Note to Self

Note to Self

By WNYC Studios

Is your phone watching you? Can texting make you smarter? Are your kids real? Note to Self explores these and other essential quandaries facing anyone trying to preserve their humanity in the digital age. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts, including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, Snap Judgment, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Nancy and many others. © WNYC Studios


How to Create Good Digital Citizens

Right from wrong. We teach our kids what this means in the classroom and at home. But whatabout online? The next generation of tech users could be a part of much more civilized digitaluniverse, but only if they learn how now. Manoush talks to Richard Culatta (CEO of theInternational Society for Technology in Education) about the five steps to creating good digitalcitizens, and how to turn the current online “culture shift” into something positive, respectful, andmore accessible to all. Sign up for Manoush’s newsletter and find her other podcasts and
14/10/19·20m 16s

Why Everyone is Talking About Digital Minimalism

Computer scientist and cult-blogger, Cal Newport, wants you to take 30 dates off from all your personal tech. A month off, he claims, is the only way to truly adopt Digital Minimalism, his method for finding tech-life balance and the name of his latest book. Manoush loves a digital detox as much as the next overloaded person, but she explains to Cal why she has issues with his particular prescriptions.  Manoush writes a newsletter that comes out every other Thursday. Sign up at and find her other podcasts at and
07/10/19·31m 7s

How The Best Teacher Teaches Creativity

In 2018, Andria Zafirakou was named Global Teacher of the Year and given $1m in prize money. Why?
30/09/19·25m 58s

Note to Self is Back and We Start with The Big One: Kids and Screens

The tech show about being human returns with an all new season. Host Manoush Zomorodi kicks things off with the latest on the battle between kids and parents over their screens: do we know how kids are impacted by tech? Does it make them less empathetic? Are they being constantly bullied online? Even if we can help kids figure out their digital habits, are we adults totally screwed? Researcher Elizabeth Englander joins Manoush to share new findings and give the most pragmatic advice about how kids and adults can build better relationships with their tech and each other.
23/04/19·36m 18s

Note to Self is Back!

Note to Self helps you navigate the digital age by making sense of its most undervalued component: humans! With all new episodes coming every Tuesday, host Manoush Zomorodi investigates the very personal role technology plays in our lives and how we can live better with it. Because you are so much more than an algorithm.
22/04/19·1m 34s

Rice Bunny: The Me Too Movement Comes to China

This week we’re discussing government censorship in China, #metoo and cryptocurrency. Endless Thread is hosted by Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, and is made by WBUR.
22/02/19·26m 14s

Dear (Data) Diary

Long-distance friends Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec spent a year tracking the little things in life. Thanks yous, coffees, complaints, street sounds. And each week, they turned their small-scale data collections into whimsical hand-drawn postcards. On a minute level, they may not say much. But look at them together and they tell an intimate story. This week, Giorgia and Stefanie talk us through three weeks of data, and all the big lessons in our most mundane moments. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but Note to Self will be back before you know it with some changes and surprises.  Look at more postcards by Giorgia and Stefanie here. 
25/06/18·26m 8s

A Different Kind of Streaking

With former Google designer Tristan Harris, who explains how far Silicon Valley will go to capture and control your eyeballs. And Snapchat artist CyreneQ, who makes her living drawing on her phone all day. For real. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but Note to Self will be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. 
20/06/18·17m 40s

Your Metadata is Showing

We asked you guys to send us photos. Then we gave them to Andreas Weigend, veteran of Xerox Parc, former chief scientist at Amazon, to see what he could deduce. A lot, it turns out. A little Google image search, a little metadata, and we can find where you are. Maybe who you are. What color phone you’re using to take the shot, and how many SIM cards you have. Reading photos is more than a digital parlor trick. It’s the future of commerce, marketing, policing, lending, and basically everything else. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but Note to Self will be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.
07/06/18·20m 23s

Whose Bot Army Is Following Manoush?

Generic usernames, no photos, no tweets. This week, we investigate the dozens of mysterious accounts following Manoush on Twitter. Plus, what makes a good bot – and a bad one. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but Note to Self will be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.
16/05/18·19m 48s

The Fourth Amendment Needs Your Attention

This week, the Supreme Court cases that defined privacy for the digital age. Because the founding fathers didn’t write the Bill of Rights with the internet in mind. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but she’ll be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.
02/05/18·22m 34s

Is the Opioid Epidemic a Tech Problem?

We visit the Dark Web, where you can get heroin, fentanyl and oxycontin shipped right to your door. This week, the link between online drug markets and America’s opioid crisis. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but she’ll be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.
18/04/18·26m 58s

How To Have No Filter

Today, listener stories and tips: we wrap up our No Filter series of conversations about how women live online. From YouTube megastar Lele Pons to iconic artist Barbara Kruger, we heard a joyous mix of vulnerable confessions, utter defiance, and (for once) a mostly positive vision of what being a woman on the web can look like. To wrap it up, stories from you. About how you’re reconciling the IRL you with the online you. Plus, The Cut’s editor-in-chief Stella Bugbee is back with her greatest hope for the next generation of women in the workplace. ------- Some podcast news: For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but she’ll be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.
04/04/18·19m 8s

No Filter: Jasmyn Lawson

The woman behind some of your favorite gifs takes us to the future. See what being a woman on the web may look like. We couldn’t close out No Filter, our series on women owning it online, without profiling Jasmyn Lawson, former culture editor at Giphy. That's the search engine that houses all those looped videos we use to express emotion - and ourselves - online. But when Jasmyn started working there, she couldn’t find many gifs that looked like her. "Just having Beyonce and Rihanna and Nicki Minaj is not enough to say you're representing black women." So she made her own. ------- Some podcast news: For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but she’ll be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.
03/04/18·18m 52s

No Filter: Barbara Kruger

The iconic artist talks to Manoush about our curated selfies, owning a font, and why we all need likes. Plus, The Cut’s editor in chief Stella Bugbee. If you missed the other episodes of No Filter earlier this week, go back! Instagram megastar Lele Pons, Transparent actor Trace Lysette, painter Amy Sherald, who made Michelle Obama’s official portrait, and anchor Christiane Amanpour. ------- We want to hear from YOU. How do you portray yourself online? Let us know in a quick message. We have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself. Email us any time at - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
30/03/18·28m 32s

No Filter: Christiane Amanpour

The CNN anchor talks to Manoush about sex, wearing a “uniform,” and staying profesh on air and online. Plus, Call Your Girlfriend co-host and Cut contributor Ann Friedman, who almost fell out of her ergonomic chair when she found out she’d be in the same episode as Christiane. Every day this week, a new episode of our series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Five conversations with badass women. And trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. We’ve heard from Instagram megastar Lele Pons, Transparent actor Trace Lysette, and painter Amy Sherald, who made Michelle Obama’s official portrait. Tomorrow, we close the week with iconic artist Barbara Kruger. ------- We want to hear from YOU. How do you portray yourself online? Let us know in a quick message. We have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself. Email us any time at - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise. Christiane’s new show is Sex & Love Around the World. And Ann’s podcast is, of course, Call Your Girlfriend, with Aminatou Sou.
29/03/18·27m 12s

No Filter: Amy Sherald

Her portrait of Michelle Obama went viral. Painter Amy Sherald dismisses the haters. “Some people want their poetry to rhyme.” Plus, Allison P. Davis, Senior Culture Writer at The Cut, on how picking Amy was like Michelle Obama choosing her own Instagram filter. This is day three of our weeklong series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Five conversations with badass women. Some old, some young. ALL have bent the internet to their will. And trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. Monday we talked to Instagram megastar Lele Pons. Yesterday, Transparent star Trace Lysette. Coming up, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, and iconic artist Barbara Kruger, who blew all of our minds. ------- We want to hear from YOU. How do you portray yourself online? Let us know in a quick message. We have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself. Email us any time at - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
28/03/18·27m 43s

No Filter: Trace Lysette

The Transparent star talks to Manoush about the political nude selfie, her #metoo moment, and constructing her self online and IRL. Plus, how her life as a young trans woman prepared her to confront Jeffrey Tambor and live her truth. With Noreen Malone, features editor at The Cut. Every day this week, a new episode of our series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Five conversations with badass women. Some old, some young. ALL have bent the internet to their will. And trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. Yesterday, Instagram megastar Lele Pons. Coming up, painter Amy Sherald, who created that stunning portrait of Michelle Obama. CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour. Iconic artist Barbara Kruger, who blew all of our minds.  ------- How do YOU portray yourself online? Send us a quick message - we have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself. Email us any time at - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
27/03/18·22m 59s

No Filter: Lele Pons

Every day this week, a new episode of our series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Five conversations with badass women. Some old, some young. ALL have bent the internet to their will. And trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. Today, Lele Pons. And if you’re thinking “Lele who?”, you’re not a teen girl. The Instagram megastar talks to Manoush about crafting her image, controlling her edits, and why she gives her cell number to fans.   Tomorrow, Transparent actor Trace Lysette. Wednesday, painter Amy Sherald, who created that stunning portrait of Michelle Obama. Then CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, and iconic artist Barbara Kruger, who blew all of our minds. Plus, writers from The Cut. ------- And we want to hear from you. Send us a quick message - How do YOU portray yourself online? How does the internet mess with your head? How do you mess back? We have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
26/03/18·21m 8s

Why We Need No Filter

We kick off our new series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Because since the #metoo movement, we’re all rethinking what it means to be a woman in the world. But what about what it means to be a woman on the web? Today, our launch episode. Every day next week, a new conversation with a badass woman about the highs and lows of living online. And how they've bent the internet to their will. Trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. ------- We want to hear from you. How do YOU portray yourself online? How does the internet mess with your head? How do you mess back? We have a new way to send us a message, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
21/03/18·24m 27s

My Digital Revolution

Stories of life online, told live. We teamed up with Generation Women, a monthly event where women from their 20s to their 80s share stories on a theme. For this episode, the theme is My Digital Revolution. Tales from the wellness editor at Teen Vogue, Kathy Tu from the Nancy podcast, Chirlane McCray, the first lady of New York. And Carol Prisant, the most baller septuagenarian you’ve ever heard. For real. Plus, Generation Women founder Georgia Clark. ------- Our newest series is No Filter: Women Owning It Online. Since #metoo, we're all rethinking what it means to be a woman in the world. But what does it mean to be a woman on the web? To find out, we've partnered with New York Magazine's The Cut. Hear our launch episode now. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
20/03/18·45m 13s

Am I Normal?

Mona Chalabi, data editor at the Guardian, takes the numb out of numbers. She joins Manoush to talk about stats versus stories, how data defines normal, and average testicle size. That one’s an interactive iPhone chart. For real.  Her hand-drawn illustrations are in her Instagram feed, if you want to check them out as you listen. Specifically, Manoush and Mona talk about the “iceberg of pervs,” women in Congress, the hairiness series, and male vocal change. *all credit for the numb/numbers wordplay goes to Mona, via her Twitter bio. ------- Listen to Mona's new podcast, Strange Bird. Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
14/03/18·24m 52s

What to Think About Before Posting Family Photos

We asked how you share personal photos. Here’s what we learned from your 1,200 (!) answers. Psychologist Guy Winch joins Manoush to untangle our mixed posting emotions. Because our grams are complex. A trans listener is thankful his parents didn’t post during his teen years. A mom doesn’t understand her daughter’s online brand. A son wishes his dad included him in family snapshots. Nothing is just a pretty picture. Plus, the wonderful Charlotte Philby, former editor of Motherland magazine. Her family posts were part of her "brand" - until she stopped gramming cold turkey. ------- Guy Winch’s new book is How to Fix a Broken Heart. Charlotte Philby’s website is here, and the article she wrote about her famous spy granddad is incredible. We gathered some of your comments in a Medium post, because you all are amazing. Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
28/02/18·26m 21s

Have Dating Apps Killed Romance?

Real OKCupid message: “Hi, good evening, nice photos. You are not fat.” It’s rough on dating apps. Can romance survive? Eric Klinenberg wrote Modern Romance with Aziz Ansari. This week, he joins Manoush to make the case that dating apps have killed romance. Featuring a mystery dater, reporting from the frontier of 21st century love.  ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
14/02/18·24m 47s

Help Us Collect Political Ads on Facebook

Let’s build a database of political Facebook ads. Just in case someone needs to check on them later. Like, say, if the Russians bought thousands of ads to sway an election. Manoush’s privacy girlfriend, ProPublica’s Julia Angwin, is back with a challenge (and a browser plugin) for Note to Self listeners. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
07/02/18·12m 47s

Meet an Online Emotional Escort

We all need someone to tell (or text) our stories to. Even if they’re paid to text back. This week, Manoush meets an Invisible Girlfriend, earning pennies a message to create fake love. And an utterly wonderful man using the service for an entirely valid reason. We’re revisiting this 2015 episode to warm your heart pre-Valentine's Day. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
06/02/18·26m 17s

How to Find the Right Amount of Screen Time

Screen time is a daily battle. Between kids and parents, between ourselves and our better judgment. But maybe it doesn’t have to be. There is a better way. Manoush gets the answers from Anya Kamenetz, NPR education correspondent and author of the new book, The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life. Practical strategies, solid research, and some reassurance that mostly we’re all gonna be fine. And we sneak a peek at Dina Temple-Raston’s new podcast, What Were You Thinking: Inside the Adolescent Brain.    ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
31/01/18·24m 23s

Dear Manoush: The Advice Episode

Is there a secret solution to information overload? Can random accounts ever truly be erased? How do I stay connected if I break up with social media? It’s Manoush’s brain, distilled into actionable pearls of wisdom. Plus, meet the woman behind the Note to Self inbox. Read the full list of tips and services we discuss in the episode. Including Manoush's favorite newsletters, and a killer oatmeal cookie recipe. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
17/01/18·31m 4s

Dan Harris Knows All Your Excuses for Not Meditating

People have a lot of excuses for not meditating. Eight, in fact. Dan Harris knows them all. And he can help. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
03/01/18·27m 33s

Search Inside Yourself For Peace and Joy

Let’s create some calm as this year ends. It all starts with one deep breath, led by Google employee 107. This week, we revisit Manoush’s lovely interview with Chade-Meng Tan, who retired at 44 to meditate and search for world peace. Because these days, we sure need it. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
27/12/17·24m 25s

Look Into the Future with Black Mirror

The creators of the Netflix hit Black Mirror on predicting the future, Twitter as a massive role-playing game, and nostalgia for meh. As season four of the Emmy-award-winning show approaches, we revisit Manoush’s conversation with show creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones. Chipper optimism and wit from two delightfully dark geniuses. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
20/12/17·37m 30s

Alexa, Is Amazon Taking Over The World?

The tradeoffs we don’t see when we shop on Amazon. Why the answer isn’t to cancel your Prime. And yes, I bring Alexa’s new camera into my bedroom. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
13/12/17·23m 43s

"You Deserve to Die" and Other Fun Conversation Starters

People say mean things to Dylan Marron online. He takes that as an invitation to call them up and make friends. This week, the benefits of talking to our haters, and why it’s good for the country as well as the soul.  ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise. Find Dylan’s show, Conversations with People Who Hate Me, here. 
06/12/17·28m 22s

Let’s Check The Tape

An incomplete list of the objects listening to us: Siri. Alexa. Google Home. With so many recordings, the transcribed life isn’t far off. For better or for worse.  This week, one intrepid woman records every minute of her life for three days. She captured a lot of minutia, and one extremely uncomfortable interaction. Our guest co-host on this repeat episode is Rose Eveleth, of the Flash Forward podcast. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
29/11/17·27m 17s

The Lawsuit that Could Shine a Light on Cambridge Analytica

How a single American’s quest for his own digital marketing profile may show us all how our data travels the world. And may even end up in the hands of foreign governments. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
22/11/17·26m 35s

Revisiting Cambridge Analytica’s Role in the Presidential Election

From March, the first chapter in our look at Cambridge Analytica. We asked the controversial digital marketing firm what services they provided for Trump. And experimented with our own psychometric profiles. Listen to our latest episode to learn about the new lawsuit that could shine a light on Cambridge Analytica.
22/11/17·26m 13s

It’s Not Over Nyet

More spy terms explained, reasonable/sensible coping strategies for when democracy is under threat, and nyet more puns. This week: how to spot a botnet. How psychometrics sells sneakers - and worldviews. And how to make sure you’re not the useful idiot. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Sign up here. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
15/11/17·17m 23s

Spy Terms of the Internyet

Russian spy tactics have gotten an upgrade since the Cold War. This week how they work now: bad actors, active measures, advanced persistent threats. Cyberwar has its own vocabulary. So we got ourselves a tutor. Join Manoush and information warfare expert Molly McKew, who puts the fun in fundamental assault on democracy. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Sign up here. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.
08/11/17·14m 53s

Nyet Just a Conspiracy Theory?

If talking about democracy getting hacked feels like old news, it’s time to take a fresh look.  This week, we separate fear from facts with Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman of the Daily Beast. Good thing they're funny guys, or this could get really dark. 
01/11/17·21m 26s

Where Do I Go Now?

There was a time humans were guided by stars, not satellite. Now you can beam into robots, or turn on GPS. But when we put ourselves on autopilot we may lose our minds. This week, Manoush outsources her body to a telepresence robot. And finds out what GPS has done to her brain. Turn right, turn left, right off a cliff.  With Greg Milner, author of Pinpoint: How GPS is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds. We have photos of robot Manoush in this week's newsletter. If you don't already get it, sign up here. 
25/10/17·18m 47s

Play Video Games for Your Mental Health

You judge the person playing Candy Crush. Even when it’s you. But that mental fist pump from leveling up has real value. How to stop judging and use games for a strategic reset. With game designer and futurist Jane McGonigal, author of SuperBetter and Reality is Broken.
18/10/17·28m 20s

Talking to Myself

The Replika app chats with you, learns from you, and reflects you back. It starts to become you. And your AI self gets pretty real. Journalist Mike Murphy used the app to create his mini-me, and wrote about it for Quartz. After months of talking to himself, he had a breakthrough. And some questions about how we define humanness. You can find Mike’s story here.
11/10/17·22m 8s

I Didn’t See Your Text

And other fibs we tell our friends, family and lovers. Psychotherapist Esther Perel is back to call us on our bullsh*t. This is the second of our two-parter on how our phones create such intimacy and such distance. Esther’s new book is The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity. Listen to part one here.
04/10/17·15m 54s

Ghosting, Simmering and Icing with Esther Perel

Remember being dumped? Now, technology lets us delay, deflect, and disappear. Renowned pyschotherapist Esther Perel is here to help us fall in love better. Esther is the bestselling author of Mating in Captivity and the host of the podcast Where Should We Begin? Her new book is The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity.
27/09/17·24m 44s

Forty Years of Coding In a Man's World

Silicon Valley is still a man's world. And Ellen Ullman, who started programming in 1978, thinks it's high time for the rest of us to infiltrate. Ellen's new book, Life in Code, is full of great and awful stories. Her love of the work. The joys of hunting down a bug. But also, the client who would rub her back while she tried to fix his system. The party full of young men drinking beer, where she turned down a job offer from Larry Page. Ellen has watched tech-bro culture take over everything. Now, she says, we have to grab our angry dignity and fight back. 
20/09/17·17m 52s

Eavesdropping On Epiphany

José Cruz is a college student, research scientist, and phone power-user. He spent 6 hours in one day on his screen. So he wanted to cut back, make more time for research, reading, and mental drift. And he recorded himself doing it. It was not easy. There are some painful moments - but man, is there a payoff.  Plus, seventh grade teacher-turned-neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang on the link between single-tasking and innovation.  The second of our two episodes celebrating the launch of Manoush's new book, Bored and Brilliant. 
13/09/17·18m 31s

Attention Please

We deleted, we unplugged, we took walks. We made choices. We made time. Two years later, we catch up with some of the original Bored and Brilliant participants - some of the 20,000 people who joined our 2015 experiment. Today, that experiment is a book, designed to help us separate from our devices just a bit, and turn them from taskmaster to tool. To make space for boredom, and let the brilliance in. Plus a new conversation with tech-star and NTS friend Tristan Harris, a designer once tasked with sucking your eyeballs to the screen. Now, he’s fighting the good fight to reclaim your brain.
05/09/17·17m 49s

Refresh Your Mind

To encourage you to #GetBored and find brilliance, we made a weird earworm. It's an interview about the history of boredom... sound-designed to help you space out. A brain nap. With historian Peter Toohey, and some very soothing, meditative music.
04/09/17·7m 57s

Bonus: Behind the Scenes at TED

A surprise bonus, because Manoush's TED talk is online now (!) and she has some behind-the-scenes memories to share from the main stage. To celebrate - and vent (in a good way). 
15/08/17·7m 12s

Save the Planet! Part 1: I'm Gonna Take My Clothes Off

This week, five episodes for five ways we can do better by the planet. First: warm up, strip down. Rethink the air conditioner. With David Biello, science curator for TED. 
02/08/17·9m 31s

Save the Planet! Part 2: Whale Poop

Giant whale turds. A permanent shade over the sun. One is flashier, but that's the danger of it. This is poopier oceans vs. the climate quick fix. The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.
02/08/17·10m 33s

Save the Planet! Part 3: Super Powered Sweet Corn

We’ve made our plants bigger, juicier, and sturdier. Now can we make them better at sucking CO2? And should we? The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.
02/08/17·9m 5s

Save the Planet! Part 4: Suck It

First, stick a giant vacuum cleaner onto a smokestack. Inhale the exhaust. Then what? The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.
02/08/17·8m 15s

Save the Planet! Part 5: Do Over?

We were going to have to talk about it eventually. No, not Elon Musk (although yes, he does come up). Mars. Planet B. The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.
02/08/17·9m 28s

Escape From Yahoo!

It’s 2017, and Manoush still has a Yahoo account. Is her exit strategy an encrypted file in Switzerland? This week, the tech loyalties we keep past their expiration date, and how to move on - technically and emotionally.
26/07/17·18m 22s

Your Mailman Is a Drug Dealer. He Just Doesn’t Know It.

We visit the Dark Web, where you can get heroin, fentanyl and oxycontin shipped right to your door. This week, we stress out our IT department with our searches and talk to author Nick Bilton about the Silk Road, online drug markets, and the opioid crisis in America. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
19/07/17·27m 51s

Should We Post Photos of Our Kids Online?

A third of kids are online before they’re even born, thanks to sonogram images posted to Facebook. Is there a downside to all the kid photos we share? This week, we revisit a conversation with Hillary Frank, host of the Longest Shortest Time. And we want to hear what you think - did your parents post photos of you? Do you post photos of your kids? Visit to take our survey. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at
12/07/17·24m 2s

When Was the Last Time You Peed Without Your Phone?

Yeah, it’s been a while for us too. So let’s reset. It’s the Bored and Brilliant bootcamp: three quick challenges to make space for brilliance in our accelerating world. Maybe you’ve heard this episode before, but even if you have, a boredom refresher can’t hurt. Take some time to daydream, and see what ideas bubble up as your mind wanders. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at
05/07/17·16m 14s

We’ve Gained So Much With the iPhone. What Have We Lost?

Address books, maps, keys. Your Walkman, your datebook. All wiped out by your phone. Along with eye contact and boredom. This week, as the iPhone turns 10, we assess our most enduring love affair: the relationship between us and our devices. With tech journalist David Pogue and Adam Greenfield, author of Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
28/06/17·23m 45s

We See Ourselves in Black Mirror

Netflix’s Black Mirror is a tweaked reflection of technology’s worst consequences - what show creator Charlie Brooker calls a “sarcastic version of the present.’ This week, Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones join us for a cheerfully dystopian chat about where their ideas come from, why they haven’t quit TV to launch a startup, and Twitter as the world’s top video game. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
21/06/17·35m 41s

Father's Day Bonus: Dad As the Lead Parent

This Father's Day, one dad on his role as lead parent, and what it means for his career, psyche, and marriage. With Andrew Moravcsik, an accomplished author, academic, and husband to Anne-Marie Slaughter (yeah, the one who literally wrote the book on women in the workplace). This bonus episode is one of our favorites from the Note to Self archive, and was first released as part of our now award-winning series Taking the Lead. We thought it fitting to return to today. 
18/06/17·34m 37s

What Sen. Wyden Does When He’s Not Questioning Comey or Sessions

Besides investigating Russian election interference, Sen. Wyden is tackling government hacking, email surveillance, border device searches, and fighting for your rights online. How did a basketball-playing former gerontologist become your digital champion in Congress? Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
14/06/17·17m 44s

Preview: Sen. Ron Wyden of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Today, Sen. Wyden hears testimony from former FBI Director James Comey. Next week, he’ll be here on Note to Self. Here’s a sneak peek at our chat about cybersecurity and your digital rights. 
08/06/17·2m 50s

Meet the Humans Who Protect Your Eyes

Rochelle LaPlante keeps horrifying images off the internet, screening photos for four cents a click. Content moderators do an important job. So why don’t employers like Facebook hold them up as heroes? Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at     
07/06/17·23m 7s

What We Learned from Grandpa’s FBI File

Our producer discovered an FBI file on her grandfather. Back then, the big threat was communists. Today, it's terrorists, Occupy and BLM. Maybe even you. And the surveillance methods are a lot less analog.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
31/05/17·19m 26s

Ed Snowden Says a 'Very Very Dark Future' Is Not Inevitable

With all the news of leaks, national security, and hacking, who better to talk to than Ed Snowden? So yes, Manoush and Ed tackle the NSA, privacy, and ransomware. But also identity, the self, and the “quantified spiderweb of all our worst decisions.” It’s a very Note to Self chat with a very smart man. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
17/05/17·25m 34s

Wait, What IS Reality? We Investigate.

Who among us hasn’t wondered, maybe in a stoned haze, if the colors you see aren’t even the same colors that I see? How do we know we’re even in the same reality, man?  That’s what the world has been feeling like, except not so chill. This week, we dissect reality itself, with our friend Brooke Gladstone, host of WNYC’s On the Media. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
16/05/17·21m 41s

Taking the Lead Episode 1: The Pain Point

This Mother's Day, a surprise. To celebrate working moms, we're re-releasing all four episodes of our award-winning series, Taking the Lead. The story of two Brooklyn women and their tech idea to help harried working mothers - like themselves.  Start here, with Episode 1: The Pain Point. And happy Mother's Day, ladies. You rock. 
14/05/17·27m 33s

Taking the Lead Episode 2: The Paradox

Episode two of Mother's Day series is The Paradox. Rachael and Leslie test a prototype of their app on one very eager participant: Manoush. And they run into an ironic challenge. Turns out, it's tough to build a work/life balance app without one.  
14/05/17·29m 17s

Taking the Lead Episode 3: The Pressure

Faced with financial barriers, Rachael and Leslie join a startup accelerator. But while honing their pitch, different goals emerge. Rachael is focused on social change, while Leslie wants to create a giant woman-led company.
14/05/17·32m 35s

Taking the Lead Episode 4: The Partnership

The last episode in our Mother's Day special. Rachael Ellison and Leslie Ali Walker face difficult choices: Should they drop the feminist mission behind the company when they make their pitch to investors? Does Rachael need to give up entrepreneurship so she can remain the kind of mom she wants to be? 
14/05/17·35m 1s

Why Are So Many Bots Following Manoush?

Bot armies are taking aim at our democracies, spreading garbage on Twitter from last November to Brexit to this weekend’s French election. But what do they want with Manoush? Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
10/05/17·20m 21s

Parents Just Don’t Understand, Tech Edition

Uh, mom, the eggplant emoji is not about food. The crying-laughing emoji is not appropriate for funerals. And dad, just texting 'K' is super passive-aggressive. This week, a real live therapist tackles your intergenerational tech dilemmas. And we try to stop copping out of tough conversations with a text. Admit it, you do it too. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
03/05/17·23m 53s

AI Learns from Us. So It Learns Bias.

We count on robots to do more and more stuff. Drive cars, water crops, diagnose disease. What happens when the robots are racist? This week, a look back at one terrible AI mistake. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
26/04/17·18m 25s

Revealing Selfies. Not Like That.

Your selfies are sharing way more than your smiling face. They’re full of data. Which is being used by stores. And banks. And police. And, well, everyone. This week, you sent us your photos. We gave them to data scientist Andreas Weigend, to see what he could deduce. A lot, it turns out. Date and time. Location, down to where in a building you were. Your name, education, employment history. Your hopes and dreams. Well, not quite. But close.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
19/04/17·20m 12s

Spring Cleaning for the Mind

Information overload has reached an all time high. Is there a way to stay-up-to-date without losing your mind? Yes. We call it “single-tasking.” Here’s a reminder of what multi-tasking does to your brain plus a proven way to find focus. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
12/04/17·17m 35s

Cucked: Defining Manhood the Alt-Right Way

How one revolting, racist, sexist word emerged from the dark corners of 4chan and Reddit. And why we should care. With slang lexicographer Jonathon Green, writer Dana Schwartz of the Observer, and Derek Thompson of the Atlantic. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
05/04/17·25m 14s

Deep-Dark-Data-Driven Politics

The story goes: the Trump campaign hired consultants called Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge uses data to target voters' personalities and emotions. Trump wins. But it's not so simple.  Did the Trump campaign have a secret sauce? Or just more ketchup? This week, some answers. With Matt Oczkowski of Cambridge Analytica, psychometrics pioneer Michal Kosinski, and Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
29/03/17·26m 14s

The Man Who Invented Facebook Ad Tracking Is Not Sorry

After building the social network’s ad system, Antonio García Martínez tried to set his career on fire with a tell-all. An inside view on Face-versaries, terrifying emails from Zuck, and the cult of changing the world. Turns out, it takes a lot to get shunned in the Valley. Especially when you write a bestseller. The author of Chaos Monkeys, on the fallout from his attempt to commit career suicide. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
22/03/17·20m 13s

Government Secrets Worth Leaking... or Keeping?

So, the C.I.A. has a back door to your phone. At least, according to the Vault 7 data dump from WikiLeaks. This week, when are these tactics really making our lives safer? Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
15/03/17·26m 43s

Will You Do a Snapchat Streak With Me?

A little yellow ghost has joined Manoush’s home screen. This week, Note to Self takes the plunge into Snapchat. Where we find lots of opportunities for passive aggression, obligation, and shade. And that’s not a bug. It’s a feature. With designer Tristan Harris, of Time Well Spent, and Snapchat artist CyreneQ. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at      
08/03/17·18m 7s

Zapping Your Brain To Bliss

Can brain stimulation tech replace your glass of wine? Or your joint? We strap a digital potato chip to our heads, and zap our brains with electricity, in the name of science. And we accidentally over-chill. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
01/03/17·19m 24s

Can Your Phone Make You Better In Bed?

No, not by watching porn. By sharing with your partner what turns you on, and weirds you out. Through an app. Kaitlin Prest of The Heart podcast recruits two couples to test drive the Pls Pls Me app. And talk about awkward conversations, making out, and more… unusual desires. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
22/02/17·23m 27s

Privacy, Data Survivalism and a New Tech Ethics

Technologist Anil Dash on mistakes he’s made, and the new ethics of tech. Journalist Julia Angwin on why we’re all losing, and her strategies as a privacy prepper. Much laughter ensues. Note to Self nerds out, live from WNYC’s Greene Space. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
21/02/17·28m 30s

Privacy Paradox: Results Show

Tens of thousands of people did the Privacy Paradox challenge. And the results are in. Seven percent of you said you want to give up. (Sorry. Don’t!) Seventy percent of you want to push for big change. (Hooray! Do.) And we have ideas.  We’ll hear from Michal Kosinski, creator of Apply Magic Sauce, and Solon Barocas, who studies the ethics of machine learning at Microsoft Research. Plus, reports from our listeners on the wonder and terror of digging through their digital identities. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
15/02/17·31m 50s

Day 5: Your Personal Terms of Service

The last day of the Privacy Paradox challenge. We'll draw some conclusions from this week—and some boundaries for the future. With Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented a little something called the World Wide Web. He has a big idea for a more secure, more private experience online. And he thinks we can build it together.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
10/02/17·12m 35s

Day 4: Fifteen Minutes of Anonymity

It's day four of the Privacy Paradox challenge. We talk to Elan Gale, executive producer of The Bachelor, about how we perform for social media, and how we change when we know we’re being watched. Also, the dangers of drunk tweeting. And Stanford psychology professor Elias Aboujaoude on how to find your true self when your personal details are public knowledge. Plus, it's time to get away from wifi, unplug the smart devices, and turn off your phone. We're going off the grid. Briefly.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
09/02/17·11m 46s

Day 3: Something To Hide

It's day three of Note to Self's Privacy Paradox challenge. There are the things you know you share online: selfies, emails, Facebook posts. But there is so. much. more. Marketers are mining the words you use, your tone and sentence length, to profile you. To assess your personality.  Today, find out who the Internet thinks you are. With the man who helped Google implement the right to be forgotten.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at     
08/02/17·11m 13s

Day 2: The Search For Your Identity

It's the second day of the Privacy Paradox challenge. You know - as you move across the web, clicking and searching and liking, you’re being tracked. You might use an ad blocker. Or a do-not-track plug-in. But you're still leaving tiny traces everywhere.  Today, we go from creepy to crappy. Creepy is that vague feeling that the machines know… something. Crappy, at least, is knowing what they know. And taking a step to slow the information flow. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
07/02/17·15m 52s

Day 1: What Your Phone Knows

Your Privacy Paradox challenges start today.   What does your phone know about you? Too much, probably. And it’s even more than you think. Many apps track your location, even when you’re not using them. Others listen in via your microphone, even when you’re not talking to them. Maybe you want your apps to know what you’re up to. Or maybe want to open up your Settings app and check out what data you’re giving away. That’s your task for day one of “The Privacy Paradox,” our five-part project to help you take back your digital identity.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
06/02/17·11m 21s

Introducing: The Privacy Paradox

We want control of our personal information. But even when risks to our data are high, we sign up for services and apps. We download, click, and post without being sure where that data ends up. The Privacy Paradox, Note to Self's latest interactive project is your answer to this digital dilemma. Next week, we'll bring you five days of challenges and mini-podcasts, to help you make digital decisions that feel right for you.  To join the project, sign up at And listen here. Let's do this, folks. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
30/01/17·23m 52s

Saving Big Data From Itself

There’s so much potential. With big data, researchers can smooth social interactions and create better cities. Maybe cure cancer, and slow climate change. But the data has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is us. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
25/01/17·20m 39s

The Bookie, The Phone Booth, and The FBI

The Fourth Amendment doesn’t mention privacy once. But those 54 little words are a crucial battleground in today’s fight over our digital rights. This week, Note to Self gets in our time machine, back to the court cases that brought privacy from parchment to Gmail. Tales of Miami bookies, tapped payphones, and a 1975 Monte Carlo. And where the Fourth Amendment needs to go, now that we’re living in the future. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
18/01/17·23m 57s

The Four Tendencies: How to Feed Good Habits

Are you an upholder, a questioner, an obliger or a rebel? Gretchen Rubin of the Happier podcast has identified four ways that people respond to expectations - the Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw of habit change, if you will. Figuring out your cognitive house might be the key to changing your bad habits for good. Including one habit we hear about a lot: clinging to the phone right up until our eyes drop closed. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
11/01/17·17m 15s

New Year. Same Old You.

Can we really start fresh when our every step, nap, and calorie are measured? If even a hard-core coder fails at a tech-enabled diet, maybe we need a new way to optimize our quantified selves. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
04/01/17·26m 55s

Go Ahead. Miss Out.

FOMO is real. And it's amplified during the holiday season when party glam shots and scrumptious food pics are everywhere. So let's embrace a little JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) instead. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
28/12/16·18m 46s

Messages From the Beyond

Ginger Johnson is battling cancer. She has three children and wants to stay in their lives after she's gone. So she's using a service called Safe Beyond that helps her make messages and then schedule them for delivery in the future. But her kids aren't sure they want them. We're planning episodes both intense and light next year. And we count on listener contributions to make it happen.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
21/12/16·28m 30s

Meet the Textalyzer... and Our Next Big Project

If police smell booze on your breath behind the wheel, you'll be asked to blow into a breathalyzer. But if they notice distracted driving, how do they measure clicks, taps and swipes? Plus, a sneak peek at Note to Self's next big listener project.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
14/12/16·19m 11s

Distracted Is the New Drunk

Back in the ‘90s, health researchers planted stories against drunk driving on primetime shows. Growing Pains even killed off Matthew Perry in a crash. Now, the challenge is getting people to stop texting on the road. But we don't watch TV like we used to. So who’s the new influencer?  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
07/12/16·16m 27s

Tech Under Trump

We've seen the good, bad and ugly of tech this election cycle. And we all have big feelings about it. So Manoush hosted a good old-fashioned call-in, for listeners to share their thoughts and fears about our digital lives under a Trump administration. With Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times, and Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
30/11/16·31m 43s

Shaking Up Your Echo Chamber. For Democracy.

We tend to click on things we agree with already. And social media networks like it that way. Bumming out your customers is a bad business model. This week, we talk with Tracy Clayton and Katie Notopoulos from BuzzFeed about why that's a problem, and get their tips on widening our everyday nets. With minimal ick factor.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
29/11/16·10m 53s

Your Facebook Friend Said Something Racist: Thanksgiving Edition

Don't throw a turkey leg. Don't go ALL CAPS rage over racism on Twitter. This Thanksgiving, when the conversation makes your blood boil, take some deep breaths and just LARA. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
23/11/16·18m 52s

Drop Your Phone, Make Your Bed, Says Gretchen Rubin

Note to Self listeners are struggling to find joy on the internet after this election. Gretchen Rubin, 'Happier' host and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project, has advice. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
16/11/16·21m 17s

A Post-Election Note to You

The nation is divided, and we're all processing. So, we curated a list of 7 episodes from the archive for your post-election reality.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
09/11/16·5m 43s

Do You Really Want to Live Forever?

Americans voted. Now we can think way, way beyond 2016. The failed 2016 presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan (pretty convincingly) explains why you might live forever and vote for him and the Transhumanism party in 2040. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
08/11/16·23m 37s

Mindfulness on Demand

Can't afford a personal guru? No worries. Chade-Meng Tan, Silicon Valley's mindfulness coach, is making meditation accessible and he's got tips to incorporate it into our everyday lives. His latest book is, "Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within." Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
02/11/16·24m 18s

Come and Sit with Marina Abramović

Sure, legendary performance artist, Marina Abramović, got 750,000 people to wait in line at MoMA just to sit across a table from her. But can she get us ALL to count lentils? She just published Walk Through Walls: A Memoir and she stopped by N2S to chat with Manoush about how she's going to help us put down our phones and restore our overtaxed systems in a digital world.    Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at     
26/10/16·21m 31s

Bonus: Marina Abramović’s Method Blew Our Minds

How Marina Abramović, the world’s most famous performance artist, got Manoush and producer Jen Poyant to sit in silence for 30 minutes before a "magic" performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
25/10/16·21m 32s

If My Body is a Text

In a time of racial tension, how do you manage information overload—the storm of news online—when paying attention is painful? This week, two friends find their answer. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
19/10/16·27m 1s

When Silicon Valley Takes on Elementary School

This week, Manoush visits a micro-school in her Brooklyn neighborhood where the cushions are cozy and every child is optimized. Think Montessori 2.0... and the future of education if one former Google executive gets it right. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
12/10/16·27m 56s

Facing Our Weirdest Selves

After exchanging hand-drawn postcards for a year, two data designers discover how compiling and parsing the little things in life can lead to unexpected self-reflection-- and friendship. Those real-life pen pals and authors of the book, Dear Data, divulge some of their most revealing discoveries to Manoush with a special Note to Self soundtrack.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
05/10/16·25m 54s

Digging Into Facebook's File on You

Algorithms are everywhere in our daily lives. But most of the time, we have no idea how they work. In this week's episode, ProPublica investigative journalist Julia Angwin explains how Facebook's algorithms categorize us. Plus, Note to Self listeners, we want you to get involved. Try out ProPublica's new tool, and tell us what you discover. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
28/09/16·18m 33s

Bonus: Chelsea Clinton Talks Global Equality and Breastfeeding

In this bonus mini-episode, Chelsea Clinton tells Manoush why she's frustrated by the gender gap in tech. Plus, the art of juggling a new baby and a hectic campaign schedule. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
26/09/16·10m 12s

The Secret to Making Video Games Good for You

Games are the new self-help. Jane McGonigal, game researcher and developer explains how, with the right approach, games can be a powerful tool for unlocking our best selves. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at
21/09/16·24m 47s

There Is No 'Off the Record'

Imagine a future where every word you utter is recorded and saved. It's not that far off. Our guest Rose Eveleth, host and producer of the Flash Forward podcast, tested out the transcribed life to see what happens when nothing is off the record. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
14/09/16·25m 26s

Sext Education: Teens, Photos, and the Law

On this week’s episode, Manoush goes to North Carolina to find out why a high school star quarterback and his girlfriend were charged with felonies for sending each other racy (or romantic, depending on your point of view) photos. Turns out the U.S. is at a crazy cultural crossroads when it comes to teenagers, sexting, and the law.  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
07/09/16·25m 17s

Blind Kids, Touchscreen Phones, and the End of Braille?

Touchscreen phones work so well for blind people that Braille may become obsolete. But advocates worry this could render the next generation "functionally illiterate." Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
31/08/16·19m 46s

The Thing About Texts From Your Ex

If you're not one of Text From Your Ex's 1.9 million followers already, here's what you need to know: Elan Gale's brainchild is an Instagram account with pages and pages of awkwardness captured in screenshots. It turns out, reading through hundreds of thousands of other people's emotionally loaded conversations gives you some pretty profound insight into relationships, technology, and privacy (or rather... the utter lack thereof). Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
24/08/16·20m 30s

Should We Post Pictures of Our Children Online?

Nearly 92 percent of kids in the U.S. have some digital presence by the age of two. But that doesn't necessarily mean your child's face should be all over the internet. So where should we draw the line? In this episode, which is a repeat from 2015, hear a debate about the ethics and etiquette of posting pictures of your kids online with three moms who have very different approaches: Note to Self Host Manoush Zomorodi, who posts nothing. Note to Self Executive Producer Jen Poyant, who posts every day on Instagram. Longest Shortest Time Host Hillary Frank, who posts drawings and side-angles but no faces. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
17/08/16·23m 47s

The One Thing You Can Actually Do to Fight Surveillance

Security technologist Bruce Schneier, author of “Data and Goliath,” says you should stop feeling guilty about skimming the Terms of Service. Get mad instead. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
10/08/16·19m 21s

Is My Phone Listening in On Me?

Is your phone listening a little too closely to what you have to say? Author Walter Kirn tells us why you'd be crazy NOT to be paranoid about your phone. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
03/08/16·27m 13s

Taking the Lead Bonus: Andrew Moravcsik

Author and academic Andrew Moravcsik dives into why he and his wife decided he would be their family’s "lead parent," how they came up with that term, and how that decision has affected his marriage, his kids, and ultimately his career. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
27/07/16·35m 0s

Taking the Lead Episode 4: The Partnership

In the final chapter of our four-part series about women and work, co-founders Rachael and Leslie hear a tough critique of their pitch and make a tough decision. Plus, New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter explains how she thinks the culture around work and caretaking has shifted since she quit her job as Hillary Clinton’s right-hand woman at the State Department. Anne-Marie’s husband, Andrew Moravcsik, wraps it up with the male perspective... and why he feels so strongly that the conversation about work/life balance is really about the new role of men in society. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
26/07/16·34m 22s

Taking the Lead Episode 3: The Pressure

After tapping into their kids' college funds, Rachael and Leslie join a startup accelerator to compete for a cash prize. But as they prepare for the competition, the business partners feel pressure to choose between selling investors on their app's feminist mission or its projected revenue. How they decide to present their final pitch surprises Manoush... so much so, that she inserts herself into the story. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
20/07/16·32m 5s

Taking the Lead Episode 2: The Paradox

In episode two of our 4-part series, the two moms-turned-entrepreneurs beta test their app on 20 local mothers (including Manoush). But as they get deeper into start-up life, personal differences begin to surface. Leslie, whose husband is her family's primary parent, is ready to put in the long hours required of a typical tech company founder. Rachael, though, wonders whether she can manage start-up life and school pickup. Things get meta as the working moms wonder: Is playing by Silicon Valley's rules the only way to win over investors? Can Leslie and Rachael create a new model of feminist entrepreneurship that makes money, has social value, and doesn't cost them their own work/life balance? Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
13/07/16·28m 37s

Taking the Lead Episode 1: The Pain Point

Welcome to the first episode of our 4-part series: Taking the Lead. This is the story of two working moms, Rachael and Leslie, who have a big idea (a tech idea) to help more women get some work/life balance and "lean in." But before they can launch a company, they'll need to overcome their own work/life issues and deal with some broader questions: can women find a place in the tech economy? Is society ready to radically redefine gender roles in the home? What really has to change in our culture to get more women into the C-Suite?  Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at    
06/07/16·26m 31s

Introducing: Taking the Lead

Rachael and Leslie are two working moms in Brooklyn, building an app to help more women on their quest to 'have it all.' Manoush follows them on their journey as they confront the same struggles many women face as they try to reconcile profession with parenting. Along the way even more questions arise: Do women have a place in the tech economy? Is society ready to radically redefine gender roles in the home? Can women REALLY have it all? Special guest Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of The Atlantic article "Why Women Still Can’t Have it All," also stops by during the series to talk about work/life balance, lead parents, and the career advice every millennial needs.    
30/06/16·3m 12s

Bored and Brilliant: BOOT CAMP 2016

Putting down your phone and letting yourself get bored can jumpstart your creativity. Tens of thousands of you helped us prove this in 2015 with our week-long project: Bored and Brilliant. Now, just in time for summer, try out the bootcamp version with three easy behavior changes. They're fun AND proven to get you rethinking your brain, all those notifications, and how we spend our time. 
29/06/16·16m 25s

A Beginner's Guide to International Tech Etiquette

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, Elise Hu and Gregory Warner share their insider knowledge regarding how people in other countries use tech.
22/06/16·24m 46s

What Happens When We Skimm the News

This week we dive deep into the modern media diet with theSkimm co-founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, and John Herrman, media reporter at the New York Times. 
15/06/16·26m 28s

Infomagical: BOOTCAMP

If you've been with us for awhile, you know about our Infomagical challenge to fight information overload. This week, we're giving those of you who loved it a tune-up, those of you who were overwhelmed the tl;dr version, and those of you who totally missed it the first time around an episode to catch up.
08/06/16·18m 12s

When To Stop Looking for a Better Date or Restaurant

Can algorithms help us eat and love better? We went on a mission to find out.
01/06/16·20m 9s

6 Algorithms That Can Improve Your Life

That pile of papers on your desk? That lunch meeting you can't seem to nail down? The hundreds of emails that raise your blood pressure? We're here to help.
25/05/16·20m 42s

Sexiness, Social Media and Teenage Girls

Author Peggy Orenstein tells us what the Internet is teaching teen girls about sexiness and desirability. 
18/05/16·22m 19s

The Realities of Virtual Reality

We've put it off for long enough. It's time to talk about VR.
11/05/16·19m 14s

What Happens to the Videos No One Watches

Exploring the Lonely Web.
04/05/16·22m 17s

Eye in the Sky

Ross McNutt has a superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he?
27/04/16·35m 57s

The Puppet Masters Behind Online Shopping

We head inside Etsy's Usability Testing Lab to understand the art of User Experience and online shopping seduction.
20/04/16·23m 2s

Two Dope Queens on Feminism

Phoebe Robinson—a stand up-comedian, writer and co-host of WNYC's new podcast '2 Dope Queens'—joins us to talk about finding digital feminism.
13/04/16·12m 27s

Creating a Super-Human You with Dave Asprey

The man behind the Bulletproof empire explains why sometimes in order to get results, you have to go to extremes.
06/04/16·14m 33s

Forget Edibles: Getting High on Wearables

There are a lot of tools out there that claim to train—even change—your brain. So do they work? We put them to the test and things get... interesting.
30/03/16·20m 5s

Apple's Security Debate is Everyone's Problem (Including Yours)

If your phone was stolen, you'd most likely be concerned that the thief would now have access to your bank account...and your vacation photos. But what if the thief was the government?
23/03/16·13m 12s

Your Quantified Body, Your Quantified Self

What happens when we start thinking of ourselves as walking, breathing, calorie-consuming piles of data? We asked hundreds of people to weigh in (figuratively speaking).
16/03/16·27m 19s

Why You Feel More Productive But the Economy Isn’t

Douglas Rushkoff, author of "Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus," argues that our fixation on "growth" has made us less financially secure, with big consequences for our communities.
09/03/16·17m 35s

Wait, You're Into [Insert Kink] Too?!

As promised! The time has come to talk about sex. Or, rather, to swipe about sex. 
02/03/16·22m 27s

Why You Should Put a Post-It Over Your Laptop Camera

How much would it take for someone to hack YOUR life? And really, how worried do you actually need to be? This is what happened when Fusion's Kevin Roose asked some of the best hackers in the world to have at him. 
24/02/16·16m 30s

Have You Tried to Hack Your Health? Tell Us What Happened.

We tried using apps to stop sugar cravings. It... didn't work. Now, we want to hear your stories.
17/02/16·10m 14s

What We Learned When 25,000 People Tried to Fight Information Overload

What we learned through a week of experimenting with information overload interventions.
10/02/16·28m 35s

Infomagical Challenge 4: Magical Connection

Discuss something you’ve heard, read, or watched with someone for at least seven minutes, by phone or in person. Social psychologist Sherry Turkle explains why and how. More details here:
04/02/16·7m 18s

Infomagical Challenge 3: Magical Brain

Your third challenge: Avoid a trending topic, or “must read” today. Consume only what's valuable to you. Issued by Cates Holderness, who launched The Dress meme, and Ann Blair, historian of information overload. More instructions here:
03/02/16·11m 27s

Infomagical Challenge 2: Magical Phone

Tidy up your apps and transform your phone into a portal of wisdom. Brought to you by "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" author Marie Kondo herself. More information here: 
02/02/16·10m 55s

Infomagical Challenge 1: Magical Day

No multi-tasking today. Work on one thing at a time, and give each task your full focus. For more information: 
01/02/16·11m 11s

The Case for Infomagical

All of the information you need about information overload. Sign up for Note to Self's Infomagical project at!
25/01/16·25m 29s

When FOMO Meets JOMO

Caterina Fake (the person who popularized the term "FOMO") talks with Anil Dash (the person who coined the term "JOMO"). Turns out, they're good friends.
20/01/16·19m 19s

An Apology to Our Listeners. Because Two Dots.

Two Dots game director David Hohusen on what it's like to balance "caring about users' well-being" with "designing an addictive game." The brave man came back!
13/01/16·21m 28s

A Neuroscientist’s Guide to Getting Organized (Plus: Survey!)

If you had to guess, how many facts have you taken in today? Dr. Daniel Levitin says it's probably way too many to process.
06/01/16·16m 2s

Listen to Your Voicemail

Love it or hate it, there's at least one important thing only voicemail can do. A reprise of one of our favorite episodes from 2015.
30/12/15·10m 25s

Why You Should Care About LEGO and Creativity

Your kid's seven new LEGO kits really do matter for the future of creative thinking.
23/12/15·20m 4s

5 Links We Would GChat You If We Were Friends

Caitlin Dewey, one of our favorite technology and culture critics/newsletter curators, picked five stories of the year for your listening (and actually relaxing into the idea that we don't REALLY have to care about EVERYTHING) pleasure.
16/12/15·23m 24s

Marina Abramović’s Method Blew Our Minds

Why Marina Abramović, one of the world’s most famous performance artists, is making you sit in total silence for 30 minutes before a "magic" performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations.
09/12/15·21m 32s

On Wexting and Other Woes

What to do in the face of real life zombie apocalypse? Slate's newest Dear Prudence – the one and only Mallory Ortberg – advises listeners on dealing with the most annoying technology users.
02/12/15·18m 24s

So Your Facebook Friend Said Something Racist. Again.

The time is ripe for our step-by-step guide on handling offensive posts on your social media feeds. The Thanksgiving table too.
25/11/15·21m 10s

Going Deep on Digital Photo Clutter

We're pretty sure "photo clutter" is about a lot more than tidying up. We're talking about how, why, and when we're using your cameras.
18/11/15·10m 51s

Quick Explainer: Encryption Apps and the Paris Attacks

European officials believe encryption software was instrumental in allowing the Paris attackers to coordinate their actions in secret. Manoush talked with WNYC's Brian Lehrer about the challenges of encrypted technology and national security. We thought this would be useful as the terms swirl around, so we wanted to share it with the rest of you. We'll be back with our usual Note to Self podcast tomorrow. 
17/11/15·6m 56s

When a School Has a Sexting Scandal

Last week, a small Colorado town discovered that dozens of students had been taking and trading nude photographs, shaking up the parents, police, schools, and even the football team. This week, we're having a discussion about the murky consequences of teen sexting.
11/11/15·26m 22s

Is My Phone Eavesdropping On Me?

Some coincidences seem just a little bit too, well, coincidental, especially when you consider the technology recording our every move. This episode, author Walter Kirn talks about the line between caution and paranoia... and comes down on the side of paranoia.
04/11/15·27m 37s

It's Time to Deal With Your Photo Clutter

Your digital photos are stressing you out. We're here to help: Welcome to the Note to Self Photo Decluttering System That Will Make You Feel Better About Your Mortality and More.
28/10/15·28m 2s

How to Shake Up Your Echo Chamber

We tend to click on things we agree with already. Social media networks like to feed us the things we'll click on. This week, we talk with two professional Internet readers from BuzzFeed about why that could be a problem, and get their tips on widening our every day nets.
21/10/15·20m 5s

Can You Have a Whole Relationship Through Texts?

We’re examining moments of closeness — when texting encourages intimacy between us, and when those messages really just create the illusion of deeper connection. Featuring Fusion's Kashmir Hill, author Sherry Turkle, and more.
14/10/15·25m 40s

Sherry Turkle: 'Even a Silent Phone Disconnects Us'

A bonus episode of Note to Self featuring Sherry Turkle, acclaimed psychologist, researcher, and author of "Reclaiming Conversation." 
13/10/15·14m 44s

WiFi, Cancer, and Paranoia

Science says you really don't need to worry about carcinogens and WiFi. We sort through all of the research with Only Human's Mary Harris.
07/10/15·14m 1s

Why Google 'Thought' This Black Woman Was a Gorilla

A story of racism and deep learning, otherwise known as "the best, best reason for diversity in tech."
30/09/15·18m 47s

The Ad Blocker's Dilemma: Sell Your Soul or Destroy the Internet

With the latest iOS update, you can start using ad blockers on your phone. But should you? Meet the ethical quandary at the heart of the Internet as we know it.
23/09/15·23m 52s

Why Texts From Your Ex Is a Thing

A conversation with Elan Gale, creator of "Texts From Your Ex." Because reading through hundreds of thousands of other people's emotionally loaded conversations gives you some pretty profound insight into relationships, technology, and privacy (or rather... the utter lack thereof).  
16/09/15·20m 15s

Why Online Shoppers See Different Prices for the Same Item

"Price discrimination differentiation is, simply put, trying to charge different people, different prices for the same item, based on their willingness to pay."A question about the complicated ethics of "dynamic pricing," and the piece of actuarial literature that brought discrimination to light.
09/09/15·10m 48s

Back to School Guide: How to Think About Kids and Tech

A back-to-school reprise of one of our favorite episodes: How at least one 16-year-old uses the device giving adults so much angst.
02/09/15·18m 59s

Stop Going on Bad Dates. Here's How to Fix Your Online Profile.

Tips from a professional online profile ghostwriter. Because of course that's a thing.
26/08/15·12m 5s

LEGO Kits and Your Creative Soul

This week, we're exploring the future of creativity, the best ways to brainstorm, and the importance of free-association, all through the lens of every techie's favorite toy: LEGO.
19/08/15·24m 7s

Should You Post Pictures of Your Kids Online?

Sure, a really cute picture of a really cute toddler can go viral. But not everyone chooses to post pictures of their kids online.
12/08/15·22m 43s

This Is Your Brain on Online Shopping

Manoush visits Etsy's Usability Lab to figure out why she might buy six sweaters she never wears.
05/08/15·25m 52s

What Is Our Attention Actually Worth?

Tech entrepreneur Tristan Harris imagines technology without constant notifications - and a funding system that incentivizes techies to build it.
29/07/15·12m 47s

Bored and Brilliant: BOOT CAMP

A summer version of our Bored and Brilliant project, designed to get you rethinking your relationship with your smartphone. Works equally well on vacation, or when you just WISH you were on vacation.
22/07/15·20m 11s

What Do Txts Do To Actual Writing?

"Book of Numbers" author Joshua Cohen answers the question: If we know people are only going to skim, how does that change the way we write?
15/07/15·13m 18s

Would You Go?

There's a not-so-crazy chance that we'll have the opportunity to vacation to space in our lifetimes. That said, commercial space travel is a high-stakes proposition — one that has become even riskier and more expensive in recent months. Plus: It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you pee in a bag.
08/07/15·29m 17s

I'm Introverted. How Do I Find Quiet Space in the Digital Age?

Author and introvert advocate extraordinaire Susan Cain answers a listener's question about finding quiet places in a buzzing world.
01/07/15·8m 53s

What Divorce by Algorithm Means for Marriage

Silicon Valley thinks Gwyneth Paltrow might be onto something, and they're creating the data sets to prove it.
24/06/15·22m 57s

When Your Conspiracy Theory Is True

Daniel Rigmaiden is a criminal. A very hard to capture criminal. It took the use of a secret police weapon that sent beams through the walls of his apartment to track him down. But, despite long odds, he figured out the secret. And his discovery has changed how we understand citizen surveillance. A collaboration with Radiolab.
19/06/15·29m 18s

There's Just Something About Paper

Reading on screens is changing your brain and making it harder to finish a thick book. Here's why it's happening and some ideas for what to do about it. 
10/06/15·17m 26s

Judging Your Originality in a Cut and Paste World

Turnitin and programs like it are used to fight plagiarism in a third of high schools and half of colleges nationwide. The system is pretty much air tight... but it also reveals a pretty fundamental truth: It's tough to say anything new about Romeo and Juliet, especially when you're a teenager responding to the same old prompt.
03/06/15·22m 57s

This Is How Much the Internet Knows About You

To introduce Note to Self — we're bringing you an episode that is about exactly that: the self. Meet Crystal Knows, an email-writing service that takes "personalization" up a notch.
27/05/15·23m 0s

Welcome to Note to Self

New Tech City got a new name! We're now called Note to Self. And we're glad you're here. Listen here for more on our renaming.
26/05/15·5m 58s

How Eating Disorders Evolved Online: An Update

Easy to find, but also easy to miss, pro-eating disorder websites are all over the internet. But what should we do about them? 
20/05/15·24m 39s

Yes, You’re Distracted. Is it ADHD?

We talk with a father of four diagnosed with adult-onset ADHD, struggling to function as a tech executive in an increasingly distracting world.
13/05/15·20m 46s

'Am I Trans?': One Teen’s Quest and How Gaming Helped

There's something about video games that makes them a magnet for kids questioning their gender identity. Is it a safe space?
06/05/15·21m 1s

What Google Is Doing to Solve Its Gender Problem

Three useful tips for any working woman, or anyone who employs women, from Laszlo Bock, Google’s head of Human Resources.
29/04/15·19m 28s

Apple Knows You're Sick of Your Phone

Could smartwatches make us less addicted to our phones? Listen to this techies's argument for using more tech to beat back a tech obsession. 
22/04/15·20m 28s

Here’s What Watson Actually Does (And: Cooked Avocado?)

IBM's Watson won Jeopardy. Now, it wants to win your trust in the kitchen — and beyond. This week, we test out the premise of cognitive computing. And cook an avocado.
15/04/15·20m 21s

Growing Up Digital: 3 Truths for the Adults

We spent weeks talking with teachers, parents and ed tech experts all over the country. Here's what we've learned about learning today. 
08/04/15·19m 35s

ClassDojo: Do I Want it in My Kid's Class?

Teachers are using apps in class, raising privacy issues for kids and parents. Classroom management app ClassDojo has been thrust to the front of an conversation about student data and privacy stretching far beyond little monster avatars. On this week's episode, we talk with Sam Chaudhary, co-founder of ClassDojo, Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, and a community of parents and teachers about the obligations — legal and otherwise — techies have to today's kids. 
01/04/15·26m 8s

Is Braille Obsolete?

Touchscreen phones work so well for blind people that Braille may become obsolete. But advocates worry this could render the next generation "functionally illiterate."
25/03/15·21m 1s

A Parent's Guide to All That 'Ed Tech' In Your Kid's Classroom

We take a look at exactly what tech is in the classroom. Which leads to a bigger question: Why is this tech in the classroom?
18/03/15·26m 0s

Tweens and Tech Guide: Getting Them to Open Up

We're kicking off a series on kids and technology. Sure, it’s just easier to ask, “did you finish your homework?” and assume they’re figuring it out on their own or from other kids. But as one middle school teacher found out, there's an opportunity to go WAY deeper.
11/03/15·14m 51s

There is Actually One Thing You Can Do to Fight the Surveillance Machine

Security technologist Bruce Schneier, author of “Data and Goliath,” says you should stop feeling guilty about skimming the Terms of Service. Get mad instead.
04/03/15·20m 56s

Ethical Questions for Your Inner Couch Potato

Watching TV — especially when it isn’t, strictly speaking, on TV — has gotten complicated. This week we bring you a conversation with the creators of "High Maintenance." They're staying off broadcast and embracing a smaller but devoted online-only audience, instituting a paywall in exchange for the artistic freedom. So what do they think of sharing passwords on Netflix accounts and fast forwarding through commercials?
25/02/15·19m 47s

Bored and Brilliant: The Personal Stories

Manoush made some phone calls to Bored and Brilliant participants around the world. This week, New Tech City eavesdrops.
18/02/15·22m 18s

Bored and Brilliant: We Got Bored

We changed our phone habits, opened our minds to day-dreaming, and it felt good. Here's what the experts had to say about our data.
11/02/15·19m 55s

Bored and Brilliant Challenge 6: Dream House

It's time to get really bored and make something creative. You might just learn something about yourself with this challenge designed by artist Nina Katchadourian.
07/02/15·11m 26s

Bored and Brilliant Challenge 5: One Small Observation

For today's challenge, we want you to take note of one person, object, or interesting, uninventable detail you would have missed if your nose were glued to your phone.
06/02/15·7m 50s

Bored and Brilliant Challenge 4: Take a Fauxcation

Your instructions: Craft an away-message like “I’m out, taking an intensive sushi making class! Wasabi fingers so no phone for me today!" Put it up for an hour, an afternoon, or the whole day. It's good for your productivity. 
05/02/15·8m 46s

Bored and Brilliant Challenge 3: Delete That App

Your instructions for today: Delete that app. And listen in as our favorite casual cell phone video gamer confronts the designer of her worst addiction. 
04/02/15·17m 45s

Bored and Brilliant Challenge 2: Photo Free Day

We take 10 billion (yes, that's a "b") photos per year, mostly on our phones. Today, we want you to start seeing the world through your eyes, not your screen.
03/02/15·6m 22s

Bored and Brilliant Challenge 1: In Your Pocket

Your instructions: As you move from place to place, keep your phone in your pocket, out of your direct line of sight. Better yet, keep it in your bag.
02/02/15·8m 11s

What 95 Minutes of Phone Time a Day Does to Us

Prepare for our week of Bored and Brilliant challenges with a peek at the data we're gathering on how much you use your phone and what you want to change. Plus, a psychologist and neuroscientist put it all in context with tips for behavior change. 
28/01/15·19m 38s

9 Things We Learned About Phones From a Teenager

"Hello, this is Grace from Westchester. I am 16-year-old girl. I have an iPhone 4 and I am going to record my activities for the next few days."
21/01/15·21m 20s

The Case for Boredom

Minds need to wander to reach full potential, and all that time on your phone might be getting in the way. We're here to help with a big project called Bored and Brilliant: The Lost Art of Spacing Out.
12/01/15·15m 46s

Seriously, Listen to Your Voicemail

Find a 20-something, a 30-something and a 40-something. If you’re feeling especially experimental, add in a 70-something and a teenager. Say the word: “voicemail.” Watch what happens. Voice messages — and the etiquette around them — are changing. Some people are rooting for voicemail to disappear completely from our communication repertoire. "Typing and talking have an inverse relationship: as it's gotten easier to write your feelings, it's gotten more difficult to speak them." Gizmodo writer Leslie Horn makes a powerful case for voicemail in an essay last year that we just loved. It... well, it stuck with us, and we really wanted to hear the voices she described. Because those scratch recordings buried in her phone's voicemail folder got her through the tough months after her father's death. "Voicemail is a default archive of your life. You would miss it if it were gone," she says.  So this week’s show is about the way listening can jog memories and emotions like nothing else. To that point, we'd really encourage you to listen to this one above even if you have read her post already. (You can listen by subscribing to the podcast on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.) And when you’re done, leave us a voicemail! Our number is (917) 924-2964. Don't let our inbox look like this: Give us a call and tell us your story. (New Tech City
07/01/15·13m 5s

Tales of Real Life Tech Addiction

This week, an encore of one of our favorite New Tech City episodes ever: The tale of David Joerg, self-professed tech addict. David spent years living the life many kids can only dream of: video games at 3 a.m., Nutella from the jar, unlimited hours clicking from one piece of tech news to the next.  Running on three hours of sleep per night, he became, in his words, “a zombie.” He decided it had to stop - so he put his techie mind to work, and built a system that totally cut him off. Spoiler: It involves his daughter's piggy bank. Listen above. And if you’re struggling too? You can request a copy of the program for yourself from David here.  Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. 
31/12/14·11m 34s

Screens Really are a Nightmare for Sleep

May we suggest a holiday activity for the family? Sleep. Without screens. Get a lot of it.  New research from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that that bluish-glow from computers, smart phones and tablets is, in fact, keeping us up at night, and the impacts are worse than scientists previously suspected. Not only are our devices keeping us up later and later into the evenings, they're actually making it more difficult for us to fall asleep at all. The consequences are psychological and biological. So no, this isn't an excuse to push the kids away on Christmas morning. It's more of a long-term lifestyle plea, culled from a ton of data WNYC collected earlier this year. And in that spirit, we're re-airing one of our favorite episodes from 2014, about something we do every day (or at least we try to do). Getting enough rest to stave off some pretty staggering screen-fueled sleep deficits.  Give it a listen (or another, if you caught it earlier this year), and join us in getting some much-needed rest this winter. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. 
24/12/14·13m 11s

Look How Cute this Military Cyber Warfare Training Ground Is

Somewhere hidden in the sleepy suburbs of New Jersey, there is a very small town. This all-American village boasts good public transit, its own reservoir, a coffee shop, a church, a bank... you name it. Their international airport rarely has delays.  Where is this idyllic hideaway? That's a military secret.  CyberCity, as it's called, serves as a training ground for a new class of specialized "cyber warriors," capable of defending against cyber attack. Every day, soldiers plot to take over the town, by hacking into its schools, its water systems, its power grid, and its Internet, as colleagues and instructors watch on screens in the other room. It's run by the SANS Institute's Ed Skoudis, whom the military hired to design a new generation of training equipment –  and, as Skoudis said, your average digital simulator wasn't going to cut it: "If you tell them, 'Hey, one of your folks was able to hack into a power grid and turn the lights back on,' certain people in the military leadership would look at that and say, 'You just showed me that my people can play a video game.' Whereas we can say it was a real power grid. Admittedly controlling a city whose surface area was 48 square feet – but still." While we can't disclose CyberCity's precise location, we can say this: Skoudis' souped-up model train set sits very near the center of innovation in military training, national security and technology-fueled warfare. We sent radio producer Eric Molinsky (of the podcast "Imaginary Worlds") to check it out in person. We were oohing and aahing right along with him (listen above). Because what Skoudis told him was simultaneously terrifying... "Those people in CyberCity are not physical little people. What they are is, they’re data.... Most of the residents have birth records in the hospital, some of them are getting various medical treatments, they have prescription medications – all that stuff is in the hospital. We have social networking inside of Cyber City. We have something very like Facebook, we have something very much like Twitter. We have a newspaper in Cyber City. We call it the Cyber City Sentinel. So for example we’ll have a reporter who writes Cyber City Sentinel articles. That reporter also has a bank account. That reporter also has birth records. She has a family. So there’s really – I guess the way to describe it is there’s a fabric to the citizenry of Cyber City." ...and kind of charming. Listen to the full story on this week's episode of New Tech City, in the audio player above, on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. CyberCity by day. Everything has a specific purpose for cyber war scenarios. One mission involves thwarting a train hijacking. (Eric Molinsky) Skoudis is proud of the details within CyberCity like this house with a flowerpot. Those details reminds him that people’s livelihoods are at stake in cyber warfare. (Eric Molinsky) It feels like a hazy bright morning by the power plant in CyberCity. (Eric Molinsky) There are some notes of whimsy on the model, like the DeLorean from Back to the Future. (Eric Molinsky) Some cyber war games involve challenging but realistic rules of engagement, like avoiding the school. (Eric Molinsky)   The military requested a mission where a fire breaks out in the chemical plant. They couldn't use real fire, so they use lights and orange and yellow streamers until the "fire" is put out. (Eric Molinsky) The eerie calm of night settles over a city steeling for the next attack. (Eric Molinsky) The power plant may be a plastic simulation, but the computer system that runs it underneath the model is as realistic as possible.. (Eric Molinsky) Technicians monitor CyberCity through web cams. They can also use those laptops to make mayhem happen. (Eric Molinsky) Ed Skoudis describes his Steampunk office as “a mad scientists’ lab from the 1880s.” There’s a model train that runs along the ceiling. He also has Edison bulbs, an Enigma machine, vintage radios. (Eric Molinsky)   This week, Manoush is up for a challenge: Come up with a topic you know you should care about, but it just sounds so boring. We'll figure out a way to make it interesting, and we'll convince you to care once and for all (well, first we'll figure out if you need to care. That first.)  Email us (, tweet at us (@NewTechCity), or leave a comment on our New Tech City Facebook page. 
17/12/14·23m 3s

Your Facebook Friend Said Something Racist. Now What?

In this week's show, we offer a humble helping hand through a messy digital dilemma.  Your Facebook feed has become the new town square. The new water cooler. The new [insert your analogy of choice]. Sometimes your far off "friends" and relatives share views far out of step with your values. It can get ugly.  “One of my elementary school friends who I grew up with posted a story about hair salons accepting EBT cards," listener Tamika Cody tells us. "Some of her friends started to chime in. They poked fun at how African Americans spoke and how they were 'gonna get their hair did.' By the time they got to the whole 'Chinamen' and doing nails, I just said, 'you know what, this is just too much for me.'” Tamika quit Facebook.  Before you go that far, scroll down (or click play). We've called in the experts. We've commissioned a survey; consulted a psychologist about how racism on Facebook slips by; collected some personal examples; and we've adapted a tool for healthy dialogue into this handy flow chart for you to pin on your wall, physical or digital. "LARA" is a strategy promoted by the National Conference for Community Justice (New Tech City/Piktochart)   Some Data for You We commissioned a survey from the market research company Survata. Of the nearly 300 Facebook users polled, 46 percent have seen a discussion about race show up in their newsfeed in the past month. Almost a third of them say they've considered blocking or unfriending someone over offensive comments about the news. Things get testy on Facebook. (Survata and New Tech City) The Bottom of the Barrel Among those numbers are listeners like Vishavjit Singh, who wrote to tell us about the reaction to his 28-second Facebook video, which has been viewed over four million times. Singh, who has a beard and wears a turban, shared what people said to him: The internet is not always a welcoming place. (Screenshot, Facebook) Yeah.    We've included a few other examples, and some smart, thoughtful, constructive ways to respond, in this week's episode. What are you seeing out there, New Tech City listeners? Please tell us (and like us!) on our newly-created... you guessed it... Facebook page.  Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. 
10/12/14·26m 14s

What to Do When Robots Replace People You Work With

What are you willing to automate in your life? How much robot will you accept?  This week, Manoush goes on a journey to find out what she's willing to automate in her life, what the right ratio of robot to human is. This, it turns out, is a personal choice.  Maybe you'll book travel online instead of through a travel agent, but you still use a human accountant. Last week, when New Tech City adopted the new robo-friend Amy ( as our personal assistant we had to face facts: our efficiency came at a cost. Not just to the people replaced by automation, but to the beneficiaries too. Actual hands have sewed fabrics; living, breathing office-dwellers prepared taxes; physical human muscles carried cargo, and real people have picked up phones to make real-life telemarketing calls. And all of those humans bring a human softness to those tasks that is worth something. But according to a study from Oxford University, close to half of the U.S. workforce is under threat of losing their job to technology in one form or another. The research team ranked 702 jobs from most likely to least likely to be automated, and telemarketers topped their list, just barely beating out title examiners, sewers, and mathematical technicians. Their big conclusion: Amy isn’t the only job-eating robot waiting in the wings. The quaint travel agency near Manoush Zomorodi's house. (Manoush Zomorodi) So has the moment come to pity the poor telemarketer? Is automation inevitable? Is their loss everyone else's gain? Nick Carr, author of "The Glass Cage: Automation and Us," says "not always." On this week’s episode, we talk with Carr (and another special, live, human guest*) about using technology without stopping to consider why—when the process of automation becomes, perhaps, a little too automatic.  *OK, so this isn't actually Manoush's personal trainer but you can hear him on the show, “You can’t replicate the having-the-person-in-front-of-you-watching-everything-you’re-doing factor. You can’t replicate that on a phone," Nick Vargas tells Manoush.  Here's the top of Oxford's list of jobs most likely to be automated:  Telemarketers. Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers. Sewers, hand. Mathematical technicians. Insurance underwriters. Watch repairers. Cargo and freight agents. Tax preparers. Photographic process workers and processing machine operators. New accounts clerks. Library technicians. Data entry keyers. Next week on the podcast, we're going to delve into the world of racist or race-baiting posts on your social media accounts, where things have gotten pretty tense in recent weeks. We’ll get advice from experts on where race dialogue fits into Facebook. In the meantime, we want to know: How do you deal with those posts that just totally offend you on your feed? Email us at and we might put you on next week's show.  Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. And follow us on Twitter @NewTechCity.
03/12/14·19m 40s

Type "Hello" To Amy, Your Plucky Digital Personal Assistant

Imagine a world where everyone could have a personal assistant to schedule meetings for them. Checking in with your team? Ask for it by next Friday and it shows up on your calendar a few minutes later. Drinks with friends? Handled. This is no longer the luxury of executives. Human assistants, even outsourced to foreign countries, are still pretty costly. But a robot, one that lives inside your email and calendar, that's cheap and could catch on. If it works. "I think it is inevitable that we will reach that point in time where we simply cannot allow you to do a task as simple as this," Dennis Mortensen, CEO of X.AI In this episode, we test out a new breed of personal assistant. Her, or its, name is Amy Ingram. She's plucky, tenacious, and loves arranging meetings. In contrast to Apple's Siri, Google Now or Microsoft's Cortana, Amy is specialized on one thing and one thing only: scheduling. A new and increasingly common type of software, Amy isn't a program you download, or an app you install. "I’m just really grateful that I can have that time back to be productive.... I’ve been in heaven honestly," Jonathan Lehr, Co-Founder of Workbench and user of Amy the robot assistant. You simply email her a request like you would a human—she has her own email address—and Amy comes to understand your natural language. Then she takes over the email ping pong with your friends and colleagues and hashes out the details until a meeting is set. Sound like salvation? In theory. We put her to the test. And also had a little fun using Amy as a daft Turing test on our friends to see if they would know the difference between a robot and a person. Along the way we found out a few dirty secrets about human nature that pop up when you are trying to program a robot helper. Like when our producer Alex tried to break Amy's will. "For some reason when you know it is a machine the impulse is: I am going to make her cry," Dennis Mortensen. Next week on the podcast, we'll cover the human cost of automation from job loss to craving that human touch. Subscribe on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. And follow us on Twitter @NewTechCity. * A note: Since the taping of this podcast, Amy and X.AI can now interface with more than just Google Calendar. 
26/11/14·23m 21s

Varsity Video Gamers

Yes, you can get a college scholarship for playing video games. So what's it like? E-athletes practice five hours a day in a specially outfitted room plush with sponsored gear called the arena. The football team is a little jealous. (This is part 2 of 2 about the world of video games going mainstream go here for part 1 about middle aged gamers).  The Scholarships The athletic director of Robert Morris University in Illinois had a bold idea. He wanted to expand college sports to include video games. And he wanted to do it in a big way: with scholarships. The result was a deluge of applicants clamoring to get into the first ever college to enroll varsity e-athletes. One of the players already dropped out to go pro. Another says his mother flat out didn't believe him when he said it was possible to get a scholarship for gaming. Now she proudly tells her friends her son is a competitive collegiate e-athlete. One student late for practice found his You Tube privileges were taken away in the gaming arena so he would focus more on his game playing.   The Game The Robert Morris Eagles play League of Legends. It is by far the most popular video game for organized competition drawing in tens of millions of fans to watch top matches. It is incredibly complicated and hard to master. Each player chooses from 121 different characters called champions, each with their own set of powers that top players need to memorize. Then teams of five take on other teams of five and basically try to destroy each other. It’s called a “multiplayer online battle arena game” or MOBA for short. As with physical sports, the school can earn money back with a winning program. How that works is a little different though with video games. It is most certainly not an NCAA sport, so the school's team can compete for cash prizes and if it wins, the school keeps the take.  The Eagles Arena The Robert Morris University in Chicago E-Sports Video Gaming Arena (Manoush Zomorodi) Just Like the Football Team  Add Caption Here (Manoush Zomorodi) Subscribe:  To get all our episodes downloaded to your device, subscribe to the New Tech City podcast on iTunes, or Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. You can follow us on Twitter @NewTechCity.  
19/11/14·22m 13s

Video Games Meet Middle Age Emotions

The first crop of video gamers are facing middle age with no plans to put down the controller. So the games have to grow up too. Expect less blood splatter, more reflection. (This is part 1 of 2 about new kinds of video gamers. Listen to part 2 here.) Enter the Elder Gamers At 61 years old, Dena Watson-Lamprey is a fierce Street Fighter competitor. Probably because she's been playing the one-on-one combat game for decades. And also because she hates to lose. "I’m not happy with low scores. So I work at it a little bit," she says with a charming laugh in this week's episode. Though she plays Street Fighter, she dreams of a new kind of game that speaks to her stage in life. A game that doesn't exist yet, but soon will.  'Kid in a basement;' 'Dude in a man cave;' '#Gamergate flame wars;' All of the stereotypes of video gaming paint it as the dominion of young, single men, but when you look at the data, older women are the fastest growing demographic. Add to that the original cohort of young gamers coming up on middle age and there's a swell of demand for a new kind of video game experience. How Games Will Change The response from game designers is fascinating. From dealing with a family member’s cancer to managing depression, new games are exploring real-world phenomena like emotional loss, existential doubt, and a simple quest for beauty. They cultivate deeper connections between players, and even among players and their families.  “Our fundamental feeling is that as the audience of game players grows up, there’s a huge opportunity to make things that grow with us,” says Robin Hunicke the cofounder and CEO of Funomena, a game studio in San Francisco. Mentioned in the show Here's what the guys of Dude Mountain look like. Joey is the one in the hat.  Joey McDaniel and Dan Lawrence. (Casey Miner)   What Luna looks like, the next game from Robin Hunicke: Luna (Funomena) Subscribe to New Tech City If you liked this episode, or this topic, do us a favor and send it two elder gaming friends, or post it on your Facebook wall and tag them. You can subscribe to the New Tech City podcast — it is different than what you hear on WNYC on Wednesday mornings — iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.
12/11/14·20m 54s

Pajama Volunteers: The Digital Front of Disaster Response

Cries for help are hidden by the chatter of chaos. Vital updates are lost in the noise. In the crucial days after a natural disaster, information is not organized. But if it were, lives would be saved.  Springing to the cause is a new cadre of volunteers who take it upon themselves to offer help from afar, often without ever leaving their living rooms, or in the case of Leesa Astredo, of getting out of her bathrobe. "Sometimes I'll get on the computer at the beginning of the earthquake and spend 20, 30 hours at a time working that one disaster." Astredo organizes a team of virtual first responders called Info4Disasters.  Digital disaster responders are a growing force in emergency responses. These are self-organized, self-appointed and self-directed virtual volunteers and established aid organizations are still trying to figure out what to do with them. Many of them are like Astredo, a little older — she's 55 — and former on-the-ground volunteers or NGO workers who want to stay in the game. And then there are a newer breed: younger techie types — data scientists or mapping aficionados — who realize they have skills they can contribute in search and rescue operations or logistics missions.  "I think that we’re stepping into a new, unchartered territory when you talk about taking care of the digital disaster volunteer," says Lisa Orloff the founder of the World Cares Center that offers support, including counseling to disaster volunteers.  In this episode of New Tech City, get to know Leesa Astredo as she shows how a digital disaster volunteer works, and she explains how too much vicarious trauma can lead to it's own problems. Plus, what the Red Cross thinks of all this and how they are adapting to these outpourings of digital aid workers. If you like this episode, why not send a link to a friend who likes volunteering. And if you haven't already done it, go ahead and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. UPDATE: Manoush appeared on WBEZ's Afternoon Shift program talking about this episode. Give a listen here.   
05/11/14·17m 44s

EXTRA: Bill Binney and Ladar Levison Talk Cryptography

This is the raw interview used in our episode "The Other Ed Snowdens" with William Binney and Ladar Levison. In that podcast episode we said the conversation got wonky and in the weeds so we cut out some of the most detailed debate about NSA surveillance and crystallographic options. Well, here is that part of the conversation.  If you missed that episode, give it a listen. Bill Binney worked for more than 30 years at the NSA and designed the architecture for programs the NSA later used to spy on American citizens. When he found out, he quit the agency and went public about it. Call him the pre-Snowden NSA whistleblower.  Ladar Levison ran the secure email program Ed Snowden used to communicate with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. When the FBI came to him asking for the keys to the encryption he decided to shut down his company rather than comply. That dramatic story is told in our episode "When the FBI Knocks." After you listen to this bonus segment of New Tech City, let us know how you want us to keep the conversation going. Post a comment, we'll get the message. Or get in touch on Twitter @newtechcity or at newtechcity at If you like this episode, why not post a link to this on a friend's Facebook feed who cares about privacy. And if you haven't already done it, go ahead and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.
29/10/14·26m 25s

The Other Ed Snowdens: Inside the Mind of Two Privacy Whistleblowers

Ed Snowden is not alone. And we're not talking about how his girlfriend has moved in with him in Russia. There have been a handful of other technologists who've taken a bold stand and faced off with the U.S. government to protect your privacy from mass surveillance. We don't yet know if it ends well for any of them.  Our two guests in this show each risked their livelihood by refusing to help the NSA or FBI snoop on Americans. Let's get to know them.  “This is our responsibility as Americans to speak out against something that we think is wrong because we are really setting the standard for future generations,” Ladar Levison. Ladar Levison and William Binney both play a role in the Ed Snowden affair—and they each appear prominently in Laura Poitras' new documentary Citizenfour. Binney worked for the NSA for more than 30 years. He was an early architect of the NSA systems that were eventually used for mass surveillance on U.S. citizens. That wasn't how he intended his programming skills to be used, so he quit and cried foul. Without documents to prove it though, he was overlooked for years by the general public.  Ladar Levison built the encrypted email system Lavabit that Ed Snowden has said he used for private communications. Naturally, the FBI wanted to take a look at some of those messages. But rather than turn over the keys to his encryption—something that would have compromised all his clients, not just Snowden—Levison shut down his whole company in dramatic fashion. (He was on a previous episode of New Tech City while under a gag order about the case. Listen here.)  We wanted to find out who does something like that? Why take that stand? What's the motivation? The strategy? The fallout? We got the two men together for the first time and tried to understand the mindset of a privacy crusader. They have two very different strategies, but share one big sense of outrage. Why not send this episode to that friend who doesn't care at all about privacy. See what they think. And please subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.  To listen, click the audio player above the image.   
29/10/14·21m 51s

Containing Ebola Like They Did in This Video Game

Public health officials need to be able to predict how outbreaks like Ebola spread and grow. But that's not so easy. Mainly because it requires knowing how real people will react. Human behavior ain't so easy to plug into a computer model. But, then there was this bizarre and totally accidental video game incident that made real life disease outbreak modeling smarter. The story of "corrupted blood" in World of Warcraft is still inspiring epidemiologists.    If you like this episode, why not send this friend who loves video games. To have future episodes download directly to your device, subscribe on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.
22/10/14·22m 41s

Space Tourism Gets Sweetly Personal for These Two Strong Lady Travelers

One woman mortgaged her home to buy a ticket to space. Another decided never to have children so she could accept an opportunity for space travel at a moment's notice, even a one way ticket. These two stories collide in this week's episode about women taking the giant leap of commercial space travel.  "I’m going to be seeing the perimeter of the Earth. But still, the whole idea of actually being that far removed from it is, for me, it’s priceless,” Lina Borozdina Lina Borozdina has clutched her $200,000 ticket to fly on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galatic for over 10 years. Through divorce and a battle with cancer she has refused to trade in the ticket for a financial cushion. “That money is the money that I don’t count on,” she says. “That is my dream, and it’s put away in a separate box.” Lina is still waiting to go. She just really wants to know what it feels like, not just what it looks like, to see earth from above. She's never gotten a satisfying answer even after asking several astronauts. Until today.  “I was giggling like a little kid and one of my crew-mates took off his gloves and let it sort of spin in the air, and I’m like, oh my god, I can’t believe I’m in space,” Anousheh Ansari. Anousheh Ansari is an engineer and entrepreneur and the first female private space explorer. She tells us what it's like to rocket up to orbit, about lifting out of her seat with weightlessness and being overcome with joy and excitement so much that she spun and spun and spun until she found herself cleaning up vomit in zero gravity. Kind of gross, but also kind of amazing. The two women have a lot in common: both have childhood dreams of space travel that they couldn't shake, both are immigrants to the U.S., both well educated and they are most certainly not thrill seekers. “I don’t even go on, you know, roller coasters. To me, it wasn’t about the rocket ride. It was about being in space,” Anousheh says. They are also both just so so likable you can't help rooting for them.  The magic really happens at the end of this episode, when Lina and Anousheh have their first conversation. They talk logistics, like going to the bathroom in space as a lady. But also, Lina gets an answer to her driving curiosity: What does it really feel like to see our planet from space? Are our biggest earth-bound questions answerable? This show definitely got us rethinking our fears and expanding our mental horizons. How about you? Would you take a trip out of this world after hearing this? Why? Let us know in the comments below or record your answer on your phone and email it to us at    Space Travel Options Mentioned in the Audio: Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic:Tickets on sale for $250,000. Blast-off delayed multiple times but now looking like early 2015. Space Adventures: Circumlunar Mission. Ticket price is not yet determined.Expected Blast-off: 2018 Visit the International Space Station. Cost: Around $20 million. Blast-offs began in 2001, and international recording artist Sarah Brightman is set to go in 2015. There’s an option to extend this trip and conduct a spacewalk accompanied by a professional cosmonaut. Suborbital Spaceflight: Tickets will be $100,000. Blast-off has yet to be announced.   XCOR Aerospace: Tickets are on sale for $95,000-$100,000 depending on the aircraft you choose. Blast-off expected in 2015. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin: The suborbital adventure’s ticket price and blast-off date has yet to be announced. If you like this episode, why not send this link to a friend who dreams of space. To have future episodes download directly to your device, subscribe on iTunes, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. It only takes a few clicks and helps us a bunch. Thanks.  
15/10/14·35m 17s

BONUS TRACK: How Twitter Has Changed Nonfiction

Fluffly and indulgent as they might be the tiny dispatches and status updates of social media are a narrative gold mine for writers. Nonfiction writing will never be the same again.  This came up, oddly enough, when we had Nick Bilton of the New York Times on our show to talk about how Silicon Valley tech executives raise their kids -- many of them are low tech parents as it turns out. While he was in the studio, he dropped a few fascinating tidbits about how he reported his book, Hatching Twitter, which was just released in paperback. We were so intrigued, we decided to share the previously-untold backstory to how Bilton used Twitter to report on the founders of Twitter. And before you say, "well, duh." It goes way beyond what you'd expect.    Bilton scraped data from thousands of emails, Twitter handles, Flickr and Instagram photos to cross reference background information, fact check his off-the-record sources, and to find the crucial little telling details that make the book read an intimate insider account. For example, he would use a tweet to learn when someone’s meeting happened and their Instagram photo to see the coffee shop where it took place.  While Bilton is one of the first to employ this type of big (social) data investigation for the use of nonfiction storytelling, he will most certainly not be the last.  Subscribe to New Tech City's podcast to get all our future episodes automatically downloaded onto your device via iTunes here, or on Stitcher,TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or our RSS feed if you are into that kind of thing.
12/10/14·6m 43s

Screens and Kids: Do Techies Have Different Rules than the Rest of Us?

In a world of screens, parents face some tough questions: To limit or not to limit? By how much and when? How different is Candy Crush from Codeacademy? And what is all the new tech doing to our children? In this episode, we dive into the conundrum with the techies themselves -- the parents who code the apps and create the devices on your desk or in your pocket. We want to find out if they know something the rest of us civilians don’t. We’ll hear from Sameer Ajmani, a Google software engineer, who deployed some evidence-based parenting and experimented with screen time extremes for his seven year-old. It didn’t go so well as you might imagine, but the lessons were probably worth it. “The reality is that [tech execs] actually have a better understanding of where tech can go wrong than most non-tech parents do,” Nick Bilton. Nick Bilton, tech columnist for the The New York Times, joins Manoush to swap stories after informally surveying tech execs in Silicon Valley about their family rules. It seems the parents most entrenched in the tech world are the ones most weary of what they’ve created.  This episode will leave you thinking about your own house rules, whether or not you have kids. If you’ve figured it out, even just a little bit, we’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. If you like this episode, why not subscribe on iTunes here, or on Stitcher, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed. It only takes a few clicks and helps us a bunch. Thanks.     Resources mentioned in this episode:  OpenDNS is the tool Nick Bilton mentions to control what websites work in your house and at what hours is. Here are those rules Manoush mentions from the American Academy of Pediatrics about screen time for kids. Heard in this episode:  “Anything that you do in excess is probably not good for you,” Nick Bilton. “No parents in history have ever had to cope with the unprecedented convergence of a ubiquitous sophisticated alluring habit-forming screen technology and unfettered unregulated advertising," Susan Linn, founder of The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “Addiction in the 60s was about sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. The response in the 80s was safe sex education, say no to drugs, and the commoditization of popular music. This generation, the addictions are games, social media, and upbuzzclickbaitworthy articles.  What's the response?” Sameer Ajmani, parent and programmer.   
08/10/14·21m 47s

Killer Robots + Ancient Rules of War = Trouble

Can replacing human soldiers with robot warriors save lives and make war more humane? We try to find out in this episode. But as we learn, the laws of war are not written in computer code. Modern warfare is not ready for killer robots that "decide" without human input.  "When a robot gets blown up, that's another life saved." - Mark Belanger, iRobot. In this episode, we hear from the people making the robots as they show off their lethal products. We meet a former fighter pilot who touts the values of automation and likes lawyers sitting side by side with soldiers. Several experts tell us about the terrifying moral risks of letting machines think too far ahead of people in battle. We learn there could be lives to be saved, war could be made less atrocious if -- and it is a huge if -- the technology can advance side by side with the antiquated laws. In the end, we hear from the activists who want autonomous lethal weapons banned before they march on the enemy. A U.N. body has just begun to consider it. A version of this story won the German Prize for Innovation Journalism. It aired on Deutschlandfunk by Thomas Reintjes with help from Philip Banse.  Quotes heard in this episode:  "Maybe we can make war -- as horrible as it sounds -- less devastating to the non-combatants than it currently is." -Ronald Arkin director of the Mobile Robot Lab at Georgia Tech When to unleash the machines: "They must do better than human beings before they should be deployed in the battlefield." -Ronald Arkin  On why Las Vegas could be considered a target: "With Napoleonic-era combat, you knew where the battlefield was, right? With modern warfare, modern conflict, you really don't know, where the battlefield is." -Brad Allenby, Arizona State University "Robotics has been trying to do visual recognition for... a bit more than 50 years and we can just about tell the difference between a lion and a car. So the idea of putting one of these things onto a battlefield... and thinking it should discriminate between [innocent people] and insurgents is just insane." -Noel Sharkey Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. "In today's warfare, a drone pilot is looking on a screen, talking to potentially five to ten other people looking at that same screen, one of which is a lawyer." -Missy Cummings Duke professor and former fighter pilot  About autonomous lethal weapons: "These machines for the foreseeable future would fail to meet the requirements of international law." -Peter Asaro, International Committee for Robot Arms Control "The preemptive ban is the only thing that makes sense." -Stephen Goose, of Human Rights Watch If you like this episode why not share it with that friend of yours who always posts about military issues? To get future audio downloads of our program direct to your phone or computer, subscribe to the New Tech City podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or via RSS. It just takes a second. Thanks.
01/10/14·23m 36s

Backing Tracks: Why Live Music Won't Be Live For Long

Is your favorite band really playing live when you go see them? Not so much. This isn't about Milli Vanilli. It's about something artists love called backing tracks.  From Jay-Z to Justin Timberlake to the indie band at the local bar, performers are playing along to pre-recorded music to make themselves sound bigger, badder, fuller. In this episode, we ask: 'is it right to feel wronged as a fan of live music'? Alex Kapelman did. He's a musician and co-host of the documentary music podcast Pitch, where a version of this story first appeared. Click the audio player above to hear Alex and Manoush go on a journey of discovery to find out why backing tracks enraged him so much when he found out his favorite band was less live than he thought. Along the way we hear from musicians who make backing tracks, we listen to some huge non-backed tracks to show it can be done pure, and we meet Columbia University professor Jennifer Lena, who studies the sociology of music. She gives Alex a hefty smack down about music snobbery in the second half of the show.  Naturally, we couldn’t end this episode without taking our own stab at backing tracks. Call it Manoush’s debut single: Podcasting Glory, which premieres at the end of this episode. Hilarity ensues.  Quotes from this episode: On how pervasive backing tracks have become: “I think it's totally an industry standard at this point," Ian Pei, drummer of Avan Lava who also makes backing tracks for bands.  On the risks of backing tracks: "We we’re playing in front of 50,000 people, my computer’s plugged in not only to the sound system but also to the video screen. And... this giant beep goes off, and then my photo library is playing on a video screen in front of 50,000 people,” Ian Pei of Avan Lava. On why she uses backing tracks live: “Until it can be afforded to have like 20 musicians up there... until all those sounds can be replaced, then yes, I do feel it necessary," Brittany Campbell musician.  On why not to judge too rashly: “I don’t want us to have an artistic culture where the majority of the conversations we have about the stuff that’s really at stake for us is judging whether we’re right or somebody else is right,” Columbia Professor Jennifer Lena.  If you like this episode why not share it with two friends who love music, or who go to live shows. To get future audio downloads of our program direct to your phone or computer, subscribe to the New Tech City podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or via RSS. It just takes a second. Thanks.
24/09/14·22m 53s

The 'Bi-literate' Brain: The Key to Reading in a Sea of Screens

Paper or screen? There's a battle in your brain. The more you read on screens, the more your brain adapts to the "non-linear" kind of reading we do on computers and phones. Your eyes dart around, you stop half way through a paragraph to check a link or a read a text message. Then, when you go back to good old fashioned paper, it can be harder to concentrate.  "The human brain is almost adapting too well to the particular attributes or characteristics of internet reading," says Maryanne Wolf of Tufts University. She says we have to develop a 'bi-literate' brain if we want to be able to switch from the scattered skimming typical of screen reading to the deeper, slow reading that we associate with books on paper. It is possible. It just takes work.  One person who has done it well is Maria Popova, founder of In this episode, Manoush visits her home, marvels at the piles of books everywhere, and learns how Maria manages to read about a dozen books a week and still retain the information, organize ideas around a myriad of themes, and churn out multiple smart, insightful, original posts every day. She does it using a mix of digital and analog tools and techniques to help her read better. Quotes from this episode: On why a 'bi-literate' brain is important: "There are things in our lives, whether they be novels, short stories, mortgage documents, whatever, that actually need our slow reading," Mike Rosenwald, Washington Post staff writer. "In the old days before the internet, reading was a linear event," Mike Rosenwald.  On ideal reader: "What we're after is a discerning 'bi-literate' brain: A child who knows when to allocate attention to those deep reading processes and when to play and move from one interesting thing after another," Dr. Maryanne Wolf. The internet is not making us dumber but it is changing us: "I don't worry that we will become dumb because of the internet, but I worry that we will not use our most preciously acquired deep reading processes because we are given too much stimulation," Dr. Maryanne Wolf.   On the eventual convergence of screens and paper reading: "It's a very young medium. My hopes are that its imperfections will be addressed such that the medium is not of any difference," Maria Popova.  "I actually prefer electronic reading in some regards," Maria Popova. Resources mentioned in the audio: Mike Rosenwald's excellent Washington Post article on how serious reading is harmed by online reading.  Anne Mangen's University of Norway study comparing plot retention when reading a Kindle vs on paper. Maryanne Wolf's recent article about the brain's plasticity. (Full report) Book by Ziming Liu of San Jose University, "Paper to Digital: Documents in the Information Age" Also by Ziming Liu, a report on how reading behavior has changed in the past 10 years.  As far as visual fatigue goes, e-ink is a lot like paper according to this study in PLOS. And The New Yorker dove in too: "Being a better online reader."   If you like this episode why not share it with someone who reads a lot. To get future audio downloads of our program, direct to your phone or computer, subscribe to the New Tech City podcast on iTunes or via RSS. It just takes a second. Thanks. 
17/09/14·21m 55s

The View from Inside the Glass Cube

Intimate, exhausting, stressful, and satisfying... working in the Apple Store is far from an ordinary retail job. Especially this week. With Apple-mania sweeping the tech world following the announcement of the new iPhone 6 and a slick new Apple Watch, New Tech City is looking past the hot gadgets and straight at the people sweating away in the glass cube: Apple Store employees. "We don't have to sell anything... We could put up a vending machine and it would sell itself." Despite a strict Apple policy against talking to media, even after quitting, four former "specialists" tell us what they think of all the hype and of the people lining up for weeks outside the doors. We've got horror stories, confessions of Apple love, and tips for navigating a product release from the experts. Hint: you don't need to wait in line.  Quotes from this episode:  On the emotional toll: "I found myself counseling or consoling people twice my age in a way I never thought I would." On how to be good at the job: “When someone comes to you in tears, you just have to be a human.”  On getting the job: "I had to do four interviews. By the 4th one I was ready to tell them to stick it."  On how customers treat them: "If you go to an Apple store, just be nice. Please. That’s it." On the joys: "We couldn’t wait to help people… the most rewarding part of our job was getting to work one to one with people." On the culture: "When you start working at Apple you are just immediately indoctrinated to Apple culture." If you like this episode why not share it with someone you know & subscribe to New Tech City on iTunes or via RSS. It just takes a second.   
10/09/14·17m 1s

Ana and Mia: How Eating Disorders Evolved Online

Pro Ana. My friend Mia. Thinspiration. If you know these terms, you are familiar with one of the dark corners of the internet where vulnerable people go to find support in making bad life decisions.  These are pro-eating disorder communities that teach women how to be better at starving themselves. A language emerged to bypass bans and filters, replacing trigger words like anorexia and bulimia, with friendly phrases like: “my friends Ana and Mia.” Bone thin bodies, grim weight statistics, and frightening calorie counts are posted as goals and achievements, hashtagged #thinspiration. "When you are starving you don't feel emotion. So I hadn’t felt a lot in a while." These communities have existed as long as the internet, but 25 years after the start of the web, digital life has its tentacles around us in a different way. The threat has matured. Now, if you are trying to recover from an eating disorder, temptation is just a Tweet or Instagram away. And when a single picture of bony arm or a post about a celebrity who only weighs 100 pounds can mess with your recovery, it’s not just the internet that’s a dangerous place. It’s your whole world. This week on the podcast, the story of how a lonely young girl used the internet to get better at starving herself for over a decade without even her family finding out. And then, the online moment that changed her course to recovery. In this episode:  Joanna Kay opens up about growing up with anorexia alongside an ever evolving online threat. Sharon Hodgson remembers the dark days of running a Pro-Ana site for anorexics. danah boyd tells us why banning these sites -- as Italy has tried to do -- is a fools errand. Ideas for what could help girls like Joanna. Resources and where to get help:  Joanna Kay's wonderfully brave personal recovery blog: Middle Ground Musings. National Eating Disorder Association. You can call them at1–800–931–2237 or chat with them online. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Sharon Hodgson's recovery site, We Bite Back. Consider talking anonymously with a trained active listener at 7 Cups. If you are in a crisis, there are trained volunteers waiting to counsel you at If you found this radio program helpful or intriguing why not share it with someone you know and subscribe to New Tech City on iTunes or via RSS. It just takes a second. 
03/09/14·23m 55s

How to Be Smarter than Facebook

Habits are powerful. Tech companies know that. It's no accident we reach for our phones 150 times a day and spend more time scrolling through Facebook than caring for our pets. "Our brain loves to latch on to rewards that arrive quickly and Facebook has taught us to expect novelty after novelty," says author Charles Duhigg. "Our brain becomes trained at the pace of rewards, and then begins to crave that pace." But if you are wise to the tech companies' tactics, you can take control of your own habits. Charles Duhigg and New Tech City are here to help this week.  "These habits are powerful only when you are not aware of them. As soon as you make deliberate choices, the habit is delicate and falls apart." Duhigg wrote The Power of Habit: How We Do What We Do in Life and Business in 2012. It explains how habits are formed and altered and often manipulated. But his bestseller doesn't include much about technology even though Duhigg knows the tech sector pretty well -- so much so he won a Pulitzer Prize reporting on it. So in this episode of New Tech City, Duhigg updates his habit thesis to address the clever and devious advances in addictive tech that have come out in the past two years.   "If you decide you want to read something deep and meaningful, then your brain will actually begin assigning more reward salience to a New Yorker article and less to Facebook," Duhigg says. "But you have to make a deliberate choice." In this episode:  Why Uber and Seamless are so satisfying. Why Facebook makes you scroll down and down. What the bevy of new fitness tracking apps are really offering as a reward. What needs to happen for society at large to get smarter about tech habits.
27/08/14·16m 59s

Learning To Code and Losing My Mind (Reprise)

Coding is not for everybody. We admit it. But we should all take at least a peek under the hood of the computers and devices that power our lives. It's empowering. Starting at a screen full of cryptic code is daunting, confusing, and might just well up some latent math anxiety. That's how New Tech City host Manoush Zomorodi felt, which is exactly why she decided to dive in head first. She signed up for a one-day computer programming intensive. This episode chronicle's how it went.   In short: It began a jumble of doubt and worry with baggage from high school math holding her back. "I am going to have to commit an act of coding to bring my anxiety level down a notch," she decided by late morning during the theory portion of the day. Yet within hours, Manoush had made a mostly functioning web app for her kids. "The mere act of making it myself made it less scary," she concludes.   Along the way she gains a greater reverence for the language of our machines and for the people fluent in them. Manoush wrote about this wild ride in more detail here, when a previous version of this show first aired.   Also in this episode:  Keith Devlin, author of "Introduction to Mathematical Thinking" and many other books, describes the kind of thinker that tech firms are desperately looking for. The new tech economy needs mathematicians, but he says, of the kind of math that is not so much about numbers, as problem solving and pattern recognition. These skills can be learned! If you liked this story, please click here to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes / RSS to find our other episodes. We're on Twitter too: @NewTechCity Now watch Manoush learn to code, despite her 10th grade math teacher!   (This episode is a longer version, with additional information, of our show that aired on January 8.)
20/08/14·13m 23s

Me and My Girlfriend Texted Only in Emoji for a Month

Face it, Emoji is here to stay. Texting is visual, and images can enhance how we talk. But, will it also change the content of what we say to each other? In this intimate episode, one couple banishes all written words from text messages for a month to see how it alters their emotional vocabulary. Along the way they are forced to create their own lexicon of imagery -- oddly, not terribly unlike ancient Egyptians and Sumerians. Naturally, this 21st century couple hits a few comical communications mishaps as they build a visual language of two. At the end of the experiment, Emoji-only texting seems to morph from a guinea pig gimmick into a profound lesson in what is often missing from the written word: nuanced emotion.  Grocery shopping though gets way harder.  In this episode:  Richard Sproat, computational linguist on the history of ideograms and visual languages David Lanham, designer and creator of "stickers" for social networks on how he picks what zany characters you get to send your friends.   If you like this story, subscribe to us on iTunes or by RSS to get all our other episodes. Mentioned in the audio:  Image translation. Alex: I'm going home. Liza: I'm with a friend and she's had a death in the family, don't come to drinks with us. Alex: ? I'm gonna drink with other people instead.   (This is a re-edited, re-released version of an earlier show that covered additional topics: translating Moby Dick into Emoji and the story of Charles Bliss, the man who tried to build a global language entirely out of images.)
13/08/14·17m 34s

The Way Colleges Teach Computer Science Hurts Women

Only 12 percent of computer science majors are women. That's appalling. It's a shame, a waste and many other nasty words. But it is not hopeless.  Harvey Mudd College turned around its computer science gender problem with a concerted effort to quash what they call "the macho effect." A few vocal students who learned programming in high school can dominate and derail a class for everyone else. Those students tend to be male.  But as the college found out, it is not a zero sum game to serve those coding naturals and also lure in newbies, who tend to be female as often as male. There's more to it, of course, and it's a nuanced game to cut down on the macho without cutting out the well-meaning enthusiasm that causes it. This episode is about how they did it, and what it teaches us about gender and learning. One sample lesson: when computational thinking is framed broadly, about solving problems, about helping society, then just as many women enroll as men.  If you like these stories, subscribe to our podcast for more. (iTunes / RSS)
06/08/14·14m 31s

Three Award-Winning Stories

Three award-winning stories packed into one episode. This week New Tech City is bringing you updates on three short shows we did in the past year that won NY Press Club awards.  Story 1: Know Thy @Neighbor It’s not always so easy to make friends with your neighbors. Can technology help? Not for our intrepid host Manoush Zomorodi as she tries to grow her own social network for neighbors on her block. We find out what brings people together online and IRL. Plus, you get to meet Joanne, the gravel-voiced mayor of Manoush's street with all kinds of hot tips for the hood. (Original story) Story 2: Kids Are Like Software Author Bruce Feiler experiments on his family, running his household according to the Agile programming method. For those who don't know Agile, you'll get a intimate peak into how coders are so productive. For those who do know Agile, you'll chuckle at what a family meeting sounds like when run like a software scrum. And parents, you might just pick up a discipline tip or two. (Original story) Story 3: Can Mike Bloomberg Take Credit for NYC's Tech Boom?  This winner in the business reporting category chases down the real genesis of New York City's boom in tech talent and startups. The mayor at the time, billionaire Mike Bloomberg, likes to take credit for presiding over a tidal shift in NYC's economy. But as we find out, what might have mattered more than any policy was a talented programmer who just didn't want to live in Silicon Valley anymore. (Original story) If you like these stories and want to hear more, please subscribe to New Tech City on iTunes or anywhere else. 
30/07/14·22m 39s

Mining Your Voice for Hidden Feelings and Company Profits

There is a perfect tone of voice according to Dan Emodi. And he believes his technology can pinpoint it for you.  This is the second of two episodes about technology that dissects our voices, pulls them apart, and analyzes them digitally to understand our emotions. Hear how Emodi's company, called Beyond Verbal, is applying 20 years of "emotion analytics" to help us understand ourselves better. These products claim to be able to determine true emotions just from listening to you speak for 20 seconds. It could also determine if a salesperson is using the "perfect sales intonation" or if a given customer calling up is 'exasperated and furious' or 'exasperated and ready to listen'. Market research and call centers may be the early testing ground of emotion detection software, but the applications could end up working as a wellness tool or even a dating aide (humorously demonstrated in this video).    Listen to part 1 on tech and the human voice: mental health and medical research.  If you like these stories, please subscribe to New Tech City on iTunes or RSS. 
23/07/14·14m 35s

Dissecting Voices to Find the Hidden Call For Help

Amber Smith's voice is a symptom of illness and an alarm for looming danger, even if she doesn't always hear it herself. Amber has bipolar disorder and her mood swings are a risk: high highs can lead to massive spending sprees and low lows have dipped into suicidal territory. She's managing it now with medication. She's also testing out a new technology to try to catch a mood swing before it starts by using her cell phone to analyze the acoustics of her voice. Tiny variations in how she speaks, or you speak, can be clues to shifting mental states.  "Speech is incredibly rich it encodes so much of our behavior, it encodes information about gender, about our age, about our identity, and in this case about mood," explains computer engineering professor Emily Mower Provost of the University of Michigan. She and her colleague psychiatrist Melvin McInnis are testing out how to plumb the hidden signals and codes of a human voice to enable early action and better care for people with mental health issues.  It gets touching, it gets ambitious, and it's all pretty hopeful. Have a listen.  This is Part 1 of a two part series on voices and how computers and new technology can hear hidden meaning in how we speak. Next week: how this is being used to make products and profits. Subscribe to New Tech City here to make sure you don't miss it. 
16/07/14·14m 6s

Digital Mail vs U.S. Postal Service

This plan went way beyond email. The small startup Outbox had done its homework on the role mail plays in our lives, on the value people place on a letter and a catalog, and they imagined what mail could become. The plan to reinvent postal delivery for the digital age had real promise, the founders thought. So did investors and many customers. It was a new age of mail. And then... well, the Postal Service didn't want to play nice. In this episode:  The story of Outbox, a dream crushed.  What it takes to innovate at the post office. How other countries from Sweden to Namibia have more digital-forward mail services than the U.S. The proposals for postal innovation that have a chance at happening.  
09/07/14·24m 23s

Mindy Kaling, Girly Girls, and the Future of Tech

The 'get girls interested in coding' push is growing from techie pet project to mainstream movement. Now it has a celebrity spokesperson. A very girly spokeswoman to be precise.  "For someone like me who does identify as traditionally girly, it’s a good way to trick girls into thinking its fun and colorful and then they stay because they can do other stuff with it." Actress and TV producer Mindy Kaling of The Office and the Mindy Project is a spokesperson for Google's new Made With Code initiative. And she says, meeting girls where they are is definitely the way to go.  And if you look at the Initiatives and after school projects popping up left and right with names like Girls Who Code, Girl Develop It, Girls Teaching Girls to Code, Black Girls Who Code... well, there's a lot of pink mixed in with the computer science.  We want to know why? And if it is really necessary to embrace gender norms on the path to bridging the gender divide in tech.  (Listen to our episode 'The Way We Teach Computer Science Hurts Women' for a sense of why this is so urgent).   In this episode:   Mindy Kaling, actress, TV producer, first Indian-American to create and star in her own sitcom Jocelyn Leavitt, creator of Hopscotch (and best friend of Mindy Kaling) Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code Carol Colatrella, author of Toys and Tools in Pink And some 14 year old girls explaining code to host Manoush Zomorodi.   
02/07/14·18m 34s

The Flip Side of The Right to Be Forgotten

Our brains are wired to forget. The internet, not so much. That mismatch is a risk to our humanity.  Now that the the European Court has ruled that there is a so-called 'right to be forgotten' online, Google must consider requests to remove some search results in the name of privacy. American commentators went nuts over this. Free speech would be lost, went the outcry. A right to know would be buried, echoed the refrain. But maybe Americans are seeing it wrong. This week New Tech City hears from a man with a heart-wrenching plea for Google to forget one macabre photo, from a German lawyer inundated with new clients trying to jump on the forgetting bandwagon, and we talk to the philosopher Viktor Mayer-Schönberger who wrote the book that started the whole conversation about who should own your online identity and search results.  Forgetting, he says, "enables us human beings to evolve, to learn, to move forward, and if we undo that capacity to forget because our digital tools remember, then we are undoing a very important element of what makes us human."  We get thoughtful, personal, and a little European in this episode. Click play above to listen.  For more stories like this one, subscribe to our podcast via iTunes or RSS. And follow us on Twitter, won't you?   
25/06/14·22m 39s

The Bus of the Future Will Catch You

Matt George runs a new bus company that doesn't own buses. And he's making some big promises.  He says his company Bridj is going to "rethink the way mass transportation works for the first time, really, since 1897 when the first subway tracks were laid" in Boston, where Bridj just launched its first data-driven routes. George thinks that by crunching enough mobility data he can figure out where people need to go in almost real-time, and create or alter bus routes so there's always one when you need it, and they all go pretty much express. As for the not owning buses thing. Bridj will make the schedules and routes then contract actual bus companies for the wheels, much like the way Uber and other taxi apps use private drivers but don't employ any of them directly.  If George is right, his technology could fundamentally change the way people get around cities with something between a taxi shuttle and the subway. It could also become an elitist alternative public transit for the smartphone crowd. To find out — and to test out a few other transpo tech promises — New Tech City producer Alex Goldmark takes a road trip from New York to Boston using every possible means of high-tech-enhanced transportation and trip planning tools he could possibly find. Listen to this episode to hear how the future of transportation rolls... and lurches, and crashes. 
18/06/14·29m 1s

Your Posture May Change Your Math Skills

Fear of math is real. In fact, psychologists now use the term “math anxiety” to describe the panic many people — particularly girls and women — have about doing math. On this week’s New Tech City, host Manoush Zomorodi plays a new video game that is being developed to alleviate math anxiety by getting physical in front of a screen. Players move into so-called 'power poses.' It's all based on the incredibly popular TED talk below. The game Scoops! from NYU-Poly's Game Innovation Lab turns fractions into fun and attempts to put research about the mind-body connection to use all by making kids stand strong. Can it heal Manoush’s own math PTSD?   VIDEOS:   
11/06/14·15m 56s

It's Time to Start Talking About Robot Morals

Computer programmers are injecting machines with consciousness and the power of thought. It's time we stop and ask, 'which thoughts?' In this episode we hear how robots can become self-aware and teach themselves new behaviors in the same way a baby might learn to wiggle his toes and learn to crawl. Though this is happening now, Hod Lipson, Cornell researcher, tells us that uttering the word consciousness to roboticists is like saying the "C" word. It could get you fired. We say, it's time to start talking about robot morals.  However you look at it, Google's self-driving car is a robot and it will be entering our lives soon. So we talk with psychologist Adam Waytz of Northwestern University about his experiments measuring how people form bonds with robots, and how we naturally project human characteristics onto machines — for better or worse — including a friendly driver-less car named Iris.   By the end of this episode, we raise a lot of questions and offer a few answers about the ethics of living in a robot world. Please consider this the start of a conversation and let us know what else you want us to ask, answer, cover or investigate, including who you want us to interview next.  You can get in touch with us through Twitter, @NewTechCity or email us at newtechcity (at) And if you like this episode, please subscribe on iTunes, or via RSS. It's easier than finding your toes.    VIDEOS: We mention a few videos in the podcast. Here they are in the order they appear in the show.    Watch the full event with Hod Lipson showing off his thinking robots. He shows off his "Evil Starfish" starting around 14 minutes in. It "gimps along" best at 28 minutes in.     And here is Google's promotional video for it's first fully driver-less car.
04/06/14·19m 51s

Hi, I’m David, and I’m a Digital Addict

David Joerg has a problem and he knows it. Until a few months ago his nights would go something like this: He'd put his daughters to bed. He'd wait for his wife to fall asleep at a reasonable hour. And then he'd submit to his craving. "I'd fire up the computer, grab a sleeve of crackers and a fresh tub of Nutella, play video games," and anything else online. Over and over and over until dawn was creeping up on him. He was getting three hours of sleep or less some nights. "I would just be destroyed the next day and just limping through like a zombie." This is David's tech addiction. But he's beaten it. Part of the solution involved creating a special program for his computer that would outsmart him in his moment of weakness. You can request a copy of the program for yourself from David here.  Also in this episode, a reprise of a great Radio Rookies piece about how teens are "vamping" all night long, forgoing sleep to chat and click and post online from their beds. It's like an infinite sleepover that wreaks havoc on morning classes.  Stories of tech addiction on this week's New Tech City.  If you like this episode, why not subscribe to our podcast here, and follow us on Twitter here.     
28/05/14·20m 48s

The 'Home of the Future' Will Save the Planet... and Drive You Crazy

There's a neighborhood in Austin, Texas where the refrigerators tell stories. The roofs are paved in solar panels. There are more electric cars per capita here in the Muëller community than in any residential neighborhood in America. It's a kind of paradise and it could drive you nuts. It's also the future happening right now.  Even when she's out, Kathy Sokolic can tell when her husband gets home or leaves because the light switches leave a trail. In their house, every carbon footprint gets tracked as part of the Pecan Street Research Project. It's preparation for America's energy future. Seven hundred otherwise-normal homes have been wired to track how people really use energy when they have things like solar panels, smart thermostats and electric cars, lots of electric cars. The thing is, in the process of gathering all that information, the people who live here now are awash in data about themselves and that changes how they behave. Hear their story in this week's New Tech City.  If you like this episode, why not subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, or listen to past episodes in the green player on the right. Or follow us on Twitter.    EXTRAS: Here's the chart mentioned in the podcast where Sokolic spotted her refrigerator behaving oddly and took action!     VIDEO: Peek inside the homes of Muëller.
21/05/14·17m 41s

Sleep and Your Screens, Not Friends

This episode of the New Tech City podcast explores how technology has changed sleep through the ages, specifically through artificial light. Hear historian Roger Ekirch and psychiatrist Thomas Wehr explain how they each discovered the natural segmented sleep pattern our bodies want. And why we don't sleep that way because of modern technology. Plus, we learn what actually happens to our brains when someone actually does return to the ancient way of sleeping: "People would sometimes say they felt a kind of crystal clear consciousness when they were awake that was not familiar to them. And it made me wonder if any of us knows what it’s really like to be awake — fully awake,” Wehr says.   Even though technology is the problem, it can also be the solution. "You have people that are using their phones as alarm clocks, people who are checking their phones all night long... And every time you get that hit of light, it’s like a hit of espresso, and we’d like to fix that for everybody,” says Lorna Herf, co-creator of the app f.lux. She and her husband have an app and a plan. The revelations in this episode might be a wake-up call. You’ll sleep better after listening to this one. If you liked this episode, why not subscribe to New Tech City on iTunes and follow us on Twitter. 
14/05/14·16m 37s

How Businesses Are Rating YOU

Sure, you read Amazon reviews before you buy. Maybe you even take the time to rate those sneakers (“moderate arch support”) that you ordered from Zappos. But did you know a lot of companies are rating YOU? You probably have a few rankings and scores being kept about you right now.  This week is Part 2 of New Tech City’s exploration into the dark side of rankings in a Reputation Economy. (Here's part 1 if you missed it.) Host Manoush Zomorodi investigates how she got slapped with a bad Uber rating she wasn't even supposed to know about. But that’s just the beginning. Just as the Fair Credit Report Act regulated the use of personal information in private businesses in 1970, privacy advocates and now the White House are calling for laws that regulate opaque consumer scoring that’s extracted from petabytes of data. This is happening at banks, in car services, in marketing and more. As data privacy consultant Robert Gellman asks, “Now everybody is scoring everybody all the time on all kinds of characteristics. Do we all have to live according to a certain model in order to be treated properly in this economy?” All this data may lead to a new brand of “digital redlining,” where some customers get treated better than others based on algorithmic decisions. Data discrimination could solve or replace old style racism. We ask what should or shouldn’t be done about secret consumer scores on this week’s New Tech City. If you want more stories like this one, subscribe to the podcast, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. 
07/05/14·19m 54s

Yelp Reviews: The New Frontier of Free Speech

It's getting risky out there in the comment section.  This week on New Tech City we bring you a cautionary tale of e-commerce, fine print, and the drastic measures some online retailers will take to protect their reputations, even at the expense of consumers. In part two of our podcast, we explore how a court case over bad Yelp reviews might affect much wider online free speech. It gets extreme. It gets ugly. And it's going to keep happening as the reputation economy keeps growing. The issue is this: Retailers get nailed by a bad review. Sometimes it's honest, sometimes it's exaggerated, and sometimes the bad review is flat out false and defamatory. But either way, it hurts business. So retailers are trying various ways to stop the reviews from happening: from unfounded financial fees, to extreme copyright claims about the very right to post a review about an experience, to totally justifiable defamation lawsuits.  This is part 1, the thrills and dangers of rating a company, of a two part series. Part 2, the secret ratings companies keep on customers, is here.  If you like these kinds of stories, why not subscribe to the podcast or follow us on Twitter. 
30/04/14·23m 53s

Hiring by Video Game

The traditional job interview is obsolete. That is, when compared to an all-knowing video game that peers into the psyche of every candidate. Some companies are adding specially-designed video games to their hiring processes. When a job applicant plays one of the games — like the one we test out in this episode, Balloon Brigade — algorithms monitor the "micro-behaviors" within the gameplay to build a detailed, data-driven portrait of his or her strengths and weaknesses.  "This phenomenon, if it does continue to take hold, will really significantly change the way people are hired, the way people are promoted, and to some extent, the way they see themselves," says the Atlantic's Don Peck, who wrote about these new-fangled hiring practices in the excellent article, "They're Watching You at Work."  Good hiring is an art, but it's turning into a science replete with video games, intelligence tests and personality quizzes that can know you better than your boss, and maybe better than yourself. But... will this lead to a darker kind of professional determinism, or to a new breed of biased hiring? On this week's New Tech City, we find out. We get inside these new data-driven hiring practices so you know what to expect. We test out the video games and assessments for ourselves — to some shock and indignation. We hear from the people who make the games. And we show you what it is going to be like when you apply for your next job (so you can start studying).  If you like this episode, why not subscribe to hear more podcasts like this one. Or follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates. 
23/04/14·21m 15s

Inside Google X, The New Bell Labs

For the first time ever, Google has let a journalist into the secretive Google X labs where an eccentric team of big thinkers is hatching plans for the technology of tomorrow. We're talking about hoverboards, a space elevator and floating Wi-Fi hot spots for the developing world. The company talks a big game about chasing these "moonshot" ideas that could improve billions of lives. It's fanciful, it's ambitious, and it's a whole lot like AT&T's Bell Labs of a half-century ago. That iconic corporate research program brought us inventions — from the transistor to the computer coding language C — that form the backbone of just about every electronic device we touch. So we ask, can Google possibly pick up the torch? Well, maybe so.  In this episode, we consider if the conditions are right for the dawn of a new golden age of corporate invention. To help us along, researchers at Google X open up about their process, we consult archival tape from AT&T, and chat with Fast Company's Jon Gertner, the first journalist to visit Google X and author of the "The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation." For more Google X inside info, check out Jon's story in Fast Company or watch the video below that follows the X team through a day in the life of a wild idea. And if you like this New Tech City episode, why not subscribe to the podcast, or follow us on Twitter. 
16/04/14·16m 56s

China's One App to Rule them All

Forget Facebook or Twitter. With the inadvertent help of Chinese government censorship, an app called WeChat has taken over the lives of Chinese-Americans. It's part family lifeline, part public square, part dating site and it could be a model for the evolution of social networks.    This week on New Tech City, hear what's so special about WeChat as we journey through the hilarious story of a vexed husband trying to understand what makes this app so addictive and pervasive in Chinese-American circles. There's annoying patriotic sausages, smokey hot ladies, and a global tech ethnographer all mixed together. Good times.       
09/04/14·16m 57s

Parenting Strategies for the Digital Age

Shhhh...don’t tell the kids, but grown-ups are mostly just making up the rules as they go along, especially when it comes to technology and child rearing. This week on New Tech City, we give you a chance to sit and consider where YOU stand on screen-time, video games, and social media for our next generation. Four experts with radically different points of view, ranging from banning all devices, to full digital immersion, present their arguments. Plus we hear parents’ deepest fears and what the kids themselves think is the right way to help them grow up healthy and confident in the digital age. There is a happy balance between technology adoption, addiction. Join us as we try to find it. In this show we mention two past stories we've covered. Find more about how and why to build Minecraft computer with your kids and that summer camp experiment with cell phones. 
02/04/14·19m 23s

The Way We Teach Computing Hurts Women

Up until the mid 1980s, women flocked to computer science in droves. Then they dwindled away like the dinosaurs. Now, only about 12 percent of computer science majors are women and they hold just one in four "computer workers."*  It's bad, but not bleak. We bring you tales of success from technology's gender gap on this week’s New Tech City from the president of a college that quadrupled its female CS majors to a woman whose invisible friend named Ruby helps her code. You see, girls are attracted to what you can do with computer programming and the stories the code can tell. But that's not what most classes have taught. We bring you the story of the shift. Plus, inspiration from the first computer programmer ever, who just happened to be a woman and the daughter of a very famous literary figure.   Solutions, stories, and why rolling back tech's gender gap could make all the difference to the future of the U.S. economy. Yes, it's that big of a deal.  *A previous version of this post stated the incorrect percentage.
26/03/14·19m 39s

A Labor Revolution or a Return to Serfdom: Could You Thrive in the Gig Economy?

Freelance nation. Micro-work. The gig economy. Call it what you like, it's growing. But can you really make a living taking one-off jobs from websites like TaskRabbit or Fiverr? Fast Company writer Sarah Kessler gave it a try for one month and told us her story. She discovered that the labor revolution these tech companies promise only serves a very particular kind of worker... one who appreciates inconsistent and sometimes weird jobs and prioritizes pants-free mornings over health insurance and the minimum wage.  Plus, New Tech City has been experimenting with hiring people via the gig economy. Let us know in the comments section below if you like any of the new logos we commissioned from a graphic designer on Fiverr, where everything costs about $5. Or, did we just get what we paid for? We also want to hear your story of working in for websites like these, especially if it's different than the examples we cite.
19/03/14·13m 56s

The Hottest Thing From Google Is Over Before It Began

This post is by New Tech City host Manoush Zomorodi. 
12/03/14·8m 35s

The Simple Steps Behind World Class Efficiency

The Toyota Production System was developed to maximize efficiency on the auto production line, but some of its guiding principles — "just-in-time" and "built-in-quality" — can be applied to daily life as well.  Sure, the every day routines of individuals and families are vastly different from a manufacturing process where the similar tasks are repeated at a high frequency. People are not machines, and it's important to have space and time to adjust, connect, be spontaneous and enjoy the lighter moments in life all while accomplishing daily tasks. Here are five steps to follow as you try to manage your daily workload and make it more efficient. 1) Assess what needs to be improved. Ask yourself: What really needs improvement? What's causing confusion? What's wasting time and effort? 2) Sort, stabilize, sweep/shine, standardize and sustain. At Toyota, we call this "5S." It's a methodology for organization that can be applied to an area such as a work space to maximize effectiveness. 3) Consider bulletin boards for yourself or your family where you can map out tasks in a clear, visual way. (See how New Tech City applied it to podcast production here.) 4) Analyze your habits and routines. Use and improve them to make them smoother and apply "built-in-quality" and "continuous flow." That means taking an inventory of what tools you need to do a task like laundry, dishes, or washing your car and then listing out a sequence of events to follow. So here's how it could work in action with a simple example.  "Built-in Quality" Applied to Cleaning Your Home Look for a process or routine that your family does on an ongoing basis. Take a look at the chore closely so it can be executed more effectively. Take cleaning the family room as an example.  1. How often should it be cleaned? 2. What cleaning supplies are needed? 3. What parts can adults do? What parts can the kids do? Make a list of what needs to get done that's broken down into these parts.  4. How long should it take? This is helpful to know to understand whether your ahead or behind in achieving your goal of completing the task. 5. Once the job is done, ask yourself: Was the job completed to your satisfaction? Why or why not?   Achieving efficiency is a process, not a simple fix. It takes iteration, awareness and constant adjustment to find the right flow. Hear more about applying Toyota's principles of efficiency to daily life and, in particular, Manoush Zomorodi's daily work routine in the latest New Tech City podcast. 
06/03/14·8m 56s

Emoji Gone Wild: We Text Without Words for a Month

The more we access the web from mobile devices, the more visual our communications seem to become. Smartphone cameras enable us to express ourselves through the photos and videos we spread around on apps like Instagram and SnapChat. Meanwhile, a growing fleet of messaging services like WhatsApp, WeChat and Line make it even easier to incorporate imagery in our casual communications. Hundreds of millions of people around the world are using them to speak to one another in emojis and digital sticker sets, a trend that has grabbed the attention of Silicon Valley tech giants like Facebook and Google. This week on New Tech City, we try to find out if these new visual communication tools are expanding how we can express ourselves and relate to one another. You'll hear from an illustrator who designs emojis and stickers about what he's trying to express when he draws a wombat taking a bath and drinking a glass of wine. We'll also introduce you to several people who are testing the limits of visual communication: Data engineer Fred Benenson who oversaw a translation of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick into emojis, i.e. Emoji Dick;  Computational linguist Richard Sproat who explains the history of graphical languages in the plainest English imaginable, including the fascinating story of Charles Bliss's Blissymbolics; And you'll join us on the endearing journey of New Tech City's own Alex Goldmark and his girlfriend as they banish text from their text message diet and try to communicate with only emojis and digital stickers (no words). It gets pretty intimate, and confusing.   (Image translation) Alex: I'm going home. Liza: I'm with a friend and she's had a death in the family, don't come to drinks with us. Alex: ? I'm gonna drink with other people instead. 
26/02/14·26m 20s

Holstee Manifesto: The History of the One Motivational Poster that Pervades Startup Culture

The Holstee Manifesto motivates a bewildering number of startups and tech companies—Google, AirBnb, Threadless, Zappos, TED and more all hang the poster on their walls. This week's New Tech City podcast tells the story of how a list of simple, earnest, some might say naive, mantras meant to guide three young men through their 20s, became a must-have for all manner of companies in the tech industry. You'll hear how the friendly guys behind Holstee started out with a plan to innovate on the standard T-shirt, but made an unexpected pivot toward inspirational wall hangings when their own list of mottos went viral on the internet. "Our focus now is creating art that encourages mindful living," says co-founder Michael Radparvar. To hear more about Holstee's unlikely journey and what the popularity of the Holstee Manifesto says about the tech sector, click on the audio or subscribe to the New Tech City podcast on iTunes. And if you have this poster up in your office, let us know why you chose these words to motivate you? Or if you don't buy into this manifesto, why not? As you'll hear the audio, we don't expect everyone to eat this up, but many many people have.  Special thanks to all the staff of WNYC lending their voices to the audio incarnation of Holstee Manifesto poster at the end of the podcast.
19/02/14·18m 2s

Machine Learning + Love

Log onto an online dating site and you are asking a machine for romantic assistance. That's cool, but you might as well understand how it works, right? There's an algorithm picking and choosing which profile to put in front of which users, and sometimes it works—roughly a third of marriages these days begin online—and other times it doesn't. On this week's New Tech City, host Manoush Zomorodi tracks down some smart people who are writing, and improving the matching systems of dating sites. Kenneth Cukier, data editor at The Economist, explains "you'd be a fool to try to do online dating without machine intelligence, without machine learning." So we get him to explain what that means.  Kang Zhao, professor of management sciences at the University of Iowa, is a very smart guy who has a plan to make sure the matches in front of you are people you'd actually like, and who will actually respond to your messages. "There are ways to improve [profiles] because the information you have in your profile is sometimes just too much." And then we put all this to someone responsible for a whole lot of online meetings, VP of matching for eHarmony, Steve Carter, who says a few unexpected things, including that dating sites only work if you shake up your rigid mindset and embrace the real life, offline magic of face-to-face dating. 
12/02/14·14m 17s

The World Would be a Better Place if We [DELETED]

Let's embrace the delete key, and imagine a world where all our e-clutter wasn't just auto archived by big corporations. When you send a someone a message on Snapchat, for instance, the recipient has just a few seconds to digest the content before it vanishes. The social media service popular with millenials flies in the face of the autosave function that has dominated computing since the 1980s. And that is precisely why it is booming in popularity. This week New Tech City explores whether it's time for an auto-delete revolution. Host Manoush Zomorodi talks to experts from a email folder's worth of extremely smart people with niche expertises to find out how clicking 'delete' more would affect our memories, the environment, our relationships, and more. Plus, a prolific college-age Snapchatter explains why he loves when the photos and videos he sends to his friends just disappear. Don't worry, this podcast won't self-destruct in five seconds. 
05/02/14·20m 48s

Mindhacking: Finding Serenity in a Tech-Obsessed World

Join our host Manoush Zomorodi for a "digital detox" at the intersection of Buddhism and technology. Because, you see, Manoush is an addict. A Pinterest addict. Like many tech lovers who find it hard to unplug, she couldn't manage to power off her iPad during a recent home renovation project: "Just one more pin of Scandinavian kitchens or herringbone hardwood floors," she would plead with herself. The solution, she discovered, was what we're calling a "digital detox," a sort of juice-cleanse for the mind (minus the cayenne-lemonade). This week on New Tech City, you'll hear strategies and science from two experts about building a more purposeful approach to email and smartphones, on how to strengthen your IRL relationships and even rediscover the wonder of your neighborhood or town.  Priya Parker of Thrive Labs is a visioner who helps companies and leaders set goals and innovate in part by questioning the use of technology. You'll hear her tips for how to identify your core purpose and make sure tech is a tool — not an impediment — as you work to stay true to that purpose. You'll also hear from Vincent Horn, co-founder of Buddhist Geeks, a podcast/company/conference that seeks to bridge the gap between spiritual practice and technology. Stay to the end of our podcast for a special mini-meditation session led by Horn.   Alternately, if you have just one minute, this video is a fun motivational pitch for attempting to take control of your digital vices.  Some music in this episode provided by Podington Bear from the Sound of Picture Production Library. Find a soundtrack for your own project at 
29/01/14·20m 35s

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, But Does Airbnb?

Chris is a musician who makes $100 a night by renting out a room in his apartment on Manhattan's West Side through Airbnb, the short-term home rental service. In other part of town, Ken is a landlord whose former tenant in a Nolita building he owns broke various laws by altering and renting out an apartment through Airbnb. The two men have no connection with one another and haven't met, but they're on opposite sides of the debate over the rental website; a debate that has the attention of New York's Attorney General. His office subpoenaed Airbnb last year as part of an investigation into whether some of the people renting out their apartments are evading taxes and violating housing codes. Airbnb is fighting back and pointing out how it's helping New Yorkers and benefiting the city's economy. This week New Tech City examines Airbnb's legal limbo and how it's affecting landlords and hosts alike. Plus, office buildings have digital locks, but the technology is just starting to go residential. One man who installed the high-tech locks at his home in Connecticut and the results: Good (unless your battery explodes).
22/01/14·14m 57s

How to Be a Young Boss (Or Work for One)

There are a lot of baby-faced CEOs in the tech sector. But how can someone who's never had a job be a great boss? We bring you three (and a half) personal stories about running companies at extremely young ages, or working for a 24 year-old boss—including the ego wrangling that comes with this flipped age dynamic. There comes a point when CEOs in their 20s have to hire employees in their 30s and 40s or older, especially for C-suite roles (even if the C-suite is starts out as a dumpy conference room). This week on New Tech City, you'll hear stories of young leaders learning to lead including Brian Wong, the 22-year-old head of Kiip, two founders that are even younger, and Arjun Dev Arora of Retargeter. Plus, what happens when an employee pushing 40 is asked to forgo her own hotel room and share a bed with her 24 year-old boss and coworker to save money. 
15/01/14·15m 21s

Cicada 3301: The Great Internet Mystery Solved!

For the last two years in January, an enigmatic message has appeared on the internet from an unknown source signed "3301," sending thousands in search of answers to increasingly complicated puzzles and mysteries. But for whom, and to what end? Welcome to Cicada 3301, the "internet mystery that has the world baffled." To solve it, you need to know not only programming and encryption codes, but pre-Christian literature and Mayan numerology (it also helps to have friends around the world). This week New Tech City dives into the internet thriller made up of elaborate secrets and meets the people trying to solve the mystery. It’s a journey through obscure message boards that branches out across the internet and eventually around the globe. 
01/01/14·25m 17s

The Tipping Point: How Amazon Reached It and Why This Startup Hasn’t

For this Christmas edition of New Tech City, a look back at two of our favorite segments from 2013. If you're like millions of other shoppers, you probably ordered at least a few gifts on the online retailer Amazon this holiday season. And even if your packages weren't delivered by drones, you won't want to miss my interview with Bloomberg Businessweek senior writer Brad Stone about his book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. And it's not just about how Bezos's ingenious (sometimes controversial) tactics for selling us everything under the sun, but also insights into the CEO's aspirations for space travel and the giant clock he's building in a remote part of the world. Plus, a look at the startup Nextdoor, it wants to be a kind of Facebook for neighborhoods. Will you be its friend?
25/12/13·15m 41s

Dude, Where's My Bitcoin? Tales of Real People Dealing With a Virtual Currency

Bitcoins. Bitcoins. Bitcoins. These days, you can’t swing a digital cat without reading a story about the digital currency that’s got tech and financial reporters all in a froth. It’s complicated (though h/t to Quartz and its explanation about how it all works) and at times, hard to figure out how to make it relevant to everyone else. That is until I heard two stories about bitcoin that make up this week’s New Tech City.  First, there’s Gina Fox, a self-described "old mom" from Rhinebeck, New York, who misplaced as many as 100 bitcoins. So you know, in real life dollars, that could be worth about $100,000.  Can she find them?  Then, the second story, bitcoin goes locally-sourced near the organic aisle at a Whole Foods (and not in Brooklyn…yet…). Where bitcoin dealers meet for some face to face trading.  Slightly odd considering it’s a virtual currency. 
18/12/13·20m 39s

Can You *Like* God?

The millenial generation has a reputation for selfies, oversharing and cat memes, but many faith leaders are flocking to platforms like Facebook and Twitter to attract more of these young people to the church. In this week's episode, reporter (and lapsed Catholic) Marielle Segarra visits several tech-savvy churches in and around New York City to see if worship via smartphone apps and social media can bring her back into the fold. Click on the audio to hear Segarra's personal journey and how one Long Island pastor tracks down parishioners away at college to make sure they are going to Mass.   Do you have any personal stories about technology and faith?  Leave a comment below or tweet us at @NewTechCity.
11/12/13·15m 32s

How To Kick Digital Butt in a 21st-Century Workplace

Workers of every age have to keep their tech smarts up to date to stay relevant in today's workplace. 
04/12/13·22m 59s

I Love You Mother Earth, But I Love My iPhone More

You love the planet and your gadgets, so how do you find a balance?
27/11/13·18m 44s

Bringing the Internet to Public Housing, Your Neighbors and a Unicorn

This week on New Tech City, we're crossing the digital divide. 
20/11/13·23m 39s

These Games Could Be Good for Young Brains

Games have power, so this week, we play a few that can motivate kids to learn more, whether they realize it or not. And we see how a test case of a new technology for football might help keep young heads safer (and smarter) from injury.
13/11/13·22m 42s

A Civic Call for NYC Techies: Bring Digital Talent into Public School Classrooms

Andrew Rasiej, chairman of NY Tech Meetup, argues that tech talent can do more for kids and New York's tech sector, if talented programmers get more involved in the classroom.
11/11/13·8m 51s

Programming Families: How Kids are Like Software, and What the Government Could Learn From It

Coders have a very specific way of working, it’s called Agile.  One family decided to apply it to their lives.  What if had too?
06/11/13·15m 55s

Tiny Estonia Beats the U.S. on E-Voting

The tiny Baltic nation of Estonia puts the United States to shame when it comes to electronic voting (not to mention marinated eel served cold and teaching little kids to code.)
04/11/13·5m 55s

Safety Nets: Broadband & Wifi in a Post-Sandy World

This week New Tech City looks at New York's internet connectivity a year after Sandy knocked out communications for so many New Yorkers.
30/10/13·20m 54s

Who Is Jeff Bezos? And What is Amazon?

He wants to find in a cheaper way to get to outer space.  He’s building a clock that ticks once a year, moves its "century hand" once every hundred years and chimes once a millennium.  Oh, and he’s also the CEO of the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.  He is Jeff Bezos.
28/10/13·10m 52s

Coffee and E-Cigarettes

No heavy subject matter this week. Instead, we're diving into two subcultures that have been transformed by tech: Coffee and cigarettes. If you've never heard of a burr grinder or cartomizer, this podcast is for you. 
23/10/13·21m 24s

Freelance Nation: “The Greatest Economic Transformation in Human History”?

More and more micro-entrepreneurs are using online services like Etsy, Kickstarter, Uber and Lyft to create their own jobs. Welcome to the new DIY economy.
16/10/13·18m 23s

When the FBI Knocks: A Techie’s Moment of Truth

The recent revelation that companies like Google and Facebook routinely hand over data about users' digital communications to the National Security Agency has many Americans wondering whether everything they do online is being tracked by the government. 
09/10/13·20m 47s

How Twitter Created Connections But Drove the Founders Apart

As Twitter's lawyers prepare to take the company public, they aired some of the company's financial dirty laundry in a regulatory filing this week, confirming that the social media service continues to lose money.
04/10/13·3m 42s

Mutated Code and the Amish Algorithm

Two groups of people that shy away from many technologies — Amish and Mennonites — are actually on the cutting edge when it comes to genetics. 
02/10/13·16m 40s

Obamacare and the Biometric Bracelet Experiment

It’s Obamacare-time! 
25/09/13·18m 22s

NYC Tech: Who’s Your Daddy?

Mayor Bloomberg likes to take credit for transforming New York City into the second biggest technology economy in the country. Does he deserve it? 
18/09/13·15m 25s

Phones + Mischief: From Muggers to Dennis Crowley

This week New Tech City takes you into the bodegas, laundromats and back alleys of New York's black market for stolen cell phones.
11/09/13·19m 30s

A Google Map of Our Brains: The Next Chapter in Neuroscience

Scientists in New York City are at the center of President Obama's brain research initiative, a $100 million effort to better understand the inner workings of the human noggin. 
04/09/13·21m 36s

Real Estate, Rackets, Risk: When Rules Get Rewritten

When it comes to finding just the right sized office space, New York City's tech companies are turning to subleases because they are not ready to sign five to 10 year leases favored by the city's landlords.
28/08/13·15m 57s

Know Thy @Neighbor: The End of Urban Anonymity and Rural Solitude

Simple experiences, like borrowing a ladder from a neighbor or just taking a long solitary hike, are being altered by tech.
21/08/13·18m 2s

Grossology, Tolerant Taxis + Smart Bikes

Experiments in the life sciences, taxi technology and bike sharing are helping regular people do DIY scientific research and transform the way they get around. 
14/08/13·15m 5s

Computerized Confessions: Biographies and Wedding Toasts in the Digital Age

Biographers have relied on handwritten letters for centuries, but more and more, they're using emails, texts and online chats to tell the story of a person's life.
07/08/13·15m 43s

Your So-Called Future Life: Homes and To-Do Lists Get 'Smart'

In the smart home of the future, your milk jug will tell you when your milk has gone sour, your plants will text you when they need watering and with solar panels on your roof, you may not even need to be connected to the power grid. 
31/07/13·20m 50s

Online Shopping Gets Real

Some e-retailers are shifting their strategies and deciding to open brick-and-mortar stores, hoping to lure customers who might not be comfortable purchasing a pair of shorts or eyeglasses without first trying them on. 
24/07/13·7m 46s

Brain Drain: New York City Losing Out in Brain Biz

New York City is a leading center for neuroscience research, so you'd think it would stand to benefit from President Obama's new $100 million initiative to map the human brain. Well, not so fast. 
17/07/13·17m 20s
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