportation, and it is the left that does not respect our judicial system.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alfa158
    We're far past the point of keeping it light. The other side sees that as weakness and lack of conviction. Miller did a great job spiking the facts back into George's face.
    Bravo.
    , @Mr. Anon
    I rather like the fact that Miller wasn't chummy with that Clinton hack. Staphyloccolous isn't David Brinkley - he's not a real journalist - he's a Democratic party operative. I think there's been all too much congeneality on the part of the Republicans. I like seeing them get a little hostile for a change. Stephen Miller is a smart guy,......on target, and on our side. The Democrats never act particularly nice, and it mostly seems to work for them.
    , @JerryC
    I was quite impressed with his appearance on Chuck Todd's show, he was well prepared, direct and unaplogetic. Clearly articulated the administration's position. The guy has talent.
    , @Anonym
    The media are currently making a big deal out of the following quote.

    “Our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned,” said Stephen Miller, Mr Trump’s senior policy director.

    It would have been better to say "will prevail", but there is no sense in apologizing to the left. Fash on, Miller!
  89. @Peripatetic commenter
    Let me get this right.

    Not only does CA have a $1.9B budget shortfall, it now needs to find money and people to repair that damage.

    We need to ask Mexico to really send us their best, because the ones they have sent so far are just not making the grade and we can't find Americans to do the work! </sarc>

    Peri, The $1.9 Billion dollar budget shortfall seems, at least to me, to be manageable. Chicago is light $10 billion on their pension funding and Illinois is $100 billion short for their pension payments. Buffalo’s Public School budget approaches one billion per year. I think that number is way low.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    As I understand it that is their operating budget and does not include long-term liabilities, like under funded pensions.
  90. @Jack D
    Right now there is a big issue on the major bridge over the Delaware River that connects the PA Turnpike with the NJ Turnpike. A big truss member broke clear thru and left a gap of several inches. The load was taken up by other elements so the thing didn't just collapse into the river but it could have gone at any minute since the other elements were now overstressed. They didn't find the crack in a regular inspection - the bridge had just been painted and someone from the NJ Turnpike Authority was inspecting the paint job when he spotted the crack. They can patch the crack but now they have to test all the other elements that may have been overloaded and weakened so the bridge is closed indefinitely until they figure out whether it is safe or not.

    Jack, I have done work for a local company that drilled new caissons to support new piers to brace that Delaware bridge. I saw photos that showed that the guard rails at the expansion joints (actually a gap in the rail) where the rails were leaning about a foot overboard and no one noticed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    They attributed the crack to "weather" so far. It does not appear from the photo that there was any corrosion at the point of failure - it's shiny metal. My theory is that the expansion joints seized up and put the bridge under tension during a cold snap. The bridge is over a mile long and it shrinks considerably on a cold day. If it can't slide in the expansion joint then it will snap at the weakest point like a rubber band.
  91. @(((Owen)))
    The cracks and damage were well known, but there was no money to fix them.

    But we did, apparently, have enough taxpayer money to start giving food stamps to noncitizens, giving cash assistance to aged, blind or disabled noncitizens, as well as free strollers and car seats and bicycle helmets to legal and illegal aliens for their many, many children.

    It’s a great feeling to know that we paid for our own stroller and groceries AND paid for the stroller and groceries of the often nonworking noncitizens in front of us on line.

    Read More
  92. @PiltdownMan

    ...I wonder if the quality of public works engineers has declined as we’ve moved from the construction to the maintenance era. Fifty to 100 years ago, building dams was a highly prestigious profession. Waterworks engineer William Mulholland was perhaps the leading citizen of California and his rise and fall inspired a famous movie...
     
    My great-grandfather was a waterworks civil engineer c.1875-1900. He designed and helped build some medium size dams and waterway systems. His achievement in those days, according to his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, was considered to be equal to that of a cousin of his, who was an appellate court judge. Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then.

    What your great grandfather did was far more socially valuable and admirable and useful than the typical judge.

    Read More
  93. @Anon
    Basic rules of engineering have been codified for decades, and novice or incompetent engineers are almost never hired to do big and important projects. I doubt it was the engineering. Most likely the contractor broke his contract by supplying substandard concrete to save himself some money on the sly. In modern construction, it's usually a crooked contractor who causes something to start falling apart prematurely, not a dumb engineer.

    Anon, I have to agree. I more often than not, saw structural and rebar members that are way over engineered.

    Read More
  94. @Buffalo Joe
    Buck, California's Golden Gate Bridge Commission found $76 million to install suicide catch nets strung from both sides of the bridge. The fact that a jumper sails twenty plus feet into a steel mesh net should lead to some major injuries and probable law suits. I was an ironworker so I just had to walk on that bridge. Good lord it is a magnificent structure and seemingly well maintained by a crew of ironworkers and painters. A member of my local union, since deceased, worked on the erection of the GGB.

    The thing I can’t understand about the Golden Gate Bridge suicides is why anyone would jump into the water. On the Marin approach there’s a 100-foot drop onto bare gravel that can be accessed by climbing over a very modest railing. I don’t get why anyone would pass that by, saying, “no, I’d rather jump from midspan, where I might well break multiple bones hitting the frigid water, then remain conscious while drowning.” But I guess when you get to that point in life, you’re not thinking straight at all.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Faraday, I think there is something mesmerizing about water, lots of suicides at Niagara Falls where people climb a railing, drift by and are swept over the Falls to be pounded by tons of water. But your last line says it all.
  95. @bomag
    Yes, the new residents should not be burdened with YT's tainted infrastructure. The newcomers need to build it all to their lofty specs; it's the only way to ensure political purity, which is apparently the only thing that matters in this day and age.

    bomag, Africa has worn out most of the infrastructure that the Colonists left them. The Chinese have stepped in to start over. Of course in a few years the Chinese will be the new Colonists in Africa.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CCZ
    "Asian tells Africans they are stupid for destroying what White people built and for learning nothing:"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LhSjLNyM-s
    , @Anonymous
    bomag, Africa has worn out most of the infrastructure that the Colonists left them. The Chinese have stepped in to start over. Of course in a few years the Chinese will be the new Colonists in Africa.

    Seems like the Chinese are spreading themselves too thin. When the world turns against them, and they will, they will not be majority anywhere.
  96. @tyrone
    Hmmm a giant expensive contruction project,hey!California we just elected a president who's great at that sort of thing , so be a little nicer .

    We live in California but I say SCREW CALIFORNIA. They hate and look down on Americans in the non coastal states, constantly agitating to take more of our earnings and indoctrinate our children with sick ideas. So let them pay for their own infrastructure, including this dam.

    All the supposed big fed tax revenue contributions from Silicon Valley and Hollywood, are dwarfed by the immense financial and social costs that the left inflicts on the rest of us through their support for unending third world immigration into CA and the US.

    Trump should direct fed infrastructure spending disproportionately to states that voted for him, or to States that were close and could vote for him next time. Especially Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, the Plains, the Deep South.

    Particularly, he should direct funds to the whiter communities, which typically pay a disproportionate share of taxes or suffer a disproportionate share of our military’s deaths and injuries, and whose white children are disadvantaged by racial discrimination under the the propaganda name affirmative action.

    More broadly, hey Californians, screw you, get lost, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. You deserve to suffer when your dilapidated dams or bridges collapse because you choose to spend money instead to bring in and subsidize millions of alien peoples to colonize us.

    Read More
  97. wren says:

    I wish there were a “Thanks!” button in addition to the agree, lol, and troll buttons for comments.

    I really enjoyed the links to the Russian dam accident and the Chicago underground flood.

    Tokyo has a large, interesting flood control system underneath parts of it:

    https://youtu.be/o85teh1vU_0

    Read More
  98. Kaz says:

    Civil Engineering is still a respectable job with smart people in it, but they constantly get jerked around by contracts that are awarded based on graft. Most jobs are reduced to maintenance.

    A lot of more ambitious engineers end up going to the middle east, where the Kings/Princes are throwing around billions of dollars to build world class infrastructure for there whole country in a few years, and of course contract out western engineering companies to design it for them.

    Read More
  99. @Steve Richter
    I think a much bigger problem and impact is that California, with a lot of water to go around, will boom economically, and will bring in another 10 million residents.

    There is not a lot of water to go around even in Northern California, and the drought continues at dangerous levels in SoCal and much of the State. There ultimately will be life threatening water shortages and widespread violence as people kill to get water for themselves and their families.

    Also, CA will bring in millions more residents because of the generous welfare benefits and “free” healthcare and the weather, without much regard to the availability of good jobs or any jobs. Many people don’t come here to work hard but to take advantage, and they’re not deterred by a decline in good jobs here.

    You are thinking too sensibly. Think like a Californian when analyzing this situation, seriously.

    Read More
  100. dearieme says:
    @Lugash
    Readers of this blog, or the general public? It is easy to gloss over since she's a Brit celebrity.

    On a similar note, I did find it extremely jarring to watching Obama scold the UK on Brexit, while standing on their soil and next to the PM.

    “extremely jarring to watching Obama scold the UK on Brexit, while standing on their soil”.

    ”You think our country’s so innocent?’

    Read More
    • LOL: Escher
    • Replies: @snorlax
    A better point to have made was that Yeltsin had plenty of journalists killed too (and tanks fire on parliament, etc), but nobody objected to Clinton seeking friendly relations with Russia then.
  101. dearieme says:
    @syonredux
    Off-topic,

    Yale renames Calhoun College Hopper College (after Grace Hopper):

    Yale University will rename Calhoun College, originally named for a virulent white supremacist and vocal advocate of slavery, as Hopper College. The new name will honor Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a founding mind of computer science who invented the first compiler, worked on the Mark I computer at Harvard, and served as a technical consultant in the development of the COBOL language. Admiral Hopper already has a supercomputer and a Navy guided-missile destroyer named after her.

    The controversy over Calhoun College’s name and legacy has been ongoing. In 1992, student Chris Rabb petitioned for the removal of a racist stained glass window in the College, which depicted a chained slave kneeling at the feet of Calhoun. In 2015 and 2016, in the wake of the horrific Charleston church shooting, students mobilized to demand a name change, but Yale announced they would be keeping the name in April of 2016. Then, in July of 2016, dining hall worker Corey Menafee smashed a different stained glass window, depicting slaves picking cotton.

    Some activists cite Menafee as the reason for the administration’s about-face; others cite the current political climate and ongoing student advocacy for a more inclusive campus. Whatever the reason, as of July, Calhoun College will instead honor Grace Hopper.
     
    http://www.themarysue.com/yale-renames-calhoun-hopper/

    Yale himself was a slave-trader. The bloody place should change its name.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Yale himself was a slave-trader. The bloody place should change its name.
     
    Never happen: that would throw away three centuries of brand-building.....
    , @syonredux
    Since I hate waiting

    Yale himself was a slave-trader. The bloody place should change its name.

     

    Never happen: that would throw away three centuries of brand-building…..
  102. @The Z Blog
    I was just recently discussing this with someone in the civil engineering/environmental engineering business. He was lamenting the fact that finding talent has become very difficult. Even with hiring foreign workers, there's not enough talent at any price. His firm pays very well so it is not the Silicon Valley grift. He really struggles to find competent people.

    The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don't see Jews and Asians in the field. They are in tech and the law. Another problem is the schools have made environmental engineering into a girl field. Those with talent want to either start families or go into management. Simply offering a high paying job as an engineer is not enough. The gals want a path to management.

    The biggest issue he sees is the younger generation is grossly unprepared for work. Because it takes years for a college grad to mature into a fully functioning adult, the cost of hiring these people is very high, which means most employers prefer someone in their 30's and they will over pay them. My guess would be that government gets the worst of the worst now as a result.

    My nephew is pursuing a PhD in civil engineering. he wanted to just go to work out of college, but the jobs were being offered to the Master’s guys. After interning at a gov’t job one summer he said there was no way he’d work for gov’t again.
    As a kid he loved digging holes and collecting rocks… exactly the sort that is destined to be a civil engineer.

    Another friend worked for the bureau of reclamation. All his stories were of fighting with environmentalists in order to get projects going. That and dealing with diversity hires.

    What’s wrong with people that they can’t see that hiring someone who can’t do a job is a recipe for failure? It’s just nuts.

    Read More
  103. @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    Pay for performance.

    The dam should be built by a private contractor.

    Instead of paying the contractor a large amount of money when the dam is built, the contractor should be paid a monthly fee forever.

    The contractor would be responsible for both the construction and maintenance of the dam forever.

    If the dam were ever deemed unsafe, the monthly fee would be immediately suspended until the dam is once again safe.

    If problems with the dam are not fixed quickly, the government should have the right to confiscate the dam without compensating the contractor.

    In addition, the contractor may be required to pay a large security deposit before construction begins that they will forfeit if the dam ever has serious problems.

    The same arrangement could be used for roads, electricity, and border walls.

    Pitt, Contractors build according to the Architect’s design and the engineer’s specs and drawings. They get paid in installments after a certain amount of the project is completed and inspected. Any changes or modifications to the original drawings are paid as a separate item called “Extras”. When the project is completed and punched listed ( any work that might not have been done in sequence), the contractor then waits for final payment and the Retention, which is a portion of monies due, usually 5-10% of the bid. Retentions are sometimes held for months if not years while the Architect, engineering firm and Project Manager argue over who owes what to whom. A bank usually holds and releases the money on a large project. In the meantime the contractors have had to make payroll, insurance, material purchases, equipment leases, insurance and fees. All major projects and contractors are performance bonded. These are some of the reasons that contractors frequently declare bankruptcy.

    Read More
  104. One thing that’s happening in engineering is not only H1B’s, but actual outsourcing of jobs to other countries. It’s really a mess when part of the design job is domestic, but another half is outsourced. A hydraulic engineer friend of mine recently had a heart attack that was at least partially induced by the stress from having to defend himself in court due to a split contract like this. There was a failure at an elaborate pumping mechanism that finally was shown to be the fault of the designer in Indonesia who failed to look at the material specs, which had even been referenced by my friend in his part of the design. The ruptured pump killed two workers who were operating it. My friend wisely makes a point of including notes on everything, even if it goes somewhat beyond his end of the design. Good thing he did and prevailed in court, or it really would have been his butt . Of course, problems like this don’t resolve so nicely when one party in question is 8000 miles away.

    Read More
  105. SF says:

    From the close up photos, it looks like there was a softer layer of brown soil upslope from a layer of hard gray and relatively impervious bedrock. My best guess is the ground water accumulated above the bedrock to the point that the soil was semi-liquefied, and eroded from underneath the spillway. This created a void where the spillway was not supported from below, leading to the failure. If this was the case (and I would give it a 51% probability) then it is more a problem with the original design and engineering in the 1960′s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That's probably one reason it takes so long to build stuff these days -- we know more about what could go wrong so we try to design in safety features for a host of contingencies.
  106. Alfa158 says:
    @Lot
    Stephen Miller had his Sunday morning TV show debut today. I love the guy but it could have gone better.

    Http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/stephen-miller-president-trumps-immigration-order-45438898

    He spoke too loudly and lacked the slickness of a lot of the guests. It probably would be better if he does future appearances in person rather than talking head uplink. It was also excessively tense, a little more charm and a joke or two would have diffused this. A good moment to be less serious was the mention of the stupid fake scandal about Kelleyanne Conway breaking some rule by "promoting" Ivanka's clothing line.

    "I am no fashion expert George, but even I can tell both Kelleyanne and Ivanka have great taste and it isn't illegal to say so. This is just the liberal media trying to create a fake scandal against two very intelligent and talented women who have been working tirelessly this past year with the President to make America great again."

    On the positive side, he hammered the key points about illegal voting and illegal crime under hostile questioning. The most effective single line was probably that there are a million illegals with judicial branch issued orders of deportation, and it is the left that does not respect our judicial system.

    We’re far past the point of keeping it light. The other side sees that as weakness and lack of conviction. Miller did a great job spiking the facts back into George’s face.
    Bravo.

    Read More
  107. CCZ says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    bomag, Africa has worn out most of the infrastructure that the Colonists left them. The Chinese have stepped in to start over. Of course in a few years the Chinese will be the new Colonists in Africa.

    “Asian tells Africans they are stupid for destroying what White people built and for learning nothing:”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LhSjLNyM-s

    Read More
  108. In one of the stories about the cost of this, one official mentioned some federal money.
    I immediately thought of sanctuary cities and the “art of the deal”.

    Read More
  109. Anonym says:
    @PiltdownMan

    ...I wonder if the quality of public works engineers has declined as we’ve moved from the construction to the maintenance era. Fifty to 100 years ago, building dams was a highly prestigious profession. Waterworks engineer William Mulholland was perhaps the leading citizen of California and his rise and fall inspired a famous movie...
     
    My great-grandfather was a waterworks civil engineer c.1875-1900. He designed and helped build some medium size dams and waterway systems. His achievement in those days, according to his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, was considered to be equal to that of a cousin of his, who was an appellate court judge. Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then.

    My great-grandfather was a waterworks civil engineer c.1875-1900. He designed and helped build some medium size dams and waterway systems. His achievement in those days, according to his daughter-in-law, my grandmother, was considered to be equal to that of a cousin of his, who was an appellate court judge

    Maybe there is some equivalency in income, but no way would I rate the accomplishments of a great engineer as similar to an appellate court judge (for someone like Scalia I might make an exception). The judge’s decisions don’t have to be right. The engineer’s decisions are weighed on the scales of the universe’s physical law, and if found wanting it will be self-evident with something like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

    Read More
  110. Anonym says:
    @Jack D
    Right now there is a big issue on the major bridge over the Delaware River that connects the PA Turnpike with the NJ Turnpike. A big truss member broke clear thru and left a gap of several inches. The load was taken up by other elements so the thing didn't just collapse into the river but it could have gone at any minute since the other elements were now overstressed. They didn't find the crack in a regular inspection - the bridge had just been painted and someone from the NJ Turnpike Authority was inspecting the paint job when he spotted the crack. They can patch the crack but now they have to test all the other elements that may have been overloaded and weakened so the bridge is closed indefinitely until they figure out whether it is safe or not.

    Right now there is a big issue on the major bridge over the Delaware River that connects the PA Turnpike with the NJ Turnpike.

    This should make counting the cars a lot easier, even if it means less people will be looking for America.

    Read More
  111. Alice says:
    @The Z Blog
    I was just recently discussing this with someone in the civil engineering/environmental engineering business. He was lamenting the fact that finding talent has become very difficult. Even with hiring foreign workers, there's not enough talent at any price. His firm pays very well so it is not the Silicon Valley grift. He really struggles to find competent people.

    The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don't see Jews and Asians in the field. They are in tech and the law. Another problem is the schools have made environmental engineering into a girl field. Those with talent want to either start families or go into management. Simply offering a high paying job as an engineer is not enough. The gals want a path to management.

    The biggest issue he sees is the younger generation is grossly unprepared for work. Because it takes years for a college grad to mature into a fully functioning adult, the cost of hiring these people is very high, which means most employers prefer someone in their 30's and they will over pay them. My guess would be that government gets the worst of the worst now as a result.

    Your first reason matched the one ientioned in an earlier post, but your third make me think of a bigger generality.

    The last two-three decades have had the Nerds win. But more than just nerds, they are Betas.

    The kind of man who was a Boy Scout in the 1930s or 50s was a competent, diligent, manly man, who more often that not, was bright. Maybe not brilliant, but bright.

    But now that man isn’t the engineer. He’s not the manager of engineers, even. The engineers are betas, less manly, more hipster, and not capable of the maturity needed to be good either physically or mentally with the responsibility of big scale projects.

    Read More
  112. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon
    Basic rules of engineering have been codified for decades, and novice or incompetent engineers are almost never hired to do big and important projects. I doubt it was the engineering. Most likely the contractor broke his contract by supplying substandard concrete to save himself some money on the sly. In modern construction, it's usually a crooked contractor who causes something to start falling apart prematurely, not a dumb engineer.

    Part of good engineering is understanding the human element. You can either dumb down to make something comtractor friendly or ride herd on the process. My favorite Larson comic of all time:

    Read More
  113. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Buffalo Joe
    bomag, Africa has worn out most of the infrastructure that the Colonists left them. The Chinese have stepped in to start over. Of course in a few years the Chinese will be the new Colonists in Africa.

    bomag, Africa has worn out most of the infrastructure that the Colonists left them. The Chinese have stepped in to start over. Of course in a few years the Chinese will be the new Colonists in Africa.

    Seems like the Chinese are spreading themselves too thin. When the world turns against them, and they will, they will not be majority anywhere.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri

    "the Chinese are spreading themselves too thin"
     
    I think it is a deliberate strategy to dilute the male-heavy gender imbalance in China that is a side effect of sex-selective abortions. The more unattached young men who go abroad and don't come back, the less the risk of domestic upheaval for China's current masters (the Communist Party).
    , @Romanian
    Like the world's Europeans spread themselves too thin back in the day? Sure, the Chinese don't have the birthrates for it, but they do have the numbers.

    Think of it as claiming lebensraum, in one way or another. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but it's always better than sitting still.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    If anything, the global mood is turning gradually positive as the Chinese influence increases. Of course, it might not be completely coincidental that the two are related.
  114. Romanian says: • Website
    @Buffalo Joe
    bomag, only a few here could use cavitation in a sentence, but then again, fluid mechanics is not a big topic at Steve's blog.

    If the golf ball ends up in one of those cavitation things full of sand, it’s an awful chore to get it out :))

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Romanian, Ok, two guys who can use cavitation in a sentence.
  115. @Buffalo Joe
    Peri, The $1.9 Billion dollar budget shortfall seems, at least to me, to be manageable. Chicago is light $10 billion on their pension funding and Illinois is $100 billion short for their pension payments. Buffalo's Public School budget approaches one billion per year. I think that number is way low.

    As I understand it that is their operating budget and does not include long-term liabilities, like under funded pensions.

    Read More
  116. Muse says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    Buck, California's Golden Gate Bridge Commission found $76 million to install suicide catch nets strung from both sides of the bridge. The fact that a jumper sails twenty plus feet into a steel mesh net should lead to some major injuries and probable law suits. I was an ironworker so I just had to walk on that bridge. Good lord it is a magnificent structure and seemingly well maintained by a crew of ironworkers and painters. A member of my local union, since deceased, worked on the erection of the GGB.

    Joe, are you one of the fearless Iroquois Iron Workers?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Muse, fearless for sure. NY state probably has more Native American ironworkers than any other part of the country, but that is about 10% of union ironworkers. My ancestors were from the Sicilian tribe.
  117. Jack D says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    Jack, I have done work for a local company that drilled new caissons to support new piers to brace that Delaware bridge. I saw photos that showed that the guard rails at the expansion joints (actually a gap in the rail) where the rails were leaning about a foot overboard and no one noticed.

    They attributed the crack to “weather” so far. It does not appear from the photo that there was any corrosion at the point of failure – it’s shiny metal. My theory is that the expansion joints seized up and put the bridge under tension during a cold snap. The bridge is over a mile long and it shrinks considerably on a cold day. If it can’t slide in the expansion joint then it will snap at the weakest point like a rubber band.

    Read More
  118. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    This is from 4chan:

    @Steve_Sailer is #47 and listed as “Pending”, Chateau Heartiste was #53 and he got taken out, I think just the other day.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    It's nice that Twitter took the time to organize a list of WrongThinkers ranked by popularity. There were a lot of names I'd never heard before who I'll have to look up now.

    Thanks Twits!

    It's noteworthy that neither @JBurtonXP (foremerly @DemsRRealRacist) nor @GodfreyElfwick made the list, despite being among the most devastating trollers of the TwitterLeft Cathedral. Perhaps their argumentum ad absurdum style slips past Twitter's hate-thought sniffing algorithm.

    Nowadays an AltRighter must simultaneously parry orc hordes on the ground and Skynet in cyberspace. It's like Tolkien meets Terminator.

    (@AnnCoulter FTW!)
    , @Anon
    Twitter no longer has any use for Free Speech and True Speech.

    It's for Fake Speech.
  119. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    OT: “Youths” behaving badly. My god, importing future Detroits because of political correctness is one of the most boneheaded things Australia is doing right now.

    http://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/crime/youth-gang-attacks-summersault-festival-crowds-in-melbourne/news-story/52942046cd1123221f747dc1b1e56848

    Read More
  120. Jack D says:
    @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    Pay for performance.

    The dam should be built by a private contractor.

    Instead of paying the contractor a large amount of money when the dam is built, the contractor should be paid a monthly fee forever.

    The contractor would be responsible for both the construction and maintenance of the dam forever.

    If the dam were ever deemed unsafe, the monthly fee would be immediately suspended until the dam is once again safe.

    If problems with the dam are not fixed quickly, the government should have the right to confiscate the dam without compensating the contractor.

    In addition, the contractor may be required to pay a large security deposit before construction begins that they will forfeit if the dam ever has serious problems.

    The same arrangement could be used for roads, electricity, and border walls.

    There is a name for what you are proposing – it’s called a “lease”. But no one would ever lease you a dam under the conditions you are naming.

    Say that a dam costs $100 million to build and that the monthly fee (it’s called “rent”) is $10 million per year. Where is the contractor going to get the $100 million from to build the dam with? No one has $100 million just sitting around. He would have to borrow it from a bank but banks will only lend $ on a lease if the lease has very few outs. They have to be pretty sure that you are going to collect the rent that you are going to use to service their loan. And since facilities like dams last for a long time, you would have to keep raising the rent to keep up with inflation. And you pay rent forever but if the government finances it itself then at some point the bonds are paid off.

    The idea that the government would lease stuff instead of buying it is not totally crazy but it would have to be structured to make sense for both sides or no one would bid on it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cortes
    PPPs (Public/Private Partnerships) and variants thereof were the vehicles used by UK governments for many projects. The main objections seem to be where completed successfully, the private contractor gouges the public due to contracts negotiated by in house lawyers with little experience of commercial life; and where ongoing problems emerge in "completed " projects, contractors always have the poison pill of bankruptcy to leave the costs of remedial work in the public lap.

    As for maintenance, well, many of the great Victorian works were left without the significant upgrades needed and now are being undertaken at vast cost in the UK, water treatment work ongoing all under Glasgow right now, with great disruption.

    , @Pericles
    After a while, government will of course start complaining about the unconscionable rent it's paying to the owners. Or perhaps the California Green Party gets into power. That's when the fun begins.

    In some cases, government may have to step in to make it economical to build these things. For instance, Sweden no longer indemnifies builders of nuclear plants, so it's apparently too expensive to construct new ones. Bit of a pity. In the same vein, I wonder what Berkshire Hathaway or whoever would charge to insure this dam against various costs due to disastrous failure.
  121. Mr. Anon says:
    @Lot
    Stephen Miller had his Sunday morning TV show debut today. I love the guy but it could have gone better.

    Http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/stephen-miller-president-trumps-immigration-order-45438898

    He spoke too loudly and lacked the slickness of a lot of the guests. It probably would be better if he does future appearances in person rather than talking head uplink. It was also excessively tense, a little more charm and a joke or two would have diffused this. A good moment to be less serious was the mention of the stupid fake scandal about Kelleyanne Conway breaking some rule by "promoting" Ivanka's clothing line.

    "I am no fashion expert George, but even I can tell both Kelleyanne and Ivanka have great taste and it isn't illegal to say so. This is just the liberal media trying to create a fake scandal against two very intelligent and talented women who have been working tirelessly this past year with the President to make America great again."

    On the positive side, he hammered the key points about illegal voting and illegal crime under hostile questioning. The most effective single line was probably that there are a million illegals with judicial branch issued orders of deportation, and it is the left that does not respect our judicial system.

    I rather like the fact that Miller wasn’t chummy with that Clinton hack. Staphyloccolous isn’t David Brinkley – he’s not a real journalist – he’s a Democratic party operative. I think there’s been all too much congeneality on the part of the Republicans. I like seeing them get a little hostile for a change. Stephen Miller is a smart guy,……on target, and on our side. The Democrats never act particularly nice, and it mostly seems to work for them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Having watched the interview before reading this stuff I kept thinking "George? Who's that? The man spoke with Chris Wallace." Now I realise Miller did multiple interviews. The one with Wallace was unremarkable; i.e., Miller and Wallace didn't seem especially antagonistic to each other. Wallace asked some pointed questions, but any decent journalist ought to. Miller seemed a bit strident at points, but any sane man discussing the outrageous decision of last week rightfully would. The two even did have some light moments with smiling and chuckles. Thus, I expect the assessment that Stephanopoulos is overly partisan for disinterested journalism may have merit.
  122. Mr. Anon says:
    @Anon
    Basic rules of engineering have been codified for decades, and novice or incompetent engineers are almost never hired to do big and important projects. I doubt it was the engineering. Most likely the contractor broke his contract by supplying substandard concrete to save himself some money on the sly. In modern construction, it's usually a crooked contractor who causes something to start falling apart prematurely, not a dumb engineer.

    “Basic rules of engineering have been codified for decades, and novice or incompetent engineers are almost never hired to do big and important projects. I doubt it was the engineering.”

    I don’t know. Big projects are made up of lots of small projects. I’ve seen things in government paid-for-and-built structures that range from annoying to frightening.

    Read More
  123. Whiskey says: • Website

    Occam’s Butterknife says Thousand Year Flood, or evil White Mind-Rays from Trump and Bannon, or lack of a LightWorker per Mark Morford.

    Occam’s Razor says import half of Mexico, get Mexico’s Infrastructure. This is not an isolated event. Rolling Blackouts are common now in SoCal, we had three last Summer. This never used to happen, SoCal native and growing up the power was ALWAYS on.

    California has a Mexican Government and Legislature. Pretty much all the Legislative leaders are Mexican, some notably commenting that half their family would be deported if Trump follows through on deporting illegal aliens who have committed felonies. Like Identity Theft. The next Governor is almost certainly going to be Mexican. Mexicans not only are … Mexican, which means they have emotional, familial, and national attachments to Mexico and treat the US as a garbage dump, boarding house, and free stuff pantry, with zero, zilch, nada emotional and national ties to the US. It also means they have little accumulated wealth, human intellectual capital, or anything else to create or maintain expensive, high-maintenance infrastructure.

    The Golden Gate Bridge, for example, needs constant painting and inspection. That job never stops. Dams are no different and without expensive, constantly upgraded and repaired infrastructure like dams, power lines, bridges, freeways, rail lines, port facilities, aqueducts, and the like the ability to support 35 Mexicans is nil. Most of LA’s water and power is imported. Soon the California Aqueduct will fail just like Oroville Dam, or the current hodge-podge of creaking transmission lines taking power from as far away as Arizona and Utah. [Las Vegas will fare no better.]

    Lesson — living in a First World country is very expensive, having power always on, a secure supply of clean water, treating your sewage, and having a good medical care system from urgent care to first class hospitals requires both money and high IQ manpower. Neither of which are to be found in any quantity in the Third World, regardless if they are in Mexico or the US.

    Unfortunately we are in the midst of a Class/Ethnic War, Puritans vs. Rednecks, and that won’t end well.

    Read More
    • Replies: @map
    Trump should provide federal funding for the Oroville Dam under only one condition: that the dam and its adjoining property come under Federal ownership. The maintenance of the dam can be handled by the Army Corp of Engineers or private contractors outside of the corruptocracy in Sacramento. Maybe eminent domain can be used in the process.

    It is clear that the California government is a failed state and that its incompetent government is putting people's lives on the line. Federal control guarantees that money allocated to the dam actually gets spent on the dam.

    Ball is in Sacramento's court.
  124. @SF
    From the close up photos, it looks like there was a softer layer of brown soil upslope from a layer of hard gray and relatively impervious bedrock. My best guess is the ground water accumulated above the bedrock to the point that the soil was semi-liquefied, and eroded from underneath the spillway. This created a void where the spillway was not supported from below, leading to the failure. If this was the case (and I would give it a 51% probability) then it is more a problem with the original design and engineering in the 1960's.

    That’s probably one reason it takes so long to build stuff these days — we know more about what could go wrong so we try to design in safety features for a host of contingencies.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Steve, That and the layers and layers of Government mandated regulations that a contractor has to follow, if possible.
    , @El Dato
    Actually in IT at least, the clusterfuck series is going crescendo. Too many bad tech personnel who think reinventing square wheels in C++ is productive (been there, done that; today greenhorns fresh from uni flock to JavaScript which is possibly even worse in suckage) and crappy managers who know naught of what they are doing and are proud of it:

    Download PDF at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7842842/

    One combination stands out in the 2015 dataset, however: the toxic merging of overweening political interference, quixotic project goals, and ignored risks, coupled with an abysmal memory of past IT failures. The data contain example after example of executive decision making perverted by what Bent Flyvbjerg, Massimo Garbuio, and Dan Lovallo call “delusional optimism.” The decisions underlying the IT failures Romero and I reviewed involved Icarus-like hubris, especially in government programs where the incentives to manage costs are low.
     
    Also:

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/static/lessons-from-a-decade-of-it-failures
    http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/why-software-fails
  125. Marat says:
    @George
    Seems a bit like Flint water crisis.

    Could spending trillions in Iraqistan have had anything to do with this?

    What happens when the pension crisis hits? see pensiontsunami.com

    Maybe they dont have enough Asian civil engineers

    Is this disaster an inevitable result of third world conditions imposed on former-first world edifices, or is it the true cost of playing Empire, or is it the symbolic fluid wave of the future, or is it simply an affirmation that gravity works?

    Read More
  126. Cortes says:
    @Jack D
    There is a name for what you are proposing - it's called a "lease". But no one would ever lease you a dam under the conditions you are naming.

    Say that a dam costs $100 million to build and that the monthly fee (it's called "rent") is $10 million per year. Where is the contractor going to get the $100 million from to build the dam with? No one has $100 million just sitting around. He would have to borrow it from a bank but banks will only lend $ on a lease if the lease has very few outs. They have to be pretty sure that you are going to collect the rent that you are going to use to service their loan. And since facilities like dams last for a long time, you would have to keep raising the rent to keep up with inflation. And you pay rent forever but if the government finances it itself then at some point the bonds are paid off.

    The idea that the government would lease stuff instead of buying it is not totally crazy but it would have to be structured to make sense for both sides or no one would bid on it.

    PPPs (Public/Private Partnerships) and variants thereof were the vehicles used by UK governments for many projects. The main objections seem to be where completed successfully, the private contractor gouges the public due to contracts negotiated by in house lawyers with little experience of commercial life; and where ongoing problems emerge in “completed ” projects, contractors always have the poison pill of bankruptcy to leave the costs of remedial work in the public lap.

    As for maintenance, well, many of the great Victorian works were left without the significant upgrades needed and now are being undertaken at vast cost in the UK, water treatment work ongoing all under Glasgow right now, with great disruption.

    Read More
  127. snorlax says:
    @BenKenobi
    When California sends its public works engineers, they're not sending their best.

    They’re rapists!

    Read More
  128. @Faraday's Bobcat
    The thing I can't understand about the Golden Gate Bridge suicides is why anyone would jump into the water. On the Marin approach there's a 100-foot drop onto bare gravel that can be accessed by climbing over a very modest railing. I don't get why anyone would pass that by, saying, "no, I'd rather jump from midspan, where I might well break multiple bones hitting the frigid water, then remain conscious while drowning." But I guess when you get to that point in life, you're not thinking straight at all.

    Faraday, I think there is something mesmerizing about water, lots of suicides at Niagara Falls where people climb a railing, drift by and are swept over the Falls to be pounded by tons of water. But your last line says it all.

    Read More
  129. anon says: • Disclaimer

    infrastructure ~ average IQ

    if average IQ goes down then the infrastructure will follow

    Read More
  130. @Alice
    With the advent of atomic and quantum physics in 30s-40s, the brightest engineering types went into the fields that became modern physics, electrical engineering, materials science. With the space race, the best and the brightest went into the above and aerospace engineering. For the last 25 years, the best and brightest science and engineering types went into computer science and software engineering.

    Getting into the engineering at Cal is prestigious. But the whole college looked at the civ engs as the C students who washed out of all the other engineering majors. Because they were.

    And yes, it's maintenance mode. What exciting new thing is in large scale civ eng? It's in stuff overseas.

    Same reason teachers got dumber. As brightest women went into other fields, teaching (and that usually means work in daycare) is only for the average and below IQ.

    the whole college looked at the civ engs as the C students who washed out of all the other engineering majors. Because they were.

    Environmental engineering is even lower. My employer recently de-funded our one “Energy Sustainability Engineer” when new senior execs realized it was worthless fluff. She had a masters degree in Environmental Engineering from a prestigious east coast university, but she didn’t know how to work with spreadsheets.

    Read More
  131. Neoconned says:
    @Steve Richter
    I think a much bigger problem and impact is that California, with a lot of water to go around, will boom economically, and will bring in another 10 million residents.

    And considering these ten million new people will come straight from the 3rs world quite literally and live ten to an apartment they’re going to have even more strain on the environment and natural resources.

    Only next time there won’t be 15-20 million white Baby Boomers to keep the fuckin trainwreck going.

    The average age of a white Californian is late 40s/early 50s. In 20 yrs it’s going to be interesting.

    I’m shocked at the sheer rapid pace of foreign race replacement in California. Nothing like this has happened since the manifest Destiny era.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "Nothing like this has happened since the manifest Destiny era."

    Call it neo-manifest destiny. "neo" has become a popular prefix, implying something particularly dreadful.
  132. @Jack D
    This could just be a black swan event - the spillway was built to handle the 1,000 year flood and this is the 10,000 year flood instead.

    After Katrina, (NO was also built to a 1,000 year flood standard) I found out that the Dutch built to the 10,000 year standard.

    It really has nothing to do with waiting 10,000 years, it's just the risk of the event happening in any given year. Each year the risk is the same whether it's been 1 year since the last big one or 5,000. Maybe the risk of 10 inches of rain on one day in any given year is 1 in 1,000 but the risk of getting 20 inches is 1/10,000.

    It's all a risk/reward expected value thing. If it costs an extra $1M to build to the higher standard but the risk is 1/10,000 then it's not worth it unless the expected damages are more than $10 billion.

    Maybe the risk of 10 inches of rain on one day in any given year is 1 in 1,000 but the risk of getting 20 inches is 1/10,000.

    After Tropical Storm Fay in 2008 (10 inches of rain in 20 hours), I had 3/4-inch of water in my ground floor utility room. I sucked it all up w/ my wet vac.

    Read More
  133. @Romanian
    If the golf ball ends up in one of those cavitation things full of sand, it's an awful chore to get it out :))

    Romanian, Ok, two guys who can use cavitation in a sentence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @gcochran
    supercavitation, 200kt torpedoes.
    , @jimbo
    "When we wanted to get Captain Ramius' attention, we reversed out screws and let him hear the cavitation."
    , @Romanian
    Mine was a bit tongue-in-cheek at our host's love of golf (I've never even seen a golf course). I would have written about the torpedo others have mentioned were I pursuing an actual example.
  134. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Random Dude on the Internet
    Civil engineering is one of the lower paid disciplines of engineering. A starting graduate starts out in the $50-55k range on average and tops out somewhere in the $80-90k range. Meanwhile, there are kids who get offers to make useless apps in Silicon Valley for $90k right out of school. So yeah, most civil engineers aren't usually the A team anymore or even the B team. Anyone who has enough intelligence to pursue engineering will likely go for the better paying disciplines.

    In terms of coursework and course load, civil engineering is generally the easiest major in engineering school. Electrical engineering tends to be the hardest. It’s the major to pick to have the easiest time in college and more of a social life, short of switching to lib arts.

    Read More
    • Replies: @FPD72
    I think that industrial engineering is the easiest engineering major. I write that as a retired I.E. major who changed majors in college from Engineering Physics to I.E. Third semester physics (quantum mechanics and relativity) convinced me that I wasn't going to cut it as a physicist and I.E.'s were getting jobs at the time, so making the change was a no-brainer.

    I did have two civil engineering classes, statics and dynamics, and I wouldn't classify either of them as easy.
  135. JerryC says:
    @Lot
    Stephen Miller had his Sunday morning TV show debut today. I love the guy but it could have gone better.

    Http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/stephen-miller-president-trumps-immigration-order-45438898

    He spoke too loudly and lacked the slickness of a lot of the guests. It probably would be better if he does future appearances in person rather than talking head uplink. It was also excessively tense, a little more charm and a joke or two would have diffused this. A good moment to be less serious was the mention of the stupid fake scandal about Kelleyanne Conway breaking some rule by "promoting" Ivanka's clothing line.

    "I am no fashion expert George, but even I can tell both Kelleyanne and Ivanka have great taste and it isn't illegal to say so. This is just the liberal media trying to create a fake scandal against two very intelligent and talented women who have been working tirelessly this past year with the President to make America great again."

    On the positive side, he hammered the key points about illegal voting and illegal crime under hostile questioning. The most effective single line was probably that there are a million illegals with judicial branch issued orders of deportation, and it is the left that does not respect our judicial system.

    I was quite impressed with his appearance on Chuck Todd’s show, he was well prepared, direct and unaplogetic. Clearly articulated the administration’s position. The guy has talent.

    Read More
  136. Jack D says:
    @El Dato
    Fukushima-with-water sure will propel "green energy".

    Why is the spillway so straight & narrow though? One would like to think there would be water brakes in the middle to get rid of the unleashed potential energy of the falling water masses.

    I’m not a hydraulic engineer but I assume anything that would slow the water down would also tend to cause it to back up – in order to maximize the capacity of the spillway you want to make it as straight and smooth as possible.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Jack, Strange that the spillway hits the Feather river at 90 degrees .
  137. @Muse
    Joe, are you one of the fearless Iroquois Iron Workers?

    Muse, fearless for sure. NY state probably has more Native American ironworkers than any other part of the country, but that is about 10% of union ironworkers. My ancestors were from the Sicilian tribe.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    My ancestors were from the Sicilian tribe.
     
    Any relationship to Chief Iron Eyes Cody?
    , @Muse
    My grandfather was an operating engineer, and he claimed that it was best to be on the iron workers side in bar fights.

    Additionally, he claimed that iron workers would quickly run off any crane operator from a job that they didn't like.

    You might find this new movie interesting:
    http://www.bridginguamericafilm.com/phone/index.html
  138. @Buck Turgidson
    Well stated. Non-engineer politicians kick the maintenance can down the road over, and over, and over, hoping that the catastrophic failure does not happen on their watch. They get pretty much zero points for putting $$$ into maintenance and of course the expenditures can be huge and detract from more visible things being demanded and for which they will get political points. When the SHTF, all the former officials and leaders are long gone. No one politician is going to be blamed and in fact there may be good photo ops to cry, show that they care, and then milk the taxpayer for multi-millions in disaster relief because we are not heartless and it would be wrong to not do so. "What else is government for?" as a liberal friend of mine once asked. They might even milk the taxpayer for huge and questionable post-disaster repairs ($18B for post-Katrina work a good investment? I am sure there were no inflated cost estimates in all contracts and every $$ was accounted for.....in Louisiana.....). It also would be heartless to insist that people who decide to live in risky zones like floodplains have adequate insurance policies.

    politicians kick the maintenance can down the road over, and over, and over, hoping that the catastrophic failure does not happen on their watch…When the SHTF, all the former officials and leaders are long gone.

    Just like golf-plated six-figure lifetime pensions for cops, firefighters, and jail guards.

    Read More
  139. @Steve Sailer
    That's probably one reason it takes so long to build stuff these days -- we know more about what could go wrong so we try to design in safety features for a host of contingencies.

    Steve, That and the layers and layers of Government mandated regulations that a contractor has to follow, if possible.

    Read More
  140. @Buffalo Joe
    Buck, California's Golden Gate Bridge Commission found $76 million to install suicide catch nets strung from both sides of the bridge. The fact that a jumper sails twenty plus feet into a steel mesh net should lead to some major injuries and probable law suits. I was an ironworker so I just had to walk on that bridge. Good lord it is a magnificent structure and seemingly well maintained by a crew of ironworkers and painters. A member of my local union, since deceased, worked on the erection of the GGB.

    seemingly kept in good repair…. It is not. Before they approved the ridiculous suicide catcher… which of course will cost more than 76 million and yes likely do extensive damage… it came out the bridge is in terrible repair. IN particular the South Tower. Parts of it have never been repaired in all the years.

    I come from the generation that was raised, told, that the GGB was never not being repaired and painted. The work went from one end to the other, and then egan again…

    Absolutely appalling. And if I never hear from another whining relative of a GGB suicide it will be too soon.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Hidden, Thank you, I was let to believe it was start at one end work to the other and then start over again.
  141. @Jack D
    I'm not a hydraulic engineer but I assume anything that would slow the water down would also tend to cause it to back up - in order to maximize the capacity of the spillway you want to make it as straight and smooth as possible.

    Jack, Strange that the spillway hits the Feather river at 90 degrees .

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Shortest distance between 2 points...

    It does look like it is washing out the far bank of the river as it comes shooting across but I'm not sure that hurts anything of value.

    I have the feeling that what is going on now has exceeded the design assumptions and they are literally in uncharted waters.
  142. @IAmCorn
    Are you referring to the North American Water and Power Alliance?

    Yes, thank you. I couldn’t find again it since my original Google Search over a decade ago.

    So it was actually for $100 bil. in the 1960s, which is anyhow about on the same inflation curve, and today would be close to a trillion dollars, or as they call it in DC, “peanuts!”

    Read More
  143. “As brightest women went into other fields, teaching (and that usually means work in daycare) is only for the average and below IQ.”

    Wrong. The average teacher ability, as reflected by test scores, is unchanged for the past 60 years. Fewer extremely bright women become teachers, but that was offset by the number of smarter than average men entering the field.

    As for California, its agriculture and commercial farming feeds a great deal of the country with relatively little employment or profit. 75% of its water is used for agriculture.

    Read More
  144. @The Z Blog
    I was just recently discussing this with someone in the civil engineering/environmental engineering business. He was lamenting the fact that finding talent has become very difficult. Even with hiring foreign workers, there's not enough talent at any price. His firm pays very well so it is not the Silicon Valley grift. He really struggles to find competent people.

    The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don't see Jews and Asians in the field. They are in tech and the law. Another problem is the schools have made environmental engineering into a girl field. Those with talent want to either start families or go into management. Simply offering a high paying job as an engineer is not enough. The gals want a path to management.

    The biggest issue he sees is the younger generation is grossly unprepared for work. Because it takes years for a college grad to mature into a fully functioning adult, the cost of hiring these people is very high, which means most employers prefer someone in their 30's and they will over pay them. My guess would be that government gets the worst of the worst now as a result.

    Another problem is the schools have made environmental engineering into a girl field. Those with talent want to either start families or go into management. Simply offering a high paying job as an engineer is not enough. The gals want a path to management.

    I’ve seen this in Department of Energy work. The few women in the field end up in management where the men don’t want to go. The men would rather do design and research. Management is actually rather looked down upon as boring.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    As Scott Adams has noted, the least-productive workers tend to go into management:
    http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-02-05
    , @Joe Schmoe


    I’ve seen this in Department of Energy work. The few women in the field end up in management where the men don’t want to go. The men would rather do design and research. Management is actually rather looked down upon as boring.
     

    But are these women really managers or just administrators?

    My uncle worked project management on massive billion dollar engineering projects. He was a real manager. Are lower level managers really managers or are they more like a store manager who just administers policies from above more like a coordinator? Honest question. I just don't know.

    On the other hand, my stepfather was a chemical engineer who turned down a lower level management job because he thought it was just too much hassle and not worth the little extra he would earn. Apparently the job really was pretty worthless because the company eliminated it in one of the cyclical downturns the oil business experiences every few years.

  145. syonredux says:
    @dearieme
    Yale himself was a slave-trader. The bloody place should change its name.

    Yale himself was a slave-trader. The bloody place should change its name.

    Never happen: that would throw away three centuries of brand-building…..

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    Yup, that was exactly the hypocrisy that I was being sarcastic about. I assume that the revolting students are equally hypocritical on the point.
  146. syonredux says:
    @dearieme
    Yale himself was a slave-trader. The bloody place should change its name.

    Since I hate waiting

    Yale himself was a slave-trader. The bloody place should change its name.

    Never happen: that would throw away three centuries of brand-building…..

    Read More
  147. @Mr. Anon
    "The issue as he sees it is three-fold. One is it is not a sexy field. He bluntly pointed out that you don’t see Jews and Asians in the field."

    You didn't see them much 50-70 years ago either, when most of that infrastructure was first built. But thanks for the patronizing anti-white racial-supremecy.

    As I noted the other day, Jews do not build civilizations. They let whites do the grunt work and then grab their lucrative little niche, skimming all the cream off the top.

    Steve, this is (somewhat) OT, but have you heard about the (white female) United Airlines pilot who showed up for a flight wearing street clothes and started ranting over the intercom?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4216218/United-Airlines-pilot-removed-flight-rant.html

    (It is somewhat relevant, given the fact that, “back in the day,” boring pale male airline pilots tended not to have hormonal freakouts while on the job.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "As I noted the other day, Jews do not build civilizations. They let whites do the grunt work and then grab their lucrative little niche, skimming all the cream off the top."

    I saw a similar comment a few years ago in a history book. According to its account the people who did the grunt work - clearing woodland for agriculture - were such people as Slavs, Celts, etc, and the chaps who skimmed the cream were the Germans.
  148. @Robert Hume

    Another problem is the schools have made environmental engineering into a girl field. Those with talent want to either start families or go into management. Simply offering a high paying job as an engineer is not enough. The gals want a path to management.
     
    I've seen this in Department of Energy work. The few women in the field end up in management where the men don't want to go. The men would rather do design and research. Management is actually rather looked down upon as boring.

    As Scott Adams has noted, the least-productive workers tend to go into management:

    http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-02-05

    Read More
  149. El Dato says:
    @Steve Sailer
    That's probably one reason it takes so long to build stuff these days -- we know more about what could go wrong so we try to design in safety features for a host of contingencies.

    Actually in IT at least, the clusterfuck series is going crescendo. Too many bad tech personnel who think reinventing square wheels in C++ is productive (been there, done that; today greenhorns fresh from uni flock to JavaScript which is possibly even worse in suckage) and crappy managers who know naught of what they are doing and are proud of it:

    Download PDF at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7842842/

    One combination stands out in the 2015 dataset, however: the toxic merging of overweening political interference, quixotic project goals, and ignored risks, coupled with an abysmal memory of past IT failures. The data contain example after example of executive decision making perverted by what Bent Flyvbjerg, Massimo Garbuio, and Dan Lovallo call “delusional optimism.” The decisions underlying the IT failures Romero and I reviewed involved Icarus-like hubris, especially in government programs where the incentives to manage costs are low.

    Also:

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/static/lessons-from-a-decade-of-it-failures

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/why-software-fails

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    Real men code in assembler.

    In the early days, software engineering was a true art. It was a real challenge to cram useful functionality into the minuscule memory space then available. There was a certain cockiness that came with the territory.

    Now that the hardware available to the schlump on the street is literally the stuff of science fiction come to life - MU/TH/UR 6000 in Alien had a 2.1-terabyte hard drive - the slop factor is astronomical. Talented geeks who in earlier times might have sought the thrill of proving their manhood - "I'll bet you can't squeeze that into 4K" - now avoid programming altogether.

    Moore's Law meets the Lewis–Mogridge Position, and the results are pretty dismal.
    , @Almost Missouri
    Probably the best business book, maybe the only good business book, is Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks, which happens to be about software failures. It's about as close to poetry as a business book will ever get.
  150. @Buck Turgidson
    Not really familiar w this 'Adele' person but I did see that over @ Drudge. I concluded that any picture that contains all of Adele is de facto a big one.

    I hear she’s big in Japan.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JeremiahJohnbalaya
    Not as big as I
    , @Anonymous
    "I hear she’s big in Japan."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl6u2NASUzU (Alphaville, "Big in Japan")
  151. just caught an emergency update on Oroville… immediate evacuation… I did not hear how extensive (extent of land mass) but three times repeat: This is not a drill.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hidden Cat
    the order was issued at 4:40 for city of Oroville, downstream to evacuate northward, toward Chico. An auxiliary spillway is expected ... to fail within hour to two hours. Not long before they held a presser to say it would not happen (!)...

    Think they said it would cause a 30 ft depth of water to overflow.
  152. bomag says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    I wonder if the quality of public works engineers has declined as we’ve moved from the construction to the maintenance era.
     
    Ya think?

    Steve, that spillway is an analogy of America.

    (Yes, even immigration overwhelming our ability to absorb it, which I'm half-sure you already thought.)

    Steve, that spillway is an analogy of America.

    Yes.

    We have not been maintaining our borders, nor the quality and quantity of our demographics.

    Now the deluge.

    Read More
  153. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    OT but bizarre:

    Steve,

    Have you noticed that a majority of the visitors to the NY Times and WaPo's websites are Chinese? And I don't mean by a little. I'm talking a huge amount.

    But if you look at the LA Times, China makes up a tiny portion of their readers.

    Something else that's weird is that both NY Times and WaPo had huge increases in their visitors starting in the fall (which makes sense due to the election) while the LA Times visitors cratered (shouldn't they get some of that same effect). Visitors also fell off a cliff to USA Today at the same time and USA Today like the LA Times has almost no Chinese readers.

    What's going on?

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/nytimes.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/washingtonpost.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/usatoday.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/latimes.com

    The New York Times has been pursuing an aggressive strategy to reach readers in China. The NYT has had a Chinese-language edition on its website for quite a few years. Now the Chinese government has been blocking the NYT website since October 2012. But recently the NYT has been aggressively using different techniques to get around the “Great Firewall of China” and to get its articles accessible to Chinese readers. And people within China have been using virtual private networks (VPNs) to make an end-run around the censors and gain access to articles in the NYT and elsewhere.

    https://qz.com/374299/how-the-new-york-times-is-eluding-chinas-censors/

    I got to see the Chinese censorship policy firsthand when I was in China about a year ago. Sure enough, there was no NYT. But also, for some reason, all of Unz.com was blocked, including iSteve. So I had to do without my daily iSteve reading for a few weeks. Also no Facebook. And nothing Google – no Google Search, Google Maps or Google Translate.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    All old China hands know to sign up for a VPN before going to China.
  154. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    KNX1070 reporting emergency declared 1 hr to failure of structure emergency evacuations ordered…

    Read More
  155. @Mr. Anon
    I rather like the fact that Miller wasn't chummy with that Clinton hack. Staphyloccolous isn't David Brinkley - he's not a real journalist - he's a Democratic party operative. I think there's been all too much congeneality on the part of the Republicans. I like seeing them get a little hostile for a change. Stephen Miller is a smart guy,......on target, and on our side. The Democrats never act particularly nice, and it mostly seems to work for them.

    Having watched the interview before reading this stuff I kept thinking “George? Who’s that? The man spoke with Chris Wallace.” Now I realise Miller did multiple interviews. The one with Wallace was unremarkable; i.e., Miller and Wallace didn’t seem especially antagonistic to each other. Wallace asked some pointed questions, but any decent journalist ought to. Miller seemed a bit strident at points, but any sane man discussing the outrageous decision of last week rightfully would. The two even did have some light moments with smiling and chuckles. Thus, I expect the assessment that Stephanopoulos is overly partisan for disinterested journalism may have merit.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    Chris Wallace seems to be pretty fair. He's certainly a much better and more disinterested journalist than Bill Clinton's little buddy, George Stephanopoulis.
  156. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    This is an evacuation order.
    Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered.
    A hazardous situation is developing with the Oroville Dam auxiliary spillway. Operation of the auxiliary spillway has lead to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure. Failure of the auxiliary spillway structure will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville. In response to this developing situation, DWR is increasing water releases to 100,000 cubic feet per second.
    Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered.
    This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill.

    Read More
  157. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    In response to this developing situation, DWR is increasing water releases to 100,000 cubic feet per second.

    The math on this looks hairy…

    Radio is reporting conflicting emergency bulletins the one from Butte county sheriff I posted above and is a lot more pessimistic than the state bulletin

    Read More
  158. Langley says:

    BREAKING: Oroville under immediate evacuation as spillway collapse feared

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article132332499.html

    Bush blamed for riots and loss of life.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    You have that wrong.

    The racist, homophobic nazi (and all round lover of golden showers) in the Whitehouse must surely be to blame!

    Speaking of which, I think Infogalactic has missed the point here (scroll down about half way):

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Fake_news
  159. CCZ says:

    Sacramento Bee reports:

    BREAKING: Oroville under immediate evacuation as spillway collapse feared

    CA – DWR @CA_DWR

    EMERGENCY EVACUATION: Auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam predicted to fail within the next hour. Oroville residents evacuate northward.
    7:42 PM – 12 Feb 2017

    Read More
  160. FPD72 says:
    @Anonymous
    In terms of coursework and course load, civil engineering is generally the easiest major in engineering school. Electrical engineering tends to be the hardest. It's the major to pick to have the easiest time in college and more of a social life, short of switching to lib arts.

    I think that industrial engineering is the easiest engineering major. I write that as a retired I.E. major who changed majors in college from Engineering Physics to I.E. Third semester physics (quantum mechanics and relativity) convinced me that I wasn’t going to cut it as a physicist and I.E.’s were getting jobs at the time, so making the change was a no-brainer.

    I did have two civil engineering classes, statics and dynamics, and I wouldn’t classify either of them as easy.

    Read More
  161. gcochran says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    Romanian, Ok, two guys who can use cavitation in a sentence.

    supercavitation, 200kt torpedoes.

    Read More
  162. @Hidden Cat
    just caught an emergency update on Oroville... immediate evacuation... I did not hear how extensive (extent of land mass) but three times repeat: This is not a drill.

    the order was issued at 4:40 for city of Oroville, downstream to evacuate northward, toward Chico. An auxiliary spillway is expected … to fail within hour to two hours. Not long before they held a presser to say it would not happen (!)…

    Think they said it would cause a 30 ft depth of water to overflow.

    Read More
  163. @Hidden Cat
    seemingly kept in good repair.... It is not. Before they approved the ridiculous suicide catcher... which of course will cost more than 76 million and yes likely do extensive damage... it came out the bridge is in terrible repair. IN particular the South Tower. Parts of it have never been repaired in all the years.

    I come from the generation that was raised, told, that the GGB was never not being repaired and painted. The work went from one end to the other, and then egan again...

    Absolutely appalling. And if I never hear from another whining relative of a GGB suicide it will be too soon.

    Hidden, Thank you, I was let to believe it was start at one end work to the other and then start over again.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hidden Cat
    It is completely heartbreaking and enraged me. The main cable has NEVER been truly repaired nor fully painted... there is rust and peeling old paint evrywhere.

    My father drove across it the first day, with his dog, the dog with her front paws up on the dashboard as excited as could be.... looking around avidly.

    It is so beautiful and it's beauty is additionally mysterious. How dare they not care for it.
  164. @gcochran
    supercavitation, 200kt torpedoes.

    gcochran, Nice try, but that is not a sentence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Clyde
    Do you not know who gcochran is?
    , @Peripatetic commenter
    "One hypothesis is that Chernobyl was 'triggered' by recirculation pump performance degradation caused by the onset of pump cavitation."

    Cochran was actually talking about super-cavitation, so he has taken your request to whole new level. He is not, of course, the only person who can use the word 'super-cavitation' in a sentence.
  165. So authorities have just called for evacuation of Oroville.
    Trump’s Luck: an opportunity to appear magnanimous and presidential to California. He should take it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hidden Cat
    Plus just this week Jerry B sent a letter to Trump basically begging for federal money for, pretty much, the entire state.

    There is a lot of damage and I am not laughing as repair will take forever but I had to laugh at that moment...
    , @Anonym
    This just in: Governer Brown asking for help from Trump. The comments section is hilarious!

    http://www.breitbart.com/california/2017/02/12/california-governor-asks-president-trump-help/

    Pass a collection plate amongst the illegals !

    You say all the illegals alien scum want to work right, start filling those F'ing Sand-bags.

    Maybe Brown should start a "Go Fund Me" page instead.

    He's asking the wrong president. He needs to talk to el presidente of Mexico. CA has already confirmed Trump is not their president. How's that shoe leather tasting, Gov?

    Jerry should ask the the 9th Circuit Court for the money they seem to think they are the power


    My sides!
    , @Wilkey
    "Trump’s Luck: an opportunity to appear magnanimous and presidential to California. He should take it."

    Indeed. Trump needs to look presidential. Much of the West is facing imminent threat of flooding due to record snowfalls it hasn't seen in decades. I live in the West and, so far as I can tell, Trump has said nothing about it.

    I love love love Trump on immigration and trade, but my biggest fear about him is that he'll make such a mess of the rest of his job that he'll permanently damage those causes. Trump needs to start sounding presidential. Trump gets to come out ahead on an issue that will win him sympathy, and leftist governors like Jerry Brown have to buy that money by publicly showing him a little respect. It's a win win for absolutely everyone.

    Trump *cannot* be seen as ignoring the looming flooding crisis in the West.

  166. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Spokesman quoted on sacbee page now giving a panic vibe…

    Wouldn’t be surprised if there is not a big time situation brewing over there… there is possibility of chain reaction failure as Steve described

    If the ground is already saturated and moving it’s fubar

    Read More
  167. Just now, tweet from CA-DWR at 7:42 PM, EMERGENCY EVACUATION, auxiliary spillover at the Oroville Dam expected to fail within the hour. The sheriff’s order ends with “This is Not A Drill” three times.

    Right now the evacuation order is limited to Oroville, Thermalito and Palermo.

    Read More
  168. @Buffalo Joe
    Muse, fearless for sure. NY state probably has more Native American ironworkers than any other part of the country, but that is about 10% of union ironworkers. My ancestors were from the Sicilian tribe.

    My ancestors were from the Sicilian tribe.

    Any relationship to Chief Iron Eyes Cody?

    Read More
  169. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Free republic threads show gridlock highway pics people trying to get out all at once this is a calamity

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3524221/posts?q=1&#038;;page=236#236

    Read More
  170. @Buffalo Joe
    Hidden, Thank you, I was let to believe it was start at one end work to the other and then start over again.

    It is completely heartbreaking and enraged me. The main cable has NEVER been truly repaired nor fully painted… there is rust and peeling old paint evrywhere.

    My father drove across it the first day, with his dog, the dog with her front paws up on the dashboard as excited as could be…. looking around avidly.

    It is so beautiful and it’s beauty is additionally mysterious. How dare they not care for it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Hidden, I share your concern about poor maintainance of the GGB but the main cables ( which are a bundle of spun wire cable) are covered by a steel sheath and some rust and peeling paint is a feature of any steel structure that is bathed in saltwater mist, spray and fog.
  171. @Jack Highlands
    So authorities have just called for evacuation of Oroville.
    Trump's Luck: an opportunity to appear magnanimous and presidential to California. He should take it.

    Plus just this week Jerry B sent a letter to Trump basically begging for federal money for, pretty much, the entire state.

    There is a lot of damage and I am not laughing as repair will take forever but I had to laugh at that moment…

    Read More
  172. Anonym says:
    @Jack Highlands
    So authorities have just called for evacuation of Oroville.
    Trump's Luck: an opportunity to appear magnanimous and presidential to California. He should take it.

    This just in: Governer Brown asking for help from Trump. The comments section is hilarious!

    http://www.breitbart.com/california/2017/02/12/california-governor-asks-president-trump-help/

    Pass a collection plate amongst the illegals !

    You say all the illegals alien scum want to work right, start filling those F’ing Sand-bags.

    Maybe Brown should start a “Go Fund Me” page instead.

    He’s asking the wrong president. He needs to talk to el presidente of Mexico. CA has already confirmed Trump is not their president. How’s that shoe leather tasting, Gov?

    Jerry should ask the the 9th Circuit Court for the money they seem to think they are the power

    My sides!

    Read More
    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @wren
    Where the heck is Iron Man? Superman? Spiderman? The Avengers? Guardians of the Galaxy?

    California needs you guys.
    , @Anonym
    Some very topical Brown-related humor (Garrison):

    https://i.redd.it/q8ijmx4mthfy.jpg

    I wonder if it was prompted by the "We are Refugees" Walt Bismarck video.
  173. Jack D says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    Jack, Strange that the spillway hits the Feather river at 90 degrees .

    Shortest distance between 2 points…

    It does look like it is washing out the far bank of the river as it comes shooting across but I’m not sure that hurts anything of value.

    I have the feeling that what is going on now has exceeded the design assumptions and they are literally in uncharted waters.

    Read More
  174. If I were Trump, I would be on air-force 1 flying overnight and helicoptering onto the Dam with suitcases of money. Don’t allow this to become Katrina 2.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    Why? Do you think Jerry Brown moved lots of African Americans there recently in anticipation?

    Even though I live in CA, I think Trump should say 'screw you' to Brown.

    However, there is much to be said for being magnanimous and going high when CA goes begging.
  175. Jack D says:
    @Smokestack Lightning
    The New York Times has been pursuing an aggressive strategy to reach readers in China. The NYT has had a Chinese-language edition on its website for quite a few years. Now the Chinese government has been blocking the NYT website since October 2012. But recently the NYT has been aggressively using different techniques to get around the "Great Firewall of China" and to get its articles accessible to Chinese readers. And people within China have been using virtual private networks (VPNs) to make an end-run around the censors and gain access to articles in the NYT and elsewhere.

    https://qz.com/374299/how-the-new-york-times-is-eluding-chinas-censors/

    I got to see the Chinese censorship policy firsthand when I was in China about a year ago. Sure enough, there was no NYT. But also, for some reason, all of Unz.com was blocked, including iSteve. So I had to do without my daily iSteve reading for a few weeks. Also no Facebook. And nothing Google - no Google Search, Google Maps or Google Translate.

    All old China hands know to sign up for a VPN before going to China.

    Read More
  176. newrouter says:

    Later this week, I think, this damn goes. Water wants sea level and saturated soil ain’t holding her back.

    Read More
  177. @Langley
    BREAKING: Oroville under immediate evacuation as spillway collapse feared

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article132332499.html

    Bush blamed for riots and loss of life.

    You have that wrong.

    The racist, homophobic nazi (and all round lover of golden showers) in the Whitehouse must surely be to blame!

    Speaking of which, I think Infogalactic has missed the point here (scroll down about half way):

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Fake_news

    Read More
  178. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Can’t believe they made the evac call so close to sundown

    The people gridlocked must be freaking out actual heart attacks with the old folks etc

    It’s wet dirt on a steep slope that is preventing catastrophe for the time being = no engineer can guarantee anything

    Read More
  179. @Prof. Woland
    If I were Trump, I would be on air-force 1 flying overnight and helicoptering onto the Dam with suitcases of money. Don't allow this to become Katrina 2.

    Why? Do you think Jerry Brown moved lots of African Americans there recently in anticipation?

    Even though I live in CA, I think Trump should say ‘screw you’ to Brown.

    However, there is much to be said for being magnanimous and going high when CA goes begging.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    The people affected by the (hopefully not occurring) damn disaster are probably among the third of Californians who voted for Trump. It would not be a bad idea for him to take some interest in this. No, he will never win the state of California, but other people in states he can win (and has won) might notice.
  180. wren says:

    I would not be surprised if engineers and inspectors were aware of the problem a year or two ago (as seems to be the case) but that the decision makers chose not to do anything about it because, due to GLOBAL WARMING and California’s drought into perpetuity, nothing needed to be done. The spillway would never be needed.

    If this is the case, I hope it comes out.

    Read More
    • Agree: bomag
    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    Someone is claiming that it was known about in 2013:

    https://gabfiles.blob.core.windows.net/image/58a1332b3161e.jpeg
    , @dearieme
    "If this is the case, I hope it comes out."

    But such things always come out far too late, with the media having shifted its attention to other things.
  181. newrouter says:

    When that “emergency spill way” is washed away then that water in the “lake” will find its opening.
    Johnstown flood is tame in comparison.

    Read More
  182. newrouter says:

    The “emergency spill way” is washing away the base of the dam.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The emergency spillway dumps out well downstream from the dam. The primary spillway is closer to the dam and a lot of water is shooting up on the sides of the mountain.
  183. cthulhu says:

    On the side topic of which engineering fields are harder, my totally biased viewpoint:

    Civil engineering (CE) has a lot of complicated stuff in it (stress analysis, fluid dynamics) and tends to deal with messy pribkems, but there is more experience base in CE than anywhere else, and the factors of safety applied to the designs are high. But CEs need to get their PE stamp to do much real work, and that is non-trivial.

    Industrial engineering (IE) is easy until you get to a certain level of complexity, and then it gets hard. A lot of mathematically difficult optimization techniques (e.g., linear programming) came out of operations analysis, a sub field of IE, but you can be an IE and never get anywhere near that stuff.

    Electrical engineering (EE) has easy and hard things in it. Digital logic is not that hard, but advanced chip design is, and advanced analog stuff – think antenna design and computational electromagnetics – can be really tough. Control design and analysis, which has roots in EE, AE, and ME, is a very deep field.

    Mechanical engineering (ME) education is pretty tough because the ME degree is so versatile; the school is trying to get you ready for almost anything. The actual job varies widely. The subspeciality of loads and dynamics is pretty tough, especially for composite aerospace structures. But a lot of the less sharp MEs end up basically doing supplier management.

    Aerospace engineering (AE) is at heart a branch of ME that deals with aircraft and spacecraft, and as such has a lot of specialized knowledge. The design problems in AE tend to be harder than ME, because aircraft and spacecraft tend to be extremely integrated and the factors of safety are thin; 1.25 to 1.5 or so, way less than most other things. So the analyses must be better to get by with those thin margins, and analytical techniques in structure design, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and control systems have been pushed more over the last 75 years by aircraft and spacecraft than by anything else.

    As for me, I’m an AE with a background in flight control system analysis and design… :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @newrouter
    "But CEs need to get their PE stamp to do much real work, and that is non-trivial. "

    All PEs, State guild monopoly.
    , @JohnnyGeo
    A Marine Engineer of my acquaintance likes to rail against Aerospace Engineering being held up as an example of a difficult subject: "Half the time they're not operating in a fluid, and when they do it's not even viscous!"
  184. Wait. This is not the first time that a dam disaster has happened in an Anglo country.

    A few years ago (maybe 5?), there was a similar disaster in Queensland, Australia, near Brisbane.

    The operators waited too long to start letting the water go, and there was a last minute surge or something, and a catastrophe occurred.

    How is it that government employees never learn?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
    Ok, not quite correct:

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/wivenhoe-woes-a-concern-from-start-to-finish-20120125-1qhz4.html
    , @anon
    January 11 2011. The dam was originally built for flood mitigation and completed in 1981. Conservationists have prevented any more dams being built in Queensland since, so it's water is now used to supply Brisbane. Poor summer rainfall in the early 2000s saw water levels drop at Wivenhoe, and the State Government introduced water restrictions and spent Billion$ building a water recycling network that is unused.
    Rain started falling again in 2009, but restrictions weren't lifted. The catchment area is 7,000 sq. kilometres, and Wivenhoe fills quickly when it's raining in the catchment. In January 2011 rain had been falling in the catchment and downstream since Christmas. The operators didn't open the dam gates until water was about to spill over the top, which would have been catastrophic.
    645,000 litres/sec.[c.145,000 gallons/sec] then poured into the Brisbane River, causing heavy flooding and Billion$ in property damage.
    The problem started in 2006, when the Beattie Government removed control of water assets from Local Councils to the State Government. Under the Councils, dam operators would take tidal conditions, whether or not it was raining upstream, and weather conditions downstream into consideration, before releasing water, thereby averting disasters like the Brisbane Floods 2011.
    Under State Government control, operators can't take any of these factors into account in releasing water from dams and weirs, as the State Government's only concern is to conserve water[because Global Warming] . They obey a Manual. So most floods in Queensland since then have been caused by Government.
    Cloward-Piven Strategy, perhaps?
    , @dearieme
    The Brisbane case seemed to be partly about politicians accepting the Global Warming creed and predictions of everlasting drought.
  185. wren says:
    @Anonym
    This just in: Governer Brown asking for help from Trump. The comments section is hilarious!

    http://www.breitbart.com/california/2017/02/12/california-governor-asks-president-trump-help/

    Pass a collection plate amongst the illegals !

    You say all the illegals alien scum want to work right, start filling those F'ing Sand-bags.

    Maybe Brown should start a "Go Fund Me" page instead.

    He's asking the wrong president. He needs to talk to el presidente of Mexico. CA has already confirmed Trump is not their president. How's that shoe leather tasting, Gov?

    Jerry should ask the the 9th Circuit Court for the money they seem to think they are the power


    My sides!

    Where the heck is Iron Man? Superman? Spiderman? The Avengers? Guardians of the Galaxy?

    California needs you guys.

    Read More
  186. hmmm…. per LATimes

    Residents of Oroville and nearby towns were ordered to immediately evacuate on Sunday afternoon after a hole was discovered at the emergency spillway for the Oroville Dam.

    Officials will attempt to plug the hole using large rocks but stressed that the situation remains dangerous and urged thousands of residents downstream to evacuate to higher ground.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Does anybody have a picture of the hole in the emergency spillway? Is it from the top down or is it at the bottom of the concrete lip?
  187. @newrouter
    The "emergency spill way" is washing away the base of the dam.

    The emergency spillway dumps out well downstream from the dam. The primary spillway is closer to the dam and a lot of water is shooting up on the sides of the mountain.

    Read More
    • Replies: @newrouter
    "The emergency spillway dumps out well downstream from the dam."

    True. But the water only needs a small opening to wreak havoc. Look at the amount of water behind the dam pining for the Pacific ocean.
    , @Another Canadian
    I noticed the "emergency spillway" is now being called the "auxiliary spillway" by DWR. Re-branding on the fly.
  188. Anon7 says:

    “Immigration” is the topic setting everyone off right now, mostly for the wrong reasons. It’s the money! We don’t have it. $600,000 for every immigrant without a high school education! Every educated H1-B visa handed out costs Americans $2 million in lost income.

    “Infrastructure” is the word that will come up next. Flint’s water is bad? $220 million to fix it. An 11 foot diameter sewer pipe failed in east Detroit recently; $140 million to fix it. We will need to raise $trillions just to maintain what we have today in America.

    Stop talking about Muslims, stop talking about refugees, stop talking about Trump, stop talking about terrorism and start talking about MONEY! We need to push every single illegal and every unnecessary legal immigrant OUT, because we don’t have the MONEY! We need that money for infrastructure, if you want the lights and heat and water and roads to work!

    Thanks for listening, sorry I had to shout.

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    Where do those numbers come from?
    , @Anonymous
    Every educated H1-B visa handed out costs Americans $2 million in lost income.

    Is this true? If so, every American should know this.
    , @bomag

    We need to push every single illegal and every unnecessary legal immigrant OUT, because we don’t have the MONEY! We need that money for infrastructure, if you want the lights and heat and water and roads to work!
     
    But immigrants are a face pressed against the window; thus in this age of emotion we shovel food, clothing, and shelter at them. I suspect much of the costs you list comes from the bureaucracies and support groups that have grown around the immigrant "pipeline"; thus advocacy groups with an incentive to keep the face pressed against the window.

    Infrastructure, as noted several times in this thread, has little emotional appeal aside from the occasional disaster.
  189. newrouter says:
    @cthulhu
    On the side topic of which engineering fields are harder, my totally biased viewpoint:

    Civil engineering (CE) has a lot of complicated stuff in it (stress analysis, fluid dynamics) and tends to deal with messy pribkems, but there is more experience base in CE than anywhere else, and the factors of safety applied to the designs are high. But CEs need to get their PE stamp to do much real work, and that is non-trivial.

    Industrial engineering (IE) is easy until you get to a certain level of complexity, and then it gets hard. A lot of mathematically difficult optimization techniques (e.g., linear programming) came out of operations analysis, a sub field of IE, but you can be an IE and never get anywhere near that stuff.

    Electrical engineering (EE) has easy and hard things in it. Digital logic is not that hard, but advanced chip design is, and advanced analog stuff - think antenna design and computational electromagnetics - can be really tough. Control design and analysis, which has roots in EE, AE, and ME, is a very deep field.

    Mechanical engineering (ME) education is pretty tough because the ME degree is so versatile; the school is trying to get you ready for almost anything. The actual job varies widely. The subspeciality of loads and dynamics is pretty tough, especially for composite aerospace structures. But a lot of the less sharp MEs end up basically doing supplier management.

    Aerospace engineering (AE) is at heart a branch of ME that deals with aircraft and spacecraft, and as such has a lot of specialized knowledge. The design problems in AE tend to be harder than ME, because aircraft and spacecraft tend to be extremely integrated and the factors of safety are thin; 1.25 to 1.5 or so, way less than most other things. So the analyses must be better to get by with those thin margins, and analytical techniques in structure design, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and control systems have been pushed more over the last 75 years by aircraft and spacecraft than by anything else.

    As for me, I'm an AE with a background in flight control system analysis and design... :-)

    “But CEs need to get their PE stamp to do much real work, and that is non-trivial. ”

    All PEs, State guild monopoly.

    Read More
  190. @Peripatetic commenter
    Wait. This is not the first time that a dam disaster has happened in an Anglo country.

    A few years ago (maybe 5?), there was a similar disaster in Queensland, Australia, near Brisbane.

    The operators waited too long to start letting the water go, and there was a last minute surge or something, and a catastrophe occurred.

    How is it that government employees never learn?
    Read More
  191. newrouter says:
    @Steve Sailer
    The emergency spillway dumps out well downstream from the dam. The primary spillway is closer to the dam and a lot of water is shooting up on the sides of the mountain.

    “The emergency spillway dumps out well downstream from the dam.”

    True. But the water only needs a small opening to wreak havoc. Look at the amount of water behind the dam pining for the Pacific ocean.

    Read More
  192. Bugg says:

    At 10:50PM Eastern shocked no major news network has broken format to show this very visual unfolding disaster. The video is compelling and terrifying. When they pan back and show you the riverside communities all lit up it brings the danger into a real focus.

    From the looks of the video feed on line, inexplicably local and state police are not directing evacuees to use both sides of the highway to get out.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "At 10:50PM Eastern shocked no major news network has broken format to show this very visual unfolding disaster. The video is compelling and terrifying. When they pan back and show you the riverside communities all lit up it brings the danger into a real focus."

    I was just looking at the various news channels on TV, and there's nothing about the dam.
    , @Clifford Brown
    I first heard of this story via Twitter on Friday and then saw this post. This morning, I searched the NY Times and there was no coverage whatsoever.
    , @Frau Katze
    I read a report with video on the Wall Street Journal site yesterday (Feb 12).
  193. jimbo says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    Romanian, Ok, two guys who can use cavitation in a sentence.

    “When we wanted to get Captain Ramius’ attention, we reversed out screws and let him hear the cavitation.”

    Read More
  194. Dr. X says:

    Well, let’s look on the bright side. If the dam busts maybe it’ll wash traitor Kevin de Leon and his illegal family back where they came from, and save ICE the trouble…

    http://www.usapoliticstoday.com/california-senate-leader-half-family-illegally/

    Read More
  195. Anon7 says:

    Take a look at this graphic showing the expected additions to the water expected for the reservoir:

    “Furthermore we haven’t even entered snow melt season yet, and already Lake Oroville has exceeded its 100% capacity (here’s yesterday’s plot, at 97%):”

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2017/02/is-failure-of-the-oroville-dam-possible/

    Read More
  196. newrouter says:

    ” Oroville, CA
    7:54 PM PST on February 12, 2017 (GMT -0800)

    Active Advisory: Flash Flood Warning, Areal Flood Warning, Hydrologic Statement
    Elev 249 ft ”

    https://www.wunderground.com/us/ca/oroville

    A lot of head and water.

    Read More
  197. Anonym says:
    @Anonym
    This just in: Governer Brown asking for help from Trump. The comments section is hilarious!

    http://www.breitbart.com/california/2017/02/12/california-governor-asks-president-trump-help/

    Pass a collection plate amongst the illegals !

    You say all the illegals alien scum want to work right, start filling those F'ing Sand-bags.

    Maybe Brown should start a "Go Fund Me" page instead.

    He's asking the wrong president. He needs to talk to el presidente of Mexico. CA has already confirmed Trump is not their president. How's that shoe leather tasting, Gov?

    Jerry should ask the the 9th Circuit Court for the money they seem to think they are the power


    My sides!

    Some very topical Brown-related humor (Garrison):

    I wonder if it was prompted by the “We are Refugees” Walt Bismarck video.

    Read More
  198. @Buffalo Joe
    bomag, only a few here could use cavitation in a sentence, but then again, fluid mechanics is not a big topic at Steve's blog.

    On the contrary, as confirmed Russophiles we are all familiar with the Shkval torpedo, which achieves it’s astonishing speed through cavitation.

    Read More
  199. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    It would be useful to know the arithmetic for translating net outflow of cubic feet per second into acre feet of water into change in elevation of the top of the reservoir.

    It’s been a while, but I think this is a basic calculus problem. I remember lots of problems like this in calculus problem sets, often involving bathtubs and the like which can be analogous to dams.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chief Seattle
    The sacbee article linked from drudge claimed 100K cubic feet per second. 1 cubic feet ~ 8 gallons. 1 acre foot is ~ 500K gallons. So about 1.5 acre feet per second. I don't know the reservoir area, but it's probably constant enough near the top that no calculus is needed for a ballpark estimate.
  200. @Steve Sailer
    The emergency spillway dumps out well downstream from the dam. The primary spillway is closer to the dam and a lot of water is shooting up on the sides of the mountain.

    I noticed the “emergency spillway” is now being called the “auxiliary spillway” by DWR. Re-branding on the fly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    They'll be branding it "El Rancho Spillway" before this is all said and done. Anything to paper over the bad news.

    Has anyone blamed Governor Ronald Reagan yet?

    Good thing this area is not susceptible to earthquakes...
  201. @Hidden Cat
    hmmm.... per LATimes


    Residents of Oroville and nearby towns were ordered to immediately evacuate on Sunday afternoon after a hole was discovered at the emergency spillway for the Oroville Dam.

    Officials will attempt to plug the hole using large rocks but stressed that the situation remains dangerous and urged thousands of residents downstream to evacuate to higher ground.
     

    Does anybody have a picture of the hole in the emergency spillway? Is it from the top down or is it at the bottom of the concrete lip?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hidden Cat
    I just saw a photo of the hole on KTVU-2 the local FOX affliate in the Bay Area. The "hole" looks very large. Nearly across the spillway and not small, top to bottom
  202. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Autochthon
    I hear she's big in Japan.

    I hear she’s big in Japan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl6u2NASUzU (Alphaville, “Big in Japan“)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Nice. My own favourite play in this chestnut is Gregg Alexander's ingenious lyrics:

    "We made a porno film for coke; I hear I'm big in Japan!"
  203. wren says:
    @Anon7
    "Immigration" is the topic setting everyone off right now, mostly for the wrong reasons. It's the money! We don't have it. $600,000 for every immigrant without a high school education! Every educated H1-B visa handed out costs Americans $2 million in lost income.

    "Infrastructure" is the word that will come up next. Flint's water is bad? $220 million to fix it. An 11 foot diameter sewer pipe failed in east Detroit recently; $140 million to fix it. We will need to raise $trillions just to maintain what we have today in America.

    Stop talking about Muslims, stop talking about refugees, stop talking about Trump, stop talking about terrorism and start talking about MONEY! We need to push every single illegal and every unnecessary legal immigrant OUT, because we don't have the MONEY! We need that money for infrastructure, if you want the lights and heat and water and roads to work!

    Thanks for listening, sorry I had to shout.

    Where do those numbers come from?

    Read More
  204. Bruce says:

    Why not pump water over the main dam? I think fire engines do 1 thousand gallons per minute. Put in twenty engines now, and get BIG pumps there asap!

    Anyone here know why that’s a horrible idea?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack Highlands
    Literal drop in bucket: they have been releasing up to 600,000 gallons per second down the two spillways.
  205. newrouter says:

    “Does anybody have a picture of the hole in the emergency spillway? Is it from the top down or is it at the bottom of the concrete lip?”

    Doesn’t matter. The water has found the weak point.

    Read More
  206. @Almost Missouri

    "Apparently, people were in awe of what he did at work, back then."
     
    It's still pretty awe-inspiring now. But then sometime in the 1960s, the environmental movement decided dams were evil. As John McPhee observed about environmentalists at the time,

    "The outermost circle of the [environmentalists'] Devil’s world seems to be a moat filled mainly with DDT. Next to it is a moat of burning gasoline. Within that is a ring of pinheads each covered with a million people – and so on past phalanxed bulldozers and bicuspid chain saws into the absolute epicenter of Hell on earth, where stands a dam. Conservationists who can hold themselves in reasonable check before new oil spills and fresh megalopolises mysteriously go insane at even the thought of a dam."
     
    Of course, a lot of those environmentalists were (and still are) literally living from the water supplied by that western dam and aqueduct system.

    I once wondered why it is that there can be droughts in the American Great Plains, when those plains are adjacent to the single biggest supply of fresh water on Earth (the Great Lakes). A bit of googling showed me (as it often does) that I was not the first one to ask this question, and indeed there were even some answers. After finishing the great California water projects, those engineers had gone on to plan perhaps the largest engineering feat in all of human history: a vast network of dams, reservoirs and aqueducts stretching all the way from Canada in the north down to Mexico in the south, from the Great Plains and Lakes in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west.

    The retrospective consensus seemed to be that it was never built because it was too expensive, about $30 bil. in the 1920s, if I recall correctly, but even adjusted for inflation, that doesn't seem so much when we're tossing trillions into corrupt banks and pointless wars. And, when repairing one lousy spillway is a nine-figure project, a continent-spanning system that would make the deserts bloom for a (inflation-adjusted) trillion or three seems pretty inexpensive by comparison (not to mention providing jobs other than bankster or war profiteer).

    I suspect the real reason it was never built wasn't so much the cost to build it as it was the specter of success: Malthusian force would bring about vast new settlements whose continued existence could be turned on or off at the flip of a hydro-switch. In other words, it was the first and biggest NIMBY victim. There was probably also some consternation about how would poor Mexico pay rich Canada for its water?

    But anyway, if it is ever built, it would surely make Civil Engineering Great Again.

    I believe I read once that in pre-Columbian America, numerous beaver dams had accomplished much the same thing as the vast civic works project you are describing. The Great Plains as we know them today are in part the creation of the numerous fur trappers who laid waste to the beaver population before the area had been widely settled or surveyed. The new ecological balance that resulted was more conducive to the multiplication of the American bison, which swelled in to vast herds that further trampled and desertified the Midwest. That resulted in the Indians having to change their lifestyle to become more intensive hunters of bison, which change they pursued in the grossest manner possible, viz. by setting the prairie ablaze in order to stampede the bison over escarpments so that that they could “clean up” the injured ones, further exacerbating the desertification cycle. It is worth noting in this connection that the Hernando De Soto expedition traveled extensively throughout the American south and southwest in the 1500s and does not record ever having set eyes on a single buffalo.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Formerly CARealist
    This is very interesting. Trappers made everything unsustainable. Or maybe beavers did. Or bison. Or Indians. Or... How many bison did Buffalo Bill shoot? I say he's the new patient zero for modern America and not Al Capone or OJ Simpson.
    , @yaqub the mad scientist
    Beaver provide stability to stream systems, but they also were creators of a lot of fertile land in otherwise unfertile places. After they have flooded several acres for several decades, they leave and the wetness recedes. What's left is the beneficiary of years of siltation, a leveling of the land, and more nutrieents from decaying plant and animal matter: prime farmland.
  207. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Not very popular in Canada though.

    ‘Even for those heady times, NAWAPA was a grand plan. It proposed to tap some of the continent’s largest rivers — including the Yukon in Alaska, and the Peace and Fraser in British Columbia — and store most of it in an enormous valley that runs the length of British Columbia, turning the much of the valley into a reservoir 500 miles long. (Lake Mead on the Colorado River, the largest reservoir in the United States, is 112 miles long when full.) A canal would carry fresh water from British Columbia 2,000 miles east to the Great Lakes, diluting their polluted waters and, not incidentally, opening a commercial waterway from Vancouver to Lake Superior. Other canals, tunnels, and pumps would send water from the reservoir in British Columbia to some of the driest regions of the United States and Mexico: the inland Pacific Northwest, the Great Basin, Southern California and the desert Southwest, and the northern Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua.”

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/nijhuis/pipe-dreams-the-forgotten-project-that-could-have-saved-amer?utm_term=.exYvdoN33#.adMorXvPP

    Read More
  208. @El Dato
    Actually in IT at least, the clusterfuck series is going crescendo. Too many bad tech personnel who think reinventing square wheels in C++ is productive (been there, done that; today greenhorns fresh from uni flock to JavaScript which is possibly even worse in suckage) and crappy managers who know naught of what they are doing and are proud of it:

    Download PDF at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7842842/

    One combination stands out in the 2015 dataset, however: the toxic merging of overweening political interference, quixotic project goals, and ignored risks, coupled with an abysmal memory of past IT failures. The data contain example after example of executive decision making perverted by what Bent Flyvbjerg, Massimo Garbuio, and Dan Lovallo call “delusional optimism.” The decisions underlying the IT failures Romero and I reviewed involved Icarus-like hubris, especially in government programs where the incentives to manage costs are low.
     
    Also:

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/static/lessons-from-a-decade-of-it-failures
    http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/why-software-fails

    Real men code in assembler.

    In the early days, software engineering was a true art. It was a real challenge to cram useful functionality into the minuscule memory space then available. There was a certain cockiness that came with the territory.

    Now that the hardware available to the schlump on the street is literally the stuff of science fiction come to life – MU/TH/UR 6000 in Alien had a 2.1-terabyte hard drive – the slop factor is astronomical. Talented geeks who in earlier times might have sought the thrill of proving their manhood – “I’ll bet you can’t squeeze that into 4K” – now avoid programming altogether.

    Moore’s Law meets the Lewis–Mogridge Position, and the results are pretty dismal.

    Read More
  209. @Anonymous
    "I hear she’s big in Japan."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl6u2NASUzU (Alphaville, "Big in Japan")

    Nice. My own favourite play in this chestnut is Gregg Alexander’s ingenious lyrics:

    “We made a porno film for coke; I hear I’m big in Japan!”

    Read More
  210. @Anon
    This is from 4chan:

    https://twitter.com/iriscal/status/829739423097040897

    @Steve_Sailer is #47 and listed as "Pending", Chateau Heartiste was #53 and he got taken out, I think just the other day.

    It’s nice that Twitter took the time to organize a list of WrongThinkers ranked by popularity. There were a lot of names I’d never heard before who I’ll have to look up now.

    Thanks Twits!

    It’s noteworthy that neither @JBurtonXP (foremerly @DemsRRealRacist) nor @GodfreyElfwick made the list, despite being among the most devastating trollers of the TwitterLeft Cathedral. Perhaps their argumentum ad absurdum style slips past Twitter’s hate-thought sniffing algorithm.

    Nowadays an AltRighter must simultaneously parry orc hordes on the ground and Skynet in cyberspace. It’s like Tolkien meets Terminator.

    (@AnnCoulter FTW!)

    Read More
  211. Redacted says:

    Watching this unfold for three days now. Have seen pics online showing the progression of damage to the spillway. Pics dated 2013 show damage to the concrete in the same spot where failure occured. If pics and dates prove legit, this was a long neglected issue.

    Dam engineers are in ongoing catch22. They have to keep the spillway open, otherwise the emergency relief slope could fail. Meanwhile the damage to actual spillway is getting worse and could threaten the base of the dam. BTW, more rain coming this week. This has been getting worse for days and I suspect worst is yet to come.

    Read More
  212. wren says:
    @Almost Missouri
    It's nice that Twitter took the time to organize a list of WrongThinkers ranked by popularity. There were a lot of names I'd never heard before who I'll have to look up now.

    Thanks Twits!

    It's noteworthy that neither @JBurtonXP (foremerly @DemsRRealRacist) nor @GodfreyElfwick made the list, despite being among the most devastating trollers of the TwitterLeft Cathedral. Perhaps their argumentum ad absurdum style slips past Twitter's hate-thought sniffing algorithm.

    Nowadays an AltRighter must simultaneously parry orc hordes on the ground and Skynet in cyberspace. It's like Tolkien meets Terminator.

    (@AnnCoulter FTW!)

    That must be fake.

    Read More
  213. @Bruce
    Why not pump water over the main dam? I think fire engines do 1 thousand gallons per minute. Put in twenty engines now, and get BIG pumps there asap!

    Anyone here know why that's a horrible idea?

    Literal drop in bucket: they have been releasing up to 600,000 gallons per second down the two spillways.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bruce
    Yes, my fire engines idea was way off. I just looked at the numbers. But for the price of evacuating 130,000 people they could afford some really big pumps.
  214. @Anonymous
    bomag, Africa has worn out most of the infrastructure that the Colonists left them. The Chinese have stepped in to start over. Of course in a few years the Chinese will be the new Colonists in Africa.

    Seems like the Chinese are spreading themselves too thin. When the world turns against them, and they will, they will not be majority anywhere.

    “the Chinese are spreading themselves too thin”

    I think it is a deliberate strategy to dilute the male-heavy gender imbalance in China that is a side effect of sex-selective abortions. The more unattached young men who go abroad and don’t come back, the less the risk of domestic upheaval for China’s current masters (the Communist Party).

    Read More
  215. As an economist, I see it as a metaphor for ‘Quantitative Easing’.

    Try to solve the problem of gargantuan levels of stinking, unproductive, bad debt by flooding the financial system with the cheapest of cheap credit, only to have all that cash erode the productive base of the economy.

    Look out below. Best to evacuate to the long-abandoned goldfields, if you know what I mean.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "Look out below. Best to evacuate to the long-abandoned goldfields, if you know what I mean."

    What do you mean?
  216. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    This guy is local.

    Read More
  217. CCZ says:

    Always the dilemma, stay or leave, each has risks.

    Tom Miller
    @KCRAMiller

    Just talked to an Oroville police officer who tells us two stores have been looted as a result of #OrovilleDam evacuations

    The occurrence of violent crime in Oroville, CA is 56% higher than the average rate of crime in California and 78% higher than the rest of the nation. Similarly, crime involving property stands 168% higher than the remainder of the state of California and 182% higher than the nation’s average. Both of these statistics relate to how safe residents and businesses are while performing everyday activities in the Oroville, CA area.

    Read More
  218. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon7
    "Immigration" is the topic setting everyone off right now, mostly for the wrong reasons. It's the money! We don't have it. $600,000 for every immigrant without a high school education! Every educated H1-B visa handed out costs Americans $2 million in lost income.

    "Infrastructure" is the word that will come up next. Flint's water is bad? $220 million to fix it. An 11 foot diameter sewer pipe failed in east Detroit recently; $140 million to fix it. We will need to raise $trillions just to maintain what we have today in America.

    Stop talking about Muslims, stop talking about refugees, stop talking about Trump, stop talking about terrorism and start talking about MONEY! We need to push every single illegal and every unnecessary legal immigrant OUT, because we don't have the MONEY! We need that money for infrastructure, if you want the lights and heat and water and roads to work!

    Thanks for listening, sorry I had to shout.

    Every educated H1-B visa handed out costs Americans $2 million in lost income.

    Is this true? If so, every American should know this.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon7
    When I worked alongside H1-B visa guys from India in the Nineties, they did the same job as a guy making ~$100K per year in salary and benefits. Once in place, they didn't leave. I knew personally Indian guys who had been here more than a decade. (The way their visas are handled, it is very difficult for them to jump to another company - another benefit for employers.)

    One H1-B visa guy stays for 20 years, gets paid $100K in salary and benefits
    equals
    $2 million in wages denied American workers over that period.

    It really adds up fast. In the company I worked with, the department had about 50 guys from India working in a variety of engineering functions. They were paid half of what American engineers were paid.

    That's fifty guys times $100K per year equals $5 million per year in income that could have been going to American engineers in my area. That's a load of money.
  219. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Bugg
    At 10:50PM Eastern shocked no major news network has broken format to show this very visual unfolding disaster. The video is compelling and terrifying. When they pan back and show you the riverside communities all lit up it brings the danger into a real focus.

    From the looks of the video feed on line, inexplicably local and state police are not directing evacuees to use both sides of the highway to get out.

    At 10:50PM Eastern shocked no major news network has broken format to show this very visual unfolding disaster. The video is compelling and terrifying. When they pan back and show you the riverside communities all lit up it brings the danger into a real focus.”

    I was just looking at the various news channels on TV, and there’s nothing about the dam.

    Read More
  220. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    OT but bizarre:

    Steve,

    Have you noticed that a majority of the visitors to the NY Times and WaPo's websites are Chinese? And I don't mean by a little. I'm talking a huge amount.

    But if you look at the LA Times, China makes up a tiny portion of their readers.

    Something else that's weird is that both NY Times and WaPo had huge increases in their visitors starting in the fall (which makes sense due to the election) while the LA Times visitors cratered (shouldn't they get some of that same effect). Visitors also fell off a cliff to USA Today at the same time and USA Today like the LA Times has almost no Chinese readers.

    What's going on?

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/nytimes.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/washingtonpost.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/usatoday.com

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/latimes.com

    Part of it could simply that China has the world’s largest population connected to the internet, so whatever they happen to look at will inevitably show up red–even if it is only the 38th most poplar site–in Alexa’s somewhat misleading map that is based on absolute numbers rather than per capita.

    Another possibility is that fake news sites like the NYT are paying for fake subscribers from Chinese click-farms to keep their ad rates up.

    https://youtu.be/OZ6f14uwcjk

    Read More
  221. Mr. Anon says:
    @Peripatetic commenter
    Why? Do you think Jerry Brown moved lots of African Americans there recently in anticipation?

    Even though I live in CA, I think Trump should say 'screw you' to Brown.

    However, there is much to be said for being magnanimous and going high when CA goes begging.

    The people affected by the (hopefully not occurring) damn disaster are probably among the third of Californians who voted for Trump. It would not be a bad idea for him to take some interest in this. No, he will never win the state of California, but other people in states he can win (and has won) might notice.

    Read More
  222. Mr. Anon says:
    @Autochthon
    Having watched the interview before reading this stuff I kept thinking "George? Who's that? The man spoke with Chris Wallace." Now I realise Miller did multiple interviews. The one with Wallace was unremarkable; i.e., Miller and Wallace didn't seem especially antagonistic to each other. Wallace asked some pointed questions, but any decent journalist ought to. Miller seemed a bit strident at points, but any sane man discussing the outrageous decision of last week rightfully would. The two even did have some light moments with smiling and chuckles. Thus, I expect the assessment that Stephanopoulos is overly partisan for disinterested journalism may have merit.

    Chris Wallace seems to be pretty fair. He’s certainly a much better and more disinterested journalist than Bill Clinton’s little buddy, George Stephanopoulis.

    Read More
  223. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Stebbing Heuer
    As an economist, I see it as a metaphor for 'Quantitative Easing'.

    Try to solve the problem of gargantuan levels of stinking, unproductive, bad debt by flooding the financial system with the cheapest of cheap credit, only to have all that cash erode the productive base of the economy.

    Look out below. Best to evacuate to the long-abandoned goldfields, if you know what I mean.

    “Look out below. Best to evacuate to the long-abandoned goldfields, if you know what I mean.”

    What do you mean?

    Read More
  224. Bruce says:
    @Jack Highlands
    Literal drop in bucket: they have been releasing up to 600,000 gallons per second down the two spillways.

    Yes, my fire engines idea was way off. I just looked at the numbers. But for the price of evacuating 130,000 people they could afford some really big pumps.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    100,000 cubic feet per second down the damaged Main Spillway has been the max recently to save the Emergency Spillway.
  225. @Another Canadian
    I noticed the "emergency spillway" is now being called the "auxiliary spillway" by DWR. Re-branding on the fly.

    They’ll be branding it “El Rancho Spillway” before this is all said and done. Anything to paper over the bad news.

    Has anyone blamed Governor Ronald Reagan yet?

    Good thing this area is not susceptible to earthquakes…

    Read More
  226. @Anon
    https://twitter.com/ER_DavidLittle/status/831007481933422592

    This guy is local.

    Thanks.

    Read More
  227. @Bruce
    Yes, my fire engines idea was way off. I just looked at the numbers. But for the price of evacuating 130,000 people they could afford some really big pumps.

    100,000 cubic feet per second down the damaged Main Spillway has been the max recently to save the Emergency Spillway.

    Read More
  228. @Anonymous

    It would be useful to know the arithmetic for translating net outflow of cubic feet per second into acre feet of water into change in elevation of the top of the reservoir.
     
    It's been a while, but I think this is a basic calculus problem. I remember lots of problems like this in calculus problem sets, often involving bathtubs and the like which can be analogous to dams.

    The sacbee article linked from drudge claimed 100K cubic feet per second. 1 cubic feet ~ 8 gallons. 1 acre foot is ~ 500K gallons. So about 1.5 acre feet per second. I don’t know the reservoir area, but it’s probably constant enough near the top that no calculus is needed for a ballpark estimate.

    Read More
  229. 216 Why not pump water over the main dam? I think fire engines do 1 thousand gallons per minute. Put in twenty engines now, and get BIG pumps there asap!

    It would be a drop in a bucket. 20000 gallons per minute is 333 gallons per second is 45 cfs (cubic feet per second). Compared to 100,000 cfs going over the main spillway.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    What they need is a pipeline to suck water out of the lake and release it down the mountainside away from the structures at risk so the erosion is caused in a safer area. Something like that doesn't sound impossible to rig up before the point of maximum danger in about, say, a week.
  230. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    The weather forecast for the area is from hell!

    Several days of rain will wipe out any heroic earth moving they do in the next 48hours. Maybe they can get the turbines cleared under the 700ft section and defuse it that way.

    The forecast is from hell! They “picked a very bad time to quit smoking!”

    Look for massive effort tomorrow to salvage the towns below before shtf late this week

    Read More
  231. @wren
    I would not be surprised if engineers and inspectors were aware of the problem a year or two ago (as seems to be the case) but that the decision makers chose not to do anything about it because, due to GLOBAL WARMING and California's drought into perpetuity, nothing needed to be done. The spillway would never be needed.

    If this is the case, I hope it comes out.

    Someone is claiming that it was known about in 2013:

    Read More
  232. SF says:

    So what will the president’s response be to governor Brown’s request for assistance?
    A/ I promised to rebuild American’s infrastructure, and this will be a great place to start. The spillway repair is something absolutely essential for the citizens, and disaster assistance is not a political issue. Melania and I are praying for the residents of the Oroville area.

    B/ We will help out, but you have to promise in return to help us return illegal immigrants to their native country, especially criminals.

    C. Screw California. Take it out of the train to nowhere money.

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    If any of those looters are caught and turn out to be illegals...

    I hope Trump tweets it.
  233. @Bugg
    At 10:50PM Eastern shocked no major news network has broken format to show this very visual unfolding disaster. The video is compelling and terrifying. When they pan back and show you the riverside communities all lit up it brings the danger into a real focus.

    From the looks of the video feed on line, inexplicably local and state police are not directing evacuees to use both sides of the highway to get out.

    I first heard of this story via Twitter on Friday and then saw this post. This morning, I searched the NY Times and there was no coverage whatsoever.

    Read More
  234. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Buzz Mohawk

    I wonder if the quality of public works engineers has declined as we’ve moved from the construction to the maintenance era.
     
    Ya think?

    Steve, that spillway is an analogy of America.

    (Yes, even immigration overwhelming our ability to absorb it, which I'm half-sure you already thought.)

    This guy argues otherwise, but I think you have a point.

    I’ve also wondered what percentage of infrastructure spending goes to building and maintaining infrastructure versus pensions, health benefits, salaries, etc.

    Read More
  235. @James B. Shearer
    216 Why not pump water over the main dam? I think fire engines do 1 thousand gallons per minute. Put in twenty engines now, and get BIG pumps there asap!

    It would be a drop in a bucket. 20000 gallons per minute is 333 gallons per second is 45 cfs (cubic feet per second). Compared to 100,000 cfs going over the main spillway.

    What they need is a pipeline to suck water out of the lake and release it down the mountainside away from the structures at risk so the erosion is caused in a safer area. Something like that doesn’t sound impossible to rig up before the point of maximum danger in about, say, a week.

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    I propose the world's biggest Slip n Slide.

    A few giant dump trucks of gravel and then all the vinyl sheeting they can get on short notice on the west coast.

    , @wren
    I have seen plastic drainage pipes that are about five to ten feet in diameter. They look pretty light.

    I am sure that there are a lot in California that could be trucked in and set up quickly.

    I am not sure how they would start a siphon over the lip, but I am not an engineer.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=plastic+drainage+pipe+large

  236. 240 The sacbee article linked from drudge claimed 100K cubic feet per second. 1 cubic feet ~ 8 gallons. 1 acre foot is ~ 500K gallons. So about 1.5 acre feet per second. I don’t know the reservoir area, but it’s probably constant enough near the top that no calculus is needed for a ballpark estimate.

    According to google the surface area is 25 square miles. There are 640 acres per square mile so 16000 acres. An acre foot is the amount of water required to cover an acre 1 foot deep. So to lower the level 1 foot you must remove 16000 acre feet of water. An acre is 43560 square feet so an acre foot is 43560 cubic feet. So 100000 cfs is about 2.3 acre feet per second. So you need about 7000 seconds or a bit under 2 hours to drop the level a foot. But that assumes no water is coming in.

    Read More
  237. JW Bell says:
    @El Dato
    Fukushima-with-water sure will propel "green energy".

    Why is the spillway so straight & narrow though? One would like to think there would be water brakes in the middle to get rid of the unleashed potential energy of the falling water masses.

    It’s smooth to avoid turbulence.

    Read More
  238. wren says:
    @SF
    So what will the president's response be to governor Brown's request for assistance?
    A/ I promised to rebuild American's infrastructure, and this will be a great place to start. The spillway repair is something absolutely essential for the citizens, and disaster assistance is not a political issue. Melania and I are praying for the residents of the Oroville area.

    B/ We will help out, but you have to promise in return to help us return illegal immigrants to their native country, especially criminals.

    C. Screw California. Take it out of the train to nowhere money.

    If any of those looters are caught and turn out to be illegals…

    I hope Trump tweets it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I've been through Oroville a couple of times; it is pretty Diverse™ and the genocide of Americans is proceeding apace there, so any looters may well be Diverse™ as well.
  239. @Steve Sailer
    Does anybody have a picture of the hole in the emergency spillway? Is it from the top down or is it at the bottom of the concrete lip?

    I just saw a photo of the hole on KTVU-2 the local FOX affliate in the Bay Area. The “hole” looks very large. Nearly across the spillway and not small, top to bottom

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hidden Cat
    AND they announced the plan is for helicopters to drop boulders into the, uh... "hole".
  240. @Hidden Cat
    I just saw a photo of the hole on KTVU-2 the local FOX affliate in the Bay Area. The "hole" looks very large. Nearly across the spillway and not small, top to bottom

    AND they announced the plan is for helicopters to drop boulders into the, uh… “hole”.

    Read More
  241. wren says:
    @Steve Sailer
    What they need is a pipeline to suck water out of the lake and release it down the mountainside away from the structures at risk so the erosion is caused in a safer area. Something like that doesn't sound impossible to rig up before the point of maximum danger in about, say, a week.

    I propose the world’s biggest Slip n Slide.

    A few giant dump trucks of gravel and then all the vinyl sheeting they can get on short notice on the west coast.

    Read More
  242. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    The dam has a system for safe massive water release with the turbines. But they are blocked by debris.

    Plan A: This is the time and place for tactical nukes. A staggered spray pattern of increasing kilo tonnages fanning out from the choke point. The debris won’t stand a chance.

    Plan B: Nuke the entire lake. Evaporate it instantly with a decisive and final death blow of overwhelming mega tonnage.

    …. .

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Let me guess: nukes are your recommendation for most problems?
    , @Bies Podkrakowski
    I like it!

    However I am living on another continent :)

    , @Anon
    It strikes me that when the water level in the dam was very low earlier this year, they could have easily and safely removed the debris from those turbines. Either nobody was thinking ahead, or else (more likely) there was no extra money in the budget to do it.
  243. wren says:
    @Steve Sailer
    What they need is a pipeline to suck water out of the lake and release it down the mountainside away from the structures at risk so the erosion is caused in a safer area. Something like that doesn't sound impossible to rig up before the point of maximum danger in about, say, a week.

    I have seen plastic drainage pipes that are about five to ten feet in diameter. They look pretty light.

    I am sure that there are a lot in California that could be trucked in and set up quickly.

    I am not sure how they would start a siphon over the lip, but I am not an engineer.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=plastic+drainage+pipe+large

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yes, and here's the thing: How do we know this upcoming week will be the Ultimate Crisis of 2017. It's not impossible for there to be even heavier rains in March and, perhaps, early April. So if somebody could come up with a plan that would take a month to get operational, it might turn out to be highly useful during the Great Late March Storm of 2017.
    , @Bruce
    Yes. Beats my idea. A row of pipes each ten feet in diameter, u-shapes, over the top of the dam, extending ten feet below the level of the lake on the water side and the same over the fall. Removeable plug on the outside hole. Fill with water, remove plug over the drop, siphon. That size pipe would fit on a flatbed truck (Might blow the tires though).
  244. wren says:

    DWR needs to lower the lake level by another 50 feet to prepare for the incoming storms.

    https://www.reddit.com/live/yfixu0gbq4ub/

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The last set of storms to come through raised the reservoir level by 52 feet since the beginning of the month. Since it takes a few days for the water to filter down out of the mountains, they might, just barely, have time to lower the level by about that much.
  245. @wren
    If any of those looters are caught and turn out to be illegals...

    I hope Trump tweets it.

    I’ve been through Oroville a couple of times; it is pretty Diverse™ and the genocide of Americans is proceeding apace there, so any looters may well be Diverse™ as well.

    Read More
  246. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @bomag
    Bureau of Reclamation has struggled with spillway damage/failure on their dams. At higher flows, turbulence and the resulting cavitation were problems not anticipated by the initial designers. This looks like the issue here.

    Maintenance is definitely less glamorous than building, but no less important. I often wonder if the "wizards of build" might leave us with structures too complicated for the coming idiocracy to maintain. I hear rumors that the retiring managers of the electric power grid have no confidence in their replacements to maintain the thing.

    Maybe more of this is in store:

    https://www.wbez.org/shows/curious-city/why-the-1992-loop-flood-is-the-most-chicago-story-ever/b82c4d20-0af3-4cc6-b903-0e6f84df07ba

    Actually, it is not just power grids, our aging nuke and missile systems will become impossible to maintain and rot away eventually. 60-minutes had a program on floppy disk drives in missile silos for programming launches. http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/26/us/pentagon-floppy-disks-nuclear/

    And NASA buys obsolete parts on ebay http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/12/us/for-parts-nasa-boldly-goes-on-ebay.html

    Read More
  247. wren says:

    This reminds me of an episode from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

    It could have all been prevented if they had gotten some car batteries to the site on time.

    However, first they didn’t have the money to buy the batteries in local stores and then, when they did round up the batteries in Tokyo, they didn’t have the proper permit to transport them on the highway.

    As a result of rigid rule-following northern Japan ended up with a nuclear wasteland for decades or centuries to come.

    http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/10/fukushima-reactor-3-explosion-reactor-2.html?m=1

    Read More
  248. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Peripatetic commenter
    Wait. This is not the first time that a dam disaster has happened in an Anglo country.

    A few years ago (maybe 5?), there was a similar disaster in Queensland, Australia, near Brisbane.

    The operators waited too long to start letting the water go, and there was a last minute surge or something, and a catastrophe occurred.

    How is it that government employees never learn?

    January 11 2011. The dam was originally built for flood mitigation and completed in 1981. Conservationists have prevented any more dams being built in Queensland since, so it’s water is now used to supply Brisbane. Poor summer rainfall in the early 2000s saw water levels drop at Wivenhoe, and the State Government introduced water restrictions and spent Billion$ building a water recycling network that is unused.
    Rain started falling again in 2009, but restrictions weren’t lifted. The catchment area is 7,000 sq. kilometres, and Wivenhoe fills quickly when it’s raining in the catchment. In January 2011 rain had been falling in the catchment and downstream since Christmas. The operators didn’t open the dam gates until water was about to spill over the top, which would have been catastrophic.
    645,000 litres/sec.[c.145,000 gallons/sec] then poured into the Brisbane River, causing heavy flooding and Billion$ in property damage.
    The problem started in 2006, when the Beattie Government removed control of water assets from Local Councils to the State Government. Under the Councils, dam operators would take tidal conditions, whether or not it was raining upstream, and weather conditions downstream into consideration, before releasing water, thereby averting disasters like the Brisbane Floods 2011.
    Under State Government control, operators can’t take any of these factors into account in releasing water from dams and weirs, as the State Government’s only concern is to conserve water[because Global Warming] . They obey a Manual. So most floods in Queensland since then have been caused by Government.
    Cloward-Piven Strategy, perhaps?

    Read More
  249. bomag says:
    @Anon7
    "Immigration" is the topic setting everyone off right now, mostly for the wrong reasons. It's the money! We don't have it. $600,000 for every immigrant without a high school education! Every educated H1-B visa handed out costs Americans $2 million in lost income.

    "Infrastructure" is the word that will come up next. Flint's water is bad? $220 million to fix it. An 11 foot diameter sewer pipe failed in east Detroit recently; $140 million to fix it. We will need to raise $trillions just to maintain what we have today in America.

    Stop talking about Muslims, stop talking about refugees, stop talking about Trump, stop talking about terrorism and start talking about MONEY! We need to push every single illegal and every unnecessary legal immigrant OUT, because we don't have the MONEY! We need that money for infrastructure, if you want the lights and heat and water and roads to work!

    Thanks for listening, sorry I had to shout.

    We need to push every single illegal and every unnecessary legal immigrant OUT, because we don’t have the MONEY! We need that money for infrastructure, if you want the lights and heat and water and roads to work!

    But immigrants are a face pressed against the window; thus in this age of emotion we shovel food, clothing, and shelter at them. I suspect much of the costs you list comes from the bureaucracies and support groups that have grown around the immigrant “pipeline”; thus advocacy groups with an incentive to keep the face pressed against the window.

    Infrastructure, as noted several times in this thread, has little emotional appeal aside from the occasional disaster.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon7
    "Infrastructure, as noted several times in this thread, has little emotional appeal aside from the occasional disaster."

    No kidding.

    An immigrant family recently made it through to Detroit. My wife (and I'm sure most liberals) was tearing up at the wonderful "feels" of being open and accepting and helpful.

    I, on the other hand, was toting up the costs:

    - one 70 year old grandmother who will spend on average $150,000 in health care costs before dying
    - two parents who don't speak English, don't have a skill, don't have jobs - are eligible for a Michigan Bridge card - a free money card with 24 x 7 customer support in various languages in case refugees can't figure out how to spend our money
    - one ten year old kid who will spend 8 more years in public school @ $8,900 per year
    - one eight year old special needs kid who will spend 10 years @ $8,900 + $6,200 per year
    - they are all eligible for a variety of free federal programs as well

    Who knew that "financially responsible adult" is just secret code for "racist"?

    Trump is going to need every one of his 1,435 remaining days in office to make a dent in this problem.
    , @peterike

    But immigrants are a face pressed against the window; thus in this age of emotion we shovel food, clothing, and shelter at them.
     
    And schooling, and seats in our best universities, and medical care, and cash payments, and "disability" payments, and tax "rebates" despite zero dollars put into the system, and balloon loans to blow up our banking system, and....
  250. johnmark7 says:

    I live in Sacramento three blocks from the American River where the water was at the foot of the levee two days ago (maybe 15 feet below the top, but it still looked like the Mississippi to me in it’s width compared to normal).

    To any snide commenters here, I am not having any fun laughing at the a-holes who have effed up my State, this beautiful and amazing territory.

    Whether the failure of the Oroville dam spillway was due to lack of maintenance remains to be seen. Cracks were repaired recently (2007 or so). It was a 1957 dam design.

    Yes, I know our roads have been neglected, but dams? That jury’s out as far as I know.

    In 1997, I saw the water rise on the American River to within two feet of the top of the levee. This is very scary shit. I live in River Park. Check it out on your Google Map. In 1986, we were a few hours from evacuation, too, as in 1997.

    Thank God that after Katrina in New Orleans, we got a rehab of our levees, but flood may still come. We have a forecast of a week of rain to come around Wednesday.

    It is incredibly stressing to worry about what to take and abandon and leave your home to the mercy of the weather gods, and where to go? (All the motels etc are filled up with evacuees from the north. And I don’t have any friends or relatives to evacuate to. (Hey, Steve, up for guests?)

    The people north of us are going through some horrible moments and days. God bless and protect them.

    No, Steve, from what I understand, Sacramento is in no great danger from Lake Orroville collapsing. The radius of the water dispersing across the Valley is very wide before it reaches us (thank God).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    There are several Sikh temples in the Sacramento area offering shelter.
    https://twitter.com/DKMatai/status/831050493023625217
    , @Daniel Chieh
    Keep us updated, naturally.
  251. @wren
    DWR needs to lower the lake level by another 50 feet to prepare for the incoming storms.

    https://www.reddit.com/live/yfixu0gbq4ub/

    The last set of storms to come through raised the reservoir level by 52 feet since the beginning of the month. Since it takes a few days for the water to filter down out of the mountains, they might, just barely, have time to lower the level by about that much.

    Read More
  252. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @SenorDilys
    A more dramatic dam failure involving a hydro facility occurred at this hydro plant in 2009:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Sayano%E2%80%93Shushenskaya_power_station_accident

    At least the California operators so far have avoided the extent of the catastrophic failure of the above facility and loss of lives, and the emergency spillway appears to work as planned.

    Amazingly, there are 29 pages on dam failures in U.S. Looks like dam failures are lot more common than normally understood.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Dam_failures_in_the_United_States

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Indeed.

    But, this is the tallest dam in America, so it's pretty interesting.

  253. @wren
    I have seen plastic drainage pipes that are about five to ten feet in diameter. They look pretty light.

    I am sure that there are a lot in California that could be trucked in and set up quickly.

    I am not sure how they would start a siphon over the lip, but I am not an engineer.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=plastic+drainage+pipe+large

    Yes, and here’s the thing: How do we know this upcoming week will be the Ultimate Crisis of 2017. It’s not impossible for there to be even heavier rains in March and, perhaps, early April. So if somebody could come up with a plan that would take a month to get operational, it might turn out to be highly useful during the Great Late March Storm of 2017.

    Read More
    • Replies: @wren
    I have heard that Trump likes to build things.

    I hope he puts a hard hat on like those South African politicians.
    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    The National Weather Service office in Sacramento is predicting that the rivers won't rise much until Friday or Saturday, even with rain earlier in the week.

    Maybe they're assuming it will take time for the runoff from the midweek rain to work its way down the rivers, but this seems a bit optimistic to me.
  254. @Anonymous
    The dam has a system for safe massive water release with the turbines. But they are blocked by debris.

    Plan A: This is the time and place for tactical nukes. A staggered spray pattern of increasing kilo tonnages fanning out from the choke point. The debris won't stand a chance.

    Plan B: Nuke the entire lake. Evaporate it instantly with a decisive and final death blow of overwhelming mega tonnage.

    .... .

    Let me guess: nukes are your recommendation for most problems?

    Read More
  255. wren says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Yes, and here's the thing: How do we know this upcoming week will be the Ultimate Crisis of 2017. It's not impossible for there to be even heavier rains in March and, perhaps, early April. So if somebody could come up with a plan that would take a month to get operational, it might turn out to be highly useful during the Great Late March Storm of 2017.

    I have heard that Trump likes to build things.

    I hope he puts a hard hat on like those South African politicians.

    Read More
  256. Bruce says:
    @wren
    I have seen plastic drainage pipes that are about five to ten feet in diameter. They look pretty light.

    I am sure that there are a lot in California that could be trucked in and set up quickly.

    I am not sure how they would start a siphon over the lip, but I am not an engineer.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=plastic+drainage+pipe+large

    Yes. Beats my idea. A row of pipes each ten feet in diameter, u-shapes, over the top of the dam, extending ten feet below the level of the lake on the water side and the same over the fall. Removeable plug on the outside hole. Fill with water, remove plug over the drop, siphon. That size pipe would fit on a flatbed truck (Might blow the tires though).

    Read More
  257. @anon
    Amazingly, there are 29 pages on dam failures in U.S. Looks like dam failures are lot more common than normally understood.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Dam_failures_in_the_United_States

    Indeed.

    But, this is the tallest dam in America, so it’s pretty interesting.

    Read More
  258. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @johnmark7
    I live in Sacramento three blocks from the American River where the water was at the foot of the levee two days ago (maybe 15 feet below the top, but it still looked like the Mississippi to me in it's width compared to normal).

    To any snide commenters here, I am not having any fun laughing at the a-holes who have effed up my State, this beautiful and amazing territory.

    Whether the failure of the Oroville dam spillway was due to lack of maintenance remains to be seen. Cracks were repaired recently (2007 or so). It was a 1957 dam design.

    Yes, I know our roads have been neglected, but dams? That jury's out as far as I know.

    In 1997, I saw the water rise on the American River to within two feet of the top of the levee. This is very scary shit. I live in River Park. Check it out on your Google Map. In 1986, we were a few hours from evacuation, too, as in 1997.

    Thank God that after Katrina in New Orleans, we got a rehab of our levees, but flood may still come. We have a forecast of a week of rain to come around Wednesday.

    It is incredibly stressing to worry about what to take and abandon and leave your home to the mercy of the weather gods, and where to go? (All the motels etc are filled up with evacuees from the north. And I don't have any friends or relatives to evacuate to. (Hey, Steve, up for guests?)

    The people north of us are going through some horrible moments and days. God bless and protect them.

    No, Steve, from what I understand, Sacramento is in no great danger from Lake Orroville collapsing. The radius of the water dispersing across the Valley is very wide before it reaches us (thank God).

    There are several Sikh temples in the Sacramento area offering shelter.

    Read More
    • Replies: @johnmark7
    I'll keep that in mind if push comes to shove. Thanks.
  259. @Steve Sailer
    Yes, and here's the thing: How do we know this upcoming week will be the Ultimate Crisis of 2017. It's not impossible for there to be even heavier rains in March and, perhaps, early April. So if somebody could come up with a plan that would take a month to get operational, it might turn out to be highly useful during the Great Late March Storm of 2017.

    The National Weather Service office in Sacramento is predicting that the rivers won’t rise much until Friday or Saturday, even with rain earlier in the week.

    Maybe they’re assuming it will take time for the runoff from the midweek rain to work its way down the rivers, but this seems a bit optimistic to me.

    Read More
  260. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    I wonder if anyone has experimented with using those water-filled plastic highway barriers (the ones shaped like concrete barriers), perhaps anchored by submerged barriers on the lake side, to temporarily extend the height of the dam and the spill walls.

    Read More
    • Replies: @bomag

    extend the height of the dam
     
    The higher the water, the deeper the soak into the dam and surrounding hillsides; a no-go for an earthen dam. Maybe a very temporary strategy for a concrete dam in a rocky canyon; but if you are facing more inflow, it exacerbates the possible deluge.
    , @Anon
    I think the weight of the water is so great it would just push them aside.
  261. @El Dato
    Fukushima-with-water sure will propel "green energy".

    Why is the spillway so straight & narrow though? One would like to think there would be water brakes in the middle to get rid of the unleashed potential energy of the falling water masses.

    Why is the spillway so straight & narrow though? One would like to think there would be water brakes in the middle to get rid of the unleashed potential energy of the falling water masses.

    Quite the reverse. Any “braking” you put into the spillway generates force on the spillway. Completely smooth “frictionless”–the old non-physical physics problem standard–flow and you could make it out of sheet plastic. Start putting in “braking”–i.e. friction–and the more it needs to be hard and firmly attached to the bedrock. The more costly and the more prone to failure.

    You’re seeing “braking” now.

    Read More
  262. And here’s what it looks like after the latest rainstorm as the bottom half of the spillway has more or less exploded, with huge chunks of concrete flying through the air, with the water carving a new canyon down to bedrock.

    I’m not sure this won’t be just fine. I’ve visited a lot of waterfalls including some pretty tall ones. Water has been banging away at rock for a very long time in a lot of places. Over time there is–obviously–erosion. But hard rock is tough stuff.

    But that’s the key question–how hard is the rock?

    I’m assuming the dam itself is firmly anchored in the bedrock. If the rock is good, having the bottom of the spillway churning around in exposed but solid bedrock … no big deal. Only if it’s poorly consolidated rock, and fails under the spilway back to dam do you have a problem–a big problem!

    But if the rock the damn is anchored to is solid Sierra Nevada 100 million year old granite–that stuff has some “character” and can take some abuse, as you can see in California’s National Parks–you’re fine. You’ve just got another waterfall tourist attraction.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack Highlands
    It's not rock at all. It's critical to understand that this is an earthfill dam, susceptible to rapid erosion.
  263. YIH says:

    ”which could conceivably lead to various other bad things, ultimately resulting in, more or less, no more Sacramento.”
    No more Sacramento. OK so what’s the bad news?

    Read More
  264. Clyde says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    gcochran, Nice try, but that is not a sentence.

    Do you not know who gcochran is?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Clyde, I do not know who gcochran is, enlighten me please.
  265. Trump should tweet that he will fix this Oroville Dam to help MAGA.

    But to relieve the pressure on California’s water system, he is issuing an executive order baring any immigration to California. But since immigrants are free to move within the United States, he’s extending the immigration ban, nationwide.

    And to further lighten the load on California, he’s immediately ordering mandatory E-verify for California businesses, and ordering Homeland Security to go all out on workplace enforcement raids, with any illegal aliens found by either measure, immediately deported.

    These measures will lighten the population and resource consumption load on California’s neglected infrastructure and give all Californians a better quality of life.

    Read More
    • Agree: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Trump, and the rest of us, should start using the term "root cause" again, not in the false way that Progs use it to blur reality, but to clarify reality.

    Prog use: "Root cause of crime is poverty."
    True use: Root cause of crime is criminals.

    Prog: "Lack of funding is root cause of bad schools."
    True: Bad students are root cause of bad schools.

    Cal. Gov. Brown: "We need Fed money to repair our infrastructure. Lack of money is the root cause." [Notice a pattern here?]
    Fed. Pres. Trump: We will fix the infrastructure while we fix the root cause: illegal aliens raising the burden on your infrastructure while draining the funds to maintain it.
  266. Clyde says:
    @Anonymous
    Free republic threads show gridlock highway pics people trying to get out all at once this is a calamity

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3524221/posts?q=1&;page=236#236

    x

    Read More
  267. wren says:
    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    This morning I heard the schills on NPR emphasising that the dam was built when Reagan was California's governor and suggesting that it wasn't adequatey tested.

    Even though immediately afterward, an expert from UC Davis was explaining that one cannot empirically test dams against these kinds of contingencies until they are actually produced by nature, the seed was planted. The invidious propaganda we will always have with us.
  268. johnmark7 says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    There are several Sikh temples in the Sacramento area offering shelter.
    https://twitter.com/DKMatai/status/831050493023625217

    I’ll keep that in mind if push comes to shove. Thanks.

    Read More
  269. johnmark7 says:

    What we have and has happened a lot in the past is the pig in the python problem. A lot of rain (or snowmelt) dumping into the Sacramento River and all its tributaries creating a mass that takes days to disperse into the SF Bay and ocean. But before it does, another pig comes down the pike (to mix metaphors). We’re facing a whole series of pigs now as Steve pointed out. Rain and snowmelt.

    And the bastards refuse to build any more water storage areas. No new dams. Nothing for what, 50 years? God, I hate my state gov’t.

    I never complained about the so-called drought because, guess what? I live between two rivers that always flow with fresh water. The north has water. Always does even in low rain years.

    This is the third time I’ve been through this (not over yet this year) in 30 years. It is harrowing.

    (And spare me bullshit about MOVE. Wait until nature grabs you buy the balls and smashes your little homestead to bits. Nature, if you haven’t noticed, is everywhere. Humans live where there is water, even where it’s overabundant at times.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Much of Texas lives in desert-like areas for what it is worth. They make do and complain about the alternatively hot and freezing temperatures, while becoming an increasingly surly yet hospitable people with open carry gun laws.
    , @Formerly CARealist
    Yes. The Auburn Dam could be a great legacy for Trump and any willing CA politicians. But they won't.

    Of course, that particular Dam wouldn't help with this situation. Really, nature (God), is in control of all this and we can only watch when the waters rise. Japan thought it was ready for earthquakes and tsunamis, but when the really big one came they still had to watch the death and devastation.

    Sorry to get all apocalyptic there. Sacramento will be okay. You can always stay with us in Roseville.
  270. snorlax says:
    @dearieme
    "extremely jarring to watching Obama scold the UK on Brexit, while standing on their soil".


    ''You think our country's so innocent?'

    A better point to have made was that Yeltsin had plenty of journalists killed too (and tanks fire on parliament, etc), but nobody objected to Clinton seeking friendly relations with Russia then.

    Read More
  271. @AnotherDad

    And here’s what it looks like after the latest rainstorm as the bottom half of the spillway has more or less exploded, with huge chunks of concrete flying through the air, with the water carving a new canyon down to bedrock.
     
    I'm not sure this won't be just fine. I've visited a lot of waterfalls including some pretty tall ones. Water has been banging away at rock for a very long time in a lot of places. Over time there is--obviously--erosion. But hard rock is tough stuff.

    But that's the key question--how hard is the rock?

    I'm assuming the dam itself is firmly anchored in the bedrock. If the rock is good, having the bottom of the spillway churning around in exposed but solid bedrock ... no big deal. Only if it's poorly consolidated rock, and fails under the spilway back to dam do you have a problem--a big problem!

    But if the rock the damn is anchored to is solid Sierra Nevada 100 million year old granite--that stuff has some "character" and can take some abuse, as you can see in California's National Parks--you're fine. You've just got another waterfall tourist attraction.

    It’s not rock at all. It’s critical to understand that this is an earthfill dam, susceptible to rapid erosion.

    Read More
  272. Good helicopter video from yesterday here from KCRA3, Steve, looks as if water’s seeping through the earth on the left side of the ‘emergency spillway’.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FPDwC0csdk

    Must say a lot of the coverage (even the wiki entry) is a tad vague – wiki has a picture showing “the main service spillway (right) and emergency spillway (left)” as if they’re right next to each other, whereas the videos and diagram show a gap. And “auxiliary spillway” is interchanged with “emergency spillway”.

    I wonder how much of the main spillway will have gone by daylight? It must be about 2 a.m. in California. How much of the earth under the spillway will have gone, and could that undermine the top? Can anyone find diagrams, cross-sections? And is there a problem with letting water through the turbines, or can’t it get out fast enough (or are they blocked by debris)?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The power station under the dam can outflow something like 12,000 cubic feet of water per second, but that has been turned off due to debris from the main spillway threatening the expensive turbines. It would be useful to get the debris cleared.

    Here's a question, whatever happened to the diversion tunnels dug during the construction of the dam? From Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oroville_Dam

    "Two concrete-lined diversion tunnels, each 4,400 feet (1,300 m) long and 35 feet (11 m) in diameter, were excavated to channel the Feather River around the dam site. One of the tunnels was located at river level and would carry normal water flows, while the second one would only be used during floods.[13] ...

    "On December 22, 1964, disaster nearly struck when the Feather River, after days of heavy rain, reached a peak flow of 250,000 cubic feet per second (7,100 m3/s) above the Oroville Dam site. The water rose behind the partially completed embankment dam and nearly overtopped it, while a maximum of 157,000 cubic feet per second (4,400 m3/s) poured from the diversion tunnels."

    Okay, so there used to be two diversion tunnels that could outflow 157,000 cubic feet of water per second. That's a lot. Do they still exist? Are they under water? Were they sealed? Could deep sea divers or a submarine unseal them?

    , @Steve Sailer
    The power station under the dam can outflow something like 12,000 cubic feet of water per second, but that has been turned off due to debris from the main spillway threatening the expensive turbines. It would be useful to get the debris cleared.

    Here's a question, whatever happened to the diversion tunnels dug during the construction of the dam? From Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oroville_Dam

    "Two concrete-lined diversion tunnels, each 4,400 feet (1,300 m) long and 35 feet (11 m) in diameter, were excavated to channel the Feather River around the dam site. One of the tunnels was located at river level and would carry normal water flows, while the second one would only be used during floods.[13] ...

    "On December 22, 1964, disaster nearly struck when the Feather River, after days of heavy rain, reached a peak flow of 250,000 cubic feet per second (7,100 m3/s) above the Oroville Dam site. The water rose behind the partially completed embankment dam and nearly overtopped it, while a maximum of 157,000 cubic feet per second (4,400 m3/s) poured from the diversion tunnels."

    Okay, so there used to be two diversion tunnels that could outflow 157,000 cubic feet of water per second. That's a lot. Do they still exist? Are they under water? Were they sealed? Could deep sea divers or a submarine unseal them?

    , @Steve Sailer
    The power station under the dam can outflow something like 12,000 cubic feet of water per second, but that has been turned off due to debris from the main spillway threatening the expensive turbines. It would be useful to get the debris cleared.

    Here's a question, whatever happened to the diversion tunnels dug during the construction of the dam? From Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oroville_Dam

    "Two concrete-lined diversion tunnels, each 4,400 feet (1,300 m) long and 35 feet (11 m) in diameter, were excavated to channel the Feather River around the dam site. One of the tunnels was located at river level and would carry normal water flows, while the second one would only be used during floods.[13] ...

    "On December 22, 1964, disaster nearly struck when the Feather River, after days of heavy rain, reached a peak flow of 250,000 cubic feet per second (7,100 m3/s) above the Oroville Dam site. The water rose behind the partially completed embankment dam and nearly overtopped it, while a maximum of 157,000 cubic feet per second (4,400 m3/s) poured from the diversion tunnels."

    Okay, so there used to be two diversion tunnels that could outflow 157,000 cubic feet of water per second. That's a lot. Do they still exist? Are they under water? Were they sealed? Could deep sea divers or a submarine unseal them?

  273. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Anon
    This is from 4chan:

    https://twitter.com/iriscal/status/829739423097040897

    @Steve_Sailer is #47 and listed as "Pending", Chateau Heartiste was #53 and he got taken out, I think just the other day.

    Twitter no longer has any use for Free Speech and True Speech.

    It’s for Fake Speech.

    Read More
  274. @Anonymous Nephew
    Good helicopter video from yesterday here from KCRA3, Steve, looks as if water's seeping through the earth on the left side of the 'emergency spillway'.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FPDwC0csdk

    Must say a lot of the coverage (even the wiki entry) is a tad vague - wiki has a picture showing "the main service spillway (right) and emergency spillway (left)" as if they're right next to each other, whereas the videos and diagram show a gap. And "auxiliary spillway" is interchanged with "emergency spillway".

    I wonder how much of the main spillway will have gone by daylight? It must be about 2 a.m. in California. How much of the earth under the spillway will have gone, and could that undermine the top? Can anyone find diagrams, cross-sections? And is there a problem with letting water through the turbines, or can't it get out fast enough (or are they blocked by debris)?

    The power station under the dam can outflow something like 12,000 cubic feet of water per second, but that has been turned off due to debris from the main spillway threatening the expensive turbines. It would be useful to get the debris cleared.

    Here’s a question, whatever happened to the diversion tunnels dug during the construction of the dam? From Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oroville_Dam

    “Two concrete-lined diversion tunnels, each 4,400 feet (1,300 m) long and 35 feet (11 m) in diameter, were excavated to channel the Feather River around the dam site. One of the tunnels was located at river level and would carry normal water flows, while the second one would only be used during floods.[13] …

    “On December 22, 1964, disaster nearly struck when the Feather River, after days of heavy rain, reached a peak flow of 250,000 cubic feet per second (7,100 m3/s) above the Oroville Dam site. The water rose behind the partially completed embankment dam and nearly overtopped it, while a maximum of 157,000 cubic feet per second (4,400 m3/s) poured from the diversion tunnels.”

    Okay, so there used to be two diversion tunnels that could outflow 157,000 cubic feet of water per second. That’s a lot. Do they still exist? Are they under water? Were they sealed? Could deep sea divers or a submarine unseal them?

    Read More
  275. Still, it could be worse. I can’t remember this getting on the news. Just one dam thing after another.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam#1975_Banqiao_Dam_Flood

    “The People’s Daily has maintained that the dam was designed to survive a once-in-1000-years flood (300 mm of rainfall per day) but a once-in-2000-years flood occurred in August 1975, following the collision of Typhoon Nina and a cold front… Communication with the dam was largely lost due to wire failures. On August 6, a request to open the dam was rejected because of the existing flooding in downstream areas. On August 7 the request was accepted, but the telegrams failed to reach the dam. The sluice gates were not able to handle the overflow of water partially due to sedimentation blockage.

    To protect other dams from failure, several flood diversion areas were evacuated and inundated, and several dams were deliberately destroyed by air strikes to release water in desired directions. The Nihewa and Laowangpo flood diversion areas downstream of the dams soon exceeded their capacity and gave up part of their storage on August 8, forcing more flood diversion areas to begin to evacuate. The dikes on the Quan River collapsed in the evening of August 9, and the entire Linquan county in Fuyang, Anhui was inundated. As the Boshan Dam, with a capacity of 400 million m3, crested and the water released from the failures of Banqiao and Shimantan was rushing downstream, air strikes were made against several other dams to protect the Suya Lake dam, already holding 1.2 billion m3 of water. Suya Lake won only a temporary reprieve, as both it and Boshan became eventual targets. Finally, the Bantai Dam, holding 5.7 billion m3 of water, was bombed.

    According to the Hydrology Department of Henan Province, approximately 26,000 people died at the province from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were affected. Unofficial estimates of the number of people killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people.”

    Just seen your post, Steve (don’t you sleep?) – 157,000 cf/s is 50% above what’s going down the main spillway, so that would take a huge amount of pressure off. I wonder what