Most of us have a pretty good understanding of how the Internet works - but it can be notoriously difficult to explain in plain English. (just listen to US Senator Ted Stevens' infamous "series of tubes" speech from 2006).
The video above is a useful one to send to friends and family to explain things a little more eloquently. It's from the World Science Festival and titled "There and Back Again: A Packet's Tale". In the three-and-a-half minute video, you follow a packet of data as it travels from a home computer to a server on the other side of the globe.
"Look deep beneath the surface of the most basic Internet transaction, and follow the packet as it flows from your fingertips, through circuits, wires, and cables, to a host server, and then back again, all in less than a second," explains the accompanying blurb.
The explanation is somewhat oversimplified and a bit heavy on analogy (not to mention laser effects), but still, it shows that it's as simple as saying data goes through tubes.