Writing about the Internet–as a travel destination?

Man at work in a data center.

Man at work in a data center. Photo: Leonardo Rizzi / Flickr

We often think of the Internet as existing in the ether, not a physical, tangible place. Wired magazine writer Andrew Blum flipped that notion on its head by visiting the Internet we don’t get to see: the data centers, the underwater cables, the “series of tubes” as the late U.S. senator Ted Stevens described it.  Visit the author’s website for more details.

Here’s an excerpt on how Blum’s journey to the center of the Internet took him around the world:

From the room in Los Angeles where the Internet first flickered to life to the caverns beneath Manhattan as 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 the 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.

The Internet has grown almost as a parallel world to our own. The fiber-optic tubes are the new railroads, delivering data from one computer to another. The big data centers are the equivalent of major airports where traffic passes through on it way to somewhere else. More worryingly, Internet service providers (ISPs) and web companies are acting as gatekeepers to control the flow of information, a power that once only resided with governments and media.

For more on this topic, check out this video titled, “Bundled, buried, and behind closed doors.”

Posted by | Comments Off on Writing about the Internet–as a travel destination?  | July 9, 2012
Category: Travel Tech, Travel Writing

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