Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rube Goldberg Machine

In "Pakistan causes worldwide YouTube outage," MSNBC explains how one nation's blockage of the popular video-sharing site over a small subset of supposedly anti-Islamic films on that domain name caused the site to be down around the world for many subscribers who were dependent on the large service provider PCCW, which picked up the rerouting and shutdown order from Pakistan and propagated the error from its Hong Kong node. In the book Linked, Albert-László Barabási explains how the distributed nature of the Internet is both its chief strength and its chief weakness. This incident has caused many to look at geopolitical implications of a kind of return of the repressed of command and control in distributed networks, which Alexander Galloway explores in his books Protocol and The Exploit. As if the story weren't already transnational enough, what I find interesting is that many are tracing Pakistan's court decision back to the controversial Mohammed cartoons that were published in Denmark. An excellent timeline of the snafu is available here.



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