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Radiolab

Author: WNYC Studios

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A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show is designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder.

WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin.

© WNYC Studios
228 Episodes
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Americanish

Americanish

2019-04-1901:04:47

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. 
For Whom the Cowbell Tolls

For Whom the Cowbell Tolls

2019-03-2900:58:3964

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. 
Bliss

Bliss

2019-03-2100:53:1262

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. 
Asking for Another Friend

Asking for Another Friend

2019-03-0801:19:5372

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. 
Asking for a Friend

Asking for a Friend

2019-03-0101:10:06112

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.  
Loops

Loops

2019-02-2201:03:53121

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. 
The Beauty Puzzle

The Beauty Puzzle

2019-02-0800:44:03126

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. 
More Perfect: Sex Appeal

More Perfect: Sex Appeal

2019-01-2300:55:29114

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. 
The Punchline

The Punchline

2019-01-1600:53:41162

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.  
BONUS: Radiolab Scavenger Hunt

BONUS: Radiolab Scavenger Hunt

2018-12-2800:18:1651

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 scoutingGoogle Alerts: Set up your own!Wikipedia Random Article: Play wiki roulette by clicking "random article" in the far-left columnWorldCat: to find where a book exists in a library near youArchiveGrid: to search libraries' special collections and oral historiesTrade Publications: Search for trade magazines by industryCusick Cookies: Rachael's cookie recipe...you're welcome.  
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Comments (415)

Matthew James

omg another white people are bad everyone is a victim podcast. deleting and never coming back to this rag

Apr 22nd
Reply

DakineSouljahz

Jasmin Leblanc Nothing wrong with white skins or white names. It was satisfying to make that guy mad.

Apr 23rd
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DakineSouljahz

Jasmin Leblanc Just pushing that guys buttons is all.

Apr 23rd
Reply

Elephant Wig

FEAR THE OLD BLOOD. you're in the know right?

Apr 21st
Reply

Ian Goode

Let's be real here, the only reason that they dont want the US to fully claim Samoa is because they are poor and without all of their odd laws in place rich people will inevitably begin to exploit their beachy islands. Hawaii is the example that they look towards of what to avoid and the only thing holding it back is a messed up blood right property law. Good for them honestly, they have found a way to preserve their island and try to keep the profits of the island from everyone else

Apr 21st
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Vince Chen

fascinating report. a small community is bound to be diluted when merged with a larger one. it is true that today Hawaii has completely lost its heritage. And it was the trade-off they made.

Apr 20th
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Dia Claxton

,,,, ,

Apr 20th
Reply

Rebecca Boyd

wait... where is part one and two?

Apr 18th
Reply

Sean McElroy

It this what it's like in the city? Everyone in this story, with the possible exception of the narrator's mother, is massively obnoxious.

Apr 17th
Reply

Laxmi Woodham

How tender and heartbreaking. It causes wonder at the unknown lives that have crossed paths and may share intimacies beyond comprehension. That young woman, whoever she may be, has at least one more stranger rooting for her.

Apr 8th
Reply

Mae Lee Arant

I understand that Nancy became intrusive in her stance rather than educational and encouraging in her animal rights stance but I also tire of media ( you radiolab) being superior in how you label vegetarians as self righteous and militant. Like it or not, animal cruelty is a huge problem in this world of factory farming and the truth is, most have chosen to ignore the issues animal cruelty, environmental destruction and the very real and legitimate moral question of eating meat because ribs and burgers because they taste good. We must take ownership of our choices and have reasonable conversation about these issues without the dismissive attacks against vegetarians by simply labeling them as self righteous; the truth is that they are irritating because they are right.

Apr 7th
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Ryan Persaud

I love episodes that start off as some quirky human interest story but have a much bigger issue in mind. This was really great and I think, quite compassionate.

Apr 3rd
Reply

Heather Boylen

I have lots of friends and no trauma I want to hide. I just like the way drugs make me feel. I use buprenorphine now. I appreciated this episode.

Apr 3rd
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Christoffer Enfors

problem is lack of EQ and sexually retarded men..

Apr 3rd
Reply

Wendy Bruder

it's so ~wonderful~ when people move to a new place and immediately start complaining about the place and trying to change it to suit THEIR needs. Not surprised she is vegan too.

Apr 2nd
Reply

Ryan Persaud

Wendy Bruder If nobody questioned anything on the basis of tradition, nothing would ever change. Not that I believe cowbells should be banned, but damn we need a bit of nuance

Apr 3rd
Reply

Laxmi Woodham

Late listener to this podcast/show, but, wow! Thank you Radiolab for all that I am learning. Incredible stuff!

Apr 2nd
Reply

Andrea Addington

Laxmi Woodham Love this show too! a valuable source of inspiration.

Apr 2nd
Reply

Adam Mansour

a bit weird to have a second re upload in such a short time, but i still really enjoyed the episode

Apr 2nd
Reply

Mark Loewen

it

Mar 31st
Reply

M F

Really takes an ideological turn at the end.

Mar 30th
Reply

Holly Noel

Spoiler alert: Crystals do not heal cancer.

Mar 29th
Reply

nono

Holly Noel Trust her, she's an "animal rights activist."

Apr 3rd
Reply

Wendy Bruder

this is all very disturbing to me. there are too many people on this planet without brokering reproductive products like this. it's disgusting how much money is involved in bringing new humans into the world when there are SO many suffering and starving to death already. it's completely unethical.

Mar 27th
Reply

Lauren R

William besinski is the composer who does the music tape loops, in case anyone else was looking for him. shame they didn't put him in the notes.

Mar 25th
Reply
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