• And now for a different kind of 0day

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    Any list of the ten smartest people in the computer biz today would have to include Mark Russinovitch.With technical street cred stretching from build
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    • #57294

      I live in the territory served by Commonwealth Edison and its generating affiliate, Unicom, the most Nuclear of America’s energy companies. My Dad worked for 47 years at Argonne National Laboratory, a leading research center in Nuclear Reactor development.

      Chernobyl was a European Graphite-mediated reactor. In the USA, we only authorized water-mediated reactors. Chernobyl’s design has net-positive reactivity — that is, when all the coolant is drained from the reactor (which is what the Russians stupidly did as a test of failsafe systems) the Nuclear chain-reaction continues to run.

      Contrast this with the water-mediated design, which can lose over 80 percent of its coolant (as happened at Three mile Island), and there is net negative reactivity — that is, the Nuclear chain-reaction stops quickly. there is no China Syndrome in a water-mediated reactor, although steam pressure can be an issue (as happened in Idaho during a test by an Argonne affiliate, in which after nearly all the coolant was drained a steam ejection sent slightly radioactive water and a little radioactive contamination spewing over a few square miles of Idaho desert. No great danger to the Public, and no one needed doses of Iodine.

      Hollywood and the Novelists have a long way to go before they have one-tenth the scientific credentials they need to make such alarming doomsday scenarios part of their works of fiction. At least do some research before blowing the Air Raid sirens.

      On the other hand, the Israelis seem to have done quite a number on the Iranian Nuclear Centrifuges with the Stuxnet Worm. And then there was that little incident in the Baltics a few years back. But Al Qaeda? They can’t even steer an airplane straight!

    • #57295


      I’m still skeptical that Stuxnet was written by the Israelis (and/or the Americans) and intended to disrupt the Iranian nuclear enrichment program. It’s possible, but it’s going to take a lot more circumstantial evidence before I’m convinced.

    • #57296

      Evidence now available has led many mainstream news organizations which are not given to conspiracy theories to lend their credibility to the Stuxnet story as currently widely reported. The exact origin is still in question, but the weight of the evidence is becoming more clear with every passing week. We may never know for sure, but there is a growing concensus among mainstream journalists about this story. One thing is clear — a few ancient switches in Germany were NOT the target.

      Be that as it may, my point is that a Chernobyl-like incident is not possible with American Nuclear power plant designs. This is only a Hollywood fantasy based on total ignorance of the way American Nuclear power plants work. Way too much public hysteria has used these works of pure fiction as grist for the political mill, crippling the American peaceful Nuclear power program. This is main the point on which I am taking issue with the scenario presented in the referenced work of fiction.

    • #57297

      Just one more note: roger Grimes at InfoWorld Security Watch concurs that the concensus about Stuxnet is that it may have been an American-Israeli collaboration. Just so folks know it’s not just me who sees a growing concensus among journalists about this ongoing story.

    • #57298

      Y’know, for some reason, when I saw the title, I immediately thought of William Gibson’s books, although this sounds more like a thriller novel than the cyberpunk novels that Gibson writes. I’m mostly sick and tired of seeing thriller novels, because if you’ve read one, you’ve read ’em all. Conspiracy thrillers like ripoffs of The Da Vinci Code are especially bad. However cliche this book seems, though, I do think that cyberterrorism and things like the Stuxnet worm seem to be more efficient ways for terrorists to attack the United States rather than through conventional terrorism (“seem to be” are the operative words here; I don’t know much about cyberterrorism).

      As for William Gibson, I’ve not read his latest book, Zero History, yet, but his track record is fairly good; Neuromancer was possibly one of my favorite novels.

    • #57299


      The Wall Street Journal among them.

    • #57300


      Thanks for the reading suggestions. This is fascinating stuff, if you don’t take any one author too seriously.

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