Brilliantly Stupid

Robert S. Thau rst at ai.mit.edu
Sun Aug 24 14:14:29 PDT 2003


Joe Barrera writes:
 > Why the hell is anything critical -- like power
 > plants -- connected to the internet?????
 > 
 > I mean, talk about a clue vacuum.

Sorry, I haven't got time to get outraged about stuff like that.  I
have a fairly limited amount of time for getting outraged about
blackout related cluelessness, and I'm afraid that that time is easily
split between:

 *) the water systems in minor hamlets like Cleveland which
    had no off-grid backup power arrangements at all

 *) the folks who say that if we privatized more, we wouldn't have 
    this problem -- never mind that our current privatization model
    has vastly increased demands on long-distance transmission lines
    (as more power gets sold long distance) without leaving anyone in
    particular with any financial incentive to do the upgrades needed
    to handle it.  By all accounts, these were significant
    contributing factors in the blackout.
    
Though if you want to be outraged by cluelessly connecting stuff to
the internet, there was the slashdot story last week about Microsoft
worms shutting down Maryland commuter rail and safety systems at a
nuclear power plant:

  http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/08/21/1343227

(The nuclear power plant had a firewall, but it also had a leased line
to a contractor that didn't.  And so it goes...)

rst


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