The English language uses the word ‘cell’ in a handful of contexts. We have prison cells, brain cells, battery cells, and of course, cell phones. At first glance, these various uses of the word ‘cell’ seem unrelated, yet they’re all etymologically connected and can be traced back to a single source: medieval monasteries. In today's episode, we explore the unlikely historical relationship between the living quarters of Medieval Christian monks and the modern technology behind the cellular phone.
The word ‘comfort’ once described the spiritual consolation given by God to an individual. Today, it describes commercialized products like air conditioners, tennis shoes, and sofas. A pretty drastic change, to say the least. How did this evolution take place? Today's episode looks at the impact of capitalism and consumerism on our ideas about what ‘comfort’ is.