Flash Forward
Flash Forward
May 31, 2016
Play episode · 48 min

Today we go to a future where all pop stars use avatars, clones, robots or cartoons instead of their real bodies and faces. What does that do to music? Can everybody pull off an avatar? And why would any pop star even want that? 


 We start with a conspiracy theory. Jaya Saxena tells us about the theory that Beyonce is a clone. And one of the reasons Jaya thinks that people might think Beyonce is using a clone is because she’s so private, and hates doing press stuff. Which of course is not the case, Beyonce may seem perfect but she is in fact a single human woman. 


 But the idea that a pop star might want to use a clone or avatar to do some of the more boring and annoying tasks required of pop stars: red carpets, meet and greets, constant interviews, is believable. Kelsey McKinney, a culture writer at Fusion, says that most of the pop stars she’s interviewed would absolutely take an out if they were given one. She tells us about what the grind of pop-stardom is really like, and why so many stars eventually do break down. 


 Now, there are some pop stars who use fronts or avatars. The Gorillaz performed as a cartoon troupe. Daft Punk wears those helmetty things. Sia wears a big wig. Deadmaus often performs wearing a giant mouse head. There’s this rock band called The Residents that has a small but very intense cult following. MF Doom performed in this gladiator mask. There are lots of examples of this. But Kelsey points out that none of them have reached the level of fame that say Beyonce or Taylor Swift has. 


 The one possible place we can find a true pop star that is represented by an avatar is Hatsune Miku. Now, if you’re not familiar with Hatsune Miku, she’s a 16 year old Japanese popstar. She’s 5 feet 2 inches tall, and she weighs 93 pounds and she’s got this really striking blue hair that is usually in these super long pigtails. And she is not real, she’s a cartoon or hologram. Hatsune Miku is a particularly interesting case to me because unlike The Gorillaz or Daft Punk or Sia, Hatsune Miku isn’t a front for a person. There is no artist laboring behind the scenes, who then goes out and uses the Hatsune Miku cartoon character to perform. She’s entirely a fabrication of a company, and I swear to you that I am not making this up, the company’s name is Crypton Future Media. And Crypton Future Media makes these singing synthesizer programs. And that’s where Hatsune Miku’s voice comes from, it’s totally created by a computer. 


 And last week when I was doing some research for this episode I realized that Hatsune Miku was actually playing at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City where I live, in just a couple days. So, obviously I bought tickets and this past weekend I dragged my very patient boyfriend to her show. You can hear how that went in the episode.


 But of course I can’t interview Hatsune Miku, since she’s not real. So instead I called my favorite anonymous musician: the man behind Hussalonia. You can read about the back story to Hussalonia on their site, but here’s the gist: Hussalonia is a pop music cult, which was purchased by an evil soap company called Nefarico, which demanded that Jesse no longer use his name or face in the songs, and also required him to put out two albums of soap jingles. And the man behind Hussalonia, Jesse Mank, tells us about why he came up with this story, and why he didn’t even do interviews until recently. 


 Finally, we all discuss what kinds of avatars people would choose, whether certain types of music are better suited to avatars, and what kind of fan art might spring up from these avatars. 

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Science Diction
Science Diction
Science Friday and WNYC Studios
Hydrox: How A Cookie Got A Name So Bad
The first Oreo rolled out of Chelsea Market in Manhattan in 1912, but despite the cookie’s popularity today, Oreos weren’t an immediate cookie smash hit. In fact, there was already another cookie on the block that looked remarkably similar to Oreos: two chocolate wafers embossed with laurel leaves, and white cream in the center. This cookie was widely loved, made with the highest quality ingredients, and saddled with a curious name: Hydrox. So how did a cookie get a name so bad? Producer Alexa Lim takes us all the way back to the early 1900s, and brings us a story of the rise - and the crumble - of a cookie named Hydrox. The transcript for this episode is being processed. It will be posted within one week after it airs. Guests: Carolyn Burns is the owner of The Insight Connection, and a former marketing director for Keebler. Stella Parks is a pastry chef and the author of Brave Tart: Iconic American Desserts. Ellia Kassoff is the CEO of Leaf Brands. Footnotes & Further Reading: For more Hydrox history, check out Brave Tart by Stella Parks. Can’t get enough Hydrox? This is a fun website. Credits: This episode of Science Diction was produced by Alexa Lim, Elah Feder, and Johanna Mayer. Our editor is Elah Feder. Daniel Peterschmidt is our composer and contributed sound design. Fact checking by Danya AbdelHameid. Chris Wood mastered the episode. Our Chief Content Officer is Nadja Oertelt.
20 min
Advice For And From The Future
Advice For And From The Future
Rose Eveleth
Can I ask my friend to turn off her Alexa?
Can I ask my friend to turn off her Alexa when I go to her house?  To answer that question, Dr. Simone Browne joins the show to talk about privacy, ethics, and whose job it is to convince someone to not opt into surveillance. 〰️〰️〰️ More information and show notes here 〰️〰️〰️ Advice For And From The Future is written, edited and performed by Rose Eveleth. The theme music is by Also, Also, Also. The logo is by Frank Okay. Additional music this episode provided by Blue Dot Sessions. ✨ To get even more, you can become a Flash Forward Presents Time Traveler for access to behind the scenes exclusive content, early access to new shows, and other surprises & goodies. ✨ Episode sponsors: The Listener: A daily podcast recommendation newsletter, sending three superb episodes to your inbox every week day. Get 20% off your first year using the code ADVICE20 at checkout at thelistener.co/advice. Shaker & Spoon: A subscription cocktail service that helps you learn how to make hand-crafted cocktails right at home. Get $20 off your first box at shakerandspoon.com/futureadvice. Tab for a Cause: A browser extension that lets you raise money for charity while doing your thing online. Whenever you open a new tab, you’ll see a beautiful photo and a small ad. Part of that ad money goes toward a charity of your choice! Join team Advice For And From The future by signing up at tabforacause.org/futureadvice. Tavour: Tavour is THE app for fans of beer, craft brews, and trying new and exciting labels. You sign up in the app and can choose the beers you’re interested in (including two new ones DAILY) adding to your own personalized crate. Use code: futureadvice for $10 off after your first order of $25 or more.  Purple Carrot: Purple Carrot is THE plant-based subscription meal kit that makes it easy to cook irresistible meals to fuel your body. Each week, choose from an expansive and delicious menu of dinners, lunches, breakfasts, and snacks! Get $30 off your first box by going to www.purplecarrot.com and entering code futureadvice at checkout today! Purple Carrot, the easiest way to eat more plants! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
39 min
Lingthusiasm - A podcast that's enthusiastic about linguistics
Lingthusiasm - A podcast that's enthusiastic about linguistics
Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne
49: How translators approach a text
Before even starting to translate a work, a translator needs to make several important macro-level decisions, such as whether to more closely follow the literal structure of the text or to adapt more freely, especially if the original text does things that are unfamiliar to readers in the destination language but would be familiar to readers in the original language. In this episode of Lingthusiasm, your hosts Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne get enthusiastic about the relationship of the translator and the text. We talk about the new, updated translation of Beowulf by Maria Dahvana Headley (affectionately known as the "bro" translation), reading the Tale of Genji in multiple translations, translating conlangs in fiction, and mistranslation on the Scots Wikipedia. Announcements We’re coming up on Lingthusiasm’s fourth anniversary! In celebration, we’re asking you to help people who would totally enjoy listening to fun conversations about linguistics, they just don’t realize it exists yet! Most people still find podcasts through word of mouth, and we’ve seen a significant bump in listens each November when we ask you to help share the show, so we know this works. If you tag us @lingthusiasm on social media in your recommendation post, we will like/retweet/reshare/thank you as appropriate, or if you send a recommendation to a specific person, we won’t know about it but you can still feel a warm glow of satisfaction at helping out (and feel free to still tell us about it on social media if you’d like to be thanked!). Trying to think of what to say? One option is to pick a particular episode that you liked and share a link to that. This month’s bonus episode was about honorifics, words like titles and forms of “you” that express when you’re trying to be extra polite to someone (and which can also be subverted to be rude or intimate). Get access to this and 43 other bonus episodes at https://www.patreon.com/lingthusiasm This is also a good time to start thinking about linguistics merch and other potential gift ideas (paperback copies of Because Internet, anyone?), in time for them to arrive via the internet, if you’re ordering for the holiday season. Check out the Lingthusiasm merch store at https://lingthusiasm.com/merch For links mentioned in this episode: https://lingthusiasm.com/post/632086691477323776/lingthusiasm-episode-49-how-translators-approach
34 min
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect
WNYC Studios
The Most Perfect Album: Episode 9
This season, More Perfect is taking its camera lens off the Supreme Court and zooming in on the words of the people: the 27 amendments that We The People have made to our Constitution. We're taking on these 27 amendments both in song and in story. This episode is best listened to alongside 27: The Most Perfect Album, an entire album (an ALBUM!) and digital experience of original music and art inspired by the 27 Amendments. Think of these episodes as the audio liner notes. In More Perfect's final episode of the season, listen to liner notes for two amendments that contemplate the still-unfinished status of our Constitution. "27" is an album that marks a particular point in our history: this moment when we have 27 Amendments to our Constitution. What will be the 28th? Maybe it will address our nation's capital. The capital has been a bit of a Constitutional anomaly for much of our nation's history — it's at the heart of the democracy, but because it's not a state, people in Washington D.C. have been disenfranchised almost by accident. The 23rd Amendment solved some of the problem — it gave D.C. the right to vote for president. But it left much of D.C.'s representation questions unanswered. D.C. still does not have voting representation in Congress. Instead, D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to Congress. For this liner note, More Perfect profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role. The song for the 23rd Amendment is by The Mellow Tones, a group of students from D.C. high school Duke Ellington School of the Arts, along with their teacher Mark G. Meadows. The chorus, "Why won't you count on me?" reflects on the continued disenfranchisement of our nation's capital. The final amendment of the album, the 27th Amendment, put limits on Senators' ability to give themselves a pay raise, and it has arguably the most unusual path to ratification of all 27. The first draft for the amendment was written by none other than James Madison in 1789, but back then, it didn't get enough votes from the states for ratification. It wasn't until a college student named Gregory Watson awakened the dormant amendment centuries later that it was finally ratified. The 27th Amendment song is by Kevin Devine and tells Watson's story.
24 min
The Story Collider
The Story Collider
Erin Barker
Epidemic Response Part 1: Stories about past epidemics
This week we present two stories from our back catalog of people having to handle previous epidemics. Part 1: As a pediatrician in the 1980s, Ken Haller comes across a disturbing X-ray. Part 2: On her first day working in the White House under President Obama, microbiologist Jo Handelsman receives some bad news. Ken is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. He serves on the boards of the Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Saint Louis University Library Associates, and the Gateway Media Literacy Project. He has also served on the board of the Missouri Foundation for Health and as President of the St. Louis Pediatric Society; the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization; the Gateway Men’s Chorus, St. Louis’s gay men’s chorus: and GLMA, the national organization of LGBT health care professionals. He is a frequent spokesperson in local and national media on the health care needs of children and adolescents. Ken is also an accomplished actor, produced playwright, and acclaimed cabaret performer. In 2015 he was named Best St. Louis Cabaret Performer by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and he has taken his one-person shows to New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco. His special interests include cultural competency, health literacy, the relationship of medicine to the arts, the effects of media on children, and the special health needs of LGBT youth. His personal mission is Healing. Dr. Jo Handelsman is currently the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Vilas Research Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. Previously, she served President Obama for three years as the Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She received her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Molecular Biology and has served on the faculties of UW-Madison and Yale University. Dr. Handelsman has authored over 200 papers, 30 editorials and 5 books. She is responsible for groundbreaking studies in microbiology and gender in science. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
37 min
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