gacek006: January 2013 Archives

Before this book I never really put much thought into how physical the Internet really is. As naive as that may be, growing up in a world that has always been connected and information has been extremely accessible whether by your portable laptop, iPod music device or smart phone, I've never had to think about it much. As Blum states, the Internet is a "tangible" object (which he commonly uses to describe the Internet throughout the book), and finding out where it comes from and to understand how it all fits together was his main purpose through Tubes. I believe he does a good job at showing the geography and many different pieces and people that connect throughout the world in order to create the Internet.
Although the Internet works because of fiber-optic tubes, routers, and a variety of connection hubs throughout the world, the Internet truly wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the people. It took people years to realize in order to create a system to connect everyone around the world, every network would need to come together to connect and to make a better Internet. Behind all of these physical connections are also the connections of different companies and people, all working together.
On p. 102 Blum said, "There are different kinds of connection. There are the connections between people, the million kinds of love. There are the connections between computers, expressed in algorithms and protocols. But this was the Internet's connection to the earth, the seam between the global brain and the geologic crust". I personally thought it was a good description of how everything works together. From the people, to the more electric and "virtual connections", to the actual physical piece which is the earth, without one of those pieces, the Internet couldn't exist.

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