May 9th, 2012
01:30 PM ET

Jad Abumrad: radio that's close to filmmaking

When's the last time someone told you about something they heard on the radio?

In an age of constant connectivity, social media and instant-access video, radio seems to literally be old news – a relic of past generations.

But the innovative, wildly popular WNYC-produced show Radiolab is looking like the exception.

"Being on the Internet has only increased our reach and the number of people who consume public radio," says Ira Glass, who hosts NPR's "This American Life," arguably the most popular radio show currently produced.

The Internet has transformed radio into live streams and podcasts. The inherent nature of radio has transitioned from ephemeral to enduring.

Think about it. A podcast by its very nature is permanent. It has an address – a url. It can be searched and, more importantly, downloaded. Listeners can 'own it,' play it repeatedly and share it with friends.

Traditionally radio has also been a social binder – families gathered around the radio to listen to the lastest news, fisted-clinched sports fans  listening with eager ear to last inning of the ballgame. But today its digitalization is making radio a more personal experience.

"When you're on a podcast you're deep into someone's ear canal. Maybe they're on the subway, maybe they're jogging, or maybe they're just sitting there," says Jad Abumrad, co-creator and host of Radiolab.

"Somehow you own them in a way you don't on the radio," says Jad Abumrad about how his work can engage his audience more deeply. "So subconsciously that gives us permission to do all kinds of things."

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Inside Netflix's popular 'recommendation' algorithm
April 9th, 2012
10:04 AM ET

Inside Netflix's popular 'recommendation' algorithm

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - Netflix recently lifted the hood on its recommendation algorithm, which helps people who use that video-streaming service to find movies and shows that they may not know about but that they would like.

The most interesting stat the company listed on its corporate blog: 75% of the videos people watch are found via some kind of recommendation that the company employs on its apps and website. That means most pieces of content people end up watching on Netflix are found with the help of a computer equation that thinks it know what you want to watch - or via Facebook, for people outside the United States (Netflix doesn't connect with Facebook in the U.S. because some say the Video Privacy Protection Act prohibits video rental records from being shared. There is some confusion over when and how that law applies.)

In any event, here's what Netflix has to say about the popularity of its digital recommendations: FULL POST

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Filed under: Film • Innovation • Tech
April 6th, 2012
01:35 AM ET

'Game of Thrones' linguist: How to create a language from scratch

Editor's NoteDavid Peterson is the creator of the Dothraki language used in the HBO show 'Game of Thrones.' Peterson also is a member of the Language Creation Society.  A 30-minute profile of Peterson will air on CNN's "The Next List on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

By David Peterson, Special to CNN

The work of a language creator is often regarded with skepticism. "What's the big deal?" many ask. "All you have to do is make up words." And, indeed, one could proceed as follows:

a = blork
abandon = glurg
abate = plurfle
abattoir = gluff

And so on until there was a unique form for every word in an English language dictionary (in fact, with a computer program, one could produce dozens of "languages" like this in a matter of minutes). And while the resultant language would look different from English, functionally and semantically, it would be identical-a mere notational variant. FULL POST

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December 29th, 2011
02:52 PM ET

On the walls of the Lower East Side

Residents of NYC's Lower East Side are no strangers to the virtually ubiquitous graffiti tattooing the walls you encounter between the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges. Indeed, graffiti is as characteristic of the Lower East Side as chic restaurants and boutiques.

Graffiti on the L.E.S.

But rewind back to the late ‘70s, take out the trendy shops and eateries, and you have a very industrial, working-class area of Manhattan. And it’s during that time that artist/photographer Sol LeWitt, living on Hester Street, took out his camera and started documenting the area.

LeWitt took thousands of photographs of “streetscapes, storefronts with their gates pulled down, political posters, graffiti art,” says curator Adam Shopkorn.

The photographer died in 2007. Eventually LeWitt’s photographs were collected into a book: "On The Walls of the Lower East Side." But the images were never shown collectively in New York. That is until now.

Shopkorn, who works with the Paula Cooper Gallery and LeWitt's estate, mounted 120 vinyl prints in a grid-like presentation along the side of the Mondrian Soho hotel on Lafayette Street.

“[LeWitt] was simply documenting works on walls. And I think the people who were putting those works on walls I don’t know if they really considered themselves street artists either,” added Shopkorn.

Adam Shopkorn, Curator

Some passersby stop to admire the large array of photos. Others don’t. Either way is fine with Shopkorn. “I’m hopeful that means it was put in the right place. That’s means it blends in,” says Shopkorn.

The permanent display does seem like a natural fit, quietly fusing old and new into something indelibly characteristic of the Lower East Side.

For more "Next List" videos about graffiti, check out our profile of artist Tristan Eaton.

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