In 1995, the computer-generated marvel Buzz Lightyear voiced the mantra of our modern era: to infinity, and beyond! Go ahead and laugh, but Pixar was on the money; we love the idea of the infinite, and it’s unsurprising considering that the planet we call home is not only explored but nearly exhausted. The presence of the so-called realms of the infinite — space, and the Internet — give us both the intrigue and the optimism we’d otherwise be lacking.
But there’s a problem: there is debate over the validity of space as an infinite… space. And even worse: the Internet is finite. (And for porn, according to Avenue Q.)
This is mind-blowing to me. I’ve naively walked around believing the Internet was forever, but apparently every server (those machines that house websites, so I’m told) runs off of electricity, and as we know, the current main source of energy — oil — is a limited resource.
Do you hear that noise? That’s the sound of thousnds of precocious babies crying at the thought that they will never collect a million views on YouTube before the age of three. Suddenly living without SUVs seems no big thing.
Okay, I’m being hyperbolic but my point is still pertinent: as difficult as it can be to imagine how we looked up words before Dictionary.com entered our lives, we should not take the Internet for granted. Because when you think about it (not to gush too much) it’s a pretty incredible tool.
Just take a look at the political bloggers profiled in our feature this week (see page 10); in what other universe than the Internet would it be possible for a college student to co-found a subsidiary publication of Seventeen? The same goes for the entrepreneurial endeavor of a September Street feature subject, PennDrinks.com.
But the significance of these successes is more than their general impressiveness. They show that in a way, the Internet still can claim a tie to the infinite. Though its existence may be finite, it is clear that the possibilities it offers are indeed without bounds.
Even if one of those outcomes must be Perez Hilton.
Here’s to you,