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L11 - NATS 1840 Lecture 12 The Automobile Introduction STS...

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NATS 1840 – Lecture 12 – The Automobile Introduction – STS and the Familiar - Science and technology studies, scientific practice, laboratory work, issues of scientific authority - STS and political tradition, citizen empowerment - Ability of STS to change the way we look at familiar things - Inevitability of technology, best and most efficient options - example: the QWERTY keyboard - QWERTY layout is the result of typewriters, sticking keys - Awareness of competing key layouts, more efficient - ignorance of history, sense of inevitability and hidden costs - Example: the automobile, inevitability, destabilization The Automobile Today - The automobile is pervasive & integrated in North America - Pervasive: millions \owned, millions produced - Integrated: many social activities pursued in cars - restrictions on use: licensing and cost of operation - Cars are intertwined with pop culture, North American values; individual freedom, economic prosperity, sign of adulthood - motor vehicle, urbanization and suburbanization, personal mobility, distribution of goods What’s the Problem? - Internal combustion engine, gasoline, greenhouse gasses - Environmentalism in the modern world, mass production, individual action - Individual car pollution, millions of cars, aggregation of damage - Individual contribution small, altering usage difficult - Exhaust as an environmental and health problem - technological fix or a social fix - A technological fix – design change (hybrid, electric), social fix – using technology differently (carpooling, transit) - Technological fixes, technical difficultly, social fixes, habit The History of the Electric Car - Electric, gas & steam cars, turn of century - 1898 a New York Sun article stated that, At that busy corner, Grand Street and the Bowery, there may be seen cars propelled by five different methods of propulsion – by steam, by
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cable, by underground trolley, by storage battery and by horses.
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