My older sister just called from her meeting with a group of other women from her church. They wanted an answer to what would seem to be a simple question: What is the cloud? Is it a physical thing? Bear in mind that my sister, by her own admission, doesn't really "get" computers. I answered that it is both a physical thing (servers, data centers, cables, routers, and so on) plus a virtual thing (applications and storage, for example). They wanted to know if it's something that floats in the air like a traditional cloud. I said no, not really. They wanted to know if things in the cloud are permanent. I said they can be. They wanted to know if those things could be destroyed. I said yes, but, thinking of Scott Thompson, I said "Don't count on it being destroyed." They wanted to know if the cloud itself could be destroyed. I said, "It's theoretically possible, but it (the Internet) was engineered back in the 60s to withstand nuclear war, so don't count on it."
How did I do? What would you say to a group of intelligent people who don't really understand computers and networks to answer questions like these?