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Sex, Bombs and Burgers: How War, Porn and Fast Food Shaped Technology as We Know It [Hardcover]

Peter Nowak
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 2 2010

In this surprising history of technology, Peter Nowak argues that most of the innovations that make modern life modern can be directly traced to one of three questionable aspects of human activity—war, porn, and the fast food industry. Following developments in technology from the 1940s to the present, Nowak reveals the links between Barbie and U.S. missile systems, how the porn industry killed Betamax, and why Niue, Polynesia, is the phone-sex capital of the world. He exposes the unexpected origins of many common household items, such as cellphones, microwave ovens, and plastic packaging, and raises the disturbing question of where we would be, technologically speaking, without our basest desires.

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"Moving effortlessly from the Slinky to space-age Kimchee, this book is packed with fun, fascinating facts. But don't be fooled: Exploring the myriad ways the industrial-military complex has radically transformed human life is serious business. Peter Nowak has given us an impressive contribution to the study of how technology creates, and fulfills, age-old appetites."

--Hal Niedzviecki, author of The Peep Diaries

"Peter Nowak marshals an impressive arsenal of humour and insight to reveal the surprising history behind some of our best known and most loved technologies and toys. Who knew that sex, fast food and fighting formed such a powerful, shameful trinity?"

--Craig Silverman, author of Regret the Error

"Nowak weaves a compelling and surprising tale of the profit, drive, and sheer accident that have created much of the technological world around us. From the Internet to Silly Putty, Nowak shows how deeply cultural technology really is. If you think of innovation as an objective process of rational invention, Nowak's look at the links amongst technology, war, sex, and the food industry, will blow your mind."

--Nora Young, host of CBC Radio's Spark

About the Author

PETER NOWAK is currently the senior science and technology reporter for CBC News Online. He has been writing about technology for more than a decade, and is a technology reporter, columnist, or editor at the National Post, The Globe and Mail, and The New Zealand Herald, where the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand named him the technology journalist of the year in 2006.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, intersting and fun to read. July 3 2014
I really enjoyed reading Sex, Bombs and Burgers. It was very insightful and fun to read. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and well-thought-out Nov. 2 2010
An excellent overview of the surprising origins of a lot of what we take for granted: while I knew about the military history of a lot of what makes my daily life convenient, I'd never realized how much porn (in particular) serves as an accelerator for new technologies. It starts strong and keeps on going with page after page of genuinely interesting insights.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not really new information June 4 2010
Essentially the author has tapped into an idea and explaining our 'lizard brain' through modern trends. The aspect of the brain that covers our 4 most basic instincts, fight, flee, feed and f...... sex. Not revolutionary stuff but perhaps news to those outside psychology, psychiatry, biology and anthropology.
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