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The 432 Nov 1, 1989

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UBC Archives
The Newspaper of the Science Undergraduate Society
Volume 3, Number 5
San Fran Quake
Doesn't Rate
by Aaron Drake
An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 hit
California at 5:04 pm, on October 17.
Centred near Hollister (130 km south of
San Francisco), it was the worst earthquake to hit California since 1906.
Two days later, in Northern China, a
series of earthquakes left at least 29 dead
and up to 8000 homeless.
In California, the main cause of death
was the collapse of a double-decker freeway (Interstate 880) during rush hour in
And while the shock wears off, as we
look at the destruction, most people are
breathing a sigh of relief. The truth is,
this was a very mild earthquake. Compared to the destruction an earthquake of
the same power caused in Armenia last
year, California got off easy. And although the damage caused was in excess
of three billion, the death toll was in the
low hundreds.
The 1906 earthquake in San Francisco left 700 dead and almost all of San
Francisco reduce to burning rubble.
The strongest ever earthquake registered was off the coast of Ecuador in
1906. It signed in at 8.9 on the Richter
scale (about a hundred times more
powerful than the California earthquake).
The most devastating was in 1556, in
China, where 830 000 were killed (almost three thousand times worse than
the California earthquake).
One of our most powerful earthquakes
hit Alaska in 1964. Its epicenter was 30
km under Prince William sound, the city
of Anchorage was devastated by the 8.6
earthquake. Over200000squarekilom-
etres were permanently raised 10 meters, in the largest ever vertical displacement 130 people were killed, most of
them by the tidal waves that followed the
Although the Chimbote Earthquake
was not a particularly strong or significant earthquake, it stands as one of the
most tragic catastrophes ever. In may of
1970, a 7.8 earthquake rumbled through
the city of Yungay Peru. Very few
deaths occurred during that earthquake,
but high above, on Mt Huascaran, the
quake caused a large chunk of rock and
ice to break away. It slid down the
mountain at speeds that approached 200
km per hour. The friction melted the ice,
turning the dirt to mud. Probably riding
a cushion of air, it swept into the valley,
burying the city in 17 feet in rock. It will
never be known exactly how many
people died that day, but it is known that
no one escaped. Every man, woman and
child in the city was killed. 30 000 to 70
000 died that day.
By comparison, the Sam Francisco
earthquake was a shudder.
Earthquake Experts
Warn: We Could be
November 1, 1989
While the earthquake in San Francisco
was one of the worst to hit North America this century, experts are predicting
that the next one to hit British Columbia
will be worse.
This region has only had seven quakes
of 6 or greater since 1900, yet at least one
per decade is the norm. It is believed that
pressure on the plates that run under the
Pacific just off of Vancouver Island is
building. Eventually, that pressure will
have to be relieved, and that means an
earthquake, probably centered near
Campbell River or Courtenay.
Earthquakes aire not unfamiliar to
Courtenay. In 1946, it was hit by a
magnitude 7.3 shaker. As a matter of
fact, since 1872, this region has been hit
with four earthquakes of the same magnitude or greater than the one that hit 5
If we are struck by an earthquake t
could be as high as eight on the Ricl
scale, the effects would be devastati
The older bridges could be destroyec
badly damaged. Many buildings downtown wouldn't be able to withstand a
powerful quake and would collapse. The
entire downtown section would be like a
war zone. The earthquake could shake
out windows from many of the high
rises, sending them to shatter on the
streets below.
The worst hit, however, would be the
Richmond area. Because it is built on silt
deposits and reclaimed land, the ground
would be very unstable during an earthquake. Buildings would literally be
shaken into the ground, like a person
moving in quicksand. A dramatic example of this occurred in the Alaskan
Earthquake of 1964. The soft clay bluffs
of Turnagain Heights at Anchorage
turned to a dry liquid of sand and clay.
The bluffs, 22 meters high, were shaken
into the ocean. An area 300 meters inland
and 2800 meters along the shoreline
collapsed, taking a neighbourhood with
Something as dramatic as the collapse
of Turnagain Heights probably won't
occur in Richmond - the Alaskan quake
was of magnitude 8.6. But what occurred
in the marine district of San Francisco
will happen in Richmond and parts of the
False Creek area. The ground, being soft
sand with a high water table, will turn to
On the bright side, B-Lot parking problems will decrease.
The Six Worst Earthquakes of all Times
Jan 23,1556 Shensi, China 830 000 dead (unknown strength)
Oct 11,1737 Calcutta, India 300 000 dead (unknown strength)
July 27, 1976 China 250 000 dead (magnitude 7.6)
Dec 16,1920 Kansu, China  180 000 dead (magnitude 8.5)
Sept 21,1923 Kwanto, Japan 143 000 dead (magnitude 8.2)
Dec 28, 1908 Messina, Italy 120 000 dead (magnitude 7.5)
SUS Claims:
On Oct 19, 1989, the SUS officially denied any complicity in
the earthquake that struck the San
Francisco area on Oct 17. In a
short letter to the White House,
the SUS stated that, "While the
Black Hand recognizes a need for
more earthquakes in California, it
will not officially adopt a policy
to promote these earthquakes."
Earlier this year, it was claimed by
numerous members of the SUS
that Chaos theory dictated that it
was very possible to start an earth
quake. If a butterfly's wings
could start a hurricane, then definitely a tap-dancing SUS President could start an earthquake.
No SUS executives would
comment on the matter, other
than those on acid. President
Bush declined to comment on the
note, stating only that they were
reviewing the matter, and &ny)
punitive nuclear strikes would be/
decided upon shortly.
Sources in the White Houses
confirmed that the UBC engineers were not above suspicion
for the earthquake that rocked the
Bay area at 6.9. "We found a red
Volkswagon in the Fault, yesterday," one aide said.
Ktiri Pmmbwg
talks about morally irresponsibfe
Page 4
claims that
istrology is •<
sign of the
je 5
<Buifd your
Own fl-'BomB
and 'Waks Up
The 9{eigfi6or-
The Art Of
"Page 5
The 432
November 1,1689 ived a Utile
guc pic a good deal. His niollier worried about this proclivity, but he had fine teeth.
C/ftOctober 12,1 gave a little talk for
the Physsoc Noon Hour Lecture Series. It was entitled Nuclear Terrrorism.
or. How I Snent Mv Summer Vacation.
You can guess from the title what the
direction of my lecture was. It was a
spoof on the possibility of nuclear terrorism occuring. But what it was about isn't
important. What is important is the title.
You see, somebody complained.
They didn't just object. They
complained. They sent a formal letter to
the Deem; the gist of the message was
that I was below ethical and moral standards for making light of such a horrific
Yes, this was just one person's opinion, and no, this person did not attend
the lecture. As far as I know, the Dean
was informed of that fact As well, a very
patient Head of the Physics Department
Dr Turrell told the Dean that my lecture
was actually an informative, serious
All this is de facto. I won't dwell on it
any more. The problem is this: someone
thought that nuclear terrorism was a
subject not to be made light of. The
President of the Physics Society, under
the advisement of Dr Turrel^deeided
that I should not hold such tenures
again. More to the point, I was free to say
what I wanted in my lectures, so long as
no persons were offended, and I definitely couldn't advertise these lectures
in a humorous light. Because someone
decided that my subject matter was too
serious to be satirized, 1 could not discuss it in anything but a serious light
See the problem?
Now, I'll admit that I'm a muckraker.
I'll admit that I was at first glad to hear
that someone objected to my material. I
made someone think, I thought. In actuality, I made someone respond in a knee-
jerk manner, shooting from the hip.
Okay, so I baited someone. That's
okay. I just want you to know that I'll
admit that much, before the word censorship starts to creep into my spiel. You
gotiL There was nothing wrong with the
lecture and definitely nothing wrong
with the ad. Yet, because one crank
complained, a gag order comes down on
me. Well, okay, a gag suggestion, that
will probably be an order if I advertise
my next talk. Oboy, I dread to hear what
they'll say to me about my next talk:
Plutonium: Deadly Killer or Mild
Laxativ? Someone will go into conniptions.
Listen: nothing is above humour. Look
at how we make jokes about disasters:
what were the last words on the space
shuttle Challenger'} remember all those
jokes? There are no taboos, and quite
rightly, there should never be taboos.
The best way to defeat horror or pain or
anger is to laugh at it.
This person didn't even attend my
lecture, but because of this one person's
uninformed opinion, suddenly we have
censorship. There is no justification for
this action, and if this were real life, and
not university life, there would be no
way that anyone would ask me to stop
talking about this; if they tried to stop me,
they would be breaking the law.
Nuclear terrorism isn't a horror, I told
those who actually attended my talk.
Nuclear terrorism is a joke. Why not
laugh at it, instead of cowering, afraid to
even speak those words without reverence?
Seems to me they did this same thing
when the people first started to poke fun
at the Catholic church. Thank god they
can't burn me as a witch.
failed bis Physics 400 mtdterro mi Is
toshont at anypmbeadsio the vicinity,
this Is a tough job. Fay me money.
Letter to the Editor
Hey Frosh!
Guess who? It's your rep. "What
rep?" Well, I was elected one of the first
year science reps just recently in a Philippine-style election. Now, I represent
all first-year science students on the
SUS Council, and on the Academics
Committee. I'm glad to say that I represent about 1400 first-year science students who don't even know I exist.
My qualifications? Well, I have a
variety, all of which file under 'miscellaneous'. However, I don't release that
information for everybody to know.
When it comes to personal stuff, I work
on a 'need to know' basis, and I think
you really don't need to know. All I'm
willing to say is that people have said
that I'm full of Special High Intensity
Training (S.H.I.T.). So, if you want to
learn anything else, you'll have to come
down to the SUS office to find out for
So, "don't ask what you can do for
your rep, ask what your rep can do for
you." (Didlgetthatright? Yup.) If you
have some nifty ideas, you have a problem with a prof, you want to get involved
with the SUS, you think that T.A. stands
for Thrashing Assistant, or you just have
some time to waste, seek me out at Chem
160 or call 2284235. My official office
hour is on ThursdaysTrom 12:30 to 1:30
pm. I'm also around on Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:30-11:20
pm, but there's no guarantees. So drop
by, and see what's in store. (And you
just might find out those mysterious
Orvin Lau
Science 1
The first: person to come in here
with a letter to the editor wins a
brandaewcar. The432 welcomes
any andail letters and will almost
kiss your feet If you submit one.
Really. It makes us feel wanted
and iraportant. Our room number
is Chem 160, and our phone code
number is 228-4235,
Elizabeth-Anne Brown wrote a great piece last issue, and
I screwed it up big time. lust so you all know: It's not her
fault - it's mine. There. I promised her I'd put that in. Boy
is she gonna be madder than a wet hen when she sees the
size of this type. But there's more, EA
Scientific Productions Presents
Friday November 17
in SUB Ballroom
Dance BancL
For more info, scream "SUS!", or phone 228-4235
<BZZ$l-$1.00 Tsyder ■ $1.50 Schuters - $1.50
Fifty cen$s.™oiie dolar„. wftatga&joii do wMi that
r$mc& these daya? A pop or a ehoeolate bar « not
* verymtioli stali
But that much will save 20 t o2S children  in the
developing world fcoift bliadaes& for one year,
IMiCfcf is the noK^poMcai orgaidzalioa that cares
about the ttnderprivlliged and deprived children.
Boxes in SXJS and Physsoc.
The 432
November 1,1689 One day, Judd was shopping lor boysenberries at the local mall. "What are you looking lor, little Ijoy?" a sales clerk asked him. "Boysenberries!" he replied.
Dik Miller, Campus
by Derek Miller
Please excuse the lack of this story
in the last issue of The 432. It was
Aaron's fault. Nyah nyah.
Last issue's plot summary (for
those who were out to lunch):
Dik Miller drinks coffee and eats
doughnut in car. Sees suspicious
character and follows into Chemistry-Physics building, with gratuitous use of Dik Miller™ gadgets.
Busts into lab in which the Death to
Humanity by Slow Environmental
Degradation Coalition (DHSEDC)
is spraying aerosol cans to degrade
the ozone layer and eating
McDonald's™ food. Demands that
the people there line up and come
with him outside. Surprisingly, they
comply. Miller is puzzled. Story ends
with obvious foreboding tone, typical of cheap film noir rip off series
like this one.
And now, back to the story:
"Everyone walk out the front
door," I demanded as we piled out of
the elevator and into the main foyer.
The lab-coated anti-environmental
terrorists shuffled out, holding
hands as I had instructed them.
"You know, of course," said their
leader, "that no matter what you do,
the environment - and, by inference,
every person in the world - is
doomed anyway. We're just helping
things along."
"Shut up," I barked. He must drive
a large American car, I thought. Or
maybe a truck. Yeah: a giant 4x4
mth obnoxious lights on top and an
bumper sticker.
It had just occurred to me that there
was absolutely no way I would be
able to fit all of these people into the
voluminous-but-not-quite-voluminous-enough interior of my souped-
up, stripped-down, lean-mean-road-
warrior-machine royal blue Chevy
Bel Air. Time to (gasp) call for
backup. I snapped up the handset for
my radio.
"Miller here," I said officially.
"Who?" replied the staticky (how
do you spell that?) voice at the other
"Miller. Dik Miller. Dik Miller,
Campus Cowboy. TM. You know."
"Sorry, you must have the wrong
"This is a bloody radioV I was
approaching a peeved demeanor.
"Sorry." Click.
So much for that line of reasoning.
"Okay then." I nodded my head at
the DHSEDC maniacs. "Everyone
into the car." They glaced briefly at
one another. I feared that this would
look like one of those circus acts
where dozens of clowns pile into a
Volkswagen. I winced.
Before any of them could get in,
there was a rumbling commotion
further down East Mall. I looked up
to see a huge crowd of people walking towards us. The front group had
a large banner hoisted above their
heads. I squinted to read it.
Oh no, I thought.
"Green-brained sickos!"
screamed the DHSEDC leader.
"Environmentalist sludge
brains!" yelled another.
I slapped my hand against my
head. The lead people in the march
looked stunned for a moment, then
angry. They rushed towards us, and
the others quickly followed. The
anti-environmentalists parted hands
and rushed back at them. •
"Wait! Comebackhere! You can't
do this! It's...er..." I stopped. It was
too late. The vastly unbalanced
groups came closer...closer...
Impact. Chaos. Unimaginable
violence. Epithets. Mess. A total
disregard for the opinion that university is supposed to foster rational
people who can talk things out. I
rushed back to my car and called for
the police, emergency backup, ambulances, paramedics, bouncers,
priests - anyone who could help;
trying to break up the conflagration
solo would have been suicide.
From the midst of the mob, someone looked up. "There's another
one! Get him!" She was pointing at
"No, wait!" I shouted. "I'm Dik
Miller, Campus Cowb—"
When I regained consciousness, I
was lying on a bed in what was
obviously a hospital, judging by the
sickly green colour of the walls.
Standing over me was my supervisor, looking miffed.
"Nice work, Miller," he grunted.
"Causing a riot on University property."
"What do you mean, causing a
riot?" I asked groggily. "I was bring
ing those people in."
"If you hadn't, that demonstration
would have been peaceful."
There was obviously no point in
trying to explain. I changed the
topic. "What happened to them?"
"We got all but one of them. Theii
lead guy escaped, but we're looking
for him."
Great, I thought. "So what do I do
"You're on vacation. Workers
Compensation is paying youi
wages, so once you get out of here
which should be in a couple of days,
you're off for two weeks."
"But I have to find that guy. He's
determined to ruin the environ
"With or without him, I think
we're doing a fine job of that already." He coughed, reached for a
Kleenex™, blew his nose, and threw
it in the garbage bin. 'Take a vacation. We don't need you arou— er,
we can get by without you right
"Would you mind recycling that?'
I asked, morose.
Last issue* Dik Miliar was undercover, That Is, he was under
a pile or* other papers, and I
forgot all about him. Egad. My
p/rolusest apologies to ail you
sicko Dik Miller fans* and I
especially apologize to Derek. I
also thank him for understand-
ing that sometimes editors are
subject to brain paralysis. It
happens to me a lot, you know.
I was in Physics 400, and
whatmtto. My cerebellum just
seized up.
Did you know that the ten millionth digit of
pi is a seven? Did you care? This is just a
filler. That's all.
And Now For the winner, our Grand National Champion of all-time T-Shirt Design:
is tJae first step in
Keen B C
'D&wm gfo
(Runners Up: Derek Read, Berny Leung)
*e Admission
■    Free Food
Cheap Bzwt
The 432
November 1,1689 A Scientist's
Part I
by Kurt Preinsperg
To wnat extent a19 individual scientists morally responsible for the consequences of scientific work? If your job as
a scientist or engineer required you to do
something which has great potential to
cause harm, should you do it?
Suppose that you work on the
design of an airplane, and your company
requires you to omit important safety
features. Suppose you are told to build
concealed defects into a product, so that
the customer will have to replace it
within a few years. Or, to take a more
dramatic example, suppose your job as a
military scientist requires you to collaborate on a diabolical new weapons system.
What would and what should you do in
these cases?
Different scientists will give
different answers, but the fact is that all
too many scientists are willing to act
immorally rather than risk their jobs.
Many scientists refuse to address questions of moral responsibility altogether:
their responsibility is to solve technical
problems and to add to scientific knowledge. The responsibility for the wider
social or environmental repercussions of
their work, so they think, rests with the
government or management.
Let me call the principle underlying this attitude the Principle of the
Division of Moral Labor The only obligation of scientists is to add to the store
of knowledge in their specialty, and not
to worry about likely consequences
which application of this knowledge may
The Principle of the Division of
Moral Labor asserts mat scientists
should produce knowledge and need not
worry about anything else - certainly not
about the welfare of society as a whole.
Adherence to this principle is widespread, if not universal, among scientists
and engineers. Examples showing this
principle in action can be drawn from
many fields, but I want to assess plausibility by focusing on the most dramatic
case: the case of the military scientist.
Imagine someone ties you to a
stake, another person piles firewood
around it, a third person pours gasoline
on the firewood, and a fourth puts a box
of matches in the hands of a child playing
nearby. Who is responsible if you bum to
death? Isn't blaming a senile politician
who may eventually push the nuclear
button to send the missiles on their way
just as silly as blaming the child for
setting you on fire?
It may seem that, if your contribution to a great evil (like the extermination of humanity) is small, your share of
the responsibility is also small. After all,
there is a big difference between actually
bombing a city and merely inventing
some gadget that will be used to build a
machine that will be used to build a
launch pad that will be used to launch a
missile. Contributing to an outcome is
not the same as bringing it about - or is it?
In the real world, humanity itself is now tied to the stake, and scientists
have done it Is it really plausible for the
scientist to put the machinery of global
destruction in place and then blame the
politicians who, in a moment of desperation and insanity, decide to use it?
If we can agree that putting the
machinery of global destruction in place
is evil, quite apart from its eventual use,
we can hardly avoid a momentous and
startling conclusion: providing the scientific know-how for putting the machinery in place is also evil, Scientific
research - the pursuit of knowledge - can
actually be evil.
The Principle of the Division
of Moral Labor rests on the axiom that
the pursuit of knowledge is always
good. Only the applications of this
knowledge may sometimes be evil, and
for these applications the scientist is not
responsible. If I am right, however,
there is no morally significant difference between pursuing knowledge and
applying it Ifknoweldge ispursuedin a
context in which it is likely to cause evil,
then the pursuit of knowledge in this
context is itself evil.
The submarine commander
who launches the missile, the political
leader who gave the order, the company
managers and workers who produced
the missile, as well as the military scientist who developed it - all these people
must bear the full burden of the reponsi-
bility for the outcome.
I therefore propose replacing
the Principle of the Division of Moral
Labor with the very different Principle
of Scientific Responsibility: If, in your
role as a scientist, you function as a link
in the causal chain leading to harm, then
you are morally responsible to the extent
that you have the capacity for refusing
I advance this principle not as
some inviolable, self-evident commandment, but as a focus for deliberation, a touchstone which scientists interested in a responsible life can think
about, discuss and perhaps try to live by.
There exists no moral truths apart from
the rules we ourselves make up in an attempt to regulate our lives in such a way
that we don't destroy each other's
chances for well-being on this earth.
^ Some scientists will no doubt
asay, "To hell with morality. Why
should I risk all the good things I enjoy
- money .power, status - just to be morally responsible?" But what about more
thoughtful scientists, perhaps the majority, who object to the Principle of Scien-
itfic Responsibility along the following
"Iwouldn'tdo anything illegal
in my work. But surely, there's no special duty for scientists to be better than
the law requires us to be. As a rule, we
can't predict the ways on which scientific findings may later be used for good
or evil, or what long-term impact they
may have on society at large. If there's
a misallocation of resources in our
society- institutionalized evils like military spending - it's up to the voters and
politicians to correct the situation. Of
course, I'd much rather live in a world
without nuclear weaopns, planned obsolescence, or environmental destruction, but all theset kings can be justified
in terms of national self-defense, the
profit needs of business or the need for
economic growth. In any case, moral
talk always confuses my scientific mind.
My policy in life is to obey the law and
beyond that, I simply don't know what, if
anything, is really right of wrong. I'm
not going to make huge personal sacrifices and riskmy livelihood, just because
my job requires something morally
dubious from time to time."
I have no illusions about converting scientists of this persuasion to
the Principle of Scientific Responsibility, but let me nevertheless try to answer
their objections.
To be continued...
Kurt JPreinsberg claims he is
serving aons-ysar sentgHee m
fee Board of Qw?m>tt> tot we
all fcaow bemx, Hfe was eotanwt-
UBC Science <kad> Ask Mm
aboai the Pit some time*
Quotation: Something that
somebody said that seemed to
make sense at the time.
Today, Nov 1, is the day for
the byelection of the Bio-
chem Department Rep. Candidates are Sandra Man and
Loveleen Lohia.
It was decided that a byelection was needed after a
complaint was filed. Due to a
clerical error, a pollster
would not let one person
vote. The final tally for the
election was 19 to 20.
Please come out and vote.
You can find a booth in
POTflt Fwgiife
If you play sports for Science, and the fee
Is more than six dollars, you can get a
partial rebate, For more information, go to
Chem 1&0*
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November 1,1689 (I. '"Bmscnlvrries!" he rei
by Ari Giligson
^/t,howya,dom'? O.K?-No,
not really? You say that all the
midterms you've written are guaranteed fails? You say that you are
two months behind on all of your
assignments? You say that you've
had the flu now for three weeks
Well, theres a whole
bunch of us out here who feel the
same way just about this time of the
year - ah yes, Fall at UBC. Here are
a couple of hints for those of you
who have not yet come up with a
system for coping with midterm
1) If you screwed up on midterms, forget it. Mourning over
your lost marks will not resurrect
them. Just decipher the red
scribbles that the T.A. wrote and
try a better approach next time
(besides, Christmas exams are
worth a lot more than midterms
2) So you forgot about the lab
writeup due tomorrow, you
haven't read the manual yet and its
11:59pm. Put away the lab, don't
even think of coffees and get some
sleep. Whenyouputitinperspec-
tive, a good night's sleep is a lot
more valuable than the infinitessi-
mally small fraction of a mark that
you'll lose on a late lab.
3) Feeling generally depressed
but don't know why? Don't Panic!
This is not a common feeling out
here. Try going out and being with a
bunch of otherpeople. One warning:
don't start drinking heavily if you're
seriously depressed because no
matter what depth you have sunk to
you will be amazed how much lower
you are the morning after.
So now that I've got all of
you sucked into reading this article,
I'm inviting all of you to the Science
dance (No- that does not mean that
I will be buying the tickets!). "But
hold on," you say " didn't you just
say not to —". I said don't OVERdo
anything. This dance allows you to
come out with a bunch of friends or
acquaintances or by yourself and
forget about, outside pressures or at
least see them in a different light, for
the space of four hours. Midterms
are over and most of your depression
will be behind you by the 17th. So
trust me, this is therapeutic.
If you feel like dancing/
parrying till you drop; no problem.
You can sit down with a bunch of
people and have a loud conversation
in the back. You can come by yourself and people-watch or just mellow out or you can even locate me
and ask to be introduced to some
really funky people.
Remember: The Big Big
BzzR and Band Bash with "XYZ"
playing. Tix: $5.00 at SUS (Chem
160) and B1 °°R - if you know what I
mean (Sorry - no minors.)
Man, you should have seen Ari
at my kw$ewmmt\g patty.
Presidents are supposed tose? an
example; did he ever make an
example of hlmsell Ari likes
parties, and planstobe one when
he grows up.
Lesser Known
Chess Games
by Aaron Drake
Mata Hari Opening: White
moves pawn to King-4. White's
Queen Pawn is really a double
agent, and Black then orders the
pawn to assassinate the king.
Black wins.
San Francisco End Game: Usually occurs when one side is heavily favored in play. The losing
side screams "Earthquake!" then
knocks the game over while opponent runs for cover. Results in
M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) Line: A checkmate results in both sides losing.
South African Gambit: White
allows black to have two hundred
pieces to his sixteen, but white
dictates black's moves.
"There is no problem so big that it can't be run away from." Anon
New Shoots
Episode Four: Astronomy
by David W. New
'EVery 365.2422 days, the Earth
orbits the Sun. This is known as a
sidereal year, and in general people
have tended to approximate it with
horribly complicated calendars involving 365 days three years out of
four, 366 days in the fourth, ninety-
seven times out of 400 years with 365
in the fourth year in the other three
Each of these artificial years
is divided into twelve notoriously irregular months. Twelve, by an amazing coincidence, is not quite thirteen,
the number of times per year that the
Moon orbits the Earth. This didn't
matter much to the ancients, who decreed said number of times to be
twelve, which by an amazing coincidence is not quite thirteen, the number
of constellations along the Ecliptic.
Which didn't deter the ancients, of
Now, the Ecliptic is the line
the Sun seems to travel along over the
course of the year. And what with all
these twelves everywhere, twelve
being a very nice number, the ancients
decided that there must be some sort of
occult significance to the Sun's annual
travels. (Never mind that they themselves, or their ancestors anyway, had
decided rather arbitrarily where these
constellations divided. Personally,
I've never been able to see anything
but a random dot matrix pattern when
confronted with Sagittarius.) And thus
was born the zodiac.
Handily ignoring Ophiuchus,
which lies justafter Libraandstraddles
both sides of Scorpio, much as Grover
Cleveland did to Benjamin Harrison or
Pierre Trudeau to Joe Clark, they be
gan to study people born at the time of
year when the Sun rises in each constellation in turn. (Of course, seeing the stars
where the Sun is rising is no easy feat
But hey — they were only off by a
They found, to their astonishment and amazement, that most of each
group of people exhibited similar characteristics — some enjoyed order, some
got angry under provocation, some had
an imagination, et cetera. You can make
the same sort of study anytime by examining the Smile of the Day and discovering just how many Mondays read
Stephen King and how many Wednesday types don't like boring people.
That was the start of astrology.
Other, complicating features were soon
built into the new science, to take into account the exact time and place of birth,
which in a medieval society effectively
rendered each person's horoscope
unique. In this manner, one was no
longer fated to be similar to that jerk over
in the next village who happened to have
the same birthday. Only later did specific rules begin to congeal, and the
horoscopes once again spontaneously
generalized in order to accomodate more
people's lives without endangering their
corner of the predestination market
Events ocassionally transpired
to make life difficult. Columbus'
proving that people existed west of the
Canary Islands, for instance, and
Carder's bringing two of them back to
prove it, necessitated a whole new set of
horoscopes with rules delineating the
effects of birth in the Western hemisphere on Fate. Nicolas Copernicus' theory of the structure of the Solar System
meant rearranging facts in order to ra
tionalize Mars' occasional retrograde
tendencies and Earth's lack of primacy in
the overall scheme of things this side of
Vega. William Herschel's discovery of
Uranus, on the other hand, was embraced,
and all those signs which didn't have
planets yet (there being only seven of
them, which by an amazing coincidence
is nowhere even close to thirteen) were
assigned to as-yet-undiscovered celestial
bodies. Virgo, for instance, is governed
by Vulcan. (I'm certain this is why Spock
is such a logical dude, but I've never
heard Roddenberry quoted on the subject)
Well, by now, the path of the
Sun has shifted slightly from where it was
two thousand years ago. This is neither
unpredictable nor unusual. The zodiac is
now off by two months, as coronagraphs
have determined;. But—ah, well. As long
as it's consistent from year to year, it
doesn't really matter whether you call a
group of people Virgos or Cancers,
they're still going to act the same. Right?
I mean, there must be some truth
to the matter. I mean, if you were born on
the 18th of April, odds are good that your
parents are the sort of people who like to
have sex in July. And people brought up
in households where the parents like to
have sex in July are bound to be similar
So what happens when the first
child is born in space? Will she (he/she, it)
even have a sign, and if so, will it necessarily be one of the thirteen twelve signs
of the Terrestrial zodiac? Or will the
entire set of astrological precepts have to
try another study to determine retroactively what sort of personality he (she/he,
it) was going to have had? Judging by the
popularity of certain weekly American
journals, New World horoscopes
worked as well as ever — but the old
rules just don't apply to someone who
was born in a dawnless environment
with the Sun in Ursa Minor.
Now, Astronomy is the science that
studies the mechanics of celestial motion, the thermodynamics of stars and
gas clouds, the optics of gravitation,
and the ultimate physical cause and fate
of creation. It has nothing whatsoever
to do with astrology, which groups stars
and planets together both arbitrarily
and unevenly based on angular separation relative to another star altogether
and seeks therefrom to divine the future
by studying how random bits of the
universe looked random numbers of
centuries ago.
Astronomy is not, never was,
and never will be astrology.
In general, I grant people one
such mistake.
Hear that Aaron? And one
more thing. I'm in Physics.
David New is currently pursuing
a degree in Physics* because he
isn't in astrology-sorry, astronomy, As far as I know, David'*
sign is unlisted. My sign, by the
way* is Sagittarus, the sign of the
editor, Sagittarians are deep,
enriching, and stocked foil of
sixteen essential nutrients, If you
wanttoseeDavidNew or hear Ms
disconcerting laugh, you can find
him in SUS* and Physsoc* Or buy
a recording of a moose in heat
November 1, 1689 Suddenly, an earthquake hit. Judd was thrown forward into the receptionist's desk, and loll to the ground. The receptionist cowered under the poster of Mr. Floss.
Ifce ftrt of Science
v Devan    I      ■■ *r
by Devan
A Handyman's Guide to Building an
Atomic Bomb for Home Defense or
Part II: Enrichment - Making Weapons-Grade Material
In the last Art of Science, I went over
the basics of acquiring uranium or plutonium for your atomic bomb. We assumed that you managed to steal some
rods from either a reactor or an enrichment facility. Now what?
Well, you can't just throw them all
together in a garbage can and expect
them to explode. In the first place, you
just don't have a high enough concentration of fissionable material. What's that?
Let's assume that you stole uranium.
You may substitute the word plutonium
for uranium at any point here - there will
be no loss of generality. Of the uranium
in a fuel rod of a reactor, a small percentage is fissionable uranium - that is, 3% of
the rod contains U235, which is capable
of splitting into two atoms, releasing
energy. U235 is needed in high concentrations to make a nuclear explosion.
Most of the rod is full of U238, which
won't split into two atoms; as a weapon,
U238 is impotent
(For U235, you may substitute Pu239.
For U238, you may substitute Pu240)
A uranium-235 atom splits when it
absorbs a neutron. When it splits, it releases energy and more neutrons. These
neutrons can cause other atoms to split,
or they can fly away and not affect the
reaction at all. If there is enough U235
together, the neutrons flying around
from all the splitting atoms will be
enough to keep the reaction going. The
atoms will keep splitting until no atoms
are left to split This is called criticality.
Critical mass is the mass needed to keep
the chain reaction going long enough for
an explosion. Got that?
You can build a nuclear bomb with as
little as a 10% concentration of U235, if
you want. Military bombs use 93%
concentrations, because the higher the
concentration, the more precise the yield
and the less chance there is of the bomb
fizzling (not exploding). At any rate,
you'll have to enrich what you've got,
and for the amateur terrorist, there are
two avenues to follow.
If you wish, you may fall back on the
standard Gaseous Diffusion process.
Vaporized uranium hexaflouride diffuses through some porous membrane.
The U235 will diffuseatafasterrate than
the heavier U238, so the U235 concentration increases. This is a proven process, but relatively difficult to do.
The main difficulty in this and most
enrichment processes is the need to
vaporize the UF6. Unless you're
extensively trained in enrichment engineering, there will be leaks. So now you
have gaseous uranium hexaflouride
floating around. You and all your terrorist comrades are breathing this stuff in.
But hey, that doesn't really matter,
though, does it? Your dedicated to the
cause. It doesn't matter that you will die
very shortly.
The other problem with all this UF6
floating here and there is the possibility
of explosion. Uranium reacts very readily with oxygen. You want to do this
enrichment in a vacuum or at least a
helium atmosphere. Otherwise, the
place will go up like a roman candle at
the first major leak.
There will be plenty of chances for the
place to go up, too. The small scale of
your enrichment process means that it
will take many months to refine enough
U235 to make a bomb.
There is another enrichment option
open to the intelligent terrorist (whoops
-is that a contradiction of terms?). Anew
process that works quite efficiently on
small scales is the method of Separation
By Laser Ionization. Simply put, a
LASER is tuned so that it only puts out a
photon of light that only a U235 atom
ploding TNT from breaking the uranium
half-sphere up, which would cause the
reaction to fizzle. Surrounding the entire
pipe is a good tonne of cement which is
your tamper. The inertia of the tamper
keeps the bomb together for the crucial
split-seconds while the chain reaction
When the TNT explodes, it rockets the
half-sphere of Uranium to its sister
sphere. When they meet, they will surpass critical mass. Depending upon the
concentration of U235, you have a good
chance of making a nuclear explosion.
Surrounding the pipe, is a neutron reflector, that reflects neutrons back to the
uranium, to help the chain reaction.
That's all you need to know. Oh, there
are little things, like having neutron initiator like germanium in the bomb to
help start the chain reaction, but that kind
of stuff you can llok up in a physics
could absorb. Every atom is 'tuned' to a
unique frequency of light Only that
frequency of light will ionize the atom.
Using this principle, the LASER ionizes
only U235 atoms, and these atoms are
drawn away by an electric field. This
process is very cheap and very efficient.
Properly done, you could enrich enough
to make a bomb in weeks.
Improperly done, you could blow the
lab to microscopic particles. The uranium must be metallic, not UF6. Metallic uranium is incredibly reactive with
oxygen and small leaks become a very
serious hazard. Do not attempt this until
you know what you're doing.
Part Three: Utilization • Construction
and Detonation of the Bomb.
Most science students are quite aware
of how to construct a nuclear bomb: all
you need is the uranium, some TNT,
some piping, and a lot of cement basically. Figure 1 shows a typical bomb,
muh like the one used over Hiroshima.
At each end of the pipe is half of your
enriched uranium, shaped into half-
spheres to minimize surface area, which
minimizes the number of neutrons that
escape. At one end of the pipe, you have
a good solid chunk of tamper in between
the half-sphere and your TNT. The
tamper is used simply to keep the ex-
textbook. What is important is that you
now have the know-how to build a basic
bomb that has a fair chance of exploding.
Where do you explode it? Why, UBC,
of course. You coud explode it downtown, or at B.C. Place, but for dramatic
effect and sheer numbers of dead, a
crowded university is your best bet. But
I'm getting ahead of myself. Well talk
about the effects of a 1 Kiloton explosion
on UBCin the next installment
Devan Fauste is the Santa   ,
Claas of Nuclear Winter* He
still believes that the HiggS
Bos©** is a worthless particle,
"  What's all this fuss about
plutonium? How can something
named after a Disney Character
be dangerous?
They say atomic radiation can
hurt your reproductive organs.
My answer is, so can a hockey
stick. But we don't stop building
Johnny Carson
"Cogito ergo boom."
Susan Sontag
That's Trivial!
by Tanya Rose
Hello again! Well, I wanted to do
this That's Trivial on disasters, but
your editor wouldn't let me. Oh
well! I'll give you something
friendlier instead. Good luck!
Theme: Space and the Spaced-Out
1-10: Easy
1. Who first proposed that the sun
was the center of the solar system,
not the earth?
2. Who was the father of the
American space program?
3. Which planet can float in water?
4. What is the nearest star?
5. What was launched on Oct 4,
1957 by Russia?
6. What theory says that the
universe is expanding?
7. What planet has the hottest
surface temperature?
8. What was the name of the program to put men on the moon?
9. Who was the first man on the
10. What was the name of the U.S.
space shuttle that exploded?
11-15: Medium
11. What is the largest visible
object in the night sky (other than
the Moon)?
12. What was the material that
H.G. Wells used to propel his
fictional characters to the moon
with, in First Men on the Moon?
13. Where did Germany secretly
test and build their V2 rockets?
14. What was the Pentagon project
that examined UFO sightings in
the 1950's?
15. Who was the first U.S. orbiting
16-20: Hard
16. Who was the first author to
write about space travel using a
rocket engine based on real science, in his book Voyage to
17. What theory, by T. Boedin,
was proposed to explain UFO's
and how they can travel from
distant stars?
18. What was the first manmade
object to land on the moon?
19. Who were the three astronauts
killed in a capsule fire on Jan. 27,
20. When was the first liquid-
fueled rocket launched?
Bonus Question:
In 1961, in the White Mountains,
perhaps the most famous of all
UFO encounters took place. The
subject of the book, The Interrupted Journey, these two people
claimed to have been kidnapped,
taken to a space saucer, examined,
then released with erased memories, by space aliens. Who were
answers on page 8
The 432
November 1,1689 \midst all llie conlfusion, uproar, panic, ami general t<j>-(io, Judd sinelled a lemon meringue pie. (le looked    and \es! One had landed on him ironi alar! What bliss
Deep Thi
Deep Thoughts
by Derek K. Miller
Last week my girlfriend (an English
major) was walking up the steps of
Hennings (to her Philosophy of Religion
class) and was handed a magazine by an
older-looking gentleman. When she told
me this, I was immediately a little suspicious. Nevertheless, I took a look at the
magazine,2J st Century Science &Tech-
nology, with what I hope was an open
mind. The first thing that struck me was
the back cover. I'll quote it directly to
avoid any messy accusations of misrepresentation or any other polysyllabic
This issue arms 21st Century readers with the facts; they need to
combat the proliferation of a dangerous species. Chicken Little,
whose cries can be heard far and
wide, from the White House, to the
nightly news, to the United Nations. The truth about chemicals
and cancer, clean air and power
plants, whales and seals, naturally
produced ozone, and Gaia (the
updated Mother Earth thesis) are
some of the topics covered here.
What should also be clear from
these presentations are four facts
about the environmentalist movement- (1) Its real agenda is not
"cleaning up the environment" -
which can be accomplished only
by developing advanced technologies. Behind the multimedia scare
stories is a conscious effort to dein-
dustrialize  and  depopulate   the
(2) Environmentalists lie, distort,
misrepresent, falsify, and take out
of context scientific data in order
to compose irrational scare stories
that will be believed by a scientifically illiterate public.
(3) Enviironmentalism is a big
business, making millions of dollars by playing on people's fears
that they are being poisoned, that
the planet is terminally ill from
pollution, and that appealing animals are being tortured.
(4) Environmentalism has become
a pseudoreligion, worshipping
Mother Nature and relegating man
to a planetary position of equality
with the other Earthly inhabitants -
plants and animals alike. This new
religion discards the Judeo-Chris-
tian ethic, especially the sacred-
ness of human life.
We urge readers to combat
Chicken Littles wherever they
appear by hitting them with the
Whew, I thought. Pretty heavy stuff.
My suspicion of the propagandist nature
of this publication had been confirmed. I
still wanted to find out what they had to
say about these issues, however, so I
looked further.
The magazine obviously has a reasonable, if not exorbitant, budget. The
layout is professional, the cover in full
colour, and there is an impressive list of
Scientific Advisors in the credits. Perhaps surprisingly, the magazine does
bring up a few good points. Dr. James
Frazer, a biophysicist (it is not mentioned from where), has an insightful (if
jargon-filled) article on the perils of attempting to replicate experiments - in
this case, cold fusion - without taking
proper care. Subsequently, another author accuses scientists of being overly
skeptical (isn't that the idea?) about cold
fusion, and of not keeping a neutral attitude. Nonetheless, a few articles later,
"Cold Fusion is Alive and Well? "Cold
Fusion in Japan: Excitement and Success" and "India Joins the Race to Prove
Cold Fusion" (my italics) demonstrate a
distinct opinion on cold fusion.
There is also an article on Survival in
the High North, a film by Icelandic
filmmaker Magnus Gudmundsson. The
film attempts to expose Greenpeace as a
"multi-million dollar" organization
which fakes seal hunts and is determined
to ruin the Northern economy. It labels
Gudmundsoon as "a modern-day David,
fighting Goliath with a slingshot of
truth," and Greenpeace as a "power- and
money-motivated organization that
does not hesitate to use grossly biased
and even deceitful methods to increase
their influence of countless innocent
victims." 21st Century, obviously, is
above such tilings. Unfortunately, the
article entirely misses the point Examples of misbehaviour are used to discredit the whole organization, and the
final paragraphs attempt to associate the
Greenpeace benefits in the USSR with a
Communist backing for the organization.
Speaking of Communists, there is an
ad in the magaine that declares the
Greenhouse Effect to be a Communist
plot (really!), and another one on 'The
Strecker Memorandum" which declares
AIDS to be a "manmade disease;" which
is "not venereal" and against which there
can be "no vaccine," that "cancer...will
become a contagious disease" - and that
it too is a plot. Further articles deny that
there is any problem with the Greenhouse Effect, ozone, pollution, or acid
rain. Ads promise information about
"fusion plans now!" much the same way
that ads in music magazine talk about
"Led Zeppelin reunion!" Most interesting, perhaps, is the article ("Mother
Earth Marries Satan") associating James
Lovelock's oft-misinterpreted Gaia
hypothesis, as well as all of environmentalism, with Satanism and other bad
One might be tempted to dismiss the
entire magazine, but that would be dangerous, because it is entirely serious in
its intent. The obvious propaganda -
noticeable because of its appeal to
"truth" and "the real facts," and its mission to discredit environmentalists of all
stripes, deny any detrimental effects of
human activity, to proclaim the superiority and overriding importance of
human happiness over any environ
mental balance, and proclaim that tech
nology can solve everything - is intercalated between less obviously inflamma
tory articles and book reviews. What
disturbs me is not that people reading the
magazine will be converted by its hyper-
industrialized ideology; there will likely
be few. What puzzles me is that there
actually already are people who are fervently committed to its ideals.
Anyone interested in reading the
magazine or making a comment is welcome to leave me a message at the SUS
office (Chem 160,228-4235).
Derek Miller, our AMS
Rep, has a bright and
prosperous future ahead
of him. Ahem.
"It takes a lot of experience
for a girl to kiss like a
Ladies' Home Journal, 1948
Teaching Excellence Award Nomination Form
Nominee: Course:
Signatures; Student numbers:
You need 10 signatures or 70% of the class, whichever is smaller. Professors
only please, and we'd appreciate a short blurb on just what makes this prof so
good. You can't nominate more than one prof over the year. Drs. Tiberiis
and Max Taylor, having won already, aren't eligible this year.
Please return completed forms to Catherine Rankel, Internal Vice-President,
SUS Office (Chem 160), by Wednesday, November 15,1989.
Every year
More people die from Drinking and Driving than from
Zamboni Hit and Runs
Give the Zambonis a chance to catch up
d6nt drink and drive
The 432
November 1,1689 Ail lilllli
if, $Da® ""WU0
SCmXPL W&fPB!R£S\fKE£S: $39  save $4
SCIVXpE* SWEmPWXS: $18     save $2
©¥ H^INfaw H
Answers to That's
Trivial, from page 6
1. Copernicus.
2. Von Braun.
3. Saturn.
4. The Sun.
5. Sputnik.
6. The Big Bang Theory.
7. Venus.
8. Apollo.
9. Neil Armstrong.
10. Challenger.
11. The Andromeda Galaxy.
12. Cavorite.
13. Peenemunde.
14. Project Blue Book.
15. John Glenn.
16.ArchileEyraud, 1865.
17. Hyperspace Engineering.
18. Sept 15,1957 (Lunik II).
19. Virgil Grissom, Ed White
II, Roger Chaffee.
BQ. Betty and Barner Hill.
1-10:1 point
11-15: 2 points
16-20: 3 points
>32 points - Expert
24-31 points - Know-it-all
14-23 points - Joe Average
"If it's worth doing, it's worth
doing late."
Frederick Oliver
gppfrrg ReppRT
Don't forget-
Registration for Term II Volleyball,
Ice Hockey, and Bodin Ball Hockey
starts Nov 6! They fill up fast, so
please register as soon as possible.
Get \
"tons w
l.N. STEIN ^o4w
"/r aw'f w/«tf a man don't know
that makes him a fool, but what
he does know that ain't so."
Josh Billings
Meateen 4 the illitrats club on toosday at
the sub bilding in room 212A, 12:30. be
thair or be skwair
Watch for the Big Big Big Big BZZR and
stuff Bash on Nov something or other. It
might be okay.
Come to SUB 212 at 5:30 today for cheap
pop, free chips, and all the Stones music
you'll miss by not having stood in a
policed lineup for two days in sopping wet
weather six weeks ago.
Am — Get well. Be better. Wax healthy.
And have a happy birthday while you're at
it. ■— Dave
Dear Al stop get a haircut stop happy
nineteenth stop all my love comma Phen
Elizabeth-Anne. God, I'm sorry. Please
forgive me. I will never do it again. God-
For Sale
BloSoc T-shirts! Spiffy! Nifty! A REAL
Biohazardous symbol in violent red with
black lettering. BioSoc Hut (M32), 228-
Chem Yearbooks (89/90). Small Deposit
can be paid in Chem 222. Hardcover
glossy photos of all 4th, 3rd, 2nd years
plus all TA's, Profs.
Handsome sexy male love-monkeys for
the females of the BioSoc Executive. Talk
to Lloyd.
The 432
November 1,1689


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