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Cultures of Energy

Cultures of Energy brings writers, artists and scholars together to talk, think and feel their way into the Anthropocene. We cover serious issues like climate change, species extinction and energy transition. But we also try to confront seemingly huge and insurmountable problems with insight, creativity and laughter. We believe in the possibility of personal and cultural change. And we believe that the arts and humanities can help guide us toward a more sustainable future. Cultures of Energy is sponsored by Rice University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS, pronounced ‘sense’). Join the conversation on Twitter @cenhs and on the web at culturesofenergy.com
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Jul 11, 2019

Co-host Cymene reminisces this week about being the first intern hired by Wired magazine waaaay back in the day. Then (14:42) we are joined by journalist Andrew Blum (https://www.andrewblum.net)—the celebrated author of Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet—to talk about his new book, The Weather Machine (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2019). We dive deep into it, beginning with our “golden age” of meteorology, and its improved computer simulations. We talk about human presence within massive information infrastructures, his interest in place philosophy, balancing attentions to weather and climate, comparing weather banality vs. weather catastrophe; and, Andrew explains to us the different ways of interpreting the history of weather forecasting. From there we turn to the intersection of war and weather, how Cold War rivalry and internationalism helped shape the weather machine as a global cooperative project, and whether private corporations like Google and IBM will control the future of forecasting. Chemtrails and other weather conspiracies make an appearance, as does the secret Nazi invasion of Canada to build a weather station. We close talking about weather and sympathy and sharing storm stories.

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