Flutterby™! : The Hidden Infrastructure

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The Hidden Infrastructure

2013-03-19 21:06:55.694997+00 by petronius 1 comments

It is sobering to realize how much of our modern life depends on various types of invisible systems that keep everything working. Popular Mechanics has a bit on how teams around the earth came together to repair the submarine cables damaged after the recent Japanese Tsunami, a potentially more disruptive outcome than the reactor meltdown. For a bit of background on the topic, you might take a look at Neal Stephanson's epic tale of the building of FLAG, the Fiber Link Around the Globe, which stretches from England to Japan via Alexandria and Thailand. It's a story like the building of the Transcontinental Railroad or the Panama Canal. A warning, tho: the story is 56 screens long, but worth every byte!

[ related topics: broadband Invention and Design Work, productivity and environment Machinery ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2013-03-19 22:33:46.906498+00 by: Dan Lyke

Shortly after the realization of "whoah, there are fiber optic cables to all of these places, what about satellites?", most young geeks then do the math and figure out that an ACKed packet takes nearly half a second to a geostationary orbit from the equator. 35,786 km is 0.119369247 light seconds, the original message goes up and back, the reply goes up and back, and your ping time is on the order of half a second.

It was recently pointed out to me that minimum theoretical ping time from SF to NYC is just a little bit more than 1/36th of a second.

The world is not as small as we think it is.

And, yeah, that Neal Stephenson piece is totally worth a read.