Bruce Sterling's SXSW 2016 closing remarks

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It's his 30th consecutive closing address to the attendees of SXSW Interactive, and as always, Bruce delivers: an overarching, everything-in-the-world tour of everything weird, dystopian, screwed up, hopeful and ugly in the year 2016. Read the rest

Inside South Korea's dog-cloning lab

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Tony from the Starshipsofa podcast writes, "This week I talk (MP3) to freelance science journalist Mark Zastrow about his visit to a controversial Korean lab, led by Woosuk Hwang who is cloning puppy dogs." Read the rest

Return Home: a new serialized podcast drama in the style of Lost and Twin Peaks

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Jeff Heimbuch writes, "Return Home is a serialized audio drama, done in the style of radio shows of ages past. It is fully produced, in stereo sound, to make you feel like you are part of the action. Though you can listen however you'd like, it's recommended you do so with headphones. Alone. In a darkened room." Read the rest

Alice Isn't Dead: a new podcast from the Welcome to Night Vale creators

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Alice Isn't Dead, a new podcast from the Welcome to Night Vale crew, debuts tomorrow -- get a sneak peak with this teaser (MP3), then subscribe. Read the rest

Kickstarting a season of monthly Relatively Primes, a great math podcast

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Samuel writes, "The mathematics podcast Relatively Prime (previously) is currently running a Kickstarter to fund a third season, this time with monthly episode. The episodes will features stories about how network theory can help better understand cancer, how a marijuana dispensary license lottery is designed, and the act of mathematical vandalism which liberated algebra from the shackles of arithmetic. There really aren't any other mathematics podcasts out there like Relatively Prime and if the Kickstarter is not funded there really won't be any at all." Read the rest

Listen: podcast about the alleged "data" collected by wearable devices

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Rachel "Datapunk" Kalmar is a brilliant data scientist with a background in neuroscience, connected devices, sensors, and wearables. Read the rest

People of Colour Destroy Science Fiction: a podcast with Nalo Hopkinson and friends

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Science fiction titan Nalo Hopkinson appears in this week's Geek Guide to the Galaxy podcast, talking about race, diversity, and sf. Read the rest

Listen: a new podcast about science fiction and spectacular meals

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Writer/editor Scott Edelman is legendary in science fiction circles for organizing outings from conventions to spectacular, out-of-the-way restaurants where the food is cheap and mind-blowing (I've eaten some very memorable dim sum with him in Philly, for example). Read the rest

Spectographic analysis of a modem handshake

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A lovely piece of nostalgic datadiz: the squeals and chirps, converted to a stream of glowing pixels. Read the rest

Promising new podcast recording tool

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Podcasters have largely mastered the art of setting up a great home recording setup, something that's gotten steadily easier over the years, but then they interview someone over Skype and suddenly they sound like Doctor Who conversing with a Dalek at the bottom of a well. Read the rest

Ross and Carrie become Scientologists: an investigative report 5 years in the making

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One of my favorite podcasts is Oh No Ross and Carrie, in which two investigative journalists join cults and fringe religions, and try out new age remedies and practices, and report back on the experience. Read the rest

One hundred of history's most influential jokes

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Vulture presents a lengthy (and very funny) annotated history of "100 jokes that shaped modern comedy," with embedded audio (and sometimes video) of the jokes themselves, going all the way back to 1906's Nobody by Bert Williams -- transferred from wax cylinder to shellac disc to Youtube. Read the rest

Bluetooth sports headphones for $16

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Aukey makes smartphone cables, chargers, battery packs, etc. I've tried quite a few things made by Aukey (some were sent for review and others I bought) and have always been happy with the quality. The bluetooth sports headphones made by Aukey are no exception (I bought them). The run about 4 hours on a charge and sound fine for my purposes (90% podcasts and audiobooks, 10% music). Most importantly, they are comfortable, unlike so many earphones I have tried. They are regularly $25, but you can get them for a limited time with the coupon code: 2CHBUTGF. Read the rest

Listen to the sounds of 18th century Paris

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Musicologist Mylène Pardoen and a team of 3D artists created this "sonic tableaux" of 18th century Paris based on a 1781 map and numerous historical documents and research on what Paris's Grand Châtelet district, between the Pont au Change and Pont Notre Dame bridges, may have sounded like at the time. From the French National Center for Scientific Research:

“I chose that neighborhood because it concentrates 80% of the background sound environments of Paris in that era, whether through familiar trades—shopkeepers, craftsmen, boatmen, washerwomen on the banks of the Seine, etc.—or the diversity of acoustic possibilities, like the echo heard under a bridge or in a covered passageway,” Pardoen explains. While historical videos with soundtracks are nothing new, this is the first 3D reconstitution based solely on a sonic background: the quality of the sounds (muffled, amplified…) takes into account the heights of the buildings and their construction materials (stone, cob etc.).

This urban soundscape was recreated based on documents from the period, including Le Tableau de Paris, published in 1781 by Louis-Sebastien Mercier, and the work of historians like Arlette Farge, a specialist on the 18th century, Alain Corbin, known for his research on the history of the senses, and Youri Carbonnier, an authority on houses built on bridges. The audio tour includes sounds like the cackling of birds in the poultry market, the hum of flies drawn to the fishmongers’ stalls, the sound of the loom at the woollen mill that used to stand at one end of the Pont au Change, that of the scrapers in the tanneries on Rue de la Pelleterie, of typesetting at the print shop on Rue de Gesvres… all overlaid with the incessant cries of the seagulls that came to feed on the city’s heaps of waste....

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Small wireless portable bluetooth speaker packs a punch

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A couple of weeks ago my teenage daughter took my beloved Grain bluetooth speaker into her room and I haven't seen it since. I bought the AmazonBasics Ultra-Portable Micro Bluetooth Speaker ($20) as a low-cost replacement. I've been using it in the kitchen, mainly to listen to podcasts and am very happy with it. The sound is deeper and louder than my phone's speaker, though not nearly as good as the Grain ($250). It's about the size of a hockey puck, and plays 10 hours on a charge (a micro USB cable is supplied). It also comes with a soft pouch, which I promptly lost. Read the rest

Listen: whistleblower story that Marineland threatens to sue journalists for disclosing

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Phil Demers worked as an animal trainer at Niagara Falls, Ontario's Marineland for 12 years before resigning because he believed that the animals in his care were being mistreated and he did not believe that his employers would listen to him or his colleagues' warnings about this. Read the rest

The Afflictions: a beautiful, gruesome, witty audiobook

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What happens when a scrappy independent press, an advertising copywriter with a sonorous baritone, and a physician-writer with a haunted imagination decide to make something together? An audiobook that’s sometimes beautiful, sometimes gruesome, witty and philosophical, magical and eerie.

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