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What makes Silicon Valley different?

September 20th, 2019 at 9:30 am » Comments Off

The home in Menlo Park, California, where Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google in 1998. Paul Sakuma/AP Like Detroit with automobiles or Pittsburgh with steel, Silicon Valley is synonymous with technology. In her new book The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America, Margaret O’Mara casts a historian’s eye on the contradictions of […]



The new servant class

August 25th, 2019 at 10:52 am » Comments Off

“Wealth work” is one of America’s fastest-growing industries. That’s not entirely a good thing. In an age of persistently high inequality, work in high-cost metros catering to the whims of the wealthy—grooming them, stretching them, feeding them, driving them—has become one of the fastest-growing industries. The MIT economist David Autor calls it “wealth work.” Low-skill, […]



How mosquitoes changed everything

August 19th, 2019 at 2:13 pm » Comments Off

They slaughtered our ancestors and derailed our history. And they’re not finished with us yet. The insects are estimated to have killed more people than any other single cause. In 1698, five ships set sail from Scotland, carrying a cargo of fine trade goods, including wigs, woollen socks and blankets, mother-of-pearl combs, Bibles, and twenty-five […]



How electric and driverless vehicles will change building design

May 19th, 2019 at 11:39 am » Comments Off

  The world’s first affordable automobile had a dramatic impact on residential design. On October 1, 1908, the first Model T Ford was built in Detroit. Unlike horses, most people could afford to have their own private car and keep it at their home. Between 1908 and 1927, Ford built some 15 million Model T […]



The peculiar blindness of experts

May 15th, 2019 at 3:33 am » Comments Off

  Credentialed authorities are comically bad at predicting the future. But reliable forecasting is possible. The bet was on, and it was over the fate of humanity. On one side was the Stanford biologist Paul R. Ehrlich. In his 1968 best seller, The Population Bomb, Ehrlich insisted that it was too late to prevent a […]



Understanding the future through the eyes of a child