There is no clear road map about what to do next. In this environment, the State Department plans some good old-fashioned experimentation to discover best practices. There will probably even be an opportunity for reverse learning. “[The Egyptians] are sophisticated themselves,” Ross says. “Given the tools and resources, the Egyptian people can make the highest and best use of them.”

Open Mesh networking is a type of networking wherein each connected node in the network may act as an independent router or “smart” device, regardless of whether it has an Internet connection or not. Mesh networks are incredibly robust, with continuous connections that can reconfigure around broken or blocked paths by “hopping” from node to node until the destination is reached, such as another device on the network or connecting to an Internet back haul. When there is local Internet available, they can amplify the number of people who can connect to it.

This revolution is not for bread as much as for freedom. It was made principally by the educated, rather than the crushed poorer classes. And it is getting more and more popular as Egyptians balance values such as democracy, freedom, justice, dignity and transparency on one hand, and despotism, oppression, injustice, humiliation and corruption on the other.

At a time when activists are sorely needed, activism is at a crossroads. Each of us knows that a tremendous crisis is looming, but it is so large that we are paralyzed. Knowing that our future constitutes a world without ice caps and fish, a world that is dominated by constant starvation and hordes of refugees, we can only continue our day-to-day lives if we suppress the fear of collapse. The dimensions of the catastrophe exceed the capacity of our imaginations, and we are consequently incapacitated. We sense that a terrible future awaits and that unless we act, urgently and passionately in the present, the bountiful Earth will die in our lifetimes.