Winter Storm Nemo, a broken camera, and planned obsolescence

A bit belated, but here are some pictures of the last major storm, “Nemo” (dubbed by the media, not any official agency; only hurricanes get names). Below, a photo of our back porch on Friday night, February 8. It’s dark, but you can see several inches of snow already piled on top of the rocking chair.

DSC05455Below is a photo of our street on Saturday morning, with the snow already up to the top of most cars’ tires. A plow may have been through once or twice at this point, but the snow is still deep in the street, and it looks like all of the color has been sucked out of the world. DSC05456

But then…to her total chagrin and abject horror, we dragged the dog out into the snow. (Because only those of us who are toilet-trained get to do our business indoors.) Her construction-worker-orange jacket brings a spot of color to the otherwise snowy grayscale landscape. (In the background, you can see two of our neighbors hard at work shoveling out of snow nearly up to their waists.)


Later in the day, the sun came out, and the snow plow made a visit to our street.

DSC05469The snow was still piled pretty high, and the sidewalks were nonexistent, so we walked in the street.


Right after these photos my camera stopped working, so I’ll have to get that checked out. I hope I’ll be able to get it fixed instead of having to replace it, but repair seems to have gone out of fashion, and planned obsolescence is the norm.

Note: I wrote this post not long after the storm, and it sat in draft form for a few weeks – though I am back-dating it – because I was trying to find a chart/timeline I once saw that showed when repair for various things (shoes, radios, computers, etc.) became basically impossible and you just had to replace the thing in question instead of getting it repaired. The excellent Swiss Army Librarian spent a generous amount of time helping me try to dig up said timeline, but alas, we both came up short.

However, we found a number of other cool resources along the way:

  • the Consumer Reports Repair or Replace Timeline – access to the timeline itself requires a subscription to CR, but you may well have access through your local public library, as many libraries purchase subscriptions. If you happen to live in Arlington, MA, click here.
  • an article from The Economist by Tim Hindle called “Planned Obsolesence” from March 23, 2009
  • the book Made to Break: technology and obsolescence in America by Giles Slade – didn’t have the timeline I was thinking of, but it makes interesting reading. (It will probably make you angry.)
  • a very long piece from Adbusters by Micah White called “Consumer Society is Made to Break” from October 20, 2008, which includes a clip of (and link to) a short film called The Story of Stuff, and a reproduction of Bernard London’s 1932 pamphlet entitled “Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence,” which contains the following rather incendiary proposal:

“I would have the Government assign a lease of life to shoes and homes and machines, to all products of manufacture, mining and agriculture, when they are first created, and they would be sold and used within the term of their existence definitely known by the consumer. After the allotted time had expired, these things would be legally “dead” and would be controlled by the duly appointed governmental agency and destroyed if there is widespread unemployment. New products would constantly be pouring forth from the factories and marketplaces, to take the place of the obsolete, and the wheels of industry would be kept going and employment regularized and assured for the masses.”

I know, I started out with blizzard photos and ended up with a 1932 pamphlet that basically proposes outlawing old pairs of jeans. For those who just wanted pictures of the dog in the snow: sorry! For those who are now fascinated/infuriated by the whole planned obsolescence thing: if you find that chart, please let me know!


Filed under animals, library, unusual, weather

2 responses to “Winter Storm Nemo, a broken camera, and planned obsolescence

  1. Pingback: All the salt in the world couldn’t melt that ice | IcyDaylight

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