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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.

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

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)

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.

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.

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.

Interview with Rick Kleffel about Homeland

Last week I sat down for an interview with Rick Kleffel at KQED in San Francisco. He's put the whole interview -- a long one! -- up in his Trashotron podcast feed. We talked about Homeland and other things. Rick, as always, was a very astute interviewer.

MP3 link

Book picks from Mark, Jane (9), and Sarina (15)

In this special Superb Owl Sunday Family Channel podcast my daughters Jane (9), Sarina (15), and I shared a pan of Jiffy Pop and talked about books.

What we are reading now:

Mark: Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin

Sarina: The Postmortal, by Drew Magary

Jane: Frederick Douglass: Young Defender of Human Rights, by Elisabeth P. Myers

Favorite books:

Mark: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, by B. Traven

Sarina: The Outsiders, be S. E. Hinton

Jane: By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman

Punk Voyager: when the punks launched their own space-probe

"Punk Voyager" is this week's story on the Escape Pod podcast, and it is fucking amazing. It's Shaenon Garrity story about punks at the twilight of the 1970s who are drunkenly outraged to discover that the Voyager probe has been launched with classical music records for aliens. They build their own Voyager probe out of garbage, razor-blades, beer cans and a surfboard some douchebag left on the beach, filled with all the most important human artifacts that they can find in their van. They forget about it as the 80s roar in, and then the aliens come to Earth and cockpunch Ronald Reagan.

Fuck yeah.

Punk Voyager was built by punks. They made it from beer cans, razors, safety pins, and a surfboard some D-bag had left on the beach. Also plutonium. Where did they get plutonium? Around. Fuck you.

The punks who built Punk Voyager were Johnny Bonesaw, Johnny Razor, Mexican Johnny D-bag, Red Viscera, and some other guys. No, asshole, nobody remembers what other guys. They were Fucking wasted, these punks. They’d been drinking on the San Diego beach all day and night, talking about making a run to Tijuana and then forgetting and punching each other. They’d built a fire on the beach, and all night the fire went up and went down while the punks threw beer cans at the seagulls.

Forget the shit I just said, it wasn’t the punks who did it. They were Fucking punks. The hell they know about astro-engineering? Truth is that Punk Voyager was the strung-out masterpiece of Mexican Johnny D-bag’s girlfriend, Lacuna, who had a doctorate in structural engineering. Before she burned out and ran for the coast, Lacuna was named Alice McGuire and built secret nuclear submarines for a government contractor in Ohio. It sucked. But that was where she got the skills to construct an unmanned deep-space probe. Same principle, right? Keep the radiation in and the water out. Or the vacuum of space, whatever, it’s all the same shit to an engineer.

Fuck that, it wasn’t really Lacuna’s baby. It wasn’t her idea. The idea was Red’s.

“Fucking space,” he said that fateful night. He was lying on his back looking up at space, is why he said it.

“Hell yeah,” said Johnny Bonesaw.

Punk Voyager

Make: Talk 020 - Air Rockets and Folding Wing Gliders


Rick Schertle is the creator of one of our most popular projects in MAKE: the compressed air rocket launcher, which uses PVC pipe and a sprinkler valve to blast a paper rocket high into the air. Rick is also the creator of the folding wing rocket glider, which takes the standard balsa wood glider and turns it into something that flies a lot higher and longer. And most recently, Rick wrote a project that shows you how to make a catapult launcher that sends the rocket glider even higher. I spoke to Rick about these projects and more.

Make: Talk 020 - Air Rockets and Folding Wing Gliders: RSS | iTunes | Download MP3

The Parable of the Ox: podcast explains the disastrous separation of financial markets from the real economy

An excellent recent episode of the BBC Radio 4 math/current affairs show "More or Less" dramatized "The Parable of the Ox," a short article by John Kay originally published in the Financial Times (paywalled, alas, or I'd link to it available from Kay's site). Fans of James Surowiecki's Wisdom of the Crowds will know the first part of this story -- wherein the average of several guesses about the weight of an ox was more accurate than the guesses of any of the experts in the crowd. What this podcast and the article adds is a coda about how the use of "guesses" (or stock trades) as a way of weighing the ox quickly departed from guesses about the weight of the ox (or the value of a firm) and turned into guesses about other peoples' guesses about other peoples' guesses -- a financialized system that soon has no connection to the real economy or the real ox. And it ends, predictably enough, when the ox dies.

The Parable of the Ox [More or Less]

MP3

The parable of the ox [John Kay]

Make: Talk 019 - Matt Richardson, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBone

Our maker this week is Matt Richardson. Matt's a video producer, a writer, a maker of things, a technology consultant, and a student at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program. Matt wrote two articles for MAKE volume 32. One of them is a BeagleBone tutorial and the other one shows how to make his awesome -- I mean -- wonderful Awesome Button. Matt also co-wrote (with Shawn Wallace) a new MAKE book called Getting Started with Raspberry Pi, an introduction to the business card sized $35 Linux computer.

I spoke to Matt from his workshop in Brooklyn.

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Crypto and Bletchley Park podcast from BBC's Infinite Monkey Cage


BBC Radio 4's great math and science show "The Infinite Monkey Cage" did a great (and very funny) episode on crypto and Bletchley Park, with Robin Ince, Brian Cox, Dave Gorman, Simon Singh and Dr Sue Black.

Secret Science

MP3

(via Schneier)

Live, online Spider Robinson lecture on writing science fiction


Tony Smith from the StarShipSofa science fiction podcast sez, "Spider Robinson will share the sofa for a confidential live online talk full of anecdotes and insights about science fiction, the publishing industry, and his lifelong journey as a reader, writer, and voice of the genre. Don't think of this as a lecture; think of it as a cosy chat with an old friend, one who just happens to be a shining star of contemporary science fiction and who knows all the juicy, meaningful stories you can't find in 'how to' books. See the genre as you've never seen it before, through the eyes of a gifted and generous storyteller and professional. There's room on the sofa for you. Join StarShipSofa as it welcomes Spider Robinson for this one-time-only live event!"

How To Write Science Fiction with... Spider Robinson (Thanks, Tony!)

Interview with Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

I did an interview with The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, which they've published in both text and MP3 form. We talked about Pirate Cinema, Rapture of the Nerds, the Humble Ebook Bundle, the future of publishing, the Disney/Star Wars merger, and lots more:

Wired: Do you ever get letters from kids who have been inspired by your books to become hacker anarchists?

Doctorow: Yeah, all the time — at least to become hackers, and political activists. My first young-adult novel Little Brother had an afterword with a bibliography for kids who want to get involved in learning how security works, learning how computers work, learning how to program them, learning how to take them apart, learning how to solve their problems with technology as well as with politics. And the number of kids who have written to me and said that they became programmers after reading that, I couldn’t even count them. I’ve had similar responses to my second young-adult novel, For the Win, and I’ve also heard from kids who’ve read Pirate Cinema. In fact, we published an editorial by one of them on Boing Boing — an anonymous reader who makes her own movies out of Japanese anime, and who talked about what drives her and how the book resonated with her.

With Pirate Cinema, Cory Doctorow Grows His Young Hacker Army

Make: Talk 016 - Joel Murphy, Co-Creator of the Pulse Sensor


In this episode of the Make: Talk podcast I interviewed Joel Murphy. He's an artist living in Brooklyn and owns a business designing and fabricating electro-mechanical projects for artists and designers. He teaches Physical Computing at Parsons the New School for Design, and he owns Rachel’s Electronics, an online store for electronics kits and breakout boards. He's the co-creator of the Pulse Sensor, an Arduino compatible sensor that measures heart rate beats per minute. (Here's a how-to article about making a headband with the Pulse Sensor in MAKE, Volume 29).

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A discussion about the history of technology and the future of energy

On Wednesday, I spoke with MIT professor of science writing Tom Levenson, as he interviewed me for the Virtually Speaking Science podcast. We had a really interesting discussion, centered on the history of technology and the question of how we end up choosing one type of tool over another. You can listen to the full thing online.

Make: Talk 017 - Backyard Ballistics with William Gurstelle

Backyard BallisticsIn this episode of Make: Talk, I interviewed William Gurstelle, a contributing editor to MAKE. I've interviewed Bill before on this podcast, but I invited him back on the show again because the second edition of his classic book, Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices, just came out. If you like making things that fly, explode, or catch on fire, you'll want to stick around for my interview with Bill.

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Interview with Tim Powers

Rick Kleffel sez,

Tim Powers is one the founding fathers of steampunk, and a writer whose every book is superb. I drove down to San Bernardino City College to talk to him about his latest work, Hide Me Among the Graves, a secret supernatural history of the Pre-Raphaelite poets and painters.

He has a rather unique perspective on writing, history and fantasy that involves identifying events that seem as if they might have some supernatural aspect and then creating a backstory that ties them together. The Rossettis; Dante Gabriel Rossetti (poet and painter), Christina (poet), William and Maria are a perfect set of subjects.

We had a great time talking about how he put it all together.

08-27-12: A 2012 Interview with Tim Powers

MP3 Link (Thanks, Rick!)

Gweek 058: Wizzywig -- Portrait of a Serial Hacker

Click here to play this episode. Gweek is a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

Read the rest

Gweek 057: Promethea = good, Prometheus = bad

Click here to play this episode. Gweek is a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

Read the rest

Kim Stanley Robinson talks about his latest novel, 2312

The latest episode of the always-excellent Agony Column podcast features an interview with one of science fiction's greatest living writers, Kim Stanley Robinson, discussing his latest novel 2312, a mammoth, epic story of a future built upon realistic and attainable space exploration -- a kind of meditation on life within lightspeed, which is nevertheless extremely personal and close-felt and on human scale.

"...it's a somewhat Utopian situation in space, and still a somewhat grim and screwed up situation on Earth..."

—Kim Stanley Robinson

In the statement above, is Kim Stanley Robinson describing the present or the future? That's not an easy call until you hear it in context. In this case, the future as written in his latest novel '2312' is certainly an outgrowth of the present, and there is more than enough "funhouse mirror" material in the novel to let you know Robinson has a lot to say about how things are here in the present.

It has been almost a year since I last spoke with Robinson and it was ever so kind of him to battle apocalyptic traffic to make it to the Capitola Book Café for a live conversation about his latest novel, '2312.' For a book that is chock-a-block with ambition, it is a really a racing, bracing read; I read most of it in a single day. That should signal readers that Robinson is hitting the sweet spot with both content and pacing. This is big-idea science fiction that doubles as pacey thriller.

Agony Column podcast: Kim Stanley Robinson

MP3

J. Coulton and J. Scalzi talk science fiction and music every day for two weeks

A new, two-week long daily podcast called Journey to Planet JoCo consists of a series of dialogues between John Scalzi and Jonathan Coulton -- like my two favorite flavors of ice-cream in one delicious cone!

Welcome to Journey to Planet JoCo, an interview series where science fiction and sometimes fantasy author John Scalzi talks to musician Jonathan Coulton about science fiction and science fiction songs.

Every morning at 9 AM, for the next two weeks, John will talk to Jonathan about one of JoCo’s songs, getting in-depth — and possibly out of his depth — about the inspiration and construction behind them. Which ones? You’ll have to come back every morning to see!

There’s more, but we’ll let John and Jonathan themselves further introduce the concept, the details, and the sparkly prize at the bottom of this particular cereal box.

Announcing Journey to Planet JoCo!

From hacker to wonk

This week on the always excellent Command Line podcast, Thomas Gideon -- senior staff technologist for the New America Foundation -- describes his journey from programmer to technology wonk (MP3), explaining the relationship between code and policy.