Interview with James Gleick about his new book on the history of Time Travel

5 years ago, Boing Boing described James Gleick’s The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood as "a jaw-dropping tour de force history of information theory... The Information isn't just a natural history of a powerful idea; it embodies and transmits that idea, it is a vector for its memes (as Dawkins has it), and it is a toolkit for disassembling the world. It is a book that vibrates with excitement, and it transmits that excited vibration with very little signal loss. It is a wonder." Read the rest

Watch ultrasensitive microphones barely register owls flying

This remarkable demonstration of a pigeon, a falcon, and an owl flying past six extremely sensitive high-end microphones shows just how quiet owls are when they fly. Read the rest

Tax Inspectors Without Borders: poor countries send each other ninja tax collectors to nail looting multinationals

This week on the Tax Justice Network's podcast (previously), they profile (at 20:40) the OECD's Tax Inspectors Without Borders, through which poor countries loan each other their most effective tax collectors to help catch the tax-dodging multinational corporations who drain the countries' economies -- and the organization transfers tax enforcement expertise in the process. Read the rest

An "ahem" detector that uses deep learning to auto-clean recordings of speech

Train the Deep Learning Ahem Detector with two sets of audio files, "a negative sample with clean voice/sound" (minimum 3 minutes) and "a positive one with 'ahem' sounds concatenated" (minimum 10s) and it will detect "ahems" in any voice sample thereafter. Read the rest

Glenn Beck's "decency" doesn't extend to answering questions about why he was such an asshole

Glenn Beck has made a big deal of his new resolution to "try out decency" -- that is, to stop saying things like Obama is literally the antichrist who will open FEMA concentration camps due to his "deep-seated hatred of white people." Read the rest

62-pound pumpkin modded into a 144-decibel subwoofer

YouTuber Mattizzle008 decided to mod a hallowed-out (get it?) pumpkin to measure its acoustics in a car subwoofer rig. He even took it to Xclusive Autosound to get it metered for science. Turns out pumpkins can get some if you need all that bass.

Read the rest

Wells Fargo blackballed employees who refused to commit fraud, forcing them out of the industry forever

Earlier this month, Planet Money aired an interview with a Wells Fargo whistleblower who was fired for trying to alert the bank to the millions of criminal frauds being committed against its customers, and we learned that the whistleblower had been added to a confidential blacklist used by the finance industry, preventing her from ever getting work in the industry again. Read the rest

Listen: free recordings of Edgar Allen Poe stories, read by Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone

If you've got a Spotify account, you can tune into the classic Caedmon Poe recordings (also available on 5 CD), featuring classic tales like The Masque of the Read Death; The Pit and the Pendulum; The Black Cat; The Cask of Amontillado; The Imp of the Perverse and The Gold Bug. (via Diane Duane) Read the rest

Talking about Allan Sherman on the Comedy on Vinyl podcast

Jason Klamm stopped my office to interview me for his Comedy on Vinyl podcast, where I talked about the first comedy album I ever loved: Allan Sherman's My Son, the Nut. Read the rest

Information security needs its own National Institutes of Health

Superstar security researcher Dan Kaminsky (previously) wants to create a "National Institutes of Health for computer security" -- a publicly funded research institution that figures out how to prevent and cope with large-scale security issues in networked devices. Read the rest

How free software stayed free

I did an interview with the Changelog podcast (MP3) about my upcoming talk at the O'Reilly Open Source conference in London, explaining how it is that the free and open web became so closed and unfree, but free and open software stayed so very free, and came to dominate the software landscape. Read the rest

Listen: Hacker Anthropologist Biella Coleman on the free software movement and big business

Gabriella Coleman, the anthropologist whose first book, Coding Freedom, explained hacking culture better than any book before or since; and whose second book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, told the inside story of Anonymous with technical and social brilliance, appeared on the Theory of Everything podcast (MP3) to discuss the ways that free software hackers and the more business-friendly open source world have fought, reconciled and fought again. Read the rest

These are radio drama staircases

These unusual "radio drama staircases" are inside the BBC's sound studios. When an actor is recorded walking up or down the stairs, the different surfaces (wood, carpet, cement) give the acoustic impression of unique locations for the radio drama. Samuel West shot the image above at BBC's Maida Vale Studios. Apparently, they are actually functioning staircases that lead somewhere in the building.

(via Neatorama) Read the rest

Podcast: How we'll kill all the DRM in the world, forever

I'm keynoting the O'Reilly Security Conference in New York in Oct/Nov, so I stopped by the O'Reilly Security Podcast (MP3) to explain EFF's Apollo 1201 project, which aims to kill all the DRM in the world within a decade. Read the rest

Mexico-US illegal migration has been at zero for 8 years, and other eye-opening facts

NPR's On the Media have released a new installment in their indispensable Breaking News Consumer's Handbook (previously), this one about migration -- legal and illegal -- and it's a doozy. Read the rest

Kevin "Kids in the Hall" McDonald has a podcast

Tavie writes, "Kevin McDonald of the classic Canadian sketch comedy troupe Kids in the Hall has just launched a brand-new podcast, 'Kevin McDonald's Kevin McDonald Show.'" It's an old-fashioned variety show with interviews, sketches, and musical guests." Read the rest

More Perfect: Radiolab's genius podcast about the Supreme Court

When I first heard that Radiolab (previously), the wonderful podcast that combines deep dives into technical subjects with masterful storytelling, was going to start a new podcast about the Supreme Court, it sounded like a weird fit. Read the rest

More posts