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Marques Wyatt and Doc Martin. (KCRW)

Guest DJs: Doc Martin And Marques Wyatt

Jul 30, 2014 (KCRW-FM)

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On this week's episode of Metropolis, L.A. house-music pioneers Doc Martin and Marques Wyatt take the reins for 30 minutes. The DJs play tracks from Tony Humphries, Doorly and others. Their interview with KCRW's Jason Bentley can be found at the link on this page.

Copyright 2014 KCRW-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kcrw.com.

Playlist

  • Lil Louis, "Club Lonely (I'm On The Guest List Mix)"
  • Paolo Rocco, "People Say (Nic Fanciulli Remix)"
  • DJ Fudge, "Good Inside (Original Mix)"
  • Tony Humphries, "Oh Adam"
  • Doorly, "I Want You To Dance (Dub)"
  • Rame & Bonora feat. Xenia, "Sick (Quentin Harris Re-Production)"

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Marques Wyatt, Doc Martin and Jason Bentley. (KCRW )

The Metropolis Interview: Doc Martin And Marques Wyatt

Jul 30, 2014 (KCRW-FM)

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If there were a Mt. Rushmore of L.A. house DJs, no version would be complete without the images of Doc Martin and Marques Wyatt.

Joining Jason Bentley on Metropolis, the dance-music luminaries discuss their career arc, from uncharacteristic roots as house DJs and how the two found each other to maintaining their traditional house sound within an ever-changing EDM scene. They also share an exclusive mix, which was recently recorded at a combined DEEP/Sublevel event in West L.A. That mix can be found at the link on this page.

Martin and Wyatt will be featured DJs at the final installment of the Hammer Museum's Made in L.A. series. For more information on the KCRW Summer Nights event, click here.

Copyright 2014 KCRW-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kcrw.com.

Playlist

  • Lil Louis, "Club Lonely (I'm On The Guest List Mix)"
  • Paolo Rocco, "People Say (Nic Fanciulli Remix)"
  • DJ Fudge, "Good Inside (Original Mix)"
  • Tony Humphries, "Oh Adam"
  • Doorly, "I Want You To Dance (Dub)"
  • Rame & Bonora feat. Xenia, "Sick (Quentin Harris Re-Production)"

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Marques Wyatt, Doc Martin and Jason Bentley. (KCRW )

Should America Keep Its Aging Nuclear Missiles?

Jul 30, 2014 (All Things Considered / KCRW-FM)

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Sixty feet beneath western Nebraska, Lt. Raj Bansal sits in front of an ancient-looking computer console used to monitor 10 nuclear missiles.

Everything in this command bunker feels outdated, including the tiny toilet. It's working today, but like a lot of equipment down here, it doesn't always. Lieutenant Bansal points to a drain under the command post.

"At some point, sewage has flooded this bottom area," he says. "It smells awful."

For decades, the United States has kept hundreds of nuclear-armed missiles on alert. And just like the dated command consoles and the plumbing, the missiles are aging.

In coming years, the entire system must be replaced. That is leading some to ask what purpose these powerful weapons serve in the modern era.

"The mission of the Cold War is gone," says Bruce Blair, the co-founder of global zero, a group committed to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Back then, these missiles were kept pointed at the Soviet Union, which had its own weapons pointed back at us. These days, we're more concerned about countries like China, Iran and North Korea. And Blair says these missiles don't threaten those countries for one simple reason: "In order for those land-based forces in the plains of the United States to be used against a country like North Korea, China or Iran, they would have to overfly Russia."

Missiles fly in a straight line, and the trajectory to almost every conceivable target goes north towards the Arctic and then down across Russian territory.

"We're very leery of lobbing anything over the territory of Russia that may look like a missile attack against Russia," Blair says. "It could trigger Russia to fire by mistake and destroy our country."

The Pentagon says it is aware of the problem. But these land-based weapons aren't America's only nukes. They're part of a triad, a three-pronged nuclear defense that also includes bombers and submarines.

The Defense Department won't comment on its war plans, but if America was ever to launch a strike on a country other than Russia, it is likely bombers or subs would be used instead of the land-based missiles.

And Blair says those silos have another weakness: They're at fixed locations, making them vulnerable to a nuclear strike. To overcome that problem, missiles are designed to launch very quickly, within minutes. And once they do, there's no turning back.

"You run a serious risk of mistaken launch or some other horrendous error of judgment," he says. "The land-based rocket force is really an accident waiting to happen."

Others dispute that. Land-based missiles are vulnerable to attack, but they don't need to be launched quickly because there are hundreds of them dispersed across the country.

"No guy is going to think that he can take out the United States in a surprise attack if he has to hit at least 400 targets out there in the continental United States," says Elbridge Colby is at the Center for New American Security, a Washington think tank.

Colby thinks land-based missiles provide extra protection. Unlike submarines, they're on U.S. soil, so communications are more assured. Unlike bombers, ballistic missiles can't be shot down.

"I want to have a nuclear force that gives me a lot of certainty and gives a message to the adversary that there's no way he's going to be able to take advantage of me. So that's the kind of insurance I want to buy from a nuclear force," Colby says.

He says buying a next-generation of land-based missiles might cost somewhere around $100 billion dollars over several years. That's actually not a lot compared to what the Pentagon spends on ships and fighter jets.

"This is relatively small part of the cost picture, it gives you a lot of bang for the buck — actually the expression "bang for the buck" came originally from talking about nuclear forces," Colby says. "So I think that the cost problem lies elsewhere."

Bruce Blair, who is against keeping the missiles, says that maintaining the triad of nuclear weapons systems will cost far more. The submarines and bombers also soon need to be replaced. One estimate by arms control analysts suggests that the total cost could top a trillion dollars.

"Choices are going to have to be made, and I think the land-based rocket component is on the chopping block," Blair says.

Blair thinks the old missiles can find a better purpose: as a bargaining chip with the Russians, to get them to give up their missiles too.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Playlist

  • Lil Louis, "Club Lonely (I'm On The Guest List Mix)"
  • Paolo Rocco, "People Say (Nic Fanciulli Remix)"
  • DJ Fudge, "Good Inside (Original Mix)"
  • Tony Humphries, "Oh Adam"
  • Doorly, "I Want You To Dance (Dub)"
  • Rame & Bonora feat. Xenia, "Sick (Quentin Harris Re-Production)"

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Dom Flemons with his 1920s banjo. (Courtesy of the artist)

Dom Flemons Holds On To Those Old-Time Roots

Jul 30, 2014 (Fresh Air / KCRW-FM)

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From his vintage hat to his enormous 1920s banjo, Dom Flemons looks like he's time-traveled from a different era.

Flemons was in Carolina Chocolate Drops, a Grammy-winning group that's extended the tradition of African-American string bands of the 1920s and '30s. His new solo album, Prospect Hill, is his first since leaving the group. Flemons sings and plays guitar, banjo, bones, harmonica, fife and jug. The album reflects his interest in old-time music, blues, early jazz and R&B, and also includes a couple of original songs. Flemons grew up in Arkansas, and now lives in North Carolina.

By coincidence, Flemons recorded the album the day legendary folksinger Pete Seeger died. Seeger had a major influence on Flemons and was one of the reasons he was drawn to play the banjo. Despite the sad circumstances, they enjoyed playing in remembrance of him. "That's the thing about the blues, and string-band music is the same way — it grabs to a root and it brings you out of whatever spot [you're in]," he tells host Terry Gross. "Then you can project out that energy through the songs — and it was joyful."

Flemons recently joined Fresh Air in the studio to play songs from Prospect Hill and discuss what he loves about old-time music.


Interview Highlights

On the music that inspired him to play in an old-time acoustic style

"It started out with my interest in oldies, like doo-wop, '60s rock, '60s pop music, '50s rock 'n' roll... I just started pushing toward these styles that weren't particularly contemporary at the time. I also listened to other stuff like Green Day when they first came out, or Sublime and groups like that.

"But acoustic music at that time, there wasn't a whole bunch of it, unless a rock singer decided to do an acoustic-y ballad number or something like that, or adult-contemporary acoustic music. So when I heard Bob Dylan's first record, the self-titled Bob Dylan one, that really blew my mind. It made me think about guitar and harmonica, so I started doing that. I started learning everything that I could hear on the radio."

On his musical background

"I was doing a lot of busking. I played for a while in a group called The Wild Whiskey Boys, and so I played harmonica in that group, but it was always guitar, banjo and harmonica. And that was all I played until I came to North Carolina, and then I started playing the bones and the quills and the bass drum, snare drum, all the drums — I played that in school, so that was my actual formal training. I was in marching band with bass drum, and then I played auxiliary percussion from tympani all the way down to suspended cymbal to triangles and all that stuff. So [I got] a good sense of not just the main rhythm, but what the auxiliary rhythm that you put on top of the main rhythm was."

On doing imitations of performers when he sings their songs

"The idea that I had in my 16-year-old mind is that I'd hear these songs, and no one else knew what these songs were, so I'd try my best to replicate them so that people would get a sense of the song as it was performed by the original performer. At that time, I didn't feel like I had any interesting stories. After being in the business for about 15 years, just about now, I have some stories of my own. But at first, I didn't really have stories, so I would tell other people's stories."

On his large and tricked-out banjo

"It's an 18-inch head on here, and usually most banjos you see are maybe an 11-inch head in diameter. It has a very fancy pick guard, a very extravagant inlay, because this was actually made in Philadelphia; there's a small guitar-making studio that made this banjo. It has lights that you could clip onto the truss rod so that you can heat the head of the banjo, in case it happens to be a hot day and the skin gets moist and soggy, to dry it out... If there was more [humidity], the skin would start to sink down and the notes would start to sound kind of mushy... This was made circa 1924, and so this is an old vintage instrument that is one of a kind. And I'm really glad to be the owner of it."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Playlist

  • Lil Louis, "Club Lonely (I'm On The Guest List Mix)"
  • Paolo Rocco, "People Say (Nic Fanciulli Remix)"
  • DJ Fudge, "Good Inside (Original Mix)"
  • Tony Humphries, "Oh Adam"
  • Doorly, "I Want You To Dance (Dub)"
  • Rame & Bonora feat. Xenia, "Sick (Quentin Harris Re-Production)"

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Pinterest has created a database of "things in the world that matter to human beings," says Alexis Madrigal. ( Pinterest)

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

by Alexis Madrigal
Jul 30, 2014 (Fresh Air / KCRW-FM)

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The Pinterest interface is simple: Just click a button, and any Web page gets broken down into its constituent images. Any of those can be added to your own set of images, known on Pinterest as a board. Other people can find those boards and copy what they like — or simply search through all the photos on the site.

Pinterest didn't take off among tech-loving men in California. Rather, it was young women away from the coasts who initially flocked to the site to plan everything from simple dinners to weddings. Now, it has tens of millions of users who have copied billions of pictures onto boards about everything from macrame to sports cars.

Pinterest is mostly known as a place people go to find things to buy or make. The company likes to say that Pinterest is about planning your future, but it's also just about seeing a bunch of interesting stuff on a theme, all in one place. So there are boards for wedding planning and child rearing and men's linen suits, but also for kittens and model airplanes and mountains. Some boards are just a mood like "monumental" or "cute" or "adventurous."

Despite this popularity, Pinterest has never attracted the same kind of press or adulation as the companies that grew up around the same time — businesses like Instagram, Uber or even Dropbox. Pinterest just isn't seen as a hard-core technology company that will follow the path of Google and Facebook. To some people, it doesn't feel like a world-shaping product. "It's just a digital scrapbook," people say.

But Internet companies are valuable in large part because of the kind of data that they possess. And Pinterest possesses some really, really interesting data. The first part of it is that they are a repository of things that people would like to have or do. They're a database of intentions. And that has got to be valuable to marketers and advertisers.

But it goes deeper than that. What Pinterest has created — almost unintentionally — is a database of things in the world that matter to human beings. While Google crunches numbers to figure out what's relevant, Pinterest's human users define what is relevant for a given topic. And because of that, they could become a legitimate competitor to Google, the world's most valuable Internet company.

That idea crystallized for me when I saw a heavy user of Pinterest playing with the service. She looked up nature photography. Then she started adding descriptors: winter, ocean, African. Each of these adjectives brought up an entirely different set of pictures, each with its own collection of moods and aesthetics. If what you're looking for is a thing or a type of thing out there in the world, Pinterest is more likely to serve it up to you than even Google. Frogs, sneakers, cloud formations, volcanoes, subway graffiti, footie pajamas — Google will deliver Web pages about these things, but Pinterest will show you a photo of the thing itself, and increasingly, the opportunity to buy it or get to it or experience it.

By letting people copy and label images, Pinterest created this rich database of persons, places and things. And it is just beginning to use that data to help people find stuff. With a programming team that's largely been hired away from Google, Pinterest has begun offering what it calls "guided search."

Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp told me that guided search helps you find things you didn't know that you were looking for. If Google is great when you know exactly what you want, Pinterest can help you figure out what you want. As you search, Pinterest will suggest tags that you could add to help narrow your query. Search for hats on Pinterest and you might get "fedora" or "baseball" or "church lady" as suggestions.

The lesson here is that the simplest things we do on the Internet, when you multiply them by millions of people, create troves of data that were inconceivable at any other time in human history. And in many cases, the companies that possess the data we've created over the past five years are still learning exactly how to harness it to do new things, whether that's making more money for themselves, or delivering you up exactly the hat or photograph that you were looking for.

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of The Atlantic.com, where he also oversees the technology channel, and a visiting scholar at Berkeley's Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Playlist

  • Lil Louis, "Club Lonely (I'm On The Guest List Mix)"
  • Paolo Rocco, "People Say (Nic Fanciulli Remix)"
  • DJ Fudge, "Good Inside (Original Mix)"
  • Tony Humphries, "Oh Adam"
  • Doorly, "I Want You To Dance (Dub)"
  • Rame & Bonora feat. Xenia, "Sick (Quentin Harris Re-Production)"

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

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