technology computer keyboard
Flicker Photo/Leslee Lazar (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Here in the internet age we might wonder, are democratic ideals and technological innovations compatible?

Most of us leave a wide digital trail in the wake of our day to day activities. Organizations and governmental agencies have a keen interest in following where that trail leads.

This episode of Speakers Forum explores how surveillance and newly-emerging technologies affect our civil liberties and shape our lives.

Cars have become computers on wheels. Crash the computer, and you could crash the car.

Two hackers decided they wanted to try doing that with a car that's considered pretty strong in terms of software, not just hardware. They chose the Tesla Model S. And — guess what — they broke in. But that's not the surprising part. The surprising part is how Tesla responded.

The Hack

Dental patients really don't like Western Dental. Not its Anaheim, Calif., clinic: "I hate this place!!!" one reviewer wrote on the rating site Yelp. Or one of its locations in Phoenix: "Learn from my terrible experience and stay far, far away."

Jeannie Yandel talks with New York Times writer Nick Wingfield about e-sports and their rise in Seattle. 

"I have a hard time saying this with a straight face, but I will: You can teleport a single atom from one place to another," says Chris Monroe, a biophysicist at the University of Maryland.

His lab's setup in a university basement looks nothing like the slick transporters that rearrange atoms and send them someplace else on Star Trek. Instead, a couple million dollars' worth of lasers, mirrors and lenses lay sprawled across a 20-foot table.

Flickr Photo/ (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The young woman was hiding in her closet upstairs.

She had called 911 because someone had broken into her home. She spoke very quietly.

Most local economic development schemes focus on creating jobs. Many offer incentives to startup companies, or try to lure existing companies to relocate.

But a campaign in Montana is turning that on its head. It's not trying to recruit companies but rather employees to come to the sparsely populated state and telecommute.

David Blackburn works for a financial services firm in Jersey City, N.J. He and his wife both have six-figure incomes, but real estate in the New York City area is so expensive that they have to live kind of far from their jobs.

The smartphone has given us a whole new genre of cultural expression: the selfie.

If you're into selfies, it's safe to say you've probably taken one, and maybe wished you didn't have those dark circles under your eyes.

Now there are plenty of apps out there to fix that.

But whether you think your selfies can be elevated to art may depend on how much effort you are willing to put into them.

A Personal Brand Boost

Marcie Sillman speaks to Todd Bishop about what's new in Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system.

Android is the most popular mobile operating system on Earth: About 80 percent of smartphones run on it. And, according to mobile security experts at the firm Zimperium, there's a gaping hole in the software — one that would let hackers break into someone's phone and take over, just by knowing the phone's number.

Just A Text

At Hack the CD this weekend, the focus was on problems facing Seattle's Central District.
KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

Damon Bomar wants to create an app that would help people find local odd jobs.

“For me personally it would work because I have a job, but at the same time I need a little more money on the side,” Bomar said. He presented his idea at the second Hack the CD conference in Seattle.

Michael Fertik at the 2011 World Economic Forum
Flickr Photo/World Economic Forum (CC BY NC SA 2.0)

For centuries great thinkers have tried to make sense of how to judge human character. Socrates, for instance, famously said, “The way to a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” The internet age throws a wicked curve ball at that seemingly simple advice.

Our speaker this week seeks to shed some light on the complex reality of the modern reputation. He compares our society to the early days of primitive humans, when everyone knew everyone else’s stories and secrets, and people lived and died according to their community standing.

Todd Bishop of GeekWire
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Marcie Sillman talks with Geekwire co-founder Todd Bishop about Amazon and other tech companies about their civic engagement.

A seismogram of an earthquake off California.
U.S. Geological Survey

Ross Reynolds talks with Pacific Northwest Seismic Network director John Vidale about the challenges of creating an early warning system for earthquakes.

It's family vacation time, and I've taken the kids back to where I grew up — a small plot of land off a dirt road in Kansas.

For my city kids, this is supposed to be heaven. There are freshly laid chicken eggs to gather, new kittens to play with and miles of pasture to explore.

But we're not outside.

I'm sitting in my childhood bedroom watching my 7-year-old son and his 11-year-old-cousin stare at a screen. The older kid is teaching the younger the secrets of one of the most popular games on Earth: Minecraft.