Review: The History of the Future BBC Radio4

Illustration from "Illustrerad verldshistoria utgifven av E. Wallis. volume I": Phytia giving an answerJuliet Gardiner looks at how cultures of the past viewed the possibilities of the future, and what these visions say about the pre-occupations of the time.

Or as I like to call it – Where’s My Jetpack?

Here’s a curious thing; a BBC Radio 4 documentary series that doesn’t appear to exist on iPlayer, Listen Again or as a podcast. I caught the tail end of this series which finished in September, just the last couple of episodes. I’d like to hear the rest, but I can’t find them. Even though the show’s homepage is still up on the BBC website. Continue reading

News: The Digital Human Series 2

Aleks Krotoski portrait by Kevin Meredith lomokev.comAleks Krotoski returns with a new series of explorations of our digital world.

Episode 1: Diaspora – In the first in the new series Aleks looks at how different cultures are preserving their identity in the face of the homogenising effects of technology.

This insightful series combines popular science and technology with some social anthropology in an easily digestable set of themed episodes. You don’t have to be a tech-junkie (but it helps) or a sociologist (just as well) in order to appreciate these gentle drop-in sessions on the wired world.

We liked series one, so, evidently, did Radio 4, since it’s back for another run of seven shows. Continue reading

Review: The Digital Human BBC Radio4

Aleks Krotoski portrait by Kevin Meredith lomokev.comAleks Krotoski explores the digital world, looking at the urge to capture every image, experience and feeling for on-line eternity and how technology touches everything people do, both on and off-line

I didn’t get time to post this over the Summer when it originally aired on BBC Radio 4 Monday afternoons, but this well thought out seven part series by the Guardian’s ‘digitial specialist’ bears seeking out on the BBC iPlayer where it is still available.

Krotoski asks “not just what technology can do for us but also what is it doing to us and the world we’re creating?” Continue reading

Review: BBC Review: Radio 4 Book of the Week – Tubes by Andrew Blum

Image credit: Book Photo by shutterhacks (Creative Commons)BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet
Written by Andrew Blum.

In April 2011, a seventy-five year old woman deprived Armenia of its Internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade. That January, Egyptian authorities simply switched off 70% of the country’s Internet connections in an attempt to quell a revolution. In 2009, a squirrel chewed through a wire in Andrew Blum’s backyard, slowing his broadband to a trickle and catapulting him on a quest to find out what this so-called ‘Internet’ actually is.

This is the Internet as you’ve never seen it before. It’s not a concept. It’s not a culture. It’s most certainly not a cloud. It’s a mass of tubes. Continue reading

Review: Outriders BBC Radio 5 Live

Outriders BBC Radio 5 LiveOutriders is BBC Radio 5 live’s programme dedicated to exploring the frontiers of the web. It is broadcast on Tuesdays at 03.00 as a segment of the Up All Night show.

Hidden away in the 5 Live schedule, 3am Tuesdays, this tidy, well-judged technology show deserves a better profile for it’s diverse coverage and entertainment value.

Fortunately, you can trawl the Outriders podcast archive, which is stored indefinitely. Continue reading

Review: The Food Programme BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 Food ProgrammeA Special (Food) Relationship (Mon, 21 Nov 11) Available as a podcast for a limited time

“Mark Bittman, chief food writer at the New York Times, journeys to the UK to see what he can learn from campaigning chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Arthur Potts Dawson.”

Not something I normally follow, BBC Radio 4’s rather earnest, self-congratulatory, middle-class sop for the food trendy is typically a little too rich for me. However, this special show, triggered by NYT food writer Bittman’s research trip to the UK departed the usual track, focusing on the food campaigners influencing both commercial practices and public policy.

Bittman had covered Jamie Oliver’s healthy eating campaign, transplanted from the UK to the US, where he met with an intense level of vitriol. Inspired by that campaign and aware of the lead Oliver and others had set, Bittman tapped the BBC for contacts with Oliver and fellow campaigner HF-W which Radio 4 then recorded. Continue reading