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An Insider’s Account of State Power in a Coal Nation

The United States has pledged to the world community a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025. Because much of this reduction must come from electric utilities, especially coal-fired power plants, coal states will make or break the U.S. commitment to emissions reduction. In Climate of Capitulation, Vivian Thomson offers an insider’s account of how power is wielded in environmental policy making at the state level.

In Money, Payments, and Liquidity,  Guillaume Rocheteau and Ed Nosal provide a comprehensive investigation into the economics of money, liquidity, and payments by explicitly modeling the mechanics of trade and its various frictions (including search, private information, and limited commitment).

Frederick Kiesler and Design Research in the First Age of Robotic Culture

In 1960, the renowned architect Philip Johnson championed Frederick Kiesler, calling him “the greatest non-building architect of our time.” Kiesler’s ideas were difficult to construct, but as Johnson believed, “enormous” and “profound.” Kiesler (1890–1965) went against the grain of the accepted modern style, rejecting rectilinear glass and steel in favor of more organic forms and flexible structures that could respond to the ever-changing needs of the body in motion.

Knowledge and Control in the Genomics Revolution

The rise of genomics engendered intense struggle over the control of knowledge. In Reordering Life, Stephen Hilgartner examines the “genomics revolution” and develops a novel approach to studying the dynamics of change in knowledge and control. Hilgartner focuses on the Human Genome Project (HGP)—the symbolic and scientific centerpiece of the emerging field—showing how problems of governance arose in concert with new knowledge and technology.

The Science of How We Experience Time

We have widely varying perceptions of time. Children have trouble waiting for anything. (“Are we there yet?”) Boredom is often connected to our sense of time passing (or not passing). As people grow older, time seems to speed up, the years flitting by without a pause. How does our sense of time come about? In Felt Time, Marc Wittmann explores the riddle of subjective time, explaining our perception of time—whether moment by moment, or in terms of life as a whole.

Unlocking the Mobile Economy

Consumers create a data trail by tapping their phones; businesses can tap into this trail to harness the power of the more than three trillion dollar mobile economy. According to Anindya Ghose, a global authority on the mobile economy, this two-way exchange can benefit both customers and businesses. In Tap, Ghose welcomes us to the mobile economy of smartphones, smarter companies, and value-seeking consumers.

Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff
Edited by Bill Maurer and Lana Swartz

Museums are full of the coins, notes, beads, shells, stones, and other objects people have exchanged for millennia. But what about the debris, the things that allow a transaction to take place and are left its wake? How would a museum go about curating our scrawls on electronic keypads, the receipts wadded in our wallets, that vast information infrastructure that runs the card networks?

Latin America is richly endowed with natural resources, fertile land, and vibrant cultures. Yet the region remains much poorer than its neighbors to the north. Most Latin American countries have not achieved standards of living and stable institutions comparable to those found in developed countries, have experienced repeated boom-bust cycles, and emain heavily reliant on primary commodities.

Tony Duvert’s novel Atlantic Island (originally published in French in 1979) takes place in the soul-crushing suburbs of a remote island off the coast of France. It is told through the shifting perspectives of a group of pubescent and prepubescent boys, ages seven to fourteen, who gather together at night in secret to carry out a series of burglaries throughout their neighborhood. The boys vandalize living rooms and kitchens and make off with, for the most part, petty objects of no value.

An Essay on the Materialities of Information

Virtual entities that populate our digital experience, like e-books, virtual worlds, and online stores, are backed by the large-scale physical infrastructures of server farms, fiber optic cables, power plants, and microwave links. But another domain of material constraints also shapes digital living: the digital representations sketched on whiteboards, encoded into software, stored in databases, loaded into computer memory, and transmitted on networks. These digital representations encode aspects of our everyday world and make them available for digital processing.

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