Are you a science fiction fan? Today on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with New York Times best-selling author Kim Stanley Robinson.
Kim Stanley Robinson’s interest in science fiction all started with an orange grove. When he was young, he says he watched southern California suffer what he calls “future shock,” – a process by which the natural landscape was rapidly replaced with apartment buildings and roads. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Robinson about how this inspires his writing.
We’ll also talk with Robinson about his Mars Trilogy that depicts a society where people have colonized Mars to escape overpopulation and ecological disaster on Earth. We’ll hear how he imagined life on Mars and how he deals with questions of plausibility as he writes about future time.
Technology is constantly changing the way we organize everything. Despite the pace of change, we’re still in control. This hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with Anne Balsamo about the ways she says it’s possible for us to design the culture we want through the way we use the technologies we create.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Professor Anne Balsamo. She’s a media designer by trade and has been involved in creating several interactive exhibits, like a digital version of the AIDS Memorial Quilt that you can explore by quilt block, name and date. She says in order for us to live in the world we want, we need to keep that world in mind while we’re designing and using our technologies. We’ll talk with her this hour about what interactive media is and if its constructive or just another distraction.
Balsamo is also heading a project called “FemTechNet,” which among other things, has been responsible for adding women into some of Wikipedia's historical entries. We'll also talk with her about how "FemTechNet" is working to create new kinds of learning opportunities though online collaborative education and about how her femisist views mesh with her work arguments about technologies.
Anne is giving a talk entitled “Designing Digital Memories” at 7:00 p.m. tonight in the Library and Information Science Building at 501 East Daniel Street in Champaign.
Have you ever gotten an email and wondered why on earth it arrived in your inbox? This hour on Focus, Jack Brighton talks with Finn Brunton about why spam plagues us all.
It all started in 1970’s with noncommercial computer networks that became the internet and then continued to develop during the dot.com boom in the 1990’s. Today, the country’s most brilliant computer programmers are trying to fight it.
This hour on Focus, Jack Brighton talks with author Finn Brunton about the rise of internet spam. Interestingly enough, internet spam is called spam because of a Monty Python skit. And, while the skit is hilarious, the unwanted emails and messages from advertisers, marketers, identity thieves, bots, con artists and hackers are not. Today on Focus, we’ll learn about what spam really is, how it works and what it means. As Brunton argues in his new book “Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet,” spam can show us how online communities can develop governance for themselves and how transforming technology can have unintended consequences.
Too much screen time is bad news, at least that's how the story goes. But they're getting harder to avoid, especially during summer when kids are home from school. This hour on Focus, we talk about screens, educational media and how much is too much.
In a recent article in the Atlantic, senior editor Hanna Rosin wrote about her experiences as a mother and the pressure she feels to limit her children’s screen time. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Hanna about her experiences with electronics and educational media as a parent. We’ll also talk with David Bickham, who is a researcher at the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital about how much screen time is recommended, how to make the most out of that time and what the dangers are of too much screen time.
Illinois law currently bans employers from asking employees and prospective employees for their social media passwords, but there is a bill in the Illinois House that would change that. This hour on Focus, we'll talk about the bill and larger issues it raises when it comes to digital privacy.
House Bill 1047, currently under consideration in the Illinois House of Representatives, would make it legal for employers to ask employees for their personal social media passwords. Under legislation that took effect July 1, 2012, it’s currently against the law to do so. According to some, it’s a severe violation of privacy for employers to be able to ask for social media account information, but State Representative Jim Durkin defends the bill saying that employers need to have agency to protect themselves against threats and theft. He also says that as the bill is written, employers can’t take action against employees who refuse to share their information.
This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the intersection of digital privacy and the workplace. Statehouse Reporter Amanda Vinicky will give us an update about the status of the legislation and then Law Professor Lori Andrews joins us. She’s written a social media constitution and is author of the book “I Know Who You Are, I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy.” Representative Durkin, who is from Western Springs, also joins the conversation.
Would you be concerned if your employer could legally ask for your social media passwords? Are you a manager and think you should be able to ask? We want to hear from you this hour on Focus!
Think about the size of a lady bug. Now, think 1,000 times smaller than that, and we’re talking about the size of a red blood cell. Go another 1,000 times smaller, and that’s how big a nanometer is. What can you do with something that small? We’ll find out this hour on Focus.
Nanotechnology works to understand the physics, chemistry and biology of nanoscale objects. Simply put, it’s the study of things that are very, very, very small. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about nanotechnology and developments being made when it comes to nanomanufacturing here at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Irfan Ahmad, Executive Director of Nanoscale Science and Technology at the UIUC and Engineering Professor Placid Ferreira, who studies nanotechnologies and manufacturing, will be here. We’ll talk with them about how certain elements behave quite differently on the nanoscale than they do in larger quantities and how that opens the doors to virtually limitless possibilities. Cell phone in a made to order size? It’s could happen.
There are also health concerns and risks many are worried about when it comes to using nanotechnology. We’ll talk those over too during this hour on Focus.
Do you bike to work? Do you like listening to music on vinyl? Is the media doing a good job of reporting on the Boston Marathon bombing case? Find out more about what’s coming up next week on Focus and join our conversation.
Coming up next week on Focus, we’ll talk about cycling and how strong biking communities and cultures are fostered, why records are coming back and if they’ll stick around. We’ll also talk about nanotechnology and the exciting possibilities for the future.
If a person, multiplying two numbers together once every second, tried to do as many multiplications as the new UIUC’s super computer Blue Waters can do in a second, it would take them about 300 million years. This hour on Focus we talked about the technology and the problems Blue Waters is trying to solve.
Simply explained, Blue Waters is a very big, very fast computer. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Bill Gropp who is Director of the Parallel Computing Institute and Deputy Director for Research at the Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He’ll tell us what makes Blue Waters so powerful, why the technology is worth the investment and what problems researchers hope to solve with one of the world’s largest super computers.
Do you have fond memories of Roger Ebert? What do you think of when you hear “circus?” Do you have questions about the UIUC’s new super computer Blue Waters? Find out more about what’s coming up next week on Focus and join our conversation.
Coming up next week on Focus, we’re remembering Pulitzer Prize winning film critic, screenwriter and journalist Roger Ebert, talking about super computers and learning about how the circus is very serious business in other parts of the world. Find out more and our conversation!
What color is your thumb…green or black? This hour on Focus, we talked with Eduardo Torrealba who has been working on a project to help you if you answered “black” and Sandy Mason, UI extension horticulture expert.
Over and underwatering plants is one of the key reasons why those of you who answered “black” are having trouble keeping your plants alive. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Eduardo Torrealba. He’s the CEO of Oso Technologies, a new company formed in Urbana. He and his colleagues have developed a new product called Plantlink that’s designed to help novice gardeners help their plants thrive and conserve water. Sandy Mason, University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Expert, will also be here to answer questions about your lawn and garden.
Learn more about Plantlink:
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