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Possibly offensive...barely

What Really Happened To The Kursk

Some new information has come to light over the Kursk disaster. For those with short attention spans, the Kursk was the submarine that blew up and sank killing all 118 on board. The Russians tried to blame the incident on a collision with an unidentified object. However, sonar tapes which recorded the blasts (a small one at first, then a much larger one two minutes later) cast doubt on these claims. A whistle blower within the Russian military has leaked that the crew of the Kursk was testing a new type of torpedo when the accident occurred. It seemed very likely that the test didn't go quite as planned.

While rescue efforts to save the survivors of the Kursk failed, salvage crews were able to recover a 'Black Box' from the submarine which contained detailed accounts of the events leading up to the explosion. As luck would have it, we got a copy of those tapes.

It turns out that the submarine crew was trying to load Microsoft Windows on their fire control computer. Their intent was to replace the aging CP/M operating system with the flashier Windows OS. Apparently, the Russians didn't know about the legendary stability problems exhibited by Windows. The log tapes make this painfully obvious:

Captain: Is the new fire control Windows OS installed yet?

Seaman: Almost Sir. We just need to finish filling out the registration card.

Captain: Excellent. Soon we will be able to point and click our enemies into oblivion.

[evil laughter in background]

Seaman: Captain! It is booting! Look, it says "Preparing to run Windows for the first time".

[long pause]

Seaman: Arrgh! Sir, it wants me to reboot again. That makes the 27th time.

Captain: Hmmm. This is not encouraging. Go ahead and reboot again.

Seaman: Aye Sir.

[another long pause]

Seaman: Captain, it is up again. It says it found new hardware ... A CD-ROM drive and that it needs drivers.

Captain: Where are the drivers?

Seaman: On the CD-ROM.

Captain: You are joking, right?

Seaman: No Sir.

Captain: Reboot the damn thing again. I am starting not to like this Windows.

[another long pause]

Seaman: Sir! It is back! It says it found the Gorby2000 Torpedo and is looking for the device drivers. Do we have a driver disk?

Captain: I do not think so.

Seaman: I will tell it to use the default drivers.

[another long pause]

Seaman: Crap. It wants to reboot again.

Captain: How many times are we going to reboot today? This is taking forever. Our hull is going to rust out before this works.

[another long pause]

Seaman: Sir! It is up and this time it is not asking for anything!

Captain: Really? No device drivers? No registration cards? No user profiles?

Seaman: No Sir. I think it is ready.

Captain: Good work. Now click on the fire control icon and let us see how this works.

Seaman: Clicking now, Sir.

[another long pause]

Captain: Why does the fire control screen have a dancing paper clip on it?

Seaman: I have no idea Sir.

Captain: Hmmm, well try clicking on the menu.

Seaman: Aye Sir. Let us see; Open E-mail, Spam a friend, Mail a Virus, Fire a Torpedo.

Captain: We will spam a friend later. Let us fire a torpedo.

Seaman: Aye Sir.

[another long pause]

Seaman: It is asking us to load the torpedo and to click when ready.

Captain: Torpedo room, load a torpedo in tube number 1!

[intercom:] This is the Torpedo room. The torpedo is loaded Sir.

Captain: Click on the continue button.

Seaman: Aye Sir.

[another long pause]

Seaman: It is asking for a target Sir.

Captain: Hmmm, target the Rainbow Warrior.

Seaman: Aye Sir. Damn! It says the torpedo is low on ink.

Captain: Click ignore. We will get some ink when we return to base.

Seaman: Aye Sir. We are ready to fire.

Captain: Very good. You may fire when ready.

Seaman: Firing torpedo Sir.

[another really long pause]

Captain: Well?

Seaman: I am trying Sir. Nothing is happening. Wait a minute...

[a loud explosion is heard in the background followed by screaming on intercom]

Captain: WTF was that?!?!?

Seaman: Captain! A new screen has appeared! "Outlook Express Fire Control has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. Click 'OK' to continue."

Seaman: Oh my God! The paper clip has died! What should I do?

Captain: Shut it down! Shut it down!

Seaman: It is not responding Sir!

Captain: Try 'CTRL-ALT-DELETE'!

Seaman: Aye Sir. We are in luck! The task manager is still operating. I am instructing the task manager to shut down Outlook Fire Control.

[another long pause]

Seaman: The task manager says that Outlook Fire Control is not responding.

Captain: Well no ****. Tell it to 'end task'.

Seaman: Nothing is happening Sir.

Captain: Try 'CTRL-ALT-DELETE' again.

Seaman: Aye Sir.

[sounds of frantic pecking on keyboard.]

Seaman: Oooh! What a pretty blue screen!

Captain: Holy ****! Not the blue screen of dea....

[ KABLAM! A really big explosion. More screaming and the sound of rushing water.]

The tape ends at this point. During the week long rescue effort, divers reported hearing tapping in the form of Morse code coming from survivors inside the damaged sub. The rescuers couldn't understand why a group of men would spend the last of their strength tapping out "WINDOWS SUCKS" in Morse code. The tapes of the last moments of the Kursk may offer some insight into this.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC)
This is locked . . . but may I send it to deyo? :)
Jan. 8th, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC)
All my posts are automatically locked. Yes you may, or just point him here, as I just unlocked it.
Jan. 8th, 2005 09:05 pm (UTC)
That made me smile.
True fact: there are US Navy battleships and missile cruisers running a customized variant of windows. I've talked to guys who have worked on it. It is to be fervently hoped that it is more robust than the consumer version.
Feb. 7th, 2005 11:47 am (UTC)
>.< I'm.... afraid... simply afraid.
Jan. 9th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC)
Hey, I think these guys called for tech support! I'm sure I remember -- well, or it could have been anybody (everybody) else with Windows ....
Jan. 23rd, 2005 12:18 pm (UTC)
Is paganism really a mental disorder?
Jan. 23rd, 2005 12:19 pm (UTC)
Oh wait, that was probably a joke. Man, am I tired.
Jan. 23rd, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC)
I'm not even sure what you are referring to -- if I have said something somewhere that implies that, please let me know where.
Jan. 24th, 2005 03:04 am (UTC)
Oh right, it's in your userinfo, here:

"I've applied to a graduate school to become a psychologist. I think I've gotten past the point in my life where I want to study psychology to fix myself. I know I'm broken, but I want to specialize in serving underserved populations -- alternative sexualities, pagans, and folks with gender identity issues."
Jan. 24th, 2005 05:17 am (UTC)
None of those is a mental disorder in itself, but it can be hard to find a therapist that can see past the "different" to the actual problem. Therefore, they are under-served populations. Does the hyphen make any difference?
Jan. 24th, 2005 06:27 am (UTC)
Ahhh, now I see what you mean.

How close are you to your degree?
Jan. 24th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC)
I took some MS level classes at a "distance education" college that couldn't meet my needs. So I have applied for the PsyD program at Denver University.

So, now, how did you find me and why have you continued to talk to me? This is asked out of curiosity, not hostility.
Jan. 24th, 2005 07:20 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm from the mollusk community :)

I was just curious.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )