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Note to Self

100 EpisodesProduced by WNYC StudiosWebsite

Is your phone watching you? Can texting make you smarter? Are your kids real? Note to Self explores these and other essential quandaries facing anyone trying to preserve their humanity in the digital age. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts, including Radiolab, De… read more

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How to Create Good Digital Citizens

October 14th, 2019


Right from wrong. We teach our kids what this means in the classroom and at home. But whatabout online? The next generation of tech users could be a …

Why Everyone is Talking About Digital Minimalism

October 7th, 2019


Computer scientist and cult-blogger, Cal Newport, wants you to take 30 dates off from all your personal tech. A month off, he claims, is the only way …

How The Best Teacher Teaches Creativity

September 30th, 2019


In 2018, Andria Zafirakou was named Global Teacher of the Year and given $1m in prize money. Why?

Note to Self is Back and We Start with The Big One: Kids and Screens

April 23rd, 2019


The tech show about being human returns with an all new season. Host Manoush Zomorodi kicks things off with the latest on the battle between kids and parents over their screens: do we know how kids are impacted by tech? …

Note to Self is Back!

April 22nd, 2019


Note to Self helps you navigate the digital age by making sense of its most undervalued component: humans! With all new episodes coming every …

Rice Bunny: The Me Too Movement Comes to China

February 22nd, 2019


This week we’re discussing government censorship in China, #metoo and cryptocurrency.

Endless Thread is hosted by Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, and is made by WBUR.

Dear (Data) Diary

June 25th, 2018


Long-distance friends Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec spent a year tracking the little things in life. Thanks yous, coffees, complaints, street …

A Different Kind of Streaking

June 20th, 2018


With former Google designer Tristan Harris, who explains how far Silicon Valley will go to capture and control your eyeballs. And Snapchat artist …

Your Metadata is Showing

June 7th, 2018


We asked you guys to send us photos. Then we gave them to Andreas Weigend, veteran of Xerox Parc, former chief scientist at Amazon, to see what he …

Whose Bot Army Is Following Manoush?

May 16th, 2018


Generic usernames, no photos, no tweets. This week, we investigate the dozens of mysterious accounts following Manoush on Twitter. Plus, what makes a …

The Fourth Amendment Needs Your Attention

May 2nd, 2018


This week, the Supreme Court cases that defined privacy for the digital age. Because the founding fathers didn’t write the Bill of Rights with the internet in mind.


For the next several weeks you'll hear the …

Is the Opioid Epidemic a Tech Problem?

April 18th, 2018


We visit the Dark Web, where you can get heroin, fentanyl and oxycontin shipped right to your door. This week, the link between online drug markets and America’s opioid crisis.


For the next several weeks you'll …

How To Have No Filter

April 4th, 2018


Today, listener stories and tips: we wrap up our No Filter series of conversations about how women live online.

From YouTube megastar Lele Pons to …

No Filter: Jasmyn Lawson

April 3rd, 2018


The woman behind some of your favorite gifs takes us to the future. See what being a woman on the web may look like.

We couldn’t close out No Filter, …

No Filter: Barbara Kruger

March 30th, 2018


The iconic artist talks to Manoush about our curated selfies, owning a font, and why we all need likes. Plus, The Cut’s editor in chief Stella Bugbee.

If you missed the other episodes of No Filter earlier this week, go …

No Filter: Christiane Amanpour

March 29th, 2018


The CNN anchor talks to Manoush about sex, wearing a “uniform,” and staying profesh on air and online.

Plus, Call Your Girlfriend co-host and Cut contributor Ann Friedman, who almost fell out of her ergonomic chair when …

No Filter: Amy Sherald

March 28th, 2018


Her portrait of Michelle Obama went viral. Painter Amy Sherald dismisses the haters. “Some people want their poetry to rhyme.”

Plus, Allison P. Davis

No Filter: Trace Lysette

March 27th, 2018


The Transparent star talks to Manoush about the political nude selfie, her #metoo moment, and constructing her self online and IRL. Plus, how her …

No Filter: Lele Pons

March 26th, 2018


Every day this week, a new episode of our series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Five conversations with badass …

Why We Need No Filter

March 21st, 2018


We kick off our new series, No Filter: Women Owning It Online, with New York Magazine’s The Cut. Because since the #metoo movement, we’re all rethinking what it means to be a woman in the world. But what about what it …

My Digital Revolution

March 20th, 2018


Stories of life online, told live.

We teamed up with Generation Women, a monthly event where women from their 20s to their 80s share stories on a …

Am I Normal?

March 14th, 2018


Mona Chalabi, data editor at the Guardian, takes the numb out of numbers. She joins Manoush to talk about stats versus stories, how data defines normal, and average testicle size. That one’s an interactive iPhone chart. 

What to Think About Before Posting Family Photos

February 28th, 2018


We asked how you share personal photos. Here’s what we learned from your 1,200 (!) answers.

Psychologist Guy Winch joins Manoush to untangle our …

Have Dating Apps Killed Romance?

February 14th, 2018


Real OKCupid message: “Hi, good evening, nice photos. You are not fat.” It’s rough on dating apps. Can romance survive?

Eric Klinenberg wrote Modern Romance with Aziz Ansari. This week, he joins Manoush to make the case …

Help Us Collect Political Ads on Facebook

February 7th, 2018


Let’s build a database of political Facebook ads. Just in case someone needs to check on them later. Like, say, if the Russians bought thousands of …

Meet an Online Emotional Escort

February 6th, 2018


We all need someone to tell (or text) our stories to. Even if they’re paid to text back.

This week, Manoush meets an Invisible Girlfriend, earning …

How to Find the Right Amount of Screen Time

January 31st, 2018


Screen time is a daily battle. Between kids and parents, between ourselves and our better judgment. But maybe it doesn’t have to be. There is a better way.

Manoush gets the answers from Anya Kamenetz, NPR education …

Dear Manoush: The Advice Episode

January 17th, 2018


Is there a secret solution to information overload? Can random accounts ever truly be erased? How do I stay connected if I break up with social …

Dan Harris Knows All Your Excuses for Not Meditating

January 3rd, 2018


People have a lot of excuses for not meditating. Eight, in fact. Dan Harris knows them all. And he can help.


Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new episodes, our must-reads, and the news …

Search Inside Yourself For Peace and Joy

December 27th, 2017


Let’s create some calm as this year ends. It all starts with one deep breath, led by Google employee 107. This week, we revisit Manoush’s lovely interview with Chade-Meng Tan, who retired at 44 to meditate and search …

Look Into the Future with Black Mirror

December 20th, 2017


The creators of the Netflix hit Black Mirror on predicting the future, Twitter as a massive role-playing game, and nostalgia for meh. As season four …

Alexa, Is Amazon Taking Over The World?

December 13th, 2017


The tradeoffs we don’t see when we shop on Amazon. Why the answer isn’t to cancel your Prime. And yes, I bring Alexa’s new camera into my bedroom.


Subscribe to our Wednesday morning newsletter for info on new …

"You Deserve to Die" and Other Fun Conversation Starters

December 6th, 2017


People say mean things to Dylan Marron online. He takes that as an invitation to call them up and make friends.

This week, the benefits of talking to …

Let’s Check The Tape

November 29th, 2017


An incomplete list of the objects listening to us: Siri. Alexa. Google Home. With so many recordings, the transcribed life isn’t far off. For better or for worse. 

This week, one intrepid woman records every minute of …

The Lawsuit that Could Shine a Light on Cambridge Analytica

November 22nd, 2017


How a single American’s quest for his own digital marketing profile may show us all how our data travels the world. And may even end up in the hands of foreign governments.


Subscribe to our Wednesday morning …

Revisiting Cambridge Analytica’s Role in the Presidential Election

November 22nd, 2017


From March, the first chapter in our look at Cambridge Analytica. We asked the controversial digital marketing firm what services they provided for Trump. And experimented with our own psychometric profiles. Listen to …

It’s Not Over Nyet

November 15th, 2017


More spy terms explained, reasonable/sensible coping strategies for when democracy is under threat, and nyet more puns. This week: how to spot a botnet. How psychometrics sells sneakers - and worldviews. And how to make …

Spy Terms of the Internyet

November 8th, 2017


Russian spy tactics have gotten an upgrade since the Cold War. This week how they work now: bad actors, active measures, advanced persistent threats. …

Nyet Just a Conspiracy Theory?

November 1st, 2017


If talking about democracy getting hacked feels like old news, it’s time to take a fresh look. 

This week, we separate fear from facts with Noah …

Where Do I Go Now?

October 25th, 2017


There was a time humans were guided by stars, not satellite. Now you can beam into robots, or turn on GPS. But when we put ourselves on autopilot we may lose our minds.

This week, Manoush outsources her body to a …

Play Video Games for Your Mental Health

October 18th, 2017


You judge the person playing Candy Crush. Even when it’s you. But that mental fist pump from leveling up has real value. How to stop judging and use games for a strategic reset.

With game designer and futurist Jane …

Talking to Myself

October 11th, 2017


The Replika app chats with you, learns from you, and reflects you back. It starts to become you. And your AI self gets pretty real.

Journalist Mike Murphy used the app to create his mini-me, and wrote about it for …

I Didn’t See Your Text

October 4th, 2017


And other fibs we tell our friends, family and lovers. Psychotherapist Esther Perel is back to call us on our bullsh*t.

This is the second of our …

Ghosting, Simmering and Icing with Esther Perel

September 27th, 2017


Remember being dumped? Now, technology lets us delay, deflect, and disappear. Renowned pyschotherapist Esther Perel is here to help us fall in love …

Forty Years of Coding In a Man's World

September 20th, 2017


Silicon Valley is still a man's world. And Ellen Ullman, who started programming in 1978, thinks it's high time for the rest of us to infiltrate.

Eavesdropping On Epiphany

September 13th, 2017


José Cruz is a college student, research scientist, and phone power-user. He spent 6 hours in one day on his screen. So he wanted to cut back, make …

Attention Please

September 5th, 2017


We deleted, we unplugged, we took walks. We made choices. We made time. Two years later, we catch up with some of the original Bored and Brilliant participants - some of the 20,000 people who joined our 2015 experiment. …

Refresh Your Mind

September 4th, 2017


To encourage you to #GetBored and find brilliance, we made a weird earworm. It's an interview about the history of boredom... sound-designed to help you space out. A brain nap. With historian Peter Toohey, and some very …

Bonus: Behind the Scenes at TED

August 15th, 2017


A surprise bonus, because Manoush's TED talk is online now (!) and she has some behind-the-scenes memories to share from the main stage. To celebrate - and vent (in a good way). 

Save the Planet! Part 1: I'm Gonna Take My Clothes Off

August 2nd, 2017


This week, five episodes for five ways we can do better by the planet. First: warm up, strip down. Rethink the air conditioner.

With David Biello, science curator for TED. 

Save the Planet! Part 2: Whale Poop

August 2nd, 2017


Giant whale turds. A permanent shade over the sun. One is flashier, but that's the danger of it. This is poopier oceans vs. the climate quick fix.

The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David …

Save the Planet! Part 3: Super Powered Sweet Corn

August 2nd, 2017


We’ve made our plants bigger, juicier, and sturdier. Now can we make them better at sucking CO2? And should we?

The last episode in our five-part …

Save the Planet! Part 4: Suck It

August 2nd, 2017


First, stick a giant vacuum cleaner onto a smokestack. Inhale the exhaust. Then what?

The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.

Save the Planet! Part 5: Do Over?

August 2nd, 2017


We were going to have to talk about it eventually. No, not Elon Musk (although yes, he does come up). Mars. Planet B.

The last episode in our five-part series, with TED science curator David Biello.

Escape From Yahoo!

July 26th, 2017


It’s 2017, and Manoush still has a Yahoo account. Is her exit strategy an encrypted file in Switzerland? This week, the tech loyalties we keep past their expiration date, and how to move on - technically and emotionally.

Your Mailman Is a Drug Dealer. He Just Doesn’t Know It.

July 19th, 2017


We visit the Dark Web, where you can get heroin, fentanyl and oxycontin shipped right to your door. This week, we stress out our IT department with our searches and talk to author Nick Bilton about the Silk Road, online …

Should We Post Photos of Our Kids Online?

July 12th, 2017


A third of kids are online before they’re even born, thanks to sonogram images posted to Facebook. Is there a downside to all the kid photos we share?

This week, we revisit a conversation with Hillary Frank, host of the …

When Was the Last Time You Peed Without Your Phone?

July 5th, 2017


Yeah, it’s been a while for us too. So let’s reset. It’s the Bored and Brilliant bootcamp: three quick challenges to make space for brilliance in our accelerating world.

Maybe you’ve heard this episode before, but even …

We’ve Gained So Much With the iPhone. What Have We Lost?

June 28th, 2017


Address books, maps, keys. Your Walkman, your datebook. All wiped out by your phone. Along with eye contact and boredom. This week, as the iPhone turns 10, we assess our most enduring love affair: the relationship …

We See Ourselves in Black Mirror

June 21st, 2017


Netflix’s Black Mirror is a tweaked reflection of technology’s worst consequences - what show creator Charlie Brooker calls a “sarcastic version of …

Father's Day Bonus: Dad As the Lead Parent

June 18th, 2017


This Father's Day, one dad on his role as lead parent, and what it means for his career, psyche, and marriage. With Andrew Moravcsik, an accomplished …

What Sen. Wyden Does When He’s Not Questioning Comey or Sessions

June 14th, 2017


Besides investigating Russian election interference, Sen. Wyden is tackling government hacking, email surveillance, border device searches, and fighting for your rights online. How did a basketball-playing former …

Preview: Sen. Ron Wyden of the Senate Intelligence Committee

June 8th, 2017


Today, Sen. Wyden hears testimony from former FBI Director James Comey. Next week, he’ll be here on Note to Self. Here’s a sneak peek at our chat about cybersecurity and your digital rights. 

Meet the Humans Who Protect Your Eyes

June 7th, 2017


Rochelle LaPlante keeps horrifying images off the internet, screening photos for four cents a click. Content moderators do an important job. So why …

What We Learned from Grandpa’s FBI File

May 31st, 2017


Our producer discovered an FBI file on her grandfather. Back then, the big threat was communists. Today, it's terrorists, Occupy and BLM. Maybe even you. And the surveillance methods are a lot less analog. 

Support Note …

Ed Snowden Says a 'Very Very Dark Future' Is Not Inevitable

May 17th, 2017


With all the news of leaks, national security, and hacking, who better to talk to than Ed Snowden? So yes, Manoush and Ed tackle the NSA, privacy, and ransomware. But also identity, the self, and the “quantified …

Wait, What IS Reality? We Investigate.

May 16th, 2017


Who among us hasn’t wondered, maybe in a stoned haze, if the colors you see aren’t even the same colors that I see? How do we know we’re even in the …

Taking the Lead Episode 1: The Pain Point

May 14th, 2017


This Mother's Day, a surprise. To celebrate working moms, we're re-releasing all four episodes of our award-winning series, Taking the Lead. The story of two Brooklyn women and their tech idea to help harried working …

Taking the Lead Episode 2: The Paradox

May 14th, 2017


Episode two of Mother's Day series is The Paradox. Rachael and Leslie test a prototype of their app on one very eager participant: Manoush. And they run into an ironic challenge. Turns out, it's tough to build a …

Taking the Lead Episode 3: The Pressure

May 14th, 2017


Faced with financial barriers, Rachael and Leslie join a startup accelerator. But while honing their pitch, different goals emerge. Rachael is focused on social change, while Leslie wants to create a giant woman-led …

Taking the Lead Episode 4: The Partnership

May 14th, 2017


The last episode in our Mother's Day special. Rachael Ellison and Leslie Ali Walker face difficult choices: Should they drop the feminist mission …

Why Are So Many Bots Following Manoush?

May 10th, 2017


Bot armies are taking aim at our democracies, spreading garbage on Twitter from last November to Brexit to this weekend’s French election. But what do they want with Manoush?

Support Note to Self by becoming a member …

Parents Just Don’t Understand, Tech Edition

May 3rd, 2017


Uh, mom, the eggplant emoji is not about food. The crying-laughing emoji is not appropriate for funerals. And dad, just texting 'K' is super passive-aggressive. This week, a real live therapist tackles your …

AI Learns from Us. So It Learns Bias.

April 26th, 2017


We count on robots to do more and more stuff. Drive cars, water crops, diagnose disease. What happens when the robots are racist? This week, a look back at one terrible AI mistake.

Support Note to Self by becoming a …

Revealing Selfies. Not Like That.

April 19th, 2017


Your selfies are sharing way more than your smiling face. They’re full of data. Which is being used by stores. And banks. And police. And, well, …

Spring Cleaning for the Mind

April 12th, 2017


Information overload has reached an all time high. Is there a way to stay-up-to-date without losing your mind? Yes. We call it “single-tasking.” …

Cucked: Defining Manhood the Alt-Right Way

April 5th, 2017


How one revolting, racist, sexist word emerged from the dark corners of 4chan and Reddit. And why we should care.

With slang lexicographer Jonathon …

Deep-Dark-Data-Driven Politics

March 29th, 2017


The story goes: the Trump campaign hired consultants called Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge uses data to target voters' personalities and emotions. …

The Man Who Invented Facebook Ad Tracking Is Not Sorry

March 22nd, 2017


After building the social network’s ad system, Antonio García Martínez tried to set his career on fire with a tell-all. An inside view on …

Government Secrets Worth Leaking... or Keeping?

March 15th, 2017


So, the C.I.A. has a back door to your phone. At least, according to the Vault 7 data dump from WikiLeaks. This week, when are these tactics really …

Will You Do a Snapchat Streak With Me?

March 8th, 2017


A little yellow ghost has joined Manoush’s home screen. This week, Note to Self takes the plunge into Snapchat. Where we find lots of opportunities for passive aggression, obligation, and shade. And that’s not a bug. …

Zapping Your Brain To Bliss

March 1st, 2017


Can brain stimulation tech replace your glass of wine? Or your joint? We strap a digital potato chip to our heads, and zap our brains with …

Can Your Phone Make You Better In Bed?

February 22nd, 2017


No, not by watching porn. By sharing with your partner what turns you on, and weirds you out. Through an app.

Kaitlin Prest of The Heart podcast recruits two couples to test drive the Pls Pls Me app. And talk about …

Privacy, Data Survivalism and a New Tech Ethics

February 21st, 2017


Technologist Anil Dash on mistakes he’s made, and the new ethics of tech. Journalist Julia Angwin on why we’re all losing, and her strategies as a …

Privacy Paradox: Results Show

February 15th, 2017


Tens of thousands of people did the Privacy Paradox challenge. And the results are in. Seven percent of you said you want to give up. (Sorry. Don’t!) …

Day 5: Your Personal Terms of Service

February 10th, 2017


The last day of the Privacy Paradox challenge. We'll draw some conclusions from this week—and some boundaries for the future. With Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented a little something called the World Wide Web. He has a …

Day 4: Fifteen Minutes of Anonymity

February 9th, 2017


It's day four of the Privacy Paradox challenge. We talk to Elan Gale, executive producer of The Bachelor, about how we perform for social media, and how we change when we know we’re being watched. Also, the dangers of …

Day 3: Something To Hide

February 8th, 2017


It's day three of Note to Self's Privacy Paradox challenge. There are the things you know you share online: selfies, emails, Facebook posts. But there is so. much. more. Marketers are mining the words you use, your tone …

Day 2: The Search For Your Identity

February 7th, 2017


It's the second day of the Privacy Paradox challenge. You know - as you move across the web, clicking and searching and liking, you’re being tracked. You might use an ad blocker. Or a do-not-track plug-in. But you're …

Day 1: What Your Phone Knows

February 6th, 2017


Your Privacy Paradox challenges start today.  

What does your phone know about you? Too much, probably. And it’s even more than you think. Many apps track your location, even when you’re not using them. Others listen in …

Introducing: The Privacy Paradox

January 30th, 2017


We want control of our personal information. But even when risks to our data are high, we sign up for services and apps. We download, click, and post …

Saving Big Data From Itself

January 25th, 2017


There’s so much potential. With big data, researchers can smooth social interactions and create better cities. Maybe cure cancer, and slow climate change. But the data has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is …

The Bookie, The Phone Booth, and The FBI

January 18th, 2017


The Fourth Amendment doesn’t mention privacy once. But those 54 little words are a crucial battleground in today’s fight over our digital rights.

This week, Note to Self gets in our time machine, back to the court cases …

The Four Tendencies: How to Feed Good Habits

January 11th, 2017


Are you an upholder, a questioner, an obliger or a rebel? Gretchen Rubin of the Happier podcast has identified four ways that people respond to …

New Year. Same Old You.

January 4th, 2017


Can we really start fresh when our every step, nap, and calorie are measured? If even a hard-core coder fails at a tech-enabled diet, maybe we need a new way to optimize our quantified selves.

Support Note to Self by …

Go Ahead. Miss Out.

December 28th, 2016


FOMO is real. And it's amplified during the holiday season when party glam shots and scrumptious food pics are everywhere. So let's embrace a little …

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