Some fool shut down a power substation that among other customers services the Pickle was hit. Hence Ranger and Lonestar, our supercomputers, which were out of full service yesterday. Interestingly, backup power kept the building going. Those of us privileged to breathe the same air as the world’s largest computer (this month anyway) who were not actually typing at a login node didn’t notice.
The fool was duly electrocuted, but posterity will find this story of interest mostly because after his critical burns the poor fool was shipped to a hospital 80 miles a way in San Antonio, according to the brief news account.
I suppose there is a burn unit somewhere in Austin. I wonder whether his prognosis improved by this transshipment. I wonder how much energy was expended.
I suspect this all has something to do with money. Shifting responsibility from the wealthier community (Austin/Travis) to the poorer one (San Antonio/Bexar) is not to my way of thinking an obvious benefit. Putting the idiot’s life at additional risk (which, by treating him at all rather than shooting him, we presume we care about), and expending a lot of energy sending an ambulance 80 miles down the road at speed and 80 miles back at leisure makes no obvious sense to me. At what gasoline pricing does the perverse motivational structure that this story implies break down? Are we just going to be sticking Bexar County with an even larger bill next summer when gasoline is up to $4?