Media Mining 18 – Mar 16, 2012: Drones, Wikileaks, Government Science Advisers, Cellphone Eye Exam, Favela Rehab, Radio Netherlands, Aboriginal Opera, Haiti, Circumventing Communications Blackouts, A War We Need, Fact Checking, Salamworld, and LuminAID.

Drones – The maker of drones and two lawyers discuss drones in Drones – Privacy Paradox: Privacy and Its Conflicting Values (28 mins). The audience is made up of engineers and lawyers. The FAA is noted as a big player in domestic drone usage and issues of ethics of drone application by such people as the paparazzi and privacy are debated. A persistent hum is present in this piece that sounds as if it was recorded by an audience member, but it’s still worth hearing. You can make a drone yourself, too, as discussed in DIY Drones. A company by the same name, DIY Drones, has open-sourced the designs for a universal autopilot – ArduPilot – which incorporates portions of an Arduino microcontroller. A large community has formed around the technology. You can build your own UAV, crash it and a community of people exists to help you figure out how to put it together again. The podcast discusses quadcopters, autopilots and more. The cost to build one is at least $500, an expensive hobby, but might be justifiable as a work tool. However the Radio Control (RC) hobbyists deal with all things that fly.  You can start at $140 for a quadcopter kit (may lack transmitter unit). Podcasts for RC advocates exist going back some seven years at places like CrashCast and AllThingsThatFly. You can build a quadcopter that’s controlled by a Wii device. You can make quadcopter rotor blades with 3D printers or an entire quadcopter. You can also buy all the parts for “MultiCopters”. This is a very active field, including multiple quadcopter flying.

Wikileaks 57 min – is an interview of Micah Sifry, author of WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency. The discussion touches on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, but focuses more on the role of the internet in government operations. The early Obama Administration promoted transparency, but bureaucrats resist it; meetings are held outside the White House to avoid reporting requirements. Health and Human Services is one department that promotes transparency. Classifying material is the opposite. Policy makers often mistake highly classified material as better than public data and fail to exploit the vast wisdom of the crowd. Democracy is a messy and disruptive process made more complex by massive technological changes. SeeClickFix, like WikiLeaks, illustrates topics covered by the discussion. Go the site, find Show #144, July 20, right click it and select “Save Link As….” to download the podcast.

Government Science Advisers 17 mins – is in Britain, but sounds applicable to the USA. Sometimes these advisors are ignored and sometimes the title is given to a bureaucrat. The discussion takes up the first 17 minutes of a 28:30 minute Material World broadcast from the BBC.

Cellphone Eye Exam – is a four minute description of a group that thinks smartphones can help provide needed access to vision health care. Researchers at EyeNetra, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff company, are working on a device that would turn the phones into eye exam machines. It’s another example of low-cost health care assisted by adapting smartphones. Find a download button at the site as well as photos and transcript. P.S. for an article about cellphones that see through walls and detect cancer.

Favela Rehab 16 mins – DocArchive: Assignment – Favela Pacified is a report from one of Rio de Janeiro’s biggest urban slums, or favelas, to see whether drug gangs can be controlled for good. The program began three years ago, has installed roads, water, and power as well as employment assistance. Locate the title, right click and “Save
Link As…” to download.

Radio Netherlands has seven weekly programs available as podcasts in four grades of quality from 16kps to 128kps that affect file size and download times, all available via iTunes or as podcasts. Two programs concern Africa, one with planet health, one with music, one that’s called Global Perspective, a sixth about South Asia, and the last one called The State We’re In. A list of podcasts for each program are accessed by clicking on the podcast icon for the program at the main site. Once there a Rss feed icon will also appear in the upper left-hand corner of the page. An example is one African program about mobility and branding. Africans may have access to the most modern means of transport, but they face more and more barriers when it comes to traveling. Mobility is the most pressing political issue today on the continent. It is most easily done in China. The second part of the program describes how Africa is sometimes branded as a place that’s booming and sometimes as a failed continent.

Aboriginal Opera 20 mins – Soprano Deborah Cheetham produced an indigenous opera called Pecan Summer based on her being taken from her mother at birth and given to a white family as part of a forced conversion process used in too many countries. She describes it in the first 20 mins of The State We’re In – Sounds Like Home. Right click on the title and “Save Link As…” to download.

Haiti 56 mins – Robert Fatton, a native of Haiti, professor and associate dean in the department of politics at the University of Virginia explores the impact and implications of the devastating 2010 earthquake. One issue concerns the US damage to the Haitian rice industry by manipulating rice sales. The podcast is at this University of Virginia Black Alumni Assoc. link. There, at the bottom of the page, click on BAW 2011: Seminar Podcasts and select “Haiti: The People, Politics and Plans for the Future”.

Circumventing Communication Blackouts 92 mins – A three-person panel of technology experts examines how people can communicate in face of a complete shutdown of key communication infrastructures imposed by a government. The program was recorded in collaboration with the Human Rights Center at the University of California – Berkeley, in April 2011. A full video version with visual aids is available. An audio file here is entitled Human Rights and Technology: Circumventing Communication Blackouts, in addition to other titles of interest. The discussion is difficult to follow, perhaps due the specialized nature of topics and procedures. Newcomers to the concept need to understand Light Radio, The Free Software Foundation, Freedom Box that uses things like plug computers, and mobile mesh which are well described at the linked sites. P.S. for developments in OpenRadio that works with the OpenFlow system to create pools of available broadband from Wi-Fi, cellular and other networks. The project team is working with Texas Instruments to build $300-$500 base stations for the hardware component, while researchers try to build the orchestration software.

A War We Need – is an 11 minute piece about how the ocean breaths and why it’s important to the earth. It’s also a good, short study in the value of viruses.

Fact Checking 56 mins – Four professional fact checkers discuss the difference between Truth, Fact, and Evidence, and the quiet, but irreplaceable, role of the humble fact checker in our media. Who discovered oxygen and is creationism or evolution a fact are examples. Wikipedia’s approach is noted. Irrelevant facts found annoying by some are not discussed! A current example is the retraction by This American Life concerning numerous fabrications in Mike Daisey’s story about visiting Foxconn, which makes iPads and other products for Apple in China.  Daisey also misled This American Life during its fact-checking process. A full transcript of this episode is also available at the download link.

Salamworld and LuminAID 28 mins – A digest with four topics contains a 10 min segment in the middle dealing with Salamworld and LuminAID. Salamworld is the Muslim version of Facebook. The site is up, but still under construction. LuminAID is an inexpensive, inflatable, solar-powered light for developing countries. It’s compact, but limited to about two years of use. It also refers to the funding source, Indiegogo, similar to the other examples of such sites. A key part of the show is another discussion of the Raspberry Pi including remarks by one of the developers, David Braben.


About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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