An Etiology of Snark

Kurt Andersen: I would say that the impact in the 15 to 20 year retrospect that Spy magazine had is not insignificant; but it was part of a wave of irony and satire that came on generational wave of baby boomers growing up that softened the ground for all kinds of things; from to The Onion to The Daily Show that you see today in a kind of general satirical impulse online and elsewhere.

I can't quantify it, and I can't say Spy exactly led to this. But it seems clear to me that we were one of the entities that softened up the ground for what became a kind “satire explosion," if you will, these days. I think Spy magazine, not single-handedly, but helped changed journalism.

We were doing Spy the same time that Maureen Dowd, as a reporter at the Times, was starting to do political reporting with a real sharp edge and sense of humor. And other people were doing that as well. The David Letterman Show was brand new, and that sensibility began morphing into journalism as well. So I think, to a lesser or a greater degree a bit of satirical sensibility.

 

Recorded On: July 5, 2007

Kurt Andersen discusses an etiology of snark. He talks about the impact of Spy Magazine, which he founded with Graydon Carter, on current media.

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

Videos
  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less