3.28.16: Contested Conventions, Life Cycles in the App Store, & Looking for the Truth

Mar 28, 2016

While Trump leads in delegates, the Republican Party has yet to coalesce around him as nominee...and many are predicting a contested convention...which is what exactly? Today, we'll talk to a political scientist about the nuts and bolts of how a contested convention might go down. 

Also today, a philosopher on why, despite historically unprecedented access to information and knowledge, we'll never be able to Google our way to the truth.

Plus, are we at the end of the app bubble? We'll hear why, less than ten years after the app store launched, small and medium sized developers are getting squeezed out. 

Listen to the full show. 

What is a Contested Convention?

As the wins stack up for Donald Trump, so does the possibility of a contested - or brokered - convention. Fellow GOP candidate John Kasich welcomes it, asking, "...can you think of anything cooler than a convention where we're going to learn about how America works?"

It turns out that many Americans can think of much cooler things...because not many of us know what a brokered convention is.  Political scientist Seth Masket, joins us to explain. He's an associate professor at the University of Denver.


From Frogs to Wands of Destiny

Walk into any pharmacy or drug store today, and you'll find products on the shelves that, one-hundred years ago, people could only dream of. This story is from the podcast Mother and was produced by Anne Noyes Saini and Amy Gastelum. It explains the strange origin of a simple product that often produces anxiety - but is nevertheless something we now take for granted and 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

Life Cycles in the App Store

Remember when the App Store came online in 2008?  Back then, a smart phone was a blank slate - and the app store was a strange new world of easy-to-download possibilities. There were practical apps for getting the news or finding movie times at your local theater - there were novelty ones, like the virtual koi pond app, or that one turned your phone into a lightsaber. 

It was a brand new marketplace - where any developer with a good idea and a knack for writing code could carve out a niche and make it big. But all that is changing. Casey Newton is the Silicon Valley editor at The Verge. He recently wrote about how app fatigue and a crowded marketplace for developers are shrinking opportunities and profits on the app store.

Related: Life and Death in the App Store

Looking for Truth in all the Wrong Places

Truth is a hard thing to pin down - perhaps no more so than during an election season. Good thing we're in the information age. With a sea of facts and sources at our fingertips, the truth is just a Google search away.

Not so fast, says philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch. In his new book The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data, he argues that technology is re-shaping our relationship to the truth, moving us further away from it.