OK, here’s a simple test. What do you get if you put this….


Next to this…



So much for the answer. The question, of course, is who pays the ferryman…


I guess the accompanying headline should run along the lines of: ‘If you think we’re screwed now…’

Or some kind of suggestion that the fun might only have just begun; that our friend – and some clearly still see it as our ‘enemy’ – The Internet is but a little baby to one, awesome kick-ass mother that lies just around the corner.

Bit like ‘Aliens’ I guess. That if the hapless Ripley had her hands full with one of them, just wait till you get to meet Mum… and, boy, is she mad. Only this time she’s buried not beneath some atmposphere recycling planet on Zeltron 2-Alpha or whatever it was, but underneath some charming Swiss valley.

What are we talking about? This that popped up in The Times today… Meet Mum, meet ‘The Grid’.


OK, so The Grid’s purpose is to dig out some elusive little proton; the one that gives matter mass… but does that even matter given the likely impact it is to have on the rest of us in the midst of its game of molecular hide-and-seek?

Download a whole movie in five seconds instead of three hours? Holographic formats? What, you mean that a web-casted council chamber could now appear in a holographic format on the palm of my hand?

Heh, that’s Star Wars; OK, so it’s South Norfolk District Council in five years time, but the image is of Star Wars… five-inch figures sat in the palm of my hand debating matters of planetry import. As it effects the Waveney Valley.

Five years? Who knows. CERN is, of course, the birthplace of the Internet. And like ‘The Grid’, both will filter their way out into the wider world via the academic institutions.

But the fact is that mother can now piggy-back off her little baby; here we are, after all, reading about ‘The Grid’ on the web; we’re not learning about the potential impact of the Internet in some dusty, academic tome as might have been the case some 20-odd years ago.

‘The Grid’ is just one push of a ‘red button’ away; it’s live, happening and coming to a lab near you.

Whether it comes to a mobile near your is the next question; at what cost and at what speed, the question after.

But look at the impact The Internet has already had on the way we do our newspaper business – or, rather, don’t do our newspaper business – and now envisage a delivery system that is ‘10,000 times faster than the average broadband connection…’

News of which is about to be delivered on a delivery system that, in itself, is what 10,000 times faster than the wood-staining system that delivered The Internet? Depends on how fast the little lad on his push-bike delivered the newspaper down your street, I guess.

Is there a lesson? Well, if even half of what they say about ‘The Grid’ is true then the likelihood of the newspaper surviving much beyond the next decade grows ever less likely; that my eight-year-old little man will, in every likelihood, look at The Internet and laugh at how slow and clunky it seemed…

‘I can’t believe you tried to run a business of that, Dad…’

‘And before that I used to work on a newspaper… imagine that…’

Scary, scary times. We can’t even find an answer to the problems that The Internet poses. And now, deep beneath some Swiss valley, out comes ‘The Grid’…

And this time she really means business.