Posts Tagged 'Technology'

The Power of “Cabin Porn”: Producing and Consuming Electricity in Norwegian Leisure Cabins

Finn Arne Jørgensen
Rice Hall 128
University of Virginia
September 20, 2012, 3:30-5:00pm

The somewhat speculative phrase “cabin porn” reflects a growing international interest in cabins, shedworking, and rustic, exurban living off the grid – most of it romanticizing rural and low-tech lifestyles. A number of books, magazines, and websites (the most popular of the latter named simply “Cabin Porn”) encourage people to explore their inner Thoreau at their own cabin. The cabin has become an arena where people try to work out their ambivalent relationship to technology and all the bothersome things of modern life (including other people). The history of Norwegian cabins demonstrates what happens when this dream of more authentic living at the cabin comes true – very often, our wish for simplicity and comfort becomes a spearhead for technological upgrades. This talk will examine the question of electricity generation at the cabin, particularly focusing on the complex negotiations between consumers, commercial interests, property developers, available technological infrastructure (i.e. “the grid”), and cultural values about cabin living. The history of the Norwegian leisure cabin thus gives us insight into the unintended technological consequences of the dream of a simple life in nature.

Finn Arne Jørgensen is an assistant professor in history of technology and environment at Umeå University, Sweden, and a former visiting researcher at the UVA STS Department (2005-06). His first book, Making a Green Machine: The Infrastructure of Beverage Container Recycling, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2011. In this STS colloquium talk, he will present parts of his research on the history of the Norwegian leisure cabin, situating it within a larger international discussion of environment, technology, and society.

Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy

Kathleen Fitzpatrick talk – start time moved to 2:00 p.m.

Scholar’s Lab, Alderman Library

In case you missed our other announcements to this effect, we wanted to make sure you were aware that the start time of Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s talk “Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy” was moved to 2:00 p.m.  For more on her talk, please see the SLab event calendar.  We hope to see you there!

All Scholars’ Lab events are free and open to all. No registration is required.

We hope to see you in the Scholars’ Lab! And check out our full calendar of coming events.

Football and Technology

Technology Likely To Have Wide-Ranging Impact On NFL In 2020.

In a series of articles about the future of technology and the NFL, the Chicago Tribune (1/29, Farmer) reports, “No one can be precisely sure where technology will take the league in 10 years, and trying to guess is a fun but often fruitless pursuit.” Predictions historically have a spotty record of panning out. So far, “the incredible technological advances have been made in how and where we watch football, and how much information is at our fingertips.” The article considers what “the game look like in 2020” in terms of its scope, its composition, and the technology it will employ. “In many ways, the future is now. At a Pro Bowl practice last week, Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick wore a tiny camera on his helmet and the footage was posted on, giving football fans a chance to see how a play develops from his perspective.”

The Chicago Tribune (1/29, Farmer) reported, “Priya Narasimhan, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and her team of 10 engineering students have developed a ‘smart football’ with a miniature GPS unit and accelerometer, both contained in a half-ounce microchip inside the ball. The chip can measure factors such as ball speed, spin, trajectory and – even when it’s buried under a pile of players – the precise location of the football.” The technologically enhanced football is just one piece of technology the NFL is considering “to make officiating and game timing even more accurate.” The article describes some of the challenges the team faced outfitting the ball with new technology, such as determining a viable power supply and adding technology without altering “the weight, the spiral, the torque or the feel of the football.”

A third Chicago Tribune (1/29, Farmer) article reported football helmet company Riddell “has developed a futuristic system for measuring the severity of hits to the head, and tracking them over the course of the player’s football career.” The company “has specialized helmets fitted with accelerometers that capture, record and measure hits to the head.” Thad Ide, senior vice president of research and product development for Riddell, “said he can envision a day when NFL players wear helmets specific to their positions. So, for instance, an offensive lineman might have extra protection from all the hits he absorbs to the forehead, whereas a receiver might have additional protection to handle a hit to the side of the head.” The Tribune notes that “Riddell is but one of many companies in the ultra-competitive field of developing helmets and pads.”

Reposted from the 1/31/11 issue of ASEE First Bell

The Dream of Perpetual Motion

Dexter Palmer reads from his debut novel.

Monday, February 7th, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Auditorium of the Harrison Institute/

Small Special Collections Library

Beautifully written, stunningly imagined, and wickedly funny, The Dream of Perpetual Motion (St. Martin’s Press, 2010; Picador, 2011) is a heartfelt meditation on the place of love in a world dominated by technology.  DEXTER PALMER lives in Princeton, New Jersey. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Princeton University.  Following the reading, Dexter will sign copies of the novel, available for purchase through the U.Va. Bookstore.  Sponsored by the U.Va. Library’s Harrison Institute and Scholars’ Lab, the U.Va. Department of English and Creative Writing MFA Program.

For more information, see:

STS Colloquium Series

Department of Science, Technology and Society
Fall 2009 Colloquium Series

Speaker:   Arne Kaijser, Professor of Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm
Title:   Technology and the Making of Contemporary Europe: Learning from the Tensions of Europe Project 
Date:   Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Time:   3:30 – 5:00 PM
Location:   Rodman Room (A207), Thornton Hall

Arne Kaijser will describe the Tensions of Europe project, a collaborative undertaking that explores ways to study transnational European history with a focus on the role of technology as a force of change.  Kaisjer will also tell us about his current research on the development of a European gas grid and the export of Soviet gas to Western Europe during the Cold War.

Brief Bio:
Arne Kaijser is a professor of History of Technology at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and the current president of the Society for the History of Technology.  Kaijser has written extensively about the history of large technological systems, with specific projects on energy and information technology.   He is also a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Urban Technology and Centaurus.

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