Friday, August 26, 2011

Planet Money podcasts

I've been a huge fan of the NPR Planet Money podcasts ever since I discovered the show at the end of last year. The most recent show (Aug. 24) was their 300th show and I have been an avid listener since mid-October last year (show #219).

I am therefore extremely happy to have someone from the Planet Money team, Adam Davidson, appear in our course. Information about his guest lecture can be found on the official course blog.

Since Planet Money is my favorite radio show/podcast, I would like to add some value to that lecture (and to your lives) by sharing some of my favorite recent shows with you. Enjoy!

#219 - Would you rather be rich in 1900, or middle-class now?
Would you rather:
A. Live in 1900 and make $70,000 a year, or, B. Live today and make $70,000 a year?

#222 - Why the price of lettuce in Brookly matters
We go shopping with George Minichiello, one of hundreds of federal employees who goes to stores all over the country and record the prices of thousands of different things. Their work drives the consumer price index, a key economic indicator that measures inflation in the U.S.

#229 - Why gold?
Out of all the elements on earth, why does gold hold such a privileged place in human history? Our guide, a professor of chemical engineering at Columbia University leads us through the periodic table of elements, crossing off everything that couldn't really take the place of gold.

#235 - A giant stone coin at the bottom of the sea - my favorite!
What is money? This question led us to Yap — a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where for hundreds of years people used giant stone discs as a form of money. Those stone discs say a lot about the meaning of money.

#238 - Making Christmas more joyful, and more efficient
Gift-giving makes economists crazy. It's so inefficient! So we wondered: Is there a way to make the holiday season both more efficient and more joyful? On today's Planet Money, we try to answer that question by conducting a wildly unscientific experiment.

#249 - Egypt's military, Inc
The Egyptian military largely sided with the protesters in the streets of Cairo not only because the military supports the people but also because the military sells the people lots of stuff. We look at the Egyptian military's deep business ties to everything from dishwashers to resort hotels and consider how those ties influence the military response to the crisis.

#255 - The difference between Egypt and Libya
When Egyptians rose up against their government, the Egyptian military protected them. When Libyans rose up against their government, the military started shooting. On today's Planet Money, we try to figure out why the responses were so different.

#259 - Fourth graders read a credit card agreement
Today, we read the thing you've never read: your credit card agreement. Does it really have to be so long and complicated? We talk to a lawyer who says yes, we talk to a consultant whose job is to make it simpler and we ask 4th graders to read a credit-card agreement and tell us what they think.

#275 - Is this man a snuggie?
Jonathan Coulton used to work as a computer programmer, now he writes songs about white-collar zombies and lovesick programmers. He doesn't have a record label, but he makes about $500,000 a year from his music. He tours, licenses his music, and sells songs and merchandize from his website. Is Coulton a fluke, or is he a new model of how to make a living as a musician?

#282 - Inside the credit card black market
If you know the right people, you can go online and buy huge bundles of stolen credit cards. On today's show, we sit in with Keith Mularski of the FBI. He takes us to a giant online mall for stolen credit cards, where vendors offer discounts for repeat customers and banners advertise hacking and phishing tutorials.

#286 - Libertarian summer camp
We travel to a summer festival where people are trying to live without government interference. A place where you can use bits of silver to buy uninspected bacon. A place where a 9-year-old will sell you alcohol. We wondered how you, say, buy breakfast without involving the government? It's not easy.

These podcasts are for your listening pleasure. Don't forget to first listen to the two Planet Money podcasts that will prepare you Adam's guest appearance in the course!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Welcome to this blog - it is all yours!


At the moment, it seems 64 students will take the course DM2571 Future of media. The course has a new theme every year (last year's theme was "Future of music/Music of the future").

This year's theme is "Future of radio/Radio of the future".

Throughout the course, all of us will together come across many different interesting examples of developments in radio (and podcast and web/internet radio and so on) that point towards the future. This blog is where you post information about what you come across so that we all can learn about and benefit from the information that we all together come across. 68 pair of eyes are better than 2!

All students who take the course will be invited to become contributors and all students will thus be able to post blog entries here.

Feel free to post whatever you come across that you think is interesting and that has a relationship to things we have read, or seen, or heard in the course, or that in general is related to the future or radio and radio of the future!

Also feel free to check out others' posts and please also comment on them. Hopefully some blog entries will generate lively discussions!


Daniel Pargman & Åke Walldius