James Bridle joins the dots, describing a connection 1 between the plight of the newly-launched Skylab space station in 1973, help given to runners upon completion of the New York marathon in 1978, and the help given to refugees in the current mass migration.

Superficially, a story about a bit of hi-tech materials science making the transition to mass-production in a somewhat different context, but there's much more to it than that:

Technologies are stories we tell ourselves – often unconsciously – about who we are and what we are capable of. By analysing their traces we may divine the progress they are capable of assisting, but they are not in and of themselves future-producing, magical, or separate from human agency. They are a guide and a hope.

Great, thought-provoking stuff.

  1. One that would never have occurred to me.