Monday, May 19, 2008

Ants "shock and awe" computers, entomologists.

ComputerWorld has an article by Sharon Gaudin about the threat to computers of the "Crazy Raspberry Ants" that are spreading around Houston.
A flood of voracious ants is heading straight for Houston, taking out computers, radios and even vehicles in their path. Even the Johnson Space Center has called in extermination experts to keep the pests out of their sensitive and critical systems.

The ants have been causing all kinds of trouble in five Texas counties in the Gulf Coast area. Because of their sheer numbers, the ants are short-circuiting computers in homes and offices, and knocking systems offline in major businesses. When IT personnel pry the affected computers open, they find the machines loaded with thousands of ant bodies...

The Johnson Space Center called in Rasberry a month or two ago in an attempt to keep the ants out of its facilities. Too late. Raspberry said he found three colonies at the NASA site, but all were small enough to control.

"With the computer systems they have in there, it could devastate the facility," said Rasberry. "If these ants got into the facility in the numbers they have in other locations, well, it would be awful. I've been in this business for 32 years, and this is unlike anything I've ever seen. Anything. When you bring in entomologists from all over the U.S. and they're in shock and awe, that shows you what it's like."
Rather reminiscent of the conclusion of Stephen Vincent Benet's "Metropolitan Nightmare" (1933):
"--and reaching down,
He pried from the insect jaws the bright crumb of steel."
Updated 5/20/2008 to give the specific Stephen Vincent Benet reference. (Most everything he wrote is worth reading, and surprisingly timely, but some folks won't have the time to search.)

Labels: ,


Post a Comment