Tag Archives: podcast


Making it Happen

Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast compares American open source maker culture with the Chinese version. America’s version rose up as a reaction to intellectual property law. Meanwhile, in China, open source rose up where there is no tradition of strong intellectual property protection. The Chinese culture of open source hardware is driving China’s thriving Chinese manufacturing culture.

Clones of successful Western products such as the iPhone appear on the Chinese market before the originals, which leads to the question of just which is the clone and which is the original.

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.

How America feels to Trump supporters

Ezra Klein talks with anthropologist Arlie Hochschild, who visited Trump country in Louisiana, and talked with many of his supporters to learn how America looks to them.

They see themselves as patiently waiting in line for their due reward, only to find the line isn’t going anywhere. When they look ahead, they see immigrants and other special interest groups cutting ahead, and Barack Obama and the federal government waving the line-cutters in. Trump supporters feel like aliens in their own country.

Much of Trump’s support comes from divisions between social classes — something that Americans still pretend doesn’t exist here. Trump supporters are told they’re privileged because they’re white, but they don’t feel privileged. And they’re right, because they’re white but they’re lower class.

Not discussed much in this podcast: Trump’s supporters aren’t the white poor; they’re more affluent than their neighbors. That doesn’t necessarily contradict the narrative that Trump supporters come from the lower classes; economic class and social class aren’t the same thing (as anybody who watches Downton Abbey knows!).

This is a terrific podcast, with many thought-provoking points.

Arlie Hochschild on how America feels to Trump supporters – The Ezra Klein Show podcast:

I’ve been reading sociologist Arlie Hochschild’s writing for about a decade now. Her immersive projects have revolutionized how we understand labor, gender equity, and work-life balance. But her latest book, “Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right,” is something new: she spent five years among tea party supporters in Louisiana, trying to bridge the deepest divide in American politics. It was, she says, an effort to scale the “empathy wall,” to create an understanding of how politics feels to people whose experiences felt alien to her. In this conversation, we discuss:-How she approaches immersive sociology-The kinds of questions she asks people in order to get them to open up about their political feelings-What it takes to “turn off your alarm system” when you encounter oppositional ideas-What she describes as the “deep story” that explains how conservative Americans, particularly older white men, feel increasingly looked down on-Why she feels empathy on the part of people who disagree is an important part of creating dialogue-Whether empathy and respect are in tension with each other-Why many white men don’t feel they’re part of a privileged group-What she thought of Clinton’s comments that half of Trump’s supporters are a “basket of deplorables”And much more. This is a time when listening and empathy are in shorter supply than ever, at least in American politics. It’s well worth listening to Hochschild’s advice on how to bring both back.

Journalist Philip Caputo remembers his landmark Esquire profile of William Styron

Caputo set out to profile Styron in 1985, when Styron, “one of the towering figures in American letters,” was working on the novel “The Way of the Warrior.” The two men shared an experience as Marines — Styron had praised Caputo’s 1977 Vietnam memoir, “A Rumor of War” — which proved stronger than their common bond as writers, according to the Esquire Classic Podcast.

Styron fell into a deep depression during the reporting of the story, which changed the nature of the profile radically. And Styron never finished his novel, instead writing a 1990 mediation on depression, “Darkness Visible,” that “remains one of the most lucid and illuminating accounts of the illness,” according to the notes for the podcast.

“Caputo joins host David Brancaccio to discuss Styron’s greatness as a writer and how [Styron’s] struggle against depression—and his ability to articulate it in print—stands, in some regards, as his ultimate literary achievement,” according to the notes.

Styron’s Choices, by Philip Caputo – Esquire Classic Podcast

Action Park: The most dangerous amusement park ever

That’s a waterslide with a vertical loop-the-loop. Yeah, seriously.

I have a personal connection to this place.

Action Park claimed six lives in the 1980s. From water slides with loops to racing tracks on the sides of mountains, the amusement park’s shocking history raises lots of questions about what was allowed at the time, and what people are willing to risk for a few shots of adrenaline.

Action Park [Ungeniused/podcast]

Meet Ceara Lynch, professional humiliation fetishist

Thank you, Princess [Love + Radio (podcast)]

Ceara Lynch has a ten year career as a self-described humiliatrix, catering to a wide variety of sexual fetishes over the internet, and gaining exposure to a unique part of the human psyche.

Perhaps the weirdest thing of all: In this interview, where she’s being herself, out of character, she seems … nice. Warm, funny, even compassionate. She humiliates men for money, but the men enjoy it.

She doesn’t say whether she has kids. If she does, I expect she sits out Career Day at school.


Listen with headphones on

On the Love + Radio podcast: A woman calls a dating phone line only to find it’s more of a phone sex line.

I listened to this while walking in the park, as I usually do with podcasts. The first part I was self-conscious because I was essentially listening to phone sex in public, even though I had my earbuds in and no one could hear it. Then I was self-conscious because I was laughing so hard.


Freakonomics Radio: Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?

Maybe. Data goes either way, and everybody doing a study seems to have a vested interest.

A deeper problem, notes Freakonomics: You need to have a job and a bank account to get a payday loan. Millions of people in the US have both jobs and bank accounts, and yet need to get loans at shockingly high interest rates just to make it from paycheck to paycheck. That’s wrong.

Presidential conspiracy theories, from Zachary Taylor to JFK


President Zachary Taylor. Is that a face or what?

After dying in office in 1850, President Zachary Taylor’s death was the subject of a conspiracy theory for nearly 150 years. Finally in 1991, a historical novelist convinced Taylor’s family to have his body exhumed to test for arsenic poisoning. The test came up negative.

The JFK assassination is, of course, the subject of a hornet’s nest of conspiracy theories. There’s even a conspiracy theory that the CIA conspired to discredit the phrase “conspiracy theory” – to give people who believe in conspiracy theories the reputation of lunatics. Yes, it’s a conspiracy theory about “conspiracy theory.”

Oddly, very few people use the word “conspiracy” when discussing the one Presidential assassination that’s well-known to be a conspiracy: Abraham Lincoln’s.

The Washington Post Presidential podcast, with Lillian Cunnigham, examines the Taylor administration. Taylor was a hero of the Mexican-American War who didn’t get a lot done as President, because he expected Congress to behave like subordinate officers and obey his commands. That’s not how government works.

Presidential conspiracy theories, from Zachary Taylor to JFK [Lillian Cunningham – The Washington Post]

As president, Taylor kept his distance from Congress and his cabinet, even as partisan tensions threatened to divide the Union. Debate over the slave status of the large territories claimed in the war led to threats of secession from Southerners.

Despite being a Southerner and a slaveholder himself, Taylor did not push for the expansion of slavery. To avoid the question, he urged settlers in New Mexico and California to bypass the territorial stage and draft constitutions for statehood, setting the stage for the Compromise of 1850. Taylor died suddenly of a stomach-related illness in July 1850, so had little impact on the sectional divide that led to civil war a decade later.

Zachary Taylor [Wikipedia]

And that’s the root of the conspiracy theory surrounding Taylor’s death – that Southern slave-holders poisoned Taylor for blocking the expansion of slavery.

The American Male at Age 10


Journalist Susan Orlean followed around a typical American 10-year-old boy in 1992 – white, middle-class and suburban – and produced an Esquire profile. The Classic Esquire Podcast reads excerpts from the story and talks to the author.

In 1992, writer Susan Orlean was tired of celebrity profiles. Instead, she wanted to do something bigger, deeper, and much harder: She wanted to profile the inner life of an average American boy. After convincing her editor, Orlean spent more than a week going to fifth grade and hanging out with Colin Duffy, a ten-year-old from Glen Ridge, New Jersey. The resulting article—“The American Man at Age Ten”—stands as one of the most intimate and touching portraits of what it’s like to be a boy in America. Orlean joins host David Brancaccio to discuss how the story came about, what it was like to shadow Colin and where he is now, and how the piece continues to reverberate almost twenty-five years after it was first published.

Read the article: The American Male at Age 10 / Susan Orlean / Esquire / December 1992

The Classic Esquire Podcast



“Jolly Jane” Toppan worked as a nurse in New England in the late 19th Century and was well-loved by her patients for her conscientious attention and cheerful disposition. She confessed to poisoning 31 of those patients, and quite possibly did in a lot more.

[Criminal Episode 38: Jolly Jane]