In these times of Japan being wracked by another earthquake, President Obama threatening to put the military on partial pay, many children have been murdered in Brazil, Hamas attacking a school bus in Israel, and Wachovia acting as a conduit for Mexican drug dealers; I had to find something to lighten the mood. So cue the camera and cut to the southern border of Russia and the countries of Georgia and Armenia.
The entire country of Armenia was abruptly thrust back to pre-Internet days on March 28th. For five hours, there was no Internet service for the whole country. Who knows how many games of World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy were impacted. Five hours is forever in Farmville on Facebook, a virtual Dust Bowl could have swept in. Though I bet many expressions of 'pwnd' and 'wtf' were queued up on many servers, along with emails for male enhancement and deposed officials from Nigeria seeking to hide fortunes.
So what caused this digital Dark Age to happen? One of man's earliest tools was the culprit - a spade. Was this a malicious attack? Nope. One elderly woman looking for scrap copper severed the one fibre-optic line that provides Armenia with Internet access. The woman may get three years in jail because of this. And she has a handle now - The Spade Hacker, though I doubt she will be surfing the Internet to Google that.
People worry about EMP knocking out the information infrastructure. Or Net Neutrality. I think their fears might be a tad misplaced. Fear the old ladies armed with shovels. Ban the shovel! Save the Internet!