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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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August 27th, 2017 by: Abby Spinak

The Twenty-first Century Oil Encounter: Dispatches from Texas

Editor’s Note: This article was written before Hurricane Harvey. Last summer’s critically-acclaimed “modern Western,” Hell or High Water, has a happy ending, of sorts. In the final scene of the film, the main character is building an extension onto his West Texas childhood home as his teenage sons come home from school. It’s a sunny…

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May 9th, 2017 by: Svetlana Usenyuk-KravchukNikolai Garin

Arctic Human Enhancement: Focusing on Traditional Technologies of Arctic Indigenous People (Designerly Field Notes)

Introduction Arctic indigenous peoples are widely recognized as living examples of successful adaptation to severe environmental conditions. However, ethnographic and anthropological studies tend to focus mainly on immaterial “traditional knowledge,” while tangible artifacts and practices, related skills and technologies that still constitute the very existence of these communities remain largely unexplored. In this essay we…

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May 2nd, 2017 by: Hanna Vikström

The Rush for Greenlandic Metals

Never before has the demand for metals been as high as it is now. Products and technologies we use every day, including smart phones, electric cars, wind turbines, cutlery and light bulbs are all constituted by metals, and demand is soaring. In spite of the ever-growing production, industrial and political actors are fearing resource scarcity…

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