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Electrifying America

Author: David E. Nye
Publisher: Mit Press
ISBN: 9780262640305
Size: 14.65 MB
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Explores how electricity seeped into and redefined American culture, becoming fundamental to modern life.

American Technological Sublime

Author: David E. Nye
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262640343
Size: 10.82 MB
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Technology has long played a central role in the formation of Americans' sense ofselfhood. From the first canal systems through the moon landing, Americans have, for better orworse, derived unity from the common feeling of awe inspired by large-scale applications oftechnological prowess. American Technological Sublime continues the exploration of the socialconstruction of technology that David Nye began in his award-winning book Electrifying America. HereNye examines the continuing appeal of the "technological sublime" (a term coined by Perry Miller) asa key to the nation's history, using as examples the natural sites, architectural forms, andtechnological achievements that ordinary people have valued intensely.American Technological Sublimeis a study of the politics of perception in industrial society. Arranged chronologically, itsuggests that the sublime itself has a history - that sublime experiences are emotionalconfigurations that emerge from new social and technological conditions, and that each newconfiguration to some extent undermines and displaces the older versions. After giving a shorthistory of the sublime as an aesthetic category, Nye describes the reemergence and democratizationof the concept in the early nineteenth century as an expression of the American sense ofspecialness.What has filled the American public with wonder, awe, even terror? David Nye selects theGrand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, the Erie Canal, the firsttranscontinental railroad, Eads Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, the major international expositions, theHudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909, the Empire State Building, and Boulder Dam. He then looks at theatom bomb tests and the Apollo mission as examples of the increasing ambivalence of thetechnological sublime in the postwar world. The festivities surrounding the rededication of theStatue of Liberty in 1986 become a touchstone reflecting the transformation of the Americanexperience of the sublime over two centuries. Nye concludes with a vision of the modern-day"consumer sublime" as manifested in the fantasy world of Las Vegas.

When The Lights Went Out

Author: David E. Nye
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262288338
Size: 39.62 MB
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Where were you when the lights went out? At home during a thunderstorm? During the Great Northeastern Blackout of 1965? In California when rolling blackouts hit in 2000? In 2003, when a cascading power failure left fifty million people without electricity? We often remember vividly our time in the dark. In When the Lights Went Out, David Nye views power outages in America from 1935 to the present not simply as technical failures but variously as military tactic, social disruption, crisis in the networked city, outcome of political and economic decisions, sudden encounter with sublimity, and memories enshrined in photographs. Our electrically lit-up life is so natural to us that when the lights go off, the darkness seems abnormal. Nye looks at America's development of its electrical grid, which made large-scale power failures possible and a series of blackouts from military blackouts to the "greenout" (exemplified by the new tradition of "Earth Hour"), a voluntary reduction organized by environmental organizations. Blackouts, writes Nye, are breaks in the flow of social time that reveal much about the trajectory of American history. Each time one occurs, Americans confront their essential condition -- not as isolated individuals, but as a community that increasingly binds itself together with electrical wires and signals.

Electroconvulsive Therapy In America

Author: Jonathan Sadowsky
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 1315522845
Size: 31.96 MB
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Electroconvulsive Therapy is widely demonized or idealized. Some detractors consider its very use to be a human rights violation, while some promoters depict it as a miracle, the "penicillin of psychiatry." This book traces the American history of one of the most controversial procedures in medicine, and seeks to provide an explanation of why ECT has been so controversial, juxtaposing evidence from clinical science, personal memoir, and popular culture. Contextualizing the controversies about ECT, instead of simply engaging in them, makes the history of ECT more richly revealing of wider changes in culture and medicine. It shows that the application of electricity to the brain to treat illness is not only a physiological event, but also one embedded in culturally patterned beliefs about the human body, the meaning of sickness, and medical authority.

Wind Energy In America

Author: Robert W. Righter
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
ISBN: 9780806128122
Size: 64.34 MB
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Relates the history of the efforts to capture the power of wind for electricity, from the first European windmills to California's wind farms of the late twentieth century.

Mass Destruction

Author: Timothy J. LeCain
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813548562
Size: 32.11 MB
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The place: The steep mountains outside Salt Lake City. The time: The first decade of the twentieth century. The man: Daniel Jackling, a young metallurgical engineer. The goal: A bold new technology that could provide billions of pounds of cheap copper for a rapidly electrifying America. The result: Bingham's enormous "Glory Hole," the first large-scale open-pit copper mine, an enormous chasm in the earth and one of the largest humanmade artifacts on the planet. Mass Destruction is the compelling story of Jackling and the development of open-pit hard rock mining, its role in the wiring of an electrified America, as well its devastating environmental consequences. Mass destruction mining soon spread around the nation and the globe, providing raw materials essential to the mass production and mass consumption that increasingly defined the emerging "American way of life." At the dawn of the last century, Jackling's open pit replaced immense but constricted underground mines that probed nearly a mile beneath the earth, to become the ultimate symbol of the modern faith that science and technology could overcome all natural limits. A new culture of mass destruction emerged that promised nearly infinite supplies not only of copper, but also of coal, timber, fish, and other natural resources. But, what were the consequences? Timothy J. LeCain deftly analyzes how open-pit mining continues to affect the environment in its ongoing devastation of nature and commodification of the physical world. The nation's largest toxic Superfund site would be one effect, as well as other types of environmental dead zones around the globe. Yet today, as the world's population races toward American levels of resource consumption, truly viable alternatives to the technology of mass destruction have not yet emerged.

Networks Of Power

Author: Thomas Parke Hughes
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9780801846144
Size: 46.54 MB
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Awarded the Dexter Prize by the Society for the History of Technology, this book offers a comparative history of the evolution of modern electric power systems. It described large-scale technological change and demonstrates that technology cannot be understood unless placed in a cultural context.

Consuming Power

Author: David E. Nye
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262261022
Size: 71.65 MB
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How did the United States become the world's largest consumer of energy? David Nye shows that this is less a question about the development of technology than it is a question about the development of culture. In Consuming Power, Nye uses energy as a touchstone to examine the lives of ordinary people engaged in normal activities. He looks at how these activities changed as new energy systems were constructed, from colonial times to recent years. He also shows how, as Americans incorporated new machines and processes into their lives, they became ensnared in power systems that were not easily changed: they made choices about the conduct of their lives, and those choices accumulated to produce a consuming culture. Nye examines a sequence of large systems that acquired and then lost technological momentum over the course of American history, including water power, steam power, electricity, the internal-combustion engine, atomic power, and computerization. He shows how each system became part of a larger set of social constructions through its links to the home, the factory, and the city. The result is a social history of America as seen through the lens of energy consumption.

Electrifying The Rural American West

Author: Leah S. Glaser
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 080322219X
Size: 62.36 MB
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Most Americans consider electricity essential to their lives, but the historic disparity of its distribution and use challenges notions of a democratic lifestyle, economy, and culture. By the beginning of the twentieth century, substations, wires, towers, and poles had followed migrants westward as the industrial era?s most prominent symbols of progress and power. When private companies controlled power production, electrical transmission, and distribution without regulation, they argued that it was not ?economically feasible? for many ethnic and rural communities to access ?the grid.? Yet, government agents continued to advocate electrical living through federal programs that reached into and across farming communities and American Indian reservations to homogenize and assimilate them through urban technologies. In the end, however, rural electrification was a locally directed process, subject to local and regional issues, concerns, and parameters. ø Electrifying the Rural American West provides a social and cultural history of rural electrification in the West. Using three case studies in Arizona, Leah S. Glaser details how, when examined from the local level, the process of electrification illustrates the impact of technology on places, economies, and lifestyles in the diverse communities and landscapes of the American West. As today?s policy-makers advocate building more power lines as a tool to bring democracy to faraway places and ?smart grids? to deliver renewable energy, they would do well to review the historical relationship of Americans with electronic power production, distribution, and regulation.

The Next Greatest Thing

Author: Richard A. Pence
Publisher: Consultants Library
ISBN: 9780917599002
Size: 28.28 MB
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"50 years of rural electrification in America"--Jacket subtitle.