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Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything Podcast by Benjamen Walker

Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything Podcast

by Benjamen Walker

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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.

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  • Real costs extra (False Alarm! part v)
    Wed, Jun 06, 2018

      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 […]

  • The Fake in the Crowd (False Alarm! part iv)
    Mon, May 21, 2018

      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 […]

  • S-Coin (False Alarm! part iii)
    Tue, May 01, 2018

    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 […]

  • Fake Nudes (False Alarm! part ii)
    Tue, Apr 17, 2018

    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!

  • This Is Not A Drill (False Alarm! part i)
    Tue, Apr 03, 2018

    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 […]

  • Utopia (part v)
    Thu, Mar 22, 2018

    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 […]

  • Utopia (part iv)
    Tue, Mar 06, 2018

    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. ********* click on the image for more **************  

  • Time Travelin’ Trump
    Wed, Feb 14, 2018

    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 […]

  • Utopia (part iii)
    Mon, Jan 22, 2018

    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. ***********Click on the image for details about this episode ********

  • False Flags
    Sat, Dec 30, 2017

    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  

  • Utopia (part ii)
    Wed, Dec 20, 2017

    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. **********************Click on image for more links and information******************  

  • Influencers (complete version)
    Tue, Nov 28, 2017

    A couple of months 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. I thought I would run the complete version before the whole thing becomes documentary.  

  • Utopia (part i)
    Thu, Nov 16, 2017

    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. ********** click on image for more information and links***********    

  • CthulhuCon (Revisited)
    Fri, Nov 03, 2017

    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 […]

  • Bad Science
    Fri, Oct 20, 2017

    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.

  • Iron and Lies (Wisconsin part II of II)
    Mon, Oct 16, 2017

    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 […]

  • Concrete and Respect (Wisconsin part I of II)
    Thu, Sep 21, 2017

    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 *************

  • Illicit Objects
    Tue, Aug 08, 2017

    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 […]

  • Private Ear
    Wed, Jul 19, 2017

    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.

  • Influencers (part II of II)
    Wed, Jun 28, 2017

    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 […]

  • Emergency
    Mon, May 29, 2017

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

  • Protest
    Tue, May 16, 2017

    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

  • Droning for Dollars
    Thu, Apr 27, 2017

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

  • Art Districts
    Wed, Apr 12, 2017

    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.

  • 1984 (the year not the book) r
    Mon, Mar 20, 2017

    Wrote a short piece on my 1984 “where’s the beef” record collection for Hilobrow’s Political Objects series and thought I would re-up this episode. 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 […]

  • Nothing to Hide
    Fri, Mar 10, 2017

    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.

  • The Rainbows of Inevitability
    Thu, Feb 23, 2017

    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!  

  • Doomed to Repeat
    Wed, Feb 08, 2017

    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

  • The Twentieth of January
    Fri, Jan 20, 2017

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

  • Entrapment
    Mon, Jan 16, 2017

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

  • The fairest of them all?
    Wed, Dec 28, 2016

    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).  

  • Useful Idiots
    Mon, Dec 12, 2016

    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.  

  • Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
    Wed, Nov 23, 2016

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

  • Targeted
    Tue, Nov 08, 2016

    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.

  • Honeypot
    Tue, Oct 25, 2016

    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.

  • Burning down the Panopticon
    Tue, Oct 11, 2016

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

  • You are so Pretentious
    Tue, Sep 20, 2016

    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.

  • revolutionary slogans will be written by the winners
    Thu, Aug 25, 2016

    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.   *** Benjamen Walker will join Silvain […]

  • pass (r)
    Tue, Aug 16, 2016

    Your host dreams the future of Self Driving Cars.

  • The art of the deal
    Thu, Aug 04, 2016

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

  • Something will happen, eventually
    Thu, Jul 21, 2016

    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.

  • Because there’s nothing else to do
    Wed, Jul 06, 2016

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

  • sudculture (part II of II)
    Tue, Jun 21, 2016

    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?

  • sudculture (part I of II)
    Mon, Jun 06, 2016

    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? image: http://www.beercapmaps.com  

  • Analog Time
    Sun, May 29, 2016

    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. A version of the prison tape piece ran […]

  • Transformers (r)
    Fri, May 13, 2016

    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 […]

  • Platform of the Real
    Thu, Apr 28, 2016

    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!

  • The Future
    Wed, Apr 13, 2016

    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?

  • A light touch and a slight nudge
    Mon, Mar 28, 2016

    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 […]

  • Paris
    Mon, Mar 07, 2016

    Luc Sante takes us on a tour of “The Other Paris” Beno?t Peeters shows us Paris of 22nd century and your host learns why there is so much Brooklyn in the 10th arrondissement image by Celeste Lai

  • After Work
    Wed, Feb 10, 2016

    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. image from the amazing Swedish TV show real humans

  • The Escapers
    Thu, Jan 28, 2016

    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).  

  • 70?7 (Holy War part II of II)
    Tue, Dec 29, 2015

    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.

  • Alaska Is Closer (Holy War part I of II)
    Tue, Dec 22, 2015

    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 […]

  • New York After Rent (post prop f director’s cut)
    Wed, Nov 25, 2015

    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).  

  • The things we do for money
    Sat, Oct 31, 2015

    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! image: Celeste Lai

  • Secret Histories of Podcasting
    Thu, Oct 22, 2015

    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 […]

  • Enchanting By Numbers (2015 version)
    Fri, Oct 09, 2015

    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 […]

  • Resolution
    Mon, Sep 07, 2015

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

  • Artifacts (redux)
    Wed, Aug 12, 2015

    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 […]

  • Instaserfs (III of III)
    Tue, Jul 07, 2015

    “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 […]

  • Instaserfs (II of III)
    Wed, Jun 24, 2015

    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 […]

  • Instaserfs (I of III)
    Wed, Jun 17, 2015

    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 […]

  • Art De Vivre (II of II)
    Tue, Jun 02, 2015

    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 […]

  • Art De Vivre (I of II)
    Tue, May 26, 2015

    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 […]

  • The Dislike Club (finale/ABC version)
    Tue, May 12, 2015

    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 […]

  • New York After Rent (III of III)
    Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    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. *********Click […]

  • New York After Rent (II of III)
    Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    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 After Rent (I of III)
    Wed, Apr 08, 2015

    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 […]

  • Dark Karma
    Tue, Mar 17, 2015

    “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. A few years ago we reconnected and he recounted the whole story […]

  • Radio WIFM
    Mon, Mar 02, 2015

    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 […]

  • An Illumination
    Tue, Jan 27, 2015

    C?dric 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 […]

  • Occupy Siberia (dislike club prequel)
    Mon, Dec 29, 2014

    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 […]

  • Logical Fantasies (the dislike club part V)
    Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    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. […]

  • Wishful Thinking (the dislike club part IV)
    Tue, Dec 09, 2014

    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 […]

  • If you dislike like, then you will… (the dislike club part III)
    Wed, Dec 03, 2014

    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 […]

  • Paying For It (the dislike club part II)
    Tue, Nov 25, 2014

    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 […]

  • Backspace to the Future (the dislike club part I)
    Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    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 […]

  • Making it Happen
    Tue, Nov 04, 2014

    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.

  • Enchanting By Numbers
    Mon, Oct 06, 2014

    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, […]

  • It will always be hard
    Tue, Sep 16, 2014

    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 […]

  • Man Without a Country (3 of 3)
    Fri, Aug 08, 2014

    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 (2 of 3)
    Fri, Aug 08, 2014

    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 […]

  • Man Without a Country (1 of 3)
    Fri, Aug 08, 2014

    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 […]

  • Recent, Relevant, Random
    Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    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 […]

  • Guided By Voices
    Mon, Jun 30, 2014

     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.  

  • Stages on Life’s Way
    Fri, Jun 13, 2014

    A few years ago your host took a pilgrimage to Copenhagen to walk the streets the great Dane S?ren 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 […]

  • A Better Tomorrow
    Sun, May 18, 2014

    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 […]

  • The Bootlickers
    Fri, Apr 25, 2014

    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.

  • 1984 (the year not the book)
    Fri, Apr 04, 2014

    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. Find out what totalitarianism really sounds like.

  • Pr?t-?-Portable
    Mon, Mar 24, 2014

    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.

  • When You’re Lonely, Life is Very Long
    Mon, Mar 03, 2014

    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 […]

  • F is for Fake
    Tue, Feb 11, 2014

    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 […]

  • Artifacts (2 of 2)
    Thu, Jan 16, 2014

    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.

  • Artifacts (1 of 2)
    Wed, Jan 01, 2014

    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 […]

  • Not Soon Enough
    Wed, Dec 11, 2013

    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 […]

  • Waiting In Line
    Wed, Oct 23, 2013

    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 […]

  • Out Of The Office
    Mon, Oct 14, 2013

    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 […]

  • Admissions Of Defeat
    Thu, Oct 03, 2013

    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 […]

  • Hacked
    Tue, Jun 11, 2013

    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 […]

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