Innovations in Solar and Surprising Sources of Traffic Jams

This time, Cathi Bond talks about Heliogen, which seems to have had an early stage breakthrough in using Concentrated Solar Power systems to get to temperatures of >1,000 degrees C, enough to power industrial processes, as opposed to just generating electricity. More details at New Atlas.

Nora Young talks about why the spike in traffic problems may be due to our convenience economy, especially quick delivery of online ordering, and ride hailing. See this well-researched Boston Globe article. 


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Hyperloop and Make your own Vinyl

This time, Cathi Bond talks about the latest concept design for a hyperloop ultra-high speed train, brought to you by MAD Architects and HyperloopTT. Check out the images over at New Atlas.  Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions Wired's article on the Phonocut, described as an "analog vinyl lathe". It's a machine that lets you produce your own custom vinyl! [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/11959055/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Battling Digital Distraction and Brand Experiences

On today's podcast, Nora Young talks about this post on dealing with digital distraction by having a clear idea of what you would do instead of being on your phone. She also mentions Nir Eyal's new book, Indistractable.

Meanwhile, Cathi Bond mentions this PSFK article on a sort of 'loyalty card 2.0' approach some retailers are using. Customer loyalty earns people experiences and makes them 'part of the club'.


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Tracking Health and Design for the Environment

On this podcast, Nora Young talks about a possible future of health tracking technologies, based on this Wired article about Fitbit's recent moves.

Cathi Bond talks about the potential power of art and design to address species diversity. Read Gizmodo's description of the Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial exhibit here.


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The Humans in Artificial Intelligence

We kick off the new season of The Sniffer with a machine learning twofer for you. Cathi Bond talks about this New York Times look at the workers who label the data that machine learning is trained on, in particular, in a medical context.  Nora Young talks about machine learning hype and this article on how to spot "AI Hype". She also mentions this Atlantic article by the excellent tech writer Sidney Fussell. [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/11250224/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Learn to Meditate and Subscription Fee Hell

This time, Cathi Bond talks about subscription fee creep, where inch by inch your monthly subscriptions are piling up. Here's Gizmodo's interesting take. How about you? Do you find the number of services you're subscribed to creeping up?

Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about this lovely and helpful post over at Legal Nomads. It's a curated 10 week introduction to meditation, that gives you a taste of a number of mainstream meditation approaches, so you can see what works for you.

And, are you having a bad day? Could you use a little sweetness in your life? Check out these Swiss cat ladders over at Core 77!


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Machine Learning in Africa and Tesla Surfboards

Hope you're having a good summer! This time, Nora Young talks about this Technology Review article on advances in machine learning in tech hubs in Africa, such as Accra and Nairobi. 

Cathi Bond has some summer fun for you! Tesla came out with this limited edition, super stylish surfboard (via New Atlas). And, looking for a little, um, calm water fun? How about this? The Wheeebo disc that lets you glide, slowly, along the water.


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Next Gen Skyscrapers and AI in Hollywood

This time around, Cathi Bond talks about this project by celebrated Canadian architect, Moshe Safdie (you can read more about it in this release).

Nora Young raises this article in The Verge on the use of AI in the design of Hollywood film.

Over the summer, we'll be releasing new episodes once a month, and then back to a proper bi-weekly schedule after Labour Day. Have a great summer!


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Virtual Reality Empathy and Robot Delivery

Long time, no podcast! We are back! This time, Nora talks about this Nautilus article on using VR headsets to foster empathy, and the disturbing idea that empathy may be on the wane. Cathi has a more lighthearted story with Digit, a bipedal robot that would deliver packages to your door via autonomous vehicle, when those cars are not otherwise being used (via New Atlas). Check out the video! Nora mentioned a few related stories that ran on Spark in the past: Friction-free racism (relevant part is at the end of the interview) Paul Bloom on rational compassion  [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/10196678/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Surveillance Special: smart doorbells and drones

On this podcast, Nora Young talks about technologies of home surveillance. As this article in The Outline discusses, are these home security features just making us more paranoid? And who gets to decide what constitutes "suspicious" activity?

Cathi Bond looks at this review of the EEGSmart Udrone, which lets you control a drone's flight with your mind. It also contains features that enable facial and gesture recognition. As drones get 'smarter' and more popular, are we enabling a surveillance culture?


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