Spark 111 - April 25 & 27, 2010

On this episode of Spark: Virtual choirs, virtual mourning, and the story of stuff. To listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

The Story of Stuff


The Story of Stuff is the name of a video Annie Leonard made for the web a couple of years ago. So far, nearly 10 million people have seen it. In the video, Annie talks about where our stuff comes from: the supply chain of how it's made, where and by whom.  And where it goes when we throw it out. Now, Annie has a book out that goes into more detail about all of those issues. (Runs 10:33)



On April 22 (Earth Day 2010), online repair guide iFixit announced that it will expand beyond Apple products, and open up its publishing platform. Now, anyone who knows how to fix anything can publish a repair guide on iFixit. The goal is to become like a Wikipedia for repair manuals: "the free repair manual that you can edit." Nora talks to Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit. (Runs 6:55)

Daemon builds a bicycle

bicycle CBC Radio producer Daemon Fairless embraces his DIY side, and discovers a surprising connection along the way. Runs (5:03)

Virtual Mourning


Virtual mourning: strangers are posting sentiments of support and sympathy to memorial pages, blogs, and online obituaries for people they never knew. We saw this during the Haitian earthquake, when Facebook groups for missing people were set up. Or on the Facebook group Prayers for Baby Isaiah James. Or Eva Markvoort's blog, 65 Red Roses, which chronicled her experience living with cystic fibrosis. Nora talked to Anabel Quan-Haase about how technology extends human empathy to people we don't know in the real world. (Runs 10:14)

Virtual Choir


Eric Whitacre tells the story of his virtual choir -- a group of individual singers, each sitting alone at their webcam, recording individual vocal parts for a large choral piece. The pieces are edited together, and together, they sing as a choir. (Runs 8:39)

Rick Prelinger archives the world


YouTube says that "every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded" it its service. So when there's more video online than you could possibly hope to watch, how do you find (and preserve) the good stuff? To try and answer that, we revisit Nora's 2008 interview with Rick Prelinger. In the world of archived video, he's a bit of a celebrity, thanks in part to the Prelinger Archives. (Runs 7:03)

Episode Details

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