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Tech Insider

Tech Insider is a subsidiary of Business Insider, with a staff of 40 people working primarily from the company's existing New York headquarters. Business Insider is a German-owned American news website.

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12/09/2015A guy who thinks machines can prevent crime, another who thinks machines could destroy humanity and a machine-learning algorithm outsmarted by squirrels. Listen, decode and decide: Is the decisive machine evil?
As a co-production of Tech Insider and Marketplace, "Codebreaker" is dear to our hearts in the newsroom. But it's also got some of the smartest storytelling about technology you can find anywhere. "Codebreaker" moves past newsy takes to ask big questions about technology's impact on our world. The first season began with three simple words: "Is It Evil?" Ben Johnson, the host, asked that question of internet porn, virality online, and even software updates — finding depth and nuance to each topic you probably never knew existed.
11/03/2015Mold giveth, and mold taketh away. The same not-quite plant, not-quite animal that causes cancer can also cure infections and unite long-lost family members. The Facts Original music for this episode by Mark Phillips and Elori Kramer Our theme music is "How We Do," written, performed, and produced by Nicholas Britell Our ad music is by Build Buildings Further Reading “Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds” by George Hudler Sponsors Audible.com PC Does Whaaaat?! Thanks to Geromy Moore Justin Trosclair of the St. James Cheese Company David Nally
Another Gimlet show, "Surprisingly Awesome" is part science, part technology, part bar room debate. It brings together the filmmaker Adam McCay of "Anchorman" and "The Big Short" fame and Adam Davidson of The New York Times Magazine and NPR's "Planet Money" (he also had a hand in "The Big Short.") Their conceit is that each episode one of them finds a topic that might seem dry or boring (broccoli, free throws, adhesives) and tries to convince the other that it's surprisingly awesome. The show is still new; there have been just seven episodes so far. But they all manage to unfold untold layers of science-y tech-y awesomeness in their boring-seeming subjects.
05/18/2015 In this episode, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs breaks down "Water Fountain." It's a song that draws inspiration from the politics of drought and dancehall reggae, and you'll hear how (and why) she tried to make this song less catchy. Despite that effort, in 2014 the tUnE-yArDs album Nikki Nack climbed the Billboard Charts and got widespread critical praise.
"Song Exploder" should be a kind of niche show for hardcore music nerds, but its so much more than that. Host Hrishikesh Hirway sits down with musicians to talk about how they make their music, and the results are part artistic masterclass, part gadget nerdfest, part biography. It's fun, enlightening, and entirely unique on the internet.
01/07/2015 In November 2014, Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan released his 11th album, called 36 Seasons. A lot of people worked on it: soul band The Revelations served as a kind of house backing band for the whole thing. Lil' Fame from M.O.P. and engineer Daniel Schlett helped produce, and there's a host of guest vocalists, including the ones on this track: singer Tré Williams, and rappers AZ and Kool G Rap. But the person who put the whole thing together, came up with the idea, and corralled all of these contributors is someone who doesn't appear on the record. His name is Bob Perry, and his title is A&R, which stands for artist and repertoire. Nowadays, that usually means the person at a record label who acts as a talent scout for new artists, but back in the day, the A&R reps were often responsible for much more. In this episode, Bob Perry talks about how the Ghostface song "The Battlefield" came together, and Revelations guitarist Wes Mingus breaks down how the beat was assembled.
"Song Exploder" should be a kind of niche show for hardcore music nerds, but its so much more than that. Host Hrishikesh Hirway sits down with musicians to talk about how they make their music, and the results are part artistic masterclass, part gadget nerdfest, part biography. It's fun, enlightening, and entirely unique on the internet.
06/24/2015On the evening of May 31, 2009, 216 passengers, three pilots, and nine flight attendants boarded an Airbus 330 in Rio de Janeiro. This flight, Air France 447, was headed across to Paris. Everything proceeded normally for several hours. Then, with no communication to the ground to or air traffic control, Flight 447 suddenly disappeared. Days later, several bodies and some pieces of the plane were found floating in the Atlantic Ocean. But it would be two more years before most of the wreckage was recovered from the ocean's depths. All 228 people on board had died. The cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorders, however, were intact, and these recordings told a story about how Flight 447 ended up in the bottom of the Atlantic. They told a story of a communication breakdown between the pilots and the plane's automation. Children of the Magenta (Automation Paradox, pt. 1)
If "Hidden Brain" reveals the unseen patterns that shape our behavior, "99 Percent Invisible" uncovers those that shape the design of our physical world. Past episodes have covered architecture, gadgets, fine art, and fashion. Host Roman Mars finds the human stories behind each of those subjects, and tells them in a friendly, unconcerned voice of a man who spends his days hanging out with his kid in the Bay Area sun — a fact he'll remind you of regularly.
02/11/2016 Music * Julia Rovinsky plays Phillip Glass’ Metamorphosis I, from her album Dusk. * There’s an excerpt from Paul Drescher’s “Casa Vecchia,” from the Mirrors: Other Fire album. * There’s a chunk of Jose Gonzalez’ “Instrumental” from his Stay in the ShadeEP. * “Manny Returns Home” from Bernard Hermann’s score to The Wrong Man. * Branka Parlic plays Philip Glass’ “Mad Rush.” Twice. * “Quiet Fan for SK,” by P.G. Six. * Things get heavy to “Particles of the Universe (Heartbeats)” from Dan Romer and Ben Zeitlin’s score to Beasts of the Southern Wild. Notes There’s a lot written about Robert Smalls, with a lot of contradictory information. I found Edward A. Miller’s Gullah Statesman: Robert Smalls from Slavery to Congress particularly useful to sorting it all out. Some other sources I consulted while researching this piece: * The Negro’s Civil War: How American Blacks Felt and Acted During the War for the Union by the Don, James McPherson * From Slavery to Public Service: Robert Smalls, 1839-1915, by Okon Uya. * And, for what it’s worth, Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief from RFK Jr.’s American Heroes Series is an enjoyable and surprisingly thorough version of the story for young readers, if you’re ever looking for that sort of thing.
"The Memory Palace" host Nate DiMeo is a one-man podcasting machine. He researches interesting, off-beat historical moments, writes them up in a lush storytelling prose, records himself reading them, and lays them over with strange, spooky music. The show looks to the periphery of major historical narratives and finds personal stories of mostly unknown figures. DiMeo makes a project of getting in his subject's heads, so listening to their stories is almost like disappearing into their worlds.
02/09/2016This week, we present a mind-boggling 'Is This Real Life?' Tracy's Animal Corner contemplates whales. Comedian Hannibal Buress is game for some Black History-themed Drunken Debates, and lets us take a few swipes on the dating app on his phone.
In just under a year, BuzzFeed's "Another Round" has already converted its two hosts into podcast stars that rival Ira Glass or Marc Maron. Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton interview all-star guests, go deep on race, politics, and culture, and get into alternately hilarious and gripping dialogues about subjects ranging from blue whales to Kanye West's lyrics about mental health. Both were writers for Buzzfeed, not performers or radio personalities, before "Another Round" took off. And they told "Longform" host Max Linsky that they're still getting comfortable in their new roles. However, to hear them ask Hillary Clinton "Do you ever look at the state of black America and say 'Wow [Bill and I] really f---ed this up for black people?'" or explore rich people Tinder with Hannibal Burress, you'd never know it.
11/07/2014 Sam Feirstein takes a broken heart to Alaska and finds surprising kindness in “enemy territory.” Also, producer Lea Thau takes a broken heart to India and has a “stranger” experience that inspires her to create this show. Get the full story here.
"Strangers" takes the idea behind The Moth to a new place. Lea Thau, "The Moth"'s former director, finds and interviews people with interesting, compelling stories — then takes herself out so you just hear their experience. The pace is slower, more introverted and less punchy than "The Moth." There's no live audience — you almost feel like you're hearing a story from inside the teller's head. Like "The Moth," Thau's subjects include a massive range of people and their stories often have twists and turns you'd never expect. Thau often supplements the episode with personal stories of her own.
07/11/2015 John Corcoran graduated from high school and college and then spent 17 years as a high school teacher without knowing how to read or write. How on earth did he pull that off? And why? This is his story. A different version of this story was originally presented on Strangers in early 2012. Get the … Continue reading The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read
"Strangers" takes the idea behind The Moth to a new place. Lea Thau, "The Moth"'s former director, finds and interviews people with interesting, compelling stories — then takes herself out so you just hear their experience. The pace is slower, more introverted and less punchy than "The Moth." There's no live audience — you almost feel like you're hearing a story from inside the teller's head. Like "The Moth," Thau's subjects include a massive range of people and their stories often have twists and turns you'd never expect. Thau often supplements the episode with personal stories of her own.
05/27/2015 Something to listen to while you wait for the new season of The Memory Palace, launching June 21st with weekly episodes through the whole summer.    
"The Memory Palace" host Nate DiMeo is a one-man podcasting machine. He researches interesting, off-beat historical moments, writes them up in a lush storytelling prose, records himself reading them, and lays them over with strange, spooky music. The show looks to the periphery of major historical narratives and finds personal stories of mostly unknown figures. DiMeo makes a project of getting in his subject's heads, so listening to their stories is almost like disappearing into their worlds.
08/29/2014 In a special listener mailbag edition, we answer questions about starting a long-distance friendship, women who are mansplainers, a Shine Theory dilemma, work self vs. internet self, an office style dilemma, and why iPhone read receipts are terrible.  Music: Beyoncé - Irreplaceable QT - Hey QT Snakehips - Days Without You ft. Sinead Harnett Kacey Musgraves - Follow Your Arrow Phantogram - Fall in Love Hannah Rad edit of Robyn - Call Your Girlfriend
This recommendation comes courtesy of Tech Insider innovation reporter Leanna Garfield. "Call Your Girlfriend" is a round table on life, politics, and culture. Each week, "long-distance besties" Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow call each other to discuss their thoughts on the news. They tackle each subject from an "unapologetically feminist" perspective — and utterly without a filter.
02/19/2016 Join us on the podcast this week as the crew discusses Bernie Sanders' comments at a town hall meeting, a school video about affirmative action, teachers wilding out on first graders, Lebron trading for Camerlo Anthony, and whether sex makes for a great Valentine's day gift. As always, send any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns to nwapcast@gmail.com. Also, we welcome your comments in audio form! Please record any thoughts (under 2 minutes) on our topics or corrections and we’ll air them on our next show.
N.W.A.P. brings together political and cultural commentary from an explicitly black male perspective. The hosts go by their Twitter handles: @fivefifths, @Smooth_Orator, @Taut_7, and @negroid_android. Their conversations offer great insights on life, politics, and pop culture.
11/16/2015 Join us this week as the crew tackles the protests at Mizzou, some of the politics surrounding HBCU membership, and police officers that don't like to tell the truth.  As always, send any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns to nwapcast@gmail.Com. Also, we welcome your comments in audio form! Please record any thoughts (under 2 minutes) on our topics or corrections and we’ll air them on our next show! iTunes Stitcher
N.W.A.P. brings together political and cultural commentary from an explicitly black male perspective. The hosts go by their Twitter handles: @fivefifths, @Smooth_Orator, @Taut_7, and @negroid_android. Their conversations offer great insights on life, politics, and pop culture.
11/03/2015Jesse always wanted to fall in love. So when the perfect woman started writing him letters, it seemed too good to be true. Because it was. This week, a story about a con — with a twist. When the con was exposed, its victims defended the con artists. They still wanted to believe the lie.
NPR's "Hidden Brain" is a show about our minds. It takes the best work from fields like psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science and uses them to uncover hidden patterns in the way we live our lives. Host Shankar Vidantam has an infectious excitement for the subject and always seems overflowing with eagerness to pick a scientists' mind or share his latest discovery with his listeners. Each episode finds real world events to tie the science into, making it compelling and easy to understand even the subject matter is abstract.
11/18/2015A man whose job is scrubbing porn from the web; adult film star Stoya's battle against free, pirated porn; and the dirty history of tagging. Listen, decode and decide: Is internet porn evil?
As a co-production of Tech Insider and Marketplace, "Codebreaker" is dear to our hearts in the newsroom. But it's also got some of the smartest storytelling about technology you can find anywhere. "Codebreaker" moves past newsy takes to ask big questions about technology's impact on our world. The first season began with three simple words: "Is It Evil?" Ben Johnson, the host, asked that question of internet porn, virality online, and even software updates — finding depth and nuance to each topic you probably never knew existed.