Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from February 5, 2018 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

Mondays 6 - 7pm (EST) | On WFMU (Info) | 91.1, 90.1, 91.9 FM & wfmu.org
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Upcoming events:

Mon. Feb 24th, 6pm - 7pm: Rana Foroohar, author, "Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles — And All Of Us" (More info...)
Mon. Mar 2nd, 6pm - 7pm: Mark H. with Co-Host Mary Wing
Mon. Mar 9th, 6pm - 7pm: Mark H. with Co-Host Station Manager Ken

Options February 5, 2018: Christopher Potter, author of "Earth Gazers," on tech and our image of humanity

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Techtonic meetup THIS SATURDAY! Sign up for WFMU Movie Night at Monty Hall this Saturday, Feb 10 - doors at 7pm, show at 7:30pm. We'll be watching The Road Movie, a full-length documentary made from Russian dashcam videos.

This evening on Techtonic: Christopher Potter, author of The Earth Gazers: On Seeing Ourselves, discussing how technology can help us understand who we are. The American space program produced the first images of earth from space, leading to a new awareness about our relationship to the environment - and each other - and igniting an early interest in watching human activity from space.

At the same time, it is possible to know too much. Today's digital tech seems to give us images and data of everything, regardless of whether it's helpful or harmful. A good example is the latest dust-up from Strava, the app that maps your jogging route...

Above, a map generated by the mobile app Strava, showing the jogging routes of its users.

This Guardian piece quotes Strava's response: "We are committed to helping people better understand our settings to give them control over what they share." In other words: check your settings.

But first...

Recent tech news:

An amusing piece in Wired, by Robbie Gonzalez, argued that tech addiction might not even exist. There's just no "direct evidence." Uhh... OK, Wired. Last week's show quoted Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff arguing that addictive tech needs to be regulated like cigarettes... we've also heard from Sean Parker, founding president of Facebook, decrying the addictive tech he helped create - "God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains" - and YCombinator's Sam Altman, who wrote - what was it? Oh yes:

I look forward to Wired's followup article reporting on how Sam Altman, Sean Parker, Marc Benioff, and dozens of researchers are all totally wrong! Tech addiction just doesn't exist! (One past Techtonic guest would certainly agree: Nir Eyal, author of "Hooked," said as much in my interview with him.)

Meantime, the New York Times reports that health experts are pleading with Facebook to please turn off Messenger Kids, the new kid-oriented Facebook app trying to hook users while they're young. Turn it off? I'm sure Mark Zuckerberg will get right on that.

Finally, a great list of non-Google, non-Facebook alternative apps & sites for all your online needs, aka "How to Live Without Google." Written by Gabriel Weinberg, founder and CEO of Duck Duck Go (and last week's guest on Techtonic).

Put down the screen.
Avoid Google and Facebook.
And see you Saturday for our movie night meetup here at WFMU's Monty Hall.

- - -

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Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Christopher Potter, author, "The Earth Gazers," on humanity's relationship with technology.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options    
  Mark's intro  
0:01:25 (Pop‑up)
  Interview with Christopher Potter, author of "The Earth Gazers"  
0:16:17 (Pop‑up)
  Your calls and comments  
0:33:07 (Pop‑up)

Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark and all!
  6:03pm melinda:

Howdy Techtons
Avatar 6:03pm Number Six:

Good Evening, Mark & All!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Webhamster Henry:

The motto of addiction:
I can stop any time I want to.I just don't want to.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm Michael 98145:

I don't have a drinking problem - i get all i want.
Avatar 6:05pm northguineahills:

Culinary geography, two of my loves together!
Avatar 6:05pm geezerette:

Hiya,Mark! and Melinda's famous Techtons!
Avatar 6:07pm northguineahills:

Hey, I helped develop Nike's app that tracked your routes to compare them to your friends (back then, it was just Nike +). That was a fun (but exhausting), job.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm ultradamno:

Digits, gotta have 'em. One, Two, Three, Four. FOUR DIGITS MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Michael 98145:

( eye in the sky : www.washingtonpost.com... )
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Webhamster Henry:

My name is Webhamster Henry and I'm a computer addict. It WAY predates the internet.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Bas NL:

Not addicted.. but the Montyhall gig.. will that be streamed live?
Avatar 6:11pm βrian:

For those who need it, here's a library-friendly link to find Earth Gazers.

  6:13pm Listener Robert:

ALL addiction is a belief system.
Avatar 6:13pm TDK60:

1st time posting here. Hi Mark! Does this mean those young adults walking down the street, looking at their electro-gizmos, expecting you to jump out of their way, aren't addicted? You mean they're merely being annoying?!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm ultradamno:

And the template for that cigarette industry response was laid out during the fight over lead in gasoline.
Avatar 6:14pm Phil with the phone:

@Bas NL Are you asking about the movie night this Saturday? That will most likely not be streamed unless some bozo puts it on fb live.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm chris:

its probably a semantic argument, really. the term 'addiction' is perhaps a bit, er, loaded. however, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its probably a duck, even if you call it a dog.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm chris:

oh, and hi, Mark and folks.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm Michael 98145:

technology jones
Avatar 6:16pm TDK60:

Ah yes, the wonderful NYC subway. Everyone too hypnotized by their gizmos to let an elderly or disabled person have a seat!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Bas NL:

@Phil But i am far,far away and online! ;) (Hi Mark and all!)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Mark Hurst:

Hi, all! Thanks for joining this evening!
  6:20pm Listener Robert:

Then Chris, what is the "duck" that constitutes "addiction"?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Mark Hurst:

@ngh, would love to hear more about your work on Nike+ - I remember when that launched - very cool that you helped develop that.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm chris:

ornithology, i believe. i'm the recovering child of a bird watcher. ;-)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Mark Hurst:

@Michael, good pointer to the WaPo article on the Mayan site.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Mark Hurst:

@Bas - no, unfortunately, we don't have online streaming distrib rights for the movie. C'mon, fly over to NYC for the weekend!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Good evening Mark and tech-nots.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Mark Hurst:

@βrian, thanks for the worldcat link - go, libraries!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Mark Hurst:

@TDK60, who said addiction and being annoying are mutually exclusive ;)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Mark Hurst:

Hi Chris! Hi KenfHP!
  6:24pm Leo:

hey.. duckduckgo spreads the word via FB and Tw? what's up with that??
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm Mark Hurst:

@ultradamno, good point re leaded gas - I don't know that story, should read up.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm Bas NL:

@Mark Now that's a provocative thought.. :D
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Webhamster Henry:

When Landsat was new, the images coming back, processed in pseudo color from various IR and visible bands, were astounding!
Avatar 6:29pm JakeGould:

Sad to hear about Charles Lindbergh being an anti-Semite. Kinda amazing how many great thinkers are also jerks.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Ken From Hyde Park:

In case the station is granted a temporary liquor license on Saturday night, there should be a contest for the best recipe for a Gin and Tech-tonic.
Avatar 6:31pm JakeGould:

“We must limit to a reasonable amount the [insert race/religion/group here] influence... Whenever the [insert race/religion/group here] percentage of total population becomes too high, a reaction seems to invariably occur. It is too bad because a few [insert race/religion/group here] of the right type are, I believe, an asset to any country.”
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm Mark Hurst:

@Jake - yes, he was a deeply flawed person. Potter's book also talks about the secret families Lindbergh maintained in Switzerland - a fact that only came to light after his death. And yet he pulled off some heroic acts. Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America" also reflects on Lindbergh's legacy.
Avatar 6:32pm JakeGould:

Anyway, my use of tech has only been bettered by my iPhone. Really frees me to not be at home as much. Different strokes for different folks!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm Webhamster Henry:

People also often talk about the "tech fix", which is what I'd call faith-based science.
Avatar 6:34pm JakeGould:

@MarkHurst: Thanks for the backstory. I’ve actually been personally researching U.S. immigration laws. Never really went that deep. Pretty amazing how crappy this country has consistently been to Catholics, Asians, Italians and Irish.

Anyway, science and rational though solves most… Unless the human aspect is ejected.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm Ken From Hyde Park:

During the game last night, there was a commercial for Scientology ... creepy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Webhamster Henry:

There's a book that's about 40 years out of date by now, but it was called the Encyclopedia of Ignorance, where people from various scientific disciplines talk about the unsolved problems and controversies in their fields.
Avatar 6:36pm JakeGould:

@Ken: I find it creepy that drunk folks in Philly destroyed their own property to celebrate a sports game win. And few say much… But a bunch of women march? ZOMFG! What the heck is that!!!

Anyway, I would like to be an Earth gazer one day.
Avatar 6:36pm TDK60:

I submit we might look at tech sociologically, psychologically, politically, spiritually. That's why this show has promise
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm Webhamster Henry:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm ultradamno:

Avatar 6:38pm JakeGould:

@TDK60: Well, we as a society needs to realize that—for example—the “Russian hacking” of U.S. elections is not like some digital Watergate. But rather good old fashioned propaganda accelerated by social media and global level of communication.
Avatar 6:40pm βrian:

We could be TechTicks. Or perhaps Techtonites — like saltpeter for Superman.
Avatar 6:42pm geezerette:

I still like Tech-Tones.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm ultradamno:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Michael 98145:

yes, gz'ette !
Avatar 6:42pm TDK60:

I'm old enough to remember that first photo of Earth. It *was* a "whoa" moment.
Avatar 6:43pm Phil with the phone:

I'm already printing "plates" on the t shirts
  6:43pm Listener Robert:

Any time "addiction" is defined, its defining characteristics are nonexistent. If it's NOT defined, then whatever's said about it is bull shit. It's a word that doesn't deserve to exist. It obscures the subject under discussion.
Avatar 6:44pm geezerette:

Hey Michael! :)

ultra-D, good one!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Folsom:

I like earthrise and the blue marble pics
Avatar 6:45pm JakeGould:

“I’m a Celeron in a Pentium World”
Avatar 6:45pm TDK60:

Robert -- what about the term habituated?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm Webhamster Henry:

If in fact "www.psychologytoday.com... the opposite of addition is connection" -- is social media isolating or connecting? That is is it addiction or the cure to addiction .. or BOTH?
Avatar 6:45pm northguineahills:

you have no idea how long I was looking at heat maps from data, and using them for presentations.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm Webhamster Henry:

Addiction that is. The opposite of addition is probably subtraction.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm Michael 98145:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm melinda:

That must have been amazing to see the Earth photo when it first came out. I remember the PBS show Big Blue Marble very fondly though.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Bas NL:

Then again.. how does one keep a military base secret?
Avatar 6:47pm northguineahills:

(from runners and our employees who volunteered to use our prototype app)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Webhamster Henry:

HIPAA has rules for data aggregation, to make sure that you can't get to a small number of data points and correlate them to real people.The same should apply to Strava and other aggregated data.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Michael 98145:

it was, @melinda.

too bad it changed nothing at all :(
Avatar 6:48pm JakeGould:

@WebhamsterHenry: I think there was a study about Vietnam veteran heroin addicts. The conclusion was the reason there wasn’t a plague of addicts after the war in the 1970s was because human connection when they got back home replaced their addictive needs. Makes sense if you think about it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm Michael 98145:

we still have goofs trying to prove the earth is flat
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm Webhamster Henry:

@Melinda I have the LP of Big Blue Marble songs. Some are quite passable 70s folk rock!
Avatar 6:49pm βrian:

Looking to the adults might help. The EU, that is.
Avatar 6:50pm JakeGould:

Looking to elders… Now there is a societal thing!!!
Avatar 6:50pm βrian:

@JakeGould: But what about Sam Stone?
Avatar 6:50pm JakeGould:

Just tax and rich and put more women in charge and this world would be better.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm chris:

the real action is joining the Society for Humane Internet Technology (the SHIT)
Avatar 6:51pm JakeGould:

Sam Stone might have just been anti-social.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm melinda:

@Henry that sounds cool.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Michael 98145:

it we had stopped with 300 baud we wouldn't have these problems
Avatar 6:52pm βrian:

Heh, there are values and then there is [bizspeak] "value."
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Carmichael:

WTF is Sam Stone?
Avatar 6:53pm βrian:

@JG: But he ended up in a flag-draped casket on a local hero's hill!
Avatar 6:54pm Fredericks:

Sam Stone is a character in a John Prine song, Carmichael
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Webhamster Henry:

@melinda I think I got it at the WFMU Record Fair! (yeah, I'm one of the guys on the floor looking for kids' records).
Avatar 6:55pm geezerette:

This is such a necessary program.
Avatar 6:55pm βrian:

Sam Stone:
  6:55pm Rob:

Lewis Mumford's "Technics and Civilization talks about the same ideas, written in mid 1930s.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm melinda:

@geeze agreed!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Michael 98145:

heh, okay, let's stop with 19.2K
Avatar 6:57pm TDK60:

Mumford is great, so is Murray Bookchin.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Folsom:

back in the day the university vax terminals had 9600 and 2400 baud, the 2400 sucked
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Webhamster Henry:

300 baud? We used tin cans. The Silent 700 terminal I used to work on had a high speed button that went to 110 baud!
Avatar 6:58pm geezerette:

"Things to Come", great 30's film with Raymond Massey.
About these questions.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Webhamster Henry:

Botnik will be in the house!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Michael 98145:

i know where you can find a model 33 teletype :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm melinda:

thanks Mark!
Avatar 6:59pm Phil with the phone:

Thanks for tuning in all!

...I'll just...leave this here. montyhall.ticketfly.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm chris:

thanks, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Michael 98145:

great, thoughtful show
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Webhamster Henry:

@Michael98145 Unless it's a KSR33 (with the paper tape punch/reader) I don't want it!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I hope the movie doesn't scare me so badly that I'm afraid to drive home!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm Webhamster Henry:

@Ken From Hyde Park We should get it to play at the Hyde Park Drive in! Rt 9 needs it!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm Michael 98145:

mylar tape was the best
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm Ken From Hyde Park:

@WH - Agreed!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:02pm Michael 98145:

( that cow gif is disturbing :)
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