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Archive for October 8th, 2013

Super Gremlins Destroying NSA Spy Center?

Posted by feww on October 8, 2013

Meltdowns Plague NSA Data Center

NSA’s massive new data-storage facility in Utah has been plagued by electrical surges—dubbed arc fault failures—described as “a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box.” These failures reportedly cause explosions, melt metal and cause circuit failures, said officials.

At least 10 meltdowns in the past 13 months have prevented NSA from using their supercomputers at the center located in Bluffdale, south of Salt Lake City.

The meltdowns have “destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery and delayed the center’s opening for a year, according to project documents and current and former officials,” according to project documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

NSA new data collection center -AFP
The new NSA data center located near Bluffdale, south of Salt Lake City, Utah. (Image credit: George Frey/AFP) Image may be subject to copyright.

“The Utah facility, one of the Pentagon’s biggest U.S. construction projects, has become a symbol of the spy agency’s surveillance prowess, which gained broad attention in the wake of leaks from NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It spans more than one-million square feet, with construction costs pegged at $1.4 billion—not counting the Cray supercomputers that will reside there,” said the report.

Experts believe the center’s storage capacity is in the order of  exabytes (1,000^6) or even zettabytes (1,000^7) of data. An exabyte is about 100,000 times the size of all the printed material in the Library of Congress.

“Utah is the largest of several new NSA data centers, including a nearly $900 million facility at its Fort Meade, Md., headquarters and a smaller one in San Antonio. The first of four data facilities at the Utah center was originally scheduled to open in October 2012, according to project documents.” WSJ reported.

The Bluffdale facility will require 65 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 20,000 homes, costing $1million per month even at Utah’s preferential electricity rates.

The causes of eight of the failures haven’t been determined. “We did not find any indication that the proposed equipment modification measures [suggested by the Army Corps of Engineers] will be effective in preventing future incidents,” said a report last week by special investigators from the Army Corps of Engineers known as a Tiger Team.

Why is NSA Spying on EVERYONE?

It’s still unclear how the NSA will attempt to justify the collection of such an obscene amount of data on hundreds of millions of ordinary people.

“There is no question there is going to be increased scrutiny of these kinds of practices,” said Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, “because Americans understand this is a dangerous time, but the government, if it’s going to collect [this amount of information], ought to have to say here’s how it contributes to security of the American people. They have not made that case.”

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9 Utah Counties Declare State of Emergency due to “Economic Disruption”

Posted by feww on October 8, 2013

Gov’t shutdown impacts tourism, prompts  emergency declaration in Utah counties

The closure of national parks across the country due to government shutdown is causing economic hardship in Utah, forcing nine counties to declare a state of emergency.

Commissioners from 9 Utah counties of Washington, Kane, San Juan, Garfield, Sevier, Grand, Iron, Wayne and Piute met Monday, along with representatives from Coconino and Mohave counties in Arizona, to discuss the economic impact of park closures on tourism-dependent communities, said a report.

Utah is experiencing a sharp drop-off in Tourism, which has left  many communities “eerily empty” toward the end of busiest season, the report quoted the county leaders as saying.

“We definitely need to get (the national parks) reopened. It’s been a huge financial impact on us already,” said Washington County Commissioner Alan Gardner.

“The declaration emphasizes that a significant amount of Washington County residents rely on tourism dollars from the 3 million annual visitors who travel to Zion National Park, which also reaches into Iron and Kane counties.”

Gardner believes other Utah counties would adopt similar resolutions, declaring states of emergency due to economic hardship.

“A significant portion of the annual visitors come to Zion in the month of October to enjoy the fall temperatures and avoid the summer crowds. By no means has the tourism season ended at the beginning of October,” the declaration states.

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