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互联网:电缆和钢铁组成的心脏如何运行

互联网:电缆和钢铁组成的心脏如何运行

学校:哈尔滨市纳斯达克国际英语学校 时间:2012-9-18 9:43:42

 Books and Artts; Book review;How the internet works

文艺书评;互联网如何运作
Contrary to expectations, the internet has a heart of cable and steel
和预期不一样,互联网有一颗由电缆和钢铁组成的“心脏”
"Goverments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind." So begins John Perry Barlow, once a lyricist for the GratefulDead and now a cyber-libertarian, in a tract he penned in 1996, entitled, "A Declaration of theIndependence of Cyberspace". It is a poetic summation of the common image of the internet as an ethereal, non-physical thing—an immanent Cloud that is at once everywhere and for ever on the far side of a screen.
此书开篇引用了约翰·佩里·巴洛于1996年写的一篇文章中的一段话:“工业世界的统治者们,你们是由实体和钢铁组成的乏味巨物,而我来自思想的新家园——网络空间。”他曾是死之华乐队的作词人,而今则是一位网络自由主义者。他还称此书为“网络空间的独立宣言”。这是对互联网的普遍印象饱含诗意的总结:飘逸、虚无的东西——如一朵浮云,可以即刻无处不在,而又永远在电脑屏幕遥远的另一端。
For Andrew Blum, a writer for Wired, that illusion was shattered on the day a squirrelchewed through the wire connecting his house to the internet. That rude reminder of the net's physicality sparked an interest in the infrastructure that makes the internet possible—the globe-spanning tangle of wires, cables, routers and data centres that most users take entirely for granted. His book is an engaging reminder that, cyber-Utopianism aside, the internet is as much a thing of flesh and steel as any industrial-age lumber mill or factory.
对于《连线》杂志撰稿人安德鲁·布朗姆而言,在一只松鼠咬断他的网线的那天,这种幻想已被打破。这个对网络实体“无礼”的提醒激起了他对互联网基础设施的兴趣,因为这些满世界绕在一起的电线、电缆、路由器和数据中心使得互联网成为可能,而大多数用户认为这些完全是理所当然。他的书是一个引人入胜的提醒:抛开网络乌托邦主义不谈,互联网和任何工业时代的伐木场或工厂一样,都是由实体和钢铁组成的。
It is also an excellent introduction to the nuts and bolts of how exactly it all works. The term “internet” is a collective noun for thousands of smaller networks, run by corporations, governments, universities and private business, all stitched together to form one (mostly) seamless, global, “internetworked” whole. In theory, the internet is meant to be widely distributed and heavily resilient, with many possible routes between any two destinations. In practice, acombination of economics and geography means that much of its infrastructure is concentratedin a comparatively small number of places.
该书也是对互联网所有基本要素如何运作的一次精彩介绍。术语“互联网”是一个集合名词,包括数以千计由公司、政府、大学和私营企业运作的子网络,所有这些交织在一起形成一个(基本上)无缝对接、全球互联运作的网络整体。理论上说,互联网应该是分布广、承载量大、包含任意两点之间许多可能的路径。实际上,说它是经济学和地理学的结合,其意为它将众多的基础设施集中于相对少数的空间内。
So when Mr Blum travels to the tiny Cornish village of Porthcurno, he is able to see the landing stations for many of the great transatlantic fibre-optic cables that carry traffic—in the form of beams of pulsating laser light—between Europe and the Americas. A couple of hundred miles up the road is the London Internet Exchange, a building in which individual networks can connect to each other and to the wider internet. London's exchange is the world's third-busiest, behind the ones in Frankfurt and Amsterdam. What happens in such places can affect millions of people: one veteran network engineer in an American exchange recalls “shut[ting] off Australia” when one of that country's big networks was tardy with its bills.
所以当布朗姆先生来到波斯科诺的小村康沃尔时,他看到了基站——站内许多横跨大西洋的粗大光纤电缆内部迅速地闪动着一道道激光,并以这种形式在欧洲和美洲之间传递信息。沿着道路方向的几百英里外就是伦敦网络交换中心,通过它,单个的局域网可以相互连通,也可以连接到广域的互联网;论繁忙程度,它只排在法兰克福和阿姆斯特丹之后。这里的所发生的一切可以影响上百万人:一位曾在美国交换中心工作资深的网络工程师回忆到,在澳大利亚的巨大局域网中,曾有某个局域网拖欠费用,该中心就发出了 “切断澳大利亚的网路”的指令。
Network engineering is not a glamorous profession, and the physical structures of the greatest network ever built lack the grandeur of a hydroelectric dam or a continent-spanning railway. But they do have their own style: featureless, virtually deserted buildings, full of marching rows of high-tech servers and routers fed by thick bundles of cable, their cooling fans forming a roaring chorus in the chilly gloom. That style is modulated by the local culture of wherever the building happens to be. Thus one American firm goes for a super high-tech, “cyberrific” look in an attempt to impress clients. Frankfurt's internet exchange is a model of cool rationality, whereas London's is grotty and coming apart at the seams.
网络工程并非一个光鲜的行业,而且最为庞大网络的实物构造缺乏水电大坝的宏伟壮观,也没有洲际铁路的绵延大气。但它确实有自己的特点:普普通通、几乎废弃的大楼里,整齐地排满了富含高科技的服务器和路由器,由厚厚的几捆电缆连接起来,它们的散热风扇在冷清昏暗中组成了一支正在高歌的合唱队。无论大楼在哪,这种特点都会受到本地文化的影响。因此,一个追求超高科技风格的美国公司,打造“网络交通”的外观是给客户留下深刻印象的一种尝试途径。法兰克福网络交换中心就是良好理性的一个模板,而伦敦的则是脏乱带着些破裂。
And then there are the engineers themselves, a rootless but engaging brotherhood that travels the world from rack to rack, helping to keep the electronic show on the road, and whose interactions and dealmaking does a lot to shape the geography of the electronic spider's web that now engulfs the planet.
还有工程师他们自身是一个较为松散但相处融洽的组织,马不停蹄地在世界各地旅行,奔波于电子产品展览会,他们的交际和生意圈如一张电子蜘蛛网正在包围整个世界。
Mr Blum's book is an excellent guide for anyone interested in how the global modern electronic infrastructure works. And it is a timely antidote to oft-repeated abstractions about “cyberspace” or “cloud computing”. Such terms gloss over the fact that, just like the pipes that carry water, the tubes that carry bits are reliant on old-fashioned, low-tech spadework, humancontact and the geographical reality in which all that exists.
对“世界上的现代电子设施是如何运作的”这一问题有兴趣的任何人,可以通过布朗姆先生这本书得到良好的入门指引。该书也是对被热议的“网络空间”或“云计算”这类抽象概念的及时说明。这些术语掩盖了一个事实:正如水管输送自来水,网路传递着信息。它有赖于老式、低技术含量的基础工作,人们的交往;这些都存在于现实的地理状况之中。
 
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