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STS 181: Techno-metabolism: Technology, Society, and the Anthropocene

In the Anthropocene epoch, humanity has become a geological force. As the sum of all technological systems and their human components, the technosphere metabolizes energy, materials, and information. Techno-metabolism's waste products- greenhouse gases, microplastics, nuclear waste, etc. - are transforming the biosphere and the geosphere, with radically different effects on disparate peoples and places. Scientists, historians, and others have proposed new ways to conceptualize techno-metabolism in order to reduce energy requirements and material waste. Meanwhile, "data exhaust" - the "waste" data generated by individual activity, from web searches to Facebook and Instagram - is increasingly "recycled" to detect patterns, trends, and individual preferences. In this project-centered course, students will seek creative ways to visualize, understand, and change the interplay of energy, materials, information, and waste. Assignments include reading logs and a term-long group project.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 3-4 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
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