Totally tubular! Author surfs worldwide web in breakthrough book

“Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet.” By Andrew Blum. Harper Collines. $26.99.
Harper Collins

Think globally, surf the internet locally.

The web is controlled by brick-and-mortar networks that could break down if savvy users start shopping for web service the same way that they do for food, Wired journalist Andrew Blum argues in his new book, “Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet.”

“I wouldn’t rule out the idea of a Park Slope Internet Co-op, not in the next year or two but in the future,” said Blum, a Prospect Heights resident who’s reading from his forthcoming book at the Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene on May 30.

Blum became interested in the Internet’s infrastructure after discovering that little had been written about the physical system of fiber optic cables, regional hubs, and massive international internet exchange points that power the world wide web.

“The web is a network of networks that have to be physically connected,” Blum said. “ ‘Tubes’ is a travel book to the internet.”

To research his behind-the-scenes expose on the oft forgotten physical side of the internet industry, Blum visited Google and Facebook’s data centers, the Los Angeles room where the web sprang to life, and a fiber optic cable hub in Portugal that connects Europe to West Africa, among other places.

Andrew Blum, “Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet,” at Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. at South Portland Street in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com]. May 30 at 7:30 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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