Self-Reliance

What Does It Take to Turn Off the 21st Century? A Saw.

Keep your electronics close, and your backup plan closer.

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CBS 5 screen capture

Some asshole turned off the 21st century in northern Arizona yesterday. The hardest part was probably the hike. The modern world flows to northern Arizona in a cable that runs hundreds of miles through the desert. That cable was cut in an isolated river bed near New River, north of Phoenix. Once the vandals were there, doing damage wasn't that big a challenge. The cable is about as thick through as a man's leg, so the right tool in a backpack was all it took. And there went the 21st century, and maybe a few illusions some of us (**cough**) may have about the extent of our independence.

What went with that cable was most cell phone service (every company but Verizon was down), the Internet (multiple ISPs run through the same pipe), the 911 system, and pretty much any digital communications connection you can imagine. Northern Arizona businesses largely became cash only—including the roadside stops vending gas to cross-country travelers. Trucks lined up waiting for the stations to get back online so they could process company credit cards to fill their tanks. It's not like the drivers could just take out cash—ATMs were down, too.

My wife's pediatric office was able to examine kids and patch them up. But checking on test results, getting reads on x-rays, scheduling appointments with specialists, and electronically sending prescriptions to pharmacies were all out. Old-fashioned landlines worked, but medical facilities are part of the modern world. Thoroughly digitized and electronic, hospitals, labs, and clinics were reduced to sending couriers back and forth.

There's a lot to like about the interconnected, digitized modern world. I wouldn't be telecommuting from a rural area if I didn't have an electronic link to the world beyond. People like me now have the historical luxury of living where we want while doing work that, not so long ago, required an actual presence in a major population center.

But that means we need that electronic link. I thought I was being clever by using a smart phone hotspot as a backup for occasional Internet outages. Unfortunately, for much of its journey, the conduit for my smart phone runs all of two inches from the main Internet connection. Live and learn.

The outage inconvenienced me. Some folks who've grown up in the wired age had a worse time of it. According to CBS 5, "Zak Holland, who works at a computer store at Northern Arizona University, said distraught students were nearly in tears when he said nothing could be done to restore their Internet connection."

Northern Arizona is sparsely settled, which likely explains its weak connection to the modern age. Fiber optic is pricey to lay down per mile, and there's only so much of it that any company can afford to run across the wilderness to serve a scattered population. We get our 3G, but we have to live with the fact that somebody with a grudge, hiking boots, and a spade can take it away.

That's a reality check for those of us who value our independence. I use the Internet to liberate me from places I don't want to live, governed by politicians I don't like, who impose laws I find intrusive. But in the process, I make myself dependent on a six-inch-wide pipe.

So now, to ensure a bit more of that that independence I thought I had, I have to work a bit harder on that backup plan.

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  1. This is why the government needs to take over the internet.

    1. It’s the Information Highway, and we know who gives us ROADZ

      1. It’s the National Information Infrastructure.

  2. “I make myself dependent on a six inch-wide pipe.”

    You know who else was dependent on a six inch wide pipe?

    1. Timmy? In the well?

    2. Andy Dufresne?

    3. Bennett at the end of Commando?

    4. Cheech & Chong?

  3. Unless you’re a member of the Hell’s Angels or the nudist colony, there’s fuck-all to do in New River, so it’s easy to understand how people could get up to no good there.

  4. I wonder if outage was planned to assist in a burglary.

  5. I have no sympathy for anyone relying on debit/credit cards. Maybe this will teach them to carry cash.

    1. I use a credit card a lot because of fraud protection and they basically pay me to do it. But I hate not having any cash on me.

    2. I have no sympathy for anyone relying on cash. Maybe this will teach them to carry gold and silver.

      1. I have no sympathy for anyone who uses “cash” to mean fiat money, instead of understanding that gold and silver are implied. 🙂

        1. I prefer large stone disks with a hole in the middle. I can roll it along with me, and it’s too heavy to steal.

          1. I prefer cages of chickens. The eggs are like interest!

  6. From one of the linked articles: Many of them share fibers so when one cable is cut a number of providers can lose service. The cables aren’t heavily protected.

    Sounds like it’s a good time to be in the fence-building-proposal business in Arizona.

  7. According to CBS 5, “Zak Holland, who works at a computer store at Northern Arizona University, said distraught students were nearly in tears when he said nothing could be done to restore their Internet connection.”

    America has become a road apple.

    1. Yes but this isn’t part of that. Professors assign research that can be done best/only on the Internet. I once had a take-home statistics final where one of the three questions was a topic related to, but not covered in, the book or lecture. Had to look it up online. It’s a legitimate problem if the ‘net is down.

      1. I’d bet $1000 that the losers weren’t crying because they couldn’t get school work done.

    2. *whispers* “Hey, plebe…”

      *smack*

      “Go outside and walk around a little bit.”

  8. Stuff like this goes to show that e.g. ISIS really just wants to cut off heads and concentrates its “terrorism” plans on getting to that point.

    Because there are so many easy and obvious ways to cause pain and disruption in modern countries without actually doing violence. Cut telecommunications links or blow up electric transmission towers. Hell, if you’ve got a bunch of young retards sitting around with nothing to do, send them out to buy a bunch of beater cars and then stage road-closing accidents on major highways at rush hour. Every day. That stuff would tie down huge amounts of security forces and lead directly to lots of new, intrusive regulation, all before anyone set foot outside the target country. But, not enough neck-sawing youtube video to be had that way…

    1. My fav example is driving a U-haul across a major bridge during rush hour while pouring gasoline on the roadway, then lighting it. Sure cause panic. Probably kill a lot of people. Might shut the birdge down for weeks of repairs. Possibly even damage the suspension so much that it would have to be respun and rebuilt.

      1. *takes screen shot*

        “Very interesting, Mr. Repair.”

        /NSA

      2. not exactly an example of “ways to cause pain and disruption in modern countries without actually doing violence”

        1. True. I was riffing on the simplicity angle and the impossibility of government preventing it.

          1. Ten Islamoclowns with Bic lighters dispatched to large dry forests close to urban centers throughout the west, in the late July timeframe.

            That’ll do it. Cheap, too.

          2. you want simplicity – a $60 dollar quad-copter and a 6′ long strip of mylar can shut down any urban metropolis.

      3. Air travel disruption required? we’ve conveniently gathered all of the air travelers into a mass of long lines outside of our fabled ‘security checkpoints’ but hey, at least when you’ve crossed that line and the risk is distributed and minimized, there won’t be any suspicious liquids!

      4. Plus it’s a bridge, and hence infrastructure, so it was already crumbling, by definition.

    2. Yeah. I’ve been saying for a long time that if there were any significant presence of committed terrorists in the US, then we would be seeing attacks like that all the time. It’s really not hard to make things like that happen. Especially if you are willing to get caught or die in the process.

      1. You don’t even see shit like that all the time in Israel.

  9. Phase one of the Obamanet Net Neutrality. There are only rednecks in North Arizona, they’ve been ‘neutralized’.

    Now forward to getting the rest of the rat fucking tea baggers offline.

    1. Not as many rednecks as you may think. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a hippy in Northern AZ.

  10. Someone ought to write a book about radicals upsetting the civilized status quo and having the authorities on their trail.

    1. In the high desert.

      1. And throw in some fire and food for good measure.

        1. And drugs.

          1. And guns! Especially a Lee-Enfield.

            1. Sounds like open rebellion. The title must be The Declaration of Independents.

          2. Been done – Dune.

            “radicals upsetting the civilized status quo and having the authorities on their trail.”

            Atreides and Fremen vs Harkonnen and Imperial Sardukar

            “In the high desert”

            Arrakis, a whole planet o’ desert.

            “And throw in some fire and food for good measure”

            How about lazguns and melange laced food of the desert?

            “And drugs”

            Melange, baby, melange!

  11. Carrier parrots are the future. Voice and data in one adorable package.

    1. RFC 6214 & 1149 compliant? Note that RFC 2549 likely violates the new net neutrality rules.

      1. Probably not net neutrality compliant – those with most bird food will hog all the traffic.

    2. Can they carry coconuts?

      1. No. Cocaine only.

        1. Ooo! Cocainuts(tm)!

    3. And they live to be like 80 years old, so no stupid planned obsolescence upgrades.

  12. Wasn’t the whole ARPA-net concept supposed to be resistant to just this sort of thing (and on a wider scale)?

    1. Redundancy is expensive.

      1. Network failure is more expensive.

  13. This seems very Tyler Durdenesque.

    1. DON’T TALK ABOUT FIBER OPTIC CLUB!

      1. Is that because it’s a visual medium?

  14. i liked this story better when it had an english accent

  15. But in the process, I make myself dependent on a six inch-wide pipe.

    Size queen.

  16. Can we expect a baby boom around November?

    1. With no porn to stream, the conception rate was not impacted to a statistically significant degree.

  17. medical facilities are part of the modern world

    Uh huh, that’s they refuse to work via email and require faxes. I swear, we have a fax machine in our office that only gets used when people need to take care of personal medical stuff. Yeah, medicine is in bizarro modern world…

  18. Make sure to stock up on Bic lighters and plastic bags, JD! Every prepper overlooks them, so you’ll be able to trade them for slaves next time the world ends.

  19. Seems like a good reason to switch to Verizon.

  20. distraught students were nearly in tears when he said nothing could be done to restore their Internet connection.”

    Pardon me if I laugh at such tears of ineptitude and naivete.

  21. We get our 3G, but we have to live with the fact that somebody with a grudge, hiking boots, and a spade can take it away.

    You need to think about your bank accounts and 401k the same way.

  22. Vandalism blamed for optical fiber cable failure; NSA hardest hit.

  23. What went with that cable was most cell phone service (every company but Verizon was down), the Internet (multiple ISPs run through the same pipe), the 911 system, and pretty much any digital communications connection you can imagine.

    Seems like poor network planning. Redundant optical rings have been around for almost 30 years.

  24. I just got paid usd6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over usd 9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,,,,,,
    http://www.work-mill.com

    1. Is working off a laptop easier than working off a couple of extra pounds?

  25. Think about how much more this will happen when the DHS gets shut down.

  26. The cable is about as thick through as a man’s leg…

    I make myself dependent on a six-inch-wide pipe.

    That’s a pretty scrawny man.

  27. Call before you dig, or saw cables if bored….

    I was on a fibre cut call, show up and find Skeeter and Bubba placing a fence post. The Cell site is located in a storage yard, full of shipping containers.

    ‘Digging post holes?’
    ‘Naw, just placing these back after the wind blew’em over’
    ‘Sounds legit…’

    Hours later we finally traced it to a post hole that was covered by a shipping container. I wonder if they thought they would get away with it? Or that we’d never find it? Just give up?

    lol…

  28. If so much was on this cable I wonder why its not part of a ring.

  29. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……

    http://www.wixjob.com

  30. I moved back home from Los Angeles in 2010 because I didn’t want to be there when the ATM’s stop working.

    Too bad Radio Shack is going under: we need those radio operators to send packet data from place to place!

  31. it looks like these so called “vandals” coordinated an attack in Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, and North Carolina around the same time on Wednesday.

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