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Word of Mouth 10.06.2012

623 via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1: Data's Dirty Little Secret

data sebastian hilig.jpg
Credit sebastian hilig via Flickr Creative Commons

Every Google search, every saved photograph, streamed song, text message and each stroke of the e-mail send button is served and stored on a digital infrastructure that is – to the end user – invisible. The New York Times has spent a year investigating the tens of thousands of data centers that support the information industry, and discovered a secretive, power-sucking infrastructure sharply at odds with its sleek, environmentally-friendly image. James Glanz joins us, he is an investigative reporter from the New York Times. 

Part 2: The End of Snark?/A Museum of Mythical Creatures

Dr. Brené Brown is a researcher and a professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and author of several books. Her most recent book, Daring Greatly expands on themes she discussed in two TED talks that have been viewed more than seven million of time. In a nutshell, it is by fully owning our vulnerability that we forge strong connections to others.

Check out Dr. Brené Brown's TED talk:



fur venice vandal.jpg
Credit venice vandal via Flickr Creative Commons


A replica of Bigfoot, a display case dedicated to lake monsters, and the “mystery cat corner” are a few of the sights to see at Portland, Maine’s International Cryptozoology Museum. A little bit oddity, a little bit kitsch, it’s the type of place you might find by walking down a random alley... lucky for us, our adventurous producer Zach Nugent took that walk, and brings us this audio field trip.

The famous Patterson-Gimlin film:


Part 3: The Origin of the Infographic/Modern-Day Data Maps for Journalists

From apps for avoiding heavy traffic to the latest polling data in the presidential race -- infographics are visual shorthand for data in the post-newspaper slash social media slash sound byte age. Several sources credit the digital age for giving birth to infographics and others cite the publication of USA Today’s “Snapshots” beginning in 1982. Susan Schulten begs to differ. She’s chair of the history department at the University of Denver, and author of “Mapping the Nation", she joins us today. 


Last week, WNYC's John Keefe visited NHPR. He heads that station’s new Datanews group, and demonstrated some truly illuminating interactive data maps for us. One map of New York reveals that the blocks where the highest number of stop and frisk gun searches are conducted by the NYPD, are not the places where stopping and frisking actually results in seizing a gun. So, using graphics to illustrate raw data can add value to news stories, or become the story itself. John told us that most of the code used by the data news team comes from CartoDB an open source tool. We were curious about CartoDB's other applications, so we went to their source. Javier de la Torre joins us today, he is CEO of Vizzuality, the New York and Madrid-based tech company behind CartoDB.

Find out what your college would cost today:


Part 4: Letters from the Real-Life Downton Abbey


American audiences will have to wait until January before the popular drama, Downton Abbey returns to PBS. Meanwhile, New Hampshire has its own peculiar connection to the masterpiece classic, detailed in a new exhibit at the Porstmouth Athenaeum. Downton Abbey: The Porstmouth Connection profiles the life of Catherine Wendell and Castle Highclere, around which Downton Abbey is loosely based. Ronan Donahoe is curating the exhibit, and has spent ages cataloging more than eighty boxes pictures and correspondence donated to the Athenaeum by the Wendell family.

The season 3 preview of Downton Abbey:


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