Tonight, 60 Minutes will investigate the computer worm that wreaked havoc on Iran’s Nuclear Program and talk about parents who are actually delaying their kids from starting school. The first segment is about a possible cyber attack on the US. The first of this kind was “Stuxnet” and it attacked Iran’s Nuclear Program. The US Military has been in cyberspace for a long time and it is actively pursuing countermeasures and its own attack programs. Stuxnet was propagated by thumb drives and not the internet. It stayed hidden for over a year looking for a specific logic controller made by Siemens. The worm just wandered around until it found what it was looking for.
The Stuxnet Worm could effect water systems and other industrial facilities. Stuxnet didn’t attack every computer it was in but it actually was looking for a target. It was looking for specific equipment targeted to Iran’s Nuclear Program. We don’t know for sure who was behind Stuxnet but it had to be a huge agency like the CIA. The problem with Stuxnet being public is that the source code is out there in the public domain now. It wouldn’t be hard to reprogram the worm to attack other targets in any country. This would be a very difficult task but it is a threat. The US is worried that our privately owned utility companies are very vulnerable to a cyber attack.
The second segment is about the Catholic Church and the sexual abuse by priests. The Archbishop of Dublin was very outspoken about this scandal. He says he knew who the priests were but the Church locked the files away. When he became Archbishop, he released the files to the Murphy commission. He says sexual abuse of a child is about control. There are new regulations like a priest is never allowed to be alone with a child. Any allegation of abuse has to be reported to local authorities and the Priest has to step down while under investigation. Church members talk of how the church covered up this abuse that lasted for many years. The Church paid out a settlement last year to an abuse victim. The Church had ignored 19 charges against Priests up to 2009. Two priests tried to resign but Rome would not accept the resignations. Some of the younger priests say the Church needs to repent and get everything out in the open for the Church to grow. Some parishes in Ireland average only 2% attendance and there are almost no new priests coming from the country. Last year, the Archbishop had an atonement ceremony for all the abuse victims. He says the Church needs to atone for these grave sins against children.
The final segment is about parents “red shirting” their kids so they will be the oldest in their class and have an edge in life. Parents believe that this will allow the kids to have and edge in school and be among the best in their class because they have had a year extra to learn. Red Shirting has tripled since the seventies. One pre school teacher actually told a parent that starting school late would give the kid an advantage over the other kids. Parents are using Malcolm Gladwell and his book Outliers as a bible that says letting your kid mature more will give them an advantage. He says these advantages snowball even through adulthood. Studies show that older kids are more likely to be leaders in school and in life. Some researchers say this is the same as educational quackery. They say older kids are more likely to be bored in school and drop out. Some school districts are fighting this trend by forcing kids to go to school on time. Gladwell says parents need to step back and take a deep breath before deciding when to put their kids in school. One thing is certain here. If all parents hold back their kids then the “advantage” is nullified.
Photo courtesy of: 60 Minutes