New York After Rent (post prop f director’s cut)

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

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 and become a sustaining member today!

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image: Celeste Lai

Secret Histories of Podcasting

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

secret podcast

illustration Celeste Lai

Enchanting By Numbers (2015 version)

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

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Recent, Relevant, Random (r)


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



Artifacts (redux)

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: (offer code: theory )and


1984 (the year not the book) EXPANDED VERSION

New version with 25% more audio diary! 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. Also make sure you get the 1984 playlist. Sponsors: +


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Guided By Voices (r)

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. Played some of this recently in Copenhagen, went over well – so we will re-air this one for you all as well.  Special thanks to sponsors: Casper and Souverain Wines