The time I was outed as the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard’s bus-driving supervisor from the interstellar Gnarian realm

The most recent episode of the Dead Author’s Podcast has our intrepid host H.G. Wells interviewing Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in Part 2 of an extended interview which started a few months ago. As is the custom, H.G. asked his guest questions sourced from Twitter, and my question is included. Here’s the clip:

This is a fun podcast I have been listening to for a while and is done in support of the 826LA Time Travel Mart.

Watch some video promos to see if there are any other eps you should listen to. Well, you should listen to all of them, but I particularly recommend Plato, Ayn Rand and my all-time favourite Confucius.

Putting humanity back into startups

Startup culture is pretty absurd. You can seriously criticize its neoliberal, technocratic ideological underpinnings, or you can satire it with shows like Silicon Valley. Hackathons are ripe for criticism too, but there is a place for laughs. Listen to this great Radio Berkman ep about “Comedy Hack Day,” where they embrace the absurdity of the “app-happy Cloud of anesthetized convenience”:

This reminds me of another Hackathon I heard about from last month:the Stupid Shit No One Needs & Terrible Ideas Hackathon where an amazing CLI for Tinder was released, among other stupid and funny inventions. At last year’s local Startup Weekend Okanagan the winning team used humour to get an edge, building an app that routes your txts through a friend for approval before sending — for those times when one is inebriated and should not be sending ill-advised, late night missives to former lovers.

Baratunde Thurston (of The Onion fame) ends the Berkman podcast (at about 10:20) with a comment worth highlighting:

Technologists, I think, its very important as architects of our future… that there’s a dosage of humanity in that. And there’s not much more human than humor.

These examples aren’t specifically political or social critiques about technology per se, but the potential is there. I like to read (and sometimes write) high-minded, literary critiques of this business that I am in. That is certainly valuable, and works. But humour is another way to make people aware of the absurdities of this business, and is an enjoyable and artful way to valuable tech criticism.