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There are some things that become spooky only when you pause to think about them. For example, What is ‘the cloud’ and where does it actually live? How does a video uploaded in Japan reach me in Pittsburgh so easily over the internet? Like any well-executed magic trick, the answer to these questions isn’t inexplicable, but just less known and rarely obvious. For example, the answer to the question of how does information travels across continents is: through the ocean floor. A packet of information travels to a physical location called a data center where it is stored on giant machines called servers. Data centers are connected to one another through cables laid on the ocean floor. Microsoft has created a whole website to showcase the ‘hidden world of datacenters’, but it’s still hard to wrap our heads around the path between our individual devices to these data centers. It’s also not very clear what impact do they have on the environment, and even though this has become a hot debate thanks to AI and NFTs, these questions haven’t been answered well yet. And if data is traveling through cables laid on the ocean floor, what does it mean for the aquatic life?

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