Last November, journalist Morgen Peck showed up at her friend Molly Webster’s apartment in Brooklyn, told her to take her battery out of her phone, and began to tell her about The Ceremony, a moment last fall when a group of, well, let’s just call them wizards, came together in an undisclosed location to launch a new currency. It’s an undertaking that involves some of the most elaborate security and cryptography ever done (so we’ve been told). And math. Lots of math. It was all going great until, in the middle of it, something started to behave a little…strangely.
Tagged with “wnyc” (10)
Science fiction has always been an outlet for our greatest anxieties. This week, we delve into how the genre is exploring the reality of climate change. Plus: new words to describe the indescribable.
Jeff VanderMeer @jeffvandermeer, author of the Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne, on writing about the relationships between people and nature.
Claire Vaye Watkins @clairevaye talks about Gold Fame Citrus, her work of speculative fiction in which an enormous sand dune threatens to engulf the southwest.
Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his latest work, New York 2140. The seas have risen 50 feet and lower Manhattan is submerged. And yet, there’s hope.
British writer Robert Macfarlane @RobGMacfarlane on new language for our changing world.
Throughout the show: listeners offer their own new vocabulary for the Anthropocene era. Many thanks to everyone who left us voice memos!
President Richard Nixon once boasted that at any moment he could pick up a telephone and - in 20 minutes - kill 60 million people. Such is the power of the US President over the nation’s nuclear arsenal. But what if you were the military officer on the receiving end of that phone call? Could you refuse the order?
This episode, we profile one Air Force Major who asked that question back in the 1970s and learn how the very act of asking it was so dangerous it derailed his career. We also pick up the question ourselves and pose it to veterans both high and low on the nuclear chain of command. Their responses reveal once and for all whether there are any legal checks and balances between us and a phone call for Armageddon.
On this week’s episode of On the Media, we’re engaging in some chillingly informed speculation: what would happen if we, as a species, lost access to our electronic records? What if, either by the slow creep of technological obsolescence or sudden cosmic disaster, we no longer could draw from the well of of knowledge accrued through the ages? What if we fell into…a digital dark age?
While the songwriter’s sonic scope may have widened, her songs have never been more intimate and revealing…. Soundcheck is WNYC’s on-air and online destination for new music, live performances and engaging conversations with artists, critics and tastemakers. http://soundcheck.wnyc.org/story/sharon-van-etten-in-studio/
Fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill first met in a jazz-rock band, but since the 80s they’ve been in the vanguard of the Irish music scene. They bring their distinctive and personal take on Irish folk music to our studio for a live performance.
Irish composer David Flynn visits the WNYC studios for this edition of New Sounds. Flynn first learned guitar by way of heavy metal riffs and solos, then fell into the folk scene, and incorporates influences from almost all musical styles. But he wants his chamber pieces to sound Irish. We’ll hear some of these folk roots and how they sound in David’s compositions. Perhaps we’ll also hear a bit from the latest collaboration by Dennis Cahill and Martin Hayes, and more.
Blogger Anil Dash says we tend to trumpet the tech revolution, with its vast social networks and slick smartphones, as a triumph of usability and empowerment. But Dash says a spirit of collaboration and emphasis on the user experience has been lost along the way.
He wrote about this shift on his blog in a post called The Web We Lost.
“There is an ignorance or a lack of history to the way that a lot of people that build the social networks, especially the young engineers, think about this because they weren’t around to see it any other way,” Dash told Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC’s New Tech City.
Dash cites as example Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram. “The first thing that happened as soon as Facebook bought Instragram was they shut off the ability for you to import your friends and find your friends through Twitter because Facebook and Twitter are enemies now.”
Dash says that may be good for Facebook’s shareholders, but it’s not good for users who want to Tweet photos to their friends. He adds that the walling off of content wouldn’t have happened in the earlier days of the Internet.
“There used to be a time when you put the goals and desires of the user ahead of the corporate infighting and battles,” he said.
Dash believes technology’s new vanguard should take a look at the philosophies that drove their forbearers.
“There are cycles to this stuff,” he said. “The pendulum swings back and forth.”
Paul Shaw, an award-winning graphic designer, typographer, calligrapher, and teacher at Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts, tells the story of how New York City’s subway signage evolved from a "visual mess" to a uniform system using the Helvetica typeface. His illustrated book Helvetica and the New York City Subway System looks at how politics, economics, and bureaucratic forces shaped decisions made about the subway’s appearance as much as design ideas did. http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/2011/aug/04/helvetica-and-new-york-city-subway-system/
Irish “sessions” are intimate group performances that take place in pubs all over New York City. Based in the traditional Irish “seisiún,” these informal musical gatherings feature jigs, reels, hornpipes, and the occasional waltz. Writer and Vogue contributing editor Robert Sullivan and writer-musician Larry Kirwan of the Irish rock band Black 47 explain the history and vibrant present of the tradition.