Inside Italy’s Ultras: the Dangerous Fans Who Control the Game

A key figure in a powerful ‘ultra’ group killed himself in July. Police suspected the mafia was using the ultras to get into the game.

Every major club in Italy has its own ultra group and most have dozens. The firms have spent years splintering, regrouping, renaming and reinventing themselves – all in order to take possession of the centre of the curva. This area, behind the goal, has traditionally been the place where a club’s poorest, but most devoted, fans assemble. The curva is every bit as territorial as a drug dealer’s corner, and ultras stake out their turf in similar ways: fights, stabbings, shootings and, sometimes, by making alliances and business deals. There are 382 ultra groups in Italy today, of which some are still explicitly political – 40 far-right and 20 far-left.

Written by Tobias Jones, read by Andrew McGregor and produced by Simon Barnard

The Guardian’s Audio Long Reads | 16th December 2016

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Tim Harford on the Importance of Being Messy

Harford, is asking in this Intelligence Squared event. In his recently published Messy: How to Be Creative and Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World Harford argues that we need to be tidy up to a point. But in some areas of life, too much order makes things rigid, fragile and sterile. Take the office, where research shows that people are more productive and creative if they are allowed to surround themselves with a bit of clutter.
Or take Donald Trump. He deployed a strategy of chaos and improvisation, confounding his enemies with his late-night tweets and moving on before they had even had time to react. This messy strategy, Harford will argue, is one that has worked in many different contexts, from countless against-the-odds military victories, to Jeff Bezos’s phenomenal success with Amazon.
And then there’s automation. Computers may be ‘tidying up’ our lives in all sorts of ways, Harford will argue, but the world still remains an unpredictable place. And the qualities we are going to value more than ever in our automated world – creativity, resilience and responsiveness – simply cannot be disentangled from the messy soil that produces them.

Intelligence Squared | 16th December 2016

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Death by Diagnosis

Medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer, accounting for 10 percent of deaths annually, in a recently published study argues Marty Makary and a co-author, Michael Daniel.

How can this be? Are doctors and nurses showing up for work stoned out of their skulls? Are they sneaking into hospital rooms at night and smothering their most annoying patients? Are they surreptitiously removing healthy organs to sell them on the black market? If only! That would make the problem so much easier to solve. Why are so many deaths the result of medical error?

This is the third, final and the best episode in Bad Medicine series.

Narrated by Stephen J. Dubner; produced by Stephanie Tam.

Freakonomics Radio | 14th December 2016

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The Male Contraceptive Pill: How Close Are We?

Male contraceptive jab. Can you get one? Professor Richard Anderson talks about a recent World Health Organisation funded trial. Dr. Diana Blithe explains the progress being made Stateside using gels instead of jabs.  And finally, we hear about non-hormonal alternatives in development from Aaron Hamlin, executive director of the Male Contraception Initiative.

Presented by Hannah Devlin and produced by Max Sanderson.

The Guardian’s Science Weekly |  14th December 2016 

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What the Cuck?

“Cuck” has recently caught on. It’s a slur being used by white nationalists and white supremacists, the so-called “alt-right,” people like Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute. He made headlines by using the phrase “Hail Trump” in his speech and also used the “cuck.” The word, which has roots in the ancient insult “cuckold” took some turns in its modern usage. What does it mean? Who uses it? And how did it become the slur of choice for white nationalists? We’ll hear from linguist Michael Adams, sex columnist Dan Savage, and white nationalist Richard Spencer.

The World in Words | 14th December 2016

 

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How Fake News Spreads & Why People Believe It

How false stories during the presidential campaign were spread on Facebook and monetized by Google Ad Sense by a bunch of youngsters in the Macedonian town of Veles. They almost all published aggressively pro-Trump content aimed at conservatives and Trump supporters in the US. Several teens and young men who run these sites told Buzzfeed News’ media editor, Craig Silverman, that they don’t care about Donald Trump. They are responding to straightforward economic incentives.

These sites open a window into the economic incentives behind producing misinformation specifically for the wealthiest advertising markets and specifically for Facebook.

Fresh Air | 14th December 2016

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The Revenge of Analog

A small but influential part of the populace has returned to vinyl records, film cameras and other tangible things once thought useless in our digital world. The enduring appeal of tangibility is the theme of this podcast. David Sax, author of “The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter” points to the value and irreplaceability of a rich tangible experience.

KERA’s Think | 14th December 2016

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Joseph Henrich on Cultural Evolution, Weird Societies, and Life among Two Strange Tribes

To anthropologist Joseph Henrich, intelligence is overrated. Social learning, and its ability to influence biological evolution over time, is what really sets our species apart. He joined Tyler for a conversation on his work on cultural evolution, as well as his life among different tribes (academic and otherwise), Star Trek, big gods, small gods, China’s missing industrial revolution, the merits of coconut milk, the Flynn effect, American exceptionalism, and why he wants to travel in time to 6th-century Kent.

Conversations with Tyler | 14th December 2016

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Are Animals Really That Smart?

You own a cat, or is it vice versa? Family friendly felines have trained their owners to do their bidding. Thanks to a successful evolutionary adaptation, they rule your house.

Find out how your cat has you wrapped around its paw. And it’s not the only animal to outwit us. Primatologist Frans de Waal shares the surprising intellectual capabilities of chimps, elephants, and bats. In fact, could it be that we’re simply not smart enough to see how smart animals are?

Plus, the discovery of a fossilized dinosaur brain. Were those lumbering lizards more clever than we thought?

Guests:
Alex Liu – Paleontologist, University of Cambridge, U.K.
Abigail Tucker – Author of The Lion in the Living Room: How Housecats Tamed Us and Took Over the World
Frans de Waal – Primatologist, psychologist, Emory University, and author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Big Picture Science | 12th December 2016

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