The Internet got its start on Sept. 2, 1969.
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Internet, or at least its earliest incarnation: two computers sharing information through a 15-foot cable. (You see, when two computers love each other very much...)
Obviously, without the innovations of the Internet founding fathers, we couldn't have Facebook, awkward meet-ups originating from Classmates.com or All Tech Considered.
We might get a lot more done without the Internet, but the things we'd be doing wouldn't involve moving vast amounts of digital data across the limitless virtual spaces we've built. We'd probably be using a lot more paper. Trees are breathing an oxygenated sigh of relief today.
We wouldn't have had the Internet celebrity known as Mahir ("I Kiss You!"), lonelygirl15 or that sneezing baby panda. If a baby panda sneezed and it wasn't on the Internet, how else would 39 million viewers know it happened?
Susan Boyle would not have achieved near-instantaneous fame. Mullets may have remained a shameful blight, not a celebrated phenomenon. We'd be less enriched by feelings of superiority while watching David Hasselhoff wolf down a burger, shirtless, on the floor.
The Internet isn't just goofy memes and silly videos: I point these out because they are merely the tiniest tip of the lowest common denominator of what the Net has become for us. It also alerts us to unrest across the world, helps the world find clean water and provides an irreplaceable link between us and those we love.
It's impossible to get your brain around all that the Internet is and what is has done for us these 40 years. Luckily, the Internet is organized in such a way that we don't have to.
Thanks, Internet. Happy 40th.