A Mass-Calling Event

A Mass-Calling Event

Sunday, January 28, 2007
| Jeremiah 1:4-10

When too many people are using their phones, an entire network can shut down.

Ruth Gauweiler owes her job at AT&T to a lobster named Larry.

Ruth is a specialist for AT&T’s global network operations, and it’s her responsibility to keep the company from worrying that something big will overwhelm the network.

That’s a significant issue, because in the average 24-hour day, some 440 million calls travel over AT&T’s network. Thus, if something happens to cause a spike in usage, the network could experience an overload. If they know about these spikes in advance, however, they can make room for the extra calls or even bring in extra equipment. And Ruth’s job is to make sure they know.

But as we said, it all started with Larry the Lobster. Back in April 1982, on TV’s

Saturday Night Live, comedian Eddie Murphy held aloft a live lobster he’d named Larry and declared that the show’s audience would determine whether the creature lived or died. Murphy then gave two phone numbers, one for those who wanted to spare Larry, and...

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