Late nineteenth-century Britain saw an extraordinary surge in patent disputes over the new technologies of electrical power, lighting, telephony, and radio, which played out in the twin tribunals of the courtroom and the press. In this BIT, Stathis Arapostathis and Graeme Gooday examine the persistent conflicts over inventorship in electrical invention in this period, analyzing disputes over who should be considered the “first and true inventor” of early electrical technologies.
This BIT offers an excerpt from a book that has shaped the study of new media. In The Language of New Media, Lev Manovich offered the field’s first systematic and rigorous theory. Here, Manovich considers the computer as illusion generator, addressing such questions as the “reality effect” of new media images and the comparative illusionism of new media, photography, film, and video.
The career of computer visionary Grace Murray Hopper paralleled the meteoric trajectory of the postwar computer industry. This BIT describes the myth of “amazing Grace” and tells how she became “the third programmer of the world’s first computer.”
Energy innovation offers us our best chance to solve the three urgent and interrelated problems of climate change, worldwide insecurity over energy supplies, and rapidly growing energy demand. But if we are to achieve a timely transition to reliable, low-cost, low-carbon energy, the U.S. energy innovation system must be radically overhauled. This BIT describes innovation that enables low-carbon technologies to supplant natural gas and other fossil fuels for power generation.
In this BIT, the philosopher Mladen Dolar introduces a new, philosophically grounded theory of the voice. Dolar considers a Lacanian metaphysics of the voice, developing Lacan’s claim that the voice is one of the paramount embodiments of the psychoanalytic object.
The philosopher Michael Tye, reversing his previous position, rejects the phenomenal concept strategy (which holds that we possess a range of special concepts for classifying the subjective aspects of our experiences) and formulates another approach for defending materialism. In this BIT, he examines one puzzle of consciousness that philosophical materialism must confront after rejecting the phenomenal concept strategy.
Uncertainty in games—from Super Mario Bros. to Rock/Paper/Scissors—engages players and shapes play experiences. This BIT examines the sources of that uncertainty, from doubts about performance to a game’s elements of randomness.
The Earth’s oceans are overfished, despite more than fifty years of cooperation among the world’s fishing nations. There are too many boats chasing too few fish. In this BIT, J. Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth R. DeSombre offer a provocative proposal for a global regulatory and policy approach, describing the “capture” of regulation by industry and offering a plan for a global institution for fisheries regulation.
The intrauterine device (IUD) has been viewed both as a means for women’s reproductive autonomy and as coercive tool of state-imposed population control, as a convenient form of birth control on a par with the pill and as a threat to women’s health. This BIT examines the early development of the IUD through a feminist science lens, describing efforts to improve and measure its contraceptive efficacy.
Imagine the astonishment felt by neuroscientist Rodrigo Quian Quiroga when he found a fantastically precise interpretation of his research findings in a story written by the great Argentinian fabulist Jorge Luis Borges fifty years earlier. In this BIT, Quian Quiroga explores real-life cases that recall Borges’s fictional “Funes the Memorious,” investigating a man who couldn’t forget, and another who could not form new memories.