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Old 2018-03-27, 23:22   #45
chalsall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
The on-site personnel did not know about the line.
F' me! Someone could get a scar from that!
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Old 2018-03-28, 06:59   #46
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Quote:
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They had not used the line (much, to heat the office, etc.) in several years.
This is due to global warning.
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Old 2018-03-28, 14:12   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
The backhoe operator shut off the machine as soon as they realised what happened.
The incident happened about 1.5km (pipe distance) from the meter. Yes it was an industrial site. They had not used the line (much, to heat the office, etc.) in several years. The on-site personnel did not know about the line.
If they weren't using the line much, I guess the meter didn't start whizzing around until the oopsadaisy with the backhoe. I'm glad the operator knew what to do, and nobody got hurt.

Reminds me of one time years ago when my neighbors were on vacation, and their sprinkling system breached somewhere. I didn't realize it at first, because we'd been getting a lot of rain, so that swampy area out back wasn't remarkable. But when it was still swampy after a week of dry weather, I tossed in some mosquito dunks, and investigated. I traced the source: water was pouring out of the ground in the neighbor's yard. They'd given a key to another neighbor, so I went to him. He shut off the sprinkler system, and the water stopped immediately.

When the neighbors returned, I told the guy about the problem. He didn't believe me. No, he said, that was water percolating from further uphill.

A couple of days later, I saw his wife working in their garden. She told me they'd gotten a call from Utilities, because they'd noticed an extraordinary amount of water usage at their house. The water bill was around $350.00.

I can only guess, but I imagine her husband believed me then...
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Old 2018-03-29, 18:24   #48
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If they weren't using the line much, I guess the meter didn't start whizzing around until the oopsadaisy with the backhoe. I'm glad the operator knew what to do, and nobody got hurt.
A friend of mine's first job was in the mining industry.

Just out of university, he was paid good coin to sit opposite a digger digging a hole, observing. They knew old gas lines ran all over the place, but didn't know where they were.

"I don't know what I'm watching for" he said. "Don't worry; you'll figure it out" answered the operator, and then started digging.

My friend said that as he watched the soil fall after each shallow scoop he could actually see where something linear and strong was. Sometimes it was a plant root; sometimes it was an old pipe.
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Old 2018-03-30, 14:33   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
A friend of mine's first job was in the mining industry.

Just out of university, he was paid good coin to sit opposite a digger digging a hole, observing. They knew old gas lines ran all over the place, but didn't know where they were.

"I don't know what I'm watching for" he said. "Don't worry; you'll figure it out" answered the operator, and then started digging.

My friend said that as he watched the soil fall after each shallow scoop he could actually see where something linear and strong was. Sometimes it was a plant root; sometimes it was an old pipe.
Some years ago, the local utility company hired an excavating firm to put a couple of "taps" for service lines in a sewer main which was buried under the street near my house. The main had been "located" and the street marked with a splotch of paint. But when the excavators dug there -- no sewer main! So, they began to trench toward where they reckoned the main was. Along the way, they unexpectedly encountered a pipe -- an abandoned gas line or something, buried a lot less deep than what they were digging for. The locator hadn't known about it, so hadn't marked it. They dug around it, leaving it without a scratch, bridging the trench. That backhoe operator was good -- he probably could have flipped a dime with that thing. They eventually did find the sewer main and tapped into it, but because of the bad locate, the job took an extra day.

Anyhow, the operator told me they sometimes had to dig up buried pipes or whatever, in places where any records of exactly where they might have been buried were long gone. In a situation like that, they could tell from the way the layers of soil looked in shallow test digs, whether it had been dug up before -- even a hundred years ago. Once they found where it had been dug up before, they'd know to dig deeper.

This brought something to mind: I have often seen an unfortunate proclivity in people to dismiss skilled professionals -- be they plumbers, construction workers, or excavators -- as somehow unworthy of respect because of the kind of work they do. But there is a maxim, "The devil is in the details." And it is perhaps well to keep in mind that, in any skilled work, even digging a large hole in the ground, there are always details.
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Old 2018-03-30, 20:08   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
They eventually did find the sewer main and tapped into it, but because of the bad locate, the job took an extra day.
...
This brought something to mind: I have often seen an unfortunate proclivity in people to dismiss skilled professionals -- be they plumbers, construction workers, or excavators -- as somehow unworthy of respect because of the kind of work they do. But there is a maxim, "The devil is in the details." And it is perhaps well to keep in mind that, in any skilled work, even digging a large hole in the ground, there are always details.
There is a major public works project in my area that is taking months longer than planned because of "unknown" utilities. They have been found and have had to be rerouted for the project.

One of my favourite quotes that applies here:
Quote:
"We must learn to honor excellence in every socially accepted human activity, however humble the activity, and to scorn shoddiness, however exalted the activity.

An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher.

The society that scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."
--John Gardner (United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare 65-68), "Excellence"

Last fiddled with by Uncwilly on 2018-03-30 at 20:09
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Old 2018-03-31, 13:36   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
There is a major public works project in my area that is taking months longer than planned because of "unknown" utilities. They have been found and have had to be rerouted for the project.
This reminds me of a curious aspect of the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) in Chicago, involving known utilities. In CLOUT -- Mayor Daley and His City, Len O'Connor wrote the following about the sale of a block of a city street to make room for the structure:
Quote:
The price of $130 per square foot was about $40 over the sale price of much less valuable streets and alleys, but in selling the block of Quincy Street to Sears at the price of $2,767,000, the city agreed to absorb the $1,122,000 cost of relocating the water and sewer lines beneath the street -- and this cut the the cost per square fot from $130 to $77, which was indeed a bargain basement price.
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Old 2018-03-31, 22:02   #52
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U.S. visa applicants to be asked for social media history: State Department | Reuters

This is of course madness, but madness of a predictable, ever-encroaching you-knew-this-was-gonna-happen kind. China is busily tying the right to participate in society to an Orwellian all-your-data-aggregated "social credit score", they are simply a few years ahead of us and more naked in their drive to enforce conformity and crush all forms of dissent.

DHS has also been less than coy in their push to condition the citizenry to begin expecting to have to cough up their social media passwords at the border.
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Old 2018-04-01, 13:41   #53
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Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
U.S. visa applicants to be asked for social media history: State Department | Reuters

This is of course madness, but madness of a predictable, ever-encroaching you-knew-this-was-gonna-happen kind. China is busily tying the right to participate in society to an Orwellian all-your-data-aggregated "social credit score", they are simply a few years ahead of us and more naked in their drive to enforce conformity and crush all forms of dissent.

DHS has also been less than coy in their push to condition the citizenry to begin expecting to have to cough up their social media passwords at the border.
One might reasonably object to the use of the word "citizenry" (my emphasis) in the above. After all, the cited articles do say (again my emphasis)

Quote:
The proposal, if approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would require most immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants to list all social media identities they have used in the past five years.
and
Quote:
“What sites do you visit? And give us your passwords.”

That’s what U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly wants foreign visitors to hear before they’re allowed to enter the United States.
However, that objection might just as reasonably be answered, by reading the second article all the way to the end:

Quote:
An American citizen entering the U.K. might be asked to turn over his passwords, for example, which will promptly be shared with the U.S. government. “Think of it as backdoor built into your constitutional rights,” Zdziarski wrote.
Hmm. What if you don't have any social media accounts? Would posting to forums (like this one) count?
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Old 2018-04-07, 06:12   #54
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Subverting Backdoored Encryption | Schneier on Security -- Discusses a proposed scheme of subliminal communication schemes, or 'ascii steganography', if you will. From the paper Schneier is discussing:
Quote:
Abstract: In this work, we examine the feasibility of secure and undetectable point-to-point communication in a world where governments can read all the encrypted communications of their citizens. We consider a world where the only permitted method of communication is via a government-mandated encryption scheme, instantiated with government-mandated keys. Parties cannot simply encrypt ciphertexts of some other encryption scheme, because citizens caught trying to communicate outside the government's knowledge (e.g., by encrypting strings which do not appear to be natural language plaintexts) will be arrested. The one guarantee we suppose is that the government mandates an encryption scheme which is semantically secure against outsiders: a perhaps reasonable supposition when a government might consider it advantageous to secure its people's communication against foreign entities. But then, what good is semantic security against an adversary that holds all the keys and has the power to decrypt?

We show that even in the pessimistic scenario described, citizens can communicate securely and undetectably. In our terminology, this translates to a positive statement: all semantically secure encryption schemes support subliminal communication. Informally, this means that there is a two-party protocol between Alice and Bob where the parties exchange ciphertexts of what appears to be a normal conversation even to someone who knows the secret keys and thus can read the corresponding plaintexts. And yet, at the end of the protocol, Alice will have transmitted her secret message to Bob. Our security definition requires that the adversary not be able to tell whether Alice and Bob are just having a normal conversation using the mandated encryption scheme, or they are using the mandated encryption scheme for subliminal communication.
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Old 2018-04-07, 16:36   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Subverting Backdoored Encryption | Schneier on Security -- Discusses a proposed scheme of subliminal communication schemes, or 'ascii steganography', if you will. From the paper Schneier is discussing:
Quote:
We show that even in the pessimistic scenario described, citizens can communicate securely and undetectably. In our terminology, this translates to a positive statement: all semantically secure encryption schemes support subliminal communication. Informally, this means that there is a two-party protocol between Alice and Bob where the parties exchange ciphertexts of what appears to be a normal conversation even to someone who knows the secret keys and thus can read the corresponding plaintexts. And yet, at the end of the protocol, Alice will have transmitted her secret message to Bob.
So, for example, an E-mail with such innocuous content as
Quote:
"I met today with the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar several years ago. We spent about 5 hours talking about his story, and I have several important messages from him to you. He asked me to go and brief you on our conversation. I said I have to run it by you first, but in principle I am prepared to do it, provided that he buys me a ticket. It has to do about the future of his country, and is quite interesting."
would be completely secure against any suspicion that it had anything to do with payoffs...
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