Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything

Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything
a radio show about connections

Influencers (complete told you so version)
Jul 22 • 25 min
A couple of years ago I wrote a story for the truth podcast, Radiotopia’s one-of-a-kind audio fiction show. Part One ran on the Truth and Part Two ran here. Now that there are actual camps I believe this story warrants another listen.
YouTube’s Inferno
Jun 19 • 21 min
YouTube insists it is not liable for the hate speech in its platform. This is also what YouTube said about the copyrighted material back when it was a start up in 2006. We revisit YouTube’s history with Chris Stokel-Walker author of the new book…
Operation Three-Eyed Raven
Jun 3 • 16 min
ToE’s special correspondent Chris tells us the truth about Game of Thrones, Trump, the CIA, and the importance of stories. Chapter seven in the new ToE Failure miniseries.
Authoritarian Schizophrenia
May 16 • 22 min
Right wing populists have stormed the world wide web. They even have a beachhead in China. Chenchen Zhang tells us about the racism and misogyny she found on the knowledge sharing platform Zhihu. And Leta Hong Fincher explains why patriarchal…
The Greater Firewall
Apr 24 • 21 min
China’s next generation surveillance technology is being used to build out the world’s internet. But China is also exporting new philosophical and business models. Hao Wu explains how live streaming in China is powered by failures and James Griffiths…
Bad Recommendations
Apr 3 • 30 min
John Herrman EXPOSES the truth about YouTube’s paranoid style. ToE’s Andrew Callaway DESTROYS Jordan Peterson. (Must listen!!!)
Failure (interlude)
Mar 13 • 23 min
Failure Flashback! Failure has always been a key concept for your host so this week we pull two stories out of the Benjamen Walker podcast archive. First a musical number about the loser behind Blue Suede Shoes and second a morality tale about the artist…
Mar 1 • 31 min
Critic Anand Giridharadas demystifies the rise of the thought leader, artist Chris Vargas rememorializes the Stonewall riots and your host clears up where he stands on the YouTube platform. Chapter three in the new ToE Failure miniseries.
The Cultural Marxism Industry
Feb 12 • 36 min
In the 1930’s,Theodor Adorno fled Nazi Germany. In America, he studied the Authoritarian Personality. On YouTube, he’s the object of study in a massive conspiracy theory that many have tried (and failed) to debunk. Chapter two in the new ToE Failure…
The People have Spoken
Jan 9 • 27 min
Filmmaker Astra Taylor asks “What is Democracy?” and YouTube creates the most disliked video in the history of the platform. Chapter One in the new ToE Failure miniseries.
Failure (prelude)
Dec 25, 2018 • 37 min
After Meghan Daum’s marriage falls apart she meets some new friends on YouTube. Also, reporter Paris Martineau tells us about a new game changing online harassment tool: the thotbot. Meghan wrote about her journey for Medium and Paris’s reporting is from…
Bonus 2018
Dec 19, 2018 • 21 min
Earlier this summer at a listener meet up in Vancouver your host learned the difference between Listeners and Fans. Find out why this distinction matters. And if you are a fan or a listener donate now to the 2018 Radiotopia campaign! Also: Benjamen and…
Victory is ours
Dec 11, 2018 • 36 min
Mark Galeotti takes us into the Soviet Gulag to tell us the brutal history of the Bitch War, ToE’s Andrew Callaway checks in on the war on smoking and P.W. Singer explains how #likewar works. Plus Sleeper Net?
Fake it till you make it (False Alarm! part xv)
Nov 28, 2018 • 31 min
The grand finale of False Alarm! This one has it all, the little boy who cried wolf, your host’s AI plant, the paintings of Hilma af Klint, the blockchain powered SingularityNet, and Nuclear Armageddon! Centuries in the making plus a message from the…
Night Wolves (False Alarm! part xiv)
Nov 6, 2018 • 39 min
The Night Wolves are a Russian biker gang. Their rallies and bike shows run on state TV and Putin gave members medals for their contributions to the annexation of Crimea. The Kremlin outsources violence, propaganda, and intelligence gathering to groups…
JK After The Fact (False Alarm! part xiii)
Oct 24, 2018 • 36 min
A handful of tech barons now own the news but only one can rule the fake news. A chat with the comedy team behind the CBC’s This is That satirical news show turns into breaking news about Elon Musk.
Wolfgang (False Alarm! part xii)
Oct 12, 2018 • 34 min
The Hoaxers took over the Conspiracy Theory Championship Title from the Truthers in December of 2012 in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. Eight years later the hoaxers are everywhere, the pizzagaters, the climate deniers, the…
Mistakes were made
Sep 25, 2018 • 37 min
We’re taking a short break from False Alarm! because your host made a big big mistake. More on that when we return to False Alarm next episode… In the meantime, we raid Benjamen Walker’s audio vaults for a show about making mistakes and being wrong.
True Lessons (False Alarm! part xi)
Sep 12, 2018 • 32 min
I set out on this False Alarm! journey with a quest to figure out how to better deal with this blurry line between fiction and reality. Phase Three of False Alarm! begins with a return to this question… can fiction help us see the truth? Jeffery Lewis,…
Second time as fake (False Alarm! part x)
Aug 23, 2018 • 42 min
The Nazis believed the secret to turning a lie into a truth was repetition, for the Spiritualists it was denial, have computers come up with something new? Phase two of our mega-mini series concludes and we return from our tour of the 1930s and 1880s.…
Heavenly Truths (False Alarm! part ix)
Aug 7, 2018 • 41 min
A postmodern prehistory of post-truth and an alternative history of the Civil War. Our exploration of the Nazi Supernatural concludes with Werewolves and Mass Suicide. Plus: another installment in our False Alarm! fairy tale, the little boy from part one…
Pseudoscience (False Alarm! part viii)
Jul 24, 2018 • 25 min
As the border between border science and science dissolves we continue our examination of two other time periods when science tried to account for both the real and the unreal. In the 1800’s, so much new technology was revolutionizing the world… why not…
The Power of Magical Thinking (False Alarm! part vii)
Jul 11, 2018 • 30 min
Magic! That’s what alt-right face-punchee Richard Spencer claims brought Trump to the White House. Esoteric historian Gary Lachman investigates and discovers an unholy alliance of memes, chaos, and positive thinking. Michael Hughes, author of Magic for…
It is happening again (False Alarm! part vi)
Jun 22, 2018 • 30 min
Little girls who can talk to ghosts! The Nazi Supernatural! The legacy of artist Iris Häussler’s first fictional character Joseph Wagenbach. Plus America’s Greatest Lie! 2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s…
Real costs extra (False Alarm! part v)
Jun 5, 2018 • 42 min
Many of us are struggling with the real and the fake – but if you’re willing to pay enough, you don’t have to worry about it. Your host collaborates with 99% Invisible on a story about the Emeco Navy chair (the real one and the knockoffs). Artist Sam…
The Fake in the Crowd (False Alarm! part iv)
May 21, 2018 • 28 min
The power of the fake person, multiplied! Curator Karen Patterson puts a fake outsider artist in the museum and artist David Levine puts on a museum show about the fake crowd. We hear from a 1937 radio play that featured both Orson Welles and the first…
S-Coin (False Alarm! part iii)
May 1, 2018 • 45 min
Our investigation of the real and the fake continues as your host hunts for a way to monetize it! We ask Alex Goldmark from Planet Money and Bitchcoin artist Sarah Meyohas for advice and author David Golumbia explains how bitcoin really works. Lyn Jeffrey…
Fake Nudes (False Alarm! part ii)
Apr 17, 2018 • 44 min
The future of face-swapping! The REAL deepfakes speaks! Artist Lynn Hershman Leeson tells us how technology has transformed the way she plays with fact and fiction. Dipayan Ghosh warns us about AI powered ad-targeting. Criminal’s Phoebe and Lauren drop…
This Is Not A Drill (False Alarm! part i)
Apr 3, 2018 • 36 min
Our New ToE series on the battle between the real and the fake begins with a text alert sent out to everyone in Hawaii on a balmy Saturday morning. We also hear from the man who has written the text alert that will go out to all New Yorkers in the event…
Utopia (part v)
Mar 22, 2018 • 28 min
Our search for Utopia comes to an end at Christiania, an Anarchist haven in the heart of Copenhagen. In 2012 this Utopia went legit, the squatters become property owners. But now they must figure out how to preserve their alternative community, preserve…
Utopia (part iv)
Mar 6, 2018 • 21 min
Our search for Utopia takes Andrew far from Mundania to the magickal Den of Iniquity in a pagan community called The Valley of The Dragons. Plus, your host takes a tour of FDR’s New Deal Utopias in search of a future that is possible. ********* click on…
Time Travelin’ Trump
Feb 14, 2018 • 19 min
Donald Trump says all his ‘nuclear knowledge’ comes from his favorite uncle John G Trump. According to ToE special correspondent Chris, Uncle Johnny also gave Donald a time machine ring. Learn all about how John Trump acquired this ring (from Nikola…
Utopia (part iii)
Jan 22, 2018 • 26 min
Artist and Filmmaker Ruth Dusseault tells us about how the internet has changed the American Commune. Plus ToE’s Andrew Callaway lets us in on an internet joke about Socialist Dolphins. ***********Click on the image for details about this episode ********
False Flags
Dec 30, 2017 • 18 min
Underneath a giant American Flag in a Midwest Airport Your host takes a knee in order to tie his shoe. Trouble. Big Trouble. Plus False Flag meets
Utopia (part ii)
Dec 20, 2017 • 29 min
Our series continues with ToE’s Andrew Callaway reporting from an off the grid fully sustainable little piece of heaven called Earthaven. Plus Will Wilkinson on Libertopia and the limits of Ideal Theory. **********************Click on image for more links…
Utopia (part i)
Nov 16, 2017 • 33 min
A new ToE mini series on technology, society, work, art, love (the ToE basics) but this time your host dons a pair of Utopian tinted glasses, and sends Toe Producer Andrew Callaway on the road to visit Utopian communities. Plus Basic Income. **********…
CthulhuCon (Revisited)
Nov 3, 2017 • 35 min
A special Halloween week fall treat! We’re revisiting a segment from my old podcast Too Much Information. I’ve always wanted to share it here, but this thing I dreamed about in 2010 (Cthulucon, a gathering dedicated to the writings and memory of the…
Bad Science
Oct 20, 2017 • 18 min
When ToE’s special corespondent Chris told me about Russian Gay Bashing Drones onstage during my performance in London I was certain he was once again putting me on – or this was Satire. I forgot that in 2017 anything is possible – except Satire! A few…
Iron and Lies (Wisconsin part II of II)
Oct 16, 2017 • 27 min
The ToE family Wisconsin road trip wraps up with a visit to the House on the Rock. Even though Alex Jordan’s tourist attraction is one of the most visionary unique places in the world you still won’t find it on any of the official Wisconsin art…
Concrete and Respect (Wisconsin part I of II)
Sep 21, 2017 • 42 min
Benjamen, Mathilde and Arthaud head off on a family trip to Wisconsin to see art environments built by immigrants out of concrete and to discover what’s going on in rural America today. Plus: making Pawn America great again! ******** CLICK on PHOTO for a…
Illicit Objects
Aug 8, 2017 • 39 min
Rob Walker and Josh Glenn have a long history of getting writers to share stories about their objects, but when they told me the would be curating an audio collection of stories, and asked if I wanted to collaborate I said absolutely. So here we have it.…
Private Ear
Jul 19, 2017 • 26 min
Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an internationally celebrated artist who works with sound and an internationally recognized expert forensic listener. He likes to call himself a Private Ear. Your host visits Lawrence in Beirut to hear more.
Influencers (part II of II)
Jun 28, 2017 • 15 min
Frankie isn’t a real Media Influencer but the Government saw the 500k followers he bought for his Instagram profile back in the day and arrested him anyway. Now he’s in a Media internment camp. This is PART TWO of a special collaboration with the Truth…
May 29, 2017 • 24 min
A special ToE emergency pod: Chris explains the Orb, Andrew dives into the mystery of Twin Peaks and your host tries attempts SpaCasting.
May 16, 2017 • 27 min
Direct action saved the gardens in your host’s neighborhood, activist and author L.A. Kauffman explains why it is once again time for more good old fashioned American Radicalism. Plus ToE’s Andrew Callaway maga-ups with the Alt-right on Mayday. Find L.A.…
Droning for Dollars
Apr 26, 2017 • 14 min
Can a Self-Droning drone start up save the Trump Presidency? Our special correspondent Chris fills us in on YouFired!
Art Districts
Apr 11, 2017 • 29 min
Empty buildings, run down neighborhoods and cheap rents. This is the bait you need to attract artists, speculators and urban revitalizers. But in order to attract pioneers you also need illusion and myth. We tour the art districts of New Orleans, Los…
1984 (the year not the book) r
Mar 20, 2017 • 66 min
Wrote a short piece on my 1984 “where’s the beef” record collection for Hilobrow’s Political Objects series and thought I would re-up this episode. In 1984 your host was twelve years old and like George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith, he kept a diary,…
Nothing to Hide
Mar 10, 2017 • 37 min
Potemkin apps, Fake ads, and the return of little pepe the frog. Your host busts out all his best deep state moves for the grand conclusion of our Surveillance miniseries. Plus Finn Brunton pitches AdNauseum and Siva Vaidhyanathan gives us a tour of the…
The Rainbows of Inevitability
Feb 23, 2017 • 36 min
We take a tour of the sprawl with Metahaven to learn about the propaganda of propaganda and we travel beyond the Facebook wall to learn the real truth about targeted advertising. Plus Project Madison Valleywood!
Doomed to Repeat
Feb 8, 2017 • 32 min
Your host examines the targeted advertising and fake news that some say put Donald Trump in the White House. Plus: the colonial history of Biometric Surveillance. Thanks to Mira Waits, Ethan Zuckerman and Hannes Grassegger
The Twentieth of January
Jan 20, 2017 • 21 min
A spy novel from the 80’s gives Donald Trump and his Russian friends some ideas. PLUS your host inspires the youth with cowardice.
Jan 16, 2017 • 36 min
The FBI builds more surveillance traps that don’t work, and your host shares a few of his earliest adventures in surveillance.
The fairest of them all?
Dec 28, 2016 • 17 min
Our Surveillance miniseries continues with a special holiday episode. Your host visits both the glass room ( a fake pop up store) and the Google pop up store (a real pop up store).
Useful Idiots
Dec 12, 2016 • 35 min
Your host discovers you can’t beat the Russians at the fake game and ToE’s Chris reviews Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden. Plus: Vladislav Surkov and the Potemkin Panopticon.
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
Nov 23, 2016 • 20 min
Donald Trump promises women he will make Surveillance great again. Plus Digital Security Training!
Nov 8, 2016 • 33 min
Your host tries his hand at targeted advertising and he dooms his child to a life of exclusion with the simple gift of a stuffed frog. Plus the truth about Facial Recognition.
Oct 25, 2016 • 29 min
Your host decides to follow back a Joy Division T-shirt that is following him around the internet. Plus the surveillance that powers behaviorally targeted personalized advertising.
Burning down the Panopticon
Oct 11, 2016 • 24 min
Our new miniseries on Surveillance begins with your host tripping over the corpse of Jeremy Bentham, the man who gave us the Panopticon.
You are so Pretentious
Sep 20, 2016 • 19 min
Writer Dan Fox wants to reclaim the word pretentious. Take it back from those who use it like a stick to beat down the curious and the adventurous.
revolutionary slogans will be written by the winners
Aug 25, 2016 • 14 min
As the 2016 American presidential election heads into the final round – we are featuring a story your host stumbled upon during the last election in October of 2102. Radio producer Silvain Gire tells us about an impossible encounter between Mitt Romney…
pass (r)
Aug 16, 2016 • 9 min
Your host dreams the future of Self Driving Cars.
The art of the deal
Aug 4, 2016 • 20 min
The secret history of ISIS from ToE’s special corespondent Chris. PLUS Donald Trump is ready for sacrifice.
Something will happen, eventually
Jul 21, 2016 • 13 min
Your host opens his file of near misses and close calls. Joe Mazur examines the math and myth behind the stories we call coincidences. Plus a grasp at the law of truly large numbers.
Because there’s nothing else to do
Jul 6, 2016 • 16 min
Your host wanders London just before and after Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union.
sudculture (part II of II)
Jun 21, 2016 • 26 min
Part two of your host’s craft beer drinking adventure. As the battle over shelf space intensifies we meet a couple of brewers who are doing things differently?
sudculture (part I of II)
Jun 6, 2016 • 24 min
Your host sets out to better understand America’s craft beer scene. The latest food trend? Or oppositional culture? And can it survive the attention from Megabrew? image:
Analog Time
May 29, 2016 • 25 min
Your host explores the transition from UFO to Drone on stage as part of Radiotopia Live! and pinpoints the date he crossed his own personal digital divide (Feb 21st 1997). Also filmmaker Alix Lambert tells us about a group of people who are still on…
Transformers (r)
May 13, 2016 • 33 min
Yvette Gonzales tells us a first person story about what its like to be transgender in Prison. Gender theorist B. Preciado tells us about what happens when a person takes testosterone without the intention of transitioning from one gender to another.…
Platform of the Real
Apr 28, 2016 • 23 min
A look at the most revolutionary media format that has ever existed and a trip back to 1968 when video became real. Plus Virtual reality!
The Future
Apr 12, 2016 • 26 min
Your host has a chance encounter with the supposed inspiration for a cult TV show that predicted the future of tech and media. Plus the end of Moore’s law?
A light touch and a slight nudge
Mar 28, 2016 • 31 min
Is Donald Trump actually a CIA asset with implants in his small hands or are our brains just wired for paranoia – or both! Rob Brotherton, author of Suspicious Minds, explains how our cognitive biases push us to see Conspiracies everywhere. Plus a look…
Mar 7, 2016 • 29 min
Luc Sante takes us on a tour of “The Other Paris” Benoît Peeters shows us Paris of 22nd century and your host learns why there is so much Brooklyn in the 10th arrondissement image by Celeste Lai
After Work
Feb 9, 2016 • 23 min
ToE instaserf Andrew Callaway gets invited to do a TED ALPHA Talk on the sharing economy. Mary Gray (a real sharing economy expert) explains why we are anxious about the future of work and Ignacio Uriarte leaves his cubicle to make post-office art. image…
The Escapers
Jan 27, 2016 • 25 min
Artist Gary Panter packs up and sizes down, Alix Lambert explains the new computer trap. Plus your host on Gordon Comstock (the escaper protagonist of Orwell’s novel Keep the aspidistra flying).
70×7 (Holy War part II of II)
Dec 29, 2015 • 29 min
The second half of our sly-fi story about redemption, forgiveness and torture. Margo hopes to leave Christian America with Ali Baba ( a terrorist clone she was given as recompense for the death of her husband). But can they escape before evil Freddie…
Alaska Is Closer (Holy War part I of II)
Dec 22, 2015 • 37 min
As 2015 winds down we offer you a story about redemption, forgiveness and torture. When Margo’s husband is killed in a terrorist attack, she is given Ali Baba, a terrorist clone. This is how it works in Christian America in this piece of speculative…
New York After Rent (post prop f director’s cut)
Nov 25, 2015 • 67 min
Now that Airbnb has proved it can beat regulation we return to the post-gentrified city. Two! new segments: we meet a landlord (named Benny) who built an illegal artists space in Bushwick, and we visit Astor Place, the embodiment of the New New York, with…
The things we do for money
Oct 30, 2015 • 29 min
Allen Ginsberg tries his hand at Market Research, Walter Benjamin goes on the radio and ToE’s Chris drops in on a new bar in DC called the Freedom Cock. Also visit and become a sustaining member today! image: Celeste Lai
Secret Histories of Podcasting
Oct 21, 2015 • 35 min
It turns out there are (at least) three ways to tell the secret history of podcasting: it is a story about technology, it is a story about a business model for audio, and it is also a story about the birth of a new art form. What’s really cool is that the…
Enchanting By Numbers (2015 version)
Oct 9, 2015 • 26 min
We take another look at algorithms. Tim Hwang explains how Uber’s algorithms generate phantom cars and marketplace mirages. And we revisit our conversation with Christian Sandvig who, last year asked Facebook users to explain how they imagine the Edgerank…
Sep 7, 2015 • 26 min
Your host attempts to write a description for the Podcast. He seeks assistance from an old book, and the plot whisperer.
Artifacts (redux)
Aug 12, 2015 • 23 min
Photographer Robert Burley takes pictures of the end of analog for his book The Disappearance Of Darkness. Christine Frohnert and Christiane Paul explain why it is difficult to care for digital artworks and Social Media theorist Nathan Jurgenson wants us…
Instaserfs (III of III)
Jul 7, 2015 • 35 min
“This is part of the sharing economy, I am sharing myself” Our instaserfs series comes to a crushing conclusion, Hear Instapoder Andrew attempt to manserve… Plus we meet two former Uber drivers! Also this Thursday July 9th 3pm EST a live online ToE…
Instaserfs (II of III)
Jun 24, 2015 • 30 min
Instaserfs II: “Chipolte Strikes back” or “Seriously, in the sharing economy no one can hear you work” Either tagline works for our second installment in our future of work series. Andrew (our ToE instapoder) continues with his task of working for as many…
Instaserfs (I of III)
Jun 17, 2015 • 35 min
In the sharing economy no one can hear you work. This is because companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates and others only employ “partners” or independent contractors. So your host decided to partner with Andrew Callaway, a 25 year old San Francisco native,…
Art De Vivre (II of II)
Jun 2, 2015 • 36 min
Benjamen and Mathilde continue exploring the intersection between France and China over wine. In this installment they traverse China talking with winemakers, wine enthusiasts and drinkers to find out what the emerging middle class of China, one of the…
Art De Vivre (I of II)
May 25, 2015 • 35 min
The voice of the ToE episode announcer revealed! (her name is Mathilde) and she joins our host for this two part series about the intersection between France and China and wine. The story of the red obsession of Wealthy Chinese has been told many times,…
The Dislike Club (finale/ABC version)
May 12, 2015 • 34 min
In this program (which originally aired on the ABC last December) your host makes his final attempt to build the ultimate anti-social-media-social-platform. Things continue to decline: the phone in the hand becomes the phone on a stick in the hand. And we…
New York After Rent (III of III)
Apr 30, 2015 • 21 min
Our series concludes with an attempt to examine the suburbanized commodified inner cityscape of New York. Author and activist Sarah Schulman tells us about the Gentrified Mind, plus we hear from one of the first Airbnbers of New York. PLUS a sneak preview…
New York After Rent (II of III)
Apr 22, 2015 • 29 min
Our series continues with a journey from Avenue B to Bushwick: Kathy Kirkpatrick tells us about the final days of her Life Cafe in the East Village and essayist Tim Kreider tells us about his exile in Bushwick. Plus your host tries to make sense of the…
New York After Rent (I of III)
Apr 8, 2015 • 27 min
The financial crisis of September 2008 overshadows one of the most important events in recent New York History: the arrival of Airbnb. And while your host wasn’t paying attention back then either, today he is fed up with the commodification of every…
Dark Karma
Mar 16, 2015 • 33 min
“G.S.” was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Bozeman, Montana many years ago. The story he told me about how bad karma brought him from Devon, England to the C.U.T. bomb shelters in Gardiner, Montana still haunts me. A few years ago we…
Radio WIFM
Mar 2, 2015 • 18 min
Decades before the first shot was fired in the American revolution a band of runaway slaves known as the Maroons living in the mountains in Colonial Jamaica took on the British Empire and won. I’ve long been obsessed with the Maroons and so last summer I…
An Illumination
Jan 26, 2015 • 21 min
Cédric Villani won the prestigious Fields Medal for his work in 2010. He wrote a book about his experience called Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure. It is a book about where ideas come from. There is something spider like about Villani, and I…
Occupy Siberia (dislike club prequel)
Dec 29, 2014 • 57 min
Yours truly is recuperating from 2014 in France but wishing you a happy holiday. Hope you enjoyed the programming this year. The dislike club series pretty much contains everything I have ever wanted to say about social media. Been thinking about all this…
Logical Fantasies (the dislike club part V)
Dec 22, 2014 • 23 min
In the penultimate episode of our series, Kathy Sierra tells us how one tweak could fix everything and ToE’s Chris tells us the secret origin of Facebook. PLUS #marksbros (as in Zuckerberg) #marxhegel (as in Groucho) ***ALERT*** the DISLIKE CLUB Finale…
Wishful Thinking (the dislike club part IV)
Dec 8, 2014 • 27 min
In 2007 writer, programmer, and horse trainer Kathy Sierra quit the internet because of misogynist hate trolling. She stayed off the social web for 7 years but last year she came back to see what Twitter was like. She tells us why she only lasted a few…
If you dislike like, then you will… (the dislike club part III)
Dec 3, 2014 • 24 min
This week Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman tells us about the internet’s original Dislike Club, Anonymous. Biella has spent the last eight years hanging out with Anons both on IRC and in IRL. Her new book “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: the many…
Paying For It (the dislike club part II)
Nov 25, 2014 • 26 min
Our mini-series about the internet continues. This week we take a close look at the fundamental business model of the web – advertising. In 1993 your host was a founding member of an international monkey wrench gang that fought billboards in outer space.…
Backspace to the Future (the dislike club part I)
Nov 14, 2014 • 22 min
Paul Ford is a technologist and a writer, sometimes these two things blur. For example, he’s currently working on a book about webpages, but he’s also building a content management system for webpages – because you know it could help with the writing.…
Making it Happen
Nov 4, 2014 • 20 min
For this special installment of the Theory of Everything we explore Maker Culture. Makerbot co-founder Bre Pettis gives us a tour of his new venture: Bold Machines. Plus we go to China to learn what the next generation of Chinese makers have planned for…
Enchanting By Numbers
Oct 6, 2014 • 25 min
When I was in Beijing last summer I dropped by the Microsoft research campus to talk with Dr. Yu Zheng. He studies the air pollution in his city, and the noise pollution in mine. Using algorithms he is able to predict what kinds of noises New Yorkers are…
It will always be hard
Sep 16, 2014 • 28 min
Three reminders that being an artist will always be hard
Man Without a Country (3 of 3)
Aug 8, 2014 • 33 min
What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon. Our story concludes(?) when your host attempts to turn bread into wine. Plus learn…
Man Without a Country (2 of 3)
Aug 8, 2014 • 46 min
What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon. In part two of the story your host has his first human interaction in ten years. Plus…
Man Without a Country (1 of 3)
Aug 8, 2014 • 32 min
What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon. In part one we hear the story of what happened when he fought the “three strikes you…
Recent, Relevant, Random
Jul 25, 2014 • 20 min
We don’t have metrics to measure what happens when we read something that changes our life. So this episode is an attempt to deal with that.
Guided By Voices
Jun 30, 2014 • 33 min
Philosopher Daniel Heller-Roazen tells us the story of Pythagoras and the fifth hammer and how Kant and Kepler both tried(and failed)to record the universal harmonies Pythagoras once heard. Your host sets out to make some money doing experimental medical…
Stages on Life’s Way
Jun 13, 2014 • 34 min
A few years ago your host took a pilgrimage to Copenhagen to walk the streets the great Dane Søren Kierkegaard once walked. He wanted to understand the meaning of Kierkegaard’s religious stage so he decided to ask the experts at the Kierkegaard research…
A Better Tomorrow
May 17, 2014 • 22 min
This week we examine the legacy of The Work of Art in the Age of Technological Reproducibility by Walter Benjamin. Media Theorist and Benjamin scholar (and translator) Thomas Levin explains why this essay resonates today and what Benjamin has to tell us…
The Bootlickers
Apr 25, 2014 • 26 min
Andrew Rubin opens up his Archives of Authority to tell us the story of how George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 became global phenomenons. Melissa Gira Grant tells us about her new book Playing the Whore and the complicated relationship between sex…
1984 (the year not the book)
Apr 4, 2014 • 53 min
In 1984 your host was twelve years old and like George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith, he kept a diary for the citizens of the future. For this special installment of Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything we travel back in time and give this diary a…
Mar 24, 2014 • 31 min
Technology consultant Sarah Slocum loves social media and her Google Glass, she wears them everywhere. But when she walked into Molotov’s, a bar on Haight Street in San Francisco, she discovered that not everyone shares her love for wearable tech. Also,…
When You’re Lonely, Life is Very Long
Mar 3, 2014 • 28 min
Writer Olivia Laing didn’t plan on moving to New York alone, but after a few lonely months in the city she discovered the truth about loneliness. She says it is a gift. Laing wrote an essay on loneliness for Aeon magazine. She is also the author of The…
F is for Fake
Feb 11, 2014 • 25 min
To Bot or Not? That’s the big question for Data Scientist Gilad Lotan. His research suggests we may be damaging our online reputations if we choose not to play the game. Jason Q Ng, author of the book blocked on Weibo, tells us why the Chinese government…
Artifacts (2 of 2)
Jan 16, 2014 • 22 min
Nathan Jurgenson wants us to understand what is really revolutionary about ephemeral photographs and platforms like Snapchat, Fred Ritchin says we are going to get our minds blown “After Photography” and Finn Bruntun explains why we need to preserve this…
Artifacts (1 of 2)
Dec 31, 2013 • 25 min
Photographer Robert Burley takes pictures of the end of Analog for his book The disappearance of darkness. Christine Frohnert explains how conservators must care for Art with a Plug. Curator Christiane Paul tells us how the Whitney Museum of American Art…
Not Soon Enough
Dec 11, 2013 • 23 min
This week your host tries to break through to the other side using the art of John Singer Sargent as a… jumping off point. Also we get an update from our corespondent Peter Choyce. When we last heard from Peter (in “admissions of defeat”) he was heading…
Waiting In Line
Oct 23, 2013 • 25 min
Even though waiting in line is an essential part of the human experience, there is no such thing as a Universal Queue. The most famous Queue is the traditional serpentine queue. First in, first out. It’s fair and democratic. The priority queue is…
Out Of The Office
Oct 14, 2013 • 26 min
Programmer David Heinemeier Hansson tells us about his Out Of Office experience, David is a partner at 37signals and a co-author (with Jason Fried) of REMOTE: Office Not Required. We also meet Ignacio Uriarte, he left his cubicle for a career in Office…
Admissions Of Defeat
Oct 3, 2013 • 30 min
We check in with a few of our TOE regulars: Peter Choyce has is one of my oldest friends and a listener favorite, but he has a secret we’ve never addressed until now. We also check in with our D.C. correspondent “Chris” who tells us about the NSA’s desire…
Jun 11, 2013 • 28 min
These days, it seems that everyone is getting hacked. Fast Food companies, News Organizations, everyone living in the United States… The highlight of this week’s installment is a conversation about hackers with Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman. She’s in…
Red, White, Blue & Orange
May 14, 2013 • 40 min
The torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty were extremely controversial. Supposedly, they even cost the film an Oscar, Argo, the CIA’s other propaganda effort for 2012, trounced ZDT at the Academy Awards. There is no factual evidence that connects any…
The Clouds (part 3 of 3)
May 6, 2013 • 23 min
The landing from the digital onto the material is hard; it comes with a cruelty and intensity we haven’t even begun to properly understand. - Metahaven I got the chance to meet Metahaven (Daniel Van Der Velden and Vinca Kruk) when they were in NYC this…
The Clouds (part 2 of 3)
Apr 29, 2013 • 29 min
Over the years, technology has become more and more invisible. But all of that invisible technology is really based on increasing use of more and more exotic materials like rare earths - and its the rare earths that make it all work. - Dr. Alex King Dr.…
The Clouds (part 1 of 3)
Apr 19, 2013 • 24 min
In many ways the cloud is just another Internet Buzz Word: Interactive, Web 2.0, Social Media, the cloud. But we now spend most of our time living and working in the cloud, and most of us have no idea how it works, what it does, what’s different, or what…