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Note to Self

WNYC Studios

Is your phone watching you? Can texting make you smarter? Are your kids real? Note to Self explores these and other essential quandaries facing anyone trying to preserve their humanity in the digital age. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts, including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, Snap Judgment, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Nancy and many others. © WNYC Studios

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We asked you guys to send us photos. Then we gave them to Andreas Weigend, veteran of Xerox Parc, former chief scientist at Amazon, to see what he could deduce. A lot, it turns out. A little Google image search, a little metadata, and we can find where you are. Maybe who you are. What color phone you’re using to take the shot, and how many SIM cards you have. Reading photos is more than a digital parlor trick. It’s the future of commerce, marketing, policing, lending, and basically everything else. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but Note to Self will be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.

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Generic usernames, no photos, no tweets. This week, we investigate the dozens of mysterious accounts following Manoush on Twitter. Plus, what makes a good bot – and a bad one. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but Note to Self will be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.

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You judge the person playing Candy Crush. Even when it’s you. But that mental fist pump from leveling up has real value. How to stop judging and use games for a strategic reset. With game designer and futurist Jane McGonigal, author of SuperBetter and Reality is Broken.

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The Fourth Amendment doesn’t mention privacy once. But those 54 little words are a crucial battleground in today’s fight over our digital rights. This week, Note to Self gets in our time machine, back to the court cases that brought privacy from parchment to Gmail. Tales of Miami bookies, tapped payphones, and a 1975 Monte Carlo. And where the Fourth Amendment needs to go, now that we’re living in the future.

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Dear (Data) Diary

Jun 25th26:04

Long-distance friends Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec spent a year tracking the little things in life. Thanks yous, coffees, complaints, street sounds. And each week, they turned their small-scale data collections into whimsical hand-drawn postcards. On a minute level, they may not say much. But look at them together and they tell an intimate story. This week, Giorgia and Stefanie talk us through three weeks of data, and all the big lessons in our most mundane moments. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but Note to Self will be back before you know it with some changes and surprises.  Look at more postcards by Giorgia and Stefanie here.

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With former Google designer Tristan Harris, who explains how far Silicon Valley will go to capture and control your eyeballs. And Snapchat artist CyreneQ, who makes her living drawing on her phone all day. For real. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but Note to Self will be back before you know it with some changes and surprises.

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This week, the Supreme Court cases that defined privacy for the digital age. Because the founding fathers didn’t write the Bill of Rights with the internet in mind. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but she’ll be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.

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We visit the Dark Web, where you can get heroin, fentanyl and oxycontin shipped right to your door. This week, the link between online drug markets and America’s opioid crisis. ------- For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but she’ll be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.

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How To Have No Filter

Apr 4th19:05

Today, listener stories and tips: we wrap up our No Filter series of conversations about how women live online. From YouTube megastar Lele Pons to iconic artist Barbara Kruger, we heard a joyous mix of vulnerable confessions, utter defiance, and (for once) a mostly positive vision of what being a woman on the web can look like. To wrap it up, stories from you. About how you’re reconciling the IRL you with the online you. Plus, The Cut’s editor-in-chief Stella Bugbee is back with her greatest hope for the next generation of women in the workplace. ------- Some podcast news: For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but she’ll be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.

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No Filter: Jasmyn Lawson

Apr 3rd18:50

The woman behind some of your favorite gifs takes us to the future. See what being a woman on the web may look like. We couldn’t close out No Filter, our series on women owning it online, without profiling Jasmyn Lawson, former culture editor at Giphy. That's the search engine that houses all those looped videos we use to express emotion - and ourselves - online. But when Jasmyn started working there, she couldn’t find many gifs that looked like her. "Just having Beyonce and Rihanna and Nicki Minaj is not enough to say you're representing black women." So she made her own. ------- Some podcast news: For the next several weeks you'll hear the “Best of” Note to Self in your podcast feed. Our favorite episodes. Manoush will be working on some other projects, but she’ll be back before you know it with some changes and surprises. Keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram, and on her website.

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No Filter: Barbara Kruger

Mar 30th28:28

The iconic artist talks to Manoush about our curated selfies, owning a font, and why we all need likes. Plus, The Cut’s editor in chief Stella Bugbee. If you missed the other episodes of No Filter earlier this week, go back! Instagram megastar Lele Pons, Transparent actor Trace Lysette, painter Amy Sherald, who made Michelle Obama’s official portrait, and anchor Christiane Amanpour. ------- We want to hear from YOU. How do you portray yourself online? Let us know in a quick message. We have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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The CNN anchor talks to Manoush about sex, wearing a “uniform,” and staying profesh on air and online. Plus, Call Your Girlfriend co-host and Cut contributor Ann Friedman, who almost fell out of her ergonomic chair when she found out she’d be in the same episode as Christiane. Every day this week, a new episode of our series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Five conversations with badass women. And trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. We’ve heard from Instagram megastar Lele Pons, Transparent actor Trace Lysette, and painter Amy Sherald, who made Michelle Obama’s official portrait. Tomorrow, we close the week with iconic artist Barbara Kruger. ------- We want to hear from YOU. How do you portray yourself online? Let us know in a quick message. We have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise. Christiane’s new show is Sex & Love Around the World. And Ann’s podcast is, of course, Call Your Girlfriend, with Aminatou Sou.

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No Filter: Amy Sherald

Mar 28th27:39

Her portrait of Michelle Obama went viral. Painter Amy Sherald dismisses the haters. “Some people want their poetry to rhyme.” Plus, Allison P. Davis, Senior Culture Writer at The Cut, on how picking Amy was like Michelle Obama choosing her own Instagram filter. This is day three of our weeklong series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Five conversations with badass women. Some old, some young. ALL have bent the internet to their will. And trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. Monday we talked to Instagram megastar Lele Pons. Yesterday, Transparent star Trace Lysette. Coming up, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, and iconic artist Barbara Kruger, who blew all of our minds. ------- We want to hear from YOU. How do you portray yourself online? Let us know in a quick message. We have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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No Filter: Trace Lysette

Mar 27th22:56

The Transparent star talks to Manoush about the political nude selfie, her #metoo moment, and constructing her self online and IRL. Plus, how her life as a young trans woman prepared her to confront Jeffrey Tambor and live her truth. With Noreen Malone, features editor at The Cut. Every day this week, a new episode of our series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Five conversations with badass women. Some old, some young. ALL have bent the internet to their will. And trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. Yesterday, Instagram megastar Lele Pons. Coming up, painter Amy Sherald, who created that stunning portrait of Michelle Obama. CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour. Iconic artist Barbara Kruger, who blew all of our minds.  ------- How do YOU portray yourself online? Send us a quick message - we have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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No Filter: Lele Pons

Mar 26th21:05

Every day this week, a new episode of our series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Five conversations with badass women. Some old, some young. ALL have bent the internet to their will. And trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. Today, Lele Pons. And if you’re thinking “Lele who?”, you’re not a teen girl. The Instagram megastar talks to Manoush about crafting her image, controlling her edits, and why she gives her cell number to fans.   Tomorrow, Transparent actor Trace Lysette. Wednesday, painter Amy Sherald, who created that stunning portrait of Michelle Obama. Then CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, and iconic artist Barbara Kruger, who blew all of our minds. Plus, writers from The Cut. ------- And we want to hear from you. Send us a quick message - How do YOU portray yourself online? How does the internet mess with your head? How do you mess back? We have a new way to talk to us, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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Why We Need No Filter

Mar 21st24:24

We kick off our new series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Because since the #metoo movement, we’re all rethinking what it means to be a woman in the world. But what about what it means to be a woman on the web? Today, our launch episode. Every day next week, a new conversation with a badass woman about the highs and lows of living online. And how they've bent the internet to their will. Trust us, you don’t have to be a woman for this series to be a must-listen. ------- We want to hear from you. How do YOU portray yourself online? How does the internet mess with your head? How do you mess back? We have a new way to send us a message, right in your browser. Give it a try. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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My Digital Revolution

Mar 20th45:07

Stories of life online, told live. We teamed up with Generation Women, a monthly event where women from their 20s to their 80s share stories on a theme. For this episode, the theme is My Digital Revolution. Tales from the wellness editor at Teen Vogue, Kathy Tu from the Nancy podcast, Chirlane McCray, the first lady of New York. And Carol Prisant, the most baller septuagenarian you’ve ever heard. For real. Plus, Generation Women founder Georgia Clark. ------- Our newest series is No Filter: Women Owning It Online. Since #metoo, we're all rethinking what it means to be a woman in the world. But what does it mean to be a woman on the web? To find out, we've partnered with New York Magazine's The Cut. Hear our launch episode now. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love hearing from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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Am I Normal?

Mar 14th24:49

Mona Chalabi, data editor at the Guardian, takes the numb out of numbers. She joins Manoush to talk about stats versus stories, how data defines normal, and average testicle size. That one’s an interactive iPhone chart. For real.  Her hand-drawn illustrations are in her Instagram feed, if you want to check them out as you listen. Specifically, Manoush and Mona talk about the “iceberg of pervs,” women in Congress, the hairiness series, and male vocal change. *all credit for the numb/numbers wordplay goes to Mona, via her Twitter bio. ------- Listen to Mona's new podcast, Strange Bird. Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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We asked how you share personal photos. Here’s what we learned from your 1,200 (!) answers. Psychologist Guy Winch joins Manoush to untangle our mixed posting emotions. Because our grams are complex. A trans listener is thankful his parents didn’t post during his teen years. A mom doesn’t understand her daughter’s online brand. A son wishes his dad included him in family snapshots. Nothing is just a pretty picture. Plus, the wonderful Charlotte Philby, former editor of Motherland magazine. Her family posts were part of her "brand" - until she stopped gramming cold turkey. ------- Guy Winch’s new book is How to Fix a Broken Heart. Charlotte Philby’s website is here, and the article she wrote about her famous spy granddad is incredible. We gathered some of your comments in a Medium post, because you all are amazing. Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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Real OKCupid message: “Hi, good evening, nice photos. You are not fat.” It’s rough on dating apps. Can romance survive? Eric Klinenberg wrote Modern Romance with Aziz Ansari. This week, he joins Manoush to make the case that dating apps have killed romance. Featuring a mystery dater, reporting from the frontier of 21st century love.  ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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Let’s build a database of political Facebook ads. Just in case someone needs to check on them later. Like, say, if the Russians bought thousands of ads to sway an election. Manoush’s privacy girlfriend, ProPublica’s Julia Angwin, is back with a challenge (and a browser plugin) for Note to Self listeners. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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We all need someone to tell (or text) our stories to. Even if they’re paid to text back. This week, Manoush meets an Invisible Girlfriend, earning pennies a message to create fake love. And an utterly wonderful man using the service for an entirely valid reason. We’re revisiting this 2015 episode to warm your heart pre-Valentine's Day. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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Screen time is a daily battle. Between kids and parents, between ourselves and our better judgment. But maybe it doesn’t have to be. There is a better way. Manoush gets the answers from Anya Kamenetz, NPR education correspondent and author of the new book, The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life. Practical strategies, solid research, and some reassurance that mostly we’re all gonna be fine. And we sneak a peek at Dina Temple-Raston’s new podcast, What Were You Thinking: Inside the Adolescent Brain.    ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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Is there a secret solution to information overload? Can random accounts ever truly be erased? How do I stay connected if I break up with social media? It’s Manoush’s brain, distilled into actionable pearls of wisdom. Plus, meet the woman behind the Note to Self inbox. Read the full list of tips and services we discuss in the episode. Including Manoush's favorite newsletters, and a killer oatmeal cookie recipe. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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People have a lot of excuses for not meditating. Eight, in fact. Dan Harris knows them all. And he can help. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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Let’s create some calm as this year ends. It all starts with one deep breath, led by Google employee 107. This week, we revisit Manoush’s lovely interview with Chade-Meng Tan, who retired at 44 to meditate and search for world peace. Because these days, we sure need it. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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The creators of the Netflix hit Black Mirror on predicting the future, Twitter as a massive role-playing game, and nostalgia for meh. As season four of the Emmy-award-winning show approaches, we revisit Manoush’s conversation with show creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones. Chipper optimism and wit from two delightfully dark geniuses. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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The tradeoffs we don’t see when we shop on Amazon. Why the answer isn’t to cancel your Prime. And yes, I bring Alexa’s new camera into my bedroom. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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People say mean things to Dylan Marron online. He takes that as an invitation to call them up and make friends. This week, the benefits of talking to our haters, and why it’s good for the country as well as the soul.  ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise. Find Dylan’s show, Conversations with People Who Hate Me, here.

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Let’s Check The Tape

Nov 29th, 201727:14

An incomplete list of the objects listening to us: Siri. Alexa. Google Home. With so many recordings, the transcribed life isn’t far off. For better or for worse.  This week, one intrepid woman records every minute of her life for three days. She captured a lot of minutia, and one extremely uncomfortable interaction. Our guest co-host on this repeat episode is Rose Eveleth, of the Flash Forward podcast. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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How a single American’s quest for his own digital marketing profile may show us all how our data travels the world. And may even end up in the hands of foreign governments. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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From March, the first chapter in our look at Cambridge Analytica. We asked the controversial digital marketing firm what services they provided for Trump. And experimented with our own psychometric profiles. Listen to our latest episode to learn about the new lawsuit that could shine a light on Cambridge Analytica.

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It’s Not Over Nyet

Nov 15th, 201717:21

More spy terms explained, reasonable/sensible coping strategies for when democracy is under threat, and nyet more puns. This week: how to spot a botnet. How psychometrics sells sneakers - and worldviews. And how to make sure you’re not the useful idiot. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Sign up here. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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Spy Terms of the Internyet

Nov 8th, 201714:52

Russian spy tactics have gotten an upgrade since the Cold War. This week how they work now: bad actors, active measures, advanced persistent threats. Cyberwar has its own vocabulary. So we got ourselves a tutor. Join Manoush and information warfare expert Molly McKew, who puts the fun in fundamental assault on democracy. ------- Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news you need to get just a little geeky. Sign up here. Follow us on Twitter @manoushz and @notetoself, or on Facebook. Email us any time at notetoself@wnyc.org - we love to hear from you. Responses from real humans, not bots, promise.

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Nyet Just a Conspiracy Theory?

Nov 1st, 201721:23

If talking about democracy getting hacked feels like old news, it’s time to take a fresh look.  This week, we separate fear from facts with Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman of the Daily Beast. Good thing they're funny guys, or this could get really dark.

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Where Do I Go Now?

Oct 25th, 201718:45

There was a time humans were guided by stars, not satellite. Now you can beam into robots, or turn on GPS. But when we put ourselves on autopilot we may lose our minds. This week, Manoush outsources her body to a telepresence robot. And finds out what GPS has done to her brain. Turn right, turn left, right off a cliff.  With Greg Milner, author of Pinpoint: How GPS is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds. We have photos of robot Manoush in this week's newsletter. If you don't already get it, sign up here.

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Talking to Myself

Oct 11th, 201722:05

The Replika app chats with you, learns from you, and reflects you back. It starts to become you. And your AI self gets pretty real. Journalist Mike Murphy used the app to create his mini-me, and wrote about it for Quartz. After months of talking to himself, he had a breakthrough. And some questions about how we define humanness. You can find Mike’s story here.

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I Didn’t See Your Text

Oct 4th, 201715:52

And other fibs we tell our friends, family and lovers. Psychotherapist Esther Perel is back to call us on our bullsh*t. This is the second of our two-parter on how our phones create such intimacy and such distance. Esther’s new book is The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity. Listen to part one here.

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Remember being dumped? Now, technology lets us delay, deflect, and disappear. Renowned pyschotherapist Esther Perel is here to help us fall in love better. Esther is the bestselling author of Mating in Captivity and the host of the podcast Where Should We Begin? Her new book is The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity.

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Silicon Valley is still a man's world. And Ellen Ullman, who started programming in 1978, thinks it's high time for the rest of us to infiltrate. Ellen's new book, Life in Code, is full of great and awful stories. Her love of the work. The joys of hunting down a bug. But also, the client who would rub her back while she tried to fix his system. The party full of young men drinking beer, where she turned down a job offer from Larry Page. Ellen has watched tech-bro culture take over everything. Now, she says, we have to grab our angry dignity and fight back.

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Eavesdropping On Epiphany

Sep 13th, 201718:29

José Cruz is a college student, research scientist, and phone power-user. He spent 6 hours in one day on his screen. So he wanted to cut back, make more time for research, reading, and mental drift. And he recorded himself doing it. It was not easy. There are some painful moments - but man, is there a payoff.  Plus, seventh grade teacher-turned-neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang on the link between single-tasking and innovation.  The second of our two episodes celebrating the launch of Manoush's new book, Bored and Brilliant.

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Attention Please

Sep 5th, 201717:47

We deleted, we unplugged, we took walks. We made choices. We made time. Two years later, we catch up with some of the original Bored and Brilliant participants - some of the 20,000 people who joined our 2015 experiment. Today, that experiment is a book, designed to help us separate from our devices just a bit, and turn them from taskmaster to tool. To make space for boredom, and let the brilliance in. Plus a new conversation with tech-star and NTS friend Tristan Harris, a designer once tasked with sucking your eyeballs to the screen. Now, he’s fighting the good fight to reclaim your brain.

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Refresh Your Mind

Sep 4th, 20177:56

To encourage you to #GetBored and find brilliance, we made a weird earworm. It's an interview about the history of boredom... sound-designed to help you space out. A brain nap. With historian Peter Toohey, and some very soothing, meditative music.

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Bonus: Behind the Scenes at TED

Aug 15th, 20177:11

A surprise bonus, because Manoush's TED talk is online now (!) and she has some behind-the-scenes memories to share from the main stage. To celebrate - and vent (in a good way).

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This week, five episodes for five ways we can do better by the planet. First: warm up, strip down. Rethink the air conditioner. With David Biello, science curator for TED.

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Giant whale turds. A permanent shade over the sun. One is flashier, but that's the danger of it. This is poopier oceans vs. the climate quick fix. The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.

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We’ve made our plants bigger, juicier, and sturdier. Now can we make them better at sucking CO2? And should we? The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.

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Save the Planet! Part 4: Suck It

Aug 2nd, 20178:14

First, stick a giant vacuum cleaner onto a smokestack. Inhale the exhaust. Then what? The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.

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We were going to have to talk about it eventually. No, not Elon Musk (although yes, he does come up). Mars. Planet B. The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.

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Escape From Yahoo!

Jul 26th, 201718:20

It’s 2017, and Manoush still has a Yahoo account. Is her exit strategy an encrypted file in Switzerland? This week, the tech loyalties we keep past their expiration date, and how to move on - technically and emotionally.

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We visit the Dark Web, where you can get heroin, fentanyl and oxycontin shipped right to your door. This week, we stress out our IT department with our searches and talk to author Nick Bilton about the Silk Road, online drug markets, and the opioid crisis in America. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at NotetoSelfRadio.org/donate.

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Do your parents post pictures of you? Or did they when you were younger? Do you post pictures of your kid? We want to better understand how families are sharing information online. So we made two surveys - one for parents and guardians, and one for teens and young adults - to help us think about this, together.  Spare 3 minutes to take them now. This one if you're a teen, and this if you're answering as a parent. Then spare another 30 seconds to share our surveys with your network. Your (aggregated) answers will be part of an upcoming episode, and our on-going inquiry into these digital lives we're living.   Here's why we're interested: a 2010 study discovered that 92% of children in the U.S. have a social media presence by their second birthday. A third are online even before they're born - in sonogram photos on their parents' social feeds. Growing up has never been so public or so digital. And that's our bread and butter. Maybe it's yours, too?

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A third of kids are online before they’re even born, thanks to sonogram images posted to Facebook. Is there a downside to all the kid photos we share? This week, we revisit a conversation with Hillary Frank, host of the Longest Shortest Time. And we want to hear what you think - did your parents post photos of you? Do you post photos of your kids? Visit notetoselfradio.org/kidphotos to take our survey. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at NotetoSelfRadio.org/donate.

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Yeah, it’s been a while for us too. So let’s reset. It’s the Bored and Brilliant bootcamp: three quick challenges to make space for brilliance in our accelerating world. Maybe you’ve heard this episode before, but even if you have, a boredom refresher can’t hurt. Take some time to daydream, and see what ideas bubble up as your mind wanders. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at NotetoSelfRadio.org/donate.

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Address books, maps, keys. Your Walkman, your datebook. All wiped out by your phone. Along with eye contact and boredom. This week, as the iPhone turns 10, we assess our most enduring love affair: the relationship between us and our devices. With tech journalist David Pogue and Adam Greenfield, author of Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life. Support Note to Self by becoming a member today at NotetoSelfRadio.org/donate.

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We See Ourselves in Black Mirror

Jun 21st, 201735:37

Netflix’s Black Mirror is a tweaked reflection of technology’s worst consequences - what show creator Charlie Brooker calls a “sarcastic version of the present.’ This week, Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones join us for a cheerfully dystopian chat about where their ideas come from, why they haven’t quit TV to launch a startup, and Twitter as the world’s top video game.

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This Father's Day, one dad on his role as lead parent, and what it means for his career, psyche, and marriage. With Andrew Moravcsik, an accomplished author, academic, and husband to Anne-Marie Slaughter (yeah, the one who literally wrote the book on women in the workplace). This bonus episode is one of our favorites from the Note to Self archive, and was first released as part of our now award-winning series Taking the Lead. We thought it fitting to return to today.

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Besides investigating Russian election interference, Sen. Wyden is tackling government hacking, email surveillance, border device searches, and fighting for your rights online. How did a basketball-playing former gerontologist become your digital champion in Congress?

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Today, Sen. Wyden hears testimony from former FBI Director James Comey. Next week, he’ll be here on Note to Self. Here’s a sneak peek at our chat about cybersecurity and your digital rights.

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Rochelle LaPlante keeps horrifying images off the internet, screening photos for four cents a click. Content moderators do an important job. So why don’t employers like Facebook hold them up as heroes?

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Our producer discovered an FBI file on her grandfather. Back then, the big threat was communists. Today, it's terrorists, Occupy and BLM. Maybe even you. And the surveillance methods are a lot less analog.

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With all the news of leaks, national security, and hacking, who better to talk to than Ed Snowden? So yes, Manoush and Ed tackle the NSA, privacy, and ransomware. But also identity, the self, and the “quantified spiderweb of all our worst decisions.” It’s a very Note to Self chat with a very smart man.

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Who among us hasn’t wondered, maybe in a stoned haze, if the colors you see aren’t even the same colors that I see? How do we know we’re even in the same reality, man?  That’s what the world has been feeling like, except not so chill. This week, we dissect reality itself, with our friend Brooke Gladstone, host of WNYC’s On the Media.

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This Mother's Day, a surprise. To celebrate working moms, we're re-releasing all four episodes of our award-winning series, Taking the Lead. The story of two Brooklyn women and their tech idea to help harried working mothers - like themselves.  Start here, with Episode 1: The Pain Point. And happy Mother's Day, ladies. You rock.

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Episode two of Mother's Day series is The Paradox. Rachael and Leslie test a prototype of their app on one very eager participant: Manoush. And they run into an ironic challenge. Turns out, it's tough to build a work/life balance app without one.

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Faced with financial barriers, Rachael and Leslie join a startup accelerator. But while honing their pitch, different goals emerge. Rachael is focused on social change, while Leslie wants to create a giant woman-led company.

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The last episode in our Mother's Day special. Rachael Ellison and Leslie Ali Walker face difficult choices: Should they drop the feminist mission behind the company when they make their pitch to investors? Does Rachael need to give up entrepreneurship so she can remain the kind of mom she wants to be?

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Bot armies are taking aim at our democracies, spreading garbage on Twitter from last November to Brexit to this weekend’s French election. But what do they want with Manoush?

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Uh, mom, the eggplant emoji is not about food. The crying-laughing emoji is not appropriate for funerals. And dad, just texting 'K' is super passive-aggressive. This week, a real live therapist tackles your intergenerational tech dilemmas. And we try to stop copping out of tough conversations with a text. Admit it, you do it too.

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We count on robots to do more and more stuff. Drive cars, water crops, diagnose disease. What happens when the robots are racist? This week, a look back at one terrible AI mistake.

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Revealing Selfies. Not Like That.

Apr 19th, 201720:13

Your selfies are sharing way more than your smiling face. They’re full of data. Which is being used by stores. And banks. And police. And, well, everyone. This week, you sent us your photos. We gave them to data scientist Andreas Weigend, to see what he could deduce. A lot, it turns out. Date and time. Location, down to where in a building you were. Your name, education, employment history. Your hopes and dreams. Well, not quite. But close.

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Spring Cleaning for the Mind

Apr 12th, 201717:35

Information overload has reached an all time high. Is there a way to stay-up-to-date without losing your mind? Yes. We call it “single-tasking.” Here’s a reminder of what multi-tasking does to your brain plus a proven way to find focus.

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How one revolting, racist, sexist word emerged from the dark corners of 4chan and Reddit. And why we should care. With slang lexicographer Jonathon Green, writer Dana Schwartz of the Observer, and Derek Thompson of the Atlantic.

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Deep-Dark-Data-Driven Politics

Mar 29th, 201726:14

The story goes: the Trump campaign hired consultants called Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge uses data to target voters' personalities and emotions. Trump wins. But it's not so simple.  Did the Trump campaign have a secret sauce? Or just more ketchup? This week, some answers. With Matt Oczkowski of Cambridge Analytica, psychometrics pioneer Michal Kosinski, and Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times.

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After building the social network’s ad system, Antonio García Martínez tried to set his career on fire with a tell-all. An inside view on Face-versaries, terrifying emails from Zuck, and the cult of changing the world. Turns out, it takes a lot to get shunned in the Valley. Especially when you write a bestseller. The author of Chaos Monkeys, on the fallout from his attempt to commit career suicide.

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So, the C.I.A. has a back door to your phone. At least, according to the Vault 7 data dump from WikiLeaks. This week, when are these tactics really making our lives safer?

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What We Know About "Vault 7"

Mar 8th, 20170:00

Maybe you’ve heard, some big news hit the privacy world on Tuesday. WikiLeaks, the organization behind the DNC leak last year, released a trove of documents (ominously) called “Vault 7.” The files reveal a collection of hacking systems developed or obtained by the CIA, and, if true, these tactics are pretty startling. One tool, for example, code-named “Weeping Angel” can allegedly turn a Samsung TV into a recording device--even if it looks turned  off. Many of you tweeted and emailed us to say these revelations have you side-eyeing your devices. Yeah, we feel you. So here’s a round-up of what we know so far and some suggestions of what to do and read as the story continues to unfold. First thing’s first, what happened. The New York Times broke the news, and we like their breakdown of what’s in the leaked documents, what’s true, new, and how it could affect your tech use. Signal and Encrypted Text Messaging “Vault 7” reveals the CIA can hack iPhone and Android operating systems, allowing it to intercept messages before they get encrypted by texting apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and Weibo. The Note to Self team recommended Signal during our Privacy Paradox project as an encrypted messaging app. But does this new information mean Signal isn’t living up to its promise? No. Signal is encrypting all your messages. What the leaked documents suggest is that the C.I.A. can use vulnerabilities in the operating system to take control of your phone. Which, as Wired says, means you have bigger problems. Moxie Marlinspike, one of the developers of Signal, also pointed out to New York Magazine that there are limited uses for those so-called "zero-day" tools--every time they get used, they might be discovered and patched. So the surveillance agencies are likely limiting their use to “nation-state actors,” as Wired puts it. Apple The “Vault 7” leak suggests the CIA uses “zero day” exploits to target Apple’s iOS. That means it gets into the operating system via vulnerabilities that already exist in the software rather than using malware or viruses. But Apple says they had already patched the vulnerabilities mentioned in the report. P.S. Remember Apple’s legal battle with the F.B.I last year? It’s outdated, but gives some weight to this line in their statement: “Apple is deeply committed to safeguarding our customers’ privacy and security.” Samsung Samsung TVs are said to be targets of a particularly creepy tool detailed in the WikiLeaks documents--one that allegedly allows the CIA to turn TVs into recording devices, even when they appear to be turned off. Samsung told Buzzfeed News, “Protecting consumers’ privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung. We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter.” Microsoft, Google and Facebook’s WhatsApp are all looking into the claims as well, according to USA Today. While they have not v...

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A little yellow ghost has joined Manoush’s home screen. This week, Note to Self takes the plunge into Snapchat. Where we find lots of opportunities for passive aggression, obligation, and shade. And that’s not a bug. It’s a feature. With designer Tristan Harris, of Time Well Spent, and Snapchat artist CyreneQ.

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Zapping Your Brain To Bliss

Mar 1st, 201719:25

Can brain stimulation tech replace your glass of wine? Or your joint? We strap a digital potato chip to our heads, and zap our brains with electricity, in the name of science. And we accidentally over-chill.

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No, not by watching porn. By sharing with your partner what turns you on, and weirds you out. Through an app. Kaitlin Prest of The Heart podcast recruits two couples to test drive the Pls Pls Me app. And talk about awkward conversations, making out, and more… unusual desires.

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Technologist Anil Dash on mistakes he’s made, and the new ethics of tech. Journalist Julia Angwin on why we’re all losing, and her strategies as a privacy prepper. Much laughter ensues. Note to Self nerds out, live from WNYC’s Greene Space.

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Privacy Paradox: Results Show

Feb 15th, 201731:51

Tens of thousands of people did the Privacy Paradox challenge. And the results are in. Seven percent of you said you want to give up. (Sorry. Don’t!) Seventy percent of you want to push for big change. (Hooray! Do.) And we have ideas.  We’ll hear from Michal Kosinski, creator of Apply Magic Sauce, and Solon Barocas, who studies the ethics of machine learning at Microsoft Research. Plus, reports from our listeners on the wonder and terror of digging through their digital identities.

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The Privacy Paradox Tip Sheet

Feb 10th, 20170:00

Many of you told us that the Privacy Paradox challenges freaked you out. But you were happy to take back even just a little control. Want to go further? Here's what you can do to protect your personal information. We also heard from you that this problem is bigger than you realized. Keep reading for our ideas on what we can all do, together, to create the web we want to see in the world.    THE BASICS Change your privacy settings on your browser and in social media. Here's how on Chrome, Firefox, Twitter and Facebook.  Try the new Firefox iOs app for private mobile browsing. Create strong, unique passwords.   Join Signal, an encrypted texting app. More on why here, download here. Turn on two-factor authorization for your key accounts (like email). It’s a simple additional layer of protection against hacking.  Fun bonus: Write a letter to a friend on paper. Seal the envelope and mail it. So private.  Do movie night and watch The Lives of Others, or Josie and the Pussycats. Double feature! Read (or re-read) 1984 by George Orwell. Everyone's doing it.  Watch John Oliver’s 2014 segment explaining net neutrality. After it aired, nearly 4 million public comments were made to the FCC.   GET SERIOUS Okay, you have strong passwords. And two-factor on all your accounts. And you’re using Signal. Well, it’s on your phone. Right? Then here are your next steps. Start using a password manager for all your super-strong passwords.  Try browsing with Duck Duck Go, a search engine that never stores your search data.  Take the Tor browser for a test drive.   Learn how to guard against phishing and malware (who knew about the inline images?). Install the https Everywhere plugin for your browser, to minimize what data gets sent without encryption.    Fun bonus: Take a break from any voice activated technology you have.   Read the ten original amendments in the Bill of Rights.  Peruse the report President Obama received from the bi-partisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Manoush likes Principle #7: Because human behavior and technology are intertwined and vital to cybersecurity, technologies and products should make the secure action easy to do and the less secure action more difficult to do.   GO HARDCORE You’ve done the basics and then...

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The last day of the Privacy Paradox challenge. We'll draw some conclusions from this week—and some boundaries for the future. With Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented a little something called the World Wide Web. He has a big idea for a more secure, more private experience online. And he thinks we can build it together.

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It's day four of the Privacy Paradox challenge. We talk to Elan Gale, executive producer of The Bachelor, about how we perform for social media, and how we change when we know we’re being watched. Also, the dangers of drunk tweeting. And Stanford psychology professor Elias Aboujaoude on how to find your true self when your personal details are public knowledge. Plus, it's time to get away from wifi, unplug the smart devices, and turn off your phone. We're going off the grid. Briefly.

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Day 3: Something To Hide

Feb 8th, 201711:13

It's day three of Note to Self's Privacy Paradox challenge. There are the things you know you share online: selfies, emails, Facebook posts. But there is so. much. more. Marketers are mining the words you use, your tone and sentence length, to profile you. To assess your personality.  Today, find out who the Internet thinks you are. With the man who helped Google implement the right to be forgotten.

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It's the second day of the Privacy Paradox challenge. You know - as you move across the web, clicking and searching and liking, you’re being tracked. You might use an ad blocker. Or a do-not-track plug-in. But you're still leaving tiny traces everywhere.  Today, we go from creepy to crappy. Creepy is that vague feeling that the machines know… something. Crappy, at least, is knowing what they know. And taking a step to slow the information flow.

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Day 1: What Your Phone Knows

Feb 6th, 201711:21

Your Privacy Paradox challenges start today.   What does your phone know about you? Too much, probably. And it’s even more than you think. Many apps track your location, even when you’re not using them. Others listen in via your microphone, even when you’re not talking to them. Maybe you want your apps to know what you’re up to. Or maybe want to open up your Settings app and check out what data you’re giving away. That’s your task for day one of “The Privacy Paradox,” our five-part project to help you take back your digital identity.

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The Privacy Paradox: FAQ

Jan 30th, 20170:00

Hello! If you don't see an answer to your question here, you can get in touch at notetoself@wnyc.org. We'll read all your emails and respond as best we can, even if it takes a few days. We'll be updating this page as the questions come in. 1. Questions About the Privacy Paradox 2. Questions About the Team 3. Press Inquiries   QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PRIVACY PARADOX 1. What is the Privacy Paradox? It’s a five-day series of challenges, newsletters and mini-podcasts, that will help you take back control over your personal information and digital identity. It’s also the term behavioral economists use to describe the disconnect between our feelings about digital privacy (we value it!) and how we act online (we give privacy away!). 2. Why should I sign up for the Privacy Paradox project? Because you’ll be part of a community that also wants to know where their information goes, what the trade-offs involve, and how they can live a better life, online and off. Plus, privacy is right. Claim it before it drip, drip, drips away. 3. But I don’t have anything to hide! Tell me again why I should do this? Because a life without shadows is a flat life. You don’t have to be subversive to want to live in a world where your every thought and action is not tracked and quantified. Free will, anyone? Also, what about people who DO have something to hide? Be a mensch. If everyone protects their privacy, it won’t be considered “suspicious.” 4. How will the project work? It’s easy. Put in your email address at PrivacyParadox.org. And yes, we promise to protect it. Then, if you want a thought-provoking giggle, take our Privacy Personality Quiz. Find out if you are The Believer, The Realist, or The Shrugger. Then, every morning, you’ll get a special newsletter that includes mini-podcast with the experts behind that day’s challenge. And tips. Lots of tips. 5. What happens at the end? Good stuff. We don’t want to ruin the surprise but you’ll get easy tip sheets to take with you and share. And we’ll measure how people want to move forward afterwards. We have some ideas. More soon. 5. I missed the launch date! You said it started February 6th - can I still join? You bet. Just sign up for the newsletter, and you’ll get the launch newsletter. Then, for five days after that, you’ll get a challenge newsletter in your inbox.   6. Do you really know what you’re doing? Yes. Amazing people like inventor of the web and 4th Amendment legal experts have helped us create the Privacy Paradox. And we’ve done these big interactive projects before. Check out Bored and Brilliant and Infomagical. This is the new digital literacy, sugar.   QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TEAM 7. What is Note to Self? A ridiculously fun and smart podcast for anyone trying to preserve their humanity in the digital age, if we do say so ourselves. We call it the tech show about being human. You can find us on Twitter @NoteToSelf and on Facebook at Note to Self Radio. We're produced and distributed by WNYC Studios – home to Radiolab, On the Media, Freakonomics and more. 8. Who is Manoush Zomorodi? Manoush is a hard-core journalist and also kind of a weird public radio mash-up...

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Introducing: The Privacy Paradox

Jan 30th, 201723:53

We want control of our personal information. But even when risks to our data are high, we sign up for services and apps. We download, click, and post without being sure where that data ends up. The Privacy Paradox, Note to Self's latest interactive project is your answer to this digital dilemma. Next week, we'll bring you five days of challenges and mini-podcasts, to help you make digital decisions that feel right for you.  To join the project, sign up at privacyparadox.org. And listen here. Let's do this, folks.

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Saving Big Data From Itself

Jan 25th, 201720:39

There’s so much potential. With big data, researchers can smooth social interactions and create better cities. Maybe cure cancer, and slow climate change. But the data has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is us.

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Are you an upholder, a questioner, an obliger or a rebel? Gretchen Rubin of the Happier podcast has identified four ways that people respond to expectations - the Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw of habit change, if you will. Figuring out your cognitive house might be the key to changing your bad habits for good. Including one habit we hear about a lot: clinging to the phone right up until our eyes drop closed.

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New Year. Same Old You.

Jan 4th, 201726:55

Can we really start fresh when our every step, nap, and calorie are measured? If even a hard-core coder fails at a tech-enabled diet, maybe we need a new way to optimize our quantified selves.

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Go Ahead. Miss Out.

Dec 28th, 201618:47

FOMO is real. And it's amplified during the holiday season when party glam shots and scrumptious food pics are everywhere. So let's embrace a little JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) instead.

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Messages From the Beyond

Dec 21st, 201628:31

Ginger Johnson is battling cancer. She has three children and wants to stay in their lives after she's gone. So she's using a service called Safe Beyond that helps her make messages and then schedule them for delivery in the future. But her kids aren't sure they want them. We're planning episodes both intense and light next year. And we count on listener contributions to make it happen. Donate here to support more episodes in 2017.

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If police smell booze on your breath behind the wheel, you'll be asked to blow into a breathalyzer. But if they notice distracted driving, how do they measure clicks, taps and swipes? Plus, a sneak peek at Note to Self's next big listener project.  Note to Self counts on listener donations. Support more episodes in 2017 with a donation today! Donate here: http://bit.ly/2hezqRP

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Distracted Is the New Drunk

Dec 7th, 201616:27

Back in the ‘90s, health researchers planted stories against drunk driving on primetime shows. Growing Pains even killed off Matthew Perry in a crash. Now, the challenge is getting people to stop texting on the road. But we don't watch TV like we used to. So who’s the new influencer?

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Tech Under Trump

Nov 30th, 201631:44

We've seen the good, bad and ugly of tech this election cycle. And we all have big feelings about it. So Manoush hosted a good old-fashioned call-in, for listeners to share their thoughts and fears about our digital lives under a Trump administration. With Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times, and Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

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We tend to click on things we agree with already. And social media networks like it that way. Bumming out your customers is a bad business model. This week, we talk with Tracy Clayton and Katie Notopoulos from BuzzFeed about why that's a problem, and get their tips on widening our everyday nets. With minimal ick factor.

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Don't throw a turkey leg. Don't go ALL CAPS rage over racism on Twitter. This Thanksgiving, when the conversation makes your blood boil, take some deep breaths and just LARA.

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Note to Self listeners are struggling to find joy on the internet after this election. Gretchen Rubin, 'Happier' host and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project, has advice.

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A Post-Election Note to You

Nov 9th, 20165:43

The nation is divided, and we're all processing. So, we curated a list of 7 episodes from the archive for your post-election reality.

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Americans voted. Now we can think way, way beyond 2016. The failed 2016 presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan (pretty convincingly) explains why you might live forever and vote for him and the Transhumanism party in 2040.

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Mindfulness on Demand

Nov 2nd, 201624:19

Can't afford a personal guru? No worries. Chade-Meng Tan, Silicon Valley's mindfulness coach, is making meditation accessible and he's got tips to incorporate it into our everyday lives. His latest book is, "Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within."

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Come and Sit with Marina Abramović

Oct 26th, 201621:32

Sure, legendary performance artist, Marina Abramović, got 750,000 people to wait in line at MoMA just to sit across a table from her. But can she get us ALL to count lentils? She just published Walk Through Walls: A Memoir and she stopped by N2S to chat with Manoush about how she's going to help us put down our phones and restore our overtaxed systems in a digital world.

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How Marina Abramović, the world’s most famous performance artist, got Manoush and producer Jen Poyant to sit in silence for 30 minutes before a "magic" performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations.

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The following essay was written for our episode, "If My Body is a Text," which explores how to absorb and address the flood of images, video, and information online when paying attention can be painful and exhausting. Listen here.   THE PROBLEM OF CARING by Kim Brooks Once, it was several years ago now, I decided to turn my back on the world. Not in an ascetic or monastic sort of way but in a very deliberate way, one designed to protect myself. I’m not proud of it but know that it was necessary. I was twenty-eight at the time, married a few years, relatively aimless both geographically and professionally, wanting to find a way to support myself as a writer, but clueless about how to actually make this happen, when, a few weeks into the year, I learned that I was pregnant. My hormones surged. My insides shrunk. The thought of everything made me nauseous. Thankfully, my husband got a job that provided us with health insurance and enough money to live. But with our situation suddenly stable and the need to insert myself into the world less of a financial necessity, I indulged the lethargy that accompanied my pregnancy. I grew despondent. Some might call this perinatal depression. I think spiritual cocooning sounds nicer. Day after day, winter to spring, I sat on our sofa with our two small dogs, watching the snow fall, balancing my laptop on my growing belly, nibbling my way through packages of saltine crackers, telling people I was writing, but not really writing at all. What I did instead was read, occasionally books, but usually just news of the world. Usually, then as now, that news was terrible. These were post-MySpace, pre-Facebook/Twitter days, and it seems very odd to think about seeing the news delivered in an uncurated, mostly commentless way. There was still slant and spin but the din of countless voices that accompanies our news now was largely absent. You picked your ideological flavor, and then you sat back and listened. And let it all pour over you. I read the gory details of the overseas misadventures of George W. Bush’s second term— the blood baths in Iraq and Afghanistan. I read about melting polar ice caps and mega-climate-warming methane gas bubbling up from the sea floor. I read about deadly cyclones in Bangladesh, failing wheat crops in Australia, soaring food prices across the globe, bursting housing bubbles foundering banks and a surge in foreclosures. When Al-Qaeda set off bombs in Algiers, I read as many details as the Times could supply. When Sudanese troops attacked refugees in Darfur, I looked at the pictures. When a mentally ill student slaughtered thirty students on the campus of Virginia Tech, the school where my sister had been an undergraduate, I read the details and viewed the pictures. This was before the smartphone-Instagram-hashtag pipeline allowed for instant, scene of the carnage imagery, the pictures that arrive on our browsers blurred and with a warning that clicking is going to reveal something grisly or worse. All there was, was news. For most of my unemployed second trimester, I made myself a kind of morbid repository for all the documented horribleness humanity had to offer. It won’t come as much of a surprise that my depression worsened. The urge to stop and look away was slow in arriving, the same way Spring and Summer take their time arriving in Chicago. I knew there was so much more that I could be doing, not even in a response to what I saw but just as a way of not feeling like such a tremendous lump. There were leaves on the trees now, and the wind rustled them. The dogs wanted to go outside. There was a novel I realized I had to write.     I closed my computer. I stopped wallowing in the ceaseless stream of misery. I got off of the couch, got a part-t...

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The following poem was written for our episode, "If My Body is a Text," which explores how to absorb and address the flood of images, video, and information online when paying attention can be painful and exhausting. Listen here.   LETTER BEGINNING, ‘IF MY BODY IS A TEXT’ by Kiki Petrosino   then you must learn to read. My hands, double book of them the threat you think my hands become when they unfold, hello.   You find me in the cool of my car. Slim universe of my colored self, slim chance of saying what I need to say to turn my hands into a book   or turn me back into the child who memorized each rank of angels Thrones Dominions Virtues Thrones—   You, too, must learn to read. There, in the lagoon of every book:   a body I pulled up by the hand.   Another body I lift beside mine, my thoughts becoming body of light body of light   You, too, must learn to read.   How it feels for a colored child to lean & loafe, to take her ease in a thought—   Like skimming across some blue wideness the moon appearing in day-sky. You’ll say:   I didn’t know that was possible, didn’t know before the possible—         You, too, must learn to read.   At Monticello, once: the 13th amendment hung for three days, brown & spotted as a lion’s muzzle, pale syllables of Lincoln’s signature slowly fraying under glass.   I wanted that warm page of skin, its words slanted alternatingly, as if the pen had wished to loafe against another body endless field of work, America, endless animal face in the work—     You, too, must learn to read.   I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on freedom. That ain’t no harm.   I drove my car this morning with my mind stayed on freedom.                That ain’t no harm.   I held my hands at 10 & 2, my mind stayed on freedom. That ain’t no harm.   I spun the warm wheel of my life so smooth this morning. No harm.   I drove towards sunrise this morning, all morning my mind stayed on freedom.   No harm, no harm. No harm—   You, too, must learn to read.

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If My Body is a Text

Oct 19th, 201627:01

In a time of racial tension, how do you manage information overload—the storm of news online—when paying attention is painful? This week, two friends find their answer.

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This week, Manoush visits a micro-school in her Brooklyn neighborhood where the cushions are cozy and every child is optimized. Think Montessori 2.0... and the future of education if one former Google executive gets it right.

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Facing Our Weirdest Selves

Oct 5th, 201625:54

After exchanging hand-drawn postcards for a year, two data designers discover how compiling and parsing the little things in life can lead to unexpected self-reflection-- and friendship. Those real-life pen pals and authors of the book, Dear Data, divulge some of their most revealing discoveries to Manoush with a special Note to Self soundtrack.

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Digging Into Facebook's File on You

Sep 28th, 201618:33

Algorithms are everywhere in our daily lives. But most of the time, we have no idea how they work. In this week's episode, ProPublica investigative journalist Julia Angwin explains how Facebook's algorithms categorize us. Plus, Note to Self listeners, we want you to get involved. Try out ProPublica's new tool, and tell us what you discover.

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In this bonus mini-episode, Chelsea Clinton tells Manoush why she's frustrated by the gender gap in tech. Plus, the art of juggling a new baby and a hectic campaign schedule.

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Games are the new self-help. Jane McGonigal, game researcher and developer explains how, with the right approach, games can be a powerful tool for unlocking our best selves.

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There Is No "Off the Record"

Sep 14th, 201625:26

Imagine a future where every word you utter is recorded and saved. It's not that far off. Our guest Rose Eveleth, host and producer of the Flash Forward podcast, tested out the transcribed life to see what happens when nothing is off the record.

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On this week’s episode, Manoush goes to North Carolina to find out why a high school star quarterback and his girlfriend were charged with felonies for sending each other racy (or romantic, depending on your point of view) photos. Turns out the U.S. is at a crazy cultural crossroads when it comes to teenagers, sexting, and the law.

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Touchscreen phones work so well for blind people that Braille may become obsolete. But advocates worry this could render the next generation "functionally illiterate."

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The Thing About Texts From Your Ex

Aug 24th, 201620:30

If you're not one of Text From Your Ex's 1.9 million followers already, here's what you need to know: Elan Gale's brainchild is an Instagram account with pages and pages of awkwardness captured in screenshots. It turns out, reading through hundreds of thousands of other people's emotionally loaded conversations gives you some pretty profound insight into relationships, technology, and privacy (or rather... the utter lack thereof).

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Nearly 92 percent of kids in the U.S. have some digital presence by the age of two. But that doesn't necessarily mean your child's face should be all over the internet. So where should we draw the line? In this episode, which is a repeat from 2015, hear a debate about the ethics and etiquette of posting pictures of your kids online with three moms who have very different approaches: Note to Self Host Manoush Zomorodi, who posts nothing. Note to Self Executive Producer Jen Poyant, who posts every day on Instagram. Longest Shortest Time Host Hillary Frank, who posts drawings and side-angles but no faces.

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Security technologist Bruce Schneier, author of “Data and Goliath,” says you should stop feeling guilty about skimming the Terms of Service. Get mad instead.

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Is My Phone Listening in On Me?

Aug 3rd, 201627:13

Is your phone listening a little too closely to what you have to say? Author Walter Kirn tells us why you'd be crazy NOT to be paranoid about your phone.

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Author and academic Andrew Moravcsik dives into why he and his wife decided he would be their family’s "lead parent," how they came up with that term, and how that decision has affected his marriage, his kids, and ultimately his career.

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In the final chapter of our four-part series about women and work, co-founders Rachael and Leslie hear a tough critique of their pitch and make a tough decision. Plus, New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter explains how she thinks the culture around work and caretaking has shifted since she quit her job as Hillary Clinton’s right-hand woman at the State Department. Anne-Marie’s husband, Andrew Moravcsik, wraps it up with the male perspective... and why he feels so strongly that the conversation about work/life balance is really about the new role of men in society.

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After tapping into their kids' college funds, Rachael and Leslie join a startup accelerator to compete for a cash prize. But as they prepare for the competition, the business partners feel pressure to choose between selling investors on their app's feminist mission or its projected revenue. How they decide to present their final pitch surprises Manoush... so much so, that she inserts herself into the story.

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In episode two of our 4-part series, the two moms-turned-entrepreneurs beta test their app on 20 local mothers (including Manoush). But as they get deeper into start-up life, personal differences begin to surface. Leslie, whose husband is her family's primary parent, is ready to put in the long hours required of a typical tech company founder. Rachael, though, wonders whether she can manage start-up life and school pickup. Things get meta as the working moms wonder: Is playing by Silicon Valley's rules the only way to win over investors? Can Leslie and Rachael create a new model of feminist entrepreneurship that makes money, has social value, and doesn't cost them their own work/life balance?

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All this month, we're covering motherhood, entrepreneurship and work/life balance with our series "Taking the Lead."    What are your favorite stories and resources about finding/losing/lamenting over work/life balance? On those days when you feel SPENT, where have you found solace or just some good (or entertaining) information?    Manoush got the ball rolling by sharing a list (#1-10) of the top things that she's read and listened to and that have helped her through. Continue to share with us in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook and we will keep updating the list with your suggestions to create a master list.    1. Brooke Shields, Recovering Daughter with Anna Sale on the Death, Sex & Money podcast Anna talks with Brooke about the treatment that she received for postpartum depression. 2. Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day by Cali Yost “A comfortable work+life fit can be achieved through making small, consistent, everyday changes” 3. A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Mom by Kim Brooks in New York Magazine  Is domestic life the enemy of creative work? 4. The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business with Babies-and How You Can, Too by Cate Colburn-Smith “Actual journals kept by a group of IBM women during their visits to the company's employee lactation room.” 5. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott  “Lamott struggles not only to support her little family by her wits and her writing.” 6. Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte “A book about time pressure and modern life.” 7. The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage by Cathi Hanauer “Women today have more choices than at any time in history, yet many smart, ambitious, contemporary women are finding themselves angry, dissatisfied, stressed out.” 8. When Women Decide with Ashley Milne-Tyte on The Broad Experience podcast A conversation with Therese Huston, author of <a href="ht...

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Welcome to the first episode of our 4-part series: Taking the Lead. This is the story of two working moms, Rachael and Leslie, who have a big idea (a tech idea) to help more women get some work/life balance and "lean in." But before they can launch a company, they'll need to overcome their own work/life issues and deal with some broader questions: can women find a place in the tech economy? Is society ready to radically redefine gender roles in the home? What really has to change in our culture to get more women into the C-Suite?

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Coming Soon: Taking the Lead

Jun 30th, 20163:12

Rachael and Leslie are two working moms in Brooklyn, building an app to help more women on their quest to 'have it all.' Manoush follows them on their journey as they confront the same struggles many women face as they try to reconcile profession with parenting. Along the way even more questions arise: Do women have a place in the tech economy? Is society ready to radically redefine gender roles in the home? Can women REALLY have it all? Special guest Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of The Atlantic article "Why Women Still Can’t Have it All," also stops by during the series to talk about work/life balance, lead parents, and the career advice every millennial needs.

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Bored and Brilliant: BOOT CAMP 2016

Jun 29th, 201616:25

Putting down your phone and letting yourself get bored can jumpstart your creativity. Tens of thousands of you helped us prove this in 2015 with our week-long project: Bored and Brilliant. Now, just in time for summer, try out the bootcamp version with three easy behavior changes. They're fun AND proven to get you rethinking your brain, all those notifications, and how we spend our time.

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NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, Elise Hu and Gregory Warner share their insider knowledge regarding how people in other countries use tech.

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What Happens When We Skimm the News

Jun 15th, 201626:28

This week we dive deep into the modern media diet with theSkimm co-founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin, and John Herrman, media reporter at the New York Times.

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Infomagical: BOOTCAMP

Jun 8th, 201618:13

If you've been with us for awhile, you know about our Infomagical challenge to fight information overload. This week, we're giving those of you who loved it a tune-up, those of you who were overwhelmed the tl;dr version, and those of you who totally missed it the first time around an episode to catch up.

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Can algorithms help us eat and love better? We went on a mission to find out.

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That pile of papers on your desk? That lunch meeting you can't seem to nail down? The hundreds of emails that raise your blood pressure? We're here to help.

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Author Peggy Orenstein tells us what the Internet is teaching teen girls about sexiness and desirability.

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The Realities of Virtual Reality

May 11th, 201619:14

We've put it off for long enough. It's time to talk about VR.

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Exploring the Lonely Web.

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There are millions of pieces of content floating around the Internet with little or no views, clicks or shares. Maybe some of them are yours. Welcome to the Lonely Web — a phrase coined by Joe Veix when he wrote about it for Fusion. On one hand, some of these videos — family parties, business meetings, school projects — feel like they aren't meant to be watched. It can feel exhausting, voyeuristic, even wrong. But at the same time, compared to the over-edited, over-hyped, parts of our lives that we're used to seeing selectively plucked and placed in our feeds, watching videos and scrolling through tweets that no one has seen is exciting: They feel refreshing and honest. With Joe's help, we made a list of videos that we featured on this week's show, plus a few more. But the real point of this whole shebang is personal exploration. See which parts make you a little uncomfortable, and which feel right. Find things that no one has ever cared about, or even seen before. And (no pressure, only if you want to) tell us about your experience on the Lonely Web. Sports: Dancing: Karaoke: School Projects: House Tours: Vlogs: Stand Up: Tanks: Auditions: Meetings: Trainspotting:

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We're obsessed with getting more female voices in our podcast feeds. Thanks to your many recommendations over the past few weeks, we've compiled a long, long list of shows. But since it can be hard to know where to start, we asked you to endorse specific episodes that you love. Use this makeshift playlist as an entry-point, and please continue to give us recommended listens in the comments!  1. "Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent's Dilemma" (Kelly McEvers)  "Kelly McEvers did an hour long piece on being a Middle East war correspondent & her decision to leave that profession after the deaths of other journalists covering the wars...Gripping, emotional, well worth a listen." - Al   2. Millennial - "Men, Moms & Money" (Megan Tan) - Endorsed by Maureen via Twitter 3. <a href="https://soundclou...

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Eye in the Sky

Apr 27th, 201635:57

Ross McNutt has a superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he?

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Listen up: On last week's show we made the case that listening to podcasts hosted by women is a feminist act. We compiled a starter list of 40 or so female-hosted shows and asked for your endorsements. After sifting through many, many recommendations, our list is looking significantly more comprehensive. But this still isn't enough! Please continue to share as you make new discoveries, so we can all keep our feeds fresh with female voices. We're also ready to give you another challenge: recommend your favorite episode of a show hosted by a woman or another underrepresented group. We want to continue to diversify our listening habits. And with a list this long, it can be intimidating to find a place to start. Next week we'll put together a sort of playlist for you and share it in our newsletter. Until then, happy listening! Comedy 2 Dope Queens (Phoebe Robinson & Jessica Williams) Anna Faris is Unqualified (Anna Faris) Ask Me Another (Ophira Einsenberg)  I Seem Fun (Jen Kirkman) How Was Your Week (Julie Klausner) Not Too Deep (Grace Helbig) Ronna & Beverly (Ronna Glickman & Beverly Ginsberg) Throwing Shade (Erin Gibson) Who Charted? (Kulap Vilaysack) With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus (Lauren Lapkus) Friends Like Us (Marina Franklin) The JV Club (Janet Varney) Rantin’ and Ravin’ (Yamaneika Saunders & Chloe Hilliard) Call Chelsea Peretti (Chelsea Peretti) Girl on Guy (Aisha Tyler) The Guilty Feminist (Sofie Hagen & Deborah Frances-White) <a href="h...

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We head inside Etsy's Usability Testing Lab to understand the art of User Experience and online shopping seduction.

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Time to update your feed.

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Two Dope Queens on Feminism

Apr 13th, 201612:27

Phoebe Robinson—a stand up-comedian, writer and co-host of WNYC's new podcast '2 Dope Queens'—joins us to talk about finding digital feminism.

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The man behind the Bulletproof empire explains why sometimes in order to get results, you have to go to extremes.

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There are a lot of tools out there that claim to train—even change—your brain. So do they work? We put them to the test and things get... interesting.

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If your phone was stolen, you'd most likely be concerned that the thief would now have access to your bank account...and your vacation photos. But what if the thief was the government?

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What happens when we start thinking of ourselves as walking, breathing, calorie-consuming piles of data? We asked hundreds of people to weigh in (figuratively speaking).

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Douglas Rushkoff, author of "Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus," argues that our fixation on "growth" has made us less financially secure, with big consequences for our communities.

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As promised! The time has come to talk about sex. Or, rather, to swipe about sex.

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How much would it take for someone to hack YOUR life? And really, how worried do you actually need to be? This is what happened when Fusion's Kevin Roose asked some of the best hackers in the world to have at him.

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We tried using apps to stop sugar cravings. It... didn't work. Now, we want to hear your stories.

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What we learned through a week of experimenting with information overload interventions.

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Discuss something you’ve heard, read, or watched with someone for at least seven minutes, by phone or in person. Social psychologist Sherry Turkle explains why and how. More details here: http://wny.cc/XUksG

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Your third challenge: Avoid a trending topic, or “must read” today. Consume only what's valuable to you. Issued by Cates Holderness, who launched The Dress meme, and Ann Blair, historian of information overload. More instructions here: http://wny.cc/XOEXS

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Tidy up your apps and transform your phone into a portal of wisdom. Brought to you by "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" author Marie Kondo herself. More information here: http://wny.cc/XPaMH

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No multi-tasking today. Work on one thing at a time, and give each task your full focus. For more information: http://wny.cc/XLutv

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Infomagical Emoji

Jan 27th, 20160:00

So you've listened to "The Case for Infomagical," signed up for the project, and picked a goal. Your questions have been answered. Now on to the custom emoji! Each challenge "goal" – the big, overarching thing you want to accomplish for the week – has a corresponding image we'd encourage you to put wherever you can. While these won't show up in your emoji keyboard on iOS or Android, you'll be seeing them in your text messages with us, and you can save them as an image and put them up anywhere. Here are a few different ways to get ahold of them: 1) Download these full sized badges for on social media. Click "download" on Flickr, Facebook (under the "options" menu), or Pinterest. 2) Add them as custom emoji on Slack. We've resized them for you here. 3) If you're on desktop, right click (control click on Mac) over the images below and "save as image." If you're on mobile, hold your finger and wait for the pop up menu to appear.  Focus on a certain subject or skill. (Kevin McCauley)  Be more up to date on current events. (Kevin McCauley) Get more in tune with yourself. (Kevin McCauley)   Connect with family and friends. (Kevin McCauley) Be more creative. (Kevin McCauley)  Got more ideas on how to use them? Show us! We're on Twitter @NoteToSelf and Facebook at Note to Self Radio. The hashtag (yes, we see the irony) is #Infomagical.

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The Case for Infomagical

Jan 25th, 201625:29

All of the information you need about information overload. Sign up for Note to Self's Infomagical project at wnyc.org/infomagical!

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Infomagical: An FAQ

Jan 20th, 20160:00

Hello! If you don't see an answer to your question here, you can get in touch at notetoself@wnyc.org. We'll read all of them and respond as best we can.  1. Questions About Infomagical 2. Questions About Texting 3. Questions About the Team 4. Press Inquiries   QUESTIONS ABOUT INFOMAGICAL 1. What is Infomagical? Infomagical is a week of experiments designed to help you find focus and discover the magic of clear thinking. Think of it as a digital literacy campaign... on steroids.  2. What's wrong with information? Absolutely nothing. Information, learning, and curiosity are all great things – arguably the most important things for a functioning society/world/human race. But as studies are starting to show, new channels of information are messing with our ability to process what we consume. There’s pressure (social and personal) to make sure we never miss an email, status update, or that Netflix show that everyone is talking about. Eventually, we complain of feeling "maxed out" or say we "don’t have the bandwidth." Infomagical is a project about being better informed. We're fighting information overload, otherwise known as "infomania" – not information itself. We're also not here to judge which kinds of information you consider important. More on that later. 3. OK, but why should I sign up?  A life spent skimming is sad. When we purposefully choose and focus on the right information, information overload disappears. You’ll know it when you feel it – maybe you’ll get in touch with an old friend, or learn a new language, or think through your experimental graphic novel. Or maybe you'll watch a cute video that calms you down before you go to work in the morning. What's "right" depends on your goal. We don’t know if we can cure information overload/infomania, but it’s time to put our symptoms in check and a higher value on taking the time to synthesize, interpret, and reflect on the information we take in every day. This project puts what researchers do know to the test, and the larger our "sample group," the better the, ahem, information we'll have about the problem.  4. How does Infomagical work? You can sign up for the project at wnyc.org/infomagical. Each Monday, we'll start the project over with our first activity, and guide you through the sequence via emails. (When it launched, we offered a text messaging option, but that's no longer supported.) Beforehand, we encourage you to listen to our big launch episode explaining the research behind our methodology. Then, during Challenge Week (Monday-Friday), we'll guide you through a series of challenges and exercises.  4b. Where do I find these emoji you've promised? (added 1/27) Here you go!  4c. Am I supposed to keep up each challenge for the entirety of challenge week? Or do they end when the next day's challenge begins? (added 2/3) We designed each challenge to last a day – not to compound over the week. However, if you'd like to keep them up, please do! We'll give you special bonus Infomagical points. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE T...

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When FOMO Meets JOMO

Jan 20th, 201619:20

Caterina Fake (the person who popularized the term "FOMO") talks with Anil Dash (the person who coined the term "JOMO"). Turns out, they're good friends.

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Two Dots game director David Hohusen on what it's like to balance "caring about users' well-being" with "designing an addictive game." The brave man came back!

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If you had to guess, how many facts have you taken in today? Dr. Daniel Levitin says it's probably way too many to process.

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Listen to Your Voicemail

Dec 30th, 201510:25

Love it or hate it, there's at least one important thing only voicemail can do. A reprise of one of our favorite episodes from 2015.

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Your kid's seven new LEGO kits really do matter for the future of creative thinking.

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