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I remember that a chemistry teacher once told us that the filament in light bulbs is deliberately not made of pure wolfram … because wolfram wouldn’t melt. So you’d just need one set of light bulbs until your own light stops glowing, which is clearly not in the interest in any industry who wants to sell, well, light bulbs. I’m still not sure whether that’s just another conspiracy theory or whether there is some truth to it. (Anyone working for the R&D team of a light bulb manufacturer by any chance?)

With computer systems at least I assume that, by and large, they are not supposed to fail. This morning I witnesses how even at a large insurance company (CosmosDirekt) the whole customer database (!) can be inaccessible for several hours. Amazing. I somehow always thought that they’d have super-reliable systems. But then I remembered how I had been disillusioned before.

A few years back, I had a summer job at a crypto company and, as part of a showing-off-how-cool-we-are-introduction, I got a tour of their high-security server room. We had to go through a “singling gate” (… a gate/door where the authorization of each visitor had to be confirmed by a PIN, retina scan and, if I remember correctly, a blood sample … or was it only urine?). It took something like 1 minute per person. That felt a bit James Bond like. After showing us the servers and telling us how they were only allowed to be down for 5 minutes per year, I was all “wow!!!”. But then on the way out a funny thing happened: the super high security door was jammed wide open by a technician who was working on it. In less than 30 seconds the whole group had passed … while others were entering without any check. So much for the high-security sector.

How did mankind ever manage to fly to the moon with such crappy systems? Oh, I forgot. We didn’t – it was shot in Hollywood. This conspiracy theory is getting more and more plausible to me.

Later edit: Of course, a few hours after I wrote this the light bulb in our hallway burned out.


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