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Radiolab

English, Sciences, 23 seasons, 207 episodes, 6 days, 6 hours, 5 minutes
About
Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.
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Lucy

Chimps. Bonobos. Humans. We're all great apes, but that doesn’t mean we’re one happy family.This episode, a mashup of content stretching all the way back to 2010, asks the question, is cross-species co-habitation an utterly stupid idea? Or might it be our one last hope as more and more humans fill up the planet? A chimp named Lucy teaches us the ups and downs of growing up human, and a visit to The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa highlights some of the basics of bonobo culture (be careful, they bite).EPISODE CITATIONS -Photos:Photo of Lucy and Janis hugging.  (https://zpr.io/U7qRdYDqxbGj)Videos:Lucy throughout the years (https://vimeo.com/9377513)Slideshow produced by Sharon Shattuck.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
5/17/202457 minutes, 24 seconds
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Selected Shorts

A selection of short flights of fact and fancy performed live on stage.Usually we tell true stories at this show, but earlier this spring we were invited to guest host a live show called Selected Shorts, a New York City institution that presents short fiction performed on stage by great actors (you’ll often find Tony, Emmy and Oscars winners on their stage). We treated the evening a bit like a Radiolab episode, selecting a theme, and choosing several stories related to that theme. The stories we picked were all about “flight” in one way or another, and came from great writers like Brian Doyle, Miranda July, Don Shea and Margaret Atwood. As we traveled from the flight of a hummingbird, to an airplane seat beside a celebrity, to the mind of a bat, we found these stories pushing us past the edge of what we thought we could know, in the way that all truly great writing does.Special thanks to Abubakr Ali, Becca Blackwell, Molly Bernard, Zach Grenier, Drew Richardson, Jennifer Brennan and the whole team at Selected Shorts and Symphony Space.EPISODE CREDITS: Produced by - Maria Paz GutierrezFact-checking by - Natalie Middletonand Edited by  - Pat WaltersOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
5/10/202448 minutes, 26 seconds
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Memory and Forgetting

Remembering is a tricky, unstable business. This hour: a look behind the curtain of how memories are made...and forgotten.  The act of recalling in our minds something that happened in the past is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process--it’s easy come, easy go as we learn how true memories can be obliterated, and false ones added. Then, Oliver Sacks joins us to tell the story of an amnesiac whose love for his wife and music transcend his 7-second memory.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
4/26/202457 minutes, 38 seconds
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Small Potatoes

An ode to the small, the banal, the overlooked things that make up the fabric of our lives.Most of our stories are about the big stuff: Important or dramatic events, big ideas that transform the world around us or inspire conflict and struggle and change. But most of our lives, day by day or hour by hour, are made up of … not that stuff. Most of our lives are what we sometimes dismissively call “small potatoes.” This week on Radiolab, Heather Radke challenges to focus on the small, the overlook, the everyday … and find out what happens when you take a good hard look at the things we all usually overlook.Special thanks to Moeko Fujii, Kelley Conway, Robin Kelley, Jason Isaacs, and Andrew SemansEPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Heather Radke, Rachael Cusick, and Matt Kieltywith help from - Erica HeilmanProduced by - Annie McEwen and Matt KieltyOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Jeremy BloomFact-checking by - Emily Krieger and Diane Kellyand Edited by  - Alex NeasonEPISODE CITATIONS:Audio -Check out Ian Chillag’s podcast, Everything is Alive, from Radiotopia.Museums -Learn more about The Museum of Everyday Life, located in Glover, Vermont, here.Newsletter - Heather Radke has a newsletter all about small potatoes. It’s called Petite Patate and you can subscribe at HeatherRadke.substack.com.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
4/19/202459 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Distance of the Moon

In an episode we last featured on our Radiolab for Kids Feed back in 2020, and in honor of its blocking out the Sun for a bit of us for a bit last week, in this episode, we’re gonna talk more about the moon. According to one theory, (psst listen to The Moon Itself if you want to know more) the moon formed when a Mars-sized chunk of rock collided with Earth, the moon coalesced out of the debris from that impact. And it was MUCH closer to Earth than it is today. This idea is taken to its fanciful limit in Italo Calvino's story "The Distance of the Moon" (from his collection Cosmicomics, translated by William Weaver). Read by Liev Schreiber, the story is narrated by a character with the impossible-to-pronounce name Qfwfq, and tells of a strange crew who jump between Earth and moon, and sometimes hover in the nether reaches of gravity between the two.This reading was part of a live event hosted by Radiolab and Selected Shorts, and it originally aired on WNYC’s and PRI’s SELECTED SHORTS, hosted by BD Wong and paired with a Ray Bradbury classic, “All Summer in a Day,” read by musical theater star Michael Cerveris.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
4/12/202440 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Moon Itself

There’s a total solar eclipse coming. On Monday, April 8, for a large swath of North America, the sun will disappear, in the middle of the day. Everywhere you look, people are talking about it. What will it feel like when the sun goes away? What will the blocked-out sun look like? But all this talk of the sun got us thinking: wait, what about the moon? The only reason this whole solar eclipse thing is happening is because the moon is stepping in front of the sun. So in today’s episode, we stop treating the moon like a bit player in this epic cosmic event, and place it centerstage. We get to know the moon, itself — from birth, to middle age, to … death.This episode was reported by Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Becca Bressler, Alan Goffinski, Maria Paz Guttierez, Sarah Qari, Simon Adler and Alex Neason, and produced by Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Pat Walters, Maria Paz Guttierrez, Alan Goffinski and Simon Adler. It was edited by Becca Bressler and Pat Walters. Fact-checked by Diane Kelly and Natalie A Middleton. Original Music and sound design by Matt Kielty, Jeremy Bloom, and Simon Adler. Mixing help from Arianne Wack.Special thanks to Rebecca Boyle, Patrick Leverone and Daryl Pitts at the Maine Gem and Mineral Museum in Bethel Maine, Renee Weber, Paul M. Sutter, Matt Siegler, Sarah Noble, and Chucky P.EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Becca Bressler, Alan Goffinski, Maria Paz Guttierez, Sarah Qari, Simon Adler and Alex NeasonProduced by -Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Pat Walters, Maria Paz Guttierrez, Alan Goffinski and Simon AdlerOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Matt Kielty, Jeremy Bloom and Simon Adlerwith mixing help from  - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Natalie Middleton and Diane Kelleyand Edited by  - Pat Walters and Becca BresslerEPISODE CITATIONS:Books - Rebecca Boyle’s book, Our Moon: How the Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution and Made Us Who We Are,Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
4/5/202449 minutes, 13 seconds
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Short Cuts: Drawn Onward

As a treat for the first palindrome date of the calendar year 2024, 4/2/24, (for those who use U.S. formatting of dates anyway), we are releasing a special audio palindrome. A piece that plays the same forward and backward. It’s called “Drawn Onward” and it comes from the producers Alan Goffinski and Sarita Bhatt. It originally aired on the wonderful BBC show Short Cuts which curates fresh, experimental, adventurous audio journeys. Special thanks to Alan Goffinski, Sarita Bhatt, Josie Long, Eleanor McDowall, BBC Short CutsEPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Alan Goffinski, Sarita Bhatt,with help from - Alan Goffinski, Sarita BhattOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Alan GoffinskiEPISODE CITATIONS:Articles - BBC Short Cuts full episode: Meeting Myself Coming BackOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
4/2/202413 minutes, 33 seconds
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Finding Emilie

This is a segment we first aired back in 2011. In it, we hear a story of a very different kind of lost and found. Alan Lundgard, a college art student, fell in love with a fellow art student, Emilie Gossiaux. Nine months after Alan and Emilie made it official, Emilie's mom, Susan Gossiaux, received a terrible phone call from Alan. Together, Susan and Alan tell Jad and Robert about the devastating fork in the road that left Emilie lost in a netherworld, and how Alan found her again.Then, at the end of the episode, and a full decade later, we catch up with Emilie and talk about her art, her heart, a dog named London, and the movie The Fifth Element. EPISODE CITATIONS -Exhibitions: Emilie L. Gossiaux - Other-Worlding (https://queensmuseum.org/exhibition/other-worlding/) at the Queen’s County Museum, through April, 7th, 2024.   Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
3/22/202438 minutes, 35 seconds
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Throughline: Dare to Dissent

Sometimes, the most dangerous and powerful thing a person can do is to stand up not against their enemies, but against their friends. As the United States heads into what will likely be another bitter and divided election year, there will be more and more pressure to stand with our in-groups rather than our consciences.So a group of us here at Throughline decided to tell some of the stories of people who have stood up to that kind of pressure. Some are names we know; others we likely never will. On today's episode: what those people did, what it cost them, and why they did it anyway.EPISODE CITATIONS:Books -Defying Hitler: the White Rose Pamphlet (https://zpr.io/wAXJuTzqFBvw), by Alexandra Lloyd, fellow by special election in German at the University of Oxford.King: A Life (https://zpr.io/iGAEggJJnFNE), by Johnathan Eig. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
3/15/202441 minutes, 2 seconds
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Staph Retreat

What happens when you combine an axe-wielding microbiologist and a disease-obsessed historian? A strange brew that's hard to resist, even for a modern day microbe.In the war on devilish microbes, our weapons are starting to fail us.  The antibiotics we once wielded like miraculous flaming swords seem more like lukewarm butter knives.But today we follow an odd couple to a storied land of elves and dragons. There, they uncover a 1000-year-old secret that makes us reconsider our most basic assumptions about human progress and wonder: What if the only way forward is backward?Reported by Latif Nasser. Produced by Matt Kielty and Soren Wheeler.Special thanks to Steve Diggle, Professor Roberta Frank, Alexandra Reider and Justin Park (our Old English readers), Gene Murrow from Gotham Early Music Scene, Marcia Young for her performance on the medieval harp and Collin Monro of Tadcaster and the rest of the Barony of Iron Bog.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
3/8/202431 minutes, 3 seconds
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Hold On

Two years ago, the United States did something amazing. In response to the mental health crisis the federal government launched 988 - a nationwide, easy to remember phone number that anyone can call anytime and talk to a counselor. It was 911 but for mental health and they hoped that it would save lives. However, if you call 988 today the first thing you hear isn’t a sympathetic counselor. What you hear is hold music.Today, the story of the highest stakes hold music in the universe, the three men who created suicide prevention and the two women trying to fix it. Special thanks to Dr. Matt Wray, Sherbert Willows, Dani Bennett & Monica Johnson, Shari Sinwelski & the folks at Didi Hirsch, David Green, Jay Kennedy S. Carey & JagJaguwar Records,  and George Colt for sharing his cassette taped interviews of Ed Schneidman with us.EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Simon AdlerProduced by - Simon AdlerFact-checking by - Natalie Middletonand Edited by  - Pat WaltersOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
3/1/202447 minutes, 35 seconds
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G: The World's Smartest Animal

This episode begins with a rant. This rant, in particular, comes from Dan Engber - a science writer who loves animals but despises animal intelligence research. Dan told us that so much of the way we study animals involves tests that we think show a human is smart ... not the animals we intend to study. Dan’s rant got us thinking: What is the smartest animal in the world? And if we threw out our human intelligence rubric, is there a fair way to figure it out?Obviously, there is. And it’s a live game show, judged by Jad, Robert … and a dog.The last episode of G, our series on intelligence, was recorded as a live show back in May 2019 at the Greene Space in New York City and now we’re sharing that game show with you, again. Two science writers, Dan Engber and Laurel Braitman, and two comedians, Tracy Clayton and Jordan Mendoza, compete against one another to find the world’s smartest animal. They treated us to a series of funny, delightful stories about unexpectedly smart animals and helped us shift the way we think about intelligence across all the animals - including us.Special thanks to Bill Berloni and Macy (the dog) and everyone at The Greene Space.EPISODE CITATIONS:Podcasts:If you want to listen to more of the RADIOLAB G SERIES, CLICK HERE (https://radiolab.org/series/radiolab-presents-g). Videos:Check out the video of our live event here! (https://fb.watch/qczu3n1ooA/) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
2/16/202450 minutes, 20 seconds
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Cheating Death

In this episode, Maria Paz Gutiérrez does battle against the one absolute truth of human existence and all life… death. After getting a team of scientists to stand in for death (the grim reaper wasn’t available), we parry and thrust our way through the myriad ways that death comes for us - from falling pianos to evolution’s disinterest in longevity. In the process, we see if we can find a satisfying answer to the question “why do we have to die” and find ourselves face to face with the bitter end of everything that ever existed.Special thanks to Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, Steven Nadler, Beth Jarosz, Anjana Badrinarayanan, Shaon Chakrabarti, Bob Horvitz, John K. Davis, Jessica Brand, Chandan K. Sen, Cole Imperi, Carl Bergstrom, Erin Gentry -Lam, and Jared Silvia. This episode was made in loving memory of Dali Rodriguez.EPISODE CREDITS - Reported by - Maria Paz GutiérrezProduced by - Maria Paz Gutiérrezwith help from - Alyssa Jeong Perry and Timmy BroderickOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Maria Paz Gutiérrez and Jeremy Bloomwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Emily KriegerOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
2/9/202441 minutes, 49 seconds
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Breaking Newsve About Zoozve

Less than two weeks since we released Zoozve, and we have BIG NEWS about our quest to name the first-ever quasi-moon! And that’s only the half of it! Listen to the episode “Zoozve” before you listen to this update! (https://radiolab.org/podcast/zoozve)EPISODE CREDITS -Reported by - Latif Nasserwith help from - Ekedi Fausther-KeeysProduced by - Sarah QariOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Sarah Qariwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kelleyand Edited by  - Becca BresslerEPISODE CITATIONS - Official announcement about Zoozve is available here! (https://www.wgsbn-iau.org/files/Bulletins/V004/WGSBNBull_V004_002.pdf) If you’d like to see or sign up for the official asteroid naming bulletin that comes from the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group for Small Bodies Nomenclature, you can do so here (https://www.wgsbn-iau.org/).  If you’d like to buy (or even just look at) Alex Foster’s Solar System poster (featuring Zoozve of course), check it out here (https://zpr.io/dcqVEgHP43SJ). First 75 new annual sign-ups to our membership program The Lab get one free, autographed by Alex! Existing members of The Lab, look out for a discount code!Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
2/5/202412 minutes, 7 seconds
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G: Relative Genius

Albert Einstein asked that when he died, his body be cremated and his ashes be scattered in a secret location. He didn’t want his grave, or his body, becoming a shrine to his genius. When he passed away in the early morning hours of April, 18, 1955, his family knew his wishes. There was only one problem: the pathologist who did the autopsy had different plans.In the third episode of “G”, Radiolab’s miniseries on intelligence, first aired back in 2019 we go on one of the strangest scavenger hunts for genius the world has ever seen. We follow Einstein’s stolen brain from that Princeton autopsy table, to a cider box in Wichita, Kansas, to labs all across the country. And eventually, beyond the brain itself entirely. All the while wondering, where exactly is the genius of a man who changed the way we view the world? Special thanks to: Elanor Taylor, Claudia Kalb, Dustin O’Halloran, Deborah Lee and Tim Huson. If you want to listen to more of BLINDSPOT: THE PLAGUE IN THE SHADOWS, SUBSCRIBE HERE (https://link.chtbl.com/blindspotpodcast?sid=radiolab). New episodes come out on Thursdays. EPISODE CITATIONSPodcasts:If you want to listen to more of the RADIOLAB G SERIES, CLICK HERE (https://radiolab.org/series/radiolab-presents-g). Websites:The Einstein Papers Project: https://www.einstein.caltech.edu/Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
2/2/20241 hour, 14 minutes, 39 seconds
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Zoozve

As co-host Latif Nasser was putting his kid to bed one night, he noticed something weird on a solar system poster up on the wall: Venus had a moon called … Zoozve.  But when he called NASA to ask them about it, they had never heard of Zoozve, and besides that, they insisted that Venus doesn’t have any moons.  So begins a tiny mystery that leads to a newly discovered kind of object in our solar system, one that is simultaneously a moon, but also not a moon, and one that waltzes its way into asking one of the most profound questions about our universe:  How predictable is it, really? And what does that mean for our place in it?Special Thanks to Larry Wasserman and everyone else at the Lowell Observatory, Rich Kremer and Marcelo Gleiser of Dartmouth College, Benjamin Sharkey at the University of Maryland. Thanks to the IAU and their Working Group for Small Bodies Nomenclature, as well as to the Bamboo Forest class of kindergarteners and first graders. EPISODE CREDITS -Reported by - Latif Nasserwith help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeys Produced by - Sarah QariOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Sarah Qari and Jeremy Bloomwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kellyand Edited by  - Becca BresslerEPISODE CITATIONS - Articles:Check out the paper by Seppo Mikkola, Paul Wiegert (whose voices are in the episode) along with colleagues Kimmo Innanen and Ramon Brasser describing this new type of object here (https://zpr.io/Ci4B3sGWZ3xi).The Official Rules and Guidelines for Naming Non-Cometary Small Solar-System Bodies from the IAU Working Group on Small Body Nomenclature can be found here (https://zpr.io/kuBJYQAiCy7s).All the specs on our strange friend can be found here (https://zpr.io/Tzg2sHhAp2kb).Check out Liz Landau’s work at NASA's Curious Universe podcast https://zpr.io/QRbgZbMU2gWW) as well as lizlandau.comVideos:Fascinating little animation of a horseshoe orbit (https://zpr.io/A9y6qHhzZtpA), a tadpole orbit (https://zpr.io/4qBDbgumhLf2), and a quasi-moon orbit (https://zpr.io/xtLhwQFGZ4Eh). Posters:If you’d like to buy (or even just look at) Alex Foster’s Solar System poster (featuring Zoozve of course), check it out here (https://zpr.io/dcqVEgHP43SJ). First 75 new annual sign-ups to our membership program The Lab get one free, autographed by Alex! Existing members of The Lab, look out for a discount code!Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
1/26/202440 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Living Room

We're thrilled to present a piece from one of our favorite podcasts, Love + Radio (Nick van der Kolk and Brendan Baker).  Producer Briana Breen brings us the story: Diane’s new neighbors across the way never shut their curtains, and that was the beginning of an intimate, but very one-sided relationship. Please listen to as much of Love + Radio as you can (loveandradio.org). And, if you are in Seattle Area, or plan to be on Feb 15th, 2024 come check out Radiolab Live!, and in person (https://zpr.io/fCDUTEYju76h).  Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
1/19/202425 minutes, 42 seconds
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Our Little Stupid Bodies

Sometimes a seemingly silly question gets stuck in your craw and you can’t shake the feeling that something big lies behind it. We are constantly collecting these kinds of questions from our listeners, not to mention piling up a storehouse of our own “stupid” questions, as we lovingly call them. And a little while back, we noticed a little cluster of questions that seemed to have a shared edgy energy, and all led us to the same place: Our own bodies. So, today on Radiolab, we go down our throats and get under our skin, we take on evolution and anatomy and molecular cosmetics, to discover some very not-stupid answers to our seemingly stupid questions.  Sometimes a seemingly silly question gets stuck in your craw and you can’t shake the feeling that something big lies behind it. We are constantly collecting these kinds of questions from our listeners, not to mention piling up a storehouse of our own “stupid” questions, as we lovingly call them. And a little while back, we noticed a little cluster of questions that seemed to have a shared edgy energy, and all led us to the same place: Our own bodies. So, today on Radiolab, we go down our throats and get under our skin, we take on evolution and anatomy and molecular cosmetics, to discover some very not-stupid answers to our seemingly stupid questions. Special thanks to Mark Krasnow, Sachi Mulkey, Kari Leibowitz, Andrea Evers, Dr. Mona Amin, Benjamin Ungar, Praby Singh, Brye and Rachel Adler EPISODE CREDITS:  Reported by - Molly Webster, Becca Bressler, Latif Nasser, and Alan Goffinskiwith help from Ekedi Fausther-KeeysProduced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandan, Becca Bressler, Alyssa Jeong Perry, Molly Webster with help from - Matt KieltyOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloom with mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kelley, Emily Kriegerand Edited by  - Pat Walters and Alex Neason   Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
1/12/202455 minutes, 31 seconds
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Stochasticity

First aired way back in 2009, this episode is all about a wonderfully slippery and smarty-pants word for randomness, Stochasticity, and how it may be at the very foundation of our lives. Along the way, we talk to a woman suddenly consumed by a frenzied gambling addiction, hear from two friends whose meeting seems to defy pure chance, and take a close look at some very noisy bacteria. EPISODE CITATIONS: Videos - Stochasticity Music Video (https://zpr.io/uZiH9j9ZU6be) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
1/5/202451 minutes, 40 seconds
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Numbers

First aired back in 2009, this episode is all about one thing, or rather a collection of things. Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, chances are you rely on numbers every day of your life. Where do they come from, and what do they really do for us? This hour: stories of how numbers confuse us, connect us, and even reveal secrets about us.
12/22/202359 minutes, 51 seconds
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A 4-Track Mind

In this short episode, first aired in 2011, a neurologist issues a dare to a ragtime piano player and a famous conductor. When the two men face off in an fMRI machine, the challenge is so unimaginably difficult that one man instantly gives up. But the other achieves a musical feat that ought to be impossible. Reporter Jessica Benko went to Michigan to visit Bob Milne, one of the best ragtime piano players in the world, and a preternaturally talented musician. Usually, Bob sticks to playing piano for small groups of ragtime enthusiasts, but he recently caught the attention of Penn State neuroscientist Kerstin Betterman, who had heard that Bob had a rare talent: He can play technically challenging pieces of music on demand while carrying on a conversation and cracking jokes. According to Kerstin, our brains just aren't wired for that. So she decided to investigate Bob's brain, and along the way she discovered that Bob has an even more amazing ability ... one that we could hardly believe and science can't explain. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
12/8/202321 minutes, 2 seconds
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Boy Man

Could puberty get any more awkward? Turns out, yes. Writer Patrick Burleigh started going through puberty as a toddler. He had pubic hair before he was two years old and a mustache by middle school. All of this was thanks to a rare genetic mutation that causes testotoxicosis, also known as precocious puberty. From the moment he was born, abnormally high levels of testosterone coursed through his body, just as it had in his father’s body, his grandfather’s body, and his great-grandfather’s body. On this week’s episode, Patrick’s premature coming of age story helps us understand just why puberty is so awkward for all of us, and whether and how it helps forge us into the adults we all become. Special thanks to Craig Cox, Nick Burleigh, and Alyssa Voss at the NIH. EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Latif Nasserwith help from - Kelsey Padgett, Ekedi Fausther-Keeys, and Alyssa Jeong-PerryProduced by - Pat Walters, Alex Neason, and Alyssa Jeong-Perry with help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keyes and Matt Kieltywith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane A. Kellyand Edited by  - Pat Walters   EPISODE CITATIONS: Articles - To read Patrick’s own writing about his experience with precocious puberty and to see photos of him as a child, check out his article in The Cut, “A 4-Year-Old Trapped in a Teenager’s Body” (https://zpr.io/athKVQmtfzaN) In her spare time, our fact checker Diane Kelly is also a comparative anatomist, and you can hear her TEDMED talk, “What We Didn’t Know about Penis Anatomy” (https://zpr.io/MWHFTYBdubHj)  Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
12/1/202353 minutes, 8 seconds
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Shrink

The definition of life is in flux, complexity is overrated, and humans are shrinking. Viruses are supposed to be sleek, pared-down, dead-eyed machines. But when one microbiologist stumbled upon a GIANT virus, hundreds of times bigger than any seen before, all that went out the window.  The discovery opened the door not only to a new cast of microscopic characters with names like Mimivirus, Mamavirus, and Megavirus, but also to basic questions: How did we miss these until now? Have they been around since the beginning? What if evolution could go … backwards? In this episode from 2015,  join former co-hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich as they grill Radiolab regular Carl Zimmer on these paradoxical viruses – they’re so big that they can get their own viruses! - and what they can tell us about the nature of life.  Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
11/24/202345 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Interstitium

In this episode we introduce you to a part of our bodies that was invisible to Western scientists until about five years ago; it’s called "the interstitium," a vast network of fluid channels inside the tissues around our organs that scientists have just begun to see, name, and understand. Along the way we look at how new technologies rub up against long-standing beliefs, and how millions of scientists and doctors failed to see what was right in front (and inside!) of their noses. We also find out how mapping the anatomy of this hidden infrastructure may help solve one of the fundamental mysteries of cancer, and perhaps provide a bridge between ancient and modern medicine.Special thanks to Aaron Wickenden, Jessica Clark, Mara Zepeda, Darryl Holliday, Dr. Amy Chang, Kate Sassoon, Guy Huntley, John Jacobson, Scotty G, and the Village Zendo EPISODE CREDITS -  Reported by - Lulu Miller and Jenn BrandelProduced by - Matt Kieltywith help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeyswith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Natalie Middletonand Edited by  - Alex Neason EPISODE CITATIONS - Articles: Check out reporter Jenn Brandel’s companion essay to this episode in Orion magazine, titled, Invisible Landscapes (https://zpr.io/NKuxvYY84RvH), which argues that the discovery of the interstitium could challenge established practices of compartmentalizing in science and society.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
11/17/202355 minutes, 7 seconds
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Funky Hand Jive

Back when Robert was kid, he had a chance encounter with then President John F. Kennedy. The interaction began with a hello and ended with a handshake. And like many of us who have touched greatness, 14 year old Robert was left wondering if maybe some of Kennedy would stay with him. Back in 2017, when this episode first aired, Robert found himself still pondering that encounter and question. And so with the help of what was brand new science back then, and a helping hand from Neil Degrasse Tyson, he set out to satisfy this curiosity once and for all.EPISODE CREDITS:Produced by - Simon Adlerwith help from - Only Human: Amanda Aronczyk, Kenny Malone, Jillian Weinberger and Elaine Chen. EPISODE CITATIONS: Videos: The Handshake Experiment (https://zpr.io/buzgQeJJLqvY)Books: Neil deGrasse Tyson's newest book is called "Astrophysics for People in A Hurry." (https://zpr.io/idRcrMu3Kj8c) Ed Yong, “I Contain Multitudes.” (https://zpr.io/ff5imFP3kA6s) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!   Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.   Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
11/10/202327 minutes, 36 seconds
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Toy Soldiers

Back in February of 2022, anyone who knew anything thought the War in Ukraine would be over in a few weeks. Russia simply had more bodies to fight with and more steel to kill with.Fast-forward to today, however, and the war is anything but over. Ukraine has held and regained territory with shocking resilience. Stranger still, a small, cheap gadget that up until now was little more than a toy, has been central to their success.Today on Radiolab, we track the deployment of this weapon and wonder what happens when you have to look your enemy in the eye before you pull the trigger. Special thanks to Anna Kaliusna and her team for her footage from the frontline, Yulia Tarisuk for her help with all things Ukrainian language related. And Hanna Rose Shell for her helping us understand the history of camouflage. EPISODE CREDITS:Reported by - Simon AdlerProduced by - Simon AdlerOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Simon Adler and Jeremy Bloomwith mixing by - Jeremy BloomFact-checking by - Natalie Middletonand Edited by - Becca Bressler   EPISODE CITATIONS:AUDIO:On the Media, “The Fog of War” (https://zpr.io/8NKDM2xHWzRp)Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
11/3/202330 minutes, 7 seconds
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Border Trilogy Part 3: What Remains

While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness. In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.” First aired in 2018 and over three episodes, Radiolab investigates this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it. Part 3: What Remains  The third episode in our Border Trilogy follows anthropologist Jason De León after he makes a grisly discovery in Arivaca, Arizona. In the middle of carrying out his pig experiments with his students, Jason finds the body of a 30-year-old female migrant. With the help of the medical examiner and some local humanitarian groups, Jason discovers her identity. Her name was Maricela. Jason then connects with her family, including her brother-in-law, who survived his own harrowing journey through Central America and the Arizona desert. With the human cost of Prevention Through Deterrence weighing on our minds, we try to parse what drives migrants like Maricela to cross through such deadly terrain, and what, if anything, could deter them. Special thanks to Carlo Albán, Sandra Lopez-Monsalve, Chava Gourarie, Lynn M. Morgan, Mike Wells and Tom Barry.CORRECTION: An earlier version of this episode, when it originally aired, incorrectly stated that a person's gender can be identified from bone remains. We've adjusted the audio to say that a person's sex can be identified from bone remains. EPISODE CITATIONS: Jason de Leon's latest work is a global participatory art project called Hostile Terrain 94 (https://zpr.io/dNEyVpAiNXjv), was exhibited at over 70 different locations around the world in 2020.   Read more about it here (https://zpr.io/uwDfu9bXFriv).   Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
10/27/202356 minutes, 42 seconds
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Border Trilogy Part 2: Hold the Line

While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness.  In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.” First aired in 2018 and over three episodes, Radiolab investigates this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it. Part 2: Hold the Line After the showdown in court with Bowie High School, Border Patrol brings in a fresh face to head its dysfunctional El Paso Sector: Silvestre Reyes. The first Mexican-American to ever hold the position, Reyes knows something needs to change and has an idea how to do it. One Saturday night at midnight, with the element of surprise on his side, Reyes unveils ... Operation Blockade. It wins widespread support for the Border Patrol in El Paso, but sparks major protests across the Rio Grande. Soon after, he gets a phone call that catapults his little experiment onto the national stage, where it works so well that it diverts migrant crossing patterns along the entire U.S.-Mexico Border. Years later, in the Arizona desert, anthropologist Jason de León realizes that in order to accurately gauge how many migrants die crossing the desert, he must first understand how human bodies decompose in such an extreme environment. He sets up a macabre experiment, and what he finds is more drastic than anything he could have expected. Special thanks to Sherrie Kossoudji at the University of Michigan, Lynn M. Morgan, Cheryl Howard, Andrew Hansen, William Sabol, Donald B. White, Daniel Martinez, Michelle Mittelstadt at the Migration Policy Institute, Former Executive Assistant to the El Paso Mayor Mark Smith, Retired Assistant Border Patrol Sector Chief Clyde Benzenhoefer, Paul Anderson, Eric Robledo, Maggie Southard Gladstone and Kate Hall.CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece, when the episode originally published in 2018, incorrectly stated that Silvestre Reyes's brother died in a car accident in 1968; it was actually his father who died in the accident.  We also omitted a detail about the 1997 GAO report that we quote, namely that it predicted that as deaths in the mountains and deserts might rise, deaths in other areas might also fall. The audio was adjusted accordingly. EPISODE CREDITS:  Reported by - Latif Nasser with help from - Tracie Hunte Produced by - Matt Kielty with help from - Bethel Habte, Latif Nasser EPISODE CITATIONS: Art: Jason de Leon's latest work is a global participatory art project called Hostile Terrain 94 (https://zpr.io/dNEyVpAiNXjv), which will be exhibited at over 70 different locations around the world in 2020.  Read more about it here (https://zpr.io/uwDfu9bXFriv).     Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
10/20/202353 minutes, 12 seconds
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Border Trilogy Part 1: Hole in the Fence

While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness. In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.” In a series first aired back in 2018, over three episodes, Radiolab investigates this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.We begin one afternoon in May 1992, when a student named Albert stumbled in late for history class at Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas. His excuse: Border Patrol. Soon more stories of students getting stopped and harassed by Border Patrol started pouring in. So begins the unlikely story of how a handful of Mexican-American high schoolers in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country stood up to what is today the country’s largest federal law enforcement agency. They had no way of knowing at the time, but what would follow was a chain of events that would drastically change the US-Mexico border. Special thanks to Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Estela Reyes López, Barbara Hines, Lynn M. Morgan, Mallory Falk, Francesca Begos and Nancy Wiese from Hachette Book Group, Professor Michael Olivas at the University of Houston Law Center, and Josiah McC. Heyman at the Center for Interamerican and Border Studies. EPISODE CREDITS:  Reported by - Latif Nasser, Tracie HunteProduced by - Matt Kieltywith help from - Bethel Habte, Tracie Hunte, Latf NasserCITATIONSBooksJason De Léon’s book The Land of Open Graves here (https://zpr.io/vZbTarDzGQWK)  Timothy Dunn’s book Blockading the Border and Human Rights here (https://zpr.io/VTPWNJPusaCn)  Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!   Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.   Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
10/13/202352 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Secret to a Long Life

Producer Sindhu Gnanasambandan wants to know how she can live the longest feeling life possible. The answer leads her on a journey to make one week feel like two. And the journey leads her to a whole new answer.Special thanks to Jo Eidman, Nathan Peereboom, Kristin Lin, Stacey Reimann, Ash Sanders… and an extra special thanks to Jae Minard for editorial supportEPISODE CREDITSReported by - Sindhu GnanasambandanProduced by - Sindhu GnanasambandanOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloomwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Emily Kreigerand Edited by  - Pat Walters   Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
10/6/202333 minutes, 54 seconds
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Smog Cloud Silver Lining

Summer 2023 was a pretty scary one for the planet. Global temperatures in June and July reached record highs. And over in the North Atlantic Sea, the water temperature spiked to off-the-chart levels. Some people figured that meant we were about to go over the edge, doomsday. In the face of this, Hank Green (a long time environmentalist and science educator behind SciShow, Crash Course, and more), took to social media to put things in context, to keep people focused on what we can do about climate change. In the process, he came across a couple studies that suggested a reduction in sulfurous smog from cargo ships may have accidentally warmed the waters. And while Hank saw a silver lining around those smog clouds, the story he told—about smog clouds and cooling waters and the problem of geoengineering—took us on a rollercoaster ride of hope and terror. Ultimately, we had to wrestle with the question of what we should be doing about climate change, or what we should even talk about.Special thanks to Dr. Colin Carson and Avishay Artsy. EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Lulu Millerwith help from - Alyssa Jeong PerryProduction help from - Alyssa Jeong PerryOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloomwith mixing help from - Jeremy BloomFact-checking by - Natalie Middletonand Edited by  - N/A CITATIONS: Videos: Sci Show (https://www.youtube.com/@SciShow) Crash Course (https://www.youtube.com/crashcourse)   Articles: The article Hank came across (https://zpr.io/zKYxWht3Nmy7)   Books:  Under a White Sky (https://zpr.io/zKYxWht3Nmy7): The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!   Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.   Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
9/22/202331 minutes, 49 seconds
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Driverless Dilemma

Most of us would sacrifice one person to save five. It’s a pretty straightforward bit of moral math. But if we have to actually kill that person ourselves, the math gets fuzzy. That’s the lesson of the classic Trolley Problem, a moral puzzle that fried our brains in an episode we did almost 20 years ago, then updated again in 2017. Historically, the questions posed by The Trolley Problem are great for thought experimentation and conversations at a certain kind of cocktail party. Now, new technologies are forcing that moral quandary out of our philosophy departments and onto our streets. So today, we revisit the Trolley Problem and wonder how a two-ton hunk of speeding metal will make moral calculations about life and death that still baffle its creators. Special thanks to Iyad Rahwan, Edmond Awad and Sydney Levine from the Moral Machine group at MIT. Also thanks to Fiery Cushman, Matthew DeBord, Sertac Karaman, Martine Powers, Xin Xiang, and Roborace for all of their help. Thanks to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism students who collected the vox: Chelsea Donohue, Ivan Flores, David Gentile, Maite Hernandez, Claudia Irizarry-Aponte, Comice Johnson, Richard Loria, Nivian Malik, Avery Miles, Alexandra Semenova, Kalah Siegel, Mark Suleymanov, Andee Tagle, Shaydanay Urbani, Isvett Verde and Reece Williams. EPISODE CREDITS  Reported and produced by - Amanda Aronczyk and Bethel HabteOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
9/15/202341 minutes, 20 seconds
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Born This Way?

Today, the story of an idea. An idea that some people need, others reject, and one that will, ultimately, be hard to let go of. Special Thanks to Carl Zimmer, Eric Turkheimer, Andrea Ganna, Chandler Burr, Jacques Balthazart, Sean Mckeithan, Joe Osmundson, Jennifer Brier, Daniel Levine-Spound, Maddie Sofia, Elie Mystal, Heather Radke EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Matt KieltyProduced by - Matt KieltyOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Matt Kieltywith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kelly EPISODE CITATIONS: Videos: Lisa Diamond - Born This Way, TEDx (https://zpr.io/WJedDGLVkTNF) Books:  Joanna Wuest - Born This Way: Science, Citizenship, and Inequality in the American LGBTQ+ Movement (https://zpr.io/rYPwyhNHtgXe) Dean Hamer - The Science of Desire: The Search for the Gay Gene and the Biology of Behavior (https://zpr.io/3FuKZyu2bgwE) Lisa Diamond - Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Desire and Love (https://zpr.io/cj3ZSLC2xccJ) Edward Stein - The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation (https://zpr.io/UQfdNtyE3RtQ) Chandler Burr - A Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation (https://zpr.io/GKUDhyfNacUf) Jacques Balthazart - The Biology of Homosexuality (https://zpr.io/um6XMmpfkmQS) Anne Fausto-Sterling - Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (https://zpr.io/rWNrTYLeLZ3s) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].  
9/8/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 35 seconds
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Touch at a Distance

In this episode from 2007, we take you on a tour of language, music, and the properties of sound. We look at what sound does to our bodies, our brains, our feelings… and we go back to the reason we at Radiolab tell you stories the way we do.  First, we look at Diana Deutsch’s work on language and music, and how certain languages seem to promote musicality in humans. Then we meet Psychologist Anne Fernald and listen to parents as they talk to their babies across languages and cultures. Last, we go to 1913 Paris and sneak into the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s score of The Rite of Spring.  Check out Diana Deutsch's 'Audio Illusions' here (https://deutsch.ucsd.edu/psychology/pages.php?i=201).  Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
9/1/202350 minutes, 34 seconds
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Rumble Strip: Finn and the Bell

A couple years ago, our producer Annie McEwen listened to an audio documentary that, she said, “tore my heart wide open.” That episode , “Finn and the Bell,” (https://zpr.io/TDjwQuXFDSz6) by independent producer Erica Heilman (maker of the podcast  Rumble Strip), went on to win some of the biggest awards in audio (including a Peabody, https://zpr.io/tu4hwhKQ3TWN), and the rest of the staff finally got around to listening, and it tore our hearts wide open, too. It’s a story about a death, but as so many of the best stories about death tend to be, it ends up mainly being about life, in this case, the life of a small town in far northern Vermont, the town where Erica lives and makes her show. We think you’ll like it. You can find more than 200 other episodes of Rumble Strip here (https://zpr.io/dwGNnSFmAEFX). Erica’s episode about The Civic Standard (https://zpr.io/GJMP95QENFKq), the community organization started by Finn’s mom Tara Reese and her friend Rose Friedman, is here (https://zpr.io/9HL9mpZT4LTM). A follow-up episode to “Finn and the Bell” is here (https://zpr.io/ycxSU7ceDXNi). The episode Lulu mentions about the camp for people with and without disabilities is here (https://zpr.io/cnyyUWrfQJey).Special thanks to Clare Dolan, Tobin Anderson, Amelia Meath and of course, Tara Reese 🥚. Rumble Strip is a member of Hub and Spoke, a collective of independent podcasts from around the country. EPISODE CREDITS  Reported by - Erica Heilman Produced by - Erica Heilman   Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
8/25/202338 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Wubi Effect

When we think of China today, we think of a technological superpower. From Huawei and 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, China’s technological renaissance almost didn’t happen. And for one very basic reason: The Chinese language, with its 70,000 plus characters, couldn’t fit on a keyboard.  Today, we tell the story of Professor Wang Yongmin, a hard headed computer programmer who solved this puzzle and laid the foundation for the China we know today. Episode CreditsReported by - Simon AdlerProduced by - Simon AdlerTHE DETAILS TO SIMON ADLER’S LIVESHOW!For People in ChicagoSimon will be performing at the Chicago at the Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple on Saturday, September 30th (https://zpr.io/jePmFHyKUqiM).For People in BostonSimon performs at the WBUR City Space on Friday, December 8th (https://zpr.io/jePmFHyKUqiM).   Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
8/18/202357 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Internet Dilemma

Matthew Herrick was sitting on his stoop in Harlem when something weird happened. Then, it happened again. And again. It happened so many times that it became an absolute nightmare—a nightmare that haunted his life daily and flipped it completely upside down. What stood between Matthew and help were 26 little words. These 26 words, known as Section 230, are the core of an Internet law that coats the tech industry in Teflon. No matter what happens, who gets hurt, or what harm is done, tech companies can’t be held responsible for the things that happen on their platforms. Section 230 affects the lives of an untold number of people like Matthew, and makes the Internet a far more ominous place for all of us. But also, in a strange twist, it’s what keeps the whole thing up and running in the first place. Why do we have this law? And more importantly, why can’t we just delete it? Special thanks to James Grimmelmann, Eric Goldman, Naomi Leeds, Jeff Kosseff, Carrie Goldberg, and Kashmir Hill. EPISODE CREDITSReported by - Rachael CusickProduced by - Rachael Cusick and Simon Adlerwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Natalie MiddletonEdited by - Pat Walters EPISODE CITATIONS: Articles:Kashmir Hill’s story introduced us to Section 230. Books: Jeff Kosseff’s book The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet (https://zpr.io/8ara6vtQVTuK) is a fantastic biography of Section 230To read more about Carrie Goldberg’s work, check out her book Nobody's Victim (https://zpr.io/Ra9mXtT9eNvb). Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
8/11/202337 minutes, 9 seconds
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Right to be Forgotten

In online news, stories live forever. The tipsy photograph of you at the college football game? It’s there. That news article about the political rally you were marching at? It’s there. A charge for driving under the influence? That’s there, too. But what if... it wasn’t? Several years ago a group of journalists in Cleveland, Ohio, tried an experiment that had the potential to turn things upside down: they started unpublishing content they’d already published. Photographs, names, entire articles. Every month or so, they met to decide what content stayed, and what content went. In this episode from 2019, Senior Correspondent Molly Webster takes us inside the room where the editors decided who, or what, got to be deleted. And we talk about how the “right to be forgotten” has spread and grown in the years since. It’s a story about time and memory, mistakes and second chances, and society as we know it. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John
8/4/202354 minutes, 18 seconds
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Little Black Holes Everywhere

In 1908, on a sunny, clear, quiet morning in Siberia, witnesses recall seeing a blinding light streak across the sky, and then… the earth shook, a forest was flattened, fish were thrown from streams, and roofs were blown off houses. The “Tunguska event,” as it came to be known, was one of the largest extraterrestrial impact events in Earth’s history. But what kind of impact—what exactly struck the earth in the middle of Siberia?—is still up for debate. Producer Annie McEwen dives into one idea that suggests a culprit so mysterious, so powerful, so… tiny, you won’t believe your ears. And stranger still, it may be in you right now. Or, according to Senior Correspondent Molly Webster, it could be You.EPISODE CREDITS Reported by - Annie McEwen and Molly WebsterProduced by - Annie McEwen and Becca Bresslerwith help from - Matt KieltyOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloom, Annie McEwen, Matt KieltyMixing by - Jeremy Bloomwith dialogue mixing by - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kellyand edited by  - Alex Neason GUESTS Matt O’Dowd (https://www.mattodowd.space/)Special Thanks:  Special thanks to, Matthew E. Caplan, Brian Greene, Priyamvada Natarajan, Almog Yalinewich EPISODE CITATIONS Videos: Watch “PBS Space Time,” (https://zpr.io/GNhVAWDday49) the groovy show and side-gig of physicist and episode guest Matt O’Dowd Articles: Read more (https://zpr.io/J4cKYG5uTgNf) about the Tunguska impact event! Check out the paper (https://zpr.io/vZxkKtGQczBL), which considers the shape of the crater a primordial black hole would make, should it hit earth: “Crater Morphology of Primordial Black Hole Impacts”Curious to learn more about black holes possibly being dark matter? You can in the paper (https://zpr.io/sPpuSwhGFkDJ), “Exploring the high-redshift PBH- ΛCDM Universe: early black hole seeding, the first stars and cosmic radiation backgrounds”   Books:  Get your glow on – Senior Correspondent Molly Webster has a new kids book, a fictional tale about a lonely Little Black Hole (https://zpr.io/e8EKrM7YF32T) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
7/28/202334 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Right Stuff

Since the beginning of the space program, we’ve expected astronauts to be fully-abled athletic overachievers—one-part science geeks, two-part triathletes—a mix the writer Tom Wolfe called “the right stuff.” But what if, this whole time, we’ve had it wrong? In this episode from 2022, reporter Andrew Leland joins blind Linguistics Professor Sheri Wells-Jensen and a crew of 11 other disabled people. They embark on a mission to prove not just that they have what it takes to go to space, but that disability gives them an edge. On Mission AstroAccess, the crew members hop on an airplane to take a zero-gravity flight—the same NASA uses to train astronauts. With them, we learn that the challenges to making space accessible may not be the ones we thought. And Andrew, who is legally blind, confronts unexpected conclusions of his own. By the way, Andrew’s new book is out. In The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight (https://zpr.io/nLZ8H), Andrew recounts his transition from sighted to blind. Suspended between anxiety and anticipation, he also begins to explore the many facets of blindness as a culture. It’s well worth a read.  Read the article by Sheri Wells-Jensen, published in The Scientific American in 2018. “The Case for Disabled Astronaut” (https://zpr.io/nLZ8H).  This episode was reported by Andrew Leland and produced by María Paz Gutiérrez, Matt Kielty and Pat Walters. Jeremy Bloom contributed music and sound design. Production sound recording by Dan McCoy.Special thanks to William Pomerantz, Sheyna Gifford, Jim Vanderploeg, Tim Bailey, and Bill Barry Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.   Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
7/21/202341 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Fellowship of the Tree Rings

At a tree ring conference in the relatively treeless city of Tucson, Arizona, three scientists walk into a bar. The trio gets to talking, trying to explain a mysterious set of core samples from the Florida Keys. At some point, they come up with a harebrained idea: put the tree rings next to a seemingly unrelated dataset. Once they do, they notice something that no one has ever noticed before, a force of nature that helped shape modern human history and that is eerily similar to what’s happening on our planet right now. With help from pirates, astronomers and an 80-year-old bartender, this episode will change the way you look at the sun. (Warning: Do not look at the sun.)  Special thanks to Scott St George, Nathaniel Millett, Michael Charles Stambaugh, Justin Maxwell, Clay Tucker, Willem Klooster, Kevin Anchukaitis EPISODE CREDITS Reported by - Latif Nasserwith help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeys and Maria Paz GutierrezProduced by - Maria Paz Gutierrez and Pat Walterswith help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeys and Sachi MulkeyMixed by - Jeremy Bloomwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Natalie Middletonand Edited by  - Pat Walters CITATIONS: Books:  Tree Story (https://zpr.io/ULX279uzgW9q) by Valerie TrouetSweetness and Power (https://zpr.io/cUEGqGGWMSaQ) by Sidney Mintz Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
7/14/202329 minutes, 15 seconds
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Man Against Horse

This is a story about your butt. It’s a story about how you got your butt, why you have your butt, and how your butt might be one of the most important and essential things for you being you, for being human.  Today, Reporter Heather Radke and Producer Matt Kielty talk to two researchers who followed the butt from our ancient beginnings through millions of years of evolution, all the way to today, out to a valley in Arizona, where our butts are put to the ultimate test.   Special thanks to Michelle Legro. EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Heather Radke and Matt KieltyProduced by - Matt Kieltywith help from - Simon Adler and Rachael CusickOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy BloomFact-checking by - Dorie Chevlen   EPISODE CITATIONS: Books: Butts by Heather Radke Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
7/7/202356 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Cataclysm Sentence

Sad news for all of us: producer Rachael Cusick— who brought us soul-stirring stories rethinking grief (https://zpr.io/GZ6xEvpzsbHU) and solitude (https://zpr.io/eT5tAX6JtYra), as well as colorful musings on airplane farts (https://zpr.io/CNpgUijZiuZ4) and belly flops (https://zpr.io/uZrEz27z63CB) and Blueberry Earths (https://zpr.io/EzxgtdTRGVzz)— is leaving the show. So we thought it perfect timing to sit down with her and revisit another brainchild of hers, The Cataclysm Sentence, a collection of advice for The End. To explain: one day in 1961, the famous physicist Richard Feynman stepped in front of a Caltech lecture hall and posed this question to a group of undergraduate students: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence was passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?” Now, Feynman had an answer to his own question—a good one. But his question got the entire team at Radiolab wondering, what did his sentence leave out? So we posed Feynman’s cataclysm question to some of our favorite writers, artists, historians, futurists—all kinds of great thinkers. We asked them “What’s the one sentence you would want to pass on to the next generation that would contain the most information in the fewest words?” What came back was an explosive collage of what it means to be alive right here and now, and what we want to say before we go. Featuring: Richard Feynman, physicist - The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (https://zpr.io/5KngTGibPVDw) Caitlin Doughty, mortician - Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs (https://zpr.io/Wn4bQgHzDRDB) Esperanza Spalding, musician - 12 Little Spells (https://zpr.io/KMjYrkwrz9dy)  Cord Jefferson, writer - Watchmen (https://zpr.io/ruqKDQGy5Rv8)  Merrill Garbus, musician - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life (https://zpr.io/HmrqFX8RKuFq) Jenny Odell, writer - How to do Nothing (https://zpr.io/JrUHu8dviFqc) Maria Popova, writer - Brainpickings (https://zpr.io/vsHXphrqbHiN) Alison Gopnik, developmental psychologist - The Gardener and the Carpenter (https://zpr.io/ewtJpUYxpYqh) Rebecca Sugar, animator - Steven Universe (https://zpr.io/KTtSrdsBtXB7) Nicholson Baker, writer - Substitute (https://zpr.io/QAh2d7J9QJf2) James Gleick, writer - Time Travel (https://zpr.io/9CWX9q3KmZj8) Lady Pink, artist - too many amazing works to pick just one (https://zpr.io/FkJh6edDBgRL) Jenny Hollwell, writer - Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe (https://zpr.io/MjP5UJb3mMYP) Jaron Lanier, futurist - Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now (https://zpr.io/bxWiHLhPyuEK) Missy Mazzoli, composer - Proving Up (https://zpr.io/hTwGcHGk93Ty)   Special Thanks to: Ella Frances Sanders, and her book, "Eating the Sun" (https://zpr.io/KSX6DruwRaYL), for inspiring this whole episode. Caltech for letting us use original audio of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The entirety of the lectures are available to read for free online at www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu.All the musicians who helped make the Primordial Chord, including: Siavash Kamkar (https://zpr.io/2ZT46XsMRdhg), from Iran  Koosha Pashangpour (https://zpr.io/etWDXuCctrzE), from Iran Curtis MacDonald (https://zpr.io/HQ8uskA44BUh), from Canada Meade Bernard (https://zpr.io/gbxDPPzHFvme), from US Barnaby Rea (https://zpr.io/9ULsQh5iGUPa), from UK Liav Kerbel (https://zpr.io/BA4DBwMhwZDU), from Belgium Sam Crittenden (https://zpr.io/EtQZmAk2XrCQ), from US Saskia Lankhoorn (https://zpr.io/YiH6QWJreR7p), from Netherlands Bryan Harris (https://zpr.io/HMiyy2TGcuwE), from US Amelia Watkins (https://zpr.io/6pWEw3y754me), from Canada Claire James (https://zpr.io/HFpHTUwkQ2ss), from US Ilario Morciano (https://zpr.io/zXvM7cvnLHW6), from Italy Matthias Kowalczyk, from Germany (https://zpr.io/ANkRQMp6NtHR) Solmaz Badri (https://zpr.io/MQ5VAaKieuyN), from IranAll the wonderful people we interviewed for sentences but weren’t able to fit in this episode, including: Daniel Abrahm, Julia Alvarez, Aimee Bender, Sandra Cisneros, Stanley Chen, Lewis Dartnell, Ann Druyan, Rose Eveleth, Ty Frank, Julia Galef, Ross Gay, Gary Green, Cesar Harada, Dolores Huerta, Robin Hunicke, Brittany Kamai, Priya Krishna, Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado, James Martin, Judith Matloff, Ryan McMahon, Hasan Minhaj, Lorrie Moore, Priya Natarajan, Larry Owens, Sunni Patterson, Amy Pearl, Alison Roman, Domee Shi, Will Shortz, Sam Stein, Sohaib Sultan, Kara Swisher, Jill Tarter, Olive Watkins, Reggie Watts, Deborah Waxman, Alex Wellerstein, Caveh Zahedi.EPISODE CREDITS Reported by - Rachael Cusick (https://www.rachaelcusick.com/)Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
6/30/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 1 second
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Americanish

Given reporter Julia Longoria’s long love affair with the Supreme Court, it’s no surprise she’s become the new host of More Perfect (https://zpr.io/4R9fMg9gJ96k), a show all about how the Supreme Court got to be so… supreme. This week, we talk to Julia about her journey to the host seat, and we highlight an episode she produced for Radiolab in 2019 about a specific case: González v. Williams.  In 1903 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to say that Isabel González was a citizen of the United States. Then again, they said, she wasn’t exactly an immigrant either. And they said that the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, Isabel’s home, was “foreign to the United States in a domestic sense.” Since then, the U.S. has cleared up at least some of the confusion about U.S. territories and the status of people born in them. But, more than a hundred years later, there is still a U.S. territory that has been left in limbo: American Samoa. It is the only place on Earth that is U.S. soil, but people who are born there are not automatically U.S. citizens. When we visit American Samoa, we discover that there are some pretty surprising reasons why many American Samoans prefer it that way.  EPISODE CREDITS  Reported by - Julia Longoria Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
6/23/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 34 seconds
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Beware the Sand Striker

Shipworms. Hairy Chested Yeti Crabs. Parasitic Barnacles in the cloaca of Greenland Sharks. These are the types of creatures Sabrina Imbler, a columnist at Defector, likes to write about. The stranger, the better. In this episode, Imbler discusses how they balance maintaining scientific rigor while also drawing inspiration and metaphor from the animal world. Then they read a stirring essay from their new book, How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures . It’s about the sand striker, one of the ocean’s most gruesome predators, and the various prey that surround it. In learning about the relationships between predator and prey lurking in the murky bottom, Imbler ends up unearthing new insights about predation in human society. The essay deals with sexual assault so listen with care. EPISODE CREDITS Reported by - Lulu Miller Produced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandan Original music and sound design contributed by - Alex Overington with mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom and Arianne Wack Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton and Edited by  - Alex Neason and Pat Walters EPISODE CITATIONS Articles:“Creaturefector” (https://zpr.io/3myWi4grgkGB) by Sabrina Imbler Books: How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures (https://zpr.io/agkRj7xyPG9T) by Sabrina Imbler Dyke (geology) (https://zpr.io/7kAtAKjdBqPa) by Sabrina Imbler Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
6/16/202329 minutes, 20 seconds
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Eye in the Sky

Ross McNutt has a superpower: he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he? In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team came up with an idea. With a small plane and a 44 megapixel camera, they figured out how to watch an entire city all at once, all day long. Whenever a bomb detonated, they could zoom into that spot and then, because this eye in the sky had been there all along, they could scroll back in time and see—literally see—who planted it. After the war, Ross McNutt retired from the Air Force, and brought this technology back home with him. Manoush Zomorodi and Alex Goldmark (from the podcast Note to Self) give us the lowdown on Ross’ unique brand of persistent surveillance, from Juarez, Mexico to Dayton, Ohio. Then, once we realize what we can do, we wonder whether we should. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
6/9/202337 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Seagulls

In the 1970s, as LGBTQ+ people in the United States faced conservatives whose top argument was that homosexuality is “unnatural,” a pair of young scientists discovered on a tiny island off the coast of California a colony of seagulls that included… a significant number of lesbian couples making nests and raising chicks together. The article that followed upended the culture’s understanding of what’s natural and took the discourse on homosexuality in a whole new direction. In this episode, our co-Host Lulu Miller grapples with the impact of this and several other studies about animal queerness on her life as a queer person. Special thanks to, History is Gay (https://www.historyisgaypodcast.com/) podcast. EPISODE CREDITS Reported by - Lulu Millerwith help from - Sarah QariProduced by - Sarah QariOriginal sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloomwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kellyand Edited by - Becca Bressler Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
6/2/202338 minutes, 29 seconds
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On the Edge

At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, one athlete pulled a move that, as far as we know, no one else had ever attempted. In this episode, first aired in the Spring of 2016, we tell you about Surya Bonaly. Surya was not your typical figure skater: she is black, she is athletic, and she didn’t seem to care about artistry. Her performances—punctuated by triple jumps and other power moves—thrilled audiences around the world. Yet commentators claimed she couldn’t skate and judges never gave her high marks. But Surya didn’t accept that criticism. Unlike her competitors—ice princesses who hid behind demure smiles—Surya made her feelings known.  Then, during her final Olympic performance, she attempted one jump that flew in the face of the establishment and marked her for life as a rebel. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
5/26/202342 minutes, 20 seconds
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Family People

In 2021, editor Alex Neason's grandfather passed away. On his funeral program, she learned the name of his father for the first time: Wilson Howard. Not Neason. Howard. And when she asked her family why his last name was different from everybody else's, nobody had an answer. In this episode, we tag along as Alex searches for answers through swampy cemeteries, libraries, and archives in the heart of south Louisiana: who was her great grandfather, really? Is she supposed to be a Neason? Where did the name Neason come from, anyways? And is a name something whose weight you have to shed, or is it the only path forward into the future?Special thanks to, Cheryl Neason-Isidore, Karen Neason Dykes, Johari Neason, Keaun Neason, Kevin Neason, Anthony Neason, the late Clarence Neason Sr. and Anthony Neason, Clarence Neason Jr., Olivia Neason, Tori Neason, Orelia Amelia Jackson, Russell Gragg, Victor Yvellez, Asher Griffith, Devan Schwartz, Myrriah Gossett, Sabrina Thomas, Nancy Richard, Katie Neason, Amanda Hayden, Gabriel Lee, Paul Brandenburg, Justin Flynn, Mark Miller, Kenny Bentley, Jason Issacs, Irene Trudel, Bill Hyland, the staff members at the Orleans Parish, East Feliciana Parish, and Plaquemines Parish Clerk of Court offices. Episode Credits:Reported by - Alex Neasonwith help from - Nicka Sewell-SmithProduced by - Annie McEwenwith help from - Andrew ViñalesMusic performed by - Jason Isaacs, Paul Brandenburg, Justin Fynn, Mark Miller, and Kenny Bentleywith engineering and mixing help from - Arianne Wack and Irene TrudelFact-checking by - Emily KriegerEpisode Citations:Audio - You can listen to the episode of La Brega (https://zpr.io/p5EcBJyU2dfJ), in English and in Spanish.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
5/19/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 47 seconds
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The War on Our Shore

Foreign enemies have seldom brought war to U.S. soil… right? In this episode from 2017, we tell you strange stories of foreign enemies landing on our shore. From bombs floating across the country without a sound (or even a discussion), to Nazi prisoners of war leading placid lives in towns nationwide, listen to how war quietly wormed its way into the heartland of the United States. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
5/12/20231 hour, 1 minute, 8 seconds
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Ologies: Dark Matters

Testudinologoy. Enigmatology. Hagfishology. Raccoonology. Meteorology. Chronobiology. Chickenology. Delphinology. Bryology. Vampirology. Zymology. Echinology. Screamology. Melaninology. Dolorology.In this episode, we introduce you to one of our all-time favorite science podcasts. Ologies. A show that’s a kindred spirit to ours, but also… very different. In each episode, Host Alie Ward interviews a brilliant, charming ologist, and wanders with them deep into their research, quirky facts they’ve learned throughout their career and their personal motivations for studying what they study. “It’s all over the map,” she says. And we love it. To give you a taste of the show, we’re playing her ep on scotohylology, the study of dark matter, with UC-Riverside theoretical particle physicist Flip Tanedo (https://zpr.io/FJWL4NtH5Wsi). If you like it, you can find more than 300 more episodes of Ologies at ologies.com.Episode CreditsReported by - Alie WardProduced by - Pat Walterswith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane KellyOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
5/5/202335 minutes, 41 seconds
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The Golden Rule

At first glance, Golden Balls was just like all the other game shows — quick-witted host, flashy set, suspenseful music. But underneath all that, each episode asked a very serious question: can you ever really trust another person? Executive producer Andy Rowe explains how the show used a whole lot of money and a simple set of rules to force us to face the fact that being good might not end well. The result was a show that could shake your faith in humanity — until one mild-mannered fellow unveiled a very unusual strategy, and suddenly, it was a whole new ball game. With help from Nick Corrigan and Ibrahim Hussein, we take a closer look at one of the strangest moments in game show history. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
4/28/202322 minutes, 41 seconds
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Corpse Demon

Heaven and hell, Judgement Day, monotheism — these ideas all came from one ancient Persian religion: Zoroastrianism. Also: Sky Burials. Zoroastrians put their dead on top of a structure called The Tower of Silence where vultures devour the body in a matter of hours. It’s clean, efficient, eco-friendly. It’s how it’s been for thousands of years. Until 2006. That’s when a Zoroastrian woman living in Mumbai snuck up into the tower and found bloated, rotting bodies everywhere. The vultures were gone. And not just at the tower — all across the country. In this episode, we follow the Kenyan bird biologist, Munir Virani, as he gets to the bottom of this. A mystery whose stakes are not just the end of an ancient burial practice, but the health of all the world’s ecosystems. The answer, in unexpected ways, points back to us. Special thanks to Daniel Solomon, Peter Wilson, Samik Bindu, Vibhu Prakash, Heather Natola and the Rapture Trust in New Jersey, and Avir’s uncle Hoshang Mulla, who told him about this story over Thanksgiving dinner. EPISODE CREDITSReported by - Avir Mitrawith help from - Sindhu GnanasambandanProduced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandanwith help from - Pat WaltersOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloomwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kellyand Edited by - Pat Walters Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
4/21/202331 minutes, 5 seconds
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Abortion Pills, Take Two

Abortion pills — a combo of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol — are on notice: on April 7, 2023, a federal judge said the FDA’s approval of mifepristone was invalid. And then, not more than an hour later, another federal judge in a separate case said that mifepristone had to stay on the market in certain states. With these two contradictory rulings, mifepristone — and medical abortion, in general — is in the crosshairs. So, today, we want to rewind to an episode we made last year. It looks at these two drugs over the last 40 years, from their origin stories and development, to how their administration from doctors to patients keeps evolving. This story, for us, started… Special thanks to Mariana Prandini Assis and Pam Belluck. EPISODE CREDITS  Reported by - Molly Webster, Avir Mitra Produced by Sarah Qariwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kellyand Edited by  - Becca BresslerCITATIONS: Articles: From one of our sources, Abigail Aiken: “Safety and effectiveness of self-managed medication abortion provided using online telemedicine in the United States: A population based study” (https://zpr.io/kG3hNFXM4kb9) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
4/14/202327 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Library of Alexandra

How much does knowledge cost? While that sounds like an abstract question, the answer is surprisingly specific: $3,096,988,440.00. That’s how much the business of publishing scientific and academic research is worth.  This is the story of one woman’s battle against a global network of academic journals that underlie published scientific research. In 2011, Alexandra Elbakyan had just moved home to Kazakhstan after a disappointing few years trying to study neuroscience in the United States when she landed on an internet forum where a bunch of scientists were all looking for the same thing: access to academic journal articles that were behind paywalls. That’s the moment the very simple, but enormously powerful, website called Sci Hub was born.  The site holds over 88 million articles and serves up about a million downloads to people in practically every country on the globe. We travel to Kazakhstan to meet the mysterious woman behind it all and to find out what it takes to make everything we know about anything available to anyone anywhere, for free.Special thanks to Vrindra Bhandari, Balázs Bodó, Stephen Buranyi, Ian Graber-Stiehl, Joel Joseph, Noorain Khalifa, Aparajita Lath, Steve McLaughlin, Marcia McNutt, Randy Scheckman Tanmay Singh, Deborah Harkness, Joe Karaganis, Lawrence Lessig, Glyn Moody, and Steven Press. Episode Credits:Reported by - Eli CohenReporting help from - Karishma MehrotraProduced by Simon Adlerwith help from - Eli CohenOriginal music and sound designed by - Simon AdlerMixing by - Jeremy BloomEdited by - Alex Neason Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe! Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
4/7/202343 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Good Samaritan

Tuesday afternoon, summer of 2017: Scotty Hatton and Scottie Wightman made a decision to help someone in need and both paid a price for their actions that day — actions that have led to a legal, moral, and scientific puzzle about how we balance accountability and forgiveness.  In this 2019 episode, we go to Bath County, Kentucky, where, as one health official put it, opioids have created “a hole the size of Kentucky.” We talk to the people on all sides of this story about stemming the tide of overdoses. We wrestle with the science of poison and fear, and we try to figure out whether and when the drive to protect and help those around us should rise above the law. Special thanks to Earl Willis, Bobby Ratliff, Ronnie Goldie, Megan Fisher, Alan Caudill, Nick Jones, Dan Wermerling, Terry Bunn, Robin Thompson and the staff at KIPRC, Charles Landon, Charles P Gore, Jim McCarthy, Ann Marie Farina, Dr. Jeremy Faust and Dr. Ed Boyer, Justin Brower, Kathy Robinson, Zoe Renfro, John Bucknell, Chris Moraff, Jeremiah Laster, Tommy Kane, Jim McCarthy, Sarah Wakeman, and Al Tompkins. CDC recommendations on helping people who overdose: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/patients/Preventing-an-Opioid-Overdose-Tip-Card-a.pdf Find out where to get naloxone: https://prevent-protect.org/. It is also now available over-the-counter. (https://zpr.io/SMX9yYDUta7a).  EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Peter Andrey Smith with Matt KieltyProduced by - Matt Kielty Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
3/31/20231 hour, 11 minutes, 16 seconds
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Alone Enough

Cat Jaffee didn’t necessarily think of herself as someone who loved being alone. But then, the pandemic hit. And she got diagnosed with cancer. Actually, those two things happened on the exact same day, at the exact same hour. In the shadow of that nightmarish timing, Cat found her way to a sport that celebrated the solitude that was forced on her, and taught her how to not only embrace self-reliance, but to love it.  This sport is called competitive bikepacking. And in these competitions, riders have to bring everything they need to complete epic bike rides totally by themselves. They pack all the supplies they think they’ll need to survive, and have to refuse some of the simplest, subtlest, most intangible boosts that exist in our world. But a leader has emerged in this sport. Her name is Lael Wilcox, and she’s a total rockstar in the world of competitive bikepacking. She’s broken all kinds of records. And also, some rules. Most recently, on this one ride she did across the entire state of Arizona. We set out to find out what it means — for Cat, for Lael, and for any of us — to endure incredibly hard things, totally alone. The answer is on the course, in our bodies, and hidden in that mysterious place between us and the people we care about. Special thanks to Anna Haslock, Nico Sandi, Michael Fryar, Moab Public Radio, Nichole Baker and Payson McElveen for sharing their studio with us, and The Radavist, for letting us use the audio of Lael’s ride across Arizona. You can watch the original video here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HOk0MmgFwE). EPISODE CREDITS This episode was reported by - Cat Jaffee and Rachael CusickProduced by -  Rachael Cusick with help from - Pat WaltersOriginal music and sound design by - Jeremy Bloom with mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Emily KriegerEdited by - Pat Walters CITATIONS: Videos: You can watch Lael’s you can watch Lael’s ride across Arizona here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HOk0MmgFwE). And see the next season of racing by following along on TrackLeaders.com (http://trackleaders.com/)Articles:You can find Jim Coan’s study on emotional support here (https://zpr.io/Y2yMXZMgnMKv).Audio:For more on Lael Wilcox, you can check out her interviews with the podcasts Adventure Stache (https://zpr.io/EtkFsW8b6VdS) and Bikes or Death (https://zpr.io/ZSTAECjAifn5). Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe! Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
3/24/202343 minutes, 35 seconds
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Apologetical

How do you fix a word that’s broken? A word we need when we bump into someone on the street, or break someone’s heart. In our increasingly disconnected secular world, “sorry” has been stretched and twisted, and in some cases weaponized. But it’s also one of the only ways we have to piece together a sense of shared values and beliefs. Through today's sea of sorry-not-sorries, empty apologies, and just straight up non-apologies, we wonder in this episode from 2018 what it looks like to make amends. EPISODE CREDITS:  Reported and Produced by - Annie McEwenwith help from - Simon Adler CITATIONS:The program at Stanford that Leilani went through (and now works for) (https://zpr.io/eYhfZnwznHfD) was a joint creation between Stanford and Lee Taft.  Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
3/17/202354 minutes, 55 seconds
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Buttons Not Buttons

Tiny buttons have such a hold on us. They can be portals to power, freedom, and destruction. Today, with the help of buttons, we tell you about taking charge of the little things in life, about fortunes made and lost, and about the ease with which the world can end.  Confused? Push the button marked Play.Special thanks for the music of Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train OrchestraOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
3/10/202327 minutes, 7 seconds
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Crabs All the Way Down

This week we examine one of nature's most humble creations: crabs. Turns out when you look closely at these little scuttlers, things get surprisingly existential — about how to come into being, how to survive chaos, and how to live. We even examine the possibility of evolutionary destiny. This episode is a two-parter, a double-decker crab cake of sorts. Served up on a bed of lettuce and beautiful weirdness. The first layer comes from producer Rachael Cusick, and is a story she told live on stage at Pop-Up Magazine (http://www.popupmagazine.com) as a part of their Fall of 2022 tour. It chronicles a cross-species love story between artist Mary Akers (http://maryakers.com/) and an overlooked pet store companion, a  creature that even Chris Tudge (https://zpr.io/MyUNwPAaqewg) — the scientist dedicated to this creature, you could say — could not get a ring on. The second layer is cooked up by Lulu, who tries to understand why crabs keep evolving (according to recent work by Jo Wolfe (https://zpr.io/2GftY9RjbLkF), Heather Bracken-Grissom (https://zpr.io/HhvMVfnThp5P) and Javier Luque (https://zpr.io/xBiQHEtNSKZr)). Crack a leg and see what we mean. Special thanks to the entire team at Pop Up Magazine, Randi Rotjan, Jan Pechenik, Renae Brodie, Samantha Edmonds, whose story (https://zpr.io/ELQS4VkJGaSa) from The Outline introduced us to Mary,  EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Rachael Cusick and Lulu Millerwith help from - Annie McEwenProduced by - Becca Bressler with help from Ekedi Fausther-KeeysOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Ghost Girl, Jeremy Bloom with mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kellyand Edited by  - Haley Howle and Pat WaltersCITATIONS: Articles:If you want more details about hermit crab breeding, head over to Mary’s blog to read more: http://maryakers.com/inthecrabitat/Or check out the Land Hermit Crab Owners Society: https://lhcos.org/  Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
3/3/202325 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Trust Engineers

First aired in 2015, this is an episode about social media, and how, when we talk online, things can quickly go south. But do they have to? In the earlier days of Facebook, we met with a group of social engineers who were convinced that tiny changes in wording can make the online world a kinder, gentler place.  We just have to  agree to be their lab rats. Because Facebook, or something like it, is where we share and like and gossip and gripe. And before we were as aware of its impact, Facebook had a laboratory of human behavior the likes of which we’d never seen. We got to peek into the work of Arturo Bejar and a team of researchers who were tweaking our online experience, to try to make the world a better place. And even now, just under a decade later, we’re still left wondering if that’s possible, or even a good idea. EPISODE CREDITS  Reported by - Andrew ZolliOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Mooninites REFERENCES: ArticlesAndrew Zolli’s blog post about Darwin’s Stickers (https://zpr.io/ZpMeUnRmVMgP) which highlights another one of these Facebook experiments that didn’t make it into the episode. BooksAndrew Zolli’s Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back (https://zpr.io/7fYQ9iDYAQBu)Kate Crawford's Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence (https://zpr.io/9rU5CGSit3W4)   Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
2/24/202330 minutes, 42 seconds
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Golden Goose

After years of being publicly shamed for “fleecing” the taxpayers with their frivolous and obscure studies, scientists decided to hit back with… an awards show?! This episode, we gate-crash the Grammys of government-funded research, A.K.A. the Golden Goose Awards. The twist of these awards is that they go to scientific research that at first sounds trivial or laughable but then turns out to change the world. We tell the story of one of the latest winners: a lonely Filipino boy who picked up an ice cream cone that was actually a covert vampire assassin. Decades later, that discovery leads to an even bigger one: an entire pharmacy's worth of new drugs hidden just below the surface of the ocean. EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Latif Nasser and Maria Paz Gutiérrezwith help from - Ekedi Fausther-KeeysProduced by - Maria Paz Gutiérrez and Matt Kieltywith help from Ekedi Fausther-KeeysOriginal music and sound design contributed by Matt Kieltywith mixing help from Arianne Wack. Fact-checking by Emily KriegerEditing by Soren Wheeler, who thought the whole episode should have been a little shorter.  Special thanks to Erin Heath, Haylie Swenson, Gwendolyn Bogard, Valeria Sabate and everyone else at AAAS who oversee the Golden Goose Awards. Also to Maggie Luddy, and former Congressman Jim Cooper, Terry Lee Merritt at University of Utah, Jim Tranquada, John McCormack, and the Cosman Shell Collection at Occidental College.  CITATIONS: Videos - Gorgeous slo mo video of cone snails hunting (https://zpr.io/uiWrS3J2BuZM). A recent segment from our down-the-hall neighbors at On The Media (https://zpr.io/VZHSLPdkdAxH) about breakthrough science featuring the late Senator William Proxmire. Check out dazzling documentary shorts on each of the Golden Goose Awards winners (https://zpr.io/Tpxxrzzuz6GS) on their website. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
2/17/202345 minutes, 7 seconds
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Bliss

In this deep cut from 2012, we are searching for platonic ideals longing for completion, engaged in epic quests for holy grails in science, linguistics, and world peace. And along the way, we’ll meet the dreamers and measure just how impossible their dreams are.  First: a perfect moment. On day 86 of a 3-month trek to and from the South Pole, adventurer Aleksander Gamme (https://zpr.io/ryaJzt5vaNTZ) discovered something he'd stashed under the ice at the start of his trip. He wasn't expecting such a rush of happiness in that cold, hungry instant, but he hit the bliss jackpot.Producer Tim Howard (https://zpr.io/bfxEEMYHf5vT) brings us the incredible and tragic story of Charles Bliss -- the man that inspired this show. As Charles's friend Richard Ure and writer Arika Okrent (https://zpr.io/3gjsdSePpQbG) explain, Bliss believed that war was often caused by the misuse of language. Having lived through the hell of Nazi concentration camps, he set about creating the perfect language, based on symbols and logic. Years later, Shirley McNaughton accidentally discovered it, and started using it to communicate with her students -- kids with cerebral palsy who quickly picked up the language and made it their own. At first, Charles was thrilled...until he started to feel his original dream of saving the world was slipping from his fingers.And finally, co-host Latif Nasser (https://zpr.io/pJsnQSYWJLTe) explains how, on a cold, snowy farm in Vermont in 1880, a kid named Wilson Bentley put a snowflake under a microscope and started a lifelong quest to capture perfection. EPISODE CREDITS:Reported by - Tim HowardProduced by - Tim Howard CITATIONS: Videos: Aleksander and his glorious gift to his future self. (https://zpr.io/STUpZqWqrBwy)Books:    Arika Okrent, In the Land of Invented Language (https://zpr.io/uqBLpYQr7xNT) Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity (https://zpr.io/JpdC8rS7Uqjq) Duncan C. Blanchard, The Snowflake Man: A Biography of Wilson A Bentley (https://zpr.io/YaqeAw4XucRT) Ken Libbrecht, The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes (https://zpr.io/DtZrbyFc3M75), Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes (https://zpr.io/wg79x4HPCFun) W.A. Bentley, Snowflakes in Photographs (https://zpr.io/ccQfy9ZGFDDh) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
2/10/202351 minutes, 30 seconds
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Ukraine: The Handoff

We continue the story of a covert smuggling operation to bring abortion pills into Ukraine, shortly after the Russian invasion. In this episode, reporters Katz Laszlo and Gregory Warner go to Ukraine, landing on a fall night during a citywide blackout, to pick up the trail of the pills and find out about the doctors and patients who needed them. But as they follow the pills around the country, what they learn changes their understanding of how we talk about these pills, and how we talk about choice, in a war.  This episode is the second of two done in collaboration with NPR’s Rough Translation. You can find the first episode here (https://zpr.io/CnmNVFQ6X5gc). Special thanks to the Rough Translation team for reporting help. Thanks also to Liana Simstrom, Irene Noguchi, and Eleana Tworek. Thanks to the ears of Valeria Fokina, Andrii Degeler, Noel King, Robert Krulwich and Sana Krasikov. And to our interpreters, Kira Leonova and Tetyana Yurinetz. Thanks to Drs Natalia, Irna & Diana. To Yulia Mytsko, Yulia Babych, Maria Hlazunova, Nika Bielska, Yvette Mrova, Lauren Ramires, Jane Newnham, Olena Shevchenko, Marta Chumako, Jamie Nadal, Jonathan Bearak, and the many others who we spoke with for this story. Thank you to NPR’s International Desk and the team at the Ukraine bureau. Translations from Eugene Alper and Dennis Tkachivsky. Voice over from Lizzie Marchenko and Yuliia Serbenenko. Archival from the Heal Foundation. Legal guidance provided by Micah Ratner, Lauren Cooperman, and Dentons.  Ethical guidance from Tony Cavin.  EPISODE CREDITS: Guest hosted by - Gregory Warner and Molly Webster Reported by - Katz Laszlo, Gregory Warner  Produced by - Tessa Paoli, Daniel Girma, Adelina Lancianese w/ production help from - Nic M. Neves Mixer - James Willetts and Robert Rodriguez w/ mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom Fact-checking by - Marisa Robertson-Textor and Edited by - Brenna Farrell Music: John Ellis composed the Rough Translation theme music.  Original music from Dylan Keefe.  Additional music from Blue Dot Sessions and FirstCom Music.     CITATIONSPhotos -  See a Lviv blackout through host Gregory Warner’s eyes – he posted photos from his time in Lviv on Twitter (https://zpr.io/egzpZZw7xPKk). Podcasts - To understand Ukraine’s president, it helps to know the training ground of his youth: the competitive comedy (https://zpr.io/ympqrikgCkE3) circuit, in this Rough Translation episode.  Listen to “No-Touch Abortion” (https://zpr.io/5SB6bpNzUs6r) from Radiolab for more on the science and use of abortion pills  Articles -  Further reading: a study on medical abortion (https://zpr.io/f8h5WNfKaMtk) by Galina Maistruck, one of the main sources in our piece Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
2/3/202332 minutes, 24 seconds
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Birthstory

You know the drill — all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo — you’ve got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this 2015 episode, conception takes on a new form — it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money.  This is the story of an Israeli couple, two men, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby — three, in fact — by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them. As we follow them on their journey, an earth-shaking revelation shifts our focus from them to the surrogate mothers. Unfolding in real time, as countries around the world considered bans on surrogacy, this episode looked at a relationship that manages to feel deeply affecting and deeply uncomfortable at the same time.  “Birthstory” is a collaboration with the brilliant radio show and podcast Israel Story, created to tell stories for, and about, Israel. Go check ‘em out! (https://zpr.io/rX3DazcJiUUG)  Israel Story's five English-language seasons were produced in partnership with Tablet Magazine (https://zpr.io/HxYET7psAbPh) and we highly recommend you listen to all of their work at (https://zpr.io/HD3LSqq25LEx)  This episode was produced and reported by Molly Webster. Special thanks go to: Israel Story, and their producers Maya Kosover, and Yochai Maital; reporters Nilanjana Bhowmick in India and Bhrikuti Rai in Nepal plus the International Reporting Project (https://zpr.io/KxN7etFiqWHL); Doron Mamet, Dr Nayana Patel, and Vicki Ferrara; with translation help from Aya Keefe, Karthik Ravindra, Turna Ray, Tom Wasserman, Pradeep Thapa, and Adhikaar (https://zpr.io/MDyadskgwZtH), an organization in Ridgewood, Queens advocating for the Nepali-speaking community.  Audio Extra: Tal and Air had a chance to meet each surrogate once - just after the deliveries, after all the paperwork was sorted out, and before any one left Nepal. As Amir says, they wanted to say "a big thank you." These meetings between intended parents, surrogate, and new babies are a traditional part of the surrogacy process in India and Nepal, and we heard reports from the surrogates that they also look forward to them. These moments do not stigmatize, reveal the identity of, or endanger the surrogates. Tal and Amir provided the audio for this web extra. EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Molly Websterwith help from - Maya Kosover, Yochai Maital, Bhrikuti Rai
1/27/20231 hour, 1 minute, 12 seconds
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Ukraine: Under the Counter

In the weeks following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a young doctor in Germany sees that abortion pills are urgently needed in Ukraine. And she wants to help. But getting the drugs into the country means going through Poland, which has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. So, she gets creative. What unfolds is a high-stakes, covert-operation run by a group of strangers. With everyone deciding: who to trust? In collaboration with NPR’s Rough Translation (https://zpr.io/9UpCwb2Smjzw), we find out what happened. Part 1 of 2 episodes.Special thanks to Wojciech Oleksiak, Katy Lee, Maria Hlazunova, Valeria Fokina, Sara Furxhi, Noel King, Robert Krulwich and Sana Krasikov, and our homies over at Rough Translation. Thanks also to Micah Loewinger and Laura Griffin. Illustrations came from Oksana Drachkovska.  And thank you to the many sources and experts we interviewed who asked to remain anonymous. Episode Credits:Guest hosted by - Gregory Warner and Molly WebsterReported by - Katz LaszloProduced by - Daniel Girma and Tessa PaoliMixer - Gilly Moonwith mixing help from - Jeremy BloomFact-checking by - Marisa Robertson-Textorand Edited by - Brenna Farrell CITATIONS: Videos Watch Deutsche Welle’s Abortion in Europe documentary (https://zpr.io/YHctj4bZQwHM). Podcasts Listen to Eleanor MacDowell’s A Sense of Quietness (https://zpr.io/eHhcHusxrhfE) on the BBC. Listen to NPR’s Joanna Kakissis’s story This Secretive Network Helps Ukranian Refugees Find Abortions in Poland (https://zpr.io/LsQw9V6ByfFg). Our reporter, Katz Laszlo, reports on European current affairs and reproductive health, and produces for The Europeans (https://zpr.io/sHAvrvqU2m8t) podcast, which features stories across the continent, including in Ukraine.  Our collaborators, NPR’s Rough Translation (https://zpr.io/9UpCwb2Smjzw) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
1/20/202342 minutes, 50 seconds
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Games

In this episode, first aired in 2011, we talk about the meaning of a good game — whether it's a pro football playoff, or a family showdown on the kitchen table. And how some games can make you feel, at least for a little while, like your whole life hangs in the balance. This hour of Radiolab, Jad and Robert wonder why we get so invested in something so trivial. What is it about games that make them feel so pivotal? We hear how a recurring dream about football turned into a real-life lesson for Stephen Dubner, we watch a chessboard turn into a playground where by-the-book moves give way to totally unpredictable possibilities, and we talk to Dan Engber, a one time senior editor at Slate, now at The Atlantic, and a bunch of scientists about why betting on a longshot is so much fun. And finally, we talk to Malcolm Gladwell about why he loves the overdog. CITATIONS: Videos -  The Immaculate Reception (https://zpr.io/izhV3Sm88SWF) by Franco Harris on December 23, 1972. Harris was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ fullback at the time. Books -  Stephen J. Dubner’s book, Confessions of a Hero Worshipper (https://zpr.io/iQUwfF8vGArj) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
1/13/202355 minutes, 30 seconds
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Universe In Verse

For a special New Year’s treat, we take a tour through the history of the universe with the help of… poets. Our guide is Maria Popova, who writes the popular blog The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings), and the poetry is from her project, “The Universe in Verse” — an annual event where poets read poems about science, space, and the natural world. Special thanks to all of our poets, musicians, and performers: Marie Howe, Tracy K. Smith, Rebecca Elson, Joan As Police Woman, Patti Smith, Gautam Srikishan, Zoe Keating, and Emily Dickinson. EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Lulu Millerwith help from - Maria PopovaProduced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandanwith mixing help from - Jeremy BloomFact-checking by - Natalie A. Middletonand Edited by  - Pat Walters FURTHER READING AND RESEARCH:To dig deeper on this one, we recommendBooks: - Tracy K Smith’s “Life On Mars” (https://zpr.io/weTzGTbZyVDT)- Marie Howe’s “The Kingdom Of Ordinary Times” (https://zpr.io/Tj9cWTsQxHG3)- Rebecca Elson’s “A Responsiblity To Awe” (https://zpr.io/PLR3KL8SfuPR)- Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” (https://zpr.io/zM47P5KqqKZx)Music:- Joan As Policewoman (https://joanaspolicewoman.com/)- Gautam Srikishan (https://www.floatingfast.com/)- Zoe Keating (https://www.zoekeating.com/) Internet:- The Marginalian blog post (https://zpr.io/abTuDFH9pfwu) about Vera Rubin- Check out photos of Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium (https://zpr.io/XkgTscKBfem6), a book of 424 flowers she picked and pressed and identified while studying the wild botany of Massachusetts.Tracy K. Smith, “My God, It’s Full of Stars” from Such Color: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2011 by Tracy K. Smith. Read by the author and used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.Fun fact: This episode was inspired by the fact that many Navy ships record the first log entry of the New Year in verse! To see some of this year's poems and learn about the history of the tradition, check out this post by the Naval History and Heritage Command. And, if you want to read a bit from Lulu's interview with sailor poet Lt. Ian McConnaughey, subscribe to our newsletter. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
1/6/202332 minutes, 4 seconds
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New Normal

This episode —first released in 2009 and then again in 2015, with an update — asks, what is “normal”? Maybe it exists, maybe not. We examine peace-loving baboons with Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, talk to Stu Rasmussen, whose preferred pronouns were he/him (https://zpr.io/nUdsZawNmhwt), and his neighbors in Silverton, Oregon about how a town chooses its community over outsider opinions. And lastly, we speak with an evolutionary anthropologist, Duke University’s own Brian Hare, and an evolutionary biologist Tecumseh Fitch, then at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, now at the University of Vienna, Austria, about foxes who love to snuggle.And what we find is that normal — maybe the only normal — is change. EPISODE CREDITS Reported by - Aaron CohenProduced by - Soren Wheelerwith help from - Annie McEwenCITATIONSArticles -Stu Rasmussen’s NYT Obituary (https://zpr.io/nUdsZawNmhwt). Theater - Andrew Russel’s “Stu for Silverton” (https://zpr.io/Jn5JP276pwhj) the play based on Stu Rasmussen’s life.    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
12/30/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Flight Before Christmas

At any given moment, nearly 500,000 people are crammed together in a metal tube, hurtling through the air. In this episode, we look at the strange human experiment that is flying together. Special thanks to Natalie Compton, Julia Longoria, Mike Arnot, and everyone at Gate Gourmet.EPISODE CREDITS:  Reported by - Matt Kielty, Simon Adler and Rachael CusickProduced by - Matt Kielty, Simon Adler and Rachael CusickWith Production help from - Sindhu GnanasambandanOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloomand mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Natalie A. MiddletonEdited by  - Pat Walters CITATIONS:  Videos Lou Boyer, the animal-flying pilot from our episode, has a great plane-forward Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/loub747/). As well as a whole YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@loub747/videos) dedicated to snakes and planes. (Luckily, not both at the same time.) Books Richard Foss's Food in the Air and Space: The Surprising History of Food and Drink in the Skies (https://zpr.io/KZyTPJkSENVq) Michael Heller's and James Salzman's Mine: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control our Lives (https://www.minethebook.com/)CHECK OUT:The Death, Sex and Money series Estrangement (https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/deathsexmoney/projects/estrangement)Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
12/23/202243 minutes, 53 seconds
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Null and Void

This episode, first aired in 2017, has Reporter Tracie Hunte and Editor Soren Wheeler exploring a hidden power in the U.S. Court System that is either the cornerstone of our democracy or a trapdoor to anarchy. Should a juror be able to ignore the law? From a Quaker prayer meeting in the streets of London to riots in the streets of Los Angeles, we trace the history of a quiet act of rebellion and struggle with how much power “We the People” should really have.Special thanks to Darryl K. Brown, professor of law at the University of Virginia, Andrew Leipold, professor of law at the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign, Nancy King, professor of law at Vanderbilt University, Buzz Scherr law professor at University of New Hampshire, Eric Verlo and attorneys David Lane, Mark Sisto, David Kallman and Paul Grant. Episode Credits:Reported by Tracie HunteProduced by Matt Kielty Citations:Media: You can hear the whole On the Media series, The Divided Dial, and many of their other great work by following this link(https://zpr.io/hbkfxQDKdHz8).  Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
12/16/20221 hour, 32 seconds
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The Middle of Everything Ever

After graduating from high school, without a clear plan for what to do next, Laura Andrews started asking herself a lot of questions. A spiral of big philosophical thoughts that led her to sit down and write to us with a question that was… oddly mathematical.  What is the most average size thing, if you take into account everything in the universe. So, along with mathematician Steven Strogatz, we decided to see if we could sit down and, in a friendly throwdown of guesstimates and quick calculations, rough out an answer.  Special thanks to all the listeners who sent in their responses to this question. Episode Credits:Reported by - Soren Wheeler and Alex NeasonProduced by - Annie McEwenwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Natalie A. Middletonand Edited by  - Alex Neason Citations: BooksYou can find links to many books by Steven Strogatz here: https://www.stevenstrogatz.com/all-books MediaAnd the podcast he does for Quanta Magazine, The Joy of Why, here: https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/the-joy-of-why/ Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
12/9/202228 minutes, 6 seconds
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The Ashes on the Lawn

A global pandemic. Thousands dying. A passive government. An afflicted group fueled by grief and anger. In this episode, first aired in 2020, Reporter Tracie Hunte wanted to understand this moment of pain and confusion. As she looked back three decades, she found a complicated answer to a simple question: when nothing seems to work, how do you make change? Special thanks to Dr. Anthony Fauci. Episode Credits: Reported by Tracie HuntProduced by Matt Kielty Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
12/2/202254 minutes, 56 seconds
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More Perfect: The Political Thicket

When U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren was asked at the end of his career, “What was the most important case of your tenure?”, there were a lot of answers he could have given. He had presided over some of the most important decisions in the court’s history — cases that dealt with segregation in schools, the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, just to name a few. But his answer was a surprise: he said “Baker v. Carr,” a 1962 redistricting case.  On this 2016 episode, part of our series More Perfect, we talk about why this case was so important. Important enough that it pushed one Supreme Court justice to a nervous breakdown, brought a boiling feud to a head, gave another justice a stroke, and changed the course of the Supreme Court — and the nation — forever.This episode is the one of the few times you can hear the voice of our Executive Producer Suzie Lechtenberg. After years of leading the team, Suzie will leave WNYC to start her new adventure. Suzie: re-publishing this episode is our way of saying thank you for all you’ve done — for the show and for each of us. Team Radiolab wishes you nothing but success and so much happiness in the next stage of your career. Episode Credits:Reported by Suzie LechtenbergProduced by Suzie Lechtenberg Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
11/25/202246 minutes, 30 seconds
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What's Up Doc?

Mel Blanc was known as “the man of 1,000 voices,” but, to hear his son tell it, the actual number was closer to 1,500. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Barney Rubble, Woody Woodpecker, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn — all Mel. These characters made him one of the most beloved men in the United States. In this episode from 2012, Mel Blanc’s son Noel tells Producer Sean Cole how his father’s entire body would transform to bring life to these characters. But on a fateful day of 1961, after a crash left Mel in a lengthy coma, it was the characters who brought life to him.Episode Credits:Reported by Sean Cole Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected] Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
11/18/202222 minutes, 51 seconds
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Butt Stuff

Why do we have a butt? Well, it’s not just for the convenience of a portable seat cushion. This week, we have a conversation with our Contributing Editor Heather Radke, who has spent the last several years going deep on one of our most noticeable surface features. She’s been working on a book called Butts, a Backstory and in this episode, she tells us about a fascinating history she uncovered that takes us from a eugenicist’s attempt in the late 1930s to concretize the most average human, to the rise of the garment industry, and the pain and shame we often feel today when we go looking for a pair of pants that actually fit. Special thanks to Alexandra Primiani and Jordan Rodman Episode Credits:Reported by Heather RadkeProduced by Matt KieltyOriginal music and sound design contributed by Matt Kielty and Jeremy BloomMixing by Jeremy BloomFact-checking by Emily Krieger Citations:You can Pre-order Heather’s book “Butts: A Backstory” here (https://zpr.io/QVFVLTTW9vpN) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
11/11/202235 minutes, 6 seconds
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Guts

This hour, we dive into the messy mystery in the middle of us. What's going on down there? And what can the rumblings deep in our bellies tell us about ourselves?  We join author Mary Roach and reach inside a live cow's stomach. Talk with writer Frederick Kaufman about our first peek into the wonderful world of human digestion that came about thanks to a hunting accident. And explore with show regular, science writer, and fellow water drinker, Carl Zimmer, about the trillions of microscopic creatures that keep us regulated, physically, but also, maybe, emotionally and spiritually. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
11/4/202254 minutes, 41 seconds
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The Weather Report

Meteorologists are as common as the clouds these days. Rolling onto the airwaves at morning, noon and night they tell us what to wear and where to plan our picnics. They’re local celebrities with an outsized influence. But in the 1940s, there was really only one of them: Irving P. Krick. He was suave and dapper, with the charm of a sunbeam and the boldness of a thunderclap. He was a salesman who turned the weather into a product. Today, listen to the story of Krick and his descendants, a crew of profit prophets who have found fame and fortune staring at the sky and seeing the future. We follow them from the bloody beaches of World War II to the climate changed coasts of today, exploring their impact and predicting what they’ll mean in our wackier weather world.  Special Thanks:Special thanks to Xandra Clark, Homa Sarabi, Santi Dharmawan, Francisco Alvarez, Maureen O’Leary and everyone at NOAA, Shimon Elkabetz, Jack Neff, Joe Pennington, Brad Colman, Morgan Yarker, Megan Walker, Eric Bramford, Jay Cohen and Irving Krick Jr for supplying us with tons of great archival footage and audio.  Episode Credits: Reported by Simon Adler and Annie McEwenProduced by Annie McEwen and Simon AdlerSound & Music by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen and Jeremy BloomMixing help from Arianne WackFact-checking by Diane KellyEdited by Soren Wheeler Citations: Books:  If you’re curious to know more about the history of weather forecasting, go check out Kris Harper’s book Weather by the Numbers. Video: We also asked Illustrator and Animator Sophia Twigt to make a little video explaining how the U.S. government agency NOAA collects and treats weather data to make weather forecasts. Here it is, narrated by Simon Adler. We hope you enjoy it:   Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
10/28/202252 minutes, 23 seconds
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Black Box

In this episode, first aired in 2014, we examine three very different kinds of black boxes — spaces where we know what’s going in, we know what’s coming out, but can’t see what happens in that in-between space. From the darkest parts of metamorphosis to a sixty-year-old secret among magicians, and the nature of consciousness itself, we shine some light on three questions. But for each, we contend with an answerless space, leaving just enough room for the mystery and magic… always wondering what’s inside the Black Box. Episode credits:Reported by Tim Howard and Molly WebsterProduced by Tim Howard and Molly WebsterCitations:Radio Show: ABC's Keep Them Guessing (https://tinyurl.com/9r9zmftr) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
10/21/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 23 seconds
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No-Touch Abortion

When the Dobbs decision went down, ER doctor Avir Mitra started to prepare for the worst — botched, at-home abortions that would land pregnant people in the emergency room. To prepare himself and his colleagues for the patients they might see, and to think through how best to treat them, Avir asked Laura MacIsaac, one of New York City’s leading gynecologists and abortion experts, to come talk to his ER department. But what Dr. MacIsaac had to say in her lecture wasn’t what Avir expected: she didn’t talk about how we’re going back in time and the horrors of self-harm as a means to an abortion. Instead, she painted a picture of progress — how in the last 40 years, through private practice and clinical trials all around the world, the process and science of providing and having an abortion has changed dramatically, mostly because of two types of pills: misoprostol and mifepristone. On this episode, Avir and Senior Correspondent Molly Webster visit Dr. MacIsaac to hear more, and also learn about a new study that indicates the process of abortion is on the precipice of even further change.  Special thanks to Mariana Prandini Assis and Pam Belluck. Episode Credits:Reported by Avir Mitra and Molly WebsterProduced by Sarah QariMixing help from Arianne WackFact-checking by Diane KellyEdited by Becca Bressler Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
10/14/202226 minutes, 1 second
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The Theater of David Byrne's Mind

It all started when the rockstar David Byrne did a Freaky-Friday-like body-swap with a Barbie Doll. That’s what inspired him — along with his collaborator Mala Gaonkar — to transform a 15,000 square-foot warehouse in Denver, Colorado into a brainy funhouse known as the Theater of the Mind. This episode, co-Host Latif Nasser moderates a live conversation between Byrne and Neuroscientist Thalia Wheatley at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The trio talk about how we don’t see what we think we see, don’t hear what we think we hear, and don’t know what we think we know, but also how all that… might actually be a good thing. Special thanks to Charlie Miller and everyone else at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Emily Simoness and everyone else at the Arbutus Foundation, Boen Wang, and Heather Radke.   Episode Credits: Produced by Suzie Lechtenberg   CITATIONS Theater of the mind website: https://theateroftheminddenver.com/   Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
10/7/202243 minutes, 6 seconds
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Playing God

When people are dying and you can only save some, how do you choose? Maybe you save the youngest. Or the sickest. Maybe you even just put all the names in a hat and pick at random. Would your answer change if a sick person was right in front of you? In this episode, first aired back in 2016, we follow New York Times reporter Sheri Fink as she searches for the answer. In a warzone, a hurricane, a church basement, and an earthquake, the question remains the same. What happens, what should happen, when humans are forced to play God? Very special thanks to Lilly Sullivan.  Special thanks also to: Pat Walters and Jim McCutcheon and Todd Menesses from WWL in New Orleans, the researchers for the allocation of scarce resources project in Maryland - Dr. Lee Daugherty Biddison from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Howie Gwon from the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Emergency Management, Alan Regenberg of the Berman Institute of Bioethics and Dr. Eric Toner of the UPMC Center for Health Security. Episode Credits: Reported by - Reported by Sheri Fink.Produced by - Produced by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen. Citations: Articles:You can find more about the work going on in Maryland at: www.nytimes.com/triageBooks: The book that inspired this episode about what transpired at Memorial Hospital during Hurricane Katrina, Sheri Fink’s exhaustively reported Five Days at Memorial, now a series on Apple TV+. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
9/30/202258 minutes, 50 seconds
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Terrestrials: The Mastermind

Lulu Miller, intrepid host and fearless mother of two, went off on her own and put together a little something for kids. All kids: hers, yours, and the one still living inside us all.  Radiolab for Kids Presents: Terrestrials And it’s spellbinding. So much so, that we wanted to put this audio goodness in front of as many ears as possible.  Which is why we’re running the first episode of that series here for you today.  It’s called The Mastermind. In it, Sy Montgomery, an author and naturalist, shares the story of a color-changing creature many people assumed to be brainless who outsmarts his human captors. If you want a SPOILER of what the creature is, read on: It’s an octopus. We hear the story of one particularly devious octopus who lost a limb, was captured by humans, and then managed to make an escape from its aquarium tank—back into the ocean! The tale of “Inky” the octopus calls into question who we think of as intelligent (and kissable) in the animal kingdom. Learn about the storytellers, listen to music, and dig deeper into the stories you hear on Terrestrials with activities you can do at home or in the classroom on our website, Terrestrialspodcast.org  Find MORE original Terrestrials fun on Youtube.And badger us on Social Media: @radiolab and #TerrestrialsPodcast And if your little ones or you want to hear more of Team Terrestrials amazing work on this series, please search for Radiolab for Kids Presents: The Mastermind, wherever you get podcasts or subscribe here.  Terrestrials is a production of WNYC Studios, created by Lulu Miller. This episode is produced by Ana González, Alan Goffinski and Lulu Miller. Original Music by Alan Goffinski. Help from Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Sandbach, Natalia Ramirez, and Sarita Bhatt. Fact-checking by Diane Kelley. Sound design by Mira Burt-Wintonick with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Our storyteller this week is Sy Montgomery. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Our advisors are Theanne Griffith, Aliyah Elijah, Dominique Shabazz, John Green, Liza Steinberg-Demby, Tara Welty, and Alice Wong. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
9/23/202229 minutes, 42 seconds
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Quicksaaaand!

For many of us, quicksand was once a real fear — it held a vise grip on our imaginations, from childish sandbox games to grown-up anxieties about venturing into unknown lands. But these days, quicksand can't even scare an 8-year-old. In this short, we try to find out why.  Then-Producer Soren Wheeler introduces us to Dan Engber, writer and columnist for Slate, now with The Atlantic. Dan became obsessed with quicksand after happening upon a strange fact: kids are no longer afraid of it. In this episode, Dan recounts for Soren and Robert Krulwich the story of his obsession. He immersed himself in research, compiled mountains of data, met with quicksand fetishists and, in the end, formulated a theory about why the terror of his childhood seems to have lost its menacing allure. Then Carlton Cuse, who at the time we first aired this episode was best-known as the writer and executive producer of Lost, helps us think about whether giant pits of hero-swallowing mud might one day creep back into the spotlight.And, as this episode first aired in 2013, we can see if we were right.   Episode Credits:Reported and produced by Soren Wheeler Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].     Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
9/16/202216 minutes, 6 seconds
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40,000 Recipes for Murder

Two scientists realize that the very same AI technology they have developed to discover medicines for rare diseases can also discover the most potent chemical weapons known to humankind. Inadvertently opening the Pandora’s Box of WMDs. What should they do now? Special thanks to, Xander Davies, Timnit Gebru, Jessica Fjeld, Bert Gambini and Charlotte HsuEpisode Credits: Reported by Latif NasserProduced by Matt KieltyOriginal music and sound design contributed by Matt KieltyMixing help from Arianne WackFact-checking by Emily KriegerCITATIONS:Articles:Read the Sean and Fabio’s paper here. Get Yan Liu’s book Healing with Poisons: Potent Medicines in Medieval China here. Yan is now Assistant Professor of History at the University at Buffalo.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
9/9/202230 minutes, 15 seconds
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Rodney v. Death

In the fall of 2004, Jeanna Giese checked into the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin with a set of puzzling symptoms... and her condition was deteriorating fast. By the time Dr. Rodney Willoughby saw her, he only knew one thing for sure: if Jeanna's disturbing breakdown turned out to be rabies, she was doomed to die. What happened next seemed like a medical impossibility. In this episode, originally aired in 2013, Producer Tim Howard tells Jeanna's story and talks to authors Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik, and scientists Amy Gilbert and Sergio Recuenco, while trying to unravel the mystery of an unusual patient and the doctor who dared to take on certain death. Episode credits: Reported and produced by Tim Howard CITATIONS: Articles:"Undead: The Rabies Virus Remains a Medical Mystery," Wired article by Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik "Bats Incredible: The Mystery of Rabies Survivorship Deepens," Wired article by Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik "Study Detects Rabies Immune Response in Amazon Populations," the CDC's page on Amy Gilbert and Sergio Recuenco's work (inc. photos from Peru) "Selection Criteria for Milwaukee Protocol," when to try the Milwaukee Protocol Books:Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus, by Bill Wasik and Monica MurphyOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].    
9/2/202233 minutes, 15 seconds
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Gigaverse

A pizzeria owner in Kansas realizes that DoorDash is hijacking his pizzas. A Lyft driver conquers the streets of San Francisco until he unwittingly puts his family in danger. A Shipt shopper in Denton, Texas tries to crack the code of the delivery app that is slashing his pay. This week, Host Latif Nasser, Producer Becca Bressler, and Philosophy Professor Barry Lam dive into the ins and outs of a new and growing part of our world: the gig economy. Special thanks to, Julie Wernau, Drew Ambrogi, David Condos, David Pickerell, Cory Doctorow, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Coby McDonald, Bret Jaspers, Peter Haden, Bill Pollock, Tanya Chawla, and Mateo Schimpf. Episode Credits: Reported by Becca Bressler, Latif Nasser, and Barry LamProduced by Becca Bressler, Eli Cohen, and Sindhu Gnanasambandan.Original music and sound design contributed by Jeremy Bloom and Becca Bressler.Mixing help from Arianne Wack Fact-checking by Natalie Middleton Edited by Pat Walters CITATIONSArticles:Subscribe to Ranjan Roy's newsletter, Margins, here. Jeffrey’s story was originally reported by Lauren Smiley for WIRED. Check out her piece for an even more in-depth look at his life as a gig driver. Audio:Check out Barry Lam’s podcast Hi-Phi Nation, a show about philosophy that turns stories into ideas.  Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
8/26/202249 minutes, 30 seconds
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9-Volt Nirvana

Learn a new language faster than ever! Leave doubt in the dust! Be a better sniper! Could you do all that and more with just a zap to the noggin? Maybe. Back in the early 2010s, Sally Adee, then an editor at New Scientist Magazine, went to a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) conference and heard about a way to speed up learning with something called trans-cranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). A couple of years later, Sally found herself wielding an M4 assault rifle to pick off simulated enemy combatants with a battery wired to her temple. But that got then-producer Soren Wheeler thinking about this burgeoning world of electroceuticals, and if real, what limits will it reach. For this episode, first aired back in 2014, we brought in Michael Weisend, then a neuroscientist at Wright State Research Institute, to tell us how it works (Bonus: you get to hear Jad get his brain zapped). And sat down with Peter Reiner and Nick Fitz, then at the University of British Columbia, to help us think through the consequences of a world where anyone with 20 dollars and access to a circuit board and a soldering iron, can make their own brain zapper. And then checked-in again to hear about the unexpected after-effects a day of super-charged sniper training can have on one mild-mannered science journalist. Episode credits: Reported by Sally Adee and Soren WheelerOriginal music by Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
8/19/202226 minutes, 16 seconds
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Infinities

In August 2018, Boen Wang was at a work retreat for a new job. Surrounded by mosquitoes and swampland in a tiny campsite in West Virginia, Boen’s mind underwent a sudden, dramatic transformation that would have profound consequences—for his work, his colleagues, and himself. Special thanks to Grace Gilbert for voice acting and episode art, and to Professors Erin Anderson and Maggie Jones for editorial support. Episode credits: Reported and produced by Boen WangOriginal Music provided by Alex Zhang HungtaiFact-checking by Diane KellyEdited by Pat Walters Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].   Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
8/12/202241 minutes, 31 seconds
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Escape

This episode originally aired in 2012. An all-star lineup of producers — Pat Walters, Lynn Levy, and Sean Cole — bring you stories about traps, getaways, perpetual cycles, and staggering breakthroughs.  We kick things off with a true escape artist — a man who’s broken out of jail more times than anyone alive. Why does he keep running... and will he ever stop? Next, the ingeniously simple question that led Isaac Newton to an enormous intellectual breakthrough: why doesn’t the moon fall out of the sky? In the wake of Newton's new idea, we find ourselves in a strange space at the edge of the solar system, about to cross a boundary beyond which we know nothing. Finally, we hear the story of a blind kid who freed himself from an unhappy childhood by climbing into the telephone system, and bending it to his will. Now sit back, relax and enjoy what we hope will prove to be a welcomed Escape.Episode Credits:Reported and produced by Pat Walters, Lynn Levy, and Sean Cole Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
8/5/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 4 seconds
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The Humpback and the Killer

Killer whales — orcas — eat all sorts of animals, including humpback calves. But one day, biologists saw a group of humpback whales trying to stop some killer whales from eating… a seal. And then it happened again. And again. It turns out, all across the oceans, humpback whales are swimming around stopping killer whales from hunting all kinds of animals — from seals to gray whales to sunfish. And of course while many scientists explain this behavior as the result of blind instincts that are ultimately selfish, much of the world celebrates humpbacks as superhero vigilantes of the sea. But when Annie McEwen dug into what was really going on between humpbacks and killer whales, she found a set of stories that refused to fit in either of those two ways of seeing the world.Special thanks to Eric J. Gleske and Brendan Brucker at Media Services, Oregon State University as well as Colleen Talty at Monterey Bay Whale Watch and California Killer Whale Project. Special thanks also to Doug McKnight and Giuliana Mayo. Episode Credits:Reported and produced by Annie McEwenOriginal music and sound design by Annie McEwenMixing help from Arianne WackFact-checking by Diane KellyEdited by Becca Bressler Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. CITATIONS: Videos:Alisa Schulman-Janiger took this video (https://zpr.io/5mYNTWpxs5GV) of the humpbacks defending the gray whale calf’s carcass from the killer whales. Articles:Read Robert Pitman’s (et al) paper (https://zpr.io/iU9shuNW9tAj) about the humpbacks saving the seal and a review of the 115 interactions they collected between humpbacks and killer whales. Books:The World in the Whale (https://zpr.io/2BHBermJJfKj). If you are interested in whales, you are going to love this book. Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  
7/29/202235 minutes, 43 seconds
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You v. You

This episode, originally aired more than a decade ago, attempts to answer one question: how do you win against your worst impulses? Zelda Gamson tried for decades to stop smoking, but the part of her that wanted to quit couldn’t beat the part of her that refused to let go. Adam Davidson, a co-founder of the NPR podcast Planet Money, talked to one of the greatest negotiators of all time, Nobel Prize-winning Economist Thomas Schelling, whose tactical skills saw him through high-stakes conflicts during the Cold War but fell apart when he tried them on himself in his battle to quit smoking. And a baby Pat Walters complicates things — in a good way — with the story of two brothers, Dennis and Kai Woo, who forged a deal with each other that wound up determining both of their futures. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].  
7/22/202226 minutes
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The Gatekeeper

This week, Reporter Peter Smith and Senior Producer Matt Kielty tell the story of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that set the standard for scientific expertise in a courtroom, i.e., whether an expert can testify in a lawsuit. They also tell the story of the Daubert family — yes, the Dauberts of “Daubert v Merrell Dow” — whose win before the nine justices translated into a deeper loss. Special thanks to Leah Litman, Rachel Rebouche, Jennifer Mnookin, David Savitz, Brooke Borel, and Tom Zeller Jr. Credits: Reporting by Peter Andrey Smith. Produced by Matt Kielty. Reporting and production assistance from Sarah Qari. Fact-checking by Natalie A. Middleton. Editing by Pat Walters. Sound Design by Matt Kielty. Mixing help from Arianne Wack. Citations: If you're interested in reading more from Peter Smith, check out his work over at Undark.org Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected], by the way, Radiolab is looking for a remote intern! If you happen to be a creative, science-obsessed nerd who is interested in learning how to make longform radio… Apply before July 20, 2022! We would LOVE to work with you. You can find more info at wnyc.org/careers.
7/15/202248 minutes, 57 seconds
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Baby Blue Blood Drive

This is an episode that first aired in 2018 and then again in the thick of the pandemic in 2020. Why? Because though Horseshoe crabs are not much to look at, beneath their unassuming catcher’s-mitt shell, they harbor a half-billion-year-old secret: a superpower that helped them outlive the dinosaurs, survive all the Earth’s mass extinctions, and was essential in the development of the COVID vaccines.  And what is that secret superpower? Their blood. Their baby blue blood.  And it’s so miraculous that for decades, it hasn’t just been saving their butts, it’s been saving ours too. But that all might be about to change.   Follow us as we follow these ancient critters - from a raunchy beach orgy to a marine blood drive to the most secluded waterslide - and learn a thing or two from them about how much we depend on nature and how much it depends on us. Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about special events. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. And, by the way, Radiolab is looking for a remote intern! If you happen to be a creative, science-obsessed nerd who is interested in learning how to make longform radio… Apply! We would LOVE to work with you.  You can find more info at wnyc.org/careers. Citations: Alexis Madrigal, "The Blood Harvest" in The Atlantic, and Sarah Zhang's recent follow up in The Atlantic, "The Last Days of the Blue Blood Harvest"  Deborah Cramer, The Narrow Edge Deborah Cramer, "Inside the Biomedical Revolution to Save Horseshoe Crabs" in Audubon Magazine  Richard Fortey, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms Ian Frazier, "Blue Bloods"  in The New Yorker  Lulu Miller's short story, "Me and Jane"  in Catapult Magazine Jerry Gault, "The Most Noble Fishing There Is"  in Charles River's Eureka Magazine or check out Glenn Gauvry's horseshoe crab research database
7/8/202251 minutes, 51 seconds
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My Thymus, Myself

Today, we go to a spot that may be one of the most philosophical places in the universe: the thymus, an organ that knows what is you, and what is not you. Its mood may be existential, but its role is practical — the thymus is the biological training ground where the body learns to protect itself from outside invaders (think: bacteria, coronaviruses). But this training is not the humdrum bit of science you might expect. It’s a magical shadowland with dire consequences.  Then, we’ll leave the thymus to visit a team of doctors who are using this organ that protects you as a way to protect someone… else. Their work could change everything. Special Thanks:  One thousand thanks to Hannah Meyer, Salomé Carcy, Josh Torres, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for showing us a real-life (mouse) thymus for this episode. Special thanks also go to Diane Mathis and Kate Webb. Further reading: Wanna do a little light reading? Here’s the immunology textbook Jenni Punt and Sharon Stranford helped write, including a whole section on that funny little thing called AIRE! Kuby Immunology  The science paper that first described what happens inside the thymus as an, “immunological self shadow”. Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about special events. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected]. And, by the way, Radiolab is looking for a remote intern! If you happen to be a creative, science-obsessed nerd who is interested in learning how to make longform radio… Apply! We would LOVE to work with you.  You can find more info at wnyc.org/careers.
7/1/202228 minutes, 12 seconds
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Galápagos

As our co-Hosts Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser are out this week, we are re-sharing the perfect episode to start the summer season! This one, which first aired in 2014, tells the strange story of a small group of islands that keeps us wondering: will our most sacred natural landscapes inevitably get swallowed up by humans? How far are we willing to go to stop that from happening? This hour is about the Galápagos archipelago, which inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection. Nearly 200 years later, the Galápagos are undergoing rapid changes that continue to pose — and perhaps answer — critical questions about the fragility and resilience of life on Earth. Episode Credits:Reported and produced by Tim Howard. Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about special events. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)! Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].  
6/24/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 36 seconds
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No Special Duty

Since the massacre that took the lives of 19 schoolchildren in Uvalde, Texas, people across the world began to ask versions of one question: why did police wait outside the door instead of protecting the kids? It's not the first time this question has come up. Two years ago, as she watched police respond to the protests that followed the death of George Floyd, Producer B.A. Parker wondered: what are police for? With the help of our Producer Sarah Qari, she found that the United States’ Supreme Court had given this a most consequential and bewildering answer. We decided to re-air this episode to shed light on how a case from 2005 upended our assumptions about the role police are meant to play in our lives. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! (https://zpr.io/MTSFMLXQWDkE) Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
6/17/202246 minutes, 18 seconds
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Neanderthal's Revenge

A few months ago, co-Host Latif Nasser, who was otherwise healthy, saw blood in his poop. It was the start of a medical journey that made him not only question what was going on in his body, but also dig into the secret genetic story of how we became human. Curled up in a hospital bathroom, Latif tries to sort out whether his ordeal is the result of a long-lost sibling knifing him in the gut or, on the contrary, a long-forgotten kindness shared between two human-ish travelers.  Special thanks to Azra Premiji, Avir Mitra, Suzanne Lehrer, David Reich, Sriram Sankararaman, Ainara Sistiaga, Carl Zimmer, Carly Mensch, Nihal Kaur, Charlotte Hsu and Bert Gambini at the University at Buffalo Media Relations, and Latif's GI Doctor Florence Damilola Odufalu and her entire team, as well as all the staff at LA County-USC Medical Center and Keck USC hospitals who looked after Latif during his hospitalization. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!Editorial Note: This podcast was amended after initial release to change the way we refer to those afflicted by addiction. 
6/10/202226 minutes, 54 seconds
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Origin Stories

We’re all in a tizzy here at Radiolab on account of our 20-year anniversary. And, as one does upon passing a milestone, we’ve been looking back in all kinds of ways. Two weeks ago, we went out over the airwaves, “Live on your FM dial,” a callback to our origins as a radio show. We revamped our logo and redid our website (get your Freq on, people!). More recently, Lulu's and Latif’s first stories came up in a meeting. They weren’t always the intrepid hosts of our collective journey in wonder. Soren Wheeler, our editor, thought it would be fun to highlight those firsts for you.  So here they are, baby Latif and Lulu, doing their darndest to make audio magic. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!  
6/3/202243 minutes, 29 seconds
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Radiolab After Dark

Back in 2002, Jad Abumrad started Radiolab as a live radio show. He DJ’d out into the ether and 20 years later we do the same. To commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the show, the Radiolab team went old school and took over WNYC Radio, live on the FM band. We answered the phones, played some wonderfully weird audio, including one piece where Kurt Vonnegut—yes, that Kurt Vonnegut—interviews the dead, took part in some games and tomfoolery, and did everything we could to have and to share in our good time.
5/27/202258 minutes, 46 seconds
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La Mancha Screwjob

All the world’s a stage. Or, sometimes it feels that way, especially these days. In this episode, originally aired in 2015, we push through the fourth wall, pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past to unmask our obsession with authenticity and our desire to walk the line between reality and fantasy. Thanks to Nick Hakim for the use of his song "The Light".  Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!  
5/20/202257 minutes, 54 seconds
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Frailmales

This week, we bring you two stories about little guys trying to do big big things. First, self-proclaimed animal grinch producer Becca Bressler introduces us to perhaps the one creature that has warmed her heart: a cricket. And more specifically, a male cricket. This is a tale about a tiny Romeo insect trying to find a mate, and the ingenious lengths he’ll go to have his beckoning heard. The hero of our story   And second, producer Annie McEwen journeys through perhaps the zaniest game of football that has ever been played. When a ragtag group of players take on the top team, will it be an underdog tale for the ages or an absolute disaster? Special thanks to Stephen Spann and Joshua Baxter at the Doris and Harry Vice University Library at Cumberland University as well as Alison Reynolds at Georgia Tech Library. Thanks also to Rick Bell, and to Scott Larson who wrote a book all about this game called Cumberland: The True Story of the Highest Scoring Football Game in History. And finally, thanks so much to our tape syncer Ambriehl Crutchfield for her help with this episode.  If you’re still interested in learning more about this epic football game, be sure to check out this brilliant and hilarious video by sportswriter Jon Bois. Lastly, don't forget to check out Death Sex and Money. We recommend episode titled Hard, which is deep dive into our relationship with erectile dysfunction, and the drugs developed to treat it.   Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe! DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE (https://zpr.io/YPQjmqjec5g7)
5/13/202235 minutes, 49 seconds
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Debatable

In competitive debate future presidents, supreme court justices, and titans of industry pummel each other with logic and rhetoric.  Unclasp your briefcase. It’s time for a showdown. Looking back on an episode originally aired in 2016, we take a good long look at the world of competitive college debate. This is Ryan Wash's story. He's a queer, Black, first-generation college student from Kansas City, Missouri who joined the debate team at Emporia State University on a whim. When he started going up against fast-talking, well-funded, “name-brand” teams, from places like Northwestern and Harvard, it was clear he wasn’t in Kansas anymore. So Ryan became the vanguard of a movement that made everything about debate debatable. In the end, he made himself a home in a strange and hostile land. Whether he was able to change what counts as rigorous academic argument … well, that’s still up for debate. Special thanks to Will Baker, Myra Milam, John Dellamore, Sam Mauer, Tiffany Dillard Knox, Mary Mudd, Darren "Chief" Elliot, Jodee Hobbs, Rashad Evans and Luke Hill.  Special thanks also to Torgeir Kinne Solsvik for use of the song h-lydisk / B Lydian from the album Geirr Tveitt Piano Works and Songs Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
5/6/20221 hour, 40 seconds
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Hello, My Name Is

As a species, we’re obsessed with names. They’re one of the first labels we get as kids. We name and rename absolutely everything around us. And these names carry our histories, they can open and close our eyes to the world around us, and they drag the weight of expectation and even irony along with them. This week on Radiolab, we’ve got six stories all about names. Horse names, the names of diseases, names for the beginning, and names for the end. Listen to “Hello, My Name Is” on Radiolab, wherever you find podcasts.  Special thanks to Jim Wright, author of “The Real James Bond”, Tad Davis, Cole delCharco, Peter Frick-Wright, Alexa Rose Miller, Katherine De La Cruz, and Fahima Haque.Members of The Lab, watch for an audio extra on your exclusive feeds, a poem written and read by Mary Szybist, whom Molly Webster interviewed for her story in this episode about endlings. It is titled “We Think We Do Not Have Medieval Eyes.” If you are not yet a member and would like to listen to it, you can join here. Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe! DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE (https://zpr.io/BmPeeLvvRDrD) Citations: The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee Warhorse: Cavalry in Ancient Warfare by Philip SidnellCheck out ArtsPractica.com, a site focused on medical uncertainty. Alexa Rose Miller.
4/29/20221 hour, 11 minutes, 51 seconds
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The Other Latif: Cuba-ish

Almost exactly twenty years ago, detainee 244 got transferred to Guantanamo Bay. Captured by American forces at the battle Tora Bora five months previous, Abdul Latif Nasser was shaved, hooded, shackled, diapered, and flown halfway across the world. The Radiolab special series, The Other Latif, kicked off when one of our hosts, Latif Nasser, made a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with detainee 244. A man the U.S. government paints a terrifying picture of as Al-Qaeda’s top explosives expert, and one of the most important advisors to Osama bin Laden. Nasser’s lawyer claims, on the other hand, that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that he was never even in Al-Qaeda. This clash launched our Latif into a years-long investigation, picking apart evidence, attempting to separate fact from fiction, and trying to uncover what the man with whom he shares a name actually did or didn’t do. Along the way, Radiolab’s Latif reflects on American values and his own religious past, and wonders how a fellow nerdy, suburban Muslim kid, may have gone down such a strikingly different path. Episode 5: Cuba-ish  To mark the solemn occasion of the other Latif's transfer to, "the legal equivalent of outer space," we thought we'd replay Cuba-ish, the fifth episode of our special series which first aired back in 2020. In this episode, our Latif heads to Guantanamo Bay to try to speak to his namesake. Before he gets there, he dives deep, seeking the answer to what seems like a simple question: why Cuba? Why in the world did the United States pick this sleepy military base in the Caribbean to house “the worst of the worst”?  Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!  
4/22/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 56 seconds
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A one-word magical spell. Several years back, that’s exactly what Joseph Tartaro thought he’d discovered. It was a spell that, if used properly, promised to make one’s problems disappear. And so he crossed his fingers, uttered the word and cast the enchantment on himself. The result, however, was anything but magical. Unbeknownst to Joseph, by unleashing this spell, he’d earned a lifetime membership into a cursed community. A clan made up of folks who, through no fault of their own, had become nameless and invisible. Today, the story of these unfortunate souls, the dark digital arts that took so much from them and the wizardry needed to give them new life. Special thanks to Sarah Chasins, Tony Hoare, Brian Kernighan and to Patrick McKenzie for writing that wonderful list of assumptions programmers believe about names. And also to all the folks who spoke to us and emailed us with stories of their own ‘problematic’ names. DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
4/15/202219 minutes, 41 seconds
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In the Dust of This Planet

Horror, fashion, and the end of the world … In this episode, first aired in 2014, but maybe even more relevant today, things get weird as we explore the undercurrents of thought that link nihilists, beard-stroking philosophers, Jay-Z, and True Detective. Today on Radiolab, a puzzle. Jad’s brother-in-law wrote a book called 'In The Dust of This Planet'. It’s an academic treatise about the horror humanity feels as we realize that we are nothing but a speck in the universe. For a few years nobody read it. But then … It seemed to show up on True Detective.   Then in a fashion magazine.   And then on Jay-Z's back. How?  We talk nihilism with Eugene Thacker & Simon Critchley, leather jackets with June Ambrose, climate change with David Victor, and hope with the father of Transcendental Black Metal - Hunter Hunt Hendrix of the band Liturgy. Also, check out WNYC Studio's On the Media episode Staring into the Abyss, in it Brooke Gladstone and Jad Abumrad continue their discussion of nihilism and its place in history. You can find Eugene Thacker's 'In The Dust Of the Planet' at Zero Books Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
4/8/202228 minutes, 59 seconds
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Inheritance

Once a kid is born, their genetic fate is pretty much sealed. Or is it? In this episode, originally aired in 2012, we put nature and nurture on a collision course and discover how outside forces can find a way inside us, and change not just our hearts and minds, but the basic biological blueprint that we pass on to future generations.Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
4/1/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Right Stuff

Since the beginning of the space program, we’ve always expected astronauts to be fully abled athletic overachievers who are one-part science-geek, two-parts triathlete – a mix the writer Tom Wolfe famously called “the right stuff.” But what if, this whole time, we’ve had it all wrong? In this episode, reporter Andrew Leland joins a blind linguistics professor named Sheri Wells-Jensen and a crew of eleven other disabled people on a mission to prove that disabled people have what it takes to go to space. And not only that, but that they may have an edge over non-disabled people. We follow the Mission AstroAccess crew members to Long Beach, California, where they hop on an airplane to take an electrifying flight that simulates zero-gravity – a method used by NASA to train astronauts – and afterwards learn that the biggest challenges to a future where space is accessible to all people may not be where they expected to find them. And our reporter Andrew, who is legally blind himself, confronts some unexpected conclusions of his own.This episode was reported by Andrew Leland and produced by Maria Paz Gutierrez, Matt Kielty and Pat Walters. Jeremy Bloom contributed music and sound design. Production sound recording by Dan McCoy.Special thanks to William Pomerantz, Sheyna Gifford, Jim Vanderploeg, Tim Bailey, and Bill Barry Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe! DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE (https://zpr.io/vWtJYGLn6UXm)   Citations in this episode Multimedia:Sheri Wells-Jensen’s SETI Institute presentationLearn more about Mission AstroAccessOther work by Andrew Leland Articles:Sheri Wells-Jensen’s, “The Case for Disabled Astronauts,” Scientific American
3/25/202241 minutes, 51 seconds
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Stress

Stress can give your body a boost - raising adrenaline levels, pumping blood to the muscles, heightening our senses. And those sudden superpowers can be a boon when you’re running from a lion. But repeatedly dipping into that well can make you sick, even kill you. Since it feels like there’s been an extra bit of stress going around lately, we decided to replay this episode, originally aired back in 2005, which takes a long hard look at the body's system for getting out of trouble. And how in our modern, hyper-connected world, that system misfires and takes us from the frying pan, right into another, albeit entirely different, frying pan. Stanford University neurologist (and part-time "baboonologist") Dr. Robert Sapolsky takes us through what happens on our insides when we stand in the wrong line at the supermarket, and offers a few coping strategies: gnawing on wood, beating the crap out of somebody, and having friends. Plus: the story of a singer who lost her voice, and an author stuck in a body that never grew up. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
3/18/202257 minutes, 14 seconds
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The Helen Keller Exorcism

Fantasy writer Elsa Sjunneson has been haunted by Helen Keller for nearly her entire life. Like Helen, Elsa is Deafblind, and growing up she was constantly compared to her. But for a million different reasons she hated that, because she felt different from her in a million different ways. Then, a year ago, an online conspiracy theory claiming Helen was a fraud exploded on TikTok, and suddenly Elsa found herself drawing her sword and jumping to Helen’s defense, setting off a chain of events that would bring her closer to the disability icon than she ever dreamt. For over a year, Elsa, Lulu and the Radiolab team dug through primary sources, talked to experts, even visited Helen’s birthplace Ivy Green, and discovered the real story of Helen Keller is far more complicated, mysterious and confounding than the simple myth of a young Deafblind girl rescued by her teacher Annie Sullivan. It’s a story of ghosts, surprises, a few tears, a bit of romance, some hard conversations, and a possibly psychic dog.This episode was reported by Elsa Sjunneson and Lulu Miller. It was produced by Sindhu Gnanasambandan and Rachel Cusick, with help from Sarah Qari, Tanya Chawla, and Carolyn McClusker. Jeremy Bloom contributed music and sound design. Additional Mixing by Arianne Wack. Special thanks to Georgina Kleege, Julia Bascom, Desiree Kocis, Peter C. Kunze, Andrew Leland, Sara Luterman, Alexander Richey, Will Healy, Nate Jones, Nate Peereboom, and Pamela Sabaugh (who was our voice of Helen Keller).ASL TRANSCRIPTION Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE (https://zpr.io/s23JtuYxyrNA)Citations in this episodeBooks:Elsa Sjunneson, Being SeenKim Nielsen, The Radical Lives of Helen KellerGeorgina Kleege, Blind Rage: Letters to Helen KellerKatie Booth, The Invention of Miracles: language, power, and Alexander Graham Bell’s quest to end deafnessHaben Girma, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard LawArticles:Susan Crutchfield, “Play[ing] her part correctly: Helen Keller as Vaudevillian Freak,” Disability Studies Quarterly.Desiree Kocis, “Did Helen Keller Fly A Plane?” (she did), Plane & Pilot Magazine.Peter C. Kunze, “What We Talk about When We Talk about Helen Keller,” Children’s Literature Association QuarterlyThe archives of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
3/11/20221 hour, 3 minutes, 47 seconds
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Life in a Barrel

This week, we flip the Disney story of life on its head thanks to a barrel of seawater, a 1970s era computer, and underwater geysers. It’s the chaos of life. Latif, Lulu, and our Senior Producer Matt Kielty were all sitting on their own little stories until they got thrown into the studio, and had their cherished beliefs about the shape of life put on a collision course. From an accidental study of sea creatures, to the ambitions of Stephen J Gould, to an undercooked theory that captured the world’s imagination, we undo the seeming order of the living world and try to make some music out of the wreckage. (Bonus: Learn how Francis Crick really thought life got started on this planet). This episode was reported by Latif Nasser, Matt Kielty, Heather Radke, Lulu Miller and Candice Wang. It was produced by Matt Kielty and Simon Adler. Sound and music from Matt Kielty, Simon Adler, and Jeremy Bloom, and dialogue mix by Arianne Wack.Special thanks to Alan and Alida Goffinski for giving our chaos musical life in the song at the end of the episode. Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe! Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.  Citations in this episodeScientific Papers:Elisa Beninca, Reinhard Heerkloss, et al, “Chaos in a long-term experiment with a plankton community” Nature (2008)Hendrik Schubert, Reinhard Heerkloss, et al, “Chaos theory discloses triggers and drivers of plankton dynamics in a stable environment” Scientific Reports (2019) Books:Nick Lane, The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex LifeFrancis Crick, Life Itself: Its Origin and NatureStephen Jay Gould: Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin, and The Mismeasure of ManDavid M. Raup, Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?David Sepkoski, Rereading the Fossil Record: The Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline  
3/4/202253 minutes, 23 seconds
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Speed

We live our lives at human speed, we experience and interact with the world on a human time scale. In this episode, which first aired in its entirety in the winter of 2013, we put ourselves through the paces. We examine a material that exists between two states of matter, take a ride on the death-defying roller coaster that is the stock market, open up our internal clocks of thought, and achieve mastery over the fastest thing in the universe. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!  
2/25/202256 minutes, 11 seconds
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The Wordless Place

This week, we turn to an expert who tromps the wilds of wordlessness. Lulu’s young son. In this essay, originally published for The Paris Review under the title “The Eleventh Word,” Lulu explores what is lost with the gaining of language. And how, in a very odd way, a fear of confusion and the unknown may begin with the advent of words. The Radiolab sound team brings this piece to life with original music, and at one point the words melt right out of the air. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today. Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
2/18/202226 minutes, 36 seconds
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Hello

It's hard to start a conversation with a stranger—especially when that stranger is, well, different. He doesn't share your customs, celebrate your holidays, watch your TV shows, or even speak your language. Plus he has a blowhole. In this episode, which originally aired in the summer of 2014, we try to make contact with some of the strangest strangers on our little planet: dolphins. Producer Lynn Levy eavesdrops on some human-dolphin conversations, from a studio apartment in the Virgin Islands to a research vessel in the Bermuda Triangle. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today. Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
2/11/202246 minutes, 23 seconds
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Forests on Forests

For much of history, tree canopies were pretty much completely ignored by science. It was as if researchers said collectively, "It's just going to be empty up there, and we've got our hands full studying the trees down here! So why bother?!" But then, around the mid-1980s, a few ecologists around the world got curious and started making their way up into the treetops using any means necessary (ropes, cranes, hot air dirigibles) to document all they could find. It didn't take long for them to realize not only was the forest canopy not empty, it was absolutely filled to the brim with life. You've heard of treehouses? How about tree gardens?!  This week we journey up into the sky and discover Forests above the forest. We learn about the secret powers of these sky gardens from ecologist Korena Mafune, and we follow Nalini Nadkarni as she makes a ground-breaking discovery that changes how we understand what trees are capable of.  P.S. This episode is a layer cake of arboreal surprises (including the reappearance of a certain retired host).  A few visual tre(e)ats:  We first learned about the magical world of the canopy from this beautiful video from Michael Werner, Joe Hanson, and the PBS Overview team. It features Korena Mafune’s research up in the treetops, as well as the people who have dedicated their lives to saving what’s left of the old growth forests. We highly recommend checking it out! And, if you’re hankering to go climb a tree after this episode, you might enjoy browsing Hallie Bateman’s wonderfully illustrated guide to the best climbing trees in NYC for a little inspiration.Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!  
2/4/202224 minutes, 6 seconds
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The First Radiolab

Jad started Radiolab roughly 20 years ago. And now he is stepping aside from hosting and producing the show to replenish, to think, to rock in his chair and be with his kids and wife, and maybe make some music. The news has been all over twitter and there’s a letter from Jad and our hosts Latif and Lulu on the website. But in this episode, Jad talks through his decision to leave and the future of the show with Lulu and Latif. And then, as a parting gift, we play him the very first episode of Radiolab (“The Radio Lab” as he called it then). He tells us about biking the CDs over the Brooklyn bridge just before the show was supposed to air, reading the news and weather between segments, and then we just sit back together and listen to where it all began. Jad, for those of us who have been radically changed by the thing you put out into the world, we are both sad to lose you in our ears and endlessly grateful for what you’ve given us.
1/28/20221 hour, 24 minutes, 26 seconds
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News and Gratitude

           
1/26/20220
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The 11th: A Letter From George

Last week, Lulu heard an interview that trapped her in her car. She decided to play it for Latif. The interview – originally from a podcast called The Relentless Picnic, but presented by one of Lulu’s current podcast faves, The 11th – is part of an episode of mini pep talks designed to help us all get through this cold, dark, second-pandemic-winter-in-a-row. But the segment that Lulu brings Latif is about someone trying to get through something arguably much more difficult, something a pep talk can’t solve, but that a couple friends — and one very generous stranger — might be able to help make a little more bearable. The episode of The 11th this comes from is “I’m Here to Pep You Up.” The Relentless Picnic is currently running a series of episodes called CABIN, an audio exploration of isolation, which you can listen to here. The organization where Matt volunteers as a counselor is called SUDEP. The Lu Olkowski story Lulu recommends at the end of the episode is “Grandpa,” and the lobster story Latif recommends is “The Luckiest Lobster.” Special Thanks: Eric Mennel, senior producer at The 11th, and host of the podcast Stay Away from Matthew Magill.Lu Olkowski, voracious listener, super reporter, and host of the podcast Love Me.Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe! Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
1/21/202223 minutes, 4 seconds
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Darkode

It would seem that hackers today can do just about anything they want - from turning on the cellphone in your pocket to holding your life's work hostage. Cyber criminals today have more sophisticated tools, have learned to work collaboratively around the world and have found innovative ways to remain deep undercover in the internet's shadows. This episode, we shine a light into those shadows to see the world from the perspectives of both cybercrime victims and perpetrators. First we meet mother-daughter duo Alina and Inna Simone, who tell us about being held hostage by criminals who have burrowed into their lives from half a world away. Along the way we learn about the legally sticky spot that unwitting accomplices like Will Wheeler find themselves in. Then reporter and author Joseph Menn tells us about the surprisingly lucrative professional hacker structure in places throughout the former Soviet Union. Finally, the co-creator of one of the most notorious online marketplaces to ever exist speaks to us and NPR cyber-crime expert Dina Temple-Raston about how a young suburban Boy Scout can turn into a world renowned black hat hacker. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
1/14/202238 minutes, 34 seconds
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Worst. Year. Ever.

What was the worst year to be alive on planet Earth?   We make the case for 536 AD, which set off a cascade of catastrophes that is almost too horrible to imagine. A supervolcano. The disappearance of shadows. A failure of bread. Plague rats. Using evidence painstakingly gathered around the world - from Mongolian tree rings to Greenlandic ice cores to Mayan artifacts - we paint a portrait of what scientists and historians think went wrong, and what we think it felt like to be there in real time. (Spoiler: not so hot.)  We hear a hymn for the dead from the ancient kingdom of Axum, the closest we can get to the sound of grief from a millennium and a half ago. The horrors of 536 make us wonder about the parallels and perpendiculars with our own time: does it make you feel any better knowing that your suffering is part of a global crisis? Or does it just make things worse?"Thanks to reporter Ann Gibbons whose Science article "Eruption made 536 ‘the worst year to be alive" got us interested in the first place. In case you want to learn more about 536, here are some other sources: Timothy P. Newfield, “The Climate Downturn of 536-50” in the Palgrave Handbook on Climate HistoryDallas Abbott et al., “What caused terrestrial dust loading and climate downturns between A.D. 533 and 540?”Joel Gunn and Alesio Ciarini (editors), “The A.D. 536 Crisis: A 21st Century Perspective”Antti Arjava, “The Mystery Cloud of 536 CE in the Mediterranean Sources” And for more on the composer Yared, watch Meklit Hadero’s TED talk “The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds” Credits: This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Lulu Miller, and produced by Simon Adler.  With sound and music from Simon Adler and Jeremy Bloom. Special Thanks: Thanks to Joel Gunn, Dallas Abbott, Mathias Nordvig, Emma Rigby, Robert Dull, Daniel Yacob, Kay Shelemey, Jacke Phillips, Meklit Hadero, and Joan Aruz. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.  Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
1/7/202224 minutes, 38 seconds
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Flop Off

This past year was a flop. From questionable blockbuster reboots to supply chain shenanigans to worst of all, omnipresent COVID variants. But, in a last ditch effort to flip the flop, we at Radiolab have dredged up the most mortifying, most cringeworthy, most gravity-defying flops we could find. From flops at a community pool to flops at the White House, from a flop that derails a career to flops that give NBA players a sneaky edge, from flops that’ll send you seeking medical advice to THE flopped flop that in a way enabled us all. Take a break from all the disappointment and flop around with us. Special Thanks to: Kaitlin Murphy, Dana Stevens, David Novak, Pablo Pinero Stillman Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
12/31/20211 hour, 15 minutes, 22 seconds
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Vanishing Words

When Alana Casanova-Burgess set out to make a podcast series about Puerto Rico, she struggled with what to call it. Until one word came to mind, a word that captures a certain essence of life in Puerto Rico, but eludes easy translation into English. We talk to Alana about her series, and that particular word, then turn to an old story about treating words as signals of something happening just beneath the surface.  Agatha Christie's clever detective novels may reveal more about the inner workings of the human mind than she intended. According to Dr. Ian Lancashire at the University of Toronto, the Queen of Crime left behind hidden clues to the real-life mysteries of human aging in her writing. Meanwhile, Dr. Kelvin Lim and Dr. Serguei Pakhomov from the University of Minnesota add to the intrigue with the story of an unexpected find in a convent archive that could someday help pinpoint very early warning signs for Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Sister Alberta Sheridan, a 94-year-old Nun Study participant, reads an essay she wrote more than 70 years ago. La Brega update was produced by Maria Paz Gutierrez
12/17/202124 minutes, 2 seconds
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Return of Alpha Gal

Tuck your napkin under your chin.  We’re about to serve up a tale of love, loss, and lamb chops - with a side of genetic modification. Several years ago we told a story about Amy Pearl. For as long as she could remember, Amy loved meat in all its glorious cuts and marbled flavors. And then one day, for seemingly no reason, her body wouldn’t tolerate it.  No steaks. No brisket. No weenies. It made no sense: why couldn’t she eat something that she had routinely enjoyed for decades?  It turned out Amy was not alone. And the answer to her mysterious allergy involved maps, a dancing lone star tick, and a very particular sugar called Alpha Gal.  In this update, we discover that our troubles with Alpha Gal go way beyond food. We go to NYU Langone Health hospital to see the second ever transplant of a kidney from a pig into a human, talk to some people at Revivicor, the company that bred the pig in question, and go back to Amy to find out what she thinks about this brave new world. The original episode was reported by Latif Nasser, and produced by Annie McEwen and Matt Kielty. Sound design and scoring from Dylan Keefe, Annie McEwen, and Matt Kielty. Mix by Dylan Keefe with Arianne Wack. The update was reported and produced by Sarah Qari. It was sound designed, scored, and mixed by Jeremy Bloom.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
12/10/202157 minutes, 18 seconds
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Animal Minds

In this hour of Radiolab, stories of cross-species communication. When we gaze into the eyes of a wild animal, or even a beloved pet, can we ever really know what they might be thinking? Is it naive to assume they're experiencing something close to human emotions? Or is it ridiculous to assume that they AREN'T feeling something like that? We get the story of a rescued whale that may have found a way to say thanks, ask whether dogs feel guilt, and wonder if a successful predator may have fallen in love with a photographer.
11/26/202159 minutes, 9 seconds
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Mixtape: Help?

In tape five, three stories: first, a tale of how the cassette tape supercharged the self-help industry. Second, cassettes filled with history make an epic journey across Africa with a group of Lost Boys. And finally, Simon meets up with fellow Radiolabber David Gebel to dig through an old box of mixtapes and rediscover the unique power of these bygone love letters. Mixtape was reported, produced, scored and sound designed by me, Simon Adler, with music throughout by me. Unending reporting and production assistance was provided by Eli Cohen. Special Thanks to: Shad Helmstetter, Vic Conan, Glenna Salisbury, Jerry Rosen, Richard Petty, Sharon Arkin, Angela Impey, William Mulwill for sharing his cassettes with me, and to the British library for sharing some of their recordings from their South Sudan collection, which is housed at the British Library Sound Archive. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
11/19/202148 minutes, 22 seconds
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Mixtape: Cassetternet

In 1983, Simon Goodwin had a strange thought. Would it be possible to broadcast computer software over the radio? If so, could listeners record it off the air and onto a cassette tape? This experiment and dozens of others in the early 80s created a series of cassette fueled, analog internets. They copied and moved information like never before, upended power structures and created a poisonous social network that brought down a regime.  In tape four of Mixtape, we examine how these early internet came about, and how the societal and cultural impacts of these analog information networks can still be felt today. Mixtape is reported, produced, scored and sound designed by Simon Adler with original music throughout by Simon. Top tier reporting and production assistance was provided by Eli Cohen. Special thanks to: Alex Sayf Cummings, Martin Maly, Piotr Gawrysiak, Joe Tozer, James Gleick, Jason Rezaian, Gholam Khiabany and Mo Jazi. And to Arash Aziz for helping us every step of the way with our story about Khomeini. And Simon Goodwin for making us that secret code. And to Micah Loewinger to tipping me off to these software radio broadcasts.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     
11/12/202158 minutes, 18 seconds
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Mixtape: The Wandering Soul

As the Vietnam war dragged on, the US military began desperately searching for any vulnerability in their North Vietnamese enemy. In 1964, they found it. It was an old Vietnamese folktale involving a ghost, eternal damnation and fear - a tailor made weaponizable myth. And so, armed with tape recorders and microphones, the military set out to win the war by bringing this ghost story to life. Today, the story of these efforts and their ghosts that still haunt us today.  Mixtape is reported, produced, scored and sound designed by Simon Adler with original music throughout by Simon. Indispensable reporting and production assistance was provided by Eli Cohen. This episode was produced by Annie McEwen, with original music by Annie. Original reporting was contributed by Trung Dung Vo and Nguyễn Vân Hà. Special thanks to: Allison Boccia, Jared Tracy and Herb Friedman. And to Mathew Campbell for introducing me to the Wandering Soul tape to begin with. And to Erik Villard for all his help pulling those tapes and voices for us.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
11/5/202140 minutes, 36 seconds
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Mixtape: Jack and Bing

In 1946 Bing Crosby was the king of media. He was the movie star, the pop star and his radio show was reaching a third of American living rooms each week.  But then, it all started to fall apart. His ratings were plummeting and his fans were fleeing. Bing however, was not going down without a fight.  Today, the story of how Bing Crosby and some stolen Nazi technology won his audience back, changed media forever and accidentally broke reality along the way.  Mixtape is reported, produced, scored and sound designed by Simon Adler with original music throughout by Simon Adler. Invaluable reporting and production assistance was provided by Eli Cohen. Special thanks to: Michele Hilmes, Pete Hammer, Rich Flores, Mara Mills, Jonathan Sterne, Claudia Mewes. Though their voices weren’t in the piece, input certainly was. And to Mary Crosby and Robert Bader, for opening up Bing’s archive for us, and enabling us to fill this episode with so much of Bing’s music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
10/29/202136 minutes, 33 seconds
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Mixtape: Dakou

Through the 1980s, the vast majority of people in China had never heard western music, save for John Denver, the Carpenters, and a few other artists included on the hand-picked list of songs sanctioned by the Communist Party. But in the late 90s, a mysterious man named Professor Ye made a discovery at a plastic recycling center in Heping.In episode 1 of Mixtape, we talk to Chinese historians, music critics, and the musicians who took the damaged plastic scraps of western music, changed the musical landscape of China, and reimagined rock and roll in ways we never could’ve imagined.   Mixtape is reported, produced, scored and sound designed by Simon Adler with original music throughout by Simon. Invaluable reporting and production assistance was provided by Eli Cohen. Additional reporting by Noriko Ishigaki, Rebecca Kanthor and our amazing anonymous Chinese reporter.    Special thanks to: Paul de Gay, Juliette Kristensen, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, Nick Lyons, Michael Bull, Jiro Ishikawa, Hayley Zhao, Megan Smalley and Deanne Totto. This episode would not have happened without each and every one of them. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
10/22/202151 minutes, 5 seconds
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Of Bombs and Butterflies

Ecologist Nick Haddad was sitting in his new office at North Carolina State University when the phone rang. On the other end of the line was... The U.S. Army. The Army folks told him, “Look, there’s this endangered butterfly on our base at Fort Bragg, and it’s the only place in the world that it exists. But it’s about to go extinct. And we need your help to save it.” Nick had never even heard of the butterfly. In fact, he barely knew much about butterflies in general. Nonetheless, he said yes to Uncle Sam. “How hard could it be?” he wondered. Turns out, pretty hard. He'd have to trick beavers, dodge bombs, and rethink the fundamental nature of life and death in order to rescue this butterfly before it disappeared forever. **CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Army moved a beaver; in truth, they killed it.  We also overstated the current tally of St Francis Satyrs off range; they are around 200, not 800. The audio has been adjusted to reflect these changes.**This episode was reported by Latif Nasser, and produced by Rachael Cusick. Original music by Jeremy Bloom. Mixing by Arianne Wack. Special thanks to: Snooki Puli, Cita Escalano, Jeffrey Glassberg, Margot Williams, Mark Romyn, Elizabeth Long, Laura Verhegge, the Public Affairs and Endangered Species Branches at Fort Bragg. Want to learn more? you can ...... read Nick Haddad’s book The Last Butterflies: A Scientist’s Quest to Save a Rare and Vanishing Creature... take a peek at Thomas Kral’s original 1989 paper about the Saint Francis Satyr... visit Fort Bragg's webpage about the Saint Francis Satyr  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
10/15/202141 minutes, 2 seconds
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Oliver Sipple

One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple’s split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his personal life into political opportunity. What happens next makes us wonder what a moment, or a movement, or a whole society can demand of one person. And how much is too much?  Through newly unearthed archival tape, we hear Sipple himself grapple with some of the most vexing topics of his day and ours - privacy, identity, the freedom of the press - not to mention the bonds of family and friendship.  Reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte. Produced by Matt Kielty, Annie McEwen, Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte. Special thanks to Jerry Pritikin, Michael Yamashita, Stan Smith, Duffy Jennings; Ann Dolan, Megan Filly and Ginale Harris at the Superior Court of San Francisco; Leah Gracik, Karyn Hunt, Jesse Hamlin, The San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive, Mike Amico, Jennifer Vanasco and Joey Plaster. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. Episode originally published 09/21/2017
10/1/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 29 seconds
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HEAVY METAL

Today we have a story about the sometimes obvious but sometimes sneaky effects of the way that we humans rearrange the elemental stuff around us. Reporter Avir Mitra and science journalist Lydia Denworth bring us a story about how one man’s relentless pursuit of a deep truth about the Earth led to an obsession that really changed the very air we breathe. This episode was reported by Avir Mitra, and produced by Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Rachael Cusick, and Maria Paz Gutiérrez. Special thanks to Cliff Davidson, Paul M. Sutter, Denton Ebel, and Sam Kean.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.     Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!  
9/24/202142 minutes, 34 seconds
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In the Running

Diane Van Deren is one of the best ultra-runners in the world, and it all started with a seizure. In this short, Diane tells us how her disability gave rise to an extraordinary ability. For Diane Van Deren, a charming mother of three, daily life is a struggle. But as soon as she steps outdoors, she's capable of amazing feats. She can run for days on end with no sleep, covering hundreds of miles in extreme conditions. Reporter Mark Phillips heads to Colorado to get to know Diane, and to try to figure out what makes her so unstoppable. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     
9/17/202119 minutes, 33 seconds
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60 Words, 20 Years

It has now been 20 years since September 11th, 2001. So we’re bringing you a Peabody Award-winning story from our archives about one sentence, written in the hours after the attacks, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace. In the hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a lawyer sat down in front of a computer and started writing a legal justification for taking action against those responsible. The language that he drafted and that President George W. Bush signed into law - called the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) -  has at its heart one single sentence, 60 words long. Over the last decade, those 60 words have become the legal foundation for the "war on terror." In this collaboration with BuzzFeed, reporter Gregory Johnsen tells us the story of how this has come to be one of the most important, confusing, troubling sentences of the last two decades. We go into the meetings that took place in the chaotic days just after 9/11, speak with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and former Congressman Ron Dellums about the vote on the AUMF. We hear from former White House and State Department lawyers John Bellinger & Harold Koh. We learn how this legal language unleashed Guantanamo, Navy Seal raids and drone strikes. And we speak with journalist Daniel Klaidman, legal expert Benjamin Wittes and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine about how these words came to be interpreted, and what they mean for the future of war and peace. Finally, we check back in with Congresswoman Lee, and talk to Yale law professor and national security expert Oona Hathaway, about how to move on from the original sixty words. Original episode produced by Matt Kielty and Kelsey Padgett with original music by Dylan Keefe. Update reported and produced by Sarah Qari and Soren Wheeler. Special thanks to Brian Finucane. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
9/10/20211 hour, 9 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Unsilencing

Multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, even psoriasis — these are diseases in which the body begins to attack itself, and they all have one thing in common: they affect women more than men. Most autoimmune disorders do. And not just by a little bit, often by a lot; in some cases, as much as sixteen times more. But why? On today’s episode, we talk to scientists trying to answer that question. We go back 100 million years, to when our placenta first evolved and consider how it might have shaped our immune system. We dive deep into the genome, to stare at one of the most famous chromosomes: the X. And we also try to unravel a mystery — why is it that for some females, autoimmune disorders seemingly disappear during pregnancy? This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Sindhu Gnanasambandan and Molly Webster. The Gonads theme song was written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington.  Looking for something else to listen to? We suggest pairing “The Unsilencing” with “Everybody’s Got One,” an episode about an unknown super-organ that nobody on the planet would be here without: the placenta. Want to learn more? You can …...check out a Montserrat Anguera XX study,...read Melissa Wilson’s placental, pregnancy hypothesis,…and get a primer on Rhonda Voskuhl’s estriol & Multiple Sclerosis work.   Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.
8/26/202128 minutes, 56 seconds
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Everybody’s Got One

We all think we know the story of pregnancy. Sperm meets egg, followed by nine months of nurturing, nesting, and quiet incubation. But this story isn’t the nursery rhyme we think it is. In a way, it’s a struggle, almost like a tiny war. And right on the front lines of that battle is another major player on the stage of pregnancy that not a single person on the planet would be here without. An entirely new organ: the placenta. In this episode we take you on a journey through the 270-day life of this weird, squishy, gelatinous orb, and discover that it is so much more than an organ. It’s a foreign invader. A piece of meat. A friend and parent. And it’s perhaps the most essential piece in the survival of our kind. This episode was reported by Heather Radke and Becca Bressler, and produced by Becca Bressler and Pat Walters, with help from Matt Kielty and Maria Paz Gutierrez. Additional reporting by Molly Webster. Special thanks to Diana Bianchi, Julia Katz, Sam Behjati, Celia Bardwell-Jones, Mathilde Cohen, Hannah Ingraham, Pip Lipkin, and Molly Fassler.   Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     For cool new research on the placenta: Check out Harvey’s latest paper published with Julia Katz. Sam Behjati's latest paper on the placenta as a "genetic dumping ground". 
8/20/202129 minutes, 21 seconds
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Gonads: Dutee

In 2014, India’s Dutee Chand was a rising female track and field star, crushing national records. But then, that summer, something unexpected happened: she failed a gender test. And was banned from the sport. Before she knew it, Dutee was thrown into the middle of a controversy that started long before her, and continues on today: how to separate males and females in sport. First aired in 2018, Dutee and the story of female athletes in sport are back in the spotlight this week, at the Tokyo Olympics. Join us for an update on Dutee’s second Olympic games, and the continued role testosterone has in shaping who is on the track, and who is off.  This story was originally released as part of Gonads, a six-part series on the parts of us that make more of us. It is a companion piece to Gonads, episode 5: Dana. This update was reported by Molly Webster, with reporting and producing by Sarah Qari. "Dutee" was reported by Molly Webster, with co-reporting and translation by Sarah Qari. It was produced by Pat Walters, with production help from Jad Abumrad and Rachael Cusick. The Gonads theme was written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington. Special thanks to Geertje Mak, Maayan Sudai, Andrea Dunaif, Bhrikuti Rai, Joe Osmundson, and Payoshni Mitra. Plus, former Olympic runner Madeleine Pape, who is currently studying regulations around female, transgender, and intersex individuals in sport. Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
8/6/202146 minutes, 13 seconds
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The Queen of Dying

If you’ve ever lost someone, or watched a medical drama in the last 15 years, you’ve probably heard of The Five Stages of Grief. They’re sort of the world’s worst consolation prize for loss. But last year, we began wondering… Where did these stages come from in the first place? Turns out, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. But the story is much, much more complicated than that. Those stages of grieving? They actually started as stages of dying. After learning that, producer Rachael Cusick tumbled into a year-long journey through the life and work of the incredibly complicated and misunderstood woman who single-handedly changed the way all of us face dying, and the way we deal with being left behind. Special Note: Our friends over at Death Sex and Money have put together a very special companion to this story, featuring Rachael talking about this story with her grandmother.  Check it out here. This episode was reported and produced by Rachael Cusick, with production help from Carin Leong. This story wouldn’t have been possible without the folks you heard from in the episode, and the many, many people who touched this story, including: Anne Adams, Andrew Aronson, Audrey Gordon, Barbara Hogenson, Basit Qari, Bill Weese, Bob McGan, Carey Gauzens, Clifford Edwards, Cristina McGinniss, Dorothy Holinger, Frank Ostaseski, Ira Byock, Jamie Munson, Jessica Weisberg, Jillian Tullis, Joanna Treichler, Jonathan Green, Ken Bridbord, Ladybird Morgan, Laurel Braitman, Lawrence Lincoln, Leah Siegel, Liese Groot, Linda Mount, Lyn Frumkin, Mark Kuczewski, Martha Twaddle, Peter Nevraumont, Rosalie Roder, Sala Hilaire, Stefan Haupt, Stephanie Riley, Stephen Connor, and Tracie Hunte. Special thanks to all the folks who shared music for this episode, including: Lisa Stoll, who shared her Alpine horn music with us for this episode. You can hear more of her music here. Cliff Edwards, who shared original music from Deanna Edwards. The Martin Hayes Quartet, who shared the last bit of music you hear in the piece that somehow puts a world of emotion into one beautiful tune. And an extra special thank you to the folks over at Stanford University - Ben Stone, David Magnus, Karl Lorenz, Maren Monsen -  the caretakers of Elisabeth’s archival collection who made it possible to rummage through their library from halfway across the country. You can read more about the collection here. To learn more about Elisabeth and the folks who are furthering her work, you can visit the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation website here. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
7/23/20211 hour, 48 seconds
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Breaking News about The Other Latif

A major development in the case of Guantanamo detainee Abdul Latif Nasser. To listen to our series about him, go to theotherlatif.org.
7/19/20212 minutes, 1 second
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G: Unfit

In the past few weeks, most people have probably seen Britney Spears' name or face everywhere. When she stood in front of a judge (virtually) and protested the conservatorship she's been living under for the past 13 years, one harrowing detail in particular stood out. She told the judge, "I was told right now in the conservatorship, I'm not able to get married or have a baby." Today, we look back at an old episode where we explore why it is that hundreds of thousands of people can have their reproductive rights denied...and spoiler: it goes back to Darwin. When a law student named Mark Bold came across a Supreme Court decision from the 1920s that allowed for the forced sterilization of people deemed “unfit,” he was shocked to discover that it had never been overturned. His law professors told him the case, Buck v Bell, was nothing to worry about, that the ruling was in a kind of legal limbo and could never be used against people. But he didn’t buy it. In this episode we follow Mark on a journey to one of the darkest consequences of humanity’s attempts to measure the human mind and put people in boxes, following him through history, science fiction and a version of eugenics that’s still very much alive today, and watch as he crusades to restore a dash of moral order to the universe. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty, Lulu Miller and Pat Walters.  Special thanks to Sara Luterman, Lynn Rainville, Alex Minna Stern, Steve Silberman and Lydia X.Z. Brown. Radiolab’s “G” is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
7/15/202153 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 6

Lift Every Voice.  Black Swan Records was first to record the anthem Lift Every Voice and Sing. From a family's Thanksgiving dinner, we portal through to the song's past, present, and future. The Vanishing of Harry Pace was created and produced by Shima Oliaee and Jad Abumrad.  This series was produced in collaboration with author Kiese Laymon, scholar Imani Perry, writer Cord Jefferson, WQXR’s Terrance McKnight, and WNYC's Jami Floyd. Based on the book Black Swan Blues: the Hard Rise and Brutal Fall of America’s First Black Owned Record Label by Paul Slade. Featuring interviews with Pace's descendants and over forty musicians, historians, writers, and musicologists, all of whom grapple with Pace’s enduring legacy. Thank you to young Miles Francis and his family for bringing our Thanksgiving scene to life.  This episode features the book May We Forever Stand written by Imani Perry, all about the Black National Anthem.
7/9/202127 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 5

Roland Hayes and the Lost Generation.  Here’s the extraordinary story of Roland Hayes, another great (and largely forgotten) creator of new cosmologies. The Vanishing of Harry Pace was created and produced by Shima Oliaee and Jad Abumrad.  This series was produced in collaboration with author Kiese Laymon, scholar Imani Perry, writer Cord Jefferson, WQXR’s Terrance McKnight, and WNYC's Jami Floyd. Based on the book Black Swan Blues: the Hard Rise and Brutal Fall of America’s First Black Owned Record Label by Paul Slade. Featuring interviews with Pace's descendants and over forty musicians, historians, writers, and musicologists, all of whom grapple with Pace’s enduring legacy. This episode featured scenes from Christopher Brooks' and Robert Sims' biography, Roland Hayes: The Legacy of an American Tenor. Thank you to actor William Jackson Harper for helping us bring Berlin to life.  This episode featured the following music: Robert Sims Sings the Spirituals of Roland Hayes Bill Doggett's collection of Black Swan records  Black Swans: The First Recordings of Black Classical Music Performers  Du Bist Die Ruh by Roland Hayes  Were You There by Roland Hayes  Vesti La Giubba by Roland Hayes
7/2/202142 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 4

Our Harlem Moon.  In this spin-off tale, Ethel Waters hijacks a degrading song and makes the music her own. The Vanishing of Harry Pace was created and produced by Shima Oliaee and Jad Abumrad.  This series was produced in collaboration with author Kiese Laymon, scholar Imani Perry, writer Cord Jefferson, WQXR’s Terrance McKnight, and WNYC's Jami Floyd. Based on the book Black Swan Blues: the Hard Rise and Brutal Fall of America’s First Black Owned Record Label by Paul Slade. Featuring interviews with Pace's descendants and over forty musicians, historians, writers, and musicologists, all of whom grapple with Pace’s enduring legacy. Thank you to our podcast friends at Throughline for featuring our series on their show. Check out their feed for an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview about the series with Rund, Ramtin, Jad and Shima.
6/29/202112 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 3

Black No More, White No More.  We follow Harry's grandkids and great grandkids as they grapple with his legacy in their own lives.  The Vanishing of Harry Pace was created and produced by Shima Oliaee and Jad Abumrad.  This series was produced in collaboration with author Kiese Laymon, scholar Imani Perry, writer Cord Jefferson, WQXR’s Terrance McKnight, and WNYC's Jami Floyd. Based on the book Black Swan Blues: the Hard Rise and Brutal Fall of America’s First Black Owned Record Label by Paul Slade. Featuring interviews with Pace's descendants and over forty musicians, historians, writers, and musicologists, all of whom grapple with Pace’s enduring legacy.
6/26/202141 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 2

Dreams Deferred.  The story of the post Black Swan years. We follow Harry’s Supreme Court battle to desegregate the South Side of Chicago, and then the mysterious decision which forces him into seclusion, before his untimely death. The Vanishing of Harry Pace was created and produced by Shima Oliaee and Jad Abumrad.  This series was produced in collaboration with author Kiese Laymon, scholar Imani Perry, writer Cord Jefferson, WQXR’s Terrance McKnight, and WNYC's Jami Floyd. Based on the book Black Swan Blues: the Hard Rise and Brutal Fall of America’s First Black Owned Record Label by Paul Slade. Featuring interviews with Pace's descendants and over forty musicians, historians, writers, and musicologists, all of whom grapple with Pace’s enduring legacy.
6/19/202143 minutes, 1 second
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The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 1

The Rise and Fall of Black Swan.  It was Motown before Motown, FUBU before FUBU: Black Swan Records, the record company founded by Harry Pace. The Vanishing of Harry Pace was created and produced by Shima Oliaee and Jad Abumrad.  Harry Pace founded Black Swan Records exactly 100 years ago. Pace launched the career of Ethel Waters, inadvertently invented the term rock n roll, played an important role in W.C. Handy becoming "Father of the Blues," inspired Ebony and Jet magazines, and helped desegregate the South Side of Chicago in an epic Supreme Court battle. Then, he disappeared.  The Vanishing of Harry Pace is a series about the phenomenal but forgotten man who changed the American music scene. It's a story about betrayal, family, hidden identities, and a time like no other. This series was produced in collaboration with author Kiese Laymon, scholar Imani Perry, screenwriter Cord Jefferson, and WQXR’s Terrance McKnight. Jami Floyd is our consulting producer; our fact checker is Natalie Meade. Peter Pace lent his voice for our readings. Based on the book Black Swan Blues: the Hard Rise and Brutal Fall of America’s First Black Owned Record Label by Paul Slade. The series features interviews with Pace's descendants and over forty musicians, historians, writers, and musicologists, all of whom grapple with Pace’s enduring legacy. This series is also a partnership with Radio Diaries.  
6/18/20211 hour, 6 minutes, 4 seconds
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Breath

We’ve just barely made it to the other side of a year that took our collective breaths away. So more than ever we felt that this was the time to go deep on life’s rhythmic dance partner. Today we huff and we puff through a whole stack of stories about breath. We talk to scientists, musicians, activists, and breath mint experts, and try to climb into the very center of this thing we all do, are all doing right now, and now, and now.  This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Molly Webster. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   Further reading:  Alice Wong’s book Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories From the 21st Century Here’s a speech Alice gave when first referring to her body as an oracle.  And for more on ventilator allocation in NY State, check out this article by the Gothamist.    
6/11/20211 hour, 31 minutes, 3 seconds
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The Rhino Hunter

Back in 2014, Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 for a hunting trip to Namibia to shoot and kill an endangered species.  He’s a professional hunter, who guides hunts all around the world, so going to Africa would be nothing new.  The target on the other hand would be. And so too, he quickly found, would be the attention.  This episode, producer Simon Adler follows Corey as he dodges death threats and prepares to pull the trigger.  Along the way we stop to talk with Namibian hunters and government officials, American activists, and someone who's been here before - Kenya’s former Director of Wildlife, Richard Leakey.   All the while, we try to uncover what conservation really means in the 21st century. Reported & produced by Simon Adler with production help from Matthew Kielty. Special thanks to Chris Weaver, Ian Wallace, Mark Barrow, the Lindstrom family, and everyone at the Aru Game Lodge in Namibia. Thanks also to Sarah Fogel, Ray Crow, Barbara Clucus, and Diogo Veríssimo. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
5/27/202152 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Dirty Drug and the Ice Cream Tub

This episode, a tale of a wonder drug that will make you wonder about way more than just drugs.   Doctor-reporter Avir Mitra follows the epic and fantastical journey of a molecule dug out of a distant patch of dirt that would go on to make billions of dollars, prolong millions of lives, and teach us something fundamental we didn’t know about ourselves. Along the way, he meets a geriatric mouse named Ike, an immigrant dad who’s a little bit cool sometimes, a prophetic dream that prompts a thousand-mile journey, an ice cream container that may or may not be an accessory to international drug smuggling, and - most important of all - an obscure protein that’s calling the shots in every one of your cells RIGHT NOW. This episode was reported by Avir Mitra and was produced by Sarah Qari, Pat Walters, Suzie Lechtenberg, with help from Carin Leong and Rachael Cusick. Special thanks to Richard Miller, Stuart Schreiber, Joanne Van Tilburg, and Bethany Halford. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.  **This episode was taped prior to the news that David Sabatini was fired from The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and prior to his resignation from the Whitehead Institute. More information about Sabatini’s alleged misconduct and the investigation into his behavior can be found here.
5/21/202146 minutes, 23 seconds
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Brown Box

You order some stuff on the Internet and it shows up three hours later. How could all the things that need to happen to make that happen happen so fast?   It used to be, when you ordered something on the Internet, you waited a week for it to show up. That was the deal: you didn’t have to get off the couch, but you had to wait. But in the last few years, that’s changed. Now, increasingly, the stuff we buy on the Internet shows up the next day or the same day, sometimes within hours. Free shipping included. Which got us wondering: How is this Internet voodoo possible? A fleet of robots? Vacuum tubes? Teleportation? Hardly. In this short, reporter Gabriel Mac travels into the belly of the beast that is the Internet retail system, and what he finds takes his breath away and makes him weak in the knees (in the worst way). Producer Pat Walters and Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store, a book about Amazon.com, assist. *****This podcast contains some language and subject matter that might not be appropriate for young listeners******  
5/13/202128 minutes, 34 seconds
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Kleptotherms

In this episode, we break the thermometer watch the mercury spill out as we discover temperature is far stranger than it seems. Five stories that run the gamut from snakes to stars. We start out underwater, with a snake that has evolved a devious trick for keeping warm. Then we hear the tale of a young man whose seemingly simple method of warming up might be the very thing making him cold. And Senior Correspondent Molly Webster blows the lid off the idea that 98.6 degrees Farenheight is a sound marker of health.  This episode was reported by Lulu Miller and Molly Webster and was produced by Lulu Miller, Molly Webster, and Becca Bressler. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
5/5/202144 minutes, 6 seconds
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Deep Cuts

Today, Lulu and Latif talk about some of their favorite episodes from Radiolab’s past that hold new power today.   Lulu points to an episode from 2008:  Imagine that you're a composer. Imagine getting the commission to write a song that will allow family members to face the death of a loved one. Well, composer David Lang had to do just that when a hospital in Garches, France, asked him to write music for their morgue, or 'Salle Des Departs.' What do you do? This piece was produced by Jocelyn Gonzales. And Latif talks about an episode Jad made in 2009. Here’s how we described it back then: Jad--a brand new father--wonders what's going on inside the head of his baby Amil. (And don't worry, you don't need kids to enjoy this podcast.) The questions here are big: what is it like to be so brand new to the world? None of us have memories from this time, so how could we possibly ever know? Is it just chaos? Or, is there something more, some understanding from the very beginning? Jad found a development psychologist named Charles Fernyhough to explore some of his questions. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
4/22/202124 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Septendecennial Sing-Along

Every 17 years, a deafening sex orchestra hits the East Coast -- billions and billions of cicadas crawl out of the ground, sing their hearts out, then mate and die. In this short, Jad and Robert talk to a man who gets inside that noise to dissect its meaning and musical components. While most of us hear a wall of white noise, squeaks, and squawks....David Rothenberg hears a symphony. He's trained his ear to listen for the music of animals, and he's always looking for chances to join in, with everything from lonely birds to giant whales to swarming cicadas. In this podcast, David explains his urge to connect and sing along, and helps break down the mysterious life cycle and mating rituals of the periodical cicadas into something we can all relate to. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.       David Rothenberg making music with the cicadas. Courtesy of David Rothenberg/Bug Music A visual breakdown of the cicada mating calls: Courtesy of John Cooley and David Marshall at UConn. For more on cicada mating calls, take a look at this paper from Cooley and Marshall. A close-up of cicadas getting down: Courtesy of David Rothenberg/Bug Music Enjoy a free download of our favorite track from David's CD Bug Music -- here's the description from the liner notes: Katydid Prehistory: Named in honor of Archaboilus musicus, the 165 million year old prehistoric katydid, whose fossil remains reveal an ability to sing distinct pitches. Katydid Prehistory
4/15/202119 minutes, 36 seconds
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What Up Holmes?

Love it or hate it, the freedom to say obnoxious and subversive things is the quintessence of what makes America America. But our say-almost-anything approach to free speech is actually relatively recent, and you can trace it back to one guy: a Supreme Court justice named Oliver Wendell Holmes. Even weirder, you can trace it back to one seemingly ordinary 8-month period in Holmes’s life when he seems to have done a logical U-turn on what should be say-able.  Why he changed his mind during those 8 months is one of the greatest mysteries in the history of the Supreme Court.  (Spoiler: the answer involves anarchists, a house of truth, and a cry for help from a dear friend.)  Join us as we investigate why he changed his mind, how that made the country change its mind, and whether it’s now time to change our minds again. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and was produced by Sarah Qari. Special thanks to Jenny Lawton, Soren Shade, Kelsey Padgett, Mahyad Tousi and Soroush Vosughi. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.      further reading: Thomas Healy’s book The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes CHanged His Mind - And Changed the History of Free Speech In America (the inspiration for this episode) plus his latest book Soul City: Race, Equality and the Lost Dream of an American Utopia. The Science article that Sinan Aral wrote in 2018, along with Soroush Vosughi and Deb Roy: “The Spread of True and False News Online” Sinan Aral’s recent book The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy and our Health - And How We Must Adapt Zeynep Tufekci’s newsletter “The Insight” plus her book Twitter and Teargas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest Nabiha Syed’s news website The Markup Trailer for “The Magnificent Yankee,” a 1950 biopic of Oliver Wendell Holmes Anthony Lewis, Freedom for the Thought that We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment
4/2/202148 minutes, 14 seconds
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Elements

Scientists took about 300 years to lay out the Periodic Table into neat rows and columns. In one hour, we’re going to mess it all up.  This episode, we enlist journalists, poets, musicians, and even a physicist to help us tell stories of matter that matters. You’ll never look at that chart the same way again. Special thanks to Emotive Fruition for organizing poetry performances and to the mighty Sylvan Esso for composing 'Jaime's Song', both inspired by this episode. Thanks also to Sam Kean, Chris Howk, Brian Fields and to Paul Dresher and Ned Rothenberg for the use of their song "Untold Story:The Edge of Sleep".  Check out Jaime Lowe's book Mental: Lithium, Love and Losing My Mind Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
3/25/20211 hour, 13 minutes, 36 seconds
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Escapescape

As we hit the one year mark since the first U.S. state (California) issued a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we put out a call to see if any of you would take us to your secret escape spot and record audio there. And you astounded us with what you brought in.  In this soundrich, kaleidoscopic episode, we journey around the planet and then, quite literally, beyond it. Listen only if you want a boatload of fresh air, fields of wildflowers, stars, birds, frogs, and a riveting tale involving Isaac Newton and a calm beyond any calm you knew could exist. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Lulu Miller, with production support from Jonny Moens and Suzie Lechtenberg.  Special thanks to: Lynn Levy, who went on to host the space-a-licious series, The Habitat, and edit (among other things) the powerful and beautiful new podcast Resistance. Merav Opher, an astronomy professor at BU, who now directs the SHIELD DRIVE Science Center which is studying the data collected by the Voyagers at the edge of the heavens, or--err, the “heliosphere” as the scientists call it. Edward Dolnick, The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World Ann Druyan, one of the creators of the 1977 Golden Album traveling on the Voyager probe, has recently released a new series on National Geographic,  “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” A.J. Dungo, who submitted a postcard while surfing, is author of the mesmerizing graphic novel, In Waves, a memoir about surfing and grief. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
3/19/202132 minutes, 19 seconds
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Dispatch 14: Covid Crystal Ball

Last summer, at a hospital in England, a man in his 70s being treated for complications with cancer tested positive for covid-19. He had lymphoma, and the disease plus his drugs weakened his immune system, making him particularly susceptible to the virus. He wasn’t too bad off, considering, and was sent home. That was Day 1. This is the story of what the doctors witnessed, over the course of his illness: the evolution of covid-19 inside his body. Before their eyes, they get a hint of what might be to come in the pandemic.  This episode was reported by Molly Webster.  Special thanks to Ravindra Gupta, Jonathan Li. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.      Want to learn more about some of the covid case studies? Here are a couple papers to get you started:The “U.K. Paper”, co-authored by Ravi Gupta, one of our sources for the episode: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03291-y A case study out of Boston, co-authored by Dr. Jonathan Li, one of our sources for the episode: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2031364 For more on immune suppression and covid-19, check out this amazing Scientific American article:  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/covid-variants-may-arise-in-people-with-compromised-immune-systems/
3/12/202127 minutes, 14 seconds
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The Ceremony

In November of 2016, journalist Morgen Peck showed up at her friend Molly Webster's apartment in Brooklyn, told her to take her battery out of her phone, and began to tell her about The Ceremony, a moment last fall when a group of, well, let's just call them wizards, came together in an undisclosed location to launch a new currency. It's an undertaking that involves some of the most elaborate security and cryptography ever done (so we've been told). And math. Lots of math. It was all going great until, in the middle of it, something started to behave a little...strangely. Reported by Molly Webster. Produced by Matt Kielty and Molly Webster. Denver Ceremony station recordings were created by media maker Nathaniel Kramer, with help from Daniel Cooper.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
2/25/202147 minutes, 13 seconds
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Red Herring

It was the early 80s, the height of the Cold War, when something strange began happening off the coast of Sweden. The navy reported a mysterious sound deep below the surface of the ocean. Again, and again, and again they would hear it near their secret military bases, in their harbors, and up and down the Swedish coastline.  After thorough analysis the navy was certain. The sound was an invasion into their waters, an act of war, the opening salvos of a possible nuclear annihilation.  Or was it?  Today, Annie McEwen pulls us down into a deep-sea mystery, one of international intrigue that asks you to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, your deepest beliefs could be as solid as...air. This episode was reported by Annie McEwen and produced by Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Sarah Qari, with sound design by Jeremy Bloom.  Special thanks to Bosse Lindquist. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
2/19/202135 minutes, 18 seconds
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Facebook's Supreme Court

Since its inception, the perennial thorn in Facebook’s side has been content moderation. That is, deciding what you and I are allowed to post on the site and what we’re not. Missteps by Facebook in this area have fueled everything from a genocide in Myanmar to viral disinformation surrounding politics and the coronavirus. However, just this past year, conceding their failings, Facebook shifted its approach. They erected an independent body of twenty jurors that will make the final call on many of Facebook’s thorniest decisions. This body has been called: Facebook’s Supreme Court. So today, in collaboration with the New Yorker magazine and the New Yorker Radio Hour, we explore how this body came to be, what power it really has and how the consequences of its decisions will be nothing short of life or death. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler. To hear more about the court's origin, their rulings so far, and their upcoming docket, check out David Remnick and reporter Kate Klonick’s conversation in the New Yorker Radio Hour podcast feed. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.      
2/12/202144 minutes, 8 seconds
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Smile My Ass

Candid Camera is one of the most original – and one of the most mischievous – TV shows of all time.  Admirers hailed its creator Allen Funt as a poet of the everyday. Critics denounced him as a Peeping Tom.  Funt sought to capture people at their most unguarded, their most spontaneous, their most natural.  And he did. But as the show succeeded, it started to change the way we thought not only of reality television, but also of reality itself.  Looking back at the show now, a half century later, it’s hard NOT to see so many of our preoccupations – privacy, propriety, publicity, authenticity – through a funhouse mirror, darkly. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and produced by Matt Kielty.  Special Thanks to: Bertram van Munster, Fred Nadis, Alexa Conway, the Eastern Airlines Employee Association and Eastern Airlines Radio, Rebecca Lemov, Anna McCarthy, Jill Lepore, Cullie Bogacki Willis III, Barbara Titus and the Funt family.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
1/29/202134 minutes, 56 seconds
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Post Reports: Four Hours of Insurrection

We’re all still processing what happened on January 6th. Despite the hours and hours of video circulating online, we still didn’t feel like we had a visceral, on-the-ground sense of what happened that day. Until we heard the piece we’re featuring today. The Washington Post’s daily podcast Post Reports built a minute-by-minute replay of that day, from the rally, to the invasion, to the aftermath, told through the voices of people who were in the building that day -- reporters, photojournalists, Congresspeople, police officers and more. It’s some of the most visceral reporting we’ve heard anywhere on this historic moment. Listen to their full episode here.  
1/16/202139 minutes, 20 seconds
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More Money Less Problems

Back in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning and the shelter-in-place orders brought the economy to a screeching halt, a quirky-but-clever idea to save the economy made its way up to some of the highest levels of government. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib proposed an ambitious relief bill to keep the country’s metaphorical lights on: recurring payments to people to help them stay afloat during the crisis. And the way Congress would pay for it? By minting two platinum $1 trillion coins. (You read that right).  In this episode, we take a jaunt through the evolution of our currency, from the gold-backed bills of the 19th century, to the most powerful computer at the Federal Reserve. And we chase an idea that torpedoes what we thought was a fundamental law of economics. Can we actually just print more money?  This episode was reported by Becca Bressler and was produced by Becca Bressler and Simon Adler. Special thanks to Carlos Mucha, Warren Mosler, David Cay Johnston, Alex Goldmark, Bryant Urstadt, and Amanda Aronczyk.  To learn more about these ideas check out:  Stephanie Kelton's book The Deficit Myth Jacob Goldstein's book Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing and the Planet Money podcast Betsey Stevenson's podcast Think Like an Economist  This website for more about #MintTheCoin And for a fun quick read, check out this WIRED article about the surprising origin of the trillion dollar coin.  
1/15/202128 minutes, 13 seconds
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Sight Unseen

As the attacks were unfolding on the Capitol, a steady stream of images poured onto our screens. Photo editor Kainaz Amaria tells us what she was looking for--and seeing--that afternoon. And she runs into a dilemma we've talked about before. In December of 2009, photojournalist Lynsey Addario, in was embedded with a medevac team in Afghanistan. After days of waiting, one night they got the call - a marine was gravely wounded. What happened next happens all the time. But this time it was captured, picture by picture, in excruciating detail. Horrible, difficult, and at times strikingly beautiful, those photos raise some questions: Who should see them, who gets to decide who should see them, and what can pictures like that do, to those of us far away from the horrors of war and those of us who are all too close to it? Episode Notes: To hear Kainaz Amaria talk more about the filter, check out:  this post on ethical questions to consider around the sharing of images of police brutality and her interview on On The Media about the double-standard in many U.S. newsrooms when it comes to posting graphic images.  Special thanks to Chris Hughes and Helium Records for the use of Shift Part IV from the album Shift Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
1/13/202136 minutes, 54 seconds
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A Note from Radiolab

In the past few weeks, there have been a lot of conversations about the tolerance of harassment and bad behavior in our industry and in particular of a person who worked on our show five years ago, Andy Mills. The Radiolab team wants to say to the people who were hurt, to anyone who has ever felt unwelcome at our show, and to the industry we helped shape: we are listening. We hate that this happened and we apologize to those we failed. At the time, show leadership initiated a response from WNYC to address Andy’s behavior, but it didn’t happen fast enough and it didn’t do enough. We can’t change the past, but we can promise you that we are all holding this show, and each other, accountable for making sure that no person has to experience anything like that again. We believe the best journalism demands an open, inclusive process and the widest possible range of perspectives and experiences. As individuals, we promise to put our full hearts to finding and nurturing stories that embrace that range of perspectives and experiences. Listeners: We hope that you’ll hear this commitment in our work ahead, and that you will let us know if you do not. And to our fellow journalists: We love making this show, and we love the community of radio and podcast producers who make it possible for us to exist. Nineteen people work here right now. But over the past 19 years, hundreds of you have contributed stories, ideas, questions, criticism, notes or your ears as listeners. We are grateful to you.    Team Radiolab: Jad Abumrad, Simon Adler, Jeremy Bloom, Becca Bressler, Rachael Cusick, David Gebel, Dylan Keefe, Matt Kielty, Suzie Lechtenberg, Tobin Low, Annie McEwen, Lulu Miller, Latif Nasser, Sarah Qari, Sarah Sandbach, Arianne Wack, Pat Walters, Molly Webster, Soren Wheeler 
1/7/20210
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A Terrible Covid Christmas Special

This year was the worst. And as our staff tried to figure out what to do for our last episode of 2020, co-host Latif Nasser thought, what if we stare straight into the darkness … and make a damn Christmas special about it. Latif begins with a story about Santa, and a back-room deal he made with the Trump administration to jump to the front of the vaccine line, a tale that travels from an absurd quid-pro-quo to a deep question: who really is an essential worker?  From there, we take a whistle-stop tour through the numbers that scientists say you need to know as you wind your way (or preferably, don’t wind your way) through our COVID-infested world. Producer Sarah Qari brings us her version of the Christmas classic nobody ever dreamt they’d want to hear: The Twelve Numbers of COVID. You can check out Martin Bazant’s COVID “calculator” here. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Sarah Qari, and was produced by Matt Kielty, Sarah Qari, and Pat Walters. Special thanks to Anna Weggel and Brant Miller, Catherine, Rohan, and Finn Munro, Noam Osband, Amber D’Souza, Chris Zangmeister, John Volckens, Joshua Santarpia, Laurel Bristow, Michael Mina,  Mohammad Sajadi, James V. Grimaldi, Stephanie Armour, Joshuah Bearman, Brendan Nyhan And for more on the proposed Santa vaccine deal, see Julie Wernau and her colleagues' reporting at the Wall Street Journal here. Original art for this episode by Zara Stasi. Check out her work at:  www.goodforthebees.com.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
12/23/202049 minutes, 36 seconds
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The Ashes on the Lawn

A global pandemic. An afflicted, angry group. A seemingly indifferent government. Reporter Tracie Hunte wanted to understand this moment of pain and confusion by looking back 30 years, and she found a complicated answer to a simple question: When nothing seems to work, how do you make change? This episode was reported by Tracie Hunte, and produced by Annie McEwen and Tobin Low. Fact-checking by Diane Kelly.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
12/18/202051 minutes, 59 seconds
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Enemy of Mankind

Should the U.S. Supreme Court be the court of the world? In the 18th century, two feuding Frenchmen inspired a one-sentence law that helped launch American human rights litigation into the 20th century. The Alien Tort Statute allowed a Paraguayan woman to find justice for a terrible crime committed in her homeland. But as America reached further and further out into the world, the court was forced to confront the contradictions in our country’s ideology: sympathy vs. sovereignty. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Jesner v. Arab Bank, a case that could reshape the way America responds to human rights abuses abroad. Does the A.T.S. secure human rights or is it a dangerous overreach? Additional music for this episode by Nicolas Carter. Special thanks to William J. Aceves, William Baude, Diego Calles, Alana Casanova-Burgess, William Dodge, Susan Farbstein, Jeffery Fisher, Joanne Freeman, Julian Ku, Nicholas Rosenkranz, Susan Simpson, Emily Vinson, Benjamin Wittes and Jamison York. Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr., who appears in this episode, passed away in October 2016. Supreme Court archival audio comes from Oyez®, a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
12/10/202056 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Great Vaccinator

Until now, the fastest vaccine ever made - for mumps - took four years. And while our current effort to develop a covid-19 vaccine involves thousands of people working around the clock, the mumps vaccine was developed almost exclusively by one person: Maurice Hilleman. Hilleman cranked out more than 40 other vaccines over the course of his career, including 8 of the 14 routinely given to children. He arguably saved more lives than any other single person. And through his work, Hilleman embodied the instincts, drive, and guts it takes to marshall the human body’s defenses against a disease. But through him we also see the struggle and the costs of these monumental scientific efforts. This episode was reported by Matt Kielty and Heather Radke, and produced by Matt Kielty. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
12/3/202041 minutes, 59 seconds
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Dispatch 13: Challenge Trials

What if someone asked you to get infected with the COVID-19 virus, deliberately, in order to speed up the development of a vaccine? Would you do it? Would you risk your life to save others? For months, dozens of companies have been racing to create coronavirus vaccines. Finally, three have done it. But according to the experts, we’re not out of the woods yet; we’ll need several vaccines to satisfy the global demand. One way to speed up the development process is a controversial technique called a human challenge trial, in which human subjects are intentionally infected with the virus. Senior correspondent Molly Webster gets the lowdown from Public News Service reporter Laura Rosbrow-Telem and then tracks down some of the tens of thousands of people who have volunteered to participate in a challenge trial. Special thanks to Jonathan Miller. This episode was reported by Molly Webster and Laura Rosbrow-Telem and produced by Molly Webster and Pat Walters. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
11/25/202026 minutes, 32 seconds
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Deception

Lies, liars, and lie catchers. This hour of Radiolab asks if it's possible for anyone to lead a life without deception. We consult a cast of characters, from pathological liars to lying snakes to drunken psychiatrists, to try and understand the strange power of lying to yourself and others. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
11/19/202057 minutes, 20 seconds
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Breaking Benford

In the days after the US Presidential election was called for Joe Biden, many supporters of Donald Trump are crying foul.  Voter fraud. And a key piece of evidence? A century-old quirk of math called Benford’s Law.  We at Radiolab know Benford’s Law well, and have covered it before.  In this political dispatch, Latif and Soren Sherlock their way through the precinct numbers to see if these claims hold up. Spoiler: they don’t. But the reason why is more interesting than you’d expect. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     Links:  Walter Mebane, “Inappropriate Applications of Benford’s Law Regularities to Some Data from the 2020 Presidential Election in the United States”
11/13/202029 minutes, 35 seconds
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Bloc Party

In the 1996 election, Bill Clinton had a problem. The women who came out in droves for him in ‘92, split their vote in the ‘94 midterms, handing over control of the House and the Senate to the Republican Party. As his team stared ahead at his re-election bid, they knew they had to win those women back. So, after a major polling effort to determine who exactly their undecided ladies were, Clinton turned his focus toward the most important swing vote in the election: the soccer moms.  The soccer mom ushered in a new era of political campaigning, an era of slicing and dicing the electorate, engineering the (predominately white) voting bloc characters that campaigns have chased after. Security Moms. Nascar Dads. Joe Six Pack. Walmart Moms.  But what about everyone else? What about the surprisingly swingable corners of this country without a soccer mom in sight?  Inspired by this exceedingly cool interactive map from Politico, we set out on a mission to make an audio-map of our own. We asked pollsters, reporters and political operatives in swing states: what slice of your population is up for grabs? A slice that no one talks about? In this episode, we crawl inside the places that might hold our country’s future in its hands, all the while asking: are these slices even real? Are there people inside them that might swing this election?  This episode was reported and produced by Becca Bressler, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Tracie Hunte, Pat Walters and Matt Kielty, with help from Jonny Moens. Special thanks to Darren Samuelsohn, Josh Cochran, Elizabeth Ralph, and the Politico team for the original reporting and map that inspired this episode.  Also thanks to: Elissa Schneider, Wisam Naoum, Martin Manna, Ashourina Slewo, Eli Newman, Zoe Clark, Erin Roselio, Jess Kamm Broomell, Will Doran, John Zogby, Matt Dickinson, Tom Jensen, Ross Grogg, Joel Andrus, Jonathan Tilove, Steve Contorno, Heaven Hale, Jeff Shapiro, Nicole Cobler, Marie Albiges, Matt Dole, Robin Goist, Katie Paris, Julie Womack, Matt Dole, Jackie Borchardt, Jessica Locklear, Twinkle Patel, Bobby Das, Dharmesh Ahir,  Nimesh Dhinubhai, Jay Desai, Rishi Bagga, and Sanjeev Joshipura. Christina Greer’s book is Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, and Corey Fields book is Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American. Original art for this episode by Zara Stasi. Check out her work at:  www.goodforthebees.com.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
11/2/202050 minutes, 37 seconds
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How to Win Friends and Influence Baboons

Baboon troops. We all know they’re hierarchical. There’s the big brutish alpha male who rules with a hairy iron fist, and then there’s everybody else. Which is what Meg Crofoot thought too, before she used GPS collars to track the movements of a troop of baboons for a whole month. What she and her team learned from this data gave them a whole new understanding of baboon troop dynamics, and, moment to moment, who really has the power.  This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
10/31/202029 minutes, 19 seconds
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What If?

There’s plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he’d do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa’s Transition Integrity Project doesn’t give us any predictions, and it isn’t a referendum on Trump. Instead, it’s a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project’s report here.
10/23/202041 minutes, 23 seconds
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Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer

With the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there's been a lot of debate about how much power the Supreme Court should really have. We tend to think of the Supreme Court justices as all-powerful guardians of the constitution, issuing momentous rulings from on high. They seem at once powerful, and unknowable; all lacy collars and black robes. But they haven’t always been so, you know, supreme. On this episode of More Perfect, we go all the way back to the case that, in a lot of ways, is the beginning of the court we know today. Also: we listen back to a mnemonic device (and song) that we created back in 2016 to help people remember the names of the justices. Listen, create a new one, and share with us! Tweet The key links: - Akhil Reed Amar's forthcoming book, The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era- Linda Monk's book, The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution The key voices: - Linda Monk, author and constitutional scholar- Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale- Ari J. Savitzky, lawyer at WilmerHale The key cases: - 1803: Marbury v. Madison- 1832: Worcester v. Georgia- 1954: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1)- 1955: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (2) Additional music for this episode by Podington Bear. Special thanks to Dylan Keefe and Mitch Boyer for their work on the above video. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.      
10/8/202039 minutes, 36 seconds
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No Special Duty

What are the police for? Producer B.A. Parker started wondering this back in June, as Black Lives Matter protests and calls to “defund the police” ramped up. The question led her to a wild story of a stabbing on a New York City subway train, and the realization that, according to the law, the police don’t always have to protect us. Producer Sarah Qari joins Parker to dig into the legal background, which takes her all the way up to the Supreme Court... and then all the way back down to on-duty officers themselves. This episode contains strong language and graphic violence. Reported and produced by B.A. Parker and Sarah Qari, and produced by Matt Kielty and Pat Walters. Special thanks to April Hayes and Katia Maguire for their documentary Home Truth about Jessica Gonzales, Cracked.com for sending us down this rabbit hole, Caroline Bettinger-López, Geoff Grimwood, Christy Lopez, Anthony Herron, Mike Wells, and Keith Taylor. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.      
10/2/202045 minutes, 14 seconds
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Insomnia Line

Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what’d Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week’s experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.      
9/25/202034 minutes, 30 seconds
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More Perfect: Sex Appeal

We lost a legend. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18th, 2020. She was 87. In honor of her passing we are re-airing the More Perfect episode dedicated to one of her cases, because it offers a unique portrait of how one person can make change in the world.   This is the story of how Ginsburg, as a young lawyer at the ACLU, convinced an all-male Supreme Court to take discrimination against women seriously - using a case on discrimination against men.  This episode was reported by Julia Longoria. Special thanks to Stephen Wiesenfeld, Alison Keith, and Bob Darcy. Supreme Court archival audio comes from Oyez®, a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
9/19/202053 minutes, 17 seconds
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Falling

There are so many ways to fall—in love, asleep, even flat on your face. This hour, Radiolab dives into stories of great falls.  We jump into a black hole, take a trip over Niagara Falls, upend some myths about falling cats, and plunge into our favorite songs about falling. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
9/17/202056 minutes, 27 seconds
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Bringing Gamma Back, Again

Today, we return to the lab of neuroscientist Li-Huei Tsai, which brought us one of our favorite stories from four years ago - about the power of flashing lights on an Alzheimer’s-addled (mouse) brain. In this update, Li-Huei tells us about her team’s latest research, which now includes flashing sound, and ways in which light and sound together might retrieve lost memories. This new science is not a cure, and is far from a treatment, but it’s a finding so … simple, you won’t be able to shake it. Come join us for a lab visit, where we’ll meet some mice, stare at some light, and come face-to-face with the mystery of memory. We can promise you: by the end, you’ll never think the same way about Christmas lights again. Or jingle bells. This update was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Rachael Cusick. The original episode was produced by Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Molly Webster, with help from Simon Adler.  Special thanks to Ed Boyden, Cognito Therapeutics, Brad Dickerson, Karen Duff, Zaven Khachaturian, Michael Lutz, Kevin M. Spencer, and Peter Uhlhaas. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     Molly's note about the image: Those neon green things in the image are microglia, the brain’s immune cells, or, as we describe them in our episode, the janitor cells of the brain. Straight from MIT’s research files, this image shows microglia who have gotten light stimulation therapy (one can only hope in the flicker room). You can see their many, super-long tentacles, which would be used to feel out anything that didn’t belong in the brain. And then they’d eat it! Further reading:  Li-Huei and co’s gamma sound and light paper: Multi-sensory Gamma Stimulation Ameliorates Alzheimer’s-Associated Pathology and Improves Cognition  
9/11/202036 minutes, 47 seconds
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Fungus Amungus

Six years ago, a new infection began popping up in four different hospitals on three different continents, all around the same time. It wasn’t a bacteria, or a virus. It was ... a killer fungus. No one knew where it came from, or why. Today, the story of an ancient showdown between fungus and mammals that started when dinosaurs disappeared from the earth. Back then, the battle swung in our favor (spoiler alert!) and we’ve been hanging onto that win ever since. But one scientist suggests that the rise of this new infectious fungus indicates our edge is slipping, degree by increasing degree. This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Molly and Bethel Habte, with production help from Tad Davis. Special thanks to Julie Parsonnet and Aviv Bergman.  If you caught this segment in our radio broadcast and want to hear the segment it aired with, check out Covid Crystal Ball here. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.   Further Fungus Reading: NYTimes feature on the mysterious rise of Candida auris.   Arturo's paper: “On the emergence of Candida auris, Climate Change, Azoles, Swamps, and Birds”, by Arturo Casadevall, et al. “On the Origins of a Species: What Might Explain the Rise of Candida auris?”, a report from the CDC.  
9/4/202031 minutes, 48 seconds
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Translation

How close can words get you to the truth and feel and force of life? That's the question poking at our ribs this hour, as we wonder how it is that the right words can have the wrong meanings, and why sometimes the best translations lead us to an understanding that's way deeper than language. This episode, a bunch of stories that play out in the middle space between one reality and another — where poetry, insult comedy, 911 calls, and even our own bodies work to close the gap. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.   Special thanks for the music of Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra
8/27/20201 hour, 5 minutes, 9 seconds
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Lebanon, USA

This is a story of a road trip. After a particularly traumatic Valentine's Day, Fadi Boukaram was surfing google maps and noticed that there was a town called Lebanon... in Oregon. Being Lebanese himself, he wondered, how many Lebanons exist in the US? The answer: 47. Thus began his journey to visit them all and find an America he'd never expected, and the homeland he'd been searching for all along. This episode was made in collaboration with Kerning Cultures, a podcast that tells stories from the Middle East and North Africa.  The original "Lebanon USA" story was reported by Alex Atack with editorial support from Bella Ibrahim, Dana Ballout, Zeina Dowidar, and Hebah Fisher. Original sound design by Alex Atack.  The new update of the story was produced and reported by Shima Oliaee.  We had original music by Thomas Koner and Jad Atoui. Be sure to check out Kerning Cultures at their website www.kerningcultures.com, instagram @kerningcultures, or twitter @kerningcultures. You can read more about Fadi’s trips and see his photographs at lebanonusa.com or on his Instagram at @lebanonusa. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  Editor's Note: In an earlier version of this episode, we inaccurately described a grain elevator. We have updated the audio to reflect the correction. --- If you would like to donate to Beirut at this time, we have links here (from NYT): The Lebanese Red Cross dispatches every ambulance from North Lebanon, Bekaa, and South Lebanon to Beirut to treat the wounded and help in search-and-rescue operations. You can make a contribution here.  The United Nations’ World Food Program provides food to people displaced or made homeless after the blast. Lebanon imports nearly 85% of its food, and the port of Beirut, the epicenter of the explosion, played a central role in that supply chain. With the port now severely damaged, food prices are likely to be beyond the reach of many. You can donate here. The NGO Humanity and Inclusion has 100 workers in Lebanon, including physical therapists, psychologists and social workers. They are focusing on post-surgical therapy in Beirut following the explosion. You can make a contribution here. International Medical Corps is deploying medical units and will provide mental health care to those affected in Lebanon. The humanitarian aid organization also provides health services to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and vulnerable Lebanese. You can donate here. Islamic Relief, which specializes in food aid and emergency response, is helping to put a supply chain in place for emergency aid in Beirut. You can donate here. Save the Children have launched a Lebanon’s children relief fund, to which you can donate here. UNICEF, the United Nations agency specializing in aid to children, is providing medical and vaccine supplies in Beirut, and supplying drinking water to rescue workers at the Beirut port. Its on-the-ground team is also counseling children traumatized by the blast. You can donate here. Impact Lebanon, a nonprofit organization, has set up a crowdfunding campaign to help organizations on the ground, and is helping to share information about people still missing after the explosion. The group had raised over $3 million as of Wednesday and donated the first $100,000 to the Lebanese Red Cross. The health care organization Project HOPE is bringing medical supplies and protective gear to Beirut and assisting the authorities on the ground. A donation page is available here. Over 300,000 people in Beirut were displaced from their homes by the explosion. Baytna Baytak, a charity that provided free housing to health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic, is now raising funds with Impact Lebanon to shelter those who have been displaced. For those in Beirut, here is a list of urgent blood needs. Several social media accounts have also been set up to help locate victims.  
8/21/202042 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Wubi Effect

When we think of China today, we think of a technological superpower. From Huawei and 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, China’s technological renaissance almost didn’t happen. And for one very basic reason: The Chinese language, with its 70,000 plus characters, couldn’t fit on a keyboard.  Today, we tell the story of Professor Wang Yongmin, a hard headed computer programmer who solved this puzzle and laid the foundation for the China we know today. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler with reporting assistance from Yang Yang. Special thanks to Martin Howard. You can view his renowned collection of typewriters at: antiquetypewriters.com Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
8/14/202055 minutes, 2 seconds
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Uncounted

First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all. Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from More Perfect Season 3 about Constitutional amendments that determine who gets to vote. Former Radiolab producer Julia Longoria takes us to Washington, D.C. The capital is at the heart of our democracy, but it’s not a state, and it wasn’t until the 23rd Amendment that its people got the right to vote for president. But that still left DC without full representation in Congress; D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to the House. Julia profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role. Second, Radiolab producer Sarah Qari looks at a current fight to lower the US voting age to 16 that harkens back to the fight for the 26th Amendment in the 1960s. Eighteen-year-olds at the time argued that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the War, they were old enough to have a voice in our democracy. But what about today, when even younger Americans are finding themselves at the center of national political debates? Does it mean we should lower the voting age even further? Music in this episode by Carling & Will This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria and Sarah Qari. Check out Latif Nasser’s new Netflix show Connected here. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
8/7/202050 minutes, 35 seconds
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Invisible Allies

As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they’ve come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather this viral storm. To kick things off, we travel through time from a homeless shelter to a military hospital, pondering the pandemic-fighting power of the sun. And then, we dive deep into the periodic table to look at how a simple element might actually be a microbe’s biggest foe. This episode was reported by Simon Adler and Molly Webster, and produced by Annie McEwen, Pat Walters, Simon Adler, and Molly Webster, with production help from Tad Davis. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
7/31/202041 minutes, 59 seconds
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Baby Blue Blood Drive

Horseshoe crabs are not much to look at.  But beneath their unassuming catcher’s-mitt shell, they harbor a half-billion-year-old secret: a superpower that helped them outlive the dinosaurs and survive all the Earth’s mass extinctions.  And what is that secret superpower? Their blood. Their baby blue blood.  And it’s so miraculous that for decades, it hasn’t just been saving their butts, it’s been saving ours too. But that all might be about to change.   Follow us as we follow these ancient critters - from a raunchy beach orgy to a marine blood drive to the most secluded waterslide - and learn a thing or two from them about how much we depend on nature and how much it depends on us.   BONUS: If you want to know more about how miraculous horseshoe crabs are, here's a bunch of our favorite reads: Alexis Madrigal, "The Blood Harvest" in The Atlantic, and Sarah Zhang's recent follow up in The Atlantic, "The Last Days of the Blue Blood Harvest"  Deborah Cramer, The Narrow Edge Deborah Cramer, "Inside the Biomedical Revolution to Save Horseshoe Crabs" in Audubon Magazine  Richard Fortey, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms Ian Frazier, "Blue Bloods"  in The New Yorker  Lulu Miller's short story, "Me and Jane"  in Catapult Magazine Jerry Gault, "The Most Noble Fishing There Is"  in Charles River's Eureka Magazine or check out Glenn Gauvry's horseshoe crab research database   This episode was reported by Latif Nasser with help from Damiano Marchetti and Lulu Miller, and was produced by Annie McEwen and Matt Kielty with help from Liza Yeager. Special thanks to Arlene Shaner at the NY Academy of Medicine, Tim Wisniewski at the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives at Johns Hopkins University, Jennifer Walton at the library of the Marine Biological Lab of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Glenn Gauvry at the Ecological Research and Development Group. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
7/24/20201 hour, 6 minutes, 45 seconds
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Dispatches from 1918

It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like when COVID-19 has passed. So in this episode, we look back to the years after 1918, at the political, artistic, and viral aftermath of the flu pandemic that killed between 50 and 100 million people and left our world permanently transformed. This episode was reported and produced by Rachael Cusick, Tad Davis, Tracie Hunte, Matt Kielty, Latif Nasser, Sarah Qari, Pat Walters, Molly Webster, with production assistance from Tad Davis and Bethel Habte. Special thanks to the Radio Diaries podcast for letting us use an excerpt of their interview with Harry Mills. You can find the original episode here. For more on Egon Schiele’s life, check out the Leopold Museum’s biography, by Verena Gamper. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
7/17/20201 hour, 10 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Flag and the Fury

How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained “officially” flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. Shima Oliaee dives into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading.  This episode was reported and produced by Shima Oliaee. To read or listen to Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Heavy/Kiese-Laymon/9781501125669.
7/12/20201 hour, 13 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Third. A TED Talk.

Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.
6/25/202018 minutes, 6 seconds
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Post No Evil Redux

Today we revisit our story on Facebook and its rulebook, looking at what’s changed in the past two years and exploring how these rules will impact the 2020 Presidential Election.  Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a constitution of sorts, laying out what could and what couldn’t be posted on the site. Back then, the rules were simple, outlawing nudity and gore. Today, they’re anything but.  How do you define hate speech? Where’s the line between a joke and an attack? How much butt is too much butt? Facebook has answered these questions. And from these answers they’ve written a rulebook that all 2.2 billion of us are expected to follow. Today, we explore that rulebook. We dive into its details and untangle its logic. All the while wondering what does this mean for the future of free speech? This episode was reported by Simon Adler with help from Tracie Hunte and was produced by Simon Adler with help from Bethel Habte. Special thanks to Sarah Roberts, Jeffrey Rosen, Carolyn Glanville, Ruchika Budhraja, Brian Dogan, Ellen Silver, James Mitchell, Guy Rosen, Mike Masnick, and our voice actor Michael Chernus. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
6/19/20201 hour, 10 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Liberation of RNA

In June of 2019, Brandon Ogbunu got on stage and told a story for The Story Collider, a podcast and live storytelling show. Starting when he was a senior in college being shook down by a couple cops, Brandon tells us about navigating his ups and downs of a career in science, his startling connection to scientific racism, and his battle against biology's central dogma.  Brandon’s story was recorded by The Story Collider as part of the 2019 Evolution Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. You can find the full episode and learn more about The Story Collider here. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
6/13/202027 minutes, 4 seconds
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Graham

If former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s case for the death of George Floyd goes to trial, there will be this one, controversial legal principle looming over the proceedings: The reasonable officer. In this episode, we explore the origin of the reasonable officer standard, with the case that sent two Charlotte lawyers on a quest for true objectivity, and changed the face of policing in the US. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty with help from Kelly Prime and Annie McEwen. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
6/7/202059 minutes, 40 seconds
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Nina

Producer Tracie Hunte stumbled into a duet between Nina Simone and the sounds of protest outside her apartment. Then she discovered a performance by Nina on April 7, 1968 - three days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tracie talks about what Nina’s music, born during another time when our country was facing questions that seemed to have no answer, meant then and why it still resonates today.  Listen to Nina's brother, Samuel Waymon, talk about that April 7th concert here.
6/6/20200
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Dispatch 6: Strange Times

Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It’s a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
5/29/202033 minutes, 31 seconds
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Speedy Beet

There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to the folks at Brooklyn Philharmonic: Conductor Alan Pierson, Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
5/22/202024 minutes, 5 seconds
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Octomom

In 2007, Bruce Robison’s robot submarine stumbled across an octopus settling in to brood her eggs. It seemed like a small moment. But as he went back to visit her, month after month, what began as a simple act of motherhood became a heroic feat that has never been equaled by any known species on Earth.  This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen.  Special thanks to Kim Fulton-Bennett and Rob Sherlock at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. And thanks to the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra for the use of their piece, “Concerto for Bassoon & Chamber Orchestra: II. Beautiful.”  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.   If you need more ocean in your life, check out the incredible Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams (especially the jellies!): www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams  Here’s a pic of Octomom sitting on her eggs, Nov. 1, 2007.   (© 2007 MBARI)  
5/15/202033 minutes
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Why Fish Don't Exist

Our old friend Lulu Miller — former Radiolab producer, co-creator of Invisibilia — has been obsessed by the chaos that rules the universe since long before it showed up as a global pandemic, and a few weeks ago, she published a book about it. It’s called Why Fish Don’t Exist. It’s part scientific adventure story, part philosophical manifesto, part chest-ripped-open memoir. Jad called her up to talk about how an obscure 19th century ichthyologist with a checkered past helped her find meaning in the world, and what she means when she says fish aren’t real. You can buy Lulu's book Why Fish Don’t Exist here. This episode was produced by Pat Walters.  Special thanks to Pan•American. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
5/13/202027 minutes, 55 seconds
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David and Dominique

David Gebel and Dominique Crisden have a couple of things in common: they both live in New York, they’re both gay, and they’re both HIV-positive. But David is in his 60s, and has been living with the disease since moving to New York in the ‘80s. Dominique, on the other hand, is only in his early 30s. From our friends at WNYC's “Nancy”, this episode features a very special conversation between David and Dominique about the similarities and differences in their experiences living with HIV. Special thanks to Krishna Stone at Gay Men's Health Crisis, an HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy organization in New York.  This episode was produced by Tobin Low, Kathy Tu and Matt Collette. Music in this episode by Jeremy Bloom and Alex Overington. Theme by Alexander Overington. Note: A version of this episode first ran on May 7, 2017. Support our work. Become a Nancy member today at Nancypodcast.org/donate.    
5/8/202029 minutes, 55 seconds
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Dispatch 5: Don't Stop Believin'

Covid-19 has put emergency room doctors on the frontlines treating an illness that is still perplexing and unknown. Jad tracks one ER doctor in NYC as the doctor puzzles through clues, doing research of his own, trying desperately to save patients' lives.  This episode was produced by Jad Abumrad and Suzie Lechtenberg. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
5/6/202033 minutes, 38 seconds
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Atomic Artifacts

Back in the 1950s, facing the threat of nuclear annihilation, federal officials sat down and pondered what American life would actually look like after an atomic attack. They faced a slew of practical questions like: Who would count the dead and where would they build the refugee camps? But they faced a more spiritual question as well. If Washington DC were hit, every object in the the National Archives would be eviscerated in a moment. Terrified by this reality, they set out to save some of America’s most precious stuff.  Today, we look back at the items our Cold War era planners sought to save and we ask the question: In the year 2020, what objects would we preserve now?  This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler with editing from Pat Walters and reporting assistance from Tad Davis.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
4/24/202041 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Cataclysm Sentence

One day in 1961, the famous physicist Richard Feynman stepped in front of a Caltech lecture hall and posed this question to a group of undergraduate students: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence was passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?” Now, Feynman had an answer to his own question - a good one. But his question got the entire team at Radiolab wondering, what did his sentence leave out? So we posed Feynman’s cataclysm question to some of our favorite writers, artists, historians, futurists - all kinds of great thinkers. We asked them, “What’s the one sentence you would want to pass on to the next generation that would contain the most information in the fewest words?” What came back was an explosive collage of what it means to be alive right here and now, and what we want to say before we go. Featuring: Richard Feynman, physicist (The Pleasure of Finding Things Out) Caitlin Doughty, mortician (Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs) Esperanza Spalding, musician (12 Little Spells) Cord Jefferson, writer (Watchmen) Merrill Garbus, musician (I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life) Jenny Odell, writer (How to do Nothing) Maria Popova, writer (Brainpickings) Alison Gopnik, developmental psychologist (The Gardener and the Carpenter) Rebecca Sugar, animator (Steven Universe) Nicholson Baker, writer (Substitute) James Gleick, writer (Time Travel) Lady Pink, artist (too many amazing works to pick just one) Jenny Hollwell, writer (Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe) Jaron Lanier, futurist (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now) Missy Mazzoli, composer (Proving Up) This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Rachael Cusick, with help from Jeremy Bloom, Zakiya Gibbons, and the entire Radiolab staff.    Special Thanks to: Ella Frances Sanders, and her book, "Eating the Sun", for inspiring this whole episode. Caltech for letting us use original audio of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The entirety of the lectures are available to read for free online at www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu.   All the musicians who helped make the Primordial Chord, including: Siavash Kamkar, from Iran  Koosha Pashangpour, from Iran Curtis MacDonald, from Canada Meade Bernard, from US Barnaby Rea, from UK Liav Kerbel, from Belgium Sam Crittenden, from US Saskia Lankhoorn, from Netherlands Bryan Harris, from US Amelia Watkins, from Canada Claire James, from US Ilario Morciano, from Italy Matthias Kowalczyk, from Germany Solmaz Badri, from Iran   All the wonderful people we interviewed for sentences but weren’t able to fit in this episode, including: Daniel Abrahm, Julia Alvarez, Aimee Bender, Sandra Cisneros, Stanley Chen, Lewis Dartnell, Ann Druyan, Rose Eveleth, Ty Frank, Julia Galef, Ross Gay, Gary Green, Cesar Harada, Dolores Huerta, Robin Hunicke, Brittany Kamai, Priya Krishna, Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado, James Martin, Judith Matloff, Ryan McMahon, Hasan Minhaj, Lorrie Moore, Priya Natarajan, Larry Owens, Sunni Patterson, Amy Pearl, Alison Roman, Domee Shi, Will Shortz, Sam Stein, Sohaib Sultan, Kara Swisher, Jill Tarter, Olive Watkins, Reggie Watts, Deborah Waxman, Alex Wellerstein, Caveh Zahedi.
4/18/20201 hour, 6 minutes