An early appearance of a computer in Season 1 of Law & Order
For those who have spent an entire day on the couch letting Netflix dominate the tv or laptop screen, binge watching is not such a new phenomenon. Artist Jeff Thompson is certainly no stranger to the concept: he has watched all 456 episodes of the original Law & Order franchise. But unlike the rest of us, he was getting paid to do it.
That's because Thompson received a grant from Rhizome to track the use of technology throughout the show's 20 year history. The fact that the show thrived on being "ripped from the headlines" (i.e. as current as possible), produced a weekly episode, and ran for such a long time make it a particularly useful series for such a project.
Aside from maintaining a blog of screenshots of every computer that makes an appearance on the show, Thompson used the opportunity to track other technology-related data. For example, he maintained a list of every URL used throughout the series, as well as a chart that tracked the parallels between the drop off of computer useage on the show in tandem with the burst of the dot-com bubble. The chart below shows the number of computers used per season, while the following chart tracks the closing price of the Nasdaq (in light grey) over the same years.
A chart of the computer count in every episode of Law & Order
The light grey portion charts the closing price of the Nasdaq
Thompson also saw an opportunity to track the evolution of our attitude towards technology as well. In the beginning of the series, computers generally sat in a corner, eventually making their way onto individual's desks as their use became more ubiquitous. It's these minute details that really interested Thompson. He points out that while a lot of people document and write about the history of technology, the seemingly boring details are not as thoroughly documented. In fact, when asked about his favorite bit of technology in the series, he points to a pretty mundane piece of furniture: the computer desk.Marketplace Tech for Thursday, May 29, 2014by Podcast Title Law & Order: tech editionStory Type News StorySyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No
After months of bloody clashes between the two factions, one group says it has left because bombings of public places, extortion and kidnappings are "un-Islamic."
Imagine for a moment that it is the year 2050. You are watching TV, a movie from the early 2000s. It’s a rom-com and a couple is at the end of a date, about to kiss awkwardly in their car, when your eight-year-old grandkid walks into the room, looks at the screen and says, “What’s that round thing?” That, you answer, is a steering wheel.
This scenario is not entirely unlikely. Google just unveiled the second generation of its self-driving car. The big difference between Google’s new driverless car and the old one is that the new version has no brake pedal and no steering wheel. So passengers are controlled completely by Goggle’s software.
“Now for some people, this might not be a big deal. For some people, this might be a benefit,” says Thilo Koslowski, an analyst with Gartner.
The self-driving car presents us with all kinds of opportunities. The elderly would be less isolated, blind people could hop in a car and go anywhere, at any time. The designated driver could get hammered. And everyone would be on safer roads because traffic could be coordinated.
“The question we will have to ask ourselves as a society,” says Koslowski, “is are we willing to give up some of that freedom in exchange for fewer accidents and improved traffic flow.”
Along with that freedom, we would also be giving up even more of our privacy. Tech companies would not only know our movements at all times, they would have control over them.
Eric Noble is with The Car Lab. He believes the best estimates about the growth of autonomous vehicles is a report by IHS titled "Emerging Technologies: Autonomous cars-Not if But When". “By 2035 they predicted 54 million automated vehicles [will be] on the road,” says Noble.
To put that in perspective, that’s roughly a quarter of all the cars on the road. The IHS report predicted that nearly all of the vehicles in use are likely to be self-driving sometime after 2050.
Nathan J. Marcisz of Marion, Indiana, tries to spell a word during the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in Washington, DC. Spellers participate in the annual competition to become the best spelling bee of the year.
From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Thursday, May 29:
John F. Kennedy was born 97 years ago. He was the youngest man elected President.
In Washington, the Commerce Department releases its second estimate for first quarter domestic product.
The National Association of Realtors issues its April Pending Home Sales Index.
Wisconsin joined the Union on May 29th, 1848.
And kids compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship Finals. You can watch it live on ESPN while gripping your dictionary.Marketplace for Wednesday May 28, 2014by Michelle PhilippePodcast Title Increase your v-o-c-a-b-u-l-a-r-yStory Type BlogSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No
The worm causes a debilitating intestinal disease called schistosomiasis. And the parasite is spreading rapidly because of an economic boom along the shores of East Africa's Lake Malawi.
This was starting to look like a bad year for the Tea Party, with primary losses to GOP establishment candidates beginning to pile up. Then came Texas.
The component of Obamacare that requires employers to provide health insurance has been delayed twice. Now, groups on both sides of the political spectrum are arguing to get rid of it altogether.
Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition spoke with President Obama shortly after the president's speech to West Point graduates. He offers a brief preview of that conversation.
Heroin became notorious in the 1960s as an urban drug of abuse, but its resurgence is fueled by young people in rural and suburban areas, a study finds. Most first used prescription opioids.
Dr. Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds has discovered a vast peatland in a remote part of the Republic of Congo. The bog covers an area the size of England and is thought to contain billions of tons of peat. Scientists say that investigating the carbon-rich material could shed light on 10,000 years of environmental change in this little-studied region.
Robert Siegel speaks to Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution and Michele Flournoy, the former undersecretary of defense, about President Obama's commencement speech to West Point graduates.