[CentOS] High load averages copying USB

Fri Apr 20 05:42:03 UTC 2012
Lists <lists at benjamindsmith.com>

Problem as follows:

1) Plug in an external USB drive.

2) Mount it anywhere. Doesn't matter how.

3) Copy a few GB of data to the drive from a non-USB disk.

4) Watch the load average "climb" to 5.x, sometimes 10.x or more. Why? 
This on an otherwise unloaded system. Doesn't matter how many cores, how 
much RAM, 32/64 bit, etc.

Why should copying some files to a USB drive cause load averages to 
climb so high? (and network monitors to freak out?)