Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Is your internet down? Could be lead poisoning

Sponsored by:

ISPs in the U.S. experienced a service slowdown Monday after fiber-optic cables near Cleveland were apparently sabotaged by gunfire.

TeliaSonera, which lost the northern leg of its U.S. network to the cut, said that the outage began around 7 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday night. When technicians pulled up the affected cable, it appeared to have been shot. "Somebody had been shooting with a gun or a shotgun into the cable," said Anders Olausson, a TeliaSonera spokesman.

The damage affected a large span of cable, more than two-thirds of a mile [1.1 km] long, near Cleveland, TeliaSonera said.

The company declined to name the service provider whose lines had been cut, but a source familiar with the situation said the lines are owned by Level 3 Communications. Level 3 could not be reached immediately for comment.

Cogent Communications warned that some customers may be experiencing disruptions because network lines had been cut somewhere between Montville, Ohio, and Cleveland. "Splice crews are currently doing preparation work on the new fiber cable before splicing begins to resolve the outage," Cogent said in a note to customers.

According to Keynote Systems' Internet Pulse Report, Cogent was experiencing significant latency problems on Monday.

The outage caused headaches for Christopher McCoy, a system administrator for a Web hosting company in Atlanta. "This Telia outage is really causing a pain," he wrote in a blog posting. "Telia is one of my company’s main network providers, and explaining to your average Webmaster the details and specifics of a fiber break isn’t all that easy."

Why this topic obsesses me so, I can’t say.

Well, and I am glad of it, the Space Shuttle Endeavour has safely returned to earth a day before its original plan.

My larger point, however, remains. It’s an unsafe ship well past its sell by date engaged on a costly and dangerous enterprise for which there is no rational justification.

NASA says it will keep the Shuttle grounded until the foam problem is resolved, which, after a fashion, is good news, but what of it when the Shuttles are repaired: more expensive and dangerous manned space posturing.

I don’t say I rest my case. I only state that the whole manned space industry is stupid -- if there is anything worthwhile to do up there, why can’t a robot do it safer and cheaper?

Many of course will argue with me. But I am not sure if I really care. The space race was won long ago, 37 years ago to be precise. May we not give it a break?

Please Stand for the Kazak National Anthem!

Once again, I had the pleasure of seeing the movie Borat on Friday with Sarah S. and John P. K. who had not yet seen the film. Of course, I was eager to fill this cultural lacuna in their character. On seeing the film again, I noticed a number of little things that I missed the first time around which gave me a smile, but what was especially interesting was listening to my friend’s laughter while they watched the movie for the first time. This laughter by proxy (or is it avarice) reminded me of when I first saw the movie. But on subsequent viewings, I have started to see something, albeit complimentary, quite different. And I think that is the integrity and openness of the Anti-Semitism (in the absence of Jews) and Nationalism (in the presence of other nationalities, including ‘assehole Uzbeks’ and gypsies) in Kazakhstan and the gentile racism, nostalgia for a mythical antebellum South, and sheer Xenophobia of the US. (Canada, I would like on the record, aside from the South business is no different.) There is without doubt genius in Sasha Baron Cohen, though I am not sure there is much more to be done with Borat. Please stand to attention for the Kazak National Anthem:

Kazakhstan greatest country in the world.
All other countries are run by little girls.
Kazakhstan number one exporter of potassium.
Other countries have inferior potassium.

Kazakhstan home of Tinshein swimming pool.
It’s length thirty meter and width six meter.
Filtration system a marvel to behold.

It remove 80 percent of human solid waste.
Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan you very nice place.

From Plains of Tarashek to Norther fence of Jewtown.
Kazakhstan friend of all except Uzbekistan.
They very nosey people with bone in their brain.

Kazakhstan industry best in the world.
We invented toffee and trouser belt.
Kazakhstan’s prostitutes cleanest in the region.
Except of course Turkmenistan’s

Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan you very nice place.
From Plains of Tarashek to Norther fence of Jewtown.
Come grasp the mighty penis of our leader.
From junction with the testes to tip of its face!