Infrastructure





I Can't Drive 55Finally, Sammy Hagar can drive in the State of Arizona worry-free (unless he’s wearing that yellow outfit again, he deserves to be pulled over for that).

In all seriousness, I’ve always suspected these cameras were more about making money than any “public safety” concern, and it really looks like the reason for abandonment in Arizona was civil disobedience over ticket payment by a large majority of Arizona’s speedsters. (Although apparently there is an incident of murder reported below.) Alex Spillius writes in the Telegraph:

Arizona has turned off every speed camera on its highways after complaints that they violated privacy and were designed to generate revenue rather than promote road safety.

A spokesman for Jan Brewer, the state’s Republican governor, said she “was uncomfortable with the intrusive nature of the system”, which was inherited from her Democratic predecessor. Opening in October 2008, the scheme was first in the United States to use speed cameras across a whole state. Amid objections of Big Brother-ism, numerous cameras were vandalised, while the operator of a van carrying a mobile camera was shot dead in a lay-by in April 2009.

The 76 cameras took 2.7 million photographs, but only 16 percent of drivers who received a speeding ticket paid up.


I’m one of those strange non-senior citizens who watches 60 Minutes on a regular basis (having a TiVo helps). So due to the controversy over a 2007 electrical blackout in Brazil that affected over 3 million people, I was expecting an update from 60 Minutes this week. They are sticking with their original story, still calling it “cyberwar”, and no mention that it might be due to poorly-maintained infrastructure, as WIRED and other sources say. My favorite part of the WIRED story is that the Brazilian government says their electric control systems aren’t connected to the internet.

PowerOutageBrazilHere’s the counter-story from Marcelo Soares at WIRED:

A massive 2007 electrical blackout in Brazil has been newly blamed on computer hackers, but was actually the result of a utility company’s negligent maintenance of high voltage insulators on two transmission lines. That’s according to reports from government regulators and others who investigated the incident for more than a year.

In a broadcast Sunday night, the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes cited unnamed sources in making the extraordinary claim that a two-day outage in the Atlantic state of Espirito Santo was triggered by hackers targeting a utility company’s control systems. The blackout affected 3 million people. Hackers also caused another, smaller blackout north of Rio de Janeiro in January 2005, the network claimed…