Internet. The word is probably used a million times a day. But do you really know what it is? What it does? Where it is? And why is it capitalized? Radio isn't capitalized, and neither is television. It's a mystery. Unless you're a computer super geek or a techie or an IT person you probably don't know.
Most people don't. Andrew Blum, the author of Tubes, does, and in a fun and research-filled book that straddles story and nonfiction, he describes just what exactly the Internet is.
He explores the beginnings of the
'Net and where it is today. It gets tracked from a room in Los Angeles, where it was born, to the to teeming streets of New York's Manhattan, where new fiber optic cable was laid; from the Portuguese coast, where a transatlantic undersea cable connected West Africa and Europe,
to the coliseum-sized data rooms operated by the likes of Google and Facebook.
Blum, after all his explorations, posits an interesting notion: "What I understood when I arrived home was that the Internet wasn't a physical world or a virtual world, but a human world." That is a huge leap, and maybe one the author has made with his heart and not his head.
Take a read and see if you agree with him. Whether you do or not, this is enlightening.