1984 (the year not the book)

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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Prêt-à-Portable

 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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When You’re Lonely, Life is Very Long

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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F is for Fake

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**********

 

 

 

Artifacts (1 of 2)

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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Not Soon Enough

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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Transformers

When Private Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison she announced her desire to transition from male to female. 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. Also, Jim Elledge tells us about his new biography of Outsider Artist Henry Darger, and why he drew little girls with penises.

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Waiting In Line

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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Out Of The Office

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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