Internet

Wikimedia

It's probably safe to call Michael Patrick Lynch a critic of the Internet. 

But you might want to Google him to be sure.  Lynch runs the "Humility and Conviction in Public Life" project at the University of Connecticut. 

He joined us last year to talk about his book The Internet of Us, about how we seem to know LESS in an age when huge amounts of information are available to us in seconds. 

Wikimedia

It was a web site where you could buy ANYTHING.  eBay?  Not hardly. 

"Silk Road" was the name of the purposely obscure website that moved goods and services between parties who wanted to stay in the shadows. 

Ultimately, a lot of drugs moved through the site, which was created by an elusive computer mastermind who went by the online handle "Dread Pirate Roberts." 

The story of pirate and ship is told in Nick Bilton's book American Kingpin

Biswarup Ganguly-https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19497290

Even those of us who consider ourselves tech-savvy can be left in the dust by today's children. 

The "digital natives" grew up with screens of all sizes in their lives nearly all the time.  And keeping up can be daunting for parents, even frightening at times. 

Devorah Heitner has a Ph.D in Media/Technology and Society from Northwestern University, and is raising a child herself. She advises other parents on how to roll with the changes of the times... and how to set firm limits. 

Heitner's book is Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World

Knowing More + Understanding Less = Internet

Apr 27, 2016
W.W. Norton Books

  Can you even remember the last time you opened a physical dictionary or encyclopedia? 

You don't have to anymore, with the ability to type any term into Google and get results in less than a second--and no paper cuts. 

So the facts are there for us... now there's the issue of CONTEXT.  In The Internet of Us, author Michael Lynch points to evidence that shows we may know more, but we don't understand more. 

In fact, we seem to understand less. 

It's not just the Internet that encourages anonymous commenting... even The Exchange only requires first names from people who call and email. 

So this VENTSday, let's talk about the effects of anonymous venting. 

Our other topic: what circumstances (example: felony conviction) should cost a person her/his right to vote?  

Listeners take stage on our weekly VENTSday segment, a chance to vent on a couple of topics in the news--by phone, by email, or through our online survey. We provide the topics, you provide the opinions. 

No expertise necessary; just opinions and the ability to express them in a radio-friendly way. We post our weekly survey on one or both of the topics in advance.

The Crossword Puzzle, Minus The Pencil

Oct 15, 2015
buzzfeed.com

It was bound to happen someday: an online news source now offers a crossword puzzle.

We're still trying to figure out how to fill it in without mucking up the screen. 

But Buzzfeed hired 22-year-old Caleb Madison to edit its puzzles, in a typically hip and snarky Buzzfeed style. 

Getting A Grip On "Virtual Unreality"

Aug 13, 2015
Penguin Books

  Go ahead, click that link below.  It's got to be safe, right? 

Nobody would deliberately cause harm to you on the Internet, after all.  If only that were true. 

So much of what appears on the Internet is NOT true, or at least not currently. 

Mathematician/science journalist/watchdog Charles Seife looks at the situation in his book Virtual Unreality: The New Era of Digital Deception.

Why Nobody Pays For Music

Jun 23, 2015
PenguinRandomhouse

The top-selling music album in the year 2000 sold nearly ten million copies. 

The top album last year sold about a third of that number. 

Many fewer people pay for music these days, when they can get it for free on the Internet. 

Exactly the point of Stephen Witt's book "How Music Got Free." 

Bringing Broadband To The Rural Coast

Jul 17, 2014
Almonroth/Wikimedia Commons

Just because you live in a rural area doesn't mean you have to live with slow Internet service. 

Actually, in a lot of cases, it does. 

Not by design… it's just that providing broadband service in rural areas just doesn't add up financially for would-be providers. 

So it takes some goosing from public coffers to get broadband to remote areas. 

Perseus Books

There's such a mixture of triumph and tragedy in the story of Danny Lewin. 

The triumph came with computers: he figured out ways to make the Internet faster.  The tragedy came in his early death: Lewin was 31 when he boarded one of the planes that ended up crashing into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.