September 2010 17 >>>We’ve all experienced the frustration and inconvenience of the infamous ‘blue screen of death’. In fact it’s something of a cliché for PC users and grist for the mill of many a Mac disciple. And while for many it’s something of a joke (albeit a frustrating one), it appears that just such a PC crash played a direct role in the BP oil spill disaster that killed 11 workers and is currently ravaging the Gulf Coast shoreline of the US.
Testifying at a federal hearing, Michael Williams, chief electronics technician aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, said that the computer systems designed to monitor and control drilling on the fated rig had been locking up for months, crashing and displaying a blue screen. According to the New York Times, Williams testified that “for months, the computer system had been locking up, producing what the crew called the Blue Screen of Death....it would just turn blue”, he said, with “no data coming through”.
Williams also testified that the general alarm system, designed to warn workers in the event of an emergency, had been switched off, to avoid waking sleeping workers.