Figure 1: Image: Weather factory? ADM Mill in Minneapolis, c1920. Photo: Minnesota Historical Society, MH5.9 MP3.1A

Weather Markets: A Business Case for Environmental History

Originally posted on The Otter ~ La loutre, May 17, 2017 When Monsanto spent $1 billion in 2013 to purchase Climate Corporation, its climate data, and its algorithms for using machine learning to predict weather, everyone from farmers and insurance companies to technologists and The New Yorker concluded that agri-business believed the climate science consensus: climate…

The Future of Object-ivity

This website has been dormant since the summer of 2008, due to some sudden family expansion, but now it’s time to revive historical object-ivity with updates from my travels and recent work in the flax-paint commodity chain.  A good prompt was a recent comment recieved here from a woman who found a “mastere oljeslagaren” in…

What is a flaxwife?

Yesterday I received an interesting question from someone in New York City. She came across a reference to a “flaxwife” in The Magna Carta Manifesto by Peter Linebaugh (2008), and asked if I knew what it meant. The word is pretty rare, and I hadn’t come across it before now.  It’s not in the OED,…