Subway flooding was responsible for millions in damage during Hurricane Sandy, but an emerging technology may be able to prevent such soggy situations in the future.
This 32-by-16-foot balloon, featured in the NYTimes recently, can be filled with air or water to seal off a tunnel. The prototype of the inflatable plug has an outer webbing of liquid-crystal polymer fiber; the inside layer uses the same fiber and is reinforced with polyurethane to create a better seal. Researchers say the technology is still a year or two from release. The plug holds promise for preventing future flooding, but at $400,000 a pop, they would be a pretty pricey preventative measure.
Ratpocolypse, flood of rats, the ra(p)ture…Ever since Hurricane Sandy flooded New York City’s subway systems, reporters have been waxing biblical as they wonder: what happened to all the rodents who once scampered and snacked in New York City’s tunnels? People aren’t sure how many rats there were to begin with—28 to 32 million, perhaps—but though many may have died in the storm, people expected to see swarms of them appearing on the street after the storm, feasting on tasty, soggy storm debris. So far, New Yorkers seem to have been spared that sight.
At some Subways, the sandwiches aren’t the only thing that’s
Security in the networked world of today isn’t always the easiest to understand, we’ll admit. But business owners, who are in a position of trust when it comes to customers’ debit and credit card transactions, should really be up on basic internet security. When they’re not, they literally give away their customers’ information to hackers. Case in point: about 150 Subway franchises, which, along with at least 50 other small retailers, caused 80,000 customers to lose a total of $3 million after they set up debit card scanners without proper security and encryption.
Here’s what happened: Though Subway distributes lists of security requirements to franchisees, some neglected to follow them. According to a Justice Department statement, in addition to disregarding encryption requirements, they installed cheap remote desktop software, the kind that lets a computer be accessed from another location. All hackers had to do was guess or otherwise determine the password for access, which, as all too many people have found out, isn’t very hard when your password is “password” or “12345.” Once they had that, the hackers were like kids in a candy store, and it took quite some time for anyone to notice what was going on.
It’s enough to make you take a good, hard look at your lunch joint’s manager, and, if he looks like he doesn’t know a trojan from a man in a toga, walk right back out that door.
Read more at Ars Technica.
Image courtesy of Brixton / flickr