During the BP Macondo leak I was struck by the enormous level of skill needed by the robot submarine operators and wondered at the apparently low level of automation available to them. But the absence of robotic equipment in the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi facility is really even more comprehensive and more puzzling – there’s no mile of seawater to make things really challenging. An article in CNET asks the same question. It’s quite puzzling. And kind of a sobering reminder of consequences of Dilbert boss impulses to turn useful R&D projects into PR stunts.
It’s not like I didn’t see doomed robotics projects in the US National Labs.
Best wishes and hopes for everyone in Japan.
The lesson of this story is that even (particularly?) computer security companies cannot put up with the inconvenience of standard security precautions.
Greg Hoglund’s nightmare began on Super Bowl Sunday. On Feb. 6 the high-tech entrepreneur was sitting in his home office, trying to get to the bottom of some unusual traffic he was seeing on the Internet. Two days earlier he’d noticed troubling activity hitting the website of HBGary Federal, the Sacramento startup he helped launch in 2009. He suspected some kind of hacker assault and had spent the weekend helping to shore up the company’s systems. A few hours before Green Bay kicked off to Pittsburgh, Hoglund logged into his corporate account on Google (GOOG)—and confirmed his fears.
He couldn’t get in. Someone had changed the password and locked him out of his own e-mail system.
He used Google mail – and several people had the administrator password.