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Word of Mouth

Blocking Terrorist Propaganda, Why American Internet is Slow, & The Race to the North Pole

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James Vaughan via Flickr CC
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Social media networks have too few people to monitor and shut down the volume of Islamic State propaganda accounts. Today, a Dartmouth professor has created a tool to flag violent, extremist videos and recruitment tools and keep them off social media feeds...still, some companies fear accusations of censorship.

And, want to guess how America's internet speed stack up to the rest of the world? Not even top 20... That means below Mongolia, Slovenia and dozens of other countries.Today, find out why the leader of the free world lags so far behind in fast -and affordable - access.

Listen to the full show. 

Blocking Terrorist Propaganda Online

Although their locations, backgrounds and methods differ, more than one terrorist incident was preceded by posts on Facebook or Twitter denigrating western countries and pledging allegiance to ISIS.  Social media networks have stepped up their campaigns to shut down pro-ISIS propaganda and recruitment accounts, but stopping distribution of gruesome videos and imagery is a slippery task. Relying on algorithms to identify offensive content is tougher with videos, so they have to rely on humans to monitor more than 500 million tweets and more than a billion Facebook log-ins a day.

Hany Farid is the chair of Dartmouth's Computer Science department and is a senior advisor to the Counter Extremism Project. He developed PhotoDNA a system used to detect child pornography online and stop it from spreading. Earlier this summer similar software was in development to flag terrorist propaganda online.

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Learning to Block Terrorist Propaganda

Why American Internet Is So Slow

How fast are America's internet speeds compared to the rest of the world? Top five? Top ten? Surprise!  The leader of the free world lags far behind Latvia, Mongolia, Costa Rica and dozens of others at number 33 according to Akamai Technologies. It's annoying if you're watching something on Netflix, but slow connection speeds present a larger, looming threat: making American citizens and companies less competitive than most of the developed world. Rob Fleischman is principal engineer at Akamai and our explainer of all things tech and he joined us to explain more.   

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Why American Internet is So Slow

How YouTube Videos Saved a Small Missouri Town

The football team at Penney High School in the tiny town of Hamilton, Missouri has won a number of state championships in the past few years, but football fame only travels so far. If you're from Australia or Iran, you're more likely to know Hamilton for another reason - because it's become the quick-quilting capital of the world.  Producer Esther Honig has the story of how a YouTube series helped build an unlikely textile empire.  

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

The Race to the North Pole

At the turn of the 20th century, the North Pole was one of the last uncharted sites remaining on earth. Parties of explorers set out only to be turned back or killed attempting to plant their flags at the top of the world. So, it was big news when, in April of 1909, Robert Peary claimed he'd reached the geographic pole after eight trials in 23 years. We aren't going to jump into the dispute over whether another expedition beat him to it; instead, we'll focus on the man who was with him, an African American explorer named Matthew Henson who may actually have been the first to set foot on the terrestrial north pole.

Brian Clark Howard is a senior writer for National Geographic who marked what would have been the 150th birthday of Matthew Henson.

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The Race to the North Pole

The Sound of Sport

NBC's ratings may not be through the roof, but if you've been watching, or even seeing clips from the Olympic games in Rio, consider this -  a cacophonous mix of athletes and fans bouncing off echoey stadiums are challenges for broadcasting - and the challenge for people whose jobs you probably didn't even realize existed: sports sound designers. Host Roman Mars and the podcast 99% Invisible bring us the story.  

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org