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The cost of cooling everything
Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

The cost of cooling everything

馃 Cooling and flattening the world 路 Lamplighters light the way 路聽Don't move, cow聽路聽Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

The Sundance Film Festival, founded by Robert Redford, is thinking about moving from its idyllic perch in Park City, Utah. As reported this morning by the Banner, the CVC got Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon together to put an application in for Nashville. Seems unlikely, but that's an all-star team.


For the uninitiated, I鈥檝e been experimenting with not using A/C this summer. I explained my rationale for embarking on this admittedly unproductive adventure last month. In short, it started with a mold infection from a hotel room in Central America and ended with me, in the cooler months of spring, shutting it off at night. Since then, I鈥檝e adapted to some fairly predictable problems that arise in its absence, namely managing humidity.

I鈥檝e managed by using fans and placing dehumidifiers in key rooms. This might all seem stupid to people with 鈥渢hings to do鈥 (and it is, don鈥檛 get me wrong), but beyond my tinkering, it鈥檚 an almost overwhelming task to reckon with just how much air conditioning has changed our world.

I鈥檇 been thinking about writing something to expand on my thoughts on this, but then someone sent me an essay Mary Harrington published in Unherd. After reading that, I don鈥檛 think I have much to add; she鈥檚 more erudite than me anyway.

One recent air conditioning headline was Team USA鈥檚 hysterical response to the 鈥淎/C-free鈥 Olympic Village in Paris. The Olympic committee is forgoing A/C because they want to be green, but US athletes鈥 insistence on bringing their own portable A/C units indicates a stubborn attachment to the technology that鈥檚 only mirrored by the conveniences afforded us by a smartphone.

Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge applauded the A/C free living arrangements on environmental grounds, but focusing so much on the environmental aspect masks another, more totalizing side effect of cooling the entire planet:

Kipchoge鈥檚 relaxed response to the prospect of heat also points to something discreetly masked by the seeming neutrality of aircon: the way it flattens local differences. Heat doesn鈥檛 just affect comfort: it shapes whole cultures. When you don鈥檛 have access to aircon, beyond a certain level of heat, the air stops being a backdrop to everyday life; instead, it becomes something elemental. Even well before the level of heat that threatens health, in the absence of climate control it transforms what is possible 鈥 even what is thinkable. 

I have not undertaken my anti-A/C crusade on environmental grounds but on social and cultural grounds. When you imagine a Russian, what do you picture? How about a Hawaiian? A Texan? A Kenyan? By and large, the caricature we have in our minds of each person is a product of the climate in the area. Even the architecture of a culture reflects the climate.

For example, 鈥渞iad鈥 palaces, built for wealthy Moroccan traders before the aircon era, are constructed to maximise shade and curate hidden, refreshing luxury for the chosen few. Such buildings have few or no external windows where the sun hits, but look inward instead, to an internal courtyard usually built around a pond or fountain.

And behavior:

It鈥檚 obvious in the way climate shapes behaviour, too: even in relatively temperate Spain, before aircon the hot summers impelled a norm of working in the early morning and late evening, with a 鈥渟iesta鈥 during the hot part of the day. (Spain has only begun to abandon this practice since the spread of aircon.)

I鈥檓 obviously obsessed with this topic, but there鈥檚 so much packed in Harrington鈥檚 short essay that I urge you to read it if you haven鈥檛 considered all this before. One thing Harrington mentions that I hadn鈥檛 considered before is how air conditioning, as a prerequisite to developing the undeveloped world, may cross the wires of demands for equity and climate justice.

But this raises uncomfortable questions about the real meaning of 鈥渃limate justice鈥. If, as Lee Kuan Yew suggested, an artificially engineered temperate climate is a precondition for the 鈥渄evelopment鈥 referenced in the phrase 鈥渄eveloping world鈥, then the unevenness of global climates is itself an injustice鈥. Once you add the fact that climate change is driving dangerous increases in summer heat across many parts of the world, access to cooling seems a matter of global justice for progressives.

I鈥檝e said enough about this for today. Harrington may have authored the conclusive report on this, thus saving you all from more opinions on this matter. It鈥檚 a staggering topic. I鈥檝e been relentlessly mocked for my experiments and thinking too deeply about it, but I ain鈥檛 touching that dial in my house because I鈥檓 committed to the bit. DAVIS HUNT

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馃泲锔 Lamplighter Lights the Way On Monday, Jill Fitcheard, Executive Director of the Community Review Board, mentioned the Lamplighter Project had reached out to her about adopting protections for whistleblowers. Fitcheard was not aware of any current whistleblower protections within MNPD, but was encouraged by the policy model sent over by the nonprofit.

According to the CRB Director, she forwarded the Lamplighter policy proposal to a council member who is considering presenting it to the Metro Council. 鈥...That policy is something that I think is needed for our city, specifically for the police department,鈥 Fitcheard told her colleagues, 鈥漛ut if they want to enhance it and make it a city-wide policy, I think that that would be a fantastic idea.鈥

Three weeks ago, Garet Davidson, the retired MNPD lieutenant who blew the whistle on a decade鈥檚 worth of alleged police misconduct, happened to mention Lamplighter on the The Michael Patrick Leahy Show. 鈥淭here's a good project out there, Lamplighter Project, that deals with a lot of law enforcement whistleblowers,鈥 Davidson responded when asked if he had legal protection. 

According to Davidson, he filed the complaint because he knew things needed to change, 鈥渘ot simply for me, but for the public, and also for other good officers I've worked with.鈥 Though he waited until after retirement to shine a light on the situation, Davidson explained that he was unaware of and unconcerned about MNPD鈥檚 whistleblower policies.  鈥溾 was more worried about whether or not the complaint would be taken seriously and looked into seriously.鈥 MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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馃悇 Stop What You're Doing, Cow Yesterday, we reported on a Livestock Movement Standstill Workshop that took place on Ellington Agricultural Center campus this Wednesday. Staff and partners who would be directly involved in a response to an animal disease outbreak were invited to attend the seminar to receive regularly scheduled emergency protocol training.

When asked whether the training entailed informing state legislators during an outbreak or the potential inoculation or quarantine of livestock, Tennessee Department of Agriculture鈥檚 Director of Communications Samantha Jean explained that 鈥...Legislation is definitely one of those things that we would have as part of our communications outreach.鈥 More specifically, she mentioned that the training would involve communication procedures with legislators and other agencies in Tennessee.

In the leadup to the meeting, quite a few legislators claimed they weren鈥檛 made aware of the workshop. Jean told us that, to the best of her knowledge, the department鈥檚 legislative liaison sent out an email to Ag committee members last week. As it turns out, had it not been for an inquiry made by the Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources chair, Sen. Steve Southerland (R-Morristown), state legislators might not have been invited.

According to Jean, Southerland contacted the Ag department with questions about the training on June 19th. On June 20th, the Department鈥檚 legislative liaison replied to the chair. But it wasn鈥檛 until Sunday afternoon, June 23rd鈥攋ust three days before the event鈥攖hat Ag committee members in both the House and Senate received an email notifying them of the workshop. If legislators wanted to participate, the email continued, they were to inform the department by the next morning.

If, as Jean's previous comments indicated, legislators do play a role when a Movement Standstill Order is initiated by the US Secretary of Agriculture, why weren't they informed of the event until after the issue was raised by the Chair of the Senate Ag committee? The Director of Communications told us, "Emergency trainings are practical simulations for staff and partners directly involved in the response to the emergency situation." MEGAN PODSIEDLIK


  • SomeraRoad plans $131M Wedgewood-Houston development (NBJ)
  • Upscale Korean restaurant to open in Midtown this month (NBJ)
  • East Nashville eyed for two food-and-beverage projects (Post)
  • Gulch building next to Arnold鈥檚 sells for $3.8M (Post)
  • Metro sells downtown property to utility company (Post)
Off the Cuff


(R 路 1h 41m 路 6.8/10) Dir.

One of the most reliable cultural barometers of the last few years should have been the fall of Sean Penn. The shorthand for the worst species of liberal dwelling in Hollywood, Penn had, by 2022, also become a purveyor of 鈥toxic masculinity.鈥 But Dakota Johnson doesn鈥檛 care about such things. Penn was the perfect guy to spend 99 minutes in a cab with for her new film, Daddio, which finds the actress most famous for Fifty Shades of Grey again stepping into the role of producer on a passion project.

On paper, Daddio seems like a disaster. An actor half the country hates plays a cantankerous cabbie who engages in a real-time conversation with the world鈥檚 most vilified nepo baby while driving from JFK to Manhattan鈥揳ll in the hands of debut writer/director Christy Hall. Although it constantly threatens to devolve into film school cliches and its actors鈥 tabloid excesses, the movie shakes off such burdens with a quiet beauty rooted in conversation. 

The easy way out for a film like this is to cast Johnson in the role of girlboss feminist showing Penn鈥檚 working stiff the error of his deplorable ways. Instead, Daddio may mark the end of an era. Hall displays a knack for perfectly capturing male locker room talk鈥搊ne that reserves judgment in favor of an anthropological dedication to accuracy. It鈥檚 a film that takes up the responsibility of showing that two disparate people separated by educational, class, and borough-related barriers have the ability to understand each other because they face the same problems from the dominion of Big Tech to their commodification in a city with a dual identity. 

Self-imposed limitations aside, Daddio never succumbs to the pitfalls of its conceit. Hall鈥檚 dedication to shot design and color schemes even makes it one of the more cinematic films in recent memory despite its brazen talkiness. It鈥檚 a movie that deserves to be seen in theaters because it's the kind of challenging work that so often gets shipped straight to streaming if it ever gets made at all.

Daddio opens in theaters Friday with select special previews tonight.



View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

馃搮 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

馃帶 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

馃懆馃徎鈥嶐煂 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and yearly festival guide.


馃獣 The Earls of Leicester @ Ryman Auditorium, 7:30p, $38, Info

馃幐 Future Islands @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $32+, Info

馃幓 Spirits of Summer 鈥淪ymphonic Nights鈥 @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 6:30p, $100+, Info
+ popular fundraiser blending the experience of a live orchestra performance and a cocktail competition

Live Irish Music @ McNamara鈥檚 Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

馃幐 Kelly鈥檚 Heroes @ Robert鈥檚 Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info

馃幐 Open Mic @ Fox & Locke, 6:30p, Free, Info
+ vet community here