Spark 164 - December 4 & 7, 2011

On this episode of Spark: Hackers in Space, Unoriginal Genius, and The Polyglot Web. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

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The Polyglot Web


Luis von Ahn is a computer science professor at Carnergie Mellon, and his latest project is a website called Duolingo. Its lofty goal is to translate the entire web into every major language, using nothing but volunteer translators. We find out how Luis plans to make this happen. (Runs 12:29)

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Unoriginal Genius


Marjorie Perloff is Professor Emerita of English at Stanford University and currently Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Southern California. In her book Unoriginal Genius, she argues that something is happening in poetry. Thanks to the internet and accessibility of information, originality is taking a back seat to new work that is created using other people's words. (Runs 10:07)

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Hacker Space Race


Now that the U.S has severely cut back its space program, independent groups and private companies are taking up the challenge. Right now there's a bit of an amateur space-race going on between groups of hackers and other space enthusiasts and Spark contributor Cinnamon Nippard gets into the thick of it. (Runs 6:23)

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Where My (Computer Science) Ladies At?


Ten years ago this December, Jane Margolis published her influential book on women and computing, Unlocking the Clubhouse. Now a decade later, we find out from Jane Margolis and Canadian-born computer scientist Maria Klawe why gender balance in computer science matters. (Runs 19:25)

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