Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, June 15, 2009day link 

 Immaculate Telegraphy
picture Immaculate Telegraphy is a blog charting out an attempt to go out into nature and create ... the internet. Or, more precisely:
Could humans at any point in history, given the right information, construct an electronic communication network? To test this hypothesis, Substitute Materials will attempt to build a functional electric battery and telegraph switch from materials found in the wilderness, using no modern tools except information from the internet. The telegraph will be a first step towards an ahistorical internet.
I find this kind of thing tremendously interesting. What is real knowledge? Knowledge that you can take it with you and that actually will be worth something? Lots of people are experts in stuff that would be completely useless if it weren't for a whole bunch of other things that would need to be in place. I'm a computer programmer - that'd do me no damn good if nobody would be able to manufacture computers.

Our society is ridiculously inter-dependent. It was hundreds a years ago since there last were people around who were experts in all major fields at the same time. Today we're a society of specialists who most of them would be helpless and useless if it weren't for a whole bunch of other specialists. It is a fragile system. Civilization could very well collapse if it got a big enough bump.

A simple job like that - go out in nature and create a telegraph - extremely primitive technology by today's standards - is an almost insurmountable task. OK, it is doable, of course, but very hard.

It ought to be a basic boy/girl scout thing that everybody would learn to do as kids. How do you jumpstart the basic elements of our civilization in case it gets lost, or in case you get lost?
[ | 2009-06-15 00:58 | 217 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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