This American Life Stories December 11, 2015

AAPL: 113.18

-2.99

Season 2 of the hugely popular (and compelling) podcast Serial now available on iTunes

Serial was one of the most compelling podcast series I’ve ever listened to, and was directly responsible for my sleep deprivation in the week I first discovered it. A spinoff from The American Life, season 1 told the true story of what sounded very much like a miscarriage of justice in a murder case, leading to the case being reopened more than 15 years later. The podcast is now back with season 2.

The second season tells the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier held for five years by the Taliban, initially hailed as a hero and later charged with desertion.

In the middle of the night, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl grabs a notebook, snacks, water, some cash. Then he quietly slips off a remote U.S. Army outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into the dark, open desert. About 20 minutes later, it occurs to him: he’s in over his head.

I know what I’ll be listening to on the train ride into town this evening.

This American Life Stories March 19, 2012

Foxconn seems to be happy about the news late last week that Mike Daisy’s monologue about his Foxconn ‘findings’ was mostly fabricated from news reports.

In a statement to Businessweek, Louis Woo, spokesman for Taipei-based Foxconn said:

“I am happy that the truth prevails, I am glad that Mike Daisey’s lies were exposed. But I don’t think that the reports about this have gone far enough to find out what exactly is the truth. People will have the impression that Foxconn is a bad company, so I hope they will come and find out for themselves,”

Daisey was exposed via an NPR reporter that contacted his translator Cathey Lee who denied just about every part of Daisey’s story. Daisey, for his part, responded:

I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by The New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.

Daisey has been forced to stop his show but did receive a standing ovation following its last performance this weekend.

Critics of Foxconn say that they aren’t off the hook.

Update: Daisy has a new blog post out with this: expand full story

This American Life Stories January 17, 2012

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Earlier this week, Apple pledged to let the Fair Labor Association access its suppliers’ facilities to monitor working conditions. Even though Apple is the first technology company admitted to the FLA, the snowballing issue of harsh conditions at Far East plants will not go away with the announcement. Quite the contrary, the problem has escalated and gone mainstream, with both The Daily Show and This American Life focusing on the grim reality of earning a living at Foxconn-operated sweatshops in China.

Jon Stewart, The Daily Show host and chief satirist, remarked in an episode yesterday:

By creating a convenient ecosystem, China’s Foxconn draws in employees who earn 31 cents an hour working for 35 hours straight, thereby saving American companies money.

As you know, Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry) is Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer, it but also produces gadgets for Amazon, Microsoft, HP, Dell and a variety of other brands. With that said, both shows tackle larger issues that affect just about every electronics manufacturer. The last week’s episode of This American Life, the popular radio program, weighed in as well. You can listen to their free audio stream here.

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