Skip to main content

Car goes over cliff, undetected

A car goes over the edge of a cliff on a narrow mountain road. The driver survives, but the accident goes undetected for six days. After five days, the family files a missing persons report. Law enforcement tells them that follow up will take days. The family doesn’t wait. They locate the car using their own means with the help of a detective and the phone company, including what appears to be one of the controversial warrantless cell phone locates that law enforcement does millions of times per year.

When the family located their father at the bottom of a ravine, they also found a second car had gone over the edge. That accident was unrelated and also undetected. That driver died.

Number of cars over the edge: Two. Number of cars detected and located by law enforcement/rescue workers: Zero.

No doubt that there will be a call for guard rails. I don’t think it’s practical to put rails on every spot on every road, but I do think that one could devise an inexpensive tell-tale. This could be as simple as a breakable ribbon or a row of hay bales on the outside of the curve. If the ribbon is broke or the hail bales are gone, something happened.

If preventative controls aren’t practical, is there a detective control in place?

Comments

  1. Interesting idea, but I think hay bales would require somewhat frequent replacement, and a rIbbon might yield too many false positives... Maybe vegetation like a hedge would be the right approach; fairly robust, but would show if something large had sailed through it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Or one of those orange plastic snow fences. That'll make it easier to find the car after it goes over the edge. :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Cargo Cult System Administration

“imitate the superficial exterior of a process or system without having any understanding of the underlying substance” --Wikipedia During and after WWII, some native south pacific islanders erroneously associated the presence of war related technology with the delivery of highly desirable cargo. When the war ended and the cargo stopped showing up, they built crude facsimiles of runways, control towers, and airplanes in the belief that the presence of war technology caused the delivery of desirable cargo. From our point of view, it looks pretty amusing to see people build fake airplanes, runways and control towers  and wait for cargo to fall from the sky.The question is, how amusing are we?We have cargo cult science[1], cargo cult management[2], cargo cult programming[3], how about cargo cult system management?Here’s some common system administration failures that might be ‘cargo cult’:Failing to understand the difference between necessary and sufficient. A daily backup is necessary, b…

Ad-Hoc Verses Structured System Management

Structured system management is a concept that covers the fundamentals of building, securing, deploying, monitoring, logging, alerting, and documenting networks, servers and applications. Structured system management implies that you have those fundamentals in place, you execute them consistently, and you know all cases where you are inconsistent. The converse of structured system management is what I call ad hoc system management, where every system has it own plan, undocumented and inconsistent, and you don't know how inconsistent they are, because you've never looked.

In previous posts (here and here) I implied that structured system management was an integral part of improving system availability. Having inherited several platforms that had, at best, ad hoc system management, and having moved the platforms to something resembling structured system management, I've concluded that implementing basic structure around system management will be the best and fastest path to …

The Cloud – Provider Failure Modes

In The Cloud - Outsourcing Moved up the Stack[1] I compared the outsourcing that we do routinely (wide area networks) with the outsourcing of the higher layers of the application stack (processor, memory, storage). Conceptually they are similar:
In both cases you’ve entrusted your bits to someone else, you’ve shared physical and logical resources with others, you’ve disassociated physical devices (circuits or servers) from logical devices (virtual circuits, virtual severs), and in exchange for what is hopefully better, faster, cheaper service, you give up visibility, manageability and control to a provider. There are differences though. In the case of networking, your cloud provider is only entrusted with your bits for the time it takes for those bits to cross the providers network, and the loss of a few bits is not catastrophic. For providers of higher layer services, the bits are entrusted to the provider for the life of the bits, and the loss of a few bits is a major problem. The…