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November 29, 2012
There Go the Lights
An awful lot of people are using an awful lot of bad language in Cambridge, MA right now. At about 4:25 PM (EST), the power flickered and went out in a large swath of East Cambridge, out to somewhere near Harvard Square. That takes out MIT and more technology-based companies than you'd care to count, so everyone is getting the chance to find out how their backup power supplies work (or don't), and how their expensive, finicky equipment takes to having the current lurch around.
I was in my office when things browned down and went out, and it soon became clear that the whole area had gone dark. Public transit was working (when I got on it, anyway), and my commute home is the same as always (for better or worse!), but that won't be the case for people depending on spotty streetlights and the like. Not to mention the various homeward-bound folks who are presumably sitting, none too happily, in elevators right now.
Servers, NMR machines, LC/MS units, -80 degree freezers, lab fridges, automation of all sorts are to be found in heaps in that part of town; it's probably got one of the densest concentrations of such equipment anywhere. Getting it all running again will not be enjoyable.
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