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Submission + - No Russian Water Tentacle (wired.com)

ColdWetDog writes: Slashdot has recently reported that the much reported "Cyber hack" of a Springfield, IL water treatment plant was, in fact, not due to a computer intrusion. But the story gets better:

Cyberwar watchers took notice this month when a leaked intelligence memo claimed Russian hackers had remotely destroyed a water pump at an Illinois utility. The report spawned dozens of sensational stories characterizing it as the first-ever reported destruction of U.S. infrastructure by a hacker.

Except that the report was a completely untrue and the reality much more prosaic. The pump burned out, as they do from time to time. The mysterious Russian connection was due to one of the designers of the system calling in to check some logs after he was urgently contacted about some issues with the plant five months before the pump eventually failed. Normally this would not create a problem except for the small detail that we was on vacation at the time. In Russia (insert 'In Soviet Russia' jokes here). The fact that someone had logged into the system from a foreign country fully five months before the pump failed was somehow conflated into a Stuxnet-type operation in the bowels of the American security watchdogs. And we think we're paranoid.

Submission + - A Whale of a Ship going to the Gulf? (hamptonroads.com)

ColdWetDog writes: The "A Whale" a VLOO (Very Large Oil / Ore) Carrier refitted to be the world's largest oil skimmer with the capacity to at least partially clean 500,000 barrels of contaminated seawater may be headed to the Gulf of Mexico's Deepwater Horizon blowout to help with the cleanup. The vessel has never been fully tested and has a number of administrative and governmental hoops to clear. According to the CEO of the Taiwanese shipping company that designed a built the thing the concept behind the craft is "totally not common sense and totally against the rules."

I for one, welcome our totally not common sense oil sucking Taiwanese overlords. A bit more here. but I couldn't find a whole lot of really technical stuff on the seagoing monster.

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Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing