The old neighborhoods of Shanghai, Feedless or with overhead Feeds kludged in on bamboo stilts, seemed frighteningly inert, like an opium addict squatting in the middle of a frenetic downtown street, blowing a reed of sweet smoke out between his teeth, staring into some ancient dream that all the bustling pedestrians had banished to unfrequented parts of their minds.

These Burbclaves! These citystates!
So small, so insecure, that just about everything, like not mowing your
lawn, or playing your stereo too loud, becomes a national security issue.

It’s when a society plunders its ability to look over the horizon and into the future in order to get short-term gain-sometimes illusory gain-that it begins a long slide nearly impossible to reverse.

The powerless life raft, sloshing around the North Pacific, emits a vast, spreading plume of steam like that of an Iron Horse chugging full blast over the Continental Divide. Neither Hiro nor Eliot ever mentions, or even notices, the by-now-obvious fact that Fisheye is traveling with a small, self-contained nuclear power source…. As long as Fisheye refuses to notice this fact, it would be rude for them to bring it up.

Every parent of a teenager gets used to it: the moment in a child’s life when he or she decides that certain facts are just too much trouble to explain to Mom or Dad. The parents can’t, and needn’t, know every last little thing.

Babel is a Biblical term for Babylon. The word is Semitic; Bab means gate and El means Cod, so Babel means ‘Gate of God.’ But it is probably also somewhat onomatopoeic, imitating someone
who speaks in an incomprehensible tongue. The Bible is full of puns.

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