Web sites for the apocalypse

If the Internet died, which Web sites would you want to save?

Web sites for the apocalypse

So, here's the idea: We're living in some future, post-apocalyptic world where the Internet and all computer technology is gone. No Web, no digital storage, nada. Wandering through a desolate wasteland with nothing but a supply of Twinkies and some improvised weapons for warding off marauding gangs, you see a plant and wonder if it's edible. That World Wide Web probably could have given me the answer, you think, and start wondering what other Web sites you would have saved if you'd seen the end of the world coming. Let's assume you had the forethought to print out all of these Web sites in advance and save the content in a bomb shelter. Which ones would you have saved? Here is one list, by no means complete. Read on and then tell us which sites you'd scrap, and which you'd add.


Why it's worth saving: It may not always be accurate, but it also might be the closest thing to the sum of all human knowledge available on the Web. Sure, Britannica is more scholarly, but Wikipedia is updated constantly and has more variety, from pop culture to particle physics. With nearly 2.4 million articles in English, it would take an insanely long time to print out, but we never said preparing for the apocalypse would be easy.

Go to Wikipedia now .

Kama Sutra

Why it's worth saving: Because at the end of the world, we might have some free time.

Go to Kama Sutra translation now .

How Stuff Works

Why it's worth saving: Just like it says, How Stuff Works explains how everything works, from space exploration to the brakes in your car. Most importantly, the site details the brewing process of beer, without which the apocalypse will be intolerable.

Go to How Stuff Works now .

Water procurement

Why it's worth saving: Post-apocalyptic Earth won't be one endless keg party: You're probably going to want a drink of water once in a while. This handy site will tell you how to identify safe water sources in various environments (the sea, the desert, and so forth) and how to filter out any pollution.

Go to Aircav's site on water procurement now.

World Wide Web Consortium

Why it's worth saving: In our future, Internet-less world, eventually we're going to want to rebuild the Internet and the World Wide Web. Although U.S. Senator Ted Stevens famously explained that the Internet is a "series of tubes," it's actually quite a bit more complicated. Rebuilding the Web will take lots of non-tube-related work, and a key piece might be the World Wide Web Consortium's technical reports on standardization of Web technology.

Go to the World Wide Web Consortium technical reports page now .


Why it's worth saving: Urban legends are always flying around: Barack Obama a radical Muslim? Mister Rogers a Vietnam War sniper? The crazy rumors might be even more plentiful in the weeks before the apocalypse, and Snopes.com will help us sort out fact from fiction.

Go to Snopes.com now .


Why it's worth saving: The lives of countless baseball-stat geeks would be ruined without this valuable resource, a labor of love for fans attempting to catalog the entire numerical history of America's pastime. If not for Retrosheet , survivors of the apocalypse may have no idea that Honus Wagner batted .338 in 1897 at the age of 23 and was still striking base hits 20 years later. They're sure to remember the abnormally large cranium of Barry Bonds, though.

Go to Retrosheet now .

How to Kill a Zombie

Why it's worth saving: The Will Smith movie "I Am Legend" taught me one thing about the apocalypse: There will be zombies, and we will spend most of our time trying to kill them. A step-by-step guide: Find a weapon, taunt your undead opponent, destroy its brain, then dismember and burn the corpse. For extra credit, check out the Web site of the Federal Vampire & Zombie Agency.

Go to How to Kill a Zombie now .

Military hand-to-hand combat guide

Why it's worth saving: Horrific circumstances bring out the worst in some humans, and even the most peaceful among us might be forced to defend ourselves. This guide for unarmed combat has detailed strategy accompanied by diagrams. Learn when to execute a hammer-fist strike to the face, and how to locate vulnerable areas, such as the jugular-notch pressure point.

Go to the Military hand-to-hand combat guide now .

Wilderness Survival: Edibility of plants

Why it's worth saving: Assuming plants are still growing, you'll want to know which can be eaten and which will make you sick -- or worse. Based on a U.S. Army field manual, this page includes instructions for identifying vegetation and a 13-step "universal edibility test" for determining whether a plant is safe to eat.

Go to the "Wilderness Survival: Edibility of plants" page now .

Armageddon Online: The End of Civilization

Why it's worth saving: Network World columnist Mark Gibbs recommends this site detailing the catastrophes that could send us back to the Stone Age. Super volcano, alien invasion, natural disasters, nuclear warfare, it's all here. Gibbs notes that this site might be most useful "before everything goes to hell," but I'm guessing we might want something like this to help assess how everything went wrong.

Go to Armageddon Online - The End of Civilization now .


Why it's worth saving: Do-it-yourself expert Bre Pettis recommends this collection of how-to articles. Want to know how to grow pineapples; build a solar-powered lawn mower; assemble an electric racing car; or make perfect, crispy bacon every time? It's all here .

Go to Instructables now .

How to build a windmill

Why it's worth saving: Do-it-yourself expert Pettis (see Slide 13) also tells us he'd be brushing up on his ham-radio skills and power-generation projects if he thought the apocalypse was coming. Here's one in the power-generation category: simple instructions for building a windmill.

Go to Monsterguide.net's "How to build a windmill" now .

What to do if a nuclear disaster is imminent

Why it's worth saving: The reason for this one is pretty self-explanatory. Along with climate change, nuclear warfare is one of the most plausible ways humankind could destroy itself. Again, this would be most useful before the bombs are dropped, but you'll want information on avoiding radioactive fallout even if you didn't see it coming.

Go to KI4U.com's "What to do if a nuclear disaster is imminent" now .

Three survival guides

Why they're worth saving: You can never get enough basic survival tips.

Go to Disaster Survival Guide , Captain Dave's Survival Guide and/or Natural Disaster Recovery now.

The Simpsons Quotes

Why it's worth saving: Because when the world is in flames and all hope is lost, only the infinite wisdom of Homer Simpson can save the human race. To wit: "Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." Amen, Homer J., amen.

Go to The Simpsons Quotes now .

What do YOU think?

We want to hear from YOU. Which Web sites would you want after Armageddon? Which on our list would you scrap? Post comments below.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.