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To The Best Of Our Knowledge
December 22, 2018
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Delete Your Account

delete FB

It only took one Facebook privacy scandal -- Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook data to create psychographic profiles of voters all over the country -- for me to consider deleting my account altogether (okay, that was definitely not the first one). And I followed a guide like this one, written by Brian Chen for the New York Times in light of more recent scandals like Facebook's overly permissive data sharing with fellow tech giants. I tell the story of how I came closest to being Facebook-free on this week's show, where I explain that it wasn't quite as simple as following the steps and moving on with my life.

Why? Well, Facebook is a tech company, tech is easy to move on from. I change email programs once a week. But the "social" part? The part where I've lived in this online space for more than a decade? That takes some unpacking to disentangle from, to preserve what's worth preserving and delete the rest. Chen calls that "assessing what you'll lose," I call it mourning.

And the "network" part? Even trickier. Once you quit Facebook, how many event invites will you miss? How many photos of new babies will you never see? How many friends will you lose touch with? For better or worse, Facebook and social media like it have become part of our online lives together. So ejecting it altogether means we need to convince everyone we know to quit as well.

Or maybe we just acknowledge that social media is good, but could be better. How? We ask that of many guests in this week's show. But it's an open question. What would social media that works for all of us look like? What should we be demanding as members of "the world's largest nation-state"?


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Should We Flee Social Media Or Fix It?

flee or stay our social media platforms?
A pioneering computer scientist thinks we should delete our accounts, while an internet ethicist argues we should fix the system rather than abandon it entirely.
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Diana Beresford-Kroeger on the Power of Trees

Botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger tells Anne that the lives of trees and human beings are inter-related all the way down to the molecular level.
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Listening to the Mother Trees

The forest organism
Suzanne Simard is a forest ecologist who's revolutionizing our understanding of trees. She has discovered that trees use underground networks to communicate and cooperate with each other. It turns out that whole forests can exist as a superorganism.
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Writing the Inner Life of Trees

Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” is overturning a lot of conventional thinking. It’s been called “visionary” and “monumental.” And though human characters shape the plot of this 500-page epic, the real heroes are trees.
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The Audacity of the World’s Most Daring Climber

Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold
Mountain climber Tommy Caldwell takes us inside Alex Honnold’s free solo of El Capitan.
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