pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Tue Jan 28 13:52:13 EST 2003

Subject:   Impairments

(from NewsScan Daily, 28 January 2003)

Microsoft has been embarrassed by having to acknowledge that the SQL
Slammer virus, which infected computer servers all over the world,
also contaminated some of Microsoft's own servers, because system
administrators  had failed to heed the company's own advice to
install a software patch  months ago to fix a known system
vulnerability. A Microsoft executive had to admit: "We, like the
rest of the industry, struggle to get 100% compliance with our
patch management. We recognize -- now more than ever -- that this
is something we need to work on. And, like the rest of the 
industry, we're working to fix it." (New York Times 28 Jan 2003)

Researchers at the University of Utah have found that drivers using
cell phones, even hands-free devices, experience a decrease in the
ability to process peripheral vision, creating a potentially lethal
"tunnel vision." This "inattention blindness" slows reaction time
by 20% and resulted in some of the 20 test subjects missing half
the red lights they encountered in simulated driving. "We found
that when people are on the phone, the amount of information they
are taking in is significantly reduced," says associate professor
David Strayer. "People were missing things, like cars swerving in
front or sudden lane changes. We had at least three rear-end 
collisions." The Utah study is only the latest investigation into
the  effects of driving and cell phone use, and most of the others
have also demonstrated some degree of impairment. And while most
studies have focused on the distractions of dialing or holding a
phone, the Utah research tried to focus on the distractions caused
by having a conversation. New York is the only state to have
instituted laws against the practice, but 30 more states have
similar legislation pending. (CNet News.com 27 Jan 2003)

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