A Journey to the Center of the Internet
|Author(s)||Andrew Blum (www.andrewblum.net)|
|Description||When your Internet cable leaves your living room, where does it go? Almost everything about our day-to-day lives—and the broader scheme of human culture—can be found on the Internet. But what is it physically? And where is it really? Our mental map of the network is as blank as the map of the ocean that Columbus carried on his first Atlantic voyage. The Internet, its material nuts and bolts, is an unexplored territory. Until now.
In Tubes, journalist Andrew Blum goes inside the Internet's physical infrastructure and flips on the lights, revealing an utterly fresh look at the online world we think we know. It is a shockingly tactile realm of unmarked compounds, populated by a special caste of engineer who pieces together our networks by hand; where glass fibers pulse with light and creaky telegraph buildings, tortuously rewired, become communication hubs once again. From the room in Los Angeles where the Internet first flickered to life to the caverns beneath Manhattan where new fiber-optic cable is buried; from the coast of Portugal, where a ten-thousand mile undersea cable just two thumbs wide connects Europe and Africa, to the wilds of Pacific Northwest, where Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have built monumental data centers—Blum chronicles the dramatic story of the Internet's development, explains how it all works, and takes the first-ever in-depth look inside its hidden monuments.
This is a book about real places on the map: their sounds and smells, their storied paths, their physical details, and the people who live there. For all the talk of the "placelessness" of our digital age, the Internet is as fixed in real, physical spaces as the railroad or telephone. You can map it and touch it, and you can visit it. Is the Internet in fact "a series of tubes" as Ted Stevens, the late senator from Alaska, once famously described it? How can we know Internet's possibilities if we don't know its paths?
Like Tracy Kidder's classic The Soul of a New Machine or Tom Vanderbilt's recent bestseller Traffic, Tubes combines on-the-ground reporting and lucid explanation into an engaging, mind-bending narrative to help us understand the physical world that underlies our digital lives.
|Dedication||"For Davina and Phoebe"|
|Book Dimensions||Width: 6.5″ (6 ½″)|
|Height: 8.31″ (9 5/16″)|
|Depth: 1.13″ (1 1/8″)|
|Contents||Prologue, seven (7) chapters, Epilogue, Acknowledgements, Notes, Index|
|Book Design||Leah Carlson-Stanisic|
|Jacket Design||Allison Saltzman|
|(Front): LatitudeStock, Gallo Images, Getty Images, (Back): James Steidl, SuperFusion, SuperStock|
|Author Photograph||© by Davina Pardo|
|Published||May 29, 2012|
|Publisher||ECCO: An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers (www.eccobooks.com)|
|Copyright||© 2012 by Andrew Blum|
|Printed in||United States of America|
|Book Format||Hardcover, Kindle, Audible (Unabridged)|
|Quoted Reviews||"Every website, every email, every instant message travels through real junctions in a real network of real cables. It's all too awesome to behold. Andrew Blum's fascinating book demystifies the earthly geography of this most ethereal terra incognita." — Joshua Foer, bestselling author of Moonwalking with Einstein
"Like some heroic cartographer from a Borges story, Andrew Blum plunges into the unseen but real ether of the Internet in a journey both compelling and profound. For the first time, Tubes brings the 'network of networks' into stirring, and surprising, relief. You will never open an email in quite the same way again." — Tom Vanderbilt, bestselling author of Traffic
"With infectious wonder, Andrew Blum introduces us to the Internet's geeky wizards and takes us on an amiably guided tour of the world they've created: a world of wires and routers through which most of us daily wander, blinkered by our shimmering screens, but which few of us have ever really seen—or heard, or for that matter, smelled. (Yes, the Internet has a smell, Blum is here to report.) Though less ethereal and a bit dingier, the Internet that Blum's beautiful lucid prose makes real turns out to be, if anything, a more marvelous place than the cloudy dreamland we'd imagined." — Donovan Hohn, author of Mody-Duck
"We think of the Internet as a kind of ether, a magical way of transporting words and images from anywhere to anywhere else. But there is a a vast physical infrastructure behind all that magic, and in Tubes, Andrew Blum, one of our best writers on the built environment, discovers it and turns it into a compelling story of an altogether new realm where the virtual world meets the physical." — Paul Goldberger, author of Why Architecture Matters
|Best Seller's List||--|
|Other||Andrew Blum writes about architecture, infrastructure, and technology for many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Slate, and Popular Science. He is a correspondent for Wired, a contributing editor to Metropolis, and lives in his hometown of New York City.|
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Talked to SRI host to host (Blum, ed 2012, p.48)This became the Internet's first breath, as Blum states.
"Rui Carrilho, the station manager, was a compact guy in his forties. He wore a bright blue polo shirt, jeans, and leather oxfords, as if dressed for a Sunday stroll with his wife. He was not happy to see me." (Blum, ed 2012, p.218)I thought that was hysterical.
"Facebook played fast and loose with our privacy while Google vehemently protected it. At the least, [Ken] Patchett was happy to show off Facebook's data center." (Blum, ed. 2012, p.258)If Facebook's privacy can become a nationwide/worldwide issue, will questions be raised about Google's management of our data? Doubt it.
"What I understood when I arrived home was that the Internet wasn't a physical world or a virtual world, but a human world. The Internet's physical infrastructure has many centers, but from a certain vantage point there is really only one: You. Me. The lower case i. Wherever I am, and wherever you are." (Blum, ed.2012, p.268)