Merging Wave Amplitude increase - as if we as kids didn't know this happens - engineering "willful suspension of disbelief"

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 12/07/2011 - 10:39.
 
 
If you have ever watched the intersecting wakes from power boats on Lake Erie on a calm day, or if you have ever been water skiing or tubing through boat wakes, or if you have ever thrown stones into a lake and watched the crossing ripples - you already know that the height of the wakes or ripples is amplified at the location where the waves intersect.
 
Every water skier who has tried to slalom between two passing boats knows that the intersection point(s) of the surface wake waves is the most difficult to ski through because the wake waves are higher where they intersect. 
 
On a  lake, the intersection points of wake waves depends on the locations/directions of the vessels which are creating the wakes.    Same is true of ripple rings from tossed stones.  In the ocean - over long distances - the sea floor topography influences the wave.
 
Wave intersection point amplification phenomena is visible to laypersons –
 
What happened with the tsunami engineering at Fukushima daiichi?
 
Engineers – including seismic engineers – exercised an intentional “suspension of disbelief”. 
 
Engineers everywhere – not just in Japan – are forced to “disbelieve” their safety concerns because of the cost of implementing an entirely honest solution.
 
The merged waves from the Japanese tsunami massively over topped the coastal tsunami walls –walls designed by seismic engineers who knew about wave amplification – like every water skier and rock tossing kid knows.
 
Wilful suspension of disbelieve (even though we can see it is true) is why there have been, and will continue to be, nuclear “accidents”, bridge collapses, and global warming.
 
Responding honestly to what we see isn’t always easy.
 
Read more about the December 26, 2004 satellite imagry of the "Sumatra" tsunami on the Jet Propulsion Lab's web site here.
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