So many companies, so much of the government, so much of our life, is now computer-dependent, and there are so many computers, it really was only a matter of time before we started regularly having catastrophic computer-related disruptions of life, and sometimes several in one day.
So even though everyone likes a good conspiracy, it might actually be a coincidence that United Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange got computerifically screw up on the same day. In fact, I think maybe we've been lucky until now, getting only one major cock-up at a time.
There were actually at least four computer problems of some note yesterday. The Wall Street Journal website went down for awhile, less than an hour - and one of the Washington think tanks was down for awhile.
Get used to it. Quite apart from whatever mischief China does, or us, or someone else, computers and their networks are fragile and prone to trouble. We rely all too much on systems that are not robust, no matter what I.T. Hardware and software salespeople say.
If you're old enough to remember Y2K, think of this as something similar - a tipping point that obliges everyone to revisit his contingency plans.
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