The Statue of Liberty in chains, her torch hanging by her side, that’s precisely how the cover illustration of the German business daily ‘Handelblatt’ reacted to the recent shutdown in America. Among the most alarming impacts of the shutdown of the Internet era are many intricate government websites that have been suddenly replaced by one-line messages saying, “Due to the lapse in government funding …., all online survey collection requests will be unavailable until further notice” U.S.A. literally has suddenly gone offline since Oct 1, this year
Websites Down all Over the Country
NASA’s famed website, much sought after by space buffs across the world made no bones about flashing a message that read: Due to lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available. We sincerely regret this inconvenience.
The same is true with the White House website that carried a more detailed but equally demoralizing note, such as: Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, the information on this web may not be up-to-date. Some submissions may not be processed, and may not be able to respond to your inquiries. To sum it all up, the budgetary deadlock has rendered a large number of popular online services unavailable in the US.
Previous Shutdowns in America
Let’s face the facts. Federal shutdowns are nothing new on the American soil. In fact, there have been 17 of them since the seventies. In fact, this is the 12th shutdown since 1981. The last and longest shutdown occurred from December 1995 into January 1996, spanning 21 days (during Bill Clinton administration). However, technological advancement today is different today as compared to earlier days when communication over the Internet was limited to via email or chat. But now we have Facebook, Twitter and a few more social media platforms.
Incidentally, on the morning of the shutdown (Oct. 1, 2013) several tweets originated from quite a good number of science-related government organizations, some of which are displayed below.
- NASA: Sorry, but we won’t be tweeting/responding to replies during the government shutdown. Be back as soon as possible.
- Environmental Protection Agency : @EPA: This is currently shutdown.
- Center for Disease Control & Prevention: @CDCgov: We’re sorry, but we will not be tweeting or responding at @ replies during the government shutdown. We’ll be back as soon as possible
- U.S. Geological Survey: @USGS: As a result of the lapse in appropriation, we will not be actively using this account until further notice.
Needless to say, people all over the world are now eagerly waiting for the day when the shutdown would be lifted and US economy once again will reconcile back to its former days.