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Re: Verizon Public Policy on Netflix
From: Owen DeLong <owen () delong com>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:25:45 -0700

On Jul 18, 2014, at 16:12 , Jay Ashworth <jra () baylink com> wrote:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Owen DeLong" <owen () delong com>

On Jul 18, 2014, at 11:32 , Jay Ashworth <jra () baylink com> wrote:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Owen DeLong" <owen () delong com>

But the part that will really bend your mind is when you realize
there is no such thing as "THE Internet".

"The Internet as "the largest equivalence class in the reflexive,
transitive, symmetric closure of the relationship 'can be reached by
an IP packet from'"
-- Seth Breidbart.

Note that the sentence is incomplete

It actually isn't, no.

The quoted segment is, as noted, a *relationship*; ie: a function applied 
to a domain of IP addresses to produce a range of other IP addresses; it's
a *function*, and the closure applies it to produce a result.

                                     and as soon as you put something
after "from" that is actually meaningful, you end up with different
answers for the left hand side of that statement depending on what you
put at the right hand side.

Further, even that definition doesn't define a single cohesive entity
and the definition of "can be reached by an IP packet" is highly
variable and more subjective than you may realize.

Not really.

What we commonly refer to as "THE Internet" is really many different
equivalence classes similar to what is described above, but each of
them is made up of a collection of independently owned and operated
networks that happen to cooperate on traffic delivery to varying
extents and happen to have agreed to a common protocol and participate
in some of the same management schemes for things like namespace
collision avoidance and address distribution.

Hence "transitive".  It's not really an accident that "transit" comes
from the same root.

"The Internet" for all the purposes we generally use it here is composed
of all the machines with publicly routable IP addresses between which you
can move packets, regardless of what they're hooked to, or who they pay;
that was the point Seth made in a much more mathematical-sounding way
in his oft-quoted statement.

And my point is that when you look at it in detail, there's no such thing. There are many hosts which have public IP 
addresses which can reach different subsets of "the internet" than other hosts which also have public IP addresses and 
can talk to each other.

It is very easy to choose a selection of hosts and be unable to solve that function with a single solution set for the 
entire set of hosts, yet by any vernacular definition of "the internet", all of the hosts in question would be "on the 

That's my point. The devil is in the details, but in reality, the internet is much more precarious, variable, and 
generally a convenient term of art for something that mostly otherwise defies description.

In fact, I've always loved the description of "You can tell how much someone understands the detailed workings of the 
internet by what amazes them."

Almost no detailed knowledge:   Amazed by everything one can do.
Some detailed knowledge:                Amazed by all the different places one can reach and how much information is 
Near complete knowledge:                Amazed that it works at all.


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