How the internet works: An explanation for a layperson
- August 1, 2019: Vol. 12, Number 7

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How the internet works: An explanation for a layperson

by Darob Malek-Madani

The internet is something we rely on for a variety of everyday activities, from sending emails, to streaming movies, to finding the locations of our favorite food trucks. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, while most Americans go online several times a day, a quarter of us are online essentially constantly. While many other technologies are just as saturated into our lives as the internet, such as electricity, few are as invisible as the internet. The average user of electricity cannot explain Ohm’s Law, just as the average user of the internet cannot write computer programs, but almost everyone is familiar with the massive investments in infrastructure that bring electricity to our homes. Not only are we accustomed to seeing overhead power lines and utility trucks in our neighborhoods, millions of us spend our vacations visiting places like the Hoover Dam learning about how electricity is generated. Unfortunately, there are no similar attractions allowing tourists to

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