I read a lot of disaster books. Not techno thriller broken arrow type disasters, but real ones. See this picture
of my bookcase for details. I also read a newsgroup digest from comp.risks regularly. The latest update has three interesting things:
1) [re: hosting providers] "One place I looked at promised backup power. Then when I asked to see it,
they explained that they only had the fittings and a contract for a backup
generator that would be delivered in a couple of hours. Given that they are
in San Francisco, that's a stupid plan, my-nurse-only-lets-me-use-a-spoon
stupid; in an earthquake, their provider wouldn't have enough generators and
probably wouldn't be able to deliver them anyhow."
2) "[T]oday's *LA Times* featured a photograph of a self-pay
parking kiosk with a mis-set date of 16 May 1943, showing an amount due of
"Sanity checking, you ask? Not bloody likely. An auxiliary display shows
the fee in larger characters; it reads 8.1E 6. When you have an programmer
so clueless as to calculate money values in floating point, there is little
hope for subtleties like sanity checking."
3) Finally, have a look at the picture
in this guys blog post.
Dawn Pizzini of the Information Technology Services Division is quoted as
saying, "We would have never assumed that that many components in that piece
of equipment would fail."