• The internet is structured like a map. But assume that every road is a cable, dsl, or dial-up line. Every highway is a really fast connection. Every city is a datacenter and major node. Each house is a server or website than can be accessed by "driving" on the "roads" of the internet.
  • In my opinion, the Internet is becoming more and more like the way society is structured. Everybody knows a few people, but some people know a lot of people. Everybody has some influence, but some people have a lot of influence (Mr Google, for example). You cannot get directly in touch with other people, but you can usually get in touch with somebody who know somebody.... Because both influence and the Internet follow money, the most influential people are in the rich countries, and so are the most influential websites.
  • I agree with the Capital E expert above with two additions: 1) there are some redundancies built in and 2) there are some slow-downs (the opposite of redundancies?) built in. When this system was primarily meant for U.S. government use, spies were anticipated, so sometimes instead of your e-mail taking the direct route, you will find it went the backwater slow route, and even though your "good" advice was sent before another friend's awful advice, the awful friend's advice arrived first, and your mutual girlfriend married the ex-con over your objection.
  • If you want to see a great visualization of the internet, go here: The internet is like the road system more than anything else, it's just not shaped like the road system. Because bits travel very fast, they can be re-routed (literally) with less overall effect than on a road system. The other major difference is that you don't get many choices on which route to take until you get on the highway (if you forgive the road analogy a little more). In real life, you have route choices as soon as you hit the street (unless you live on a cul-de-sac (dead end road). You want more? Unlike the road system, where the whole bus needs to stay together to get to the destination in one piece, the internet allows the bus to break up as it enters the system so that each piece can follow a different route (if need be). That was fun......

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