Issue Seven


Mistaken Identities

There’s a moment in Arnold Bennett’s 1923 novel Riceyman Steps when the scullery maid Elsie, having secretly taken in her sick lover, discovers that besides being a down-and-out ex-convict, Joe ha… Read article

La Vida Animosa

As a child, I had three answers to the perennial question of what I wanted to do when I grew up. The fact that at the age of 32 I am yet to entirely dismiss two of these ideas probably means the growi… Read article

Death and the Canal

A few months ago I watched a swan brain itself against the Cat and Mutton Bridge near Broadway Market in Hackney. I was walking on the towpath; it was flying along above the water, following the curve… Read article

Beyond the Scanners

Over a low growl his voice continued. ‘Yeah, no, this place is great,’ he waved, as if he had chosen the decor himself. The bar went about its usual business ignoring him. ‘Nobody comes up and … Read article

Gone Fishing

Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for. (The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway) I do not fish. I have fished, I have been fishing, bu… Read article

Thames 3D

Reality is hard to fake. While it is relatively easy to create a visual simulation of a static object, it is almost impossible to reconstruct convincing environmental phenomena and atmospheric effects… Read article


No-one knows what time really is. One theory holds that it is granular, like sugar. It can slip through your fingers, it can pile up. All of it is here; an accretion of buried presents. (more…… Read article

Five Poems

Autunno After Cy Twombly The sadness breaks tonight it breaks at sevenit cheats all tender efforts to get evenit remembers what I did not we were Autumnand the way it falls away and gives to auburnw… Read article

Can Not Hallow

The President Abraham Lincoln 12" poseable action figure in period attire and equipped with a display stand, available for near-on $30 at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Centre, is sayin… Read article

On the Buses

I’m standing at the bus stop. Waiting. For the number 29. I look about me but unseeingly, eyes glazed in post-meetinged, post-memoed, post-spreadshat vacancy. I stand and enjoy the still. Still, I t… Read article

Letters to the Editor

Vint Cerf writes in response to Looking After #numbertwo by Dan Stevens.

First, Mr. Stevens does a very good job of getting his facts straight about the origins of the Internet, with a couple of minor exceptions. Not to nitpick, but it turns out that Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first browser while he was inventing the World Wide Web at CERN. Mosaic was the second browser and was a product of a collaboration between Marc Andreesen and Eric Bina at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications at University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. They eventually refined their work and helped to found Netscape Communications.

Second, the initial effort to build J.C.R. Licklider’s network was called the ARPANET. My good friend, Steve Crocker led the Network Working Group that designed and implemented the host-to-host and application layer protocols and also invented the RFC idea (in April 1969).

The ARPANET was made up of devices called “Interface Message Processors” or “IMPs”. These were packet switches used to test a radial alternative to circuit switching (as in the telephone network). These devices were built by a company called Bolt Beranek and Newman with funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The first node of the ARPANET was installed at UCLA in September 1969.

The success of the ARPANET led Bob Kahn, who was a key architect of the ARPANET’s IMP, to think about “open networking” and the idea of interconnecting arbitrary numbers of distinct packet networks, some using dedicated telephone circuits, some using mobile land radio and others using satellites, which led directly to the design of the Internet in 1973. Bob and I worked on the problem during 1973, publishing a paper on the design of the Internet in May 1974 in the IEEE Transactions on Communications.

The Internet, on top of which the World Wide Web runs today, derives from that work and its evolution from 1973 to 1983, when the system was made operations (January 1, 1983).

I think Mr. Stevens hits a core point in observing that what we see on the Internet is a reflection of mankind in all our glory and squalor. Some people think all we have to do is fix the mirror (e.g. censorship, etc.) but the truth is that you have to deal with what is reflected in that mirror.

Vint Cerf, Google