By Tung-Hui Hu
We may perhaps think the electronic cloud as placeless, mute, airy, and unmediated. but the truth of the cloud is embodied in millions of big info facilities, anyone of that can use as a lot electrical energy as a midsized city. Even most of these facts facilities are just one small a part of the cloud. at the back of that cloud-shaped icon on our monitors is an entire universe of applied sciences and cultural norms, all operating to maintain us from noticing their life. during this booklet, Tung-Hui Hu examines the distance among the true and the digital in our figuring out of the cloud.
Hu exhibits that the cloud grew out of such older networks as railroad tracks, sewer traces, and tv circuits. He describes key moments within the prehistory of the cloud, from the sport “Spacewar” as exemplar of time-sharing pcs to chilly warfare bunkers that have been later reused as facts facilities. Countering the preferred conception 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 protection and participation, we fail to acknowledge its militarized origins and beliefs. relocating among the materiality of the know-how itself and its cultural rhetoric, Hu’s account deals a collection of latest instruments for rethinking the modern electronic surroundings.
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Additional info for A Prehistory of the Cloud
So the distinction between the emergency and the accident was already wearing thin in 1961, and fifty years later, it seems to have eroded away entirely. Moreover, in the hearing, it wasn’t clear what defense system—or what circuits—they were talking about securing. The senators and the military men approached this question first with a list of examples and acronyms, among them the Ballistic Missile Early-Warning System (BMEWS), the midCanada line, the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, the Missile Defense Alarm System (MIDAS), etc.
But what the Senate record shows is perhaps less expected: fully half of the June 7 hearing on network security was taken up by a discussion of another kind of political deviation, organized labor. Indeed, the final two witnesses called to the hearing were the president of the Commercial Telegraphers’ Union and the counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. 43 And the last time the Bell System had been disrupted was during a period of labor unrest—the only time before Wendover that the robustness of defense circuits had been tested.
Bill 1990’s sponsor, Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut (who would later be indicted for corruption by the same committee), was absent, but submitted a written statement opening with an ominous description of “a person or persons unknown” who had sabotaged “3,000 interstate communications ” circuits in Utah and Nevada, many of which, Dodd continued, were essential to military and civilian defense. Dodd’s bill was a relatively simple one that extended the anti-sabotage law to all defense-related circuits, not just federally owned ones; in fact, it was a resubmission of a bill that hadn’t made it to the Senate floor the previous year because of time limitations.
A Prehistory of the Cloud by Tung-Hui Hu