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Bird Flu Pandemic Could Choke the Net

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the edge-cannot-hold dept.

The Internet 364

PetManimal writes "If a pandemic were to occur, many companies and organizations would ask their staffs to work from home. The impact of millions of additional people using the Internet from home might require individuals and companies to voluntarily restrain themselves from surfing to high-bandwidth sites, such as YouTube. If people didn't comply, the government might step in and limit Net usage. The scenario is not far-fetched: last year at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, a group of telecom and government officials conducted a pandemic exercise based on a hypothetical breakout of bird flu in central Europe. The results weren't pretty." From the latter article: "'We assumed total absentees of 30% to 60% trying to work from home, which would have overwhelmed the Internet,' said [one] participant. 'We did not assume that the backbone would be gone, but that the edge of the network... would be overwhelmed... The conclusion [of imminent collapse] was not absolute, and the situation was not digitally simulated, but the idea of everyone working from home appears untenable,' [he] said."

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And a butterfly could cause a hurricane (5, Insightful)

pifactorial (1000403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994512)

Seriously, I think we need a "speculation" tag...

Yeah, yeah, yeah (2)

Reikk (534266) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994670)

If "ifs" and "buts" were candies and nuts everyday would be Christmas. Pointless.

Re:And a butterfly could cause a hurricane (4, Insightful)

Instine (963303) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994746)

And has this reporter ever heard of WEEKENDS!?... Not Speculation - Just plain silly.

Re:And a butterfly could cause a hurricane (3, Insightful)

neaorin (982388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994752)

Or an "everybodypanic" tag.

Re:And a butterfly could cause a hurricane (2, Informative)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994902)

Haven't you heard of the the butterfly effect [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:And a butterfly could cause a hurricane (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994940)

It's worse than speculation. It's just a brazen attempt from the telcos to get people to invest in more telco infrastructure.

FIrst post (5, Funny)

killa62 (828317) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994516)

no wonder i got it, everyone else's net is choked

Re:FIrst post (0, Offtopic)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994938)

Oh no! If the net gets choked, what will we choke our chickens to? We must act now, choke all the chickens, stop the bird flu and protect our porn supply for a happy chicken choking future!

Re:FIrst post (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995068)

As any geek should know, it's standard operating procedure to have an offline hardcopy backup. Just make sure it isn't where your mom will find it.

Bah! (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994518)

I thought it was a serious exercise, but perusing the second article:

...war game, held in January in Davos, Switzerland, by the World Economic Forum and management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
[emp mine] Double bah!

A bunch of telco management consultants, playing a "war game" (yeesh) to drum up business (Oh wow, lets recommend investments in Telco infrastructure!)

In fact, the second page of the second article even states the obvious:

"You can see the Internet as a self-regulating supply-and-demand mechanism," Froutan said. "The more people use it, the slower it gets, so the less people use it. If 10,000 people go to a site that normally supports 100 users, 9,000 will give up, while the other thousand will get very slow connectivity but will keep going until they get the job done."
Better to bury it on the second page hey? Might spoil the sensationalist headlines a little.

What the hell is this doing in slashdot's science section?

Re:Bah! (4, Insightful)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995056)

"War Games" can be very serious exercises indeed - e.g. the US carried out a number of War Games in 1999 called Desert Crossing [gwu.edu] to simulate the invasion of Iraq.

Note also that the current US Director of National Intelligence, John McConnell, was previously Senior Vice President with Booz Allen Hamilton. They aren't just telco management consultants, they're government management consultants (this doesn't mean they're not bozos, but it does mean that if they are bozos, they're very dangerous bozos)

Why (1, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994524)

Why would people work from home because of bird flu? This is the most ridiculous piece of tabloid style nonsense I've seen on Slashdot for some time.

Re:Why (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994586)

Which fits right in with the general level of herd-like instinct people have been showing lately. "Oh no! Blinking signs in Boston! Panic! Stampede! Litigate!"

It doesn't take much for a gullible segment of humanity to over-react to a news story.

Re:Why (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17994588)

Maybe because of likely recommended or enforced government quarantines or other advice for people to avoid unnecessary contact with each other in an attempt to try to stop or slow the spread of the disease, which will be airborne and spread at places where people congregate?

Just a guess.

Re:Why (5, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994592)

because most epidemics are spread via work places and public area's.

Re:Why (5, Funny)

Bronster (13157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994852)

Indeed, you probably picked up apostrophiti's there.

Re:Why (4, Informative)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994620)

I'm not sure what you mean by that. Working from home is perfectly sensible in case of an epidemic, although I'd be inclined to ditch work altogether ;) . One of the first things to do is close all the schools so kids don't share their germs around. Non-essential businesses are the next to go.

Re:Why (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994724)

I don't know about you, but I sure as hell don't want to contract a disease with a 60% mortality rate [wikipedia.org] , where a healthy immune system can work against you [wikipedia.org] ; any step I can take that would reduce my potential exposure would be well worth it from my point of view. If my life is to be reduced to a crapshoot, I'm going try as hard as I can to improve my odds.

Re:Why (2, Insightful)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994970)

A certain amount of caution is certainly warranted - but you make it sound like we should all stay inside, for fear of catching something. "Obsessive Compulsive" is probably a roughly accurate word.


If the world shuts down because of a pandemic, there will be problems because of upkeep negligence. Obviously, non-essential business and basic cleanliness applies (which, really, is how 90% of sicknesses are prevented. And i theorize that the reason so much crap keeps coming from the east is their general lack of cleanliness - spitting in streets, etc. But, im sure ill catch heat for that.).

As always, this falls under "Don't Be An Idiot, And You'll Be Fine."

-Red

Re:Why (1, Redundant)

Nanpa (971527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995082)

As always, this falls under "Don't Be An Idiot, And You'll Be Fine."

Yeah, we're boned

Re:Why (3, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995184)

Bird flu is the new Y2K. 275 cases of it out of 8 billion people does not a pandemic make. You're far more likely to be struck and killed by frozen turds dropped from a Boeing 747 than contract bird flu.

Re:Why (2, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995234)

The mortality-rate is probably a lot lower in reality -- it's a given there'll be an unknown amount of people who get infected with bird-flu, yet never turn seriously ill, so they never enter the statistics at all.

We don't know how many this is. Could be half the people who get bird-flu gets seriously ill (and 60% of those die), but it could also be that 5% of the people infected with bird-flu gets seriously ill (and 60% of *those* 5%, or 3% of the total infected die)

Re:Why (1)

Moderatbastard (808662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994974)

Congratulations on being the second biggest idiot on this site. The gold medal goes to the twat who modded your ill-informed post as insightful.

Re:Why (1)

Fist! Of! Death! (1038822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994986)

Because if you have to cram into a tube train twice a day with your face up against some infected person's nose you will probably get the flu and die.

Re:Why (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995202)

They mean in case the bird-flu virus mutates sufficiently to be human-to-human transmittable while remaining dangerous.

It makes perfect sense to limit human interaction in order to brake or halt the spread of infectious disease.

Absolute nonsense (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17994532)

ISPs are already well able to throttle usage so as to manage demand in excess of capacity. In the listed scenario all that would be needed would be management to limit the use of p2p, usenet and certain kinds of streaming and the problem.

The real problem in such a scenario is that most workers would simply not be able to work from home - they and their employers wont be ready or equiped to do so.

Re:Absolute nonsense (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995046)

Even if their scenario occurred, I fail to see why government intervention would be needed. If large portions of the internet were swamped, that by itself would be sufficient to limit frivolous use of high-bandwidth services. Imagine if the best throughput you could get was dial-up-equivalent: would you even bother trying to play Lonelyfake15 videos on BoobTube or keep your bitpirate swarms going?

Only affects windows users (5, Funny)

MSRedfox (1043112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994544)

Thankfully Linux is immune to Bird viruses.

Re:Only affects windows users (3, Funny)

statemachine (840641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994638)

Oh crap! Maybe not! [rfc-archive.org]

Linux Users are immune (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17994720)

Could it have something to do with not ever seeing daylight from their parents basement?

Re:Only affects windows users (2, Funny)

kiltyj (936758) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994998)

Tux, however...

Re:Only affects windows users (1)

ovideon (634144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995140)

The thought of having to put down an entire town of battery-farmed Tuxes frightens me.

Re:Only affects windows users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17995272)

Tux being battery farmed? That's a clear GPL violation!

Re:Only affects windows users (4, Funny)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995292)

Bird viruses? Linux is a frickin' PENGUIN!

9/11 caused net stoppage (4, Interesting)

fruey (563914) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994558)

I remember you couldn't get anywhere on news sites during the 9/11 attacks on the WTC; even Google was horrendously slow. Non news sites all started relaying the news so that people could get hold of information.

Working from home in times past relied on dialling direct to a modem pool at the office. The telephone network could probably handle a fair amount of teleworking like that, particularly if the old school model of connecting, uploading and downloading email & files, and then disconnecting was adopted.

If there were a pandemic, I doubt that people would necessarily be surfing YouTube. It'd be no loss to me to not have that kind of site available anyway :-).

Sounds a lot like scaremongering to me. In the event of a pandemic, net habits would change beyond recognition, so mentioning high bandwidth leisuretime sites seems a bit strange. It's not out of the question that certain services could be restricted though... but you can't analyse current surfing habits and apply them to bandwidth use when teleworking. If I'm working from home I'm not on YouTube, and use very little bandwidth.

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (4, Insightful)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994698)

I remember you couldn't get anywhere on news sites during the 9/11 attacks on the WTC; even Google was horrendously slow. Non news sites all started relaying the news so that people could get hold of information.

This sort of experience could have a lot to do with where you are in the world, and your ISP.

I was in at my place of work in Toronto on 9/11, and remember rather vividly how hard it was to get to CNN's website. The CBC's website was fairly slow as well (we have to recall, not only were there attacks on the WTC, the Pentagon, and the plane that crashed, but thousands of inbound US flights were redirected to Canada, and people world-wide were trying to track down loved-ones who had flights re-routed here). Being the smart sort of guy I am, I was one of the few in the office to be able to get reliable, up-to-date information, because I reasoned that the BBC's website probably wouldn't be heavily flooded with North American traffic, and that it would be the middle of the night on that side of the pond. Sure, enough, I was correct -- while it was difficult to get to many news websites inside North America, several very respectable European sites were no problem to bring up in those very early hours after the first jet hit the WTC. It wasn't traffic on the Internet that was a problem -- it was specific websites being very heavily congested. There was still a lot of bandwidth available to go around -- just not for specific popular North American news websites (many of which have hopefully learned a lesson from that day, and have done some upgrading of their services to better handle traffic during serious emergencies).

Yaz.

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (1)

fruey (563914) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994778)

You're right about that. I was in Morocco at the time, and most people went home to watch CNN rather than looking on the net anyway. Traffic to news sites was affected, but like you say, the BBC worked for a lot longer than CNN or MSNBC sites; many leisure sites didn't even look affected at all (aside from a homepage special on relaying news)...

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994838)

many leisure sites didn't even look affected at all
However, Slashdot was slashdotted... Not completely, as I do distinctively remember that I got the news (headline) from here. However, getting inside the articles or to the discussion was impossible.

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (1)

fruey (563914) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994868)

Euh... Slashdot is still a news site, where people would come to react to the news at least, not somewhere you would go to relax (under those specific circumstances I mean).

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (1)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994942)

Although the BBC is british, international requests do not go to their servers in london.
According to http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4606719.stm [bbc.co.uk] , international requests go to their server farm in new york.

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995010)

Thanks for that -- it's an interesting (albeit brief) view of how the BBC serves up pages world-wide. The article is, however, from 2005 -- it doesn't necessarily follow that this was the same setup back in 2001.

I found this bit interesting (emphasis mine):

We have a number of web servers ("server farms") in London and New York. These two cities are both excellent hubs connecting many different networks on the internet, and they are far enough apart so that if there were a major disaster in either city we could continue serving web pages from the other location.

If this layout were in place in 2001, it would be interesting to hear if they indeed needed to use this configuration to redirect traffic.

Yaz.

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (5, Informative)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995044)

I reasoned that the BBC's website probably wouldn't be heavily flooded with North American traffic, and that it would be the middle of the night on that side of the pond.
The 9/11 attacks happened in the morning (local time), which is early afternoon in the UK.

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (3, Insightful)

David Off (101038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994750)

> If there were a pandemic, I doubt that people would necessarily be surfing YouTube.

course you would, it would be the only way to get non-censored information, you know, cell phone footage of food riots or nuclear plants melting down due to lack of workers, people dying in their beds, zombies at the shopping mall, that kind of thing, the next pandemic will be live on YouTube.

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (2, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994928)

people dying in their beds

Worse, if like the Spanish flu they will probably be dying in the street - as a friend who has learned it from his father who was an eye-witness told me - and is also mentioned here [historysociety.ca] , quote: "Victims were dying in the street, in stores, in offices, in military barracks, turning blue and struggling for air as they suffocated in bloody froth.".

Reason enough for people to use youtube just for the sensation.

CC.

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994936)

YouTube IS the next pandemic. I swear, if that site went down, productivity would go up so much the net effect would be positive, flu or no flu :)

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (5, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995276)

I remember it too. The Internet held up remarkably well. And did indeed route-around damage, in the sense that when channels failed, they where made up for by literally thousands and thousands of mirrors and alternative routes.

  • Thousands of people spontaneously decided to mirror important sites that experienced problems.
  • IRC-channels got hooked up to major news-sources (even those normally only for subscribers)
  • Email surged trough the tubes (Hah!), for a few hours the majority of email in the world was *NOT* spam.
  • Hell, even MUDs and MMORPGs spontaneously converted into information-exchange centres.

Internet was severly strained in some areas of the USA. So people routed around it. I personally helped getting 3 people living in NY get a decent net-connection, by *modem* to a Norwegian modem-pool. Yes, sure it was 28.8. Yes sure it cost $0.10/minute. There's some situations where youre honestly *happy* to pay $6/hour for surfing the net at modem-speed. (I know, in some areas phone-service was also spotty)

It was impressive. I think, on that day I realized the net had grown up. When disasters strike, and people go turn on their laptops, you realize this thing ain't just a toy anymore.

Re:9/11 caused net stoppage (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995306)

i was at my friends on that day, websurfing at the time, everything was fine. then the daughter of that friend came up and said that some airplane crashed into the wtc.

i just shrugged and went on websurfing. nothing was slower than usual at all.

computer viruses (3, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994564)

are by far a larger and more present danger than a flood caused
by a human epidemic. just remember the mssql virus from a few
years ago ... it chocked a few networks.

come on, with all the downloads and botnets running from a home PC,
will ANYONE AT ALL notice the few extra clicks from the humans?

Restraint? (4, Interesting)

pashdown (124942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994566)

What makes these people think that workers don't waste time on YouTube when they're at work?

Choke your penguin? (1)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994578)

But will the bird flu choke your penguin?

Re:Choke your penguin? (1)

WS Tu (1045270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995060)

I think it is pretty hard for bird flu hit Antarctica (or Australia, probably). For now the bird flu is most likely epidemic in South East Asia and MidEurop.

alright then (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994604)

Bird Flu Pandemic Could Choke the Net

None of those birds have a deadly flu. They're just pining for the fjords.

But what about Boston? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17994610)

If a few LED lights can bring Boston to a halt, what would a bird flu pandemic do?

Boston Mayor: What just flew over my head? Was that birds? Eek Bird Flu, quick, blow up some turkeys!

Yes, it could (0, Redundant)

pfortuny (857713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994612)

It also could not.

Where is the news here?

Oh Noes! (5, Funny)

DevelopersDevelopers (1027018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994618)

Yes, this could really be a pandemic for all those of us currently connected to the internet only by IP over Avian Carriers. [ietf.org]

What's more likely... (2, Insightful)

tom taylor (610506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994622)

Surely very few companies are actually set up to enable any large % of their workforce to work from home? You're far more likely to be told to go home and wait.

Re:What's more likely... (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994792)

Yes, very few - because it is far more practical (and cheaper) to just send people home in a highly improbable situation like that. Besides, most people in businesses don't use computers (or use more than computers) and can not work from home anyway. If even all banks will close the store will still accept your cash - provided that someone is still alive in the store to service you (and if not then you don't need to worry about paying.)

Another reason may be that many businesses are insured against natural disasters and other unforeseen circumstances; if they close for a week or two they may have a claim. However there would be no insurance pay for your preparations and training to work from home; that money is right out of your pocket. To be prepared just doesn't make business sense, unless your trade is of life-or-death type, like a hospital. But hospitals have their own, very specific plans in case of epidemics, and nobody there would be "working from home". The rest of businesses, like stock exchanges and publishing and construction and education and engineering will be better off closed, until they are specifically needed to combat the virus or whatever.

And yet another reason why businesses do not embrace working from home is accountability. If your productivity can't be objectively measured (by counting the widgets that you made during the shift) then the work at home becomes a paid family time for 90% of employees (the remaining 10% enjoy the work and honestly work their hours and more; but they are in serious minority here.) Besides, what is the chance that workers will be merrily clicking on Excel tables at home during an epidemic? They'd be buying supplies, ammo and heading for the hills, or at least sealing the premises if there are no hills nearby. Working - at home or anywhere else - will not be even considered.

In other news... (1)

halsver (885120) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994626)

. . .sales of tissue and personal lubricant skyrocket! . . .Blizzard adds hundreds of new WoW servers to cope with increased server load during "off peak" times. . . .Oil prices plummet on Wall Street. . . .teen pregnacy, drug use, and crime statistics experience double digit decreases. . . .INWP becomes the new internet chatch phrase. (I'm not wearing pants)

Re:In other news... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995226)

You forgot cats and dogs living together

How? (1, Funny)

Meneth (872868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994646)

It's not like we run all our IP over Avian Carriers [wikipedia.org] .

Simple solution: Ban Windows (1, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994650)

Botnets and malware hog more than 50% upstream bandwidth, the rest is taken by Windows Updates and Adobe updates. From the release of XP to date, more than 1GB of service packs and critical updates are needed to keep it going in home PCs. Why not simply ban Windows then?

I suggest we go the whole way and return to VT-100 terminals... they only need 9.6K baud rate to work. No Youtube. Problem solved.

Re:Simple solution: Ban Windows (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994758)

figures from your rectum. p2p/torrents are by far the biggest upstream hogs.

Re:Simple solution: Ban Windows (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994894)

Reference here for upstream bandwidth:
http://www.honeynet.org/papers/bots/ [honeynet.org]

and here for the amount of bugfixes since XP rollout:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2006/09/23/AR2006092300510.html/ [washingtonpost.com]

EVERY Home PC that runs Windows XP needs updates, to remain stable and sane. How many home users run P2P? Very tiny fraction, IMO.

Amazing... my rectum's got more wisdom than your brain, perhaps.

Re:Simple solution: Ban Windows (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995258)

I suggest we go the whole way and return to VT-100 terminals

The keyboard on the VT-100 was horrid. I am sure I am still paying for it with my RSI. OTH the 320 was a nice little terminal. I installed a couple of dozen of them at one stage in the 80's and I can still remember that new terminal right out of the box smell. Mmmm polystyrene.

But massive epidemics are natural for all species (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994658)

So shouldn't gaia or other "environmentalists" be protecting the viruses ? That 50% or so of humans die every 10 years is "natural" for humans.

Besides, sooner or later it's going to happen anyway. (oh and btw people would work from home to avoid getting infected)

Annoying (1)

bitchell (159219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994660)

It really annoys me that we see so many stories claiming that the internet can't cope with this or that, and it will all fall down suddenly without warning. Yet strangely it continues to function as normal.

The problem is I think, people (and by that I mean non-technical people) think of internet traffic as cars on a street. When there are too many cars there is a traffic jam. With the internet though we can build many many new faster "streets" to cope with the traffic.

Re:Annoying (1)

Hanners1979 (959741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994916)

The problem is I think, people (and by that I mean non-technical people) think of internet traffic as cars on a street. When there are too many cars there is a traffic jam.

You'd think they'd have realised by now that the Internet is actually a series of tubes...

...So! (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994662)

If you don't want to clog the tubes, take the truck to work. Got it.

Tubes (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994684)

Build some more tubes, what are they waiting for!!

Re:Tubes (1)

Tacylm (775168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994728)

how do birds spell "Get A Life"?

I really can't believe I'm reading this... (4, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994730)

If the H5N1 strain of avian flu was to jump species and become highly contagious in humans to the point where a pandemic was reached, then internet traffic will be the least of our worries.

I think we'd collectively be more concerned with, you know, people dropping like flies in huge numbers than we would about telecommuting or browsing YouTube, or at least I like to think that we would.

Seriously, the health and safety of my loved ones and society as a whole would be paramount in my mind, and everything else would be a distant second. This story reminds me of those Starbucks managers selling water to injured and shocked people and the idiots quoting SLAs while the World Trade Center's twin towers were falling.

What next? People posting articles about how a human H5N1 pandemic would mean more server queues for WOW players as the servers would be swamped by people skipping work for the safety of home and looking to get a few more quests done while they were off?

Please Mod Up (1)

Evil Pete (73279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994874)

First, sensible post I've seen on the topic here.

If a large percentage of the population came down with the virus and it was even 10% fatal, instead of the 60% of bird flu, no one would give a shit about youtube ... if it was still up it would be closed if it presented a problem.

Re:I really can't believe I'm reading this... (1)

goaty_the_flying_sho (861224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994918)

You are the first breath of fresh air I've seen in these ridiculous comments.

All you other nerds can have my share of the bandwidth, I'll be too busy burying bodies in order to discourage vermin to check out the newest music videos on youtube.

Re:I really can't believe I'm reading this... (5, Insightful)

jonoton (804262) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994992)

Believe it.....

The institute I work for will be sequestered by the government in the event of a pandemic.

We've ring fenced large quantities of diskspace, and other resources to cope with the demands that are likely to be put on us in this event. However the one resource that's going to be vital we have no control over - the ability for our staff to work from home. The last few months I've been asked repeatedly if our remote access solutions will cope with 90% of the staff working from home, the answer has been 'if the internet copes'.

It doesn't take much contention on a DSL circuit to make video conferencing or IP telephony unusable, theses are the sorts of collaboration tool that will be required in this event.

It's only sensible for people to be planning for this scenario, it's something that can only be controlled by the telcos, and they won't do anything unless it is mandated by government.

Re:I really can't believe I'm reading this... (1)

yogurtforthesoul (1032362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995166)

Just think of all the tubes that would get filled up with mucus and pus. The Internet would come to a dead stop!

An ounce of prevention (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995180)

I think we'd collectively be more concerned with, you know, people dropping like flies in huge numbers than we would about telecommuting
What if the measures such as quarantine and travel restrictions were put in place to prevent, or at least contain, an outbreak?

Ban Quicktime (0, Troll)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994742)

Another user suggested banning Windows, due to the immense amount of updates that clog up the net. I say also ban Quicktime, as that S.O.B. program "updates" more frequently than any other program, yet the differences are generally only in bug fixes and release number. Oh you just bought Quicktime 7.0189 PRO, too bad, you now have to pay another $29.99 to get Quicktime 8.0. Ha, Ha (nelson voice)

Not if (2, Funny)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994764)

Not if all the spammers die first.

Re:Not if (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995158)

Nah, the spammers would sell "Bird Flu Cure" via spam.

Or you'd find out via thousands of spam messages that the Prime Minister of Nigeria has declared that enlarging the size of your penis protects you from Bird Flu. And if you just send him the number to your bank account, so he can use it transfer his monies, you'll recieve a FREE SAMPLE plus a 10% gratuitiy from all samples sold.

I can see it now...

Subject: Re:
Hey Dude;
Be a batter bird flu lover by incresing the sise of your one eyed monster....

I don't think I'd mind spam as much if their grammer and spelling was better....

TTYL
Brian C.

Meh - i need my WoW (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994770)

As long as the pipes (and tubes *snicker* ) to the Blizzard servers aren't clogged, i am good. Wait! what? oh you were serious about me working from home...like real work? Oh. Oh.

Riiight. (3, Funny)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994826)

"the situation was not digitally simulated" = "we guessed"

And at that I think I'm being generous about their motives.

Based on what usage? (2, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994834)

Wait, so they are assuming that people won't actually work from home and instead watch YouTube all day long? How exactly would it be different than 6pm when everyone really watch YouTube and download Bittorrent virtually all at once? Why does working from home suddenly equal unsustainable 'net where other peak usage times work out just fine?

If we assume that they will, for the most part, actually be, WORKING at home, how much bandwidth do people need? Copy a couple Word documents over the VPN? POP their email ever 2 minutes? These things are are NOTHING compared to things like Bittorrent during peak hours.

Worst case scenero is that ISPs are forced to throttle certain types of traffic that is labeled superfluous so as to provide accceptable service for other things. I know it isn't an ideal situation, but geez, the 'net'll survive! What is this talk about governments stepping in?

-matthew

Oh well (2, Insightful)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994844)

If a pandemic flu were really to occur, I think we would have to worry about other things than the net slowing down.

Re:Oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17995006)

Hey, this is slashdot, remember?! What could be more important than (high) bandwidth and (low) latency?

In pandemic internet, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17994880)

bird flu you!

bird flu... (1)

Cryptnotic (154382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994882)

Bird flu could choke your chicken.

idotipf@11 (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994884)

Imminent Death of the Internet Predicted, Film at 11.

Stands to reason? (1)

DeeVeeAnt (1002953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994898)

I work from home quite a bit, and spend my entire time shunting enormous files to and from the office. Actually, no I don't. In fact I occasionally pop up a chat window for a quick conference with the boss. Sometimes I check in/out my projects to the subversion server. I don't really waste much more time on the web at home than I do at work. So, I don't believe that this would put a significant extra strain on the web even if everybody was doing it.

Umm - are you representative? :-) (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995098)

I'm glad you consider yourself as a representative user :-).

I'd agree with you for those who grew up on a command line (hell, I can even remember rubber cup 300 baud modems), but I've seen enough people mass-mail multi-MB powerpoints to staff to know that it's not a universal given that bandwidth won't be affected.

For instance, those who presently download their once-a-minute MS and anti-virus updates from a central corporate server will now do this all online. Securityfocus has already observed that users withj modems no longer stand a chance to keep up with it all so even without doing anything useful you're hitting the Net with a lot of extra usage.

Nope, won't be the same at all IMHO..

Re:Umm - are you representative? :-) (1)

DeeVeeAnt (1002953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995216)

Probably not representative in what I do, but I probably am in terms of the load I generate. Sure you get the odd PHB mailing out crap to everyone, but it's not a continuous stream. My guess is that the vast majority of workers would actually represent very little increased load. I think the doom and gloom prediction is based on imagining that everyone working from home will be maxing out their connection full time.

There's a bird flu pandemic... (3, Insightful)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | more than 7 years ago | (#17994962)

...And we're worried about the state of the Internet. Welcome to Slashdot.

Ironic... (5, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995020)

Wow... How's that for ironic?

A chicken is going to choke the internet...

Must... not... make... "In Soviet Russia..." joke...

Isn't it already choking the net? (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995022)

Terrorism. Terrorism. Chemical Attack. Suitcase Nukes, weirdass fox news spooks.

This is getting boring.

Re:Isn't it already choking the net? (1)

yogurtforthesoul (1032362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995212)

Terrorism. Terrorism. Chemical Attack. Suitcase Nukes, Mooninites weirdass fox news spooks. This is getting boring.
There fixed that for ya.

Sort of ironic (2, Insightful)

pgfuller (797997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995026)

Wait a minute - the network designed to be distributed in order to survive a massive nuclear attack couldn't survive a pandemic flu virus - because it is distributed?

Of course the whole thing is a fantasy in the minds of telco executives. There would be much more important things to worry about such as the direct deaths, illness and 'secondary' effects like the failure of electricity generation, water supplies, food distribution, trade etc. In fact you could pretty much see the failure of human civilisation as we know it today.

See, anybody can dream up a doomsday scenario and not being able to 'work' from home is the least of it.

I had this idea! (1)

yogurtforthesoul (1032362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995092)

Tom Smykowski: It was a "Jump to Conclusions" mat. You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor... and would have different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO. Michael Bolton: That's the worst idea I've ever heard in my life, Tom. Samir: Yes, this is horrible, this idea.

+23 Staff of Paranoia (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995142)

If a pandemic were to occur, many companies and organizations would ask their staffs to work from home.

"Staff" is already plural. Why would they ask their "staffs" to work from home, unless they were wizards who employed an especially large number of magical sticks?

What "the government" can do to "the Internet" (1)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995230)

> If people didn't comply, the government might step
> in and limit Net usage.

Why do so many news articles published on websites with an international domain, such as .com or .org or .net (etc) assume people will know, for example, which version of dollar when quoting a price in dollars, or which time of year when saying "spring", or which government when saying "the government"?

I am throughly sick of articles on tech news sites that appear to be totally clueless as to who reads their articles!

Meanwhile, addressing a point in this article, how can the government in your country "limit" the internet connectivity available in my country?

It could kill everybody on Earth too. (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17995232)

There's no telling what this damn bird flu could do. Big deal if it chokes the net for a few weeks even and annoys a few slashdotters.

What about VOIP or IPTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17995302)

So working from home and surfing YouTube uses more bandwidth than VOIP or IPTV?!?
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