Audio from Snowden/Ellsberg panel at HOPEX

Yesterday's HOPEX conference featured a 90 minute dialog between Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden.

Read the rest

Jo Walton talks science fiction, research, & collaborating with readers

David writes, "I host the literary radio show Between The Covers (KBOO 90.7FM/PDX) and my most recent guest was Jo Walton (MP3), who has been profiled multiple times on Boing Boing. We talk about her most recent book, My Real Children, about why George Eliot even though she preceded the beginnings of science fiction nevertheless has a science fictional mind, about the particularly obstacles women writers of science fiction and fantasy face, about the writing terminology Jo Walton has invented and why, and how she uses her online fan community as a vital resource for research when she writes."

Jo Walton : My Real Children

The Hold Steady - “Wait a While” (free MP3)

The Hold Steady

Why do I love The Hold Steady? Because they’ve been making non-stupid ROCK music for ten years. It’s miraculous that a band can deliver so many songs about heartbreak and drinking with the requisite choruses and bridges and still sound smart. Part of it is that the band has a knack for air-guitar-worthy riffs, but it’s really singer/songwriter Craig Finn’s storytelling that sets The Hold Steady apart. Craig’s also possessed of a unique charisma on stage - check out the band on tour in the U.S and Europe from now through October for an undeniably fun and sweaty time.

The new Hold Steady record is called Teeth Dreams and I’ve been dying to share my favorite song “Wait a While” with you for months. It’s a deceptively simple gem that you’ll want on your summer playlist. I personally would slug nearly any man who called me “little girl,” but somehow Craig Finn can get away with it and even get me to sing along. Download it below.

Buddy - “Weak Currents” (free MP3)

Buddy

Sound it Out # 71

Buddy is an evolving collection of Los Angeles musicians, the singer & songwriter of which is a man named Buddy. Buddy’s songs are full of brilliant turns of phrase and suffused with beauty, longing, and sadness.

In live performance, the band feels like a group of tight friends coming together to support someone they love. Often, six or seven musicians cram onto the stage behind Buddy the singer to become the larger “Buddy” - the greater expression of a man who appears genuinely surprised and grateful that people enjoy his music. Buddy is now on tour with a stripped-down (and equally powerful) version of the band, and you should go check them out in your town.

Buddy has a new album coming out on August 19th called Last Call for the Quiet Life. The sound is lush where his previous work was spare, and it features lots of lovely vocal harmonies. It’s his best work and I’m proud to premiere the first single “Weak Currents” and offer you a free download. Grab it below. You can also pre-order the record on iTunes if you dig it.

Podcast: How to Talk to Your Children About Mass Surveillance


Here's a reading (MP3) of a my latest Locus column, How to Talk to Your Children About Mass Surveillance, in which I describe the way that I've explained the Snowden affair to my six-year-old:

Read the rest

Say Hi - “Hurt in the Morning” (free MP3)

say hi

A new Say Hi record is reason for celebration in my home, and a new (and free) song should make you happy as well. Eric Elbogen is the one-man-band called Say Hi and he makes music that is a slippery study in contrasts. His songs are at once catchy and tragic. They are simultaneously fun and substantial. They’ll make you want to dance and cry at the same time.

The forthcoming Say Hi record is out on June 17th and it’s called Endless Wonder. It’s already one of my favorites from 2014. Download “Hurt in the Morning” below.

Talking with APM's Marketplace about the Disneyland prospectus


I was on American Public Media’s Marketplace yesterday talking (MP3) about our posting of a rarer-than-rare Disney treasure, the never-before-seen original prospectus for Disneyland, scanned before it was sold to noted jerkface Glenn Beck, who has squirreled it away in his private Scrooge McDuck vault.

Read the rest

Podcast: Firefox’s adoption of closed-source DRM breaks my heart

Here's a reading (MP3) of a my latest Guardian column, Firefox's adoption of closed-source DRM breaks my heart, a close analysis of the terrible news that Mozilla has opted to add closed source DRM to its flagship Firefox browser:

The decision to produce systems that treat internet users as untrusted adversaries to be controlled by their computers was clearly taken out of a sense of desperation and inevitability.

It’s clear that Mozilla plans to do everything it can to mitigate the harms from its DRM strategy and to attempt to reverse the trend that brought it to this pass.

Like many of Mozilla’s longtime supporters, I hold it to a high standard. It is not a for-profit. It’s a social enterprise with a mission to empower and free its users.

I understand that Apple, Microsoft and Google are for-profit entities that have demonstrated repeatedly that their profitability trumps their customers’ rights, and I fault them for this. But it’s not unreasonable to hold mission-driven nonprofits to a higher standard than their commercial counterparts.

Mozilla says it’s doing everything it can to reduce the harm from what it sees as an inevitable decision. As a Mozilla supporter, contributor and user, I want it to do more.

Mastering by John Taylor Williams: wryneckstudio@gmail.com

John Taylor Williams is a audiovisual and multimedia producer based in Washington, DC and the co-host of the Living Proof Brew Cast. Hear him wax poetic over a pint or two of beer by visiting livingproofbrewcast.com. In his free time he makes "Beer Jewelry" and "Odd Musical Furniture." He often "meditates while reading cookbooks."

MP3

Podcast: Why it is not possible to regulate robots

Here's a reading (MP3) of a my recent Guardian column, Why it is not possible to regulate robots, which discusses where and how robots can be regulated, and whether there is any sensible ground for "robot law" as distinct from "computer law."

One thing that is glaringly absent from both the Heinleinian and Asimovian brain is the idea of software as an immaterial, infinitely reproducible nugget at the core of the system. Here, in the second decade of the 21st century, it seems to me that the most important fact about a robot – whether it is self-aware or merely autonomous – is the operating system, configuration, and code running on it.

If you accept that robots are just machines – no different in principle from sewing machines, cars, or shotguns – and that the thing that makes them "robot" is the software that runs on a general-purpose computer that controls them, then all the legislative and regulatory and normative problems of robots start to become a subset of the problems of networks and computers.

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I believe two things about computers: first, that they are the most significant functional element of most modern artifacts, from cars to houses to hearing aids; and second, that we have dramatically failed to come to grips with this fact. We keep talking about whether 3D printers should be "allowed" to print guns, or whether computers should be "allowed" to make infringing copies, or whether your iPhone should be "allowed" to run software that Apple hasn't approved and put in its App Store.

Practically speaking, though, these all amount to the same question: how do we keep computers from executing certain instructions, even if the people who own those computers want to execute them? And the practical answer is, we can't.

Mastering by John Taylor Williams: wryneckstudio@gmail.com

John Taylor Williams is a audiovisual and multimedia producer based in Washington, DC and the co-host of the Living Proof Brew Cast. Hear him wax poetic over a pint or two of beer by visiting livingproofbrewcast.com. In his free time he makes "Beer Jewelry" and "Odd Musical Furniture." He often "meditates while reading cookbooks."

MP3

Interview with Matt Taibbi about "The Divide"


Matt Taibbi is touring the States with his new book, The Divide, which is on my must-read list right after I finish Capital in the 21st Century. Rick Kleffel caught up with him for his San Francisco NPR show and posted the interview, along with his notes (which includes links to his previous interviews with Taibbi).

Taibbi was, until recently, the best reason to read Rolling Stone: a finance writer for the 99%, whose incandescent and meticulous columns were terrifying and enraging by turns.

The Divide

05-12-14: A 2014 Interview with Matt Taibbi

(Thanks, Rick!)

Mary Blair and the World's Fair: Rolly Crump describes the birth of "it's a small world"

Yesterday, I posted about the publication of More Cute Stories, Volume 4: 1964/65 New York World's Fair, an audio memoir of Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump. I've been listening to it today, and enjoying it immensely. I wrote to Bamboo Forest, the publishers, and secured permission to share a couple of MP3s from the collection with you.

Read the rest

Podcast: Internet service providers charging for premium access hold us all to ransom

Here's a reading (MP3) of a my latest Guardian column, Internet service providers charging for premium access hold us all to ransom, which tries to make sense of the disastrous news that the Federal Communications Commission is contemplating rules to allow ISPs to demand bribes from publishers in exchange for letting you see the webpages you ask for.

Read the rest

Podcast: Collective Action - the Magnificent Seven anti-troll business-model


Here's a reading (MP3) of a my November, 2013 Locus column, Collective Action, in which I propose an Internet-enabled "Magnificent Seven" business model for foiling corruption, especially copyright- and patent-trolling. In this model, victims of extortionists find each other on the Internet and pledge to divert a year's worth of "license fees" to a collective defense fund that will be used to invalidate a patent or prove that a controversial copyright has lapsed. The name comes from the classic film The Magnificent Seven (based, in turn, on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai) in which villagers decide one year to take the money they'd normally give to the bandits, and turn it over to mercenaries who kill the bandits.

Read the rest

In which I make Wil Wheaton read out Pi for four minutes

Chapter nine of Homeland opens with about 400 digits of Pi. When Wil Wheaton read the chapter, he soldiered through it, reading out Pi for a whopping four minutes! Here's the raw studio audio (MP3) of Wil and director Gabrielle De Cuir playing numbers station.

There's less than a week left during which you can get the independently produced Homeland audiobook through the Humble Ebook Bundle!

Interview with Lucius Shepard


Science fiction radio-host and podcaster Rick Kleffel writes, "Lucius Shepard was one of my guiding lights for reading; he worked in all the spaces I loved best. Here's a link to my one conversation with him [MP3], back in 2005. He'll be missed very much; and remembered every time we read his work." (Thanks, Rick!)

Lucius died last week. It was far too soon, and he is very much missed.