Welcome to the Ars Technicast, the official podcast from Ars Technica, where we bring you the latest in the worlds of computing, technology, science, and everything else in between. During each episode, a group of Ars editors will dig deep into some of the issues and stories we have covered at Ars Technica. Ars Technica publishes news and reviews, analysis of tech trends, and expert advice on the most fundamental aspects of tech and the many ways it’s helping us enjoy our world.
Here's the Latest Episode from The Ars Technicast:
Today we present the third and final installment of my interview with Sarah Parcak, a prominent founding figuring the emerging field of astroarchaeology. Most of today’s installment concerns a crowd-enabled detection project Sarah created with proceeds from the TED Prize. It’s called GlobalXplorer. Partly inspired by Galaxy Zoo, it let armies of “citizen scientists” scan twelve million quadrants of Peruvian satellite imagery for hints of archaeological remains.
Today we’re presenting the second installment of my interview with Sarah Parcak, a prominent founding figuring the emerging field of astroarchaeology. Sarah’s team may just have pinpointed a long-lost (and eagerly-sought) pharaonic capital. Satellite data helped them establish the Nile’s approximate course during the capital’s heyday—as well as the locations of settlement-friendly highlands.
This week my guest is Sarah Parcak, a co-founder of the emerging field of astroarchaeology, which enlists satellite imagery to identify ancient, undiscovered sites on our home planet. Sarah’s work in this field won her the 2016 TED prize—which came with a million-dollar check to advance her work.
Today we present the third and final installment of my interview with Chris Anderson. Today’s episode starts in the greener pastures that Chris’s startup, 3DR, found after Chinese behemoth DJI annihilated its drone manufacturing business. 3DR is now all about construction. We then explore Chris’s nuanced take on China as a competitive force. He’s extremely fair-minded, and even generous toward the company that all but liquidated his startup.
Today we’re presenting the second installment of my wide-ranging interview with Chris Anderson. He was Wired magazine’s editor-in-chief for twelve years, and then started one of the most influential companies in the brief history of consumer drones: 3D Robotics. Chris all but invented both the term and the concept of open source hardware—and we have a fascinating discussion about it in today’s installment.
Our guest is Chris Anderson, who was the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine for twelve years—until he did something quite unusual for an editor and started a high-profile, venture-backed startup, 3D Robotics. Chris Anderson doesn’t have the background you might expect from someone with his resume. For one thing, he dropped or failed out of multiple schools when he was young. For another, he played bass for R.E.M. (and there’s something of a twist to this fact—but you’ll need to hear to our conversation to find out what it is).
We open today’s conversation talking about bioterrorism. Because that’s not uplifting enough, we then move on the dangers a super AI could present in certain worst-case scenarios. The final part of the podcast is a conversation between me and podcasting superstar Tom Merritt. In it, Tom and I discuss my interview with Sam—as well as a chunk of the novel After On.
Today, we start off discussing Sam’s first bestselling book, The End of Faith. It was inspired by September 11th attacks. Having recently spent ten years on his own self-styled spiritual journey, “I immediately recognized the spiritual intensity of that enterprise,” he recalls. Of Osama Bin Laden, Sam says, “He was not faking his belief. He believed what he said he believed, and it was only rational to take his stated beliefs at face value.”
In today’s installment, we discuss some of the experiences that shaped Sam's perspectives. As a freshman at Stanford (where he and I happened to overlap as undergraduates), he recalls being irked by the special treatment he felt the Bible received in a required course on western culture. However, he didn’t label himself an “atheist” at the time – although in retrospect, he essentially was one. Everything changed when he tried the drug MDMA (which is more commonly known to its friends as Molly, or Ecstasy).
This week my guest is Sam Harris: a neuroscientist turned bestselling author turned podcasting colossus. Sam has described his job as “thinking in public.” The uniqueness of Sam’s perspective is evidenced by his ability to trigger comparable gusts of outrage from both the left and the right (generally from the extremes of each camp). Also, he made Ben Affleck really angry on Bill Maher's show this one time.
The main topic today is consciousness. Adam has his own rather eclectic take on this mysterious force and presence. The final chunk of the podcast is a conversation between me and podcasting superstar Tom Merritt. In it, Tom and I discuss my interview with Adam—as well as a chunk of the novel After On.
Adam and I open today’s installment discussing techniques that mad scientists like him can use thwack the brain (legally, and safely, of course), so as to increase its neuroplasticity. We then talk about the limits of medical imaging—and the lamentable fact that this technology isn’t rocketing down a Moore’s Law-like curve. In closing, we discuss some of the newer things Adam’s lab is exploring. There’s some intriguing work connected to meditation.
This week, we’re serializing another episode of the After On Podcast here on Ars. Our guest is UCSF neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, who runs one of the largest academic neuroscience labs on the West Coast and researches tuning videogames to combat neurological aliments. At the heart of today’s conversation is Adam’s take on neuroplasticity. I’ve known this term for years, and long thought I understood it. But this interview (which was first recorded a bit more than a year ago) brought me a far more nuanced comprehension of it.
UC Irvine quantitative psychologist Don Hoffman presents his wildly counterintuitive theory on the nature of reality. We kick off today talking about what’s widely referred to as "the hard problem of consciousness." Don takes a highly contrarian approach to it. Next we discuss the eerie results of several hundred brain-splitting surgeries, which were performed a few decades back. We close by discussing of "panpsychism."
Don and I open this episode by discussing his take on space-time. He refutes that the notion that space itself existed at all before consciousness. Don essentially believes that if you’re alone in a room and look at a chair, that chair ceases to exist when you look away from it. Almost inevitably, we get into quantum physics. But rest assured, Don isn’t some New Age guru citing spooky physics as part of a healing crystal sales pitch. He’s a serious thinker who understands this stuff cold.
Today’s guest is UC Irvine quantitative psychologist Don Hoffman. Don has spent the last few decades honing an extraordinary theory about the nature of reality. In today’s installment, he lays the foundation of this wildly contrarian worldview. An ardent Darwinist, Don argues that evolutionary forces will almost always favor perceptive systems that present a simplified, even dumbed-down take on reality. This is the start of a pretty wild ride, which I believe any curious mind will enjoy—even ones which fully reject Don’s perspective.
In today’s installment, Tim rejects the fashionable forecast that automation will eradicate all human jobs next week. Being closer than most of us to Jeff Bezos, he knows a thing or three about operations at Amazon, which presents a fascinating case in point. Then Tim goes a bit dark. With reference to Facebook and Google, he compares the world economy to an optimizing algorithm that’s gone off the rails. Tim closes with a nuanced take on our future.
Tim and I start off today talking about "The Whole Internet User’s Guide & Catalog," which he published in 1992. And yup—that’s a two at the end of that number. Jumping forward many years, Tim tells us about convening a small summit of tech honchos, which quite literally named open-source software. This launches a tour of Tim’s thoughts about platforms & tech ecosystems, and their abusers. This leads us to his very nuanced takes on Uber, AirBnB, and others—all of which surprised me on one or more levels.
Our guest is tech’s preeminent publisher and top prognosticator Tim O’Reilly. O’Reilly Media has published a huge share of our world’s top books for as long as I’ve been around – even as it led the charge with ebooks, digital training, and other disruptions to its ink-on-paper legacy. But Tim’s real mojo comes from being the industry’s convener-in-chief.
Today, we build on the amazing results Google attained with its experimental eye scan study, and consider the unlikely things that might one day be meaningful early-warning markers for health problems. We close by talking about the Cancer X Prize, which Daniel is overseeing. It’s all about early detection.
Our guest is pediatric oncologist and medical futurist Daniel Kraft. We begin today discussing Daniel’s background and Singularity University itself. We then delve into the world of advanced quantified-self devices, and how they’re finally starting to link into the caregiving world in ways that could truly saving lives. When I question navigability of the inevitable data glut, Daniel points to the taming potential of AI, by citing some astounding work recently done at Google.
Today we open with an heartening story about an infant who went through one of Robert’s studies, and may have picked up fifteen IQ points as a direct result (this is neither a metaphor nor an exaggeration)! We then talk about the vast potential of pre-conception genetic screening, and an early initiative in this area that has almost eradicated a genetic disease that long plagued the Ashkenazi Jewish population. We close by discussing an ambitious government initiative that’s called “All of Us.”
Today we present the second installment of my interview with medical geneticist Robert Green, about the promise and pitfalls that could lie in reading out your full genome. In this installment, we discuss why some medical researchers view personal genetic information as a literal toxin before moving on to discussing rare genetic diseases, and how incongruously common they are.
My guest this week is a medical geneticist Robert Green, and our topic is the promise and peril that could come from reading your full genome. Whole-genome sequencing will soon become a mass phenomenon, because it will be better to know something than nothing in enough cases to justify the effort. But not in all cases!
Today we present the third and final installment of my interview British astronomer Stephen Webb on the subject of Fermi’s paradox. we open by talking about some of the amazing instruments and projects that are coming online in the coming decade – both to extend the search for extraterrestrial life, and to advance the much broader field of astrophysics. The episode concludes with a conversation between me and Tom Merritt, of the Daily Tech News Show.
Today we present the second installment of my interview British astronomer Stephen Webb on the subject of Fermi’s paradox. We open by talking about the second large category of possible solutions to the paradox. This is that intelligent aliens out there, but we just haven’t detected them yet. We then go on to the third major category—which is that we are quite alone in our galaxy, and perhaps in the entire universe. Stephen then lays out the solution to Fermi’s paradox that he personally deems to be most plausible. No spoilers here!
This week we ponder Fermi's Paradox with British astronomer Stephen Webb. This is the question of why can’t we detect any signs of intelligent alien life when we look to the skies. No signs of astro-engineering projects. No signatures of relativistic space travel. No obviously artificial electromagnetic waves, and so forth. And when you think of it, this is rather surprising. Or at least it was surprising to the ingenious physicist Enrico Fermi, who first drew attention to the matter.
Today we open by talking about some astounding work of UC Berkeley neuroscientist Jack Gallant—in which he trained an AI system to infer what test subjects were viewing on a video screen just by watching their brains light up on an MRI. We then get to the truly speculative stuff. Could near-infrared light be used to excite, or trigger neurons? If so, could some creepy descendant of this technology be used to implant memories, or desires into people?
This week my guest is a holographer, a one-time academic, a former CTO of Oculus, and a present-day entrepreneur named Mary Lou Jepsen. We open today’s installment discussing the roots of Mary Lou’s new company. Like so many things, it all started with holography and a brain tumor.We then zip through Mary Lou’s career, and then comes the cool part: we start talking about near-infrared light.
We start today’s installment with the very cliffhanger sentence yesterday’s installment ended with: Rodney saying “Yeah, let’s talk about deep learning.” This leads to an argument similar to yesterday’s point about self-driving cars, which takes us to super AI risk, which Rodney believes is quiet overblown.
We start with the new robotic era that dawned when Rethink Robotics launched its Baxter robot. Baxter and its successor, Sawyer, shifted the industry. We then consider the ancient legacy equipment and standards that still plague so much factory automation. Next, we dive into society’s urgent need for robots to assist with elder care in the coming years. We close with Rodney’s fascinating take on how a poor understanding of a technology’s history distorts perspectives on its near-future prospects.
Today’s segment introduces guest Rodney Brooke and includes a discussion of the rigid segregation between human workers and robots that reigned in almost all factories until recently. Brooks started his latest company to disrupt this status quo. Its roots lie in safety concerns, and the troubles that befall legacy robots in the presence of chaotic, imprecise humans.
We start today’s installment by discussing an audacious project to resurrect the wooly mammoth—or at least certain of its genes, which allowed it to thrive in frigid regions. From mammoths, George and I turn to the topic of synthetic meats, which could enter our kitchens and bellies much sooner than most people think. We close by discussing an ambitious longevity project currently underway in George’s lab. It’s not about life extension—but aging reversal.
We begin today’s installment with a discussion of the strengths and shortcomings of the CRISPR gene-editing technique, which George co-invented. Though CRISPR is a great improvement on the nine techniques that preceded it, it isn’t the be-all, and will surely be displaced by more powerful approaches in the future. George discusses this, as well a wish list of improvements that he hopes its successors will bring.
In today’s installment, genomicist George Church talks about his disappointment with the Human Genome Project, which believes suffered from a dismaying lack of audacity. He argues that his field’s true golden age began right after the Genome Project ended, and is now building extraordinary momentum. We discuss the blistering price/performance improvements in both DNA synthesis and sequencing, which are running at speeds that make Moore’s Law look pokey. And for those who are new to this field, we arm you with highly accessible definitions of its four major domains (sequencing, DNA synthesis, DNA editing, and assembly).
Right now the U.S. tech economy is booming, but what will be the long-term effects of automation and AI? Are robots about to steal our jobs? Will Facebook throw the next election? Is social democracy doomed to be a casualty of the tech revolution? To answer these questions and more, we're turning to UC Berkeley economics professor Bradford DeLong. He's in conversation with Ars editor-at-large Annalee Newitz.
Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz and Cyrus Farivar talk to Catherine Bracy, founder of the TechEquity Collaborative, about Silicon Valley's equality issues and how to make the tech industry work for everyone. Recorded live August 16, 2017 at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland, CA.
Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz and Cyrus Farivar talk to Lisa Ling, former military drone tech and whistleblower about the dilemmas of drone warfare and surveillance, and also her experience as a whistleblower. Recorded live July 19, 2017 at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland, CA.
Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz and Joe Mullin talk to Lindsey Dillon, UC Santa Cruz Environmental Studies Professor and chair of the EDGI (Environmental Data & Governance Initiative) steering committee, about rescuing EPA and other government data in the wake of the new US administration website removals. Recorded live June 21, 2017 at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland, CA.
What's it like to poke, prod, and blow up stuff for a living? Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz and Cyrus Farivar talked with Norman Chan, the editor of Tested, Adam Savage's website and YouTube channel covering the intersections of technology, science, art, and pop culture. Recorded live May 17, 2017 at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland, CA.
Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar and David Kravetz talk with criminal defense attorney Mark Jaffe about his cases with Aurenheimer, Lostutter, and Matthew Keys in front of a live audience in Oakland, CA. Recorded at Eli's Mile High Cafe in Oakland, CA on April 19, 2017.
Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz talks with Paleoclimatologist Lynn Ingram about climate change in front of a live audience in Oakland, CA. Recorded at Awaken Cafe in Oakland, CA on March 15, 2017.
Ars Technica's podcast continues with a series of live discussions about today's science, tech and culture recorded at Longitude, Oakland's premier tiki bar.
Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar and Annalee Newitz spoke with UC Hastings law professor Ahmed Ghappour, an expert in national security and cybersecurity, about what exactly are your rights at the border, and should you really hand over your social media passwords to a customs agent?
Ars Technica's podcast continues with a series of live discussions about today's science, tech and culture recorded at Longitude, Oakland's premier tiki bar.
Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar and Annalee Newitz spoke with Ti Chang, Co-Founder and VP of Design for Crave, a designer sex toy company.
Ars Technica's podcast continues with a series of live discussions about today's science, tech and culture recorded at Longitude, Oakland's premier tiki bar.
Ars Technica's Dan Goodin and Annalee Newitz spoke with security researcher Morgan Marquis-Boire about online security and digital authoritarianism.
In this episode, Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz and Cyrus Farivar welcomed guest Ariel Waldman, author and founder of spacehack.org, and Director of Science Hack Day to talk about the possibilities of human space travel.
Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz and Cyrus Farivar met in front of a live audience at Longitude bar in Oakland, CA and spoke with Lee Cheng, Chief Legal Officer of Newegg, Inc. about how to fight patent trolls and the strange and ridiculous world of excessive patent litigation.
In this episode, Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar spoke with Leslie Miley, a Silicon Valley engineer, about diversity (or the lack thereof) in the tech industry.
In this episode, Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz and Tiffany Kelly spoke with Hannu Rajaniemi about his origins as a novelist in science fiction and as a scientist, and subjects of LARPs, complex systems, DNA, sci-fi influences and limitations.
What if we treated online harassment the same way we treat spam?
Ars Technica's podcast continues with a series of live discussions about today's science, tech and culture recorded at Longitude, Oakland's premier tiki bar. In this episode, Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz and Cyrus Farivar talk to journalist Sarah Jeong about spam, online harassment, examples and proposed solutions.
Ars Technica's podcast continues with a series of live discussions about today's science, tech and culture recorded at Longitude, Oakland's premier tiki bar. In this episode, Ars Technica's Annalee Newitz and Cyrus Farivar had a tremendously interesting conversation with UC Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh, who researches surveillance technology and policing.
Ars Technica's podcast continues with a series of live discussions about today's science, tech and culture recorded at Longitude, Oakland's premier tiki bar. In this episode, Annalee Newitz and Cyrus Farivar hosted a live chat with Dr. Krish Seetah, a Zooarchaeologist / Stanford professor, about the history of meat production.
Mr. Robot, USA's cybersecurity and hacking drama, is a favorite within the Ars Technica Slack/IRC channels. So for the summer, we'll be following along with the series on our new podcast—Decrypted.
Each week, we'll dive into the show in the way only Ars can.... which is to say it'll be thorough, we'll talk with experts, and no detail is too minute or nerdy. The show returns on July 13, so check out our preview episode before S2 gets started.
This year saw an event that only happens every six or seven years, on average: two major gaming consoles released at just about the same time. The PS4 has just released, and the Xbox One launches on Friday. Gaming Editor Kyle Orland has been losing many sleep cycles as he writes reviews of the hardware and system software for both consoles, but he made some time to join Social Editor Cesar Torres and Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson as we talk about their highs and the lows.
If we were to call Kyle's coverage of these two launches extensive, we would be making a total understatement. He's written thousands of words about the Xbox One and PS4's new games, he's talked to developers about their opinions about both systems. And as if that weren't enough, he's written news, opinion, and historical analysis of the Sony and Microsoft's systems. As you read Kyle's reviews of the PS4 and the Xbox One, gaming fans will wonder, which machine is best? Which should I get? Kyle wrote exactly about this as he compared both consoles in a head-to-head match.
But as we find out in the podcast, there’s a few factors to think about if you’re considering dropping a few hundred dollars on these machines at launch. Game developers are barely getting their hands on a new platform right now, and Kyle talks about the impact on graphics and games going forward. Through it all, we talk about what we can expect in terms of true novelty in game play and experience. We also discuss what the future release of a Steam OS console will mean in the future when it comes to game selection, industrial design and ergonomics, and price.
As you’ll hear on this episode, we are also putting this format of the Ars Technicast on pause for now. The show will return in a new iteration sometime in the future, but you can enjoy the archive of past episodes on iTunes, Stitchr or on this page. Cesar is also moving on from Ars Technica (though he remains in the tech world), and so we want to say thanks to all of you for listening during the Technicast’s run.
Now that we’re closing in on the last few months of the year, movie season ramps up again as Hollywood releases some of its biggest films to close out the year. Just before Halloween, Cesar caught a screening of the Carrie re-boot by director Kimberly Peirce. That got us talking about Stephen King’s novel, and the ways it has been adapted over time. Later this month, Catching Fire also comes out. It marks the second installment of the Hunger Games series, which is based on the novels by Suzanne Collins. Some of these novels have won’t the hearts of readers, but are their adaptations noteworthy? Are filmmakers able to tackle the heart of the book but still please audiences? Join us in this episode of the Technicast as we talk about book-to-film adaptations. We cover films like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and we also talk about the serialization of novel series like Game of Thrones into a successful television series. Join Social Editor Cesar Torres, Ars Writer Casey Johnston and Senior Products Specialist Andrew Cunningham in this episode as we discuss some of the latest film releases tied to books.
In this week’s episode, we take a couple of steps back from the announcement by Apple to look at current pricing strategies and models for some of the giants in computing. Co-hosts Social Editor Cesar Torres and Ars Associate Writer Casey Johnston welcome Reviews Editor Ron Amadeo and Senior Products Specialist Andrew Cunningham on the program. We discuss Microsoft’s own release of Windows 8.1 (also free), as well as the ways in which Apple’s desktop line may be following suit to iOS’ free upgrades. We also tackle office productivity applications, as Appleannounced all of iWork will now be free. We look at Microsoft Office and the way its group licenses are in contrast against offerings by Google’s own Google Docs or Apple’s suite. Also, stay tuned for some discussions about how app store revenue streams differ between iOS and Android, and why Android OS culture may keep paid apps from getting a foothold.
Spoiler Alert: In this episode, we go into detail about some key plot points from the film Gravity. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve been forewarned.
Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson still hasn’t seen the full film Gravity. Social Editor Cesar Torres already saw the film, and between both of them, they dissect the film. Is it scientifically accurate? Is it good movie-making? Or both? Well, Lee’s at least seen the trailer already. In fact, he saw it with Zeb Scoville, the EVA task group lead at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas. The NBL is an astronaut training facility that prepares astronauts for work in outer space.
At Ars Technica we’ve done plenty of coverage when it comes to some of the issues revolving around the science of gravity and space. You can check out our original Zeb Scoville interview, or take a look at our hands-on piece inside the NBL by former worker Terry Dunn. And if you want to geek out over what happens when debris floats in space, you can revisit our article about it we published in July.
Have you seen the film yet? We want to hear your perspectives about what it accomplished. Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
In this episode, Gaming Editor Kyle visited the show to talk about the SteamOS announcement this week. It’s big news, because a SteamOS could mean that gamers could have more choices when it comes to playing Steam beyond their gaming rigs. It looks like Steam wants to place itself squarely in the living room, though we don’t know hardware details quite yet. We also talked about Kyle’s coverage at the Tokyo Game Show and Akihabara in Japan. You also will want to hear how arcade gaming is going strong in Japan, and we lament that we can’t get arcades as good as these. Also, stick around for a bit of analysis on what’s to come this Fall as PS4 and Xbox One roll out. Join co-hosts Social Editor Cesar Torres and Ars Writer Casey Johnston in this gaming-focused episode. Let’s do this.
On Tuesday Apple announced two new versions of its iPhone line: the colorful 5c (a sleeker revamp of features in the current iPhone 5) and the higher-end iPhone 5s, which includes a finger print scanner. Apple also announced September 18th as the release date for iOS 7. In this episode, Senior Products Specialist Andrew Cunningham visits the virtual studio to tell us what he thinks of the new iPhones, which he personally played with on Tuesday. But wait. There’s more. Editor at Large Jacqui Cheng comes back to this episode of the podcast to provide some analysis on Apple’s iPhone strategy, and we find out what she thinks of the 5s’ new fingerprint scanner. And then we hit the big question: what kind of impact will the gold iPhone 5s have? Will users want it? Some of our preferences and predictions will surprise you. Join hosts Social Editor Cesar Torres and Ars Writer Casey Johnston in this episode of the Technicast.
What did you think about the new iPhones and their specs? Will you be upgrading? Share your thoughts and ideas with us below.
In this episode Ars Tech Policy Editor Joe Mullin joins hosts Social Editor Cesar Torres and Ars Writer Casey Johnston to talk about Ars Technica’s coverage of NSA and leaker Edward Snowden, who is at the center of much of the media coverage. Most recently, Ladar Levinson, the owner of Lavabit, a secure-email service that Snowden used in the past, shut down the service. Snowden is a former user of the service.
We also discuss a recent Congressional vote on shutting down the NSA phone dragnet. Joe shares with us commentary on the Ars exclusive that he wrote about Ed Snowden’s former life in IRC chat rooms and in the Ars OpenForum. We discuss the recent job cuts inside the NSA and the how President Obama’s appointment of Director of National Intelligence James clapper to lead a panel reform. Joe also talks about a lack of transparency in the government’s interpretation of the law, and what implications it holds for future legislation and reform.
What are your thoughts on the controversies surrounding the NSA and the legislation that governs privacy. Share your opinions with us in the comments below.
Earlier this week, Google’s breakfast event, the tech giant announced several new products and services, including Chromecast, a competitor to Apple TV, as well as the refreshed Nexus 7 tablet, which supersedes its predescessor on several fronts. Google also announced Android 4.3 (which we will be comparing to 4.2 on the site next week). That’s a whole lot of Google news to take in, and though Google Reader is now dead, we are ready to talk some analysis regarding product lines. In this episode, Ars Contributor Casey Johnston and Senior Products Specialist Andrew Cunningham discuss the new products, and Casey wonders if Google’s approach might be a disingenuous funnel that leads all users to eventually be forced into using Google+ someday. Will the Chromecast , and whatever happened to Google TV? Again, all paths seeem to lead back to Google+, according to Casey. Join us in this Google-filled episode.
In this episode we talk about NASA in light of next week’s 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. We are excited to welcome special guest Amy Shira Teitel, who specializes in writing about the history of NASA. According to Amy, the Apollo 11 trip was the beginning of the end of our perception of space travel. The mission set up the expectation that space travel was only limited by our imaginations, but the facts and requirements of actual space travel tell a different story, Amy tell us.
In this episode we also cover many historical events and controversies in NASA’s history.Amy talked to us about the differences between the feasibility of traveling to the Moon versus Mars. She also discussed the roles of women in NASA mission and space travel. She also shares with us the story of how a rogue sandwich might make history in outer space. To hear the rest of these stories in NASA history, tune in to the show.
In this episode of the Technicast, we set out to take a look back at the announcements we covered at E3 last week. Gaming Editor Kyle Orland and Senior Products Specialist Andrew Cunningham were on site at the event, and they joined me and co-host Casey Johnston to provide some analysis on announcemnts.
But then a funny thing happened. Just a couple of hours after we recorded, Microsoft announced that it was reversing its stance on used games in the XBox One. (Kyle also wrote about some of its implications afterward).
At the top of this episode, you’ll hear us talk about the breaking news, and what we think it means for the battle between Microsoft and Sony for gamer’s console of choice. Then we time shift back to our recap of E3, where we noticed that a few items, like DRM, flew “under the radar.”
While the Internet’s saturating itself like a wet sponge with rumors about what Apple has in store for iOS at the World Wide Developers conference, the Ars Technicast is staying dry and packing its bags to cover the conference next week. As we do so, we thought we’d talk about what we can expect from Apple this time around.
In this episode we discuss a few areas of iOS that we feel could use an overhaul or some much-needed attention, while staying away from the old rehash of Internet rumors about what Apple will include in iOS 7. We also talk about some of the possible refreshes that Apple may announce for product lines, such as MacBook Air and MacBook Pros. Join Social Editor Cesar Torres, Ars Associate Writer Casey Johnston, Senior Products Specialist Andrew Cunningham in this episode as we prepare to send off our crew to WWDC.
In this episode we debate the issue of 3D printers and the patterns and designs available to make handgun components. We shed some light on the previous coverage we have written here at Ars Technica on the subject, and we talk about how difficult or expensive it might be to try to print out these handguns or try to mass produce them. We also talk about the potential regulation of this phenomenon, and how handmade guns compare to other technologies that can be put to nefarious uses. Join hosts Social Editor Cesar Torres and Ars Contributing Writer Casey Johnston, and Senior Products Specialist Andrew Cunningham, and Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson as we delve into the world of 3D printing and its ramifications.
Now that you can watch a movie on your laptop, tablet, or even your phone, the cinema has a lot of new options to compete against. The cinema is not dead, but it sure is evolving. Many of us at Ars Technica enjoy the trip to the theater to see a movie, and as the summer movie season gears up, we talk about some of the upcoming films we want to see, including Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Great Gatsby, and more.
Also, we explore whether movies have the same impact for us when we watch them on a tv or mobile screen. And inevitably, we also talk about the ways in which television has evolved and eventually competed against standalone movies. Yeah, there’s a lot of folks who think a tv series might actually be better than a 2-hour feature film. That’s sure to get some fans riled up. Join host Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson, Contributor Casey Johnston, and Social Editor Cesar Torres in this episode dedicated to our love affair with the movies.
Nowadays, when a big story breaks, one of the first places that people go to for information are social sites. Reactions on social media have become part of the headlines themselves, as social networks like Facebook and Twitter are used to both distribute and consume news. These are not like the news cycles of the past. With so much immediate information in the form of news, rumor and analysis, we set out to discuss what makes news in 2013 different than before the arrival of social. But even if people are using social media to disseminate the news, have the behaviors of people changed all that much?We set out to discuss these topics in this episode of the Ars Technicast.
Facebook announced Facebook Home last week, and they want users to get really cozy. So cozy that your friends' news feed updates will take over the screen of the phone, putting Facebook interactions and messaging at the forefront of the OS. Will this be a success for Facebook? In this episode of the Ars Technicast, we talk about the specs and features of the HTC handset that comes pre-loaded with Facebook Home. As we discuss Facebook home itself, we talk about user experience, messaging habits, and what we do and don’t want in our feeds. Join host Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, Reviews Editor Florence Ion, Contributor Andrew Cunningham, and Social Editor Cesar Torres in this episode that touches on social networking, smart phones and the way we connect.
Over the years, some of us have left behind online services. In some cases, we closed out the account, and in others, it languished in the graveyard of the Internet. Today, we talk about the ghosts they left behind. Some of the services we talk about in this show include the original Hotmail, AOL, LiveJournal and MySpace. Join Host Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, Ars Contributors Casey Johnston and Andrew Cunningham, and Social Editor Cesar Torres, in this look back at the things we abandoned as our lives grew more connected with the Internet.
Most computer and gadget owners have lived through the nightmares of failed hard drives, fried circuits, cracked screens and other horror tales. Here at the Ars Technicast, we have had our own shares of tech mishapss. On this episode, Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, Ars Contributors Andrew Cunningham and Casey Johnston, and Social Editor Cesar Torres share their own tech horror tales, but they also share some of the ways they solved the problems. You'll also want to watch this archived clip of the day Jacqui's phone shattered, and everyone at the table laughed.
What is your tech horror story? Leave us a message in the comments and tell us what you did to resolve it. If you have pro tips on how to dry out hardware or perform extensive backups, share those with us, too.
Sure, a little bit of mystery is not a bad thing. Mystery helps us feel a bit of anticipation, and in the case of Sony, they are teasing us with the PlayStation 4, the follow-up to the Playstation 3. It’s been seven years since the release of their last console, and this time around, Sony held an event in New York City to tells us a lot, but not to show us a lot. We know the specs of the machine and some of its social features, but what about the casing, and what about the games? Sony were so vague that they also didn’t indicate what countries get the PS4, or when they can buy it. In this episode of the Ars Technicast, we talk about what we want to know more about, and what we think this might mean for gaming for the consoles and for PCs. Host Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Gaming Editor Kyle Orland, Ars Contributor Casey Johnston, and Social Editor Cesar Torres.
Automation has long been relegated to the nerd realm and the home tinkerer. Back in 2008 we reviewed automated thermostats like the Ecobee, and the Ars OpenForum also discussed it. Fast forward to 2013, and now general consumers can now also enjoy a lot of automation inside their homes. Automated gadgets like the Nest, and the Phillips LED lightbulbs, which come with an open API for inventors to devise their own solutions. Today on the show we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of automation, and we take our chat one step further into automated lifestyle gadgets, like Fitbit and the Withings scale. Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson and Social Editor Cesar Torres to talk about the issues.
According to our gaming editor Kyle Orland, video games are in a real transition point. Nintendo just released the Wii U, its next generation console, but many of us are speculating about what’s to come from other major players like Sony and Microsoft. What’s more, more open-source projects like Ouya and the Oculus Rift could really impact the way in which people play games. And then there’s mobile gaming. What can gamers expect in 2013? In this episode of the Ars Technicast, we talk about where we think the industry is headed, and what new players might have real impact. Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, Social Editor Cesar Torres and Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson join Kyle in a discussion of hardware, software, and indie development issues.
CES 2013, that giant, tangled web of a consumer electronic show, concluded last week, and the Ars Technica crew was there to cover it. But now that it’s over, we took some time to think about what makes this giant trade show useful, and the ways in which it has changed in recent years. On this episode of the Ars Technicast, Associate Writer Andrew Cunningham and Reviews Editor Florence Ion tell Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng and Social Editor Cesar Torres share their stories of adventure while covering CES. With the absence of Microsoft from the event, the show brings more focus to the latest gadgets and electronics makers, catering to more interaction with journalists who are covering the event. But, is CES no longer a show that’s just open for anyone? Flo answers that question, and in the process, we also talk about what happens when journalists get to play a little bit on the Vegas strip, while covering the ground. And inevitably, we also discuss the weirdness of the Qualcomm keynote, and the notorious Internet fridge.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey finally arrived a week ago. For fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, the new film could be the best adaptation ever—or perhaps a movie that has lost the tone of the source material. In this episode of the Ars Technicast, we discuss the role The Hobbit played in Tolkien’s grand mythology of Middle Earth, and how Peter Jackson’s films have re-imagined The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit to serve the needs of movie audiences. Peter Jackson has also caused some controversy with viewers by filming the movie in 48 frames per second. Cesar saw it in 48fps, and you might be surprised at his final verdict of the new technique. Host Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Staff Writer Andrew Cunningham, Lead Developer Lee Aylward, and Social Editor Cesar Torres. And yes, this podcast episode is full of spoilers, so if you don’t want to hear them, you have been warned.
This week we discuss PC vs. console gaming, Which platform holds the crown?
Gaming Editor Kyle Orland and Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson talk about their dedication to each platform. Thouygh gamers cans sometimes live squarely on one side of the PC platform debate, there’s a surprising amount of crossover, now that ports are released simultaneously nowadays. But as Kyle and Lee go head first into the pros and cons of each, preferences remain strong. Join Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng and Social Editor Cesar Torres join in the discussion as we talk about the platforms we grew up with, cost considerations, game selection, and whether it’s a good idea to go shopping in Dark-Knight Batman voice.
Why is it that so many people have not read Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species? This seminal work of science and literature has been one of the most influential and hotly debated works of the modern age, and yet, not everyone has read it. In this episode of the Ars Technicast, Editor and Chief Ken Fisher, Senior Science Editor John Timmer join Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng and Social Editor Cesar Torres in a discussion about Darwin’s book. What are the merits of Darwin’s writing style? How is the book incorporated into academia, and how should that change?
This week, Microsoft Editor Peter Bright shares his honest opinions on what the Microsoft Surface lacks, and why. There’s niggling small details that don’t make the cut, and there’s some big problems with it as well. But there’s also lots to be said for Microsoft’s bold new tablet. To find out what went right and wrong, join Peter, Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, Social Editor Cesar Torres, and Ars Contributor Casey Johnston on this episode of the Ars Technicast.
This week in the Ars Technicast we talk about the iPad mini, which Apple announced earlier this week, along with an update to the larger iPad. Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, who liveblogged the event, shared her first-hand impressions with Apple's new tablet, and we discuss the merit of a smaller screen size, as well as ways in which the mini might compare to other mobile devices. Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, Social Editor Cesar Torres, Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson, and Associate Writer Andrew Cunninghman. Do you have opinions about the iPad mini? Share your thoughts with us below.
In this episode of the Ars Technicast we talk about the fine art of the scam. Recently, Deputy Editor Nate Anderson and Ars Senior Writer Jon Brodkin wrote about the ways in which Internet scammers have taken to use the telephone to solicit users to allow them access to their PCs. Nate played the role of victim to one of these scams and wrote what happened. And then there’s the phenomenon of users trolling the scammers back, which is both hilarious and fascinating. Deputy editor Nate Anderson joins Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng and Social Editor Cesar Torres to talk about how these scams work, what might motivate both the scammers and trolls, and ideas about how sophisticated scams may become as video calls become more popular.
Have you been suckered by a scam before? Maybe you know someone who did. Share your stories about Internet scams with us in the comments.
What makes for an amazing and iconic video game villain? Is it looks, evil laughter, or a singularly creepy name? Following the success of our previous podcast episode, “Our most memorable video game characters,” we are dedicating this show to the best video game villains of all time. Ars Technica Gaming Editor Kyle Orland joins host Social Editor Cesar Torres, Ars Contributor Casey Johnston, and Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson to discuss our favorite villains. We also reveal the top ten villains submitted by Ars readers (in an informal social media poll). You’ll never guess who makes it to number one.
Video game characters have been with us for decades, and many have evolved into household names. That list of characters includes Pac-Man, Mario, Samus, Sonic the Heddgehog, and many more. But what does is take to create a memorable character? In the days before graphics chips could support photorealism and sophisticated animation, how did game designers breathe life into a handful of pixels? Ars Technica Gaming Editor Kyle Orland joins host Social Editor Cesar Torres and Ars Contributor Casey Johnston on this game-themed episode of the Ars Technicast. We go back to the days of a single square acting as a character in the first Atari games, as well as classics from the 1990s, including characters from games like Metroid Prime, Final Fantasy VII and Pokemon. We also discuss how some characters disappointed us when the technology finally allowed them to speak in a game. This show has so many characters bursting at its seams, that we are already working on a future episode of the Ars Technicast dedicated just to video game villains.
Though not all of us Ars Technica editors were introduced to the Internet at the same time, there’s no doubt that it has an effect on our social interactions everyday. In fact, some our social interaction is dependent on having at least a portion of our communications with people online. But what is more important: interacting in the online world, or in “meatspace”? For some of us, the Internet seems to fortify and help build existing relationships in the physical world. For others, the real interactions between people seem to be the most important. The Internet has changed the way we attend social gatherings, the way we date, and even the way we get along with family members, co-workers and friends. In this episode of the Ars Technicast, Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Social Editor Cesar Torres, and Ars Contributor Casey Johnston and Microsoft Editor Peter Bright.
What are the ways in which the Internet shapes your own social behavior? Is one type of space more important than the other? Share your stories with us in the comments.
The enticing promise of cloud computing is one plays on our human desire for convenience. Your data, which can include photos, music, health records –– in essence, your digital life –– is hosted in the cloud, synced to all your devices, backed up in case things fail in your physical backups. This kind of computing would make the George Jetson scream with envy. But what happens when hackers can take away your digital life in the blink of an eye? This is what happened to Mat Honan, Senior Writer at Wired, when a hacker infiltrated his life, stole and deleted his data. This hack required a few steps in succession that exploited authentication methods used in popular services like Amazon, Google, Twitter and Apple’s iCloud service. Mat wrote about this act of vandalism against him, and he is still dealing with the effects of losing his information.
Mat Honan visits the Ars Technicast in this episode to talk in detail about the fallout after the theft and wiping (yes, they wiped his devices), and what should do to protect their data. We talk about Google’s 2-step verification as a method that can help protect users against hacks, but how in the end, there are some inherent risks in the cloud services we use today. Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Social Editor Cesar Torres, and Ars Contributor Casey Johnston in this conversation with Mat.
A desk is more than just a place to sit and work. For many of us, it’s a whole way of life. On this episode of the Ars Technicast, we share details about our own desk setups. We discuss ergonomics, elevatable desks, minimalism and even DIY tricks like a laptop hammock. Our workflows inform how we each set up our desks, and we’ll chat about how you can get the most productivity out of your own workspace. We share pictures of each of our offices, and you’ll even see some of our pets make a cameo or two. You can also hear Peter become the human trackball as he imitates the sound of Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Open Source Editor Ryan Paul, Microsoft Editor Peter Bright, Social Editor Cesar Torres, and Ars Contributor Casey Johnston. What is your own desk setup like? Share your own tales of ergonomic and productivity with us in the comments.
In this week’s episode we get up close and personal with music. Ryan and Jacqui trade stories about using digital upright pianos and evaluate the quality of their sound. We also discuss iPad apps used for music making and performance. Not all of us compose or play music as trained musicians, though. We also discuss our favorite ways of listening to music, finding recommendations online, and the fine art of playlist making. As a counterpoint, Ryan reminds us how satisfying it can be to listen to an album in its entirety. Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Open Source Editor Ryan Paul, Social Editor Cesar Torres, and Ars Contributor Casey Johnston. This time around, we’re also including links to a Spotify playlist that features music and artists we mentioned on the show. What hardware and software do you use to meet your music needs? Maybe you have other music to recommend to us. Share your favorites with us in the comments.
This week we’re dedicating our show to retro gaming. As we discussed the games of our youth, we discovered that we’re still in love with many of those early games. Gaming editor Kyle Orland joins Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng, Open Source Editor Ryan Paul, Social Editor Cesar Torres, and Ars Contributor Casey Johnston.
We reminisce about consoles we owned and played in our homes (Jacqui was only allowed to have one console at a time), what games we played at the arcades, and what systems we took to our dorm rooms in college. Are any Ars Technica staffers still playing these retro games today? Some of the classic games we dissect include Ocarina of Time, Castlevania, Pokemon, the Final Fantasy series, and more. We’ll also learn how Kyle’s experience in computer science led to his interest in writing about video games. Listen to find out.
This week we devote the show to science fiction, and in particular Ridley Scott’s new film Prometheus. Warning: This show is extremely spoiler heavy, so if you don’t want to know details about the film, wait until you see it first, since we give away major plot points.
Ridley’ Scott’s loose prequel to his 1979 film Alien provides fertile ground to discuss the fiction and storytelling used in the film, but the movie has very little science that can be compared to science in the real world. We also discuss how the scientists aboard the Prometheus don’t behave like actual scientists. No discussion of this series of films is complete without talking about the monsters. Does the creature design of Prometheus work with previous films in the Alien series? Tune in to find out. Host Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Open Source Editor Ryan Paul, Social Editor Cesar Torres and Ars Contributor Casey Johnston.
This week we are dedicating our show to summer travel and gadgets. What kind of gadgets do you bring when you travel for work, and which ones do you bring when you're on vacation? Host and Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined in this epsiode by Open Source Editor Ryan Paul, Ars Contributor Casey Johnston, and Social Editor Cesar Torres.
You can listen to the Ars Technicast in a variety of ways. You can use the player embedded right into this post, download the file to your computer (we have also reduced the file size in this third time around), or you can subscribe via iTunes or RSS. We have recently also added the latest two episodes to Soundcloud. If there are topics you'd like us to cover in future episodes, leave us a comment, or if you simply have something to say about the show you can also leave us an iTunes store review, if you use iTunes to listen to podcasts.
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In this week's episode we take a retrospective look at the Internet and discuss the impact it has made in each one of us. We started our discussion as a response to Paul Miller's current experiment to disconnect himself from the Internet for one year, while continuing his work as a journalist. Our host, Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Open Source Editor Ryan Paul, Microsoft Editor Peter Bright, Contributing Writer Casey Johnston and Social Editor Cesar Torres. We will talk about our various different entry points into Internet and Internet culture, as well as ways in which we are dependent on it today for certain social interactions. What parts of the Internet can we live without? And how hasour individual relationship with the Internet has changed over the years? Take a listen to find out.
Join our team of Ars editors in this discussion, and keep your ears open for the occasional cameo from Jacqui’s cats. What kind of impact has the Internet had on your life?
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- How the London riots showed us two sides of social networking
- The essence of the 'Net: a history of the protocols that hold the network together
- Ferretchicken artist rendering in our story Bird flu paper published despite worries of weaponization
Welcome to the debut episode of the Ars Technicast, where we bring you you the latest in the worlds of computing, technology, science, and everything else in between. On this week’s show, our host, Senior Apple Editor Jacqui Cheng is joined by Ars Editor In Chief Ken Fisher, Open Source Editor Ryan Paul, Microsoft Editor Peter Bright and Social Editor Cesar Torres. And what a better way to kick off our podcast than tackling the singularity! The singularity, listed by wikipedia as “the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than-human intelligence through technological means” seems to promise the possibility for the future of mankind, but is it realistic? And if it were possible, would we really want it to happen? Join our team of Ars editors in this discussion, and keep your ears open for the occasional cameo from Jacqui’s cats.
Singularity Wikipedia Entry
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