Under the Sea Cable Dance [CL76]

Posted on Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023 | Series: Chaos Lever
Chris dives deep into the world of layer 1 networking and undersea cables.


[00:00:00.170] Chris: Attitude.

[00:00:01.410] Ned: Doubling down on forgetitude. That sounds like a sequel to a movie I didn’t watch. Maybe I did and I forgot hard.

[00:00:11.490] Chris: Or it’s a live album.

[00:00:15.890] Ned: Live at the Forgetitude. Yeah. I think I would listen to that album. Would that be a queen? That’d be like a queen album. Probably it. Or maybe the Rolling Stones.

[00:00:28.730] Chris: No, they’re both too serious.

[00:00:33.210] Ned: Yeah. Never been one for the Rolling Stones.

[00:00:37.530] Chris: That’s because they stink.

[00:00:39.380] Ned: Yeah, that would be the one.

[00:00:41.230] Chris: If you have to write 50 songs to get one good song, you stink.

[00:00:46.590] Ned: Unlike AC DC that just writes the same song 50 times and it’s still good.

[00:00:51.970] Chris: It’s called mastering the formula. I have no notes.

[00:00:59.330] Ned: How could you? I think it’s funny that yeah. One of the rock bands that my son liked first was ACDC. And that’s because their music gets inserted into all kinds of weird places because they have things that children will happily chant.

[00:01:21.690] Chris: I’ll keep the smart ass reply to myself because this is the family program.

[00:01:26.410] Ned: Is it? That doesn’t sound familiar. Hello, alleged human, and welcome to the Chaos Lever podcast. My name is Ned, and I’m definitely not a robot. Just like a real human, I am susceptible to all manner of Ailments, such as poison sumac. Truly, a robot would not inflict such itching and burning on themselves just to maintain their cover. That would be highly illogical. A trait that is distinctly human, like me. With me is Chris, who’s also here. Chris, say hi while I go fetch another bottle of calmin lotion.

[00:02:02.070] Chris: You know that it actually just makes things worse, right? I actually calamine it seals in the sumac.

[00:02:11.210] Ned: It certainly didn’t help the one time I used it, so I actually don’t use calamine lotion, but it’s a reference point for folks out there trying to.

[00:02:21.950] Chris: Your best option actually, I don’t know. A lot of people don’t know this, but your best option is to smear with butter and then sit outside in the sun.

[00:02:32.130] Ned: Well, I’ll certainly get eaten by wolves if I do that, so I won’t be so worried about the poison sumac anymore.

[00:02:39.730] Chris: And you made a new friend.

[00:02:43.670] Ned: It’s a win win scenario, I suppose. Wow.

[00:02:48.180] Chris: Especially for the wolf.

[00:02:52.150] Ned: Yeah, the wolf really does win in that situation. Unlike most tales, where the wolf usually gets killed.

[00:03:00.390] Chris: Which is sad and wolfest.

[00:03:02.650] Ned: Yes, very wolfist. Do you think wolves have their own fairy tales where it’s the human being evil, or is that just reality?

[00:03:10.570] Chris: I am positive that there is a version of Red Riding Hood that was written from the perspective of the wolf. That’s absolutely a thing that exists in the world. I don’t need to Google it.

[00:03:20.370] Ned: It has to. I mean, given the fact that we have things like Wicked. Yeah, that absolutely exists. What was that one guy that rewrote a whole bunch of fairy tales. But from the perspective of the villain, in every case, I feel like he did one for there’s definitely Christopher something, but, yeah, he did the Wicked kind of version. He did one for Sleeping Beauty, I think, and maybe one for Cinderella, too. And then he might have run out.

[00:03:53.070] Chris: Of steam because that’s Cinderella underrated band.

[00:03:58.590] Ned: They’re from Philly. So I guess you have to say.

[00:04:00.830] Chris: That it’s the rules. Then you have to slam a citywide special.

[00:04:10.130] Ned: I suppose. Well, let’s talk about something else totally unrelated. Go ahead.

[00:04:17.170] Chris: Let’s talk about layer one.

[00:04:21.890] Ned: Wait a minute. We learned about that last week.

[00:04:24.790] Chris: Well, we kind of did, didn’t we? We touched on the OSI model last week. Aside from the fact that we talked about how they were hopelessly interconnected in terms of layers and their lack of distinction, we didn’t really talk about them from any perspective that was meaningful or useful to people who didn’t understand them. So what we can talk about today, and we will, is one, two layers that are super duper important. Some would argue the importantest. Everyone but Cisco would say that layer one and layer two, which is the actual physical infrastructure, which is layer one and layer two, which is how those physical infrastructures talk to each other on a peer to peer basis, make the Internet possible.

[00:05:16.470] Ned: It would be difficult to use any of the other layers without those first two.

[00:05:21.910] Chris: Right. I mean, we made the joke last week that WiFi is the physical layer, which is true in the sense that it’s a way to connect two devices together. Your computer connects to the router. It’s called the physical layer because when it was designed, there was no WiFi. There was only why.

[00:05:43.550] Ned: Why are we doing this? Why are any of us here? Or the YMC.

[00:05:50.110] Chris: I can see you’re in a great mood, and I’m already upset about it.

[00:05:54.130] Ned: Excellent.

[00:05:56.610] Chris: But anyway, yes, to be absolutely crystal clear, I think layer one is the most definitive layer. It’s the physical connection from one computer to another. In the olden days, it was cable based way before Ethernet cables. There were other kinds of cables. But the point is, you had one device over here and one device over there, and you had a cable running on the floor. That was a tripping hazard that connected the two together. Layer one done.

[00:06:26.810] Ned: Okay.

[00:06:28.350] Chris: What’s amazing is we’ve made incredible progress, but that basic connection is really still the same as it was all the way back when telegraphs were a thing.

[00:06:42.290] Ned: It’s true.

[00:06:44.210] Chris: And that’s going to come in later on layer two. And I’m only going to talk about this briefly because I don’t want to get too into the weeds about the different OSI layers, but layer two is the data version of how those two devices talk. So if you have a computer connected to a router, they have to be able to communicate. They have to know the address of each other and send messages back and forth over a dedicated wire or over a switch. And that’s what layer two does. So layer one is the highway. Layer two is the street signs.

[00:07:20.430] Ned: In our metaphor, in our analogy.

[00:07:24.510] Chris: So that’s really as far as I want to go with layer two. I just want people to understand that that’s the connection from the data side that makes the physical connection work for something more than just an ability to electrocute you at long distances, though that.

[00:07:41.590] Ned: Is fun, and I don’t want to discount it.

[00:07:46.070] Chris: Some would say that’s a binary communication. You’re either being electrocuted or you’re not. But anyway, let’s leave the OSI layer aside. Anything above layer one for here on out. And if we want to talk about it later on in the course of the calendar year, we can. But what I wanted to talk about was how layer one underpins the Internet in crazy ways that people really probably literally never think about. And one of the reasons that I want to talk about that and giving me an absolutely perfect transition, advertising company Google announced this week that they are laying a new transatlantic cable in order to directly connect South Carolina, Bermuda, and Portugal. The name of this cable is Nouvem, which is Portuguese for cloud, which one tells you the precise purpose of this new project, and two is a guarantee that I am pronouncing it completely wrong. It is spelled N-U-V-E-M-I promise I’m doing my best. No, I didn’t look it up. The project, of course, follows in the footsteps of a ton of other subsea cable projects for the GOOG, all of which have fun names. Just a short list from their sadly no longer updated summary blog post about their undersea cable initiatives shows projects every year from 2016 to 2021.

[00:09:23.830] Chris: Now, what they don’t do, annoyingly, is show a graphic image of their worldwide connection map. But I suppose one can’t have everything.

[00:09:33.510] Ned: I feel like that map exists on some other organization’s site. And it’s not just Google, it’s all the undersea cables across the world. But it is interesting to see where they decide to string them from and to, and how those physical locations have very real impacts on where data centers are built. I’m trying to think of other economic things.

[00:10:06.130] Chris: There’s nothing but the cloud, Ned.

[00:10:07.950] Ned: There is nothing but the cloud. But no, it is interesting to see how it does at least impact data center design and also which companies are involved in building these cables and how they’re actually laid down.

[00:10:23.110] Chris: Yes, and we’re going to get into a bunch of that sweet. I just think it’s interesting to note that we kind of take the concept of a worldwide Internet completely for granted.

[00:10:35.130] Ned: That’s true.

[00:10:36.810] Chris: If I want to know, do a VoIP phone call to somebody that’s in London, I can just do that. And the amount of latency on that phone call is disturbingly small, considering how the fuck far away London is. I don’t know if you looked it up, but it is 16 million mile.

[00:10:59.330] Ned: Yeah, I had a video call with someone in New Zealand pretty recently, which, if you’re looking at a globe, is pretty much the other side of the planet. And the lag was almost imperceptible, and I was annoyed about it. Can’t you move faster?

[00:11:18.010] Chris: How dare you change the laws of physics? So it’s important to realize that all of these connections across the globe are made possible by technology that can only be described as extremely long ass cables. They connect everything, and it’s not just from ocean to ocean, it’s over land. And to the point that you just made, some of them, we don’t even know where they are. In 2017, a computer science professor called Paul Barford put together a comprehensive map of just the overland and underground cables in the United States. This, it turned out, was a lot harder than it sounds. A lot of the records where the cables were buried, what they connect to, were in the hands of private companies, some of which are tiny, some of which were stubborn, some that just didn’t have records to share. So Paul and his team had to do a lot of inference. And that is right, folks, just like that web server that got drywalled into never being found again in your data center when you were a student worker based on a true story for pretty much everyone in it, there are cables out there that deliver you your Netflix, and we have literally no idea where they are.

[00:12:43.890] Ned: No, we tend to find them when someone cuts through them by accident.

[00:12:47.180] Chris: Right. We know where they start sometimes, we know where they end. Occasionally. Everything in the middle is kind of a guess. Barford’s model mapped out 113,000 miles of cables in the lower 48. The way these cables work and work together are kind of interesting, and there’s a ton of annoying politics around the concept. In a previous iteration of this show, we talked about the controversies around the rights of way law just when it comes to putting wires on poles on utility poles. Now, I won’t get into the whole thing. Now, aside from a note that the FCC has been fighting an uphill battle for a long time on I’m not going to get into it now. What I mean is, I’m going to get into it now.

[00:13:39.620] Ned: Okay.

[00:13:42.150] Chris: If At T owns a utility pole, should they be forced to allow Verizon to run ISP cables on that pole?

[00:13:53.370] Ned: Should At T be allowed to own a utility pole? It’s in the name utility. But anyway.

[00:14:04.910] Chris: The thing is, the common carrier philosophy and the laws around sharing space on poles means that At T has to what they don’t have to do and what they don’t do is make it easy.

[00:14:19.890] Ned: Indeed.

[00:14:22.050] Chris: But these various connections from one person to another invariably will go from one company to another, whether you know it or not. And whether they like it or not. Each one of these little cables is owned by a municipality or a company, be it big or small, and the packets pass between them freely. So in a theoretical model, let’s make the map between my house and Ned’s hovel. I mean house. It’s great. You’ll eventually have four walls.

[00:14:55.150] Ned: I don’t think I need four. Three seems to be working just fine.

[00:15:00.110] Chris: So for simplicity’s sake, let’s pretend that we’re not talking through a third party app. Because if we add in zoom or StreamYard or barn car or Cheeseworld or whatever app we’re using this week, it just makes it more complicated. The concept is still the same, but let’s pretend that it’s just me directly connecting to your hovel. I mean, else. So in this scenario, I have verizon, Ned has comcast, and we live, let’s just say, 100 miles apart. Now, on the East Coast, this is an interesting smaller scenario, but in both cases I have a router in my house which I either own or rent is connected to my computer. Same thing on Ned’s side. That router is connected to a modem which in most cases is completely the responsibility of the ISP. In my case, it’s in the outside shed. It could be anywhere in your house. Sometimes they’re actually not in your house, but they’re individual to you. Behind that is a giant question mark. Everything that happens after that point is completely out of your control. So if I follow the packet from me, it goes to my router to the ISP modem, into the next hop or junction box in the ISP’s model, and then what is the name of the broadcast?

[00:16:33.530] Chris: It’s BSG BGS B-L-R GP. That’s the one, yes. Order Gateway protocol and says what is the most efficient way to get from Chris’s house to Ned’s house? The amazing thing about BSG BMX BGP is that it is dynamic. And in the Northeast, where we live, there are hundreds of options in total route from one to another, and BXF will change it depending on network status, which is kind of amazing.

[00:17:17.610] Ned: Indeed.

[00:17:18.240] Chris: The thing about working and living in the Northeast is that these are all short haul connections. Most of the time the wire will be, I don’t know, 10 km long if it has to be. I’m in sort of a suburb. Ned’s in sort of a suburb. There’s going to be some distances where it’s a single straight shot in the city or inside of areas that are more densely populated. Those connections are far, far shorter. Which gives us in the Northeast corridor, a very unique opportunity to have lightning fast Internet, basically, regardless of what happens. So that’s kind of cool.

[00:17:54.890] Ned: East coast rules.

[00:17:56.650] Chris: Yeah, more or less.

[00:17:57.880] Ned: Yeah. I think that’s the prime takeaway of this entire episode. Know East Coast is the best fuck all you haters.

[00:18:07.370] Chris: We only have a hurricane occasionally. One thing that you used to be able to do with ease and regularity was actually track the various hops. Remember when I gave this example at a certain point, it was a bunch of question marks. What you used to be able to do was run a command called Trace Route. And Trace route was super fun. And if you ever look at a CS textbook, well, even a modern one, because they realistically haven’t been updated since 19 four, they’ll still say that this is possible. What Traceroute would do is say, I know what the end goal is is to get from my house to Ned’s house. Now let’s check in every single stop along the way. And what was fun about that is you could see the astonishing amount of connections that were required. Anyway, that’s a fun aside. It no longer works because network people got uselessly annoying and decided that in the name of security, through obscurity, they have disabled all Trace route by default on devices.

[00:19:12.610] Ned: Right. Those devices will no longer respond to ICMP, which is what Traceroute is using.

[00:19:18.610] Chris: Yes, because there’s no more fun in.

[00:19:20.950] Ned: The world, we drained it all out.

[00:19:24.790] Chris: So that works great in the Northeast, but let’s pretend instead of Ned living 100 miles away, he lived 3000 miles away all the way across the country. In Portland, in Oregon. Did you know there was another Portland?

[00:19:41.290] Ned: That doesn’t sound accurate.

[00:19:43.190] Chris: Yeah, you’re probably right. So if that was the case, things get a little dicir from the Philadelphia area to Portland. It’s a guarantee that traffic has to pass through one of a handful of long haul lines. In that 2017 study, they identified four, count them, four choke points going from the West Coast to the East Coast. Meaning that if the best line was down, DMX would have to route that traffic around it. But if all four were down, no traffic could traverse the lower 48. Do you know why? Because there’s no physical connection between them.

[00:20:35.290] Ned: BGP would still find a way to route that traffic in a very inefficient route, but it would still find a way once the route tables were updated and converged. But yeah, it would be awful. The latencies would spike way higher than you would expect. I don’t know what the average latency is between Philadelphia and Portland, but it’s probably on the order of 80 milliseconds or something. It would double or triple easily.

[00:21:06.070] Chris: Yeah, eventually what you would end up probably doing is either routing all the way through South America or literally around the world in the wrong direction.

[00:21:15.670] Ned: Which sounds like fun. Yay.

[00:21:19.930] Chris: So that all brings us back to the undersea cables. If it’s that hard to talk cross country, how in the hell do we talk to London? Well, there are actually a surprising number of discrete cables that go the 4000, OD miles from New York City to Europe. In addition to a few newer ones that are originating from North Carolina and Virginia. As of May 2022, they were only a small part of the total 436 undersea cables that existed in the world. And if your traffic is going across the ocean, you’re using one of those cables, probably more than one, depending on where you’re going. New aside, because apparently I should just title this episode random Asides. This is kind of worrying for Internet freedom advocates. These cables are increasingly being dominated and owned by the usual big tech suspects.

[00:22:26.190] Ned: That’s not at all surprising, honestly.

[00:22:29.380] Chris: No, because at this point, it’s more than half.

[00:22:32.400] Ned: Yeah. The two big businesses that they’re in is if you’re a cloud hyperscaler, you want to control the means by which your data is transmitted between locations. So you run an undersea cable. And if you’re one of the, say, Meta or Google, the giants out there that drive a ton of traffic, you want to give that traffic priority. And also, the more people that are connected to the Internet, the more ads you can show them. So you are going to build your own undersea cables, which means a lot of these cables are now privately owned instead of a public utility. And that could be bad.

[00:23:16.750] Chris: It can be bad. Now, we’ll talk about some bandwidth questions at the end of this episode, but you really just hit on all of the major problems or major concerns, I guess I should say. It’s probably too early to call them problems. But yeah, if AWS is running the cable, stands to reason that they’re going to prioritize AWS traffic. Those cables are crazy expensive to run. Estimates around $400 million, which, I mean, that’s not bad if you got it, I guess. But you’re going to want an ROI. The cable that Google is running is no different. It’s called the Portuguese word for cloud for a reason. It’s implying that they want to enhance the speed of GCP to GCP private data center connections. It is not, to quote, benefit humanity as a whole.

[00:24:17.810] Ned: Did they put that in their press release?

[00:24:21.570] Chris: Well, I mean, it’s sort of implied, yeah.

[00:24:24.780] Ned: Just like every tech company, we’re here to help people, right?

[00:24:31.670] Chris: So this can be problematic. But it is important to note that the common carrier rules still do apply and they are sharing bandwidth. They’re just not prioritizing other people’s bandwidth. Something more problematic, as we talked about, these are effectively choke points in the Atlantic. It’s hard to find the cables because the Atlantic I don’t know if you know this is an ocean and it’s deep. Yeah, and it gets deep real fast. But what doesn’t get deep, besides our philosophical conversations? But I’m cha.

[00:25:16.530] Ned: Well done. Well done, sir.

[00:25:19.270] Chris: Various C’s.

[00:25:22.550] Ned: I see.

[00:25:23.180] Chris: And what can happen in various C’s is, quote, unquote, accidentally or otherwise, these undersea cables can be cut, and it happens on the regular. For example, a quick Google research came up with. 20 08 20 11, 20 13, 20, 15 I could go on, and I will. 20 16, 20 19, 20 20 cables were seen as being intentionally cut off of the coast of various countries to affect internet connectivity in those countries. And of course, as is tradition, those are just the ones we know about. The thing about these cables is they’re often out in the middle of nowhere because they kind of out of necessity are gigantic and it’s impossible to patrol them. In a lot of cases, we don’t know who did the cutting or why, but we know what the effects are. That 2008 incident ended up knocking several countries completely offline until traffic was able to be rerouted. 70% of internet traffic in Egypt, 60% in India, and in some reports, 100% of traffic in Iran was disrupted. Now, I said this was hard to do in the Atlantic, but it is not impossible. In fact, in World War I, britain cut all but one of Germany’s undersea telegraph lines and tapped the last remaining one.

[00:26:58.790] Chris: The fact that they had that one tapped means that they were intercepting and decrypting German communications, which a lot of scholars help point to the fact that that helped get more allies into the war. If you believe that the Zimmerman telegram was, in fact a real thing, I’ll just leave that as a fun little tidbit for the conspiracy theory inclined out there. Now, lest you think that this kind of, I don’t know, internet phasing warfare is a historical artifact, there have been suspicions of Russian submarines cutting undersea cables as recently as last year. So what do we have? We have a sort of necessity in terms of worldwide communication. We have a very simple yet somehow still deeply technological solution that involves running a long ass cable 4000 miles on the ocean floor.

[00:27:57.590] Ned: Honestly, it’s not that much different than what you come up with when you want to tie two cans together with a string and do a phone conversation. It’s the same basic concept, except the cans run a different protocol and the cable is a lot longer.

[00:28:13.470] Chris: That’s true, that’s true. And I know what you’re probably thinking. Why isn’t there anything better? Why are we still pushing undersea cables?

[00:28:24.200] Ned: Why aren’t we using lasers in space? Space lasers.

[00:28:31.250] Chris: We’ll get to that in a minute. But the short answer to the question, which we kind of teased at the beginning, is the laws of physics still apply.

[00:28:39.740] Ned: Damn it.

[00:28:41.270] Chris: I know. Regardless of what Terence Howard thinks, nothing is faster than light going through glass cables. How fast, you might be asking. Well, the Microsoft Facebook owned Maria cable, which is another direct 4000 miles connection between Virginia Beach, which is in Virginia, and sopalana Spain, which is in Spain. That cable has an approximate bandwidth of wait for it 200 terabits per second.

[00:29:19.410] Ned: I’ll take three.

[00:29:20.210] Chris: And the amazing thing about that is that when the cable was run, it was only estimated to have a top speed of 160 terabits per second. The freaking thing just went 20% faster.

[00:29:32.540] Ned: Just because advances in technology I mean, we’ve found all kinds of interesting ways to push copper cables to transmit signals even faster and beyond what we originally thought they were capable of. I remember the early versions of cat six cables that had to be physically separated from other cat six cables to make sure there was no interference across the cables. And there were very strict ways that you had to run them. And then eventually people came up with other implementations of it where you didn’t need to do all that and you could still get one gig to your desktop. And thank goodness for that because I need that. I do.

[00:30:17.110] Chris: So there are other ways of communicating worldwide. They are just not convenient, cost effective, or particularly fast. To answer your question about why do we not use a laser in space? Well, two important reasons. One, the Earth is moving fast. Two, the satellite is also moving. Aiming a beam of such precision is, let’s just say, economically infeasible. Another problem with that, a laser beam can only go in a straight line and it needs line of sight, meaning clouds and mountains become a problem. A cable can make turns and doesn’t give a shit about the weather in most cases. Also, in order to push 200 terabits per second through a laser, you would need an unbelievably powerful laser. And that amount of power is also prohibitive, not to mention outstandingly dangerous when you have that much laser power. I think it’s called a weapon.

[00:31:34.990] Ned: Yeah.

[00:31:36.590] Chris: Anyone that has ever tried to exactly right. Anyone that has ever tried to use microwave power plants in SIM City will surely remember that accidentally burning down half of downtown every five years or so is just not what the kids call a good idea.

[00:31:51.640] Ned: Well, when you put it that way, as a digression, there was a hack in one of the versions of SimCity that you could get unlimited money by typing funds, I think, in all caps on the keyboard. And it would just keep giving you like $10,000 or something every time you typed it. So I would use that to build ridiculous cities that were otherwise impossible. And my favorite one was Godzilla Island where it was just nuclear power plants.

[00:32:21.130] Chris: Nice.

[00:32:21.680] Ned: That’s it?

[00:32:24.190] Chris: What else do you need, really?

[00:32:26.590] Ned: Well, you could summon a Kaiju for some reason, or that was like I don’t know why that was in SIM City, but you could and then it would rampage through your city because that’s the fun part. Certainly much more fun than trying to build an efficient municipal light rail system next to a just you can’t fucking do it, Chris.

[00:32:50.730] Chris: You can’t do it.

[00:32:51.670] Ned: It’s so frustrating. It’s going to burn it all.

[00:32:56.310] Chris: Uh, do you need a minute?

[00:32:59.770] Ned: Yeah. You kind of dread some stuff up there, my man. Hey, thanks for listening or something. I guess you found it worthwhile enough if you made it all the way to the end. So congratulations to you, friend. You accomplished something today. Now you can go sit in the tub, fill it with oatmeal, and just kind of lay there for a while. You’ve earned it. You can find more about the show by visiting our LinkedIn page. Just search chaoslever or go to our website, chaoslever. Cow, where you’ll find show notes, blog posts, and general Tom foolery. We’ll be back next week to see what fresh hell is upon us. Ta ta for now. My voice cracked. Did you hear that? Like channeling my son.

[00:33:42.610] Chris: I’m an adult now.

[00:33:44.970] Ned: That is a very accurate rendition, and I do it to him all the time, and he gets real mad. Yeah, but I’m taller than him. Keep it up for now. All.

Show Notes

Under The Sea Cable Dance

Episode: 76 Published: 10/03/2023

The World Is Interconnected. And That Interconnection Is Done Utilizing Long-ass Cables

Last week we touched briefly on the OSI model of understanding the different layers of networking infrastructure. Ned, being right for once, pointed out that the model is a little, shall we say, fuzzy, on the difference (and the importance of separating) some of the layers.

One thing he didn’t mention is that the OSI model is not the only model that describes networking, and that some, like the TCP model actually only has 4 layers, combining the 7 in OSI (Ed.- I did mention this, but apparently someone wasn’t paying attention). In any case, it got me to thinking; considering the cloud-first world that we live in now… how many people really know how the lowest layers of any model work. How the hell does my computer connect to your computer, like, physically?

The answer? Mostly, long-ass cables in the ocean.

Intro and outro music by James Bellavance copyright 2022


Chris Hayner

Chris Hayner (He/Him)

Our story starts with a young Chris growing up in the agrarian community of Central New Jersey. Son of an eccentric sheep herder, Chris’ early life was that of toil and misery. When he wasn’t pressing cheese for his father’s failing upscale Fromage emporium, he languished on a meager diet of Dinty Moore and boiled socks. His teenage years introduced new wrinkles in an already beleaguered existence with the arrival of an Atari 2600. While at first it seemed a blessed distraction from milking ornery sheep, Chris fell victim to an obsession with achieving the perfect Pitfall game. Hours spent in the grips of Indiana Jones-esque adventure warped poor Chris’ mind and brought him to the maw of madness. It was at that moment he met our hero, Ned Bellavance, who shepherded him along a path of freedom out of his feverish, vine-filled hellscape. To this day Chris is haunted by visions of alligator jaws snapping shut, but with the help of Ned, he freed himself from the confines of Atari obsession to become a somewhat productive member of society. You can find Chris at coin operated laundromats, lecturing ironing boards for being itinerant. And as the cohost on the Chaos Lever podcast.

Ned Bellavance

Ned Bellavance (He/Him)

Ned is an industry veteran with piercing blue eyes, an indomitable spirit, and the thick hair of someone half his age. He is the founder and sole employee of the ludicrously successful Ned in the Cloud LLC, which has rocked the tech world with its meteoric rise in power and prestige. You can find Ned and his company at the most lavish and exclusive tech events, or at least in theory you could, since you wouldn’t actually be allowed into such hallowed circles. When Ned isn’t sailing on his 500 ft. yacht with Sir Richard Branson or volunteering at a local youth steeplechase charity, you can find him doing charity work of another kind, cohosting the Chaos Lever podcast with Chris Hayner. Really, he’s doing Chris a huge favor by even showing up. You should feel grateful Chris. Oaths of fealty, acts of contrition, and tokens of appreciation may be sent via carrier pigeon to his palatial estate on the Isle of Man.