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Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum
air freight, cable laying ship, call centre, Donald Davies, global village, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, if you build it, they will come, inflight wifi, invisible hand, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, Network effects, New Urbanism, packet switching, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, undersea cable, urban planning, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game
But compared with the transatlantic cables that landed on Long Island, by the time a bit went down the coast and back up to the city, the route effectively made London and New York two hundred more miles apart. At the time no one thought it mattered. “Now I get beaten up in meetings because there’s one millisecond extra compared to our competitors,” Cooper said, rubbing his brow. The first new transatlantic cable in a decade will be laid in 2012 by a small company called Hibernia-Atlantic. They designed it from scratch to be the fastest. The micro geography matters just as much. Specialized ships conduct surveys of the ocean bottom, carefully plotting routes over and around underwater mountains—like grading a railroad, but without the option to dig any tunnels. The paths carefully avoid major shipping lanes, to limit the risk of damage from dragging anchors. Because if a cable does fail, a repair ship is dispatched to lift both ends to the surface using grappling hooks and fuse the ends back together—an expensive, slow process.
At Global Crossing—now Level 3—Kate Rankin championed my interest to her colleagues, who collectively spent days answering my questions. In Rochester, Jim Watts, Mary Hughson, Louis LaPack, Mike Duell, and Nels Thompson provided the background info. Then in Cornwall, Jol Paling shared his beautiful part of the world. The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is an invaluable resource for the history of undersea cables; archivist Alan Renton became a friend in the valley. At Hibernia Atlantic, Bjarni Thorvardarson welcomed me in and Tom Burfitt gave a great tour. At Tata Communications, Simon Cooper allowed everything to happen, most especially the chance to watch a cable land on the beach; his colleagues Janice Goveas, Paul Wilkinson, Rui Carrilho, and Anisha Sharma made it work. At TE Subcom, Courtney McDaniel arranged fascinating and hugely informative visits with Neal Bargano in Eatontown and Colin Young in Newington.
See Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange Gates, Bill, 57 Gilbert, John, 174–75, 176, 177–78, 179–80 Global Crossing, 125, 153, 183, 202–3, 208, 209–10, 253 Global Internet Geography “GIG” (TeleGeography), 14, 27 Global Switch, 183 globalization of “peering,” 125–26 undersea cables and, 197 Goldman Sachs, 261 Google Cerf at, 45 in China, 257 as content provider, 79 data centers/storage for, 229, 231, 234–35, 237–50, 254, 255, 257, 258, 261 and Internet as series of tubes, 5 invisibility of political borders and, 147 IPO for, 69–70 Menlo Park location of, 69 mission statement of, 248 as most-visited website, 127 NANOGers at, 120 New York City location of, 163–64, 172 number of daily searches on, 231 peering and, 122–23, 125–26 privacy issues at, 258 secrecy/security at, 242–50, 254, 257 Gore, Al, 63 government, Dutch, AMS–IX and, 147 government, US, role at MAE-East of, 62–63. See also military, US; specific department or agency Great Eastern (cable ship), 203, 253 Great Western Railway, 203 Greenpeace, 230, 261 Hafner, Katie, 51 Halifax, Canada: cable station near, 211 Hankins, Greg, 157, 159 HEPnet, 52 Hewlett-Packard, 74 Hibernia-Atlantic, 199 High Performance Computing and Communications Act (“Gore Bill”), 63 High Rise (Ballard), 181–82 Homeland Security, US Department of, 238 Honeywell DDP–516 minicomputer, 39, 44 Hong Kong, 128, 194, 198, 200 How to Lie with Maps (Monmonier), 15 hubs, 64, 109–10. See also specific hub Hubs + Spokes: A TeleGeography Internet Reader (TeleGeography), 26 Hugh O’Kane Electric Company, 165, 166, 167 Hurricane Electric, 121, 266 IBM, 52 IMP (interface message processor) beginning of Internet and, 36, 39–49 expansion of Internet and, 50 first successful transmission of, 48 India, 204 “information highway”: Internet as, 19–20, 63–64 ING Canada, 124 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 166 Internet backbone of, 14, 18 cables as “inter” part of, 97 capitalization of, 106–7 centers of, 9, 108–9, 112–13, 268 decentralization of, 54 earth’s connection to, 101–3 efficiency of, 231 essence of, 47, 135 expansion of, 6, 49–57, 109, 118, 138 fail-safe for, 100 286 as fantasy, 8 fickleness of, 261 founding ideology of, 54, 133 geography of, 28 globalization of, 70–71, 87, 193 Gore as inventor of, 63 “ground truth” of, 29 as handmade, 118 history of, 35–57, 107, 147 as hub-and-spoke system, 109–10 as human construction, 158 images of, 5, 6–8, 9, 18, 34, 107–8, 229–30, 266–68 as “information highway,” 19–20, 63–64 Kleinrock as a father of, 41–42 light of, 162, 163 limits of, 3 as math made manifest, 163 meshed connectivity of, 27, 64–65 most important places on, 127 myths about, 40 openness/publicness of, 30–31, 73–75, 116, 117–18, 124, 133 as overlap of geographical and physical elements, 19 photographs of, 21 prevalence of, 3, 34 questions about what is the, 2–10, 264–68 quintessence of, 163 reality of, 9 as self-healing, 200 as series of tubes, 5–6 shutdown of Blum’s, 1–4, 18, 144, 264 smell of, 44, 49 structure of, 27, 54, 64–65, 87 threats to, 116–17 uneven distribution of, 262 as unfinished, 67 uniqueness of, 106 usage of, 3, 34, 55, 66–67 Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, 29, 30, 31, 45 Internet exchanges “IX” as center of Internet, 108–9, 112–13 characteristics of largest, 111–13 competition among, 133–35 definition of, 109 gap between average-size and large, 130 as hub-and-spoke system, 109–10 location of, 113 peering and, 121–22, 126, 127, 129, 130 problems of, 109–11 rationale for, 109 security at, 113–16 See also specific exchange Internet Explorer (Microsoft), 57 Internet Heritage Site and Archive, Kleinrock, 44–45 “Internet Mapping Project” (Kelly), 7–8 Interxion, 140 Inventing the Internet (Abbate), 35–36 IP addresses, 29, 30, 31–32 The IT Crowd (TV show), 108, 143 Jagiellonian University (Poland): Traceroute example for, 31–32 Japan, 27, 33, 111, 113, 196, 198, 199, 201, 208 Jobs, Steve, 267 JPNAP (Tokyo), 111, 113 Juniper routers, 99–100 Justice Department, US, 123 Karlson, Dave, 244–45 Kelly, Kevin, 7, 8–9 Kenya, 198 Kingdom Brunel, Isambard, 203, 253 Kirn, Walter, 38 Kleinrock Internet Heritage Site and Archive (UCLA), 44–45 Kleinrock, Leonard, 36, 41–49, 51, 52, 69, 158 Kozlowski, Dennis, 195 KPN, 148, 155, 266 Krisetya, Markus, 13–17, 21, 23, 25, 26–27, 28, 45 Kubin-Nicholson Corporation, 13–14, 16–17, 21 landing stations, cable, 193, 202, 203.
The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling by Adam Kucharski
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, call centre, Chance favours the prepared mind, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, diversification, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flash crash, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, if you build it, they will come, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, locking in a profit, Louis Pasteur, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, p-value, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, random walk, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, statistical model, The Design of Experiments, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game
As in betting, the faster the better. Companies are doing all they can to ensure they get to the action before their competitors do. It has led to many firms placing their computers directly next to stock exchange servers. When the market reacts quickly, even a slightly longer wire can lead to a critical delay in making a trade. Some are going to even more extreme lengths. In 2011, US firm Hibernia Atlantic started work on a new $300 million transatlantic cable, which will allow data to cross the ocean faster than ever before. Unlike previous wires, it will be directly below the flight path from New York to London, the shortest possible route between the cities. It currently takes 65 milliseconds for messages to travel the Atlantic; the new cable aims to cut that down to 59. To give a sense of the scales involved, one blink of the human eye takes 300 milliseconds.
See soccer Four Horseman’s method, 36–38, 45, 72 Fréchet, Maurice, 148 freeroll tournament, 144 Friedman, Milton, 111 Friedrich, Carl, 80–81 fundamental analysis, 55–56 future payoffs, maximizing, 153 Galileo fund, 100 Galla, Tobias, 160, 161, 162 Galton, Francis, 46–47, 51, 106, 205 Gambling Act, 71, 201 gambling laws, 20–21, 22, 71, 100, 198, 200, 201 gambling traits, traditional, 208 “Game of Poker, The” (Turing), 170 game theory, 137, 141, 148, 149, 151, 154, 155, 156, 160, 162, 163, 169, 178, 180, 181, 183, 208, 217 Gaming Act, 21 Gandy, Robin, 170 Ganzfried, Sam, 184 Garrood, Andrew, 87, 88 Gerrard, Steven, 104 get-so-many-in-a-row-style games, 158–159 See also tic-tac-toe Ginther, Joan, 28 Gödel, Kurt, 150, 151, 169, 176 golf, 84–85, 107 Gossett, William, 26, 52 Government Code and Cypher School, 169 gravity, 19 Guardian (newspaper), 94, 117 Guinness brewery, 52 hackers, 121 Hand, David, 204 Hanson, Robin, 92 Hard Rock casino, 87 Harvey, James, 28–29, 30, 31–32, 218 Hastie, David, 78, 105, 113 headline wager, 75 “Heads-Up Limit Hold’em Poker Is Solved” (Bowling et al.), 188 heads-up poker, 172, 186, 188, 195 See also Texas hold’em poker hedge funds, 96, 97, 99–100, 101, 120, 122, 204 hedging bets, 95, 96, 99 Heeb, Randal, 198, 199, 200, 201 Henry, Thierry, 104 Heuer, Andreas, 78 Hibbs, Albert, 3–4, 7, 21 Hibernia Atlantic, 113 Hilbert, David, 150 hockey, 85, 204, 205, 207 Holt, Matthew, 88 Hong Kong Jockey Club, 43, 90 horse racing bankroll management in, 65–67 betting syndicates and, 35, 52–53, 54, 56, 57–58, 64, 66–69, 103, 206 compared to golf, 84 fading of data availability limitations in, 73 favorite-long-shot bias in, 45, 46, 57 gambling law and, 198 and the Hong Kong tracks, 43–44, 54–55, 66–69, 74, 114 measuring individual performance in, 103 and the Monte Carlo method, 61–62 pari-mutuel system in, 43–45, 66, 114 Pinnacle Sports and, 93 prediction methods in, 46, 49–50, 51–54, 55–58, 64, 68, 69, 74, 206, 207, 216, 218 and quality measurement, 50–51, 74 and regression analysis, 49, 50 robotic betting and, 115–117 university courses studying, 215 “How to Gamble If You Must” (MIT course), 213–214 human insight, importance of, 105 human language, analyzing, 166 hybrid bots, 184 hydrogen bomb, 58, 59, 60, 61, 83, 202 IBM, 166–167 iceberg order, 115 ignorance first degree of, 2 second degree of, 3, 8, 11, 21–22 third degree of, 3, 8, 12, 21 illegal betting/gambling, 42, 81–82, 90–91, 101, 198 Illegal Gambling Business Act, 200 illusion, 218 imitation game, 170–171, 177, 194 incompleteness, 150, 168, 173 incompleteness theorem, 150, 176 inconsistencies, 150 Indian Premier League, 90 infinite monkey theorem, 156–157, 199 information theory, 11 information-processing problem, 168 inheritance, 47–49, 51, 106 in-play analysis, 97–98 Internet, benefits of, 72–73 investing, 96, 97–100, 204 See also hedge funds; stock/financial markets Irish National Lottery, 33 Jackson, Eric, 167 Jagger, Joseph, 7 Jennings, Ken, 165–166 Jeopardy!
The hall even has its own student-built website, which allows occupants to check whether the bathrooms or washing machines are available. In 2005, another plan started to take shape in the corridors of Random Hall. James Harvey was nearing the end of his mathematics degree and needed a project for his final semester. While searching for a topic, he became interested in lotteries. The Massachusetts State Lottery was set up in 1971 as a way of raising extra revenue for the government. The lottery runs several different games, but the most popular are Powerball and Mega-Millions. Harvey decided that a comparison of the two games could make for a good project. However, the project grew—as projects often do—and Harvey soon began to compare his results with other games, including one called Cash WinFall. The Massachusetts Lottery introduced Cash WinFall in autumn 2004. Unlike games such as Powerball, which were played in other states too, Cash WinFall was unique to Massachusetts.
Kitten Clone: Inside Alcatel-Lucent by Douglas Coupland
British Empire, cable laying ship, Claude Shannon: information theory, cosmic microwave background, Downton Abbey, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, hiring and firing, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Marshall McLuhan, oil shale / tar sands, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Turing machine, undersea cable, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Wall-E
Marine cable names, when viewed together, somewhat resemble a catalogue of extremely high-end yachting gear and sonar equipment: ACS Alaska-Oregon Network (AKORN) Alonso de Ojeda ALPAL-2 American Samoa-Hawaii (ASH) Antillas 1 Asia-America Gateway Australia-Japan Cable Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network Baltica Batam-Rengit Cable System Canada-United States 1 Cayman-Jamaica Fiber System Challenger Bermuda-1 (CB-1) Colombia-Florida Subsea Fiber (CFX-1) Denmark-Sweden 17 East African Marine System Emerald Bridge Estepona-Tetouan Fehmarn Bält Fiber Optic Gulf Fibralink Finland Estonia Connection Gemini Bermuda Geo-Eirgrid GO-1 Mediterranean Cable System Gondwana-1 Greenland Connect Guam Okinama Kyushu Incheon (GOKI) Hibernia Atlantic Hokkaido-Sakhalin Cable System Kattegat 1 Kodiak Kenai Fiber Link Latin American Nautilus Latvia-Sweden 1 (LV-SE 1) Lower Indian Ocean Network (LION) North Asia Loop Pacific Fibre Pangea Baltic Ring Pangea North Saudi Arabia-Sudan-2 (SAS-2) SeaMeWe-4 Svalbard Undersea Cable System Tangerine Tasman-2 Tata TGN-Pacific Turcyos-2 Ulysses Yellow/Atlantic Crossing-2 (AC-2) Near land, most marine cables are laid inside deep trenches cut by deep-water plows.
Three men in their mid-thirties at the table beside me are making hand gestures and ack-ack noises that I find impenetrable. Perhaps they’re using three dimensions plus sound to express a mathematical theorem of some sort—for example, “Is the present moment physically distinct from the past and future, or is it merely an emergent property of consciousness?” So I ask these gentlemen what they’re discussing, and I’m told, “We’re simulating the technically correct way to eat hot dogs if you want to win a hot dog eating competition. Everyone wants to beat Takeru Kobayashi’s1 record. He’s like a god.” Okay, then: this is just the sort of problem scientifically gifted people take and solve, and then they extrapolate what they learned from the process and convert the knowledge into a useful project. Bell Labs hires, literally, the smartest people on earth, about 25 percent from the United States, the remainder from Europe, Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Gui and I discuss the work done by ASB’s research facility, which is a patent-generating machine: 5,981 patents since 2002 from just over 100 researchers, who are encouraged to share data and projects with other Bell Labs across the planet. Of that number, 1,824 were made in China, the rest being secondary filings from inventions originating in the United States and Europe. With some pride Gui says, “In the past, ideas and technologies were a one-way street into China, but the number of patents generated by Shanghai now equals those from New Jersey.” In Mervin Kelly’s long 1947 hallways, geographic proximity enforced cross-pollination; now, that hallway is the Internet and Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Canada and Cathay Pacific, and the cross-pollination comes from interdepartmental spreadsheets specifying which Bell Labs employee is researching what. When asked about the amount of basic research done in China, Gui says, “Any project development time that might go beyond two years is iffy.
Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market by Scott Patterson
algorithmic trading, automated trading system, banking crisis, bash_history, Bernie Madoff, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computerized trading, creative destruction, Donald Trump, fixed income, Flash crash, Francisco Pizarro, Gordon Gekko, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, High speed trading, Joseph Schumpeter, latency arbitrage, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, market microstructure, pattern recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, popular electronics, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Sergey Aleynikov, Small Order Execution System, South China Sea, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stochastic process, transaction costs, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game
Since there were only twenty slots on the cable, any firm that had a slot had a distinct edge over every competitor that didn’t. Welcome to the new level playing field of high-frequency trading. The phenomenon wasn’t confined to the United States—it was going global. In October 2010, just months after Spread Networks plugged into Nasdaq, fiber-optic companies Hibernia Atlantic, based in Summit, New Jersey, and Huawai Marine Networks, of Tianjin, China, announced a plan to lay the first transatlantic fiber-optic cable built in a decade, a half-billion-dollar project that was projected to cut five milliseconds off trades between New York and London. Once complete, the three-thousand-mile cable would stretch from Halifax, Nova Scotia, across the North Atlantic to Somerset, England. As with the Spread Networks cable, the route would be shorter than other cable providers had used because it would cross shallow waters, where cable can be damaged by everything from fishing trawlers to sharks, which are attracted by the line’s electricity.
In a 1999 e-mail exchange with a Wired reporter—the programmer would communicate with reporters only through e-mail, and he never consented to have a photo taken for a single article—he expressed a powerful aversion to celebrity. “Any story about Island should not include a picture of me and any story about me will not enjoy my cooperation,” he wrote. “I have learned the hard way that I do not want to be a famous person and I will do anything in my power to prevent it.” While Levine hadn’t racked up the hundreds of millions pocketed by Citron and Maschler, he’d fared well enough. In 2004, he paid $3.75 million in cash for a vacant thirteen-thousand-square-foot five-story brick warehouse on historic Water Street in lower Manhattan. The 1830s Greek Revival building became his new home, doubling as a laboratory where he could pursue projects such as his solar-power system-in-a-box concept. In the next few years, Levine would construct a field of solar panels in the land surrounding an upstate New York retreat.
Trading Machines was his best shot at the big time—running his own fund, building a trading empire to span the globe. He’d planned to use his windfall to fund research efforts to combat genocide, a long-held dream that went back to his grandparents’ narrow escape from Poland after the Nazi invasion of 1939. Bodek had already helped fund one of the earliest Darfur information projects in 2003 and had spent more than $100,000 on projects to intervene in atrocities around the world. But he wanted to do much more. Then the Machine stopped working, and Bodek channeled every bit of his brain power toward fixing it. Like the obsessive mathematician in the movie Pi, he shut out all distractions, including his own family, and dove into the data. He even stopped driving the Batmobile, promising himself he’d use it again when he’d solved the mystery.