Book Review: Tubes

Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet

By Andrew Blum


Have you ever seen the internet? Touched it? Smelled it? In Tubes, a run-in between a squirrel and a cable in his Brooklyn backyard sets Wired correspondent Andrew Blum on a quest to discover the physical stuff of the web. He chronicles encounters with network operators, cable guys, and computer scientists as he travels the globe—from Oregon, where thousands of hard drives in hulking data centers hold up the “cloud,” to Portugal, where the ship Peter Faber is laying the start of a 9,000-mile fiber-optic cable under the Atlantic. “Everything around me looked alive in a new way,” Blum writes as he envisions the world pulsing with glowing fibers. But ultimately he comes around to the obvious: that the true vitality of the web depends on the people who inhabit it.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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