podcast

22
Jan

EP 028 Max Gladstone on Writing Wizards Like Lawyers

Max Gladstone Today, I talk with Max Gladstone, author of The Craft Sequence, in which a magical post-Apocalyptic society turns out to be not a terribly bad place to live, thank you very much. He describes his novels differently depending on who he's talking to. For businesspeople, lawyers, and consultants, he says, "It's just like your job, only with wizards." Like many writers, he's held a number of interesting and out-of-the-way jobs, as you can see from his bio below. Bio Max Gladstone is a two-time finalist for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award, and a one-time finalist for the XYZZY Award. In July 2016 Tor Books published his most recent novel, FOUR ROADS CROSS. Other novels in the CRAFT SEQUENCE include, LAST FIRST SNOW, a tale of zoning politics, human sacrifice, and parenthood.  LAST

13
Dec

EP 027 Mitch Horowitz and the Secret History of America

EP 027 Mitch Horowitz and the Secret History of America

Mitch Horowitz Today on Startup Geometry, I talk with Mitch Horowitz, editor, voiceover artist, historian of alternative religion and the occult, and author of Occult America and One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life. We discuss the influence of experimental religions have had on American history, our favorite uncanny tourism sites, how the belief that "thoughts are causative" has affected the real world, and why having a Definite Chief Aim can help you achieve it.  

06
Sep

EP 026 Gordon White on Podcasting and Prehistory

Gordon White This week I talk to Gordon White, former "weird kid", proprietor of the popular Rune Soup podcast and blog. Gordon is also a documentarian, world traveler, digital strategist and practicing magician. He's the author of three books that came out in the last year or so: Star.Ships, which we discuss in this podcast; The Chaos Protocols, which takes a heterodox view of how to handle the post-financial crash economy; and Pieces of Eight, a personal history of the Chaos Magic movement.       This interview has a twin over on Gordon's podcast, where he interviews me about the Bruno books.You can listen to that over on Rune Soup or on iTunes.  

30
Aug

EP 025 Robert Pool on Peak Performance

Robert Pool is a mathematician, science writer, and, together with Anders Ericsson, the author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. Today, we talk about the use of deliberate practice to improve physical and mental performance, why the 10,000 hour rule isn't what you think it is, the relationship between talent and success (it's less important than you think, what good mental representations will do for you, and why taste is essential to the development of expert skills.

18
Aug

EP 024 Cory Doctorow on the Copyfight

Cory Doctorow is a bestselling author of both science fiction and techno-sociological nonfiction, one of four editors of longtime popular weblog boingboing, and an activist and advocate for intellectual property rights, working extensively with the Electronic Freedom Foundation and others to put control of content back in the hands of the users like you and me. Photo credit: Jonathan Worth 2013 Today, we talk about the EFF's plan to defeat Digital Rights Management (DRM) as a business model of rent-seeking corporations. DRM is the set of digital locks on the content you buy--everything from eBooks to your car's computer have DRM embedded--and while it isn't impossible to break, it is highly illegal for you (or anyone) to do

15
Jul

EP 023 Kevin Kelly on Shaping the Future

Kevin Kelly spends a lot of time thinking about the future. He once spent six months imagining that he only had six months to live (and keeps a timer on his own life expectancy), and co-founded the Long Now foundation, built around the idea of a 10,000 year clock to promote very long term thinking. His current book, The Inevitable: Understanding the Twelve Technological Forces that will Shape Our Future, deals with the future that is happening now, the ongoing future, the one William Gibson says is already here, just not evenly distributed yet. He is the co-founder and current Chief Maverick of Wired, and is a prolific writer, publisher, photographer and founder of group projects, including the Cool Tools book and website,

09
Jul

EP 022 Michelle Warnky on Overcoming Obstacles

Michelle Warnky is the owner of Movement Lab Ohio, a competitor in obstacle races and a traceusse de parkour (a parkour freerunner). You can see her on American Ninja Warrior, where she's one of a small group of successful repeat competitors, and you can learn how to be a ninja in your own life at her gym. Today, we talk about her experience as an English teacher in Kazakhstan, how to develop the skills you need to move your body through obstacles, and how she's balanced her roles as solo competitor, teacher and business owner.

06
Jun

Shava Nerad is the former Executive Director of the Tor Project, open source software that helps users protect their online privacy. She is currently CEO of Oddfellow Studios, and a frequent writer through Quora (where I met her) and on her Patreon site. Today, we talk about her early days as the youngest female Chief Software Engineer at DEC and IT manager at MIT, how to manage and relate to very different people, how she won an argument with Richard Stallman, and how and why Tor came to be one of the most praised and reviled pieces of software in the world (often by the same people). Shava knows when to follow the rules and when to break them, and that turns out to be

29
May

EP 020 Helen DeWitt

Helen DeWitt is the author of The Last Samurai, Lightning Rods, and, with Ilya Gridnef, Your Name Here. The Last Samurai, originally released by Miramax Books in 2000, is being released in a new edition by New Directions in May 2016. For many years, the book was passed along in secondhand copies among cognoscenti, and I'm glad to see it back in print. Sibylla, a single mother from a long line of frustrated talents, has unusual ideas about child rearing. Yo Yo Ma started piano at the age of two; her son starts at three. J.S.Mill learned Greek at three; Ludo starts at four, reading Homer as they travel round and round the Circle Line. A fatherless boy needs male role models; so she plays the film of Seven Samurai

15
May

Luca Turin is a biophysicist and expert in the sense of smell. He is best known to the scientific community as the proponent of the vibrational theory of olfaction: that smell receptors detect the vibrational frequencies of the molecular bonds of parts of the scent molecule. This theory represents an alternative to the older shape-based theory of smell: that scent molecules bind to specific receptors that conform to the shape of the scent molecule. The debate on this topic is detailed in Turin's The Secret of Scent, and Chandler Burr's The Emperor of Scent. He is also the author, with his partner Tania Sanchez, of Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, which provides a sensual and witty look at over 1,000 commercially available perfumes. He also writes perfume