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99% Invisible podcast

99% Invisible

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org.

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org.

 

#563

508- President Clinton Interviews Roman Mars

On this special feature episode, President Bill Clinton interviews 99% Invisible host and creator Roman Mars. Roman Mars has spent his career chronicling these bits of human ingenuity that we so often take for granted—things like the utility codes, the curb cuts, the traffic signals, and much more. As host of the 99% Invisible and, with Kurt Kohlstedt, co-author of the book The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, his work challenges all of us to look up and around, and to think about the how and the why of design around the world in a different way. Subscribe to Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton on [Apple Podcasts] (https://podcasts.apple.com/no/podcast/roman-mars-how-great-design-can-be-99-invisible/id1546915402?i=1000557564842) or [Stitcher] (https://www.stitcher.com/show/why-am-i-telling-you-this-2/episode/roman-mars-how-great-design-can-be-99-invisible-202356935) ... Read more

20 Sep 2022

49 MINS

49:12

20 Sep 2022


#562

507- Search and Ye Might Find

Adam Rogers has been thinking and writing about what’s known in the industry simply as "search." For the last decade, people have been grumbling about not being able to find things online, both in our private data and on the public web, despite ever-evolving algorithms. Ever since humans started writing stuff down, the struggle has been in how to organize it all so that its contents wouldn't be lost in the stacks. Search has always been an attempt to fix that problem. [Search and Ye Might Find] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39500&post_type=episode)   ... Read more

14 Sep 2022

36 MINS

36:12

14 Sep 2022


#561

506- Monumental Diplomacy

In downtown Windhoek, Namibia -- at the intersection of Fidel Castro Street and Robert Mugabe Avenue -- there's an imposing gold building with an affectionate nickname: the Coffee Maker. This notable structure was built to commemorate Namibia’s fight for independence from apartheid South Africa, which it achieved in 1990. And for many of the visitors, the museum feels like a huge achievement. But for a museum that commemorates throwing off the chains of colonialism and forging a new era of self-determination, it has one pretty strange feature. It wasn't designed by a Namibian architect. It wasn't even designed by an African architect. It was built by North Korea's state-run design studio, which has long been a prolific maker of statues around the world. North Korea has left a distinct visual stamp across Africa in particular, with museums and monuments erected in more than a dozen African countries since the 1970s. [Monumental Diplomacy] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39484&post_type=episode) ... Read more

06 Sep 2022

36 MINS

36:25

06 Sep 2022


#560

505- First Errand

Back in March, Netflix picked up a long running Japanese TV program based on a children’s book from the 1970s. The show is called Old Enough, but the name of the original Japanese program translates to My First Errand. Because in each episode, a child runs an errand for the very first time. Episodes are only 10 to 20 minutes long, but in that short time a toddler treats the audience to a bite-sized hero's journey.  My First Errand is a gimmicky show with hokey music and a laugh track, but it’s also rooted in a truth about Japanese society: most children are remarkably independent from a very young age -- way more independent than children in the US. In Japanese cities, fifth-graders make 85 percent of their weekday trips without a parent. And this remarkable child mobility is made possible by everything from the neighbors next door to the width of the streets. [First Errand] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39467&post_type=episode) ... Read more

30 Aug 2022

28 MINS

28:58

30 Aug 2022


#559

504- Bleep!

There's a particular one-kilohertz tone that is universally understood to be covering up inappropriate words on radio and TV. But there are other options, too, like silence -- so why did this particular *bleep* sound become ubiquitous? [Bleep!] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39452&post_type=episode) ... Read more

23 Aug 2022

31 MINS

31:54

23 Aug 2022


#558

What Roman Mars Can Learn About Con Law- The Longest Week

In the final week of the  most recent term, the Supreme Court decided to limit one constitutional right (abortion) and expand another constitutional right (guns). But there were other cases decided that week, which were also important and marked this as one of the most historically significant terms in over 100 years. So what happened in those other cases and why are they so important? [What Roman Mars Can Learn About Con Law] (https://learnconlaw.com/) Subscribe: [Stitcher] (https://www.stitcher.com/show/what-trump-can-teach-us-about-con-law) . [Apple] (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/what-roman-mars-can-learn-about-con-law/id1242537529) , [Spotify] (https://open.spotify.com/show/5qs7Q9vuPqPPwPF4TowBzw) ... Read more

18 Aug 2022

29 MINS

29:25

18 Aug 2022


#557

503- Re:peat

A few years back, 99pi producer Emmett FitzGerald brought us a beautiful story about peat bogs. Peat is essential for biodiversity and for the climate – it is really, really good at storing carbon. But like a lot of things we cover on the show, peat often goes unnoticed, in part because it is literally out of sight underground. We’ve  noticed peat and carbon sequestration more and more in the news lately. Journalists have been brilliantly covering stories about the tree planting movement, private ownership of Scotland’s bogs, and the threat to peat in the Congo Basin. Couple that with more extreme weather happening in more places, we thought it would be a good idea to repeat this story. [For the Love of Peat] (https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/for-the-love-of-peat/) ... Read more

10 Aug 2022

40 MINS

40:11

10 Aug 2022


#556

502- 99% Vernacular: Volume 3

In the final episode of our vernacular spectacular anniversary series, 99pi producers and friends of the show will be sharing more stories of regional architecture–some close to home, some on remote islands– that capture our imagination and inspire us to look deeper.  Stories of Bermuda roofs, Queen Anne Cottages, and what exactly counts as an "earth tone." [99% Vernacular: Volume 3] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39421&post_type=episode)     ... Read more

03 Aug 2022

34 MINS

34:52

03 Aug 2022


#555

501- 99% Vernacular: Volume 2

Only a small percentage of architecture is actually designed by architects. And while a famous architect-designed tower in a skyline might be the best way to identify a city at a distance, up close it’s the subtle cues and vernacular design that make the city what it is. This week, 99pi producers and friends of the show share more stories about architecture we love from our hometowns and other places we've lived, but with an emphasis on examples that may be a bit shaggier, and have somewhat more functional origins. These may not be the first things people call beautiful, but they’re beautiful to us, and they are essential parts of the places they’re built. [501- 99% Vernacular: Volume 2] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39406&post_type=episode) ... Read more

26 Jul 2022

30 MINS

30:23

26 Jul 2022


#554

500- 99% Vernacular: Volume 1

For the 500th episode of 99% Invisible, we started thinking about the kinds of designs that we love from the places we have lived -- and even some regional vernacular we love from places we haven’t lived, but just admire. 99% Invisible is all about who we are through the lens of the things we build. We often tell stories about how people shape the built world, but these are more about how the built world has shaped us. [99% Vernacular: Volume 1] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39372&post_type=episode) ... Read more

19 Jul 2022

33 MINS

33:40

19 Jul 2022


#553

499- Say Aloe to My Little Frond

Houseplants are having a moment right now. In 2020, 66% of people in the US owned at least one plant, and sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic. Meanwhile, Instagram accounts like House Plant Club have a million followers. Over the past decade there has been a steady stream of think pieces offering explanations for the emergence of this new obsession. But while millennials may have perfected the art of plant parenting, this is not the first time people have gotten completely obsessed with houseplants. Journalist Anne Helen Petersen digs into the history of domesticated plants in a series of articles on her Substack, Culture Study, and joins us to talk about what she's found. [Say Aloe to My Little Frond] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39351&post_type=episode) ... Read more

12 Jul 2022

39 MINS

39:37

12 Jul 2022


#552

498- The Octagon House

99% Invisible producer emeritus Avery Trufelman traveled from New York to San Francisco recently, and took host Roman Mars to see an unusually shaped old building on the west side of the Bay. As it turns out, this peculiar octagonal home isn't unique -- there was a whole architectural fad of building these back in the mid 1800s, tapping into a parallel trend: self-improvement. Publisher Orson Fowler (most famous for being a phrenologist) used his professional position to self-publish a book about the many benefits, health and otherwise, of living in an octagonal home. His book, Octagon House: A Home For All, became a sensation. In its wake, hundreds of octagon houses started popping up all over the country. [The Octagon House] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39328&post_type=episode) ... Read more

05 Jul 2022

43 MINS

43:04

05 Jul 2022


#551

497- Hometown Village

Sakhalin is a long, skinny island east of Russia's mainland. Russia and Japan have long fought over the territory, which has left the ethnic Koreans who came to work on the island starting in the early 1900s in a kind of limbo. Tatyana Kim, a native of Sakhalin, guides us through its unusual history and the difficulties of a repatriation that is long overdue. Hometown Village   ... Read more

28 Jun 2022

37 MINS

37:55

28 Jun 2022


#550

496- The Rights of Rice and Future of Nature

The Ojibwe name for wild rice is Manoomin, which translates to “the good berry.” The scientific name is Zizania palustris. It’s the only grain indigenous to North America, and while it might be called rice, it’s actually not closely related to brown or white rice at all. It has long played an important role in Ojibwe cultures, but last year, Manoomin took on a new role: plaintiff in a court case. Last August, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was sued by wild rice. The case of Manoomin v Minnesota Department of Natural Resources alleges that the Minnesota DNR infringed on the wild rice’s right to live and thrive. But can wild rice sue a state agency? The short answer is: yes. This is the story about what might happen if rice wins. [The Rights of Rice and Future of Nature] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39261&post_type=episode) Support for this episode was provided by the  [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation] (http://www.rwjf.org/?cid=xgo_partners_pd_ini%3A99%25%20invisible)  (RWJF). The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. RWJF is working to build a culture of health that ensures everyone in the United States has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit  [www.rwjf.org] (http://www.rwjf.org/?cid=xgo_partners_pd_ini%3A99%25%20invisible) . If you have a hunch about how changes to the way we live, learn, work and play today are shaping our future, share it here:  [www.shareyourhunch.org] (http://www.shareyourhunch.org/) ... Read more

21 Jun 2022

44 MINS

44:31

21 Jun 2022


#549

495- Meet Us by the Fountain

No teenager in America in the 1980s could avoid the gravitational pull of the mall, not even author [Alexandra Lange] (https://www.alexandralange.net/) . In her new book, [Meet Me by the Fountain] (https://amzn.to/3mjUF7p) , Lange writes about how malls were conceptually born out of a lack of space for people to convene in American suburbs. Despite the fact indoor shopping malls are no longer in their heyday, malls have not gone away completely. Lange writes about the history of mall culture, and how the mall became a ubiquitous part of American life. Meet Us by the Fountain ... Read more

14 Jun 2022

35 MINS

35:47

14 Jun 2022


#548

494- Flag Days: Unfolding a Moment

Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. At least, that's what we were taught in school. But when historians go searching…there’s no proof to be found. In this collaboration with the podcast [Sidedoor] (https://www.si.edu/sidedoor#seasonseven) , we unravel this vexillological tall tale to find out how this myth got started, and who Betsy Ross really was. Plus we talk about the real flag that inspired the song, The Star Spangled Banner. [Flag Days: Unfolding a Moment] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39249&post_type=episode)   ... Read more

07 Jun 2022

31 MINS

31:14

07 Jun 2022


#547

493- Divining Provenance

Priceless cultural artifacts have been plundered and sold for hundreds of years. You can find these relics in museums and in private collections. In recent years, with the advent of online marketplaces, researchers have begun to find a lot of artifacts for sale on the web. The Syrian War has resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties. Not to mention, hundreds of billions in damages. And that battle has played out on land considered to be the cradle of civilization -- a place rich with layers of archeological history. Producer Zeina Dowidar and her team on the [Kerning Cultures] (https://kerningcultures.com/podcasts/) podcast tell stories about the Middle East and North Africa. For this episode, they took a comprehensive, inside look at how one country struggled to retain its cultural heritage in the midst of a brutal conflict. [Divining Provenance] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39235&post_type=episode) Plus we have an interview and preview of the podcast [Real Good] (https://www.stitcher.com/show/real-good) ... Read more

01 Jun 2022

32 MINS

32:45

01 Jun 2022


#546

492- Inheriting Froebel's Gifts

In the late 1700s, a young man named Friedrich Froebel was on track to become an architect when a friend convinced him to pursue a path toward education instead. And in changing course, Froebel arguably ended up having more influence on the world of architecture and design than any single architect -- all because Friedrich Froebel created kindergarten. Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, John, was an architect, but his most famous creation wasn’t a building. It was a toy set that kids have been playing with for over 100 years. [ Inheriting Froebel's Gifts] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39227&post_type=episode) ... Read more

24 May 2022

32 MINS

32:19

24 May 2022


#545

491- The Missing Middle

Downtown Toronto has a dense core of tall, glassy buildings along the waterfront of Lake Ontario. Outside of that, lots short single family homes sprawl out in every direction. Residents looking for something in between an expensive house and a condo in a tall, generic tower struggle to find places to live. There just aren’t a lot of these mid-sized rental buildings in the city. And it's not just Toronto -- a similar architectural void can be found in many other North American cities, like Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston and Vancouver. And this is a big concern for urban planners -- so big, there's a term for it. The "missing middle." That moniker can be confusing, because it's not directly about middle class housing -- rather, it's about a specific range of building sizes and typologies, including: duplexes, triplexes, courtyard buildings, multi-story apartment complexes, the list goes on. Buildings like these have an outsized effect on cities, and cities without enough of these kinds of buildings often suffer from their absence. [The Missing Middle] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39187&post_type=episode) ... Read more

18 May 2022

37 MINS

37:29

18 May 2022


#544

490- Train Set

The greatest mode of transportation is the funicular, which is a special kind of train pulled by a cable that runs up steep slopes. But trains are great even when they're not going up treacherous terrain. And in that spirit: here are some of the most ambitious, fascinating, and downright crazy trains that the world has ever seen. [Train Set] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39149&post_type=episode) ... Read more

10 May 2022

32 MINS

32:43

10 May 2022


#543

Roman Mars on Blank Check with Griffin and David

Bonus episode: Roman Mars on [Blank Check with Griffin and David] (https://www.blankcheckpod.com/) talking about The Quick and The Dead (Sam Raimi, 1995) Roman note: I LOVE this show!  Many of us on the 99pi staff are huge fans and follow it religiously. If you've never heard or it, search through to find a director you like and listen to a whole series. You'll be hooked. Not just another bad movie podcast, Blank Check with Griffin & David reviews directors' complete filmographies episode to episode. Specifically, the auteurs whose early successes afforded them the rare ‘blank check’ from Hollywood to produce passion projects. Each new miniseries, hosts Griffin Newman and David Sims delve into the works of film’s most outsized personalities in painstakingly hilarious detail. Subscribe! It will make you happy! [Apple] (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blank-check-with-griffin-david/id981330533?ls=1&mt=2&uo=4) , [ Stitcher] (https://www.stitcher.com/show/griffin-and-david-present) , [Spotify] (https://open.spotify.com/show/4zmVd1CGeUCxAAMwGAwsFD) ... Read more

06 May 2022

2 HR 17 MINS

2:17:10

06 May 2022


#542

489- Pandemic Tracking and the Future of Data

Data is the lifeblood of public health, and has been since the beginning of the field. But essential data gathering for the COVID pandemic was hindered by a couple of of underlying weakness in the US public health apparatus. We have a fractured system where the power lies in US states that don't always coordinate effectively. Also there has been inconsistent funding. When there was an immediate crisis, there would be an infusion of cash. But then, when the crisis passed, the resources would evaporate.  We take a look at data gathering in regards to public health from the 1600s to today and how it might change in the future. Support for this episode was provided by the  [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation] (http://www.rwjf.org?cid=xgo_partners_pd_ini%3A99%25%20invisible)  (RWJF). The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. RWJF is working to build a culture of health that ensures everyone in the United States has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit  [www.rwjf.org] (http://www.rwjf.org?cid=xgo_partners_pd_ini%3A99%25%20invisible) . If you have a hunch about how changes to the way we live, learn, work and play today are shaping our future, share it here:  [www.shareyourhunch.org] (http://www.shareyourhunch.org/) ... Read more

04 May 2022

58 MINS

58:25

04 May 2022


#541

488- It’s a Small Aisle After All

If you’ve ever been to a supermarket in the US, you’ve probably seen an ethnic food aisle. Maybe it was called the "international aisle," or "world foods," but it was the same idea. This is the “It’s A Small World After All” part of the shopping experience. It’s where you’ll find ramen next to coconut milk, next to plantain chips next to harissa. Although ethnic aisles look different in every supermarket, they’re often variations on the same theme. And while so-called “ethnic food brands” get a chance to feed the American masses, they’re still confined to the ethnic aisle. And they may never leave. [It's a Small Aisle After All] (https://99percentinvisible.org/?p=39083&post_type=episode)   ... Read more

26 Apr 2022

36 MINS

36:50

26 Apr 2022