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Endless Thread

Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.

LATEST EPISODE
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'You are powerful': Missing and remembering Aaron Swartz

In this episode of Endless Thread, co-hosts Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson honor the legacy of internet activist Aaron Swartz with two people familiar with his life and work: documentary filmmaker Brian Knappenberger and Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Swartz died by suicide ten years ago this...

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Endless Thread

30:41Jan 13, 2023
Mendl Weinstock (middle) and the llama he brought to his sister's (left) wedding (courtesy Mendl Weinstock)

Encore: Llama at a wedding

“What are the dimensions of an adult llama?” asked a Redditor called Mrs. Sam Handwich in the "No Stupid Questions" community. "I've been hired to make a tuxedo for a llama and I don't have its measurements," she added. The Endless Thread team gets to the bottom of this now-famous...

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Endless Thread

18:31Jan 6, 2023

Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.

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Email: endlessthread@wbur.org

Twitter: @Endless_Thread

On Reddit: u/endless_thread

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Encore: Unsent Letters

The unsent letter. We all have one, half-composed in our heads or fully-formed as an email draft. Whatever form these letters take, they go unsent because they might be better left unsent, or because we wouldn’t know how to send them. In this favorite episode from the archives, we discuss...

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Endless Thread

28:59Dec 30, 2022
XiaoIce, a cutting-edge artificial intelligence system designed to create emotional bonds with its 660 million users worldwide, at the company's office in Beijing. XiaoIce was an inspiration for Microsoft's Tay, an AI chatbot modeled to be a typical teenage girl. (Courtesy AFP and Getty Images)

Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part IV: The toxicity of Tay

Next up in our bots series, we bring you the tale of Tay, a Microsoft AI chatbot that has lived on in infamy. Tay was originially modeled to be the bot-girl-next-door. But after only sixteen hours on Twitter, Tay was shut down. In this episode, we uncover how the bot...

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Endless Thread

28:14Dec 2, 2022
Melanie's size comparison of a square of Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper from a newer package on top of a square from an older package.

Encore: Shrinkflation

From the supermarket to the housing market, products are getting smaller but prices are not. Why is this happening? And can it be stopped before the toilet paper roll disappears right before our very… reaching hands? In this encore episode, we're talking all things shrinkflation.

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Endless Thread

29:34Nov 25, 2022
A snapshot at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. All of the objects you see here are robots. (Ben Brock Johnson/WBUR)

Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part I: Mental Health and Bot Therapy

For the next few weeks, the Endless Thread team will be sharing stories all about the rise of bots. How are these pieces of software influencing our daily lives in sneaky, surprising ways? First up, our host Ben Brock Johnson delves into the history of ELIZA, the world's first chatbot...

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Endless Thread

32:55Nov 4, 2022
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