Spark 161 - November 6 & 9, 2011

On this episode of Spark: Skype Sleeping, Lonely Blogging, and Personal 3D Viewing. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

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Personal 3D Viewing


There have been significant shifts in home entertainment over the past few years, giant high-definition screens, the integration of computers and TV, as well as 3D TV. And now there is also the possibility of watching movies in the most immersive way possible - on a visor that will take you out of the sensory experience of your current environment and drop you right into a film or a game. Cathi Bond brings in one of these visors for Nora to try, and they talk about what this could do to our sense of connecting with the natural environment. (Runs 5:39)

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The History of Our 3D Obsession


Haven't we been talking about immersive technology for decades now? Why, when it never seems to live up to our expectations, are we still so obsessed with developing 3D technology? Rob Cruickshank is a photographer and 3D enthusiast who places the latest developments of 3D entertainment technology in historical context. (Runs 10:49)

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Personal Connections in the Digital Age


We know, we know, things change, get over it! But before we do, we want to explore how so many of our social norms have completely evolved because of the influence of tech. Nancy Baym is a professor of Communication Studies and the author of the book Personal Connections in the Digital Age and we asked her to listen to four different examples of how communication tech has had an impact on people.

We begin with David Plotz. As an experiment, David changed his birth date on Facebook three different times in one month. The results have lead him to believe that the Facebook birthday greeting is an empty form of social lubricant. (Runs 8:17)

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Kaj Hasselriis brings us the sweet story of a couple who "Skype Sleep", that is keeping their laptops on all night and falling asleep together on Skype. Has our communication tech created a way for people to maintain the intimacy that distance might have ordinarily taken away? Nancy Baym gives her reaction. (Runs 5:32)

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Louis Marrone has written over one-thousand blog posts. But with only 20 comments in 7 years, Louis wonders why he bothers at all. If you write a blog and no one reads it, does anyone hear you? Nancy Baym shares her thoughts. (Runs 6:52)

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While cleaning out her basement, Michelle Parise stumbled on a box of old love letters from her teenage boyfriends. As she sat and read them, she wondered if teenagers today even write love letters anymore. Has texting killed the love letter? Nancy Baym responds. (Runs 9:16)

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