in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

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Kathy Nestell
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in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

As I have found much joy in simplifying my life, and adopting the "less is more" philosophy, I can't help but wonder how the coming global meltdown will affect the Internet. I am a very social person by nature despite the fact that I have moved out to the middle of nowhere where I feel I will weather the coming storm better than the social urbanites. One thing I can't imagine living without is the Internet. Here I have a place to direct my social connections with like-minded people such as all of you. (Dr. C's groupies!)

Can I get some thoughts from any techno minded people here that have an understanding of the behind the scenes workings of the web and what we might expect of its functionality in the midst of the crash.

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

I'm no tech guru, but if we stipulate that the electricity supply isn't compromised (or not significantly so), I would guess there'd be two scenarios for the Net, depending on what's going on in the non-Net world:

 (i)  If serious unrest is sporadic or contained to small[ish] geographic areas, then I wouldn't expect much to change on the Net.

 (ii)  If there's major upheaval politically/economically [i.e., the crash isn't gradual or stepped -- it's all at once/steep and TSHTF in a major way] then I'd expect the gov to curtail Net activity so as to suppress dissent, et alia.  It's probably all outlined on page 1126 of the Patriot Act or something...

 Just my $0.02 (gettin' smaller all the time)... 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

It will depend entirely on whether or not we can muster together enough electricity:

From Matt Savinar's webpage (http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net)

 "The Internet:

Contrary to popular belief, the internet consumes tremendous amounts of energy. Author John Michael Greer explains:

 
The explosive spread of the internet, finally, was also a product of the era of ultracheap energy. The hardware of the internet, with its worldwide connections, its vast server farms, and its billions of interlinked home and business computers, probably counts as the largest infrastructure project ever created and deployed in a two decade period in history. The sheer amount of energy that's been been invested to create and sustain the internet beggars the imagination. Source
Recent estimates indicate the infrastructure necessary to support the internet consumes 10% of all the electricity produced in the United States. Source The overwhelming majority of this electricity is produced using coal or natural gas, both of which, as explained momentarily, are also near their global production peaks. Source #1  Source #2  Source #3  Source #4  Source #5 "
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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

It takes a lot to power up all those servers, but as businesses collapse I suspect those same businesses will no longer need their own website, thus the discontinuation of their server usage. 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

I've been wondering this, too, as my business totally depends upon the Internet.  But there are at least two reasons why I believe the Internet will continue for quite some time.

First, don't forget that the Internet, by design, is almost impossible to take down.  You could destroy or turn off 90% of the servers in the world and messages would still be able to get through to people who were still online.  If your ISP is operating on one of the servers that goes down, then you would have to find an alternate way to connect, but dialup is always a backup.  Remember that the Internet was designed to facilitate communications in the event of a nuclear war where much of our infrastructure was destroyed.  It is self-healing to a large degree, so you only need a subset of it to be up and operating to get the job done.  We might not have the bandwidth to download movies, songs, and junk mail, but it won't go away.

Second, electricity won't just go away.  It will get more expensive, it might be rationed, there will be planned and unplanned outages, but remember that Peak Oil doesn't mean that everything disappears.  It is simply a point in history where demand begins to exceed supply, so nature imposes a rationing scheme.  I think all of us will be dead before electricity is dead.  And hopefully, by then, the infrastructure to create electricity from renewable energy sources will start to come online.

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

Due to the speed of the economic collapse my reasons for Internet scaling-back, interruption, or general termination have changed. A year ago my take was that Peak Oil would be the catalyst for such things in the form of resource scarcity/rationing. But now, however, I believe any changes to the Internet over the coming 24 months or so will be related to social unrest and take the form of government crackdowns that will have the intent of eliminating what could be called the Net's most troubling unintended consequences (from the point of view of those in power), which is the ability of people to mobilize for the sake of dissent. So I basically agree with some of the earlier posts that the government will most likely start censoring wide swaths of communication under the cover of national security.

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

I agree with MaineCoonCat

The web is an absolutely amazing tool that people will pay a high premium to use. So if power is rationed, I'm sure there will be plenty that will pay the price to use the internet. The simple fact is that using the internet is a lot cheaper than driving and from a resources perspective, I suspect that will remain the case.

A government crack down on internet has already been implemented in Australia, I believe, with some intial levels of filtering "inappropriate" sites. I could be wrong, but I think the UK is considering similar actions. Any infringements on the internet should be taken as a direct attack on free speech and head on assault on one of the greatest tools we all have to find our way through everything amidst the lies and obfuscations of the mainstream media. Let's think for a moment where we would all be in dealing with this crisis if we did not have the internet at our side...Truly, knowledge is capital and knowledge is power. You must have knowledge to act appropriately in the future.

If the government wishes to control a people, propaganda will only go so far. Gun and internet controls would be a step up in potency, but they would also have the potential to trigger greater unrest. If our government has any honesty left in it, then it will not censor the internet. People don't get angry purely because they are running out of resources. People get angry because they have been lied to and manipulated. If the government wished to pull the plug on unrest, it would only have to be honest. But I suppose honesty and morality are incompatible with hopes for imperial world domination.

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Monitor and Restrict, but not shut down

Our government already has the tools to monitor and restrict our use of the Internet.  If the resources that run the Internet needed to be scaled back significantly, they could just shut down types of traffic such as sharing music files, video files, porn sites, etc.  And if we're lucky, spammers.

I think our country will try to keep communication lines open, allow Internet commerce, etc.  Censoring is certainly a possibility, but I don't see the Internet going away.

And regarding Australia, obviously they're not doing much censoring, as Damnthematrix hasn't been shut down yet!Tongue out

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

the elites have a plan to shut it down under the guise of "outdated infrastructure," but really it's just an attempt to control the masses.  whether they'll execute that plan remains to be seen.  it will probably be part of any implementation of martial law to prevent truth-sharing, communicating, coordinating.

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Re: Monitor and Restrict, but not shut down

Well mate....  you got a laugh alright!

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

Strabes,

Wait a minute, what elites and who could possibly call it out-dated. is this your thought or have I missed this tidbit of information. Please tell me it is just your thought.

Mike and Mainecooncat,

You speak of government crackdown and censorship (which doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility from my point of view). But what Strabes speak of, can the Internet physically be shut down? Completely? I am absolutely lacking in the technology of how it all works, but i think we have service providers globally that are probably rather easily censored but what about the wireless satellite connections? Forgive me If i am not making sense here, but please jump in and explain if you think you know what i am asking about.

Stpaulmercantile,

 I agree about the issue of electricity, there will always be some juice for those willing and able to pay for it. During this period of de-leveraging how will the network service providers fare. Will the strongest survive or could there be such a lack of consumers that they can not move forward. I liken the idea to what surius is facing.

 

Thanks everybody for responding and helping my simple mind sort this out.

 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

Apart from being overly sensitive to any criticism of America, why is America also such a hot bed of conspiracy theories...?  Really, I'm curious.  I spend a lot of time on the net, and you never (or very rarely) see Australians speculating on conspiracies... ot the French, or....

Mike 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

I'm directly connected to a satellite right now to send you this.  I expect shutting a satellite down would as easy as sending a command up to it.  <POOF>

At least I won't be running out of juice any time soon...

All computers hooked up to the net are networked, connected virtually.  Signals we send each other here on CM zig zag their way through millions of other computers until they arrive at Chris' server who stores it, until you ask to see what I sent you..  Now remove a few million of the connecting machines and things will slow down.  Remove Chri' server machines, and you won't be able to read this....

The net is the most complex system ever built, and as such I would actually expect it to be the most fragile.

C:\logic.sys missing
reboot Universe y/n

Mike 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!
Damnthematrix wrote:

Apart from being overly sensitive to any criticism of America, why is America also such a hot bed of conspiracy theories...?

How do you define "conspiracy theory" down under?  Anything not reported on the standard mass media channels?  Step out of the matrix.

The internet was created by the Pentagon.  Fact, not conspiracy.  FBI agents join online communities like this to monitor the traffic, just like they infiltrate groups, clubs, religious organizations, patriot movements, etc.  Fact, not conspiracy.  Martial law plans are in place.  Fact.  US and Euro governments have become increasingly distrustful of their people.  Fact.  I could go on and on and on, but I'll spare you the time since apparently you don't care about facts and putting together a mental puzzle if it's not packaged up for you by mass media.  I just hope the US has enough patriots who still believe in the 1st and 2nd amendments enough that they aren't as naively trusting as you.

All it would take is a couple breaks in the few primary pipes crossing the US and running under the Atlantic to kill bandwidth to the point where IP traffic would be disrupted.  I used to work in a major .com application company.  That's the achilles heal...that's why there are plans for a new physical internet infrastructure...companies want to upgrade it because it is a risk. The Pentagon isn't interested.

Kathy, I don't want to repeat here who the elite is.  There are plenty of posts that discuss the banking families behind the Federal Reserve, Bank of London, ECB, Wall St institutions.  There are posts about Bilderberg, CFR, Trilateral Commission.  There are posts about the Rothschilds, David Rockefeller, etc.   

 

 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!
strabes wrote:
Damnthematrix wrote:

Apart from being overly sensitive to any criticism of America, why is America also such a hot bed of conspiracy theories...?

How do you define "conspiracy theory" down under?  Anything not reported on the standard mass media channels?  Step out of the matrix.

1.  The internet was created by the Pentagon.  Fact, not conspiracy.  

2.  FBI agents join online communities like this to monitor the traffic, just like they infiltrate groups, clubs, religious organizations, patriot movements, etc.  Fact, not conspiracy.  

3.  Martial law plans are in place.  Fact.  

4.  US and Euro governments have become increasingly distrustful of their people.  Fact.  

I could go on and on and on, but I'll spare you the time since apparently you don't care about facts and putting together a mental puzzle if it's not packaged up for you by mass media.  I just hope the US has enough patriots who still believe in the 1st and 2nd amendments enough that they aren't as naively trusting as you.

All it would take is a couple breaks in the few primary pipes crossing the US and running under the Atlantic to kill bandwidth to the point where IP traffic would be disrupted.  I used to work in a major .com application company.  That's the achilles heal...that's why there are plans for a new physical internet infrastructure...companies want to upgrade it because it is a risk. The Pentagon isn't interested.

Kathy, I don't want to repeat here who the elite is.  There are plenty of posts that discuss the banking families behind the Federal Reserve, Bank of London, ECB, Wall St institutions.  There are posts about Bilderberg, CFR, Trilateral Commission.  There are posts about the Rothschilds, David Rockefeller, etc.   

Strabes; could you provide the sources of information, for #s 1-4 (above), as reference.  I would like to see them.  Thanks so much. - caroline

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

Sure.

1.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARPANET

2.  http://www.aclu.org/safefree/spyfiles/24011res20060131.html

3.  http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/12/15/daily34.html  (I couldn't find the link to the actual War College memo in time for this message)

4.  There's really no single link I can point to here.  But just look at the environment in which we find ourselves.  Look at the increasingly militarized police forces and how the secret service operates, look at gun confiscation raids and laws in the big cities, look at the patriot act, look at what the NSA does, look at #2 and #3 above, look at everything becoming increasingly more secret...it's not just the CIA anymore, look at how they run everything through professional PR rather than authentically relating to us.  They use "terrorism" to justify most of this.  Uhuh...yeah right.  

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

In actuality, the Internet as a whole would be relatively difficult to "bring down"

http://www.isoc.org/briefings/020/

That location details how DNS works from the top level the "root" level domains.  There are root name servers in over 130 countries, and many countries (specifically our adversaries) comprise many domain level listings to be able to mimic root DNS abilities in the event a coalition of forces restrict or limit their ability to resolve locations.

Root name servers are also regularly cloned and usually are comprised of some sort of cluster of servers or server farm to house the data and keep it redundant.

 This isn't to say that governments (ours in particular) don't have plans or means to deny access from certain locales.  You see every ISP and every network in the United states and abroad have specific routes that traffic flows in the internet, these are controlled by routers and switches throughout the massive network.  There are gateways at multiple points that serve as "choke" points and are usually extremely high level hardware.

A more likely scenario would be for our Government to "shut" off our outside access by disabling the routes from all routers that supply communications to outside locations.  Believe me, our Gov't has detailed maps of computer equipment, the same way you would have a road map, that lists the hardware routes for communication abilities out of our geographical area.  Those would be the places that would be restricted in my opinion, that and sattelite communications.

 

 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

I have to agree with Damnthematrix - I dont think this crisis/collapse is part of some socialist/communist/fascist/NWO/Alien/Illuminati/Zombie conspiracy; I think it is the result of profound mismanagement of money (going back to Nixon) and energy (going back to Reagan), including everyone in between.

Sure, the FBI 'monitors' the internet, but they are, as so many libertarians happily point out (and I agree on this one), a near-useless bloated bureacracy that swallows tax money and doesnt produce results.  I dont think they could 'control' the internet, even if they wanted to.

America's plans for martial law seem to be coming, largely, as a result of the crisis - as the government is not totally foolish - and now realize that a dollar crash, resource shortage, or other event is likely to trigger nothing short of chaos, and matrial law will be the last ditch effort to try and hold it together.

 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

you think this only goes back to the 70s and 80s...and only the republican presidents?  you've been programmed well. :)   you don't understand the magnitude of this crisis if you think a couple recent presidents could cause it.

I love it.  you go along with mass media programming and blame anything outside the norm as "conspiracy" yet at the same time blame Nixon and Reagan for this mess.  how's that not your own version of conspiracy?  the difference is that yours goes along more with simplistic propaganda from the progressive media, and mine goes along with the facts of the Federal Reserve system and what's behind it.

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!
Kathy Nestell wrote:

Stpaulmercantile,

 I agree about the issue of electricity, there will always be some juice for those willing and able to pay for it. During this period of de-leveraging how will the network service providers fare. Will the strongest survive or could there be such a lack of consumers that they can not move forward. I liken the idea to what surius is facing.

 

Thanks everybody for responding and helping my simple mind sort this out.

 

Kathy, it's just my opinion, but I do believe that the Internet, in some form or fashion, will be here for many decades to come.  It is probable (to me) that many people will, someday, lose such services as DSL, cable Internet and maybe satellite, but some ISPs will survive, and dial-up modem banks will be the last to go.  As long as you have some sort of telephone service, you'll have low-bandwidth Internet access.

Damnthematrix, my new best-friend in Australia, said that he thinks the Internet is probably the most complicated computer system and thus most prone to failure.  Yes, it is the most complicated, but that does not equate to probability of failure.  It is designed to be able to overcome equipment failures.  If you were to look at a detailed highway system diagram of the United States, including all rural roads, and try to plot out a route from Washington DC to Los Angeles, there would literally be millions of different routes you could take.  Most people would map out the route using major roads, but let's say all of the major interstates were closed.  There would still be ways to get to Los Angeles.

Sending an email between the two cities likewise has millions of potential routes, through thousands of routers.  Routers "advertise" their presence to other routers.  So if a router in Kansas City receives a portion of a message destined for Los Angeles, it talks to the other routers to determine the best route.  Even if 75% of the routers go down, the odds are still pretty high that there is still a remaining route to Los Angeles available, just like if you were driving down country roads to avoid the problems.  I'm not a router expert and I'm sure somebody could explain this much better, but that's sort of how it works.

In the event of massive ISP bankruptcies, or massive power outages, the Feds would probably take over the major routers to keep them up and running.  In cases like that, they would want to conserve bandwidth, so they would probably take actions to preserve the commerce and communication aspects of the Internet, while limiting certain types of traffic such as access to porno sites, and sharing of music and video files.  Sending an email to a friend consumes about one millionth as much bandwidth as watching a short video.

Bottom line is that I think the Internet will remain, though at some point in our future, we may need to resort to dialup, and some of the big-bandwith using applications may be severely limited.

 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

if the internet were so ubiquitous, reliable, redundant there wouldn't be plans for "internet2".  it will bring many advantages to the current infrastructure.  the current backbone is vulnerable.  

but one of those "advantages" isn't an advantage at all.  it will enable more top-down control rather than the current internet which is more of a bottom-up patchwork.  

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!
strabes wrote:

if the internet were so ubiquitous, reliable, redundant there wouldn't be plans for "internet2".  it will bring many advantages to the current infrastructure.  the current backbone is vulnerable.  

but one of those "advantages" isn't an advantage at all.  it will enable more top-down control rather than the current internet which is more of a bottom-up patchwork.  

It is entirely possible that BOTH are true: 1) the current Internet is ubiquitous, reliable and redundant, and 2) it can be improved.  Everything has vulnerabilities.  It would take a huge, concerted effort by a lot of people to take the Internet down.  It was designed to be self-healing.  Perfectly? Of course not.  But servers and routers are failing every minute, and the traffic still gets through. 

 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

it's self-healing at the "part" level of servers, hubs, switches, routers as you say.  it is not healing at the backbone/primary pipe level.  that's a huge corporate vulnerability for the .com industry, which is a primary reason big traffic companies like google, amazon, ebay, salesforce.com are pushing for internet2. the current backbone is a risk to their cashflow.  every business contract salesforce signs has a clause about systemic internet risk due to "act of God", terrorism, etc.  in other words, the internet can be brought down.

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!
Quote:

Sending an email between the two cities likewise has millions of potential routes, through thousands of routers.  Routers "advertise" their presence to other routers.  So if a router in Kansas City receives a portion of a message destined for Los Angeles, it talks to the other routers to determine the best route.  Even if 75% of the routers go down, the odds are still pretty high that there is still a remaining route to Los Angeles available, just like if you were driving down country roads to avoid the problems.  I'm not a router expert and I'm sure somebody could explain this much better, but that's sort of how it works.

 

That is a basic premise on routers, there are actually many different types of mechanisms that assist traffic flow.  Imagine a gigantic extremely big spiderweb across everything.  Now, stopping all traffic flow throughout is not plausible or even possible due to people that have back up mechanisms in place to prevent it.

BUT....take away 50% of the largest traffic flow locations and you will effectively cause a Denial of Service effect to EVERY other router/switch in the country due to their inability to process all of the redirected traffic.  What you are talking about is a massive amount of data flow.  This is the primary concern and why the "internet2" concept was initially brought into existence.  There are exercises that take place every year in which a systematic drop of key internet traffic patters are taken down in lab environments and then subsequently results determined.

With the exception of a massive power outage across the main cities of the U.S. there isn't a great risk (there is a risk, just not extreme) that the entirety in this country can be squashed without a very well coordinated effort.  There are however specific gateways once you leave the country in which traffic is "funneled" due to the need to keep the U.S. portion a little more secure (that's just the way we do it).....So when you go to a locaiton that routes outside the U.S. it does go through a relatively small list of locations to make that journey.  Those are the places that could be used to sever communications to outside countries for U.S. folks.

Cheers!!

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

Companies like Google are taking atleast somewhat right initiatives - like trying to power atleast half of their data centers using renewable sources and make themselves 'zero carbon' and such. But I've grown a bad-taste for these green-tech fanatics who don't realize the importance of ERoEI... and worst of all, blinded by their own beliefs - that 'alternatives' will help. I'd commend them if they moved towards down-sizing their servers and finding a niche in the low-energy world of the future.

Secondly, even if _somehow_ the energy demands are met - in the end no matter how cool / efficient something has been (for example, imagine 'flickr' or 'youtube') - if there aren't enough people paying up (directly or indirectly) to keep the servers up, the servers will be shutdown. That's how businesses run.

Thirdly, most of these dot-coms (including my own company - Yahoo!) have come to depend on "Advertising revenues" as a big thing. Now ads are built for one purpose - to connect the 'business' with the 'buyer'. It just needs either of these two ends  to fail for it to completely fail and its easy to see how these dot-coms will be affected.

Of course, I'm not even bringing in elements of how people will 'pay' and stuff. Essentially, internet will just turn to some very useful pieces of source code that can be used to build something else cleverer... or maybe we'd just not go that way because building complex solutions needs more energy.  

Lastly, remember that the internet is 'regulated'. It 'improves' because a bunch of bureaucrats are deciding its fate. Its difficult for me to imagine the consequences of there being no such authorities.

Even if things don't get so bad (ie., the internet authorities remain and they still have enough power supply to afford to keep these servers up) lots of non-communication uses of the internet will be gone.That includes all these email, photo/video repositories (flickr, picassa, youtube, etc.,) services will be gone. Today the internet is more a 'data store' built on top of an excellent communications platform. Let me put it this way: Today, the 'WWW' as you see it, is all a collection of racks and racks of servers which, to the eyes of the corporation is money. Nobody puts up 400W powered servers up without a motive - especially not so when 400W means a lot.

However, there are just two unbeatable advantages to the internet compared to reality:

1. Distances will matter in the future a lot more. The world will once again be a 'big' place and the technology that drives the internet will bridge smaller gaps with available resources.

2. Unlike cars and other things dependent on abundant energy, we do have 'alternatives': low-powered computers that have lesser juice but consumes lesser power. So maybe google will give you results in 3 seconds instead of 0.03 seconds.

As of today, low powered PCs are significantly more expensive than cheaper, power inefficient PCs. But then, in the world of chip-making, its all about volumes and for folks like google / yahoo / etc., - these might turn out to be more affordable. Yet, its not a small task and is equally challenging to the Internet in its own scale.

 BTW, as ineffective, resource hungry as the Internet is 'Cell Phone' technology. They'll be mighty affected too. Sure, its a 'very useful' and 'cool' technology - but of what use is it when people aren't going to be zipping past on highways?

All said, I think something more 'effective' (like HAM radio) will become viable, energy effective and cost-effective than a 'with bells and whistles' thingy like the Internet / cell phones. If Anarchy is the norm and governments become impotent, crude, simple, lower-power wireless communication 'technology' will just emerge like a natural thing. (Not really 'technology' but more like clever hacks).

 

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Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

The answer to this thread's question depends upon what type of society we have when energy gets a lot more expensive.  I think our country is going to muddle through more or less like Argentina did not many years back.  We will find ways to make electricity, it will be more expensive, and we will use less of it per capita.  There will be a transition period, and we'll muddle through it.  That's why I think the Internet will still be around.  It might be more expensive to use, it might be slower, some services might be shut down to conserve resources, etc.

I am beginning the transition this year.  Our family emergency plan includes the goal to reduce our electrical consumption by 40% by the end of 2009.  I bought one of those kill-a-watt devices that you can plug an appliance into and it tracks how many KW of power is used in a given amount of time.  I will measure everything in the house, put it in a spreadsheet, then look at alternatives.

 For example, we have 2 refrigerators and 1 box freezer.  One of the refrigerators will have to go, and the freezer will be considered, depending upon how many KWs it is using.

Virtually every light or exhaust fan in our home will see change this year.  Lamps that are used as the primary light source in rooms have all been switched to CFL bulbs (compact flourescent).  Hall lights, all recessed lighting, and all accent lamps have been switched to LED bulbs.  All outside automatic flood lights will be replaced with 120-LED floods that use 9 watts instead of 100 watts.  For each lamp or fan, one of 4 things will happen:  1) change to CFL, 2) change to LED, 3) be put on automatic mode (motion/heat activated switch - turns off 20 seconds after leaving the room), or 4) mechanical timer switch with 15-minute max.  I don't know how many times I've discovered the bathroom exhaust fan still on, 5 hours after my wife finished her shower. 

We will also look for opportunities to eliminate lights/appliances that use a lot of power.  I fear that our Cappuccino machine will have to go.  I got a great deal on a slightly-used machine from a store that went out of business.  Paid $300 for it and it was a $1200 machine.  But it keeps about a quart of water just under the boiling point 24 hours a day, so I'm afraid Mr. Kill-a-watt will have something to say about this.

Transition.  There are lots of things that can be done to reduce our nation's electrical usage.  Billboards, business signage that is lit all night, store temperatures (always a comfortable 70 degrees), air conditioning, etc.  I think we'll get through this journey, painful though it will be.

 

Dave Kimble's picture
Dave Kimble
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 13 2009
Posts: 5
Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

I am amazed that people, who could be expected to understand the seriousness of what is happening, can still think that there is no chance that the US electricity system will collapse, bringing down the telephone system and the internet.

You are living in Disneyland, where every wish comes true if only you believe it will strongly enough.

The electricity utilities are sure to be heavily in debt to finance their infrastructure, and will see a big fall in demand and profitability, and would be more likely than most industries to fail financially. They rely on the coal and natural gas industries to supply the fuel, and railways to shift it, and diesel to operate the heavy machinery, and gasoline to get the workers to work, and indeed they need electricity and telephone and internet to operate themselves. Any one failure and the whole lot will collapse and be unable to be restarted ( the deadly embrace problem in system dynamics ).

The telephone companies are also heavily indebted in a falling market and likely to fail.Surely that's not too hard to accept ?

The internet companies make their money to run the routers by selling advertising to their viewers. Advertising budgets worldwide are taking a hammering and this will get worse. So internet companies, who are dependent on the electricity and telephone system as well as their own corporate clients and internet customers, are certain to fail financially in large numbers.

While there is some routing redundancy in the net, so it can re-route and continue providing a service, the system is not going to perform well when the traffic is being handled by only a limited number of over-loaded routers. If the free-for-all we now have is maintained, the internet would become unuseable, and if government steps in it will need to put a limit on download size so that video is largely excluded.

The chances of the internet surviving all this is nil. The only question is whether the crunch will be this year or next.

Dave

 

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

Right,

I asked some friends of mine who are much more knowledgeable about these things than me, and one said this:

We'll have slower Internet, which means less video and piracy and maybe even less porn (or maybe they'll just have to settle for smaller JPEGs) but the nature of the beast will keep it alive for quite a while.


NB: I'm separating the Web from the Internet. Back before the WWW got rolling, there was already an Internet, and it operated largely on store and forward technologies - email and USENET (newsgroups) - for the dissemination of information. If you didn't have direct connectivity to a server that hosted some information you wanted, you could email a GET command to a bot that would fetch it for you and post it back. It meant a much longer time to "browse the web" because you had to send a command to list what was available, receive the list, send commands for the items you wanted, and wait for them to come in, but it worked. USENET in particular is optimised for supporting online forums over intermittent and slow connections, so forums certainly don't need to go away.

I don't see why this couldn't all happen again. If we lose constant direct connection with the *everything* we now have constant direct connection to, the technologies for periodic indirect connection have already been nutted out and can easily be trekked out again. Oh, and they've all been implemented in open-source software on Linux and *BSD UNIX, so we don't even need software licenses.

As we've discussed in the past, there are groups working on Internet over radio too, so we may not even need a functioning telephone network.

Just don't expect high-definition movies that download in 30 minutes.

 

As an aside, I'm a Linux user, and I have used the wget command to download stuff not normally downloadable using a graphic interface like windoze...

Mike 

jessme's picture
jessme
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2009
Posts: 13
Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!
Quote:

the Internet was designed to facilitate communications in the event of a nuclear war where much of our infrastructure was destroyed. It is self-healing to a large degree, so you only need a subset of it to be up and operating to get the job done. We might not have the bandwidth to download movies, songs, and junk mail, but it won't go away.

Wouldn't an emp burst destroy electrical items and the way they are powered? How would the internet be able to survive a nuclear war?

stpaulmercantile's picture
stpaulmercantile
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 19 2008
Posts: 87
Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

Doom and Gloomers,

The question that was originally asked was whether we thought the Internet would still be alive after a crash, which I am interpreting to mean economic crash.  Each of us is offering our opinion.

If there is a massive EMP nuclear attack, that might wipe out a considerable number of servers, but that was not the question.

If all of the electric companies were to shut down "this year or next", that would be a problem.  I don't think that's going to happen.  Our pals in Washington would not let the power companies all shut down even if they were bankrupt - they would take them over and keep the power on.

Oil isn't going to run out this year, or next.  In fact, due to the worldwide economic slump, oil-producing nations are cutting back their production due to shrinking demand.  The economic slump buys the world some time.  Reaching the halfway point on oil consumption doesn't mean the world shuts down.  It simply means that prices start going up and shortages in some geographic locations will occur.  There will be no oil shortage for at least several years (opinion).

Peak oil is not the only factor in the price of oil.  Right now, falling demand for oil is the driving market factor.  I just bought 700 gallons of fuel oil yesterday for $1.94 per gallon.  It was $4 a year ago.

 

Dave Kimble's picture
Dave Kimble
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 13 2009
Posts: 5
Re: in a crash-what will happen to the World Wide Web!

When Washington has to take over the bankrupt electricity utilities, it will also have to ensure a steady supply of coal and natural gas, which means taking over the bankrupt mines and bankrupt railways and bankrupt pipelines, at least to get sufficient control that electricity gets the priority attention. 

Then they will have to take over the bankrupt diesel and gasoline retailers to ensure supplies of fuel to the mines etc. Obviously the power stations can't operate without the grid, so the government will have to take over operation and maintenance of the grid(s), and of the bankrupt companies that make the cables, and towers, switching stations and spare parts, and all the specialist trucks and vehicles, and so on.

The same goes for all the bankrupt telephone companies, the bankrupt internet ISPs, and all the bankrupt companies that have provided server power for the net. The Government would have to take over the lot. And without advertising from the bankrupt business sector, the Government would have to pay the whole cost itself.

And don't forget that most States are bankrupt too. Are they going to be doing their own taking over, or will they have to be taken over by the Feds ? 

If all this were to work, you would have the internet, but you would be living in a monolithic centralised fascist state.

Now come on, you've got to grow up and treat this problem seriously.  Saying "I don't think that's going to happen.  Our pals in Washington would not let the power companies all shut down ..." is pure wishful thinking.  The Federal Government is more bankrupt than any other organisation in history, but don't worry, it'll be alright - the Government wouldn't let the country sink into chaos, would it ?

Dave

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