REVIEW: "The Sustainable Network", Sarah Sorensen
- BKSUSNET.RVW 20100425
"The Sustainable Network", Sarah Sorensen, 2010, 978-0-596-15703-6,
%A Sarah Sorensen Sarah@...
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%G 978-0-596-15703-6 0-596-15703-7
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$29.99/C$37.99 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
%O Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 346 p.
%T "The Sustainable Network"
This is not so much a book as a collection of essays; forty of them.
From the beginning, there is little logic or structure to the
material. For example, the preface generally explains the intent of
the work. One might assume, from the mention of "sustainable" in the
title (and the subtitle of "The Accidental Answer to a Troubled
Planet") that the author is concerned with the environment and energy
conservation. Yet the preface doesn't mention this topic. (Chapter
one does, but only in passing.)
Sorensen obviously thinks she has some technical information to
impart, but this data is scanty. Chapters two and five outline some
terms used in networking, but don't explain them or the implications
of the associated concepts. A good deal of the material in the book,
overall, promotes the Internet, and particularly broadband supply, but
does not go much beyond that. There is brief mention of the carbon
debt of information and communication technologies, and even briefer
discussion of the toxic environmental impact of electronic devices. A
great many numbers are thrown around, but the full implications or
comparisons seem to be missing. (At one point, the numbers Sorensen
uses seem to imply that the total carbon debt of the entire trucking
industry is roughly equivalent to that output by about a hundred
families.) The author proposes a "Sustainable Network Law," without
any facts, or even ideas, to back it up. And it's not clear how
cyberwar would help the planet (aside from being more environmentally
friendly than the thermonuclear kind).
A few chapters deal with issues of computer and network security.
This material is unfortunately vague, and would not be helpful for
those trying to protect themselves from the attacks and misinformation
that exist on the net.
Late in the book, the focus turns to political action. Again, most of
this material champions the idea that the net has altered everything
in politics, and is driving a new age of political freedom. While
there certainly have been instances where new technologies have
contributed to the defeat of repression, you only have to look to the
recent elections (and protests) in Iran, and the severity of
censorship in China, to see strong counter-examples.
As stated previously, this work does not specifically state any intent
or audience. Even having read it, I find it difficult to think of
anyone who might benefit from it.
copyright, Robert M. Slade 2010 BKSUSNET.RVW 20100425
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