WBEZ | Whit Nelson http://www.wbez.org/tags/whit-nelson Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The fear of the robopocalypse: What fools these mortals be http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/fear-robopocalypse-what-fools-these-mortals-be-100787 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3465967256_515da9d427_z.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="The Mars Rover (Flickr/Ianan)" />Robots are awesome, argues comedian Whit Nelson &mdash; and who are we to disagree with him? Despite their awesomeness, we still worry about them taking over the world.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;It is the same choice we face when we have children, or pets, or anything else that can go haywire,&quot; says Nelson. &quot;There is always a risk your children will turn out terribly. But that risk alone isn&rsquo;t enough to stop most of us from having kids. The potential rewards are simply too great. So let us charge headlong into a possibly dystopian future with our fingers crossed, and our firearms ready, just in case their eyes turn red, and they start chanting destroy, destroy, destroy.&quot; Read an excerpt below or listen above:</p><p><em>On <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html">August 5th, 2012</a>, less than a month from now, a spacecraft will descend from the sky and using a series of jets, it will hover over the planet&#39;s surface. It will then use a sort of sky-crane to lower a robot by cables down to the ground. The parent craft will power up and fly away. The landing vehicle will be a six-wheeled robot the size of of MINI Cooper. It will be smart enough to navigate and explore by itself. It will be nuclear powered. It will have lasers that shoot out of its eyes. Yes, those kind of lasers, for blasting things.</em></p><p><em>Thankfully, this Orwellian nightmare will be landing on the surface of Mars, the latest in a series of missions in which NASA telecommutes to the Red Planet. Having long ago outsourced exploration to robots, NASA now spends millions of dollars making them larger, packing them with plutonium and arming them. And they aren&#39;t the only ones. Robotic advancement has accelerated in the last three decade, reaching into our homes and workplaces. Robots now roam our houses cleaning up after us, moving supplies around warehouses and hospitals and thanks to Google and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, they even drive on our highways. And why shouldn&#39;t they? I tell you why they shouldn&#39;t. EVERY SCIFI MOVIE EVER.</em></p><p><em>There is a theory in anthropology that says humanity uses use film and literature in the same way that it&rsquo;s said our dreams are supposed to work. We run simulations, we see if we like the outcome, and change our behavior to steer away from bad outcomes or into good ones. For example, in the film </em>The 6th Day<em> with Arnold Schwarzenegger, we saw that cloning human beings resulted in two Arnold Schwarzenegger&#39;s, so we banned human cloning. We worry about the consequences of our actions, and we move to steer human progress. In nearly every other field of study we seem to be we build legal and moral boundaries around this kind of progress. We don&#39;t just engineer new viruses all willy-nilly. But for some reason, we behave completely different when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. Nearly every movie about Artificial Intelligence either begins or ends with the robots becoming self-aware, which most of the time includes lots and lots of homicide.</em></p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a><em>&nbsp;is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It&#39;s always at 3 p.m., it&#39;s always on Saturday, and it&#39;s always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/paper-machete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 12 Jul 2012 09:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/fear-robopocalypse-what-fools-these-mortals-be-100787 Whit Nelson on the NASA that boldy goes nowhere http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-09/whit-nelson-nasa-boldy-goes-nowhere-97010 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-06/5666182721_8435c34c53.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-06/5666182721_8435c34c53.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 199px; " title="A Kennedy Space Center Tweet-up (Flickr/Dave Schumaker)">The organization that once inspired thousands of kids to pack their bags and go to Space Camp has been looking a little <a href="http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/02/10/mars-lost-nasa-cutting-mission-to-red-planet/">worse for the wear lately</a>. Comedian and science buff Whit Nelson reveals why we should be worried about the aliens coming to get us. Read an excerpt or listen below:</p><p><em>"Last month, our distinguished guest, President Barack Obama made a huge mistake -- all due respect -- by killing the NASA funds which would have underwritten the next two missions to Mars. These funds were culled from the budget in order to fund the replacement to the Hubble telescope, called the James Webb telescope, which is now massively overbudget. as a result, we have just sacrificed two trips out into the universe in order to get a better view from our front porch.</em></p><p><em>NASA doesn't go boldly anywhere anymore. NASA studies weather patterns, they track asteroids, and they have, no joke, created a facebook page to get kids interested in space. </em></p><p><em>It was not always like this. There was a time when science and exploration were more than to-do items for the United States, they were existential necessity."</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332746551-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/whit nelson.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>This Saturday at the Horseshoe, expect performances by Colleen Doyle and friends, Monica Reida, Eric and Andy, Paul Oakley Stovall, Vallea Woodbury, Josh Zagoren as Chad the Bird and music from Maria McCullough as well as the Bama Lamas. Featuring&nbsp;<strong>Dr. William Ayers</strong>&nbsp;with a story about his most recent Super Bowl party, attended by the late Andrew Breitbart.</p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a><em>&nbsp;is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.org/thepapermachete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 09 Mar 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-09/whit-nelson-nasa-boldy-goes-nowhere-97010 The Paper Machete Radio Magazine: The Happy Birthday Episode with Michael Miner http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-19/paper-machete-radio-magazine-happy-birthday-episode-michael-miner-9 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-19/michaelminer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-19/michaelminer.jpg" title="Michael Miner with Christopher Piatt (Photo by Ali Klingler)" width="500"></p><p>It's the <em>Chicago Reader</em>'s 40th birthday, and Michael Miner joins us because he's been there for it all. Hans Holsen becomes METRA PR man Harvey Pilker, here to explain fare hikes. Whit Nelson explains science, specifically, neutrinos. Thea Lux performs as Nadine Valentine. And Dastardly comes in with music. As usual, if you can hear us, this magazine is LIVE. Download at iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=450280345" style="color: rgb(0, 104, 150); " target="_blank">here</a>, or listen below.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483802-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/2011-10-15-thepapermachete-radiomag.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>At Saturday's show at the Horseshoe, we'll have Ryan O'Connor; Tim Baltz of <a href="http://www.secondcity.com/about/people/castbio/1159/">The Second City e.t.c.</a>, comedian <a href="http://www.oodlesofpun.com/">Nick Vatterott</a>; Barrel of Monkeys ensemble member <a href="http://www.barrelofmonkeys.org/about/companymember/lacy_katherine_campbell/">Lucy Katherine Campbell</a>; playwright <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marisa_Wegrzyn">Marisa Wegrzyn</a> with a new radio play, and musical guest <a href="http://joshandtheemptypockets.com/fr_home.cfm">Josh and the Empty Pockets</a>. Check&nbsp;<a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/2011/10/18/1022-line-up/"><em>The Paper Machete</em></a>'s site for the updates on this line-up as the week goes on.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-19/hansholsen.jpg" title="Hans Holsen thinks it over (Photo by Ali Klingler)" width="500"></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="500" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-19/thealux.jpg" title="Thea Lux with a Santa Hat (Photo by Ali Klingler)" width="333"></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-19/dastardly.jpg" title="Dastardly performs (Photo by Ali Klingler)" width="500"></p></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 16:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-19/paper-machete-radio-magazine-happy-birthday-episode-michael-miner-9 The Paper Machete Radio Magazine: The Biggest News Week Ever http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-12/paper-machete-radio-magazine-biggest-news-week-ever-93088 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-12/jessicajoy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-12/jessicajoy.jpg" title="Jessica Joy (Photo by Ali Weiss Klingler)" width="500"></p><p>This was just a big, big news week, so Chad the Bird recaps it for you. Matt Klingler plays Terrence McCarthy, who talks about the cancellation of <em>The Playboy Club</em>. James Porter weighs in on the Hank Williams Jr. Hitler controversy. Katie Rich gives election advice to single ladies. There's music from Jessica Joy and Chance Bone. As usual, if you can hear us, this magazine is LIVE.&nbsp;Download it&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=450280345" style="color: rgb(0, 104, 150); " target="_blank">here</a>, or listen below.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483744-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/2011-10-08-thepapermachete-radiomag.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>This <a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/2011/10/11/1015-line-up/">Saturday at the Horseshoe</a>, we'll talk about the cult status of Mormonism, catch-up with neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light, and see if Joe the Plumber is really serious about this politics business. With <a href="http://impresstheseapes.com/author/thea">Thea Lux</a> of Impress These Apes; Whit Nelson of <a href="http://thenewcolony.org/">The New Colony</a>; <a href="http://babywantscandy.com/index.php">comedian </a>Hans Holsen, and Samantha Irby of <a href="http://bitchesgottaeat.blogspot.com/">Bitches Gotta Eat</a>. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dastardly/189638794663?sk=info">Dastardly</a>'s Gabe Liebowitz comes in with music.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" height="332" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-12/jamesporter.jpg" title="James Porter (Photo by Ali Weiss Klingler)" width="500"></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-12/chancebone.jpg" title="Chance Bone (Photo by Ali Weiss Klingler)" width="500"></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-12/katierich2.jpg" title="Katie Rich, back for a second week in a row (Photo by Ali Weiss Klingler)" width="500"></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-12/mattklingler.jpg" title="Matt Klingler as Terrence McCarthy (Photo by Ali Weiss Klingler)" width="500"></p><p style="margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 12px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(86, 86, 86); ">&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 12 Oct 2011 15:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-12/paper-machete-radio-magazine-biggest-news-week-ever-93088