January 31, 2010

Tech-nostalgia and Making Things: The Oxford Steampunk Exhibition

This weekend I finally got to the Steampunk exhibition - on at the Oxford Museum of the History of Science till the 21st February.

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April 21, 2009

Matt Whyman on children and technology

I recently interviewed the author Matt Whyman for the Write Away website. He's been a virtual agony uncle for AOL from their early days, and now writes teen fiction, including a series about the hacker Carl Hobbs. I asked him about his stand on children's use of technology and he had some very interesting things to say.
Here's a link to the pdf -

August 7, 2008

The science of printing in the 1960s

I think that Paul Luna's post on the advent of photo-typesetting technologies in the 50s and 60s is worth mentioning here, and not only for that fabulous workflow diagram! Over this era, the early stages of the printing process move from being 'inky' to 'scientific' (Luna's words). Incipient forms of computer-aided design were accompanied by the rise of exacting standards in specification -- the engineering-like planning and description of a piece to be printed.

August 16, 2007

Are clones cyborgs?

I'm working on my last and fifth chapter, and recently gave a presentation on it at a Children's Literature PhD day at Roehampton. I'm looking at a range of YA books about teenaged clones, and the paradox they create for adults: while adults enlist technology in order to reinforce their control over the unpredictability of having children, the products of this technology, the clones, exist outside the family structure and thus have the potential to disturb one of the main institutions that perpetuates the adult-child power hierarchy. I used Dona Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto where she suggests that a cyborg has no myth of origins. I claimed in my paper that clones are a kind of cyborg as they are 'made' rather than 'born'. This argument was seriously criticised, and my colleagues claimed that a cyborg does have 'parents' be it the scientist or the person from which the original DNA was taken. I wanted to ask what you thought of this.