Food for thought... This BugTraq post describes a plausible state-of-affairs that implies that the recent Blaster worm was responsible for the North American power outages. The information seems to be accurate. Maybe something will be revealed in the next week or two. The BBC page still just claims:
"What caused the initial problem is still in dispute.
But something knocked out power near the Canadian border and the system began to demand power for other areas."
If true, then this just proves that our entire civilisation is constantly teetering on the edge of our own man-made destruction =)
However it turns out, it kind of makes sense, in an inevitable kind of way, that there will always be the constant threat that some critical systems will remain vulnerable, somewhere. While we have fantastic theoretical processes and infrastructures that can withstand anything, and people advocating these, the number of systems in use, and the number of possible debilitating scenarios, is far vaster. To tie it in with my criticisms of competition, below, distinct corporations in control of such things is an even worse idea, especially if they lack accountability, and any system that combines these two ideas is necessarily feted to some "disaster" - the question is just when.