Technology

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Since it's early days, hip hop have critiqued oppressions both political and economic - while flashing their own wealth and bravado. Donald Trump became a symbol of the latter, but recent mentions of him in hip hop have become much less positive during his campaign for president in the 2016 election. 

And, we’ll talk with a computer scientist who will forever be remembered not for his AI research, but as inventor of the emoticon. Plus, a writer attends her first autopsy, and says Hollywood gets it all wrong.

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Here at Word of Mouth, we spend a lot of time researching, recording, and listening to wonderful – and sometimes weird – audio. Today, a new installment of “Overheard.” This time we pull in some NHPR colleagues to share some of the best examples of sound the internet has to offer – some healthy curiosity required.

Then, a Pokebattle for the ages. Two teams duke it out over whether Pokémon go helps or hinders the experience of being in the natural world – and tussle over who has the right to decide that.  

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These days just about every coffee shop, bookstore, and restaurant touts offers free wi-fi to its customers - but at what cost? Today, we'll find out the hidden dangers of public wi-fi.

Later, the road to become a professional wine sommelier is tough – it’s filled with endless taste-tests, and requires an expansive understanding of geography, and an incredibly sensitive palate. But how exactly does one become a water sommelier? We'll meet America's only one and talk about his restaurant, which features a 44-page water menu.

American Dueling Grounds, Chuck Klosterman, & SpaceX

Jun 10, 2016
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Dueling was once a common part of the American experience. Today, we’ll learn more about this history and some popular dueling spots that that public can still visit today.

And what if we're wrong about everything? Pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman takes on the difficult task of predicting how our present will be viewed hundreds of years from now. We'll talk about the next great American novelist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and the improbable factor that kept Hamilton on the ten dollar bill.

Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, University via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/sc9pR8

In July, nutrition fact labels  will see their first major overhaul in twenty years. Among the changes, a jumbo version of the calorie number - three times bigger than the rest of the listed information. Today, if we focus too much on calories, do we miss the bigger problem?

And what if we're wrong about everything? Pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman takes on the difficult task of predicting how our present will be viewed hundreds of years from now. We'll talk about the next great American novelist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and the improbable factor that kept Hamilton on the ten dollar bill.

watchsmart via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/3iMTue

Radio broadcast news from the front during World War II. Vietnam was captured on television. Today, uncensored scenes from Syria's civil war are uploaded onto YouTube by the thousands.  Now, we’re learning what amateur videos reveal about Syria's brutal war.

Then we’ll talk to an author who decided to do what no one has done in more than a century: cross the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. Along the way he found not only the forgotten history of our country but also the emerging present.

Dennis Wilkinson via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/bQFguT

You can't confront the horror that was the Holocaust without facing inescapable questions of America's role. What did the United States know about the Holocaust and how did it respond? Today, the United States Holocaust Museum is asking the public to help uncover how the American press covered the genocide of millions of Jews - and whether or not anyone was listening.

Then, Google and other companies are betting than autonomous vehicles will be safer than they're human led counterparts...but proving it won't be easy.

N.H. Debates Drones

Apr 12, 2016
Jim Lowe / Flickr/CC

New Hampshire is among many states attempting to navigate the brave new world of these unmanned flying machines, addressing privacy and safety concerns.  Meanwhile, the federal government could swoop in and make all these measures moot as lawmakers on Capitol Hill consider legislation that would allow the FAA to trump state laws.

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Facial recognition software is now everywhere - in airports, stores, on our gadgets and on social media. The goal is improving security and improving public safety, but along with our growing dependency on biometrics comes a problem: not all faces are treated equally. Today, the inherent bias of facial recognition software.

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. 

Calsidyrose via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/fA4tsd

Facial recognition software is now everywhere - in airports, stores, on our gadgets and on social media. The goal is improving security and improving public safety, but along with our growing dependency on biometrics comes a problem: not all faces are treated equally. Today, the inherent bias of facial recognition software.

Plus, once the drug of choice for dropping out of the rat race, LSD is now being touted as a "hot new business trend".  We'll talk to a journalist who tried out the new Silicon Valley method of taking tiny doses of acid to improve performance at work. 

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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. 

UncoveringWestport via Flickr / https://flic.kr/p/4JX1zF

Bullying, R-rated topics and shouting matches during presidential debates have left some Americans wondering whatever happened to civility in politics?  But in the British Parliament, being rude is a long-standing tradition. Today, a history of Parliament's bad manners.

Also, while we usher in spring with a last minute nor'easter, we’re looking back at the most devastating storm in New England history: the hurricane of 1938. 

Plus, a tech reviewer looks at a hot new item in the world of consumer drones.

We're talking with the author of a new book on the unlikely ways in which inventors think up groundbreaking ideas.

Kids and Digital Media: What Parents Need to Know

Dec 22, 2015
Mike / Flickr/CC

This holiday season, many kids are asking for shiny new devices, but some parents worry about how access to all this may affect children. We talk with the author of a new book that takes a fact-not-fear approach to exposing kids to technology, and promises to help parents navigate the digital world.

GUESTS:

Sebastian via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/8ypYMW

The skill, planning, and access required to successfully dupe the art world easily captivates the public imagination. On today's show, we’ll explore the meticulous effort behind some of the greatest art frauds. And, few people realize the danger works of art can face while safely housed inside a museum – from docents.

The (New) Luddite Show

Dec 3, 2015
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The Luddites led a violent labor movement against 19th century technologies that threatened their jobs - today we use the label to describe people who still write letters with paper and pen or aren't on Facebook.  On today’s show we’ll look into what we’re referring to as “The New Luddites”; swathes of folks, from digital natives to millennials to boomers, who feel nostalgic for the simple way life used to be -- whether real or imagined.

Lehigh University / Flickr/CC

Over the last decade, high schools and universities have adopted programs encouraging female students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, and there’s been a lot of talk about closing the gap.  But now, this divide is changing, with women dominating in some stem fields and men in others.  We’re getting the latest picture.

Guests:

Department of Defense Photo by Marvin Lynchard / flic.kr/p/A2mXcC

Since the attacks in Paris, the question of how to engage ISIS and Syria has been front and center. Underlying that debate is the changing nature of America’s armed forces and how technology is shaping the future of soldiers. On today’s show a look at how America’s colleges and universities are reflecting the new military. Then, America’s bright young minds are being lured to jobs offering perks from gourmet food to telecommuting, that's stiff competition for the ordered and inflexible military. We’ll hear about the Pentagon's plan to fight "brain drain".

Adam Foster via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/b99vsi

We all use encryption technology to keep our data and credit cards safe. ISIS does too - for communication and recruiting. The Obama Administration and some lawmakers want tech companies to provide access to encryption codes, but would making data more vulnerable make us safer? We’ll take a look into the complicated issue of encryption. Then, a tech researcher conducted a two-year study on how families maneuver the digital world and found that restricting screen time is unrealistic and counterproductive. An argument for why parents shouldn’t be ashamed of technology. 

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/hSyish

We’ve seen this dance before: presidential hopefuls stumping in New Hampshire. Today, we talk to the official candidate from the Transhumanist Party who says we need a new political party and new tactics for the issues of our time. Then, Jackie Robinson’s major league debut was an obvious, watershed moment in America’s troubled racial history. But we’ll look at a lesser known moment for American civil rights: breaking NASA’s color barrier and the story of the first African Americans in the space program.

Photo by Garrett via Flickr Creative Commons

Fans of Apple products will soon line up to buy the latest versions of the iPhone 6, which are available starting Friday. But if you haven’t already reserved one of the devices, you may want to hold off on getting in line at a New Hampshire store. 

Chris Lott via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/fBHKmY

Grocery lists, to-do lists, guest lists – human beings seem compelled to put things into manageable order…but the result can be anything but mundane.  We take a look at some of the most memorable lists ever written – from Walt Disney’s un-used dwarf names, to a day in the life of  country legend Johnny Cash. And, we’ll talk with a computer scientist who will forever be remembered not for his AI research, but as inventor of the emoticon. Plus, a writer attends her first autopsy, and says Hollywood gets it all wrong.

freddiefraggles via Flickr CC / bit.ly/1ElgSTS

We’ve long heard that print media is going the way of the dodo bird. So, how are public libraries adapting to the changing nature of books? Some are banking on a new kind of print.  Today, 3D printing hits the local library.  Plus, we’ll talk with an AI researcher who will forever be remembered as the inventor of the emoticon. And with short, niche-y topics, young amateur hosts, and millions of viewers, we’ll find out how YouTube cooking shows are challenging the Food Network. 

Predicting the future of technology is never easy. The incredible capabilities of the smartphone in my pocket today were nearly inconceivable in 1989.

That’s when NHPR’s Leslie Bennett made this fateful comment:

“It seems like telephones have gotten as complicated as they’re ever going to get. I may regret saying that.” 

Ouch – sorry, Leslie. She was speaking from Datatech ’89, a business technology trade show in Manchester. The vendors she spoke with shared their visions for office technology in the ‘90s and beyond:

“These fax machines can talk back and forth to each other. And we do have some that are live, actually hooked up to live telephone lines … We can talk to Japan if we want to, or Russia, or anywhere else.” 

That’s right … fax machines were a hot item in 1989. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? What exciting gadget from today will be a fossil tomorrow?

From The Archives this week, we revisit Leslie Bennett’s story from Datatech ’89.


Rob_ / Flickr CC

The annual Clean Tech Leadership Index measures and ranks states on a range of indicators, such as renewable energy generation, green buildings and transportation.

New Hampshire ranks twelfth overall on the 2015 index, up four places from last year. Ron Pernick of CleanEdge, which produces the annual report, says the state excels in several areas. 

dierk schaefer via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/5vGNkE

Studies show that growing up below the poverty line can have serious health implications, but can it have a lasting effect on the brain? On today’s show we continue NHPR’s series The First Decade by examining scarcity and how it can hijack a person’s neural pathways, affecting a child’s decision making later in life.

Then, a look at a technological issue that is threatening the livelihoods of farmers across the U.S. how the increasingly computerized nature of automobiles – and a far-reaching  copyright law –  is preventing farmers from maintaining their own equipment.

David Goehring via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4mMuQE

After Walter Scott was fatally shot by a South Carolina police officer last month, his family speculated he fled the police because he feared going back to jail for unpaid child support. On today’s show: a closer look at child support policies and why some argue it keeps poor men trapped in a cycle of debt, unemployment and prison. 

Then, the modern answer to hieroglyphics, emoji can convey tone and emotion in a single image. Later we’ll delve into emoji use around the world, and what it reveals about cultural and national identities. 

enablingthefuture.org

Prosthetic hands for kids are often too heavy and expensive for practical use. On today’s show we’ll hear about a company called e-NABLE that has formed a network of volunteers from across the world to create 3-d printed, low-cost prosthetics with a kid-friendly aesthetic.

Then, for centuries, meditation has been used to quiet the mind and focus attention. Now, modern technology reveals the medical benefits of mindfulness.

Tiffany Quimby / NHPR

A couple of months ago, we talked to Greg Beck – the creator of a counter-intuitive photo app called The White Album, which basically turns your smartphone into a disposable camera. Here's how it works: when you open the app a simple camera interface opens up. 

Nic McPhee via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4zGJzN

Vocal anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy have got some in the science community saying if you don’t have an advanced degree, you have no right to question the experts.  But are they right?

On today’s show, a science journalist makes a bold argument: that free speech trumps good science. Then, we’ll tackle a controversial question for pet owners: whether or not to keep domestic cats indoors in the name of saving birds.

Plus, we’ll find out why more and more Europeans are ditching Darwin’s theory of evolution and embracing creationism.

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

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