5.13.14: MIT Tech Review, Talking To Strangers And "The Cochlear War"

May 13, 2014

Credit hobvias sudoneighm via flickr Creative Commons

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

Each spring, the MIT Technology Review puts out its list of the 10 biggest breakthrough technologies of the year. Today on Word of Mouth: from agricultural drones to 3-d printing organs. What are the true tech milestones of the past twelve months?

Also, as kids we’re told never to talk to strangers. As adults, many of us still abide by that rule. But are we missing out? Why talking to strangers might be good for your health.

Plus, the debate over cochlear implants and why some feel they technology marginalizes members of the deaf community.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments

MIT Technology Review

  • Each spring, MIT Technology Review puts out its list of the 10 biggest breakthrough technologies – and every year we check that list to see how many of them have been covered on Word of Mouth. We’re happy to report another strong affinity. Here to recap twelve months’ worth of amazing – and useful -- scientific advances is Brian Bergstein - deputy editor of MIT Technology Review.
  • See how our tech coverage compared to the list here.

Talking to Strangers

  • As kids we’re told not to talk to strangers. As adults many of us still abide by that rule.  It’s made easier with headphones in our ears on public transportation, screens to look at in the checkout line, and an E-Z Pass to zip through the tolls. With the world becoming more socially insular, could we be missing out on human interactions that could surprise or delight us?  Talking to strangers might be good for your health, says Elizabeth Dunn, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. She co-wrote the article “Hello Stranger” for The New York Times.

Cochlear Implants and the Deaf Community

  • There are websites, YouTube videos, and even academic papers dedicated to the so-called “cochlear war” - some deaf parents have even called implanting kids a form of child abuse – others, call it a non-violent genocide. Science writer Sujata Gupta tackled this sensitive subject in a long form article for Matter called “The Silencing of the Deaf”.

Memory Palace: Heard, Once

  • In the mid-nineteenth century, before the advent of recorded sound, music lived and died in the performance space. Back in 1850, wealthy Americans were willing to pay top dollar to hear the voice of Jenny Lind… just once.  Nate Dimeo of The Memory Palace brings us this story.