I came away after reading this book with an ‘aha’ feeling about the intenet. I learned about this book a while ago on NPR and it came to mind recently when I wanted to find a book about the internet. Or rather, the physical internet. This morning I went running and finished, Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet. Since I was running, I wrapped up the epilogue in the audiobook format, which is read by the author. The chapters I read via the physical book were also entertaining and went by quickly.

The book traces the history of the internet by way of its physical location. I thought that Andrew Blum did a great job getting his number one point across: the internet is as physical a place as the one you occupy reading this blog post, and although the internet feels like an abstraction, this is an illusion. The Cloud is anything but a cloud. The signals traversing the globe travel along thousands of miles of fiberoptic cable that lie along the ocean floor and hook into specific locations along the coasts. At some point these signals pass through internet exchange points (there’s a huge one in Northern Virginia), and continue along some service provider’s network (i.e. Comcast) all the way to its intended IP address, yours. The internet is as physical an infrastructure as the land lines from way back when and the power grid. The internet is a utility.

Categories: Book Picks


Hi there. I'm a writer and reserve military officer with a day job. I write fiction, professional essays on military topics, and wax philosophical about books and movies. I live in Florida with my husband, two kids, and two cats.


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