Written by Dr Klaus L E Kaiser
Who does not like to send postcards with picture-perfect photos of tropical laissez-faire scenes, tranquil sun-drenched beaches, all kinds of statues commemorating people and past events, monumental architecture, beautiful flowers, wild animals, sumptuous feasts, etc. to the long-neglected relatives, friends and, perhaps, also foes?
It’s a time-honored tradition. Except, it’s becoming a pain to find suitable postcards, getting the necessary stamps, and finding a mailbox to drop off your (dutifully-filled) reminders to the rest of your world. Like the lineup to the top of Mt. Everest (as seen, top).
What really is killing the postcard industry though and the postal system as well, is the ease of taking photos with your smart phone and sending it via a WiFi connection to all your addressees in one fell swoop – and with one click only. There is, however, the problem of having a fast (and preferably free) WiFi internet connection to do that.
Yet more importantly, the new technology allows you to take a selfie and send it to all your friends and foes with lightning speed, except when you’re on top of Mt. Everest in Nepal, or a few of the other peaks in the Himalayan mountains. There’s no connectivity at this time.
But that may change soon. The tech gurus at the SpaceX company have just sent 60 small (225 kg, or 500 lb) satellites into a low elevation orbit. They are supposed to be the first cohort of some 800 of such devices that, eventually, may possibly number 13,000.
With those satellites in place (and working as desired), there could be a WiFi connection just about anywhere on Earth, including the top of Mt. Everest.
Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain (8850 m, or 29000 ft.), as you may have read recently, is getting to be crowded. The lineups of climbers are getting longer and, when poor weather is forecast, there is a real rush to make it to the top.
Some recent pictures are breathtaking – not for the scenery but the lineup of climbers waiting (some for many hours) to get to the top. Already, a few years ago, photos of long “conga lines” of climbers made the rounds, like the one below.
I trust that you recognize those climbers’ predicament: Not only do they have to brave the hardship and dangers of trekking up the treacherous slopes; they are WiFi-less – all the way.
Obviously, that’s an injustice and, I surmise, one that needs to be addressed forthwith by a new, and strongly-worded UN resolution, a la (my proposal):
Recognizing the need of climbers of the world’s tall mountains and, in recognition of our mandate to foster equality, and in reference to UN Resolutions (…, to be detailed later), we call for urgent action…
Specifically, I think, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, or the Chinese road builders should immediately improve the access paths to and level the top of Mt. Everest, so that a minimum of 200 visitors can easily be accommodated on any day. And some proper facilities ought to be installed as well. However, that’s just for starters. Please read on.
The most critical aspect of making the climb to the top more humane is the dire need of free WiFi internet service there. It is urgently required to enable all the mountaineers to immediately send selfies to the home buddies overseas.
It would make a “mountain of difference.”
Don’t you agree?
PRINCIPIA SCIENTIFIC INTERNATIONAL, legally registered in the UK as a company incorporated for charitable purposes. Head Office: 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AX.
Please DONATE TODAY To Help Our Non-Profit Mission To Defend The Scientific Method.