End of the Quarter (and some thoughts on Internets)

March 19, 2009

So here I sit, garbed in the spoils of my recreational consumerism of yesterday. The new purple suede boots are absolutely my favorite. We’re (we being myself, Raquel the pre-vet Hermione-lookalike (especially when she passes out across her textbooks), and Harry who is my favorite anthropologist ever) sitting around drinking tea and half-watching Cities of the Underworld on the History Channel. I’m recuperating from my final final, Latin, which commenced at way too early this morning. I think I did alright. I also got my grade back from my Java final: an 86%, which brings my grade to a very tenuous 88% overall–that may yet change, depending on whether the teacher ever feels like grading my fifth program. Best I can hope for is a B+, I think, but that’s not terrible.

As I’m mulling over this quarter, I’m contemplating something that occurred to me while I was reviewing Vernor Vinge’s True Names for the final essay in Cyberpunk. Early in the descriptions of the proto-Internet, the protagonist spends some time zipping through physical servers (they’re not called that in the book, but that’s what they are) with a distinct awareness of where in the world his servers are as his consciousness travels through the medium. I was wondering, as I reread this, why we don’t actually do this. I have no idea where my servers are, no idea what physical locations my data travel through on their way to and from my computer. I think it probably has something to do with the corporatization of the internet, which happened very very quickly and thoroughly through the nineties, and the paradigm of which survived the dot-com bust very well, thankyouverymuch. There’s money to be made in dumbing it down for us, so that we don’t need to know where our data are. I’ve got more thoughts on this, but I have to explore it a little more first. Might make a fun paper, anyways.

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