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BBC - Future - The invisible network that keeps the world running

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Invisible network?!


"It's not until we get out on to the towering balconies around the ship's bridge and look back at Busan that we're fully able to first comprehend the scale and nature of these Asian mega-ports. It feels like we're being given a rare look into a usually hidden space, a peek at the intricate but city-scaled machinery of global capitalism.

From that viewpoint – essentially high above the sea, looking into land – it's easiest to describe the ports as a sequence of layers. First, towering above and over the ship, are the loading cranes. Vast structures mounted on huge, four-legged frames, they resemble the naked scaffolding of unbuilt skyscrapers, and trigger nostalgic reminders of Saturn V rocket launch towers from the 1960s. Their sheer size makes them the first thing you see when you arrive at any port – whether from land or sea, and as staggering as they are they don't make their full impact until you see them move."

Fascinating to think about how decentralized it all is. 

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