1.19.16: Catching Running Cheats, Swedish Utopia, & Robot Judged Beauty Contest

Jan 19, 2016

From Barry Bonds to Lance Armstrong, professional sports are rife with cheating scandals.  On today’s show, we’ll leave the big leagues for a look at amateur cheaters and find out how a website for running enthusiasts became a hub for vigilantes determined to keep the sport honest.

Then, they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if the beholder is a robot? Later in the show: an online beauty pageant where contestants are judged not by a panel of their peers, but by an algorithm.

Listen to the full show:

Let's Run and the Quest to Find Cheaters

Martin Fritz Huber is a contributor to Outside magazine, where he wrote about Let’s Run message board vigilantes.

"How Online Vigilantes Take Down Cheating Runners"

The Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
Hirtshals lighthouse, Denmark
Credit magnetismus via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/apmoqx

Michael Booth is British-born but has lived in Denmark for many years now, and in his book he wryly describes Swedes as a stiff and conformist people paralyzed by good manners, with a government that exists as a sort of “benign totalitarianism”.  His book The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia is out in paperback next month. 

We came up with a few reasons Sweden isn't so perfect after all, check it out here.

Hurry Up and Listen

We tend to think about preserving the planet's natural resources as something you do with legislation - with changes in behavior, or maybe with processes with recycling.  But some natural resources can only be preserved with a microphone. This story, about the importance of natural sound, comes to us from Kerry Klein.

This story is part of The Stem Story Project - distributed by PRX and made possible with funds from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

A Beauty Contest With Robots for Judges

Alex Zhavoronkov is a biogerontologist and an anti-aging expert. He is also one of the human brains behind the first A.I.-based beauty contests. 

Find out more about the contest and see some of our entries: Will We Win the First Beauty Contest with Robot Judges?