5.23.16: Gender Reveal Parties, Ping Pong Tables, & Hyperloop

May 23, 2016

Rifles or ruffles? Guns or glitter? Today, themed gender reveal parties are a growing trend among expectant parents...how does all the fanfare over proclaiming an unborn child's sex fit into the evolving conversation about gender identity?     

Then, a new surprisingly accurate metric emerges for determining if a tech company's bubble is about to burst. It has nothing to do with stocks or quarterly earnings reports - the answer might be in your basement.

Listen to the full show. 

The Dark Side of Gender Reveal Parties

In the past few weeks, North Carolina's so-called “bathroom law” has put gender identity and trans rights into the national spotlight. A quick primer here: biological sex is what's on your birth certificate - gender identity, which may or may not correspond, doesn't develop for years.  For people who have had little to no exposure to the trans experience, this issue has come out of nowhere - but Jessica Winter, features writer at Slate, isn't too surprised.  She says society is re-enforcing gender norms - incorrectly - before babies are even born. 

Related: Are You a Boy or a Girl?

Ping Pong Tables: The Cassandras of the Tech World

If you want to know how the technology sector is faring, follow its ebbs and flows on the stock market. If you want to know what lies ahead for the industry, you have to get on the inside, and take a careful look at ping-pong table sales in Silicon Valley. Zusha Elinson covers the West Coast for the Wall Street Journal where he wrote about the connection between ping pong and tech companies.

Related: Is the Tech Bubble Popping: Ping Pong Offers and Answer

When Will We Get Hyperloop

At a 2012 live event in Silicon Valley, Elon Musk, founder of Space-X and Tesla Motors, proposed an idea for a supersonic form of ground travel called "the hyperloop".  Cheaper and way faster than high-speed rail, Musk said this so-called "fifth mode of travel" could travel from LA to San Francisco in just 30 minutes. Flash forward four years, and this technology is starting to look more like a reality than science fiction - but what the heck is it? And can the promise pay off?

Rob Fleischman is principal architect at Akamai, and the guy we invite on the show when we don't understand new tech. 

The Great Red Car Conspiracy

When it comes to cars, commuters, and congestion, the Los Angeles freeways are legendary. Some  say those traffic jams aren’t just a source of consternation, but a result of a conspiracy. This story comes to us from Roman Mars, Eric Molinsky and the podcast 99% Invisible.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.