Back in 1989, working from a computer at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee put into the place the ideas and the infrastructure that would become the World Wide Web. In 1990, he released a formal proposal to build a "hypertext project": a "web" of "hypertext documents" that would be accessible via "browsers."
You know the story from there: the web, the commercial Internet, the ability you have to read this sentence on a screen. What you may not know, however, is that, in 2011, one of the new global institutions to emerge from Berners-Lee's invention returned to the effective place of its birth. Google came to CERN. And it brought with it its Street View equipment.
The results of Google's webby homecoming have been released today. You can now tour CERN via Street View. And the tour, of course, includes the Large Hadron Collider -- which, having not yet destroyed the Earth, is currently being overhauled in preparation for future research. The images Google's Zurich-based Street View team captured -- tunnel vision, in the best sense -- are just as mesmerizing and coldly beautiful and charmingly nerdy as you'd expect. The CERN/LHC tour is like seeing the Galapagos via Street View ... except totally the opposite of that.
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