bear with me here as I realize to most this sounds entirely like science fiction.....
what would happen if a harmless comet passed by us and the earth passed through a grand tail that seemed completely harmless. our atmosphere safely destroying what harmful objects might have attempted to fall to our planet.
but......lets just say as we began to pass through that tail we began to see a disruption of a different kind. not with physical impacts but with the loss of a technology that would lead to a grand impact.
let's say that in that comet tail we make a scientific discovery like never before. a discovery that matter can be changed by a cosmic force that we have yet to discover. so for instance water would change its freezing point from zero to plus 5 or something like that. or perhaps that matter that we know now to be part of our electrical grid no longer can carry an electric current? metal can no longer conduct electricity and as the tail "harmlessly" sweeps across our planet we go dark with all of our gadget and electronic capacities.
your car stops driving, airplanes fall helplessly out of the sky, boats set adrift, elevators stop, the list goes on and on. our entire way of life depends upon the presence and flow of electric charges we would very quickly see just how much. most, if not all, of the world's food supply depends on electricity, after all tractors, harvesters, processing, all require electric currents.
Imagine the hysteria. those people away from there homes where they would have easily driven home 50kms in time for supper will now be days away from home like the settlers of years gone by. no doubt people would figure out a means with tools (wood burning and other "technology" requiring electricity) but how long would we have clean water and food. Food would be the easier of two I would think since many of us keep far more food on hand than we need in a given time period. We would need to be careful not to let it spoil and to ration it. Our water, on the other hand is mostly provided to us courtest of our communities water system which requires power. Without electricity our future would be very grim indeed and one has to wonder whether anarachy would rule or whether the loss of vehicles would make it too dificult? weapons, sadly in this equation would continue to be a threat as they have always been for human civilizations.
The supply chain of our planet is dependant upon and save for those subsistance farmers and mixed farms with sufficient manual tools on hand most of us would die of starvation or dehydration when our supplies ran out.
the earthquake in Haiti, while not nearly as extreme, has reminded me of our dependance on modern wonders such as electricity. the spaceship earth ride at Disney World's Epcot Centre also reminded me of where our latest knowledge has been stored as well. When the world lost the Ancient Library of Alexandria we lost a great storehouse of information, but imagine now if we lost the internet and all of the electronic documents stored on computers?
so here is my question that I am stuck on, do we have a personal obligation to prepare our families, our family history and our personal knowledge in the event of a disaster? do we depend entirely to much on "the government" to protect that information? do we have any clue or are we doomed to suffer and disappear like other peons who came before us?