Aircraft Stories: Decentering the Object in Technoscience

Duke University Press
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In Aircraft Stories noted sociologist of technoscience John Law tells “stories” about a British attempt to build a military aircraft—the TSR2. The intertwining of these stories demonstrates the ways in which particular technological projects can be understood in a world of complex contexts.
Law works to upset the binary between the modernist concept of knowledge, subjects, and objects as having centered and concrete essences and the postmodernist notion that all is fragmented and centerless. The structure and content of Aircraft Stories reflect Law’s contention that knowledge, subjects, and—particularly— objects are “fractionally coherent”: that is, they are drawn together without necessarily being centered. In studying the process of this particular aircraft’s design, construction, and eventual cancellation, Law develops a range of metaphors to describe both its fractional character and the ways its various aspects interact with each other. Offering numerous insights into the way we theorize the working of systems, he explores the overlaps between singularity and multiplicity and reveals rich new meaning in such concepts as oscillation, interference, fractionality, and rhizomatic networks.
The methodology and insights of Aircraft Stories will be invaluable to students in science and technology studies and will engage others who are interested in the ways that contemporary paradigms have limited our ability to see objects in their true complexity.
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About the author

John Law is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Science Studies at Lancaster University in England. He is the author and editor of many books and articles, including Organizing Modernity and Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Apr 24, 2002
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9780822383543
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / General
Technology & Engineering / Aeronautics & Astronautics
Technology & Engineering / Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The U.S. Air Force asked the RAND Corporation to study capability-based programming. As an initial case study, RAND evaluated the F-15 programmed depot maintenance (PDM) process as it occurs at the Warner Robins (WR) Air Logistics Center (ALC) at Robins Air Force Base in central Georgia. RAND studied the recent history of F-15 PDM at WR, including WR's recent implementation of "lean" approaches. Depot maintenance funding influences capability. Aircraft enter programmed depot maintenance (PDM) on a regular schedule. The level of resources devoted to PDM influences both how much work is done in PDM (i.e., how much more reliable or capable aircraft are after leaving PDM) and the duration of PDM. Other things being equal, one expects a better-funded process to run more quickly (e.g., there are fewer queues within the depot and more spare parts available). In this report, RAND focuses on the issue of PDM speed. When PDM is lengthy, more aircraft are tied up in PDM at any given point in time; fewer aircraft are available to operating commands. It would be desirable to expedite PDM: aircraft would spend a greater fraction of their lives in the possession of operating commands and available for usage, if required. In this report, they present a new methodology to estimate the value of accelerated PDM. For a commercial airline, calculating the value of expedited maintenance is (relatively) straightforward: a commercial airliner is expected to generate a certain amount of profit each day (or hour) it operates. Lost profit forms a benchmark for the value of accelerating commercial airliner PDM. Military aircraft lack such a profit metric. Yet, some valuation of military aircraft in operating command possession is necessary if the Air Force is to assess the desirability of investing resources in expediting PDM (or saving money by slowing PDM). The methodology presented in this report is intended to inform depot-level cost-benefit analysis.
They're all here--every X-bomber and X-fighter since 1942.

On October 2, 1942, the Bell XP-59 Airacomet soared up and away from present-day Edwards AFB, launching the US Army Air Forces into the Jet Age. In the several decades since, hundreds of new variations of experimental and test turbojet-powered bombers and fighters--X-bombers and X-fighters--have taken explosive flight. These aircraft blazed a trail leading to today's B-2 Stealth Bomber and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

TheBig Book of X-Bombers & X-Fighters showcases all of the USAF jet-powered X-bombers and X-fighters that have flown since 1942--more than 90 in all, including the alphabet soup of their variants. From experimental to prototype service bombers and fighters--from the XB-43 to the B-2A and the XP-59A to the F-35A--they're all here, with their inside stories revealed. Some of these aircraft were further developed. Others were canceled. All stretched the performance and design envelopes.

More than 250 photos illustrate all of these experimental aircrafts' cutting-edge features and zeroes in on histories of their design, flight testing, and weapons testing. Specification tables detailing performance, design, and armaments help round out this compendium of information on truly groundbreaking aviation designs.

X-bombers and X-fighters in TheBig Book of X-Bombers & X-Fighters include:

Bell P-59 Airacomet

Republic P/F-84 Thunderjet

Douglas B-43 Jetmaster

North American B-45 Tornado

Boeing B-47 Stratojet

Curtiss P/F-87 Blackhawk

McDonnell P/F-85 Goblin

Convair P/F-92 "Dart"

Northrop F-17 Cobra

Boeing B-1 Lancer

And all the rest!

Specifications included for each aircraft include:

Length

Height

Wingspan

Empty weight

Gross weight

Maximum range

Ceiling

Maximum speed

Armament

In addition, veteran aviation author Steve Pace shows readers some of the designs that could have been and offers a peek into what might be lurking in the future, making this the definitive guide to USAF jet-powered experimental aircraft!

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: NPR, Slate, Publishers Weekly, Goodreads

Following the success of The Accidental Billionaires and Moneyball comes Console Wars—a mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video game industry.

In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But that would all change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a man who knew nothing about videogames and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat and bold ideas of his renegade employees, transformed Sega and eventually led to a ruthless David-and-Goliath showdown with rival Nintendo.

The battle was vicious, relentless, and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and schoolyards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the US against Japan.

Based on over two hundred interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the underdog tale of how Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punchline into a market leader. It’s the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry.

The Body Multiple is an extraordinary ethnography of an ordinary disease. Drawing on fieldwork in a Dutch university hospital, Annemarie Mol looks at the day-to-day diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerosis. A patient information leaflet might describe atherosclerosis as the gradual obstruction of the arteries, but in hospital practice this one medical condition appears to be many other things. From one moment, place, apparatus, specialty, or treatment, to the next, a slightly different “atherosclerosis” is being discussed, measured, observed, or stripped away. This multiplicity does not imply fragmentation; instead, the disease is made to cohere through a range of tactics including transporting forms and files, making images, holding case conferences, and conducting doctor-patient conversations.

The Body Multiple juxtaposes two distinct texts. Alongside Mol’s analysis of her ethnographic material—interviews with doctors and patients and observations of medical examinations, consultations, and operations—runs a parallel text in which she reflects on the relevant literature. Mol draws on medical anthropology, sociology, feminist theory, philosophy, and science and technology studies to reframe such issues as the disease-illness distinction, subject-object relations, boundaries, difference, situatedness, and ontology. In dialogue with one another, Mol’s two texts meditate on the multiplicity of reality-in-practice.

Presenting philosophical reflections on the body and medical practice through vivid storytelling, The Body Multiple will be important to those in medical anthropology, philosophy, and the social study of science, technology, and medicine.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER
The Globe and Mail Top Leadership and Management BookForbes Top Creative Leadership Book
From the visionary head of Google's innovative People Operations comes a groundbreaking inquiry into the philosophy of work-and a blueprint for attracting the most spectacular talent to your business and ensuring that they succeed.

"We spend more time working than doing anything else in life. It's not right that the experience of work should be so demotivating and dehumanizing." So says Laszlo Bock, former head of People Operations at the company that transformed how the world interacts with knowledge.

This insight is the heart of WORK RULES!, a compelling and surprisingly playful manifesto that offers lessons including:

Take away managers' power over employeesLearn from your best employees-and your worstHire only people who are smarter than you are, no matter how long it takes to find themPay unfairly (it's more fair!)Don't trust your gut: Use data to predict and shape the futureDefault to open-be transparent and welcome feedbackIf you're comfortable with the amount of freedom you've given your employees, you haven't gone far enough.

Drawing on the latest research in behavioral economics and a profound grasp of human psychology, WORK RULES! also provides teaching examples from a range of industries-including lauded companies that happen to be hideous places to work and little-known companies that achieve spectacular results by valuing and listening to their employees. Bock takes us inside one of history's most explosively successful businesses to reveal why Google is consistently rated one of the best places to work in the world, distilling 15 years of intensive worker R&D into principles that are easy to put into action, whether you're a team of one or a team of thousands.

WORK RULES! shows how to strike a balance between creativity and structure, leading to success you can measure in quality of life as well as market share. Read it to build a better company from within rather than from above; read it to reawaken your joy in what you do.

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