Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Episode 8 - Between Democracy and Dystopia

For Episode 8 we invited along Guest Hosts Robin and Christine to comment on the elections in Canada and the United States. We discussed election processes from a historical perspective as well as introducing some well worn speculative fiction memes about corporate and/or technological dystopias. We had at least one Ingsoc reference and Huxley got dragged in. Robin brought his experiences as Canadian librarian working in The Republic of The Gambia [for propaganda click here] [for the BBC's take click here] in the IT/ISP/networking sector; Christine had some pungent comments about the Liberal Party in Canada. Dave asked us all for election predictions in both countries; the Psychology PhD amazed the two history guys when he gave precise numbers in his predictions; Ken had a chance to rag on voting machines while asking why we trust the humans who are the "machine" now to do it – before completely his voice entirely to laryngitis.

All hail Lieutenant President Yahya Jemmah!

Enjoy episode 8

Friday, August 8, 2008

Episode 7 - Olymtech

Well, the 2008 Summer showcase for a totalitarian country, err, the Olympics start in moments from when I post this, so we thought this would be a good topic. The tech, the history and the sci fi of the Olympics. I think, BTW, theat this is fair use of the word Olympics, they are pretty bad about suing people...

We recorded in Ken and Christine's back yard while Jonathan and Carys ran around. Christine joined in for a bit as well. Oh yeah, so did K and C's dogs... Before we got into it we talked a bit about Podcasters Across Borders 2008 which Ken and I attended back in June. This was a great event, Ken called it the best conference he had ever been to. Ken is off to discuss an implementation of Evergreen open ILS in Ontario Universities next week. Yeah we know, it has been a long time...

So what of the games? How much are they like the original Olympics? Did guys back then cheat? How would you cheat back then, Olive oil laced with HGH? The tech angle here is really huge actually, the steroids, the possibility of genetic engineering, blood doping, all of that stuff. In Sci Fi there are a lot of examples of such things, of competitions, like the Gamesters of Trisdellion, that Buck Rogers episode with the Olympics games, hell even Rollerball.

(Note: this episode had a really nasty sound in the background, the neighbours' pool filter. I did my best to filter that sound out. Oh and there is a little break in the middle where I inserted Shotgun Loudmouth by Battery Life).

Enjoy episode 7.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Episode 6 - So Say We Four

We recorded this episode on April 4, 2008, the night of the launch of season 4 of Battlestar Galactica. So warning, there are a few spoilers here, as we recorded before, and then after the show. We also had two of our regular guests, Isabelle and Christine join us on the show. We celebrated by drinking Caprica 6 martinis which are an oz and a half of lemon vodka, an ounce of Triple Sec and an oz of blueberry-pomegranate juice.

The topic, the uses and misuses of science fiction. OK, so it is not a tech story, but too bad, it is a geek story, we are branching out. Basically Ken thought of this idea when comparing say BSG to more fantasy type stuff. In other words, explosions vs. story. Isabelle says the worst Science Fiction movie ever is Highlander 3 and she also hates Tron. This took Dave and Ken aback.

Starship Troopers is an example of a great sci fi book that turned into a bad sci fi movie. We wondered aloud if Gulliver's Travels is Sci Fi and came to a bit of a consensus that the genre was invented by Jules Verne.

We even delved a bit into comics and superheroes. It was a great time, thanks to Christine and Isabelle, oh and the black Shure SM 45.....

Enjoy episode 6.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Episode 5 - Do We Save Or Weed Out The Weeds?

On February 26, 2008 a new Global Seed Bank opened in Norway. The idea here is that if some horrible disaster happens, well we could at least plant some baby corn and purple basil. Or, could we? What did they put in the vault, what types of seeds are in there? Are there weeds? Is there weed?

This got us thinking about repositories of knowledge, which Dave though was what libraries are. Ken corrected Dave, as he often does. However, there are libraries that are more like repositories, like the Great Library at Alexandria, or the Library of Congress.

Dave always brings up a Canticle for Liebowitz, also tries to bring most any conversation around to talking about the Name of the Rose. Both of these works are about preserving knowledge. Preserving knowledge is what the fictional Memory Alpha was about in Star Trek. Preserving the world was what the horrible movie Independence Day was about, but that is another matter....

Isabelle and Maddie listened along to this episode and made the occasional comment, as well, Isabelle stepped on for a few minutes for Dave. Isabelle made an interesting point about youtube. Youtube itself really is a thing that preserves knowledge, who knew?

Enjoy Episode 5.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Pondering Ponderables

Hi everyone. It has been nutty around the virtual homesteads these last few weeks. The good doctor and I partook of heady discussions today in Senate around the future of our university as an independent, non-affiliated star in the glittering constellation of provincial universities. Needless to say, everyone is pretty much tired of listening to me harp on about projected library costs through to 2013, so I began pondering where Dave and I should wander next in the podcast.

One thing I would like to go back to at some point is some sort of comparison of Creative Commons, CopyLeft, etc. to other periods of intense thinking of rights, relationships, and all that jazz (do not tell the RIAA! -- I'm only going to take some of that jazz). Where have these come from? What cultural elements combined, and especially what is lacking in our society that has led to all sorts of people defining rights, drafting mini-constitutions and so on.

Woodrow Wilson liked to do that sort of thing for fun as an academic (and I suppose as President, SEE League of Nations), but it seems a lot of people in their own way have become Locke and Hobbes, Mill and Bentham, and so on. If I can re-word Kant: Is it Enlightenment? Or do we just have a lot of little sandboxes being fenced differently?

Dave and I also have been involved in some "blue-skying" about using Web 2.0 tools for recruitment and marketing. It was interesting to mix with different sorts of people from the campus who would come at the final product(s) from different perspectives. And of course everyone around the table brought different awareness levels of the big bad Web 2.0 world, so that made it interesting and could make for something to yap about.

Anyhooo, we will get back on the tubes as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience and comments. And remember... it looks like BSG will be back in April!