According to the U.S. Census figures from 2010, one in four African-Americans live in poverty. Less than one in five has a college degree. The question of how to help the community be upwardly mobile has been debated for decades, and it was on the mind of commentator Gene Marks when he wrote a recent commentary for Forbes called "If I Were a Poor Black Kid." "If I was a poor black kid I would get technical. I would learn software," Marks wrote. "I would learn how to write code. I would seek out courses in my high school that teaches these skills or figure out where to learn more online. I would study on my own. I would make sure my writing and communication skills stay polished." Gene Marks is neither black, nor poor, and some people wondered why he would be giving advice to those who are.
The Sound of Young America returns to New York City for its second stint at The Greene Space at WNYC. Hosted by Jesse Thorn, The Sound of Young America will present its signature blend of comedy, cabaret, and music in front of a live audience.
May's weekly guest is comedian and blogger Baratunde Thurston.
Every year, the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, brings together a mix of musicians, film makers and technologists. This year's gathering starts tomorrow, and the docket includes eyeglass cellphones and game-playing robots.
As part our week-long look at how our lives have changed over the last decade, we turn to advances in technology. Joining us to weigh in on the most notable tech innovations during the last 10 years are Baratunde Thurston, host of “Popular Science’s Future Of” on the Science Channel, and Clive Thompson, a contributor to Wired magazine.
Passwords were once the stuff of play, humor and childhood rites of passage. How did they become the rather boring key to protecting our bank accounts, intimate communications and identities? Are passwords inadequate to the task of protecting anything truly valuable? And can we find some fun as we improve our passwords and better protect ourselves from 21st century thievery? Takeaway Tech contributor Baratunde Thurston says yes.
The US Department of Defense is launching a bizarre experiment in social networking this weekend. They're putting up 10 giant red weather balloons across the country, and they're asking regular folks to find them. The point? To study how we can work together on sites like Twitter and Facebook to solve problems. Whichever team finds all 10 balloons first wins $40,000.
Takeaway tech Baratunde Thurston and Peter Lee, the Director of the Transformational Convergence Technology Office, at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, also known as DARPA, explain why social networking and whimsical red balloons will be all the rage this weekend.
Turn off the computer and go outside and play! We've all heard the conventional wisdom that says video games will turn your brain to mush. But a host of new studies show that gaming might actually be good for your health. Researchers at Nottingham University found that playing certain video games could achieve in one hour what eye patches achieve in 400 hours, while researchers at the University of Rochester found that first-person shooter video games improve visual skills by increasing the brain’s capacity to spread attention over a wide range of events. But wait, there's more! The Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, N.M., found that Tetris players developed a thicker cortex than those who didn’t play. And the Nintendo Wii has been helping Parkinson's patients improve balance. So, are video games good for you?
To help answer that question we turn to technology writer Clive Thompson, the blogger for Collision Detection and a frequent contributor to Wired and The New York Times, and The Takeaway's tech contributor Baratunde Thurston, host of "Popular Science's Future Of," a TV show on the Science Channel, to tell us how video gaming has more positive effects than you might think.
For approximately eight years, I financed my multi-threaded geek-powered, politico-comedy lifestyle by working as a strategy consultant to the communications and media industries. I worked for a small firm out of Boston called Altman Vilandrie & Company. While it wasn't the long term life for me, I've yet to work at a place with smarter people, and I have some great memories like going to Barcelona to learn about the convergence of landlines and mobile phones or to Washington D.C for a conference dedicated to hashing out bilateral international termination rates. ...(continue reading)
"The D.C. conference I attended was literally a bunch of people in little rooms with binders negotiating what the rate from country A to country B should be."
Once upon a time, internet-based phone service was "the future"; now tech watchers are wondering about its future survival. Online auction site Ebay announced this week that it's selling internet voice-and-video conferencing tool Skype for almost $2 billion. Were the two companies simply strange bedfellows? Or did eBay dump Skype because Skype's voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is no longer the frontrunner in voice technology?
We speak to Cliff Kuang, who's written about this for Wired magazine, and Takeaway technology contributor Baratunde Thurston, host of the new TV show Popular Science's "Future Of" and a former telecommunications analyst.
Read Baratunde Thurston's blog post about the back room deals that determine international call rates
Baby blocks hardly seem like a technological frontier, but that is in the process of changing. The Takeaway's tech contributor Baratunde Thurston and MIT researcher David Merrill explain the nexus between toy blocks and a series of really cool burgeoning technologies changing how we play.
Check out Baratunde Thurston as the host of the new television show Popular Science’s Future Of on the Science Channel.Watch David Merrill's demonstration of Siftables from this year's TED conference:
One of the things about problem solving ... a lot of play is problem solving, a lot of science is problem solving. A lot of it is being able to try things out quickly, and then see the results. So if I'm gonna type in equations, say I'm ... a scientist trying to model some phenomenon. If I've got to retype the equation every time, it's not going to be as fast as if maybe I can just rearrange some physical objects, like the alphabet blocks, and see the results immediately.
– David Merrill