Air travel to and from Europe has been disrupted — it’s been all but nonexistent, in fact — for days now because of the danger posed by the ash cloud being spewed out of the erupting Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. Each day, news reports have been saying things like:
Forecasts suggest the cloud of ash will persist and that the impact will continue for at least the next 24 hours, Eurocontrol said Saturday morning.
But “the next 24 hours” keeps getting pushed back. What’s more:
“We cannot tell how long an eruption like this will go on,” [Agust Gunnar] Gylfason[, a project manager at Iceland’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management] said.
When the volcano last erupted in 1821, the eruption lasted on and off for two years, Gylfason said.
Two years? How would our world change if air traffic over Europe were shut down for a year or more? It would be an economic catastrophe, at least, driving a fundamental shift in how the world engages with one another. Trains and ocean travel could only take up so much of the slack: perhaps the Internet and other telecommunications would become even more important?
(Awesome picture of the ash cloud here.)
On a geek-related note, someone commenting on a BBC America Facebook posting about the new Doctor Who was worried whether Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Steven Moffat were stuck in New York — where they’ve been promoting the show — because of the travel disruptions. I figure, if they were stuck here for a year, they’d just have to shoot the next season here. The only standing set they have is the TARDIS interior (which would probably be prohibitively expensive to rebuild on a stage in NYC), so clever Moffat will come up with an arc that involves the Doctor being separated from the TARDIS, and start doing a lot of new writing (I’m sure most if not all of the next season is already written), but it could be done.
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