April 28, 2004
Saturation Broadcast System: Island Query

Off MeFi is the story of Tuvalu. I thought I knew the story of this tiny island, and it's .TV domain, the geography of boom. Now broke, and that too is old news, but what's new is that the island may very well disappear, reducing its domain to a singular sense of the word.

It reminded me of some story -- maybe 3 years ago -- about an island, or a nation, maybe, that "went dark." Something happened there, maybe a revolution, something of people and not of earth. For a day or two, it was impossible to reach it by telephone, radio, anything. There was a brief hole in the grid, and there was a piece of the earth that dropped through it.

Because I don't dream, I think it may have really happened. Oh, Saturation, I need your help, because it's a good story to tell, and a great one if it's real. Did I make this up?

Posted by kevin slavin at April 28, 2004 10:25 PM

You're thinking of the island of Nauru, South Pacific's basketcase. (pop 12,000)
it lost contact with the world for weeks in Feb 2003



Nauru has also in the news for being the dumping ground for Australia's unwanted Afghan refugees, it's a scarred moonscape of an island, due to the shortsighted stripmining of guano (phosphates) which once gave the island one of the world's highest per capita. but the islanders failed to reinvest, and the country's been in crisis ever since - trying various new income sources as money laundering for the Russian mafia, helping the CIA with managing North Korean defectors, taking those wretched Afghan refugees off John Howard's hands, and investing in a late 80s London musical flop, Leonardo da Vinci (I know how much you hate show tunes, but that still sounds like a good idea to me).

see the main story on this This American Life episode for more details -
(needs RealPlayer)

Other pacific islands have done better with internet access during crises. The island of Niue (domain .nu - pop.<2000 and the world's smallest independently governed nation) declared itself the first free wireless nation in June 2003, and its wireless network mostly survived a cyclone which devastated the island this Jan. 2004.

During Fiji's attempted coup d'etat in 2000, the internet site, Fijilive was the only source of news from the island.

Posted by: zhan on April 29, 2004 01:40 AM

Just so everyone's clear:

1. The Saturation Broadcast System works!
2. Zhan is one of two people I know whose middle motherfucking name is Google.
3. Thanks man!

Posted by: Kevin Slavin on April 29, 2004 01:47 AM

phosphate mining on Nauru:

and it turns out that Nauru used to be a colony of the third reich:

Posted by: dbrown on April 29, 2004 09:14 AM

tomnkey: you might want to enable "Auto-link URLs?" in Weblog Config > Configuration > Comment Configuratuon. also, since mt-blacklist seems to be working well, you might want to re-enable the URL field in comemnts.

Posted by: Noah on April 29, 2004 09:54 AM

Thanks for the advice. It was on but because it was not allowing HTML embedded in Comments it was being ignored. So now no more HTML in comments, which probably won't be a problem.


Posted by: tmonkey on April 29, 2004 03:20 PM

Sorry, does it mean that I can't use HTML tags in comments? This being evidence, either way.

Posted by: Kevin Slavin on April 30, 2004 01:20 AM

I take that as a no.

Posted by: Kevin Slavin on April 30, 2004 01:21 AM

this american life did a radio story about naru last year....


12/05/2003 episode 253 - "the middle of nowhere"

Posted by: james on April 30, 2004 07:52 AM

Sorry to be off topic...
Allowing HTML tags in comments is MT saying, OK you want to use HTML, then link your own links! Which makes sense.

What do people prefer? Automatic linking of links? or HTML in comments?

Posted by: tmonkey on April 30, 2004 10:40 AM
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