Spark 172 - February 12 & 15, 2012

On this episode of Spark: Smart Cities, Rural Tech, and the Beauty of Binary. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

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A Month of Letters

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When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter? Writer Christina Crook took an internet sabbatical for a month and started writing letters to a friend, who in turn posted them on a blog called Letters from a Luddite. Similarly, author Mary Robinette Kowal spent a month without the internet, corresponding only by paper letter. Now she's issued a challenge on her blog called A Month of Letters. The challenge is, for the month of February, to mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. And write back to everyone who writes to you. (Runs 6:41)

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The City With No People

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Imagine a city with buildings, roads and offices, but no residents. Robert Brumley and his company Pegasus Global Holdings, are creating the Center for Innovation Testing and Evaluation. Which is basically a full functioning city designed for just that -testing and evaluation-... just minus the people. (Runs 8:37)

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The Urban-Rural Tech Divide

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It used to be that urban life and rural life were two solitudes. But technology has changed the culture of small towns. Spark contributor Denis Grignon spends some time with classic urbanites-come-ruralites-because-of technology and the reluctant-established-ruralites-struggling to live with them. (Runs 6:59)

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The Beauty of Binary

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What do computers, knitting, and 18th century China have in common? For mathematician and technology historian, Kristen Haring, the answer is binary systems. Haring is researching the cultural history of binary, and she wants to show us that we know more about binary than we even realize. It's everywhere! And she takes Nora on a fascinating tour. (Runs 25:53)

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