Podcast: Science fiction and the unforeseeable future: In the 2020s, let’s imagine better things

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Globe and Mail editorial, Science fiction and the unforeseeable future: In the 2020s, let’s imagine better things, where I reflect on what science fiction can tell us about the 2020s for the Globe's end-of-the-decade package; I wrote about how science fiction can't predict the future, but might inspire it, and how the dystopian malaise of science fiction can be turned into a inspiring tale of "adversity met and overcome – hard work and commitment wrenching a limping victory from the jaws of defeat." Read the rest

Michael Moore just launched a new podcast and it's great, full of hope and anger

I just got back from a longer-than-usual family holiday during which I did much less work than I usually do when I'm off (I recommend both to you!), but one exception I made was tuning into Michael Moore's outstanding new podcast, Rumble, which Moore records from his apartment, usually with a special guest (I tuned in when I saw that he'd done an episode with the wonderful Anand "Winners Take All" Giridharadas (previously). Read the rest

A great new podcast explores the cultural and political impact of the Only Band That Matters: the Clash

I met Andy Bothwell on Warped Tour in the summer of … 2003, I think? My friends' emo band had somehow secured a spot on the Code Of Tha Cuts Hip-Hop side stage. He jumped on stage to freestyle during a song in his MC alias as Astronautalis, and absolutely blew me away. We did a few shows together over the next couple years, but I've remained a huge fan of his talkin'-blues-indie-rock beats ever since. He's gone on to tour with artists like Tegan & Sara, and recently put out a new collaboration with POS from Doomtree that — coincidentally — includes a song about the late great Joe Strummer.

Being that I was a teenager hanging out on Warped Tour, it's perhaps no surprise that I'm a huge of the Clash. But I was surprised to find that this brilliant indie rapper I'd hung out with a few times was hosting Consequence of Sound's new podcast, The Opus, and that the latest season would focus on the only band that matters.

Admittedly, I haven't listened to the other seasons of The Opus yet, which focus on albums by Willie Nelson, Ozzy Osbourne, and more. But the three-part series on "London Calling" is absolute essential listening. Bothwell oozes excitement as he talks about the band's magnum opus. He also brings on a diverse range of guests to share their own takes, including Lee "Scratch" Perry, Laura Jane Grace from Against Me!, Donita Sparks, Houston rapper Fat Tony, and more. Read the rest

Party Discipline, a Walkaway story (Part 4 -- the final part!)

In my latest podcast (MP3), I conclude my serial reading of my novella Party Discipline, which I wrote while on a 35-city, 45-day tour for my novel Walkaway in 2017; Party Discipline is a story set in the world of Walkaway, about two high-school seniors who conspire to throw a "Communist Party" at a sheet metal factory whose owners are shutting down and stealing their workers' final paychecks. These parties are both literally parties -- music, dancing, intoxicants -- and "Communist" in that the partygoers take over the means of production and start them up, giving away the products they create to the attendees. Walkaway opens with a Communist Party and I wanted to dig into what might go into pulling one of those off.

Here's part 1 of the reading, here's part 2, and here's part 3.

We rode back to Burbank with Shirelle on my lap and one of my butt-cheeks squeezed between the edge of the passenger seat and the door. The truck squeaked on its suspension as we went over the potholes, riding low with a huge load of shopping carts under tarps in its bed. The carts were pretty amazing: strong as hell but light enough for me to lift one over my head, using crazy math to create a tensegrity structure that would hold up to serious abuse. They were rustproof, super-steerable and could be reconfigured into different compartment-sizes or shelves with grills that clipped to the sides. And light as they were, you put enough of them into a truck and they’d weigh a ton.

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My annual Daddy-Daughter Xmas Podcast: interview with an 11-year-old

Every year, I record a short podcast with my daughter, Poesy. Originally, we'd just sing Christmas carols, but with Poesy being nearly 12, we've had a moratorium on singing. This year, I interviewed Poe about her favorite Youtubers, books, apps, and pass-times, as well as her feelings on data-retention (meh) and horses (love 'em). And we even manage to squeeze in a song! Read the rest

From Enron to Saudi Arabia, from Rikers Island to ICE's gulag, how McKinsey serves as "Capitalism's Consigliere"

On this week's Intercepted podcast (MP3) (previously), host Jeremy Scahill (previously) takes a long, deep look at the history of McKinsey and Company, whose consultants are the architects of ICE's gulags, a failed, high-cost initiative to curb violence at Rikers Island that used falsified data to secure ongoing funding -- a company whose internal documents compare management consultants to "the Marine Corps, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Jesuits" and whose government contracts bill out freshly hired, inexperienced junior consultants at $3m/year. Read the rest

Podcast: Party Discipline, a Walkaway story (Part 3)

In my latest podcast (MP3), I continue my serial reading of my novella Party Discipline, which I wrote while on a 35-city, 45-day tour for my novel Walkaway in 2017; Party Discipline is a story set in the world of Walkaway, about two high-school seniors who conspire to throw a "Communist Party" at a sheet metal factory whose owners are shutting down and stealing their workers' final paychecks. These parties are both literally parties -- music, dancing, intoxicants -- and "Communist" in that the partygoers take over the means of production and start them up, giving away the products they create to the attendees. Walkaway opens with a Communist Party and I wanted to dig into what might go into pulling one of those off.

Here's part 1 of the reading and here's part 2.

We told them they could go home if they didn’t want to risk coming to the Communist party, but we told them that after we told them that they were the only kids in the whole school we trusted enough to invite to it, and made sure they all knew that if they backed out, there’d be no hard feelings—and no chance to change their mind later tonight when they were at a corny party with a bunch of kids instead of making glorious revolution.

Every one of them said they’d come.

I’d found an all-ages show in Encino that night, two miles from Steelbridge, Antoine’s old job. We got piled into Ubers heading for the club, chatting about inconsequentialities for the in-car cameras and mics, and every one of us paid cover for the club, making sure to use traceable payment systems that would alibi us as having gone in for the night.

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Nulledcast: a podcast where hackers play live audio of themselves breaking into Ring cameras and tormenting their owners

Nulledcast is a realtime podcast streamed on a Discord channel for the hacking forum Nulled: the hosts break into Ring and Nest cameras in realtime, blare sirens at the owners, then torment them with insults and racist slurs, livestreaming their responses to hundreds of listeners. Read the rest

Podcast: Party Discipline, a Walkaway story (Part 2)

In my latest podcast (MP3), I continue my serial reading of my novella Party Discipline, which I wrote while on a 35-city, 45-day tour for my novel Walkaway in 2017; Party Discipline is a story set in the world of Walkaway, about two high-school seniors who conspire to throw a "Communist Party" at a sheet metal factory whose owners are shutting down and stealing their workers' final paychecks. These parties are both literally parties -- music, dancing, intoxicants -- and "Communist" in that the partygoers take over the means of production and start them up, giving away the products they create to the attendees. Walkaway opens with a Communist Party and I wanted to dig into what might go into pulling one of those off.

The cop pulled the vice principal’s chair out from behind the desk and sat down on it in front of us. He didn’t say anything. He was young, I saw, not much older than us, and still had some acne on one cheek. White dude. Not my type, but good looking, except that he was a cop and he was playing mind games with us.

“Are we being detained?” Somewhere in my bag was a Black Lives Matter bust-card and while I’d forgotten almost everything written on it, I remembered that this was the first question I should ask.

“You are here at the request of your school administration.” Oh. Even when there wasn’t a fresh lockdown, the administration had plenty of powers to search us, ask us all kinds of nosy questions.

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Harry Shearer interviews Uber's smartest critic: Hubert "Bezzle" Horan

Hubert Horan (previously) is a transport industry analyst who has written more than 20 essays for Naked Capitalism as well as two peer-reviewed scholarly articles explaining why Uber is a "bezzle" -- that is, a scam that can't possibly ever make money, no matter how much it preys on drivers, ignores passenger safety, and destroys safe, regulated taxi businesses. Harry "Mr Burns" Shearer interviewed Horan (MP3) on the latest episode of his radio show, Le Show. It's a fantastic interview that quickly gets to the meat of Horan's critique of Uber, and then digs into both the ridiculous defenses that Uber and its defenders mount of its possible sustainability, and the social circumstances that allowed Uber to bezzle $21b from its investors in just a few years, while still attracting more investors. (Image: Tarcil, CC BY-SA, modified) (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Podcast: Party Discipline, a Walkaway story (Part 1)

In my latest podcast (MP3), I've started a serial reading of my novella Party Discipline, which I wrote while on a 35-city, 45-day tour for my novel Walkaway in 2017; Party Discipline is a story set in the world of Walkaway, about two high-school seniors who conspire to throw a "Communist Party" at a sheet metal factory whose owners are shutting down and stealing their workers' final paychecks. These parties are both literally parties -- music, dancing, intoxicants -- and "Communist" in that the partygoers take over the means of production and start them up, giving away the products they create to the attendees. Walkaway opens with a Communist Party and I wanted to dig into what might go into pulling one of those off.

I don’t remember how we decided exactly to throw a Communist party. It had been a running joke all through senior year, whenever the obvious divisions between the semi-zottas and the rest of us came too close to the surface at Burbank High: “Have fun at Stanford, come drink with us at the Communist parties when you’re back on break.”

The semi-zottas were mostly white, with some Asians—not the brown kind—for spice. The non-zottas were brown and black, and we were on our way out. Out of Burbank High, out of Burbank, too. Our parents had lucked into lottery tickets, buying houses in Burbank back when they were only ridiculously expensive. Now they were crazy. We’d be the last generation of brown kids to go to Burbank High because the instant we graduated, our parents were going to sell and use the money to go somewhere cheaper, and the leftovers would let us all take a couple of mid-range MOOCs from a Big Ten university to round out our community college distance-ed degrees.

MP3

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Talking with the Left Field podcast about Sidewalk Labs's plan to build a surveilling "smart city" in Toronto

We've been closely following the plan by Google sister company Sidewalk Labs to build a surveilling "smart city" in Toronto; last week, I sat down with the Out of Left Field podcast (MP3) to discuss what's going on with Sidewalk Labs, how it fits into the story of Big Tech, and what the alternatives might be. Read the rest

The Life Cycle podcast discusses the future of freedom with Lawrence Lessig

Fifteen percent of all human consciousness that has ever existed is present and happening today. As we speed up and grow ever more connected via the Internet, what are the implications for this massive digital shift? In this episode recorded last year, renowned Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig discusses the state of the digital landscape and its impact on notions of freedom and democracy. For good or for bad, how will this new era play out in the years to come? In "The Beginning," the last episode of Season One, we look resolutely into the near future.

The Life Cycle is a production of Klang Games, creator of Seed, the planet colonization MMO -- watch the new trailer here.  Subscribe to The Life Cycle on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and Spotify. Follow The Life Cycle on Twitter and Instagram. Read the rest

Podcast: The Engagement-Maximization Presidency

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my May, 2018 Locus column, "The Engagement-Maximization Presidency," where I propose a theory to explain the political phenomenon of Donald Trump: we live in a world in which communications platforms amplify anything that gets “engagement” and provides feedback on just how much your message has been amplified so you can tune and re-tune for maximum amplification. Read the rest

Talking about Disney's 1964 Carousel of Progress with Bleeding Cool: our lost animatronic future

Back in 2007, I wrote a science fiction novella called "The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrrow," about an immortal, transhuman survivor of an apocalypse whose father is obsessed with preserving artifacts from the fallen civilization, especially the Carousel of Progress, an exhibition that GE commissioned from Disney for the 1964 World's Fair in New York, which is still operating in Walt Disney World. Read the rest

Library Socialism: a utopian vision of a sustaniable, luxuriant future of circulating abundance

SRSLY Wrong is a "research-based comedy podcast" run by a pair of Canadian fellas with a background in radical politics, occupy, and the Pirate Party; in a three part series, hosts Aaron Moritz and Shawn Vulliez; in a series of three long podcast episodes (1, 2, 3), the pair elucidate and elaborate a utopian vision for the future that they dub "Library Socialism." Read the rest

"Obscure" podcasts worth checking out

On Facebook, my friend Joseph Pred asked his pals to recommend their favorite "obscure" podcasts, "Feel free to share even if it’s on a niche topic or something weird. I like weird." He got some great responses, so I asked everyone if it was cool to share with you all. Here's some of what they offered up:

Joseph himself recommends: Damn Interesting "...Besides having fascinating stories has fantastic sound design."

Todd E. recommends several: Blank Check with Griffin & David "A podcast about auteur directors who are given a blank check for their movies. Sometimes great art is made and sometimes the check 'bounces.' They tend to do a director's entire filmography, one episode per movie."

WEDWay Radio "A great historical Disneyland podcast. The format has recently changed but the back catalogue of episodes are fantastic."

American Hysteria "A fantastic new podcast about public panics."

The Sweep Spot "another Disney-themed podcast done by two former custodial cast members. They have a slightly unpolished 'aw shucks' vibe that I like and talk in-depth about the behind-the-scenes cast member culture."

CTP (who is a magician) recommends: "Obscure? Two friends of mine do one called Shezam" and the co-hosts "get way better at it as they go."

Co-hosts and professional magicians, Carisa Hendrix and Kayla Drescher attempted to finally answer the question… “What is it like to be a woman in magic?” But since the answer is too long, and too important, they made a podcast! Shezam is not only a podcast, but a full resource for the magic community to empower women to empower themselves.

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