By Tung-Hui Hu
We could think the electronic cloud as placeless, mute, airy, and unmediated. but the truth of the cloud is embodied in millions of huge facts facilities, anybody of that could use as a lot electrical energy as a midsized city. Even a lot of these info facilities are just one small a part of the cloud. at the back of that cloud-shaped icon on our monitors is a complete universe of applied sciences and cultural norms, all operating to maintain us from noticing their life. during this booklet, Tung-Hui Hu examines the distance among the genuine and the digital in our realizing of the cloud.
Hu exhibits that the cloud grew out of such older networks as railroad tracks, sewer strains, and tv circuits. He describes key moments within the prehistory of the cloud, from the sport “Spacewar” as exemplar of time-sharing desktops to chilly conflict bunkers that have been later reused as info facilities. Countering the preferred belief of a brand new “cloudlike” political energy that's dispersed and immaterial, Hu argues that the cloud grafts electronic applied sciences onto older methods of exerting strength over a inhabitants. yet simply because we make investments the cloud with cultural fantasies approximately safeguard and participation, we fail to acknowledge its militarized origins and beliefs. relocating among the materiality of the know-how itself and its cultural rhetoric, Hu’s account deals a collection of latest instruments for rethinking the modern electronic atmosphere.
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Extra info for A Prehistory of the Cloud
In the event of an emergency, one circuit may take an alternate path; a Des Moines outage might affect both St. Louis and Kansas City. —DuPlantis testified, in dialogue reminiscent of a Beckett play: General DuPlantis: Sir, you would never be able to define the system that you had reference to since it is subject to call. As I tried to explain in this rerouting process which goes on all the time, you can’t put your finger on the circuits that you will call up. You know where the terminal ends are, but these circuits will take devious paths from minute to minute .
Studying the metro Detroit area in 1972, the architect and urban planner Constantinos Doxiadis declared: “Our child, our city is sick. We look only at the symptoms and we do not understand the causes. We are frightened. ”25 To illustrate his point, this architect printed photographs of a spider’s web before and after ingesting amphetamines; the second picture, taken twelve hours after ingestion, is compared to Detroit’s road network, one of the symptoms of postwar THE SHAPE OF THE NETWORK 11 dispersion from an urban core.
34 Comical scenarios, perhaps, but to this day, crucial communication lines are disrupted accidentally all the time, typically by a farmer or a construction worker digging with a backhoe: in 2009, the Washington Post reported on the phenomenon of black Chevrolet Suburbans arriving at construction sites. ” So the distinction between the emergency and the accident was already wearing thin in 1961, and fifty years later, it seems to have eroded away entirely. Moreover, in the hearing, it wasn’t clear what defense system—or what circuits—they were talking about securing.