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December 4th, 2017 by: Marie Hicks

A Feature, Not a Bug

Until recently, the idea that Silicon Valley was a meritocracy seemed firmly enshrined in mainstream U.S. culture. Despite decades of research by sociologists, cultural anthropologists, and historians, popular press often focused on talent more than privilege to explain the successes of our new generation of Silicon Valley elites. Within the past year and a half,…

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December 4th, 2017 by: Kelly O'Donnell

“The whole idea might seem a little strange to you”: Selling the Menstrual Cup

In 1971, Carol Downer and Lorraine Rothman were handing out plastic specula for cervical self-exams and presenting their Del-Em menstrual extraction device as a radical menstrual alternative at the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Los Angeles.[1] Their story is often cited by historians as an example of women using new technological approaches and coming to…

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December 4th, 2017 by: Mario Bianchini

Women on the Right Track: Integrating Women into the Communist Technological Utopia

In 1950, the fledgling German Democratic Republic (GDR) held a small exhibition in Jena featuring a miniature town contained within a glass case, war torn Germany rebuilt in socialist splendor, train tracks its veins. So soon after the decimation of the war, this exhibition trumpeted the reconstruction of Germany under socialism. The miniature town attracted…

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August 27th, 2017 by: Nathan Kapoor

Batteries Not Included

In 1881, Professor Silvanus Thompson, a physics lecturer at the University of Bristol applauded the development of accumulators (secondary batteries) and suggested that they offered a gateway to the future of railway transportation, demolition, telephony, wind/water power utilization, and lighting.[1] For Thompson, batteries were the obvious “next step,” or energy transition, in the expansion of…

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August 27th, 2017 by: Sarah Stanford-McIntyre

When Oil Was Modern

President Trump’s June 2017 decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord has once again placed oil and fossil fuels in the political crosshairs.[1] A recent article in MIT’s Technology Review describes oil companies as a hindrance – representatives of a dinosaur industry that perpetuates dependence and encourages monopoly.[2] The UK think tank Chatham House…

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