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Sci And Tech

Studio 360

Hackers Try to Save the Music Industry

Friday, May 11, 2012

At the Rethink Music conference in Boston last month, programmers, developers, and tinkerers showed up for a 24-hour coding frenzy — a hackathon — at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development (NERD) Center, vying to make the coolest app that could transform music. ...

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Studio 360

Storytelling and Science Collide

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Humans love a well-told story and scientists are beginning to understand why. According to a 2010 study by three Princeton researchers, the act of listening to, and comprehending, a narrative creates an unconscious physical alignment between the storyteller and the audience: their brains link ...

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Studio 360

Biophony: Music of the Wild

Friday, March 16, 2012

Biologist Bernie Krause believes animals communicate with each other on their own frequency, and when you put all those frequencies together, they interact in a way not unlike a symphony orchestra. He calls it “biophony.” “I was sitting here listening to these sounds ...

Listener Challenge: Name that Sound

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Studio 360

Constructal Law: A Theory of Everything

Friday, March 02, 2012

Over the last 16 years, the mechanical engineer Adrian Bejan, now a professor at Duke University, has been working on a theory for how the world works. It’s a theory of everything: how living creatures are shaped, how lava flows down mountains. It’s called the constructal law ...

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Studio 360

Aha Moment: Gravity's Rainbow

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gerald Joyce is a professor of biochemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. In the 1970s, he was studying biochemistry at The University of Chicago, when he discovered Gravity's Rainbow, the sprawling World War II novel by Thomas Pynchon ...

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Studio 360

Beauty, Truth, Math, Art

Friday, February 03, 2012

Last month, thousands of mathematicians attended the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston — the largest annual gathering of its kind. In addition to presentations on phylogenetic algebraic geometry and trace formulas, the conference featured an art exhibition, with 80 artists presenting ....

Video: Mathematical Art

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Studio 360

Introducing Nikola Tesla

Friday, January 27, 2012

Part visionary, part mad scientist, and absolute genius, Tesla should be as famous as Edison — but he’s been largely forgotten. Kurt talks with Samantha Hunt about her novel The Invention of Everything Else. Tesla is the protagonist, and despite the outlandish ...

Bonus Track: Samantha Hunt reads from her novel

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Studio 360

Wanted: Bold Thinkers

Friday, January 27, 2012

Much of science today is grant-dependent and discourages dreamy, out-of-box thinking — who wants to fund mistakes? "I really think of [Tesla] as one of the last people inventing on his own,” Samantha Hunt tells Kurt Andersen. “He didn't have funding from the Department of Defense ...

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Studio 360

Mr. Spock and Dr. Strangelove

Friday, January 27, 2012

Samantha Hunt describes the turning point in Tesla’s life when he began acting like a mad scientist we recognize from movies, and Biologist Vincent Pieribone traces how scientists have been portrayed on screen — from Dr. Strangelove to Independence Day. He remembers watching ...

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Studio 360

The Death Ray

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mike Daisey tells the story of the Tesla’s real Dr. Strangelove moment: inventing the ultimate super-weapon, a death ray. But did it work? The government thought it might, and the Cold War got hotter. Daisey also describes the mystery behind all of Tesla's scientific papers going missing ...

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Studio 360

Tesla vs. Edison

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tesla’s biggest innovation was introducing alternating current as the standard for modern electric power, breaking Thomas Edison’s monopoly on DC power. Author and monologist Mike Daisey performs a one-man show about Tesla. In this segment he describes the inventor's obsession with electricity ...

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Studio 360

Transmit This

Friday, January 27, 2012

A lot of us learned that Guglielmo Marconi invented radio, but Nikola Tesla transmitted electromagnetic waves before Marconi — the Supreme Court decided the case in 1943. Jim Stagnitto, the Director of Engineering for WNYC, gives Kurt a tour at the top of the Empire State Building ...

Video: Kurt Andersen tours the WNYC radio transmitter

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Studio 360

Garage Inventors

Friday, January 27, 2012

All over the country, amazing science is happening without institutional or government funding. We visit inventors working in garages, basements, even a Quonset hut on a farm. Rachel Zimmerman works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, but she was an amateur inventor first ...

Video: Frank Polifka's "Tornado in a Can"

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Studio 360

Tesla and Twain

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mike Daisey tells the story of Tesla’s salons, where he played fast and loose with technology. "When he had you there, he'd show you inventions, then make you part of the inventions," Daisey explains. The inventor "cured" Mark Twain of his constipation with an electrical charge ...

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Studio 360

Phonautogram

Friday, January 06, 2012

Did you know there are audio recordings that predate Thomas Edison's phonograph by almost 20 years? The phonautogram was invented by a Frenchman named Eduoard Leon-Scott and patented in 1857, translating sound waves (shakily) onto sheets of paper. But for the last century ...

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Studio 360

The Revolution Will Not be Autotuned

Friday, January 06, 2012

Think of Cher’s hit “Believe” and that robotic, computerized sound of her voice. (Now try getting it out of your head. Sorry.) The Autotune effect that sounded so radical at the turn of the 21st century became the defining studio effect of the decade since. Every era of pop ...

Bonus: The Pop SFX Playlist

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Studio 360

Smart Programs Read Shakespeare

Friday, December 16, 2011

Patrick Winston is Principal Investigator at MIT's Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab. He believes that creating better artificial intelligence is not a matter of more powerful processing: we have to teach computers how to think more like humans. “We are a symbolic species,” he ...

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Studio 360

Are Computers Creative?

Friday, December 16, 2011

This week, Kurt Andersen asks: can computers make art? And if so, is it any good?  We’ll meet a program named AARON that’s been painting for nearly 40 years, a filmmaker who replaced her editor with an algorithm, and professor who thinks what computers need is more Shakespeare.

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Studio 360

Eve Sussman's Algorithmic Noir

Friday, December 16, 2011

A new film premiered this year that is truly one of a kind. whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir was made by Eve Sussman and her collaborators, known as the Rufus Corporation.  They shot most of the footage in Kazakhstan, improvising the script and taking advantage of the Soviet Union’s ...

Video: watch the trailer

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Studio 360

DARCI: A Computer With Great Taste

Friday, December 16, 2011

To make art, a computer first needs to understand what art is. A group of computer scientists at Brigham Young University is attempting this by feeding their program images by the thousands and describing those images. Digital Artist Communicating Intent (she goes by DARCI) recognizes ...

Slideshow: DARCI evaluates art

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