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It's astonishing really to think about it but I sometimes send my wife an email to ask her if she'd like me to make her a cup of coffee. When I'm about to make one for myself. She works on our accounts and sits in the next room to me.
Our Internet server is in America. My wife and I work in France. This means my question goes by fibre optic cable to Brest or Quimper around 150 miles away. From there it is beamed up to a geo-stationary satellite orbiting about 350 miles above the Earth. After that it bounces down to a receiver in Rhode Island some 3,700 miles distant and then again by fibre optic cable to New York. Another journey of around 300 miles. The whole process then happens in reverse.
My message travels at the speed of light under forests, plains and rivers. Through cities and villages then up into space and back. A total of almost ten thousand miles. Also passing through six time zones, twice.
Just so that Memsahib in the next room can click on a little button, read the message and yell back across eight foot of air and through four inches of stud partition to say -
"Just because you're offering me a coffee doesn't mean you'll get your way with me tonight!"
Isn't modern technology wonderful eh?
Iíve finished Ďbeaming upí now.
For the day anyway.