On a recent flight back from Europe, the On Demand video system crashed, leaving the entire plane staring at the Linux boot code. The little girl in the next aisle was excited to see Tux the Penguin.
Over at We Make Money Not Art, Regine has a great recap of Trevor Paglen’s research on the black world of CIA-run torture taxis, secret government installations, and classified government projects. Regine writes "His artistic work deliberately blurs the lines between social science, contemporary art, and other more obscure disciplines in order to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to interpret the world around us." See here.
I brought Trevor to the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design as part of the New Spaces, New Cartographers series I organized when I was Forum president in 2004 and was greatly impressed by the research he did. In an era in which our lives become as transparent as the government becomes opaque, Trevor shows us how we can turn the tables a little.
Today’s post is an uncomfortable follow up to last week’s entry on "the undersea net" and the problems that ensued when a cable was cut in the Mideast. It turns out that more cables have gone offline. Techdirt asks "Did The Warranties Just Run Out On Undersea Cables?"
One of the cable operators is downplaying suggestions that the any of this is related.
Yesterday’s post discussed the physicality of the Net in terms of its vulnerability. Today, it’s time to talk about its impact on our world.
Over at Green Wombat last year, Todd Woody did some calculations as to how much power Internet servers consume. It turns out that by 2005, servers (not counting Google) consumed some 1.2 percent of the U. S.’s electricity. Around 14 1,000 megawatt power plants (each roughly the size of the remaining operational reactor at Three Mile Island or twice the size of Nevada’s Reid Gardner, above) are required to keep the net humming. See here.
And see also Rodrigo Piwonka’s project in the 2007 Netlab studio on Carbon Credits for a suggestion as to how the contribution to greenhouses gas might be remedied.
I’m in Clemson getting ready to give a talk today that—with some luck—I’ll be able to put up as a podcast next week. In the meantime, this week’s disruption of Internet service in the Middle East (and elsewhere) due to a broken fiber optic cable yet again reminds us of the physicality of the Internet and its fragility. See Wired’s Threat Level. My friend Paul Iverson sent along this story from the Guardian—"How one clumsy ship cut off the Internet for 70 million people"—while Steve Rowell pointed me in the direction of atlantic-cable.com, a huge historical resource on undersea communications systems.