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Full Interview: Mills Kelly on Lying About the Past

Spark - 2012, June 8 - 08:24

Mills Kelly, a history professor at George Mason University, had a problem. His students just didn’t seem to understand they can’t believe everything they read online, it’s a common lament for educators these days. Then he came up with an idea for a special history course. In Lying About the Past, students learn about historical hoaxes, and then create a hoax of their own and “turn it loose on the internet.”

Nora speaks with Mills Kelly about why he thinks it works to have his students actually create hoaxes in order to learn about information literacy.

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 16:06]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: Kyle Gilpin on self-assembling robots

Spark - 2012, June 6 - 13:31

Robot comedians, robot game designers, robo-readers. On Spark, it seems like we’ve explored almost every type of robot. Until we heard about robot pebbles. Yeah that’s right, robotic pebbles that can communicate, self-assemble and morph into any object they surround.

This week Nora spoke with Kyle Gilpin one of the head researchers and developers behind the self-assembling robots. Kyle is a post doctoral student at MIT where he and his supervisor Daniela Rus have developed these self-assembling robotic pebbles at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Kyle spoke about how the robot pebbles work, the future of robots, and whether we’ll actually be able to own a bag of this “magic sand” in the near future.

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [Runs 10:07]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: Bryan Pearson on Customer Data and Privacy

Spark - 2012, June 5 - 13:09

We all know companies collect lots of data about their customer base. How can they use data effectively without violating our privacy, or, more basically, creeping us out? What are the Golden Rules for respecting customer data and earning loyalty? Are all bets off when it comes to the online environment, where collecting information without transparency seems to be the default? These were some of the questions on my mind when I interviewed Bryan Pearson recently. He’s President and CEO of LoyaltyOne (the people behind Air Miles), and the author of The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Intimacy.

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 20:22]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: Carlos Bueno on Teaching Kids Code Through Metaphor

Spark - 2012, June 4 - 09:19

There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not learning computer programming language is as essential a skill as learning to read or write. Back in October 2011 we talked about it with Program or Be Programmed author Douglas Rushkoff as well as here, and again on last week’s Spark.

It’s a fascinating subject, and last week Nora did an interview with Carlos Bueno (which you’ll hear on our upcoming show in a few days). Carlos is a Software Engineer at Facebook and the author of Lauren Ipsum a book that introduces coding to kids by using metaphor.

Other things we think are cool about the book: Carlos’ wife Ytaelena Lopez did the illustrations. And for every copy that is sold, another copy will be donated to schools, libraries, and educational programs.

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 12:27]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Spark 184 – June 3 & 6, 2012

Spark - 2012, June 1 - 12:51

On this episode of Spark: Robo-readers, Livehoods, and Pre-crime Screening. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

You can also listen to individual stories below.

How Alive is your Neighbourhood?

The Livehoods Project is described as “a new way to understand a city using social media.” Justin Cranshaw is a researcher at Carnegie Mellon where they are collecting data from check-ins like Foursquare and then putting that data onto a map, so you can see where people are “checking in” and see what that information tells you about a particular area. They’ve been doing American cities (New York, San Francisco) and just launched their first Canadian city, Montreal (Runs 10:09)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Pre-crime Screening Technology

It sounds like something from the movie Minority Report, but the US Department of Homeland Security is researching ‘pre-crime’ technology to screen for people who may be about to commit a terrorist act. Alexander Furnas is a journalist who has given the technology a lot of thought. He considers whether technology like this could actually work. (Runs 8:11)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

The Trouble With Audio Captchas

CAPTCHAs are the set of squiggly numbers and letters that you are expected to decipher on websites, in order to prove you’re a human and not a spambot. Recently on Spark, we talked about the fact that CAPTCHAs are getting more difficult for humans to figure out. What though, about visually impaired computer users? Turns out the ‘audio’ CAPTCHAs aimed at people who are visually impaired are a user interface “fail”. Nora talks to Brian Gage, a blind computer user, about the problem.(Runs 5:37)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Grading Essays with Robo-readers

Mark Shermis, Dean of Education at the University of Akron, has a keen interest in automated essay scoring programs. He’s currently overseeing a contest to find the best robo-reader, a software program used to grade essays and has recently conducted a study on the technology. How could this software change the way students learn? We also hear the personal story of Spark intern Laura Anderson, who wrote an essay tailored specifically for a robo-reader and got a perfect score. (Runs 9:13)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Code in the Classroom

Middle school teacher Tannis Calder doesn’t have a background in computers, but she’s become a huge advocate for getting kids to learn computer programming skills in the classroom. She uses an easy-to-use computer programming language called Scratch, designed for kids by MIT. (Runs 7:59)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Additional Links Podcasts

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Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: Roel Vertegaal on Attentive User Interfaces

Spark - 2012, June 1 - 10:37

A while ago on Spark, I talked to Rohan Gunatillake, about meditation and digital culture. In our interview, he talked about the need to design digital technology that supports attention and focus, rather than distraction. That had me thinking: what would that actually look like?

Turns out researcher Roel Vertegaal has been working on just such an issue. He’s an associate professor in Human-Computer Interaction at Queen’s University. He coined the term “attentive user interface” to describe this sort of design for attention and focus.

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 17:19]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

If you’re interested in this interview, you might also enjoy Chris Harrison on On-Body Interfaces.

Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: Justin Cranshaw on “Livehoods”

Spark - 2012, May 30 - 07:45

You can think of a neighbourhood as a fixed boundary of streets, but for many of us, what we think of as our neighbourhood is more organic than that. It’s the places we hang out – our stomping grounds – which may not conform to the way our city defines a neighbourhood. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are experimenting with the idea of “livehoods“. They’re using people’s FourSquare check-ins to plot these more dynamic neighbourhoods. If the same people check in at cafe A and store B, but not store C right across the street, store C is in a different livehood. I interviewed Justin Cranshaw, co-creator of Livehoods, and a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon, about the project.

They have just published their first Canadian livehood map, Montreal. You can find it here. I used to live in Montreal, but that was a LOOOONNNNG time ago, and I’ve only been back to visit occasionally more recently. Some of the patterns on the map made a lot of sense to me, but some didn’t, suggesting perhaps the ways those areas that have changed since my Montreal days. I’d love to hear what Montrealers think of the Montreal Livehood. Does it square with how you use your city? Please leave your comments below.

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 13:06]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Repeat of Spark 157 – May 27 & 30, 2012

Spark - 2012, May 25 - 08:47

This week on Spark’s regular, over-the-air radio broadcast, you’ll hear Spark 157: Sensors, Predictors, Recognition Software – oh my! which first aired back in October 2011. But you won’t hear Spark 157 this week on the podcast, because we’ve promised no more podcast repeats. We’ll be back with a brand-new episode of Spark next week, on June 3rd.

In the meantime, you can listen to the original broadcast of the whole show below (runs 54:00).

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

You can also listen to individual stories.

Facial Recognition

Jennifer Steeves

Recent advances in facial recognition technology are giving us the feeling of being much closer to a “Minority Report” reality. But how close are we really? Psychology professor Jennifer Steeves of York University explains how human beings recognize one another compared to facial recognition software. And Alessandro Acquisti from Carnegie Mellon University reveals some surprising research into how regular recognition tech can identify “anonymous” people. (Runs 22:38)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Efficiency Is The New Power

Jonathan Koomey

Ok, Moore’s Law. It is… um… we’ll let you read up on it on your own! We’re interested in someone who proposes a modification of it. Jonathan Koomey is a consulting professor at Stanford University, and his research shows that it’s not processing power that doubles every 18 months, it’s energy efficiency. And in a world dominated by mobile devices and mobile batteries, efficiency may become the new power. (Runs 3:39)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Predictable Us

Jure Leskovec

No two snowflakes are alike, no two people are the same… right? You may think you’re unique, but it turns out you’re awfully predictable. Jure Leskovec is an assistant professor of computer science at Stanford, and he analyses past human behaviour online to predict future outcomes. And he’s discovered he can correctly predict who your next friends on Facebook will be. (Runs 9:57)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Smart and Sensing Cities

Ayesha Khanna

What happens when cities can monitor and respond to the people who live in them? There is no end to the Spark obsession with this question. Ayesha Khanna, director of the Hybrid Reality Institute, talks to Nora Young about the potential, and the challenges of smart cities, and what becomes possible when sensors are embedded everywhere. (Runs 12:20)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Additional Links Spark Podcast

You can receive Spark automatically by subscribing to any of our totally free podcast feeds:

For more information (and instructions) visit cbc.ca/podcasting

Categories: Blogs

Spark 183 – May 20 & 23, 2012

Spark - 2012, May 18 - 13:24

On this episode of Spark: Phone Fonts, POV video, and Long-distance Love Tech. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

You can also listen to individual stories below.

Game CAPTCHAs

We’ve all encountered those squiggly distorted letters on websites that you have decipher in order to prove you are, in fact, a person. But what if instead, you could play a short little game to prove you’re not a bot? Nora speaks with Reid Tatoris, co-founder of Are You a Human – a company that’s developed a game-based human verification system. (Runs 7:45)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

POV Video…In a Pair of Glasses

The trend toward sophisticated and easy-to-use point of view technology is heating up, and Spark contributor Cathi Bond stops by with a pair of POV video glasses to show Nora how you can now make high definition movies while walking around…and what the implications for privacy are. (Runs 6:40)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Robots Love Film Fests, too!

A lot is going on in New York City in the summer, but nothing quite like the second annual Robot Film Festival on July 14 and 15, a celebration of robots on film. Heather Knight is co-founder of the fest (she was on Spark a few weeks back about her robot comedian) and she tells us about the festivals goal to seek insight into robot character through storytelling and showing the positive side of robots on film. (Runs 6:23)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Copyright and Bill C-11

This week, Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill, came out of committee and now awaits third reading. We thought it was a good time to check up on what’s happened since the bill was originally introduced in the fall. And that’s where David Fewer, Director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, comes in. (Runs 5:34)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Long Distance Love Tech

In some ways, being in an “LDR” or Long Distance Relationship, has never been easier. From webcams to instant messaging, it’s cheap and easy to keep in constant touch. Researcher Carman Neustaedter has been looking into how couples use technology to stay in touch, and whether it can ever truly be as good as actual physical presence. (Runs 9:25)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

The Secret to Designing Phone Fonts

How do you design typeface that is easy to read on the small screens of our portable tech? Just ask Steve Matteson! He’s designed successful fonts for Android phones and the Nook ereader. Nora talks with him about what it takes to make a font that really fits. (Runs 8:50)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Additional Links Podcasts

Subscribe to any of our totally free podcasts!

Categories: Blogs

Point-of-View Video Glasses

Spark - 2012, May 18 - 12:28

On this week’s show, writer and Spark contributor, Cathi Bond brought us the story of Pivothead “video recording eyewear”: a camera nested in a pair of eyeglasses that can capture high definition, point of view video. Cathi sees it as an example of our growing trend towards capturing and sharing video, and of a possible future where people become entertainment and communication ‘hubs’. But how well do these glasses perform, anyway, and what do they look like? I took a working prototype of the Pivothead glasses out for a spin around the Spark office, shooting video and recording narration using the Pivothead’s audio recording capability. What do you think? What likely uses will we see for point of view video down the road?

If you like this video, you might also like Cathi Bond on the Sony 3D visor

Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: Steve Matteson on Designing Fonts for Mobile Tech

Spark - 2012, May 17 - 15:33

These days we spend a lot of time reading text on computer screens and small mobile devices. Steve Matteson is Creative Type Director at Monotype Imaging and he thinks a lot about how to make that digital text legible and easy to read.

You’ll have noticed Steve’s handiwork in Windows, there’s a typeface family called Segoe which is the brand typeface and used in the user interface. He also designed the typefaces for the Xbox and the Xbox 360. And if you use an Android phone, you’ll be familiar with his Droid Sans and Serif typeface families.

Nora talks to Steve about the challenges in designing fonts for our portable technology and whether there’s such a thing as a “bad font.” You’ll notice Nora is pretty keen about fonts herself, watch for her dropping terms like “kerning”!

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 20:03]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: David Fewer on Canadian Copyright Reform

Spark - 2012, May 17 - 11:56

This week, Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill, came out of committee and now awaits third reading. We thought it was a good time to check up on what’s happened since the bill was originally introduced in the fall. I just spoke with David Fewer, Director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 8:50]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Spark 182 – May 13 & 16, 2012

Spark - 2012, May 11 - 07:37

On this episode of Spark: Descriptive Cameras, Bio-hacking, and Forgiving Bad Design. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

You can also listen to individual stories below.

The Descriptive Camera

Is a picture worth a thousand words? According to Matt Richardson: not really. Richardson is the creator of the Descriptive Camera. The device is like a Polaroid, but with words — instead of producing a photo, the camera prints out a hand-crafted text description of whatever it sees. (Runs 6:22)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

The Camera Obscura Project

One day, Jamie Malcolm and Mark Winter left a disposable camera in Convent Garden. The camera had instructions to take a photo, relocate and leave behind for the next person. 43 days later it returned, and from there the Camera Obscura project was born. Now they want to “test the good nature, trust and creativity of the world” by leaving cameras in places outside of England. (Runs 6:06)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Apps for Everyone

Hendrik Knoche is a computer scientist, specializing in human-computer interaction, and he’s been working with farmers in rural India to create smart phone apps so they can crowdsource agricultural information. The challenge is that many farmers in rural areas are illiterate, so how do you create an app that’s easy and accessible to use? (Runs 8:33)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Million Short

Sanjay Arora is the founder of Exponential Labs, a Toronto-based software startup. There’s a lot of buzz building about one of their projects, Million Short. It’s a search engine that delivers results to you, after it knocks off the top one million most popular websites. (Runs 6:13)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Bio-hacking

A few weeks ago on Spark, we heard how scientists at the University of Ottawa were working to create designer organs (the kind in our bodies!) that could communicate via Twitter. This kind of bio-tinkering seems an awful lot like what’s going on in the DIY-bio movement. Yes, Do-it-yourself bio-hackers do exist, and they say if you’re an actual scientist, you can’t be in the club! Spark contributor Sonya Buyting tells us more. (Runs 7:19)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Forgiving Bad Design

Henry Petroski is a professor of civil engineering and history, and an expert in understanding engineering failures. In his book To Forgive Design, he says we need to understand failure in order to succeed. (Runs 9:37)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Additional Links Podcasts

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Categories: Blogs

Book Giveaway! The Virtual Self by Nora Young

Spark - 2012, May 10 - 11:14

You know, Nora Young has a new book out now called The Virtual Self: How Our Digital Lives Are Altering The World Around Us, all about the way more and more of us are keeping track of our everyday lives. There are tons of digital tools to help us record, aggregate and archive everything from our morning runs to our web-browsing habits. Basically, how many of us are converting our daily experience into statistics. In her book, Nora looks at what all this digital self-reporting means when it comes to transparency and privacy.

And we’ve got five copies to give away! Just leave us a comment here with your thoughts on life-logging or personal data collection, and next week we’ll randomly select the winners from all the comments.

Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: Sanjay Arora on Million Short

Spark - 2012, May 8 - 08:23

Photo by Michael David Petersen

I just finished interviewing Sanjay Arora, founder of Exponential Labs, a Toronto-based software startup. There’s a lot of buzz building about one of their projects, Million Short. It’s a search engine that delivers results to you, after it knocks off the top one million most popular websites. Your search won’t turn up results with Facebook, YouTube, or Wikipedia. You can also customize it, so that it knocks, say, only the top 1,000 sites off, or you can configure the settings so that it lops off the most popular sites except Facebook, YouTube, etc.

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 11:47]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Spark 181 – May 6 & 9, 2012

Spark - 2012, May 4 - 10:55

On this episode of Spark: Robot Comedians, Safety Apps, and Social Learning. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

You can also listen to individual stories below.

Social Learning

It’s the classic ‘desert island’ scenario: you find yourself dropped in a land where you don’t know how to find food and shelter. How are you going to survive? Will you copy what other people are doing, hoping they’re onto something, or strike out on your own and perhaps discover something new? Luke Rendell researches “social learning” – how humans are able to learn from others and pass on that information. It’s the source of our strength, but can also be our downfall if the people we’re copying are wrong. Luke and his colleagues have designed a contest to try and determine the optimal social learning strategy. (Runs 8:17)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Makerspaces & the Military

As founder of MAKE Magazine and Maker Faire, Dale Dougherty’s priority is to get Americans making things. That means young people as well. So he applied for, and accepted, a grant from DARPA (the research arm of the US Department of Defense) to fund makerspaces in high schools. This funding has caused a stir in the hacker/maker movement. Nora speaks with Dale about why he thinks the partnership makes sense. She’ll also speak with Mitch Altman – considered by many in the North American hacker/maker community as a pioneer and a spokesperson for the movement – who is opposed to DARPA’s funding of school makerspaces. (Runs 13:57)
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Safety Apps

Microsoft has filed for a patent for a mapping app which charts a route based on traffic and distance info as well as crime data. As a result it’s been coined the “Avoid Ghetto App”, and is part of the controversy around an emerging trend of mobile safety apps designed to protect you from unseen dangers in the city. Do these applications exploit society’s paranoia of urban crime? And if so, what are the implications? Spark contributor Edward Birnbaum tells us all about it. (Runs 8:09)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Human-Robot Interaction

Can’t we all just get along? Humans and robots, that is. Chris Parker is a post-doctoral researcher in robotics at the University of British Columbia, and he looks to a future where robots and humans work alongside one another, or where robots assist us with daily tasks. As humans, we communicate a lot of information about our intentions through subtle physical cues. Chris is researching how to design robots so that they more subtly communicate their states and actions in a way that’s easier for humans to understand. (Runs 9:10)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

I Robot, You Laugh

Heather Knight is a social roboticist doing her doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon University. Through Data -a robot that tells jokes- she’s exploring how robots might be able to pick up on human social cues, so they can respond more appropriately. And who needs to respond to changing human moods more than a comedian in front of a crowd? (Runs 7:32)

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Additional Links Podcasts

Subscribe to any of our totally free podcasts!

Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: Heather Knight on Data, the Robot Comedian

Spark - 2012, May 4 - 08:38


Photo by Louis Stein

Heather Knight is a social roboticist doing her doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon University. Through Data, a robot that tells jokes, she’s exploring how robots might be able to pick up on human social cues so they can respond more appropriately. And who needs to respond to changing human moods more than a comedian in front of a crowd?

Here’s a video of Data performing onstage at TED.

You can hear Heather’s full, uncut interview with Nora Young by clicking the play button below, or download the MP3. [runs 13:04]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Full Interview: Chris Parker on Human Robot Interaction

Spark - 2012, April 30 - 13:13


Can’t we all just get along? Humans and robots, I mean. Chris Parker, a post-doctoral researcher in robotics at the University of British Columbia, looks to a future where robots and humans work alongside one another, or where robots assist us with daily tasks. If they are part of everyday life, we’ll only be happy interacting with robots if we can effectively share the same physical space.

As humans, we communicate a lot of information about our intentions through subtle physical cues. We don’t explicitly have a discussion with another person every time we need to move around a shared physical space. Can we design robots so that they more subtly communicate their states and actions in a way that’s easier for humans to understand? That’s what Chris is researching.

You can hear the full, uncut interview below, or download the MP3. [runs 19:06]

[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you find this interview interesting, you might want to check out our special on humans and robots.

If you like hearing these extended interviews, why not subscribe to Spark Plus? It’s a podcast feed full of additional blog-only content like this. [Subscribe via RSS] or [Subscribe with iTunes]

Categories: Blogs

Help Us Out! Terms of Service Agreements

Spark - 2012, April 27 - 12:26

Recently there’s been lots of talk about the Terms of Service agreements for Google Drive, Google’s new online storage service, and Pinterest, a social site for sharing photos and images. People are wondering what users are in fact agreeing to when they sign up.

The fact is that we’re entering into agreements daily with corporations in the digital sphere that raise questions about privacy and who owns what. And it seems we’ve all become blase about scrolling through these long documents in teeny tiny print and clicking that “I agree” button.

We’re working on a few different stories about exploring our lopsided relationship with Terms of Service Agreements and we’re curious to know what you think. Do you ever wonder about the fine print? Or has there been a service agreement you didn’t agree with?

Hit the comments below and let us know!

Categories: Blogs

Spark 180 – April 29 & May 1, 2012

Spark - 2012, April 27 - 11:03

On this episode of Spark: Selfsurfing, Open Government, and Data Hunters. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

You can also listen to individual stories below.

Broadcasting Your Every Browser Move

Jonas Lund is a multidisciplinary internet artist who explores how we interface with the digital web. His latest work is called Selfsurfing – part theatre performance, part commentary on privacy, Selfsurfing broadcasts his web-browsing habits in real time. (Runs 7:19)[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Japanese Arcade Culture

While arcades are all but extinct in Canada and the US, they’re thriving in Japan. Brad Crawford is the editor and director of the documentary 100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience, scheduled to come out later this year. Brad talks about why arcade games are still a social experience in Japan, and whether that’s something we should envy. (Runs 5:31)[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Comedy Podcasts

Stand-up comic Denis Grignon gives us an inside look at the growing trend in comedians hosting podcasts where they interview other comedians. And it’s less about the laughs than you may expect. (Runs 9:02)[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Data-gathering Hunters

Inuit Hunters in Nunavut have been heading out across the tundra armed with hand-held computers provided by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. Wherever the hunters stop to observe or hunt a muskox, caribou or other animal, they tap their observations into the device. Freelancer David Kattenburg explains why this pilot project is a win-win for hunters and for the Wildlife Management Board. (Runs 6:57)[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Tools for Canada’s 21st century democracy?

Open North is a Montreal-based not-for-profit designing online tools to foster greater government transparency on one hand, and create more citizen engagement on the other. They’re motivated by the idea that piecemeal projects and weekend Hackathons are great, but it’s time to look for a more ongoing approach. Nora talks to Jonathan Brun about the goals and strategies of Open North. (Runs 8:28)[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Links to previous open government stories on Spark, which Nora played excerpts of:

Coding for a Better Government

Jennifer Pahlka is the founder and executive director of Code for America, which she describes as a “Peace Corps for Geeks”. Fellows spend a year working with city governments to create technology to make their communities better. But governments are known for being bureaucratic and slow, and technological innovation is all about the opposite – being fast, limber and cutting edge. So how do you navigate that obvious culture clash? (Runs 8:50)[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Additional Links Podcasts

Subscribe to any of our totally free podcasts!

Categories: Blogs