One day, Andrew Blum‘s internet stopped working. He called a repair man, who told him that, quite simply, a squirrel had chewed on his internet.
Blum was perplexed. The internet is a nebulous, untouchable “cloud” – isn’t it? Or, as Blum puts it in his TEDTalk: “The Internet is a transcendent idea. It’s a set of protocols that has changed everything from shopping to dating to revolutions. It was unequivocally not something a squirrel could chew on. But that in fact seemed to be the case. And then I got this image in my head of what would happen if you yanked the wire from the wall and if you started to follow it. Where would it go? Was the Internet actually a place that you could visit? Could I go there?”
The question prompted Blum to explore the physical wires, cables, and boxes that make up the internet – an adventure he chronicles in his book Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet. A big part of that journey was visiting Data Centers, those power-guzzling monstrosities where all your Data (and we mean all your data) goes to live.