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Radio Allows Old People To Discuss Internet

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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You know what's the worst? "The Takeaway," which airs in New York on WNYC public radio in the mornings. Although John Hockenberry (a Portfolio and Wired contributor and longtime blogger and radio person) is generally delightful, and his co-host Adaora Udoji is apparently a decent legal analyst, there's something about this odd bite-size radio hoo-ha of theirs that's insanely grating. This morning they had on some Cornell applied-math professor named Steve, and they had a ridiculous conversation based on some recent study about how things on the "internet" go "viral." Said Hockenberry: "It's actually harder than you think to start something viral!" They talked a lot about actual viruses, viral networking and viral memes and what made them different! For instance, sneezing on the bus can only spread illness to fellow bus-riders, but on the internet, you can spread a social contagion everywhere, across boundaries! "Did you see the videos of those guys and the Diet Coke and the Mentos?" asked Hockenberry. This sort of thing is guaranteed to make you stabby before coffee!

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