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Best Interesting stories Podcasts

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The best podcast episodes of the most entertaining & interesting stories. From skyping someone while they're in space, to tracking down and meeting a telephone scammer in person, to the story of a Galapagos. These episodes will keep you and all your friends entertained and captivated for hours. Listen below to hear the incredible episodes just like you do in a mobile app, play in background and save episodes for later in your queue!

Read more

The best podcast episodes of the most entertaining & interesting stories. From skyping someone while they're in space, to tracking down and meeting a telephone scammer in person, to the story of a Galapagos. These episodes will keep you and all your friends entertained and captivated for hours. Listen below to hear the incredible episodes just like you do in a mobile app, play in background and save episodes for later in your queue!

Cover image of Best Interesting stories Podcasts

Best Interesting stories Podcasts

Updated Weekly

Read more

The best podcast episodes of the most entertaining & interesting stories. From skyping someone while they're in space, to tracking down and meeting a telephone scammer in person, to the story of a Galapagos. These episodes will keep you and all your friends entertained and captivated for hours. Listen below to hear the incredible episodes just like you do in a mobile app, play in background and save episodes for later in your queue!

All Episodes

All Episodes

99% Invisible 128- Hacking IKEA

Feb 13 2019
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KEA hacking is the practice of buying things from IKEA and reengineering — or “hacking” — them to become customized, more functional, and often just better designed stuff. The locus of the IKEA hacking movement is a website called IKEAhackers.net. It’s a showcase for people who have tricked out their KALLAXES, their ARKELSTORPS and their FLÄRDFULLS . Would-be hackers can gather tips from other hackers, and once they’re ready, post pictures and how-to guides of their own hacks. Expedit A favorite on IKEAhackers.net: the now-discontinued Expedit bookcase-cum midcentury-modern sideboard. Credit: Sindy Stevens; Courtesy of Jules Yap Some Billy bookcases and a Flellse bed were hacked to make Murphy bed. In the photo below, were hacked to make a Murphy bed. billy bookcase Courtesy of Jules Yap bed Courtesy of Jules Yap Because IKEA products are available in so many countries and use metric measurements, a worldwide “hackerati” has been able to thrive. You see hacks posted from Australia, Russia, Israel and Dubai. Someone even posted a hack of a French country house library in an actual French country house. He used 60 Billy and Benno bookcases. french country house hack French Country House IKEA hack. Courtesy of Jules Yap And of course, beyond the bounds of IKEAhackers.net, there are tons of people just putting up youtube videos or sharing flickr photos of their hacked IKEA items. IKEAhackers.net was started in 2006 by Jules Yap (Jules is not her real first name — it’s a pseudonym derived from an IKEA product). But in March of 2014, Yap got a cease and desist letter from IKEA. IKEA claimed that using their trademarked name was a violation — even just using the blue and yellow color scheme was not allowed. Since Yap makes money off of the site through advertising, IKEA argued that she was profiting off of the IKEA name. jules-sad From IKEAhackers.net. Courtesy of Jules Yap IKEA asked Yap to stop using the IKEA trademark or anything trademarked by IKEA including her domain name. It also seemed like she would have to close down the Twitter and Facebook accounts associated with her website. She was resigned to comply, but then came a huge outcry on the internet. Cory Doctorow, who blogs on Boing Boing, called the cease and desist from letter from IKEA “steaming bullshit.” Supporters of Yap felt like IKEAhacking.net was actually good for the IKEA brand, and that IKEA was foolish to make an enemy out of her. Apparently, IKEA took the criticism to heart. A representative of the company contacted Yap in June and told her that they wanted to come to a solution that both parties could be happy with. As we release this podcast, Yap is traveling to the IKEA headquarters in Sweden to work out the details of the solution. On her website, Yap said she was so happy she could “pee in her FRAKTA pants.” IMG_4537 The base of Sean’s new bed. Credit: Sean Cole Enjoy 99pi? Subscribe to the podcast! CREDITS PRODUCTION Producer Sean Cole spoke with Jules Yap of IKEAhackers.net, and academics Daniela Rosner and Jonathan Bean (the latter of whom helped him hack an IKEA storage-bed out of KALLAX bookcases and some doors that can be found at any big-box home improvement store).

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Rough Translation: The Congo We Listen To

Feb 13 2019
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It made headlines worldwide: Hundreds of women raped in one Congolese village. But when one researcher arrives in town, something feels off. (Note: This episode contains descriptions of violence.

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99% Invisible: 114- Ten Thousand Years

Feb 13 2019
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In 1990, the federal government invited a group of geologists, linguists, astrophysicists, architects, artists, and writers to the New Mexico desert, to visit the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. They would be there on assignment. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the nation’s only permanent underground repository for nuclear waste. Radioactive byproducts from nuclear weapons manufacturing and nuclear power plants. WIPP was designed not only to handle a waste stream of various forms of nuclear sludge, but also more mundane things that interacted with radioactive materials, such as tools and gloves. WIPP, which is located deep in the New Mexico desert, was designed to store all of this radioactive material and keep us all safe from it. Eventually, WIPP will be sealed up and left alone. Years will pass and those years will become decades. Those decades will become centuries and those centuries will roll into millennia. People above ground will come and go. Cultures will rise and fall. And all the while, below the surface, that cave full of waste will get smaller and smaller, until the salt swallows up all those oil drums and entombs them. Then, all the old radioactive gloves and tools and little bits from bombs –all still radioactive– will be solidified in the earth’s crust for more than 200,000 years. Basically forever. Storing something safely forever is a huge design problem; in fact, the jury’s still out on whether WIPP has solved the basics of the storage problem at all. In February of 2014, a leak was detected at WIPP which exposed several workers to radiation and WIPP has been closed since. The Department of Energy now predicts that it could be up to three years before WIPP is fully operational again. We know these facts because we can look them up and read the news in a shared language. The problem that the aforementioned panel was convened to address was how to communicate this information to people 10,000 years in the future. The WIPP Marker panel, November 1991. Courtesy of Jon Lomberg This WIPP site is going to be radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years, though this panel was only responsible for keeping this place sufficiently marked for humans for the next 10,000 years—thinking beyond that timeframe was thought to be impossible. Though 10,000 years in the future is still fairly inconceivable. 10,000 years ago, the biggest new technology spreading across the planet was farming. Culturally, we share almost nothing with people alive back then. Who knows the world will look like 10,000 years from now? The panel began by thinking about language. But language, like radioactive materials, has a half life. Beowulf, from only 1,000 years ago, is incomprehensible today. The panel also considered symbols, which seemed like they might be more universal. A smiley face seems to have a global appeal. And face logos have already been used as warnings. Carl Sagan (who was invited to participate on the panel but had a schedule conflict) sent the WIPP panel a letter saying this whole marker problem was easily solved with the right symbol, and he knew just the one: the skull and crossbones. But symbols can also shift over time. The skull and crossbones actually began not as a symbol of death, but a symbol of rebirth. The earliest uses of it are in religious paintings and sculptures from uh middle ages. At the foot of the cross where Jesus is crucified, there lies a skull with two bones in the shape of a cross, not an ‘x.’ The skull is supposed to be that of Adam. The Crucifixion by Fra Angelico. See directly underneath the cross. A few centuries later, ship captains started to draw little skull and cross bones in their logs, next the names of sailors who had died at sea. Sailors came to associate the symbol with death.

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99% Invisible: 83- Heyoon

Feb 13 2019
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Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Alex Goldman was a misfit. Bored and disaffected and angry, he longed for a place to escape to. And then he found Heyoon. Heyoon_trace4-03_zps531d2895 Illustration by Emile Holmewood The only way to find out about Heyoon for someone to take you there. It was like there was this secret club of kids who knew about it. Alex got initiated when he was fifteen. To find Heyoon, you’d drive out into the middle of nowhere, deep in the country, and park alongside a dirt road. A fence ran along the property line, with signs explicitly telling passers by to keep out. Heyoon_trace5-06_zps5edd8585 Illustration by Emile Holmewood Once over the fence, a path behind a white farmhouse led to a thin line of trees, and then to a huge field. And there was something else there in the field. Something man-made. Something really big. The structure made of mostly of wood, with a canopy of teflon and nylon stretched over a metal frame. From the base, there were stairs up to a platform about 10 feet off the ground, suspended over a boulder about the size of a Volkswagon Bug. At the top of the stairs there are these two pieces of glass in the floor. Etched into one of the pieces of glass was an inscription in an ornate, Gaelic font: THE HEYOON PAVILION. Alex and his friends would sneak to Heyoon at least once a month through their teenage years. They’d drink, they’d smoke pot, they’d talk about the meaning of life. Heyoon_trace4-021_zpsfa0ad017 Illustration by Emile Holmewood There were a number of myths about why Heyoon was there. Maybe it commemorated the owner’s dead daughter. Or maybe it was built along ley lines. Or that it was created for a wedding ceremony. Or that it was designed for paganistic rituals or for stargazing. Part of its power was that in being a secret, it created a community of people who knew of, and snuck into, Heyoon. Even after Alex Goldman moved away, he was fixated on trying to find out why it was there. So in 2009, he Alex got in touch with the owners of Heyoon, Rita and Peter Heydon. 3801330f-c39a-4a8b-93b0-9d23dd854abe_zps99d31b89 Alex’s initial correspondence with Peter Heydon. Though Peter mentions NPR in the letter, Alex did not work for WNYC at the time—he was “just a guy in New York who fixed computers.” Parts of this letter have been blacked out to preserve the Heydons’ and Kinnebrews’ privacy After getting the letter back, Alex realized that he and his friends had always misread the inscription on the structure; it actually says THE HEYDON PAVILION. The pavilion was designed by Joseph Kinnebrew, an artist and friend of Peter Heydon. The two came up with the idea to build it when, one night, they got drunk and ran around Heydon’s property and lit newspapers on fire. So in a way, Heyoon was born from the same drunken antics that Alex and his friends would get into at the same spot, decades later. Heyoon_trace5-05_zpse0016510 Illustration by Emile Holmewood On The Media‘s Alex Goldman tracked down Peter Heydon and Joseph Kinnebrew to uncover the story of Heyoon. And our producer Sam Greenspan conscripted some radio players (Cameron Lock, Mooj Zadie, Pat Mesiti-Miller and Ashleyanne Krigbaum) to re-enact what a trip to Heyoon might sound like — which is to say, we did NOT break into Heyoon. Please don’t ask us how to find it. Alex didn’t tell us, either. We weren’t allowed to distribute the only photos of Heyoon we could find, so we had the fantastic Emile Holmewood create the above illustrations. Find more of his work at The Caravan.

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How I Built This with Guy Raz: Patagonia: Yvon Chouinard

Feb 13 2019
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We're taking a break for the holidays, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Patagonia. In 1973, Yvon Chouinard started the company to make climbing gear he couldn't find elsewhere. Over decades of growth, he has implemented a unique philosophy about business, leadership and profit. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", we check back with Brett Johnson of Firedrops — cayenne pepper lozenges.

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Radiolab: Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Political Thicket

Feb 13 2019
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The question of how much power the Supreme Court should possess has divided justices over time. But the issue was perhaps never more hotly debated than in Baker v. Carr. On this episode of More Perfect, we talk about the case that pushed one Supreme Court justice to a nervous breakdown, brought a boiling feud to a head, put one justice in the hospital, and changed the course of the Supreme Court – and the nation – forever.

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We Study Billionaires - The Investors Podcast: TIP 051 : Billionaire Mark Cuban's Book - How to Win at the Sport of Business (Investing Podcast)

Feb 13 2019
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In this episode, we talk about billioniare Mark Cuban's book and how he acquired his wealth.  Click here to get full access to our show notes.

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Radiolab: Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Imperfect Plaintiffs

Feb 13 2019
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On this episode, we visit Edward Blum, a 64-year-old “legal entrepreneur” and former stockbroker who has become something of a Supreme Court matchmaker. He’s had remarkable success, with 6 cases heard before the Supreme Court, including that of Abigail Fisher. We also head to Houston, Texas, where in 1998, an unusual 911 call led to one of the most important LGBT rights decisions in the Supreme Court’s history.

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Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations: Dr. Maya Angelou, Part 1: 9 Words That Changed Her Life

Jan 30 2019
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In the first of a special two-part podcast, Oprah has a conversation with her beloved mentor, the late poet, author, icon and activist Dr. Maya Angelou. She's also the woman Oprah called her mother, sister and friend for more than 30 years. Oprah says, "She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet, but at the heart of her, she was a teacher." Dr. Angelou discusses her last book, "Mom & Me & Mom," delving into one of the deepest personal stories of her life: her relationship with her mother. Dr. Angelou shares intimate memories of her childhood, including the nine words her nurturing yet fiery mother said to her that changed her life forever, challenging her to find strength in the face of adversity.

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How I Built This with Guy Raz: Chipotle: Steve Ells

Jan 30 2019
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In 1992, Steve Ells was a classically trained chef working in a high-end restaurant in San Francisco. But after eating a burrito at a local taqueria, he got an idea: to sell burritos and earn enough money to open his own gourmet restaurant. The first Chipotle opened in Denver the following year. Bringing his culinary training to taqueria-style service, Steve Ells helped transform the way we eat fast food. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Alexander Harik turned his mom's recipe for za'atar spread—a fragrant Middle Eastern condiment—into Zesty Z: The Za'atar Company.

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The Daily: The (Misunderstood) Story of NATO

Jan 30 2019
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On a combative opening day of the NATO summit in Brussels, President Trump called other member countries “delinquent” on military spending and attacked Germany as a “captive” of Russia. We examine where his frustration is coming from. Guest: David E. Sanger, a national security correspondent for The New York Times and the author of “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age.” For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.

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How I Built This with Guy Raz: Edible Arrangements: Tariq Farid

Jan 30 2019
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When Tariq Farid was 12, he emigrated from Pakistan to the U.S. – and quickly found a job at a local flower shop. Eventually he opened his own shop, which eventually led to the crazy idea to make flower bouquets out of fruit. Edible Arrangements has now bloomed into a franchise of nearly 1300 locations with an annual revenue of $600 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how the Seattle-based clothing company, Five12, is making athletic wear out of used coffee grounds.

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Radiolab: Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - American Pendulum I

Jan 30 2019
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This story comes from the second season of Radiolab's spin-off podcast, More Perfect. To hear more, subscribe here. What happens when the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, seems to get it wrong? Korematsu v. United States is a case that’s been widely denounced and discredited, but it still remains on the books. This is the case that upheld President Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of American citizens during World War II based solely on their Japanese heritage, for the sake of national security. In this episode, we follow Fred Korematsu’s path to the Supreme Court, and we ask the question: if you can’t get justice in the Supreme Court, can you find it someplace else?  The key voices: Fred Korematsu, plaintiff in Korematsu v. United States who resisted evacuation orders during World War II. Karen Korematsu, Fred’s daughter, Founder & Executive Director of Fred T. Korematsu Institute Ernest Besig, ACLU lawyer who helped Fred Korematsu bring his case Lorraine Bannai, Professor at Seattle University School of Law and friend of Fred's family Richard Posner, recently retired Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit  The key cases: 1944: Korematsu v. United States  The key links: Fred T. Korematsu Institute Densho Archives Additional music for this episode by The Flamingos, Lulu, Paul Lansky and Austin Vaughn.  Special thanks to the Densho Archives for use of archival tape of Fred Korematsu and Ernest Besig.  Leadership support for More Perfect is provided by The Joyce Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation. Supreme Court archival audio comes from Oyez®, a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell.

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How I Built This with Guy Raz: Virgin: Richard Branson

Jan 30 2019
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Richard Branson took a record shop and built it into a label, a bank, an airline, space tourism, and 200 other businesses — all under the name Virgin. But the serial entrepreneur has also had his share of failures.

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99% Invisible: 240- Plat of Zion

Jan 30 2019
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The urban grid of Salt Lake City, Utah is designed to tell you exactly where you are in relation to Temple Square, one of the holiest sites for Mormons. Addresses can read like sets of coordinates. “300 South 2100 East,” … Continue reading →

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Radiolab: Galapagos

Jan 18 2019
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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.

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Reply All: #102 Long Distance Parts 1 & 2

Jan 18 2019
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A telephone scammer makes a terrible mistake. He calls Alex Goldman.   This episode originally aired in July of 2017. 

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Heavyweight: #12 Jesse

Jan 10 2019
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Four years ago, Jesse was hit by a car and nearly died. Now he wants to find the driver. And thank him.CreditsHeavyweight is hosted and produced by Jonathan Goldstein.This episode was also produced by Kalila Holt. The senior producer is Kaitlin Roberts.Editing by Jorge Just, Alex Blumberg, and Wendy Dorr.Special thanks to Emily Condon, Saidu Tejan-Thomas, and Jackie Cohen.The show was mixed by Kate Bilinski. Music by Christine Fellows, John K Samson, and Edwin, with additional music by Chris Zabriskie, Blue Dot Sessions, Michael Charles Smith, Visager, Graham Barton, and Katie Mullins. Our theme song is by The Weakerthans courtesy of Epitaph Records, and our ad music is by Haley Shaw.

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Reveal: The man inside: Four months as a prison guard

Jan 10 2019
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The government’s back in business with private prisons. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed the Obama-era decision to phase out federal use of corporate-run prisons. On this episode, Reveal revisits an hour with Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer who takes you inside a private prison on lockdown. Head over to revealnews.org for more of our … Continue reading The man inside: Four months as a prison guard →

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Radiolab: Playing God

Jan 10 2019
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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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Ear Hustle: Thick Glass

Jan 10 2019
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Parenting is never easy, but from prison it's especially challenging. In this episode, incarcerated fathers share their stories of striving to be present in their children's lives. One inmate reconnects with his son after 20 years. Another stays very involved through letters and visits. And a third gets the opportunity to give his teenaged son a haircut. Thanks to the fathers who shared their stories: Derrick, John and Maverick, and to Derrick Jr. for talking with us. Thick Glass was scored and sound designed by David Jassy and Antwan Williams, with contributions from Lee Jaspar (aka Matthew Lee Jasper), Eric “Maserati E” Abercrombie and Charlie Spencer. You can download Thick Glass here.  Find out more about the show at earhustlesq.com, including how to send us a question (by postcard) that might get answered in a future episode. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. p.s. Speaking of parenting, have you ordered your children (or parents) an Ear Hustle t-shirt yet?

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Reveal: How Bernie Made Off: Are we safe from the next Ponzi scheme?

Jan 10 2019
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Bernard Madoff may be a fading memory from the past, but for reporter Steve Fishman, the fallen financier’s story holds lessons for today. Madoff masterminded one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history, duping thousands of investors out of tens of billions of dollars. His scam rocked Wall Street for years. In this episode, we … Continue reading How Bernie Made Off: Are we safe from the next Ponzi scheme? →

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Radiolab: Stranger in Paradise

Jan 10 2019
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Back in 1911, a box with a dead raccoon in it showed up in Washington D.C., at the office of Gerrit S. Miller. After pulling it out and inspecting it, he realized this raccoon was from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, and unlike anything he’d ever seen before.  He christened it Procyon minor and in doing so changed the history of Guadeloupe forever.   Today we travel from the storage rooms of the Smithsonian to the sandy beaches of Guadeloupe, chasing the tale of this trash can tipping critter. All the while trying to uncover what it means to be special.  Produced and reported by Simon Adler. Special thanks to Sally Stainier and Allie Pinel for all their help translating in Guadeloupe and New York respectively.  Thanks to Bernie Beelmeon, Paola Dvihally, Hervé Magnin, Guillaume Aricique, Laurence Baptiste-Salomon, David Xavier-Albert, Florian Kirchner, Matt Chew, and everyone at the ONCFS.    Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    

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Invisibilia: True You

Jan 10 2019
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What happens when you discover a part of yourself that is so different from who you think you are? Do you hold on to your original self tightly? Do you explore this other self? Or do you just panic?

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Reveal: If you can’t afford a lawyer

Jan 08 2019
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If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you – that’s how it’s supposed to work. But in New Orleans, the lawyer in charge of representing poor people accused of crimes is saying no. His office doesn’t have enough money or time to do a good job, he says, so he’s refusing … Continue reading If you can’t afford a lawyer →

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Invisibilia: The Secret History of Thoughts

Jan 08 2019
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Co-hosts Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller ask the question, "Are my thoughts related to my inner wishes, do they reveal who I really am?" The answer can have profound consequences for your life.

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Radiolab: Dark Side of the Earth

Jan 05 2019
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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.

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99% Invisible 128- Hacking IKEA

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KEA hacking is the practice of buying things from IKEA and reengineering — or “hacking” — them to become customized, more functional, and often just better designed stuff. The locus of the IKEA hacking movement is a website called IKEAhackers.net. It’s a showcase for people who have tricked out their KALLAXES, their ARKELSTORPS and their FLÄRDFULLS . Would-be hackers can gather tips from other hackers, and once they’re ready, post pictures and how-to guides of their own hacks. Expedit A favorite on IKEAhackers.net: the now-discontinued Expedit bookcase-cum midcentury-modern sideboard. Credit: Sindy Stevens; Courtesy of Jules Yap Some Billy bookcases and a Flellse bed were hacked to make Murphy bed. In the photo below, were hacked to make a Murphy bed. billy bookcase Courtesy of Jules Yap bed Courtesy of Jules Yap Because IKEA products are available in so many countries and use metric measurements, a worldwide “hackerati” has been able to thrive. You see hacks posted from Australia, Russia, Israel and Dubai. Someone even posted a hack of a French country house library in an actual French country house. He used 60 Billy and Benno bookcases. french country house hack French Country House IKEA hack. Courtesy of Jules Yap And of course, beyond the bounds of IKEAhackers.net, there are tons of people just putting up youtube videos or sharing flickr photos of their hacked IKEA items. IKEAhackers.net was started in 2006 by Jules Yap (Jules is not her real first name — it’s a pseudonym derived from an IKEA product). But in March of 2014, Yap got a cease and desist letter from IKEA. IKEA claimed that using their trademarked name was a violation — even just using the blue and yellow color scheme was not allowed. Since Yap makes money off of the site through advertising, IKEA argued that she was profiting off of the IKEA name. jules-sad From IKEAhackers.net. Courtesy of Jules Yap IKEA asked Yap to stop using the IKEA trademark or anything trademarked by IKEA including her domain name. It also seemed like she would have to close down the Twitter and Facebook accounts associated with her website. She was resigned to comply, but then came a huge outcry on the internet. Cory Doctorow, who blogs on Boing Boing, called the cease and desist from letter from IKEA “steaming bullshit.” Supporters of Yap felt like IKEAhacking.net was actually good for the IKEA brand, and that IKEA was foolish to make an enemy out of her. Apparently, IKEA took the criticism to heart. A representative of the company contacted Yap in June and told her that they wanted to come to a solution that both parties could be happy with. As we release this podcast, Yap is traveling to the IKEA headquarters in Sweden to work out the details of the solution. On her website, Yap said she was so happy she could “pee in her FRAKTA pants.” IMG_4537 The base of Sean’s new bed. Credit: Sean Cole Enjoy 99pi? Subscribe to the podcast! CREDITS PRODUCTION Producer Sean Cole spoke with Jules Yap of IKEAhackers.net, and academics Daniela Rosner and Jonathan Bean (the latter of whom helped him hack an IKEA storage-bed out of KALLAX bookcases and some doors that can be found at any big-box home improvement store).

Feb 13 2019
18 mins
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Rough Translation: The Congo We Listen To

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It made headlines worldwide: Hundreds of women raped in one Congolese village. But when one researcher arrives in town, something feels off. (Note: This episode contains descriptions of violence.

Feb 13 2019
41 mins
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99% Invisible: 114- Ten Thousand Years

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In 1990, the federal government invited a group of geologists, linguists, astrophysicists, architects, artists, and writers to the New Mexico desert, to visit the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. They would be there on assignment. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the nation’s only permanent underground repository for nuclear waste. Radioactive byproducts from nuclear weapons manufacturing and nuclear power plants. WIPP was designed not only to handle a waste stream of various forms of nuclear sludge, but also more mundane things that interacted with radioactive materials, such as tools and gloves. WIPP, which is located deep in the New Mexico desert, was designed to store all of this radioactive material and keep us all safe from it. Eventually, WIPP will be sealed up and left alone. Years will pass and those years will become decades. Those decades will become centuries and those centuries will roll into millennia. People above ground will come and go. Cultures will rise and fall. And all the while, below the surface, that cave full of waste will get smaller and smaller, until the salt swallows up all those oil drums and entombs them. Then, all the old radioactive gloves and tools and little bits from bombs –all still radioactive– will be solidified in the earth’s crust for more than 200,000 years. Basically forever. Storing something safely forever is a huge design problem; in fact, the jury’s still out on whether WIPP has solved the basics of the storage problem at all. In February of 2014, a leak was detected at WIPP which exposed several workers to radiation and WIPP has been closed since. The Department of Energy now predicts that it could be up to three years before WIPP is fully operational again. We know these facts because we can look them up and read the news in a shared language. The problem that the aforementioned panel was convened to address was how to communicate this information to people 10,000 years in the future. The WIPP Marker panel, November 1991. Courtesy of Jon Lomberg This WIPP site is going to be radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years, though this panel was only responsible for keeping this place sufficiently marked for humans for the next 10,000 years—thinking beyond that timeframe was thought to be impossible. Though 10,000 years in the future is still fairly inconceivable. 10,000 years ago, the biggest new technology spreading across the planet was farming. Culturally, we share almost nothing with people alive back then. Who knows the world will look like 10,000 years from now? The panel began by thinking about language. But language, like radioactive materials, has a half life. Beowulf, from only 1,000 years ago, is incomprehensible today. The panel also considered symbols, which seemed like they might be more universal. A smiley face seems to have a global appeal. And face logos have already been used as warnings. Carl Sagan (who was invited to participate on the panel but had a schedule conflict) sent the WIPP panel a letter saying this whole marker problem was easily solved with the right symbol, and he knew just the one: the skull and crossbones. But symbols can also shift over time. The skull and crossbones actually began not as a symbol of death, but a symbol of rebirth. The earliest uses of it are in religious paintings and sculptures from uh middle ages. At the foot of the cross where Jesus is crucified, there lies a skull with two bones in the shape of a cross, not an ‘x.’ The skull is supposed to be that of Adam. The Crucifixion by Fra Angelico. See directly underneath the cross. A few centuries later, ship captains started to draw little skull and cross bones in their logs, next the names of sailors who had died at sea. Sailors came to associate the symbol with death.

Feb 13 2019
29 mins
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99% Invisible: 83- Heyoon

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Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Alex Goldman was a misfit. Bored and disaffected and angry, he longed for a place to escape to. And then he found Heyoon. Heyoon_trace4-03_zps531d2895 Illustration by Emile Holmewood The only way to find out about Heyoon for someone to take you there. It was like there was this secret club of kids who knew about it. Alex got initiated when he was fifteen. To find Heyoon, you’d drive out into the middle of nowhere, deep in the country, and park alongside a dirt road. A fence ran along the property line, with signs explicitly telling passers by to keep out. Heyoon_trace5-06_zps5edd8585 Illustration by Emile Holmewood Once over the fence, a path behind a white farmhouse led to a thin line of trees, and then to a huge field. And there was something else there in the field. Something man-made. Something really big. The structure made of mostly of wood, with a canopy of teflon and nylon stretched over a metal frame. From the base, there were stairs up to a platform about 10 feet off the ground, suspended over a boulder about the size of a Volkswagon Bug. At the top of the stairs there are these two pieces of glass in the floor. Etched into one of the pieces of glass was an inscription in an ornate, Gaelic font: THE HEYOON PAVILION. Alex and his friends would sneak to Heyoon at least once a month through their teenage years. They’d drink, they’d smoke pot, they’d talk about the meaning of life. Heyoon_trace4-021_zpsfa0ad017 Illustration by Emile Holmewood There were a number of myths about why Heyoon was there. Maybe it commemorated the owner’s dead daughter. Or maybe it was built along ley lines. Or that it was created for a wedding ceremony. Or that it was designed for paganistic rituals or for stargazing. Part of its power was that in being a secret, it created a community of people who knew of, and snuck into, Heyoon. Even after Alex Goldman moved away, he was fixated on trying to find out why it was there. So in 2009, he Alex got in touch with the owners of Heyoon, Rita and Peter Heydon. 3801330f-c39a-4a8b-93b0-9d23dd854abe_zps99d31b89 Alex’s initial correspondence with Peter Heydon. Though Peter mentions NPR in the letter, Alex did not work for WNYC at the time—he was “just a guy in New York who fixed computers.” Parts of this letter have been blacked out to preserve the Heydons’ and Kinnebrews’ privacy After getting the letter back, Alex realized that he and his friends had always misread the inscription on the structure; it actually says THE HEYDON PAVILION. The pavilion was designed by Joseph Kinnebrew, an artist and friend of Peter Heydon. The two came up with the idea to build it when, one night, they got drunk and ran around Heydon’s property and lit newspapers on fire. So in a way, Heyoon was born from the same drunken antics that Alex and his friends would get into at the same spot, decades later. Heyoon_trace5-05_zpse0016510 Illustration by Emile Holmewood On The Media‘s Alex Goldman tracked down Peter Heydon and Joseph Kinnebrew to uncover the story of Heyoon. And our producer Sam Greenspan conscripted some radio players (Cameron Lock, Mooj Zadie, Pat Mesiti-Miller and Ashleyanne Krigbaum) to re-enact what a trip to Heyoon might sound like — which is to say, we did NOT break into Heyoon. Please don’t ask us how to find it. Alex didn’t tell us, either. We weren’t allowed to distribute the only photos of Heyoon we could find, so we had the fantastic Emile Holmewood create the above illustrations. Find more of his work at The Caravan.

Feb 13 2019
26 mins
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How I Built This with Guy Raz: Patagonia: Yvon Chouinard

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We're taking a break for the holidays, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Patagonia. In 1973, Yvon Chouinard started the company to make climbing gear he couldn't find elsewhere. Over decades of growth, he has implemented a unique philosophy about business, leadership and profit. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", we check back with Brett Johnson of Firedrops — cayenne pepper lozenges.

Feb 13 2019
28 mins
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Radiolab: Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Political Thicket

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The question of how much power the Supreme Court should possess has divided justices over time. But the issue was perhaps never more hotly debated than in Baker v. Carr. On this episode of More Perfect, we talk about the case that pushed one Supreme Court justice to a nervous breakdown, brought a boiling feud to a head, put one justice in the hospital, and changed the course of the Supreme Court – and the nation – forever.

Feb 13 2019
43 mins
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We Study Billionaires - The Investors Podcast: TIP 051 : Billionaire Mark Cuban's Book - How to Win at the Sport of Business (Investing Podcast)

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In this episode, we talk about billioniare Mark Cuban's book and how he acquired his wealth.  Click here to get full access to our show notes.

Feb 13 2019
49 mins
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Radiolab: Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Imperfect Plaintiffs

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On this episode, we visit Edward Blum, a 64-year-old “legal entrepreneur” and former stockbroker who has become something of a Supreme Court matchmaker. He’s had remarkable success, with 6 cases heard before the Supreme Court, including that of Abigail Fisher. We also head to Houston, Texas, where in 1998, an unusual 911 call led to one of the most important LGBT rights decisions in the Supreme Court’s history.

Feb 13 2019
1 hour 5 mins
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Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations: Dr. Maya Angelou, Part 1: 9 Words That Changed Her Life

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In the first of a special two-part podcast, Oprah has a conversation with her beloved mentor, the late poet, author, icon and activist Dr. Maya Angelou. She's also the woman Oprah called her mother, sister and friend for more than 30 years. Oprah says, "She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet, but at the heart of her, she was a teacher." Dr. Angelou discusses her last book, "Mom & Me & Mom," delving into one of the deepest personal stories of her life: her relationship with her mother. Dr. Angelou shares intimate memories of her childhood, including the nine words her nurturing yet fiery mother said to her that changed her life forever, challenging her to find strength in the face of adversity.

Jan 30 2019
29 mins
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How I Built This with Guy Raz: Chipotle: Steve Ells

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In 1992, Steve Ells was a classically trained chef working in a high-end restaurant in San Francisco. But after eating a burrito at a local taqueria, he got an idea: to sell burritos and earn enough money to open his own gourmet restaurant. The first Chipotle opened in Denver the following year. Bringing his culinary training to taqueria-style service, Steve Ells helped transform the way we eat fast food. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Alexander Harik turned his mom's recipe for za'atar spread—a fragrant Middle Eastern condiment—into Zesty Z: The Za'atar Company.

Jan 30 2019
52 mins
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The Daily: The (Misunderstood) Story of NATO

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On a combative opening day of the NATO summit in Brussels, President Trump called other member countries “delinquent” on military spending and attacked Germany as a “captive” of Russia. We examine where his frustration is coming from. Guest: David E. Sanger, a national security correspondent for The New York Times and the author of “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age.” For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.

Jan 30 2019
26 mins
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How I Built This with Guy Raz: Edible Arrangements: Tariq Farid

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When Tariq Farid was 12, he emigrated from Pakistan to the U.S. – and quickly found a job at a local flower shop. Eventually he opened his own shop, which eventually led to the crazy idea to make flower bouquets out of fruit. Edible Arrangements has now bloomed into a franchise of nearly 1300 locations with an annual revenue of $600 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how the Seattle-based clothing company, Five12, is making athletic wear out of used coffee grounds.

Jan 30 2019
49 mins
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Radiolab: Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - American Pendulum I

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This story comes from the second season of Radiolab's spin-off podcast, More Perfect. To hear more, subscribe here. What happens when the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, seems to get it wrong? Korematsu v. United States is a case that’s been widely denounced and discredited, but it still remains on the books. This is the case that upheld President Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of American citizens during World War II based solely on their Japanese heritage, for the sake of national security. In this episode, we follow Fred Korematsu’s path to the Supreme Court, and we ask the question: if you can’t get justice in the Supreme Court, can you find it someplace else?  The key voices: Fred Korematsu, plaintiff in Korematsu v. United States who resisted evacuation orders during World War II. Karen Korematsu, Fred’s daughter, Founder & Executive Director of Fred T. Korematsu Institute Ernest Besig, ACLU lawyer who helped Fred Korematsu bring his case Lorraine Bannai, Professor at Seattle University School of Law and friend of Fred's family Richard Posner, recently retired Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit  The key cases: 1944: Korematsu v. United States  The key links: Fred T. Korematsu Institute Densho Archives Additional music for this episode by The Flamingos, Lulu, Paul Lansky and Austin Vaughn.  Special thanks to the Densho Archives for use of archival tape of Fred Korematsu and Ernest Besig.  Leadership support for More Perfect is provided by The Joyce Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation. Supreme Court archival audio comes from Oyez®, a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell.

Jan 30 2019
51 mins
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How I Built This with Guy Raz: Virgin: Richard Branson

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Richard Branson took a record shop and built it into a label, a bank, an airline, space tourism, and 200 other businesses — all under the name Virgin. But the serial entrepreneur has also had his share of failures.

Jan 30 2019
34 mins
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99% Invisible: 240- Plat of Zion

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The urban grid of Salt Lake City, Utah is designed to tell you exactly where you are in relation to Temple Square, one of the holiest sites for Mormons. Addresses can read like sets of coordinates. “300 South 2100 East,” … Continue reading →

Jan 30 2019
17 mins
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Radiolab: 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.

Jan 18 2019
1 hour 2 mins
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Reply All: #102 Long Distance Parts 1 & 2

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A telephone scammer makes a terrible mistake. He calls Alex Goldman.   This episode originally aired in July of 2017. 

Jan 18 2019
1 hour 31 mins
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Heavyweight: #12 Jesse

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Four years ago, Jesse was hit by a car and nearly died. Now he wants to find the driver. And thank him.CreditsHeavyweight is hosted and produced by Jonathan Goldstein.This episode was also produced by Kalila Holt. The senior producer is Kaitlin Roberts.Editing by Jorge Just, Alex Blumberg, and Wendy Dorr.Special thanks to Emily Condon, Saidu Tejan-Thomas, and Jackie Cohen.The show was mixed by Kate Bilinski. Music by Christine Fellows, John K Samson, and Edwin, with additional music by Chris Zabriskie, Blue Dot Sessions, Michael Charles Smith, Visager, Graham Barton, and Katie Mullins. Our theme song is by The Weakerthans courtesy of Epitaph Records, and our ad music is by Haley Shaw.

Jan 10 2019
40 mins
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Reveal: The man inside: Four months as a prison guard

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The government’s back in business with private prisons. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed the Obama-era decision to phase out federal use of corporate-run prisons. On this episode, Reveal revisits an hour with Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer who takes you inside a private prison on lockdown. Head over to revealnews.org for more of our … Continue reading The man inside: Four months as a prison guard →

Jan 10 2019
51 mins
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Radiolab: 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.    

Jan 10 2019
1 hour 1 min
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Ear Hustle: Thick Glass

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Parenting is never easy, but from prison it's especially challenging. In this episode, incarcerated fathers share their stories of striving to be present in their children's lives. One inmate reconnects with his son after 20 years. Another stays very involved through letters and visits. And a third gets the opportunity to give his teenaged son a haircut. Thanks to the fathers who shared their stories: Derrick, John and Maverick, and to Derrick Jr. for talking with us. Thick Glass was scored and sound designed by David Jassy and Antwan Williams, with contributions from Lee Jaspar (aka Matthew Lee Jasper), Eric “Maserati E” Abercrombie and Charlie Spencer. You can download Thick Glass here.  Find out more about the show at earhustlesq.com, including how to send us a question (by postcard) that might get answered in a future episode. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. p.s. Speaking of parenting, have you ordered your children (or parents) an Ear Hustle t-shirt yet?

Jan 10 2019
35 mins
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Reveal: How Bernie Made Off: Are we safe from the next Ponzi scheme?

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Bernard Madoff may be a fading memory from the past, but for reporter Steve Fishman, the fallen financier’s story holds lessons for today. Madoff masterminded one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history, duping thousands of investors out of tens of billions of dollars. His scam rocked Wall Street for years. In this episode, we … Continue reading How Bernie Made Off: Are we safe from the next Ponzi scheme? →

Jan 10 2019
50 mins
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Radiolab: Stranger in Paradise

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Back in 1911, a box with a dead raccoon in it showed up in Washington D.C., at the office of Gerrit S. Miller. After pulling it out and inspecting it, he realized this raccoon was from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, and unlike anything he’d ever seen before.  He christened it Procyon minor and in doing so changed the history of Guadeloupe forever.   Today we travel from the storage rooms of the Smithsonian to the sandy beaches of Guadeloupe, chasing the tale of this trash can tipping critter. All the while trying to uncover what it means to be special.  Produced and reported by Simon Adler. Special thanks to Sally Stainier and Allie Pinel for all their help translating in Guadeloupe and New York respectively.  Thanks to Bernie Beelmeon, Paola Dvihally, Hervé Magnin, Guillaume Aricique, Laurence Baptiste-Salomon, David Xavier-Albert, Florian Kirchner, Matt Chew, and everyone at the ONCFS.    Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    

Jan 10 2019
43 mins
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Invisibilia: True You

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What happens when you discover a part of yourself that is so different from who you think you are? Do you hold on to your original self tightly? Do you explore this other self? Or do you just panic?

Jan 10 2019
35 mins
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Reveal: If you can’t afford a lawyer

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If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you – that’s how it’s supposed to work. But in New Orleans, the lawyer in charge of representing poor people accused of crimes is saying no. His office doesn’t have enough money or time to do a good job, he says, so he’s refusing … Continue reading If you can’t afford a lawyer →

Jan 08 2019
50 mins
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Invisibilia: The Secret History of Thoughts

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Co-hosts Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller ask the question, "Are my thoughts related to my inner wishes, do they reveal who I really am?" The answer can have profound consequences for your life.

Jan 08 2019
57 mins
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Radiolab: Dark Side of the Earth

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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.

Jan 05 2019
27 mins
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