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Episode.8 Season 2

When the lights go out.

Published: April 27, 2023
Stylized image featuring Shweta Saraf

How do we make technology that lasts? In this episode, Grace Ewura-Esi and Shweta Saraf join Producer John Taylor as he talks with two cutting-edge technologists who are trying to extend the life of the hardware infrastructure around us. From a cell phone tower that can be installed on your roof (and repaired just as easily), to a clock that is built to last ten thousand years, we uncover the common threads that run through technology that’s built to last.

Woven in this framework is the story of Sandra Rodriguez, who worked tirelessly to restore civilization—as well as hope itself—to the island of Puerto Rico with the help of the only piece of hardware infrastructure that withstood the powerful forces of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

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Show notes

When in San Francisco, visit The Interval, home to The Long Now Foundation and display center of the prototype pieces for The Clock of The Long Now. They also serve amazing tea and some killer scotch.

We also highly recommend the banana bread. Yum. The Interval is located in the heart of Fort Mason Center, next to the Marina.

Want to place a Long Bet? You can do so online right here. Make sure and tell us about it on Twitter, and maybe we’ll bet against you!

If you’d like to learn more about how Matt Johnson helps build community cell networks, read this cool article about his project in Bokondini, Indonesia.

Sandra Rodriguez is an active journalist in Puerto Rico, and also has an awesome podcast called En Blnaco y Negro Con Sandra. You can listen to it on Spotify.

If you want to learn more about what happened during Hurricane Maria and its after-effects, here’s an excellent article on the subject.

Orrery clock in Chrome containing planets and interconnection cirles, as displayed at The Interval in San Francisco, California

The top of the Orrery, as displayed at The Interval in San Francisco, California