Getting weird in the kitchen with the ‘Bob’s Burgers’ cookbook

When I first started Bobs Burgersthe animated Fox comedy about a weird and loving family who owned a struggling burger restaurant at the Jersey shorea couple of years ago, I had a couple of thoughts. One, it was consistently funnier than I ever expected it to be. Two, I wanted one of those crazy Burgers of the Day.

Rarely shown but always named (except for that one episode where they temporarily disappeared), the Burger of the Day is one of the shows running gags. The nameswhich are almost always food punsappear on the chalkboard hanging near the cash register in every episode just like the revolving owners of the building next to Bobs Burgers and the rat vans in the opening sequence. The burger names are punchy, cheesy, the puns have the right amount of dad-level humor, and they can get especially silly if Louise Belcher gets her hands on the chalkboard. The puns themselves are created by the shows writers, and according to Bobs Burgers creator Loren Bouchard, its one of the main things theyre required to come up with when writing an episode. Theyre just as much a background joke as they are insights into Bob Belcher himself.

And thats only scraping the surface when it comes to the delightfulness of Bobs Burgers itself. It just wrapped up its sixth season on Sunday with at least two more on the way (with no signs of stopping), but it still has the feel of an underground show in part because its rise in popularity came from word of mouth. The versatility of Bobs Burgers makes it perfect fanart and mashup fodder. It has sold out concert halls on its live tour, which includes a table read, a Q&A, and standup from the main cast. Tina Belcher is the awkward, feminist hero weve been craving. And it even inspired Cole Bowden to start the Bobs Burgers Experiment, a Tumblr blog where he documented and strived to create every Burger of the Day shown in Bobs Burgers, which now number in the hundreds.

All Bowden had to go on were the names as he started to tackle the Burgers of the Day, and soon enough, Bouchard noticed. He mentioned Bowdens blog in a 2014 interview with Vulture, saying, That is my dream come true as it pertains to these burgersor, I should say, my dream come true would actually to put out a Bobs Burgers cookbook based on the Burgers of the Day.

An official Bobs Burgers cookbook was announced in January 2015, which was a collaboration between Bouchard, the other Bobs Burgers writers, and Bowden, and it received additional confirmation in August. Soon enough, the burgers they named and created strictly as puns would really come to lifeand wed all be Teddy, one of the Belchers few regular customers.

For those of us who worked on the show and followed him, Coles culinary ambition was thrilling, and his chutzpah was and is inspiring to say the least, but when you read his recipes it becomes clear that primarily what he brings to the table is imagination, Bouchard wrote in the Introduction of The Bobs Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers.

And now Bobs Burgers are a reality. The Bobs Burgers Burger Book is as bright, colorful, and humorous as Bobs Burgers itself, and the book captures the tone of the show wonderfully. Many of the burger names rely on cheese puns, and sprinkled throughout are witty comments such as discouraging the use of no-purpose flour, informing us that stretchy mozz rhymes with sketchy thoughts, and advising us not to touch our belly buttons after handling habanero peppers because well, you never know.

For burger and French fry novices, the cookbook offers a basic guide to making your own burgers and friesit even bolds the most important steps in the paragraphs for those who skim over itand many of the recipes are geared toward beginners. Essentially, if you can grill a burger and put it together youre pretty set, although some of the recipes can be somewhat sparse in their specificity. Most of the ingredients are available in your local grocery store, and if its more of a delicacy, like the black garlic in the Bet It All On Black Garlic Burger, itll inform you where you can buy it.

On the other hand, it doesnt seem as though the recipes are in any sort of order such as organizing by episode appearance or the type of cheese used, so if you find a recipe and want to come back to it, itll take some flipping through unless youve already marked down the page. If non-beef or vegetarian recipes are more your speed, theyre at least grouped together toward the back of the book.

The Bobs Burgers Burger Book was released in March, and fans have gradually discovered it, like the show itself. But now were putting it to use for one of the biggest days of the year for burgers and the people who cook themMemorial Day.

Bobs Burgers are supposed to be excellent despite his business constantly being on the brink of failure; on the other side of the coin, Bobs neighbor and rival Jimmy Pesto runs a successful yet tacky Italian restaurant, but his food is terrible. How do they fare in the real world?

I recruited my Daily Dot colleagues to take on several of the recipes. They may be joke burgers, but the deliciousness is more than real.

Cheeses Is Born Burger

Season 5, Episode 6: Father of the Bob

Ramon Ramirez

This burger is an efficient monster you can make in about 35 minutes. Its a savory lover, loaded in gooey textures that parachute down your windpipe: Jarlsberg and Swiss slices, molasses-brown gravy, sauteed mushrooms, diced Roma tomatoes, brown mustard. Only crispy lettuce and a thick bun balance out the protein-shake gob of hot lovin. The burger is a revelation thats difficult to botch in the kitchen. (Used a pan, as both of my backyard grills harbor spiders.) The caveat, of course, is that it features hot-button flavors difficult to unanimously please even a cookout of four. Its also heavy enough that it only pairs well with water and absolutely no fries, dear God are you mad? But if the profile is your shade, ingredients will run you about $27 (even if you spring for the $10, grass-fed patties) and youll eat with the fury of a spelling bee champ all weekend. Ramon Ramirez

Bob’s Burgers/Netflix

Parma Parma Parma Chameleon Burger

Season 4, Episode 20: Gene It On


Parma Parma Parma Chameleon

A photo posted by @theyeasticando on May 24, 2016 at 8:40am PDT

Accented by garden-fresh zucchini and squash chips, this Italian-inspired choice spotlights freshly picked basil and a unique tomato sauce with a guest appearance by blueberry jam (which seemed like itd be easier to find than the called-for juice). We opted to double the helping of parmesanmelting some straight on the patty in addition to topping the saucebut otherwise found this recipe delightfully bright and flavorful. Wed recommend serving the panko-crusted zucchini and squash chips with some of the leftover blueberry marinara for dipping. Monica Riese

Bob’s Burgers/Netflix

Poutine On The Ritz Burger

Season 2, Episode 9: Beefsquatch

Poutine on the Ritz (Comes With Poutine Fries)

A photo posted by Michelle Jaworski (@michejaw) on May 25, 2016 at 1:25pm PDT

Poutine may make you think about Canada, but its just as much of a heartstopper as anything we have down here. Plus this recipe, which includes French fries, allowed me to test out the process of making your own fries, and a giant sharing fry bowl is a great addition to any party; just look at all of the fry-stealing that occurs during pretty much any happy hour.

I bribed one of my friends with food to help me cook, which is a good thing because even with her help it still took a few hours to make everything, so if youre making this for a party, start early or make them the night before. We used Russet potatoes and fried them in vegetable oil instead of the suggested peanut oil before mixing them with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper (all measured to taste) and topping it with gravy and cheese curds. Creating the gravy from scratch was a simple endeavor, although I found the recommended amount of black pepper overwhelming; I added in more flour to counter. The fries came out crispy and well-seasoned, but you could just as easily use frozen fries or commandeer a bunch from your favorite restaurant and achieve a similar feat in a fraction of the time.

Once cooked in a regular stove pan and my burger assembled, the Poutine On The Ritz Burger is an expertly crafted mix of salty and sour with Ritz Crackers sprinkled on top, and it works much better than it has any right to (although I wish the cheese curds had melted a bit more). Be prepared to keep leftovers, because this is a lot more filling than it looks. Michelle Jaworski

Bob’s Burgers/Netflix

Shake Your Honeymaker Burger

Season 2, Episode 3: Synchronized Swimming

Rae Votta

I had about half the necessary ingredients on hand to make the Shake Your Honeymaker burger, so while it’s not something I’d approach on a whim, it is something I can realistically consider without feeling like I need to purchase obscure ingredients I’ll only use once. I decided to opt for the old-timey version of using a mortar and pestle to blend the dates, garlic, and sherry vinegar into a paste, which provided a more chunky and rustic condiment than a food processor.

My largest flaw was impatience. This burger requires you to caramelize your onions, which the recipe suggests takes a good 20 minutes but I, hungry and bored, fell short of by at least 10 minutes before I decided my onions were good enough to eat. My Honeymaker burger was an easy prep on a pan stovetop, and I used the same onion pan for my meat to make sure it infused with flavor. Construction was sloppy, as the feta cheese I had didn’t want to stay balanced on the bun, and once I took a bite everything came spilling out.

Taste-wise, it was too sharply sweet for me to enjoy, the honey meeting the sherry dates in a way that left an unpleasant aftertaste. It’s not a bad way to shake up the burger routine, but if you’re planning to feed a hungry horde, I wouldn’t recommend such a complex and nontraditional take. You’ll be stressing about presentation and the flavor blend more than you’ll be enjoying a well-done burger. Rae Votta

Bob’s Burgers/Netflix

Dont Get Crme FracheWith Me Burger

Season 2, Episode 9: Beefsquatch


Adam Weightman

The choice to make the Dont Get Crme Frache With Me burger was first one of pun, and second one of season. Itd make a great summer burger! I declared. Too bad summer burger is not really a thing.

Nevertheless, the idea of blueberries, basil, and crme frache was appealing. I subbed in a pretzel bun for Vienna roll out of necessity, and added some horseradish to the crme frache-basil mixture to give it a little heat. My line cook (aka helpful boyfriend) seared the burger in a pan, as per the recipe, but my meat-bread crumb-squished blueberry pattie was having a hard time keeping it together. The Dont Get Crme Frache With Me Burger would probably have cooked better on a grill, but it didnt look terrible when the crme frache and spring mix were added. Perhaps the pretzel roll was a misstep, because the burger was a little sweet; it needed something else (the boyfriend suggested onions sauteed in honey) to make it taste less like a breakfast sandwich. Maybe a sharp cheese? (I added Sriracha after a couple bites and it did the trick.)

If youre not a person who is disgusted by fruit in burgers, this would be a fun experiment this summer as a slider or appetizer. You know, a summer burger. Audra Schroeder

Bob’s Burgers/Netflix

Eggers Cant Be Cheesers Burger

Season 3, Episode 11: Nude Beach


Eggers Can’t Be Cheesers

A photo posted by Michelle Jaworski (@michejaw) on May 24, 2016 at 4:41pm PDT

I went into making the Eggers Cant Be Cheesers Burger thinking, This would be a great hangover burger not just because of the eggwhich is becoming a more common burger topping. And while I only had a slight headache when preparing it, that was spot-on.

I cooked new burgers for this in a stove pan, although you can probably just take leftover burgers from another one of the books recipes instead. (I cant speak for the burgers filled with other ingredients/cheeses, but I imagine theyll work just as well.) From there, just cook your egg, which I made sunny side upover easy would be another good optionand stacking everything in the right order. As soon as I placed my English muffin on top, the egg yolk began to run down. Ive had a similar burger on many occasions, but the addition of an English muffin and hot sauce to a new classic brought it all eggcellently together.

A new contender for the Breakfast of Champions? I think so. M.J.

Bob’s Burgers/Netflix

A Good Manchego Is Hard to Find Burger

Season 5, Episode 10: Late Afternoon in the Garden of Bob and Louise


A Good Manchego Is Hard to Find

A photo posted by @theyeasticando on May 24, 2016 at 8:38am PDT

The sharp nuttiness of the aged manchego and zesty bite of fresh arugula play perfectly off the real star of this show: black fig jam, generously spread on the top bun. It wouldve played just as well without the shallots (which I slightly burnt after a last-minute prep snafu), but their caramelization easily ties the whole bite together. We paired this burger with the books basic fry recipe (subbing white potatoes for the recommended russet, and with corn oil over peanut), which turned out perfectly salted, if a tad soggy after a few minutes at room temperature. M.R.

Bob’s Burgers/Netflix

Disclosure: Universe Publishing provided the Daily Dot with a copy of The Bobs Burgers Burger Book for review.

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David Schwimmer, Rebel Wilson And James Cordens Rap Battle Is Brilliant

David Schwimmer, Rebel Wilson and James Corden took each other on in a rap battle for The Late Late Show and it made for some very entertaining TV.

Corden kicked things of by telling Schwimmer he was famous back in 95 and throwing a few digs about Jennifer Anniston ignoring his calls.Schwimmer wasn’t to be outdone though, hitting back with some funny lines and he definitely takes the win…until Rebel Wilson gets involved that is.

This segment is brilliant. More of the same please Corden…

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4 Wellness Tricks I Learned In Japan That Helped Me Lose 40 Pounds

When I arrived in Tokyo 40 pounds overweight, I told my new Japanese share-mate about my weight concerns. She said, Maybe you should take a hot bath tonight. That will help.” A hot bath? What could a hot bath have to do with weight loss? Clearly, I was missing something.

I wasyoyo dietingfor years and was struggling to lose my goal of 20 pounds. I had the mentality that if I put in more effort, I would reap more reward, so I had been doing intense exercising from ice hockey training, to weight lifting, to high intensity workouts up to two hours per day. I also tried to cut down on dessert, but wound up having moments of binging, followed by justification because I had worked out so much. But simply changing my approach to body care led me to effortlessly lose 40 pounds as a side effect.

In the US, women speed walk in their yoga pants with 2 liter bottles of water tucked under their arms. They shun carbs like the plague, go to intense workouts like CrossFit and describe themselves as being good today or bad today. But in Japan, I would see slender women eating rice and noodles, going to yoga classes and not drinking any water with their meals.

It seemed to me like the information available about weight loss in the US was valid with scientific back-up, but what’s missing and confusing is the application. How can we intuitively approach a healthy lifestyle when we can’t even sense protein, carbs and calories with our tongues?

If I was to tell women in the US that walking could give them more results of a slender body than high intensity training, they’d think I was crazy. But the thing is, when it comes to your body, more effort doesn’t necessarily mean more reward. If anything, being able to calm yourself allows you to listen to your body and can lead to naturally craving less, and that’s not something you can feel when you’re forcing yourself to get a certain result.

It’s not uncommon for dieters in the US to think that the only way to be healthy is to eat bland grilled chicken with steamed broccoli. But if we’re not training for the Olympics or entering a body competition, then what is it we’re working for? We want to look hot and eat cake, too. And I knowit’s possible.

It has been seven years since that first conversation with my Japanese share-mate, and now I’m a health coach with a background in eastern and western lifestyle ideologies. Here are four things I learned that you can implement into your lifestyle to get healthy without being extreme:

1. If you train like a sumo wrestler, you’ll look like a sumo wrestler.

The first moment I realized it’s not about what you do, but how you do it was when I saw a sumo wrestling tournament for the first time. Sumo wrestlers skip breakfast, spend all morning doing intense training so they can lift and push their heavy components. They have a big lunch, followed by a nap and then wake up and repeat in the evening.

Likewise, I had been exercising like crazy and itmade me feel ravenous. Regardless of how healthy my meals were, I would eat more than I needed without realizing it. Then I’d feel tired from the workout and warm from the meal, so I’d go to bed. On one hand, I was building muscle and stamina, but I was also adding a thick layer of fat on top of all of the muscle.

One way you can tell if you’re overdoing your workout is if you find yourself hyperventilating. Calm breathing indicates to your body that everything is OK, so it’s geared towards targeting the fat on your body for energy. But if you’re stressing your body out, as indicated by gasping for breath, then you’re likely triggering your body to use quick energies in the form of sugars. So, those times when you go home and tell your loved ones not to talk to you until you’ve had something to eat because you’re so hungry you could practically eat your arm off? Those are good indications that you’re overdoing it.

2. Keep your body warm.

A cold body is a dead body. A warm body is a living body. There is a concept called food energetics that isn’t really studied much in the US. Basically, it’s about how the direction in which food grows gives it a certain kind of energy to foods, which is then transferred to us when we eat. Foods that grow in the hot summer weather are considered cooling, so they help your body acclimate to the heat. And foods that grow in the winter weather (like root vegetables) are considered warming and calming to the body.

Raw foods are considered healthy and eaten frequently as part of a healthy diet in the US. Foods like raw salads, raw vegetables, smoothies made with raw fruits and raw greens all fall into this category. These are healthy and detoxifying, but at the same time, if you are eating too much, it can be considered too cooling to the body. It’s not uncommon for people to feel fatigued, as a result.

Have you ever gone to a Chinese restaurant and ordered a raw salad? Probably not. That’s because in the East, their diet doesn’t consist much of raw foods because you want to keep your body warm. If you hate having raw salads, then making sauted, boiled, stewed or baked vegetables are fantastic contenders.

3. Don’t drink water with meals.

In the US, every caf or restaurant you go to will serve you ice water. There’s two reasons this would be looked down upon in the East: First, because it’s cold and you want to keep your body warm. The other reason is that water douses your digestive fires, which makes it difficult to digest your foods. In the world of science, this means that water will neutralize the PH of your stomach acid, which makes it really hard for your body to break down foods.

In Japan, most people will have soup with meals. And even if they don’t, they will usually not drink with their meals. It is common, however, to have some warm tea after a meal.

In the US, I constantly see dieting advice urging people todrink more water, but instead of thinking of drinking more glasses of water, you should be thinking of having more foods that are hydrating in your diet. This could mean adding soups with your meals, or having steamed bread instead of baked bread. It also means taking out anything dehydrating, like caffeine from coffee and black teas. So, while it is true you need to stay hydrated, save having water for between meals instead of with them. Stick to hydrating foods during meals instead.

4. Take hot baths.

In addition to releasing tight muscles, hot baths can improve circulation, which helps with digestion and detoxing through your pores. In Japan, people will take a half bath, which means you fill the tub until it meets just under your heart area if you were to be sitting in the tub.If you fill the tub above your heart level, it can put pressure on your heart. So, they avoid it.

Temperature is also important. Most people soak in a bath that is between 100 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is enough to improve your circulation without overbooking your body.Hot baths also relax you before bed, so soaking in a hot tub can improve the quality of your sleep.

If you have only ever thought that weight loss comes from calories in vs. calories out, then these tips might sound a bit odd. But when entire nations of people are eating well and having balanced bodies as a result ofthese tips, while you’re counting calories and killing yourself at the gym, it can’t hurt to give it a try.

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Finding Dory Could Star Pixars First Ever Lesbian Couple

And we mean, you know, human lesbians. Not a pair of lesbian fish… but that would be great too.

You might have noticed that a brand new trailer was released this week, and out of sheer excitement to see the familiar fishy characters again you probably didn’t notice something kind of major – the lesbian couple?

And obviously, lesbian couples are pretty commonplace these days. But not in animated movies! This will be the first of it’s kind for Pixar, if it is true. And boy do we hope it is!

The internet, of course, doesn’t miss a thing and has already picked apart the clip in as many ways as possible, with some thinking that the two are just friends or only included in the trailer so the movie gets extra press.

Fans have been calling for a lesbian love interest in the next Frozen film, so maybe Pixar have been listening and are rightlybroadening their universe to include a more diverse array of characters than currently exists.

You go, Pixar!

Here’s that trailer, in case you missed it/want to watch it a million times:

What do you think? Let us know in the comments

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Watch Edward Snowden Teach Vice How to Make a Phone Go Black

When whistleblower Edward Snowden told people just how easily the government could compromise their technology and spy on them, the immediate response was some variation on “Oh, crap! My laptop? My cell phone? People can see that?!”

OK, thats a bit hyperbolic, but you catch our drift. People immediately sought ways of securing their data and protecting their gadgets from prying eyes. Now, Snowden is here to help. On tomorrows episode of Vice, the man himself shows correspondent Shane Smith how to make a smartphone go black by removing the cameras and microphones so they cant be used against you. Find out how to do it yourself in the clip above from Vice, which airs tomorrow at 11 p.m. on HBO.

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Stephen King and 600 more U.S. authors come out against Trump

King at a signing in Austin, Texas.

Image: Rick Kern/WIREIMAGE

Stephen King is the master of horror but even he has never experienced anything quite as horrific as Donald Trump.

That’s the gist of an open letter that’s doing the rounds Tuesday, signed by King and more than 600 of his fellow well-known American writers. The luminaries include Cheryl Strayed, Dave Eggers, Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, Mary Roach, Tobias Wolff, Richard Russo, Michael Chabon and Roy Blount, Jr.

“As writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power,” the letter reads. “American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another.”

“The rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response.”

The list of signatories includes more than 10 Pulitzer Prize winners but it’s also astonishingly geographically diverse, with authors from the heartland more than holding their own against authors from the coasts.

It’s also growing fast, with more than 150 names being added to the list since it was first published online Tuesday morning.

A Twitter account called Writers On Trump has been set up by the letter’s creators, novelists Andrew Altschul and Mark Slouka. There’s also an online petition that anyone can sign; it currently boasts more than 3,000 signatures.

No word yet on whether King will make Trump the villain in his next novel; America may not be ready for something that terrifying.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

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Facebook and Microsoft Are Laying a Giant Cable Across the Atlantic

The project expands the increasingly enormous computer networks now being built by the giants of the Internet as they assume a role traditionally played by telecom companies. Google has invested in two undersea cables that stretch from the West Coast of the United States to Japan, another that connects the US and Brazil, and a network of cables that connect various parts of Asia. Rather than just leasing bandwidth on undersea cables and terrestrial connections operated by telecoms, the likes of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are building their own networking infrastructure both on land and across the seas.

The fact that these Internet giants are laying their own cables—at their own expense—shows just how much data these giants must move. Consider the services they run: Google offers its eponymous search engine, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Maps, and so many more. Microsoft offers Bing, Office365, and its Azure cloud services. Facebook has its social network along with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. The data moved by just a few online giants now dwarfs that of most others, so much so that, according to telecommunications research firm Telegeography, more than two thirds of the digital data moving across the Atlantic is traveling on private networks—namely networks operated by the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. That’s up from 10 percent just a few years ago. “It’s a tremendous change,” says Telegeography analyst Tim Stronge.

With so much data flowing across their systems, these companies are scrambling to build new infrastructure. In addition to building its own undersea cable, Facebook is buying up what’s called “dark fiber”—unused terrestrial cablesso that it can control how its data moves from place to place and move it more efficiently. According to Ahmad, Facebook is now using dark fiber “pretty much everywhere” as the company expands its network into new regions. And the same likely goes for Google and Microsoft.

“We’re starting to see more of the large Internet content providers looking to build more of their own networks—whether they are leasing dark fiber or laying down new cables to build new routes,” says Michael Murphy, president and CEO of telecom consultancy NEF. “It makes sense.”

MAREA Overview SchematicMicrosoft/Facebook

Going It Alone(ish)

In the past, Facebook has joined consortia that operate other undersea cables—groups typically made up of telecom companies—but this project is different. Rather than letting a group build and control the cable—that is, rather than sharing lines with others—the company is laying its own dedicated lines and it has the power to use them however it sees fit. In the end, this allows Facebook to expand its online empire much quicker than in the past. “The consortium model is much slower than what we would like,” Ahmad says.

Much the same applies to Microsoft. That said, the two Internet giants aren’t abandoning the telecom industry altogether. The pair have brought in another partner: Telxius, a subsidiary of Spanish telecom Telefnica. Telxius will operate the cable, and Facebook and Microsoft services will command most of its bandwidth. But Telxius will sell some capacity to other companies in need of trans-Atlantic connections.

The location of the cable also suits the specific needs of Facebook and Microsoft. Myriad undersea cables connect North America with Europe, but they don’t typically originate in Virginia. Even though Northern Virginia has long served as a major hub for Internet data centers, including facilities used by Facebook as well as dedicated data centers built by Microsoft and Amazon, the data itself typically flows through cables anchored in the New York area. With MAREA, Facebook will be able to more efficiently move information not only from facilities in Virginia but from its Facebook-owned and -operated data center in Rutherford County, North Carolina.

“To have a direct connection from Virginia lowers latency,” says Murphy—that is, the time it takes for data to flow from data centers to its ultimate destination. “And that probably provides better quality service.” Other companies are planning cables anchored in this same area, but MAREA will likely be the first. Construction is set to begin in August and completion is expected in October 2017.

Connecting Its Own Way

In connecting to Bilbao in Spain, Ahmad says, the cable will provide a more efficient path not only to Europe but to Africa, the Middle East, and even Asia. All three geographies are increasingly important to Facebook and other Internet giants as they seek new audiences and new sources of revenue. Spanning more than 1.5 billion people, the Facebook social network has saturated the US and European markets, so now the company must focus on new frontiers. And in many respects, that involves building new infrastructure.

The project expands the increasingly enormous computer networks being built by the giants of the Internet.

Facebook is also working to fashion all sorts of new hardware that more rapidly pushes the Internet into those parts of the world that don’t already have it, from solar-powered high-altitude drones to a new breed of wireless antenna. Rather than relying solely on the world’s telecoms and telecom hardware makers, the company is fashioning its own hardware. And in the hopes of pushing this gear into the market, it intends to open source the designs, freely sharing them with the rest of the world.

A similar dynamic is at play with the new undersea cable. Rather than just use what the telecoms provide, the company is building on its own. And a key aspect of the project is that it’s free to use whatever equipment it pleases to plug into the cable. This isn’t necessarily the case with the consortium model. “You’re stuck with whatever system was built initially. And if there has to be an upgrade, all the partners in the consortium have to agree to that upgrade,” Ahmad says. “[The MAREA Project] gives us more control of our own destiny.”

The Real Telecoms

In some ways, this eats into a market once controlled by the big telecoms. “It’s going to get interesting. Who is the real telecommunications provider?” Murphy says. “It’s going to take some of their business away.”

Murphy compares this shift to how Amazon has gained greater and greater control of the infrastructure needed to ship physical packages from place to place, building its own distribution centers, launching its own fleet of trucks, and even exploring the possibility of delivering packages via drone. “The move is similar in the data space, where companies get to an economy of scale where it makes sense for them to handle their own traffic.”

But it should also be said that the Facebooks and the Googles and the Microsofts aren’t taking existing business from the telecoms. They’re just taking potential business. “This does mean that telecoms are carrying somewhat less of the content provider traffic than they would in the past,” says Telegeography’s Stronge. “But a lot of this capacity wasn’t even around a few years ago.”

When you consider that these Internet giants are also using their own dark fiber on land, the upshot is that they are, more and more, taking control of their own destiny. As Murphy points out, if they aren’t beholden to the telecoms, they aren’t beholden either to the whims and the prices of the telecoms or to any disputes over net neutrality (the notion that no company should receive preferential treatment on shared Internet lines.)

With its Fiber division, Google has even gone so far as to become an Internet service provider itself, laying down faster lines all the way to American homes. That means it can potentially control the length and breadth of the network, from you to its many data centers in many parts of the world, and back again. Google doesn’t quite control the entire path from its own data centers to everyone’s front doors. But that’s the direction it’s headed. And, well, so are Facebook and Microsoft.

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