Download The Culture of Technology by Arnold Pacey PDF

By Arnold Pacey

The tradition of expertise examines our frequently conflicting attitudes towards nuclear guns, organic applied sciences, pollutants, 3rd international improvement, automation, social drugs, and commercial decline. It disputes the typical inspiration that expertise is "value-free" and indicates that its improvement and use are conditioned via many factors-political and cultural in addition to fiscal and clinical. Many examples from a number of cultures are provided. those diversity from the effect of snowmobiles in North the United States to using water pumps in rural India, and from selfmade toys in Africa to electrical energy new release in Britain-all displaying how the complicated interplay of many affects in each group impacts technological practice.Arnold Pacey, who lives close to Oxford, England, has a level in physics and has lectured on either the heritage of know-how and expertise coverage, with a selected concentrate on the improvement of applied sciences applicable to 3rd global wishes. he's the writer of The Maze of Ingenuity (MIT Press paperback).

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Group conduct'. 27 So in the development of modern technology, it is not just the influence of tools and techniques on society that needs to be understood, but the whole array of 'mutually enhancing agencies' which has led to the spectacular advances of our own time. As another student of human evolution has put it, 'technology has always been with us. It is not something outside society, some external force by which we are pushed around . . society and technology are . . ':" Equally, it is a myth that cultural lag occurs in every community as people try to keep up with their progressive technology.

Smoking and industrial pollutants are known to interact, and both could be implicated in many cases of lung cancer. While it may be true of an industrial community that smoking is a factor in 80 per cent of all lung cancer deaths, it may simultaneously be true that there is an occupational or pollution factor in 30 per cent of deaths, and that several other contributory causes are important as well. In other words, the arguments of the two sides are not mutually exclusive, and the percentages must usually add to more than 100.

Big dams feeding leaking pipes -like electricity generating stations pumping heat into the atmosphere - illustrate clearly what 'halfway technology' is about. Those parts of the system on which the engineers have focused most attention are extremely impressive. Power station turbines are almost as efficient as the laws of thermodynamics allow. Concrete dams have become elegant and economical in design. But as Lewis Thomas says of halfway technology in medicine, from other points of view, some of these sophisticated techniques are profoundly primitive and disproportionately costly.

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