8.23.15: Lists of Note, Inventor of the Emoticon, & Autopsies

Aug 21, 2015

Grocery lists, to-do lists, guest lists – human beings seem compelled to put things into manageable order…but the result can be anything but mundane.  We take a look at some of the most memorable lists ever written – from Walt Disney’s un-used dwarf names, to a day in the life of  country legend Johnny Cash. And, we’ll talk with a computer scientist who will forever be remembered not for his AI research, but as inventor of the emoticon. Plus, a writer attends her first autopsy, and says Hollywood gets it all wrong.

Listen to the full show. 

Lists of Note

Shaun Usher is the creator and founder of Letters of Note, and now Lists of Note – two projects that both started as online archives, and have since been collected in gorgeously rendered coffee table volumes.

Captain Beefheart

Years before he crafted his ten commandments of guitar playing, Don Van Vliet, known as Captain Beefheart, crafted his most famous album – 1969’s Trout Mask Replica, which was selected for the national recording registry in 2010.  The album is a wild mix of free jazz, blues, and beat poetry. In this piece, produced by Devon Strolovitch we hear about the making of Trout Mask Replica, and learn why it was so influential.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

Inventor of the Emoticon

Scott Fahlman is a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, where the focus of his research is on artificial intelligence, but we’re speaking to him but because of something he invented in 1982 that is now used about 6 billion times a day – the emoticon

Birth of the Barcode

A time a without barcodes is hard to imagine, but it wasn’t that long ago. Roman Mars, producer at the podcast 99% Invisible, brought us the story.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

Autopsies Aren't All Bad

Television viewers have likely seen dozens of autopsies, but they're not as realistic as they might seem. Rachel Wilkinson attended an autopsy at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center, and wrote about the real thing for The Atlantic.