At the turn of the 20th century, engineers referred to early air cooling technology as “man-made weather,” a splendidly optimistic phrase suggesting that science was about to master those most unconquerable of all natural forces—the elements. In the decades that followed, “air conditioning” became the preferred term—a more pragmatic description of filtering, cooling and optimizing the moisture of interior air. This less impressive label hardly diminishes the huge impact AC has had on the planet. The technology has made much of the world comfortably habitable for billions of people and facilitated the explosion of new cities. As historian Hal Rothman explains in Neon Metropolis, “air-conditioning was the catalyst for habitability” in the American South. Every visitor to Las Vegas knows that almost nothing happens in the desert city without conditioned air. Even in the intense summer heat, it makes This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Two Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.