Before reading the passage, try to answer the questions.
1. How much do you know about the Internet?
2. What do people usually do on the Internet?
3. What has made the Internet possible?
The Laser and Fiber1-Optic Revolution
1. In April 1995, a young Chinese chemistry student at Beijing University lay dying in a Beijing hospital. She was in a coma2, and although her doctors had performed numerous tests, they could not discover what was killing3 her. In desperation, a student friend posted an SOS describing her symptoms to several medical bulletin boards and mailing lists on the Internet. Around the world, doctors who regularly checked these electronic bulletin boards and lists responded immediately.
2. In Washington, D.C., Dr. John Aldis, a physician with the U.S. Department of State, saw the message from China. Using the Internet, he forwarded the message to colleagues in America. Soon an international group of doctors joined the e-mail discussion. A diagnosis4 emerged -- the woman might have been poisoned with thallium, a metal resembling lead. A Beijing laboratory confirmed this diagnosis -- the thallium concentration in her body was as much as 1000 times normal. More e-mail communication followed, as treatment was suggested and then adjusted. The woman slowly began to recover. Well over a year later, the international medical community was still keeping tabs on her condition through the electronic medium that saved her life.
3. It's 11:30 p.m., you're in San Francisco on business, and you want to check for messages at your office in Virginia. Firs