Sensory History: A Primer

Sensory History

Tropics of Meta

Nipper

Everyone loves lists. The editors of Tropics of Meta have shown how much fun lists of scholarly books can be. Alex Cummings identifies ten books crucial to the study of media history, and Ryan Reft adds nineteen that explore U.S. military history (war and society). Both lists provide a pleasant introduction to excellent scholarship in important but sometimes misunderstood fields.

In the same spirit, here’s a gentle invitation to ease your way into another fascinating but somewhat mysterious field, sensory history. Although there is nothing new about the explicit study of the five human senses (Aristotle shaped basic ideas about the role, meaning, and uses of the senses that still pervade the Western world), sensory studies emerged only recently as an academic field of study. Since the 1990s, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers, art historians, literary scholars and many others have produced ever more imaginative explorations of how our senses work in…

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Germany mulls ban on after-hours work emails and calls

After Hours Work

Gigaom

In the last few years, some German firms such as BMW, Volkswagen and Deutsche Telekom have banned after-hours call and emails to workers – the point being to actually let people take time off in the evening, rather than effectively being half-working all the time.

Now a ban on office communications in the evening and during vacation time could even become law. German labor minister Andrea Nahles said in a Tuesday interview that the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) was consulting on how such a law could be made – what thresholds would need to be mandated, and so on. She said the first results were expected in 2015.

Earlier this month the labor minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, called for such a law. According to local reports, the smartphone age comes with real burnout risks — quiteafewstudies will…

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Why the strength of your cell signal will affect the types of Facebook ads you receive

Facebook to target your cell phone signal

Gigaom

Auto-play video ads can be annoying, but what’s more maddening is when the ad doesn’t even load properly. On mobile devices, that’s often because you’ve got a weak cellular connection, which is why [company]Facebook[/company] is starting to allow advertisers to target ads based on the strength of someone’s cell phone signal, according to a new article in Advertising Age.

The program will give advertisers a new tool to help target and run video ads, which are among Facebook’s most expensive ad products and have been an area of focus of the company in the past year. They’re also data-hungry, so someone on a 3G connection might see stuttering or laggy video. He or she will move on, and that becomes a wasted impression.

So Facebook’s new targeting option will give advertisers the option to, say, serve a text-based ad to someone in a remote area with weak reception while also displaying a…

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