No Cell Service, No Technology and Electrosensitives Everywhere: Stephen Kurczy Talks about ”The Quiet Zone”

September 30th, 2021
download.jpegI suppose even the most ardent technologists have at times wanted to get off the grid...usually that urge doesn't last long. But for the people of Green Bank, West Virginia, it’s an ongoing state of affairs. 
The only town that is designated as a national radio quiet zone, is actually not all that quiet. It seems that just as before technology subsumed us, people do find other ways to communicate, and to get into all sorts of trouble. 
 
The story of Green Bank and its people is where my guest Stephen Kurczy takes us in The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence 
 
My conversation with Stephen Kurczy:

Police, The Courts and the Subversion of Civil Rights: A Conversation with Erwin Chemerinsky

September 27th, 2021
Screen%2BShot%2B2021-09-27%2Bat%2B8.39.21%2BPM.pngWhile the issue of systemic racism, along with a long history racial conflict occupies a large portion of our social and political landscape, the issue of racial influence in law enforcement and the problem of police violence directed at people of color, holds a unique place in our history.
 
The idea of equal justice under the law is a unique pillar in the American experience. It is, arguably, one of the weight-bearing pillars upon which our entire system of law and justice is based. And yet for years this idea has been under siege. Not just on the streets, or in squad rooms, but in the courts rooms of our states and even in the Supreme Court.

How the courts have undermined a foundational tenant of their very existence tells us a lot about how we got where we are today. Erwin Chemerinsky, the Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law expands on this idea in Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights.

 
My conversation with Erwin Chemerinsky: 

As You Look At The Emmys, Remember That It Is Only Streaming and Entertainment That is Bringing the World Together

September 18th, 2021
Streaming_Hits_3z2-1440x600.jpegIt wasn’t very long ago that to see a foreign language film, you wound up in the smallest theater in the multiplex or a little art theater somewhere in a college town...or you lived in New York or San Francisco or Boston. But like everything else, creative destruction has done its job. Streaming and the long tail of the internet has moved to supplant cable, movie theaters, broadcast television, and even the English language as the talisman of all of our entertainment. 
Even amidst the bifurcation and division in both the US and the world, filmed entertainment seems to be one of the few things bringing the world together. Suddenly at our fingertips is programming made everywhere. And rather than looking at it as an oddity reserved only for a few cinephiles, it’s now working its way into the mainstream of all of our living rooms.

Is this just a temporary blip due to COVID and the pandemic, or has global entertainment undergone a tectonic shift that both reflects and might reshape our culture? We’re going to talk about this with Scott Roxborough. 

 
Scott is an international reporter covering film and television and music. He reports on entertainment from Europe for the Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and German TV, and wrote a seminal article for the Hollywood Reporter dealing with this subject. 
 
My conversation with Scott Roxborough: 

The News About the News: A conversation with Martha Minow

September 14th, 2021
Street_Corner_News_3x2-1440x600.jpegFor journalism, it may be the best of times and the worst of times. On the one hand, the national media is more vibrant than ever. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as broadcast and cable news networks are thriving. For these outlets, the transition to digital has been painful, but successful and is still ongoing.  It was recently announced by CNN and NBC News that they would be moving to a streaming model.
 
Today, The New York Times derives more than sixty percent of its revenue from digital subscriptions. Recurring revenue models are driving the success of independent and specific news outlets and individual journalists on Substack and similar platforms that are thriving. While romantics rap quixotic about the 23 newspapers that once were available in New York City, websites and Twitter have now subsumed that. New sites start up regularly with lower barriers to entry and what some argue is a greater democratization of information.

For local news, however, the story is different. For what’s happening in your neighborhood, your school board, your city council, is a very different story. Thousands of local newspapers and local radio stations have shut down. The economics of the enterprise has proven to be unsustainable, and even large regional papers in places like LA, Chicago, and Miami have proven to be problematic. While many of the best of these papers have been stripped and plundered by hedge funds, let’s also remember that many were acquired by the hedge funds out of bankruptcy.

All of this begs the question as to whether our political, cultural, and social divide stems from the top as is assumed, or whether the hollowing out of news in our communities, something that should be bringing us together, is at the heart of what’s wrong? If so, does the government have a role to play in fixing that effort? Is the problem with the product, with the public, or as it is often so easy to do, should we just blame social media?  Understanding this is the work that Martha Minow takes on in Saving the News: Why the Constitution Calls for Government Action to Preserve Freedom of Speech.
 
My WhoWhatWhy.org conversation with Martha Minow:

The Myth of ”Nobody Saw it Coming”

September 4th, 2021
81K7izy9dNS.jpegThe more we know about disasters, the more we realize that most were preordained. Covid 19 or Katrina, the current fires in California or the deep freeze this past winter in Texas. None of them were what we would call Black Swan events.

We are certainly, because of climate change, complexity and complacency, going to be experiencing more such events, we had better become much better at disaster preparedness.

If we know these disaster events are coming, how can we get better at dealing with the consequences? Fire season is yet to reach its peak this year, hurricanes are starting early and we know that more infrastructure and buildings will collapse.

Therefore, the area of disaster management should be one of our number one priority, just as it has been for my guest Dr. Samantha Montano, the author of Disasterology: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis 

 
My conversation with Samantha Montano:
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