When one looks at a timeline of the 7 wonders of the ancient world…
it is the striking to note that the first wonder built, the Great Pyramid of Giza, is the only wonder still standing. It is also striking to consider that, while the Great Pyramid of Giza stood for over 4500 years, the period of time when all seven of the ancient wonders stood simultaneously lasted only 21 years.
Today, different groups of people have assembled different lists of the seven wonders of the modern world. Most of these lists are of civil engineering wonders, but some lists include wonders from other branches of engineering.
If you were to make your own list, perhaps you would include the Internet. The Internet is made up of other modern technological wonders, including the computer, the microcomputer, operating systems, and telecommunications systems. It is powered by a global energy distribution system, and has developed a mutually dependent relationships with many energy distribution systems.
Will the Internet last as long at the Great Pyramid of Giza? Like the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Internet was designed to last. In part, its strength is due to its distributed design. It has become so large, so self-healing, so redundant and so distributed that is never entirely down. Of course, there always some parts of it that are not working quite right.
Back in 1998, a hacker named Peiter Zatko, aka Mudge, claimed before the United States Congress that it was possible to take down the entire Internet.
Whether one believes that something like this was possible then (or might still be possible today), the idea that large parts of the power grid or the Internet could encounter long duration outages should be considered. This is because the operation of either currently depends the operation of the other, and many lives now depend on both.
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