By Tung-Hui Hu
We might think the electronic cloud as placeless, mute, airy, and unmediated. but the truth of the cloud is embodied in millions of big info facilities, anybody of that can use as a lot electrical energy as a midsized city. Even a lot of these facts facilities are just one small a part of the cloud. in 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 lifestyles. during this e-book, Tung-Hui Hu examines the space among the true and the digital in our knowing 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 warfare bunkers that have been later reused as information facilities. Countering the preferred notion 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 expertise itself and its cultural rhetoric, Hu’s account bargains a collection of latest instruments for rethinking the modern electronic surroundings.
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Additional info for A Prehistory of the Cloud
A group calling itself the American Republican Army eventually took credit for the attack. It was later discovered to be an army with a “rather slim” membership of two, namely, Jerome Brouse, age fifty-one, a construction worker with a grudge against AT&T’s monopoly, wearing a fake sixshooter in his holster, and a partner, Dale Chris Jensen, age thirty-three. Yet because the bombing affected the system as a whole, the 1961 event seemed, at the time, to result from something rotten in the political system.
Then the cloud will follow. 1 THE SHAPE OF THE NETWORK The Graft Here is how you tear up railroad track. “The jaw of a giant loader plucked up railroad ties in its teeth. A wheelbarrow-like contraption sucked up bolts and spikes, and spit them out. ”1 Stripped for metal during World War II, railroads are now stripped for tax reasons. Gradually, thousands of miles of track have been abandoned since peaking at 254,000 miles in 1916;2 the pace has only sped up since deregulation in 1980. 1). A pile of bent trestles along the side disrupts the symmetry of the composition.
Television delivered the network. But video and cable had the potential to hijack it. ”56 A playful THE SHAPE OF THE NETWORK 25 parody of the RAND Corporation’s 1964 design for a decentralized digital network, its name suggested the design’s paradoxically centralizing tendencies. 57 An early issue of the collective’s newsletter, Radical Software, suggests the thrill of imagining new information structures: the typography of Frank Gillette’s piece, “Loop-de-Loop,” depicts arrows twisted to form loops that lead nowhere.
A Prehistory of the Cloud by Tung-Hui Hu