Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet

Author(s): Andrew Blum

Popular Science

"Tubes" by Andrew Blum is the first and only book to expose what's really going on behind the scenes at the Internet, and will appeal to fans of "The Social Network" and Michael Lewis' "The Big Short". You write an email. You hit send. It appears ten thousand miles away. How did that happen? In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70 per cent of the country's internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum's backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called 'internet' actually is. This is the Internet as you've never seen it before. It's not a concept. It's not a culture. It's most certainly not a cloud. It's a bunch of tubes. But what tubes...Hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable, criss-crossing the globe, pulsing with trillions of photons of light, linking us via anonymous exchanges in secretive locations with vast data-warehouses where our online selves are stored in banks of spinning hard-drives. In "Tubes", Andrew Blum takes us behind the scenes of this hidden world and introduces us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who design and run it everyday. He explains where it is, how it got there, what it looks like, how it works - and what happens when it breaks. "Every web site, 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, author of "Moonwalking with Einstein"). "Compelling and profound. You will never open an e-mail in quite the same way again". (Tom Vanderbilt, author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Traffic"). Andrew Blum is a correspondent at "Wired" magazine whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including the "New Yorker", "The New York Times", "Business Week" and "Slate". Blum was a lead media commentator during the internet blackout of the Egyptian revolution, and his latest article on gizmodo.com got 100,000 hits in its first day.

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Every web site, 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, Author Of Moonwalking With Einstein Compelling and profound. You will never open an e-mail in quite the same way again -- Tom Vanderbilt, Author Of The New York Times Bestseller Traffic At once funny, prosaic, sinister and wise, Blum's tale is a beautifully written account of the true human cost of all our remote connectivity -- Bella Bathurst, Author Of The Lighthouse Stevensons 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 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, Pulitzer Prize-Winning New Yorker Critic 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 beautifully 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 Moby Duck

Andrew Blum is a correspondent at Wired magazine whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New Yorker and The New York Times. This is his first book.

General Fields

  • : 9780670918980
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Viking
  • : 0.363
  • : June 2012
  • : 214mm X 153mm X 22mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : June 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Andrew Blum
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 302.231
  • : 304
  • : 2 x 8pp b/w inset