Thursday, August 14, 2003

Around four o'clock the power went out where I work. I didn't think anything of it at first, although I was a little surprised they sent us home so fast for a power outage. My wife was waiting for me (we work near each other and share a car) and I was desperately trying to help a wheelchair bound man get in touch with his wife so he could get a ride home - she was expecting him to work overtime, the building was closing, and heatstroke from waiting outside too long wasn't unimaginable. Meanwhile my wife was scared. I made several calls, then an assistant director (truly a great guy) said he would stay as late as necessary.

I didn't start thinking of terrorism until I heard on the radio (I'd heard it from a coworker but hadn't known if I should believe it) that this was happening all over the country. I knew all these cities had different power companies and generating stations, so I couldn't see any way short of coordinated terrorism that all this could happen at once. Meanwhile, a power outage would have nowhere near the impact to justify the huge concealment and risk such a coordinated attack would imply. I didn't say anything to worry my wife - but I was half convinced the other shoe would drop much harder.

Thank goodness it turns out there was a problem at a Canadian power station. This means power companies that would normally buy from them may have to puch their own generators harder, which in the worst case can lead to further generator problems. Everyone is pretty convinced there was no terrorist involvement.

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