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Mystery cable-cutter takes down Wikipedia

Wikipedia blacks out for a bit today, world freaks out on Twitter.

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Wikipedia was inaccessible for several hours today due to a broken cable situation. (Screengrab)

Wikipedia suffered a two-hour blackout after an unknown person cut two cables serving its major data Florida data centers today, managers said, according to BBC News

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Wikimedia Foundation spokesman David Gerard told BBC things are "OK now" on the site after it was inaccessible for a couple of hours.

"Someone cut the cables going to the Tampa, Florida data center" from Virginia, Gerard said. It was unclear who did it or why, but BBC said Wikipedia denied any "malicious intent." 

"Wikipedia is down: Good thing it’s summer, students," ran a wry TheNextWeb headline. Wikipedia has come under criticism by some in the academic community who say students make little effort to distinguish between its user-generated information and more credible data. 

Not so fast. "Wikipedia Is Down. How can i do my homework now?" The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted one unhappy Wiki fan as tweeting during the outage.

Supporters of the online encyclopedia, which is accessed by an average of 25 million people per day, took to Twitter to discuss the outage, according to the Inquirer.

Gerard, speaking on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, joked to BBC that the site operates "gaffer tape and string" due to its limited financial resources, so things can take a while to repair.

It took the company an hour to get up and running after the outage was discovered, said BBC, coming back online around 11 am Eastern Standard Time in the US. 

The Guardian, for its part, contributed to the Wiki story by citing a bizarre cable affair seen in the Caucuses last spring: 

The outage is reminiscent of the Georgian woman who inadvertently sliced through an underground cable in March 2011, cutting off internet services to all of neighboring Armenia.

The woman, 75, had been digging for the metal not far from the capital Tbilisi when her spade damaged the fibre-optic cable. Large parts of Georgia and some areas of Azerbaijan were affected.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120806/mystery-cable-cutter-takes-down-wikipedia