Podcast: Ian Tregillis explains the Milkweed novels

Rick Kleffel interviewed Ian Tregillis, author of the amazing alternate history Milkweed books, about Nazi X-Men fighting a secret war against British warlocks. Tregillis describes the process by which he came up with the premise, and especially -- and most interestingly -- how he came up with his brilliant treatment for Gretl, a precognitive villain who is pretty much evil personified (MP3).

How to foil NSA sabotage: use a dead man's switch (podcast)

In this week's podcast, I read aloud a recent Guardian column, "How to foil NSA sabotage: use a dead man's switch, which proposes a "dead-man's switch" service that'll tip people off when the NSA serves a secret order demanding that Web operators sabotage their systems.

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Tell Me Something I Don't Know 012: Shelton Drum, owner of Heroes Aren't Hard To Find


Shelton Drum is a first-generation outlier in the world of comics retail and convention organizing with his Charlotte NC store, Heroes Aren't Hard To Find, celebrating 30+ years in existence and Heroes Con growing stronger over a similar span of time. The TMSIDK gang traveled to Heroes Con 2013 to record the show live and the conversation spans the history of comics from the mid-60s forward through the eyes of a store owner who's seen it all.

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Tell Me Something I Don't Know 011: Jon M. Gibson, co-founder of iam8bit


Jon M. Gibson is the co-founder/co-owner of iam8bit -– a production company, creative think tank, art exhibition, and gallery space in Los Angeles. iam8bit’s projects include a music video for Radiohead, A Really, Really Brief History of Donkey Kong for the King of Kong DVD, Street Fighter Club, a custom vinyl picture disc for Tron Evolution, and marketing and artwork for Mega Man 9. After the success of the initial iam8bit shows (hosted at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight), they opened their own space and have continued to produce a variety of art exhibitions in addition to their work in the video game, film, fashion, and music industries.

Tell Me Something I Don't Know is produced and hosted by three talented cartoonists and illustrators:

Jim Rugg, a Pittsburgh-based comic book artist, graphic designer, zinemaker, and writer best known for Afrodisiac, The Plain Janes, and Street Angel. His latest project is SUPERMAG.

Jasen Lex is a designer and illustrator from Pittsburgh. He is currently working on a graphic novel called Washington Unbound. All of his art and comics can be found at jasenlex.com.

Ed Piskor is the cartoonist who drew the comic, Wizzywig, and draws the Brain Rot/ Hip Hop Family Tree comic strip at this very site, soon to be collected by Fantagraphics Books and available for pre-order now.

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Podcast: reasons to care about surveillance in the era of Prism

Here's a read-aloud of my recent Guardian column, "The NSA's Prism: why we should care," which sets out the reasons for caring about the recent revelations of bulk, warrantless, suspicionless, indiscriminate surveillance. It's mastered by John Taylor Williams, and you can hear it (and more) in my podcast feed. Cory 1

What is death?

What a treat! The BBC Radio 4 science show The Infinite Monkey Cage has started its new season, and the first episode is a corker, asking whether a strawberry is dead, and what is death, anyway? Podcast feed, MP3 Cory

Interview with Richard Matheson

Rick Kleffel sez, "We'll miss Richard Matheson... he introduced me to the sort of stories he wrote when I was arguably too young to read them. I found an old paperback of The Shores of Space on my parents' shelves and hid behind the couch to read the terrifying stories. I actually had the chance to speak with him in 2011 about his whole career. It was an fascinating and rather intense conversation. Here's the link for those who would like to remember him." (MP3) Cory

By His Things Will You Know Him (podcast)


(art by Daniel Martin Diaz)

Earlier today, we published my story "By His Things Will You Know Him," which is from the forthcoming Institute for the Future anthology "An Aura of Familiarity: Visions from the Coming Age of Networked Matter." I've read the story aloud for my podcast, if that's how you prefer your fiction.

MP3 Link

Cory's Sense About Science lecture

I gave the annual Sense About Science lecture last week in London, and The Guardian recorded and podcasted it (MP3). It's based on the Waffle Iron Connected to a Fax Machine talk I gave at Re:publica in Berlin the week before. Cory

Will robots take all the jobs?

In a fascinating installment of the IEEE Techwise podcast [MP3], Rice University Computational Engineering prof Moshe Vardi discusses the possibility that robots will obviate human labor faster than new jobs are created, leaving us with no jobs. This needn't be a bad thing -- it might mean finally realizing the age of leisure we've been promised since the first glimmers of the industrial revolution -- but if market economies can't figure out how to equitably distribute the fruits of automation, it might end up with an even bigger, even more hopeless underclass.

I think the issue of machine intelligence and jobs deserves some serious discussion. I don’t know that we will reach a definite conclusion, and it’s not clear how easy it will be to agree on desired actions, but I think the topic is important enough that it deserves discussion. And right now I would say it’s mostly being discussed by economists, by labor economists. It has to also be discussed by the people that produce the technology, because one of the questions we could ask is, you know, there is a concept that, for example, that people have started talking about, which is that we are using, we are creating technology that has no friction, okay? Creating many things that are just too easy to do.

Many of these ideas came up in this Boing Boing post from January, which also touches on Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy, a book that Vardi mentions in his interview.

The Job Market of 2045 (via /.)

Tim Wu and Cory talk networks, policy and the future

Slate's "Stranger Than Fiction" podcast has just aired its second episode: a discussion between Tim Wu (a cyberlawyer, Internet scholar and good egg) and me (MP3)! Future installments will include talks with Kim Stanley Robinson and Margaret Atwood (as well as others) -- the inaugural episode featured Tim in discussion with Neal Stephenson. Cory

Gweek 087: The Art of Doing

I had an enlightening conversation with Josh Gosfield and Camille Sweeney, authors of a great new book called The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well. Josh and Camille interviewed 36 notable people -- artists, entrepreneurs, actors, athletes -- asking them their secrets of success. Joining me on the episode was Gweek's frequent co-host, Joshua Glenn, co-editor of Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun and HiLowBrow.

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In this episode:

The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well


Ye-Ye Profile: Gigi Gaston


Fathom Butterfly - the notorious beauty queen, showgirl, Hammer horror actress, porn star, felon and feminist filmmaker tweets her memoirs


Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, by Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Joshua Glenn.


Katana, by Ann Nocenti and Alex Sanchez


Science-Fiction: The Early Years, by Everett Franklin Bleiler


In Praise of Messy Lives, by Katie Roiphe


Geek Battle: The Game of Extreme Geekdom


Flow Free

Gweek 086: Utopian for Beginners

This was a fun episode! I spoke with John Glassie, author of A Man of Misconceptions, a non-fiction book about the unusual 17th-century polymath, Athanasius Kircher, and Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein, which recounts Joshua’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes.”

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In this episode:

A Man of Misconceptions: The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change, by John Glassie


Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer


Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology, by Lawrence Weschler


"Utopian for Beginners: An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented," a New Yorker article by Joshua Foer


"Want to Remember Everything You'll Ever Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm," a Wired article by Gary Wolf


Atlas Obscura is the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places.


Language learning apps and websites: Memrise, iAnki, Dr. Moku's Hiragana Mnemonics, Dr. Moku's Katakana Mnemonics

Gweek 084: Carrie Brownstein

This morning David and I spoke with with Carrie Brownstein: musician, writer, actor. She's a founding member of the bands Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag, and the co-creator, co-writer, and co-star of Portlandia, the hit sketch comedy series on IFC, currently in its 3rd season.


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Previously:

Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors

Portlandia: Artisanal popcorn

Portlandia just keeps getting better

Portlandia holiday preview video: "Vagina Pillows"

SPOILER ALERT: New Portlandia preview clip is called "Spoiler Alert"

(Image of Carrie Brownstein: Wildflag - SXSW Music 2011 - Austin, TX, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from kk's photostream)

(Thanks, Rachel Maguire!)

Cool Tools' new "Show and Tell" videocast and podcast

I'm going nuts with podcasts. Here's the latest: Cool Tools' "Show and Tell" videocast and podcast. Last week, Kevin Kelly and I did a video hangout with Joshua Glenn and Michael Pusateri. We showed each other 18 different things we love, including books, kitchen tools, games, apps, and gadgets.

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes. Listen on Soundcloud. Watch Video.

Here are the show notes.