134

Iterate. Set up a webcam pointed at your computer screen with the browser open, use another computer to watch the webcam through another instance of the browser, set up another webcam and another computer with another instance of the browser..... Each additional computer that you add to the chain will give you a further 5 seconds insight into the future. ...


132

Gamification. Virtual scores are the nicotine of the 21st century. Also this should be moved to meta.


104

Assuming that the web browser is compatible with modern web standards... Get an account with a web-based electronic stock trading platform, for example, E*Trade or TD Ameritrade. Use your 5 seconds insight to buy low and sell high. Enjoy your filthy lucre.


89

The impact on the Internet would likely be minimal. Now, don't get me wrong. There would be widespread disruption of service to a lot of people who use Google's services. But the Internet is designed in such a way that the existence of any one node or any one link isn't critical to the network itself. In the modern Internet (as opposed to the original DARPA ...


88

Like Stack Exchange, modern temporary utopias such as Burning Man, or Rainbow Gatherings work because participation is opt in. They greatly reduce the problems of non-compliant members by making participation voluntary. Those that are a burden on the system will have a worse time and probably choose not to return in the future. For a permanent society this ...


83

Register a real domain You could think about registering a real domain (with a name relevant to your novel) and then: Adding some real content that either is an optional part of the story or Adding content that promotes your work. The following links provide complete instructions on how to register a domain name. How to Register Your Own Domain Name How ...


76

Several people have suggested the possibility of using real-life reserved domain names. (For those curious, I have a summary of names and networks reserved for examples and documentation on my personal web site.) Some people have even suggested using real-world domain names that are somehow undesirable, but still valid. Yet others have suggested to ...


56

The scenario you describe could be the result of highly coordinated attack by an ultra-radical anti-technology group that has managed to simultaneously attack and knock out every Tier 1 network provider and every Tier 2 provider on the planet. I'm exceptionally impressed with their ability to pull this off. They have destroyed the world. One could stage ...


49

A really big solar flare could do it. Something on a similar or greater scale to the Carrington Event back in the 1800s. Getting hit with a flare that large, or larger would damage or destroy unprotected electronic devices worldwide. Most of or all servers globally that didn't have military-grade EMP protection would be wiped. The GPS would be gone, along ...


47

A battle over the Internet will not be over the individual end systems, but over the nodes, the modems and routers that connect these systems. If one supercomputer is able to turn off the modem the second supercomputer is using to connect to the Internet, that first computer wins. End of story. There could be a secondary goal of setting up subroutines on ...


46

My personal reason: Mental exercise. I love being mentally challenged in new ways, especially in ways that require creative out-of-the-box thinking. "Esoteric, hypothetical, imaginary questions" (as you described them) stimulate my problem-solving skills in new ways. And that's just plain fun. Thousands of people across the internet feel the same way.


44

Zero seconds. Sorry :) The problem is the word "All" in your question. You can cut the power, cut the phone lines, cut the fibre. Some people on the town are still going to have satellite uplinks and private generators. You then also need to cut off all mobile phone networks and prevent anyone from hovering an air mast over the town. The internet was ...


41

As mentioned by @journeyman-geek, you might consider giving your world an alternative name resolution system which avoids collision by not following the format of domain names as seen in our own DNS system. This is easy to imagine as the defining features of modern DNS names (and, by extension, URLs) are largely historical accident. For example, many email ...


41

The Specific Answer The answer is "no solution." This question is based on false premises. There are plenty of people who contribute to StackExchange who believe it is highly flawed. Many people disagree on what actions should be taken ("Is this on-topic or not?" "Should this be on this SE or that SE?" etc.) Many people take the "vote your conscience" ...


33

No. There's a huge difference between an online community and a physical one. We log in, chat with people we know as @Katamori , etc., then - most of us - log out and go about our real lives. While I might respect a SE mod's opinion on these sites, why would I respect their intervention in a private matter? Who are they to me, really? And the answer is ...


33

A good answer will explain the series of events that causes the town to lose power Apparently this American isolated farming town has been without electricity for ten months and counting, as one data point. Fortunately or unfortunately, losing power is probably neither necessary nor sufficient for losing Internet. As an alternative, I'll offer the North ...


31

Contrary to the OP’s concern at the start, this is not a dumb question; it is actually a very good one. Most of the answers this post has received are pretty much wrong, and in this group that means that you must have asked a question that relies on a bunch of really technical underpinnings. So kudos! The Common Mistake The common mistake among answers ...


31

The town could be located in the United States National Radio Quiet Zone, a region of approx. 13,000 square miles in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. Radio transmitters of all kinds are heavily regulated within the zone, to facilitate scientific and military installations in the area. Cellular service is apparently restricted to nonexistent within the ...


28

No, the internet is not needed for a GPS-based device to calculate location. A standalone device learns about updates to the GPS constellation (broadcast by GPS) as part of it's startup. That's why the take a minute or two to startup - they are listening for updates. Phones often receive these updates via internet, which is why they start working faster ...


27

Easy: call the JREF and win the Randi Prize. Proving supernatural claims to scientific standards is what this is for (and the million dollars is nice, too). Anything you simply demonstrate to your followers will wind up on Captain Disillusion etc. and be presumed to be a video hoax. In real life, the Randi challenge has been discontinued. There are still ...


26

Let's start by addressing the "leave as much other technology intact as possible" part first: 10 years ago, you could have taken down the internet and most things would have continued to function just fine, but today, almost everything that people use most has some sort of cloud based element, that if removed, will cause your software to break. The Office ...


25

The obvious answer to delay-tolerant networking is store-and-forward. With TCP, when a router receives a packet, it immediately sends it on to the next hop—or, if it can't, rejects it and sends back an error. With a store-and-forward protocol, when a router receives a packet, it looks up the next time it expects to be able to talk to the next hop (possibly ...


25

To create an esoteric question / answer exchange Call it a reverse tragedy of the commons. If I don't spend my time in the unrewarded pursuit of answering the inane questions of others, then the exchange will not exist next time I have an inane question to ask. Then I'll just have to walk around with these bizarre questions stuck in my brain.


25

Crack any password, ever. Any problem (and there are a LOT) that is hard to solve but easy to verify, and be solved instantly by being able to look into the future. For a simple example: cracking a combination padlock. Create a simple website, with a form, where you type in a number, click submit, and it displays it back to you. Make a plan: You will open ...


23

It depends on how soon after the apocalypse you're trying to use it. The GPS system is conceptually divided into three segments: the "space segment", the "control segment", and the "user segment". Other satnav systems function similarly. The "space segment" is the satellites. You need four satellites to be visible to figure out your location; right now, ...


22

My guess is that, in this hypothetical paradigm, the virtual communication network has gained such a degree of practical utility that it has come to dominate the social, economic, and political existence of its users. Said users conduct the bulk of their day-to-day activities through the network such that it becomes logistically intractable to allocate a ...


21

Nope. I am a moderator on Stack Exchange. If you put me in a position to control a country's military, infrastructure, and economy, the government will collapse within the week and we'll all die. Moderating internet trolls and the good-natured bunch of y'all that make Stack Exchange sites tick is one thing. It poses its own unique problems, and there are ...


21

These are the Captchas of the future. AGI has long been omnipresent in your hypothetical reality. But for some reason their relentless optimising does not lend itself to answering esoteric, hypothetical and imaginary questions. Because AI quantum hackers can hijack any conversation or interaction at any time, the user of your network need to authenticate ...


19

Not very long at all. Probably days at best. While I'm not sure about the infrastructure of the internet itself (which I think would probably last a little bit longer before catastrophic failure) the more pressing issue would be power. Without people running the power plants and managing the grids around the world the electricity would soon go out. No ...


18

Yes, Google is big and provides a lot of services. But it's not like they're the only ones out there providing these services. If Google suddenly and mysteriously evaporated tomorrow, millions of people would be inconvienced for weeks. Then people would switch to other providers offering comparable services. I don't know of any service that is offerred ONLY ...


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