Max Romantschuk's weblog – February 2008 archive

But a thin strand of glass...

Thursday 21st of February, 2008 - 12:44 – Permalink

When you loaded this page, you probably did not pay much attention to the fact that a bunch of photons just traveled down countless miles of tiny optical fibers made of really, really thin glass. Quite probably the signal also passed along the bottom of an ocean or two. This may seem mundane, but I say it's actually quite magical.

While the original design of the Internet stems from military technology, today's implementation is actually quite easily disrupted. The recent submarine cable disruptions were discussed on Slashdot a while ago, where I stumbled upon another, much older article about submarine cables...

Back in 1996 I had been using the net for some two-three years. Little did I know that Neal Stephenson was traveling the world discovering the secrets of laying submarine cables. Now, some 11 years later, I've made up for it. Mother Earth Mother Board is a gargantuan article written by Neal Stephenson for the December 1996 issue of Wired. It's more of a short story or a documentary-in-text really. While 56 pages long (you might want to print the print version) it is totally, totally worth reading. At least if you, like me, are fascinated by the sheer limitless of human ingenuity.

And if that all sounds utterly and totally boring to you, check out these inappropriate rocket powered items, or this jet-powered Volkswagen Beetle! That's so wrong it just has to be right, right?