From Know-How to Nowhere: The Development of American Technology

From Know-How to Nowhere: The Development of American Technology

From Know-How to Nowhere: The Development of American Technology

From Know-How to Nowhere: The Development of American Technology

Excerpt

A friend of mine, a man of science, finds my idea that the narrative can be a form of thought hilarious. I do not propose to argue the point here; it is mentioned only because it explains something about the structure of this book. My interest in what might be done with the future comes out of a much longer engagement with the past. Hence there is, in these pages, a good deal of history and therefore of narration.

The history deals with how we have built or made certain kinds of things and how we have decided what to build or make. There is, in a way, not much that is new in these historical accounts. Most of the material is easily available. But since it deals with matters—canals, locomotives, steel ingots, electric light bulbs—which until very recently were not believed to be a necessary part of our learning, indeed were often assumed to be culturally inappropriate, not many people have paid much attention to it. In that sense I hope it will be new to many of those who may read these pages. Also I

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