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

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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.

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How would we get rid of every single mosquito?

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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?

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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)

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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?

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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?

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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

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[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

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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

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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

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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

Hello From the Magic Tavern: hilarious, addictive improv podcast

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The setup is pretty weird: Arnie fell through a dimensional portal behind a Chicago Burger King and found humself in a magical high-fantasy kingdom called Foon, where he has befriended a shape-shifter in the form of a talking badger called Chunt, and a shouty wizard called Usidore. Together, they record a weekly podcast with lovable Foonites, which Arnies uploads through an unreliable wifi signal from the Burger King (Usidore keeps Arnie's laptop charged with lightning spells). 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

Podcast: the only way to get evidence-based policy is to embrace ambiguity in science

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In the 2015 Sense About Science lecture (MP3), Tracey Brown discusses the worst casualty of politicization of science, from fluoride to climate change -- the truth. 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

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