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Websites go black to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress

What would the world be like without the Internet? Fire up your browser and see what you can’t do.

In the first strike of its kind, hundreds of popular sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit and Boing Boing were scheduled to temporarily shut down Wednesday to protest a pair of anti-piracy bills that they say essentially amount to censorship of the Internet.

The prospect of a day without the websites set off a frenzy in the hours leading up to the strike, which was slated to begin Tuesday night, with parents urging their children to do their homework early and tech-savvy users posting instructions for how to access cached Wikipedia pages during the blackout.

“If Wikipedia is going down, I’m going down with it,” wrote Twitter user Mariellesmind, who was among thousands that filled the microblogging site with panicked, profanity-filled tweets.