The Seagulls

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 02 Jun 2023 10:00

In the 1970s, as LGBTQ+ people in the United States faced conservatives whose top argument was that homosexuality is “unnatural,” a pair of young scientists discovered on a tiny island off the coast of California a colony of seagulls that included

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On the Edge

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 26 May 2023 10:00

At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, one athlete pulled a move that, as far as we know, no one else had ever attempted. In this episode, first aired in the Spring of 2016, we tell you about Surya Bonaly. Surya was not your typical figure

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Family People

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 19 May 2023 10:00

In 2021, editor Alex Neason's grandfather passed away. On his funeral program, she learned the name of his father for the first time: Wilson Howard. Not Neason. Howard. And when she asked her family why his last name was different from everybody e

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The War on Our Shore

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 12 May 2023 10:00

Foreign enemies have seldom brought war to U.S. soil… right? In this episode from 2017, we tell you strange stories of foreign enemies landing on our shore. From bombs floating across the country without a sound (or even a discussion), to N

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Ologies: Dark Matters

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 05 May 2023 10:00

Testudinologoy. Enigmatology. Hagfishology. Raccoonology. Meteorology. Chronobiology. Chickenology. Delphinology. Bryology. Vampirology. Zymology. Echinology. Screamology. Melaninology. Dolorology.In this episode, we introduce you to one of our al

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The Golden Rule

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 28 Apr 2023 10:00

At first glance, Golden Balls was just like all the other game shows — quick-witted host, flashy set, suspenseful music. But underneath all that, each episode asked a very serious question: can you ever really trust another person? Executive produ

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Corpse Demon

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 21 Apr 2023 10:00

Heaven and hell, Judgement Day, monotheism — these ideas all came from one ancient Persian religion: Zoroastrianism. Also: Sky Burials. Zoroastrians put their dead on top of a structure called The Tower of Silence where vultures devour the body in

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Abortion Pills, Take Two

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 14 Apr 2023 10:00

Abortion pills — a combo of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol — are on notice: on April 7, 2023, a federal judge said the FDA’s approval of mifepristone was invalid. And then, not more than an hour later, another federal judge in a separate

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The Library of Alexandra

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 07 Apr 2023 10:00

How much does knowledge cost? While that sounds like an abstract question, the answer is surprisingly specific: $3,096,988,440.00. That’s how much the business of publishing scientific and academic research is worth. This is the story of o

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The Good Samaritan

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 31 Mar 2023 10:00

Tuesday afternoon, summer of 2017: Scotty Hatton and Scottie Wightman made a decision to help someone in need and both paid a price for their actions that day — actions that have led to a legal, moral, and scientific puzzle about how we balance ac

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Alone Enough

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 24 Mar 2023 10:00

Cat Jaffee didn’t necessarily think of herself as someone who loved being alone. But then, the pandemic hit. And she got diagnosed with cancer. Actually, those two things happened on the exact same day, at the exact same hour. In the shad

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 17 Mar 2023 10:00

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 a

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Buttons Not Buttons

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 10 Mar 2023 10:00

Tiny buttons have such a hold on us. They can be portals to power, freedom, and destruction. Today, with the help of buttons, we tell you about taking charge of the little things in life, about fortunes made and lost, and about the ease with which

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Crabs All the Way Down

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 03 Mar 2023 10:00

This week we examine one of nature's most humble creations: crabs. Turns out when you look closely at these little scuttlers, things get surprisingly existential — about how to come into being, how to survive chaos, and how to live. We even examin

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The Trust Engineers

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 24 Feb 2023 10:00

First aired in 2015, this is an episode about social media, and how, when we talk online, things can quickly go south. But do they have to? In the earlier days of Facebook, we met with a group of social engineers who were convinced that tiny chang

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Golden Goose

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 17 Feb 2023 10:00

After years of being publicly shamed for “fleecing” the taxpayers with their frivolous and obscure studies, scientists decided to hit back with … an awards show?! This episode, we gate-crash the Grammys of government-funded research, a.k.a. the G

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 10 Feb 2023 10:00

In this deep cut from 2012, we are searching for platonic ideals longing for completion, engaged in epic quests for holy grails in science, linguistics, and world peace. And along the way, we’ll meet the dreamers and measure just how impossible th

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Ukraine: The Handoff

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 03 Feb 2023 10:00

We continue the story of a covert smuggling operation to bring abortion pills into Ukraine, shortly after the Russian invasion. In this episode, reporters Katz Laszlo and Gregory Warner go to Ukraine, landing on a fall night during a citywide blac

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 27 Jan 2023 10:00

You know the drill — all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo — you’ve got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this 2015 episode, conception takes on a new form — it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of m

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Ukraine: Under the Counter

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 20 Jan 2023 12:00

In the weeks following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a young doctor in Germany sees that abortion pills are urgently needed in Ukraine. And she wants to help. But getting the drugs into the country means going through Poland, which has some

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 13 Jan 2023 09:06

In this episode, first aired in 2011, we talk about the meaning of a good game — whether it's a pro football playoff, or a family showdown on the kitchen table. And how some games can make you feel, at least for a little while, like your whole lif

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Universe In Verse

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 06 Jan 2023 10:00

For a special New Year’s treat, we take a tour through the history of the universe with the help of… poets. Our guide is Maria Popova, who writes the popular blog The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings), and the poetry is from her project, “The

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New Normal

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 30 Dec 2022 10:00

This episode —first released in 2009 and then again in 2015, with an update — asks, what is “normal”? Maybe it exists, maybe not. We examine peace-loving baboons with Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, talk to Stu Rasmussen, whose preferred

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The Flight Before Christmas

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 23 Dec 2022 10:00

Come fly with me, let’s fly away.Once I get you up thereWhere the air is rarefiedWe'll just glideStarry eyedInto the abyssDevoid of any sort of blissYou might even hearThe shouts of fear just because we’re together (oh so close together) In

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Null and Void

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 16 Dec 2022 10:00

This episode, first aired in 2017, has Reporter Tracie Hunte and Editor Soren Wheeler exploring a hidden power in the U.S. Court System that is either the cornerstone of our democracy or a trapdoor to anarchy. Should a juror be able to igno

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The Middle of Everything Ever

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 09 Dec 2022 10:00

After graduating from high school, without a clear plan for what to do next, Laura Andrews started asking herself a lot of questions. A spiral of big philosophical thoughts that led her to sit down and write to us with a question that was… oddly m

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More Perfect: The Political Thicket

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 25 Nov 2022 10:00

When U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren was asked at the end of his career, “What was the most important case of your tenure?”, there were a lot of answers he could have given. He had presided over some of the most important decisions in

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What's Up Doc?

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 18 Nov 2022 10:00

Mel Blanc was known as “the man of 1,000 voices,” but, to hear his son tell it, the actual number was closer to 1,500. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Barney Rubble, Woody Woodpecker, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn — all Mel. These characte

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Butt Stuff

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 11 Nov 2022 10:00

Why do we have a butt? Well, it’s not just for the convenience of a portable seat cushion. This week, we have a conversation with our Contributing Editor Heather Radke, who has spent the last several years going deep on one of our most noticeable

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 04 Nov 2022 10:00

This hour, we dive into the messy mystery in the middle of us. What's going on down there? And what can the rumblings deep in our bellies tell us about ourselves? We join author Mary Roach and reach inside a live cow's stomach. Talk with w

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The Weather Report

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 28 Oct 2022 10:00

Meteorologists are as common as the clouds these days. Rolling onto the airwaves at morning, noon and night they tell us what to wear and where to plan our picnics. They’re local celebrities with an outsized influence. But in the 1940s, there was

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Black Box

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 21 Oct 2022 10:00

In this episode, first aired in 2014, we examine three very different kinds of black boxes — spaces where we know what’s going in, we know what’s coming out, but can’t see what happens in that in-between space. From the darkest parts of met

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No-Touch Abortion

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 14 Oct 2022 10:00

When the Dobbs decision went down, ER doctor Avir Mitra started to prepare for the worst — botched, at-home abortions that would land pregnant people in the emergency room. To prepare himself and his colleagues for the patients they might see, and

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The Theater of David Byrne's Mind

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 07 Oct 2022 10:00

It all started when the rockstar David Byrne did a Freaky-Friday-like body-swap with a Barbie Doll. That’s what inspired him — along with his collaborator Mala Gaonkar — to transform a 15,000 square-foot warehouse in Denver, Colorado into a brainy

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Playing God

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 30 Sep 2022 10:00

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 right in front of yo

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Terrestrials: The Mastermind

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 23 Sep 2022 10:00

Lulu Miller, intrepid host and fearless mother of two, went off on her own and put together a little something for kids. All kids: hers, yours, and the one still living inside us all. Radiolab for Kids Presents: Terrestrials <

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 16 Sep 2022 10:00

For many of us, quicksand was once a real fear — it held a vise grip on our imaginations, from childish sandbox games to grown-up anxieties about venturing into unknown lands. But these days, quicksand can't even scare an 8-year-old. In this short

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40,000 Recipes for Murder

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 09 Sep 2022 10:00

Two scientists realize that the very same AI technology they have developed to discover medicines for rare diseases can also discover the most potent chemical weapons known to humankind. Inadvertently opening the Pandora’s Box of WMDs. What should

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Rodney v. Death

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 02 Sep 2022 10:00

In the fall of 2004, Jeanna Giese checked into the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin with a set of puzzling symptoms... and her condition was deteriorating fast. By the time Dr. Rodney Willoughby saw her, he only knew one thing for sure: if Jeanna'

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 26 Aug 2022 10:00

A pizzeria owner in Kansas realizes that DoorDash is hijacking his pizzas. A Lyft driver conquers the streets of San Francisco until he unwittingly puts his family in danger. A Shipt shopper in Denton, Texas tries to crack the code of the delivery

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9-Volt Nirvana

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 19 Aug 2022 10:00

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. Back in the early 2010s, Sally Adee, then an editor at New Scientist Magazine,

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 12 Aug 2022 10:00

In August 2018, Boen Wang was at a work retreat for a new job. Surrounded by mosquitoes and swampland in a tiny campsite in West Virginia, Boen’s mind underwent a sudden, dramatic transformation that would have profound consequences—for his work,

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 05 Aug 2022 10:00

This episode originally aired in 2012. An all-star lineup of producers — Pat Walters, Lynn Levy, and Sean Cole — bring you stories about traps, getaways, perpetual cycles, and staggering breakthroughs. We kick things off with a true

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The Humpback and the Killer

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 29 Jul 2022 10:00

Killer whales — orcas — eat all sorts of animals, including humpback calves. But one day, biologists saw a group of humpback whales trying to stop some killer whales from eating… a seal. And then it happened again. And again. It turns out, all acr

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You v. You

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 22 Jul 2022 10:00

This episode, originally aired more than a decade ago, attempts to answer one question: how do you win against your worst impulses? Zelda Gamson tried for decades to stop smoking, but the part of her that wanted to quit couldn’t beat the part of h

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The Gatekeeper

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 15 Jul 2022 10:00

This week, Reporter Peter Smith and Senior Producer Matt Kielty tell the story of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that set the standard for scientific expertise in a courtroom, i.e., whether an expert can testify in a lawsuit. They also tell the s

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Baby Blue Blood Drive

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 08 Jul 2022 10:00

This is an episode that first aired in 2018 and then again in the thick of the pandemic in 2020. Why? Because though Horseshoe crabs are not much to look at, beneath their unassuming catcher’s-mitt shell, they harbor a half-billion-year

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My Thymus, Myself

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 30 Jun 2022 22:00

Today, we go to a spot that may be one of the most philosophical places in the universe: the thymus, an organ that knows what is you, and what is not you. Its mood may be existential, but its role is practical — the thymus is the biological traini

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 24 Jun 2022 10:00

As our co-Hosts Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser are out this week, we are re-sharing the perfect episode to start the summer season! This one, which first aired in 2014, tells the strange story of a small group of islands that keeps us wonderi

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Neanderthal's Revenge

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 10 Jun 2022 10:00

A few months ago, co-Host Latif Nasser, who was otherwise healthy, saw blood in his poop. It was the start of a medical journey that made him not only question what was going on in his body, but also dig into the secret genetic story of how we bec

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Origin Stories

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 03 Jun 2022 10:00

We’re all in a tizzy here at Radiolab on account of our 20-year anniversary. And, as one does upon passing a milestone, we’ve been looking back in all kinds of ways. Two weeks ago, we went out over the airwaves, “Listen/Read More

Radiolab After Dark

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 27 May 2022 10:00

Back in 2002, Jad Abumrad started Radiolab as a live radio show. He DJ’d out into the ether and 20 years later we do the same. To commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the show, the Radiolab team went old school and took over WNYC Radio, live on

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La Mancha Screwjob

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 20 May 2022 12:00

All the world’s a stage. Or, sometimes it feels that way, especially these days. In this episode, originally aired in 2015, we push through the fourth wall, pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 13 May 2022 10:00

This week, we bring you two stories about little guys trying to do big big things. First, self-proclaimed animal grinch producer Becca Bressler introduces us to perhaps the one creature that has warmed her heart: a cricket. And more specifi

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 06 May 2022 10:00

In competitive debate future presidents, supreme court justices, and titans of industry pummel each other with logic and rhetoric. Unclasp your briefcase. It’s time for a showdown. Looking back on an episode originally aired in 2016, we ta

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Hello, My Name Is

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 29 Apr 2022 10:00

As a species, we’re obsessed with names. They’re one of the first labels we get as kids. We name and rename absolutely everything around us. And these names carry our histories, they can open and close our eyes to the world around us, and

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The Other Latif: Cuba-ish

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 22 Apr 2022 10:00

Almost exactly twenty years ago, detainee 244 got transferred to Guantanamo Bay. Captured by American forces at the battle Tora Bora five months previous, Abdul Latif Nasser was shaved, hooded, shackled, diapered, and flown halfway across the worl

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:00

A one-word magical spell. Several years back, that’s exactly what Joseph Tartaro thought he’d discovered. It was a spell that, if used properly, promised to make one’s problems disappear. And so he crossed his fingers, uttered the word and cast th

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In the Dust of This Planet

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 08 Apr 2022 10:00

Horror, fashion, and the end of the world … In this episode, first aired in 2014, but maybe even more relevant today, things get weird as we explore the undercurrents of thought that link nihilists, beard-stroking philosophers, Jay-Z, a

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 01 Apr 2022 10:00

Once a kid is born, their genetic fate is pretty much sealed. Or is it? In this episode, originally aired in 2012, we put nature and nurture on a collision course and discover how outside forces can find a way inside us, and change not just our he

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The Right Stuff

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 25 Mar 2022 10:00

Since the beginning of the space program, we’ve always expected astronauts to be fully abled athletic overachievers who are one-part science-geek, two-parts triathlete – a mix the writer Tom Wolfe famously called “the right stuff.” But what

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 18 Mar 2022 10:00

Stress can give your body a boost - raising adrenaline levels, pumping blood to the muscles, heightening our senses. And those sudden superpowers can be a boon when you’re running from a lion. But repeatedly dipping into that well can make you sic

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The Helen Keller Exorcism

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 11 Mar 2022 10:00

Fantasy writer Elsa Sjunneson has been haunted by Helen Keller for nearly her entire life. Like Helen, Elsa is Deafblind, and growing up she was constantly compared to her. But for a million different reasons she hated that, because she felt diffe

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Life in a Barrel

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 04 Mar 2022 10:00

This week, we flip the Disney story of life on its head thanks to a barrel of seawater, a 1970s era computer, and underwater geysers. It’s the chaos of life. Latif, Lulu, and our Senior Producer Matt Kielty were all sitting on their own lit

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 25 Feb 2022 10:00

We live our lives at human speed, we experience and interact with the world on a human time scale. In this episode, which first aired in its entirety in the winter of 2013, we put ourselves through the paces. We examine a material that exists betw

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The Wordless Place

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 18 Feb 2022 10:00

This week, we turn to an expert who tromps the wilds of wordlessness. Lulu’s young son. In this essay, originally published for The Paris Review under the title “Listen/Read More


By WNYC Studios/Fri, 11 Feb 2022 10:00

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 e

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Forests on Forests

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 04 Feb 2022 10:00

For much of history, tree canopies were pretty much completely ignored by science. It was as if researchers said collectively, "It's just going to be empty up there, and we've got our hands full studying the trees down here! So why bother?!" <

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The First Radiolab

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 28 Jan 2022 10:00

Jad started Radiolab roughly 20 years ago. And now he is stepping aside from hosting and producing the show to replenish, to think, to rock in his chair and be with his kids and wife, and maybe make some music. The news has been all over twitter a

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The 11th: A Letter From George

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 21 Jan 2022 10:00

Last week, Lulu heard an interview that trapped her in her car. She decided to play it for Latif. The interview – originally from a podcast called The Relentless Picnic, but presented by one of Lu

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 14 Jan 2022 10:00

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 aro

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Worst. Year. Ever.

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 07 Jan 2022 10:00

What was the worst year to be alive on planet Earth? We make the case for 536 AD, which set off a cascade of catastrophes that is almost too horrible to imagine. A supervolcano. The disappearance of shadows. A failure of bread. Plague rat

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Flop Off

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 31 Dec 2021 10:00

This past year was a flop. From questionable blockbuster reboots to supply chain shenanigans to worst of all, omnipresent COVID variants. But, in a last ditch effort to flip the flop, we at Radiolab have dredged up the most mortifying, most cringe

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Vanishing Words

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 17 Dec 2021 10:00

When Alana Casanova-Burgess set out to make a podcast series about Puerto Rico, she struggled with what to call it. Until one word came to mind, a word that captures a certain essence of life in Puerto Rico, but eludes easy translation into Englis

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Return of Alpha Gal

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 10 Dec 2021 10:00

Tuck your napkin under your chin. We’re about to serve up a tale of love, loss, and lamb chops - with a side of genetic modification. Several years ago we told a story about Amy Pearl. For as long as she could remember, Amy loved meat in a

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Animal Minds

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 26 Nov 2021 10:00

In this hour of Radiolab, stories of cross-species communication. When we gaze into the eyes of a wild animal, or even a beloved pet, can we ever really know what they might be thinking? Is it naive to assume they're experiencing something

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Mixtape: Help?

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 19 Nov 2021 10:00

In tape five, three stories: first, a tale of how the cassette tape supercharged the self-help industry. Second, cassettes filled with history make an epic journey across Africa with a group of Lost Boys. And finally, Simon meets up with fellow Ra

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Mixtape: Cassetternet

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 12 Nov 2021 10:00

In 1983, Simon Goodwin had a strange thought. Would it be possible to broadcast computer software over the radio? If so, could listeners record it off the air and onto a cassette tape? This experiment and dozens of others in the early 80s created

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Mixtape: The Wandering Soul

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 05 Nov 2021 10:00

As the Vietnam war dragged on, the US military began desperately searching for any vulnerability in their North Vietnamese enemy. In 1964, they found it. It was an old Vietnamese folktale involving a ghost, eternal damnation and fear - a tailor ma

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Mixtape: Jack and Bing

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 29 Oct 2021 10:00

In 1946 Bing Crosby was the king of media. He was the movie star, the pop star and his radio show was reaching a third of American living rooms each week. But then, it all started to fall apart. His ratings were plummeting and his fans were fleei

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Mixtape: Dakou

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 22 Oct 2021 10:00

Through the 1980s, the vast majority of people in China had never heard western music, save for John Denver, the Carpenters, and a few other artists included on the hand-picked list of songs sanctioned by the Communist Party. But in the late 90s,

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Of Bombs and Butterflies

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 15 Oct 2021 10:00

Ecologist Nick Haddad was sitting in his new office at North Carolina State University when the phone rang. On the other end of the line was... The U.S. Army. The Army folks told him, “Look, there’s this endangered butterfly on our base at Fort Br

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Oliver Sipple

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 01 Oct 2021 09:00

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 ration

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 24 Sep 2021 10:00

Today we have a story about the sometimes obvious but sometimes sneaky effects of the way that we humans rearrange the elemental stuff around us. Reporter Avir Mitra and science journalist Lydia Denworth bring us a story about how one man’s relent

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In the Running

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 17 Sep 2021 10:00

Diane Van Deren is one of the best ultra-runners in the world, and it all started with a seizure. In this short, Diane tells us how her disability gave rise to an extraordinary ability.

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60 Words, 20 Years

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 10 Sep 2021 10:00

It has now been 20 years since September 11th, 2001. So we’re bringing you a Peabody Award-winning story from our archives about one sentence, written in the hours after the attacks, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how

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The Unsilencing

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 26 Aug 2021 04:00

Multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, even psoriasis — these are diseases in which the body begins to attack itself, and they all have one thing in common: they affect women more than men. Most autoimmune disorders do. And not just by a

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Everybody’s Got One

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 20 Aug 2021 07:45

We all think we know the story of pregnancy. Sperm meets egg, followed by nine months of nurturing, nesting, and quiet incubation. But this story isn’t the nursery rhyme we think it is. In a way, it’s a struggle, almost like a tiny war. And right

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Gonads: Dutee

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 05 Aug 2021 20:00

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 i

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The Queen of Dying

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 23 Jul 2021 07:59

If you’ve ever lost someone, or watched a medical drama in the last 15 years, you’ve probably heard of The Five Stages of Grief. They’re sort of the world’s worst consolation prize for loss. But last year, we began wondering… Where did these stage

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Breaking News about The Other Latif

By WNYC Studios/Mon, 19 Jul 2021 05:00

A major development in the case of Guantanamo detainee Abdul Latif Nasser. To listen to our series about him, go to

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G: Unfit

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 15 Jul 2021 16:56

In the past few weeks, most people have probably seen Britney Spears' name or face everywhere. When she stood in front of a judge (virtually) and protested the conservatorship she's been living under for the past 13 years, one harrowing detail in

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The Vanishing of Harry Pace: Episode 1

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 18 Jun 2021 05:00

The Rise and Fall of Black Swan: Episode One from The Vanishing of Harry Pace, a six-part series created by Jad Abumrad and Shima Oliaee. Harry Pace founded Black Swan Records exactly 100 years ago. Pace launched the

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 11 Jun 2021 18:17

We’ve just barely made it to the other side of a year that took our collective breaths away. So more than ever we felt that this was the time to go deep on life’s rhythmic dance partner. Today we huff and we puff through a whole stack of stories a

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The Rhino Hunter

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 27 May 2021 18:09

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

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The Dirty Drug and the Ice Cream Tub

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 21 May 2021 07:58

This episode, a tale of a wonder drug that will make you wonder about way more than just drugs. Doctor-reporter Avir Mitra follows the epic and fantastical journey of a molecule dug out of a distant patch of dirt that would go on to make

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Brown Box

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 13 May 2021 19:21

You order some stuff on the Internet and it shows up three hours later. How could all the things that need to happen to make that happen happen so fast?

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By WNYC Studios/Wed, 05 May 2021 10:30

In this episode, we break the thermometer watch the mercury spill out as we discover temperature is far stranger than it seems. Five stories that run the gamut from snakes to stars. We start out underwater, with a snake that has evolved a devious

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Deep Cuts

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 22 Apr 2021 18:00

Today, Lulu and Latif talk about some of their favorite episodes from Radiolab’s past that hold new power today. Lulu points to an episode from 2008: Imagine that you're a composer. Imagine getting the commission to write a so

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The Septendecennial Sing-Along

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 15 Apr 2021 18:48

While most of us hear a wall of white noise, squeaks, and squawks....David Rothenberg hears a symphony. He's trained his ear to listen for the music of animals, and he's always looking for chances to join in, with everything from lonely birds to g

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What Up Holmes?

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 02 Apr 2021 03:09

Love it or hate it, the freedom to say obnoxious and subversive things is the quintessence of what makes America America. But our say-almost-anything approach to free speech is actually relatively recent, and you can trace it back to one guy: a Su

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By WNYC Studios/Thu, 25 Mar 2021 12:00

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 th

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By WNYC Studios/Thu, 18 Mar 2021 23:06

As we hit the one year mark since the first U.S. state (California) issued a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we put out a call to see if any of you would take us to your secret escape spot and record audio there. And y

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Dispatch 14: Covid Crystal Ball

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 12 Mar 2021 01:06

Last summer, at a hospital in England, a man in his 70s being treated for complications with cancer tested positive for covid-19. He had lymphoma, and the disease plus his drugs weakened his immune system, making him particularly susceptible to th

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The Ceremony

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 25 Feb 2021 18:59

In November of 2016, journalist Morgen Peck showed up at her friend Molly Webster's apartment in Brooklyn, told her to take her battery out of her phone, and began to tell her about The Ceremony, a moment last fall when a group of, well, let's jus

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Red Herring

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 19 Feb 2021 01:07

It was the early 80s, the height of the Cold War, when something strange began happening off the coast of Sweden. The navy reported a mysterious sound deep below the surface of the ocean. Again, and again, and again they would hear it near their s

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Facebook's Supreme Court

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 12 Feb 2021 06:00

Since its inception, the perennial thorn in Facebook’s side has been content moderation. That is, deciding what you and I are allowed to post on the site and what we’re not. Missteps by Facebook in this area have fueled everything from a genocide

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Smile My Ass

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 28 Jan 2021 22:40

Candid Camera is one of the most original – and one of the most mischievous – TV shows of all time. Admirers hailed its creator Allen Funt as a poet of the everyday. Critics denounced him as a Peeping Tom. Funt sought to capture people at their

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Post Reports: Four Hours of Insurrection

By WNYC Studios/Sat, 16 Jan 2021 07:00

We’re all still processing what happened on January 6th. Despite the hours and hours of video circulating online, we still didn’t feel like we had a visceral, on-the-ground sense of what happened that day. Until we heard the piece we’re featuring

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More Money Less Problems

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 15 Jan 2021 03:32

Back in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning and the shelter-in-place orders brought the economy to a screeching halt, a quirky-but-clever idea to save the economy made its way up to some of the highest levels of government. C

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Sight Unseen

By WNYC Studios/Wed, 13 Jan 2021 01:07

As the attacks were unfolding on the Capitol, a steady stream of images poured onto our screens. Photo editor Kainaz Amaria tells us what she was looking for--and seeing--that afternoon. And she runs into a dilemma we've talked about before. In De

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A Terrible Covid Christmas Special

By WNYC Studios/Wed, 23 Dec 2020 07:53

This year was the worst. And as our staff tried to figure out what to do for our last episode of 2020, co-host Latif Nasser thought, what if we stare straight into the darkness … and make a damn Christmas special about it. Latif begins with

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The Ashes on the Lawn

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 18 Dec 2020 02:47

A global pandemic. An afflicted, angry group. A seemingly indifferent government. Reporter Tracie Hunte wanted to understand this moment of pain and confusion by looking back 30 years, and she found a complicated answer to a simple question: When

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Enemy of Mankind

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 10 Dec 2020 18:43

Should the U.S. Supreme Court be the court of the world? In the 18th century, two feuding Frenchmen inspired a one-sentence law that helped launch American human rights litigation into the 20th century. The Alien Tort Statute allowed a Paraguayan

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The Great Vaccinator

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 03 Dec 2020 11:29

Until now, the fastest vaccine ever made - for mumps - took four years. And while our current effort to develop a covid-19 vaccine involves thousands of people working around the clock, the mumps vaccine was developed almost exclusively

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Dispatch 13: Challenge Trials

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 24 Nov 2020 23:16

What if someone asked you to get infected with the COVID-19 virus, deliberately, in order to speed up the development of a vaccine? Would you do it? Would you risk your life to save others? For months, dozens of companies have been racing t

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By WNYC Studios/Thu, 19 Nov 2020 12:00

Lies, liars, and lie catchers. This hour of Radiolab asks if it's possible for anyone to lead a life without deception.

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Breaking Benford

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 13 Nov 2020 15:55

In the days after the US Presidential election was called for Joe Biden, many supporters of Donald Trump are crying foul. Voter fraud. And a key piece of evidence? A century-old quirk of math called Benford’s Law. We at Radiolab know Benford’s L

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Bloc Party

By WNYC Studios/Mon, 02 Nov 2020 07:44

In the 1996 election, Bill Clinton had a problem. The women who came out in droves for him in ‘92, split their vote in the ‘94 midterms, handing over control of the House and the Senate to the Republican Party. As his team stared ahead at his re-e

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How to Win Friends and Influence Baboons

By WNYC Studios/Sat, 31 Oct 2020 00:30

Baboon troops. We all know they’re hierarchical. There’s the big brutish alpha male who rules with a hairy iron fist, and then there’s everybody else. Which is what Meg Crofoot thought too, before she used GPS collars to track the movements of a t

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What If?

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 23 Oct 2020 01:41

There’s plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Br

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Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 08 Oct 2020 16:30

With the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there's been a lot of debate about how much power the Supreme Court should really have. We think of the Supreme Court justices as all-

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No Special Duty

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 02 Oct 2020 07:36

What are the police for? Producer B.A. Parker started wondering this back in June, as Black Lives Matter protests and calls to “defund the police” ramped up. The question led her to a wild story of a stabbing on a New York City subway tra

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Insomnia Line

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 25 Sep 2020 07:55

Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising Listen/Read More

More Perfect: Sex Appeal

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 18 Sep 2020 22:54

We lost a legend. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18th, 2020. She was 87. In honor of her passing we are re-airing the More Perfect episode dedicated to one of her cases, because it offers a unique portrait of how one p

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By WNYC Studios/Thu, 17 Sep 2020 12:00

There are so many ways to fall—in love, asleep, even flat on your face. This hour, Radiolab dives into stories of great falls. We jump into a black hole, take a trip over Niagara Falls, upend some myths about falling cats, and plunge into

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Bringing Gamma Back, Again

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 11 Sep 2020 00:45

Today, we return to the lab of neuroscientist Li-Huei Tsai, which brought us one of our favorite stories from four years ago - about the power of flashing lights on an Alzheimer’s-addled (mouse) brain. In this update, Li-Huei tells us about her team’

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Fungus Amungus

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 04 Sep 2020 04:06

Six years ago, a new infection began popping up in four different hospitals on three different continents, all around the same time. It wasn’t a bacteria, or a virus. It was ... a killer fungus. No one knew where it came from, or why. Today, the s

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By WNYC Studios/Thu, 27 Aug 2020 12:00

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

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Lebanon, USA

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 20 Aug 2020 22:45

This is a story of a road trip. After a particularly traumatic Valentine's Day, Fadi Boukaram was surfing google maps and noticed that there was a town called Lebanon... in Oregon. Being Lebanese himself, he wondered, how many Lebanons exist

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The Wubi Effect

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 14 Aug 2020 03:05

When we think of China today, we think of a technological superpower. From Huawei and 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, China’s technological renaissance almo

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 07 Aug 2020 02:53

First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all. Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from

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Invisible Allies

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 30 Jul 2020 22:41

As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they’ve come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather thi

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Dispatches from 1918

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 17 Jul 2020 07:28

It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like when COVID-19 has passed. So in this episode, we look back to the years after 1918, at the political, artistic, and viral aftermath of the flu pandemic that killed between 50 and 100 million peopl

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The Flag and the Fury

By WNYC Studios/Sun, 12 Jul 2020 18:09

How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained “officially” flying. A few days ago, that flag

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The Third. A TED Talk.

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 25 Jun 2020 16:08

Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do

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Post No Evil Redux

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 19 Jun 2020 07:02

Today we revisit our story on Facebook and its rulebook, looking at what’s changed in the past two years and exploring how these rules will impact the 2020 Presidential Election. Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a con

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The Liberation of RNA

By WNYC Studios/Sat, 13 Jun 2020 08:19

In June of 2019, Brandon Ogbunu got on stage and told a story for The Story Collider, a podcast and live storytelling show. Starting when he was a senior in college being shook down by a couple cops, Brandon tells us about navigating his ups and d

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By WNYC Studios/Sat, 06 Jun 2020 23:56

If former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s case for the death of George Floyd goes to trial, there will be this one, controversial legal principle looming over the proceedings: The reasonable officer. In this episode, we explore t

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By WNYC Studios/Sat, 06 Jun 2020 02:05

Producer Tracie Hunte stumbled into a duet between Nina Simone and the sounds of protest outside her apartment. Then she discovered a performance by Nina on April 7, 1968 - three days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tracie ta

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Dispatch 6: Strange Times

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 29 May 2020 08:00

Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It’s a very different

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Speedy Beet

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 22 May 2020 07:42

There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing h

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By WNYC Studios/Fri, 15 May 2020 07:56

In 2007, Bruce Robison’s robot submarine stumbled across an octopus settling in to brood her eggs. It seemed like a small moment. But as he went back to visit her, month after month, what began as a simple act of motherhood became a heroic f

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Why Fish Don't Exist

By WNYC Studios/Wed, 13 May 2020 07:36

Our old friend Lulu Miller — former Radiolab producer, co-creator of Invisibilia — has been obsessed by the chaos that rules the universe since long before it showed up as a global pandemic, and a few weeks ago, she published a book about it. It’s

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David and Dominique

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 08 May 2020 07:00

David Gebel and Dominique Crisden have a couple of things in common: they both live in New York, they’re both gay, and they’re both HIV-positive. But David is in his 60s, and has been living with the disease since moving to New York in the ‘80s. D

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Dispatch 5: Don't Stop Believin'

By WNYC Studios/Wed, 06 May 2020 07:22

Covid-19 has put emergency room doctors on the frontlines treating an illness that is still perplexing and unknown. Jad tracks one ER doctor in NYC as the doctor puzzles through clues, doing research of his own, trying desperately to save patients

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Atomic Artifacts

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 24 Apr 2020 07:51

Back in the 1950s, facing the threat of nuclear annihilation, federal officials sat down and pondered what American life would actually look like after an atomic attack. They faced a slew of practical questions like: Who would count the dead and w

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The Cataclysm Sentence

By WNYC Studios/Sat, 18 Apr 2020 02:57

One day in 1961, the famous physicist Richard Feynman stepped in front of a Caltech lecture hall and posed this question to a group of undergraduate students: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only

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Dispatch 4: Six Feet

By WNYC Studios/Sat, 11 Apr 2020 01:02

Since the onset of the pandemic, we exist in a constant state of calculation, trying to define our own personal bubble. We’ve all been given a simple rule: maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others. But why six? Producer Sarah Qari

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By WNYC Studios/Mon, 06 Apr 2020 12:00

One of the most consistent questions we get at the show is from parents who want to know which episodes are kid-friendly and which aren’t. So today, we're releasing a separate feed,

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Dispatch 3: Shared Immunity

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 03 Apr 2020 07:43

More than a million people have caught Covid-19, and tens of thousands have died. But thousands more have survived and recovered. A week or so ago (aka, what feels like ten years in corona time) producer Molly Webster learned that many of those su

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Dispatch 2: Every Day is Ignaz Semmelweis Day

By WNYC Studios/Wed, 01 Apr 2020 07:43

It began with a tweet: “EVERY DAY IS IGNAZ SEMMELWEIS DAY.” Carl Zimmer — tweet author, acclaimed science writer and friend of the show — tells the story of a mysterious, deadly illness that struck 19th century Vienna, and the ill-fated hero who u

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Dispatch 1: Numbers

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 27 Mar 2020 02:06

In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or

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The Other Latif: Episode 6

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 17 Mar 2020 08:00

The Other Latif Radiolab’s Latif Nasser always believed his name was unique, singular, completely his own. Until one day when he makes a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with another man: Abdul Latif Nasser, detainee 244 a

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The Other Latif: Episode 5

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 06 Mar 2020 08:00

The Other Latif Radiolab’s Latif Nasser always believed his name was unique, singular, completely his own. Until one day when he makes a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with another man: Abdul Latif Nasser, detainee 244 a

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The Other Latif: Bonus Episode!

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 03 Mar 2020 07:15

The Other Latif Radiolab’s Latif Nasser always believed his name was unique, singular, completely his own. Until one day when he makes a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with another man: Abdul Latif Nasser, detainee 244 a

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The Other Latif: Episode 4

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 25 Feb 2020 08:00

The Other Latif Radiolab’s Latif Nasser always believed his name was unique, singular, completely his own. Until one day when he makes a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with another man: Abdul Latif Nasser, detainee 244 a

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The Other Latif: Episode 3

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 18 Feb 2020 08:00

The Other Latif Radiolab’s Latif Nasser always believed his name was unique, singular, completely his own. Until one day when he makes a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with another man: Abdul Latif Nasser, detai

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The Other Latif: Episode 2

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 11 Feb 2020 08:00

The Other Latif Radiolab’s Latif Nasser always believed his name was unique, singular, completely his own. Until one day when he makes a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with another man: Abdul Latif Nasser, detai

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The Other Latif: Episode 1

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 04 Feb 2020 08:00

The Other Latif Radiolab’s Latif Nasser always believed his name was unique, singular, completely his own. Until one day when he makes a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with

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The Bobbys

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 30 Jan 2020 23:52

On the occasion of his retirement as cohost of Radiolab, Robert sat down with Jad to reflect on his long and storied career in radio and television, and their work together over the past decade and a half. And we pay tribute to Robert,

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Body Count

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 24 Jan 2020 07:43

Right now, at this very moment, all across the planet, there are 7.6 billion human beings eating, breathing, sleeping, brushing their teeth, walking their dogs, drinking coffee, walking down the street or running onto the subway or hopping in thei

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60 Words

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 07 Jan 2020 12:00

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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Man Against Horse

By WNYC Studios/Sat, 28 Dec 2019 00:04

This is a story about your butt. It’s a story about how you got your butt, why you have your butt, and how your butt might be one of the most important and essential things for you being you, for being human. Today, reporters Heather Radke

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There and Back Again

By WNYC Studios/Wed, 18 Dec 2019 07:58

Here's a simple question: When an animal disappears in the winter, where does it go? Oddly enough, this question completely stumped European scientists for thousands of years. And even today, the more we learn about the comings and goin

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By WNYC Studios/Thu, 12 Dec 2019 12:00

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 po

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Breaking Bongo

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 26 Nov 2019 19:35

Deep fake videos have the potential to make it impossible to sort fact from fiction. And some have argued that this blackhole of doubt will eventually send truth itself into a death spiral. But a series of recent events in the small Afr

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Breaking News

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 19 Nov 2019 18:05

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 Listen/Read More

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss

By WNYC Studios/Thu, 07 Nov 2019 21:46

Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes

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Songs that Cross Borders

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 29 Oct 2019 21:53

Coming off our adventures with Square Dancing, and Jad's dive into the world of Dolly Parton, we look back at one our favorites. About a decade ago, we found out that American country music is surprising popular in places like Zimbabwe,

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Birdie in the Cage

By WNYC Studios/Wed, 23 Oct 2019 01:23

People have been doing the square dance since before the Declaration of Independence. But does that mean it should be THE American folk dance? That question took us on a journey from Appalachian front porches, to dance classes across our nation, t

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Radiolab Presents: Dolly Parton's America

By WNYC Studios/Tue, 15 Oct 2019 21:08

Radiolab creator and host Jad Abumrad spent the last two years following around music legend Dolly Parton, and we're here to say you should tune in! In this episode of Radiolab, we showcase the first of Jad's special series, Listen/Read More

Silky Love

By WNYC Studios/Fri, 27 Sep 2019 02:17

We eat eels in sushi, stews, and pasta. Eels eat anything. Also they can survive outside of water for hours and live for up to 80 years. But this slippery snake of the sea harbors an even deeper mystery, one that has tormented

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