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Radiolab podcast

Radiolab

Radiolab is one of the most beloved podcasts and public radio shows in the world. The show is known for its deep-dive journalism and innovative sound design. Created in 2002 by host Jad Abumrad, the program began as an exploration of scientific inquiry. Over the years it has evolved to become a platform for long-form journalism and storytelling. Radiolab is co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.

Radiolab is one of the most beloved podcasts and public radio shows in the world. The show is known for its deep-dive journalism and innovative sound design. Created in 2002 by host Jad Abumrad, the program began as an exploration of scientific inquiry. Over the years it has evolved to become a platform for long-form journalism and storytelling. Radiolab is co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.

 

#150

The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 1

The Rise and Fall of Black Swan It was Motown before Motown, FUBU before FUBU: Black Swan Records, the record company founded by Harry Pace. The Vanishing of Harry Pace was created by Jad Abumrad and Shima Oliaee Harry Pace founded Black Swan Records exactly 100 years ago. Pace launched the career of Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, invented the term rock n roll, crafted hits with the father of the blues, inspired Ebony and Jet magazines, and desegregated the South Side of Chicago in an epic Supreme Court battle. Then, he disappeared.  The Vanishing of Harry Pace is a series about the phenomenal but forgotten man who changed the American music scene. It's a story about betrayal, family, hidden identities, and a time like no other. This series was produced in collaboration with author Kiese Laymon, scholar Imani Perry, screenwriter Cord Jefferson, and WQXR’s Terrance McKnight. Jami Floyd is our consulting producer; our fact checker is Natalie Meade. Peter Pace lent his voice for our readings. Based on the book  [Black Swan Blues: the Hard Rise and Brutal Fall of America’s First Black Owned Record Label] (https://www.amazon.com/Black-Swan-Blues-Americas-black-owned-ebook/dp/B00NJ2BS4S)  by Paul Slade. The series features interviews with Pace's descendants and over forty musicians, historians, writers, and musicologists, all of whom grapple with Pace’s enduring legacy.    This series is also a partnership with [Radiodiaries] (http://www.wnycstudios.org/radiodiaries.org) .  Special thanks Joe Richman, Nellie Giles, Deborah George and Ben Shapiro.  ... Read more

18 Jun 2021

1 HR 06 MINS

1:06:04

18 Jun 2021


#149

Breath

We’ve just barely made it to the other side of a year that took our collective breaths away. So more than ever we felt that this was the time to go deep on life’s rhythmic dance partner. Today we huff and we puff through a whole stack of stories about breath. We talk to scientists, musicians, activists, and breath mint experts, and try to climb into the very center of this thing we all do, are all doing right now, and now, and now.  This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Molly Webster. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&utm_campaign=pledge&utm_content=show-notes) .   Further reading:  Alice Wong’s book [Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories From the 21st Century] (https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/book/) Here’s a [speech] (https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/2020/08/14/message-from-the-future-disabled-oracle-society/) Alice gave when first referring to her body as an oracle.  And for more on ventilator allocation in NY State, check out this article by the [Gothamist] (https://gothamist.com/news/pandemic-threatened-their-ventilators-will-ny-officials-change-course-next-crisis) .     ... Read more

11 Jun 2021

1 HR 31 MINS

1:31:03

11 Jun 2021


#148

The Rhino Hunter

Back in 2014, Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 for a hunting trip to Namibia to shoot and kill an endangered species.  He’s a professional hunter, who guides hunts all around the world, so going to Africa would be nothing new.  The target on the other hand would be. And so too, he quickly found, would be the attention.  This episode, producer Simon Adler follows Corey as he dodges death threats and prepares to pull the trigger.  Along the way we stop to talk with Namibian hunters and government officials, American activists, and someone who's been here before - Kenya’s former Director of Wildlife, Richard Leakey.   All the while, we try to uncover what conservation really means in the 21st century. Reported & produced by Simon Adler with production help from Matthew Kielty. Special thanks to Chris Weaver, Ian Wallace, Mark Barrow, the Lindstrom family, and everyone at the Aru Game Lodge in Namibia. Thanks also to Sarah Fogel, Ray Crow, Barbara Clucus, and Diogo Veríssimo. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&utm_campaign=pledge&utm_content=show-notes) .    ... Read more

27 May 2021

52 MINS

52:10

27 May 2021


#147

The Dirty Drug and the Ice Cream Tub

This episode, a tale of a wonder drug that will make you wonder about way more than just drugs.   Doctor-reporter Avir Mitra follows the epic and fantastical journey of a molecule dug out of a distant patch of dirt that would go on to make billions of dollars, prolong millions of lives, and teach us something fundamental we didn’t know about ourselves. Along the way, he meets a geriatric mouse named Ike, an immigrant dad who’s a little bit cool sometimes, a prophetic dream that prompts a thousand-mile journey, an ice cream container that may or may not be an accessory to international drug smuggling, and - most important of all - an obscure protein that’s calling the shots in every one of your cells RIGHT NOW. This episode was reported by Avir Mitra and was produced by Sarah Qari, Pat Walters, Suzie Lechtenberg, with help from Carin Leong and Rachael Cusick. Special thanks to Richard Miller, Stuart Schreiber, Joanne Van Tilburg, and Bethany Halford. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&utm_campaign=pledge&utm_content=show-notes) .   ... Read more

21 May 2021

46 MINS

46:23

21 May 2021


#146

Brown Box

You order some stuff on the Internet and it shows up three hours later. How could all the things that need to happen to make that happen happen so fast?   It used to be, when you ordered something on the Internet, you waited a week for it to show up. That was the deal: you didn’t have to get off the couch, but you had to wait. But in the last few years, that’s changed. Now, increasingly, the stuff we buy on the Internet shows up the next day or the same day, sometimes within hours. Free shipping included. Which got us wondering: How is this Internet voodoo possible? A fleet of robots? Vacuum tubes? Teleportation? Hardly. In this short, reporter [Gabriel Mac] (http://gabrielmac.com/)  travels into the belly of the beast that is the Internet retail system, and what he finds takes his breath away and makes him weak in the knees (in the worst way). Producer Pat Walters and [Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store] (http://www.businessweek.com/authors/411-brad-stone) , a book about Amazon.com, assist. *****This podcast contains some language and subject matter that might not be appropriate for young listeners******   ... Read more

13 May 2021

28 MINS

28:34

13 May 2021


#145

Kleptotherms

In this episode, we break the thermometer watch the mercury spill out as we discover temperature is far stranger than it seems. Five stories that run the gamut from snakes to stars. We start out underwater, with a snake that has evolved a devious trick for keeping warm. Then we hear the tale of a young man whose seemingly simple method of warming up might be the very thing making him cold. And Senior Correspondent Molly Webster blows the lid off the idea that 98.6 degrees Farenheight is a sound marker of health.  This episode was reported by Lulu Miller and Molly Webster and was produced by Lulu Miller, Molly Webster, and Becca Bressler. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&utm_campaign=pledge&utm_content=show-notes) . ... Read more

05 May 2021

44 MINS

44:06

05 May 2021


#144

Deep Cuts

Today, Lulu and Latif talk about some of their favorite episodes from Radiolab’s past that hold new power today.   Lulu points to an episode from 2008:  Imagine that you're a composer. Imagine getting the commission to write a song that will allow family members to face the death of a loved one. Well, composer [David Lang] (http://www.bangonacan.org/about_us/david_lang) had to do just that when a hospital in Garches, France, asked him to write music for their morgue, or ['Salle Des Departs.'] (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/lastgoodbye.shtml) What do you do? This piece was produced by [Jocelyn Gonzales] (http://www.strangemusic.com/JGonzales.htm) . And Latif talks about an episode Jad made in 2009. Here’s how we described it back then: Jad--a brand new father--wonders what's going on inside the head of his baby Amil. (And don't worry, you don't need kids to enjoy this podcast.) The questions here are big: what is it like to be so brand new to the world? None of us have memories from this time, so how could we possibly ever know? Is it just chaos? Or, is there something more, some understanding from the very beginning? Jad found a development psychologist named [Charles Fernyhough] (http://www.charlesfernyhough.com/) to explore some of his questions. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&utm_campaign=pledge&utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

22 Apr 2021

24 MINS

24:10

22 Apr 2021


#143

The Septendecennial Sing-Along

Every 17 years, a deafening sex orchestra hits the East Coast -- billions and billions of cicadas crawl out of the ground, sing their hearts out, then mate and die. In this short, Jad and Robert talk to a man who gets inside that noise to dissect its meaning and musical components. While most of us hear a wall of white noise, squeaks, and squawks....David Rothenberg hears a symphony. He's trained his ear to listen for the music of animals, and he's always looking for chances to join in, with everything from lonely birds to giant whales to swarming cicadas. In this podcast, David explains his urge to connect and sing along, and helps break down the mysterious life cycle and mating rituals of the periodical cicadas into something we can all relate to. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .       ![image] (https://www.wnyc.org/i/raw/1/david_rothenberg_playing_cicadas_bug_music.jpg) David Rothenberg making music with the cicadas.  [Courtesy of David Rothenberg/Bug Music] (http://www.bugmusicbook.com/) A visual breakdown of the cicada mating calls: ![image] (https://www.wnyc.org/i/raw/1/cooley_marshall_cicada_calls.jpg)<a href="http://www.bugmusicbook.com/" target="_blank"></a> Courtesy of John Cooley and David Marshall at UConn. For more on cicada mating calls, take a look at this [paper from Cooley and Marshall] (http://www.magicicada.org/cooley/reprints/Cooley_Marshall_2001.pdf) . A close-up of cicadas getting down: ![image] (https://www.wnyc.org/i/raw/1/cicada_sex_bug_music.jpg) [Courtesy of David Rothenberg/Bug Music] (http://www.bugmusicbook.com/) Enjoy a free download of our favorite track from David's CD [Bug Music] (http://www.bugmusicbook.com/#!music/czas) -- here's the description from the liner notes: Katydid Prehistory: Named in honor of Archaboilus musicus, the 165 million year old prehistoric katydid, whose fossil remains reveal an ability to sing distinct pitches. Katydid Prehistory ... Read more

15 Apr 2021

19 MINS

19:36

15 Apr 2021


#142

What Up Holmes?

Love it or hate it, the freedom to say obnoxious and subversive things is the quintessence of what makes America America. But our say-almost-anything approach to free speech is actually relatively recent, and you can trace it back to one guy: a Supreme Court justice named Oliver Wendell Holmes. Even weirder, you can trace it back to one seemingly ordinary 8-month period in Holmes’s life when he seems to have done a logical U-turn on what should be say-able.  Why he changed his mind during those 8 months is one of the greatest mysteries in the history of the Supreme Court.  (Spoiler: the answer involves anarchists, a house of truth, and a cry for help from a dear friend.)  Join us as we investigate why he changed his mind, how that made the country change its mind, and whether it’s now time to change our minds again. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and was produced by Sarah Qari. Special thanks to Jenny Lawton, Soren Shade, Kelsey Padgett, Mahyad Tousi and Soroush Vosughi. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .      further reading: Thomas Healy’s book [The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes CHanged His Mind - And Changed the History of Free Speech In America] (https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250058690) (the inspiration for this episode) plus his latest book [Soul City: Race, Equality and the Lost Dream of an American Utopia] (https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781627798624) . The Science article that Sinan Aral wrote in 2018, along with Soroush Vosughi and Deb Roy: [“The Spread of True and False News Online”] (https://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146) Sinan Aral’s recent book [The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy and our Health - And How We Must Adapt] (https://www.sinanaral.io/books) Zeynep Tufekci’s newsletter “ [The Insight] (https://zeynep.substack.com/) ” plus her book [Twitter and Teargas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest] (https://www.twitterandteargas.org/) Nabiha Syed’s news website [The Markup] (https://themarkup.org/) [Trailer] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EADzGGjuqI) for “The Magnificent Yankee,” a 1950 biopic of Oliver Wendell Holmes Anthony Lewis, [Freedom for the Thought that We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment] (https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/anthony-lewis/freedom-for-the-thought-that-we-hate/9780465012930/) ... Read more

02 Apr 2021

48 MINS

48:14

02 Apr 2021


#141

Elements

Scientists took about 300 years to lay out the Periodic Table into neat rows and columns. In one hour, we’re going to mess it all up.  This episode, we enlist journalists, poets, musicians, and even a physicist to help us tell stories of matter that matters. You’ll never look at that chart the same way again. Special thanks to [Emotive Fruition] (http://emotivefruition.org/)  for organizing poetry performances and to the mighty [Sylvan Esso] (http://www.sylvanesso.com/)  for composing 'Jaime's Song', both inspired by this episode. Thanks also to Sam Kean, Chris Howk, Brian Fields and to Paul Dresher and Ned Rothenberg for the use of their song " [Untold Story:The Edge of Sleep"] (http://www.amazon.com/Untold-Story-The-Edge-Sleep/dp/B0045EDG6M) .  Check out Jaime Lowe's book  [Mental: Lithium, Love and Losing My Mind] (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/538318/mental-by-jaime-lowe/9780399574498/) Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .    ... Read more

25 Mar 2021

1 HR 13 MINS

1:13:36

25 Mar 2021


#140

Escapescape

As we hit the one year mark since the first U.S. state (California) issued a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we put out a call to see if any of you would take us to your secret escape spot and record audio there. And you astounded us with what you brought in.  In this soundrich, kaleidoscopic episode, we journey around the planet and then, quite literally, beyond it. Listen only if you want a boatload of fresh air, fields of wildflowers, stars, birds, frogs, and a [riveting tale] (https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/segments/187718-edge-heavens) involving Isaac Newton and a calm beyond any calm you knew could exist. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Lulu Miller, with production support from Jonny Moens and Suzie Lechtenberg.  Special thanks to: Lynn Levy, who went on to host the space-a-licious series, [The Habitat] (https://gimletmedia.com/shows/the-habitat) , and edit (among other things) the powerful and beautiful new podcast [Resistance] (https://gimletmedia.com/shows/resistance) . Merav Opher, an astronomy professor at BU, who now directs the [SHIELD DRIVE Science Center] (http://sites.bu.edu/shield-drive/) which is studying the data collected by the Voyagers at the edge of the heavens, or--err, the “heliosphere” as the scientists call it. Edward Dolnick, [ The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/006171951X%20/radiolabbooks-20/) Ann Druyan, one of the creators of the 1977 Golden Album traveling on the Voyager probe, has recently released a new series on National Geographic,  “ [Cosmos: Possible Worlds] (https://www.geekwire.com/2020/qa-cosmos-author-ann-druyan-muses-possible-worlds-carl-sagan/) ” A.J. Dungo, who submitted a postcard while surfing, is author of the mesmerizing graphic novel, [In Waves] (https://nobrow.net/shop/in-waves/) , a memoir about surfing and grief. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .    ... Read more

19 Mar 2021

32 MINS

32:19

19 Mar 2021


#139

Dispatch 14: Covid Crystal Ball

Last summer, at a hospital in England, a man in his 70s being treated for complications with cancer tested positive for covid-19. He had lymphoma, and the disease plus his drugs weakened his immune system, making him particularly susceptible to the virus. He wasn’t too bad off, considering, and was sent home. That was Day 1. This is the story of what the doctors witnessed, over the course of his illness: the evolution of covid-19 inside his body. Before their eyes, they get a hint of what might be to come in the pandemic.  This episode was reported by Molly Webster.  Special thanks to Ravindra Gupta, Jonathan Li. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .      Want to learn more about some of the covid case studies? Here are a couple papers to get you started: The “U.K. Paper”, co-authored by Ravi Gupta, one of our sources for the episode: [https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03291-y] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03291-y) A case study out of Boston, co-authored by Dr. Jonathan Li, one of our sources for the episode: [https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2031364] (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2031364) For more on immune suppression and covid-19, check out this amazing Scientific American article:  [https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/covid-variants-may-arise-in-people-with-compromised-immune-systems/] (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/covid-variants-may-arise-in-people-with-compromised-immune-systems/) ... Read more

12 Mar 2021

27 MINS

27:14

12 Mar 2021


#138

The Ceremony

In November of 2016, journalist Morgen Peck showed up at her friend Molly Webster's apartment in Brooklyn, told her to take her battery out of her phone, and began to tell her about The Ceremony, a moment last fall when a group of, well, let's just call them wizards, came together in an undisclosed location to launch a new currency. It's an undertaking that involves some of the most elaborate security and cryptography ever done (so we've been told). And math. Lots of math. It was all going great until, in the middle of it, something started to behave a little...strangely. Reported by Molly Webster. Produced by Matt Kielty and Molly Webster. Denver Ceremony station recordings were created by media maker Nathaniel Kramer, with help from Daniel Cooper.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) . ... Read more

25 Feb 2021

47 MINS

47:13

25 Feb 2021


#137

Red Herring

It was the early 80s, the height of the Cold War, when something strange began happening off the coast of Sweden. The navy reported a mysterious sound deep below the surface of the ocean. Again, and again, and again they would hear it near their secret military bases, in their harbors, and up and down the Swedish coastline.  After thorough analysis the navy was certain. The sound was an invasion into their waters, an act of war, the opening salvos of a possible nuclear annihilation.  Or was it?  Today, Annie McEwen pulls us down into a deep-sea mystery, one of international intrigue that asks you to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, your deepest beliefs could be as solid as...air. This episode was reported by Annie McEwen and produced by Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Sarah Qari, with sound design by Jeremy Bloom.  Special thanks to Bosse Lindquist. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .    ... Read more

19 Feb 2021

35 MINS

35:18

19 Feb 2021


#136

Facebook's Supreme Court

Since its inception, the perennial thorn in Facebook’s side has been content moderation. That is, deciding what you and I are allowed to post on the site and what we’re not. Missteps by Facebook in this area have fueled everything from a genocide in Myanmar to viral disinformation surrounding politics and the coronavirus. However, just this past year, conceding their failings, Facebook shifted its approach. They erected an independent body of twenty jurors that will make the final call on many of Facebook’s thorniest decisions. This body has been called: Facebook’s Supreme Court. So today, in collaboration with the New Yorker magazine and the New Yorker Radio Hour, we explore how this body came to be, what power it really has and how the consequences of its decisions will be nothing short of life or death. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler. To hear more about the court's origin, their rulings so far, and their upcoming docket, check out David Remnick and reporter Kate Klonick’s conversation in the New Yorker Radio Hour podcast [feed] (https://smarturl.it/newyorkerradiohour/spotify) . Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .       ... Read more

12 Feb 2021

44 MINS

44:08

12 Feb 2021


#135

Smile My Ass

Candid Camera is one of the most original – and one of the most mischievous – TV shows of all time.  Admirers hailed its creator Allen Funt as a poet of the everyday. Critics denounced him as a Peeping Tom.  Funt sought to capture people at their most unguarded, their most spontaneous, their most natural.  And he did. But as the show succeeded, it started to change the way we thought not only of reality television, but also of reality itself.  Looking back at the show now, a half century later, it’s hard NOT to see so many of our preoccupations – privacy, propriety, publicity, authenticity – through a funhouse mirror, darkly. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and produced by Matt Kielty.  Special Thanks to: Bertram van Munster, Fred Nadis, Alexa Conway, the Eastern Airlines Employee Association and Eastern Airlines Radio, Rebecca Lemov, Anna McCarthy, Jill Lepore, Cullie Bogacki Willis III, Barbara Titus and the Funt family.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

29 Jan 2021

34 MINS

34:56

29 Jan 2021


#134

Post Reports: Four Hours of Insurrection

We’re all still processing what happened on January 6th. Despite the hours and hours of video circulating online, we still didn’t feel like we had a visceral, on-the-ground sense of what happened that day. Until we heard the piece we’re featuring today. The Washington Post’s daily podcast Post Reports built a minute-by-minute replay of that day, from the rally, to the invasion, to the aftermath, told through the voices of people who were in the building that day -- reporters, photojournalists, Congresspeople, police officers and more. It’s some of the most visceral reporting we’ve heard anywhere on this historic moment. [Listen to their full episode here.] (https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/post-reports/four-hours-of-insurrection/)   ... Read more

16 Jan 2021

39 MINS

39:20

16 Jan 2021


#133

More Money Less Problems

Back in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning and the shelter-in-place orders brought the economy to a screeching halt, a quirky-but-clever idea to save the economy made its way up to some of the highest levels of government. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib proposed an ambitious relief [bill] (https://tlaib.house.gov/sites/tlaib.house.gov/files/Automatic%20Boost%20to%20Communities%20Act%20.pdf) to keep the country’s metaphorical lights on: recurring payments to people to help them stay afloat during the crisis. And the way Congress would pay for it? By minting two platinum $1 trillion coins. (You read that right).  In this episode, we take a jaunt through the evolution of our currency, from the gold-backed bills of the 19th century, to the most powerful computer at the Federal Reserve. And we chase an idea that torpedoes what we thought was a fundamental law of economics. Can we actually just print more money?  This episode was reported by Becca Bressler and was produced by Becca Bressler and Simon Adler. Special thanks to Carlos Mucha, Warren Mosler, David Cay Johnston, Alex Goldmark, Bryant Urstadt, and Amanda Aronczyk.  To learn more about these ideas check out:  Stephanie Kelton's  [book] (https://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/titles/stephanie-kelton/the-deficit-myth/9781541736184/) The Deficit Myth Jacob Goldstein's  [book] (https://www.hachettebooks.com/titles/jacob-goldstein/money/9780316417198/) Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing and the Planet Money [podcast] (https://www.npr.org/sections/money/) Betsey Stevenson's  [podcast] (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/think-like-an-economist/id1523898793)  Think Like an Economist  This [website] (https://mintthecoin.org) for more about #MintTheCoin And for a fun quick read, check out [this] (https://www.wired.com/2013/01/trillion-dollar-coin-inventor/) WIRED article about the surprising origin of the trillion dollar coin.   ... Read more

15 Jan 2021

28 MINS

28:13

15 Jan 2021


#132

Sight Unseen

As the attacks were unfolding on the Capitol, a steady stream of images poured onto our screens. Photo editor Kainaz Amaria tells us what she was looking for--and seeing--that afternoon. And she runs into a dilemma we've talked about before. In December of 2009, photojournalist Lynsey Addario, in was embedded with a medevac team in Afghanistan. After days of waiting, one night they got the call - a marine was gravely wounded. What happened next happens all the time. But this time it was captured, picture by picture, in excruciating detail. Horrible, difficult, and at times strikingly beautiful, those photos raise some questions: Who should see them, who gets to decide who should see them, and what can pictures like that do, to those of us far away from the horrors of war and those of us who are all too close to it? Episode Notes: To hear Kainaz Amaria talk more about the filter, check out:  [this post on ethical questions to consider around the sharing of images of police brutality] (https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/6/11/21281028/before-sharing-images-police-brutality-protest-george-floyd-ahmaud-arbery-facebook-instagram-twitter)  and her [interview] (https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/segments/bloody-image-double-standard) on On The Media about the double-standard in many U.S. newsrooms when it comes to posting graphic images.  Special thanks to [Chris Hughes and Helium Records for the use of Shift Part IV from the album Shift] (http://www.heliumrecords.co.uk/releases/shift.php) Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

13 Jan 2021

36 MINS

36:54

13 Jan 2021


#131

A Note from Radiolab

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

07 Jan 2021

00 MINS

00:00

07 Jan 2021


#130

A Terrible Covid Christmas Special

This year was the worst. And as our staff tried to figure out what to do for our last episode of 2020, co-host Latif Nasser thought, what if we stare straight into the darkness … and make a damn Christmas special about it. Latif begins with a story about Santa, and a back-room deal he made with the Trump administration to jump to the front of the vaccine line, a tale that travels from an absurd quid-pro-quo to a deep question: who really is an essential worker?  From there, we take a whistle-stop tour through the numbers that scientists say you need to know as you wind your way (or preferably, don’t wind your way) through our COVID-infested world. Producer Sarah Qari brings us her version of the Christmas classic nobody ever dreamt they’d want to hear: The Twelve Numbers of COVID. You can check out Martin Bazant’s COVID “calculator” [here] (https://indoor-covid-safety.herokuapp.com/) . This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Sarah Qari, and was produced by Matt Kielty, Sarah Qari, and Pat Walters. Special thanks to Anna Weggel and Brant Miller, Catherine, Rohan, and Finn Munro, Noam Osband, Amber D’Souza, Chris Zangmeister, John Volckens, Joshua Santarpia, Laurel Bristow, Michael Mina,  Mohammad Sajadi, James V. Grimaldi, Stephanie Armour, Joshuah Bearman, Brendan Nyhan And for more on the proposed Santa vaccine deal, see Julie Wernau and her colleagues' reporting at the Wall Street Journal [here] (https://www.wsj.com/articles/health-agency-scraps-coronavirus-ad-campaign-leaving-santa-claus-in-the-cold-11603630802) . Original art for this episode by Zara Stasi. Check out her work at:   [www.goodforthebees.com] (https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/g6t2CW6lYwi5RrXAi1tGY6?domain=goodforthebees.com) .  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

23 Dec 2020

49 MINS

49:36

23 Dec 2020


#129

The Ashes on the Lawn

A global pandemic. An afflicted, angry group. A seemingly indifferent government. Reporter Tracie Hunte wanted to understand this moment of pain and confusion by looking back 30 years, and she found a complicated answer to a simple question: When nothing seems to work, how do you make change? This episode was reported by Tracie Hunte, and produced by Annie McEwen and Tobin Low. Fact-checking by Diane Kelly.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

18 Dec 2020

51 MINS

51:59

18 Dec 2020


#128

Enemy of Mankind

Should the U.S. Supreme Court be the court of the world? In the 18th century, two feuding Frenchmen inspired a one-sentence law that helped launch American human rights litigation into the 20th century. The Alien Tort Statute allowed a Paraguayan woman to find justice for a terrible crime committed in her homeland. But as America reached further and further out into the world, the court was forced to confront the contradictions in our country’s ideology: sympathy vs. sovereignty. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Jesner v. Arab Bank, a case that could reshape the way America responds to human rights abuses abroad. Does the A.T.S. secure human rights or is it a dangerous overreach? Additional music for this episode by  [Nicolas Carter] (http://www.nicholascarter.com/) . Special thanks to William J. Aceves, William Baude, Diego Calles, Alana Casanova-Burgess, William Dodge, Susan Farbstein, Jeffery Fisher, Joanne Freeman, Julian Ku, Nicholas Rosenkranz, Susan Simpson, Emily Vinson, Benjamin Wittes and Jamison York. Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr., who appears in this episode, passed away in October 2016. Supreme Court archival audio comes from  [Oyez®] (https://www.oyez.org/) , a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

10 Dec 2020

56 MINS

56:33

10 Dec 2020


#127

The Great Vaccinator

Until now, the fastest vaccine ever made - for mumps - took four years. And while our current effort to develop a covid-19 vaccine involves thousands of people working around the clock, the mumps vaccine was developed almost exclusively by one person: Maurice Hilleman. Hilleman cranked out more than 40 other vaccines over the course of his career, including 8 of the 14 routinely given to children. He arguably saved more lives than any other single person. And through his work, Hilleman embodied the instincts, drive, and guts it takes to marshall the human body’s defenses against a disease. But through him we also see the struggle and the costs of these monumental scientific efforts. This episode was reported by Matt Kielty and Heather Radke, and produced by Matt Kielty. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

03 Dec 2020

41 MINS

41:59

03 Dec 2020


#126

Dispatch 13: Challenge Trials

What if someone asked you to get infected with the COVID-19 virus, deliberately, in order to speed up the development of a vaccine? Would you do it? Would you risk your life to save others? For months, dozens of companies have been racing to create coronavirus vaccines. Finally, three have done it. But according to the experts, we’re not out of the woods yet; we’ll need several vaccines to satisfy the global demand. One way to speed up the development process is a controversial technique called a human challenge trial, in which human subjects are intentionally infected with the virus. Senior correspondent Molly Webster gets the lowdown from Public News Service reporter Laura Rosbrow-Telem and then tracks down some of the tens of thousands of people who have volunteered to participate in a challenge trial. Special thanks to Jonathan Miller. This episode was reported by Molly Webster and Laura Rosbrow-Telem and produced by Molly Webster and Pat Walters. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

25 Nov 2020

26 MINS

26:32

25 Nov 2020


#125

Deception

Lies, liars, and lie catchers. This hour of Radiolab asks if it's possible for anyone to lead a life without deception. We consult a cast of characters, from pathological liars to lying snakes to drunken psychiatrists, to try and understand the strange power of lying to yourself and others. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

19 Nov 2020

57 MINS

57:20

19 Nov 2020


#124

Breaking Benford

In the days after the US Presidential election was called for Joe Biden, many supporters of Donald Trump are crying foul.  Voter fraud. And a key piece of evidence? A century-old quirk of math called Benford’s Law.  We at Radiolab know Benford’s Law well, and have covered it before.  In this political dispatch, Latif and Soren Sherlock their way through the precinct numbers to see if these claims hold up. Spoiler: they don’t. But the reason why is more interesting than you’d expect. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     Links:  Walter Mebane, [“Inappropriate Applications of Benford’s Law Regularities to Some Data from the 2020 Presidential Election in the United States”] (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~wmebane/inapB.pdf) ... Read more

13 Nov 2020

29 MINS

29:35

13 Nov 2020


#123

Bloc Party

In the 1996 election, Bill Clinton had a problem. The women who came out in droves for him in ‘92, split their vote in the ‘94 midterms, handing over control of the House and the Senate to the Republican Party. As his team stared ahead at his re-election bid, they knew they had to win those women back. So, after a major polling effort to determine who exactly their undecided ladies were, Clinton turned his focus toward the most important swing vote in the election: the soccer moms.  The soccer mom ushered in a new era of political campaigning, an era of slicing and dicing the electorate, engineering the (predominately white) voting bloc characters that campaigns have chased after. Security Moms. Nascar Dads. Joe Six Pack. Walmart Moms.  But what about everyone else? What about the surprisingly swingable corners of this country without a soccer mom in sight?  Inspired by this [exceedingly cool interactive map] (https://www.thinglink.com/scene/810170295397646337?buttonSource=viewLimits) from Politico, we set out on a mission to make an audio-map of our own. We asked pollsters, reporters and political operatives in swing states: what slice of your population is up for grabs? A slice that no one talks about? In this episode, we crawl inside the places that might hold our country’s future in its hands, all the while asking: are these slices even real? Are there people inside them that might swing this election?  This episode was reported and produced by Becca Bressler, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Tracie Hunte, Pat Walters and Matt Kielty, with help from Jonny Moens. Special thanks to Darren Samuelsohn, Josh Cochran, Elizabeth Ralph, and the Politico team for the original reporting and map that inspired this episode.  Also thanks to: Elissa Schneider, Wisam Naoum, Martin Manna, Ashourina Slewo, Eli Newman, Zoe Clark, Erin Roselio, Jess Kamm Broomell, Will Doran, John Zogby, Matt Dickinson, Tom Jensen, Ross Grogg, Joel Andrus, Jonathan Tilove, Steve Contorno, Heaven Hale, Jeff Shapiro, Nicole Cobler, Marie Albiges, Matt Dole, Robin Goist, Katie Paris, Julie Womack, Matt Dole, Jackie Borchardt, Jessica Locklear, Twinkle Patel, Bobby Das, Dharmesh Ahir,  Nimesh Dhinubhai, Jay Desai, Rishi Bagga, and Sanjeev Joshipura. Christina Greer’s book is [Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream] (https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199989300.001.0001/acprof-9780199989300) , and Corey Fields book is [Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American] (https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520291904/black-elephants-in-the-room) . Original art for this episode by Zara Stasi. Check out her work at:   [www.goodforthebees.com] (https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/g6t2CW6lYwi5RrXAi1tGY6?domain=goodforthebees.com) .  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

02 Nov 2020

50 MINS

50:37

02 Nov 2020


#122

How to Win Friends and Influence Baboons

Baboon troops. We all know they’re hierarchical. There’s the big brutish alpha male who rules with a hairy iron fist, and then there’s everybody else. Which is what Meg Crofoot thought too, before she used GPS collars to track the movements of a troop of baboons for a whole month. What she and her team learned from this data gave them a whole new understanding of baboon troop dynamics, and, moment to moment, who really has the power.  This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     ... Read more

31 Oct 2020

29 MINS

29:19

31 Oct 2020


#121

What If?

There’s plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he’d do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa’s Transition Integrity Project doesn’t give us any predictions, and it isn’t a referendum on Trump. Instead, it’s a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at  [Radiolab.org/donate] (https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=wnyc&amp;amp;utm_medium=radiolab-redirect&amp;amp;utm_campaign=pledge&amp;amp;utm_content=show-notes) .     You can read The Transition Integrity Project’s report [here] (https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/7013152/Preventing-a-Disrupted-Presidential-Election-and.pdf) . ... Read more

23 Oct 2020

41 MINS

41:23

23 Oct 2020