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Network down? Must be New Year's Eve gunfire

Or another fried raccoon...

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Gun-touting buffoons and a pesky raccoon were among some of the more bizarre reasons why a number of Americans suffered power and comms outages during the New Year period.

American revellers who were presumably not content with simply opening a bottle of bubbly moonshine to toast the New Year, decided to fire random gunshots instead.

Cable and broadcast television services in south east Memphis were knocked out for several hours.

Comcast officials said the cause of the downtime was due to bullet holes that had ripped into fibre-optic lines.

Meanwhile, a sleepy, chilly raccoon looking for a hot bed to hunker down in on the final day of 2007 electrocuted himself after running into a transformer at a Warwick substation leaving 8,200 residents without power for an hour.

Dominion Virginia Power spokesman told local reporters: "He probably was trying to find a warm spot as animals frequently do and it didn't work out too well." Quite.

The catalogue of power outage excuses was compiled by internet monitoring firm Pingdom, which scanned US news reports over the past week to see what the various causes were for power and network downtime. Its full results can be viewed here.

Pingdom said that such incidents proved that it's always wise for businesses to have backup power in place. "It may not be too bad for regular consumers to be forced offline for a few hours, but for a company, or worse, a data center, it can be a major head ache." ®

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