NONFICTION

Fish Sticks, Sports Bras, & Aluminum Cans: The Politics of Everyday Technologies

Johns Hopkins. 2015. 212p. notes. index. ISBN 9781421417837. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421417844. TECH
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Who knew that a sports bra was created from a jockstrap? Or that U.S. residents eat nearly 150 pounds of sweeteners annually and that fructose accounts for ten percent of our diets? Josephson (history, Colby Coll.; Would Trotsky Wear a Bluetooth??) explores our simple and everyday technologies, connecting them to our actions, as well as their uses (and misuses) and the ultimate problems that arise. What is intriguing about this book is that Josephson not only offers a well-researched background of the technology, he also chronicles its history and use, often detailing what its impact has been on our lives, economy, and society. For instance, we classify most disasters as natural even though often a human component such as building on a floodplain or situating a nuclear plant near a city is integral to that disaster. The author scrutinizes how technology can shape other technologies, which ultimately reflects on our cultural, social, political, economic, and environmental relationships.
VERDICT Because this book covers a variety of technologies that touch on numerous curriculum topics, it would be a fascinating first start for a classroom discussion on the origins of the many items that we use and why we do so.

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