For All Your Summer Podcast Needs: Crazy/Genius

screen-shot-2018-06-11-at-10-36-16-e1528708520302.pngIn recent months, I’ve become increasingly fascinated by developments in the tech industry, particularly the way information is stored and transmitted online. This new interest may or may not have had something to do with Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress last month and the developing phenomenon of fake news. As a history major specializing in Russian and European politics, I am simultaneously terrified and excited by the fake news debacle. However, at one point I realized that I don’t actually understand how the Internet works, I only have a vague conception of what social media algorithms do, and I am generally incompetent in all things tech. Naturally, I went looking for a podcast.

I have been a big fan of The Atlantic’s newsletter for a while, so imagine my joy when it announced the release of a new podcast, Crazy/Genius, that explores the intersection of technology and culture. Crazy/Genius is hosted by Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, who seeks out experts on tech-related topics he understands little about to present them in an easily digestible way to the uninitiated tech noobs like me (and maybe you, too). I especially love the podcast’s format: Thompson picks a controversial tech question and finds two experts who hold the opposing points of view on it. Rather than hold a debate, however, he lets each guest convince him of their position individually, and then puts the two interviews together in a single episode. Unashamed about his total confusion, Thompson breaks down complicated concepts like Blockchain and monopolies for his listeners without putting you to sleep. The first episode,Why Can’t Facebook Tell the Truth?, is a timely exploration of Facebook’s recent PR and data leak struggles. Although I suggest you actually start with the latest episode on online dating to dip your toes in a less tech-heavy, light-hearted episode 5 appropriately titled Is Online Dating Destroying Romance? that explores the potential evils and benefits of Tinder, among other online dating platforms. Full disclosure: I firmly stand on the side of online dating haters.

There have been five episodes so far, so it won’t be difficult for you to catch up if you do commit to the podcast! New episodes are released every Thursday. You can listen to all available episodes on The Atlantic’s website.

***This is not a sponsored endorsement.***

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Summer Internship and Never-Ending French Adventures

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my second week as an editorial intern at L’Indépendant, a local newspaper in Saint-Omer, France. Since my abrupt exit from the worlds of Instagram and Snapchat, there has been some confusion about where I’m currently located and what exactly I’m doing, so I invite you to read on to find out.

This summer, I am spending six weeks in the north of France, in a small town near the Belgian border (and I mean, small, total population about 15,000). I’m here as part of the John Carroll Summer Internship Program hosted by the Georgetown University French Department and the government of Saint-Omer every summer since 2016. The program brings interested Georgetown students to Saint-Omer and places them in local organizations that volunteer to take on American interns. The entire program is completely free, except for the round-trip ticket to/from Saint-Omer. We are all placed with host families, who also volunteer to welcome complete strangers into their homes for six weeks and receive nothing in return, which is perhaps the most incredible and generous thing I’ve ever encountered. Why Saint-Omer? As it turns out, Georgetown University’s founder John Carroll attended the Jesuit College here in the 1740s thanks to British prosecution of Jesuits on their territory, the American colonies included. A local history enthusiast rediscovered this unlikely connection between her town and Washington, D.C., and soon the program was born. How do I know all of this? The first article I wrote for L’Indépendant was about our program, so I am armed with fun facts about John Carroll.

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