There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
The phrase “body technology” evokes Kraftwerkian images of Robocops and Terminators and their ilk. But not once in his book Our Own Devices: The Past and Future of Body Technology does Edward Tenner repeat those thrilling words uttered by Dr. Rudy Wells at the beginning of The Six Million Dollar Man: “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first Bionic man.” Instead, Tenner focuses on the relationship between man and those implementsshoes, chairs, helmetsthat are so basic we take them for granted. Though the results are hardly as pulse-quickening as, say, Steve Austin vaulting an exploding Ford Pinto, they are, in their own way, fascinating. Tennerwhose previous book, Why Things Bite Back, analyzed the ways our inventions take their revenge on usconcentrates here on the interplay between technology and technique, the former being the things we use, the latter our skill in using them. If that sounds kind of dry, it occasionally is. But Tenner manages to make even (literal) shoelace-pondering interestinghe’s a walking encyclopedia of obscure facts on everything from the history of bottle-feeding to the peanut-butter-jar-opening skills of your average bear. Tenner speaks at 7 p.m. Monday, July 7, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Michael Little)