Mother Earth Mother Board

Douglas Barnes, an Oakland-based hacker and cypherpunk, looked into this issue a couple of years ago when, inspired by Bruce Sterling’s Islands in the Net, he was doing background research on a project to set up a data haven in the Caribbean. ‘I found out that the idea of the Internet as a highly distributed, redundant global communications system is a myth,’’ he discovered. ‘Virtually all communications between countries take place through a very small number of bottlenecks, and the available bandwidth simply isn’t that great.’’ And he cautions: ‘Even outfits like FLAG don’t really grok the Internet. The undersized cables they are running reflect their myopic outlook.’’

Mother Earth Mother Board, Neal Stephenson in WIRED