Originally Posted by Aleron Ives
I think you have it backwards. The device is turned on
to make the computer run, not off, since it lights up. It's most likely able to block whatever disables electronics in a small area, which is enough to allow nearby devices to operate. This suggests that the guy who originally had the device knew enough about what was going on to design a countermeasure for the effect, but he couldn't find a way to counteract it on a large scale.
Ah, OK - I just merely assumed the device was the "evil device".
Of course, it still makes no sense. What would it be doing? Blocking dryer ghosts that steal socks and make everything full of static cling?
What could it possibly be doing that a whole lot of sheet lead and copper mesh couldn't also do?
The only way you could take out technology on such a large scale as instantly as implied here is via radio waves, power surges, power cutoffs, radiation or some sort of magnetic field. All those could be combated by more traditional means.
Even if it were some sort of high frequency carrier wave (that can penetrate lead and reach far underground) that contains a "shutoff" signal that all electric devices can read and obey, you could combat that by building devices that won't respond to it.
I'm just not sure I buy the whole collapse of civalization thing. While certain resources might become rare, hard and expensive to obtain, we've gotten around that sort of thing in the past when the world was at war. For example, World War 2 prompted us to create things like improved versions of synthetic rubber and soybean-based plastics. We learned to live with rolling blackouts and got serious about recycling materials. High gas prices in the last several years have made people more conscious of how efficient vehicles are and how much gas we waste by not combining those quick trips to run errands. Plus, every time there is a large scale natural disaster, people get smarter about being prepared for emergencies.
Sure, there would be plenty of people unable to cope, but the idea that the governemt would fail and we'd be essentially living in medieval times again is pretty far fetched.
Don't get me wrong: I'll still at least see if they pull it together and make it make sense. I was skeptical about the idea of sending people back to dinosaur times in Terra Nova, but it turns out that was the one thing that actually made sense when it looked like it was simply where the portal rather than they created it with intent to go back there. At that point, dinosaurs still were a better alternative than a lack of breathable air. Too bad they sent back completely unrelatable people and their annoying offspring...