The Syntact Project

Exploring the Synapses that Form Our World

  • Podcast: Quick Hits, November 2018 Ethan Swan, Fernando Garcia, and Matt Gillham

    Ethan, Fernando, and Matt bring back the Quick Hits format only to get derailed arguing about the merits of the medical field.

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  • Foreign Cyber Influence: Opening the Black Box Fernando Garcia

    If the James Bond movies are good for anything, they serve as a reminder that most of us in society really have no clue how the world of espionage, intelligence, and counter-intelligence really works. And while some may disagree, I don’t think there is a great need for common citizens to know the nuts and bolts of how MI6 and other intelligence agencies operate (other than to be aware of their legal and ethical bounds and their adherence to them). However, one aspect of this shadowy arm of government policy does impact citizens in the heart of our domestic society – the influence foreign governments seek to exert on elections and popular opinion in general. The targets of such activities are the thoughts of ordinary citizens, and the potential extent of this propaganda has been heavily discussed in the media in the past few years. Yet our understanding of how this malevolent influence is spread is severely lacking for such an important, potentially damaging, and well-publicized issue.

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  • 17 Years into the War on Terror, Objectives Have Changed but Motives Are the Same Matt Boomer

    I have little love in my heart for “War on -noun-” campaigns. It is impossible to define victory or defeat in a “war” where the enemy is an ambiguously defined bogeyman rather than a real force.

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  • Podcast: Book Club: Dataclysm Ethan Swan, Carly Gundy, Corinne Schlachter, and Phil Anderson

    Ethan is joined by guests Carly, Corinne, and Phil to review Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm in a long episode.

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  • A Chemical Engineer and a Senator Walk into the Capitol Fernando Garcia

    Why don’t the government’s policies fix gun violence? Illegal immigration? The exodus of businesses relocating to other countries? After all, we have the chance to elect 535 of the nation’s brightest minds to serve in Congress, and outfit them with staffs to help them process an incredible amount of information. Sometimes, all these smart people appear like “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men,” toiling but unable to put Humpty Dumpty back together.

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  • Podcast: Quick Hits, August 2018 Ethan Swan, Fernando Garcia, and Matt Gillham

    Ethan, Fernando, and Matt reprise the Quick Hits format. They ideate over whether “ideate” is actually a word.

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