from the urls-we-dig-up dept
We trust automated solutions to perform all kinds of critical tasks, but how often do we verify that we’re actually getting the right results? We survived the Y2K bug, but there are plenty of other examples of software and hardware flaws that could be much more (deadly) serious. Here are just a few disturbing computer glitches that you might have missed.
- Recently, it’s been discovered that some Xerox machines don’t make exact copies, and in an effort to “clean up” images, they can introduce egregious errors that can swap numbers. The scary thing about this is that you might never notice that the photocopier changed your numbers around for you…. #youonlyhadonejob! [url]
- Intel sold millions of defective Pentium chips that didn’t quite perform calculations correctly, and a math professor (Thomas Nicely) discovered the problem while he was working on a computational number theory project. Intel ultimately recalled the processors, but it publicly stated that the flaw would only affect a typical PC user with a spreadsheet less than 1 time every 27,000 years. [url]
- In the mid-1980s, the Therac-25 medical accelerator had a software problem that killed at least 5 people and others were seriously injured from radiation overexposure. A race condition in the Therac-25’s operating system that allowed the device to turn on an electron beam even when its metal X-ray target was out of position. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.