Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
United States

Government Ponders Future Of Y2K Command Bunker 147

Anonymous Coward writes, "Well, not exactly a bunker: '[T]he eighth floor of a nondescript downtown building a few blocks from the White House,' which now contains about $9 million of computer equipment that has no real use so far as Y2K goes. Since Y2K was not the meltdown that was anticipated, read about their quandary in this Associated Press article."

When the command center was announced last August, as explained in this Reuters article, the government's idea was that post-Y2K, the center would serve to coordinate "future cooperation between key infrastructure industries and the federal government to protect communication networks."

The government certainly has a vested interest in keeping communication networks functional; the question is, how vested? Especially with the recent talk of ever greater (and more explicit) governmental oversight of Internet traffic and activities, I'm not sure I want any more observation posts than already exist.

On the other hand, it seems likely that government involvement in Cyberspace will increase dramatically, and soon. Is there some way that this command post could play a vaguely positive role in that involvement? Or does it smack of a open door to ever-more-pervasive observation and tracking of personal behavior?

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Government Ponders Future Of Y2K Command Bunker

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If Al Gore is *really* "father of the internet",

    (a) is he current on support payments; and

    (b) does Tipper know?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think I'm missing something. Did the Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower and Truman administrations somehow fuck us less?
  • How about donating all that stuff to the FSF, or some worthy Open Source projects? I bet those plasma displays would be really nice...:-)

    Of course, the day the government starts donating hardware to Open Source is the day cows start to fly, but can always hope...

  • This would be great for training .gov employees on network security. Also, they could use the facility as a testbed for open source solutions to be developed/used by the .gov.
  • How about the logic of subject/comment agreement.
    Think of Slashdot as a vacant lot that some of us are trying to build on and some of us are dumping garbage on. If we see someone walking up carrying a trash can, we're likely to jump to the conclusion that they're there to dump more, not to pick some up.
  • and to extend the garbage analogy...
    Archeologists of the future may find this stuff fascinating and extremely helpful in understanding the present era, but right now it's just garbage, and it just gets in the way.
  • When you put 1st post in the subject line, it tends to color the perception of whatever follows. Perhaps this is unfair, but people tend to judge by appearances, and all the first post idiots (Okay, I did it once, but that was a long time ago) have irreversibly poisoned the well, so to speak. So posters have a choice. They can submit something that they want to share and have appreciated, or they can blow it by letting themsleves be mistaken for your average useless first poster, troller, etc.
  • the government has a bad habit of selling off as surplus/discontinuing stuff only to find out 5 minutes later that they need it more than ever. Like wind tunnels years ago (see remarks of Alex Tremaine, auto designer, from a car mag years ago) or the SR-71.
  • Nobody cares about the hardware provided at maximum cost from the lowest bidder. No what's important is we now have a mandate and a process by which to watch and listen - pretty much w/o restraint under the aegis of 'it's just real good for us to do this, please remain calm'.
  • Yeah, my uncle got a Hummer for $44; he would of got more but he only had $50 and had to buy gas... He said the attack helicopter and C130 full of ammo went for $200 to some gentlemen wearing "Pigasus for Prezident" Tshirts.

    Seriously, there's a surplus process, it's not pleasant but it's possible to find some cool stuff. It helps a lot to have a buddy "inside".
  • Eh, the SR-71 decomissioning simply ran in to the problem of a Congressman who objected because it reduced the flow of $$$ to his district. The Auroras are doing a fine job of reading Chineese newspapers from high altitudes.

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • yep, and I have burned them in the past, i know, i had a post that kept changing for like a week after i made it, it was everywere from troll to underrated, to insightful, kinda sucks
  • DO NOT I repeate DO NOT become a troll to protest bad moderators...
    They exist and that IS what M2 is for...
    That is also what e-mailing Rob "CmderTaco" Mulda is for...
    While you are "troll" you are a +2 troll...
    How did that happen? I can be a +1 troll at best... unless... yes.. you got modded UP!!! Not once not twice but THREE TIMES (once to counter the mod -1) and posably more to account for bad mods -1.

    As you go around and notice all the bad moderation where moderators mod up or down based on opinions.. in the mean time other moderators are busy moderating the trolls.. the REAL trolls..
    You'll also see bad moderation on the trolls themselfs.. people moding UP "first post" as well as modding down relevent matereal.

    M2 dosn't mean you can not complaint to CmdrTaco it just means if no one dose something is likely to happen anyway...

    Right now it seems there are some bad moderators who have learnned to dodge M2. Those people need to lose moderation. Finnaly and totally....

    But trolling dosn't help.. it just pulls away good moderators while the bad ones play there tyrany games...
    And it makes Rob "CmdrTaco" Mulda think we need MORE moderation.... MORE bad moderators.. MORE of this same crud....

    If you want to demonstrate a need to re-evaluate the current policys show that they are failling don't show that <B>more is needed</B>. If you want rid of the moderation STOP TROLLING and get other trolls to stop and START e-mail....

    PS. I can take a Karma hit I've got more Karma than Signal :) muahahahaha
  • >that is why i became a troll, because of poor moderation.
    Thanks to you it will only get WORSE...
    What are you expecting here? That someone is going to notice the bad moderation? How can they when you are providing such a HUGE distraction.

    You should be complainning about the bad moderation INSTEAD of trolling...
    With all this trolling going on you just look like a bunch of cry babys becouse your trolls get modded down...
    and if it really is that bad that you can not get anything done... there are plenty of other weblogs... Including my own...where your voice can be heard... presumming of course you really are victoms of bad moderation.. I use the "erase bad posts by hand" tactic instead of relying on moderators..
  • I didn't think a disclaimer was necessary, but looks like it's time to feed the trolls:

    Yes, i've read Godel, Escher, Bach. I know all about the halting problem, and i know it's unsolvable. That's why it's funny - the same reason why #7 and #1 are funny. (Also, i guess #10 is also for all intents and purposes unsolvable, at least during any of our lifetimes)

    I have to admit, though, this is a pretty funny flamewar. Keep up the good work.
  • They could always just wait and make sure there arn't any problem when the *real* millennium rolls over next yer...

    ...or not.

  • (sorry if this has already been mentioned - i read at a threshold of 2, so i might've missed this comment being made.)

    in australia, old government hardware is generally auctioned off. don't they do this in the states?

    storing stuff in warehouses for 10 years is gonna leave them with virtually worthless machines that not many people will want. at least if they dump stuff while it's still half-useful, they can get back some cash...
  • No good. It is not a bunker, it is an office building. Besides, there is no hiding from the clown. He will find you no matter where you go. And when he finds you, he _will_ eat you. Just like he ate me.
  • Huh? Stile faked it man. I think the person who sent him pictures of a mutilated kitten with "Stile Sux" written on the skin pushed him over the edge. He got tired of doing that website, it was trapping him. He decided, in true Stile style (no pun intended), to fake his own death.

    At least, that's how I want it to be. If there is an afterlife, I hope all the pain he was feeling is gone.
  • Yeah! Give Echelon all the cool toys so they can monitor out phone calls and track our neighbors better! Either that or auction all the stuff on eBay and give the tax payers a refund.
  • I'd even let the government keep the machines, just as long as they let me go around to each one and install a copy of's client, in my name, of course. :)

    .sig Instructions
    step one: place .sig here
  • if they really wanna dump it im sure that i could take it off of their hands. Hell...i'd fly out there and gut the place myself :)

  • Duuuude, do you even know what the halting problem is?

    Things that scare me, #320983794: Absolutely none of the first or second year students in the CS program at my school, modulo me, even know who Alan Turing is. Why someone who didn't even recognize the name would go into CS is utterly beyond me. It'd be like a second-year math undergrad not knowing who Isaac Freaking Newton was.

  • Why not use it all for research of some sort? I'm sure there's tons of people out there who could think of tons of legitimate uses for the equipment that could actually HELP people.

    They could adopt some sort of system similar to the one that gets used to decide who gets to do what with the Hubble Space Telescope, where the best proposals submitted get to use the equipment as they see fit for a pre-arranged block of time. Now that of course leaves open the debate of who exactly is deciding what use of the equipment would be in the public interests, but the Hubble people seem to be doing a decent job.

    I'd put my vote on the Human Genome project going first, they're so close (comparitively speaking) to sequencing the entire human genome, which just has some incredible applications for the future, and that sort of horsepower could certainly help them.

    Or,if any of you have seen the little video clip that ships with BeOS of all the Be guys tossing the old macs off the roof of the office, something like that would be pretty cool too :)

  • Perhaps Y2K isn't the job the government had in mind for this equipment. Much of the hype behind the Y2K crisis came from the government. Perhaps they just wanted to use the oportunity to buy as much computer equipment as possible. It has suddenly become much easier for any measure strengthening the governments role in the Internet to gain support with the public. We have $9 million of computing power, why not put it to use hunting down "hackers" ... and anyone who has a copy of or literature regarding DeCSS.

    Bwuckatah bwuckatah bahhh, bwuckatah bwuckatah bahhh!
  • Open Court IS Open Source
    • Amicus Briefs == anyone can contribute
    • Law Library == source code archive
    • Lawyer Egos == Hacker Egos
    • Law == Code []

    All kidding aside, we can either whine about how corrupt and mean the govt. is or we can participate in improving it (read replacing it a bit at a time rather than ripping the whole thing apart and hoping to profit from the ensuing chaos).

  • For another take on this story, see the story on [].
  • Dear Sir/Madam, I have the pleasure in telling you that due to the United States Government auctoning of our Year 2000 Command Centre we have given all fellow tax payers a .02 Cent Credit on Next Years Tax Return. When the US freezes over.. :P
  • Why would the Govt' brag about actually having a multi-million dollar computer facility, after the fact ?
    Why wouldn't the Govt quietly just get rid of all of these wonderful plasma screens just like they got rid of the Ark of the Covenant ?
    Just seems fishy to me that they would brag about all of this power, now.


  • There is nothing worse that a society that censors all criticism of itself.

    The moderators are going overboard. You criticize them and you get burned!?!?!?

  • The bunker is just a front for what the government is really going to use this equipment for. Imagine how easy it will be for the government to monitor the internet and log what people are up to. I don't know about you, but this is just disturbing. P.S please excuse the spelling, I went to government funded public schools.
  • Perhaps the gov't could give all of that technology to inner city schools that can't afford it. Or they could just turn it into a massive Beowolf array just for the sake of coolness ;) Better yet, give the Beowolf array to a school!
  • they watched to many y2k "what if" made for tv movies, and went...

    "can we have toys like that in here?"


  • "Absolutely none of the first or second year students in the CS program at my school, modulo me, even know who Alan Turing is."

    But would they pass a Turing test? If they don't then ignore them, they are not worth your time.

    Nate Custer
  • Believe it or not, my dad laid out the plans for the place and was working there during the rollover. The point of the plasma screens and all the new technology was so that everyone could monitor all the TV stations all the time. They might have splurged some, but not too much. They wanted to monitor everything that was going on.
  • Just wanted to say a few things. My dad worked at the ICC, he even layed out a diagram of the network. I actually got a tour of the place (including the computer center), by the way the network management workstations run Linux, and most of the heavy duty servers run Solaris. They did spend a lot of money, but it was warranted, as they wanted to be able to monitor everything that was going on. I believe the real problem is that a lot of the equipment belongs to FEMA, and they want it back. Oh yeah, and the ICC is on the 8th and 10th floors of the building.
  • well, if you had a dump truck full off money pull up to your office I'm sure you'd be on phone to buy some custom plasma screen in about 2 minutes :) Of coarse they don't want to get rid of it, Unreal must rock on those things!! If it was me I would name my main gaming server "Y2K" so when people ask them what they're doing they can report that they are busy "working on y2k." of coarse, they're going to have to think of another good name for their servers. Maybe something generic like "Network_security" or "DDOS". oh wait! depending on who's heading the subcommitte they could rename their servers "working_on_reelecting_democrates" (or republicans). That would buy them a couple years before word leaked out :)

  • I like 7. Are you going to square the circle too?
  • (Those are the same problems btw.)
  • I'm not planning on becoming a Troll. I'm pointing out that bad moderation helps no one and can conceivably lead to more Trolls rather than less (barring those strange Trolls who actually like negative karma).

    What is M2? Does that stand for meta-moderation?

    I have emailed CmdrTaco before about bad moderation without success so now I usually append a message to my thread pointing out that I believe the moderation to have been done incorrectly. As we all know these things are very subjective so I can see why CmdrTaco is reluctant to change someone else's mod.

    I think what happened is that I posted at +2 and was mod'd down to +1 Troll and then, after making my argument, some kind soul took me back up to +2 by giving me an under-rated mod.

    About meta-mod'ing, I have had a perfectly reasonable post with straight-forward argumentation, analysis, and links to other pages with more info, downgraded as Over-rated (from +1 to 0) even though *no* moderation had yet taken place on the post. That is a way to get around being penalized for bad moderation, because, AFAIK, meta-moderators do not have any consequences for mis-meta-moderating.

    For the record, I did not Troll and do not consider the above a Troll by any stretch of the imagination. Conjecturing on governmental conspiracy concerning SETI infastructure use may offend a few who cannot see another way of looking at things as having value. I thought what I wrote was a fun, and intentionally paranoid, extension of the post I was responding to. I cannot call that a Troll.
  • When someone marks something like the above as Troll, then people like me feel a little upset. It is not a Troll and yet I've been labelled a Troll anyways. This leads me to wonder: perhaps the reason some of the /. Trolls exist, particularly the more prolific ones, is because they had tried to contribute to the discussion around here in a sincere manner but someone came along and marked them down as Troll simply because they didn't agree with the ideas being presented. If people are going to call you Troll when you are not, then why not become a Troll. You get to enjoy the thing for which you are being criticized.
  • the 2 sr-71's were forced back on the usaf by congress they cost a fortune and there is something more modern already flying i am told... capital class battle ships have been completely useless since about 1925. airplanes, anti-ship missles and torpedos can destroy them in in a heartbeat. pounding viet-nam and beirut is good for the home war news but militarily worthless. the efforts to bring back big mo and the nu joisey was a total waste of the navy's money. so why didn't the japs attack hawaii with battle ships rather than flatops? bingo!
  • Why don't they just donate those computers to some schools. Instead of have them to set in a storage room to rot. They are thousands schools who are still using a 486. AMERICA WAKE UP!!!!
  • Around here the local big University (UW-Madison) has a warehouse where they send all their old stuff. Every Friday they open it to the public (Wensdays and Thursdays if you work for the state). I once got a full tower w/a 300 W power supply, 486 DX, floppy drives, and a 10 MB/s network card for $5. I gutted everything and sold just the case and power supply on eBay for $50 :) I kept the rest as spare parts for my Linux box.


  • Why was the last post scored "0: Flamebait"? Oh yeah, because moderators set it there ;-)


  • I hope it will not be a 17-year-old who will answer my question, but I predict the embarrssent will arrive soon.

    Don't worry about that.... I'm 16 ;)

    Here's quite a good web page [] about it...
  • Yah, but it wouldn't be funny without 6 to go with it. Kinda our own twisted version of the million monkeys.
  • ...because they're already monitoring in other places. Fort Meade, anyone?

    There's likely not any terribly specialized monitoring equipment in there, and if there is, it likely wouldn't be sufficiently hardened or sophisticated for the use people expect or fear. Besides, most of it's probably nearly 18 months old, anyway.

    And though it's likely to be in every post, I feel compelled to add that they can always ship some to my place if they run out of ideas.

  • This isn't fully on topic, but it is regarding the y2k issue... I'd love to go back 10 or 20 years, run down to New York and march around on street corners with a big ole sign that says, "The world will NOT end on the year 2000".

    Just for the sake of irony, not that it wasn't obvious to most of us anyway.
  • The govt could delegate the responsibility of deciding what to do with all the computer equipment to some committee. Of course by the time the committee decided what to do the equipment would be so outdated it would be of use to no one. The second option would be to ask a consultant. Who better to ask than Al Gore, Father of the Internet! :-)
  • I thought I read somewhere that #10 has been solved by using chemical reactions to combine DNA strands representing all the different routes, or it could have just been a bad dream... :)
  • Didn't Hitler have a "manifest destiny" "to rule this world" too?
  • So, when will Mayor Rudy G 'wake up' and dismantle (or otherwise constructively use) NYC's bunker/'command center?' What surprised me the most: I had read of plans for his bunker in late 1998, then POOF! Rudy suddenly had it; we first read of this in Fall 99. I'd bet anything that we, the NYC taxpayers, were the fools who paid for it. I 'adore' the fact that there was a news blackout re any building plans, or progress reports on such.
  • New York may need the space once the weather warms up, bringing back the birds and insects. The West Nile breakout last year was pretty spooky.
  • As long as they have it and are in the business of spying, they should use it for echelon []

  • It's because they finally had another excuse to get a bunch of cool tools.
  • that is why i became a troll, because of poor moderation.
  • I'll take it!

    Please send all the computer stuff to:

    Erich P.
    Georgia Tech Station
    Atlanta, GA

    They could even write it off on their taxes, maybe.... oh, wait, they're the government.

    Seriously, though, most of the time when government stuff stops being used it goes into a warehouse, in case another department needs it... that's what it's like here in Georgia, anyway. There's this depot with unused 286's, NeXTStations, Sparc IPCs, 20meg 5.25" RLL drives, and so on... I think they keep stuff for like 10 years. It's sort of absurd, nobody is going to use some of that stuff. Oh well. That's government for you.

  • I wasn't precisely sure myself, so I checked
    Google []

  • They could keep the bunker for use in future time rollover crises, such as Y2038. Although it didn't get as much press as Y2K, I've sometimes heard people predict horrible problems for Y2000K, so maybe they should start preparing now.

    Or maybe they should set aside the equipment until then. They could put it all in the same warehouse in which they're storing the Ark of the Covenant.

  • Here's an interesting quote:

    Indeed, Washington is in the midst of a close self-examination over how it can protect the country's critical computer networks -- such as power, communications and banking systems -- from electronic assaults, technical failures or natural disasters.

    The Y2K monitoring network, which won high praise among participants, appears an obvious element of that plan.

    Hmmm... could it be that this was the original intent all along? :-) We all know how much Janet Reno and Louis Freeh want to snoop on all Americans. Zounds! Look at all this monitoring computer equipment! We can't just waste it!

    I am only half joking. I have zero trust in this administration's respect for citizen rights.

  • Rent the place out for $$ to people playing Quake and other games.. They can do stuff like display finals on the big plasma screens. I bet it would command big $$ for that place, and I bet they could get enough customers (i.e. events) to justify it.

  • I've heard that there's two in service right now (un-mothballed a couple years ago).

    This is common stuff to do for the government when you don't see a need for a while for equipment. The WWII era battleships of the Iowa class have spent a lot of time since WWII in dry dock, however they have been brought out and refitted a couple times -- notably to shell the city of Beruit and for the Gulf War. It would have been inpractical to keep these ships in service during peace time, when instead they can just be retrofitted with modern equipment and brought into service when the need arises.
  • Yes, either it gets hidden away in storage or it has to go through a process where it's officially labeled trash. In the latter case, it can legally be given away to a more friendly home.

    I suppose all of the paperwork is enough of a deterrent to keep it out of the hands of people who might actually use the hardware, though. It would be nice to see some of those old IPC/IPX's or NeXTStations put to good use again, like automating PennDOT's drivers license centers or something silly like that.

  • Where I work, excess (unneeded/obsolete) equipment is sent to a central warehouse. Other people in the agency get a chance to grab anything that they can make use of. Several times a year, public auctions are used to clear out the accumulated equipment. Sometimes you can find decent printers and monitors at the auctions. Most of the computers are obsolete junk by the time they are excessed. I've been bugging one of my cow orkers to excess the Apple II, VT-220s, CGA monitors and IBM PC XTs that are cluttering up the office.
  • *looks at article on jaguar game going for >1,000 on ebay... glances over to "Government Ponders Future Of Y2K Command Bunker" hmm....

    nah... too easy...

  • The WWII era battleships of the Iowa class have spent a lot of time since WWII in dry dock, however they have been brought out and refitted a couple times -- notably to shell the city of Beruit and for the Gulf War. It would have been inpractical to keep these ships in service during peace time, when instead they can just be retrofitted with modern equipment and brought into service when the need arises.

    You can do this with weapons. Afterall a big metal projectile is still a big metal projectile. The effectiveness doesn't really decrease, unless there's some revolutionary advance in weapondry (say modern steel versus cast-iron => cannon versus modern artillery). Also ALOT of money goes in to simply making a ship a ship, rather than a weapon system. Remove the gun turrets add a floor to them and flood them, and you got a cruise ship (albiet a very industrial luuking cruise ship)

    You can't exactly do that with a computer. Trying to use a 6 year old computer is pretty painful. (Yes, it was upgraded 486SX-25 -> AMD 5x86-100. 4ram -> 20ram. Hell, I even cut out a hole in the top of the case to exteriorly mount two 3gig HDDs (my personal favorite hack).) I say simply fold them back in to the rest of the government. I'm sure someone needs new stuff.

    Of course I would like to own one of those plasma displays. (Yeah it looks like photogenic equipment was one of the requirements for this.)
  • that's what evolution is for.

    any links on your research?

  • expensive plasma conference screens and digital maps showing global time zones

    Was this stuff really necessary? Also, couldn't a plasma screen be easily used in another place? The time zone maps, those were probably made especially for Y2K, which is just wasteful.

  • When can we expect a "block any post containing the word 'beowulf'" option? It's needed far more desperately than the Y2K command bunker was.
  • The right and timely thing to do would be to turn it into a civil courtroom where a Dept. of Commerce Administrative Judge would be able to hear/view/browse evidence, hear arguments and render judgment regarding things like domain name disputes, peering agreements gone wrong, and all the other administrivia that a functional marketplace and public forum need to have sorted out by a court, so that everyone knows where they stand.

    In other words a cyber court for cyberspace.

    The Governments' role in enabling a functional exchange economy has always been primarily one of adjudicating disputes rather than laying down the law. And I certainly think that an Online court dedicated to disputes that occur over Internet related issues makes a lot of sense.

    Certainly, only a court that is online can hope to react with the speed demanded by the environment.

  • Evolutionary/genetic algorithms can come up with pretty good solutions to the travelling salesman problem - I wrote one myself a few years back that has a reasonable shot at 80-100 cities.

    The problem is that while these techniques produce a good solution relatively fast, they aren't guaranteed to find the optimal solution.

    Finding the perfect solution ultimately means checking all the combinations, which could take a rather long time.....
  • Damn!! That's so paranoid but cool. Maybe the prime factorials can easily be determined with a magical formula from 128-bit encryption so 1 tick is spent on that process and the other 59 ticks applying the results to scanning all our network data via Echelon. SETI@home isn't to determine if there's alien life. Who the fuck cares about that?! It's using the people's computers to monitor those self-same people. Massive redundancy. Outside life doesn't matter to us until it effects us. It doesn't affect us now (unless our government is really a puppet government of our alien overlords--how's that for paranoia twisted).

  • by wnissen ( 59924 ) on Saturday March 04, 2000 @09:11PM (#1225289)
    The fact is that most of the infrastructure for real-world utilities is owned by the government or otherwise substantially controlled by it. This comes about either through the incredible investment needed (e.g. interstate highway) or some need to have a monopoly control (e.g. broadband spectrum). This infrastructure is absolutely critical to the functioning of American business. Imagine if a large section of the country lost electrical power: the consequences would be horrific. Like it or not, the Net has become almost as important as electricity to corporations. The government, for once, does not have control over a vital resource, which I think is a good thing. However, the government is not used to not having control, and in any case its corporate constituents are very concerned that no one has control. Thus the government is going to take steps to try and reassure themselves and the corporations that someone is taking care of it. I say let them have their little bunker, and let the Net and the admins use their own protective measures.

  • by ATKeiper ( 141486 ) on Saturday March 04, 2000 @09:05PM (#1225290) Homepage
    A major battle is brewing over infrastructure (especially Net) security, as law enforcement officials clamor for stronger laws [] and businesses demand government keep its clumsy hands off [].

    The most serious problem, however, is that politicians and policymakers here in Washington do not grasp even the most basic technical ideas propelling the information revolution.

    In other words, the conspiracy theorists who long believed that the government would use Y2K (and the Y2K "bunker") as an excuse to dismantle American institutions had it backwards: we are not in danger of elite or intelligence government agents making decisions, we are in danger because the government is financially and technologically muscular, but philosophically and intellectually malnourished.

    A. Keiper [mailto]
    The Center for the Study of Technology and Society []

  • First post to suggest linking these computers into a Beowulf cluster?

    Anyway, here are the top ten things you can do on a Y2K-command-center-cum-Beowulf-cluster:

    10. Solve the 50-city travelling salesman problem
    9. Solve the halting problem
    8. Run a Gameboy emulator within an C64 emulator within a Mac emulator within DOS installed within a VMWare partition on Windows NT installed within a VMWare partition on Linux
    7. Calculate all the digits of pi
    6. Find the first occurance of the current Linux source in those digits
    5. Compile Mozilla in less than 8 hours
    4. Trounce team Slashdot on
    3. Forget "globally coordinated" - DoS Yahoo to its knees all by yourself
    2. Open up a Quake cafe
    1. Execute a while(1) { } loop in six seconds

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta