The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by Madeleine Brand

Air conditioning: why the cooling issue is heating up

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Air conditioning. For some it's the best invention in the modern world. For others it's an example of American wastefulness and decadence.

Daniel Engber wrote a two-part piece for Slate Magazine on the pros and cons of air conditioning. He joins the show to talk environmental ramifications, health effects, and why the AC issue is a cultural symbol for the left.

Some facts on air conditioning:

-87% of US households have air conditioning

-Willis Carrier of New York invented the first modern electrical air conditioning unit, patented in 1906

-Air conditioning used to be much too expensive for the masses, but Carrier, a leading air conditioning and heating supplier, made a system for theaters that cost between $10,000 and $50,000. It was one of the few things proprietors sprung for during the Great Depression, and theaters were one of the rare places where the hoi polloi could enjoy chilly, artificial air.


Daniel Engber of Slate Magazine