Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything

By Benjamen Walker & Radiotopia

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Subscribers: 2416
Reviews: 6


 Jan 22, 2020

Joel
 Nov 24, 2019
I find episodes are a hit or miss. I like the episodes where people are interviewed or documentary style shows, but I find the story episodes weird and annoying.

BrandyinBoise
 Dec 12, 2018
This is such an amazing podcast. I love Benjamin Walker and his lovely wife. Their ability to pull you into the story is such a gift. Thank you.


 Oct 8, 2018

Anne
 Aug 2, 2018
hard to describe yet wonderful and weird! I love this podcast

Description

Personally connecting the dots. All of them. Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.


Episode Date
Second time as forced
22:50

Citizens armed only with Molotov cocktails battle with Russian tanks on the streets of… Budapest.  In November of 1956 Russian troops invaded Hungary. The revolution was crushed and thousands of Hungarians fled. Will history repeat itself? We talk with Réka Pigniczky about her memory project, a film series dedicated to the Hungarian revolution. Also: Branko Marcetic compares America’s response to the events of 1956 with our current posturing over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Aug 09, 2022
The longest Shortest Flight of Rudolf Hess (remix)
58:39

On May 10th 1941 Rudolf Hess flew from Germany to Scotland. He hoped to bring the Nazis and the British together. He failed. But the details behind his flight remain one of the greatest mysteries of World War II. Historians and Amateur scholars have spent decades trying to unravel this mystery. On this episode we look into one of the strangest theories of them all.

Jul 20, 2022
revisiting Dark Karma
33:38

“G.S.” was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Bozeman, Montana many years ago. The story he told me about how bad karma brought him from Devon, England to the C.U.T. bomb shelters in Gardiner, Montana still haunts me.

Jun 14, 2022
Covid after Covid
22:47

One million plus dead Americans into the pandemic and the ‘long covid’ odds are now 1 in 5. What happened? How did we end up here? And more importantly, how does one win the covid lottery? Our two favorite stories from our ‘NYC after covid’ mini series from last year.

May 25, 2022
Venice
26:25

Does art have anything to offer us in these trying times? Your host visits the 59th International Art Biennale in Venice, the world’s most important art fair and the first since the global pandemic. Plus Digital Ukranians, Sound Art, and NFTs.

May 12, 2022
Where does real art come from? (three fakes)
26:58

Hitler and Goebbels read Walter Benjamin in the bunker, Orson Wells discovers the magic of the fake crowd.

Plus, a profile of artist Lynn Hershman Leeson.

Apr 12, 2022
Even More Broken Windows
23:55

New York’s new mayor recently announced a new strategy to fight crime. As the New York Daily News proclaims: BROKEN WINDOWS is back!  In this ToE we examine the roots of this policing theory and the individuals who first planted it.

We revisit CRIME FILES a Police Foundation TV show from the 80s to better understand where this theory came from and how we might rid ourselves of this insidious idea once and for all.

Mar 29, 2022
How to tell the truth about lies (part ii of ii)
24:18

We conclude our investigation into Hollywood’s retelling of the secret crimes, conspiracies and lies that rocked America in the first half of the 1970s. Plus a reporter from the Washington Post newsroom who never made it into All the President’s Men yet did more to safeguard the free press and American democracy than Woodstein ever did.

Mar 10, 2022
Making Trouble, Asking Questions
24:50

When he was 16 your host mistook the Hollywood movie The Manchurian Candidate for real life. This confusion led to decades of trouble. This episode is both an extra for our How to tell the truth about lies miniseries and the official TOE contribution to the 2022 Radiotopia fundraiser. 

This year to celebrate our annual fundraiser shows across the network are releasing episodes on the theme “Making Trouble.” You can listen,  learn more and donate to support our work at radiotopia.fm.

Feb 22, 2022
How to tell the truth about lies (part i of ii)
23:18

Journalists may write the first draft of history but Hollywood prints the legends and the myths. The 1976 film All the President’s Men remains our most authoritative account of Watergate. The film is also responsible for the myth of Deep Throat. Your host follows the myth… from 1976 to the present. This is the first half of a new ToE miniseries about America’s complicated relationship with truth and lies.

Feb 15, 2022
Nightvision
23:21

After testing positive in Lisbon, your host assesses Portugal's expat and exile scenes.  Plus! lunch with the writer Joseph Roth at a hotel on the waterfront.

Jan 31, 2022
Art vs Commerce (Iron and Lies remix)
27:34

*** New ToE series debuting next week about truth, lies, American democracy and the 50 year legacy of deepthroat and trouble-making investigative journalists***

But first a look back to a road trip I took to the American heartland in Wisconsin a few yerars back. We visit the house on the Rock and the forevertron. Even though Alex Jordan’s tourist attraction is one of the most visionary unique places in the world you still won’t find it on any of the official Wisconsin art environment maps. This never bothered the guy who put it together  Alex Jordan Jr, in fact the whole place was built on the idea of sticking it to the official arbiters of culture, plus it pulls in millions of dollars a year in admissions fees! Plus the Forevertron, a place built on the idea of escape from pain, suffering, and failure.

Jan 18, 2022
Herdest Immunity (New York after Rona part v of v)
22:28

Our New York after Rona miniseries comes to an end just in time for the latest Variant. The WHO turns to podcasts for a new endless stream of naming possibilities. Plus a ToE favorite playwright returns with a new musical production of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery.

Dec 15, 2021
Émigration Intérieure (remix)
27:10

As the Nazi nightmare came to an end Thomas Mann thought long and hard about collective guilt. Can Mann’s idea help America in 2021, or do we need a new theory of collective shame.

Nov 30, 2021
Afterschool Special (New York After Rona (part iv)
25:03

New York Schools were closed for most of the pandemic. Education reporter Anya Kamenetz explains why she calls it a stolen year. Plus we meet up with  Lenore Skenazy to hear what parents can learn from her classic (and recently updated) Free Range Kids.

Nov 16, 2021
Below and Beyond (New York After Rona (part iii)
21:42

We visit an empty storefront in Greenwich Village to talk with journalist and curator Alex Brook Lynn about her latest immersive multimedia exhibition: “Eulogy for New York City.” Plus a visit to New York City’s first post covid ComicCon to find out how Batman is doing.

Oct 27, 2021
Faraway, So Close (New York after Rona part ii)
29:42

March 2020, writer Craig Taylor believed he was finally done with his 11 year oral history project featuring the voices of people who live and work in New York City. He wasn’t. His incredible new book New Yorkers provides us with a number of first person accounts of the Covid19 crisis and primes us to think about what’s next for the city. Plus: photographer Renate Aller on the social distancing pictures she took on the street outside her Soho loft during the worst of the crisis.

Oct 07, 2021
That was Real (New York After Rona part i)
31:28

We kick off our new ToE miniseries with a radical rethink on surveillance and the post pandemic city with theorist and writer Benjamin Bratton. His new book Revenge of the Real, both chronicles what went wrong during the crisis and offers a roadmap for how we can survive the next one. Also, your host visits the only New York city neighborhood that has gotten worse after covid, Hudson Yards, with journalist Charlie Warzel. Plus: we look back at one of the first viral videos shot in pandemic time.

Sep 28, 2021
Performance Peace
34:17

George Bush celebrates the 20th anniversary of 911 with some new ‘dark’ paintings. Your host marks the occasion with some high stakes performance art. Plus art lessons from the $150,000 banana.

Sep 08, 2021
Charlie Brown's America
31:32

Cartoonist Charles Schulz  wrote and drew Peanuts every day for half a century. In his new book Charlie Brown's America, Historian Blake Scott Ball uses the strip (and the fan mail archive at the Schulz museum) to illuminate the Wishy-Washy politics of Cold War America.

Jul 23, 2021
International Coffee (remix)
33:56

Now that international travel is becoming more and more a realistic possibility, I find myself dreaming and scheming about new journeys for the podcast. This episode is an audio travelogue of the last journey I was able to do before Covid: A trip through Paris, Copenhagen and Kenya. An international ode to Good Coffee.

Radiotopia is a network of creators who are able to follow their curiosity and tell the stories they care about the most. Show your support for my fellow Radiotopia shows during our Spring Fundraiser. Donate today at https://on.prx.org/3wl9pWn

Jun 23, 2021
Louis Menand and the Cold War
26:22

Your host talks with Louis Menand about his new book “The Free World, Art and Thought in the Cold War”

Radiotopia is a network of creators who are able to follow their curiosity and tell the stories they care about the most. Show your support for my fellow Radiotopia shows during our Spring Fundraiser. Donate today at https://on.prx.org/3wl9pWn

Jun 10, 2021
The Return
22:14

Your host escapes the island, and returns to New York. Plus writer Tim Kreider on Vaccine side effects.

Radiotopia is a network of creators who are able to follow their curiosity and tell the stories they care about the most. Show your support for my fellow Radiotopia shows during our Spring Fundraiser. Donate today at https://on.prx.org/3wl9pWn

May 26, 2021
Stages on Life’s Way (r)
33:44

Back in the day, your host took a pilgrimage to Copenhagen to walk the streets the great Dane Søren Kierkegaard once walked. He wanted to understand  the meaning of Kierkegaard’s religious stage so he decided to ask the experts at the Kierkegaard research center. Also Photographer Dina Litovksy tells us about the history and some of the secrets of the modern bachelorette party. And Michael Holmes tells us about life’s final stage – death.

Apr 13, 2021
UTOPIA: the Callaway Cut
57:15

Permaculture! Anarchy! Pagan Sex Dungeons!

ToE's Andrew Callaway revisits his 2017 tour of intentional communities for our five part Utopia Series. We are calling this one UTOPIA: The Callaway Cut

Mar 24, 2021
Withdrawal
28:09

After one year of island confinement, your host joins AlamoFort -  a clubhouse alternative, and discovers a new community in the #covid1984 room. Plus the true meaning of the Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Mar 11, 2021
Convolution
37:24

This year your host wrote an original crime thriller for Audible Originals. Listen to the first chapter here, then go to Audible.com search for Convolution and you can listen to the rest of the story. Rhea Seehorn leads an incredible cast as cybercrimes detective Sydney Birch. This 10-part police drama begins in Los Angeles with an investigation into a group of con men using machine learning to improve their scams and ends in Tibet with a long con involving reincarnation and an evolved artificial intelligence.

Feb 16, 2021
Only the lonely (toe remix)
29:30

A couple of years ago.. Long before I even knew what a coronavirus was I produced one of my favorite episodes ever.. On loneliness.

So many of us are now dealing with the long term effects of loneliness. And these long term effects are not going to just go away when we emerge from this crisis and our bunkers. I’ve got a lot to say about that in an upcoming episode called Withdrawal. But first, let’s revisit When you are lonely, life is very long.

Feb 02, 2021
Émigration Intérieure
27:10

As the Trump years finally come to an end, your host contemplates collective guilt and shame.

Jan 19, 2021
Exile on Pain Street
26:07

Six months later and still in France your host tries to make sense of his situation: Refugee? Exile? Retiree? Plus a conversation about the writing life with novelist Todd London whose new book was published just as the Coronavirus shut the world down.

Oct 06, 2020
Going Karura (r)
30:17

My good friend Sean Cole guest hosted TAL this week and we spoke about my trip to Kenya for Going Karura so I am going to post the original again to the feed for the folks who may find their way here.

While reporting in Nairobi, Kenya a group of striking Uber drivers turn your host on to a revolutionary strategy of resistance. Plus: stuck in a broken elevator!

Aug 09, 2020
Man Without A Country (2020 remix)
01:31:18

Curse the USA and America will strike you up. That’s what happened to the Man Without a Country. They stuffed him in a hot air balloon and sentenced him to ride sea to shining sea for  the rest of his days.  I made my own version of Edward Everett Hale’s classic tale back in the early aughts. It was one of the first long form audio fiction pieces I ever wrote. Sadly, like many items in the ToE vaults the relevance is increasing with age. Here is a condensed remix for your summer 2020 travels, whether it's a trip across the country or a back and forth from the kitchen to the bedroom. You can find the original 3 part series in the ToE archive

Jul 08, 2020
New Statues
25:11

As statues of slaveholders and Confederate War losers come down, we imagine what could go up in their stead, revisiting a conversation with artist and rememorialization expert Chris Vargas. And since the Trump administration has banned any official raising of the rainbow flag to commemorate Pride month we revisit our audio memorial to the artist Henry Darger.

Jun 23, 2020
Herd Immunity (Social Distance Learning part v of v)
29:41

As the island (and the world reopens) your host tries his best to join the celebrations, Dr. Lauren Powell explains the risks of protesting during a pandemic and ToE’s special correspondent Chris brings us inside the COVID19 task force!

Jun 11, 2020
Making The Best Of It (Social Distance Learning part iv)
27:55

As the weeks turn into months, one man decides to learn how to cook for himself even though he can no longer taste or smell. ToE’s Andrew Callaway decides its time to get in shape, and your host and Arthaud try to figure out Computer school.

May 22, 2020
Lurking (a conversation with Joanne McNeil)
36:54

Just before the Coronavirus upended our lives I recorded a conversation with writer Joanne Mcneil about her new book Lurking, a book about the internet. Its actually one of my now favorite books ever written about the internet. I had the show all ready to go for the week of March 15th and then… well everything changed, even our dependence on the internet. Joanne Mcneil’s book feels even more relevant now. Get Lurking here from Bookshop.

May 06, 2020
Countryside (Social Distance Learning part iii)
26:35

Urbanites are fleeing cities for beach communities and small country towns! Tensions are spreading faster than the Coronavirus. Your host turns to the last exhibition he saw in New York (Countryside the Future! from Rem Koolhaas) and the first dystopian film he watched in confinement (Michael Haneke’s Time of the Wolf) for answers. Plus a beach to beach chat with Helen and Martin from the Allusionist!

Apr 17, 2020
14 days later (Social Distance Learning part ii)
33:42

Your host keeps a diary for his first 14 days of Coronavirus confinement. Special appearances from the family, Andrew Callaway, and a old ToE standby!

Apr 01, 2020
Escape From New York (Social Distance Learning part i)
28:01

Coronavirus Evacuation! Your host decamps New York for a quiet isle in France and ToE’s Andrew Callaway flies home to San Francisco to look after Mom. Is this the end? No! Just the beginning of a new Theory of Everything series: Social Distance Learning.

Mar 23, 2020
The longest shortest flight of Rudolf Hess
59:29

On May 10th 1941 Rudolf Hess flew from Germany to Scotland. He hoped to bring the Nazis and the British together. He failed. But the details behind his flight remain one of the greatest mysteries of World War II. Historians and Amateur scholars have spent decades trying to unravel this mystery. On this episode we look into one of the strangest theories of them all.

This episode is part of a network-wide project to welcome Over the Road, Radiotopia’s newest show, into the family. Over the Road on Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/31AvmCJ

Feb 28, 2020
The Cultural Marxism Industry (Russia Hospital 2020 Update)
30:47

Jordan Peterson’s daughter took to YouTube to announce that her father, Jordan Peterson (one of the subjects of our 2019 Failure Maxiseries) is convalescing in a Russian Hospital. We check out her video and return to Martin Jay and his attempts to debunk the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory.

In the 1930’s, Theodor Adorno fled Nazi Germany. In America, he studied the Authoritarian Personality. On
YouTube, he’s the object of study in a massive conspiracy theory that many have tried (and failed)  to debunk.

Feb 11, 2020
Desert Lies
32:55

Benjamen Walker the podcaster often receives emails meant for Benjamin Walker the actor. A few weeks ago your host received an email inviting Benjamen Walker to Saudi Arabia.

Jan 22, 2020
The Great Divide
24:00

Man on the street divides couple in a car. Your host is triggered by a flag pole and writer Chris Arnade explains why America is so polarized. PLUS Joseph Roth on the difference between great and mediocre talents.

Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today

Dec 20, 2019
ToE 2019 Radiotopia Fundraiser Spectacular!
13:10

Every Radiotopia podcast created a special episode for the 2019 Fundraiser. Many of these gems focus on the idea of a dream show as in what would your dream show be? well I am already making my dream show and that is thanks to you dear listener.  Yes, sometimes there are sponsors but the majority of the support for this podcast comes from listeners who donate to the Radiotopia annual fundraiser. In fact it is thanks to you that I have the freedom to say no to particular brands and products who would like to connect with you. So for our special episode we dive into the rejected sponsor pile - hear the best of the worst! **

Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today.


Dec 18, 2019
Guided By Voices (r)
33:32

 Philosopher Daniel Heller-Roazen tells us the story of Pythagoras and the fifth hammer and how Kant and Kepler both tried (and failed) to record the universal harmonies Pythagoras once heard. Your host sets out to make some money doing experimental medical testing, and gets the chance to record the voice in his head. toe20image

Nov 12, 2019
Deep State Revisited
24:44

On this episode we dig down into the substratum of the ToE archive to better understand the true meaning of the Deep State.

Oct 24, 2019
Going Karura
30:17

While reporting in Nairobi, Kenya a group of striking Uber drivers turn your host on to a revolutionary strategy of resistance. Plus: stuck in a broken elevator!

Oct 10, 2019
The boy who cried wolf
21:20

The boy who cried wolf crosses paths with the Emperor with no clothes and little red riding hood. Plus Computer Pinocchio. A remix of the Fairy tales from last year’s False Alarm series.

Sep 24, 2019
Epstein's funeral
30:15

A million conspiracy theories are launched when Jeffrey Epstein is found dead in his jail cell on August 10th 2019. Your host wonders if this is “the big one.” ToE’s special correspondent Chris attends a secret Coney Island funeral. PLUS: Epstein Brain.

Sep 12, 2019
1984 (the BOOK not the year)
33:10

Your host has always wanted to talk to someone about 1984 the book and Dorian Lynskey totally delivers. He just published The ministry of Truth a biography of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Dorian tells us why and how this book has helped generations of readers to decode the world.

Aug 20, 2019
1984 (the year not the book)
01:05:59

In 1984 your host was twelve years old and like George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith, he kept a diary, for the citizens of the future. For this special installment of Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything we travel back in time and give this diary a soundtrack. TV commercials, radio spots, movie clips – all sound from 1984 (the year, not the book). Find out what totalitarianism really sounds like.

*********more details on this  installment**********

Aug 20, 2019
Influencers (complete told you so version)
25:20

A couple of years ago I wrote a story for the truth podcast, Radiotopia’s one-of-a-kind audio fiction show. Part One ran on the Truth and Part Two ran here. Now that there are actual camps I believe this story warrants another listen.

Jul 22, 2019
YouTube's Inferno
21:40

YouTube insists it is not liable for the hate speech in its platform. This is also what YouTube said about the copyrighted material back when it was a start up in 2006. We revisit YouTube’s history with Chris Stokel-Walker author of the new book Youtubers. Plus your host takes responsibility!

Chapter eight in the new ToE Failure miniseries.

Jun 19, 2019
Operation Three-Eyed Raven
16:17

ToE's special correspondent Chris tells us the truth about Game of Thrones, Trump, the CIA, and the importance of stories.

Chapter seven in the new ToE Failure miniseries.

Jun 03, 2019
Authoritarian Schizophrenia
22:31

Right wing populists have stormed the world wide web. They even have a beachhead in China. Chenchen Zhang tells us about the racism and misogyny she found on the knowledge sharing platform Zhihu. And Leta Hong Fincher explains why patriarchal authoritarianism is central to the success of the Chinese Communist Party. Chapter six in the new ToE Failure miniseries.

May 16, 2019
The Greater Firewall
21:58

China’s next generation surveillance technology is being used to build out the world’s internet. But China is also exporting new philosophical and business models. Hao Wu explains how live streaming in China is powered by failures and James Griffiths explains why the free and open internet may soon be replaced by Cyber Sovereignty.

Chapter five in the new ToE Failure miniseries.

Apr 24, 2019
Bad Recommendations
30:19

John Herrman EXPOSES the truth about YouTube’s paranoid style. ToE’s Andrew Callaway DESTROYS Jordan Peterson. (Must listen!!!)

Apr 03, 2019
Failure (interlude)
23:23

Failure Flashback! Failure has always been a key concept for your host so this week we pull two stories out of the Benjamen Walker podcast archive. First a musical number about the loser behind Blue Suede Shoes and second a morality tale about the artist Paul Gauguin’s spectacular Paris blowout.

Mar 13, 2019
Institutionalized
31:36

Critic Anand Giridharadas demystifies the rise of the thought leader, artist Chris Vargas rememorializes the Stonewall riots and your host clears up where he stands on the YouTube platform. Chapter three in the new ToE Failure miniseries.

Mar 01, 2019
The Cultural Marxism Industry
36:38

In the 1930's,Theodor Adorno fled Nazi Germany. In America, he studied the Authoritarian Personality. On YouTube, he’s the object of study in a massive conspiracy theory that many have tried (and failed) to debunk. Chapter two in the new ToE Failure miniseries.

Feb 12, 2019
The People have Spoken
27:04

Filmmaker Astra Taylor asks "What is Democracy?" and YouTube creates the most disliked video in the history of the platform. Chapter One in the new ToE Failure miniseries.

Jan 09, 2019
Failure (prelude)
37:06

After Meghan Daum’s marriage falls apart she meets some new friends on YouTube. Also, reporter Paris Martineau tells us about a new game changing online harassment tool: the thotbot.

Meghan wrote about her journey for Medium and Paris’s reporting is from Wired.

Dec 25, 2018
Bonus 2018
21:52

Earlier this summer at a listener meet up in Vancouver your host learned the difference between Listeners and Fans. Find out why this distinction matters. And if you are a fan or a listener donate now to the 2018 Radiotopia campaign! Also: Benjamen and Andrew talk about 2019 AND a bonus segment from ToE special corespondent Chris.

Dec 20, 2018
Victory is ours
36:20

Mark Galeotti takes us into the Soviet Gulag to tell us the brutal history of the Bitch War, ToE's Andrew Callaway checks in on the war on smoking and P.W. Singer explains how #likewar works. Plus Sleeper Net?

Dec 11, 2018
Fake it till you make it (False Alarm! part xv)
31:10

The grand finale of False Alarm! This one has it all, the little boy who cried wolf, your host’s AI plant, the paintings of Hilma af Klint, the blockchain powered SingularityNet, and Nuclear Armageddon!  Centuries in the making plus a message from the future!

Nov 28, 2018
Night Wolves (False Alarm! part xiv)
39:28

The Night Wolves are a Russian biker gang. Their rallies and bike shows run on state TV and Putin gave members medals for their contributions to the annexation of Crimea. The Kremlin outsources violence, propaganda, and intelligence gathering to groups like the Night Wolves because it supports the intentioned ambiguity of Non-Linear Warfare. Trump is now openly calling for a biker gang of his own. Is this the real Russia connection or is it simply more theatrical ambiguity?

Nov 06, 2018
JK After The Fact (False Alarm! part xiii)
36:05

A handful of tech barons now own the news but only one can rule the fake news. A chat with the comedy team behind the CBC’s This is That satirical news show turns into breaking news about Elon Musk.

Oct 24, 2018
Wolfgang (False Alarm! part xii)
34:09

The Hoaxers took over the Conspiracy Theory Championship Title from the Truthers in December of 2012 in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. Eight years later the hoaxers are everywhere, the pizzagaters, the climate deniers, the nationalists, the gaslighters - even the President is a hoaxer. Your host travels to the heart of Hoaxer Darkness: Florida

Oct 12, 2018
Mistakes were made
37:54

We’re taking a short break from False Alarm! because your host made a big big mistake. More on that when we return to False Alarm next episode… In the meantime, we raid Benjamen Walker’s audio vaults for a show about making mistakes and being wrong.

 

 

 

Sep 25, 2018
True Lessons (False Alarm! part xi)
32:14

 

I set out on this False Alarm! journey with a quest to figure out how to better deal with this blurry line between fiction and reality. Phase Three of False Alarm! begins with a return to this question… can fiction help us see the truth? Jeffery Lewis, Nuclear expert tired of people ignoring his direct warnings, thinks it can– and he just wrote a novel – a fictional account of what led to North Korea bombing America.

I also recently came across a non fiction book, a book that argues it is Logic that will enable us to better deal with our new reality  Dr. Eugenia Cheng wants us to think about logic in a brand new way.  Plus ToE’s Andrew Callaway gives us an update on our False Alarm! Hero Stormy Daniels.

 

Sep 12, 2018
Second time as fake (False Alarm! part x)
42:39

The Nazis believed the secret to turning a lie into a truth was repetition, for the Spiritualists it was denial, have computers come up with something new? Phase two of our mega-mini series concludes and we return from our tour of the 1930s and 1880s. ToE’s Special correspondent Chris wraps up his liar’s guide to American history and your host is forced to deal with the Backfire effect!

2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s people turned to the the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience.

In phase two of False Alarm! we’re going to bounce between the second half of the 19th century, the interwar years and the present to find out if we are doomed for a repeat?

Aug 23, 2018
Heavenly Truths (False Alarm! part ix)
41:52

A postmodern prehistory of post-truth and an alternative history of the Civil War. Our exploration of the Nazi Supernatural concludes with Werewolves and Mass Suicide. Plus: another installment in our False Alarm! fairy tale, the little boy from part one (now designing clothes for the Emperor) gets a surprise visit from a little girl in a red coat!

2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s people turned to the the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience.

In phase two of False Alarm! we’re going to bounce between the second half of the 19th century, the interwar years and the present to find out if we are doomed for a repeat?

Aug 07, 2018
Pseudoscience (False Alarm! part viii)
25:12

 As the border between border science and science dissolves we continue our examination of two other time periods when science tried to account for both the real and the unreal.

In the 1800’s, so much new technology was revolutionizing the world… why not the ability to talk to the dead? And in the 1930s Hitler championed World Ice Theory as an alternative to the Jewish science of Albert Einstein. Plus ToE’s Chris on Operation Paperclip!

2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s people turned to the the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience.

In phase two of False Alarm! we’re going to bounce between the second half of the 19th century, the interwar years and the present to find out if we are doomed for a repeat?

 

Jul 24, 2018
The Power of Magical Thinking (False Alarm! part vii)
30:44

Magic! That’s what alt-right face-punchee Richard Spencer claims brought Trump to the White House. Esoteric historian Gary Lachman investigates and discovers an unholy alliance of memes, chaos, and positive thinking.

Michael Hughes, author of Magic for the Resistance offers us some counterspells. Also the Hitler’s Magician controversy, the magician at the heart of the CIA, and the Fox Sisters take their spirit knocking to Rochester. Plus your host takes a magical ride down the Trump Tower escalator.

2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s people turned to the the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience.

In phase two of False Alarm! we’re going to bounce between the second half of the 19th century, the interwar years and the present to find out if we are doomed for a repeat?

Jul 11, 2018
It is happening again (False Alarm! part vi)
30:14

Little girls who can talk to ghosts! The Nazi Supernatural! The legacy of artist Iris Häussler’s first fictional character Joseph Wagenbach. Plus America’s Greatest Lie!

2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s people turned to the the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the Nazis tried to remake the world using magic and pseudoscience.

In phase two of False Alarm! we’re going to bounce between the second half of the 19th century, the interwar years and the present to find out if we are doomed for a repeat?

Jun 22, 2018
Real costs extra (False Alarm! part v)
42:08

 

Many of us are struggling with the real and the fake – but if you’re willing to pay enough, you don’t have to worry about it. Your host collaborates with 99% Invisible on a story about the Emeco Navy chair (the real one and the knockoffs).  Artist Sam Stewart introduces us to a creature and his luxuriously useless furniture. Starlee Kine of Mystery Show explains that my real podcasting problem isn’t the real vs fake but ads… and it’s true, dear listeners, because without more ad money, this might have to let my amazing producer Andrew Callaway go! Unless our new ICO pulls in millions! Learn all about it.

Jun 06, 2018
The Fake in the Crowd (False Alarm! part iv)
28:51

 

The power of the fake person, multiplied! Curator Karen Patterson puts a fake outsider artist in the museum and artist David Levine puts on a museum show about the fake crowd. We hear from a 1937 radio play that featured both Orson Welles and the first fake crowd ever broadcast on the radio. And backstage on our Radiotopia live tour, your host turns to fellow ‘topes Roman Mars and Helen Zaltzman for help deciphering an unexpected laugh.  PLUS!!!! The long awaited return of ToE’s original extra: Peter Choyce.

 

May 21, 2018
S-Coin (False Alarm! part iii)
45:24

Our investigation of the real and the fake continues as your host hunts for a way to monetize it! We ask Alex Goldmark from Planet Money and Bitchcoin artist Sarah Meyohas for advice and author David Golumbia explains how bitcoin really works. Lyn Jeffrey takes us to China to learn about the multi level marketing craze of the mid 1990s and Jed Rothstein tells us about his new movie The China Hustle. Journalist Zeke Faux explains why scammers love Facebook and Toe’s Andrew Callaway visits Supreme to learn how to get rich off Streetwear. PLUS… the ToE coin!

 

May 01, 2018
Fake Nudes (False Alarm! part ii)
44:04

The future of face-swapping! The REAL deepfakes speaks! Artist Lynn Hershman Leeson tells us how technology has transformed the way she plays with fact and fiction. Dipayan Ghosh warns us about AI powered ad-targeting. Criminal’s Phoebe and Lauren drop knowledge on the untrue in true crime. Plus your host meets STORMY DANIELS!

Apr 17, 2018
This Is Not A Drill (False Alarm! part i)
36:02

Our New ToE series on the battle between the real and the fake begins with a text alert sent out to everyone in Hawaii on a balmy Saturday morning. We also hear from the man who has written the text alert that will go out to all New Yorkers in the event of a real emergency. Photographer Stan Douglas shows us how to reconstruct a future that makes sense, and your host turns to fellow podcaster Jody Avirgan for advice on how to own the “real-ish” podcast genre. Plus the little boy who cried wolf meets the Emperor with no clothes!

 

Read our Medium page for details on the entire episode

Illustration by Jordan Crane and new series logo by Val Dorito.

Apr 03, 2018
Utopia (part v)
28:02

Our search for Utopia comes to an end at Christiania, an Anarchist haven in the heart of Copenhagen. In 2012 this Utopia went legit, the squatters become property owners. But now they must figure out how to preserve their alternative community, preserve the historical buildings they are now responsible for, and preserve their future. Plus your host loses his Utopian tinted glasses during a musical theater performance of one of his favorite dystopian novels (Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower).

 

Mar 22, 2018
Utopia (part iv)
21:41

Our search for Utopia takes Andrew far from Mundania to the magickal Den of Iniquity in a pagan community called The Valley of The Dragons. Plus, your host takes a tour of FDR’s New Deal Utopias in search of a future that is possible.

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Mar 06, 2018
Time Travelin’ Trump
19:12

Donald Trump says all his ‘nuclear knowledge’ comes from his favorite uncle John G Trump. According to ToE special correspondent Chris, Uncle Johnny also gave Donald a time machine ring.

Learn all about how John Trump acquired this ring (from Nikola Tesla) and how Vladimir Putin stole it (from Robert Kraft) and what Donald Trump is prepared to do to get it back (nukes).

 

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Feb 14, 2018
Utopia (part iii)
26:07

Artist and Filmmaker Ruth Dusseault tells us about how the internet has changed the American Commune. Plus ToE’s Andrew Callaway lets us in on an internet joke about  Socialist Dolphins.

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Jan 22, 2018
False Flags
18:22

Underneath a giant American Flag in a Midwest Airport Your host takes a knee in order to tie his shoe. Trouble. Big Trouble. Plus False Flag meets Dictionary.com

 

Dec 30, 2017
Utopia (part ii)
29:58

Our series continues with ToE’s Andrew Callaway reporting from an off the grid fully sustainable little piece of heaven called Earthaven. Plus Will Wilkinson on Libertopia and the limits of Ideal Theory.

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Dec 20, 2017
Utopia (part i)
33:28

A new ToE mini series on technology, society, work, art, love (the ToE basics) but this time your host dons a pair of Utopian tinted glasses, and sends Toe Producer Andrew Callaway on the road to visit Utopian communities. Plus Basic Income.

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Nov 16, 2017
CthulhuCon (Revisited)
35:42

A special Halloween week fall treat! We’re revisiting a segment from my old podcast Too Much Information. I’ve always wanted to share it here, but this thing I dreamed about in 2010 (Cthulucon, a gathering dedicated to the writings and memory of the writer HP Lovecraft) actually became a real con! I never wanted my dream to compete with that…  but well dreams are strong and my friend Luc Sante’s essay on Lovecraft is still one of the best things ever written about the man.

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Nov 03, 2017
Bad Science
18:05

When ToE’s special corespondent Chris told me about Russian Gay Bashing Drones onstage during my performance in London I was certain he was once again putting me on – or this was Satire. I forgot that in 2017 anything is possible – except Satire!

A few days later I read this.

Oct 20, 2017
Iron and Lies (Wisconsin part II of II)
27:34

The ToE  family Wisconsin road trip wraps up with a visit to the House on the Rock. Even though Alex Jordan’s tourist attraction is one of the most visionary unique places in the world you still won’t find it on any of the official Wisconsin art environment maps. This never bothered the guy who put it together  Alex Jordan Jr, in fact the whole place was built on the idea of sticking it to the official arbiters of culture, plus it pulls in millions of dollars a year in admissions fees! Your host also visits the Forevertron, a place built on the idea of escape from pain, suffering, and failure.

********* Click on Photo for detailed show notes ************

And special thanks to our tour guide Tom Kupsh who wrote books on both Alex Jordan Jr and Dr. Evermor.

 

 

 

Oct 16, 2017
Concrete and Respect (Wisconsin part I of II)
42:20

Benjamen, Mathilde and Arthaud head off on a family trip to Wisconsin to see art environments built by immigrants out of concrete and to discover what’s going on in rural America today. Plus: making Pawn America great again!

******** CLICK on PHOTO for a detailed run down on the show *************

Sep 21, 2017
Illicit Objects
39:25

Rob Walker and Josh Glenn have a long history of getting writers to share stories about their objects, but when they told me the would be curating an audio collection of stories, and asked if I wanted to collaborate I said absolutely. So here we have it. A ToE/Project Object collaboration: storytellers sharing 100% true tales of objects that for one reason or another they might be reluctant to display in their living room – but that have a personal value or significance that makes them worth keeping, even if squirreled away. Find more stories about illicit objects here.

Aug 08, 2017
Private Ear
26:39

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an internationally celebrated artist who works with sound and an internationally recognized expert forensic listener. He likes to call himself a Private Ear. Your host visits Lawrence in Beirut to hear more.

Jul 19, 2017
Influencers (part II of II)
15:05

Frankie isn’t a real Media Influencer but the Government saw the 500k followers he bought for his Instagram profile back in the day and arrested him anyway. Now he’s in a Media internment camp. This is PART TWO of a special collaboration with the Truth podcast. Head over there to get part one. This is our contribution to Radiotopia’s new crossover series. We all investigate Doing Time to mark the arrival of the new Radiotopia Podcast Earhustle.

Jun 28, 2017
Emergency
24:01

A special ToE emergency pod: Chris explains the Orb,  Andrew dives into the mystery of Twin Peaks and your host tries attempts SpaCasting.

May 29, 2017
Protest
27:48

Direct action saved the gardens in your host’s neighborhood, activist and author L.A.  Kauffman explains why it is once again time for more good old fashioned American Radicalism. Plus ToE’s Andrew Callaway maga-ups with the Alt-right on Mayday.  Find L.A. Kauffman’s Direct Action book here

May 16, 2017
Droning for Dollars
14:52

Can a Self-Droning drone start up save the Trump Presidency? Our special correspondent Chris fills us in on YouFired!

Apr 27, 2017
Art Districts
29:00

Empty buildings, run down neighborhoods and cheap rents.

This is the bait you need to attract artists, speculators and urban revitalizers. But in order to attract pioneers you also need illusion and myth. We tour the art districts of New Orleans, Los Angeles and Detroit with writer Peter Moscowitz, activist Maga Miranda, and artist Maya Stovall.

Apr 12, 2017
Nothing to Hide
37:20

Potemkin apps, Fake ads, and the return of little pepe the frog. Your host busts out all his best deep state moves for the grand conclusion of our Surveillance miniseries. Plus Finn Brunton pitches AdNauseum and Siva Vaidhyanathan gives us a tour of the Cryptopticon.

Mar 10, 2017
The Rainbows of Inevitability
36:08

We take a tour of the sprawl with Metahaven to learn about the propaganda of propaganda and we travel beyond the Facebook wall to learn the real truth about targeted advertising. Plus Project Madison Valleywood!

 

Feb 23, 2017
Doomed to Repeat
32:32

Your host examines the targeted advertising and fake news that some say put Donald Trump in the White House. Plus: the colonial history of Biometric Surveillance.

Thanks to Mira Waits, Ethan Zuckerman and Hannes Grassegger

Feb 08, 2017
The Twentieth of January
21:32

A spy novel from the 80’s gives Donald Trump and his Russian friends some ideas. PLUS your host inspires the youth with cowardice.

Jan 20, 2017
Entrapment
36:00

The FBI builds more surveillance traps that don’t work, and your host shares a few of his earliest adventures in surveillance.

 

Jan 16, 2017
The fairest of them all?
17:27

Our Surveillance miniseries continues with a special holiday episode. Your host visits both the glass room ( a fake pop up store) and the Google pop up store (a real pop up store).

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Dec 28, 2016
Useful Idiots
35:30

Your host discovers you can’t beat the Russians at the fake game and ToE’s Chris reviews Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden. Plus: Vladislav Surkov and the Potemkin Panopticon.

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Dec 12, 2016
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
20:50

Donald Trump promises women he will make Surveillance great again. Plus Digital Security Training!

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Nov 23, 2016
Targeted
33:20

Your host tries his hand at targeted advertising and he dooms his child to a life of exclusion with the simple gift of a stuffed frog. Plus the truth about Facial Recognition.

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Nov 08, 2016
Honeypot
29:49

Your host decides to follow back a Joy Division T-shirt that is following him around the internet. Plus the surveillance that powers behaviorally targeted personalized advertising. joy-division-tshirt-640x530

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Oct 25, 2016
Burning down the Panopticon
24:33

Our new miniseries on Surveillance begins with your host tripping over the corpse of Jeremy Bentham, the man who gave us the Panopticon.

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Oct 11, 2016
You are so Pretentious
19:00

Writer Dan Fox wants to reclaim the word pretentious. Take it back from those who use it like a stick to beat down the curious and the adventurous.

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Sep 20, 2016
revolutionary slogans will be written by the winners
14:44

As the 2016 American presidential election heads into the final round – we are featuring a story your host stumbled upon during the last election in October of 2102. Radio producer Silvain Gire tells us about an impossible encounter between Mitt Romney and Guy Debord in Paris 1968.

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*** Benjamen Walker will join Silvain Gire to talk radio and podcasts at  La Maison de Poésie September 11th 2016. details

Aug 25, 2016
pass (r)
09:26

Your host dreams the future of Self Driving Cars.

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Aug 16, 2016
The art of the deal
20:50

The secret history of ISIS from ToE’s special corespondent Chris. PLUS Donald Trump is ready for sacrifice.

isis

Aug 04, 2016
Something will happen, eventually
13:05

Your host opens his file of near misses and close calls. Joe Mazur examines the math and myth behind the stories we call coincidences.  Plus a grasp at the law of truly large numbers.

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Jul 21, 2016
Because there’s nothing else to do
16:52

Your host wanders London just before and after Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union.

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Jul 06, 2016
sudculture (part II of II)
26:41

Part two of your host’s craft beer drinking adventure. As the battle over shelf space intensifies we meet a couple of brewers who are doing things differently?

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Jun 21, 2016
sudculture (part I of II)
24:54

Your host sets out to better understand America’s craft beer scene. The latest food trend? Or oppositional culture?  And can it survive the attention from Megabrew?

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image: http://www.beercapmaps.com

 

Jun 06, 2016
Analog Time
25:47

Your host explores the transition from UFO to Drone on stage as part of Radiotopia Live! and pinpoints the date he crossed his own personal digital divide (Feb 21st 1997). Also filmmaker Alix Lambert tells us about a group of people who are still on Analog time.

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A version of the prison tape piece ran on 99% invisible. Thanks always to Roman Mars and Katie Mingle. Special thanks to Elyse Blennerhassett who not only introduced us to both Efren and Adolfo but she is also continuing to work with them on a longer term audio diary project that follows their daily life / experiences, and inner worlds. From their fight for innocence to their interactions, dreams, textures, smells, and memories.

 

 

 

 

 

May 29, 2016
Transformers (r)
33:52

Yvette Gonzales tells us a first person story about what its like to be transgender in Prison. Gender theorist B. Preciado tells us about what happens when a person takes testosterone without the intention of transitioning from one gender to another. Plus, Jim Elledge tells us about his  biography of Outsider Artist Henry Darger, and why he drew little girls with penises.

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thanks to Sponsor this week: Parachute

May 13, 2016
Platform of the Real
23:15

A look at the most revolutionary media format that has ever existed and a trip back to 1968 when video became real. Plus Virtual reality!

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Apr 28, 2016
The Future
26:13

Your host has a chance encounter with the supposed inspiration for a cult TV show that predicted the future of tech and media. Plus the end of Moore’s law?

dan ashcroft

Apr 13, 2016
A light touch and a slight nudge
31:40

Is Donald Trump actually a CIA asset with implants in his small hands or are our brains just wired for paranoia – or both! Rob Brotherton, author of Suspicious Minds, explains how our cognitive biases push us to see Conspiracies everywhere. Plus a look back to when the CIA weaponized Abstract Expressionism (one of the greatest real Conspiracies of all time).

CONSPIRACY(1)

image by Celeste Lai

 

 

Mar 28, 2016
Paris
29:27

Luc Sante takes us on a tour of “The Other ParisBenoît Peeters shows us Paris of 22nd century and your host learns why there is so much Brooklyn in the 10th arrondissement paris

image by Celeste Lai

Mar 07, 2016
After Work
23:45

ToE instaserf Andrew Callaway gets invited to do a TED ALPHA Talk on the sharing economy.  Mary Gray (a real sharing economy expert) explains why we are anxious about the future of work and Ignacio Uriarte leaves his cubicle to make post-office art.

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image from the amazing Swedish TV show real humans

Feb 10, 2016
The Escapers
25:21

Artist Gary Panter packs up and sizes down, Alix Lambert explains the new computer trap. Plus your host on Gordon Comstock (the escaper protagonist of Orwell’s novel Keep the aspidistra flying).

Escapers (1)

 

Jan 28, 2016
70×7 (Holy War part II of II)
29:19

The second half of our  sly-fi story about redemption, forgiveness and torture.  Margo hopes to leave Christian America with Ali Baba ( a terrorist clone she was given as recompense for the death of her husband). But can they escape before evil Freddie catches wind of their plans? Plus a meditation on the parable of the unforgiving servant.

holywar2

Dec 29, 2015
Alaska Is Closer (Holy War part I of II)
37:54

As 2015 winds down we offer you a story about redemption, forgiveness and torture. When Margo’s husband is killed in a terrorist attack, she is given Ali Baba, a terrorist clone. This is how it works in Christian America in this piece of speculative fiction (although we like the term Sly-fi). Will Margo use her new Walmart deluxe torture kit? Or does she have a greater plan? Also your host declares war on God!

Crusade

Dec 22, 2015
New York After Rent (post prop f director’s cut)
01:07:10

Now that Airbnb has proved it can beat regulation we return to the post-gentrified city. Two! new segments:  we meet a landlord (named Benny) who built an illegal artists space in Bushwick, and we visit Astor Place, the embodiment of the New New York, with writer Ada Calhoun (Saint Marks is Dead).

 

astorplace

Nov 25, 2015
The things we do for money
29:01

Allen Ginsberg tries his hand at Market Research,  Walter Benjamin goes on the radio and ToE’s Chris drops in on a new bar in DC called the Freedom Cock. Also visit radiotopia.fm and become a sustaining member today!

three cups

image: Celeste Lai

Oct 31, 2015
Secret Histories of Podcasting
35:37

It turns out there are (at least) three ways to tell the secret history of podcasting: it is a story about technology, it is a story about a business model for audio, and it is also a story about the birth of a new art form. What’s really cool is that the whole thing is sort of a Rashomon narrative – in this special edition to mark the radiotopiaforever campaign your host attempts to tell all three versions using the same people. Visit radiotopia.fm to join the radiotopiaforever campaign.

secret podcast

illustration Celeste Lai

Oct 22, 2015
Enchanting By Numbers (2015 version)
26:56

We take another look at algorithms. Tim Hwang explains how Uber’s algorithms generate phantom cars and marketplace mirages. And we revisit our conversation with Christian Sandvig who, last year asked Facebook users to explain how they imagine the Edgerank algorithm works (this is the algorithm that powers Facebook’s news feed). Sandvig discovered that most of his subjects had no idea there even was an algorithm at work. Plus  James Essinger and Suw Charman-Anderson, tell us about Ada Lovelace, the woman who wrote the first computer program (or as James puts it – Algorithm)  in 1843.

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Oct 09, 2015
Resolution
26:16

Your host attempts to write a description for the Podcast. He seeks assistance from an old book, and the plot whisperer.

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Sep 07, 2015
Artifacts (redux)
23:05

Photographer Robert Burley takes pictures of the end of analog for his book The Disappearance Of Darkness. Christine Frohnert and Christiane Paul explain why it is difficult to care for digital artworks and Social Media theorist Nathan Jurgenson wants us to understand what is truly revolutionary about ephemeral photographs and platforms like Snapchat. Sponsors: Hellofresh.com (offer code: theory )and Souverain.com

Toe12

Aug 12, 2015
Instaserfs (III of III)
35:37

“This is part of the sharing economy, I am sharing myself”

Our instaserfs series comes to a crushing conclusion, Hear Instapoder Andrew attempt to manserve…  Plus we meet two former Uber drivers! Also this Thursday July 9th 3pm EST a live online ToE post-listening party. Visit spoken.am for details. Your host will be there, along with Andrew and some of the guests featured in the show, plus Mary Gray a researcher who studies labor and the sharing economy. Special thanks to our new sponsor Zady.com

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Jul 07, 2015
Instaserfs (II of III)
30:00

Instaserfs II: “Chipolte Strikes back” or “Seriously, in the sharing economy no one can hear you work”  Either tagline works for our second installment in our future of work series. Andrew (our ToE instapoder) continues with his task of working for as many San Francisco sharing economy companies as he can stand this month. Plus Susie Cagle (cartoonist, journalist, and freelancer) explains why the tech community prefers not to talk about the worker.

sharing economy

Also: In two weeks, after part three of Instaserfs drops, we’re hosting an online discussion party for ToE fans. You can join me, Andrew, and a special guest as we dig deeper into the sharing economy and talk about some of the questions the series raises. For more info on that, go to spoken.am and be sure to sign up, invites are limited.

 

Jun 24, 2015
Instaserfs (I of III)
35:00

In the sharing economy no one  can hear you work. This is because companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates and others only employ “partners” or independent contractors. So your host decided to partner with Andrew Callaway, a 25 year old San Francisco native, to find out what its like to work in the sharing economy. As the official ToE instapoder Andrew will drive, shop, clean, deliver, and serve for a whole month, and he’s going to record his entire experience.  Plus in this episode technology journalist Sarah Lacey tells us the truth about Uber.

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******Click on the image for the whole story about this installment*******

 

Special thanks to our new sponsor Zady.com

Jun 17, 2015
Art De Vivre (II of II)
36:04

Benjamen and Mathilde continue exploring the intersection between France and China over wine. In this installment they traverse China talking with winemakers, wine enthusiasts and drinkers to find out what the emerging middle class of China, one of the most powerful forces on Earth, wants from a bottle of wine.  Plus Your host is forced to defend his working methods and his beliefs in the art of living well.

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******Click on the image for the whole story about this week’s installment*******

Thanks to our sponsors http://www.parachutehome.com/theory and http://www.squarespace.com offer code: theory

Jun 02, 2015
Art De Vivre (I of II)
35:46

The voice of the ToE episode announcer revealed! (her name is Mathilde)  and she joins our host for this two part series about the intersection between France and China and wine. The story of the red obsession of Wealthy Chinese has been told many times, but what is going to happen when China’s elusive emerging middle class gets wine fever? Can wine transmit cultural values? Can it transcend consumerism?  In this installment Benjamen and  Mathilde traverse France to discover this vino nouvelle vague.

Thanks to our sponsors http://www.parachutehome.com/theory and https://casper.com/theory

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May 26, 2015
The Dislike Club (finale/ABC version)
34:47

In this program (which originally aired on the ABC last December) your host makes his final attempt to build the ultimate anti-social-media-social-platform. Things continue to decline: the phone in the hand becomes the phone on a stick in the hand. And we meet a controversial blogger who overnight becomes one of the internet’s most disliked people. Plus, of course the real dislike club. Thanks to our sponsor http://www.parachutehome.com/theory

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**** the DISLIKE CLUB Finale was commissioned by RADIOTONIC from the ABC’s Creative Audio Unit. For best enjoyment listen to the whole six part series, but this installment stands on its own

 

May 12, 2015
New York After Rent (III of III)
21:39

Our series concludes with an attempt to examine the suburbanized commodified inner cityscape of New York. Author and activist Sarah Schulman tells us about the Gentrified Mind, plus we hear from one of the first Airbnbers of New York. PLUS  a sneak preview of a new rock musical everyone will soon be talking about.

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Apr 30, 2015
New York After Rent (II of III)
29:51

Our series continues with a journey from Avenue B to Bushwick: Kathy Kirkpatrick tells us about the final days of her Life Cafe in the East Village and essayist Tim Kreider tells us about his exile in Bushwick. Plus your host tries to make sense of the first time he got a glimpse of the new New York at a party in late September 2008.

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Apr 22, 2015
New York After Rent (I of III)
27:12

The financial crisis of September 2008 overshadows one of the most important events in recent New York History: the arrival of Airbnb. And while your host wasn’t paying attention back then either, today he is fed up with the commodification of every square inch of the city. But what if the Airbnb economy is also changing the way New York City dreams and makes art? Can it be stopped? Housing Activist Murray Cox gives us a tour of his insideairbnb project, Sociologist Richard Ocejo takes us on a jaunt through Hell Square, and legendary performance artist Penny Arcade shows us around “the big cupcake”.

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*********Click on the image for the whole story about this week’s installment**********

Apr 08, 2015
Radio WIFM
18:38

Decades before the first shot was fired in the American revolution a band of runaway slaves known as the Maroons living in the mountains in Colonial Jamaica took on the British Empire and won.  I’ve long been obsessed with the Maroons and so last summer I jumped at the opportunity to visit their compound in Charlestown for the annual celebration of their 1739 victory. I learned the Maroons hope to play a leading role today as Jamaica moves down the path of Marijuana decriminalization and legalization, but some of the folks I met claim the Maroons are still listening to Radio What’s Innit Fo Me?

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Mar 02, 2015
An Illumination
21:14

Cédric Villani won the prestigious Fields Medal for his work in 2010.  He wrote a book about his experience called Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure. It is a book about where ideas come from. There is something spider like about Villani, and I say that not just because of the pins he is famous for always wearing. He knows how to catch ideas, and he wants to teach us how as well. We also talk with Maria Popova about another great Science book: The art of Scientific Investigation. I found this book thanks to the idea catching web that Maria Popova built:   brainpickings.org.

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Jan 27, 2015
Occupy Siberia (dislike club prequel)
57:33

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Yours truly is recuperating from 2014 in France but wishing you a happy holiday. Hope you enjoyed the programming this year. The dislike club series pretty much contains everything I have ever wanted to say about social media. Been thinking about all this stuff for quite some time now,  but it all started to crystalize when I got invited to Russia three years ago. I made a show about that trip for my old radio program “too much information” (it used to run on WFMU). I updated it a bit and offer it here, as the ToE 2014 holiday special – or the dislike club prequel.

***ALERT*** heard from a bunch of you now that you can’t find the DISLIKE CLUB Finale. Just search for this word: RADIOTONIC and you will find a radio show called Radiotonic from the ABC’s Creative Audio Unit. They commissioned the finale. Download it here. Or subscribe to their podcast. Look for the Dec 21st episode called the Dislike Club – that is part VI (the finale).

Dec 29, 2014
Logical Fantasies (the dislike club part V)
23:50

In the penultimate episode of our series, Kathy Sierra tells us how one tweak could fix everything and ToE’s Chris tells us the secret origin of Facebook. PLUS #marksbros (as in Zuckerberg)  #marxhegel (as in Groucho)

***ALERT*** the DISLIKE CLUB Finale was commissioned by RADIOTONIC from the ABC’s Creative Audio Unit. Download it here. Or subscribe to their podcast. Look for the Dec 21st episode called the Dislike Club – that is part VI (the finale).

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Dec 22, 2014
Wishful Thinking (the dislike club part IV)
27:05

In 2007 writer, programmer, and horse trainer Kathy Sierra quit the internet because of misogynist hate trolling. She stayed off the social web for 7 years but last year she came back to see what Twitter was like. She tells us why she only lasted a few weeks and her theory about why so many women are targets online. Plus Danielle Keats Citron explains how we could use the law to drain the cesspool.

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Dec 09, 2014
If you dislike like, then you will… (the dislike club part III)
24:10

This week Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman tells us about the internet’s original Dislike Club, Anonymous. Biella has spent the last eight years hanging out with Anons both on IRC and in IRL. Her new book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: the many faces of Anonymous”  is the definitive book on the topic, nothing else comes close.  Biella also gets me to watch V for Vendetta, something I have refused to do out of my fanboy respect for writer Alan Moore (who refused to watch it or put his name on the movie). I wish I could un-see it already.  Also: Commodify your dislike!

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Dec 03, 2014
Paying For It (the dislike club part II)
26:42

Our mini-series about the internet continues. This week we take a close look at the fundamental business model of the web – advertising. In 1993  your host was a founding member of an international monkey wrench gang that fought billboards in outer space. He recently ran into one of his old comrades in Midtown-South (Manhattan’s tech district) and discovered that his side actually lost the war. Ethan Zuckerman, the man who invented the pop up ad, admits that we must rethink the fundamentals of the web, and activist, writer, and filmmaker Astra Taylor questions whether the internet actually benefits independent creators.

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The Dislike Club is  a story-in-progress, it will play out on the podcast over the next few weeks and then culminate December 21 on Radiotonic, from ABC RN’s Creative Audio Unit.

Nov 25, 2014
Backspace to the Future (the dislike club part I)
22:48

Paul Ford is a technologist and a writer, sometimes these two things blur. For example, he’s currently working on a book about webpages, but he’s also building a content management system for webpages –  because you know it could help with the writing.  (yeah his book is late) Its not like he’s trying to procrastinate, this is just what life is like when you are Paul Ford.  A couple of Monday night’s ago he was sitting on his couch drinking some rye whisky and chatting with his friends on twitter  and he accidentally a brand new webpage community.  This is the true origin story of his tilde.club. Yours truly also started a new thing it is called dislike.club. We also check in with Librarian and community manager Jessamyn West for advice on how to start an online community that doesn’t suck.

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The Dislike Club is  a story-in-progress, it will play out on the podcast over the next few weeks and then culminate December 21 on Radiotonic, from ABC RN’s Creative Audio Unit.

 

Nov 14, 2014
Making it Happen
20:21

For this special installment of the Theory of Everything we explore Maker Culture. Makerbot co-founder Bre Pettis gives us a tour of his new venture: Bold Machines. Plus we go to China to learn what the next generation of Chinese makers have planned for the future.

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Nov 04, 2014
Enchanting By Numbers
25:30

When I was in Beijing last summer I dropped by the Microsoft research campus to talk with  Dr. Yu Zheng. He studies the air pollution in his city, and the noise pollution in mine. Using algorithms he is able to predict what kinds of noises New Yorkers are most likely to hear in their neighborhoods, take a look at his Citynoise map. His algorithms could one day help city planners curb air pollution and noise or as Christian Sandvig notes they could be used by the GPS apps on our mobile devices to keep us from walking through neighborhoods perceived to have loud people hanging around outside.

Christian Sandvig studies algorithms which is hard to do, most companies like Facebook and Google don’t make their algorithms public. In a recent study he asked Facebook users to explain how they imagine the Edgerank algorithm works (this is the algorithm that powers Facebook’s news feed). Sandvig discovered that most of his subjects had no idea there even was an algorithm at work. When they learned the truth, it was like a moment out of the Matrix. But none of the participants remained angry for long. Six months later they mostly reported satisfaction with the algorithms that determine what the can and can’t see. Sandvig finds this problematic, because our needs and desires often don’t match with the needs and desires of the companies who build the algorithms.

“Ada’s Algorithm” is the title of James Essinger’s new book. It tells the remarkable story about Ada Lovelace the woman who wrote the first computer program (or as James puts it – Algorithm)  in 1843. He believes Ada’s insights came from her “poetical” scientific brain. Suw Charman-Anderson, the founder of Ada Lovelace day, tells us more about this remarkable woman.

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Oct 06, 2014
It will always be hard
28:24

When the photographer Garry Winogrand died in 1984 he left behind hundreds of thousands of unpublished negatives and undeveloped rolls of film and a few out of print books that are still treasured by connoisseurs and photo book collectors today. It’s always bothered Leo Rubinfien that his friend Garry’s legacy is bound up with these hard to find books, for leo a much better way to appreciate the genius of Garry Winogrand is through his slideshows. Recently Leo Rubinfien got an opportunity to show the world the Garry Winogrand he knew and loved,  SFMOMA  invited him to guest curate a Winogrand show. The exhibit  took years to put together, and at the outset SFMOMA’s assistant curator of photography Erin O’toole was nervous, but she tells us why she is now in the cult of Winogrand too.  While your host was in Australia this summer he met up with one of his new favorite artists, the cartoonist Simon Hanselmann. Simon is one of the most compelling voices of his generation, but while his characters are all sex, drugs, and rock and roll Simon just works. Also we reminisce about the early days of the web with ToE regular Peter Choyce who believes he had one of the first ten blogs. Three reminders that being an artist will always be hard.

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Sep 16, 2014
Man Without a Country (3 of 3)
33:49

What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon.  Our story concludes(?) when your host attempts to turn bread into wine. Plus learn about the origins of the tale of the Man without a Country and the various versions that have been produced over the last hundred years.

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Aug 08, 2014
Man Without a Country (2 of 3)
46:13

What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon.  In part two of the story your host has his first human interaction in ten years. Plus radio host Glynn Washington tells us what it was like to grow up black in a white-supremacist Christian cult.

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Aug 08, 2014
Man Without a Country (1 of 3)
32:51

What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon.  In part one we hear the story of what happened when he fought the “three strikes you are out forever” law and lost. Plus Howard Zinn on the myth of American Exceptionalism.

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Aug 08, 2014
Recent, Relevant, Random
20:47

We don’t have metrics to measure what happens when we read something that changes our life. So this episode is an attempt to deal with that.  We begin with writer Rob Walker who tells us about his “New Old Thing,”  a regular feature he produces for Yahoo Tech. Rob is one of the most thoughtful writers I know and if anyone can wean us from our addiction to the now it will be him. I also get to talk to one of my heros this week: Edwin Frank who is the editor in chief of the NYRB classics imprint. About 10 years ago I read a collection of Platonov stories, a book that definitely changed my life, and I became a life-long devotee of the series. I have always wanted to ask Edwin about his editorial sensibilities and what exactly binds all the books with the well designed multi-coloured spines together. Phyllis Rose is the author of The Shelf.  She “randomly” chose a shelf at the library near her house and read every book on it – then she wrote about the experience. It is a deep funny philosophical treatise on the act of reading itself. I will be gifting this book to my friends for years.

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Jul 25, 2014
Stages on Life’s Way
34:13

A few years ago your host took a pilgrimage to Copenhagen to walk the streets the great Dane Søren Kierkegaard once walked. He wanted to understand  the meaning of Kierkegaard’s religious stage so he decided to ask the experts at the Kierkegaard research center. Also Photographer Dina Litovksy tells us about the history and some of the secrets of the modern bachelorette party. And Michael Holmes tells us about life’s final stage – death.

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Jun 13, 2014
A Better Tomorrow
22:42

This week we examine the legacy of The Work of Art in the Age of Technological Reproducibility by Walter Benjamin.  Media Theorist and Benjamin scholar (and translator) Thomas Levin explains why this essay resonates today and what Benjamin has to tell us about the utopian power of new media. Also Russell Meyer tells us about the Wu-Tang clan’s plan to release a sole copy of their new album and why he has turned to Kickstarter so he can buy it and release it to the world. And your host shares an imaginary story about Hitler and Goebbels encountering Benjamin’s essay during their final days in the bunker.

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May 18, 2014
The Bootlickers
26:42

Andrew Rubin opens up his Archives of Authority to tell us the story of how George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 became global phenomenons. Melissa Gira Grant tells us about her new book Playing the Whore and the complicated relationship between sex workers, Feminists, Journalists, and the Police. And your host turns to ToE correspondent Peter Choyce for advice on how to fight his bike ticket in traffic court. *********Click on the image for the whole story about this week’s installment**********

Apr 25, 2014
1984 (the year not the book)
53:49

In 1984 your host was twelve years old and like George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith, he kept a diary, for the citizens of the future. For this special installment of Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything we travel back in time and give this diary a soundtrack. TV commercials, radio spots, movie clips – all sound from 1984 (the year, not the book). Find out what totalitarianism really sounds like.

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Apr 04, 2014
Prêt-à-Portable
31:29

 Technology consultant Sarah Slocum loves social media and her Google Glass, she wears them everywhere. But when she walked into Molotov’s, a bar on Haight Street in San Francisco, she discovered that not everyone shares her love for wearable gadgets. Also, your host makes his annual pilgrimage to SXSWi and ends up designing wearables at a surreal Hack Day. We also hear from Shingy, AOL’s Digital Prophet. He says wearables will allow us to have it both ways: we can be both digital and human.  **This episode features elements that were recorded binaurally. If you listen with a pair of headphones or a LiveAudio enabled JAMBOX, you will experience three dimensional sound – it will be like you are there.**

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Mar 24, 2014
When You’re Lonely, Life is Very Long
28:44

After moving to New York alone, writer Olivia Laing discovered the truth about loneliness. She says it is a gift.  Eric Klinenberg explains why more and more people are choosing to live alone and why cities like New York must invest in housing stock that singletons actually want to live in, the type of housing they have in Scandinavian countries.  In Denmark when someone dies alone, and no-one claims the body, the authorities put an ad in the newspaper calling for Possible Relatives. This is also the title of a photo-book by Danish photographer Tina Enghoff.  She tells us about the pictures she took of the apartments after the dead were removed. Some of these bodies went undiscovered for months.

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Mar 03, 2014
F is for Fake
25:11

To Bot or Not? That’s the big question for Data Scientist Gilad Lotan. His research suggests we may be damaging our online reputations if we choose not to play the fake follower game. Jason Q Ng, author of the book Blocked on Weibo, tells us why the Chinese government hates fake bots and why they targeted Black PR companies last summer. And your host imagines a future were humans are forced to shower their new Bot Overlords with unwavering attention. *********Click on the image for the whole story about this week’s installment**********

 

 

 

Feb 11, 2014
Artifacts (2 of 2)
22:39

Social Media theorist Nathan Jurgenson wants us to understand what is truly revolutionary about ephemeral photographs and platforms like Snapchat, Fred Ritchin says we are going to get our minds blown “After Photography” and Finn Bruntun explains why we need to preserve our transition from Analog to Digital.

Jan 16, 2014
Artifacts (1 of 2)
25:22

Photographer Robert Burley takes pictures of the end of analog for his book The Disappearance Of Darkness. Christine Frohnert explains how conservators must care for Art with a Plug. Curator Christiane Paul tells us how the Whitney Museum of American Art restored the digital artwork “the world’s first collaborative sentence” by Douglas Davis. And TOE’s Washington D.C. corespondent ‘Chris’ tells us the truth about Edward Snowden and Snapchat.

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Jan 01, 2014
Not Soon Enough
23:51

This week your host tries to break through to the other side using the art of John Singer Sargent as a… jumping off point. Also we get an update from our corespondent Peter Choyce. When we last heard from Peter (in “admissions of defeat”) he was heading to rehab, he is now free and living in the woods in North Carolina.

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Dec 11, 2013
Waiting In Line
25:59

About a year ago I travelled across America for the BBC. I visited Airports, Amusement parks, Highways and Community Colleges in order to understand how the priority queue is changing the American experience of waiting in line. A version of this piece aired on the BBC World Service, part of their “Real America” series produced in conjunction with PRX.

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Oct 23, 2013
Out Of The Office
26:52

Programmer David Heinemeier Hansson tells us about his Out Of Office experience, David is a partner at 37signals and a co-author (with Jason Fried) of REMOTE: Office Not Required. We also meet Ignacio Uriarte, he left his cubicle for a career in Office Art. And Ravenna Koenig, TOE’s newest correspondent, explains the difference between Facebook-Work & Work-Work.

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Oct 14, 2013
Admissions Of Defeat
30:33

We check in with a few of our TOE regulars: Peter Choyce has is one of my oldest friends and a listener favorite, but he has a secret we’ve never addressed until now. We also check in with our D.C. correspondent “Chris” who tells us about the NSA’s desire to install backdoors in Podcasts. Also, I tell you the story about what happens when I wander into @psychic for a late night reading. PLUS: a few extracts from ‘Brand New World’

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Oct 03, 2013
Hacked
28:54

Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman tells us about her book Coding Freedom and the time she spent among the Hackers, “Chris” makes his TOE debut with a story about the alleged hacking of the New York Times by the Chinese, and your host wonders if it might be possible to hire a hacker to break into George RR Martin’s computer so that he can read the rest of the Game of Thrones story without having to wait 10 years like everyone else.

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Jun 11, 2013
Red, White, Blue & Orange
40:02

A torture expert records an imaginary criterion commentary track for the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty. We learn about Umarov Muhibullah, one of the first innocent men to be released from Guantanamo. And your host ponders why Guantanamo is still open.

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May 14, 2013
The Clouds (part 3 of 3)
23:10

Our series concludes with some revelations. Metahaven uses the story of Wikileaks to show us the infrastructure of the cloud and its super-jurisdictional powers. The BBC’s Paul Mason takes us on a wild tour of China in his novel Rare Earth. And a pile of iPhones brings your host a moment of clarity.

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May 06, 2013
The Clouds (part 2 of 3)
29:40

We continue our journey to the center of the cloud, by way of the earth: Rare Earth. China controls 95% of the market for the 17 Rare Earth elements that power our invisible technologies so your host decides to pay a visit to the Ganzhou region, to see the illegal mines in the with his own eyes.

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Apr 29, 2013
The Clouds (part 1 of 3)
24:49

Twitter employee #7 tells us what happened when Justin Bieber joined twitter in 2009. An Amazon Data scientist, explains how the cloud is changing our relationship with technology, Obama’s CTO Harper Reed explains why the cloud is awesome + we tour Parse, a hot hot hot (BaaS). But can your host get inside the cloud?

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Apr 19, 2013