Aleks Krotoski is an academic and journalist who writes about and studies technology and interactivity. She is currently a Visiting Fellow in the Media and Communications Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute. Aleks writes for the Guardian and Observer newspapers, and hosts Tech Weekly, their technology podcast. She presented the Emmy and Bafta-winning BBC 2 series Virtual Revolution, and more recently the BBC Radio 4 series Digital Human. Her first book is Untangling the Web: What the Internet is Doing to You. Also this week, critic Matthew Sweet on the Ealing WW2 propaganda film Went The Day Well?
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James Bridle is a writer, artist, publisher and technologist usually based in London, UK. His work covers the intersection of literature, culture and the network. He has written for WIRED, ICON, Domus, Cabinet, the Atlantic and many other publications, and writes a regular column for the Observer newspaper on publishing and technology. In 2011, he coined the term “New Aesthetic”, and his ongoing research around this subject has been featured and discussed worldwide. His work, such as the Iraq War Historiography, an encyclopaedia of Wikipedia Changelogs, has been exhibited at galleries in the Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia, and has been commissioned by organisations such as Artangel, Mu Eindhoven, and the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC.
Eleanor Saitta is a hacker, designer, artist and writer. She makes a living and a vocation of understanding how complex systems operate and redesigning them to work, or at least fail, better. Her work is transdisciplinary, using everything from electronics, software, and paint to social rules and words as media with which to explore and shape our interactions with the world. Her focuses include the seamless integration of technology into the lived experience, the humanity of objects and the built environment, and systemic resilience and conviviality. Eleanor is Principal Security Engineer at the Open Internet Tools Project (OpenITP), directing the OpenITP Peer Review Board for open source software and working on adversary modeling. She is also Technical Director at the International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), a member of the advisory boards at Geeks Without Bounds (GWoB) and the Calyx Institute, and works on occasion as a Senior Security Associate with Stach & Liu. She is a founder of the Constitutional Analysis Support Team (CAST), previously co-founded the Seattle-based Public N3rd Area hacker space, and works on the Trike and Briar projects.
Ann Druyan is an author and television and film writer & producer whose work is largely concerned with the effects of science and technology on our civilization. She was co-writer with Carl Sagan and Steven Soter of the Emmy and Peabody Award winning television series COSMOS, and as the founder and CEO of COSMOS STUDIOS, she is currently working on a reboot of that series. Ann Druyan served as Creative Director of the NASA Voyager Interstellar Record Project to design a complex message, including music and images, for possible alien civilizations. These golden phonograph records affixed to the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, the fastest moving vehicles ever created by the human species, are now beyond the outermost planets of the solar system on their way to interstellar space. They have a projected shelf life of one billion years. She is the author or co-author of several books, including Comet, which was on the New York Times best seller list for two months. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, written with Carl Sagan, was another New York Times best seller. She is also a credited contributor to the best-selling books Contact, Pale Blue Dot, The Demon-Haunted World and Billions & Billions by Carl Sagan. She was the co-producer and co-creator of Contact, a Warner Brothers motion picture, based on the story she co-wrote with Carl Sagan. Directed by Bob Zemeckis and starring Jodie Foster, Contact was released July 1997. Ann Druyan was married for nearly two decades to Carl Sagan, until his death in December 1996, and subsequently she was the Founder of The Carl Sagan Foundation.
This is the third in a series of Little Atoms interviews in which Neil Denny talks to the producers of podcasts he likes about why they do what they do. Call it podcaster therapy! Shift Run Stop is a comedy podcast presented by Leila Johnston and Roo Reynolds and full to the brim with games, geeks and special guests. When not presenting the show, Roo Reynolds works for the Government Digital Service and curates an eclectic series of collections on his blog rooreynolds.com, while Leila Johnston is the Managing Editor of The Literary Platform, a published author and journalist and blogs at finalbullet.com.
The public interest in science has seemingly never been higher. Major TV series such as Wonders of the Solar System are watched by millions, the popular science shelves of bookshops are ever expanding. Some of these books even sell in respectable numbers. Is this a passing fad or is this trend being reflected in university admissions? Is there a line to walk between stimulating and enlightening or dumbed down content? Joining Little Atoms’ Neil Denny to discuss these questions and more are a panel of people who work at the sharp end of the promotion and the public understanding of science:
Marcus du Sautoy
Marcus du Sautoy is Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics, and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Formerly a Fellow of All Souls College, and Wadham College, he is now a Fellow of New College. Marcus is the author of three books, The Music of the Primes, Finding Moonshine and The Num8er My5teries, and has presented numerous TV series, most recently The Beauty of Diagrams for BBC4.
Adam Rutherford is a professional geek. He holds a PhD in genetics, and is an editor at the science journal Nature, where he runs their podcast and video department. He has presented a number of programs for Radio 4, and his TV series for BBC4 include Cell, and the upcoming Genome.
Ben Goldacre is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims made by scaremongering journalists, dodgy government reports, evil pharmaceutical corporations, PR companies and quacks. He has written the weekly Bad Science column in the Guardian since 2003. Bad Science the book has sold 240,000 copies, reached #1 in the paperback non-fiction charts, and is published in 18 countries. Ben also somehow manages to fit in a full-time job as a medical doctor for the NHS.
Liz Bonnin studied Biochemistry at Trinity College, Dublin, and has a Masters in Wild Animal Biology from the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Veterinary College. A tv presenter in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland, Liz is probably best known as a presenter of BBC1’s science show Bang Goes the Theory. Recently she could be seen as part of the Autumnwatch team, and most recently, presenting segments of BBC2’s Stargazing Live.