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    • yaypie
    • Chris

      I'm trying to understand my own reaction to this. Horror, but not shock. Relief that it wasn't worse. Wonder about why things like this don't happen more often. Fear that it could happen with a nuclear weapon or big missile. 😬

      I feel sorry for the people involved because, at least for me, my blunders stick with me all my life and replay in my brain too many times.

    • yaypie

      Working on a Vulcan cannon that is loaded, and armed? How is that even possible?

      Seriously! I'm dying to know more details. This seems like one of those accidents that could only happen after a long string of improbable screwups.

    • kwthom
      Ken Thompson

      Okay, so I have to tip-toe around this - slightly.

      They can have training rounds in the cannon, giving the pilots the ability of live fire of the weapon without doing extensive damage to targets on the ground. Same applies to bombs; there's ordnance to drop, but it's for training purposes only. Think 'small boom vs BIG boom'. Yes, in some cases, the training rounds are recovered, reconditioned and reused. You're looking for the pilot to become proficient in the application of the ordnance on target. No need to destroy every training target you have.

      Missiles that are carried - again for training - are inert and cannot be launched.

      Oh, the "mistake on the job" part? Well, fortunately, not my mistake - equipment failure, but I "bounced" a million-dollar weapon off the floor from waist height while standing next to it. 😯

      Needless to say, writing the report on that incident took up the remainder of my day!

    • yaypie

      They can have training rounds in the cannon, giving the pilots the ability of live fire of the weapon without doing extensive damage to targets on the ground. Same applies to bombs; there's ordnance to drop, but it's for training purposes only. Think 'small boom vs BIG boom'.

      Ah, interesting. So in theory if there were training rounds in the cannon, the resulting "small boom" might still have been enough to start a fuel fire? That seems plausible!

      I "bounced" a million-dollar weapon off the floor from waist height while standing next to it.

      I'd have had an instant heart attack. 😵

    • kwthom
      Ken Thompson

      So in theory if there were training rounds in the cannon, the resulting "small boom" might still have been enough to start a fuel fire? 

      Yes.

      I'd have had an instant heart attack. 😵

      Had I been twenty years older, that was a real possibility. One of my more exciting days in the aerospace industry! 🤣😂

      Perhaps a little more clarity on the situation may be helpful. You have "alert aircraft" and crews - available at a moment's notice that are "primed and ready to go". This would NOT have been an aircraft in that condition. In order to take alert aircraft offline, another has to be made fully ready and available for the alert pilot that will fly that to sign-off that it's ready.

      An aircraft formerly on alert has weapons and ordnance removed prior to any major work on the aircraft itself.

      At least, that's how it's supposed to work.

      Somewhere between $30m and $50m for a replacement. That's not gonna buff out.

    • louisgray

      What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made on the job?

      In 1998, I was the Online Editor at the Daily Californian (dailycal.org), and was training a new hire, who could possibly put the paper on the Web a few nights a week for me, so I could get back to my mediocre studies.

      In those early Web days, our paper was hosted by a third party ISP and we had an impossibly small disk quota, which rapidly would be consumed by our growing search index database, which we would periodically recrawl. The search index eventually grew so large that our process required we would temporarily take it down by deleting the old database, to make room for the new one when the script reran.

      To simplify it, my new hire wrote a script that would rm -rf * the directory where the scripts were. We ran the job, and opened a terminal session, which showed, thanks to the top command, that our rm job was taking much longer than we had anticipated.

      This struck me as curious, so I opened our site, and found it was gone.

      The script had incorrectly gone to the wrong directory and rm-rf *'d our entire site. It was all gone, and our local copy on the Mac was sure to be incomplete, not to mention the pain we anticipated through never ending drag and drop and uploads.

      He headed out to Telegraph to get us caffeine. I called our ISP and got them to restore our backups from their tape archive. In an hour, as I was finishing my second Diet Pepsi from Blondie's, our site was back. I added the last few days' news, which was gapped, we reran the search process, directly this time, and went home hours after we had hoped.

      TL;DR: Don't run mass deletion scripts, and definitely don't have your new intern write the scripts. Also... always have a backup.

    • louisgray

      What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made on the job?

      One more while we're here mocking ourselves.

      I once emailed our entire company a story from the Wall Street Journal, where our CEO had made comments that said our company was having layoffs. But the layoffs hadn't even been announced yet. (See https://blog.louisgray.com/2013/08/real-valley-stories-emailing-company.html)

      I had managed to convince myself the CEO was talking about a few SVPs that had recently left, but he had instead previewed layoffs which took place the following Friday.

      I have never sweated over the individual recall reports from Microsoft Outlook more than I did that day, as every individual employee's LDAP notified me they had or had not seen my unintentional bad news scoopage.

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      Oy. Louis has given me courage to finally fess up.

      If I remember right, in 2008 Larry and Sergey were on the list of candidates to become TIME's men of the year. Google had been using SmugMug for years for password-protected galleries.

      I worked at SmugMug and we were a very small team. We had to move all our servers from one data center to another in the middle of one night, so we planned everything: two vehicles driving on separate routes so we could restore our complete site from the stuff in just one vehicle, etc.

      Somehow when we brought everything up, we deleted the passwords file for password-protected galleries and they suddenly became public. Oh my God. 😱 Our ops team of one (Don) went white. It was 2 in the morning. We madly set new passwords for every gallery on the list. There were boudoir galleries. And there were photos of Larry and Sergey, taken by TIME, for a potential Man of the Year cover. I spent the next day contacting everyone to let them know what happened. Google wrote back and thanked us for being transparent but said it sounded like they needed to come up with their own internal solution. And that's how we lost that customer. Far as I know, not a single gallery was breached, we lost a few customers but we felt we didn't sell our souls by trying to cover our mistake.

      I just looked at the page on TIME where they were considering the two as Men of the Year. It's pretty funny to read the cons:

      CON: It's been kind of a bad day. Alterations have caused Google's all-important "click-through" rate to drop, hitting its stock and its ad-dollar bottom line. The "gPhone" failed to materialize as an actual phone, and while Google's open-source phone software may yet revolutionize handhelds, tech heads felt let down. Other high-profile projects — most notably the copyright-busting Google Book search — are facing major old-media pushback. Also, Google's lost some high-profile employees to Facebook, its rival in Web cachet, if not business. Maybe it's time to install a Scrabulous button?

    • vegasphotog

      I got a reputation that I was not looking for back in my early Navy days. I was an Electrician, and a terrible one at that. Pun notwithstanding, my brain is just not wired that way. So, I am stationed on a destroyer and we are tied up in Olongapo, Philippines during the sweltering summer. Humidity is about 184% and the temps were probably 90º. We were tied up along side the pier but we had two other destroyers tied up along side and as I remember it we were running shore power in series. This is considered a Liberty Port, so typically you only have 1/3 of the crew manning their respective stations. The Electrician hangs out down in the engine room manning the switchboard. I have no recollection why I did this but somehow I flipped the bus-tie breaker which killed the shore power for all three ships. These old ships have barely any backup and for some reason they could not fire up the emergency generators to get the boilers running. Anyway, it was about 3 hours of pure panic and I caused it all. We laugh about it now (old shipmates) but having three ships knocked out with no power is not a good thing. Surprised I did not end up going to Captain's Mass. hahahahah

    • Pa

      Here is a list of most known nuclear disasters, including nuclear weapons accidentally dropped on US soil from the 40s up through the present day. Check out Mars Bluff S Carolina March 1958. I have a friend who lived in that neighborhood at the time of the incident. We lost a hydrogen bomb over Greenland too. When you read this list, it is amazing that we are all still alive. I am not kidding, either, unfortunately

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_nuclear_accidents

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