digital age


The United Nations has declared Friday World Radio Day in celebration of radio’s unique status as a “simple and inexpensive” technology with the power to reach even the most remote, marginalized communities.

But we wondered — in this digital age, how hard is it to find a simple, inexpensive radio?

Our journey took us to several stores in Washington, D.C., in search of a portable and affordable radio, as well as to the National Capital Radio and Television Museum in Bowie, Md.

Finding A ‘Radio That Is Just A Radio’ In The Digital Age

Photo credit: Emily Jan/NPR

When people romanticize the ‘90s, it’s not because it was particularly “better” than it is now. It’s because it took more than ‘liking’ a status on Facebook to cement a friendship. It’s because courting someone took more effort than a text every other day or so. It’s because someone could destroy you emotionally and you’d never hear from them again, and you’d know what it really felt like to have a broken heart and what it’s like to not be able to do anything about it. It’s because you’d go to your neighborhood bar, and your drinking buddies would show up, and it wasn’t because you’d checked in on FourSquare. The ‘90s were the last decade of genuine emotion; the last time harvesting relationships took time, money, and effort. As technology simplifies communication, our lame-in-comparison attempts to build virtual relationships cease to have meaning.


PAY ATTENTION!!! The new episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart is all about how our brain deals with information overload.

It seems like every week someone tells us how the internet and the digital age are overloading our brains. Sure, sometimes it feels like we’re being fed more information than we can handle, and that we’re paying attention to the wrong things. Are we giving our brain a fair shot? I mean, it’s a pretty powerful device.

I explore some science that show how paying attention can definitely blind us to the world, but also some science about how paying attention can be a very helpful thing.

Oh and special cameos by Hank Green and Mike Rugnetta! Make sure to subscribe to It’s Okay To Be Smart on YouTube so you don’t miss an episode/

How the Digital Age Has Eroded Student Privacy

In 1965, when Mary Beth Tinker was 13 years old, she wore a black armband to her junior high school to protest the Vietnam War. The school promptly suspended her, but her protest eventually led to a landmark Supreme Court case: Tinker v. Des Moines. In their verdict, the court vindicated Tinker by saying students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” The 7-2 ruling ushered in a new era of free speech rights for students. First Amendment advocates basked in the glow of the Tinker decision for decades.

However, the Internet has since complicated the meaning of the ruling, and those same advocates now worry students’ rights to freedom of speech are again under attack. Schools regularly punish students for online comments, even if those comments are made away from school property and after school hours. Although some administrators target cyber-bullies, others punish students whose only offense is posting an online comment that the school doesn’t like.

The situation has inspired Tinker herself to tour the nation’s schools to revive student speech rights, nearly 50 years after her famous protest.

Read more. [Image: Adam Hunger/Reuters]