Hidden Systems is a book that could teach your kids how the internet works

Growing up, I learned The way things work by author David Macaulaythe amazing picture books. This week I was surprised to see Macaulay’s approval in my inbox for a new illustrated explainer by another author, but the surprise didn’t last long.

Fifteen minutes later I started browsing an advance copy of Hidden Systems, released this week, I immediately ordered the book for my children. It seems like a great way to help them conceptualize the internet, the world’s water supply and our electricity grid and get them thinking about the infrastructure of the world they will one day inherit.

Over 262 pages, author and cartoonist Dan Nott tackles each of these systems in comic book form, piecing together the building blocks of how they work and the underpinnings of how they were conceived, all without ignoring the societal challenges each faces. face. “I started drawing on hidden systems because comics seem to have this superpower-like ability to compare like we do think about something with how it actually works,” Nott writes in the book.

Much of it is stuff that took me years to learn, distilled into incredibly readable form. Even adults will likely find things they don’t know, like the shapes and locations of the secret buildings where telecommunications companies hide their network devices.

I want to show you some, so I asked publisher Random House if I could share the first chapter on the metaphors we use to describe the Internet – metaphors that are sometimes useful but are inherently wrong.

They happily obliged, so there you have it!

[1] www.theverge.com

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