Podcasts by Category
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.
- 461 - Poison Control
Originally aired in 2018, this episode features reporter Brena Farrell as a new mom. Her son gave her and her husband a scare -- prompting them to call Poison Control. For Brenna, the experience was so odd, and oddly comforting, that she decided to dive into the birth story of this invisible network of poison experts, and try to understand the evolving relationship we humans have with our poisonous planet. As we learn about how poison control has changed over the years, we end up wondering what a place devoted to data and human connection can tell us about ourselves in this cultural moment of anxiety and information-overload.
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 ofThe 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.Fri, 29 Sep 2023 - 36min
- 460 - 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.
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
Crash Course (https://www.youtube.com/crashcourse)
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 ofThe 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.Fri, 22 Sep 2023 - 31min
- 459 - 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.
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 ofThe 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.Fri, 15 Sep 2023 - 41min
- 458 - 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
Reported by - Matt KieltyProduced by - Matt KieltyOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Matt Kieltywith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kelly
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)!Fri, 08 Sep 2023 - 70min
- 457 - 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).
Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by email@example.comCorrection: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated the dates of two performances of “Rite of Spring” and the time that passed between them. The performance that inspired rioting occurred on May 29th, 1913. The second performance that we discussed occurred in April of 1914. The audio has been adjusted to reflect this fact.Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that the “Rite of Spring” was used in the movie “Fantasia” during the part that featured mushrooms. It was in fact used during the part that featured dinosaurs. The audio has been adjusted to reflect this fact.Fri, 01 Sep 2023 - 51min
- 456 - 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.
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
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there’s help available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-TALK. There’s also a live chat option on their website(http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/).Fri, 25 Aug 2023 - 38min
- 455 - 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by firstname.lastname@example.orgFri, 18 Aug 2023 - 57min
- 454 - 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
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, head to her website (https://www.cagoldberglaw.com/) or check out her bookcheck out her book Nobody's Victim (https://zpr.io/Ra9mXtT9eNvb).Fri, 11 Aug 2023 - 37min
- 453 - 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.
Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by email@example.comFri, 04 Aug 2023 - 54min
- 452 - 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 beYou.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
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:Fri, 28 Jul 2023 - 34min
- 451 - 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.
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
Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by firstname.lastname@example.orgLeadership 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.Fri, 21 Jul 2023 - 41min
- 450 - 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
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
Books:Fri, 14 Jul 2023 - 29min
- 449 - 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.
In this episode from 2019, 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.
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
Books: Butts by Heather RadkeFri, 07 Jul 2023 - 56min
- 448 - 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:
Merrill Garbus, musician - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life (https://zpr.io/HmrqFX8RKuFq)
Alison Gopnik, developmental psychologist - The Gardener and the Carpenter (https://zpr.io/ewtJpUYxpYqh)
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)!Fri, 30 Jun 2023 - 73min
- 447 - 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.
Reported by - Julia LongoriaFri, 23 Jun 2023 - 73min
- 446 - 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.
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
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 ImblerFri, 16 Jun 2023 - 29min
- 445 - 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.Fri, 09 Jun 2023 - 37min
- 444 - 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 female homosexual 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 the History is Gay (https://www.historyisgaypodcast.com/) podcast.
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@example.com.Fri, 02 Jun 2023 - 38min
- 443 - 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by firstname.lastname@example.orgFri, 26 May 2023 - 42min
- 442 - 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, MarkMiller, Kenny Bentley, Jason Isaac, 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 Isaac, 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)!Fri, 19 May 2023 - 63min
- 441 - 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@example.comFri, 12 May 2023 - 61min
- 440 - Ologies: Dark Matters
Testudinology. 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by firstname.lastname@example.org.Fri, 05 May 2023 - 35min
- 439 - 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by email@example.comFri, 28 Apr 2023 - 22min
- 438 - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.Fri, 21 Apr 2023 - 31min
- 437 - 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.
Reported by - Molly Webster, Avir Mitra Produced by Sarah Qariwith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Diane Kellyand Edited by - Becca BresslerCITATIONS:
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)Fri, 14 Apr 2023 - 27min
- 436 - 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 Mehrotra, Emily Krumberger and Norihelys RamosProduced by Simon Adlerwith help from - Eli CohenOriginal music and sound designed by - Simon AdlerMixing by - Jeremy BloomEdited by - Alex Neason
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!Fri, 07 Apr 2023 - 43min
- 435 - 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
Reported by - Peter Andrey Smith with Matt KieltyProduced by - Matt KieltyFri, 31 Mar 2023 - 71min
- 434 - 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 videohere (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HOk0MmgFwE).
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
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).
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!Fri, 24 Mar 2023 - 43min
- 433 - 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.
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.
Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by email@example.comFri, 17 Mar 2023 - 54min
- 432 - 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by firstname.lastname@example.orgFri, 10 Mar 2023 - 27min
- 431 - 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.
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/Fri, 03 Mar 2023 - 25min
- 430 - 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.
Reported by - Andrew ZolliOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Mooninites
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)Fri, 24 Feb 2023 - 30min
- 429 - 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.
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.
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.
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)!Fri, 17 Feb 2023 - 45min
- 428 - 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
Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by email@example.comFri, 10 Feb 2023 - 51min
- 427 - 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.
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
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 -Fri, 03 Feb 2023 - 32min
- 426 - 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.
Israel Story's five English-language seasons were produced in partnership withTablet Magazine(https://zpr.io/HxYET7psAbPh) and we highly recommend youlisten 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 theInternational 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, andAdhikaar(https://zpr.io/MDyadskgwZtH), an organization in Ridgewood, Queens advocating for the Nepali-speaking community.
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 RaiFri, 27 Jan 2023 - 61min
- 425 - 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
VideosWatch Deutsche Welle’s Abortion in Europe documentary (https://zpr.io/YHctj4bZQwHM).
PodcastsListen 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by firstname.lastname@example.org.Fri, 20 Jan 2023 - 42min
- 424 - 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.
Books -Fri, 13 Jan 2023 - 55min
- 423 - 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.
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.Fri, 06 Jan 2023 - 32min
- 422 - 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).Fri, 30 Dec 2022 - 68min
- 421 - 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
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.)
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)!
Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing email@example.com.Fri, 23 Dec 2022 - 43min
- 420 - 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).Fri, 16 Dec 2022 - 60min
- 419 - 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
BooksYou can find links to many books by Steven Strogatz here:https://www.stevenstrogatz.com/all-books
MediaAnd the podcast he does forQuanta 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by firstname.lastname@example.org.Fri, 09 Dec 2022 - 28min
- 418 - 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.
Reported by Tracie HuntProduced by Matt KieltyFri, 02 Dec 2022 - 54min
- 417 - 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
Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by email@example.com.Fri, 25 Nov 2022 - 46min
- 416 - 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 ColeFri, 18 Nov 2022 - 22min
- 415 - 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)Fri, 11 Nov 2022 - 35min
- 414 - 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by firstname.lastname@example.org.Fri, 04 Nov 2022 - 54min
- 413 - 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.
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
If you’re curious to know more about the history of weather forecasting, go check out Kris Harper’s book Weather by the Numbers.
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:Fri, 28 Oct 2022 - 52min
- 412 - 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)Fri, 21 Oct 2022 - 66min
- 411 - 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 toMarianaPrandini 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 BresslerFri, 14 Oct 2022 - 26min
- 410 - 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.
Produced by Suzie Lechtenberg
Theater of the mind website: https://theateroftheminddenver.com/Fri, 07 Oct 2022 - 43min
- 409 - 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+.Fri, 30 Sep 2022 - 58min
- 408 - 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Fri, 23 Sep 2022 - 29min
- 407 - 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 WheelerFri, 16 Sep 2022 - 16min
- 406 - 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 ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by email@example.com.Fri, 09 Sep 2022 - 30min
- 405 - 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.
Reported and produced by Tim Howard
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)!Fri, 02 Sep 2022 - 33min
- 404 - 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.
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.Fri, 26 Aug 2022 - 49min
- 403 - 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.
Reported by Sally Adee and Soren WheelerOriginal music by Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra
Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member ofThe Lab(https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by firstname.lastname@example.org.Fri, 19 Aug 2022 - 26min
- 402 - 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 WaltersFri, 12 Aug 2022 - 41min
- 401 - 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 ColeFri, 05 Aug 2022 - 67min
- 400 - 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
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.Fri, 29 Jul 2022 - 35min
- 399 - 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.Fri, 22 Jul 2022 - 26min
- 398 - 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
Follow our show onInstagram,TwitterandFacebook@radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by email@example.com.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 before July 20, 2022! We would LOVE to work with you. You can find more info atwnyc.org/careers.Fri, 15 Jul 2022 - 48min
- 397 - 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.
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.
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 databaseFri, 08 Jul 2022 - 51min
- 396 - 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.
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.
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”.
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.Thu, 30 Jun 2022 - 28min
- 395 - 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.Fri, 24 Jun 2022 - 64min
- 394 - 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 ofThe 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!Fri, 17 Jun 2022 - 46min
- 393 - 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 ofThe 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.Fri, 10 Jun 2022 - 26min
- 392 - 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 ofThe 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!Fri, 03 Jun 2022 - 43min
- 391 - 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.Fri, 27 May 2022 - 58min
- 390 - 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.Fri, 20 May 2022 - 57min
- 389 - 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 hilariousvideoby sportswriter Jon Bois.
Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.Fri, 13 May 2022 - 35min
- 388 - 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 ofThe 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!Fri, 06 May 2022 - 60min
- 387 - 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.
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha MukherjeeFri, 29 Apr 2022 - 71min
- 386 - 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 ofThe Lab today.Fri, 22 Apr 2022 - 64min
- 385 - NULL
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.
Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.Fri, 15 Apr 2022 - 19min
- 384 - 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.
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.
Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.Fri, 08 Apr 2022 - 28min
- 383 - 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.Fri, 01 Apr 2022 - 64min
- 382 - 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.
Citations in this episode
Articles:Sheri Wells-Jensen’s, “The Case for Disabled Astronauts,” Scientific AmericanFri, 25 Mar 2022 - 41min
- 381 - 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.Fri, 18 Mar 2022 - 57min
- 380 - 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)Fri, 11 Mar 2022 - 63min
- 379 - 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.
Support Radiolab by becoming a member ofThe 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 DisciplineFri, 04 Mar 2022 - 53min
- 378 - 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 ofThe Lab today.Fri, 25 Feb 2022 - 56min
- 377 - 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.Fri, 18 Feb 2022 - 26min
- 376 - 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.Fri, 11 Feb 2022 - 46min
- 375 - 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 atRadiolab.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!Fri, 04 Feb 2022 - 24min
- 374 - 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.Fri, 28 Jan 2022 - 84min
- 373 - 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.”
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 atRadiolab.org/donate.Fri, 21 Jan 2022 - 23min
- 372 - 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 atRadiolab.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!Fri, 14 Jan 2022 - 38min
- 371 - 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.Fri, 07 Jan 2022 - 24min
- 370 - 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.Fri, 31 Dec 2021 - 75min
- 369 - 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-oldNun Study participant, reads an essay she wrote more than 70 years ago.
La Brega update was produced by Maria Paz GutierrezFri, 17 Dec 2021 - 24min
- 367 - 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 atRadiolab.org/donate.Fri, 10 Dec 2021 - 57min
- 366 - 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.Fri, 26 Nov 2021 - 59min
- 365 - 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.Fri, 19 Nov 2021 - 48min
- 364 - 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.Fri, 12 Nov 2021 - 58min
- 363 - 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.Fri, 05 Nov 2021 - 40min
- 362 - 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 atRadiolab.org/donate.Fri, 29 Oct 2021 - 36min
- 361 - 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.Fri, 22 Oct 2021 - 51min
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