September 7th, 2007

Ann Vole

Die hard fire sale prevention

I just watched "live free or die hard" which presented the concept of a "fire sale". This "fire sale" is a terrorist attack on infrastructure..."everything must go". Without power and communications and with the financial sector in a panic... the whole country can "go back to the stone age". Of course it is easier with fiction to have hackers that can mess up anybody's computer system at will in a few seconds (even the CIA and FBI) but I think brute force or even mother nature could be just as effective. We need to seriously look at movies like this to plan systems that lack bottlenecks that can cause a large shut-down of a system. This can be done best by keeping things local. Lots of small power systems with independent controls and automatic lock-outs can keep the power flowing in places outside of the problem. This was not the case when most of the eastern side of North America goes down when one or two local power grids go down. Solar panels on roofs or power supplied with home-sized natural gas powered co-generation systems can both keep systems running even if all the neighboring power grids have gone down. Same goes with communication... Right now all communications go through the same systems so if it goes down... there are no options for making calls. Another problem is transportation. Of course bridges are expensive but we need as many as possible so traffic is not hindered when disaster strikes a particular point (road, bridge, freeway)

In the movie the Bruce Willis character keeps ending up to be the only person who can save the world due to everyone else not thinking in the right way. Being the hero is not his goal... Just that there is nobody else who can save the world... A reluctant hero. I have that same sort of feeling... Forced to be the future hero due to lack of other people willing or able to do the job.