cybernetic megastructure

London IP address density

The above picture is taken from the section Mapping Cyberspace Using Geographic Metaphors of An Atlas of Cyberspace. The image is a result of research analysing the geography of Internet address space by Martin Dodge and Narushige Shiode [↑Working papers by them]. It shows the geography of ownership of blocks of IP-addresses in the United Kingdom. When I saw the image for the first time it immediately reminded me of the following passages from Count Zero (
Gibson 1986):

  They jacked.
  She died almost immediately, in the first eight seconds.
  He felt it, rode it out to the edge and almost knew it for what it was. He was screaming, spinning, sucked up through the glacial white funnel that had been waiting for them …
  The scale of the thing was impossible, too vast, as though the kind of cybernetic megastructure that represented the whole of a multinational had brought its entire weight to bear on Bobby Newmark and a dancer called Jackie. (↵Gibson 1986:230)

“My systems are overextended today,” the man said, his hands in the pockets of a loose tan overcoat. “This is really quite extraordinary. (↵Gibson 1986:231)

“An accidental spillover,” the child said, his voice light and beautiful. “We’ve engaged the bulk of our system via New York, in an attempt to prevent Angela Mitchell’s escape. This one tried to enter the matrix, along with another operator, and encountered our system. (↵Gibson 1986:231-232)

On the way back, he’d seen the big thing, the thing that had sucked them up, start to alter and shift, gargantuan blocks of its rotating, merging, taking on new alignments, the entire outline changing … (↵Gibson 1986:233)