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Feb 17, 2021

Good morning everybody! 

I was on WGAN this morning with Matt Gagnon. We began talking about the shortages of Semiconductor Chips, what caused it, what is being done about it and why did it happen.  Then we got into Space and fueling rockets for trips to Mars.  Of course, we had to get into the hack of the water plant in FL and what happened.  Here we go with Matt.

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Automated Machine Generated Transcript:

Matt Gagnon: [00:00:00] From what I understand about this story, they were using an unsupported version of windows with no firewall and everybody had the same password. Am I right about that?

Craig Peterson: [00:00:10] Good morning, Craig Peterson here had a great little chat with Mr. Matt Gagnon, as we discuss some of our favorite things, including NASA. We talked a little bit about their new rocket propulsion using nuclear fuel.

We also talked about our breached water plant, which is a bit of an issue, and why our car manufacturers are cutting back on manufacturing by a factor of two-thirds. So here we go with Mr. Gagnon.

Matt Gagnon: [00:00:41] We're talking to Craig Peterson, our tech guru. He joins us at this time every Wednesday to talk about the world of technology, Craig, how are you, sir?

Craig Peterson: [00:00:48] Hey, good morning doing well. I actually saw the sun this morning.

Matt Gagnon: [00:00:52] You saw the sun. Amazing. Yes, it does exist. It is out there. Although I heard it's going to be a pretty cold night tonight, so we shall see. Craig, I was reading something this morning. It was in the press Herald and it was talking about how everybody is in fact able to buy toilet paper.

Today and all those global shortages of the commodities that we saw early in the pandemic are mostly solved. There is still a pretty huge need in some areas. Some places where you need to get some stuff that you can't really quite get. One of those is interestingly enough, computer chips.

This is something that we're seeing, in a lot of different industries. I think I remember you saying to me a few weeks ago that this might be one of the ultimate culprits for why the PS5's aren't coming out like gangbusters, and some other things as well.  Tell me a little bit about the shortage itself and what the white house wants to do about it.

Craig Peterson: [00:01:39] This is really interesting, especially that last part, what the White House wants to do about it. Because of the lockdown, we had companies trying to guess what are we going to need inventory-wise?  The manufacturers of these various types of chips based it on the orders that were coming in. They ordered these things months in advance. That is part of the problem we're having with the Sony PlayStations and others.

We've got our major manufacturers of cars, like Ford, for example, that has cut back from running three shifts to one shift because they cannot get the chips that they need inside of our cars.

Our cars today are not just computers on wheels. They are dozens of computers on wheels, each car.  It's been a real problem. That inventory is catching up. It will catch up pretty quickly. We can manufacture these things. It's not like the problem we had with hard drives being manufactured in Indonesia, where they had massive flooding and it took all of these hard drive facilities offline.

This was just because people didn't order at the right time and the supply chain got messed up. Now, what the White House is going to do about it? They're going to talk about it. They are going to identify potential choke points in the supply chain, according to the White House press secretary.

Bottom line there's nothing for them to do. There's nothing that they're going to do. This problem will fix itself. This is going to lead to shortages in cars and basically anything with a chip in it.

Matt Gagnon: [00:03:16] Talking to Craig Peterson, our tech guru. He joins us now as he always does on Wednesdays, of course, can hear him on Saturdays in some more depth and detail on these various stations for his show which you can hear at 1:00 PM.

Now Craig, my favorite topic to chat about with you is always something space-related and there's. Always some news and tidbits to sink your teeth into, as it relates to, to, to those types of stories. Elon Musk wants to go to Mars and developments and engines, all kinds of stuff.

I did, however, read with great interest this tidbit that you had from ARS Technica about NASA thinking that the only realistic plan for humans actually on Mars is with nuclear propulsion. Talk to me about this a little bit.

Craig Peterson: [00:03:54] Yeah, isn't this kind of neat. I just love to think about this, because it's the future.

Elon Musk and NASA both are using chemically fueled rockets, these are the rockets that we've had in use now for a very long time.

Matt Gagnon: [00:04:09] Rocket fuel, right? Yeah.

Craig Peterson: [00:04:11] Yeah, exactly good old chemical rocket fuel. The problem that we have is the cost involved. You have to use tons, thousands of tons of rocket fuel in order to just get pounds of payload up into space. The biggest problem is of course from the ground until orbit. So NASA originally planned our first moon launch to have a base that was circling the globe. This was back in the sixties and it was basically going to be a refueling stop. The astronauts would go up there the fuel would already be ready. It would be loaded into the rocket. That's going to take them to the moon.

There's still a whole lot of work on that concept when it comes to these Mars flights. When you get right down to it, carrying a hundred tons to low earth orbit. In other words, just to go around the earth, not to go to the moon or Mars, a hundred tons, which is a lot of payload. That's going to cost about two billion dollars using these chemical rockets.

So NASA back in the sixties was also looking at nuclear propulsion. They've been getting a budget for nuclear propulsion now for a long time. It looks like we're talking about a dramatically different way of doing it instead of having to have 4,000 tons of propellant to get up there. We're just talking about a few hundred when we're talking about nuclear.

This is very fascinating. We've been using nuclear in space. The Russians have as well to run some of their satellites.  In many cases, it's really worried us. The biggest reason NASA has not been a big proponent of this is the risk involved. If you've got all of that nuclear propellant on those rockets, you could have an accident, just like we've seen with some of Elon Musk's rockets, as he's trying to figure this whole thing out, and that could spread nuclear waste. There's concerns involved. Right now it looks like the only long-term solution we have for getting lots of colonists and supplies to Mars and beyond.

Matt Gagnon: [00:06:26] Craig Peterson our tech guru joins us at this time every Wednesday to go over what's happening in the world of technology. Final question for you, Craig, there's some utility stuff in the news, obviously with all the power outages going on down South. There was also this story of the Florida water treatment facility that had a disastrous computer system failure. Apparently, from what I understand about this story, they were using an unsupported version of Windows with no firewall and everybody had the same password. Am I right about this? What could possibly go wrong?

Craig Peterson: [00:06:57] This is what we're seeing as a result of the lockdown again. People working from home. That happened in this small Florida community, about 15,000 people, right outside of Tampa. They, of course, had the lockdown, but people still want water coming out of their taps.

So what do you do?

We're going to put Team viewer on all of our computers so that people can get in from home. What happened was, as you said, they were running Windows seven and you can't get patches for it. They didn't have it configured properly. This is by the way, why I'm doing this Improving Windows Security course in a couple of weeks.

They moved quickly to get people to the point where they're able to work from home, sounds familiar. Because of that, they didn't lock things down. They didn't do it properly.

The sharing of the password thing is just absolutely unreal. Are you kidding me?

Inside many of manufacturing plants, and pretty much all of our critical infrastructure are what are called SCADA systems. These are systems that open and close valves and control the physical properties of the plant.

Somebody got on to this computer that was used to control the lye mix and increase the amount of lye being added to the water by 100 fold. Just incredible. It could have caused very severe sickness to anyone that used the water. Maybe even death.

Now the good news is some people who work from home are actually working. The guy that was monitoring this computer. Saw wait, somebody else is on this computer and changed screens and increased the lye by a factor of a hundred. He immediately turned it down.  Nobody was injured by this, but it does bring up again this problem.

We moved very quickly to work from home. We didn't think it through. We didn't put proper safeguards in place.  If they listened to WGAN, Matt, they would know what to do. The simple stuff here. Sometimes that's the stuff we overlook the most.

Matt Gagnon: [00:09:10] Indeed.  Craig Peterson, our tech guru joins us this time every Wednesday. Thanks a lot, Craig. Appreciate it.  We will talk to you again next week, sir.

Craig Peterson: [00:09:16] All right. I'll be back Saturday, of course, at 1:00 PM.

Matt Gagnon: [00:09:19] Indeed. All right.

Craig Peterson: [00:09:21] Hey everybody. I figured out what had been going on. I just noticed maybe a week or so ago, the feed at Apple podcasts was not working. I was trying to figure out why hasn't it updated since November?

It was like November 2nd or something.  I couldn't figure out why.  I ran my podcast feed through a bunch of these online feed aggregator checkers, cause it was working everywhere else.

I had to do the process of elimination and figured out the problem was Apple didn't like the dimensions of my artwork. They apparently are very picky. They want your artwork to be square somewhere between 1500 by 1500 pixels and 3000 by 3000 pixels.

I made a little piece of artwork. I'm not terribly happy with it, but whatever that was 2000 by 2000 pixels and lo and behold, the next day. It shows up. So I think that's pretty darn cool.

My podcast download numbers went way up. So welcome back all you guys. Sorry about that. I didn't even notice that it wasn't working. I'm sure some of you guys complained. I might've missed that email,

Take care, everybody.  I'll be back this weekend.



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