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May 8, 2019
Bit Flip
Back in 2003 Belgium was holding a national election. One of their first where the votes would be cast and counted on computers. Thousands of hours of preparation went into making it unhackable. And when the day of the vote came, everything seemed to have gone well. That was, until a cosmic chain of events caused a single bit to flip and called the outcome into question. Today on Radiolab, we travel from a voting booth in Brussels to the driver's seat of a runaway car in the Carolinas, exploring the massive effects tiny bits of stardust can have on us unwitting humans. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  And check out our accompanying short video Bit Flip: the tale of a Belgian election and a cosmic ray that got in the way. This video was produced by Simon Adler with illustration from Kelly Gallagher.
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56 min
May 3, 2019
Dinopocalypse Redux
Using high-powered ballistics experiments, fancy computer algorithms, and good old-fashioned ancient geology, scientists have woven together a theory about the extinction of the dinosaurs that is so precise, so hot, so instantaneous, as to seem unimaginable. Today, we bring you this story, first published on Radiolab in 2013, plus an update: a spot on planet Earth, newly discovered, that - if it holds true - has the potential to tell us about the first three hours after the dinos died. This update was reported by Molly Webster and was produced with help from Audrey Quinn.  We teamed up with some amazing collaborators for Apocalyptical, the Radiolab live show that this episode is based on. Find out more about these wildly talented folks: comedians Reggie Watts, Patton Oswalt, Simon Amstell, Ophira Eisenberg and Kurt Braunohler; musicians On Fillmore and Noveller, and Erth Visual & Physical Inc. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.    To learn more about the North Dakota site - known as Tanis, for all you Indiana Jones fans - check out the recent paper. Make sure you spend time digging into those supplemental materials, it contains all the juice ! And, go watch Apocalyptical; to dinosaurs and beyond!    
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45 min
April 25, 2019
Fu-Go
This week we’re going back to a favorite episode from 2015. During World War II, something happened that nobody ever talks about. This is a tale of mysterious balloons, cowboy sheriffs, and young children caught up in the winds of war. And silence, the terror of silence. Reporters Peter Lang-Stanton and Nick Farago tell us the story of a seemingly ridiculous, almost whimsical series of attacks on the US between November of 1944 and May of 1945. With the help of writer Ross Coen, geologist Elisa Bergslien, and professor Mike Sweeney, we uncover a national secret that led to tragedy in a sleepy logging town in south central Oregon.  Check out pictures of the ghostly balloons here.  Special thanks to Annie Patzke, Leda and Wayne Hunter, and Ilana Sol. Special thanks also for the use of their music to Jeff Taylor, David Wingo for the use of "Opening" and "Doghouse" - from the Take Shelter soundtrack, Justin Walter's "Mind Shapes" from his album Lullabies and Nightmares, and Michael Manning for the use of "Save".   Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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35 min
April 19, 2019
Americanish
In 1903 the US Supreme Court refused to say that Isabel González was a citizen of the United States. Then again, they said, she wasn’t a exactly an immigrant either. And they said that the US territory of Puerto Rico, Isabel’s home, was “foreign to the United States in a domestic sense.” Since then, the US has cleared up at least some of the confusion about US territories and the status of people born in them. But, more than a hundred years later, there is still a US territory that has been left in limbo: American Samoa. It is the only place on earth that is US soil, but people who are born there are not automatically US citizens. When we visit American Samoa, we discover that there are some pretty surprising reasons why many American Samoans prefer it that way.   This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria. Special thanks to John Wasko. Check out Sam Erman's book Almost Citizens and Doug Mack's book The Not Quite States of America. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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64 min
March 29, 2019
For Whom the Cowbell Tolls
When Nancy Holten was 8 years old her mom put her in a moving van. She fell asleep, woke up in Switzerland, and she's been there ever since. Nancy is big into animal rights, crystals, and various forms of natural and holistic healing. She’s also a viral sensation: the Dutch woman apparently so annoying, her Swiss town denied her citizenship. In this episode we go to the little village of Gipf-Oberfrick to meet Nancy, talk with the town, and ask the question: what does it mean and what does it take to belong to a place? This episode was reported by Kelly Prime and was produced by Kelly Prime and Annie McEwen.  Special thanks to reporter Anna Mayumi Kerber, the tireless fixer and translator for this story. Thanks also to Dominik Hangartner and to the very talented yodelers Ai Dineen and Gregory Corbino. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  A tasty note from Latif: Towards the end of the story, I casually mentioned a place called Greg's Poutine in Toronto.  Turns out, it's actually called Smoke's Poutinerie. (Confused it with Greg's Ice Cream.) Go. It's delicious. 
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57 min
March 21, 2019
Bliss
This week Jad and Radiolab alum Tim Howard revisit a favorite episode from 2012. Because moments of total, world-shaking bliss are not easy to come by. Maybe that's what makes them feel so life-altering when they strike. And so worth chasing. This hour: stories of striving, grasping, tripping, and falling for happiness, perfection, and ideals.   With Alexander Gamme, Arika Okrent, Richard Sproat, and Ken Libbrecht. This update was produced with help from Audrey Quinn. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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51 min
March 8, 2019
Asking for Another Friend
Part 2: Last year, we ran a pair of episodes that explored the greatest mysteries in our listeners’ lives - the big ones, little ones, and the ones in between. This year, we’re back on the hunt, tracking down answers to the big little questions swirling around our own heads. Today, we take a look at a strange human emotion, and investigate the mysteries lurking behind the trees, sounds, and furry friends in our lives.  This episode was reported by Tracie Hunte, Pat Walters, Molly Webster, Arianne Wack, Carter Hodge, Sarah Qari and Annie McEwen, and was produced by Matt Kielty, Tracie Hunte, Pat Walters, Molly Webster, Arianne Wack, Sarah Qari, Annie McEwen, and Simon Adler.  Special thanks to Yiyun Huang, lab manager at Yale's Canine Cognition Center. Check out Code Switch's "Dog Show!" Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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78 min
March 1, 2019
Asking for a Friend
Last year, we ran a pair of episodes that explored the greatest mysteries in our listeners’ lives - the big ones, little ones, and the ones in between. This year, we’re back on the hunt, tracking down answers to the big little questions swirling around our own heads. We reached out to some of our favorite people and asked them to come along with us as we journeyed back in time, to outer space, and inside our very own bodies. This episode was reported by Rachael Cusick, Simon Adler, Becca Bressler, and Annie McEwen and was produced by Rachael Cusick, Simon Adler, Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, and Annie McEwen. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
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67 min
February 22, 2019
Loops
Our lives are filled with loops that hurt us, heal us, make us laugh, and, sometimes, leave us wanting more. This hour, Radiolab revisits the strange things that emerge when something happens, then happens again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and… well, again. In this episode of Radiolab, Jad and Robert try to explain an inexplicable comedy act, listen to a loop that literally dies in your ear, and they learn about a loop that sent a shudder up the collective spine of mathematicians everywhere. Finally, they talk to a woman who got to watch herself think the thought that she was watching herself think the thought that she was watching herself think the thought that ... you get the point. With Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler,  Alex Bellos, Steven Strogatz, Janna Levin, and Melanie Thernstrom. Plus mind-bending musical accompaniment from Laguardia Arts High School singers Nathaniel Sabat, Julian Soto, Eli Greenhoe, Kelly Efthimiu, Julia Egan, and Ruby Froom. You can find the video Christine Campbell made of her mom Mary Sue here. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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62 min
February 8, 2019
The Beauty Puzzle
When a female animal is checking out her prospects, natural selection would dictate that she pay attention to how healthy, or strong, or fit he is. But when it comes to finding a mate, some animals seem to be engaged in a very different game. What if a female were looking for something else - something that has nothing to do with fitness? Something...beautiful? Today we explore a different way of looking at evolution and what it may mean for the course of science. This episode was reported by Robert Krulwich and Bethel Habte and was produced by Bethel Habte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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42 min
January 23, 2019
More Perfect: Sex Appeal
With Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the news and on the big screen recently, we decided to play the More Perfect show about her from back in November of 2017. This is the story of how Ginsburg, as a young lawyer at the ACLU, convinced an all-male Supreme Court to take discrimination against women seriously - using a case on discrimination against men.  This episode was reported by Julia Longoria. Special thanks to Stephen Wiesenfeld, Alison Keith, and Bob Darcy. Supreme Court archival audio comes from Oyez®, a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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53 min
January 16, 2019
The Punchline
John Scott was the professional hockey player that every fan loved to hate.  A tough guy. A brawler. A goon. But when an impish pundit named Puck Daddy called on fans to vote for Scott to play alongside the world’s greatest players in the NHL All-Star Game, Scott found himself facing off against fans, commentators, and the powers that be.  Was this the realization of Scott’s childhood dreams? Or a nightmarish prank gone too far? Today on Radiolab, a goof on a goon turns into a parable of the agony and the ecstasy of the internet, and democracy in the age of Boaty McBoatface. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and was produced by Matt Kielty. Special thanks to Larry Lynch and Morgan Springer. Check out John Scott's "Dropping the Gloves" podcast and his book "A Guy Like Me". Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
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52 min
December 28, 2018
BONUS: Radiolab Scavenger Hunt
The question we get more than any other here at Radiolab is “Where do all those stories come from?”  Today, for the first time ever, we divulge our secret recipe for story-finding.  Veteran Radiolab story scout Latif Nasser takes our newest producer Rachael Cusick along for what he calls “the world’s biggest scavenger hunt.”  Together, they’ll make you want to bake some cookies and find some true stories.  But we can’t find, much less tell, true stories without you. Find it in yourself to donate and help us make another year of this possible. It's a choice only you can make. Radiolab.org/support   Here are story-finding resources mentioned in this episode: The World's Biggest Scavenger Hunt: Latif's Transom post on story scouting Google Alerts: Set up your own! Wikipedia Random Article: Play wiki roulette by clicking "random article" in the far-left column WorldCat: to find where a book exists in a library near you ArchiveGrid: to search libraries' special collections and oral histories Trade Publications: Search for trade magazines by industry Cusick Cookies: Rachael's cookie recipe...you're welcome.    
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18 min
December 27, 2018
A Clockwork Miracle
As legend goes, in 1562, King Philip II needed a miracle. So he commissioned one from a highly-skilled clockmaker. In this short, a king's deal with God leads to an intricate mechanical creation, and Jad heads to the Smithsonian to investigate.  When the 17-year-old crown prince of Spain, Don Carlos, fell down a set of stairs in 1562, he threw his whole country into a state of uncertainty about the future. Especially his father, King Philip II, who despite being the most powerful man in the world, was helpless in the face of his heir's terrible head wound. When none of the leading remedies of the day--bleeding, blistering, purging, or drilling--helped, the king enlisted the help of a relic...the corpse of a local holy man who had died 100 years earlier. Then, Philip II promised that if God saved his son, he'd repay him with a miracle of his own. Elizabeth King, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, describes how--according to legend--Philip II held up his end of the bargain with the help of a renowned clockmaker and an intricate invention. Jad and Latif head to the Smithsonian to meet curator Carlene E. Stephens who shows them the inner workings of a nearly 450-year-old monkbot.  This episode was reported by Latif Nasser.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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21 min
December 21, 2018
Apologetical
How do you fix a word that’s broken? A word we need when we bump into someone on the street, or break someone’s heart. In our increasingly disconnected secular world, “sorry” has been stretched and twisted, and in some cases weaponized. But it’s also one of the only ways we have to piece together a sense of shared values and beliefs. Through today's sea of sorry-not-sorries, empty apologies, and just straight up non-apologies, we wonder what it looks like to make amends. The program at Stanford that Leilani went through (and now works for) was a joint creation between Stanford and Lee Taft. Find out more here: www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/patient-family-resources/pearl This episode was reported by Annie McEwen and was produced by Annie McEwen and Simon Adler.  Special thanks to Mark Bressler, Nancy Kielty, and Patty Walters.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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58 min
November 28, 2018
UnErased: Smid
Today on Radiolab, we're playing the fourth and final episode of a series Jad worked on called UnErased: The history of conversion therapy in America. Imagine... You’re openly gay. Then, you become the leader of the largest ex-gay organization and, under your leadership, many lives are destroyed. You leave that organization, come out as gay - again - and find love. Do you deserve to be happy? This is a story of identity, making amends and John Smid’s reckoning with his life.  UnErased is a series with Focus Features, Stitcher and Limina House in conjunction with the feature film, BOY ERASED. Special thanks go out to the folks at Anonymous Content for their support of UnErased.  If you want to hear the whole series, you can find UnErased in all the usual podcast places.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.     
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49 min
November 22, 2018
UnErased: Dr. Davison and the Gay Cure
Today on Radiolab, we're playing part of a series that Jad worked on called UnErased: The history of conversion therapy in America. The episode we're playing today, the third in the series, is one of the rarest stories of all: a man who publicly experiences a profound change of heart. This is a profile of one of the gods of psychotherapy, who through a reckoning with his own work (oddly enough in the pages of Playboy magazine), becomes the first domino to fall in science’s ultimate disowning of the “gay cure.” UnErased is a series with Focus Features, Stitcher and Limina House in conjunction with the feature film, BOY ERASED. Special thanks go out to the folks at Anonymous Content for their support of UnErased.  If you want to hear the whole series, you can find UnErased in all the usual podcast places.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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41 min
November 5, 2018
Tweak the Vote
Democracy is on the ropes.  In the United States and abroad, citizens of democracies are feeling increasingly alienated, disaffected, and powerless.  Some are even asking themselves a question that feels almost too dangerous to say out loud: is democracy fundamentally broken?   Today on Radiolab, just a day before the American midterm elections, we ask a different question: how do we fix it?  We scrutinize one proposed tweak to the way we vote that could make politics in this country more representative, more moderate, and most shocking of all, more civil.  Could this one surprisingly do-able mathematical fix really turn political campaigning from a rude bloodsport to a campfire singalong? And even if we could do that, would we want to? This episode was reported by Latif Nasser, Simon Adler, Sarah Qari, Suzie Lechtenberg and Tracie Hunte, and was produced by Simon Adler, Matt Kielty, Sarah Qari, and Suzie Lechtenberg. Special thanks to Rob Richie (and everyone else at Fairvote), Don Saari, Diana Leygerman, Caroline Tolbert, Bobby Agee, Edward Still, Jim Blacksher, Allen Caton, Nikolas Bowie, John Hale, and Anna Luhrmann and the rest of the team at the Varieties of Democracy Institute in Sweden. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  oh...and GO VOTE!
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66 min
October 30, 2018
War of the Worlds
It's been 80 years to the day since Orson Welles' infamous radio drama "The War of the Worlds" echoed far and wide over the airwaves. So we want to bring you back to our very first live hour, where we take a deep dive into what was one of the most controversial moments in broadcasting history. "The War of the Worlds," a radio play about Martians invading New Jersey, caused panic when it originally aired, and it's continued to fool people since--from Santiago, Chile to Buffalo, New York to a particularly disastrous evening in Quito, Ecuador. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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58 min
October 26, 2018
In the No Part 3
In the final episode of our “In The No” series, we sat down with several different groups of college-age women to talk about their sexual experiences. And we found that despite colleges now being steeped in conversations about consent, there was another conversation in intimate moments that just wasn't happening. In search of a script, we dive into the details of BDSM negotiations and are left wondering if all of this talk about consent is ignoring a larger problem. Further reading: "It's all about the Journey": Skepticism and Spirituality in the BDSM Subculture, by Julie Fennell Screw Consent, by Joe Fischel   This episode was reported by Becca Bressler and Shima Oliaee, and was produced by Bethel Habte. Special thanks to Ray Matienzo, Janet Hardy, Jay Wiseman, Peter Tupper, Susan Wright, and Dominus Eros of Pagan's Paradise.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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27 min
October 19, 2018
In the No Part 2
In the year since accusations of sexual assault were first brought against Harvey Weinstein, our news has been flooded with stories of sexual misconduct, indicting very visible figures in our public life. Most of these cases have involved unequivocal breaches of consent, some of which have been criminal. But what have also emerged are conversations surrounding more difficult situations to parse – ones that exist in a much grayer space. When we started our own reporting through this gray zone, we stumbled into a challenging conversation that we can’t stop thinking about. In this second episode of ‘In the No’, radio-maker Kaitlin Prest joins us for a conversation with Hanna Stotland, an educational consultant who specializes in crisis management. Her clients include students who have been expelled from school for sexual misconduct. In the aftermath, Hanna helps them reapply to school. While Hanna shares some of her more nuanced and confusing cases, we wrestle with questions of culpability, generational divides, and the utility of fear in changing our culture. Advisory: This episode contains some graphic language and descriptions of very sensitive sexual situations, including discussions of sexual assault, consent and accountability, which may be very difficult for people to listen to. Visit The National Sexual Assault Hotline at online.rainn.org for resources and support.  This episode was reported with help from Becca Bressler and Shima Oliaee, and produced with help from Rachael Cusick.  Special thanks to Ben Burke and Jackson Prince. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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39 min
October 11, 2018
In the No Part 1
In 2017, radio-maker Kaitlin Prest released a mini-series called "No" about her personal struggle to understand and communicate about sexual consent. That show, which dives into the experience, moment by moment, of navigating sexual intimacy, struck a chord with many of us. It's gorgeous, deeply personal, and incredibly thoughtful. And it seemed to presage a much larger conversation that is happening all around us in this moment. And so we decided to embark, with Kaitlin, on our own exploration of this topic. Over the next three episodes, we'll wander into rooms full of college students, hear from academics and activists, and sit in on classes about BDSM. But to start things off, we are going to share with you the story that started it all. Today, meet Kaitlin (if you haven't already).  In The No Part 1 is a collaboration with Kaitlin Prest. It was produced with help from Becca Bressler. The "No" series, from The Heart was created by writer/director Kaitlin Prest, editors Sharon Mashihi and Mitra Kaboli, assistant producer Ariel Hahn and associate producer Phoebe Wang, associate sound designer Shani Aviram. Special thanks to actor Tommy Schell. Check out Kaitlin's new show, The Shadows. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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55 min
September 28, 2018
Breaking Bad News Bears
Today, a challenge: bear with us. We decided to shake things up at the show so we threw our staff a curveball, Walter Matthau-style. In two weeks time we told our producers to pitch, report, and produce stories about breaking news….or bears. What emerged was a sort of love letter for our honey-loving friends and a discovery that they embody so much more than we could have imagined: a town’s symbol for hope, a celebrity, a foe, and a clue to future ways we’ll deal with our changing environment.  This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler, Molly Webster, Bethel Habte, Pat Walters, Matt Kielty, Rachael Cusick, Annie McEwen and Latif Nasser. Special thanks to Wendy Card, Marlene Zuk, Karyn Rode, Barbara Nielsen and Steven Amstrup at Polar Bears International, Jimmy Thomson, Adam Kudlak, Greg Durner, Todd Atwood, and Dawn Curtis and the Environment and Natural Resources Department of Northwest Territories. And thanks to composer Anthony Plog for allowing us to use the Fourth Movement of his "Fantasy Movement," "Very Fast and Manic," performed by Eufonix Quartet off of their album Nuclear Breakfast, available from Potenza Music.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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61 min
September 21, 2018
Infective Heredity
Today, a fast moving, sidestepping, gene-swapping free-for-all that would’ve made Darwin’s head spin. David Quammen tells us about a shocking way that life can evolve - infective heredity. To figure it all out we go back to the earliest versions of life, and we revisit an earlier version of Radiolab. After reckoning with a scientific icon, we find ourselves in a tangle of genes that sheds new light on peppered moths, drug-resistant bugs, and a key moment in the evolution of life when mammals went a little viral. Check out David Quammen's book The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life  This episode was produced by Soren Wheeler.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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27 min
September 19, 2018
27: The Most Perfect Album
More Perfect is back with something totally new and exciting. They just dropped an ALBUM. 27: The Most Perfect Album is like a Constitutional mix-tape, a Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st century. The album features original tracks by artists like Dolly Parton, Kash Doll, and Devendra Banhart: 27+ songs inspired by the 27 Amendments. Alongside the album they'll be releasing short stories deep-diving into each amendment's history and resonance. In this episode, we preview a few songs and dive into the poetic dream behind the First Amendment. The whole album, plus the first episode of More Perfect Season 3 is out now. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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19 min
August 29, 2018
Baby Blue Blood Drive
Horseshoe crabs are not much to look at.  But beneath their unassuming catcher’s-mitt shell, they harbor a half-billion-year-old secret: a superpower that helped them outlive the dinosaurs and survive all the Earth’s mass extinctions.  And what is that secret superpower? Their blood. Their baby blue blood.  And it’s so miraculous that for decades, it hasn’t just been saving their butts, it’s been saving ours too. But that all might be about to change.    Follow us as we follow these ancient critters - from a raunchy beach orgy to a marine blood drive to the most secluded waterslide - and learn a thing or two from them about how much we depend on nature and how much it depends on us. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser with help from Damiano Marchetti and Lulu Miller, and was produced by Annie McEwen and Matt Kielty with help from Liza Yeager. Special thanks to Arlene Shaner at the NY Academy of Medicine, Tim Wisniewski at the Alan Mason Cheney Medical Archives at Johns Hopkins University, Jennifer Walton at the library of the Marine Biological Lab, and Glenn Gauvry at the Ecological Research and Development Group. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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58 min
August 17, 2018
Post No Evil
Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a constitution of sorts, laying out what could and what couldn’t be posted on the site. Back then, the rules were simple, outlawing nudity and gore. Today, they’re anything but.  How do you define hate speech? Where’s the line between a joke and an attack? How much butt is too much butt? Facebook has answered these questions. And from these answers they’ve written a rulebook that all 2.2 billion of us are expected to follow. Today, we explore that rulebook. We dive into its details and untangle its logic. All the while wondering what does this mean for the future of free speech? This episode was reported by Simon Adler with help from Tracie Hunte and was produced by Simon Adler with help from Bethel Habte. Special thanks to Sarah Roberts, Jeffrey Rosen, Carolyn Glanville, Ruchika Budhraja, Brian Dogan, Ellen Silver, James Mitchell, Guy Rosen, and our voice actor Michael Chernus. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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68 min
July 28, 2018
The Bad Show
With all of the black-and-white moralizing in our world today, we decided to bring back an old show about the little bit of bad that's in all of us...and the little bit of really, really bad that's in some of us.   Cruelty, violence, badness... in this episode we begin with a chilling statistic: 91% of men, and 84% of women, have fantasized about killing someone. We take a look at one particular fantasy lurking behind these numbers, and wonder what this shadow world might tell us about ourselves and our neighbors. Then, we reconsider what Stanley Milgram's famous experiment really revealed about human nature (it's both better and worse than we thought). Next, we meet a man who scrambles our notions of good and evil: chemist Fritz Haber, who won a Nobel Prize in 1918...around the same time officials in the US were calling him a war criminal. And we end with the story of a man who chased one of the most prolific serial killers in US history, then got a chance to ask him the question that had haunted him for years: why? This episode was produced with help from Carter Hodge. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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69 min
July 27, 2018
Gonads: Sex Ed
In this episode, an edited down version of a Radiolab Presents: Gonads Live show, host Molly Webster brings together a cast of storytellers, educators, artists, and comedians to grapple with sex ed in unexpected and thoughtful ways.  "Sex Ed" is an edited recording of a live event hosted by Radiolab at the Skirball Center in New York City on May 16, 2018. Radiolab Team Gonads is Molly Webster, Pat Walters, and Rachael Cusick, with Jad Abumrad. Live music, including the sex ed questions, and the Gonads theme song, were written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington.  Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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48 min
July 22, 2018
Gonads: Dana
When Dana Zzyym applied for their first passport back in 2014, they were handed a pretty straightforward application. Name, place of birth, photo ID -- the usual. But one question on the application stopped Dana in their tracks: male or female? Dana, technically, wasn’t either. In this episode, we follow the story of Dana Zzyym, Navy veteran and activist, which starts long before they scribble the word "intersex” on their passport application. Along the way, we see what happens when our inner biological realities bump into the outside world, and the power of words to shape us. This episode is a companion piece to Gonads, Episode 4, Dutee. "Dana" was reported by Molly Webster, and co-produced with Jad Abumrad. It had production help from Rachael Cusick, and editing by Pat Walters. Wordplay categories were written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington.  Special thanks to Paula Stone Williams, Gerry Callahan, Lambda Legal, Kathy Tu, Matt Collette, Arianne Wack, Carter Hodge, and Liza Yeager. Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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27 min
July 22, 2018
Gonads: Dutee
In 2014, India’s Dutee Chand was a rising female track and field star, crushing national records. But then, that summer, something unexpected happened: she failed a gender test. And was banned from the sport. Before she knew it, Dutee was thrown into the middle of a controversy that started long before her, and continues on today: how to separate males and females in sport. This story is a companion piece to Gonads, Episode 5, Dana.  "Dutee" was reported by Molly Webster, with co-reporting and translation by Sarah Qari. It was produced by Pat Walters, with production help from Jad Abumrad and Rachael Cusick. The Gonads theme was written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington. Special thanks to Geertje Mak, Maayan Sudai, Andrea Dunaif, Bhrikuti Rai, Joe Osmundson, and Payoshni Mitra. Plus, former Olympic runner Madeleine Pape, who is currently studying regulations around female, transgender, and intersex individuals in sport. Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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35 min
June 30, 2018
Gonads: X & Y
A lot of us understand biological sex with a pretty fateful underpinning: if you’re born with XX chromosomes, you’re female; if you’re born with XY chromosomes, you’re male. But it turns out, our relationship to the opposite sex is more complicated than we think. And if you caught this show on-air, and would like to listen to the full version of our Sex Ed Live Show, you can check it out here.  This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Matt Kielty. With scoring, original composition and mixing by Matt Kielty and Alex Overington. Additional production by Rachael Cusick, and editing by Pat Walters. The “Ballad of Daniel Webster” and “Gonads” was written, performed and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington. Special thanks to Erica Todd, Andrew Sinclair, Robin Lovell-Badge, and Sarah S. Richardson. Plus, a big thank you to the musicians who gave us permission to use their work in this episode—composer Erik Friedlander, for "Frail as a Breeze, Part II," and musician Sam Prekop, whose work "A Geometric," from his album The Republic, is out on Thrill Jockey. Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org.  
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39 min
June 23, 2018
Gonads: Fronads
At 28 years old, Annie Dauer was living a full life. She had a job she loved as a highschool PE teacher, a big family who lived nearby, and a serious boyfriend. Then, cancer struck. Annie would come to find out she had Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It was so aggressive, there was a real chance she might die. Her oncologists wanted her to start treatment immediately. Like, end-of-the-week immediately. But before Annie started treatment, she walked out of the doctor’s office and crossed the street to see a fertility doctor doing an experimental procedure that sounded like science fiction: ovary freezing. Further ReadingA medical case report on Annie’s frozen ovariesWhat’s primordial germ cells got to do with it? This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Pat Walters. With original music and scoring by Dylan Keefe and Alex Overington. The Gonads theme was written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington. Additional production by Rachael Cusick, and editing by Jad Abumrad. Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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36 min
June 15, 2018
Gonads: The Primordial Journey
At two weeks old, the human embryo has only just begun its months-long journey to become a baby. The embryo is tiny, still invisible to the naked eye. But inside it, an epic struggle plays out, as a nomadic band of cells marches toward a mysterious destiny, with the future of humanity resting on their microscopic shoulders. If you happened to have caught this show on air, you can find the second half of our broadcast version here.  This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Jad Abumrad. With scoring and original composition by Alex Overington and Dylan Keefe. Additional production by Rachael Cusick, and editing by Pat Walters. The “Ballad of the Fish” and “Gonads” was composed and sung by Majel Connery, and produced by Alex Overington. Special thanks to Ruth Lehmann and Dagmar Wilhelm. Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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33 min
June 8, 2018
Birthstory
We originally posted this episode in 2015, and it inspired producer Molly Webster to take a deep dive into the wild and mysterious world of human reproduction. Starting next week, she’ll be taking over the Radiolab podcast feed for a month to present a series of mind-bending stories that make us rethink the ways we make more of us. You know the drill - all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo - you got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this episode, conception takes on a new form - it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money.  At first, this is the story of an Israeli couple, two guys, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby - three, in fact - by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them. As we follow them on their journey, an earth shaking revelation shifts our focus from them, to the surrogate mothers. Unfolding in real time, as countries around the world consider bans on surrogacy, this episode looks at a relationship that manages to feel deeply affecting, and deeply uncomfortable, all at the same time.  Birthstory is a collaboration with the brilliant radio show and podcast Israel Story, created to tell stories for, and about, Israel. Go check ‘em out!  Israel Story's five English-language seasons were produced in partnership with Tablet Magazine and we highly recommend you listen to all of their work at  http://www.tabletmag.com/tag/israel-story This episode was produced and reported by Molly Webster. Special thanks go to: Israel Story, and their producers Maya Kosover, and Yochai Maital; reporters Nilanjana Bhowmick in India and Bhrikuti Rai in Nepal plus the International Reporting Project; Doron Mamet, Dr Nayana Patel, and Vicki Ferrara; with translation help from Aya Keefe, Karthik Ravindra, Turna Ray, Tom Wasserman, Pradeep Thapa, and Adhikaar, an organization in Ridgewood, Queens advocating for the Nepali-speaking community.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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59 min
June 1, 2018
Poison Control
When reporter Brenna Farrell was a new mom, her son gave her and her husband a scare -- prompting them to call Poison Control. For Brenna, the experience was so odd, and oddly comforting, that she decided to dive into the birth story of this invisible network of poison experts, and try to understand the evolving relationship we humans have with our poisonous planet. As we learn about how poison control has changed over the years, we end up wondering what a place devoted to data and human connection can tell us about ourselves in this cultural moment of anxiety and information-overload. Call the national Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 797979 to save the number in your phone. This episode was reported by Brenna Farrell and was produced by Annie McEwen. Special thanks to Wendy Blair Stephan, Whitney Pennington, Richard Dart, Marian Moser Jones, and Nathalie Wheaton. Thanks also to Lewis Goldfrank, Robert Hoffman, Steven Marcus, Toby Litovitz, James O'Donnell, and Joseph Botticelli.   Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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35 min
May 22, 2018
Unraveling Bolero
This week, we're throwing it back to an old favorite: a story about obsession, creativity, and a strange symmetry between a biologist and a composer that revolves around one famously repetitive piece of music. Anne Adams was a brilliant biologist. But when her son Alex was in a bad car accident, she decided to stay home to help him recover. And then, rather suddenly, she decided to quit science altogether and become a full-time artist. After that, her husband Robert Adams tells us, she just painted and painted and painted. First houses and buildings, then a series of paintings involving strawberries, and then ... "Bolero." At some point, Anne became obsessed with Maurice Ravel's famous composition and decided to put an elaborate visual rendition of the song to canvas. She called it "Unraveling Bolero." But at the time, she had no idea that both she and Ravel would themselves unravel shortly after their experiences with this odd piece of music. Arbie Orenstein tells us what happened to Ravel after he wrote "Bolero," and neurologist Bruce Miller helps us understand how, for both Anne and Ravel, "Bolero" might have been the first symptom of a deadly disease.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. Read more: Unravelling Bolero: progressive aphasia, transmodal creativity and the right posterior neocortex Arbie Orenstein's Ravel: Man and Musician
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27 min
May 18, 2018
More or Less Human
Seven years ago chatbots - those robotic texting machines - were a mere curiosity. They were noticeably robotic and at their most malicious seemed only capable of scamming men looking for love online. Today, the chatbot landscape is wildly different. From election interference to spreading hate, chatbots have become online weapons. And so, we decided to reinvestigate the role these robotic bits of code play in our lives and the effects they’re having on us. We begin with a little theater. In our live show “Robert or Robot?” Jad and Robert test 100 people to see if they can spot a bot. We then take a brief detour to revisit the humanity of the Furby, and finish in a virtual house where the line between technology and humanity becomes blurrier than ever before. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler. Our live event was produced by Simon Adler and Suzie Lechtenberg. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. Note from the Managing Editor: In the original version of our “More or Less Human” podcast, our introduction of neuroscientist Mavi Sanchez-Vives began with mention of her husband, Mel Slater. We’ve edited that introduction because it was a mistake to introduce her first as someone’s wife. Dr. Sanchez-Vives is an exceptional scientist and we’re sorry that the original introduction distracted from or diminished her work.   On a personal note, I failed to take due note of this while editing the piece, and in doing so, I flubbed what’s known as the Finkbeiner Test (all the more embarrassing given that Ann Finkebeiner is a mentor and one of my favorite science journalists). In addition to being a mistake, this is also a reminder to all of us at Radiolab that we need to be more aware of our blind spots. We should’ve done better, and we will do better.  - Soren Wheeler 
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61 min
April 26, 2018
Dark Side of the Earth
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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27 min
April 20, 2018
Border Trilogy Part 3: What Remains
Border Trilogy While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness. In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.” Over three episodes, Radiolab will investigate this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.   Part 3: What Remains  The third episode in our Border Trilogy follows anthropologist Jason De León after he makes a grisly discovery in Arivaca, Arizona. In the middle of carrying out his pig experiments with his students, Jason finds the body of a 30-year-old female migrant. With the help of the medical examiner and some local humanitarian groups, Jason discovers her identity. Her name was Maricela. Jason then connects with her family, including her brother-in-law, who survived his own harrowing journey through Central America and the Arizona desert. With the human cost of Prevention Through Deterrence weighing on our minds, we try to parse what drives migrants like Maricela to cross through such deadly terrain, and what, if anything, could deter them. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte and was produced by Matt Kielty and Tracie Hunte.  Special thanks to Carlo Albán, Sandra Lopez-Monsalve, Chava Gourarie, Lynn M. Morgan, Mike Wells and Tom Barry. Jason de Leon's latest work is a global participatory art project called Hostile Terrain 94, which will be exhibited at over 70 different locations around the world in 2020.  Read more about it here.   Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.   CORRECTION: An earlier version of this episode incorrectly stated that a person's gender can be identified from bone remains. We've adjusted the audio to say that a person's sex can be identified from bone remains. 
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35 min
April 6, 2018
Border Trilogy Part 2: Hold the Line
Border Trilogy  While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness.  In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.” Over three episodes, Radiolab will investigate this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.   Part 2: Hold the Line After the showdown in court with Bowie High School, Border Patrol brings in a fresh face to head its dysfunctional El Paso Sector: Silvestre Reyes. The first Mexican-American to ever hold the position, Reyes knows something needs to change and has an idea how to do it. One Saturday night at midnight, with the element of surprise on his side, Reyes unveils ... Operation Blockade. It wins widespread support for the Border Patrol in El Paso, but sparks major protests across the Rio Grande. Soon after, he gets a phone call that catapults his little experiment onto the national stage, where it works so well that it diverts migrant crossing patterns along the entire U.S.-Mexico Border. Years later, in the Arizona desert, anthropologist Jason de León realizes that in order to accurately gauge how many migrants die crossing the desert, he must first understand how human bodies decompose in such an extreme environment. He sets up a macabre experiment, and what he finds is more drastic than anything he could have expected. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte, and was produced by Matt Kielty, Bethel Habte and Latif Nasser. Special thanks to Sherrie Kossoudji at the University of Michigan, Lynn M. Morgan, Cheryl Howard, Andrew Hansen, William Sabol, Donald B. White, Daniel Martinez, Michelle Mittelstadt at the Migration Policy Institute, Former Executive Assistant to the El Paso Mayor Mark Smith, Retired Assistant Border Patrol Sector Chief Clyde Benzenhoefer, Paul Anderson, Eric Robledo, Maggie Southard Gladstone and Kate Hall. Jason de Leon's latest work is a global participatory art project called Hostile Terrain 94, which will be exhibited at over 70 different locations around the world in 2020.  Read more about it here.   Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.   CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that Silvestre Reyes's brother died in a car accident in 1968; it was actually his father who died in the accident.  We also omitted a detail about the 1997 GAO report that we quote, namely that it predicted that as deaths in the mountains and deserts might rise, deaths in other areas might also fall. The audio has been adjusted accordingly.  
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49 min
March 23, 2018
Border Trilogy Part 1: Hole in the Fence
Border Trilogy While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness. In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.” Over three episodes, Radiolab will investigate this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.   Part 1: Hole in the Fence: We begin one afternoon in May 1992, when a student named Albert stumbled in late for history class at Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas. His excuse: Border Patrol. Soon more stories of students getting stopped and harassed by Border Patrol started pouring in. So begins the unlikely story of how a handful of Mexican-American high schoolers in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country stood up to what is today the country’s largest federal law enforcement agency. They had no way of knowing at the time, but what would follow was a chain of events that would drastically change the US-Mexico border. This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte and was produced by Matt Kielty, Bethel Habte, Tracie Hunte and Latif Nasser.  Special thanks to Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Estela Reyes López, Barbara Hines, Lynn M. Morgan, Mallory Falk, Francesca Begos and Nancy Wiese from Hachette Book Group, Professor Michael Olivas at the University of Houston Law Center, and Josiah McC. Heyman, Ph.D, Director, Center for Interamerican and Border Studies and Professor of Anthropology. Jason de Leon's latest work is a global participatory art project called Hostile Terrain 94, which will be exhibited at over 70 different locations around the world in 2020.  Read more about it here.   Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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48 min
March 15, 2018
Rippin’ the Rainbow an Even Newer One
One of our most popular episodes of all time was our Colors episode, where we introduced you to a sea creature that could see a rainbow far beyond what humans can experience. Peacock mantis shrimps are as extraordinary as they are strange and boast what may well be the most complicated visual system in the world. They each have 16 photoreceptors compared to our measly three. But recently researchers in Australia put the mantis shrimps’ eyes to the test only to discover that sure, they can SEE lots of colors, but that doesn't mean they can tell them apart. In fact, when two colors are close together - like yellow and yellow-y green - they can’t seem to tell them apart at all.   MORE ON COLORS: There was a time -- between the flickery black-and-white films of yore and the hi-def color-corrected movies we watch today -- when color was in flux. Check out this blog post on how colors made it to the big screen from our director of research, Latif Nasser.  Our original episode was produced by Tim Howard and Pat Walters. This update was produced by Amanda Aronczyk. Special thanks to Chris Martin of Creative Aquarium Nation, Phil Weissman, David Gebel and Kate Hinds for lending us their colorful garments. Also thanks to Michael Kerschner, Elisa Nikoloulias and the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, as well as Chase Culpon and The Greene Space team. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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33 min
February 23, 2018
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Gun Show
The shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, reignited an increasingly familiar debate about guns in this country. Today, we’re re-releasing a More Perfect episode that aired just after the Las Vegas shooting last year that attempts to make sense of our country’s fraught relationship with the Second Amendment. For nearly 200 years of our nation’s history, the Second Amendment was an all-but-forgotten rule about the importance of militias. But in the 1960s and 70s, a movement emerged — led by Black Panthers and a recently-repositioned NRA — that insisted owning a firearm was the right of each and every American. So began a constitutional debate that only the Supreme Court could solve. That didn’t happen until 2008, when a Washington, D.C. security guard named Dick Heller made a compelling case.
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69 min
February 14, 2018
Smarty Plants
Do you really need a brain to sense the world around you? To remember? Or even learn? Well, it depends on who you ask. Jad and Robert, they are split on this one. Today, Robert drags Jad along on a parade for the surprising feats of brainless plants. Along with a home-inspection duo, a science writer, and some enterprising scientists at Princeton University, we dig into the work of evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano, who turns our brain-centered worldview on its head through a series of clever experiments that show plants doing things we never would've imagined. Can Robert get Jad to join the march? This episode was produced by Annie McEwen.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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34 min
February 4, 2018
Ghosts of Football Past
In anticipation of Super Bowl LII (Go Eagles), we're revisiting an old episode about the surprising history of how the game came to be. It's the end of the 19th century -- the Civil War is over, and the frontier is dead. And young college men are anxious. What great struggle will test their character? Then along comes a new craze: football. A brutally violent game where young men can show a stadium full of fans just what they're made of. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn -- the sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles. And then the most American team of all, with the most to prove, gets in the game and owns it. The Carlisle Indian School, formed in 1879 to assimilate the children and grandchildren of the men who fought the final Plains Wars against the fathers and grandfathers of the Ivy Leaguers, starts challenging the best teams in the country. On the football field, Carlisle had a chance for a fair fight with high stakes -- a chance to earn respect, a chance to be winners, and a chance to go forward in a changing world that was destroying theirs.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 
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36 min
January 31, 2018
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - One Nation, Under Money
An unassuming string of 16 words tucked into the Constitution grants Congress extensive power to make laws that impact the entire nation. The Commerce Clause has allowed Congress to intervene in all kinds of situations — from penalizing one man for growing too much wheat on his farm, to enforcing the end of racial segregation nationwide. That is, if the federal government can make an economic case for it. This seemingly all-powerful tool has the potential to unite the 50 states into one nation and protect the civil liberties of all. But it also challenges us to consider: when we make everything about money, what does it cost us?
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55 min
January 23, 2018
The Voice in Your Head - A Tribute to Joe Frank
How do you pay proper tribute to a legend that many people haven’t heard of? We began asking ourselves this question last week when the visionary radio producer Joe Frank passed away, after a long struggle with colon cancer.  Joe Frank was the radio producer’s radio producer.  He told stories that were thrillingly weird, deeply mischievous (and sometimes head-spinningly confusing!). He had a big impact on us at Radiolab.  For Jad, his Joe Frank moment happened in 2002, while sitting at a mixing console in an AM radio studio waiting to read the weather.  Joe Frank's Peabody Award-winning series "Rent-A-Family” came on the air. Time stood still. We’ve since learned that many of our peers have had similar Joe Frank moments. In this episode, we commemorate one of the greats with Brooke Gladstone from On the Media and Ira Glass from This American Life.  This episode was produced by Jad Abumrad with help from Kelly Prime and Sarah Qari.  A very special thanks to Michal Story. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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January 9, 2018
How to Be a Hero
What are people thinking when they risk their lives for someone else? Are they making complicated calculations of risk or diving in without a second thought? Is heroism an act of sympathy or empathy?   A few years ago, we spoke with Walter F. Rutkowski about how the Carnegie Hero Fund selects its heroes, an honor the fund bestows upon ordinary people who have done extraordinary acts. When some of these heroes were asked what they were thinking when they leapt into action, they replied: they didn’t think about it, they just went in. Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky says there is a certain kind of empathy that leads to action. But feeling the pain of another person deeply is not necessarily what makes a hero.   Our original episode was reported and produced by Lynn Levy and Tim Howard. This update was produced by Amanda Aronczyk. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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28 min
December 29, 2017
Inside Radiolab (Video)
Take a stroll through where Radiolab is made and meet some of the people who have created your favorite episodes. Help make another year of curiosity possible. Radiolab.org/support
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December 22, 2017
Bigger Little Questions
We're back with Part 2! When we dumped out our bucket of questions, there was a lot of spillover. Like, A LOT of spillover. So today, we’re chasing down answers to some bigger, little questions.   This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen, Bethel Habte, Latif Nasser, Matt Kielty, Simon Adler and Tracie Hunte. Special thanks to Stephen Brady and Staff Sergeant Erica Picariello in the US Air Force's 21st Space Wing. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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55 min
December 20, 2017
Big Little Questions
Here at the show, we get a lot of questions. Like, A LOT of questions. Tiny questions, big questions, short questions, long questions. Weird questions. Poop questions. We get them all. And over the years, as more and more of these questions arrived in our inbox, what happened was, guiltily, we put them off to the side, in a bucket of sorts, where they just sat around, unanswered. But now, we’re dumping the bucket out. Today, our producers pick up a few of the questions that spilled out of that bucket, and venture out into the great unknown to find answers to some of life's greatest mysteries: coincidences; miracles; life; death; fate; will; and, of course, poop. This episode was reported and produced by Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte and Matt Kielty.  Special thanks to Blake Nguyen, Sarah Murphy and the New York Public Library.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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46 min
December 5, 2017
Super Cool
When we started reporting a fantastic, surreal story about one very cold night, more than 70 years ago, in northern Russia, we had no idea we'd end up thinking about cosmology. Or dropping toy horses in test tubes of water. Or talking about bacteria. Or arguing, for a year. Walter Murch (aka, the Godfather of The Godfather), joined by a team of scientists, leads us on what felt like the magical mystery tour of super cool science. This piece was produced by Molly Webster and Matt Kielty with help from Amanda Aronczyk.  It originally aired in March of 2014. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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25 min
November 30, 2017
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - Mr. Graham and the Reasonable Man
This story comes from the second season of Radiolab's spin-off podcast, More Perfect. To hear more, subscribe here. On a fall afternoon in 1984, Dethorne Graham ran into a convenience store for a bottle of orange juice. Minutes later he was unconscious, injured, and in police handcuffs. In this episode, we explore a case that sent two Charlotte lawyers on a quest for true objectivity, and changed the face of policing in the US.     The key voices: Dethorne Graham Jr., son of Dethorne Graham, appellant in Graham v. Connor Edward G. (Woody) Connette, lawyer who represented Graham in the lower courts Gerald Beaver, lawyer who represented Graham at the Supreme Court Kelly McEvers, host of Embedded and All Things Considered    The key case: 1989: Graham v. Connor   Additional production for this episode by Dylan Keefe and Derek John; additional music by Matt Kielty and Nicolas Carter. Special thanks to Cynthia Lee, Frank B. Aycock III, Josh Rosenkrantz, Leonard Feldman, and Ben Montgomery. 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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68 min
November 23, 2017
Stereothreat
Back in 1995, Claude Steele published a study that showed that negative stereotypes could have a detrimental effect on students' academic performance. But the big surprise was that he could make that effect disappear with just a few simple changes in language. We were completely enamoured with this research when we first heard about it, but in the current roil of replications and self-examination in the field of social psychology, we have to wonder whether we can still cling to the hopes of our earlier selves, or if we might have to grow up just a little bit. This piece was produced by Simon Adler and Amanda Aronczyk and reported by Dan Engber and Amanda Aronczyk.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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36 min
November 10, 2017
Match Made in Marrow
You never know what might happen when you sign up to donate bone marrow. You might save a life… or you might be magically transported across a cultural chasm and find yourself starring in a modern adaptation of the greatest story ever told. One day, without thinking much of it, Jennell Jenney swabbed her cheek and signed up to be a donor.  Across the country, Jim Munroe desperately needed a miracle, a one-in-eight-million connection that would save him. It proved to be a match made in marrow, a bit of magic in the world that hadn’t been there before.  But when Jennell and Jim had a heart-to-heart in his suburban Dallas backyard, they realized they had contradictory ideas about where that magic came from. Today, an allegory for how to walk through the world in a way that lets you be deeply different, but totally together.  This piece was reported by Latif Nasser.  It was produced by Annie McEwen, with help from Bethel Habte and Alex Overington. Special thanks to Dr. Matthew J. Matasar, Dr. John Hill, Stephen Spellman at CIBMTR, St. Cloud State University’s Cru Chapter, and Mandy Naglich.   Join Be The Match's bone marrow registry here.  
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60 min
October 27, 2017
Oliver Sacks: A Journey From Where to Where
There’s nothing quite like the sound of someone thinking out loud, struggling to find words and ideas to match what’s in their head. Today, we are allowed to dip into the unfiltered thoughts of Oliver Sacks, one of our heroes, in the last months of his life.  Oliver died in 2015, but before he passed he and his partner Bill Hayes, in an effort to preserve some of Oliver’s thoughts on his work and his life, bought a little tape recorder. Over a year and half after Oliver’s death, Bill dug up the recorder and turned it on. Through snippets of conversation with Bill, and in moments Oliver recorded whispering to himself as he wrote, we get a peek inside the head, and the life, of one of the greatest science essayists of all time. The passages read in this piece all come from Oliver’s recently released, posthumous book, The River of Consciousness.  Special thanks to Billy Hayes for letting us use Oliver’s tapes, you can check out his work at http://www.billhayes.com/    
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37 min
October 13, 2017
Father K
Today, while the divisions between different groups in this country feel more and more insurmountable, we zero in on a particular neighborhood to see if one man can draw people together in a potentially history-making election.  Khader El-Yateem is a Palestinian American running for office in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, one of the most divided, and most conservative neighborhoods in New York City. To win, he'll need to convince a wildly diverse population that he can speak for all of them, and he'll need to pull one particular group of people, Arab American Muslims, out of the shadows and into the political process. And to make things just a bit more interesting, El-Yateem is a Lutheran minister. This story was reported and produced by Simon Adler, with help from Bethel Habte, Annie McEwen, and Sarah Qari.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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71 min
October 2, 2017
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - American Pendulum I
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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51 min
September 26, 2017
Driverless Dilemma
Most of us would sacrifice one person to save five. It’s a pretty straightforward bit of moral math. But if we have to actually kill that person ourselves, the math gets fuzzy. That’s the lesson of the classic Trolley Problem, a moral puzzle that fried our brains in an episode we did about 11 years ago. Luckily, the Trolley Problem has always been little more than a thought experiment, mostly confined to conversations at a certain kind of cocktail party. That is until now. New technologies are forcing that moral quandry out of our philosophy departments and onto our streets. So today we revisit the Trolley Problem and wonder how a two-ton hunk of speeding metal will make moral calculations about life and death that we can’t even figure out ourselves. This story was reported and produced by Amanda Aronczyk and Bethel Habte. Thanks to Iyad Rahwan, Edmond Awad and Sydney Levine from the Moral Machine group at MIT. Also thanks to Fiery Cushman, Matthew DeBord, Sertac Karaman, Martine Powers, Xin Xiang, and Roborace for all of their help. Thanks to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism students who collected the vox: Chelsea Donohue, Ivan Flores, David Gentile, Maite Hernandez, Claudia Irizarry-Aponte, Comice Johnson, Richard Loria, Nivian Malik, Avery Miles, Alexandra Semenova, Kalah Siegel, Mark Suleymanov, Andee Tagle, Shaydanay Urbani, Isvett Verde and Reece Williams. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  
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40 min
September 22, 2017
Oliver Sipple
One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple’s split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his personal life into political opportunity. What happens next makes us wonder what a moment, or a movement, or a whole society can demand of one person. And how much is too much?  Through newly unearthed archival tape, we hear Sipple himself grapple with some of the most vexing topics of his day and ours - privacy, identity, the freedom of the press - not to mention the bonds of family and friendship.  Reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte. Produced by Matt Kielty, Annie McEwen, Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte. Special thanks to Jerry Pritikin, Michael Yamashita, Stan Smith, Duffy Jennings; Ann Dolan, Megan Filly and Ginale Harris at the Superior Court of San Francisco; Leah Gracik, Karyn Hunt, Jesse Hamlin, The San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive, Mike Amico, Jennifer Vanasco and Joey Plaster. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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62 min
September 12, 2017
Radiolab Presents: Anna in Somalia
This week, we are presenting a story from NPR foreign correspondent Gregory Warner and his new globe-trotting podcast Rough Translation. Mohammed was having the best six months of his life - working a job he loved, making mixtapes for his sweetheart - when the communist Somali regime perp-walked him out of his own home, and sentenced him to a lifetime of solitary confinement.  With only concrete walls and cockroaches to keep him company, Mohammed felt miserable, alone, despondent.  But then one day, eight months into his sentence, he heard a whisper, a whisper that would open up a portal to - of all places and times - 19th century Russia, and that would teach him how to live and love again.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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34 min
August 23, 2017
Where the Sun Don't Shine
Today we take a quick look up at a hole in the sky and follow an old story as it travels beyond the reach of the sun.
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32 min
July 28, 2017
Breaking News
Today, two new technological tricks that together could invade our most deeply held beliefs and rewrite the rules of credibility. Also, we release something terrible into the world. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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48 min
July 14, 2017
The Ceremony
Today, paranoia sets in: we head to The Ceremony, the top-secret, three-day launch of a new currency, wizards and math included. Halfway through, something strange happens.   Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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46 min
June 27, 2017
Revising the Fault Line
A new tussle over an old story, and some long-held beliefs, with neurologist and author Robert Sapolsky. Four years ago, we did a story about a man with a starling obsession that made us question our ideas of responsibility and justice. We thought we’d found some solid ground, but today Dr. Sapolsky shows up and takes us down a rather disturbing rabbit hole.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.      
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47 min
June 15, 2017
The Gondolier
What happens when doing what you want to do means giving up who you really are?  We travel to Venice, Italy with reporters Kristen Clark and David Conrad, where they meet gondolier Alex Hai. On the winding canals in the hidden parts of Venice, we learn about the nearly 1000-year old tradition of the Venetian Gondolier, and how the global media created a 20-year battle between that tradition and a supposed feminist icon.  Reported by David Conrad and Kristen Clark. Produced by Annie McEwen and Molly Webster. Special thanks to Alexis Ungerer, Summer, Alex Hai, Kevin Gotkin, Silvia Del Fabbro, Sandro Mariot, Aldo Rosso and Marta Vannucci, The Longest Shortest Time (Hillary Frank, Peter Clowney and Abigail Keel), Tim Howard, Nick Adams/GLAAD, Valentina Powers, Florence Ursino, Ann Marie Somma, Alex Overington, Jeremy Bloom and the people of Little Italy.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can find Alex Hai's website here, where you can check out the photographs discussed in the piece.   
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54 min
May 26, 2017
The Radio Lab
15 years ago the very first episode of Radiolab, fittingly called "Firsts," hit the airwaves. It was a 3-hour long collection of documentaries and musings produced by a solitary sleep-deprived producer named Jad Abumrad. Things have changed a bit since then.   Today, with help from our long time Executive Producer Ellen Horne, we celebrate our 15th birthday by surprising Jad and Robert in the studio and forcing them to look back on a time when “Radiolab” was just that: a lab for experimenting with radio.    Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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39 min
May 12, 2017
Null and Void
Today, a hidden power that is either the cornerstone of our democracy or a trapdoor to anarchy.   Should a juror be able to ignore the law? From a Quaker prayer meeting in the streets of London, to riots in the streets of LA, we trace the history of a quiet act of rebellion and struggle with how much power “we the people” should really have. Produced by Matt Kielty and Tracie Hunte Special thanks to Darryl K. Brown, professor of law at the University of Virginia, Andrew Leipold, professor of law at the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign, Nancy King, professor of law at Vanderbilt University, Buzz Scherr law professor at University of New Hampshire, Eric Verlo and attorneys David Lane, Mark Sisto, David Kallman and Paul Grant.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
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50 min
April 26, 2017
Funky Hand Jive
Back when Robert was kid, he had a chance encounter with then President John F. Kennedy. The interaction began with a hello and ended with a handshake. And like many of us who have touched greatness, 14 year old Robert was left wondering if maybe some of Kennedy would stay with him.  Now, 50 years later, Robert still finds himself pondering that encounter and question. And so with the help of brand new science and Neil Degrasse Tyson, he sets out to satisfy this curiosity once and for all.  Produced by Simon Adler with help from Only Human: Amanda Aronczyk, Kenny Malone, Jillian Weinberger and Elaine Chen. Neil deGrasse Tyson's newest book is called "Astrophysics for People in A Hurry."     Radiolab needs your help! Please visit wnyc.podcastingsurvey.com and tell us a little about you and the podcasts you love in a 5-minute, anonymous survey. We really appreciate your help - knowing more about you helps us make more of the shows you enjoy. Thank you from all of us at Radiolab!  *** As of Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 we've run out of kits. Thanks so much to uBiome for generously donating over 13,000 free kits, and thanks to everyone for participating. ***  FAQ: Who is uBiome? uBiome is a California-based biotech company started in 2012 that sequences the DNA of the microbes that live on and in you. Do I have to pay for my results? No, as long as you use the code for Radiolab/Only Human listeners, the sequencing results are free! uBiome otherwise charges $89 to have a skin sample analyzed. Am I going to find out if I’m sick? This uBiome information isn’t for diagnosing any health condition. How long will it take to get my results? It can take from 3-6 weeks from when uBiome receives your sample to sequence, process and compile the material. So please send those samples back to the uBiome labs soon, so we can report back to you about the Radiolab/Only Human group.    What is uBiome going to do with my microbiome info? uBiome scientists are going to share aggregate level analysis with Radiolab and Only Human so we can give general results about our group’s skin microbiome. Aside from that, what uBiome does with your results generally depends on whether you choose to be included in research or share your information. uBiome is HIPAA-compliant, and their practices are reviewed by an independent committee for ethical research (an IRB). For more information, see uBiome’s summary of its privacy practices (just 6 pages in regular-sized font). Will I be able to get my raw data? Yes! Once your results are in, you’ll be able to download it as a CSV, JSON or FASTQ file. Will they take my DNA and clone me? If by “me”, you mean the human you, then no, uBiome isn’t going to clone, let alone even sequence human DNA. More questions? Email onlyhuman@wnyc.org. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
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28 min
April 19, 2017
Radiolab Extra: Henrietta Lacks
With all the recent talk about HBO's upcoming film, we decided it would be good time to re-run our story of one woman's medically miraculous cancer cells, and how Henrietta Lacks changed modern science and, eventually, her family's understanding of itself. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
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35 min
April 7, 2017
Nukes
President Richard Nixon once boasted that at any moment he could pick up a telephone and - in 20 minutes - kill 60 million people.  Such is the power of the US President over the nation’s nuclear arsenal.  But what if you were the military officer on the receiving end of that phone call? Could you refuse the order? This episode, we profile one Air Force Major who asked that question back in the 1970s and learn how the very act of asking it was so dangerous it derailed his career. We also pick up the question ourselves and pose it to veterans both high and low on the nuclear chain of command. Their responses reveal once and for all whether there are any legal checks and balances between us and a phone call for Armageddon. Reported by Latif Nasser. Produced by Annie McEwen and Simon Adler with production help from Arianne Wack.  Special thanks to: Elaine Scarry, Sam Kean, Ron Rosenbaum, Lisa Perry, Ryan Furtkamp, Robin Perry, Thom Woodroofe, Doreen de Brum, Jackie Conley, Sean Malloy, Ray Peter, Jack D’Annibale, Ryan Pettigrew at the Nixon Presidential Library and Samuel Rushay at the Truman Presidential Library. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
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55 min
March 24, 2017
Shots Fired: Part 2
A couple years ago, Ben Montgomery, reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, started emailing every police station in Florida. He was asking for any documents created - from 2009 to 2014 - when an officer discharged his weapon in the line of duty. He ended up with a six foot tall stack of reports, pictures, and press clippings cataloging the death or injury of 828 people by Florida police.  In part 2 of Shots Fired, Jad and Robert talk to Ben about how communication breakdowns too often lead to violence and our reporter Matt Kielty sits with one man who found himself at the center of a police visit gone horribly wrong. Produced and reported by Matt Kielty. For the full presentation of Ben Montgomery's reporting please visit the Tampa Bay Times' 'Why Do Cops Shoot?" We can't recommend it highly enough.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
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26 min
March 17, 2017
Shots Fired: Part 1
A couple years ago, Ben Montgomery, reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, started emailing every police station in Florida. He was asking for any documents created - from 2009 to 2014 - when an officer discharged his weapon in the line of duty. He ended up with a six foot tall stack of reports, pictures, and press clippings cataloging the death or injury of 828 people by Florida police.  Jad and Robert talk to Ben about what he found, crunch some numbers, and then our reporter Matt Kielty takes a couple files off Ben's desk and brings us the stories inside them - from a network of grief to a Daytona police chief. And next week, we bring you another, very different story of a police encounter gone wrong. Produced and reported by Matt Kielty For the full presentation of Ben Montgomery's reporting please visit the Tampa Bay Times' 'Why Do Cops Shoot?" We can't recommend it highly enough.  Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that in reporter Ben Montgomery's six years of Florida data there were, on average, 130 people shot and killed each year. Police offers did indeed shoot 130 people per year, on average, but only half of those shootings were fatal. The audio has been adjusted to reflect this fact. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
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55 min
February 24, 2017
Update: CRISPR
It's been almost two years since we learned about CRISPR, a ninja-assassin-meets-DNA-editing-tool that has been billed as one of the most powerful, and potentially controversial, technologies ever discovered by scientists. In this episode, we catch up on what's been happening (it's a lot), and learn about CRISPR's potential to not only change human evolution, but every organism on the entire planet. Out drinking with a few biologists, Jad finds out about something called CRISPR. No, it’s not a robot or the latest dating app, it’s a method for genetic manipulation that is rewriting the way we change DNA. Scientists say they’ll someday be able to use CRISPR to fight cancer and maybe even bring animals back from the dead. Or, pretty much do whatever you want. Jad and Robert delve into how CRISPR does what it does, and consider whether we should be worried about a future full of flying pigs, or the simple fact that scientists have now used CRISPR to tweak the genes of human embryos. This episode was reported and produced by Molly Webster and Soren Wheeler. Special thanks to Jacob S. Sherkow. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     
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49 min
February 10, 2017
Radiolab Presents: Ponzi Supernova
We thought we knew the story of Bernie Madoff.  How he masterminded the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, leaving behind scores of distraught investors and a $65 billion black hole.  But we had never heard the story from Madoff himself. This week, reporter Steve Fishman and former Radiolabber Ellen Horne visit our studio to play us snippets from their extraordinary Audible series Ponzi Supernova, which features exclusive footage of the man who bamboozled the world.  After years of investigative reporting – including interviews with dozens of FBI and SEC agents, investors, traders, and attorneys – the pair scrutinize Madoff’s account to understand exactly why he did it, how he managed to pull it off, and how culpable he actually was. Was he a puppetmaster or a puppet? And if the latter, who else is to blame for the biggest financial fraud in history? You can hear the entire series on iTunes or for free on Audible Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
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38 min
January 27, 2017
Stranger in Paradise
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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43 min
January 18, 2017
Radiolab Presents: On the Media: Busted, America's Poverty Myths
We love to share great radio, even if we didn’t make it. Today, On the Media’s Brooke Gladstone tells Jad and Robert about a mammoth project they launched to take a critical look at the tales we tell ourselves when we talk about poverty. In a 5-part series called "Busted: America’s Poverty Myths,” On the Media picked apart numerous oft-repeated narratives about what it's like to be poor in America. From Ben Franklin to a brutal eviction, Brooke gives us just a little taste of what she learned and shares a couple stories of the struggle to get ahead, or even just get by. Go check out the full series, it’s well worth it. You can hear all 5 episodes of Busted here or subscribe to On the Media in iTunes (or wherever you get your podcasts) to listen to this series or all their other great work. "Busted: America’s Poverty Myths" was produced by Meara Sharma and Eve Claxton and edited by Katya Rogers. They produced the series in collaboration with WNET’s Chasing the Dream; poverty and opportunity in America. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.           
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33 min
December 30, 2016
Lose Lose
No matter what sport you play, the object of the game is to win. And that’s hard enough to do. But we found a match where four top athletes had to do the opposite in one of the most high profile matches of their careers. Thanks to a quirk in the tournament rules, their best shot at winning was … to lose.  This episode, we scrutinize the most paradoxical and upside down badminton match of all time, a match that dumbfounded spectators, officials, and even the players themselves. And it got us to wondering …  what would sports look like if everyone played to lose? Reported by Latif Nasser. Produced by Matt Kielty and Annie McEwen and Latif Nasser. Special thanks to Aparna Nancherla, Mark Phelan, Yuni Kartika, Greysia Polii, Joy Le Li, Mikyoung Kim, Stan Bischof, Vincent Liew, Kota Morikowa, Christ de Roij and Haeryun Kang. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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25 min
December 16, 2016
It's Not Us, It's You
It’s the end of the year, and the entire Radiolab team is starting to take stock and come up for air. We're excited about how much ground we've covered - stories about college debaters and figure skaters, meat allergies and salmon-eating trees, deathwatch beetles mating and Kpop stars dating - we're excited for what 2017 holds, and grateful because you have made all these things possible with your support.  But before 2016 comes to an end, we wanted to do something a little different. We wanted to swivel our attention back to you, our listeners, reconnect with some old friends to see how they are doing, and thank everyone for what they've shared with us. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
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59 min
December 8, 2016
Bringing Gamma Back
Today, a startling new discovery: prodding the brain with light, a group of scientists got an unexpected surprise -- they were able to turn back on a part of the brain that had been shut down by Alzheimer’s disease. This new science is not a cure, and is far from a treatment, but it’s a finding so … simple, you won’t be able to shake it. Come join us for a lab visit, where we’ll meet some mice, stare at some light, and come face-to-face with the mystery of memory. We can promise you: by the end, you’ll never think the same way about Christmas lights again. This piece was reported by Molly Webster. It was produced by Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Molly Webster, with help from Simon Adler. Special thanks to Ed Boyden, Cognito Therapeutics, Brad Dickerson, Karen Duff, Zaven Khachaturian, Michael Lutz, Kevin M. Spencer, and Peter Uhlhaas. Producer's note about the image: Those neon green things in the image are microglia, the brain’s immune cells, or, as we describe them in our episode, the janitor cells of the brain. Straight from MIT’s research files, this image shows microglia who have gotten light stimulation therapy (one can only hope in the flicker room). You can see their many, super-long tentacles, which would be used to feel out anything that didn’t belong in the brain. And then they’d eat it! Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
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24 min
November 22, 2016
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - Object Anyway
At the trial of James Batson in 1982, the prosecution eliminated all the black jurors from the jury pool. Batson objected, setting off a complicated discussion about jury selection that would make its way all the way up to the Supreme Court. On this episode of More Perfect, the Supreme Court ruling that was supposed to prevent race-based jury selection, but may have only made the problem worse. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.      
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49 min
October 27, 2016
Alpha Gal
Tuck your napkin under your chin.  We’re about to serve up a tale of love, loss, and lamb chops.  For as long as she can remember, Amy Pearl has loved meat in all its glorious cuts and marbled flavors. And then one day, for seemingly no reason, her body wouldn’t tolerate it.  No steaks. No brisket. No weenies.  It made no sense to her or to her doctor: why couldn’t she eat something that she had routinely enjoyed for decades? Something our evolutionary forebears have eaten since time immemorial? The answer involves mysterious maps, interpretive dance, and a collision of three different species. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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34 min
October 12, 2016
Seneca, Nebraska
Back in 2014 the town of Seneca, Nebraska was deeply divided. How divided? They were so fed up with each other that some citizens began circulating a petition that proposed a radical solution. If a majority wanted to they'd self-destruct, end the town and wipe their community off the map.  Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
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29 min
September 23, 2016
The Primitive Streak
Last May, two research groups announced a breakthrough: they each grew human embryos, in the lab, longer than ever before. In doing so, they witnessed a period of human development no one had ever seen. But in the process, they crashed up against something called the '14-day rule,' a guideline set over 30 years ago that dictates what we do, and possibly how we feel, about human embryos in the lab. On this episode, join producer Molly Webster as she peers down at our very own origins, and wonders: what do we do now? This piece was produced by Molly Webster and Annie McEwen, with help from Matt Kielty. Special thanks goes to the Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University; Omar Sultan Haque, Kevin Fitzgerald, SJ, and Josephine Johnston; Charlie McCarthy; Elizabeth Lockett, Mark Hill, and Robert Cork; plus, Eric Boodman, Lauren Morello, and Martin Pera. Producer's note about the image: Check out the super cool picture that's running with this piece. Scientist Gist Croft sent it to me a couple of weeks after my visit to the Rockefeller lab: it’s an image of the very embryo I looked at under the microscope - a twelve-day old human embryo - but with all the detail highlighted using fluorescent dye. (When I looked in person, we were using a light microscope that showed everything in black and white, with not nearly that precision.) The neon green bits are what's called the epiblast, the clump of cells from which the entire human body develops. See how it looks like it's pulling apart in to two? The scientists don’t know for sure, but they think this embryo might have been on it's way to becoming TWO embryos. Twinning! In action! Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
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29 min
September 13, 2016
Update: Eye In the Sky
An update on Ross McNutt and his superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he? In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team came up with an idea. With a small plane and a 44 mega-pixel camera, they figured out how to watch an entire city all at once, all day long. Whenever a bomb detonated, they could zoom onto that spot and then, because this eye in the sky had been there all along, they could scroll back in time and see - literally see - who planted it. After the war, Ross McNutt retired from the Air Force, and brought this technology back home with him. Manoush Zomorodi and Alex Goldmark from the podcast “Note to Self” give us the lowdown on Ross’s unique brand of persistent surveillance, from Juarez, Mexico to Dayton, Ohio. Then, once we realize what we can do, we wonder whether we should. Produced by Andy Mills. Special thanks to Dan Tucker and George Schulz. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
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36 min
August 29, 2016
The Girl Who Doesn't Exist
In today’s episode, we meet a young woman from Texas, born and raised, who can’t prove that she exists. Alecia Faith Pennington was born at home, homeschooled, and never visited a dentist or a hospital. By both chance and design she is completely invisible in the eyes of the state. We follow Faith as she struggles to free herself from one restrictive world only to find that she is trapped in another. In her journey to prove her American citizenship she attempts to answer the age-old question: who am I? Reported and produced by Alexandra Leigh Young. Produced by Andy Mills and Brenna Farrell. Special thanks to Savannah Escobar, Nick Reed, Chris Van Deusen, David Glenn, Zen Allegra, Russell Whelan, Rachel Coleman and Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. Correction: An earlier version of this episode's web copy incorrectly stated that Faith Pennington was born on a farm. Pennington was born at home in Houston, TX, then she and her family moved to a farm in Kerrville, TX, where she was raised.  Faith’s original Youtube video is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPtpKNyaO0U For updates on Faith’s journey, visit her Facebook page Help Me Prove It: https://www.facebook.com/Help-Me-Prove-It-882732628415890/ Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
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33 min
August 22, 2016
Playing God
When people are dying and you can only save some, how do you choose? Maybe you save the youngest. Or the sickest. Maybe you even just put all the names in a hat and pick at random. Would your answer change if a sick person was 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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61 min
July 30, 2016
From Tree to Shining Tree
A forest can feel like a place of great stillness and quiet. But if you dig a little deeper, there’s a hidden world beneath your feet as busy and complicated as a city at rush hour. In this story, a dog introduces us to a strange creature that burrows beneath forests, building an underground network where deals are made and lives are saved (and lost) in a complex web of friendships, rivalries, and business relations. It’s a network that scientists are only just beginning to untangle and map, and it’s not only turning our understanding of forests upside down, it’s leading some researchers to rethink what it means to be intelligent.  Produced by Annie McEwen and Brenna Farrell. Special Thanks to Latif Nasser, Stephanie Tam, Teresa Ryan, Marc Guttman, and Professor Nicholas P. Money at Miami University.  Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified naturalist David Attenborough as his late brother, actor Richard Attenborough. In addition, it dated the earliest scientific studies of fungi to the late 19th century, whereas naturalists have studied fungi since the 17th century. Lastly, we mistakenly stated that the oxygen that a plant respires comes from CO2, when in reality it comes from water. The audio has been adjusted to correct these facts. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.   
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32 min
July 12, 2016
David and the Wire
David Weinberg was stuck. He had been kicked out of college, was cleaning toilets by day, delivering pizzas by night and spending his weekends in jail. Then one night he heard a story on the radio and got it in his head that maybe he too could make a great radio story. He’d cast himself as the main character in a great documentary and he’d travel and live and steer his way out of his rut. So he bought a recorder and began to secretly record every last meaningful and mundane minute of his life and he found his great idea transformed into a troubling obsession. The very thing that gave him hope and purpose was also distancing him from those he loved the most. What if he’d created an archive of his life that had become his life? Produced by Andy Mills. David Weinberg is an award winning reporter and producer for KCRW. His most recent project is Below The Ten (www.belowtheten.com) The iTunes page for the series: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/kcrws-below-ten-life-in-south/id1030625802 He has taken lots of those old recordings (and lots of new ones too) and put them together in a collection called Random Tape http://randomtape.com/ David explored some of this story on the late, great CBC show Wiretap: https://beta.prx.org/stories/82541 David isn't alone in being inspired by Scott Carrier. You can listen to his This American Life stories here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/search?keys=scott%20carrier And we highly recommend his podcast Home of the Brave: http://homebrave.com/ Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    
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31 min
June 28, 2016
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Imperfect Plaintiffs
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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65 min
June 10, 2016
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Political Thicket
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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43 min
June 3, 2016
The Buried Bodies Case
In 1973, a massive manhunt in New York's Adirondack Mountains ended when police captured a man named Robert Garrow.  And that’s when this story really gets started.   This episode we consider a string of barbaric crimes by a hated man, and the attorney who, when called to defend him, also wound up defending a core principle of our legal system.  When Frank Armani learned his client’s most gruesome secrets, he made a morally startling decision that stunned the world and goes to the heart of what it means to be a defense attorney - how far should lawyers go to provide the best defense to the worst people? NOTE: This episode contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault and violence. Produced by Matt Kielty and Brenna Farrell. Reported by Brenna Farrell. Special thanks to Tom Alibrandi, author of Privileged Information, with Frank Armani, Laurence Gooley, author of Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow, Charl Bader and the students in her Criminal Defense Clinic at Fordham University, Leslie Levin and the students in her Legal Profession class at The University of Connecticut School of Law, Clark D. Cunningham at Georgia State University College of Law, Debra Armani, Mary Armani, Lohr McKinstry, Tom Scozzafava, Stephanie Jenkins, Brian Farrell, Jennifer Brumback and Nick Capodice. 
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47 min
May 24, 2016
Coming Soon: More Perfect
How does an elite group of nine people shape everything from marriage and money, to safety and sex for an entire nation? From the producers of Radiolab, More Perfect dives into the rarefied world of the Supreme Court to explain how cases deliberated inside hallowed halls affect lives far away from the bench. 
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1 min
May 10, 2016
Bigger Than Bacon
Today's story is a mystery, shockingly hot, and vanishingly tiny. It starts with a sound, rising like a mist from the marsh, around a dock in South Carolina. But where it goes next - from submarines to superheroes (and yes, Keanu Reeves!); from the surface of the sun to the middle of the brain - is far from expected. Producer Molly Webster brings her family along for the ride. Enjoy the adventure, before it...implodes.  Produced by Molly Webster and Annie McEwen. Reported by Molly Webster. Guest sound designer, Jeremy Bloom. Special thanks to Kullervo Hynynen, James Bird, and Lawrence Crum.  After you listen to the episode (spoiler alerts): Wanna see the shrimp bubble in super slowmo? Check it out here (and note, of the 1,400 views on this video, producer Molly Webster probably comprises 752). If you want to see cavitation bubbles form, and think you might enjoy watching it happen in French, check this out - the high frame rate makes these shots divine.  Bigger Better Bubbles  Before Dave Stein, soap bubbles were round, smallish, and collapsed with a pop. Now, they are anything but.  Today we explore the story of one man, who - in an instant, changed the art of bubble blowing and what it means to be a bubble forever.  Produced by Simon Adler Special thanks to Megan Colby Parker, Gary Pearlman, David Erk, Rick Findley and everyone who came out to blow giant bubbles with us in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.  You can hear Jad's bubble dance party song here    
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37 min
April 22, 2016
On the Edge
At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, one athlete pulled a move that, so far as we know, no one else had ever done in all of human history. Surya Bonaly was not your typical figure skater.  She was black. She was athletic. And she didn’t seem to care about artistry.  Her performances – punctuated by triple-triple jumps and other power moves – thrilled audiences around the world.  Yet, commentators claimed she couldn’t skate, and judges never gave her the high marks she felt she deserved.  But Surya didn’t accept that criticism.  Unlike her competitors – ice princesses who hid behind demure smiles – Surya made her feelings known.  And, at her final Olympic performance, she attempted one jump that flew in the face of the establishment, and marked her for life as a rebel.  This week, we lace up our skates and tell a story about loving a sport that doesn’t love you back, and being judged in front of the world according to rules you don’t understand.  Produced by Matt Kielty with help from Tracie Hunte. Reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte Special thanks to the Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, the Schwan Super Rink, Richmond Training Center, Simon Bowers of Bowers Audio Service, Vanessa Gusmeroli, Phil Hersh, Allison Manley, Randy Harvey, Rob Bailey and Lynn Plage, Michael Rosenberg, and Linda Lewis If you heard "On the Edge" and you're looking to fall in love with figure skating all over again, start here: http://www.radiolab.org/story/here-are-skating-routines-we-cant-stop-watching/ You can take the survey we mentioned at the beginning of this episode here: https://www.research.net/r/wnyclistener  Thank you!  
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42 min
April 6, 2016
Cellmates
There’s a black hole in the middle of the history of life: how did we go from tiny bags of chemicals to the vast menagerie of creatures we see around us?  Today, we explore one of the most underrated mysteries of all time, and present one possible answer that takes us from an unexpected houseguest to a tiny bolt of lightning to every critter you hold dear. It’s the story of one cosmic oops moment that changed the game of life forever.   Production help from Matt Kielty and Annie McEwen. Reporting help from Latif Nasser. Special thanks to Eric Steinbrook, Scott Dawson, Ahna Skop & Rachel Whittaker
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30 min
March 23, 2016
Update: 23 Weeks 6 Days
An update on Juniper French, a tiny baby, born at 23 Weeks and 6 days -- roughly halfway to full term. And a whole universe of medical and moral questions. Technology has had a profound effect on how we get pregnant, give birth, and think about life and death. The decision to become parents was not an easy one for Kelley and Tom. Even after they sorted out their relationship issues and hopes for the future, getting pregnant wasn't easy. But, thanks to a lot of technology, they found a way to a baby. Then, about halfway through the pregnancy, the trouble began. Neonatal nurse practitioner Diane Loisel describes helping Kelley and Tom make the most important decision of their lives. And Nita Farahany helps Jad and Robert understand the significance of viability, and how technology has influenced its meaning...making a difficult idea even harder to pin down. Kelley and Tom had hoped that meeting their daughter would be the happiest moment of their life. But when she came early -- at just 23 weeks and 6 days, that moment was full of terror and an impossibly difficult decision. And when the time came to face it, Tom and Kelley turned to their baby for help. Seeing their daughter for the first time, they looked for her to "declare herself." That's a phrase that comes up again and again to help guide decisions in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. But parents and medical professionals have very different ideas about what the phrase really means. Nurse Tracy Hullet and Neonatologist Keith Barrington describe the difficulty of interpreting the fuzzy boundary between a baby's strength of will, and simple physiology. Meanwhile Kelley and Tom are left to wonder, and wait. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, is a land of emotional and medical limbo. Kelley, Tom, and their daughter Juniper got stranded in this limbo for months, fighting to survive, and finally get to the next chapter of their lives. Their doctor, Fauzia Shakeel, describes the moment when Juniper's life hung in the balance, and Keith Barrington helps us understand how our newest technologies open the door not only to hope, but also to a pain that we, as humans, have kept hidden for most of our history. And finally, Kelley, Tom, Nita Farahany and Juniper herself, nearly 5 years old, give us an update on her life and what has happened since our story originally aired.  Juniper and Kelley (Photo Credit: Kelley Benham)    
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62 min
March 11, 2016
Debatable
Unclasp your briefcase. It’s time for a showdown. In competitive debate future presidents, supreme court justices, and titans of industry pummel each other with logic and rhetoric.  But a couple years ago Ryan Wash, a queer, Black, first-generation college student from Kansas City, Missouri joined the debate team at Emporia State University. When he started going up against fast-talking, well-funded, “name-brand” teams, it was clear he wasn’t in Kansas anymore. So Ryan became the vanguard of a movement that made everything about debate debatable. In the end, he made himself a home in a strange and hostile land. Whether he was able to change what counts as rigorous academic argument … well, that’s still up for debate. Produced by Matt Kielty. Reported by Abigail Keel Special thanks to Will Baker, Myra Milam, John Dellamore, Sam Mauer, Tiffany Dillard Knox, Mary Mudd, Darren "Chief" Elliot, Jodee Hobbs, Rashad Evans and Luke Hill.  Special thanks also to Torgeir Kinne Solsvik for use of the song h-lydisk / B Lydian from the album Geirr Tveitt Piano Works and Songs
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57 min
February 24, 2016
K-poparazzi
In the U.S., paparazzi are pretty much synonymous with invasion of privacy. But today we travel to a place where the prying press create something more like a prison break.  K-pop is a global juggernaut - with billions in sales and millions of fans hanging on every note, watching K-pop idols synchronize and strut. And that fame rests on a fantasy, K-pop stars have to be chaste and pure, but also … available. Until recently, Korean music agencies and K-pop fans held their pop stars to a strict set of rules designed to keep that fantasy alive. That is, until Dispatch showed up. Taking a cue from American and British paparazzi, a group of South Korean reporters started hiding in their cars and snapping photos of stars on their secret dates. The first-ever paparazzi photos turned the world of K-pop upside down and introduced sort of a puzzle … how much do you want to know about the people you idolize, and when is enough enough? Produced by Matthew Kielty and Alexandra Young. Reported by Alexandra Young with Brenna Farrell. Special Thanks to Dispatch, Haeryun Kang, Joseph Kim, Charlie Cho, Hyena, Crayon Pop, Jeremy Bloom, The Kirukkiruk Guesthouse, Choi Baekseol, Jiin Choi, David Bevan, and The One Shots.  And if, like us, this story leaves you with an insatiable desire to listen to K-pop here is a starter list of our recommendations: 
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37 min
February 12, 2016
Hard Knock Life
This Valentine's Day, a mysterious tap tap tapping leads us into a world of sex, death, and head-banging. Biologist Dave Goulson introduces us to the lonely yearnings of an especially pathetic beetle and snatches a sound back from the hands of the devil himself.  Featuring rapping about rapping from extra special guests Lin-Manuel Miranda, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Freestyle Love Supreme.  Produced by Simon Adler. We had engineering help from Rick Kwan.
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19 min
January 30, 2016
I Don't Have To Answer That
Roosevelt, Kennedy, Eisenhower … they all got a pass. But today we peer back at the moment when poking into the private lives of political figures became standard practice. In 1987, Gary Hart was a young charismatic Democrat, poised to win his party’s nomination and possibly the presidency. Many of us know the story of what happened next, and even if you don’t, it’s a familiar tale. But at the time, politicians and political reporters found themselves in uncharted territory. With help from author Matt Bai, we look at how the events of that May shaped the way we cover politics, and expanded our sense of what's appropriate when it comes to judging a candidate.   Produced by Simon Adler Special Thanks to Joe Trippi
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34 min
December 28, 2015
The Cathedral
Ryan and Amy Green were facing the unfaceable: their youngest son, Joel was diagnosed with terminal cancer after his first birthday. Producer Sruthi Pinnamaneni tells the story of how Ryan and Amy stumble onto an unlikely way of processing their experience fighting alongside Joel: they decide to turn it into a video game. In the end, they find themselves facing what might be, for a game designer or a parent, the hardest design problem ever. Correction: In the original audio we stated that the survival rate of childhood AT/RT cancer is 50% over five years. But studies suggest the survival rate is 50% over two years. The audio has been updated to reflect this change. For an extended version of this story and a bunch more incredible stories, go check out Reply All. Special thanks to Eilis O’ Neill, Jon Hillman, and Josh Larson. This episode included audio from “Thank You For Playing,” a documentary film about the creation of That Dragon, Cancer by David Osit & Malika Zouhali-Worrall. You can learn more about the film and where you can see it, at thankyouforplayingfilm.com. For more, we suggest reading Wired's "Playing For Time."
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31 min
December 18, 2015
The Fix
This episode we take a sober look at the throbbing, aching, craving desire states that return people (again and again) to the object of their addiction … and the pills that just might set them free. Reporter Amy O’Leary was fed up with her ex-boyfriend’s hard-drinking, when she discovered a French doctor’s memoir titled The End of My Addiction.  The fix that he proposed seemed too good to be true.  But her phone call with the doctor left her, and us, even more intrigued. Could this malady – so often seen as moral and spiritual - really be beaten back with a pill? We talk to addiction researcher Dr. Anna Rose Childress, addiction psychologist Dr. Mark Willenbring, journalist Gabrielle Glaser, The National Institute of Health’s Dr. Nora Volkow, and scores of people dealing with substance abuse as we try to figure out whether we're in the midst of a sea change in how we think about addiction. Produced by Andy Mills with Simon Adler If you are someone looking for help with a substance abuse problem and want to find health care services in your area, check out this map from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. For more on Dr. Mark Willenbring and the Alltyr Clinic visit their website. If you’d like to hear more from Nora Volkow you can watch her speech from this summer’s American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting. Or watch her and other top addiction researchers at last year’s World Science Fair   
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40 min
November 30, 2015
The Cold War
Editor's Note: In our podcast, The Cold War, we failed to correctly credit David Wolman and Julian Smith, who wrote and reported the article on which it was based. At the time we published this podcast, we had not properly determined the extent of their role in finding and developing this story. As a result, we have removed the episode from the Radiolab archive.  We did not feel a correction could rectify the problem and Radiolab honors its relationships with contributors too much to let the error remain. We apologize to David and Julian.    
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28 min
November 3, 2015
Staph Retreat
What happens when you combine an axe-wielding microbiologist and a disease-obsessed historian? A strange brew that's hard to resist, even for a modern day microbe. In the war on devilish microbes, our weapons are starting to fail us.  The antibiotics we once wielded like miraculous flaming swords seem more like lukewarm butter knives. But today we follow an odd couple to a storied land of elves and dragons. There, they uncover a 1000-year-old secret that makes us reconsider our most basic assumptions about human progress and wonder: What if the only way forward is backward? Reported by Latif Nasser. Produced by Matt Kielty and Soren Wheeler. Special thanks to Steve Diggle, Professor Roberta Frank, Alexandra Reider and Justin Park (our Old English readers), Gene Murrow from Gotham Early Music Scene, Marcia Young for her performance on the medieval harp and Collin Monro of Tadcaster and the rest of the Barony of Iron Bog.
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29 min
October 19, 2015
Update: New Normal?
An update: Peacenik baboons, a man in a dress and cuddly tame foxes. Stories of adaptation, and reframing ideas about normalcy. 3 stories where choice challenges destiny. 
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68 min
October 6, 2015
Smile My Ass
As Candid Camera succeeded, it started to change the way we thought not only of reality television, but also of reality itself.
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34 min
September 22, 2015
Darkode
It would seem that hackers today can do just about anything they want - from turning on the cellphone in your pocket to holding your life's work hostage. Cyber criminals today have more sophisticated tools, have learned to work collaboratively around the world and have found innovative ways to remain deep undercover in the internet's shadows. This episode, we shine a light into those shadows to see the world from the perspectives of both cybercrime victims and perpetrators. First we meet mother-daughter duo Alina and Inna Simone, who tell us about being held hostage by criminals who have burrowed into their lives from half a world away. Along the way we learn about the legally sticky spot that unwitting accomplices like Will Wheeler find themselves in. Then reporter and author Joseph Menn tells us about the surprisingly lucrative professional hacker structure in places throughout the former Soviet Union. Finally, the co-creator of one of the most notorious online marketplaces to ever exist speaks to us and NPR cyber-crime expert Dina Temple-Raston about how a young suburban Boy Scout can turn into a world renowned black hat hacker. Produced by Kelsey Padgett and Andy Mills. 
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37 min
September 7, 2015
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, Diogo Veríssimo  
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50 min
August 30, 2015
Remembering Oliver Sacks
In memory of one of our dear friends, a re-release of our last conversation with Dr. Oliver Sacks.  
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25 min
August 23, 2015
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 for organizing poetry performances and to the mighty Sylvan Esso 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".  Check out Jaime Lowe's book Mental: Lithium, Love and Losing My Mind
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73 min
August 6, 2015
From the Archives: Oliver Sacks' Table of Elements
As we're busy working on our next episode, with stories inspired by the Periodic Table of Elements, we thought we'd bring you one of its chief inspirations.  As a young boy, neurologist, author and Radiolab favorite Oliver Sacks pored over the pages of the Handbook of Physics and Chemistry, fantasizing about the day that he, like the shy gas Xenon, would find a companion with whom to connect and share. That companion turned out to be the Periodic Table of the Elements itself, a relationship he's never outgrown. He introduces us to the elements that he's known and loved. 
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16 min
July 31, 2015
Shrink
The definition of life is in flux, complexity is overrated, and humans are shrinking. Viruses are supposed to be sleek, pared-down, dead-eyed machines. But when one microbiologist stumbled upon a GIANT virus, hundreds of times bigger than any seen before, all that went out the window.  The discovery opened the door not only to a new cast of microscopic characters with names like Mimivirus, Mamavirus, and Megavirus, but also to basic questions: How did we miss these until now? Have they been around since the beginning? What if evolution could go … backwards? Join Jad and Robert as they grill Radiolab regular Carl Zimmer on these paradoxical viruses – they’re so big that they can get their own viruses! - and what they can tell us about the nature of life.   
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43 min
July 16, 2015
Gray's Donation
A donation leads Sarah and Ross Gray to places we rarely get a chance to see. In this surprising journey, they gain a view of science that is redemptive, fussy facts that are tender, and parts of a loved one that add up to something unexpected. Before he was even born, Sarah and Ross knew that their son Thomas wouldn’t live long. But as they let go of him, they made a decision that reverberated through a world that they never bothered to think about. Years later, after a couple awkward phone calls and an unexpected family road trip, they managed to meet the people and places for whom Thomas’ short life was an altogether different kind of gift.     Since we first aired this segment, some exciting things have happened in the Gray's world. Our producer Tracie Hunte sat down with Sarah Gray to get the low-down on what's new. Check it out here:     
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25 min
July 3, 2015
Mau Mau
This is the story of a few documents that tumbled out of the secret archives of the biggest empire the world has ever known, offering a glimpse of histories waiting to be rewritten.
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43 min
June 18, 2015
Eye in the Sky
Ross McNutt has a superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he? In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team came up with an idea. With a small plane and a 44 mega-pixel camera, they figured out how to watch an entire city all at once, all day long. Whenever a bomb detonated, they could zoom onto that spot and then, because this eye in the sky had been there all along, they could scroll back in time and see - literally see - who planted it. After the war, Ross McNutt retired from the airforce, and brought this technology back home with him. Manoush Zomorodi and Alex Goldmark from the podcast “Note to Self” give us the low-down on Ross’s unique brand of persistent surveillance, from Juarez, Mexico to Dayton, Ohio. Then, once we realize what we can do, we wonder whether we should. Special thanks to Dan Tucker and George Schulz. More info: Listen to Note to Self's episode on surveillance coverage. "New surveillance technology can track everyone in an area for several hours at a time," from the Washington Post "Hollywood-style surveillance technology inches closer to reality," from the Center of Investigative Reporting Ross McNutt's company Persistent Surveillance Systems
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28 min
June 6, 2015
Antibodies Part 1: CRISPR
Hidden inside some of the world’s smallest organisms is one of the most powerful tools scientists have ever stumbled across. It's a defense system that has existed in bacteria for millions of years and it may some day let us change the course of human evolution.  Out drinking with a few biologists, Jad finds out about something called CRISPR. No, it’s not a robot or the latest dating app, it’s a method for genetic manipulation that is rewriting the way we change DNA. Scientists say they’ll someday be able to use CRISPR to fight cancer and maybe even bring animals back from the dead. Or, pretty much do whatever you want. Jad and Robert delve into how CRISPR does what it does, and consider whether we should be worried about a future full of flying pigs, or the simple fact that scientists have now used CRISPR to tweak the genes of human embryos. As of February 24th, 2017 we've updated this story.
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30 min
May 22, 2015
Nazi Summer Camp
Reporter Karen Duffin and her father were talking one day when, just as an aside, he mentioned the Nazi prisoners of war that worked on his Idaho farm when he was a kid. Karen was shocked ... and then immediately obsessed. So she spoke with historians, dug through the National Archives and oral histories, and uncovered the astonishing story of a small town in Alabama overwhelmed by thousands of German prisoners of war.  Along the way, she discovered that a very fundamental question  - one that we are struggling with today  -  was playing out seventy years ago in hundreds of towns across America: When your enemy is at your mercy, how should you treat them? Karen helps Jad and Robert try to figure out why we did what we did then, and why we are doing things so differently now. Produced by Kelsey Padgett.  CORRECTION: A previous version of this podcast stated that the Nuremberg Laws and the Mississippi Black Code could be viewed side by side at a museum in Nuremberg. We were unable to confirm the existence of such an exhibit. We were also unable to confirm that the Nuremberg Laws were literally copied from the Mississippi Black Codes. The audio has been corrected to reflect this. We've gathered more photos of Camp Aliceville here Special thanks to: Mary Bess Paluzzi, founding director of the Aliceville Museum  John Gillum, current Director of the Aliceville Museum Sam Love, a filmmaker who gathered the oral histories Ruth Beaumont Cook, who wrote a great book about Aliceville
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30 min
May 12, 2015
Radiolab Live: Tell-Tale Hearts featuring Oliver Sacks
A few days ago Radiolab performed a live show and this episode we're bringing you a few of the highlights. They were stories of what motivates us, our drives, our loves and losses. Producer Molly Webster tells us the story of life, near-death and what happens when your heart starts to work against you. And we visit with Dr. Oliver Sacks one last time to reflect on his life, his loves and his endless sense of wonder. Special thanks to our musical guests, SO Percussion and Sarah Lipstate
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58 min
April 28, 2015
Sight Unseen
In December of 2009, photojournalist Lynsey Addario 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? Special thanks to Chris Hughes and Helium Records for the use of Shift Part IV from the album Shift
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29 min
April 9, 2015
The Living Room
We're thrilled to present a piece from one of our favorite podcasts, Love + Radio (Nick van der Kolk and Brendan Baker).  Producer Briana Breen brings us the story: Diane’s new neighbors across the way never shut their curtains, and that was the beginning of an intimate, but very one-sided relationship. Please listen to as much of Love + Radio as you can. 
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28 min
April 2, 2015
VIDEO: Radiolab Presents: Radio Ambulante
Our story Los Frikis was a collaboration with Radio Ambulante, who produced a story of their own about two of the last surviving frikis, Yohandra and Gerson. They've also made a translated video of their Spanish-language piece and we're thrilled to share it with you.   Reporter Luis Trelles went to visit Yohandra and Gerson in the sanitarium where they still reside, still punks and still alive, though all their fellow frikis have died.   Yohandra and Gerson at the sanitarium in Pinar del Rio (Photo Credit: Luis Trelles)    
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March 24, 2015
Los Frikis
How a group of 80’s Cuban misfits found rock-and-roll and created a revolution within a revolution, going into exile without ever leaving home. In a collaboration with Radio Ambulante, reporter Luis Trelles bring us the story of punk rock’s arrival in Cuba and a small band of outsiders who sentenced themselves to death and set themselves free. Gerson Govea (Photo Credit: Josu Tueba Leiva) Produced by Tim Howard & Matt Kielty. With production help from Andy Mills.  Special thanks to VIH, Eskoria, Metamorfosis and Alio Die & Mariolina Zitta for the use of their music. 
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31 min
February 24, 2015
La Mancha Screwjob
All the world’s a stage. So we push through the fourth wall, pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past to unmask our obsession with authenticity and our desire to walk the line between reality and fantasy. Thanks to Nick Hakim for the use of his song "The Light". 
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51 min
February 10, 2015
The Trust Engineers
When we talk online, things can go south fast. But they don’t have to. Today, we meet a group of social engineers who are convinced that tiny changes in wording can make the online world a kinder, gentler place. So long as we agree to be their lab rats. Ok, yeah, we’re talking about Facebook. Because Facebook, or something like it, is more and more the way we share and like, and gossip and gripe. And because it's so big, Facebook has a created a laboratory of human behavior the likes of which we’ve never seen. We peek into the work of Arturo Bejar and a team of researchers who are tweaking our online experience, bit by bit, to try to make the world a better place. And along the way we can’t help but wonder whether that’s possible, or even a good idea.    
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30 min
January 29, 2015
American Football
Today, we tackle football. It’s the most popular sport in the US, shining a sometimes harsh light on so much of what we have been, what we are, and what we hope to be. Savage, creative, brutal and balletic, whether you love it or loathe it … it’s a touchstone of the American identity. Along with conflicted parents and players and coaches who aren’t sure if the game will survive, we take a deep dive into the surprising history of how the game came to be. At the end of the 19th century, football is a nascent and nasty sport. The sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles. But then the Carlisle Indian School, formed in 1879 to assimilate the children and grandchildren of the Native American men who fought the final Plains Wars, fields the most American team of all. The kids at Carlisle took the field to face off against a new world that was destroying theirs, and along the way, they changed the fundamentals of football forever.  Correction: An earlier version of this episode included a few errors that we have corrected. We've also added one new piece of information.  The piece originally stated that British football had no referees.  While this was true in the earliest days of British football, they were eventually added. We stated that referees were added to American football in response to Pop Warner. American referees existed prior to Pop Warner, in order to address brutality as well as the kind of rule-bending that Pop Warner specialized in. Chuck Klosterman said that the three most popular sports in the US are football, college football and major league baseball. In fact, baseball actually ranks 2nd, college football is third. Monet Edwards stated that 33 members of her family were players in the NFL. That number is actually 13.  We also added one new fact: over 200 students at The Carlisle Indian School died of malnutrition, poor health or distress from homesickness.  The audio has been adjusted to reflect these corrections.
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74 min
January 9, 2015
Radiolab Presents: Invisibilia
Producers' Note: A correction has been made to this audio to reflect the wishes of the subject of this story, Paige Abendroth. NPR's Invisibilia's originally included Paige's birth name in this piece due to a miscommunication between Invisibilia's reporter, Alix Spiegel and Paige. We have not been in contact with Paige directly, but NPR has issued the following statement from Anne Gudenkauf, senior supervising editor of NPR's science desk: "We would never have violated Paige’s wishes in this story; it’s an unfortunate misunderstanding.  Invisibilia's upcoming episode on Paige will be edited to remove references to the name she no longer recognizes. Also the upcoming episode, which focuses on how categories affect us all, will explore in more depth the changes in Paige's life over the two years that she and Alix have spoken and will do that, as always, with attention to bi-gender and transgender reporting guidelines." Former Radiolab producer Lulu Miller and NPR reporter Alix Spiegel come to the studio to give us a sneak peak of their new show, Invisibilia. Invisibilia has an upcoming episode about categories, so Alix tells us a story about two very basic categories: boy and girl. We've heard lots of stories about the sometimes blurry boundaries between boy and girl, but Alix introduces us to someone who experiences those categories in a way that was totally, completely new to us.      
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31 min
December 23, 2014
Worth
This episode, we make three earnest, possibly foolhardy, attempts to put a price on the priceless. We figure out the dollar value for an accidental death, another day of life, and the work of bats and bees as we try to keep our careful calculations from falling apart in the face of the realities of life, and love, and loss.
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71 min
December 12, 2014
Buttons Not Buttons
Buttons are usually small and unimportant. But not always. Sometimes they are a portal to power, freedom, and destruction. Today we thread together tales of taking charge of the little things in life, of fortunes made and lost, and of the ease with which the world can end.  Confused? Push the button marked Play.   Special thanks for the music of Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra
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26 min
November 29, 2014
Outside Westgate
In the wake of public tragedy there is a space between the official narrative and the stories of the people who experienced it. Today, we crawl inside that space and question the role of journalists in helping us move on from a traumatic event.  NPR's East Africa correspondent Gregory Warner takes us back to the 2013 terrorist attacks on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Warner reported on the attack as it happened, listening to eyewitness accounts, sorting out the facts, establishing the truth. But he's been been wrestling with it ever since as his friends and neighbors try not only to put their lives back together, but also try to piece together what really happened that day. Special thanks to Jason Straziuso, Heidi Vogt, Robert Alai, Didi Schanche and Edith Chapin.
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36 min
November 13, 2014
Patient Zero - Updated
The greatest mysteries have a shadowy figure at the center—someone who sets things in motion and holds the key to how the story unfolds—Patient Zero. This hour, Radiolab hunts for Patient Zeroes of all kinds and considers the course of an ongoing outbreak. We start with the story of perhaps the most iconic Patient Zero of all time: Typhoid Mary. Then, we dive into a molecular detective story to pinpoint the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, and we re-imagine the moment the virus that caused the global pandemic sprang to life. After that, we update the show with a quick look at the very current Ebola outbreak in west Africa. In the end, we're left wondering if you can trace the spread of an idea the way you can trace the spread of a disease and find ourselves faced with competing claims about the origin of the high five.
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68 min
October 30, 2014
Haunted
Dennis Conrow was stuck. After a brief stint at college, he’d passed most of his 20’s back home with his parents, sleeping in his childhood room. And just when he finally struck out on his own, fate intervened. He lost both his parents to cancer. So Dennis was left, back in the house, alone. Until one night when a group of paranormal investigators showed up at his door and made him realize what it really means for a house, or a man, to be haunted.
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30 min
October 20, 2014
Translation
How close can words get you to the truth and feel and force of life? That's the question poking at our ribs this hour, as we wonder how it is that the right words can have the wrong meanings, and why sometimes the best translations lead us to an understanding that's way deeper than language. This episode, 8 stories that play out in the middle space between one reality and another — where poetry, insult comedy, 911 calls, and even our own bodies work to close the gap.   Special thanks for the music of Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra
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75 min
October 3, 2014
John Luther Adams
What's the soundtrack for the end of the world? We go looking for an answer. When Jad started to compose music for our live show Apocalyptical, he immediately thought of John Luther Adams. Adams' symphony “Become Ocean,” rooted in the sounds of nature, is elemental, tectonic, and unstoppable. It seemed a natural fit for our consideration of the (spoiler alert) extinction of the dinosaurs. In this piece, Jad introduces Robert to a special on Adams from a podcast called Meet the Composer. Through interviews and snippets of his music, it captures all the forces at play in Adam's work and reveals the dark majesty of Adams' take on the apocalypse.
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25 min
September 18, 2014
Juicervose
Ron and Cornelia Suskind had two healthy young sons, promising careers, and a brand new home when their youngest son Owen started to disappear.  3 months later a specialist sat Ron and Cornelia down and said the word that changed everything for them: Autism.  In this episode, the Suskind family finds an unlikely way to access their silent son's world. We set off to figure out what their story can tell us about Autism, a disorder with a wide spectrum of symptoms and severity. Along the way, we speak to specialists, therapists, and advocates including Simon Baron-Cohen, Barry and Raun Kaufmann, Dave Royko, Geraldine Dawson, Temple Grandin, and Gil Tippy. Produced by Kelsey Padgett.
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43 min
September 8, 2014
In The Dust Of This Planet
Horror, fashion, and the end of the world … things get weird as we explore the undercurrents of thought that link nihilists, beard-stroking philosophers, Jay-Z, and True Detective. Today on Radiolab, a puzzle. Jad’s brother-in-law wrote a book called 'In The Dust of This Planet'. It’s an academic treatise about the horror humanity feels as we realize that we are nothing but a speck in the universe. For a few years nobody read it. But then …   It seemed to show up on True Detective.   Then in a fashion magazine.   And then on Jay-Z's back. How?   We talk nihilism with Eugene Thacker & Simon Critchley, leather jackets with June Ambrose, climate change with David Victor, and hope with the father of Transcendental Black Metal - Hunter Hunt Hendrix of the band Liturgy. Special thanks to Thrill Jockey for use of the Liturgy song 'Generation'. It's from their album Aesthetica, out now, which is highly recommended listening for the end times. You can find Eugene Thacker's 'In The Dust Of the Planet' at Zero Books Correction: An earlier version of this piece mistakenly identified Nic Pizzolatto as the director of True Detective, when he is in fact the creator, writer, and executive producer of the series. The audio has been adjusted to reflect this fact. Cary Fukunaga (brilliantly) directed season one of True Detective. 
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41 min
August 21, 2014
Hello
It's hard to start a conversation with a stranger—especially when that stranger is, well, different. He doesn't share your customs, celebrate your holidays, watch your TV shows, or even speak your language. Plus he has a blowhole. In this episode, we try to make contact with some of the strangest strangers on our little planet: dolphins. Producer Lynn Levy eavesdrops on some human-dolphin conversations, from a studio apartment in the Virgin Islands to a research vessel in the Bermuda Triangle.   Special thanks for the music of Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra
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45 min
August 7, 2014
Happy Birthday Bobby K
It’s Robert’s birthday! (Or it was, anyway, a couple days back.) So today we celebrate with some classic Krulwich radio and a backwards peek into the spirit and sensibility that, in many ways, drives our show. For his birthday surprise we all listened to some old NPR pieces that Robert did in the 70s, 80s and early 90s — a news piece on the dawn of the ATM, a fake opera on interest rates, and the story of a family business splintered into relatives fighting to be first in the phone book. Along the way, we hear some incredible stories from Robert’s life …  And, just to celebrate the man whose infectious curiosity draws so many people (including us) to his side … we share with you the kind of gonzo, full-throated Krulwich story we usually can’t include in the show … an epic of secret zoos, sewing machines, an alligator farm, a marching band, and a bus full of French tourists that save the day.
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29 min
July 24, 2014
For the Birds
Today, a lady with a bird in her backyard upends our whole sense of what we may have to give up to keep a wild creature wild.
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14 min
July 17, 2014
Galapagos
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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62 min
June 26, 2014
9-Volt Nirvana
Learn a new language faster than ever! Leave doubt in the dust! Be a better sniper! Could you do all that and more with just a zap to the noggin? Maybe. Sally Adee, an editor at New Scientist, was at a conference for DARPA - The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - when she heard about a way to speed up learning with something called trans-cranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). A couple years later, Sally found herself weilding an M4 assualt rifle, picking off enemy combatants with a battery wired to her temple. Of course, it was a simulation, but Sally's sniper skills made producer Soren Wheeler wonder what we should think of the world of brain stimulation.  In the last couple years, tDCS has been all over the news. Researchers claim that juicing the brain with just 2 milliamps (think 9-volt battery) can help with everything from learning languages, to quitting smoking, to overcoming depression. We bring Michael Weisend, neuroscientist at Wright State Research Institute, into the studio to tell us how it works (Bonus: you get to hear Jad get his brain zapped). Peter Reiner and Nick Fitz of the University of British Columbia help us think through the consequences of a world where anyone with 20 dollars and access to Radioshack can make their own brain zapper. And finally, Sally tells us about the unexpected after-effects of a day of super-charged sniper training and makes us wonder about world where you can order up a state of mind.   Special thanks for the music of Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra  
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24 min
June 13, 2014
≤ kg
A plum-sized lump of metal takes us from the French Revolution to an underground bunker in Maryland as we try to weigh the way we weigh the world around us.
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20 min
May 30, 2014
Things
From a piece of the Wright brother's plane to a child’s sugar egg, today: Things! Important things, little things, personal things, things you can hold and things that can take hold of you. This hour, we investigate the objects around us, their power to move us, and whether it's better to look back or move on, hold on tight or just let go.
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61 min
May 15, 2014
The Skull
Today, the story of one little thing that has radically changed what we know about humanity’s humble beginnings and the kinds of creatures that were out to get us way back when. Wits University Professor Lee Berger and Dr. Chris Stringer from London’s Natural History Museum explain how a child’s skull, found in an ancient cave, eventually helped answer one of our oldest questions: Where do we come from? Then Lee takes us on a journey to answer a somewhat smaller question: how did that child die? Along the way, we visit Dr. Bernhard Zipfel at Wits University in Johannesburg to actually hold the skull itself. We wanted to give you a chance to hold the skull, too. So we did a little experiment: we made a 3D scan of it. If you visit our page on Thingiverse, you’ll see the results. Anyone with access to a 3D printer can print their own copy of the skull. (We printed a bunch, with help from our friends at MakerBot—there’s even a purple one with sparkles.) We also collaborated with the folks at Mmuseumm, a tiny (really tiny, it’s in an elevator shaft) museum in Manhattan. You can visit them to see the 3D printed skull, along with the other wonderful things in their collection: mosquitoes swatted mid-bite, toothpaste tubes from around the world, and much more. Thanks to JP Brown, Emily Graslie and Robert Martin at the Field Museum in Chicago for scanning the skull. Thanks to Curtis Schmitt and shootdigital for refining the scan. Thanks to Bre Pettis and Jenifer Howard at MakerBot for guiding us through the world of 3D printing.  
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20 min
May 2, 2014
For the Love of Numbers
It’s hard to think of anything more rational, more logical and impersonal than a number. But what if we’re all, universally, also deeply attuned to how numbers … feel? Why 2 is warm, 7 is strong and 11 is downright mystical.    
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19 min
April 18, 2014
60 Words
This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace.
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55 min
April 1, 2014
Straight Outta Chevy Chase
From boom bap to EDM, we look at the line between hip-hop and not, and meet a defender of the genre that makes you question... who's in and who's out.
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34 min
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