Ben Johnson started his career in journalism in 2003, working as a features and general assignment reporter for The Day newspaper in New London, Connecticut. While there he won a regional award for feature writing, and was recruited to write a weekly entertainment column for the Tribune Media Service wire service.

In 2006, Ben relocated to New York City to be an entertainment and music reporter at the Staten Island Advance newspaper, where he soon moved into hard news, working the cops beat and as a weekend city desk editor. In 2010, he began to work as a freelance web producer at The Takeaway, a national radio show produced out of New York's WNYC Radio in partnership with WGBH, the New York Times and the BBC.

Ben went on to be a freelance radio producer at WNYC, serving as the digital editor for The Takeaway while also doing live and features reporting for the station on everything from Occupy Wall Street to New York's last functioning ship graveyard. While working at WNYC, Ben started blogging for Slate Magazine's breaking news blog, The Slatest.

In 2012, Ben left WNYC to manage a partnership between Slate and YouTube, producing daily breaking news videos and other content for SlateV, the magazine's video department. He also wrote regularly for Slate's Future Tense blog and drew the extreme ire of his fellow Radiohead fans by asking the band to stop touring

In summer 2012 Ben joined Marketplace to relaunch and produce the Tech Report, now called Marketplace Tech. When David Brancaccio became the host of Marketplace Morning Report in 2013, Ben started hosting Marketplace Tech and was hired officially as host in early 2014.

He doesn't like to brag about it but over the years, Ben has interviewed Jay-Z, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Luciano Pavarotti, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Josh Homme, Biz Stone, Guy Kawasaki, Col. Chris Hadfield, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Neil Young. Ben enjoys and engages in 80s movie references, pie baking, and high-fives. His Twitter feed has never been polluted by a subtweet. His interest in swimming knows no bounds, especially if there is a high-dive and a high-five involved. 

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Features by Ben Johnson

Technology at Davos; Telemedicine in the smartphone age

At the 43rd annual World Economic Forum in Davos, global leaders are meeting to discuss more than just business and politics. Technology is also on the agenda this year. And telemedicine -- providing medical care over the internet -- takes off in the smartphone age.
Posted In: Davos, smartphones

Deep Space Industries takes mining to infinity and beyond; The benefit of employee benefits at Google

Forget coal mining in Appalachia and mineral mining in Africa, a new outfit called Deep Space Industries aims to take drilling to the final frontier. The company is seeking investors for a project to mine asteroids. Also, Google shows just how much employers can benefit from employee benefits.
Posted In: Google, Dell, Microsoft, aerospace

Kim Dotcom sticks it to the man, again, with Mega; The future of libraries

The eccentric Megaupload founder is back with a new service that's sure to be a stick in the craw of the U.S. federal prosecutors pursuing a copyright infringement case against him. Also, libraries may be moving to a bookless future, but not if patrons have anything to say about it.
Posted In: Kim Dotcom, megaupload, copyright, library, 3D printing

Woman gives her son 18-point contract with his new iPhone

We loved the story at on The Next Web about a woman who gave her son a new iPhone over the holiday...along with an 18-point terms of use contract. It addresses a lot of the things parents worry about regarding kids having smart phones, from sexting, to a lack of digital ettiquette. The contract is pretty great through and through, but my favorite is the last point: 

18.  You will mess up.  I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  You & I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.

Read the rest of the contract here.

 

Always on (the Internet) in 2013, and controlling a robotic arm with a brain implant

Molly Wood of CNET gives her tech predictions for 2013, and Professor Andrew Schwartz describes research that helped a paraplegic woman control a robot arm with a brain implant.
Posted In: robotics, neuroscience, Google Glass, biotech

Online privacy in 2013 and trading old school correspondence on Lettrs.com

Gizmodo's managing editor Brian Barrett talks his tech predictions for 2013, and Lettrs.com offers a new way to trade old school correspondence online.
Posted In: 2013, online privacy, social media, letters

GE's CTO Mark Little on tech leaps in 2013, and 2012's Christmas Netflix outage

General Electric's chief technology officer Mark Little talks about leaps forward in energy efficiency in the new year, and we breathe a sigh of relief after a brief Netflix outage.
Posted In: netflix, General Electric, clean energy, natural gas

Merry Christmas! Now how do you work your new TV?

Many people on Christmas day are turning on their new gadgets, but what if once you power up your new 'smart' television, it looks all...weird?
Posted In: televisions, soap opera effect, motion-smoothing, tv

Santa Claus 2.0: Building drones to replace Rudolph

A Santa Claus we met on the street in Brooklyn also happens to be an electrical engineering hobbyist who wants to 'replace reindeer with drones.'
Posted In: drones, Unmanned vehicles, Santa, engineering

Pope Benedict XVI is following 7 versions of himself on Twitter and no one else

Yes yes, we all know, the Pope will officially start tweeting today. But who does he follow? Not God -- not on Twitter at least. (Must...not...make..."direct messages from God" joke....here). 

The Pope follows only seven people, which are actually seven other versions of himself. It's part of the Vatican's strategy -- explained in part to me for today's show by the company's Claire Diaz-Ortiz -- to get the message out in 8 different languages. Maybe the non Italian or non English-speaking versions of the Pope all retweet the original? Or they want people like me to look at the users that the Pope is following (which totally worked), and follow some of the Pople clones (which didn't work). 

We can assume different popular Twitter users take entirely different approaches when it comes to choosing who to follow. I find it interesting that the Pope follows no one but other versions of himself. At least he's more discerning than President Barack Obama, right?

In all seriousness, it'll be interesting to watch how one of the most famous religious leaders of the world -- and his people -- take to the social media. I hope even the Holy Father gets to toss out some good Pope jokes in the stream. 

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