Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, which explores the intersection of technology, policy, and society. Editor-in-residence and lecturer at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communications, she is also the editor of the newly released book, “You Are Not Expected to Understand This”: How 26 Lines of Code Changed the World. Before joining the Zócalo/Future Tense panel “How Has Computer Code Shaped Humanity?,” she sat down in our green room to chat about Titanic rabbit-holes, Philly cheesesteaks, and Nick Carter’s bowl cut.
When has technology thrilled you?
Technology thrilled me when I was in middle school and learned HTML so I could create a GeoCities website about the Backstreet Boys. So as a 14 year old who didn’t have any friends who enjoyed Backstreet Boys, the internet offered me a world of other nerds who didn’t have any friends who could talk to me about the Backstreet Boys. Nick was my favorite (I was basic). He had the bowl cut.
What is the trolliest thing you’ve done on the internet?
I love to talk about reality TV on the internet. I’ve got some pretty spicy takes on The Real Housewives on Reddit. Potomac is my favorite. I’m getting into Miami now; it’s been a really fun ride.
What is something you’re proud of?
I’m proud of coming from a family in which technology was a girl thing. My mother learned how to code in the ’70s. She was a management consultant at an accounting firm that required her to learn how to code. And then she became a stay-at-home mom. And she wanted me to have some kind of technical education. As soon as AOL was available, she had us connecting to the internet. My brothers were not interested, my father was not interested. It was something my mother and I both cared about together. For me, it was really cool — especially in the mid-’90s—to be in a family where that was something we did. She did not teach me how to code; I kind of wish she had. But she put a computer in my hand, and that has served me well my entire career.
You’re outside of Philly now. I have to ask: Pat’s v. Geno’s?
Neither. I find cheesesteaks disgusting. I have no urge. I don’t really eat much cheese, and I don’t really eat red meat—so it’s just horrifying. I do care about an Italian hoagie. It’s a staple in Philly.
What are you watching these days (besides Real Housewives)?
I’m watching The Last of Us. I recently watched Bad Sisters, which I loved. And Abbott Elementary! Prestige TV feels a little dry out there. There was a moment, six months ago, where I was like “I’m never going to watch all the television out there.”
Where is somewhere you go to unplug?
There’s an arboretum near my house, the Morris Arboretum. It’s huge and beautiful and you can sort of wander around, listen to music or a podcast, and get lost.
What do you miss most about D.C.?
I miss my friends. I’m now close to my brothers and nieces, and that’s wonderful. But I really miss my friends at Slate. I was in D.C. for about 15 years. Everyone craps on D.C. But it’s filled with people who care, who pay attention to the news, who have thoughts about recent books. I love it.
What’s the last great book you read?
Ship of Dreams. It’s about how the sinking of the Titanic ended the Edwardian era. I just recently went down a Titanic rabbit-hole for reasons I can’t explain—that genuinely has nothing to do with the to the re-release that’s apparently coming up. It was fascinating; it talked a lot about the socioeconomic factors related to the building of the Titanic and the sinking, and busted a lot of myths I hadn’t realized I had absorbed from the James Cameron movie.