Podcast explains the corrosive effects of tax havens

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Nicholas Shaxon, author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens (previously) appeared on The Foreign Desk podcast (MP3) this week to discuss the nature of tax havens, how they hollow out both their host countries and the countries whence their hidden riches comes. Read the rest

Listen: thought experiments about who or what has a mind

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Rick Kleffel sends us his latest podcast (MP3), "A conversation with one of the authors of a wonderful and strange book; science-fiction thought experiments ('robot versus baby') informed by social psychology experiments of fascinating design, part ethics, philosophy, neuroscience, the minds of god and the dead and machines... authentically mind-boggling. And Fun!" 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

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

Neil Gaiman reads "A Christmas Carol"

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Last year's New York Public Library podcast featured this wonderful reading (MP3) of A Christmas Carol by Neil Gaiman, reading from the last surviving copy of Dickens own annotated "prompt" text, which Dickens himself used to read from. A perfect, perennial listen for the Christmas season. (via Tor.com) Read the rest

Harlem Cryptoparty: Crypto matters for #blacklivesmatter

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This week's Radio Motherboard podcast (MP3) talks with Matthew Mitchell, a former data journalist who organizes Harlem Cryptoparty, a regular training meeting for black activists who want to learn to defend themselves against the burgeoning police/DHS practice of racially profiling black activists through targeted surveillance.

Though social media surveillance is a modern phenomenon, the US government has a long and shameful history of surveilling black activists (see, for example, the FBI's attempt to convince Martin Luther King to kill himself).

Harlem Cryptoparty is an attempt to help black people armor themselves against everyday surveillance, promoted through barbershops, hair salons, black churches and flyers in the neighborhood.

2:24 Mitchell explains why a cryptography meetup makes sense in Harlem.

5:05 In order to reach the Harlem community, you have to recruit offline.

7:55 Cryptoparties and privacy events are still rare in the inner city in predominantly black and Latino communities, even though it’s not just a hypothetical threat. “You’re worried about, hey this guy threw me against a wall, flashed a badge at me, took my phone, he said if I gave him the phone he’ll let me walk, otherwise I have to do paper work. What was he doing with it?”

9:40 Nusrat Choudury from the ACLU’s Racial Justice program joins us. She wrote this piece, “The Government Is Watching #BlackLivesMatter, And It’s Not Okay.”

12:40 There is a pattern throughout history of the government using the fear of threats to conduct surveillance on “people who look or act different.”

15:30 A private security firm called Zero Fox collected information on protesters in Baltimore and labeled some “high severity physical threats.”

The Black Community Needs Encryption [Adrianne Jeffries/Vice] Read the rest

How Hamilton, ON's violent "accountability" councilor intimidated a journalist out of City Hall

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Hamilton's the kind of city where half of City Hall says they've been bullied at work, where the "accountability" committee charges you $100 to make a complaint and proposed that it would only investigate if you are never quoted in the press on the matter, and where city policy prohibits linking to its website without written permission. Read the rest

Interview with Serah Ely, creator of the Escape Pod podcast, about her gender transition

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Tony from Starshipsofa writes, "This week on StarShipSofa, I interview (MP3) Serah Eley about her remarkable transgender journey from Steve Eley creator of Escape Pod to Serah. We delve into some of the very real issues that Serah has come across, why she gave up Escape Pod and why now she has stepped away altogether from the SF field." Read the rest

Listen: making sense of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a Canadian election perspective

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The current Canadaland podcast (MP3) carefully parses out the implications of the Trans Pacific Partnership from the perspective of Internet freedom, censorship, free speech, business, and transparency. Read the rest

Listen: a sexy hymn to Ishtar, in the original Babylonian

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Doris Prechel reads Ammi-ditāna's incredibly hot hymn to Ištar in Babylonian (MP3) as transcribed by D. O. Edzard. Read the rest

Phone Call from Paul: new literary podcast from Paul Holdengraber, with Neil Gaiman

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Paul Holdengraber, host of the New York Public Library's legendary literary interview series, has started a new podcast called "A phone call from Paul," which he has inaugurated with a two-part interview with Neil Gaiman. Read the rest

New podcast on new forms of power in networked societies

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Jamie King sez, "The Emergents Podcast, a new show from the creator of STEAL THIS FILM, considers the development of a new form of power inside our networked society. In this pilot episode (MP3), Peter Sunde (The Pirate Bay), Troy Hunt (Have I Been Been Pwned) and network security consultant Ella Saitta consider the Ashley Madison hack, strange 'network collectives' like Impact Team and the 'volatile, unstable, complex and arbitrary' world they're bringing into being." Read the rest

Neil DeGrasse Tyson talks with Edward Snowden

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This week on the Startalk podcast, America's best-loved astronomer talks with my favorite whistleblower (MP3). Read the rest

Countersuit: Georgia can't copyright its laws

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Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "As many of you may remember, the State of Georgia filed charges against Public Resource complete with a scurrilous and unfounded charge that we engaged in a "strategy of terrorism." I am pleased to announce that we are represented pro bono by Alston and Bird, one of the leading law firms in Georgia. Our legal team filed an answer to the Georgia complaint and we counter-sued, denying their over-the-top characterization as 'bizarre, defamatory and gratuitous allegations.'" Read the rest

Artificial Intelligence, considered: Talking with John Markoff about Machines of Loving Grace

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Literary podcaster Rick Kleffer writes, "I must admit that it was too much fun to sit down with John Markoff and talk (MP3) about his book Machines of Loving Grace. Long ago, I booted up a creaking, mothballed version of one of the first Xerox minicomputers equipped with a mouse to extract legacy software for E-mu. Fifteen years later I was at the first Singularity Summit; the book was a trip down many revisions of memory road."

John Markoff’s ‘Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robot’ is a fascinating, character-driven vision of how the recent past created the present and is shaping the near future. The strong and easily understood conflict at the heart of this work gives readers an easy means of grasping the increasingly complicated reality around us. If we do not understand this history, the chances are that we will not have the opportunity to be doomed to repeat it.

Our technological ecology began in two computer labs in Stanford in the early sixties. In one lab, John McCarthy coined the term “Artificial intelligence” with the intention of creating a robot that could think like, move like and replace a human in ten years. On the opposite side of the campus, Douglas Englebart wanted to make it easier for scholars to collaborate using an increasingly vast amount of information. He called it IA, Intelligence Augmentation as a direct response to AI. Thus were born two very different design philosophies that still drive the shape of our technology today – and will continue to do so in the future.

Read the rest

Podcast: Ian McDonald talks about Luna: New Moon (also coming to CBS!)

Science fiction titan Ian McDonald's forthcoming novel Luna: New Moon is the subject of the latest installment of the always-great Coode Street podcast (MP3). Read the rest

When Firms Become Persons and Persons Become Firms: outstanding lecture

UC Berkeley Political Scientist Wendy Brown came to the London School of Economics last week to discuss her book Undoing the Demos, and her lecture (MP3) is literally the best discussion of how and why human rights are being taken away from humans and given to corporations. Read the rest

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