Candle Light

June 3, 2012

History is relative.
And in this 24/7 nowadays it’s way-hard to imagine any kind of life without electrical power.
Hence, last week Leon Panetta spelled it out: “Well, there’s no question that if a cyber attack, you know, crippled our power grid in this country, took down our financial systems, took down our government systems, that that would constitute an act of war.”
Leon, though, was just shifting the narrative: The government’s dual roles of alerting U.S. companies about these threats and producing powerful software weapons and eavesdropping tools underscore the risks of an unintended, online boomerang.
An electrical grid cyber strike, back-fire or not, would be most dark.

In the violently-clumsy world of weapons, cyber warfare could be the cheap pits — less cost with a more-subtle, though, mutually assured destruction.

(Illustration found here).

I’m an avid reader of just about everything, but for personal reading — at the crucial period in bed before sleep — it’s mostly all pure-escapist fiction, from Clive Cussler to Michael Crichton to David Baldacci and any others in that vein, which there are legion.

Currently, I’m totally engrossed in ‘The Course of Honor‘ by Lindsey Davis — a novel of ancient Rome I purchased for 50 cents last week at a second-hand store, not familiar with the title or author, but what a gem.
The story is based upon a literal historical footnote of a life-long romance between Roman Emperor Vespasian and a former slave, who becomes a freedwoman, Antonia Caenis.
Vespasian was on the way-short list of decent Roman rulers and has been called the ‘Sensible Emperor,’ and Caenis has got to be one of the most-fascinating characters in all of history.
And a woman who knew how to handle the system.

The following passage is early in their relationship during a night-time walk through downtown Rome during the time of Tiberius Caesar — the seat of the most-powerful nation on earth was a nightmare in the dark:

Around them began Rome’s terrifying transformation into night.
Goods have been whisked from pavements; leaves of folding doors were drawn across shop frontages; bolts thumped heavily into sockets, and elaborate padlocks rattled on cold chains.
Above their heads a woman’s thin-wristed arms hooked a cat and a pot of flowers from a window ledge, then slammed the shutter on a shadowy interior.
It was now extremely dark.
There were no streetlamps, and hardly a chink of light showed where the crowded lodging houses faced the unfriendly streets.
The grimmest alleys were emptying.
Soon the city would be given over to a lawlessness such that even the vigiles who were supposed to police the various districts were likely to dive into a drinking house rather than answer a call for help.

What would our world look like and how would we handle no public light at night — no streetlights, no traffic signals, most-likely no traffic.
Humanity has so grown accustomed to living in the light, we’d spend all our energy cursing the dark.

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