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For some reason, this puts me in mind of my consulting days--one day in particular, actually, when I was working at a client with a network outage. The router had broken down, and we were waiting for a new one to arrive from the supplier. The know-nothing head of IT told a woman I was working with that they needed the internet back up right away.

"The router is broken," she explained. "We are waiting for a new one."

"But the traders can't trade," he said, as if we were perhaps just hiding the internet from him for fun.

"What would you like me to do?" she asked sweetly. "Get on the phone with the other router and start transmitting the data manually?"

"Take this down," she said to me. "One, zero, zero, zero, one, one, zero, one. Next byte . . . "

He left in a huff.

Anyway, apparently that's how Google does things too.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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