Your Data, Run Through A Beach House In Denmark

By on July 3, 2018

July 3, 2018

The mystery of how human consciousness – “all we’ve got and all we’re ever gonna have,” to paraphrase the Clint Eastwood character – is somehow embodied in a couple of pounds of wet grey matter has its counterpart in the cyber-world, where most of the business, the blather, the art and the orders for stuff that now define our lives runs through physical cables that you could put your fingers around – and which, it must be said, could be damaged by the crudest of steel artifacts. In particular, as shown in this video from the Canadian site Motherboard, all the data that moves between a major U.S. terminal in New Jersey and a big European node in Denmark runs through a single cable that terminates (or begins, depending on your viewpoint) in a nondescript brick building near the beach, under the aegis of a man named Keld Sørensen. How vulnerable are cables? Well, says Sørensen, they are “armored.” The amount of armor at any given point on the line depends on the plausible risk, and in shallower waters the armor is quite heavy. The biggest threat is fishing boats. On his wall, he has on display a damaged contorted cable section that was excised as part of a repair, after it was raked and dragged by a ship’s anchor. In deeper waters, the risk is slim and the armor is minimal. In any case, there is a lot of redundancy in the system. When one cable is out of commission others can pick up the slack, and there are about 10 major cables between the US. and Europe.

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