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Podcast 002: Political Unrest and Insider Tours

In This Episode: Now we’re getting up to speed! My brother the recording studio engineer helped with balancing the microphone for my co-host Clare Angelica, and those tips helped with my side too. This is much more the “studio quality” I was aiming for in the first place.

I’ve also signed up for an overnight transcription service so the transcripts can publish with the audio file.

The neat thing about recording mid-week is there is time to get feedback from the Premium-edition readers on the stories. This week’s biggest reader reaction came from this story:

Most Politicians Would Be
on the Other Side of the Table

The Missouri Parole Board was apparently pretty bored with its job, deciding whether offenders who were up for parole would get out, or stay in prison. Parole Board member Don Ruzicka, a former state legislator, admits he came up with a game to make hearings more fun: if a Board member or other employee said one of the “words of the day,” they’d score points. For instance, “platypus,” “hootenanny,” or the Johnny Cash song “Folsom Prison Blues” — say one, and score a point. In one hearing, Ruzicka asked an inmate what he had stolen, and then replied, “That’s a pretty rare item, about like a platypus.” Every time someone scored, it led to laughter from the Board. A report by the state Department of Corrections’ Inspector General concluded from listening to recordings of the hearings that the Board members “were trying so hard to embed the words or song titles into their questions or statements that they were not focused on the proper questions to ask nor were they actively listening to the responses from the offenders.” Ruzicka has resigned. (RC/WDAF Kansas City) …Suggested words to work into the I.G. report: “malfeasance,” “indictment,” and the Green Day song, “American Idiot.”

Show Notes

  • I mentioned Clare’s women-pirate-romance trilogy again:
  • Tying in to the story above, the Randy’s Random post from last month: the extremely heavily shared meme Term Limits. (And there happened to be a follow-on Wednesday on RR, but made long before it was published there: Control, Alt, and Delete.) Clare made the first one, and I made the second. Notice how hers is much-more shared!
  • The actual percentages of voters by party affiliation, according to the Gallup Poll (released January 11, 2016): 29 percent Democrat, 26 percent Republican, and 42 percent Independent. In 1988, for comparison, it was 36 percent Democrat, 31 percent Republican, and just 33 percent Independent — but even then, about one-third Independent. (Source)
  • How is that Independent majority represented in Congress? The current Senate is 52 Republicans, 46 Democrats, and just 2 Independents. The House is 240 Republicans, 194 Democrats, 1 vacancy, and no Independents. (Source)
  • For those who don’t know the name, Joe Scarborough served in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 as a Republican from the 1st district of Florida, and is now the co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC. He was named in the 2011 “Time [news magazine] 100” as one of the most influential people in the world. Here’s a news report about him resigning from the Republican Party.
  • The write-up of my recent behind-the-scenes tour of JPL.
  • The earlier write-up of being on stage with Penn & Teller.
  • More information about the Magic Castle, which opened January 2, 1963.
Outside the Magic Castle

Kit and I demonstrate the Proper Attire required for entrance to the Magic Castle, which is operated by the prestigious Academy of Magical Arts. Photos inside are not allowed. (Photo by Russ Waters, https://www.AdventuresOfRustyWaters.com )

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Transcript

Randy: Welcome to Uncommon Sense, the This is True podcast. I’m Randy Cassingham. Here with me this week again is Clare Angelica.

Clare: Hello.

Randy: Clare is going to be louder this time.

Clare: Fingers crossed.

Randy: You’re closer to your mic. We’ve got your gain up and all those other things. Last time was your first time on the “radio,” so ‘learning curve.’

Clare: Major learning curve. First time ever!

Randy: Well, you sound good in my headphones, so hopefully, during the mix, it’ll sound just as good.

Last week, after we’ve got all the episode put together, you took it home because you wanted your dad to hear it. What did he think?

Clare: He loved it.

Randy: Yeah?

Clare: He’s very excited.

Randy: Has he ever been on the radio before?

Clare: That… I do not know the answer to, probably. I assume at some point in time, he’s been on the radio.

Randy: Well, then he’s an expert and knows what good radio is, and he loved it. Hey, that’s perfect.

Clare: I know. He wants me to do it now for him. Thanks, Randy.

Randy: He wants to do a podcast?

Clare: He does.

Randy: Oh, dear.

Clare: I know.

Randy: We’ve created a monster.

Clare: Oh, totally.

Randy: How about you? Are you going to think about doing one for your business?

Clare: I actually do want to do one. I’m going to let you do this a little more and see how you’re doing it, and then start to figure out my own.

Randy: So if I don’t belly flop, you might do it?

Clare: I think I’ll do it anyway. I think it’s fun.

Randy: Oh, that’s good.

Clare: Yeah, it’ll be a new and different addition to what I’m doing already.

Randy: If you didn’t hear last week, Clare is also a writer. She’s a novelist. She’s done a trilogy of pirate romance stories.

Clare: The Siren Sea.

Randy: We’ll put a link to that on the Show Notes so you can take a look of those if you’d like. We talked about it a little last week.

Clare: I was excited after I got home last week after we did our first podcast together.

Randy: After it came out.

Clare: Yes, and I have a WordPress site, and I saw This is True in my WordPress feed.

Randy: Really?

Clare: Yeah, I had never seen it before. It didn’t even click that, oh, This is True has now transferred to the WordPress platform as opposed to what it used to be.

Randy: Right.

Clare: I don’t know. It was fun to see you in my feed.

Randy: Well, it’s kind of funny, because when you saw that, you shared the podcast on your own site.

Clare: Right.

Randy: I mean, why not? You were in it, so it makes sense. Then I got an alert that you had mentioned This is True in your site, like this big happy family of sites that WordPress didn’t even know had anything to do with each other.

Clare: I know. We’re all interconnected. It didn’t even know.

Randy: It’s like a web of some … Around the world, the World Wide Web or something like that! I thought that was pretty hilarious that we saw each other’s links to each other.

Clare: Yeah, it was, I think, the second one, which … I don’t know. It’s rare. It was pretty cool.

Randy: Great. One of the neat things about recording on Wednesdays or Thursdays so that we can get this posted on Fridays is that the Premium This is True email newsletter comes out on Monday. It gives the readers a couple of days to give me some feedback on the stories they liked. This week, the most liked story was about the politician who was on a parole board in Missouri, and he was so bored with his job that he made a game that if you said certain words, for instance, ‘platypus,’ or ‘hootenanny,’ or the title of the Johnny Cash song, ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’ that the person who said that would get a point.

Of course, the inmates had no idea it was going on. The Department of Corrections didn’t think too highly of this. They had recordings of all these meetings, all these hearings of the parole board, and they slapped this down pretty hard, so much so that this politician resigned — and appropriately so. The readers really enjoyed that story, and it was funny, because by a freak of timing, just recently, the Randy’s Random site had a meme that you made about term limits.

Clare: That was a fun one. I liked making that one.

Randy: I really liked the way you made it. The meme (and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes): that politicians should be limited to two terms. On the left side of the picture, it shows the joint session of Congress, and on the right side shows a very dismal-looking prison block. The two terms that politicians should be limited to: one in office, and one in prison. And that came in on June 16th on Randy’s Random. And I think I know why the readers really liked the story this week: they really liked that meme too. That was shared 557 times on Randy’s Random.

Clare: Wow.

Randy: That’s just crazy. I mean, the whole page has only been looked at, as of now, 3,600 times, and out of those 3,600 people, 557 of them shared it on Facebook or Twitter or whatever.

Clare: That’s awesome.

Randy: It’s actually in the top most-shared posts that’s on the right side of the home page there. It shows how many times that various things have been shared. It’s actually, it’s at the bottom of that list, but not by very much. I think readers, and I think, probably, people in general in this country, are getting pretty sick and tired of politicians not really paying attention to what the voters want.

Clare: I would definitely agree with that. They’re getting fed up.

Randy: The problem is people have been fed up with Congress for a long time, yet they keep voting them back into office. Part of it is the system is kind of rigged for the incumbents, and part of it is “But my guy is good; my representative is taking care of us. It’s those other guys that I don’t get to vote for or against.”

Clare: You have a meme that says something along those lines too, as far as rebooting office.

Randy: That’s today’s, actually.

Clare: Is that today? Oh, OK, that’s why I saw it.

Randy: The latest post, and I’m clicking on that so I can take a look at it. It’s called Control, Alt, and Delete: has anyone tried shutting down Congress for a cold reboot? Maybe it’s time to reboot them all out of office. That one’s only been shared 17 times. On the other hand, it’s today’s, so people haven’t necessarily seen it yet. I do think that people are getting sick and tired. Actually, I think it’s probably the same picture of the joint session of Congress that the other used, but it’s used in a different way, and they both work.

Clare: The story, is it going to be on the free version as well? Are they going to get to read it?

Randy: It is now.

Clare: OK. I love the tagline, so keep an eye out for that. It’s a great tagline.

Randy: Though it might be a little bit lazy to use the meme of politicians really should be spending more time in prison, but the readers really click on that. I think it really shows how tired we are of our so-called leaders in Washington.

Clare: Well, it gives that thought that they have to atone for their sins, almost, at least in our eyes.

Randy: And you know, their sins have gotten worse, and worse, and worse, and we’re letting them get away with it. I think there’s probably going to be a tipping point sometime where people will really say, “Forget this.”

The headlines in the last few days are that Joe Scarborough has resigned from the Republican Party. I don’t think we should make a big deal about the Republicans on this. I think we’re going to see defections from both parties. It’s just that the Republicans are in power right now, so we’re going to see that. I used to be Republican; I left the party years ago because I wasn’t happy with what they were doing.

Clare: Wow, that’s new.

Randy: It’s new?

Clare: New information for me.

Randy: Oh, well, it is true. My parents were Republicans, and I fell into that, but when I started looking at what is it I believe personally, I didn’t like what they were doing, and frankly, I didn’t really like what the Democrats were doing, so I did not join the Democrats: I became an independent. I actually think the Independent “Party” is the biggest party. If you look at the numbers of people who are registered Republican and the people who are registered Democrat, and the people who are registered none of the above, the none of the above are … That’s a bigger number than either Republicans or the Democrats. Nothing happens though because they’re not organized into a cohesive party that says, “Let’s do something different.”

Clare: Right.

Randy: But the thing that really bothers me is that if something like 40% are Independent and 30% are Republican, which leaves about 30% to be Democrats — that’s not the exact number, but it’s somewhere in that vicinity — what percentage of our representatives in Washington reflect that independence? There’s something like 2 or 4 independent Congress critters.

Clare: Oh, wow.

Randy: We can argue all day about whether that really represents us, but I think, just on the face of it, if you say, “Hey, women aren’t represented because we don’t have 50% women there; blacks aren’t represented because we don’t have a similar number of black representatives to the number of the population,” I think the argument can be made that Independents really aren’t represented in Washington.

Clare: I think the fun part about what’s going on right now is that if you step back a little bit and look at this big picture, people are really beginning to figure out what they want and use their voices, whether we agree with it or not, but there’s been a lot of people coming out of the woodwork with opinions.

Randy: My God, do you think people are actually starting to think for themselves, you mean?

Clare: Fingers crossed, that’s what I’m hoping. I think that’s what a lot of this is riling up in people is “Oh, I might want to do things differently, I might want to think differently about what’s going on right now.”

Randy: If only there was some kind of publication or movement of something online that encourages people to think for themselves.

Clare: Hey, how about This is True?

Randy: Let’s promote it that way. Let’s see what happens.

Clare: It certainly makes me think when I read it. I have to say that, and laugh.

Randy: That’s a good start. If you laugh, you’re entertained, so you read it, and hey, if it makes you think, then I’ve done my job.

Clare: Mission accomplished.

Randy: Well, I think we beat that into the ground enough. What else do you have in your agenda?

Clare: You’ve been traveling quite a bit.

Randy: Yeah.

Clare: I would like to know more about some of the insider tours you’ve gotten to partake in, because I know there are some that I don’t even know about.

Randy: How do you know I’ve been on insider tours? Who told you?!

Clare: Well, I know about JPL (bum bum bummm…!)

Randy: That was a fun tour.

Clare: Yeah.

Randy: That was the really big organized one that I’ve been on, but there’s been a couple of others, I admit. When we went to Dallas, I guess it was May, we had a Premium subscriber who happens to be the manager of the Oklahoma City International Airport who said, “Would you like to come by for a tour?”

Clare: Oh, very cool.

Randy: I was like, “Yesss.” I really like insider, behind the scenes that most people don’t get to see. We actually got to go into the bowels of the airport. So you know when they put your suitcase on the conveyor belt and it disappears?

Clare: Yeah, where does it go?

Randy: It goes into a hole in the wall, never to be seen again… unless you’re lucky and you see it at the other end coming out of another hole in the wall on to a belt and you get to pick it up. Well, we got to go on to the other side of that wall.

Clare: Whoa.

Randy: And see where it comes in, and it’s a really industrial place. We had to watch out for these cart things that are going back and forth that are hauling all these little … you see them on the runways all the time. Well, actually, not on the runway, next to the gates, these little tugboat of trucks that have like 2, 3, 8, 15 little trailers at the back filled with luggage. These things are screaming around in this garage-like thing with conveyor belts running all over the place, in the back, behind the scenes at the airport. They go through all these different things, including X-ray machines. We could see those machines.

Clare: They get X-rayed again once they’re through the hole in the wall.

Randy: Well, I don’t know about again. I think that’s the first time they get X-rayed.

Clare: Oh, OK.

Randy: But they are looked at, and somebody looks at that X-ray, and I think, probably, machines look at the X-ray — do they see anything that triggers their patterns and should this be looked at more? And while we were watching, this one suitcase that we could see there, triggered something. We don’t know what. We don’t know if it was a machine that triggered it or somebody looking at the X-ray said, “No, I don’t like something in that one,” and pushed the button, but the conveyor belt actually moved and dumped this into a different line. Our host said, “OK, this is where it’s going to go.” There is this big room that had a couple of TSA agents in it.

Clare: Oh, wow.

Randy: So it went into that room for them to look at, to literally open up that suitcase, and there was big windows there: we could look in and watch, and they knew that they’re being watched, and I’m sure there’s cameras on there too, so they’re always being watched. The little TSA-approved locks have a little different keyhole on there for their key. If it’s lock number one, they just use key number one, and they can open that lock whether they know the combination or not, and they can open it up and look. As it happened, this particular suitcase that we were watching didn’t have a TSA-approved lock on it.

Clare: Uh-oh.

Randy: So out came the bolt cutters, and they just cut it off. That’s the rule, that if you don’t use one of their approved locks and they want to look in that suitcase, they’re just going to cut it off, too bad, so sad.

Clare: Right.

Randy: So they popped it open. They looked in there. They pulled out these big mass of wires. OK, that’s probably what triggered the secondary look, because there was this big jumble of wires. They saw it was innocent. They put it back in. They packed it back up. They threw a little slip of paper in there that said, “We looked in here,” and then they send it back on its way. That was kind of neat, just to see that whole process, because I have gotten a little thing in my suitcase that said, “We’re the TSA. We’ve been here.”

Clare: I got flagged coming back from Mexico with my suitcase.

Randy: Well, naturally, you would. Obviously, you’re a drug smuggler.

Clare: Well, I think that’s what they thought I had. I was bringing back sugar, anyway. It looks like this big package of they don’t know what. They were very nice, very considerate, and let me pack my bag back up, but …

Randy: But it was just sugar.

Clare: It was just sugar.

Randy: All right. You’re sure?

Clare: Well, that’s what I told them, and they believed me.

Randy: OK, good.

After the tour of the back scenes, luggage thing, he said, “Do you want to go for a ride out in the property?” I was like, “Yesss.” We popped out a door, and just happened to be an operations truck right there (I think he had this all planned), and took us for a trip around the entire field. One of the things that we didn’t know about the Oklahoma Airport, it’s nice and centrally located, but not real, real busy. When they have prisoners that have been acting up at whatever federal prison, and they want to transfer him somewhere else, like the maximum security prison in Colorado, they have to fly him. The Department of Justice or the Department of Corrections, whatever it is, has their own little fleet of jets. They don’t put these people on United, thankfully, or Southwest or something to fly them to some other maximum security prison. They have maximum security airplanes.

Clare: I assume very separate from the mainlines.

Randy: Right, but they still are using regular airports. In Oklahoma, they have a transfer station, where they actually have cells. So if they need to get a few prisoners together because they’re going to Denver or something like that, there is a separate terminal at Oklahoma City for prisoner transfers. They can actually house guys there for some amount of time as they need to. …Or if they need to lose somebody for a little while, get him out of the way.

Clare: Make him disappear for a minute.

Randy: Make him disappear for a few days or something, they can do that. They fly him into Oklahoma City. They don’t go to the main terminal. They go to the one completely on the other side of the field, and they’ve got a secured jetway. They’ve got prison cells, and I had no idea that was there. I’ve been to Oklahoma City before and had no clue that this was there, and most people don’t. But look what you learned on the Uncommon Sense podcast!

That was really interesting to just get that kind of behind the scenes look at some different things at a simple airport, which turns out isn’t necessarily so simple. Then because it was really quiet, it was midday, and there were no scheduled flights coming in and out for the next, probably, half an hour, he got on the radio and asked the tower, “Can we just drive down the runway?”

Clare: Oh, that would be fun.

Randy: You know, I’ve been in a lot of runways, but I’m looking at a side window. I’m not seeing what the pilot see going down and all the marker lights and all the different controls and all that. So we got to drive in a pickup truck down the main runway of the Oklahoma City Airport, because there was no planes using it at the moment, and we got clearance to drive down there.

Clare: That’s pretty neat.

Randy: It was a lot of fun! Then once we cleared the field. He gets back on the radio and says, “OK, we’re clear.” That’s his acknowledgement: he’s not going back on there because this is a very controlled area, so they want to make sure they don’t have anybody in the way if they need to land a plane.

Clare: Did you get to pass out any Get Out of Hell Free cards to the prisoners going through?

Randy: No, we didn’t actually see any prisoners.

Clare: OK.

Randy: It might get them out of hell, but it won’t get them out of jail.

Clare: That’s true. It’s the wrong card.

Randy: So after the JPL tour, we were in Southern California, we did two other things that were behind the scenes. One of them is something that I’ve been wanting to do: it was actually a bucket list item, because I grew up in Los Angeles area when I was kid, and I heard about this place. I’ll be interested to see if you’ve ever heard of it. It’s called The Magic Castle.

Clare: I’ve heard of it because you mentioned it earlier in the week, last week.

Randy: All right, but you hadn’t heard of it before?

Clare: I didn’t. I hadn’t, no.

Randy: OK, I forgot I mentioned it to you, but The Magic Castle is the largest in the world club, if you will, or association for magicians and illusionists. There’s two levels of membership in The Magic Castle, which is kind of a Victorian home that was large to begin with and has been expanded on several times, and it’s right in the middle of L.A. The two levels of membership are if you’re an actual performing professional magician, you can get the gold pin. If you’re an associate member, which means you just like the art of magic, you can become a member that way even if you’re not a magician, because you want to see magicians.

So you can book your time there, and we went to show after show after show, and my host was a member that knew the ropes. He said, “OK, when this show is over, pop right out that door, and get in line, because as this show ends, there’s another one that starts in the next theater.” Our first show was the close-up room, if you will. It’s got maybe 50, 60 seats in there. And I happened, just by luck of the draw, to end up in the front row in the middle where I could practically lean on the table and watch this guy work.

Clare: So it’s fairly intimate. I mean, 60 people is not a huge crowd.

Randy: Right, it’s already a pretty close-up thing even if you’re in the back row with only 60 or whatever people in there, but then I got to be right in the front row. So it was really neat to be able to see things, and I’m pretty observant. I did notice a couple of things that he did that were not supposed to be seen, but I saw a lot of other things that I didn’t have any explanation for. It was a lot of sleight of hand stuff that was really neat to watch.

And I had heard about this club when I was kid and though that would be really neat, because I’ve always loved magic. I know that they’re tricks. I know that they’re not actually occultists or anything like that. People are sometimes afraid of magicians, because they think they’re doing … “They’re in league with the devil, and the devil is giving them powers to do things!”

No, they’re called tricks for a reason. They are tricking you. They understand how you perceive things, and they’re taking advantage of that to fool you. And if you look at it from that point of view, I think it’s wonderful. It goes right in with thinking about things. I love seeing things that I can’t explain, no matter how much I think about it. Penn and Teller, I was on the stage with Penn and Teller once when–

Clare: Oh, that’s right.

Randy: on their show, and they called for a volunteer, and I raised my hand, and they let me come up on the stage to watch a trick close up, and I couldn’t explain that one either. I mean, they clearly tricked me, and I loved it.

Clare: I love hearing that, because you’re my go-to guy. When you can’t figure something out, it’s like, “Oh, he doesn’t know everything.” He knows a lot of things though.

Randy: It’s OK not to know everything. If you need to know about something, you can learn.

Clare: Right.

Randy: One of the things about Penn and Teller is sometimes they will say, “We’re going to show you how this trick is done,” which really makes other magicians gasp. “This is against the rules. You can’t show them!, And so they’ll show you how this trick is done by most magicians. They’ll show you how it’s done. And then once you’re confident that you understand how that’s done, they do it in a different way that you cannot explain, that violates everything they just told you of how it’s done. And all of a sudden, you’re just mystified again.

Clare: Well, the keyword there was how most magicians do it.

Randy: Right.

Clare: They’re going to show you …and then they’re going to do it their way.

Randy: Exactly. To me, it just fools you all the more because they show you how it’s done, you understand how it’s done, you see how you’ve been fooled, and then they fool you again and you can’t explain it, even though you know how other magicians do it. I think that’s just wonderful.

Clare: I’m visualizing, just to go back to The Magic Castle, what it looks like interiorly, and I think Addams Family-esque. Is it more modern, or is it kind of an older, creepy….

Randy: It’s kind of a mix. There’s like a seance room that they do seances in. There is the close up one. There’s all these different parlors, and there’s a fairly large room also, a couple different theaters. We went to five shows in a row, with a break for dinner that we had there, and they have a nice restaurant in there. It’s kind of part of the deal that if you buy dinner, they include a ticket to the main show that night.

It is an old Victorian, and when they built it or they refurbished it, whatever you want to call it, remodeled it back when they opened it, in, I believe, the early ’60s or the late ’50s, the guy who did this would go to other mansions that were being demolished and say, “I’d like those stained glass windows. I want those columns. I want those gargoyles and stuff.”

Clare: Oh, I love that.

Randy: And the guys that were tearing the things down said, “Well, good, because we’re just throwing them away, so take all you want. That’s just more stuff we don’t have to dispose of.” The building itself is decorated with all this really neat architectural salvage stuff. Then they’ve also got collections of like, Houdini’s straitjacket. Houdini was famous for … I mean, he would go to a city and to …. He was master of publicity, so he would have the police department put him in a straitjacket, and then he would put chains around his ankles, and be hoisted up by his ankles and escape from the straitjacket in front of the crowd that gathered on the street. That’s how he would get publicity for, “I’m doing a show Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Palladium. Come down and see it.” All these people would see him get out of the straitjacket right in front of their eyes, and that’s how he would fill the theater.

Clare: Yeah, they’d probably just flock to him after that.

Randy: It was wonderful. And they have that straitjacket, or at least one of those straitjackets that he used. They have his magic wand that he would do the hocus-pocus misdirection with and lot of other collectibles and things. They’ve got posters from hundreds of magicians that were used for advertising. They’ve got archival films. They’ve got archival books — but you have to be a member to look in their library. No guests allowed. I think I skipped the part where, how did I get in there. Well, associate members can bring guests in.

Clare: Otherwise, there is no entrance.

Randy: Exactly.

Clare: That’s pretty cool, I think. I’d love to see inside.

Randy: Well, if you can get somebody to take you, definitely do it, because it’s really, really interesting if you like magic.

So there’s one other place that we went after The Magic Castle. We popped down to San Diego where we did the reader gathering. And one of my readers also works at Qualcomm. Qualcomm might sound familiar to you, but it’s not really, really famous. It is a communications technology company, that’ss the comm in Qualcomm. What they do is develop the signal protocols for encoding language.

The reason I know about Qualcomm is that one of the founders was Andrew Viterbi. Andrew Viterbi worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I talked in my JPL tour about how we talked to the spacecraft that can be billions of miles away with really, really tiny low-power transmitters, and they’re trying to get data back, and how do they do that? One of the ways they do that is compression. They’re trying to get as much data sent with as few bytes as possible, because they’re very far away, and so the bit rate is very, very low. So if they do some compression of that data, they can get more back in the same amount of time.

There is this algorithm that was developed by Viterbi that compresses that data, and then, later, Viterbi went to help found Qualcomm. And where do we use that every day? There’s Qualcomm technology in our cellphones. So they not only develop the signal protocols for how to get your voice over the phone line. They also make the processor that’s in a lot of smartphones. Probably not all of them, but billions and billions of smartphones have these processors made by Qualcomm. The Snapdragon: if your cellphone has a Snapdragon processor in it, that was made by Qualcomm.

I went to look at their rapid prototyping lab where they actually are working on the next generation. I can’t remember the number, it’s like the Snapdragon 630 processor that just came out. That may not be the right number, but it’s something like that. So I said, “Well, what are you working on now?” They said, “The next generation. We’re working about a year ahead, so we’re working on whatever is going to come out next year.” They have all the machines in there where they can make one cellphone. I mean, literally, they’ll just put one together and see how it works and test it all and test all the different things that the phone is supposed to do, all the different bands, the WiFi, the Bluetooth, and all the processing, and the display, and make sure that it works before they go to the next step. That’s about as behind the scenes as you can get to see all this stuff of what’s coming up in the next few years. Absolutely fascinating.

Clare: Yeah. Yeah, that’s awesome.

Randy: I’m bragging a little bit, but I’m OK with that. I have some really, really cool readers that say, “Hey, if you’re in town, I will take you to see whatever.” Whether it’s the Oklahoma City Airport, Qualcomm, Magic Castle; they’ve been fantastic. There’s one other one that…. I think we’re running out of time, so we’ll hold it for next week. I have another behind the scenes one we’ll talk about next week that was really cool, and I think we should wrap it up, because I want to keep this to 20 or 30 minutes.

Clare: Sounds good.

Randy: This is True and the Uncommon Sense podcast are reader-supported by your subscriptions and via Patreon.com/thisistrue. Even a couple of bucks through Patreon really helps support this podcast and This is True. And if you pledge on Patreon at $4 level, you’ll also get the Premium edition of This is True’s weekly email newsletter.

The Show Notes for this episode with any links and stories discussed are at thisistrue.com/podcast2 — that’s the digit 2. I’m Randy Cassingham. We thank you so much for joining us this week on Uncommon Sense … and we’ll talk at you later.

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One Response to Podcast 002: Political Unrest and Insider Tours

  1. Mike, NJ July 18, 2017 at 10:37 pm #

    Clare’s story of being stopped coming back from Mexico with a big bag of sugar reminds me of the story of one of the original UNIX/C creators & the bag of oregano. The story is that he enjoyed Italian cooking & felt that Canadian oregano was better than what he could get in the US. So he went to Canada & bought a big bag of it. Reentering the US he was stopped & searched & they found the bag of Oregano. Naturally they thought it was marijuana not oregano so they tested it and low & behold it *was* oregano.

    I’ve heard of Mexican oregano (and indeed use it in cooking), but not Canadian. But if this had been at the Mexican border, he probably would have been held for six weeks while they waited for “tests” to come back to confirm it was oregano. -rc

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