Technology

Jeremy Weber via flickr Creative Commons

Tesla cars…Louis Vuitton luggage…Philippe Patek watches…luxury brands are selling well. How about a $10,000 cell phone? On today’s show, we’ll learn about the new handcrafted cell phone with optional concierge service that’s become a new symbol of conspicuous consumption.

Also today, from fierce fighters in the Trojan wars to Wonder Woman, Amazons have been described as figures of myth. A classics scholar sifts through new DNA evidence and other proof that these female warriors on horseback were real.

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

Robots And The Future Of Work

Oct 7, 2014
a_Inglis / Flickr/CC

As computers and robotic machinery grow more sophisticated, there are concerns that automation is making it harder for human workers to compete. But others say robotic workers will lead to better jobs, more productivity, and even an age of leisure for humans. We’ll hear from the experts on how the rise of the robot may change the face of the workforce.

This program was originally broadcast on 8/21/14.

GUESTS:

Phalinn Ooi via flickr Creative Commons

Surgery requires years of education, steady hands, extreme confidence, and…kindness? On today's show we ask: when it comes to being a good surgeon, does bedside manner matter? We'll also look into the growing digital house key market and the complicated math behind queue design.

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

glowcaps.com

In Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 A Space Odyssey, fear of future technologies takes center stage in the form of Hal 9000, the sentient, yet sinister, computer in charge of spacecraft Discovery One.

On today’s show, an instructor at the MIT Media Lab envisions a brighter future, in which the interaction between humans and technology will be useful, and even playful.

Plus, we’ll take a closer look at prison gangs, their ability to maintain order behind bars and how they influence life on the outside.

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

Matt Novak via flickr Creative Commons

In Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 A Space Odyssey, future technologies take center stage in the form of Hal 9000, a sentient, yet sinister, computer aboard the spacecraft Discovery One. On today’s show, an instructor at the MIT Media Lab envisions a brighter future, in which the interaction between humans and technology will be useful, and even playful. 

Plus, a science writer plays nuclear tourist and visits the site of the Chernobyl disaster, where he finds some surprising imagery.

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

myri_bonni via flickr Creative Commons

At her funeral on Sunday, fellow comedians applauded Joan Rivers for her sharp wit, biting humor, and irreverent routines. What really made Joan Rivers so funny? On today’s show, the director of the Humor Research Lab offers some theories into what makes us laugh. Plus, from walk sign buttons that don’t reflect reality to digital signs over-estimating wait times at amusement parks; we’ll consider why technology is sometimes designed to give us the illusion of control.

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


kohane via Flickr CC

 

  Today, about 70 percent of the earth’s oxygen comes from marine plants. We slip beneath the surface to find out how a rebounding whale population could help spur phytoplankton growth…and slow climate change. But first: more than 4000 wells have been drilled since 2008, and the county expects to be pumping for decades. A UNH professor explains why he set out to learn more about North Dakota’s oil country, by walking 65 miles across it. Plus, we take a look at the China-based e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, the most powerful company you’ve never heard about.

Makerbot Replicator 2
Harris County Public Library, via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/AuFTA

Attention residents of Milford: we don’t want to alarm you, but there is a replicator in your library.

Actually, it's a Makerbot Replicator 2, and it’s not as sinister as it might sound. This device is better known as a 3-D printer.

David Brooks tested out the printer for his Granite Geek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and Granite Geek.org, and he walks us through the process.

National Marine Sanctuaries via Flickr CC

The oil boom is on in McKenzie county, North Dakota. More than 4000 wells have been drilled since 2008, and the county expects to be pumping for decades. Today, a UNH professor explains why he set out to learn more about North Dakota’s oil country, by walking 65 miles across it. Then, about 70 percent of the earth’s oxygen comes from marine plants. We slip beneath the surface to find out how a rebounding whale population could help spur phytoplankton growth…and slow climate change. Plus, we take a look at the China-based e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, the most powerful company you’ve never heard about.

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


7.02.14: Amateur Sleuths, A Pet Owl and Oculus Rift

Jul 2, 2014
user ZaCky via Flickr Creative Commons

The National Institute of Justice estimates that up to 40,000 unidentified human remains have been collected and stored in evidence rooms across the country. Today, we talk to Deborah Halber about the growing number of internet sleuths trying to solve America’s coldest cases. Then, we look into the growing digital house key market. Plus, a heartwarming tale of a man and his owl. 

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

Liz West via flickr Creative Commons

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.

6.24.14: Not Dead Yet!

Jun 24, 2014
Jim Golden, "Relics of Technology"

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.


Thomás via Flickr Creative Commons

The world cup kicks off in Sao Paulo this Thursday amid controversy, corruption, and protest. Today, a profile of the neuroscientist behind a bionic exoskeleton that will make a miraculous kickoff at the world cup possible. But first, Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freaknomics, explains some of the decisions that are part of playing in the world cup. And then, a conversation with Ruth Graham, who triggered a fury among young adult fans by claiming "Adults should be embarrassed about reading literature for children".

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


Michael Samuels

 

A big part of farming and conservation is finding creative solutions on a budget.

Chris Isherwood via flickr Creative Commons

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.

Listen to Virginia's conversation with Brian below:

New Hampshire ranked seventh in the nation for Internet speed in 2013, according to a new report.  That’s a slip from the state’s position in fourth place the previous year.

Acumen Fund via flickr Creative Commons

"No man ever steps in the same river twice" - Heraclitus, pre-Socratic Greek philosopher

While the philosophy of Heraclitus and his pre-Socratic peers is debatable, fans of Word of Mouth can attest that they never listen to the same WoM show twice. Ideas change. Concepts Change. Times change. Even when the segments stay the same, the takeaway, the emotion, the value in context of your life can change. Today, we bring you new ideas, old sound with new meaning, and new sound with retrospective importance. So join us, scholars of WoM, for today's show, and share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Terrafugia

  The Massachusetts-based company Terrafugia will test a flying car at the Pease Airport in Portsmouth over the next two weeks.  

The vehicle caters to recreational pilots who live near an airport and don’t want to rent a hangar. the "Transition" vehicle being tested at Pease looks like a small plane with wings that fold.  When folded, it fits into a one-car garage.  The vehicle is legal for driving on public roads, and is expected to cost $280,000. 

Watch Terrafugia's promotional video:

Kevin H via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/sOuVt

For years people in New Hampshire have gone without broadband internet access - and now, some of them have it, through a project called Network NH Now.

How Are Electric Cars Faring In N.H.?

Jan 13, 2014
mariordo via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/sybjF

There’s a growing number of electric cars on New Hampshire roads these days. But this part of the auto market may grow slowly in New Hampshire.

Sara Plourde

Teenagers are the most tech-savviest among us with their heads glued to their screens, posting stylized selfies on Instagram and compulsively checking Facebook. Or are they? Our guest Cliff Watson challenged our conceptions about the digitally-driven lives of teens. “Teens aren’t abandoning ‘social,’ he writes in an article for Medium, “they’re just using the word correctly.”

Sony

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.

Clive Thompson's "Smarter Than You Think"

Dec 23, 2013
smarterthanyouthink.net

When the IBM supercomputer dubbed “Deep Blue” defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, it was considered a major blow for human intelligence, and a big moment for artificial intelligence.  But, as Clive Thompson explains in his new book, Kasparov went on to outsmart computers with human-machine teams.  It turned out that the combination of computers and human intelligence was unbeatable.  With digital realms at our fingertips, Thompson argues, our abilities have been enhanced to an extraordinary degree.

SamsungTomorrow via flickr Creative Commons

Whether scoping out plasma-screen HDTV’s, or picking up a PlayStation 4, consumers upgrading their entertainment systems this Christmas are generally looking for products promising a better picture, superior sound, or next-generation graphics.  We’ve come a very long way since the VHS and Atari 2600.  So far, in fact, that one may wonder how much better the visuals, sound and graphics on entertainment systems can get – and would the casual user even be able to tell the difference?  

Joining the conversation about where entertainment technology can go from here is Jamin Warren – founder and editor-in-chief at Killscreen, a videogame arts and culture magazine, Slate music columnist Carl Wilson, and, David Ewalt, contributing editor at Forbes.

New Hampshire’s judicial system is going digital with a new system called eCourt. The system is launching pilot programs in parts of New Hampshire in 2014 - but don’t expect a big rollout like what the White House did for HealthCare.gov.

Star Trek's seemingly miraculous 'tricorder' is a device which can measure anything from a patient's vital signs to geological activity with the push of a button. Now, a company called Scanadu has developed a device called the 'Scout,' which they hope can be as useful for the health industry as tricorders were on the Enterprise. We talked with the company's co-founder to learn more. 

via fastco.com

The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets and a certain level of self-absorption have led to a number of apps and programs that track sleep, diet, heart rate, baby weight, twitter use, mood, sweat, caffeine, memories and bowel movements. Welcome to the age of the quantified self, but with a thousand ways to keep tabs on your own life, how then, do you keep track of all the trackers?

Sarah Kessler is associate editor for Fast Company. She wrote about how developers creating tracking apps that track other tracking apps.

Don Hankins via flickr Creative Commons

If you’ve been keeping up on the scope of NSA data harvesting and reports of corporations selling – or losing – your personal data, you may well be:

a) scared out of your wits

b) changing your passwords, securing your routers taking steps to protect your data or 

c) throwing your hands up in the air and surrendering to the new insecurity state. There is also the option of throwing out your smart phone, pulling down the shades, and curling up in a ball.

Adam Penenberg is an editor for PandoDaily, a technology news site and a professor of journalism at New York University. He wrote about hiring hackers to test his own security – and found himself  to be more vulnerable than he thought. 

Logan Shannon / NHPR

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been called many things – smooth is not one of them.  Once attention shifted from the government shutdown to the October 1st launch of the website healthcare.gov, pundits, reporters, and politicians on both sides of the aisle have condemned glitches and delays as irresponsible and ultimately, unnecessary.  We decided to play a little thought experiment…what if, instead of the government, one of America’s tech giants had been in charge of the site for applying for and purchasing health insurance?  What if instead of healthcare.gov, we had “i-healthcare?”  “Or Google Health?”  What if Mark Zuckerberg were asked to spearhead the “Facebook Health Exchange?”

Joining me to speculate on how the rollout might have gone differently is Rob Fleischman, Chief Technology Officer at Xero-Cole, and our regular oracle of all things digital. Also joining us is David Ewalt, senior editor at Forbes who writes about technology, games, space and other geeky stuff.

via Knack.it

There’s been a lot of fuss made in recent years over the increasing “gamification” of everyday life – that is, the use of game mechanics in unusual settings like personal fitness, or in schools – where the incentive to get points or awards might have more motivational power than getting good grades, or dropping a dress size. In the workplace, companies like Cold Stone Creamery and the Miller Brewing have starting using video games to train fresh hires – and a recent study by the University of Colorado found that employees trained using video games did their jobs better, and retained information longer than those who were instructed by more conventional methods. One company thinks video games can play a role in businesses even earlier – before an employee has even been hired.

Pages