Two related puzzles
Two tech puzzles, both involving long-distance communications infrastructure and aircraft.
(1) This winter's snow is annoyingly persistent but basically normal. Last winter was nearly snowless and the winter before was below average, so our expectations
had to be readjusted. Objectively this is nothing special, certainly not a super-winter or 'snowpocalypse'.
But for some reason this snow is causing major power outages
in rural areas east of Spokane. Inland Power is struggling to get 5000 people out of the dark. They're using helicopters to blow snow off their power lines. What's the difference? Have they been neglecting normal maintenance, or is there something new and special about the snow in that area? Did they use low-quality wire for quick repairs after the Nov windstorm?
(2) NYC satans are spending huge amounts of money to build faster faster faster ways of counterfeiting and stealing and mass-murdering. The latest is a laser-based
communication system duplicating the existing fiberoptic system. High-speed "trading" is never fast enough for Satan; there's always a way to trim a few more milliseconds when you need to kill more poor people and enrich more Chosen.
But a laser-based system in open air is just begging
to be disrupted. Anywhere along the 30-mile path, a drone or a balloon or a kite could block the beam. Near any of the rural relay stations, you could even use a simple aluminum tripod to hold an obstacle firmly in place. You can't guard all 30 miles of an open-air path. Beyond simple obstacles, hackers working for competitors could place a distorted repeater into the path, changing the code for "BUY 10000 SHARES OF UNIVERSAL CONSOLIDATED" into "SELL ALL SHARES OF UNIVERSAL CONSOLIDATED."