Category Archives: history

The Great Offline

The concept of “offline” is built on the earlier concept of “wilderness,” inheriting its flaws and hazards

Before the internet, escaping to the wilderness was touted for its health benefits. Now, it is a remedy to the abstract category of technology — screen light and digital noise

Speculation, invention and making new worlds

Speculation is a word with a history. Originally from a root meaning ‘to observe’, it has moved from Latin through Old French to English, and along the way its meaning has been enlarged, from indicating the use of thought to pursue the truth, to describing conjecture and unsupported assertion by the sixteenth century, to risky gambling in the stock market by the eighteenth. Together, these meanings point to a general sense of intellectual experiment, of asking ‘what if..?’ and trying things out. This experimentation is what leads to the production of new ideas, departures from how we thought before the experiment. Speculative design, speculative fiction, speculative philosophy and research are not all trying to do the same thing, but they all have a common interest in trying out new ways of being in the world. They suggest that speculation about the future is less about simply moving our present further along the timeline, and more about finding new ways to imagine relating to the world and each other.

Making a Living

The use of fire helped us become more social creatures in other ways as well. Recently unearthed evidence has demonstrated that early humans did not live in small bands for the whole of their existence, as anthropologists and archaeologists had long supposed. Where food was less abundant, people spread out, keeping enough distance from one another to ensure an ease of acquisition. 

‘It’s about self-love’: the black women busting beauty myths in west Africa

In Senegal, women and men have to contend with a colonial legacy of beauty standards and an idealisation of Eurocentric and lighter-skinned features. Techniques such as relaxing – a common process of chemically straightening hair – is prevalent, often causing hair breakage and scalp damage. Notions that black hair is not desirable, and should be changed or covered are widespread. Skin bleaching is also prevalent, as in much of west Africa, amplified by ubiquitous advertising from major skin brands, and cultural imagery that depicts lighter skin tones as more beautiful. Read more (Guardian)