Object Lessons

Object Lessons is an essay and book series about the hidden lives of ordinary things, from ....

Series Editors: Ian Bogost and Christopher Schaberg

Object Lessons
9781623563110

Remote Control

by Caetlin Benson-Allott

While we all use remote controls, we understand little about their history or their impact on our daily lives. This book offers lively analyses of the remote control’s material and cultural history to explain how such an innocuous media accessory can change the way we occupy our houses, interact with our families, and experience the world. From the first wired radio remotes of the 1920s to infrared universal remotes, from the homemade TV controllers to the Apple Remote, remote controls shape our media devices and how we live with them.

9781628921380

Golf Ball

by Harry Brown

This book explores the composition, history, kinetic life, and the long senescence of golf balls, which may outlive their hitters by a thousand years, in places far beyond our reach. They embody our efforts to impose our will on the land, whether the local golf course or the Moon, but their unpredictable spin, bounce, and roll often defy our control. Despite their considerable technical refinements, golf balls reveal the futility of control. They inevitably disappear in plain sight and find their way into hazards. Golf balls play with people.

DRONE

Drone

by Adam Rothstein

Drones are in the newspaper, on the TV screen, and swarming through the networks. But what are drones? The word encompasses everything from toys to weapons. And yet, as broadly defined as they are, the word “drone” fills many of us with a sense of technological dread. This book will cut through the mystery, the unknown, and the political posturing, and talk about what drones really are: what technologies are out there, and what’s coming next; how drones are talked about, and how they are represented in popular culture. It turns out that drones are not as scary as they appear—but they are more complicated than you might expect. In drones, we find strange relationships that humans are forming with their new technologies.

The Secret Life of Yo-Yos

The modern version of the toy is practically unrecognizable

by Chris Goto-Jones

It’s easy to forget how much of an impression such a simple object can make on people. It gives people a particular kind of thrill to feel in control of such a dynamic, energetic, and animated object. It collaborates, cooperates, and, also, resists.

Read this essay at The Atlantic

America’s Immortal Cereal

The weird, wonderful story behind Corn Flakes

by Rachel Smith

Over-dried and spray-coated, time-tested and familiar, Corn Flakes are the epitome of conventional food. In fact, there is innovation in a Corn Flake, but you can’t really see it.

Read this essay at The Atlantic

Generic Drugs: The Same, but Not

The law requires them to be the same as brand-name drugs in all ways that matter. But what science considers important is a moving target.

by Jeremy Greene

Generic drugs may seem humdrum, banal objects. After all, who is going to win a Nobel Prize for creating a generic drug? Yet within each of these plainly wrapped commodities lies an ideological debate that cuts to the core of modern medical practice and consumer culture.

Read this essay at The Atlantic

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