There are few things as scary to me in this world as being attacked by a shark. This is mostly an irrational fear created as a direct result of having watched Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws as a child. However a new fear has terrified me more than a great white shark bearing down on me in the open waters of the ocean ever could, it’s the fear of a shark disrupting my internet connection by snacking on an undersea fibre optic cable.
According to Dan Belcher who is a product manager on Google’s cloud team, the company has had to resort to wrapping its trans-Pacific underwater cables in kevlar, the same material that’s used in ballistic armour like bulletproof vests, to prevent them from being damaged by sharks who have been recorded as nibbling on the undersea internet arteries since as early as 1985 when an experimental line off the Canary Islands was found to have shark teeth embedded in it.
While there is no concrete reasoning behind the sharks’ predilection to this high
fiber fibre diet researchers have suggested that it could be as a result of sharks mistaking the electro-magnetic generated by the optical repeaters which amplify the signals inside of the cables as those coming from the hearts of fish which sharks can sense through special organs in their heads. This behaviour was captured on video in 2010 by an undersea rover showing a shark biting down on an undersea cable before sauntering off into the deep blue which, as our gaming guru Deon pointed out, may have been as a result of biting into a chunk of 4Chan traffic.
[Source – Network World, Via – The Verge, Image – Elias Levy on Flickr CC BY 2.0 (Cropped)]