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Completed Project

Hi-Phi Nation, Season Two

Matthew Au ’19 and Barry Lam (Philosophy)

This June, I aided in the production of season two of the hit philosophy podcast, Hi-Phi Nation, produced by professor Barry Lam. Tatiana Esposito-Von Mueffling was also an assistant, not through the Ford program. We transcribed tape, as per Barry's guidelines, adding timestamps, labeling speakers, and generally cleaning up the auto-transcribed jumble of words for clarity. Much of the tape we worked on was pre-recorded by Barry at the National High School Ethics Bowl, which provided many opportunities to listen to students from all around the country and from many different socioeconomic/ethnic backgrounds; students from a conservative all-girls private school from Texas and students from an inner-city Detroit high school appeared on the same tape, for instance.

Then, we took a day trip to Boston on June 15th to interview MIT professor and philosopher Kieren Setiya about his upcoming book about/his own midlife crisis.

The team at MIT during an interview-trip to Boston

We used Hindenburg audio editing software, Google Docs, and Google Hangouts this summer to do work. Another project I worked on was research for future episodes; I chose to find contacts for and information about drug addiction, legal language, and revenge. I also helped Barry with an interview for an upcoming episode about covers in music; we interviewed a music expert and philosopher from upstate New York about what a cover is and the different implications of covers. I especially enjoyed doing this work, as I am an avid musician. The three (two interviewees and Barry) talked for a while and referenced many songs I knew (“Iron Man,” “Respect,” to name a couple), while I sat in the home studio of Barry's and listened intently. This single recording session was also the most densely-educational hour of the whole month for me: Barry showed me his recording equipment and how it all worked, how the microphones were set up, and how he positioned each one differently depending on the type of microphone being used, etc. This philosophy podcast was fun and educational to work on, and I am very grateful and glad to have completed this 2017 Ford Scholars project.