More of Note to Self
This week, Note to Self gets in our time machine, back to the court cases that brought privacy from the founding fathers to Google Docs. Stories of bookies on the Sunset Strip, microphones taped to phone booths, and a 1975 Monte Carlo. And where the Fourth Amendment needs to go, now that we’re living in the future. The amendment doesn’t mention privacy once. But those 54 little words, written more than 200 years ago, are a crucial battleground in today’s fight over our digital rights. That one sentence is why the government can’t listen to your phone calls without a warrant. And it’s why they don’t need one to find out who you’re calling. But now, we share our deepest thoughts with Google, through what we search for and what we email. And we share our most intimate conversations with Alexa, when we talk in its vicinity. So how does the Fourth Amendment apply when we’re surrounded by technology the Founding Fathers could never dream of? With Laura Donohue, director of Georgetown’s Center on Privacy and Technology. Supreme Court audio from the wonderful Oyez.org, under a Creative Commons license. If you want to visit a phone booth, there are four left in New York City. They're all on West End Avenue, and there's even a kids book about them.
     
See more friends. Take more walks. Read more books. Get more sleep. Why don’t those intentions stick? You want to change. But it doesn’t seem to take. Maybe you just haven’t identified what house you’re in. Gretchen Rubin says the key to long-term habit change is understanding how we respond to expectations. She names four broad categories of responders: the Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Slytherin of habit-changing. 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. If you want to know which house you’re in, there’s a handy quiz. An online sorting hat, if you will. Manoush is a Questioner. Obviously. For more Note to Self, subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.
New year, new you. That’s the idea, right? And 2016 in particular left a lot of people extra-eager to start fresh. One problem. Our fitbits and apps and tracking tools all collect data on us. The slate isn’t clean - it’s full of digital permanent marker. In an ideal world, all that information helps us become better people. More fit, healthier, rested, hydrated. And for some people, those stats are the motivational key to a better life. But what happens when the data just sabotages you? For some of us, data just isn’t the magic bullet for optimizing our quantified selves. So instead of resolving to track every calorie, minute slept, and stair climbed, how about this: be gentle with yourself. This repeat episode can help. This episode originally aired in 2016. For more Note to Self, subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.
     
It's cold. Bed is so tempting. As is your sofa. But the siren song of your phone is calling you. According to Instagram and Facebook, every single person you know is looking gorgeous at the world's best party, eating photogenic snacks. Fear Of Missing Out. It's so real. And social media amplifies it 1000x. But maybe there's another path. Another acronym to embrace. The Joy Of Missing Out. JOMO. Caterina Fake popularized the term FOMO, with a blog post waaaay back in 2011. And her friend Anil Dash coined the term JOMO (after missing a Prince concert to attend his child’s birth). On this week's (repeat) episode of Note to Self, the two talk about the role of acronyms, the importance of thoughtful software design, and the recent history of the Internet as we know it. And if you want even more Anil Dash, he'll be talking to Manoush on January 31st at the Greene Space in New York City. We're teaming up with our friends at ProPublica for an event called Breaking the Black Box: How Algorithms Make Decisions About You. Anil, plus ProPublica’s Julia Angwin, and Microsoft Research's Solon Barocas. Come! For more Note to Self, subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.
Ginger Johnson is battling cancer. She’s also preparing her digital legacy. Ginger has three amazing children, and she wants to stay in their lives, even after she’s gone. That’s why she’s using a service that helps her make messages and then schedules them for delivery in the future. Videos, audio recordings, emails and photos, pegged to specific days and personal milestones. Moran Zur created this service, Safe Beyond, after his own father died of cancer. He wanted to give people a chance to be remembered as they choose, not through Google search results or in a hospital bed. As vibrant people, full of wisdom. Full of, well, life. Can Silicon Valley really help us cheat death? And what does it mean for the people we leave behind? This isn't the first time we've talked about messages from the afterlife, actually. If for some reason you want even more of this, check out our episode on voicemail from 2015.
     
We've been measuring drunk driving for years. Since the Drunk-o-Meter was invented back in the '30s. But now, it's distracted driving that's killing people, and tracking that is just getting started. That's what Ben Lieberman learned, when his teenage son was killed in a crash. Lieberman checked the driver's phone records. And anyone who listened to Serial knows those are powerful documents. They can show what cell tower your phone was near, calls in and out. But what they can't track is swipes, taps and clicks. So Lieberman created the Textalyzer. Like the Breathalyzer, but for your phone. It can reveal every touch - just the action, not the content. And the company behind it might be familiar, if you followed the saga of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. SHARE YOUR PRIVATE THOUGHTS. WITH US, AT LEAST. If the idea of the Textalyzer sets off your privacy Spidey sense, we understand. We're all figuring out where to draw the line on data sharing, and how to balance privacy, safety, and our modern lives. It's something we're going to be thinking about a lot more in the new year, and we want your help. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT PRIVACY, ONLINE AND OFF Every year, Note to Self teams up with our listeners to take on a project together. We've tackled information overload and boredom. Next, we're taking on privacy: the how, and the why. But we need to hear from you, about what matters and what you want to learn. Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey. The project won't be the same without you. For more Note to Self, subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.
     
When Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded in 1980, an estimated 25,000 people were killed in drunk driving crashes each year in the U.S. Then Frasier stepped in. We all know, now, that drinking and driving is a big no-no. But how do we all know that? In part, because shows like the Simpsons and Cheers dedicated plot lines to designated drivers. Growing Pains introduced a character (Matthew Perry!) just to kill him off in a collision. TV producers didn't just come up with this on their own. They did it because a team at the Harvard School of Public Health made a case for the message. Now, that team is taking on distracted driving. And it's proving to be a much trickier problem.
What does it really take to put more diversity - however you define it - into your news feeds? We tend to click on things we agree with already. It makes us happy. And social media networks like it that way. Bumming out your customers is a bad business model. A while back, we got tips on escaping the echo chamber from Katie Notopoulos, co-host of BuzzFeed’s Internet Explorer podcast, and Tracy Clayton, co-host of the BuzzFeed podcast Another Round. When we first talked, this felt like an important idea, a step towards an expanded mind. Now, post-election, it feels a lot less optional. Katie and Tracy joined Manoush to talk about how to get just the right amount uncomfortable online, and why the first step is to just try.
For Hillary Clinton, that private email server was an Achilles heel. For Donald Trump, late night tweet-storms and the echo chamber of the so-called alt-right were rocket fuel. For American voters, the power of technology was inescapable. 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. Joining Manoush was Farhad Manjoo, New York Times technology columnist, and Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. They looked back at how social media shaped the Presidential race, and forward at privacy in the Trump era. We wish we could tell you it's uplifting. But we don't like to lie. The call-in show was part of the United States of Anxiety, a series from WNYC Studios. If you're having big feelings about what the new administration means for the arts, women, the economy or just in general, they've got you covered.
Thanksgiving is here. The holidays are right around the corner. And with politics on everyone’s minds, dinner table conversations can feel like a minefield. We have you covered. We’re bringing back an episode from the archive, with strategies on how to be calm, collected – and constructive – when faced with racism online, or IRL. And if you’re doing a little Internet detox, like we talked about last week, don’t worry. We made you some printer-friendly tools for navigating your Facebook feed – or maybe just the Thanksgiving table. Deep breaths. (Note to Self/Piktochart) LARA is a system promoted by the National Conference for Community Justice. (Note to Self) For more Note to Self, subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.