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Color drives everything.

Hues of the rainbow. Your information is running at near the speed of light down a fiber somewhere in a data center, MUXing in from signals carried on copper from DSL, from FIOS, from antiquated dial-up. It's all bits. It's all color. It all spills across, condensed into encoded streams, into wavelengths across the wire. Welcome to SONET. Welcome to DWDM. Welcome to the saturation. The information age is in the colors of your sexual revolution, and everything, porn, financials, chats, nodes, is a different shade of the rainbow. On the backbone, the colors spill out, different signals on the same wire, just far enough apart to make distinct data streams.

Eventually, though, it melts down into one vivid color, the wavelengths recombining into the only real, strong hue discernible (albeit painfully), by the human eye. Red. Laser red, pouring our the end of the TX that unites with RX, the singlemode fibers that hold the Internet together.

Bright. Burning. Harsh.

It sets paper on fire sometimes, if you hold it in front of the right transponder, the ones that work with singlemode fiber and shoot beams of light running hundreds of thousands of miles.

Nights are oversaturated. The data centers run fluorescent or dark. The servers twinkle coldly with indicator lights. There's no softness left in the industry, there's no room for shades of grey. It's become 1 or 0: on or off. Data, no data. Receive, no receive, or boost the signal, clean the ends. The night is garish orange from highway lights; the road is black, the stripes are white. High contrast, it's gotten glossier, and dirtier, around the edges.

This signal, this reduction, this distillation of everything into the protocol of the wires, has been echoed in the piercing howl of air handlers the size of double-wides, pouring air from water chillers into white rooms with raised floors the size of football fields. Variation, signal, squeak, click, cooling fans whirling inside the power units, blend with the howl of forced air, the roaring of ducts, the thrumming of server fans. Millions of drives, thousands of petabytes of data, whirl around, and around again. All individual noises. All different colors of the noise spectrum, if you can graph it out.

Human ears, like human eyes, can't discern the difference, and it's become a roar, the white, the black, the harsh reds and oranges. Reality at night, reality inside the data center (which, windowless, is always night), MUXes together, all at somewhere below the speed of light.