Fascinating talk by Andrew Blum looking at how the Internet works, how countries are connected and how the process of bringing data-bridges together are made.
Yes, the Internet is a mysterious virtual thing that magically seems to appear on our computer screens and smartphones, but it requires a physical infrastructure. Blum admits that he, like most people, never gave much thought to how the internet works until, one day, his connection pooped out.
"The cable guy came to fix it, and he started with some dusty cables behind the couch, which he followed out of the building to the basement to the backyard, where there was a jumble of wires along the back wall," Blum recalls in his talk. "Then he saw a squirrel. 'There's your problem,' he said. 'A squirrel is chewing on your internet.'"
The revelation was shocking.
"The Internet is a transcendent idea," Blum says. "It was unequivocally not something a squirrel could chew on."