jdurham / Morguefile

You’ve heard of open source software. Linux is perhaps the best-known example. But what about open source hardware? It’s not a new idea, but it’s now in New Hampshire proving itself valuable to one of the town of Merrimack’s biggest employers. David Brooks, a columnist for the Nashua Telegraph and writer at Granite, spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.

David, for the uninitiated, tell us: What is open source hardware?

Alvimann / MorgueFile

Computers do a lot of work for us— control components in our cars, help us check out at the grocery store, and count our money at the ATM. But can computers create “human-quality” music and literature?

A new series of contests at Dartmouth College is seeking algorithms that can create works of art that pass as creations of human musicians and authors. Dan Rockmore, the director of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth and creator of these contests, spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello. 

Stanley Zimny via Flickr/CC -

The idea of building a road is pretty straightforward – you build a path and let vehicles go on the path.

The reality is, of course, is way more complicated. How many lanes does the road need, and in which directions? Which signs are necessary – and which are distracting? Does the road make it too hard for vehicles to get through – or can it actually be too easy?

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Video Games & History

Mark Stevens via flickr Creative Commons /

According to a report from the National Park Service only 7% of annual park visitors are African American. On today’s show, we delve into environmental history and cultural studies to find out why the story of the American outdoors is so white.

Then, environmentalists have taken many tacks to get people to be “greener”: the doomsday approach, education, shame. Now new research suggests another way to increase green behaviors: a salary. Why paying people an hourly wage decreases environmentally-friendly behaviors.

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

10.22.14: The Power Of Pairs & Good Gig

Oct 22, 2014
lschmitt77 via flickr Creative Commons

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, Marie and Pierre Curie, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. On today’s show, the myth of the lone genius gets knocked down by an exploration of creative duos. We’ll find out why artistic and scientific breakthroughs often come from dynamic collaborations.

Plus, we continue our series “Good Gig” with the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, to find out what goes into determining color trends for a living.

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

Sean Hurley

What will the music of the future sound like? New Hampshire Composer Greg Wilder doesn't know yet, but as NHPR's Sean Hurley reports, the Warren resident is hoping to build the machine that writes it.

Greg Wilder and his wife Alison Conard are composers and computer programmers. Together in their log home in Warren they design websites for artists.

But music is at the heart of everything they do and music is the first thing Greg Wilder can remember.

CybherHades via Flickr CC

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world are on a chase for what some consider the holy grail of the information age: Quantum computing. And some of that research is going on right there in New Hampshire. But one big challenge is to get the quantum bits to dance how we want them to. 

Before getting too high-tech, let's go back to 1938. A brilliant physicist, an Italian named Ettore Majorana, withdraws all his money from a bank and boards a boat. Then, somewhere between Palermo and Naples, he vanishes without a trace.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

When you think of the places that have shaped technology the most, you might think of the garage where Apple’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak put together their first personal computers. You might think of the buildings at Harvard where Mark Zuckerberg started building a social website then known as “The Facebook.” Or you might think of the facilities in Washington state where Microsoft made billions selling its Windows operating system.


50 years ago, inspired by the 1964 World’s Fair, Isaac Asimov wrote an article for the New York Times envisioning what the world might look like in 2014. Among his predictions: “By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.  Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Breakfasts will be "ordered" the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning. Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books.” While we may not have “automeals,” many of Asimov’s predictions were remarkably prescient. Now that we have time on our side, let’s discuss the technology forecast for 2014. Tech analyst and writer Tim Bajarin joins us.

AlexanderVorobiov via 500px Creative Commons license

A new study from the University of Chicago shows that couples who meet via online dating sites tend to have better relationships than couples who meet for the first time in person. Here to tell us more about these findings is Ingrid Wickelgren, editor with Scientific American MIND.  She wrote the article, “Does Finding Your Spouse Online Lead to a Stronger Marriage?”

Rebecca Lavoie for NHPR

If you’ve ever felt like customer support from a call center is a hopeless case, there are now statistics to back that up. Forbes recently reported that fifty percent of calls that go through call centers go unresolved. IBM hopes to change that by putting their new star employee on the job - a super-computer named Watson. You remember Watson, right?

ccox888 via Flickr Creative Commons

New forensic evidence may confirm what many suspected behind-the-scenes: that the US and Israel conspired earlier this year to target Iran with the espionage malware “Flame”. Dan Goodin is Security Editor at Ars Technica and he's closely followed the unfolding story.     

Anjo Leee

Digital musicologists around the world are using computers to analyze music in ways humans can’t.  Turning beautiful melodies into cold hard numbers has given us insight into how music works, why we like it, and what it says about our culture as a whole.

The old social networks...

Mar 6, 2012
Photo by John Lam via Flickr Creative Commons

"Mesh networks" are set up the way the original internet was envisioned to work – users hosting and transmitting as individuals, rather than using centralized networks. Back then, users also communicated differently with each other – on platforms with funky names like IRC and NNTP. Those systems live on today.

A select few are choosing to bypass Facebook and go old-school, with an online forum that lacks pop-up ads and animated banners, where there’s no double-clicking, no need for a mouse, and no graphics…

If you’re into tech I’m sure you’ve heard the joke about Apple’s iPad – not since Moses has the world been this excited about a tablet. Truth be told, the iPad’s iconic features didn’t drop from the sky into Steve Jobs’ hands – if anything, tech development is a lot more like evolutionary biology – and if you look beneath our latest and greatest gadgets, you’ll find evidence of that evolutionary process – products that were born of good ideas, but didn’t quite make the cut.

As zealous consumers know, the sleek look and user-friendly feel of Apple’s high-end gadgets are big part of their sticker price. One man is rethinking form and function with a tiny, inexpensive, bare-bones computer called the Raspberry Pi …which he hopes will bring the power of programming to even the poorest corners of the globe. Eben Upton is the creator of the miniature machine – he’s also founder of the Raspberry Pi foundation.

Here's video of the Raspberry Pi in action:

(Photo by <a href="" target="_blank">aranarth</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

There's a gathering of developers and code writers taking place globally...and they're invading Manchester to create apps for doing good. 


Random Hacks of Kindness

Manchester gathering info

Small Dog Electronics