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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Podcast Reccomendations

At the last meeting we touched on the topic of podcasts. Luckily you don't actually need an iPod or iTunes to get podcasts. You can download/stream them like any other audio file via RSS format, which sounds even more complex, but stands for "Really Simple Syndication."

I'd like to share my all-time favorite podcast EconTalk. It is hosted by Dr. Russ Roberts of George Mason University. Each episode, Roberts interviews an expert from a different field, such as recycling, the internet, style and its relationship to consumer experience, and sports. It is insightful and if you are an econ nerd like myself, quite funny at times. It will get your mental gears turning and is accessible to almost anyone, though is not to be confused with Freakonomics-style garbage.

Here are three episodes I would recommend, followed by a quote from the interview:

Weinberger on Everything is Miscellaneous and the Wonderful World of Digital Information

"Universe has a whole bunch of attributes, and we can sort and organize based on our interests, needs, and culture. Internet is not susceptible to the mistake of thinking that there is only one way of organizing. It's miscellaneous: not simply that it's disorganized but disorganized with so much metadata about the information that it's possible to pull together clusters and clumps on the fly that suit our needs."

Vernon Smith on Markets and Experimental Economics

"Vast, seemingly chaotic but actually ordered events. Variation: Markets as information aggregators. Vernon Smith's Nobel Prize 2002 shared with Daniel Kahneman, psychologist, for behavioral economics, which questions idea that people are rational. Experimental economics interfaces with that, ecological rationality. How does your work interface with behavioral economics? That literature is interested in decision-making under uncertainty, from expected-utility theory: people are not consistently good expected utility maximizers. Missing: how do people adapt to uncertainty not as isolated individuals but together?"

Kevin Kelly on the Future of the Web and Everything Else

"Semantic web, Web3-0. Web is not just pages but databases. Machines can sort out some of what is on pages, replacing some human reading of pages. Web now is flat, not aware of itself. With more structure, tags--assigning categories--as well as links can make the web more intelligent. Improved navigation; communication between machines will happen in the background instead of having to navigate."

Check out the archive of past shows--something is bound to appeal to you.


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