Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hindsight: The Sky is Falling. Again.

by David G. Woolley
Editor's note: those who do not learn history are condemned to repeat it. This week the sky is falling. Again.

Fox News is reporting the end of the Internet under the headline: Digital Doomsday. That's right. No more surfing. No more connectivity. All that streaming video gone.

When the Internet was in its infancy it was 1978. That was the same year the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the World Series four games to two. It was also the year there were fewer than 500 hundred computers connected to "the web". With that small number of users it was more of a cocoon.

The founding fathers of the Internet, none of whom have the surname Gore, figured they'd program the numerical code assigned to each website address and corresponding digital server, phone or computer to accommodate four billion devices. We're not talking the cute little dot com addresses you plug into that little box at the top of your browser. This is hard math. And there are only a limited number of numbers to go around. By 2011 all the numbers will be assigned, the Internet will slow down to a snails pace, new addresses will be unobtainable, streaming video will cease to exist and the cost of operating the web will skyrocket. Time to get started on a businnes plan for black marketing web addresses. Thirty years ago you could forgive the founders for thinking four billion numerical permutations would last forever. They were wrong.

What to do?

The truth is its already been done. A decade ago Internet experts realized the problem and they programmed an integrated overide system called IPv6 to provide enough addresses for billions upon billions of devices as well as improving Internet phone and video speeds, and possibly even help end e-mail spam.

So if the problem was fixed ten years ago, why is it in the news this week under a doomsday headline? Bad news attracts viewers.

Also in the news this week the media is reporting that two of the US institutions with the least public trust are Congress and the news media. No kidding.

Hindsight: If you claim the sky is falling enough times, people stop putting up their umbrellas.

Thanks for joining us at the end of yet another Top of the Morning week. Come back next week when posts will include a blog titled Pay it Forward. Its a look at doing good for goodness sakes. You'll also enjoy another weekly post on food. It's the third in a summer of food talk on the Top of the Morning with a look at the hilarious reasons we've heard about why junk food is really a healthy choice. Last week we failed to deliver the post about a woman who thought she'd been shot in the head and did all she could to keep her brain from falling out. This week we won't let you down. We're also pleased to present the fourth Promised Land post where author David G. Woolley goes in depth on the research and inspiration behind the characters and story lines of his Book of Mormon Promised Land Historical Fiction Series. This week on the Promised Land its a look at an ancient Jerusalem map and what the city may have looked like in Lehi's day. And don't forget to joins us at the end of the week for another installment of Hindsight.

Until then, Top of the Morning to you.

Join author David G. Woolley at his Promised Land Website. He is also a weekly contributor to the Latter Day Authors blog and he writes commentary and opinion at the Utah Ranger's Far Post blog

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