By Paul N. Edwards

ISBN-10: 0262013924

ISBN-13: 9780262013925

The technology in the back of worldwide warming, and its historical past: how scientists discovered to appreciate the ambience, to degree it, to track its prior, and to version its destiny.

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Extra info for A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming

Sample text

The fundamental dynamic of infrastructure development can thus be described as a perpetual oscillation between the desire for smooth, system-like behavior and the need to combine capabilities no single system can yet provide. 21 This means that, although infrastructures can be coordinated or regulated to some degree, it is difficult or impossible to design or manage them, in the sense of imposing (from above) a single vision, practice, or plan. Infrastructure formation is never tension-free. Emerging infrastructures invariably create winners and losers.

Macintosh and Linux). During consolidation, the quasi-final stage of LTS development, competition among technological systems and standards may be resolved by the victory of one over the others. 17 AC-DC power converters for consumer electronics and telephone adapters for international travel are examples, as are (in the world of information technology) platform-independent standards such as HTML and PDF. 18 Gateway technologies and standards spark the formation of networks. Using gateways, homogeneous and often geographically local systems can be linked to form heterogeneous networks in which top-down control is replaced by distributed coordination processes.

Inverting the weather and climate knowledge infrastructures and tracing their history reveal profound relationships, interdependencies, and conflicts among their scientific, technological, social, and political elements. Over time, as knowledge production becomes infrastructural, these relationships become increasingly invisible, even as they continue to evolve. The difference between controversial claims and settled knowledge often lies in the degree to which the production process is submerged.

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A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming by Paul N. Edwards


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