A Life at sea, on land

How far would you go to rescue the remains of a bygone world you've loved since you were a kid? Peter Knego went to Alang, India, and then did it again and again, to save what he could of the great ocean liners being scrapped there. But he didn't just want to save the ships. He wanted to live in one. And to a remarkable degree he's succeeded, filling his home in Oceanside, CA with a breathtaking array of maritime memorabilia. 

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., one man's mission to recreate, in landlocked miniature, the great days of the oceangoing ships. 

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How to live a spreadsheet approved life

Today we travel to a future full of spreadsheet approved lives. A future where everything we do is tracked and quantified: calories, air quality, sleep, heart rate, microbes, brain waves, finances, happiness, sadness, menstrual cycles, poops, hopes and dreams. Everything.

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This episode is longer than our usual 20 minute jaunts to the future, because the future of quantified self is so huge. We cover everything from biased algorithms, to microbiomes (again), to the future of the calorie, and more.

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Why human brains are prone to the black and white fallacy

Why do you try to drain the world of color when backed into a rhetorical corner?

Why do you have such a hard time realizing that you have suggested the world is devoid of nuance when you are in the heat of an argument, reducing all every wavelength to black and white, and all choices to A or B?

In this episode, you’ll learn from three experts in logic and arguing why human brains are prone to the black and white fallacy and the false dichotomies it generates. You’ll learn how to spot this fallacy, what to do when someone uses it against you, and how to avoid committing it yourself.

This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the third in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

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This episode is brought to you by Trunk Club. Like Netflix for clothes, a professional stylist helps you define your new look, and then your new clothes arrive at your doorstep in a special trunk. Keep what you want, return the rest. Get started today and Trunk Club will style you for FREE. Plus FREE SHIPPING both ways! Click here for this special offer.

This episode is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Read the rest

Why your brain creates straw men and doesn't realize it

When confronted with dogma-threatening, worldview-menacing ideas, your knee-jerk response is usually to lash out and try to bat them away, but thanks to a nearly unavoidable mistake in reasoning, you often end up doing battle with arguments of your own creation.

Your lazy brain is always trying to make sense of the world on ever-simpler terms. Just as you wouldn’t use a topographical map to navigate your way to Wendy’s, you tend to navigate reality using a sort of Google Maps interpretation of events and ideas. It’s less accurate, sure, but much easier to understand when details aren’t a priority. But thanks to this heuristical habit, you sometimes create mental men of straw that stand in for the propositions put forth by people who see the world a bit differently than you. In addition to being easy to grasp, they are easy to knock down and hack apart, which wouldn’t be a problem if only you noticed the switcheroo.

This is the essence of the straw man fallacy, probably the most common of all logical fallacies. Setting up and knocking down straw men is so easy to do while arguing that you might not even notice that you are doing it.

In this episode, you’ll learn from three experts in logic and arguing why human brains tend not to realize they are constructing artificial versions of the arguments they wish to defeat. Once you’ve wrapped your mind around that idea, you’ll then learn how to spot the straw man fallacy, how to avoid committing it, and how to defend against it. Read the rest

From cancer to body odor, the future uses of the microbiome

Today we travel to a future where your microbiome becomes a key part of your identity. From health to your child’s kindergarten, here are all the ways knowing about your microbiome might impact your life.

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In this episode we talk about the possibilities and limitations of the microbiome — the trillions of bacterial cells that live in and on your body. There’s a lot of money going towards microbiome research right now, and a whole lot of claims about what the microbiome can do. We break down what we actually know, and where we’re probably going.

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Former Starbucks designer on what makes a "third place" feel like home

Suppose you wanted to design a home away from home. What would you put in? What would you leave out? What kind of seating would you have? (Soft? Hard? Low? High?) What kind of tables — big working slabs or intimate little two-tops?

A good “third place” may seem casually homey, but its design is the end result of a million tiny decisions. This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., it’s a conversation with Kambiz Hemati, who oversaw store design at Starbucks for two years and now owns Love Coffee Bar in Santa Monica, where he gets to think hard — and think small — about what makes a place feel like home.

Thanks for listening. And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and leave us a rating and/or review on the iTunes Store. 

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How would we get rid of every single mosquito?

In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences?

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We talk to experts on mosquito ecology, public health, and a guy who’s trying to genetically engineer mosquitoes to eliminate themselves. We talk about everything from how hard it would be to exterminate mosquitoes, to which species we should target, to what the potential side effects might be. Listen for all that and more!

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What would it be like if we all wore accurate lie detectors around all the time?

Today we travel to a future without lies. What would it be like if we all wore accurate lie detectors around all the time?

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In this episode of Flash Forward we talk about when children learn to lie, the different social functions of lying, and what might happen if we couldn’t ever fib. How would negotiations be different? How would we make small talk? Could we create art or music? All that and more in this week’s future. (Illustration by Matt Lubchansky)

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A home, a murder, a mystery (or two)

Up in the manicured hills of Los Feliz, a neighborhood that boasts at least three famous murder houses, the one with the weirdest history may be the Perelson house... where, deep in the night of December 6, 1959, a husband and father of three lost his fragile grip and went terribly, shockingly crazy. But the story only starts there.

Why did Harold Perelson snap? What does it mean when, without warning, the safety of a family home is shattered from within? And how do you explain what's happened to the house since? 

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a mystery that's endured for almost 60 years, and the crime that set it in motion. 

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When will we get sex robots?

Today we travel to the year 2086, a world where sex robots are on the market. What happens when we can buy a humanoid robot as a partner? Who wins and who loses? And where do you store the darn thing? [A note: if you listen to our show with or near young kids be aware that today’s episodes discusses the future of sex, and goes into some detail about sex toys, sex work and other sexy time things. If your kiddos are ready for a calm, reasonable discussion of sex and the sex industry, carry on! If you’re not there yet, that’s cool, but maybe skip this one.]

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In this episode we discuss everything from the warranties that a sex robot might have, to the ethical implications of owning a human form. We also discuss just how far away we are from having sex robots in the first place, something I explored a little more fully over at BBC today. What do you think? Would you use a sex robot?

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What would happen if the whole world went face blind?

Hello and welcome to newest addition to the Boing Boing podcast family! Flash Forward is a podcast produced and hosted by me, Rose Eveleth. Every week we really overthink what the future has in store for us. Every episode we tackle one possible (or, not so possible) future scenario — everything from a sudden ice age, to the end of antibiotic effectiveness, to a world in which contact sports are banned due to head injury — and try to work out how that future would really go down.

Today, about two percent of the population has prosopagnosia — a condition that makes them unable to remember faces. But what if we all had it? On this week’s episode, we travel to a future where nobody can recognize one another by face.

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In the episode we discuss what causes face blindness and the tricks that people use to remember their friends. We also go through all the things that would be easier (spying, hiding) and harder (police lineups, cocktail parties) in a world where we were all faceblind.

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Unmaking a home: A story of life, death, Christmas and trash bags

[I'm a huge fan of Bill Barol's podcast, HOME: Stories From L.A. It's the first podcast Bill has produced, and he knocked it right out of the park. HOME is one of the best narrative podcasts I've ever listened to. If you haven't listened to the six episodes from the first season yet, you are in for a treat. I'm very excited that for its second season, HOME has found a home in the Boing Boing podcast network. Thanks for sharing your work with Boing Boing's audience, Bill! – Mark]

HOME: Stories From L.A. asks the questions: What do we mean when we talk about home? And what does it mean to be at home on the edge of the American continent? In Season 1 we looked at the midcentury house on a hill where a forgotten genius from Hollywood's Golden Age lived out his last years; the empty spot on a Hawthorne street where Brian Wilson first dreamed of the harmonies that would make The Beach Boys great; the chicken magnate who's trying to keep a desert town on the old Route 66 from vanishing; the wandering that led an ex-Buddhist monk to the tech sector of Venice Beach; what it means, and what it meant, to grow up in the San Fernando Valley; and the fight to keep a venerable old Hollywood apartment building weird. 

This week, to kick off Season 2: 

When an elderly parent dies after a long life of lovingly acquiring things, she leaves behind more than memories for her kids. Read the rest

Voyage of the Damned: In 1939, the U.S. turned back a ship carrying refugees from Nazi Germany.

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In 1947, Canadian kids went on "strike" to protest candy-bar prices.

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

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 changing world of webcomics business models

Thom from the Shadowbinders podcast writes, "Journalist Brady Dale from the New York Observer joins us this episode (MP3) as we talk about the changing business model of webcomics. Are webcomics 'dead' -- or just evolving? How will social media play into the business model of digital comics going forward? And what about the money -- where is the MONEY?!" Read the rest

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

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

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