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US/Canada Power Outage Task Force Event Timeline

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the alone-in-the-dark dept.

United States 303

bofus writes "The U.S./Canada Power Outage Task Force issued the Aug. 14, 2003 Sequence of Events at noon today. While no conclusions are drawn at this point, it does paint a pretty good picture of what happened and when it happened."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

1st event... (-1)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947372)

...forgot to pay $699 licensing fee.

text version (aka karma whoring) (5, Informative)

glassesmonkey (684291) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947373)

12:05:44 - 1:31:34 PM - Four Generator trips

2:02:00 - 2:02:00 PM - Transmission line disconnects in southwestern Ohio

3:05:41 - 3:41:33 PM - Transmission lines disconnect between eastern Ohio and northern Ohio

3:45:33 - 4:08:58 PM - Remaining transmission lines disconnect from eastern into northern Ohio

4:08:58 - 4:10:27 PM - Transmission lines into northwestern Ohio disconnect, and generation trips in central Michigan

4:10:00 - 4:10:38 PM - Transmission lines disconnect across Michigan and northern Ohio, generation trips off line in northern Michigan and northern Ohio, and northern Ohio separates from Pennsylvania

4:10:40 - 4:10:44 PM - Four transmission lines disconnect between Pennsylvania and New York

4:10:41 - 4:10:41 PM - Transmission line disconnects and generation trips in northern Ohio

4:10:42 - 4:10:45 PM - Transmission paths disconnect in northern Ontario and New Jersey, isolating the northeast portion of the Eastern Interconnection

4:10:46 - 4:10:55 PM - New York splits east-to-west. New England (except Southwestern Connecticut) and the Maritimes separate from New York and remain intact.

4:10:50 - 4:11:57 PM - Ontario separates from New York west of Niagara Falls and west of St. Lawrence. Southwestern Connecticut separates from New York and blacks out.

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (5, Funny)

K_J_Raine (622906) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947428)

Ah, so the Canadians weren't responsible for the blackout... as the nice mayor of New York originally contended.
Think he must have watched a bit too much South Park!

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (1)

Dr.Zong (584494) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947482)

Yes. Mr. Bloomberg was very quick to point fingers, but it was fairly certain within 12 hours - exactly what happened where first, this is just a nail in the coffin.

It's nice to know that people in political power down there seem to think we're the devil or something. Makes me feel special :-)

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (5, Funny)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947749)

It's not just us. The English used to have a saying: "Poor Canada: so far from God, so close to the United States."

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (1)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947775)

just be careful, my friend! there's already been a war for oil this term...

let's hope there isn't one for electricity too!

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (-1, Troll)

CoffeeCrusader (660043) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947783)

hey you know exactly one can't trust people who pack up with the French (Quebec). Anybody who doesn't throw out them Frenchies deserves to be fried because he is a possible Terrorist.

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (5, Funny)

connsmythe96 (576445) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947442)

You left out:
Friday September 12, @03:58PM: Server goes down due to unusually high traffic.

The last entry: (4, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947445)

5:08 PM - U.S./Canada Power Outage Task Force web server goes out.

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (1, Redundant)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947460)

9/12/2003 5:05:04 PM EST - 9/12/2003 9:03:04 PM server hosting timeline seperates from rest of internet.

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947804)

9/12/2003 5:10:05 PM EST all the posts about the server getting /.ed except the first one are modded redundant.

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (-1, Offtopic)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947538)

7:10:23 - 7:50:14 PM - CmdrTaco gets up off the john, horrified because the bathroom fan still isn't on.

It's funny because it rhymes, and it's about CmdrTaco pooping.

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (1)

clckwrkMalChick (592449) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947547)

4:11:57 PM - 9:00:00AM - Entire city of Manhattan gets drunk.

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947611)

4:58:00 PM Slashdot publishes an article on the US/Canada Power Outage Task Force Event Timeline

4:58:02 PM Slashdot luser glassesmonkey, a member of the tiny community of Slashdot readers who unexplicably pay to read it, decide to justify his investment and make karma

4:58:08 PM glassesmonkey remembers he has nothing worth anything to say, so he decides to repost the original article on Slashdot instead

4:58:25 PM glassesmonkey remembers karma whores are usually considered a pain in the ass, and elects to post as anonymous

4:58:26 PM glassesmonkey remembers posting as an AC will not earn him karma points

4:58:33 PM glassesmonkey decides to add "(aka karma whoring)" in the title of his post, to show that he's fully aware he's just a dumb reposter, but that he reckons the article is worth reposting

4:58:45 PM glassesmonkey adds some html tags in the original article to show he's not just a dumb reposter, hoping to gaim more karma points

4:58:45 PM glassesmonkey hits the post button

4:59:33 PM First idiot moderator mods glassesemonkey +1: Informative

4:59:34 PM Second idiot moderator mods glassesemonkey +1: Informative

4:59:35 PM Third idiot moderator mods glassesemonkey +1: Informative

5:01:23 PM glassesmonkey is very pleased with himself, having been modded thrice +1: Informative despite having provided exactly zero added value to the Slashdot article

5:03:00 - ... PM thousands of Slashdot readers with more sense than aforementioned moderators wish they had mod points to bitchslap glassesmonkey's post down to the -1: Redundant it deserves

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947629)

8:58 PM - 4:13 AM - U.S./Canada conception rate soars to all time high.

Excuse me, kind sir.... (-1)

News For Turds (580751) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947670)

Please put my balls in your mouth. Thank you for your support. Love Always, News For Turds

Re:text version (aka karma whoring) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947692)

You left out:

12:05:44 - 1:30:02 PM - BSOD

First Energy the real problem (2, Funny)

glassesmonkey (684291) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947716)

First Energy gets informal SEC request for data
Fri September 12, 2003 08:17 AM ET
WASHINGTON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Ohio utility First Energy Corp. FE.N on Friday said the Securities and Exchange Commission had sent it a voluntary, informal request for data regarding its recent 2002 financial restatements. "First Energy intends to fully comply with the request and does not anticipate any adverse consequences," the Akron, Ohio, company said in an SEC filing.

The SEC request was made on Thursday, First Energy said, when the Ohio utility revised three regulatory filings, citing tens of millions of dollars in "typographical and minor computational errors."

The company's transmission lines have been cited as a possible source of the massive Aug. 14 blackouts.

Oh yeah, these guys run a nUUclear powerplant that um.. is like a college landlord of mine. Cheap and dirty as possible.

Are you down? (-1, Troll)

Znonymous Coward (615009) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947377)

with the GNAA killaz?

Re:Are you down? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947464)

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Oh the humanity (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947379)

I just heard some sad news on NPR - Pope John Paul was found dead in his Vatican home this afternoon. Apparently, he was in the garage and fell off a ladder trying to retrieve some vintage Jack Tripper outfits to reinact the Three's Company scene where Jack's balls fell out of his shorts. Scary. Who hasn't done the exact same thing on countless occassions? I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular religion. Truly a Catholic icon. A Johnny Cash/Warren Zevon/Barry White tribute album is planned. Stay tuned for details.

No white smoke for you! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947612)

We're watching the Pope. He's in Slovakia [google.com] .

God I miss the 80's, new pope and Soviet premiers every time you freakin' turned around. The pagentry!

Relevant? (-1, Offtopic)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947385)

Though this is entertaining to read, is it News for nerds, stuff that matters?

Oh yeah, FP!

GNAA Wants You! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947388)

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BASH is on to your antics! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947498)

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SLASHDOT MYTH #4 VS. REALITY (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947393)

MYTH #4: "If you're truly working on something high-tech, today's high-tech, you'll never have to worry about your job moving."

Per nasscom.org, "A recent study on the biotech market by business intelligence firm, Ernst & Young, has shown that India has the potential to become a leading hub [216.239.39.104] of biotech projects. Indian companies have the capability to enter segments such as manufacturing biogenerics, contract research services, clinical trials and even areas such as bio-informatics.

It's not the end of the world (3, Funny)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947395)

A taskforce to survive power outages.... Lets show the world that we are stronger than ice-cream.

Re:It's not the end of the world (2, Insightful)

edrugtrader (442064) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947645)

its not funny to bite other comedians... namely lewis black.

get a life.

Actual timeline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947678)

1. Power companies build infrastructure
2. Government regulations increase
3. Power company stops building infrastructure
4. Power outtage

Future events
5. Regulations relaxed
6. Power grid infrastructure increased

Re:Actual timeline (1)

fpp (614761) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947829)

Huh? In a deregulated market, the power companies STOP building infrastructure, because it costs them huge amounts of money that they no longer have. With increased competition comes cost cutting, and the first thing usually to go is the building of more infrastructure.

I CAN'T READ IT. MY SCREEN IS ALL BLACK. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947396)

n/t

Re:I CAN'T READ IT. MY SCREEN IS ALL BLACK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947662)

you insensitive clod... I don't even have a screen!

poo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947401)

all your grids are belong to us.

SCO/LUNIX IS ON TEH SPOKE!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947406)

hooo-aahh

The blame game (5, Interesting)

trolman (648780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947409)

The really bizarre part that has not been explained is that the frequency [meinberg.de] deviated. I saw frequency deviation alarms on my equipment (ups and pdus) on the data center floor in NY, NJ, and CT and this is the first time in my 20 years that this has happened. A glaring ommission is is that PJM [pjm.com] stayed up as an entity. Kudos to PJM.

The blame will be put onderegulation and lack of government oversight.

Re:The blame game (2, Interesting)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947439)

Well, what exactly causes frequency deviation? I'm not terribly familiar with it, and I can only imagine that there are a few things associated with it?

Re:The blame game (0)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947693)

I'm not exactly sure what could cause it on a large scale. If a generator goes off sync, it's basically going to be a dead short wherever the voltages don't sync with the line voltage.

The only thing I can think of is if a generation station had all it's transmission lines tripped off, and was basically an island in the grid. Then if they somehow lost speed control momentarily....

I don't know, it seems like a very unlikely situation.

Maybe his frequency monitoring equipment is very sensitive to deviations, and when the plants were resyncing to rejoin the grid, they drifted their frequency for a while to get into phase.

Re:The blame game (5, Informative)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947699)

If they're using AC generators (which I suspect provides most of the power - they're used in coal, nuclear, and hydro plants, but not solar, and not newer high-voltage DC transmission lines), then the frequency output is related to the spin of the shaft. Two things control the speed of the shaft - power in (water pressure) and power out (load demand from the grid), and a control system tries to keep the frequency a constant 60 Hz.

The trick is that the control system can only react so fast - suddenly disconnect an entire town, and the load drops, causing the power in to spin the generator too fast. If the control system overcorrects, then you'll get too low of a frequency. If a far-away generator drops out and you've got to supply more current to your local region, then the demand has gone up, slowing the frequency.

If you've been around generators, you can hear this exact phenonemoa - if the load changes suddenly, the motor will hunker down a little and then catch back up to normal speed. Usually a flywheel can damp out extremely short transients, but it would be prohibitively big if it were sized to handle transients as large as the control system (throttle) will allow.

Re:The blame game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947755)

thx a lot man for that post.

Re:The blame game (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947709)

The frequency changed as generators tried to cope with overloads. In general, the only way to increase a generator's power output is to make it rotate faster- i.e. increase the frequency. Normally this happens on a very slow scale (generally variations of +/- 200ppm excursions over the course of day, with an average of 10pmm or so during the same period to keep clocks accurate). Obviously this is somewhat coordinated among different generation plants, since they need to be more or less in sync.

Anyway, severe load changes are likely to cause severe frequency changes, severe being +/- 10000 ppm or more. Naturally, this isn't helpful, and weird low-frequency feedback effects can happen as generators in different areas try to react to each other, and to the radically changing loads.

Re:The blame game (4, Funny)

4of12 (97621) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947727)


what exactly causes frequency deviation? I'm not terribly familiar with it

Glad you asked.

It's a highly technical term that refers to the frequency of the AC sine wave of electric power that is delivered over your lines.

This frequency is related to the 60 Hz rate of revolution maintained by most generators.

Occassionally, something will happen to upset this steady rate of revolution of the generators.

In particular, Homer, a donut that falls into the space between the stator and armature will cause this problem.

Lubrication from jelly-filling in the donut can help stave off the inevitable disaster of frequency deviation, but it is simply an old-wive's tale to believe that pouring coffee into the space will ungunk the works in time.

Re:The blame game (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947763)

My guess is that the dropping of load in such a short timeframe allowed the generators to spin up faster than the regulating systems reduced power to the generator. This would drive the frequency on the line up. Then, very quickly, the generator safeguards realize that the load of power they are generating no longer has anywhere to go and does and emergency shutdown to keep from entirely destroying the generator.

Re:The blame game (2, Interesting)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947830)

You can try this for yourself. Get a little bitty electric motor. DC will work fine. An electric is basically the same as a generator, and if you turn the motor, it will generate an electric current.

Spin the thing by hand and see how easy it is to turn. Pretty easy. Now, short out the connections to the motor and you will find that it's considerably harder to turn it. There's some resistance to the turning there.

When you shorted out the leads on the motor (which is operating as a generator), you've increased the load on the generator from nothing to something very large. And, as that load increases, the generator gets harder to turn.

Since the frequency of AC power coming out of a generator is set by the speed at which the generator rotates, it's simple to see that if the load makes the generator harder to turn, it will slow down because of that load. That makes the frequency of the AC coming out go down.

Re:The blame game (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947744)

That was most likely a sign of power grid problems. Fluctuations in frequency are caused when generators get out of sync with each other and the grid. That's pretty much what caused those lines to trip and the generators to disconnect. When you have en masse transmission line tripping, you will see power spikes and frequency fluctuation.

The important thing in the investigation is the root cause of it and the reason why one problem caused a domino effect.

Underfrequency Relaying (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947792)

Finally someone gets to the heart of the matter. As someone who works in the power industry, and knows about UFR's, I can say that they do clear the lines quite quickly in an event. :)

"A place I worked" went dark a few years ago in a similar event. A large generator's main breaker tripped, system went unstable and underfrequency, and UFR's (which are set in multiple stages) cleared the lines. Took 8 hours to recover the 2000 MW that were lost (light load).

It's all part of standard protection equipment doing its job. You see 59 Hz? Open the breakers! 58 Hz? Open more breakers! 0 Hertz? Uh oh, here come the guys in suits...

you completely inhale the shit out of goatse's ass (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947417)

It has come to my attention that you completely inhale the shit out of goatse's ass. Read on for more about this fascinating topic.

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John Ritter dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947430)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio, sci-fi/horror writer John Ritter was found dead in his Maine home today. There wern't any more details. Even if you didn't like his work you can't deny his contributions to popular culture, truly an american icon.

Link 1 [cnn.com]
Link 2 [goatse.cx]

Details slowly emerge: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947447)


Apparently, he was in the garage and fell off a ladder trying to get out his old Jack Tripper outfits to reinact the Three's Company scene where his balls fell out of his shorts.

Re:Details slowly emerge: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947726)

No, the DEA targetted him because he had information that could have exonerated Tommy Chong.

Future Prevention (3, Interesting)

LamerX (164968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947432)

Hopefully this is something that they can actually use to learn from. Seems to me that they should put safeguards in between each one of these events. Because if just ONE of these events could have been stopped, it would have stopped the whole east coast from losing power.

Re:Future Prevention (2, Funny)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947475)

here is the solution:

Build more power plants!!!!

Re:Future Prevention (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947824)

The trick is to build the power plants in the same area that the load is located in. This reduces the amount of power that must be imported or exported from any given area. Unfortunately, some people and politicians prefer to have the generating capacity, and its associated pollution, somewhere else (see NIMBY).

Re:Future Prevention (2, Interesting)

CoffeeCrusader (660043) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947508)

yeah, but that would have meant, that the power providers had to provide money too. All of this could have been prevented with a bit more modern equipment. And modern equipment is expensive. In a deregulated market the power companies don't have the money to buy it. (well, usually) And to refer to a point made a bit further up: yes, this stuff matters, because there are people who care about what the masters of the power are doing. Because i like my screen to have another color than a forced black. Thus I like power. And I want to know why people cut me off of my power.

Do the Right Thing (0)

leishen (558833) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947512)

So I wonder if this whole thing will finally give people who "just want it done" the concept that getting it done "right" is really worthwhile.

Except MS, of course. They'll make the way they do it the right way. Sorry, had to throw that in. I've been fighting with MS products all week and I'm kind of sick of them and glad the week is over.

Re:Future Prevention (1)

Aczlan (636310) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947537)

Point of information: The whole east coast DID NOT lose power. Only the northeastern united states did

Re:Future Prevention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947793)

This was classic Domino Effect...

You _want_ the alternate paths to trip instead of dealing with melting transmission lines. Circuit breakers are better than pennies in your fuse box.

The (transmission) system worked as designed. The east coast needs more sooty power plants near the load.

IANAPE

Hey they forgot... (0, Funny)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947440)

... 5pm EST, Sept 12, 2003, the website goes down for some reason...

Sad news ... John Ritter dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947444)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Actor John Ritter was found dead in his LA home this morning. Apparently, he was in the garage and fell off a ladder trying to get out his old Jack Tripper outfits to reinact the Three's Company scene where his balls fell out of his shorts. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Timeline (1, Funny)

Prince Cyph0r (679537) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947472)

"12:05:44 - 1:31:34 PM - Four Generator trips

2:02:00 - 2:02:00 PM - Transmission line disconnects in southwestern Ohio

3:05:41 - 3:41:33 PM - Transmission lines disconnect between eastern Ohio and northern Ohio

3:45:33 - 4:08:58 PM - Remaining transmission lines disconnect from eastern into northern Ohio

4:08:58 - 4:10:27 PM - Transmission lines into northwestern Ohio disconnect, and generation trips in central Michigan

4:10:00 - 4:10:38 PM - Transmission lines disconnect across Michigan and northern Ohio, generation trips off line in northern Michigan and northern Ohio, and northern Ohio separates from Pennsylvania

4:10:40 - 4:10:44 PM - Four transmission lines disconnect between Pennsylvania and New York

4:10:41 - 4:10:41 PM - Transmission line disconnects and generation trips in northern Ohio

4:10:42 - 4:10:45 PM - Transmission paths disconnect in northern Ontario and New Jersey, isolating the northeast portion of the Eastern Interconnection

4:10:46 - 4:10:55 PM - New York splits east-to-west. New England (except Southwestern Connecticut) and the Maritimes separate from New York and remain intact.

4:10:50 - 4:11:57 PM - Ontario separates from New York west of Niagara Falls and west of St. Lawrence. Southwestern Connecticut separates from New York and blacks out.
"

4:12:30 PM - ??? - Millions of random people from the northeast US yelling "OH SHIT!!!"

the timeline... (5, Funny)

fuckfuck101 (699067) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947485)


12.04 - power on
14.11 - power off

Obligatory Line (0, Offtopic)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947497)

5:00:00 - Profit!!!

Re:Obligatory Line (1)

KentoNET (465732) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947683)

Don't forget these:

5:24PM - In Soviet Russia, electricity uses up YOU

and

5:24PM - All your electrons are belong to us...

MSBlaster.exe (5, Interesting)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947535)

Has anyone followed up or concluded anything regarding the possibility of the power grid's SCADA systems (which habitually run a stripped down Win2K) getting nailed by the Blaster worm? The timing is right, and there are a number of indications thereof:
See:

this [pbs.org] or
this [automationtechies.com] or
this. [heise.de]

Re:MSBlaster.exe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947641)

"the power grid's SCADA systems (which habitually run a stripped down Win2K) "

Isn't that TREASON ?!!!!

Re:MSBlaster.exe (5, Insightful)

insecuritiez (606865) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947702)

A lot of people suspect that. I personally think it's the best explanation. However, even if Blaster caused the outage and every "expert" at the plant knew it, it would NEVER be published that way. That would open up a whole new can of worms in the public eye. A security and publicity nightmare. No, if Blaster caused anything that issue will be quietly swept under the rug. Maybe Microsoft will suddenly not get a contract with the power generators anymore, but that's as far as we'll ever hear of it.

Re:MSBlaster.exe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947765)

Does correlate with a slight lag ... check the graphs:
http://isc.sans.org/port_details.html?por t=135

Re:MSBlaster.exe (2, Interesting)

00420 (706558) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947791)

The best part is they decided it wasn't the Blaster worm before they even started the investigation.

Re:MSBlaster.exe (4, Interesting)

gregmac (629064) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947803)

Has anyone followed up or concluded anything regarding the possibility of the power grid's SCADA systems (which habitually run a stripped down Win2K)

I've still never understood this. I think most systems are actually based on NT, but maybe they are migrating to 2k now. Either way, the fact that these automation systems are based on a system like windows is very strange to me. OPC (the protocol used to communicate between sensors and databases) is based on DDE (or OLE), which seems so incredibly strange to me.

I've been developing a linux-based SCADA system. I took a look at quite a few systems, and I just didn't feel comfortable running any of them for a number of reasons. Stability and security being two major issues. Another was cost - these are being deployed in small installations, mostly for remote monitoring, which wouldn't typically have a SCADA system due to the cost. Between a mixture of existing open source software, some nice hardware, and in-house development (mostly me), the system has cost us about $20k to develop, which is less than it would cost to licence most software per site.

Anyways, that was a bit OT, but the point is, very early on we decided that deploying on windows would be a pain. These are all remote installations, with no one on site that can service them. If something goes down, I want to be able to remotely fix it as much as possible. I just don't feel comfortable deploying a remote windows system and relying on it to stay running, not to mention the fact that people's health could be affected (water treatment). To me, windows is not the proper platform to be using for this situation.

Re:MSBlaster.exe (2, Insightful)

Nucleon500 (628631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947834)

Well, there isn't much evidence, but would there be? That's the type of thing that gets covered up. (Notice how the media is careful to call msblaster.exe blaster, stripping the ms?) Yeah, my guess is someone brought an infected laptop onto the SCADA net. What would happen?

The systems are designed to run without monitoring. However, without human intervention, the systems aren't very good at staying up in exceptional circumstances. My guess is a computer failure made the grid much more vulnerable, to the extent where something routine brought it down.

Something else to add: a while ago in Ohio, a nucler power plant had its control systems down [securityfocus.com] for a while as a result of msblaster.exe. Thankfully, the plant was off anyway, but it shows that sysadmins are just as bad in power infrastructure as they are in the rest of the commercial sector.

Curious (0, Flamebait)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947559)

Anyone know the time that idiot Bloomberg tried to blame the whole thing on Canada?

moron smoke&mirrors, deep voodoo & chicken (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947564)

feathers.

get ready to see the light generated by the unlimited power supply, that will never fail/become cost prohibitive/be subject to unprecedented evile's bullshipping industIEs.

we're building a vessel that floats on almost any suBStance.

as to the newclear power/planet/population rescue initiative:

it's all free (as in survival), & available immediately to you/all of US.

as you can maybe already see, yOUR survival/success is not the least bit dependent on the gadgets/combinations of the greed/fear based corepirate nazis, & their phonIE ?pr? ?firm? buyassed /.puppets.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator. more breathing. vote with yOUR wallet (somtimes that means not buying anything, a notion previously unmentioned buy the greed/fear/war mongers). seek others of non-aggressive/positive behaviours/intentions. stop wasting anything/being frivolous. that's the spirit.

investigate the newclear power plan. J. Public et AL has yet to become involved in open/honest 'net communications/commerce in a meaningful way. that's mostly due to the MiSinformation suppLIEd buy phonIE ?pr? ?firm?/stock markup FraUD execrable, etc...

truth is, there's no better/more affordable/effective way that we know of, for J. to reach other J.'s &/or their respective markets.

the overbullowned greed/fear based phonIE marketeers are self eliminating by their owned greed/fear/ego based evile MiSintentions. they must deny the existence of the power that is dissolving their ability to continue their self-centered evile behaviours.

as the lights continue to come up, you'll see what we mean. meanwhile, there are plenty of challenges, not the least of which is the planet/population rescue (from the corepirate nazi/walking dead contingent) initiative.

EVERYTHING is going to change, despite the lameNT of the evile wons. you can bet your .asp on that. when the lights come up, there'll be no going back, & no where to hide.

we weren't planted here to facilitate/perpetuate the excesses of a handful of Godless felons. you already know that? yOUR ONLY purpose here is to help one another. any other pretense is totally false.

pay attention (to yOUR environment, for example). that's quite affordable, & leads to insights on preserving life as it should/could/will be again. everything's ALL about yOUR motives.

take care, we're here for you.

Re:moron smoke&mirrors, deep voodoo & chic (1)

chiph (523845) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947717)

Moderation: +1 Unintelligible Rant

Bloomberg (5, Interesting)

oZZoZZ (627043) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947577)

Mayor of NYC decided to publicly blame Canada for this before any facts surfaced.. while Lastman, the mayor of Toronto said something along the lines of "Do you expect the US to take blame for anything?", after *some* facts surfaced
Neither responses were politically acceptable, however the media coverage of the blame game seemed to evaporate as soon as it was clear that it wasn't Canada's fault.
I found that more than a little interesting.

WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947624)

This is CNN

This is Fox News

Re:Bloomberg (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947656)

Both are generally regarded as idiots, anyway, and there were plenty of more pressing practical problems to be dealt with.

Getting ticketed for sitting on a curb sucks, but at least it beats getting SARS...

Re:Bloomberg (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947666)

Blame Canada!

Blame Canada!
Shame on Canada!

The smut we must stop
The trash we must smash
Laughter and fun
must all be undone
We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before someone thinks of blaming us!

Matt and Trey -- America's Imported Wisdom

Slashdotted? (1)

packethead (322873) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947596)

Or maybe it's another power outage.

Late Night "Wacko" Talk Radio (5, Interesting)

GSpot (134221) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947614)

A couple of days after the blackout, I was staying up late and unfortunatley listed to some late night radio. Two different kooks were speculating on the cause of the blackout. One was positive that the Federal government was testing out some "advanced" weapon and the other freak was convinced that the culprit was the power companies looking for an edge to justify raising rates to build more infrastructure.

just my .02$

Re:Late Night "Wacko" Talk Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947777)

The guy I heard blamed it on the Trilateral Commission. He also attached some significance to the fact that 4:11 in the Eastern Time Zone was 9:11 GMT.

Draft Wesley Clark for President (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947621)

This guy, a West Point graduate(1st in class), a Rhodes Scholar in economics, politics and philosophy. he is also a Vietnam Vet and 4-star general and former NATO commander.

It would be stupid not to get him in.

http://www.draftclark2004.com/biography.asp

Re:Draft Wesley Clark for President (-1, Offtopic)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947711)

Yet Another War Nut

From Department of Energy Secretary: +1, Patriotic (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947626)

"It won't happen again".

That was a reassuring comment in the stream of
idiotic statements emanating from The Stacked Deck [whitehouse.org]

Thanks for nothing,
W00t

What they *are* confident of... (5, Funny)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947634)

"We're can't say for certain what happened and when, but we can say with almost 90% certainty that when the power went out, people went without power. We think it might be related to some electrical do-hickey thingy that someone was supposed to be watching carefully in case it broke, but we're not confident enough to make that bold a statement... nor to claim that anything actually 'broke'.

"But what we *can* say is that we feel strongly that we feel something different should have happened. An appropriate amount of blame will be laid... oh yes... and we'll make the bad people pay."

Stuff that matters? (0, Offtopic)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947650)

This is stuff that matters. [cnn.com]

You guys wanna talk about dual use? Tommy Chong is off to the slammer for 9 months for selling pipes. Not drugs, but pipes.

choice quote:
He admitted once having "a drug problem with marijuana" but said he beat it by redirecting his energy to salsa dancing.

Fuckin lame war on drugs. Yeah, Cheech and Chong are dangerous lunatics and definately need to be taking up cell space.

Re:Stuff that matters? (0, Offtopic)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947719)

While it most certainly sucks Chong got busted, it has nothing to do with the technical nature of slashdot. That's something you find on fark.com. Also, if he wouldn't have geared his marketing gimmicks towards indicating these devices were to be used for marijuana, he wouldn't be in the mess he is in now. All it would have taken was a "For tobacco use only" disclaimer and he could have joined the hundreds of legal water pipe dealers.

Aside from that, the measure of the sentence is ridiculous, apart from the idiocy of anti marijuana laws in the first place.

Duh?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947769)

slammer for 9 months for selling pipes. Not drugs, but pipes.

Selling bongs, not pipes, is against the law.

He admitted once having "a drug problem with marijuana" but said he beat it by redirecting his energy to salsa dancing.

So what was the pound of dope, that was found in his home, for? Medicinal purposes?

I know what really happened... (2, Funny)

Stingr (701739) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947651)

"it does paint a pretty good picture of what happened and when it happened."

4:10:50 - 4:11:57 PM
Technician 1: "Hey I wonder what this big red button does?" {Click}

Technician 2: "NOOOOOO!!!!"

Canada To US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947671)

Canada say to You Ess:

aLL yOUR pOWER aRE bELONG tO uS!!!

Imagine if... (1)

ajiva (156759) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947675)

Imagine if someone *really* wanted to cause problems. They could attack a number of our power generators (say 10-15), cause them to go down. Now you have this nice cascading effect where all of the power plants in the US go down. We're left in the dark. *SHUDDERS*

Re:Imagine if... (3, Insightful)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947796)


I'm all for it.

I have a propane camping stove, plenty of propane, and plenty of canned food around. The servers I'm responsible for will stay running, the data center has its own generators, but our office will be dead.

That means I'd get to sit at home and play Monopoly all day. If I get bored of that, there are about a hundred things I can do for fun that don't require a bit of electricity.

Shoot, it would probably even be beneficial to people in my neighborhood. I'll bet that the park down the street from me would be teeming with people outside, enjoying wholesome activities and human interaction.

Instead of neighbors walking around the block looking for code violations to report to the city, they'd probably be actually interacting with each other, maybe even solving their problems without running to a baby-sitting city government!

I'm sure there would be consequences. Analysts would talk about how many hundreds of trillions of dollars were lost, but in the end, we'd all go back to work, take care of the stuff that didn't get done, and we'd have had a good time while it lasted.

Now, if the power outtage also included me being somewhere like the island of Manhatten or on a subway when it hit, that might be a bit less enjoyable, but unbeknownst to New Yorkers and Californians, the rest of the country works a whole lot differently than they do.

steve

Draft Wesley Clark for President (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947680)

This guy is a West Point graduate(1st in class) and a Rhodes Scholar in economics, politics and philosophy. He is also a Vietnam Vet and 4-star general and former NATO commander.

It would be stupid not to get him in.

http://www.draftclark2004.com/biography.asp

Re:Draft Wesley Clark for President (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947788)

This guy has apparently been educated way beyond his intelligence.

It would be stupid to get him in.

http://www.fuckclark2004.com/biography.ass

I'll remind you of this until either Clark goes away or the election is over. This is a man who doesn't know the difference between Marx' "Communist Manifesto" and the U.S. Constitution. He says that "America was founded on the principal of progressive taxation." He's wrong. Communism, not America, was founded on the principle of progressive taxation. It's right there in the Communist Manifesto. A progressive income tax was not permitted under the U.S. Constitution. It didn't happen until politicians managed to talk American myrmidons into approving an amendment allowing it. Wesley Clark needs a crash course in the history and formation of the country he wants to lead. ~ Neal Boortz ~ boortz.com

Timeline of today's slashdotting... (2, Funny)

Ikeya (7401) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947706)

12:05:44 - 1:31:34 PM - energy.gov publishes timeline

2:02:00 - 4:50 PM - Business as usual. Interested parties are viewing the published timeline.

04:58:00PM - Existence of timeline is revealed to slashdot.org

05:00:03PM - energy.gov? what's that?

I wonder if it's bad when we slashdot effect gov't sites...

What really happened (0, Funny)

segment (695309) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947708)


12:05:44 - 1:31:34 PM - script kiddiot downloads SoBig source code and opens up a jolt

2:02:00 - 2:02:00 PM - sciprt kiddiot gets frustrated cuz he cant gcc -o sobig sobig.c "Fuck how do I do this shit" drinks more jolt

3:05:41 - 3:41:33 PM -sends message to securityfocus.com `echo "3y3 j4m th3 k1ng 0f th3 w0rld"|mail -s help security-basics@securityfocus.com

3:45:33 - 4:08:58 PM - script kiddiot finds out he can't gcc a damn virus so he jumps on his leet Windows98 machine

4:08:58 - 4:10:27 PM - virus makes its way through insecure machines on the internet

4:10:00 - 4:10:38 PM - script kiddiot jerks off to jenna jameson while looking at news on television

4:10:40 - 4:10:44 PM - power goes *boom*

4:10:41 - 4:10:41 PM - script kiddiot wonders why he can no longer watch porn

4:10:42 - 4:10:45 PM - script kiddiot jumps off the bed gets dressed because mom is knocking on the door

4:10:46 - 4:10:55 PM - mom "I wonder what happened to the power"

4:10:50 - 4:11:57 PM - drinks another jolt

Re:What really happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947823)

script kiddiot jerks off to jenna jameson

Well, if you're gonna do it, that's as good of way as any!

New Task Force appointed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6947718)

New Task Force appointed Monday, Sept. 15, 2003 to investigate web server outage beginning on Friday, Sept. 12, 2003.

Disturbances Before Outage Itself (4, Interesting)

shoemakc (448730) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947760)


Did anyone else notice a strobing effect in their fluorescent lighting in those 20-30 seconds before the full power outage? My understanding is that any sort of arc lamp (fluorescent, metal halide) will extinguish if the voltage sags beyond a certain point, so I doubt it could have been a voltage sag before the full blackout.

It almost seemed as if the power frequency itself had gone unstable...say from a nominal 60Hz to like 5Hz. Then again, with the modern electronic ballasts used today, who knows how they respond to a voltage sag. Maybe they strobe. Any one have any thoughts on this?

-Chris

So who the hell... (0, Offtopic)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6947811)


...declared this to be an "SCO Nonsense Free Friday"?

Stumped, I am!

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