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The Biggest Dangers to Your Fiber

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the cutting-the-cord dept.

Crime 122

ffejie writes "Fred Lawler, SVP of Global Field Services at Level 3 has an amusing look at some strange fiber cuts that he's seen in his days maintaining a large fiber network across the U.S. Whether it's squirrels, vandals, storms or truckers, it seems everyone has a new way to destroy the fiber that keeps the global communications infrastructure afloat."

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Oh.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37050592)

I thought it was going to be something about problems with All-Bran.
Well slashdot has been around for a while now...

Re:Oh.... (1, Offtopic)

RussellSHarris (1385323) | about 3 years ago | (#37051128)

No shit, for some reason I was thinking that kind of fiber, too - all the way up until I read "fiber network", anyway. Glad to know I wasn't the only one.

Come to think of it, "no shit" was probably the wrong phrase to use that context...

Re:Oh.... (0)

ManTaboo (2027174) | about 3 years ago | (#37051762)

Funny, I thought it meant moral fiber.

Re:Oh.... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 years ago | (#37052354)

No shit

Yeah, that definitely could be a fiber-related problem.

Re:Oh.... (1)

justsayin (2246634) | about 3 years ago | (#37057232)

We might nip this conversation in the bud before we get branned from posting.

Survival tip: always carry fiber. (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 3 years ago | (#37050610)

Reminds me of the old joke:

Whether you like to go on a cruise or hike across the backcountry, the experienced traveler always carries a length of fiber-optic cable. Whether you end up shipwrecked and stranded on a desert island, or lost in the wilderness, all you have to do is bury the cable in the sand, snow, or dirt.

A few hours later, a guy driving a backhoe will be along to dig up the fiber. Hitch a ride with him back to civilization.

Re:Survival tip: always carry fiber. (2)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37057132)

The variation I heard on that joke 25 years ago had cable tv coax.

Learning to read? (4, Interesting)

L1B3R4710N (2081304) | about 3 years ago | (#37050674)

When they say "call before digging", I think they mean it...

Re:Learning to read? (5, Interesting)

DudeTheMath (522264) | about 3 years ago | (#37050720)

Seriously, when they only bury it four inches deep, it doesn't matter. My fiber has been cut three times, twice by the neighbor just edging his lawn. Finally, Verizon sent out their own techs instead of a contractor, and buried it eighteen inches or so.

Re:Learning to read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37050806)

At least it was only yours, there's only on fiber line that connects Humboldt County to SF that has gone out a few times. Most recently a fire destroyed part of it. It's amazing how much it affects, you'd think just the internet, but, it kept the area from being able to use cell phones and credit cards. 911's phone number to address locator went down. Commercials were also interrupted, we got the actual shows, but some of the commercials came up as a blue service interrupted screen.

Re:Learning to read? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051226)


Re:Learning to read? (1)

kiwimate (458274) | about 3 years ago | (#37051406)

This happened a couple [] of years ago [] in Silicon Valley. Took out 911 and ATMs in some cases. Just happened to be during contract negotiations with the labor union.

Re:Learning to read? (0)

jhoegl (638955) | about 3 years ago | (#37050862)

I agree, only the industry is to blame for their own stupidity.
Bury it, bury it to a point that does not make it so easily destroyed. Be smart about your infrastructure. Hold people accountable for their inability to follow your simple rules.

Re:Learning to read? (1)

soundguy (415780) | about 3 years ago | (#37052284)

The average Case backhoe can dig down 15 feet. A long-reach excavator can dig 72 feet. You'd be hard pressed to bury fiber "deeper than stupid".

Re:Learning to read? (2)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 3 years ago | (#37052402)

The average Case backhoe can dig down 15 feet. A long-reach excavator can dig 72 feet. You'd be hard pressed to bury fiber "deeper than stupid".

Problem is that the planet is only 4,000 miles in radius.

Re:Learning to read? (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 3 years ago | (#37051178)

>> sent out their own techs instead of a contractor, and buried it eighteen inches or so

So, he fixed the cable?

Re:Learning to read? (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#37052892)

No. Each end is now about 14 inches too short.

Re:Learning to read? (-1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 3 years ago | (#37051366)

Fuck your signature. I go 80. If you don't like it, stay the fuck in the right lane where the slow motherfuckers belong.

Re:Learning to read? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051660)

Oi! Oi! Oi!

XD Totally right. Called "Fast lane" for a fucking reason. If I'm having a slow day I stay on the right.

Re:Learning to read? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37052194)

It is called a "Passing Lane"

Re:Learning to read? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051980)

By that "math" it will save an hour on a 480 mile trip (8 * 60) i'll take the hour.

Re:Learning to read? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37052344)

Aw, someone doesn't like having his unearned sense of privilege questioned?

Re:Learning to read? (2)

Hidyman (225308) | about 3 years ago | (#37052532)

I agree.
If you are on the interstate you probably have more than 8 miles to go.
I often go over 100 MPH on the Interstate (admittedly I'm usually on my bike doing that, but not always [turbos are fun]).
Interstates are built to go fast.

If the person on your right is going faster than you then you are most likely in the wrong lane.

Re:Learning to read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37052848)

Not that fast. More like an armored truck pulling artillery at 45 miles per hour fast. It also seems you have yet to experience the odd left exit lane which is a plague on the good lord Eisenhower's Interstate System. the fast lane... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 3 years ago | (#37053422)

I typically keep to the right lane when I'm speeding. The fast lane is the one the cops watch out for, so unless you're weaving and overtaking everybody at a stretch, it's safer (for your traffic record) to speed in the slow lanes.

Re:Learning to read? (5, Interesting)

dbc (135354) | about 3 years ago | (#37052584)

4 inches???? Ummmm... sorry, that ain't code. At least not in California. I own some mountain (ranch land) property in the only county in California that does not have a single stop light :) Any time I've tried to dig a hole that had to be in a particular place, it usually requires blasting granite rock to get more than 12 inches deep. Still, the phone company puts things down 24 inches. Now, sometimes they build a "Woody wall" -- for a simple copper pair it sometimes isn't worth going down 24 inches, so they go down as far as they can and then pile rocks on top until they get 24 inches of cover. They don't have to walk very far to find enough rocks :) And the building inspector signs it off. (It's call a "Woody wall" because a Cat driver named Woody had the idea originally.)

Anyway.... a couple of years ago the local phone company put 10,000 feet of fiber across my property. They did that right and proper. First, a D8 Cat comes along with a vibratory pre-ripper that can chew through most rock and that you can hear two miles away. Then a D6 pulling a ripper/plow lays down conduit. A third D6 covers. They blow fiber from pull boxes. They put down 10,000 feet without blasting, although they were a little choosy about the route. (BTW, a D8 is big enough that moving it around on a low boy is an oversize load and requires permits and such, so they don't use it unless they need it. You also might wonder why they have fiber in an area with more bear than people -- it feeds mountain top communication towers, mainly. But I could have a DS3 at my otherwise off-grid cabin if I wanted to pay the monthly :)

Anyway.... 4 inches? That's bush league. I can't imagine how the building inspector signs that off.

Re:Learning to read? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 3 years ago | (#37055172)

Anyway.... 4 inches? That's bush league. I can't imagine how the building inspector signs that off.

I expect there's a different standard for cable running through your property than there is a cable running from a junction box on that line to your house. I watched a guy bury some fiber in my yard when I was getting upgraded from coax. About 6 inches is right. However when they came through the neighborhood and ran the trunk through, that cable was burred deep with backhoes. I didn't measure exactly how deep but I'd have to guess well over 24 inches if memory serves..

So if I don't call before I dig in my yard I could cut my own fiber, but unless I've got a backhoe I'm not likely to take out any of my neighbors.

Re:Learning to read? (3, Interesting)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 3 years ago | (#37051378)

Even "call before dig" doesn't always work, though. When we were building our new studios, the plumbing contractor called a locator to make sure he missed the gas main. The locator was off by about 10 feet. My assistants and I were on the roof of the building, lining up the 2' dish for a microwave data link when we started smelling the gas. Needless to say, we cleared out.

The telcos themselves don't always get it right. I can't tell you how many times ATT's *own*contractors* have cut the T1 line at one of our 100,000 watt FMs. We went for a couple of weeks with a temporary line literally thrown across the ground, about 1/4 mile up the dirt road to the tower site. They figured it wasn't worth repairing until the contractors were finally done. :)

Doesn't matter (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 3 years ago | (#37051808)

A co-worker of mine used to operate a backhoe and told me the power company came out and spray painted the safe place to dig. Well they were wrong and the high tension line melted the bucket and blacked out the neighborhood. So call before digging is BS.

Re:Doesn't matter (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37052678)

If you don't call before you find the power line with the bucket, your insurance premiums go up. So it's not BS, it's good sense.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | about 3 years ago | (#37052834)

So to make sure I understand this...

One single excavation means the other thousands of perfect stakeouts where he avoided any damages don't matter?

Regardless, your story is bullshit right on it's face. Sorry Archie, but your co-worker lied to you. Flat out lied. Don't be mad at me for pointing it out, but his story has an irrefutable flaw. If he's digging where they painted?

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37053298)

And so what? They made a mistake. If information isn't handed in or given to them in a timely manner, how can you blame them? They simply keep records, and operate from those records. If there is no record a high tension line there, the information they gave you was still correct to their knowledge.

At the end of the day, it does help stop people breaking lines and pipes. This "So 'call before digging' is BS" attitude is BS. Fact is you should always be careful when doing work in an unknown location, because you never know what some stupid idiot has done previously.

Do you really think that one job going bad (out of how many?) is a good enough excuse to not use the service at all?

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 3 years ago | (#37053400)

In my experience, they spray paint where *not* to dig. Maybe that was his problem.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37057266)

not around here, all the natural gas, water, sewer, cable tv, power lines get their own prettily colored line in fluorescent. I really need to photograph the lawns and sidewalks in the neighborhood the next time there is construction.

fiber can't be toned out. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37053712)

I Do dig safe work in the Mass area,2/3s of the time the main line fiber doesn't have any metal tracer wire with it. I have no method of finding a line of plastic and glass in the ground. For this we tell the contractor doing the digging " There is Fiber optic wire in the area, Try not to hit it. Have a good day"

Its also 9999/10000 times there is no tracer wire on services, house to street, and yes here in mass its common for replacement lines to be inches below the surface, Comcast and verizon. Often walking along marking it out I'll see a section where the soils eroded or a root has pushed it up exposing it to elements. (old copper lines.

We work by putting a tone on metal lines and using a receiver to find that tone in the ground.

Re:Learning to read? (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | about 3 years ago | (#37056990)

If there was an easement on the owner's property allowing a telco to run fiber under it, why wasn't it properly filed, documented, and mapped on the deed to the land?

Looks like there are TWO possible culprits here. Either the easement was properly filed and mapped on the deed and the contractors didn't bother to check the map; in which case they, or possibly the landowner, are at fault. Or the telco never had an easement on the property and had no right to have their fiber there in the first place. It's impossible to tell which is at fault without more information.

Crack heads? (4, Interesting)

Fishead (658061) | about 3 years ago | (#37050706)

A buddy of mine had to sit at the bottom of a muddy hole in the middle of a sunday night splicing fiber once. Somebody used a truck to yank a length out of the ground thinking it was copper they could recycle.

Re:Crack heads? (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#37056284)

Iirc, a similar event cut a eastern European nation off from the world because a old lady was digging up cables and selling them for scrap.

What cuts the 4G wireless (4, Funny)

retroworks (652802) | about 3 years ago | (#37050744)

America, always fighting the last war against squirrels. We need to look forward, it is the flying squirrels who represent the risk tomorrow.

Re:What cuts the 4G wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37050840)

How do you think data and voice are delivered to cell towers?

Re:What cuts the 4G wireless (5, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 years ago | (#37050874)

Fact: The Predator drone was originally created to defend against the flying squirrel menace. However, due to normal government incompetence, it was instead used in the War on Terror.

Soldiers at the front continued to be baffled by why the drone's decoy launcher is filled with acorns instead of flares, something they, too, attribute to typical government incompetence.

Re:What cuts the 4G wireless (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#37052314)

Fact: The Predator drone was originally created to defend against the flying squirrel menace. However, due to normal government incompetence, it was instead used in the War on Terror.

You don't find the idea of a flying squirrel capable of cutting 4G wireless signals right out of the air terrifying?

Re:What cuts the 4G wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051174)

Amusingly, the flying squirrel is a real menace to the land developers here on the other side of the Atlantic. What a pack of angry flying squirrels could do to a badly protected 4G base station, the horror!

Re:What cuts the 4G wireless (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | about 3 years ago | (#37051610)

I was recently involved in a large WiMax install from a planning perspective. We had a serious concern over the damage galahs [] would do to the aerials, those buggers will eat anything.

Re:What cuts the 4G wireless (1)

DeathElk (883654) | about 3 years ago | (#37052808)

Yeah, those galahs [] are a pain. I've got a bunch next door. Much worse than the feathered variety :)

Re:What cuts the 4G wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37054194)

At least those can be negotiated with and can work as a deterrent against antenna thieves. Not so with the activists determined to protect a possible flying squirrel habitat. ;)

Capsaicin (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 3 years ago | (#37051252)

If you have any new ideas on how we can combat these wayward rodents, I’d love to hear from you. We are always looking for ways to improve.

I'm pretty sure this has already been solved. You coat them with a capsaicin powder. Higher on the scoville scale the better.

Re:Capsaicin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051906)

Yes but then Mexicans tend to use it for dental floss.

Re:Capsaicin (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 years ago | (#37052516)

I'm pretty sure this has already been solved. You coat them with a capsaicin powder. Higher on the scoville scale the better.

Given I tried it with my dog once so she won't chew on some things, it didn't work. We came back to find the item unchewed, yes, but the powder was cleanly licked off.

The damn squirrels would realize it makes their nuts taste better and start attacking all the coated cables!

Re:Capsaicin (1)

justsayin (2246634) | about 3 years ago | (#37057296)

Yeah or they might even go directly to the source and attack the spice factory. Now that would make a nice beginning for the next Austin Powers movie.

Imagine the Headlines, Squirrel goes nuts over spicy toppings. Disaster looms as massive army of rodents take over local pepper plant. News at 5.

Re:Capsaicin (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37057360)

Nope, not a total solution. I had a problem with them emptying bird feeders for their comrades down below. Put a load of capsaicin powder in the seed since birds don't mind it. Found out one in three loves hot pepper, actually would alternatively eat the seed and lick the yummy hot pepper off his little paws. Just like people, most find overspiced food not pleasant, but many do.

Re:What cuts the 4G wireless (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 years ago | (#37052386)

Just because the occasional flying squirrel ends up bad doesn't mean you should discriminate against all of them. A moose buddy of mine had a flying squirrel for his best friend. That squirrel was always saving my buddy's behind - ol' Bullwinkle was a great guy, but none too bright.

Re:What cuts the 4G wireless (1)

justsayin (2246634) | about 3 years ago | (#37057314)

Rocky was an insurgent spy.
Bullwinkle was a collaborator.

Eminent Domain (4, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | about 3 years ago | (#37050848)

FTA -- "Well I’ve saved the best for last. There was a landowner whose property stretched across the border between Georgia and Florida. He was mad at Florida DOT because he didn’t get enough money when they purchased the right-of-way to widen the highway that cut through his property."

Okay, super-raw nerve here... because this is happening to my father's farm even as we speak. (Power company taking a strip directly through the middle of the farm on a state border, used for 5 generations by my family, for an unnecessary power line to nowhere.) The guy is not mad "because he didn't get enough money". He's mad because you threatened him with eminent domain, that he had no capacity to refuse giving up the strip of land, and he's super-mad and frustrated to realize he doesn't actually control what he thought was his own property. And you ruined the use of that property by cutting it in two. And yes, the power company we're dealing with is spewing similar spin in the PR battle. But that doesn't make it so.

He's mad and feeling powerless because you stole something under threat of state violence. Sorry, today I can't laugh at what you thought was your crazy-hilarious "best" punch-line.

Re:Eminent Domain (2)

jdpars (1480913) | about 3 years ago | (#37050988)

Except the funny part has nothing to do with why he was mad. These things suck, yes, but getting a temper about it and damaging the lines is terrible to both sides. The joke is that he almost got away with it until he opened his mouth. I understand that you're bitter, but if you fight it civilly, then your situation is nothing like the man in #10.

Re:Eminent Domain (2)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37051274)

Indeed, if you fight it civilly, they'll be back for more next year.

Re:Eminent Domain (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#37051292)

These things suck, yes, but getting a temper about it and damaging the lines is terrible to both sides.

Hold on a second. There is plenty of historical evidence that guerrilla warfare is effective against a foe that is much more powerful.

It's called "asymmetrical warfare", I think. And at this point, given the historic levels of power in the hands of a few corporations and the growing disparity of influence between a powerful corporation and individual human beings, and their institutional advantage, guerrilla warfare and industrial sabotage may be the most appropriate and sensible approach.

I don't think you can say that damaging the lines is always "terrible to both sides". It depends on how you get your connection. If you're getting it via copper, or satellite or wifi, damaging the lines may only be "terrible" to one side.

Re:Eminent Domain (5, Informative)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about 3 years ago | (#37051078)

Reading Comprehension fail.
There was already a highway running through the property. Eminent domain was used to purchase land to widen it. That's a big difference. He lost a few lanes worth of usable land from the border (and was paid for it), but that's hardly the same thing as punching a new hole down the center.

He was mad at Florida DOT because he didn’t get enough money when they purchased the right-of-way to widen the highway that cut through his property.

Re:Eminent Domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37055154)

Is there an article with more information than what was given?

I'm also curious if he was undercompensated.
1. I figure one way is to take the property accessor's records, figure out how much it is worth "per foot" for that parcel, then compensate appropriately.
2. Another way I figure would be to factor in not just the land value in part 1, but also factor in any potential loss of income, which should be minor if it was a small percent of the overall property.

Re:Eminent Domain (5, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 3 years ago | (#37051222)

He's mad and feeling powerless because you stole something under threat of state violence.

"Stole something"? Who issued that land deed that turned a section of the planet's surface into "property"?

Property is created by the state. No one in the U.S. has some natural right to land, it's all stolen property. (Except maybe some reservation territory, and much of that was stolen from one tribe by the feds and given to another tribe.) Your "right" to "own" some specific piece of land is dependent on the public good.

Now, certainly eminent domain is sometimes used to fatten the pockets of the powerful rather than for the public good, and sometimes people are not justly compensated. Those are legitimate complaints. But complaining about the existence of eminent domain betrays an ignorance of the nature of property. It has always been the case that private property can be taken for public use, provided that appropriate compensation is made. It's in the Constitution, for cryin' out loud.

Re:Eminent Domain (3, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 3 years ago | (#37051326)

Strange, I was under the impression that there was a constitutional right to prevent such things.. You know, the 5th amendment, which clearly says:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The definition of "Just" in "Just compensation" is debatable, or course--- (In the case of it rendering a farm useless, what would be considered just compensation? Compensation for the loss of production, or just for the base-price of the property itself?) but your view on emminent domain is quite clearly not what was intended by the framers of the constitution.

Re:Eminent Domain (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 3 years ago | (#37051396)

Strange, I was under the impression that there was a constitutional right to prevent such things.. You know, the 5th amendment, which clearly says ...

Yeah .. a pity about that. The Real Story of Eminent Domain in Virginia [] (PDF)

Re:Eminent Domain (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 3 years ago | (#37051822)

So taking the land without compensation is illegal. But taking it and paying for it is not. The issue is the "just" compensation part.

If he feels upset, just have him imagine how the people who were forced off of the land and into reservations felt about it.

Re:Eminent Domain (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | about 3 years ago | (#37052322)

Not necessarily, there have been non-state land registration agencies that did a perfectly sufficient and satisfactory job in areas that the state had not "officially" opened. What is needed is a mutual pledge. "I pledge recognize the property of people in such in such and area, meeting such and such criteria, with such and such improvements, bounded by stakes in such and such a manner, and aid in it's defense if they have made they same pledge to me". Stakes in early mining camps worked the same way. The state is not synonymous with society or cooperation.

As for the U.S. as stolen property, it didn't necessarily need to happen that way. Colonial Pennsylvania require negotiations with the residence before taking occupancy above and beyond any royal land grant. Anyways people divide property in order to avoid conflict, acting upon divisions that are no longer of any consequence (as per both victims and perpetrators are long dead) will just stir up more conflict. In fact the natives you call the true owners probably stole it from a different tribe who stole it from yet a different tribe. At some point, time makes the illegitimate legitimate, or at least makes it so that restoring a lost title would cause more injustice then it would do as the new line of titleholders have long borne the liabilities of the land and did almost nothing to cause, encourage or abet the original loss, and the line of old-title holders have long been free of these liabilities, and have only a small probability that they personally would own the lands had they not been stolen century or more ago.

In addition the State is just a group of people. (Unless you wan't to make the claim that all governments are instituted by God.) If no one may properly make a claim to property under an appeal to justice, a.ka. having a right, then how did these people calling themselves "The State" do it? Now you can say that they had their guns and just did it, but that would completely preclude the "under an appeal to justice" part, and would imply that the man in question has no actual duty not to sabotage the power lines, save for fear of being caught. No, your original statement is misleading. To be factually accurate you would have to state that enforcement of and dispute settlement for certain types of property has been monopolized by the State. Property itself is a natural and spontaneous process that occurs as people realize the benefit of dividing their labor and set to modify their own behavior to encourage cooperation.

Yes property is a common good, and I use the term in it's Scholastic scense. The more common and widespread it's practice, the greater it's benefits for each individual that practices it. A modern usually uses the term public or common good to refer to a good or service that is merely divided among many people.It implies that might makes right, that a thing is okay just because a certain number of people want to share in the loot, or that it's okay to take some amount x so long as a greater amount y might be distributed widely as a result.

And this idea of just compensation is a slap in the face. That they pay any amount at all is to recognize that the land is not rightfully theirs. As Frederick Douglas wrote about his wages in the shipyard "The thought itself vexed me, and the manner in which Master Hugh received my wages, vexed me more than the original wrong. Carefully counting the money and rolling it out, dollar by dollar, he would look me in the face, as if he would search my heart as well as my pocket, and reproachfully ask me, "Is that all?"—implying that I had, perhaps, kept back part of my wages; or, if not so, the demand was made, possibly, to make me feel, that, after all, I was an "unprofitable servant." Draining me of the last cent of my hard earnings, he would, however, occasionally—when I brought[252] home an extra large sum—dole out to me a sixpence or a shilling, with a view, perhaps, of kindling up my gratitude; but this practice had the opposite effect—it was an admission of my right to the whole sum. The fact, that he gave me any part of my wages, was proof that he suspected that I had a right to the whole of them. I always felt uncomfortable, after having received anything in this way, for I feared that the giving me a few cents, might, possibly, ease his conscience, and make him feel himself a pretty honorable robber, after all!"

Yet the ultimate question is yet unasked. What level of violence are you willing to use in order to get one more powerline?

Re:Eminent Domain (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37057496)

Your "right" to "own" some specific piece of land is dependent on the public good.

No, that is only a viewpoint, and moreover oes not describe a "right" at all. If a majority can take something away, it is not a "right" in that place.

Re:Eminent Domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051564)

He's mad and feeling powerless because you stole something under threat of state violence. Sorry, today I can't laugh at what you thought was your crazy-hilarious "best" punch-line.

He's feeling man and powerless because he had a severe problem with his emotional reactions, and let them get the best of him. I could probably find a few dozen stories of guys (and gals!) who were so threatened by the evil state doing something that they killed themselves from the stress, or worse yet, killed others first. Like the guy who blew up a school in Michigan. In 1927. Look up how dumb Andrew Kehoe was.

People lose their cool, and that causes worse harm. It's not just related to the government though, it happens with any number of relationships. Sexual, financial, emotional, people just lose the rational approach.

So no, get over your hero worship, in reality, it's not always so shiny and heroic as it is in fairy tales.

Re:Eminent Domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37052316)

BTW, I should note, I have relatively who fought City Hall, or rather, a utility provider, and won.

By staying calm, and not freaking out.

He just said "No, you don't have a right of way, we just agreed you could have a post there if you kept it out of the way of the tractors" and what do you know...they agreed, they had no rights, and the temporary building we had stayed for a few years till we hauled it off.

Re:Eminent Domain (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 years ago | (#37051838)

you stole something under threat of state violence.

Land ownership was never absolute nor should it be. He didn't create the land, he's not the first critter to squat there, and he won't be the last. If he thought he had legal entitlements he actually did not, that's his own fault. Especially when he tried to enforce it.

Re:Eminent Domain (2)

superdave80 (1226592) | about 3 years ago | (#37052272)

I'm a little confused by the outcome to this story:

He refused to let anyone repair the fiber on threat of death! When law enforcement arrived, Mr. Landowner had moved back over to the Georgia side and claimed he had no idea how the damage had been done. He was out of their jurisdiction. There were no witnesses, and all the law enforcement could do was talk to him and try to get him to confess.

First point: Aren't they guys that were threatened with the 12 gauge considered 'witnesses'?

Second point: All you have to do to avoid arrest is go to the next state??? I'm pretty sure they just arrested a family of bank robbers in Colorado that shot at police in an entirely different state.

Re:Eminent Domain (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about 3 years ago | (#37052588)

First point - it was their word against his. You'd need an independant observer as a witness.

Re:Eminent Domain (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 3 years ago | (#37055434)

So, they didn't have to buy the whole property? I've never been the victim of imminent domain, but I had assumed they couldn't just buy part of the property; since it would massively devalue what was left. That's a raw deal right there. The guy should construct some massive billboards with pictures of goatse or something on them (provided there's no local law against that). On the other hand, if the road gets a lot of traffic, he may be able to make a pretty penny by constructing billboards and renting them out.

old problem, new medium (4, Informative)

kermidge (2221646) | about 3 years ago | (#37050904)

In '67 whilst working for GenTel Wisconsin plowing feeders [average plow depth ~4'] and trenching drops we cut a main [around 120-pair] line from Milwaukee to Madison. No one was happy. Dug out the break, carved out a seat for the splicer, put up a sunshade. Not the most fun we had, but close. Not our fault, as it turned out: the charts were wrong, and the info on them was wrong as well.

Re:old problem, new medium (3, Interesting)

c0nner (123107) | about 3 years ago | (#37055896)

Sadly a too large portion of utility maps are not accurate.

I had a house where I had to do plumbing repairs and they were right at the first shutoff valve inside the house. I had turned it off but I needed to be able to turn off at the curb to replace that internal shut off. I called the water company and they came out to turn it off but they couldn't find the shutoff. They looked at their maps and dug many many holes trying to find it. Then after 2 days of looking they were going to give up but they ended up finding it right next to the shutoff for the next house over. That was 50 feet from where it was supposed to be and as a result the pipe run was no where close to where the map said it was.

To make it worse the map was marked as being accurate as of just 5 years before. And there hadn't been any waterlines pulled up and replaced in that time so someone claimed they came out and traced the line as being where the map said but either never did or had no idea what they were doing.

Biggest Danger (2)

onkelonkel (560274) | about 3 years ago | (#37050928)

The Big Yellow Cable Locator. Also know in the communications industry as Backhoe Fade.

Backhoe and Lightning Strike (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051000)

We have had several cuts caused by backhoes. The funniest was when a backhoe took out our aerial fiber. It wasn't even in the ground!

The worst fiber disaster we've had was when a lightning strike melted over a 1/2 mile of fiber.

Re:Backhoe and Lightning Strike (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37052890)

Reminds me of a fiber hit in our turf - a local 911 center had its grounds crew planting shrubs. And as the site tech was sprinting across the lawn yelling "stop" at the top of his lungs, they backhoed their own private loop, knocking the center offline. A month later, they now have a nice sonet - the original leg below ground heading south once it hits the road, and a new aerial leg that heads north once it hits the pole.

Cue that same grounds crew to dress up the lawn and replace the shrubs around the build. And as that same site tech was again sprinting across the lawn yelling "stop" at the top of his lungs, they backhoed that same fiber again, saw the tech, raised and swung the bucket out of the way and... yep, the leg that's supposed to be in the ground was in the air, and the leg that's supposed to be in the air was on the ground.

They now have a wireless relay or some such as a 3rd route, lol.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051098)

For a moment, I actually thought this would have something to do with my nutrition and regularity :(

Target Practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051162)

#6 reminds me of a story Mel Brooks told about his time in the army. Alas, I can't recall which interview and Google isn't being helpful. There's a bunch of media on tvtimemachine, maybe it's one of those.

Basically, shooting at cables has been going on since they started putting them on poles. In his case, the porcelain insulators were a favorite target.

Missed one of my personal favorites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051322)

Little old lady [] digging for scrap copper slices through a cable and knocks an entire country off the net!.

My property .. (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 3 years ago | (#37051328)

My property borders a common area of our subdivision that was set aside as an access right of way for things like power and phone cables. But do you think the companies actually use it? Nope .. all the cables actually run on my property along the edge of the right-of-way and then take a sharp turn to cut off a corner. I'm used to having my backyard spray painted all the time with orange paint marking cables.

Rottweiler and mower (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37051466)

Verizon "buried" my fiber so that a loop was sticking about 3 inches out of the ground. I hit that one day with the mower. They were out the next morning and fixed it.

A few months later we had some friends over for dinner and they brought their rottweiler to run around in our backyard. They left and I went to check my email before bed... no internet. The dog had dug down the 6 or 8 inches to the fiber and had pulled it up and chewed about 3 feet of it to pieces. Verizon was out the next morning (Easter Sunday) at 8AM to fix it.

I loved my FiOS

Renovators (1)

Aerynvala (1109505) | about 3 years ago | (#37051830)

My apartment complex paid to have Verizon come in and lay fiber, which they did. My roommate even had tv service through them for awhile. But then my apartment complex decided to do some renovations. So they tore down the tubing that the fiber had been in, and hide those messy 'wires' behind their crappy new siding. I was going to switch to Verizon, away from Time Warner/ Road Runner, but I can't do that until the fiber is replaced. Very frustrating.

The Biggest Dangers to Your Fiber: (1)

macraig (621737) | about 3 years ago | (#37051840)

Refined carbs!

Now I Know (1)

abednegoyulo (1797602) | about 3 years ago | (#37052036)

I thought selling stolen cables were only done in third world countries, such as the country where I live in. Here, they burn up the cables so that they could sell the copper to junk shops.

Unfortunately, my previous company was a victim of such thing. There was a storm that knocked a post near our building. Looters, thinking the fattest cable has the most copper, stole approximately a hundred meters of fiber optic cable. Here there is no market value for such items. They did not get any money for what they stole. Our internet was down for one week. Nobody was a winner.


Re:Now I Know (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about 3 years ago | (#37052602)

I have a mate who had all sort of problems with his fibre cables in Africa (Ghana) - the locals would dig down to the cable to steal it, chop into it only to find it was fibre and not copper, and then move on. The problem was they'd move on 10 metres and try again with the same cable. Idiots!

I told him he should bury scrap section of fibre closer to the surface as a diversion.

Re:Now I Know (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#37052652)

Well yes and no. Theft (and subsequent sale) of materials from phone/power/communications lines is rampant in most countries, including developed ones. But no so much cables that are actually installed and live (e.g. stealing off power poles) - that doesn't really happen much here. But stealing the cables ~before~ they are installed is another thing altogether.

As you say though, they are after copper rather than fibre. Problem is you often can't tell whether what you're stealing has copper in it or not.

I live in Australia and there was a theft of a very large amount of copper cable from a construction site just up the road from me last year. There were building three large (multi-storey) residential towers on the site and so had all the cable that would be necessary to wire up each apartment sitting around in a shed there somewhere. Not sure whether it was comms (cat 6) or power cable, but either way, it was stolen. The site was reasonably well secured too, so the heist must have been planned well (and there's a fair chance it was at least partly an inside job).

Re:Now I Know (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37052696)

Problem is you often can't tell whether what you're stealing has copper in it or not.

Except, of course, with a $10 toy-grade metal detector.

I go to yard sales and such often and there's a fair amount of cheap wire out there...

Re:Now I Know (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37057518)

fiber has a metal tracer embedded in it

Re:Now I Know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37054224)

Everybody would be a winner if those people could be summarily executed.

Horse (1)

bboyers (21742) | about 3 years ago | (#37052056)

When I was at Sprint I heard the story of a cut fiber line. They go to check out the location and the ground is disturbed where the cut is. The tech thought the culprits left before they got there. When they dig down they find a dead decaying horse. The farmer buried his horse on the edge of his property without knowing he cut the fiber.

Another farmer put up a new fence and used the fresh laid fiber line as a guide. He proceeded to cut the fiber numerous times over a half mile with his fence posts. Talk about a costly fence post error.

FiOS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37052098)

I'm pretty sure that you slashfags going on about FiOS don't really have it and I contend that you live in your father's basement while getting fucked up the brown hole.

Burning evidence (2)

lucm (889690) | about 3 years ago | (#37052142)

I have a friend working for Hydro-Quebec (the power company in Quebec) and he told me that some people throw chains in power lines to short them and create a outage, then they try to cut the wires - but once in a while the breakers comes back on at the power company before the wire is cut. Every year they find a body or two because of that.

Old Woman in Georgia (1)

utkonos (2104836) | about 3 years ago | (#37052482)

Don't forget about the old woman in Georgia [] who took out most of the internet for Armenia when she was digging for scrap metal to sell.

I eat fiber for breakfast! (1)

petman (619526) | about 3 years ago | (#37052796)

Usually in a big bowl of Kellogg's Cornflakes.

What's so special? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 3 years ago | (#37055508)

Why are these dangers to fibre any different to the dangers to copper? What is the point of this article?

Re:What's so special? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37057564)

in the USA, most copper is above ground

pushing pipes through Fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37055872)

years back, there was contractor pushing a water pipe from one side of the street to the other for a new house (the water main was on one side of the street and the house was on the other). well, they managed to push the pipe right through the Verizon fiber that was under the street.. knocked out the phones for that area of the city. we didn't have phones or T-1s at work for the rest of the day.

Lazy cable repairman (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | about 3 years ago | (#37056890)

During a construction project we had a backhoe hit a 2" underground conduit that tied in one building on the peripheral of the campus. The conduit broke open and the cable line was cut, but the fiber, telephone, and fire lines survived. We called the local cable company to splice the cable. The cable repairman arrived and the first thing he did was to whip out his trusty wire cutters and cut everything else in the conduit.

Line Gun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37057378)

My feeble Googling has left me without an image of this "line gun." I seriously want to see something like this shoot across a quarter-mile ravine.

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