Monday, April 11, 2011

Armenia unplugged

Last week, an elderly woman in Georgia (the country that used to be part of the USSR, not the state that used to be part of the CSA) gave new meaning to the term “Internet hacker.”

A 75-year-old out scavenging for copper and other scrap metals came across a promising find in the Georgian village of Ksani: fiber optic cables owned by the Georgian Railway Telecom company, the connectivity provider to eastern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Their cable was, apparently, the only way in for Armenian ISPs. Thus, the country suffered a number of hours without access to eBay, World of Warcraft, YouTube, and all that glorious porn.

I’m sure things were tough, but I suspect not as tough as they’d be in the US of A if we were all deprived of Craigslist, Groupon and Twitter for a couple of hours. OMG: no links to tiny url’s.

Of course, if the Internet went “out”, so would the lights, the banking system, most/all of our phones, sewerage processing, shipping and handling, etc. There’d be a run on the stores, with none of the politesse we witnessed when the Japanese were queuing up for a couple of packs of ramen noodles after the tsunami.

I’m sure that we would have heard about it if the Armenians had suffered a societal breakdown and spun into chaos once they lost Internet access. There’s plenty enough to do in Yerevan. No need to stay in doors googling the cute boy you were in Young Pioneers with. Get out and enjoy the nightlife!

Anyway, I haven’t seen a picture of the Hackin’ Granny, but I am, of course, picturing a babushka. You know what I’m talking. Stooped over picking potatoes, cabbage, or shards of coal along the railroad tracks. Lives in a log cabin with geraniums in the window boxes – geraniums that bloom for the two weeks during the year when there’s warmth and light. Couple of metal teeth in her head. Always had a fond spot in her heart for little Joey Stalin, the local Georgian boy made good. But, just to hedge her bets, still kept a couple of icons on the wall, even during the bleakest, most harrowing hours under Communism. (When we think that things are bad here, just think about what the bleakest hour under Communism must have been like.) If I’ve missed any cliché about Eastern European babushkas, please feel free to fill in a blank or two.

Of course, in real life, she was just as apt to be more like the Druggin’ Grannies who get busted every once in a while in The States: chain-smoking, bleach-blonde hags wearing jeans with black leather jackets and/or Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts. Sons named Wayne and Dwayne, both of whom have done time. Grandsons named Brandon and Jared, both of whom have done time. Great grandsons named Colt and Caden, both of whom have done (juvie) time.  Druggin’ Granny has to push the merch and support the gang because everyone else is behind bars. If I’ve missed any cliché about the type of families who specialize in running meth labs, please feel free to fill in a blank or two.

Whether she’s a babushka or not, who’s going to throw a little old lady in the hoosegow?

Well, the Georgians might.

…the unnamed woman, who has been dubbed "the spade-hacker" by local media, is being investigated on suspicion of damaging property, and could face up to three years in prison if charged and convicted.

Three years. Wow!

And for those who think that flacks are only found in American business, a spokesman for Georgia Railway Telecom had this to say:

"I cannot understand how this lady managed to find and damage the cable," the head of the company's marketing department, Giorgi Ionatamishvili [said]. "It has robust protection and such incidents are extremely rare."

Maybe that “robust protection” is not quite robust enough. (Makes me wonder what kind of robust protection surrounds the fiber that was laid down the median strip of the Mass Turnpike. I suppose our Staties would notice a babushka with a hoe and a bucket and/or Colt’s and Caden’s grammaw.)

Mercifully, “such incidents are extremely rare.”

Bad enough that thieves are stripping abandoned houses of everything except the rat carcasses, and defacing public statues and monuments to get at the bronze. Just leave our Internet alone!

Source: Huffington Post, by way of my sister Trish.

No comments: