Here comes the Sun. There goes the Internet.

Deborah Salmi, 27 January 2012

Here comes the Sun. There goes the Internet.

Last year, the Egyptian government shut down the Internet for 5 days during the anti-government protests. Last week, some websites on the Internet voluntarily blacked out to protest SOPA. What would happen if the whole Internet went black? Scientists thought it could happen this week.

The massive solar storm that bombarded Earth’s magnetic field Tuesday morning caused minor disruptions to spacecraft and power grids, and airline flights were rerouted to avoid downtime in radio communications. Scientists speculated that if the angle of the electromagnetic burst would have been different, we may have experienced a major power failure like one that happened in a 1989 solar storm. Six million people in Quebec lost electricity then, and the effects were felt through many parts of the continental U.S. because of the inter-connectivity of the power grids. This storm was much stronger.

What would it be like if we lost the Internet for an extended amount of time? For many businesses it would be catastrophic. But on a personal level, it would be freeing. Certainly, communication would be different. If I want my friends to know my status, I actually have to talk to them. Commerce would look differently too. If I needed to buy something, I would have to visit the bank to withdraw money and then go to the store to make my purchase. Knowledge would still be at my fingertips, but I would have to look in a book to find it. And if I wanted to watch the humorous antics of a funny kitty, I would have to go over to my mom’s house to see Jasmine the cat push her catnip toy across the floor. It actually doesn't sound like too bad of a day.

What would you miss the most if the Internet disappeared? How would your life change? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.


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