technology | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

technology

Netflix, Inc.

Elon Musk will host tomorrow night's Saturday Night Live. It is, if nothing else, an odd choice.

Speaking of choices, Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Sitcoms of All Time is out this week.

Finally, This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist is a four-part Netflix docuseries about the 1990 robbery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The burglary was the largest museum heist in history in terms of value (thought to be as much as $600 million) until 2019.

Courtesy Dr. Willard Wigan, MBE

This is the first installment of Audacious Little Things!

Meet an anthropologist who explains why she thinks the human animal delights in making miniatures of things, and then meet a sculpturist dubbed “The 8th Wonder of the World” whose art requires a microscope to see.

David Stewart Home Gets / Creative Commons

Many of us subscribe to a few (or many) newsletters of our favorite writers and thinkers. Newsletters have become a great way for journalists and others to dive deep into less covered topics and engage directly with their readers in ways not always possible in the mainstream media ecosystem.

The platform Substack is making it easy for them. The subscription-based model offers writers more editorial control and the ability to offer free content and earn a sustainable salary at a time when public trust in media is low, local news is thinning and media content is often driven by social-media algorithms.

Blink!

Apr 30, 2021
Designed by macrovector_official at Freepik.com

When I say BLINK! What do you think? 

Of that American POW who blinked the word “TORTURE” in Morse code live on Vietnamese television? 

Or do you think of someone with locked-in syndrome who can only communicate by blinking? 

Portrait of Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel
Federal Communications Commission

Telehealth, Google Classrooms, and Zoom have become essential for daily life in the pandemic.

This hour, we learn about the role of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make sure all Americans have access to broadband internet.

We talk with the FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a West Hartford native.

Snow-covered mailboxes with tall piles of snow behind them in Boston after the January 2015 blizzard
Whoisjohngalt / Wikimedia Commons

The term global warming makes it clear that climate change is raising temperatures around the world. But climate change and a melting Arctic will shape our weather in New England in a whole host of other ways as well.

This hour: from extreme storms to “weather whiplash”, we look at the science behind why climate change is making our weather...weirder.

Pixabay

Broadband access is not just a convenience, it’s essential for life under COVID-19. 

This hour, we take a look at Connecticut’s digital divide. We talk with a researcher whose report highlights the stark racial and economic disparities in internet access in our state.

Governor Lamont has proposed universal broadband by September 2022. But is the state taking strong enough steps to put all residents on an equal footing when it comes to internet access?

Apple

As with all weeks, it's been a strange week.

First there were the Cinnamon Toast Crunch shrimp tails. And then an enormous container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal. And now there might be another toilet paper shortage. Which would be bad for the Amazon drivers who have to poop in their trucks.

Maybe it's been an especially strange week.

Leeber / flickr creative commons

On March 6, Lou Ottens died in Duizel in the Netherlands. He was 94. I don't think I had ever heard of Ottens before, but the news of his death quickly filled my social media feeds. Ottens, you see, invented the compact cassette in the 1960s.

There's a certain romance to the cassette tape, right? They're more fun than mp3s, for sure. And it turns out they're having a little mini resurgence right now.

Tom / Creative Commons

A 2019 YouGov survey says that 20 percent of American adults "definitely" believe in ghosts; another twenty-five percent believe they "probably exist."

And, while no data yet proves it, there's a good chance that quarantining at home during the pandemic has led more people to wonder where those nighttime creaks and groans are coming from.  

Some skeptics say that seeing ghosts is part of the human experience and far too common an occurrence for everyone who thinks they see a ghost to be crazy. But there are a lot of reasons to explain why we sincerely believe we're seeing a ghost. Yet, it's hard to convince people otherwise - even when confronted with evidence to the contrary.

In the end, psychologists can offer explanations but no one can definitively prove ghosts don't exist. 

Image of the Wikipedia logo on white background
Eukaryogurt / Wikimedia Commons

When you want to learn about an obscure topic, where do you turn? For many, it’s a free, online encyclopedia which now contains more than 55 million user-created articles. This hour, we talk about 20 years of Wikipedia.

Olgierd Rudak / Creative Commons

We produced our first show on masks in the spring of 2020. It was when most of us were isolated at home to sidestep the life-threatening illness we've come to call "COVID." The show was about how rapidly masks had become a statement of political identity.

The intensity of the mask battles has begun to calm as we've acclimated to the pervasiveness of masks in our lives. Like them or not, they're here to stay, and they've begun to leave a lasting imprint on our culture.

WarnerMedia Direct, LLC

In a new essay for Harper's, filmmaker Martin Scorsese criticizes the current state of the movie business and all these new fangled streaming platforms and their algorithms. "We can’t depend on the movie business, such as it is, to take care of cinema," Scorsese says.

And: Judas and the Black Messiah is a biopic of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. It is director Shaka King's studio feature film debut, and it's nominated for two Golden Globe Awards. It is one of two movies nominated for Golden Globes this year that portray Hampton (along with The Trial of the Chicago 7).

Portrait of Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel
Federal Communications Commission

Telehealth, Google Classrooms, and Zoom have become essential for daily life in the pandemic.

This hour, we learn about the role of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make sure all Americans have access to broadband internet.

We talk with the FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a West Hartford native.

Pixabay

Broadband access is not just a convenience, it’s essential for life under COVID-19. 

This hour, we take a look at Connecticut’s digital divide. We talk with a researcher whose report highlights the stark racial and economic disparities in internet access in our state.

Governor Lamont has proposed universal broadband by September 2022. But is the state taking strong enough steps to put all residents on an equal footing when it comes to internet access?

Jason Howie / Wikimedia Commons

Before extremists stormed the US Capitol, groups had been organizing and inciting violence on our most common social media apps. 

This hour, how much of a role did social media play in that riot? Extremists had a home on the web long before the existence of Parler, an alternative social media network.

A screen showing icons of multiple different television streaming services
Harrison Weber / Flickr

2020 is finally almost over, and it’s time for a break. But if your holiday plans are looking different than normal, we’ve got you!  This hour, we talk with NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans, who gives us his recommendations on what to binge watch over the holidays.

We also check in with Vox book critic Constance Grady about her recommendations from the best books of 2020.

And later: are you among the 67% of Americans who play videogames? We talk with Washington Post videogame reporter Gene Park about his favorite games of the year. If you’re not a gamer yet never fear—we talk about how to get started exploring the world of gaming.

Blogtrepreneur / Creative Commons

It could be months or years before the US government knows the full extent of last week's sophisticated cyberattack that targeted private tech and security companies and federal agencies like the Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Administration.

President Trump dismissed the significance of the attack, tweeting that "everything was under control." He refused to criticize Russia for the attack, claimed without evidence that it could be China, and contradicted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's acknowledgement of Russian involvement. Yet, the President continues to fight the election results and has considered declaring martial law to overturn the election.  

Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

The state’s new covid exposure app for cellphones has reached over 600,000 downloads in less than a week.  Launched last Thursday, the app for iPhone and Android systems lets people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The Truth About Lies

Nov 10, 2020
Mike Roberts / Creative Commons

Laszlo Ratesic is a nineteen-year veteran of the Speculative Service. He lives in the Golden State, the only place left in what was once America. Laszlo's job is to bring the worst criminals to justice, those who tell lies. In his new novel, Ben Winters creates a world which might sound Eden-esque in our era of misinformation. 

Updated Thursday at 10:55 a.m. ET

Some U.S. hospitals have been hit by coordinated ransomware attacks designed to infect systems for financial gain, federal agencies and a private-sector cybersecurity company warned on Wednesday.

A joint advisory by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI says there is "credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat" to U.S. hospitals and health care providers.

Ruth Hartnup / flickr creative commons

We wake up to coffee from a pod, listen to music through our EarPods from our iPods, drive our Smart cars and Fiats and other increasingly pod-shaped vehicles, wash our clothes using Tide pods, and while we wait for the clothes to dry, we listen to our favorite podcast through our AirPods from our HomePod. Sound about right?

Updated at 7:52 p.m. ET

Quibi, the mobile-first streaming service to specialize in original shows with short five to 10-minute-long episodes, is shutting down its business operations and selling its assets little more than 6 months after launching, according to a statement released by the company.

It was an abrupt ending for a company founded by big names in entertainment and business worlds and seemed poised, at one point, to reinvent the streaming TV game.

Alyssa L. Miller / Creative Commons

Our ancestors viewed sleep as a highly sensual and transcendent experience. Today, about a third of adults have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or feeling rested. We're becoming a nation of insomniacs.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Jobs at Pratt & Whitney, the jet engine maker headquartered in East Hartford, may soon be cut due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on commercial air travel.

Olgierd Rudak / Creative Commons

We produced our first show on masks in the spring of 2020. It was when most of us were isolated at home to sidestep the life-threatening illness we've come to call "COVID." The show was about how rapidly masks had become a statement of political identity.

The intensity of the mask battles has begun to calm as we've acclimated to the pervasiveness of masks in our lives. Like them or not, they're here to stay, and they've begun to leave a lasting imprint on our culture.

Illustration by Chion Wolf

When you were growing up, you probably heard about famous inventors. Maybe you thought they were brilliant. Rigorously trained. Confident. Capable. And that their inventions advanced humankind through and through.

But Dr. Ainissa Ramirez spent the last 5 years writing a book that strips away those presumptions. In The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, she paints portraits not of how inventors settled questions of the limits of technology - but of how much further we still have to go.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Are Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple "emperors of the online economy" that stifle competition and hurt consumers? Not surprisingly, the tech giants' chief executives told Congress: absolutely not. The concern that too much power is concentrated in too few companies is unfounded, they said Wednesday.

Alyssa L. Miller / Creative Commons

Our ancestors viewed sleep as a highly sensual and transcendent experience. Today, about a third of adults have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or feeling rested. We're becoming a nation of insomniacs.

Tony Hisgett / flickr creative commons

Sand is the most abundant material on Earth. And, other than water and air, sand is the natural resource we consume more than any other -- more, even, than oil.

The pyramids are made of sand. Our roads and driveways and sidewalks are made of sand. Concrete buildings and their concrete foundations are made of sand. From computer chips to computer screens, window panes to lightbulbs, breast implants to the Hubble telescope, sand is basically the essential building block of civilization.

Humans are estimated to consume almost 50 billion tons of sand and gravel every year.

Oh, and, by the way: We're running out of it.

Pages