From tailfins to compact discs, America’s economy hums along on technology that goes out of date. Today on Word of Mouth, the collectors, sentimentalists and other hold-outs to market obsolescence. We take a look at why the Smithsonian Archive is cooking, freezing and drowning CDs. And then, teaching penmanship is considered passé in the age of the keyboard, but new research suggests that handwriting is essential to learning. Plus, we’ll hear from the world record holder for the largest video game collection.
Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.
The Nostalgia of CDs
We talk with Joe Andreoli, an early proponent of digital music, who is now going back and investing in an older format. But he’s not building a collection of nostalgia-inducing vinyl, he’s looking for CDs. Why? To preserve a relationship with music, for the next generation.
Library of Congress Destroys CDs
Fenella France is chief of Preservation Research and Testing at the Library of Congress, where they’ve been conducting tests on how to preserve CDs, by destroying them.
Relics of Technology
Photographer Jim Golden has been creating a series of gifs and photographs that puts obsolesete items, like the 8-track and rotary phones, under the lens. He has been collecting the images for his project Relics of Technology.
The Permanence of the Chair
There are those everyday objects that are unlikely to become obsolete anytime soon. Think: the zipper, the umbrella, duct tape, towels. Producer William Hammack ponders one such object: the chair.
Does Handwriting Matter?
We take a look at one skill that may become obsolete in the next generation: penmanship. Maria Konnikova wrote about research that links handwriting to learning for the New York Times.
The American Railroad
In a world dominated by cars and airplanes, why does train travel continue to capture the American imagination? Hank Rosenfeld climbed aboard Amtrak's #4 Southwest Chief to bring us the story.
The Largest Video Game Collection In The World
Michael Thomasson holds the Guinness Book of World Records record for largest video game collection. He had ten-thousand-six-hundred-and-seven games when he won the title, but now he’s well over 11,000. If you’re jealous, here’s a good piece of news: the collection is now up for auction.