Cover image of Radiolab
(23478)

Rank #1 in Natural Sciences category

Education
Natural Sciences

Radiolab

Rank #1 in Natural Sciences category

Education
Natural Sciences
Read more

A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show is designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. © WNYC Studios

Read more

A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show is designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. © WNYC Studios

iTunes Ratings

23478 Ratings
Average Ratings
20731
1250
599
385
513

Hi

By Sunnyspruce - Feb 03 2019
Read more

Hi I love the show but it has too many politics and not enough stories/science

Required listening

By missD23 - Jan 26 2019
Read more

If that was a thing. This podcast should be on the list. I always learn something important.

iTunes Ratings

23478 Ratings
Average Ratings
20731
1250
599
385
513

Hi

By Sunnyspruce - Feb 03 2019
Read more

Hi I love the show but it has too many politics and not enough stories/science

Required listening

By missD23 - Jan 26 2019
Read more

If that was a thing. This podcast should be on the list. I always learn something important.

Cover image of Radiolab

Radiolab

Rank #1 in Natural Sciences category

Read more

A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show is designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. © WNYC Studios

Top Episodes

Most Popular Episodes of Radiolab

Rank #1: Apologetical

Dec 21 2018
Podcast cover
Read more

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 what it looks like to make amends. The program at Stanford that Leilani went through (and now works for) was a joint creation between Stanford and Lee Taft. Find out more here: www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/patient-family-resources/pearl This episode was reported by Annie McEwen and was produced by Annie McEwen and Simon Adler.  Special thanks to Mark Bressler, Nancy Kielty, and Patty Walters.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

Play Now

Rank #2: Apocalyptical

Dec 09 2013
Podcast cover
Read more

Cataclysmic destruction. Surprising survival. In this new live stage performance, Radiolab turns its gaze to the topic of endings, both blazingly fast and agonizingly slow.

Play Now

Rank #3: The Bad Show

Jul 28 2018
Podcast cover
Read more

With all of the black-and-white moralizing in our world today, we decided to bring back an old show about the little bit of bad that's in all of us...and the little bit of really, really bad that's in some of us.   Cruelty, violence, badness... in this episode we begin with a chilling statistic: 91% of men, and 84% of women, have fantasized about killing someone. We take a look at one particular fantasy lurking behind these numbers, and wonder what this shadow world might tell us about ourselves and our neighbors. Then, we reconsider what Stanley Milgram's famous experiment really revealed about human nature (it's both better and worse than we thought). Next, we meet a man who scrambles our notions of good and evil: chemist Fritz Haber, who won a Nobel Prize in 1918...around the same time officials in the US were calling him a war criminal. And we end with the story of a man who chased one of the most prolific serial killers in US history, then got a chance to ask him the question that had haunted him for years: why? This episode was produced with help from Carter Hodge. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

Play Now

Rank #4: 60 Words

Apr 18 2014
Podcast cover
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This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace.

Play Now

Rank #5: The Fix

Dec 18 2015
Podcast cover
Read more

This episode we take a sober look at the throbbing, aching, craving desire states that return people (again and again) to the object of their addiction … and the pills that just might set them free. Reporter Amy O’Leary was fed up with her ex-boyfriend’s hard-drinking, when she discovered a French doctor’s memoir titled The End of My Addiction.  The fix that he proposed seemed too good to be true.  But her phone call with the doctor left her, and us, even more intrigued. Could this malady – so often seen as moral and spiritual - really be beaten back with a pill? We talk to addiction researcher Dr. Anna Rose Childress, addiction psychologist Dr. Mark Willenbring, journalist Gabrielle Glaser, The National Institute of Health’s Dr. Nora Volkow, and scores of people dealing with substance abuse as we try to figure out whether we're in the midst of a sea change in how we think about addiction. Produced by Andy Mills with Simon Adler If you are someone looking for help with a substance abuse problem and want to find health care services in your area, check out this map from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. For more on Dr. Mark Willenbring and the Alltyr Clinic visit their website. If you’d like to hear more from Nora Volkow you can watch her speech from this summer’s American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting. Or watch her and other top addiction researchers at last year’s World Science Fair   

Play Now

Rank #6: Galapagos

Jul 17 2014
Podcast cover
Read more

Today, the strange story of a small group of islands that raise a big question: is it inevitable that even our most sacred natural landscapes will eventually get swallowed up by humans? And just how far are we willing to go to stop that from happening? We are dedicating a whole hour to the Galapagos archipelago, the place that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection. 179 years later, the Galapagos are undergoing rapid changes that continue to pose -- and possibly answer -- critical questions about the fragility and resilience of life on Earth.

Play Now

Rank #7: Dark Side of the Earth

Apr 26 2018
Podcast cover
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Astronauts at the International Space Station can make one request to talk to an earthling of their choice. For some reason, Astronaut Mark Vande Hei chose us. A couple weeks ago, we were able to video chat with Mark and peer over his shoulder through the Cupola, an observatory room in the ISS. Traveling at 17,000 miles an hour, we zoomed from the Rockies to the East Coast in minutes. And from where Mark sits, the total darkness of space isn’t very far away.  Talking to Mark brought us back to 2012, when we spoke to another astronaut, Dave Wolf. When we were putting together our live show In the Dark, Jad and Robert called up Dave Wolf to ask him if he had any stories about darkness. And boy, did he. Dave told us two stories that  became the finale of our show. Back in late 1997, Dave Wolf was on his first spacewalk, to perform work on the Mir. Dave wasn't alone -- with him was veteran Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev.  Out in blackness of space, the contrast between light and dark is almost unimaginably extreme -- every 45 minutes, you plunge between absolute darkness on the night-side of Earth, and blazing light as the sun screams into view. Dave and Anatoly were tethered to the spacecraft, traveling 5 miles per second. That's 16 times faster than we travel on Earth's surface as it rotates -- so as they orbited, they experienced 16 nights and 16 days for every Earth day. Dave's description of his first spacewalk was all we could've asked for, and more. But what happened next ... well, it's just one of those stories that you always hope an astronaut will tell. Dave and Anatoly were ready to call it a job and head back into the Mir when something went wrong with the airlock. They couldn't get it to re-pressurize. In other words, they were locked out. After hours of trying to fix the airlock, they were running out of the resources that kept them alive in their space suits and facing a grisly death. So, they unhooked their tethers, and tried one last desperate move. In the end, they made it through, and Dave went on to perform dozens more spacewalks in the years to come, but he never again experienced anything like those harrowing minutes trying to improvise his way back into the Mir. After that terrifying tale, Dave told us about another moment he and Anatoly shared, floating high above Earth, staring out into the universe ... a moment so beautiful, and peaceful, we decided to use the audience recreate it, as best we could, for the final act of our live show. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Soren Wheeler.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Play Now

Rank #8: Breaking News

Jul 28 2017
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Today, two new technological tricks that together could invade our most deeply held beliefs and rewrite the rules of credibility. Also, we release something terrible into the world. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Play Now

Rank #9: Post No Evil

Aug 17 2018
Podcast cover
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Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a constitution of sorts, laying out what could and what couldn’t be posted on the site. Back then, the rules were simple, outlawing nudity and gore. Today, they’re anything but.  How do you define hate speech? Where’s the line between a joke and an attack? How much butt is too much butt? Facebook has answered these questions. And from these answers they’ve written a rulebook that all 2.2 billion of us are expected to follow. Today, we explore that rulebook. We dive into its details and untangle its logic. All the while wondering what does this mean for the future of free speech? This episode was reported by Simon Adler with help from Tracie Hunte and was produced by Simon Adler with help from Bethel Habte. Special thanks to Sarah Roberts, Jeffrey Rosen, Carolyn Glanville, Ruchika Budhraja, Brian Dogan, Ellen Silver, James Mitchell, Guy Rosen, and our voice actor Michael Chernus. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

Play Now

Rank #10: Black Box

Jan 17 2014
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This hour, we examine three very different kinds of black boxes—those peculiar spaces where it’s clear what’s going in, we know what’s coming out, but what happens in-between is a mystery. From the darkest parts of metamorphosis, to a sixty year-old secret among magicians, to the nature of consciousness itself, we confront the stubborn gaps in our understanding.

Play Now

Rank #11: Smile My Ass

Oct 06 2015
Podcast cover
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As Candid Camera succeeded, it started to change the way we thought not only of reality television, but also of reality itself.

Play Now

Rank #12: The Buried Bodies Case

Jun 03 2016
Podcast cover
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In 1973, a massive manhunt in New York's Adirondack Mountains ended when police captured a man named Robert Garrow.  And that’s when this story really gets started.   This episode we consider a string of barbaric crimes by a hated man, and the attorney who, when called to defend him, also wound up defending a core principle of our legal system.  When Frank Armani learned his client’s most gruesome secrets, he made a morally startling decision that stunned the world and goes to the heart of what it means to be a defense attorney - how far should lawyers go to provide the best defense to the worst people? NOTE: This episode contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault and violence. Produced by Matt Kielty and Brenna Farrell. Reported by Brenna Farrell. Special thanks to Tom Alibrandi, author of Privileged Information, with Frank Armani, Laurence Gooley, author of Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow, Charl Bader and the students in her Criminal Defense Clinic at Fordham University, Leslie Levin and the students in her Legal Profession class at The University of Connecticut School of Law, Clark D. Cunningham at Georgia State University College of Law, Debra Armani, Mary Armani, Lohr McKinstry, Tom Scozzafava, Stephanie Jenkins, Brian Farrell, Jennifer Brumback and Nick Capodice.   

Play Now

Rank #13: What's Left When You're Right?

Feb 25 2014
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More often than not, a fight is just a fight... Someone wins, someone loses. But this hour, we have a series of face-offs that shine a light on the human condition, the benefit of coming at something from a different side, and the price of being right. Special thanks to Mark Dresser for the use of his music.  

Play Now

Rank #14: Things

May 30 2014
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From a piece of the Wright brother's plane to a child’s sugar egg, today: Things! Important things, little things, personal things, things you can hold and things that can take hold of you. This hour, we investigate the objects around us, their power to move us, and whether it's better to look back or move on, hold on tight or just let go.

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Rank #15: The Ceremony

Jul 14 2017
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Today, paranoia sets in: we head to The Ceremony, the top-secret, three-day launch of a new currency, wizards and math included. Halfway through, something strange happens.   Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.

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Rank #16: Big Little Questions

Dec 20 2017
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Here at the show, we get a lot of questions. Like, A LOT of questions. Tiny questions, big questions, short questions, long questions. Weird questions. Poop questions. We get them all. And over the years, as more and more of these questions arrived in our inbox, what happened was, guiltily, we put them off to the side, in a bucket of sorts, where they just sat around, unanswered. But now, we’re dumping the bucket out. Today, our producers pick up a few of the questions that spilled out of that bucket, and venture out into the great unknown to find answers to some of life's greatest mysteries: coincidences; miracles; life; death; fate; will; and, of course, poop. This episode was reported and produced by Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte and Matt Kielty.  Special thanks to Blake Nguyen, Sarah Murphy and the New York Public Library.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

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Rank #17: Driverless Dilemma

Sep 26 2017
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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 about 11 years ago. Luckily, the Trolley Problem has always been little more than a thought experiment, mostly confined to conversations at a certain kind of cocktail party. That is until now. New technologies are forcing that moral quandry 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 we can’t even figure out ourselves. This story was reported and produced by Amanda Aronczyk and Bethel Habte. 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. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  

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Rank #18: Playing God

Aug 22 2016
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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 standing right in front of you? In this episode, 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? Produced by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen. Reported by Sheri Fink.  In the book that inspired this episode you can find more about what transpired at Memorial Hospital during Hurricane Katrina, Sheri Fink’s exhaustively reported Five Days at Memorial You can find more about the work going on in Maryland at: www.nytimes.com/triage 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. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    

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Rank #19: American Football

Jan 29 2015
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Today, we tackle football. It’s the most popular sport in the US, shining a sometimes harsh light on so much of what we have been, what we are, and what we hope to be. Savage, creative, brutal and balletic, whether you love it or loathe it … it’s a touchstone of the American identity. Along with conflicted parents and players and coaches who aren’t sure if the game will survive, we take a deep dive into the surprising history of how the game came to be. At the end of the 19th century, football is a nascent and nasty sport. The sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles. But then the Carlisle Indian School, formed in 1879 to assimilate the children and grandchildren of the Native American men who fought the final Plains Wars, fields the most American team of all. The kids at Carlisle took the field to face off against a new world that was destroying theirs, and along the way, they changed the fundamentals of football forever.  Correction: An earlier version of this episode included a few errors that we have corrected. We've also added one new piece of information.  The piece originally stated that British football had no referees.  While this was true in the earliest days of British football, they were eventually added. We stated that referees were added to American football in response to Pop Warner. American referees existed prior to Pop Warner, in order to address brutality as well as the kind of rule-bending that Pop Warner specialized in. Chuck Klosterman said that the three most popular sports in the US are football, college football and major league baseball. In fact, baseball actually ranks 2nd, college football is third. Monet Edwards stated that 33 members of her family were players in the NFL. That number is actually 13.  We also added one new fact: over 200 students at The Carlisle Indian School died of malnutrition, poor health or distress from homesickness.  The audio has been adjusted to reflect these corrections.

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Rank #20: Update: New Normal?

Oct 19 2015
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An update: Peacenik baboons, a man in a dress and cuddly tame foxes. Stories of adaptation, and reframing ideas about normalcy. 3 stories where choice challenges destiny. 

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Rank #1: Apologetical

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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 what it looks like to make amends. The program at Stanford that Leilani went through (and now works for) was a joint creation between Stanford and Lee Taft. Find out more here: www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/patient-family-resources/pearl This episode was reported by Annie McEwen and was produced by Annie McEwen and Simon Adler.  Special thanks to Mark Bressler, Nancy Kielty, and Patty Walters.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

Dec 21 2018
58 mins
Play Now

Rank #2: Apocalyptical

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Cataclysmic destruction. Surprising survival. In this new live stage performance, Radiolab turns its gaze to the topic of endings, both blazingly fast and agonizingly slow.

Dec 09 2013
Play Now

Rank #3: The Bad Show

Podcast cover
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With all of the black-and-white moralizing in our world today, we decided to bring back an old show about the little bit of bad that's in all of us...and the little bit of really, really bad that's in some of us.   Cruelty, violence, badness... in this episode we begin with a chilling statistic: 91% of men, and 84% of women, have fantasized about killing someone. We take a look at one particular fantasy lurking behind these numbers, and wonder what this shadow world might tell us about ourselves and our neighbors. Then, we reconsider what Stanley Milgram's famous experiment really revealed about human nature (it's both better and worse than we thought). Next, we meet a man who scrambles our notions of good and evil: chemist Fritz Haber, who won a Nobel Prize in 1918...around the same time officials in the US were calling him a war criminal. And we end with the story of a man who chased one of the most prolific serial killers in US history, then got a chance to ask him the question that had haunted him for years: why? This episode was produced with help from Carter Hodge. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

Jul 28 2018
1 hour 9 mins
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Rank #4: 60 Words

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This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace.

Apr 18 2014
55 mins
Play Now

Rank #5: The Fix

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This episode we take a sober look at the throbbing, aching, craving desire states that return people (again and again) to the object of their addiction … and the pills that just might set them free. Reporter Amy O’Leary was fed up with her ex-boyfriend’s hard-drinking, when she discovered a French doctor’s memoir titled The End of My Addiction.  The fix that he proposed seemed too good to be true.  But her phone call with the doctor left her, and us, even more intrigued. Could this malady – so often seen as moral and spiritual - really be beaten back with a pill? We talk to addiction researcher Dr. Anna Rose Childress, addiction psychologist Dr. Mark Willenbring, journalist Gabrielle Glaser, The National Institute of Health’s Dr. Nora Volkow, and scores of people dealing with substance abuse as we try to figure out whether we're in the midst of a sea change in how we think about addiction. Produced by Andy Mills with Simon Adler If you are someone looking for help with a substance abuse problem and want to find health care services in your area, check out this map from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. For more on Dr. Mark Willenbring and the Alltyr Clinic visit their website. If you’d like to hear more from Nora Volkow you can watch her speech from this summer’s American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting. Or watch her and other top addiction researchers at last year’s World Science Fair   

Dec 18 2015
40 mins
Play Now

Rank #6: Galapagos

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Today, the strange story of a small group of islands that raise a big question: is it inevitable that even our most sacred natural landscapes will eventually get swallowed up by humans? And just how far are we willing to go to stop that from happening? We are dedicating a whole hour to the Galapagos archipelago, the place that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection. 179 years later, the Galapagos are undergoing rapid changes that continue to pose -- and possibly answer -- critical questions about the fragility and resilience of life on Earth.

Jul 17 2014
1 hour 2 mins
Play Now

Rank #7: Dark Side of the Earth

Podcast cover
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Astronauts at the International Space Station can make one request to talk to an earthling of their choice. For some reason, Astronaut Mark Vande Hei chose us. A couple weeks ago, we were able to video chat with Mark and peer over his shoulder through the Cupola, an observatory room in the ISS. Traveling at 17,000 miles an hour, we zoomed from the Rockies to the East Coast in minutes. And from where Mark sits, the total darkness of space isn’t very far away.  Talking to Mark brought us back to 2012, when we spoke to another astronaut, Dave Wolf. When we were putting together our live show In the Dark, Jad and Robert called up Dave Wolf to ask him if he had any stories about darkness. And boy, did he. Dave told us two stories that  became the finale of our show. Back in late 1997, Dave Wolf was on his first spacewalk, to perform work on the Mir. Dave wasn't alone -- with him was veteran Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev.  Out in blackness of space, the contrast between light and dark is almost unimaginably extreme -- every 45 minutes, you plunge between absolute darkness on the night-side of Earth, and blazing light as the sun screams into view. Dave and Anatoly were tethered to the spacecraft, traveling 5 miles per second. That's 16 times faster than we travel on Earth's surface as it rotates -- so as they orbited, they experienced 16 nights and 16 days for every Earth day. Dave's description of his first spacewalk was all we could've asked for, and more. But what happened next ... well, it's just one of those stories that you always hope an astronaut will tell. Dave and Anatoly were ready to call it a job and head back into the Mir when something went wrong with the airlock. They couldn't get it to re-pressurize. In other words, they were locked out. After hours of trying to fix the airlock, they were running out of the resources that kept them alive in their space suits and facing a grisly death. So, they unhooked their tethers, and tried one last desperate move. In the end, they made it through, and Dave went on to perform dozens more spacewalks in the years to come, but he never again experienced anything like those harrowing minutes trying to improvise his way back into the Mir. After that terrifying tale, Dave told us about another moment he and Anatoly shared, floating high above Earth, staring out into the universe ... a moment so beautiful, and peaceful, we decided to use the audience recreate it, as best we could, for the final act of our live show. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Soren Wheeler.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Apr 26 2018
27 mins
Play Now

Rank #8: Breaking News

Podcast cover
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Today, two new technological tricks that together could invade our most deeply held beliefs and rewrite the rules of credibility. Also, we release something terrible into the world. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Jul 28 2017
48 mins
Play Now

Rank #9: Post No Evil

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

Aug 17 2018
1 hour 8 mins
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Rank #10: Black Box

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This hour, we examine three very different kinds of black boxes—those peculiar spaces where it’s clear what’s going in, we know what’s coming out, but what happens in-between is a mystery. From the darkest parts of metamorphosis, to a sixty year-old secret among magicians, to the nature of consciousness itself, we confront the stubborn gaps in our understanding.

Jan 17 2014
1 hour 5 mins
Play Now

Rank #11: Smile My Ass

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As Candid Camera succeeded, it started to change the way we thought not only of reality television, but also of reality itself.

Oct 06 2015
34 mins
Play Now

Rank #12: The Buried Bodies Case

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In 1973, a massive manhunt in New York's Adirondack Mountains ended when police captured a man named Robert Garrow.  And that’s when this story really gets started.   This episode we consider a string of barbaric crimes by a hated man, and the attorney who, when called to defend him, also wound up defending a core principle of our legal system.  When Frank Armani learned his client’s most gruesome secrets, he made a morally startling decision that stunned the world and goes to the heart of what it means to be a defense attorney - how far should lawyers go to provide the best defense to the worst people? NOTE: This episode contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault and violence. Produced by Matt Kielty and Brenna Farrell. Reported by Brenna Farrell. Special thanks to Tom Alibrandi, author of Privileged Information, with Frank Armani, Laurence Gooley, author of Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow, Charl Bader and the students in her Criminal Defense Clinic at Fordham University, Leslie Levin and the students in her Legal Profession class at The University of Connecticut School of Law, Clark D. Cunningham at Georgia State University College of Law, Debra Armani, Mary Armani, Lohr McKinstry, Tom Scozzafava, Stephanie Jenkins, Brian Farrell, Jennifer Brumback and Nick Capodice.   

Jun 03 2016
47 mins
Play Now

Rank #13: What's Left When You're Right?

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More often than not, a fight is just a fight... Someone wins, someone loses. But this hour, we have a series of face-offs that shine a light on the human condition, the benefit of coming at something from a different side, and the price of being right. Special thanks to Mark Dresser for the use of his music.  

Feb 25 2014
59 mins
Play Now

Rank #14: Things

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From a piece of the Wright brother's plane to a child’s sugar egg, today: Things! Important things, little things, personal things, things you can hold and things that can take hold of you. This hour, we investigate the objects around us, their power to move us, and whether it's better to look back or move on, hold on tight or just let go.

May 30 2014
1 hour 1 min
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Rank #15: The Ceremony

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Today, paranoia sets in: we head to The Ceremony, the top-secret, three-day launch of a new currency, wizards and math included. Halfway through, something strange happens.   Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Jul 14 2017
46 mins
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Rank #16: Big Little Questions

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Here at the show, we get a lot of questions. Like, A LOT of questions. Tiny questions, big questions, short questions, long questions. Weird questions. Poop questions. We get them all. And over the years, as more and more of these questions arrived in our inbox, what happened was, guiltily, we put them off to the side, in a bucket of sorts, where they just sat around, unanswered. But now, we’re dumping the bucket out. Today, our producers pick up a few of the questions that spilled out of that bucket, and venture out into the great unknown to find answers to some of life's greatest mysteries: coincidences; miracles; life; death; fate; will; and, of course, poop. This episode was reported and produced by Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte and Matt Kielty.  Special thanks to Blake Nguyen, Sarah Murphy and the New York Public Library.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Dec 20 2017
46 mins
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Rank #17: Driverless Dilemma

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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 about 11 years ago. Luckily, the Trolley Problem has always been little more than a thought experiment, mostly confined to conversations at a certain kind of cocktail party. That is until now. New technologies are forcing that moral quandry 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 we can’t even figure out ourselves. This story was reported and produced by Amanda Aronczyk and Bethel Habte. 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. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  

Sep 26 2017
40 mins
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Rank #18: Playing God

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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 standing right in front of you? In this episode, 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? Produced by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen. Reported by Sheri Fink.  In the book that inspired this episode you can find more about what transpired at Memorial Hospital during Hurricane Katrina, Sheri Fink’s exhaustively reported Five Days at Memorial You can find more about the work going on in Maryland at: www.nytimes.com/triage 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. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    

Aug 22 2016
1 hour 1 min
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Rank #19: American Football

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Today, we tackle football. It’s the most popular sport in the US, shining a sometimes harsh light on so much of what we have been, what we are, and what we hope to be. Savage, creative, brutal and balletic, whether you love it or loathe it … it’s a touchstone of the American identity. Along with conflicted parents and players and coaches who aren’t sure if the game will survive, we take a deep dive into the surprising history of how the game came to be. At the end of the 19th century, football is a nascent and nasty sport. The sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles. But then the Carlisle Indian School, formed in 1879 to assimilate the children and grandchildren of the Native American men who fought the final Plains Wars, fields the most American team of all. The kids at Carlisle took the field to face off against a new world that was destroying theirs, and along the way, they changed the fundamentals of football forever.  Correction: An earlier version of this episode included a few errors that we have corrected. We've also added one new piece of information.  The piece originally stated that British football had no referees.  While this was true in the earliest days of British football, they were eventually added. We stated that referees were added to American football in response to Pop Warner. American referees existed prior to Pop Warner, in order to address brutality as well as the kind of rule-bending that Pop Warner specialized in. Chuck Klosterman said that the three most popular sports in the US are football, college football and major league baseball. In fact, baseball actually ranks 2nd, college football is third. Monet Edwards stated that 33 members of her family were players in the NFL. That number is actually 13.  We also added one new fact: over 200 students at The Carlisle Indian School died of malnutrition, poor health or distress from homesickness.  The audio has been adjusted to reflect these corrections.

Jan 29 2015
1 hour 14 mins
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Rank #20: Update: New Normal?

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An update: Peacenik baboons, a man in a dress and cuddly tame foxes. Stories of adaptation, and reframing ideas about normalcy. 3 stories where choice challenges destiny. 

Oct 19 2015
1 hour 8 mins
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