Today’s Solutions: January 29, 2023

After decades of nonstop technological inventions and breakthroughs that have resulted in a world of unstoppable connectivity people are finally stepping back and asking—is this connectivity necessary? Is it good? Pocahontas County in West Virginia is a 942 square mile plot of earth with nearly 9,000 residents and is completely void of all cellular signals, and Wi-Fi Internet. Though the Internet’s absence isn’t by choice in Pocahontas County, the residents aren’t complaining.

Greenbank Telescope
The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope used by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

Pocahontas County lies inside what is known as the United States National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ)—a 13,000 square mile area that has strict laws banning the use of wireless Internet and cell phones. The NRQZ is home to large radio antennas that facilitate the US Navy’s communication, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) that uses radio to scan the cosmos. Any stray radio signals could interfere with the Navy and NRAO’s antennae’s, which is why there is literally no signal.
The NRQZ was established in 1958 long before the advent of cellular phones and the Internet. Even though the residents of Pocahontas County are forced to live an analog life, they aren’t complaining. While many couldn’t imagine going a few hours without their iPhone, the inhabitants of Pocahontas County say they enjoy it—that it allows for a quieter, simpler and more beautiful life.
Most of us don’t live in and won’t move to Pocahontas County, but you don’t have to in order to live a less connected life. Try digital detoxes—they do wonders for recharging your energy and your mind. Author Michael Harris approached the idea of an unconnected life in his new book The End of Absence (read an exclusive excerpt) and spent a difficult 30-days coping without the information super highway. 30-days is a long time to go, the residents of Pocahontas county are approaching 60-years of un-connectivity. We suggest trying a day or two over a weekend, just to get an idea of what life used to be like when things were simpler, and a little less digital.

Via National Geographic
All images Copyright 2014, Pocahontas County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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