Clouds - Cover

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Issue 16


Clouds are fuzzy. They have shifting dimensions and indistinct edges. They are vague shapes, so they make for vague metaphors. Computing needs metaphors to make it legible: it is hard to describe what happens inside or between computers without them. The cloud symbol was used as early as 1970 in technical diagrams to represent telephone or computer networks. Today, the cloud has become the master metaphor for a global archipelago of warehouses that collectively coordinate most of the world’s computing power. This issue will explore tech’s many clouds and the interesting, hopeful, or destructive shapes they make in the literal and figurative sky.


Very Like a Whale

What’s in a Cloud?


Agile and the Long Crisis of Software

Miriam Posner

An investigation into everybody’s favorite way to build software.

Decarbonization as a Service

Holly Jean Buck

The next frontier of platform capitalism is carbon management.


The Barn

Kola Heyward-Rotimi

A climate-fiction story about mundane apocalypses.


In Defense of the Irrational

Will Luckman

A polemic against rationalization.

Computing in Crip Time

Christine T. Wolf

A reflection on user experience and disability.

Omnivorous Analysis

Anne Lee Steele

Untangling the satellite imagery supply chain.

Black Boxes

Lilly Irani, Jesse Marx

Deciphering the informational arcana of public records.

Seeding the Cloud

Dwayne Monroe

A reflection on the rise of the cloud from somebody who experienced it firsthand.

First edition of Issue 16: Clouds released March 27, 2022.