It took almost two days, but Research in Motion has confirmed what half of its 70 million users have already known since early Monday morning: it's experiencing the e-mail and messaging outage from hell.

Tuesday night, Research in Motion assured customers it would be back up for good by Wednesday morning. There's no word on how long it will take to get the backlog of emails and messages delivered.

The outage is affecting the following places:

Europe, the Middle East (or Southwest Asia, as we now say in the post-colonial era), Australia, Chile, Argentina, and Africa.

In other words, customers in the United States, the Pacific Rim and Antarctica caught a break on this one.

Let's do this Harper's Index style.

Number of Continents affected: 5

Days off and on without service: 2

Million users screwed: 35

Number of lousy "core switchers" to blame: 1

The outage underscores Blackberry's core strength and weakness.

Regardless of your carrier, every time you send or receive data on a Blackberry, it routes through Research in Motion. This is great for security reasons, allowing RIM to encrypt customer data.

However, if and when they go down...