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A SXSW Guide to Surviving the Nerdpocalypse

A compendium of what I've learned in my twenty-four years navigating SXSW Interactive, the greatest show on earth.

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GenX, That Damned Newsweek Editorial, George Michael, and the Twitter Hellscape

GenX, That Damned Newsweek Editorial, George Michael, and the Twitter Hellscape

In 1993, Newsweek labeled GenX as the "The Whiny Generation." We've been not giving a shit about that since. Also—George Michael is pretty great.

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The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast

Episode 37: Woody Lewis

My friend for nearly twenty years, author Woody Lewis and I sat down for the first time to talk about his book, his membership in the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), meeting and playing drums with Jimi Hendrix, his family’s relationship to Sally Hemings, and the struggle with writing about being black in America.

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Review: The Last Days of August (Audible Original)

Jon Ronson came to the story thinking it was about one thing (cyberbullying), but quickly found the threads took him elsewhere (mental health in the porn industry).⁣

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The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast

Episode 36: Evan Ratliff

Evan Ratliff is a two-time National Magazine Award finalist, the co-founder of the Atavist publishing platform, the editor-in-chief of The Atavist Magazine, and the author of The Mastermind: Drugs, Empire, Murder, Betrayal.

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Review: Christmas Eve, 1914 (Audible Original)

The audio play is short, just seventy-three minutes, but that’s more than enough time to take you on a melancholy trip through the hours leading up to the impromptu Christmas Eve truce in World War I. ⁣

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Review: The Man on the Mountaintop (An Audible Original Drama)

The play is a series of parables told through the stories of people who are waiting in a long line to meet with Joe, the Holy Man, who lives in a hermitage at the top of a mountain.⁣

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GenX Tribe: Breaking Bones and Other Stories of Walking it Off

GenXers grew up breaking bones, having accidents, and dealing with mayhem—and many times going to the doctor was the LAST thing we did. So—share your story of GenX Catastrophes!

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Review: The View from Flyover Country

This is less a view of flyover country and more a response to flare-ups in flyover country.⁣ Still, I sat down and read the book in one sitting because it's smart, well-written, on point, and unapologetic. I dig that.⁣

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Review: Alien: Out of the Shadows

While the story doesn't really add much to the Alien universe—it really is a mash-up of the two movies—it's still fun as hell to be back with Ripley (although she feels a little less feminist badass in the book, but not offensively so).

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Review: Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind

The book chronicles the rise of Homo sapiens from our earliest days on through the very near future, gently walking the reader through the complex issues of empire building, the development of cultures, and the ethical examinations of what it means to even be human.⁣

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Review: It Didn't Start with You

The book was okay, but not great. I was a technology journalist (Wired, MIT's Technology Review) so I'm reluctant to recommend books that get the science not exactly right.

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The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast

Episode 35: Danielle Sepulveres

Author, actress, and Tweeter extraordinaire, Danielle Supulveres‘ memoir Losing It chronicles the medical, emotional, and physical toll that comes from falling in love with the wrong person—and not trusting you own instincts.

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The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast

Episode 34: Keri Leigh Merritt

Historian Keri Leigh Merritt's book Masterless Men explains the how the social and economic fabric of the “white working class” came to be—and what it means for America.

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The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast

(Bonus) Episode 33: George Carlin (aka, the one that started it all)

In 2001, I interviewed comedian George Carlin for my streaming audio show on Wired.com. That show was the genesis of The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast.

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The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast

Episode 32: Vikki Tobak

Vikki Tobak left Detroit for New York City and found herself at the center of the nascent hip-hop scene in 1991. Her new book Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop will change the way you think and talk about the music that shook up America.

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The Books that Influence My Writing Life

The Books that Influence My Writing Life

My favorite conversation: What books influenced you? These are the books that influenced my life as a writer.

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The Fourth of July

The Fourth of July and the Meaning of the Declaration

My middle school history teacher John Viall—a dedicated and decorated teacher—wrote a wonderful post about America, the Fourth, and e pluribus unum.

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Mister Rogers and the Border Wall

Won't You Be My Neighbor, or How Mister Rogers Took on a Border Wall

King Friday XIII orders a border wall to be built. Lady Aberlin takes balloons, tied with messages of peace and love, and floats them across the wall.

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Free eBook on Machine Learning, A.I., and the Modern World

Sign up for my mailing list and get a free PDF of my latest book, Frankenstein's Legacy: Four Conversations about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and the Modern World.

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"We Are Not A House Divided"

My friend KT Peterson and I embarked on a writing challenge on August 4-5: write 10,000 words and the read an excerpt from it. The title of this piece is "We Are Not A House Divided."

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About That Thing You Ask Me About Hillbilly Elegy

That's where the single narrative becomes so dangerous. Because people don't know the history of the region, and they don't understand its problems. Yet many of those same people have a great number of preconceived notions they aren't afraid to unleash.

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Review: Crapalachia: A Biography of a Place

I'm still trying to wrap my head around Crapalachia. It's not quite memoir, it's certainly not a biography of a place, and as we find out at the end of the book it's not entirely real.

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Review: The Arts of Legerdemain as Taught by Ghosts

The Arts of Legerdemain as Taught by Ghosts is a fantastic story that explores the divergence between the way we want to see the world and the way the world is.

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If you're interested in keeping up with my writing projects, I’ll overlook your bad judgement on that and instead say thank you. A writer's life blood is readers. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason. So sign up for my mailing list, and download Frankenstein’s Legacy, my latest work published by CMU’s ETC Press.
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