Mars Comes Within 34.6 Million Miles of Earth, France Surrenders ... Full story
Weekend at Bernies III, With Gregory Hines ... Full story
Recipes of the World - Pakistan: Mud Cakes Join our world tour of culinary delights... Full story
Osama Seeks Help from The Wizard of Love No matter how famous you are, you secret is safe with the Wizard... Full story
Comics We'd Like to See: BC/PC With apologies to BC... Full story
Northeast Blackout, the Sobig Virus, and SARS Are All Traced to Ohio
EASTLAKE, OH It was revealed this week that it was Ohio that caused the blackout, was the source of the Sobig.F computer virus, and was the source of the deadly SARS disease.
Homeland Security officials close to the computer virus investigation received a tip from an alert staff person at the Tot Spot Day Care Center in Eastlake, Ohio. The staffer surprised a group of precocious two- and three-year-olds who had broken into the administrative office and were pounding away at a computer keyboard. When discovered, they quickly scattered, but not before the staffer had a chance to check out the computer code on the screen.
"It was scary," she said. "There were all these symbols and what looked like messages from space aliens covering the screen. I was afraid that it was cult-related, so I alerted my supervisor. We were surprised to learn that the gibberish the kids were creating was actually the fastest-spreading computer virus ever."
But the day care center staff should have been able to contain the virus in Ohio and prevent it from spreading to other states, said a Homeland Security IT expert. "If they had downloaded patches beforehand, this could have all been prevented," said the IT expert. "And if they'd acted quickly, they could have pulled the power plug on the computer, and stopped this cold."
But computer experts who work in the real world said that the virus, once created, would have spread so fast there was nothing humans could do to prevent the cascading effect.
In a related development, the World Health Organization has determined that the SARS disease also originated in Ohio. "We thought it originated in mainland China," said one official, "and that humans had contracted the disease from chickens. But it turns out that the disease originated at Ohio State's agricultural studies department, where students were experimenting with beer and genetic engineering, and it spread to China when an exchange student from Ohio Sate had sex with a chicken in China."
Cheryl Evans Pedersen and Emma Dubin contributed to this article, which was based on a suggestion by Gray Davis.