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If a Network Is Broken, Break It More

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the somebody-fetch-my-wire-snips dept.

Network 124

New submitter Aras Esor writes "When a network is broken — an electrical grid, the World Wide Web, your neurological system — one math model created by a PhD student at Northwestern University suggests that the best way to fix it may be to break it a little more. 'Take the web of interactions within a cell. If you knock out an important gene, you will significantly damage the cell's growth rate. However, it is possible to repair this damage not by replacing the lost gene, which is a very challenging task, but by removing additional genes. The key lies in finding the specific changes that would bring a network from the undesirable state A to the preferred state B. Cornelius's mathematical model (abstract) provides a general method to pinpoint those changes in any network, from the metabolism of a single cell to an entire food web.'"

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In Soviet Russia (4, Funny)

Roachie (2180772) | about a year ago | (#44305843)

... network break YOU!!!

Re:In Soviet Russia (5, Funny)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#44305945)

string.Replace("Soviet Russia", "NSA America");

broke (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44305855)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
If it IS broke.... don't fix it.

Re:broke (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44305871)

If it ain't broken, don't fix it.
If it can be improved, go for it!

Re:broke (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year ago | (#44306033)

Unless he meant "If it isn't out out of money, don't fix it."

Re:broke (1)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | about a year ago | (#44308117)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. BUT, broke is highly subjective.

Re:broke (3, Funny)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44306051)

If it IS broke.... don't fix it.

ahh you must work for microsoft

Re:broke (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44308019)

That's real retarded sir.

Re:broke (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#44306247)

If it being broken... grab the popcorn.

Re:broke (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306393)

The thing that's broken here, is the analogy.

It is really easy to see why this is half-thought-through nonsense.
If you break more, after something is broken, it is by definition guaranteed, that you lose functionality. This is always a bad thing. Again, by definition.

The logic is like when your car is pulling to the left because of a destroyed wheel, and you then destroy the other wheel too, and declare it a success because now you're "driving" in a straight line again.
Yeah, but only until you hit the wall or your current energy is transformed from velocity into heat and bits of rim on the street... or bits of you in the oncoming traffic.

Maybe he should not have applied his logic to his logic. ;)

Re: broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306641)

Have you studied network theory? It's not always simple. For example, there is the classic case where adding a link can reduce max flow.

Re: broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306659)

You mean computer networks, primitive hubs and collisions?

Explain...

Re: broke (2)

glueball (232492) | about a year ago | (#44307107)

Braess's Paradox.
The poster bringing it up is mostly correct, however the reduction is in overall flow/performance, not necessarily max flow/performance.

Re:broke (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44307455)

The logic is like when your car is pulling to the left because of a destroyed wheel, and you then destroy the other wheel too, and declare it a success because now you're "driving" in a straight line again.

if your aim is merely to solve the problem of pulling to the left without regard for anything else then the logic is sound

an (extreme) extension of the car analogy might be that if you're worried about obstacles or oncoming traffic, you destroy them too

Re:broke (1)

azalin (67640) | about a year ago | (#44306585)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it IS broke.... don't fix it.

Actually it's more like "If it IS broken, break it more"

Re:broke (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year ago | (#44307671)

If it ain't broke ... fix it until it is!

If it's broke don't fix it? (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about a year ago | (#44305869)

Yah, sure, duct tape and bailing wire is best with consideration to budget problems....

My wife does this with plates all the time. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44305897)

The plate is chipped. She resents me gluing it back together. So she breaks it real good so I gotta go out and buy an entire new set.

Re:My wife does this with plates all the time. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44305911)

Non-geek women don't like cracks, wires or antennas.

Re:My wife does this with plates all the time. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306111)

Why does everything have to match? Anyways, why don't you buy two identical sets, and that way you have lots of spares.

Re:Redundant Array of Inexpensive Dishes (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306309)

Send your backups offsite.

Re:Redundant Array of Inexpensive Dishes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306389)

And don't forget to de-dupe ;)

Re:My wife does this with plates all the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306857)

You are obviously not a real geek, you have a wife.

Re:My wife does this with plates all the time. (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year ago | (#44307267)

It took a couple of tries but I'm a real geek again. :/

[John]

It seems that (3, Funny)

illestov (945762) | about a year ago | (#44305933)

my company's IT department has figured this out a long time ago

Paradox? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44305941)

(Are those genes selfish? Because if so, this) may be a classic case of resolving a Braess's paradox [wikipedia.org] by removing a trigger for selfish behaviour.

(now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go to RTFA)

Re:Paradox? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44305965)

The first link is a "journalistic rendering", too scarce in details. The second link is the abstract.
Let's hope the arxiv preprint [arxiv.org] will be good enough.

Re:Paradox? (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#44305997)

"Good enough" depends on how you define it. It seems that the arxiv version has at least the central theorems as mathematical expressions, and most of the images / figures the Nature paper has. Good enough for me to get a start on this. I am actually working with an R & D organization specializing in this field, so I suppose they'll let me buy a copy from Nature - even if I despise the whole Elsevier / Nature paywalling practice. Now I'll be off reading :-)

Re:Paradox? (3, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44305999)

(Are those genes selfish? Because if so, this) may be a classic case of resolving a Braess's paradox [wikipedia.org] by removing a trigger for selfish behaviour.

It has to do with non-linear systems that have many points of equilibrium (Braess's paradox involves another example of the same, except the equilibrium is considered in the Nash sense).

A quotation from the arxiv paper [arxiv.org] that says what's all about:

For example, a damaged power grid undergoing a large blackout may still have other stable states in which no blackout would occur, but the perturbed system may not be able to reach those states spontaneously. We suggest that many large-scale failures are determined by the convergence of the network to a “bad” state rather than by the unavailability of “good” states.

Re:Paradox? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44308065)

(Are those genes selfish?)

They all are. By Design [wikipedia.org] .

An analogy (5, Insightful)

ardor (673957) | about a year ago | (#44305961)

Reminds me of software bugs which are "fixed" by disabling subsystems around them. Example: in a media player, AAC playback sometimes freezes and causes glitches. Solution: disable AAC playback, ensuring that the media player does not reach this undefined and broken state.

Re:An analogy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306021)

So, in the networking sense, he as discovered route poisoning. [wikipedia.org] I bet he will soon discover more fascinating things such as the firebreak [wikipedia.org] to fix vegetation being burned or the embargo [wikipedia.org] to fix uncooperative nations by refusing to cooperate with them.

It's not that I devalue the work. The work is good, its just that math is only a descriptive model yet is often given the accolades of being causal.

Re:An analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44307039)

This. Very insightful. Mod up please!

Re:An analogy (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44307537)

or borrowing $85 billion a month to "fix" a nation that is going broke

Re:An analogy (2)

irreverentdiscourse (1922968) | about a year ago | (#44306115)

My analogy is my cell phone. Sometimes I just wish it would just "lose" it's Sprint service and go into roaming mode, so my data would work. :(

Re:An analogy (1)

jimicus (737525) | about a year ago | (#44306469)

Most of them do that automatically - they'll automatically try to authenticate against the strongest signal they can find that will let them authenticate, no matter what network it is.

When your provider has a roaming agreement in place with another provider, they set things up so that they can authenticate the phones of the provider with whom they have the agreement. Most providers don't enter into roaming agreements with other providers within the same country, which is why your phone doesn't usually start roaming when you are in your home country. But this can mean that if you live near the border of two countries and you pick up a stronger signal from a foreign network, your phone automatically jumps on it.

The first you learn of this is when your next phone bill arrives as a multi-volume set of books, luxuriously bound in finest Italian leather and delivered by a liveried courier.

Re:An analogy (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#44307781)

Most of them do that automatically - they'll automatically try to authenticate against the strongest signal they can find that will let them authenticate, no matter what network it is.

When your provider has a roaming agreement in place with another provider, they set things up so that they can authenticate the phones of the provider with whom they have the agreement. Most providers don't enter into roaming agreements with other providers within the same country, which is why your phone doesn't usually start roaming when you are in your home country. But this can mean that if you live near the border of two countries and you pick up a stronger signal from a foreign network, your phone automatically jumps on it.

The first you learn of this is when your next phone bill arrives as a multi-volume set of books, luxuriously bound in finest Italian leather and delivered by a liveried courier.

The US is a tad bit... Different. We have 3.794 million square miles (to your 1.6M sq miles of EU) and mobile subscribers, god bless them, expect their shit to work _Everywhere_. Sprint especially does a good job of borrowing access on other networks (mostly Verizon) since Sprint isnt nearly as thorough in terms of coverage.

A US provider not entering into a roaming agreement with another US provider would be, eh, a little bit ridiculous. Sprint piggybacks Verizon, and Tmobile piggybacks AT&T, each of the former having far less actual infrastructure than the latter (but employing similar technology.)

Re:An analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306279)

Well to take this analogy to extreme, we could just nuke the whole planet from orbit, then all our problems would be fixed because we now don't have anything to have problems with.

Re:An analogy (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44307587)

nuke the whole planet from orbit

assuming "we" were still alive in orbit, if you're going to make a statement like that i would have a problem with you not being an hot kick-ass alien-toasting bitch named ellen ripley

Re:An analogy (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | about a year ago | (#44307935)

Believe it or not I have done the same to the network when something goes wrong. We had real problems with Multicasting in our network when we upgraded our switches. I found out that it was easier to disable multicasting on our switches, which by default treat multicasts as broadcasts. Since we were using multicast only for Norton Ghost, and not for media host streaming, that was a perfectly acceptable solution.

The lesson: If a feature malfunctions the fastest way to fix the problem is to delete the feature in production until it can be repaired and retested.

Figured Out (-1, Offtopic)

Julia Cora (2986733) | about a year ago | (#44305963)

This is quite right and interesting to break it more to fix it well. nice post.. Unblock Proxy [unblock.pk]

Why does this sound familiar? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44305979)

Oh yeah, it's the GOP platform.

how can it break more (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44305993)

stupid windows 8.1 can't buffer a flash video enough to watch (without freezing)on a slow connection no more.

Re:how can it break more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44307337)

Why would the OS care how much video Flash player buffers? What makes you think this is Windows's fault?

Re:how can it break more (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44307619)

What makes you think this is Windows's fault?

you definitely must be new here

Re:how can it break more (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#44308387)

Windows 8 gave me Dutch Elm disease.

Re:how can it break more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44307657)

YouTube and some others no longer allow the entire video to buffer, which most likely saves a lot of bandwidth from casual browsers. Although it is frustrating for low bandwidth users hoping to buffer whilst they make a coffee, how you feel this is a Windows issue no one knows.

msnadz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306007)

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qa,usa pin code, universities and for many more visit: http://www.msnadz.com

Repeat (nearly) ad infinitum (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44306053)

And then the next time something break, just break even more.
I'm sure that system will be sustainable for decades without ever encountering any issue that can't be solved by breaking yet more.

Re:Repeat (nearly) ad infinitum (1)

azalin (67640) | about a year ago | (#44306591)

Well once the stable state is reached, there is no more need for any additional breaking.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306057)

Thats called cancer

Broken leg? (5, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44306069)

So if I have one broken leg, the best solution is to break another leg and maybe an arm?

Mechanical and electrical problems are radically different to biological ones as they dont self heal/mutate.

With a cell, you're attempting to force it into a reaction by breaking it more. We do this because we dont have the knowledge or experience to fix it ourselves. With networks it's the opposite, isolate the damage, route around it if need be and then fix the broken components. Yes that's a simple view, but the basis for fixing network issues.

If my route to Sydney is down, deliberately breaking my route to Melbourne wont help if there is a physical cable problem or some idiot down in the NOC changed the route cost to 10000 on the router. Nope, instead of one route to Australia down, I now have two.

Re:Broken leg? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306285)

The point here probably being, that if your route to sydney is misbehaving, losing packets, being otherwise slow etc. you break it even more from the point where it's misbehaving and the system should reroute it around that point.

Re:Broken leg? (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44306337)

The point here probably being, that if your route to sydney is misbehaving, losing packets, being otherwise slow etc. you break it even more from the point where it's misbehaving and the system should reroute it around that point.

Not really, Don't break, isolate. If packets are going faster through the Melbourne link, the router should pick that up (lowest route cost), if worse comes to worse I can raise the cost of that route. Breaking it more doesn't help, if there is a router misconfiguration, smashing the fibre with a sledgehammer will do nothing to help me. Instead of just a misconfigured router, I now have a misconfigured router and some broken glass to fix.

The closest thing we have here is replacing suspected bad with known good. I think the router might be misconfigured, so I replace the router with the last known working config to test. Even then, that's fixing the issue (or at least isolating the cause) not breaking it more.

Re:Broken leg? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44307653)

Don't break, isolate

kinda like STONITH in HA clusters

Re:Broken leg? (1)

MrP- (45616) | about a year ago | (#44307857)

"Breaking it more doesn't help, if there is a router misconfiguration, smashing the fibre with a sledgehammer will do nothing to help me."

But it feels good!

Re:Broken leg? (1)

kasperd (592156) | about a year ago | (#44306897)

The point here probably being, that if your route to sydney is misbehaving, losing packets, being otherwise slow etc. you break it even more from the point where it's misbehaving and the system should reroute it around that point.

Exactly right. And this should come as no surprise to anybody with experience in distributed systems. Often a partially functional component cause more damage to the system than a completely broken component. This is because it is much easier to design a system to deal with failures if you know when something has failed.

The best way to avoid this sort of problems is by designing the system to handle Byzantine failures. Many people see the Byzantine failure model as overkill and opt for a less strict failure model. But in doing so they are making assumptions on how failures behave, any failure that violates the assumption about the behaviour of failing components can then bring down the system.

Since any reasonable set of assumptions consider the possibility that a component simply stop responding, you can often bring a failure that violated your initial assumptions in compliance with your assumptions by breaking it more. That is why breaking it more will fix the problem, unless the invalid assumption already caused bad state to spread through the system.

Re:Broken leg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306323)

How is a broken leg a network? Did you even read the story?

Re:Broken leg? (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44306345)

How is a broken leg a network? Did you even read the story?

Its an analogy.

If I have one problem, it's not fixed by creating another.

OK, I'll try to put it into a language /. understands. If I have one smashed up car, will smashing up the road make it fixed?

Re:Broken leg? (1)

Common Joe (2807741) | about a year ago | (#44306595)

Sometimes, breaking things actually fixes [wikipedia.org] things, though. As it is commonly said, "The devil is in the details." You are right: there are a lot of instances where breaking something will lead to just more breakage. A controlled break under certain circumstances, can be good, though.

Re:Broken leg? (1)

grcumb (781340) | about a year ago | (#44306607)

OK, I'll try to put it into a language /. understands. If I have one smashed up car, will smashing up the road make it fixed?

Not necessarily, but blocking traffic completely, rather than trying to allow vehicles to crawl past the crash site on the shoulder, will have less impact on traffic overall.

Re:Broken leg? (1)

stdarg (456557) | about a year ago | (#44307081)

OK, I'll try to put it into a language /. understands. If I have one smashed up car, will smashing up the road make it fixed?

I was thinking of it more like, if front left tire has uneven wear and it's making the car pull to the left, you could fix it, or you could introduce a problem to the front right tire to make it pull right and balance it.

Re:Broken leg? (1)

Politburo (640618) | about a year ago | (#44307285)

Stop using analogies when they are not necessary.

Re:Broken leg? (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about a year ago | (#44306357)

With a cell, you're attempting to force it into a reaction by breaking it more. We do this because we dont have the knowledge or experience to fix it ourselves. With networks it's the opposite, isolate the damage, route around it if need be and then fix the broken components. Yes that's a simple view, but the basis for fixing network issues.
 

Assuming they're talking about fixing the physical aspect.

Now, if you dealt with a broken politician by removing more of them from the political system it just might work.

Re:Broken leg? (1)

azcoyote (1101073) | about a year ago | (#44307005)

Exactly--this claim is overly generalized to fit all 'networks.' The problem, then, is that this is less science and more philosophy. If its claims are valid, then its applicability to any particular network needs to be heavily filtered through practical considerations and common sense. But then, we still have to justify in the first place the use of a broad (and even metaphysical) model as determinative (and not merely illustrative) within empirical science. I'm not sure such a justification can be made on these terms (i.e., in regard to a general theory of network repair).

Re:Broken leg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44307073)

Your analogy reminds me of the immune system.
Force a reaction out of a cell, by giving it a little of what is bad for it.

Re:Broken leg? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44307127)

This story is plain bullshit. Biology and Tech problems are inherently different and most of the time cannot be compared. If we were so good at it our IT systems wouldn't need repairs, just like our body fights off any illness, rash, broken bones and so on. Its a neatly designed machine. Our computer systems are weak and vulnerable, are badly designed an WILL fail completely if one part fails(most of the time).

Re:Broken leg? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44307691)

you're absolutely right... how could biology possibly help technology, especially those stupid genetic algorithms and neural networks, which are just plain useless?

Re:Broken leg? (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | about a year ago | (#44308057)

What they really mean is that if a feature of a module is malfunctioning or broken then take out of production and/or disable the entire module.

Even though your leg's skin, joints, and muscles are fully functional the best way to handle a broken bone in your leg is to pull that leg from production. In other words, if only your tibia is broken, the best thing is to stop using the entire leg until it is healed instead of trying to find a way to continue to use the leg without putting weight on the tibia because everything else with the leg is OK.

Break it (0)

Maxx169 (920414) | about a year ago | (#44306125)

Nuke 'em all, then there will no problems. Well, nobody to complain about them anyway.

Figured this out at age 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306133)

We had a broken TV and could return it to slightly better functionality by punching the side.

Finally (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44306155)

An explanation of why they followed XP with Vista

Just no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306183)

"However, it is possible to repair this damage not by replacing the lost gene, which is a very challenging task, but by removing additional genes."

This sounds like a horrible idea, which will in 99.9% of cases just lead to more broken sub networks..

Is this groundbreaking? (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year ago | (#44306191)


This guy basically came up with "damage mitigation" and a way to highlight a "critical path"? -essentially if something is broken to disable everything that relies on the something and carry on in limited capacity.

The model might be perfectly workable but the ambiguous "undesirable state A" etc is going to be nearly impossible to implement.

The TITANIC's weight distribution, a network? (5, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | about a year ago | (#44306201)

So if one considers the weight distribution the bulkheads in the ill-fated Titanic as a "network" perhaps it would have been possible to save her (or at least keep her afloat long enough for the Carpathia to rescue all the passengers) by further "damaging" it.

While it has been often said that she could withstand any two bulkheads being flooded, in truth she could take many more, various simulations show that she could take at least four being flooded, in various combinations. And this was with them being COMPLETELY flooded (up to the top of the bulkhead partitions); if she were on a more even keel they would only flood to the water level.

The problem of course is that the Titanic was NOT on an even keel. When the compartments, all in the front, were flooded that caused her to pitch down. The water kept rising until it went OVER the bulkhead partition, flooding the next. This caused the weight in the front to increase even more which caused her to pitch even further and ... you get the picture.

So, thinking of this like a damaged "network"; perhaps if the captain had flooded one of the far aft bulkheads (breaking the network more), the Titanic would not have pitched downward as much and the water wouldn't have overflowed the bulkheads (they were not watertight, water could go over the partitions). This might have prevented the cascading effect which led to the sinking of the world's largest ship just two and a half hours later.

Would she still have sunk if they flooded one of the aft compartments? Maybe but it might have happened much more slowly and gently (no scenes of people falling down a nearly vertical ship!). And if the downward pitch was reduced so much that the water didn't surmount the bulkheads (the partitions separating them were quite high, much higher than the normal water level), maybe she would have remained afloat!

The builder (designer?) of the boat was on her when she sank, I wonder if he considered this? Or did the thought of damaging the boat further never cross his mind?

Re:The TITANIC's weight distribution, a network? (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about a year ago | (#44306363)

Sorry I commented on this thread as I'd mod your excellent post UP -

Rearrange the deck chairs! (1)

raburton (1281780) | about a year ago | (#44306563)

Perhaps moving them all aft would have been sufficient to keep the boat balanced too !?

Re:The TITANIC's weight distribution, a network? (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#44306573)

It seems a pretty obvious and common sense statement, I don't get why it's worthy of an article.

When your network falls into a broadcast loop, how do you "fix it"? You break the network. When your website is overwhelmed and the traffic is killing your other, necessary external connections, how do you fix it? Turn your website off and let people bounce off a 404. When your car oxygen sensor is broken and won't let you run the engine properly, how do you fix it (at least in some models) - disconnect the sensor from the ECU so it falls back into "limp-home" mode.

I don't see how this is a revolutionary idea. The fact is, though, that the relevance to any particular situation is dubious. It's not an automatic, first, go-to, response. It needs you to know what you're doing, what the problem is, and WHY you think breaking more things will fix it. Do it wrong, or hastily, or without thought and you can break more than you fix - same as anything else.

Re:The TITANIC's weight distribution, a network? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44306639)

The builder (designer?) of the boat was on her when she sank, I wonder if he considered this? Or did the thought of damaging the boat further never cross his mind?

Neither. He was all qq because his beautiful fiance was banging some street yokel from steerage.

Re:The TITANIC's weight distribution, a network? (3, Informative)

slimdave (710334) | about a year ago | (#44306681)

Yes, deliberate flooding was recognised at the time as a solution for accidental flooding problems.

Taking the famous Andrea Doria collision with the Stockholm, there was an attempt to flood empty tanks on the former in order to right the list caused by flooding that followed from severe collision damage. To no avail, however.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Andrea_Doria#Assessing_damage_and_imminent_danger [wikipedia.org]

Re:The TITANIC's weight distribution, a network? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44307735)

similarly if the pilot had steered the ill-fated ship directly into the iceberg (head-on) they would have completely fucked up the forward peak tank and forecastle but at least the ship wouldn't have sunk

Re:The TITANIC's weight distribution, a network? (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#44308085)

Sorry I don't understand. Do you have a car analogy?

Re:The TITANIC's weight distribution, a network? (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | about a year ago | (#44308267)

Actually that makes sense. Purposeful strategic flooding, further breaking the Titantic, if it were possible, could have saved the Titantic long enough to evacuate the passengers on another ship because the weight of the water in the ship would have been distributed more evenly. The Titantic would have sunk anyway but probably with far fewer causalities.

Actually in World War 2 the Navy did this all of the time. If the warship was in danger of capsizing in a storm the best thing they could do is to actually flood the fuel lines with ocean water (breaking the ship a little), thereby making the ship ride lower in the storm and making the ship more resistant to capsizing by putting the center of gravity lower inside the ship.

Applicable to society? (1)

ashvagan (885082) | about a year ago | (#44306391)

So if it's true, can we apply it to every other aspect of our lives? How about applying it to a society? If there is something bad about the society, the only way to fix it is to make it worse, by taking out more goodness from the society, until it reaches a point where it's 'good' again? Who defines what's good and what's not in this case?

HULK SMASH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306397)

is now HULK FIX

Fix it so no one can fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306663)

I used to work (in telecom) with a guy who always said "If you can't fix it, then fix it so no one can fix it". Same principal I guess.

So... if I have cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306683)

So, if I have cancer, you are telling me I should get a little more cancer?

Great, I will get right on it. The more cancers, the better, they will all cancel out eventually and I will look like some vomit that has dried in through the night.
Sexy as fuck.

justified work creation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44306821)

What if the network was "broke" that way for a good reason?

Alcohol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44307313)

The researcher just discovered the reason to drink more: broken neural nets require some more breaking to work again.

Cornelius's model (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44307395)

Cornelius's model implies breaking the system down until there is only five elements left.

Clearly he's never worked IT (1)

sirwired (27582) | about a year ago | (#44307475)

If this guy had ever worked IT, he'd know that if you have a serious problem that needs to be solved NOW, and you are already dead-in-the-water, this is 100% standard practice, and something that is self-evident without the help of a mathematical model.

I used to work Enterprise-level tech-support for a large maker of computer equipment, and our first response to a customer that was complaining he was essentially out of business until his computers were back online was to request he reboot plausible sources of the problem until things started working again. (Pulling a logset first if he could spare the time and didn't want it to happen again.) Unless the problem is obvious, this is usually the fastest way to fix things unless you care about root cause.

Re:Clearly he's never worked IT (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | about a year ago | (#44307783)

"Hold on $insert C level executive here, I'm going to break more shit, trust me, it's for our own good" You're fired.

Theory vs Application. (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | about a year ago | (#44307753)

I don't see the practical application of something like this in a physical networked environment. Thinks like this may sound nice for permastudents' theses, but may or may not have a practical use without one hell of a architectural and best practices shift rather than just replacing a failed piece of equipment or rectifying a software issue and closing the ticket?

Totally read this the wrong way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44307787)

I confess, when I first read the summary, my first thought was that it was speaking to the problem where something is broken, but management won't allocate the time/money/resources to fix it.

(Misinterpreted) solution: Break it more (presumably without evidence of doing so), thus forcing the morons to authorize the repair.

But the article's actual meaning (fixing a break with an unorthodox-approach) is interesting too...

Seem familiar. (1)

Osiris Ani (230116) | about a year ago | (#44307859)

This is the same basic logic that's employed by Skynet and most other fictional rampant AI.

Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44307929)

The IT department at work does that all the time!

Don't forget this very important concept! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44308027)

The only thing worse than a failure is an unknown or inconsistent behavior.

When a general failure happens, you know about it quickly and can address and contain problem. Silent data corruption can cause much more severe and costly systemic failure further down your process chain.

IP (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44308431)

It could work. Internet is broken as US government decided that noone (at least, non-americans) deserves privacy. Now consider privacy (at least, whatever you in private) as intellectual property, then decide that noone (at least, american) deserves intellectual property, and you will find plenty of corporations forcing US to consider going back in the no privacy idea.

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44308435)

This is quite possibly the dumbest thing I've heard.

a horse is a horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44308529)

isn't a broken network actually NOT a network anymore? so by "breaking" something that is not a network might turn it into a network?
i'm gonna go "break" some bricks into a new wall now ...

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