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New Books in Science, Technology, and Society

Science Podcasts

Interviews with Scholars of Science, Technology, and Society about their New Books

Interviews with Scholars of Science, Technology, and Society about their New Books

Location:

United States

Description:

Interviews with Scholars of Science, Technology, and Society about their New Books

Language:

English


Episodes

David J. Gunkel, "Robot Rights" (MIT Press, 2018)

2/27/2020
We are in the midst of a robot invasion, as devices of different configurations and capabilities slowly but surely come to take up increasingly important positions in everyday social reality―self-driving vehicles, recommendation algorithms, machine learning decision making systems, and social robots of various forms and functions. Although considerable attention has already been devoted to the subject of robots and responsibility, the question concerning the social status of these artifacts...

Duration:01:29:09

Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

2/25/2020
How does the world of book reviews work? In Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times (Princeton University Press, 2020), Phillipa Chong, assistant professor in sociology at McMaster University, provides a unique sociological analysis of how critics confront the different types of uncertainty associated with their practice. The book explores how reviewers get matched to books, the ethics and etiquette of negative reviews and ‘punching up’, along with professional...

Duration:00:40:41

Sarah Fawn Montgomery, "Quite Mad: An American Pharma Memoir" (Mad Creek Books, 2018)

2/24/2020
If you live in America, chances are good you’ve heard the term “mental health crisis” bandied about in the media. While true that anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders seem to be on the rise—especially among young people—resources for addressing them remain scarce and stigmatized, and the conditions themselves remain poorly understood. Even doctors and scientists don’t have all the answers. For example, is the development of a mood disorder the product of nature or nurture? Why are...

Duration:00:38:06

Amy Shira Teitel, "Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight Before NASA" (Bloomsbury, 2016)

2/21/2020
Amy Shira Teitel talks about Apollo and the community of people who are deeply attached to space history. Teitel is a spaceflight historian and the creator of the YouTube Channel, Vintage Space. She is also the author of Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight Before NASA (Bloomsbury, 2016) and Apollo Pilot: The Memory of Astronaut Don Eisele (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). NASA's history is a familiar story, culminating with the agency successfully landing men on the...

Duration:00:29:10

Virginia Eubanks, "Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor" (St. Martin's, 2018)

2/20/2020
The State of Indiana denies one million applications for healthcare, foodstamps and cash benefits in three years―because a new computer system interprets any mistake as “failure to cooperate.” In Los Angeles, an algorithm calculates the comparative vulnerability of tens of thousands of homeless people in order to prioritize them for an inadequate pool of housing resources. In Pittsburgh, a child welfare agency uses a statistical model to try to predict which children might be future victims...

Duration:01:21:17

Angela Jones, "Camming: Money, Power, and Pleasure in the Sex Work Industry" (NYU Press, 2020)

2/14/2020
In her new book, Camming: Money, Power, and Pleasure in the Sex Work Industry (NYU Press, 2020), Dr. Angela Jones engages readers in a five-year mixed-methods study she conducted on the erotic webcam industry where she tells a pornographic story about the multibillion-dollar online sex industry that is colloquially known as “camming.” Through camming, millions of people from all over the globe have found decent wages, friendship, intimacy, community, empowerment, and pleasure. This interview...

Duration:00:50:13

Alistair Sponsel, "Darwin’s Evolving Identity: Adventure, Ambition, and the Sin of Speculation" (U Chicago Press, 2018)

2/14/2020
Dr. Alistair Sponsel talks about Darwin’s experiences on HMS Beagle and his early career as a naturalist. His close reading of Darwin’s journals and letters reveals insights about the man that would become known as the father of evolution. Sponsel is the author Darwin’s Evolving Identity: Adventure, Ambition, and the Sin of Speculation (University of Chicago Press, 2019). Why—against his mentor’s exhortations to publish—did Charles Darwin take twenty years to reveal his theory of evolution...

Duration:00:33:32

Francesca Minerva, "The Ethics of Cryonics: Is It Immoral to be Immortal" (Palgrave, 2018)

2/13/2020
Cryonics―also known as cryopreservation or cryosuspension―is the preservation of legally dead individuals at ultra-low temperatures. Those who undergo this procedure hope that future technology will not only succeed in reviving them, but also cure them of the condition that led to their demise. In this sense, some hope that cryopreservation will allow people to continue living indefinitely. Francesca Minerva's The Ethics of Cryonics: Is It Immoral to be Immortal (Palgrave Pivot, 2018)...

Duration:00:57:35

Germaine R. Halegoua, "The Digital City: Media and the Social Production of Place" (NYU Press, 2019)

2/12/2020
In her new book, The Digital City: Media and the Social Production of Place (NYU Press, 2019), Germaine R. Halegoua rethinks everyday interactions that humans have with digital infrastructures, navigation technologies, and social media as we move through the world. Dr. Halegoua draws from five case studies from global and mid-sized cities to illustrate the concept of “re-placing." In this book, Dr. Halegoua shows have different populations employ urban broadband networks, social and locative...

Duration:00:51:20

Gil Eyal, "The Crisis of Expertise" (Polity, 2019)

2/10/2020
In recent political debates there has been a significant change in the valence of the word “experts” from a superlative to a near pejorative, typically accompanied by a recitation of experts’ many failures and misdeeds. In topics as varied as Brexit, climate change, and vaccinations there is a palpable mistrust of experts and a tendency to dismiss their advice. Are we witnessing, therefore, the “death of expertise,” or is the handwringing about an “assault on science” merely the hysterical...

Duration:01:03:37

Michael F. Robinson, "The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture" (U Chicago Press, 2006)

2/7/2020
Radio host Kevin Fox interviews Michael F. Robinson about the history of American Arctic exploration, the subject of his book, The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2006). The disappearance of the Franklin Expedition in 1845 turned the Arctic into an object of fascination. By the end of the century, it had become an ‘Arctic Fever.’ Fox is the host of the radio program Geographical Imaginations for RadioFabrik in Salzburg, which is also...

Duration:00:36:33

Shannon Vallor, "Technology and the Virtues" (Oxford UP, 2016)

2/6/2020
The 21st century offers a dizzying array of new technological developments: robots smart enough to take white collar jobs, social media tools that manage our most important relationships, ordinary objects that track, record, analyze and share every detail of our daily lives, and biomedical techniques with the potential to transform and enhance human minds and bodies to an unprecedented degree. Emerging technologies are reshaping our habits, practices, institutions, cultures and environments...

Duration:01:11:17

Kyle Devine, "Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music" (MIT Press, 2019)

2/5/2020
What is the human and environmental cost of music? In Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music (MIT Press, 2019),Kyle Devine, an Associate Professor in the Department of Musicology at the University of Oslo, tells the material history of recorded music, counting the impact of music from the 78 to digital streaming. The book has a rich and detailed analysis of music’s contribution to our current environmental crisis, along with the human impact of making the materials that make our modern...

Duration:00:40:10

Russell A. Newman, "The Paradoxes of Network Neutralities" (MIT Press, 2019)

2/3/2020
Three years after the withdrawal of the Open Internet Order – then-President Barack Obama’s attempt at codifying network neutrality by prohibiting internet service providers from discriminating between content – by the Federal Communications Commission, a need to holistically understand the net neutrality debates still exists. How can we make sense of the intensification of controversy, the advocacy and protests, and the political and corporate wrangling? In his new book, The Paradoxes of...

Duration:00:41:08

Catherine Newell, "Destined for the Stars: Faith, the Future, and America’s Final Frontier" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2017)

1/31/2020
Catherine Newell talks about the religious roots of the final frontier, focusing on the collaboration of artist Chesley Bonestell, science writer Willy Ley, and the NASA rocket engineer Wernher von Braun. Newell is an assistant professor of religion and science at the University of Miami. She’s the author of Destined for the Stars: Faith, the Future, and America’s Final Frontier (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017). Where did humanity get the idea that outer space is a frontier waiting to...

Duration:00:37:43

Allison Ochs, "Would I Have Sexted Back in the 80s?" (Amsterdam UP, 2019)

1/31/2020
In her new books, Would I Have Sexted Back in the 80s?: A Modern Guide to Parenting Digital Teens, Derived from Lessons of the Past (Amsterdam University Press, 2019), Allison Ochs combines experiences from her childhood with her research and expertise on teens and teen culture to write about experiences of teens and parents in navigating smartphones and increasing access to digital spaces. Ochs work examines social media, bullying, porn, gaming, sexting, and media usage, addressing some of...

Duration:01:06:56

Alexis Elder, "Friendship, Robots, and Social Media: False Friends and Second Selves" (Routledge, 2017)

1/30/2020
Various emerging technologies, from social robotics to social media, appeal to our desire for social interactions, while avoiding some of the risks and costs of face-to-face human interaction. But can they offer us real friendship? In this book, Alexis Elder outlines a theory of friendship drawing on Aristotle and contemporary work on social ontology, and then uses it to evaluate the real value of social robotics and emerging social technologies. In Friendship, Robots, and Social Media:...

Duration:01:13:05

K. Linder et al., "Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers" (Stylus Publishing, 2020)

1/30/2020
If you’re a grad student facing the ugly reality of finding a tenure-track job, you could easily be forgiven for thinking about a career change. However, if you’ve spent the last several years working on a PhD, or if you’re a faculty member whose career has basically consisted of higher ed, switching isn’t so easy. PhD holders are mostly trained to work as professors, and making easy connections to other careers is no mean feat. Because the people you know were generally trained to do the...

Duration:00:39:10

Christopher J. Phillips, "Scouting and Scoring: How We Know What We Know About Baseball" (Princeton UP, 2019)

1/29/2020
The so-called Sabermetrics revolution in baseball that began in the 1970s, popularized by the book—and later Hollywood film—Moneyball, was supposed to represent a triumph of observation over intuition. Cash-strapped clubs need not compete for hyped-up prospects when undervalued players provide better price per run scored. Q.E.D., right? In Scouting and Scoring: How We Know What We Know About Baseball (Princeton University Press, 2019), historian of science Christopher J. Phillips rejects his...

Duration:00:45:27

Nancy D. Campbell, "OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose" (MIT Press, 2020)

1/24/2020
For years, drug overdose was unmentionable in polite society. OD was understood to be something that took place in dark alleys―an ugly death awaiting social deviants―neither scientifically nor clinically interesting. But over the last several years, overdose prevention has become the unlikely object of a social movement, powered by the miracle drug naloxone. In OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose (MIT Press, 2020), Nancy D. Campbell charts the emergence of naloxone as a technological...

Duration:00:37:49