from Donald MacKenzie’s essay Be Grateful for Drizzle in the London Review of Books
Not so long ago there was a vogue for asserting that globalisation had ‘ended geography’ and created a ‘flat world’. When financial trading was a matter of human beings looking at screens, that had a certain plausibility, because the intrinsic slowness of humans’ eyes and brains easily masked the small disparities in the time taken to transfer data between different geographic locations. But now that computers, not humans, are doing the trading, geography matters exquisitely. With any of these technologies – fibre-optic cable, microwave, millimetre wave, laser transmission through the atmosphere – the exact route taken is crucial.
Link to the full essay here: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n17/donald-mackenzie/be-grateful-for-drizzle