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99% Invisible

99% Invisible

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

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Episodes

442- Tanz Tanz Revolution

Today, Berlin is one of the premier destinations for techno music fans. People come from all over the world to party all night to the rhythmic beat of Berlin's club scene. And this music that the city is most famous for developed in large part because of the thing the city is most infamous for: the Berlin wall, which divided the city into east and west for almost thirty years. When the wall fell in 1989, everyone was euphoric and parties started popping up everywhere. East Berlin was like a big playground of derelict buildings. It wasn't just the abandoned apartments. There were also former military sites and factories that had been shut down and buildings that had been condemned. And these places were perfect for techno.

Tanz Tanz Revolution

 
2021-05-11
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441- Abandoned Ships

If you look around you right now, about 90% of what you?re looking at came to you onboard a cargo ship?your television, your sofa, most of the stuff in your kitchen. But as the number of these cargo ships has increased, so has a problem: workers stuck on ships that have been completely abandoned by the owners, leaving them stranded out at sea without basic supplies like food. In some cases, seafarers (that's the industry term for cargo ship workers) have been stuck on these abandoned vessels without enough supplies for months, or even years.

Abandoned Ships

This episode was produced in collaboration with the podcast Kerning Cultures, a podcast that makes audio stories - like this one - from the Middle East and North Africa.

2021-05-05
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308- Curb Cuts

If you live in an American city and you don?t personally use a wheelchair, it's easy to overlook the small ramp at most intersections, between the sidewalk and the street. Today, these curb cuts are everywhere, but fifty years ago -- when an activist named Ed Roberts was young -- most urban corners featured a sharp drop-off, making it difficult for him and other wheelchair users to get between blocks without assistance.

Curb Cuts

Plus a special announcement from Roman Mars about the future of 99pi

2021-04-28
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440- La Brega in Levittown

On the show this week, we?re bringing you an episode of a new podcast called, La Brega. And to tell us all about the series is Alana Casanova-Burgess. Casanova-Burgess traces back the story of the boom and bust of Levittown, a massive suburb that was founded on the idea of bringing the American middle-class lifestyle to Puerto Rico during a time of great change on the island. Casanova-Burgess (herself the granddaughter of an early Levittown resident) explores what the presence of a Levittown in Puerto Rico tells us about the promises of the American Dream in Puerto Rico.

La Brega in Levittown

Subscribe to La Brega on Sitcher, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify

2021-04-21
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439- Welcome to Jurassic Art Redux

Kurt and Roman talk about icebergs and how we visualize them all wrong.

Plus, we visit a classic 99pi story by Emmett FitzGerald about visualizing dinosaurs.

At least for the time being, art is the primary way we experience dinosaurs. We can study bones and fossils, but barring the invention of time travel, we will never see how these animals lived with our own eyes. There are no photos or videos, of course, which means that if we want to picture how they look, someone has to draw them.

The illustrated interpretation of dinosaur morphology and behavior has had a big impact on how the public views dinosaurs and it's gone through a couple of key turning points, including a more recent push for more speculative paleoart.

Welcome to Jurassic Art Redux

2021-04-14
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438- The Real Book

Since the mid-1970s, almost every jazz musician has owned a copy of the same book. It has a peach-colored cover, a chunky, 1970s-style logo, and a black plastic binding. It?s delightfully homemade-looking?like it was printed by a bunch of teenagers at a Kinkos. And inside is the sheet music for hundreds of common jazz tunes?also known as jazz ?standards??all meticulously notated by hand. It?s called the Real Book. But if you were going to music school in the 1970s, you couldn?t just buy a copy of the Real Book at the campus bookstore. Because the Real Book... was illegal. The world?s most popular collection of Jazz music was a totally unlicensed publication. The full story of how the Real Book came to be this bootleg bible of jazz is a complicated one. It?s a story about what happens when an insurgent, improvisational art form like Jazz gets codified and becomes something that you can learn from a book.

The Real Book

2021-04-07
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437- Science Vs Snakes

More than 100,000 people die every year from snake bites. Snake venom can have up to 200 different toxins inside it and each toxin has a different horrible effect to your body. Some attack your muscles, while others attack your nerves. And sometimes two different toxins can work together to form an even more sinister combination. Part of the reason people are dying is because they're not getting antivenom - the medicine required to fight these horrible toxins - fast enough. The system we have to create snake antivenom is a time-consuming and inefficient process that basically hasn't changed for more than 100 years.

This is a collaboration with the great podcast Science Vs from Gimlet

Science Vs Snakes

2021-03-30
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436- Oops, Our Bad

In the 20th century, humans became very good at the control of nature, but now that we?ve spent some time with the consequences, such as species extinction and climate change, humans are focused on the control of the control of nature. In this episode, Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Under a White Sky, talks about everything from the introduction of poisonous frogs in Australia to launching diamond dust into the stratosphere.

Oops, Our Bad

2021-03-23
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435- The Megaplex!

Back in the early 1990s, movie theaters weren't that great. The auditoriums were cramped and narrow, and the screen was dim. But in 1995, the AMC Grand 24 in Dallas changed everything. It was the very first movie megaplex in the United States. This is the gigantic, neon, big-box store of moviegoing that we're all used to  today, and it's easy to dismiss as a tacky ?90s invention. But the megaplex?specifically this first megaplex in Dallas?upended the entire theater business and changed the kinds of movies that got made in ways you might not imagine.

The Megaplex!

2021-03-17
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434- Artistic License

Idaho was the first state to slap a slogan on a license plate, ?Idaho Potatoes,? which may not seem like a big deal, but it turns out this idea would end up having outsized consequences, and not just for Idaho. Because what started in one state would soon spread. And when it did, the question of what should go on a license plate, and what shouldn't, would prove surprisingly contentious.

Artistic License

Like 99pi? Get the 99pi book: The 99% Invisible City

2021-03-10
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433- Florence Nightingale: Data Viz Pioneer

Victorian nurse Florence Nightingale (played in this episode by her distant cousin Helena Bonham Carter) is a hero of modern medicine - but her greatest contribution to combating disease and death resulted from the vivid graphs she made to back her public health campaigns. Her charts convinced the great and the good that deaths due to filth and poor sanitation could be averted - saving countless lives. But did Nightingale open Pandora's Box, showing that graphs persuade, whether or not they depict reality?

Cautionary Tales is a podcast by Tim Harford from Pushkin Industries.

You can read more about the remarkable legacy of Florence Nightingale and the perils of misinformation in Tim Harford's new book The Data Detective (US/Canada) / How To Make The World Add Up (UK / International).

2021-03-03
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432- The Batman and the Bridge Builder

Mark Bloschock is an engineer from Texas, and in the late 1970s he got a job with the Texas Department of Transportation renovating the Congress Avenue Bridge. The bridge was a simple concrete arch bridge that spans Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. It needed to be rebuilt with more contemporary beams called ?box beams.? The box beams sit below the road?s surface, and they needed to be spaced a certain distance apart. Bloschock and the other engineers decided that the gap should be somewhere between ¾ of an inch and an inch and a half, which didn?t seem like a particularly meaningful decision? until the bats moved in.

A tale of bats and bridges and how the built environment and the natural environment don?t need to be at odds with one another.

The Batman and the Bridge Builder

Plus, we talk with Simon Doble, CEO of Solar Buddy. Light access (both day and night) is a basic need many people take for granted. SolarBuddy is an Australian charity uniting a global community with a big dream to gift six million solar lights to children living in energy poverty by 2030, to help them to study after dusk and improve their education outcomes.

99% Invisible?s Impact Design coverage is supported by Autodesk. The Autodesk Foundation supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world?s most pressing social and environmental challenges. Learn more about these efforts on Autodesk?s Redshift, which tells stories about the future of making across architecture, engineering, infrastructure and manufacturing.

2021-02-23
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431- 12 Heads from the Garden of Perfect Brightness

The story of the twelve bronze zodiac heads that are at the center of a fight over the repatriation of Chinese cultural heritage. Most believe all such cultural artifacts should return to China, but many others argue that these objects are also serving as nationalistic propaganda.

12 Heads from the Garden of Perfect Brightness

2021-02-16
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Judas and the Black Messiah, Episode 1: The Chairman

Proximity, 99% Invisible, and Warner Bros. present the ?Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast,? an official film companion from the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX.

In the ?Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast,? host and critic Elvis Mitchell of KCRW is joined by Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. ? son of Chairman Fred Hampton and head of the Black Panther Party Cubs ? as well as the film?s actors and creative team, and by members of the Black Panther Party who knew Chairman Fred Hampton. Together, they look at the true stories behind the events portrayed in the film.

In episode 1, we get the real story of how Fred Hampton became The Chairman.

Watch the film and subscribe to the rest of the series here:

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

2021-02-12
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430- The Doom Boom

Bradley Garrett is the author of Bunker: Building for the Times. People have always built underground survival shelters to stay safe from things like plagues or hurricanes. But in modern history, we've really outdone ourselves. Garrett will be our guide to the fascinating world of architecture for the end times. And we're going to find out why today we're going through a true bunker renaissance.

The Doom Boom

2021-02-09
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Judas and the Black Messiah Trailer from 99% Invisible and Proximity Media

Proximity, 99% Invisible, and Warner Bros. present the ?Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast,? an official film companion from the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX.

In the ?Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast,? host and critic Elvis Mitchell of KCRW is joined by Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. ? son of Chairman Fred Hampton and head of the Black Panther Party Cubs ? as well as the film?s actors and creative team, and by members of the Black Panther Party who knew Chairman Fred Hampton. Together, they look at the true stories behind the events portrayed in the film.

Subscribe and look for episode 1 February 12

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

2021-02-08
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429- Stuccoed in Time

Santa Fe is famous in part for a particular architectural style, an adobe (mudbrick) look that came to be called Pueblo Revival. This aesthetic combines elements of indigenous pueblo architecture and the New Mexico's old Spanish missions, resulting in mostly low, brown buildings with smooth edges. Buildings in the city's historical districts in particular have to follow a number of design guidelines so that they fit this desired look; deviating from those aesthetics can stir up a lot of controversy.  But this adherence to a single style hasn't always been the norm -- for a time, there was actually a powerful push to "Americanize" the city's built environment. Then, over a century ago, a group of preservationists laid out a vision for the look and feel of Santa Fe architecture, and in the process changed the city forever.

Stuccoed in Time

2021-02-03
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428- Beneath the Skyway

Cities around the world have distinctive modes of transportation -- the canals of Venice, the double-decker busses of London, and the Twin Cities (of Minneapolis and St. Paul) have skyways. In both downtowns, there are vast networks of climate-controlled pedestrian bridges that reach over the streets and connect adjacent buildings. They were long viewed as modern marvels, but a lot of residents and urban planners want them gone. For critics, skyways are problematic because of who gets to enjoy them and who does not as well as their impact on street activity below.

Beneath the Skyway

2021-01-27
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427- Mini-Stories: Volume 11

In this set of short stories, 99% Invisible producers talked with host Roman Mars about everything from the Fresh Air Movement to the lost Lenin in Antarctica.

Mini-Stories: Volume 11

2021-01-20
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426- Mini-Stories: Volume 10

In this set of short stories, 99% Invisible producers talked with host Roman Mars about everything from climate-changing sheep to the persistent urban legend behind the invention of a space pen.

Mini-Stories: Volume 10

99% Invisible?s Impact Design coverage is supported by Autodesk. Autodesk enables the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world?s most pressing social and environmental challenges. Learn more about these efforts on Autodesk Redshift, a site that tells stories about the future of making things across architecture, engineering, infrastructure, construction and manufacturing.

2021-01-12
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425- Mini-Stories: Volume 9

Each year, 99% Invisible producers select short design stories to talk about with host Roman Mars. Some of these were just too brief to make into full 99pi episodes, but many also reveal aspects of how we find ideas for (and ultimately make) the show. In this collection, we'll talk about everything from movie novelizations to disco costume designs!

Mini-Stories volume 9

2020-12-23
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Roman Mars on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Roman Mars joins Jesse Thorne on Bullseye this week to talk about life before podcasting, and what decades in radio has taught him. Roman has worked in podcasts and radio for decades at this point, but his career didn't start out in audio. He was originally getting a PhD in genetics, pipetting stuff into tubes, recording data and the like. Roman and Jesse also spoke about how the pandemic has affected the design of cities, and which of those changes might be permanent.

Get The 99% Invisible City today

2020-12-18
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Chapter 5: Housing Finally

If homelessness is the problem, housing is the solution. But it?s not always that simple. Kate Cody has been living in her encampment community for a long time. And there?s no guarantee she?ll be able to make the transition inside, even with the golden ticket.

 The way homelessness has exploded in California over the last decade, you?d think there was no system in place to address it. But there is one - it just wasn?t designed to help everyone. Katie Mingle?s According to Need is a documentary podcast in 5 chapters from 99% Invisible that asks: what are we doing to get people into housing?

If you've enjoyed this series and were moved by the stories you heard, we've compiled a list of Bay Area organizations that you can support.

2020-12-15
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Chapter 4: The List

When Tulicia Lee tried to get help with housing, she was essentially put on a big long list with a bunch of other homeless people. If you live in the U.S., your community probably has a list like this too. Where one ends up on the list can have huge implications, but how one rises to the top of it is a bit of a mystery. In this episode, Katie finally gets to see how it works.

The List

The way homelessness has exploded in California over the last decade, you?d think there was no system in place to address it. But there is one - it just wasn?t designed to help everyone. According to Need is a documentary podcast in 5 chapters from 99% Invisible that asks: what are we doing to get people into housing?

2020-12-11
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Chapter 3: Housing First

In the 1980's, a psychologist named Sam Tsemberis was working with mentally ill homeless people on the streets of New York. Sometimes, when he thought it was necessary to keep someone safe, Sam would have people committed to a psychiatric hospital. But a few months later, he?d notice that person was back on the streets. Sam knew he needed to try something different. What he did changed everything about the way we think about solving homelessness.

In this episode, what happens when you ask people what they need.

Chapter 3: Housing First

The way homelessness has exploded in California over the last decade, you?d think there was no system in place to address it. But there is one - it just wasn?t designed to help everyone. Katie Mingle?s According to Need is a documentary podcast in 5 chapters from 99% Invisible that asks: what are we doing to get people into housing?

2020-12-08
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Chapter 2: The Hotline

Katie Mingle heard a lot about 211 doing this reporting. Not just from Tulicia Lee who called a bunch of times, but from everyone?from homeless people and service providers and advocates. In her mind, it was the 911 of homelessness. Only, more often than not, it seemed like when people called 211, the metaphorical ambulance never came. That was true for Tulicia, and it was true for lots of other people she met.

If everyone starts at 211, why is it a dead-end for so many people? What is happening at 211? At the beginning of March, right before everything shut down for the pandemic, Katie spent a day in the 211 call center.

The Hotline

2020-12-04
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Chapter 1: Tulicia

When we think about homelessness, we often have a certain image in our mind?people pushing shopping carts, or big sprawling tent encampments.

But for the vast majority of homeless people, the experience is less visible. Many people who are unable to afford a place to live end up sleeping on a friend?s floor or inside their car.

This is what Tulicia did for years, until finally, she reached out to the system for help.

Chapter 1: Tulicia

2020-12-02
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According to Need: Prologue

The way homelessness has exploded in California over the last decade, you?d think there was no system in place to address it. But there is one -- it just wasn?t designed to help everyone. According to Need is a documentary podcast in 5 chapters from 99% Invisible that asks: What are we doing to get people into housing?

According to Need

2020-12-02
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According to Need coming December 1

According to Need is a documentary podcast in 5 chapters from 99% Invisible?s Katie Mingle that asks: What are we doing to get people into housing?

Coming December 1

2020-11-29
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424- The Great Indoors

Emily Anthes is the author of The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behaviour, Health and Happiness, and she notes that even before the pandemic hit, we humans spent about 90 percent of our time indoors on average -- however we think of ourselves, people are in fact largely an indoor species. Anthes looks at all of the ways our indoor spaces impact our health, and observes that there is so much we don't really know about the places we spend a majority of our lives.

The Great Indoors

Shop the 99% Invisible Store

2020-11-25
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423- Sean Exploder

As you might know, we have our own composer here at 99pi named Sean Real who works with the producers to score our episodes with original music that she writes and records right here in Oakland. She has created over 300 amazing original songs for 99pi to date! So this week, we are bringing you a tribute to one of our favorite shows Song Exploder, and to our favorite composer, Sean Real.

Sean Exploder

Plus a preview of Katie Mingle?s new 99pi spin off According to Need (Out December 1).

Buy Sean?s first record of 99pi music in the 99% Invisible Store

2020-11-21
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422- In The Unlikely Event

If you?ve ever flown on a plane, you?ve been directed to study the safety briefing card in your seatback pocket. Every passenger plane, commercial or private, has to have safety cards on board. Mo Laborde is a reporter who has been collecting safety cards for almost ten years, and one day she started wondering how the modern safety card came about.

In The Unlikely Event

Buy The 99% Invisible City

2020-11-18
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421- You've Got Enron Mail!

Enron collapsed nearly 20 years ago, but chances are something you use today was affected by emails sent by 150 of the company's top employees. These emails ? about meetings and energy markets but also affairs, divorces, and fraud ? have helped create new technologies, fight terrorism, and added to our understanding of how we communicate.

You?ve Got Enron Mail!

Learn more and subscribe to Brought To You By?

2020-11-11
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420- The Lost Cities of Geo

Geocities was an online collection of metropolises, each with their own neighborhoods built around shared interests. The city metaphor helped make a whole new group of users understand the world wide web for the first time. At its peak, it was the third most popular destination on the internet, but it quickly fell out of fashion as the web became more commodified and professional. Before it shuttered, a few digital archivists scooped up as much data as possible before all that early internet experimentation could be deleted.

The Lost Cities of Geo

Buy a signed copy of The 99% Invisible City today

2020-11-03
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419- Take a Walk

During publicity interviews for The 99% Invisible City someone asked us, ?What is your favorite way to experience the city?? The answer is walking. If you have nothing to do, take a walk. If you are overwhelmed with things to do, take a walk. We?ve been working so hard on the book release and new miniseries we?re launching in December that we?re going to take a walk with our friends at Pop Up Magazine. Pop Up Magazine's team spent weeks interviewing dozens of people about walking, including Jenny Slate, Anna Sale (Death, Sex & Money), Antwan Williams (Ear Hustle), author and radio host Lulu Miller, writer Sam Jay (Saturday Night Live), NASA Astronaut Drew Feustel, Sergeant Julian Torres, and many others.

Take a Walk

Buy The 99% Invisible City now!

2020-10-27
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99pi Presents The Next Billion Users

This bonus episode is sponsored by Google?s Next Billion User Initiative.

Every week millions of people come online for the very first time. And everyone ? no matter where they live, what language they speak or their level of digital literacy ? deserves an internet that was made for them. Google's Next Billion Users initiative conducts research and builds products for everyone, everywhere.

Find out more at NextBillionUsers.google

2020-10-24
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418- Sign Stealing

In the early days of baseball, sign-stealing was almost like a game within the game. Teams and players would try all kinds of tricks to get a glimpse of what the catcher was signaling to the pitcher. Even with this long history, when the Houston Astros were recently caught stealing signs during their championship season it became a huge scandal.

Sign Stealing

The New York Times Bestseller The 99% Invisible City is on sale now!

This episode is adapted from The Edge, a six-part series hosted by Ben Reiter.

2020-10-21
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417- For the Love of Peat

When we think about carbon storage, we tend to think about forests, but peatlands are also incredible carbon sinks. In Europe, peatlands contain five times more carbon than forests. But back in the 80s, most people didn't know this remarkable fact about peat. If anything, bogs were seen as scary places to be avoided and thus we tended to not take care of them. But that?s changing.

For the Love of Peat

Buy The 99% Invisible City!

2020-10-13
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416- Exploring The 99% Invisible City

We're excited to celebrate the release of The 99% Invisible City book by host Roman Mars and producer Kurt Kohlstedt with a guided audio tour of beautiful downtown Oakland, California.

In this episode, we explain how anchor plates help hold up brick walls; why metal fire escapes are mostly found on older buildings; what impact camouflaging defensive designs has on public spaces; who benefits from those spray-painted markings on city streets, and much more.

Plus, At the end of the tour, stick around for a behind the scenes look at the book as we answer a series of fan-submitted questions about how it was created, offering a window into the writing, illustration and design processes.

Exploring The 99% Invisible City

2020-10-06
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415- Goodnight Nobody

The unlikely battle between the creator of the New York Public Library children's reading room and the beloved children?s classic Goodnight Moon.

Goodnight Nobody

Pre-order The 99% Invisible City

2020-09-30
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414- The Address Book

An address is something many people take for granted today, but they are in fact a fairly recent invention that has shaped our cities and taken on great political importance. Deirdre Mask is the author of The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power, which looks at all the ways the world has changed since the popularization of street addresses during the Enlightenment. The book examines how addresses impact wealth and poverty, and how they serve as proxies for our most contentious debates. Mask also explores a digital future where we aren't reliant on the numbers on our homes to tell us where we are or where we're going.

 The Address Book

Order The 99% Invisible City

2020-09-23
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413- Highways 101

Icons and symbols and signage are all around us, and nowhere more so than on the open road. So for this episode of Ubiquitous Icons: hop in the car with Roman and Kurt for a crash course in roadside signage. We'll learn about the history of the stop sign, the iconic rural mailbox, and the signs that tell you what you'll find at highway exits. This is Highways 101.

Highways 101

Pre-order The 99% Invisible City

2020-09-15
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412- Where Do We Go From Here?

There have been many waves of panic and resistance to new people moving into the public sphere and needing accommodation. And a focus of that panic has often been? public bathrooms. The debate about trans bathroom access became a big national story a little over five years ago after the passage of ordinances in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, and Houston, TX, which attempted to restrict which bathrooms trans people could or couldn?t use. Many transgender, non-binary, and intersex people risk stress and sometimes physical danger when entering bathrooms that are segregated by sex. But a group of people have devised a design solution that may make bathrooms better for everyone.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Pre-order the The 99% Invisible City

2020-09-09
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411- Podcast Episode

After the 1970s oil crisis, the global economy went into a recession. American unemployment hit 11 percent. And suddenly, middle-class families didn?t have money for name brands like Coke or Kellogg?s. Consumers wanted cheaper food. In response, supermarkets had to figure out how to make their store brands more appealing. One chain in France, called Carrefour, was developing a discount store brand when they had an idea. Instead of using bright colors, or putting their own name on the box, or using slogans or beautiful photos, their products were brandless. They would include just the name of the food, in black text, on a white background. This minimalist design was a brilliant marketing tool. It delivered the message that the food was cheap, and the savings were being passed down to consumers. Then generic branding spread around the world.

Podcast Episode

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2020-09-01
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244- The Revolutionary Post

Winifred Gallagher, author of How the Post Office Created America argues that the post office is not simply an inexpensive way to send a letter. The service was designed to unite a bunch of disparate towns and people under one flag, and in doing so, she believes the post office actually created the United States of America.

This is a rebroadcast from October 2017

The Revolutionary Post

Buy The 99% Invisible City, our first book!

2020-08-25
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410- Policing the Open Road

Before the twentieth century, most Americans rarely came into contact with police officers. But with more and more drivers behind the wheel, police departments rapidly expanded their forces and increased officers? authority to stop citizens who violated traffic laws. The Fourth Amendment?the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures?did not effectively shield individuals from government intrusion while driving. Instead, jurists interpreted the amendment narrowly. In a society dependent on cars, everyone (the law-breaking and law-abiding alike) would be subject to discretionary policing. Sarah Seo's remarkable book Policing the Open Road shows how procedures designed to safeguard us on the road actually undermined the nation?s commitment to equal protection before the law.

Policing the Open Road

2020-08-11
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409- California Love Scared Straight

Walter Thompson-Hernandez was just eleven years old when he was admitted to L.A.'s infamous Scared Straight program for graffiti related crimes. In this episode, Walter, through a chance encounter, checks-in with his friend who went through the program with him, their anti-tagging arch-nemesis, and how they have turned out after all these years.

Part autobiography, part reportage, California Love is a richly sound-designed audio tour that takes us into the homes of communities that are touchstones to Walter?s life.

Subscribe on iTunes or through their website

2020-08-04
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408- Valley of the Fallen

About an hour northwest of Madrid, an enormous stone crucifix rises 500 feet out of a rocky mountaintop. It?s so big you can see it from miles away. Beneath the cross, there?s a sprawling Benedictine monastery and a basilica carved out of the mountain. This place is called The Valley of the Fallen. And it?s likely the most controversial monument in Spain. The Valley is synonymous with Francisco Franco, the general who ruled Spain from the end of its bloody civil war in 1939 until his death in 1975. When Franco died, he became the Valley?s most notorious inhabitant, until he was removed in 2019. Currently there are tens of thousands of other bodies still trapped in the basilica beneath where Franco used to lie. Many were victims of Franco?s security forces, murdered during the height of the civil war, and for years, their families have been trying to get them out.

Valley of the Fallen

Buy The 99% Invisible City, our first book!

2020-07-29
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407- The Dolphin that Roared

When Emily Oberman found a flag of the island nation of Anguilla her father had helped design in her attic, she had no idea it was connected to one of the strangest political revolutions in history.

The Dolphin that Roared

Plus, we are so excited to announce the first 99pi book! The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt comes out October 6 and you should pre-order it right now!

2020-07-22
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406- A Side of Franchise

There are many books about McDonald?s that criticize the company for its many sins, and author Marcia Chatelain has read all of them. But her book comes at this famous fast-food restaurant from a different angle and with a much wider lens. In Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, Chatelain offers a critique of racial capitalism and a long history of trying to address social problems with business-based solutions.

A Side of Franchise

Plus, we are featuring an excerpt from the series Race Traitor from The Heart. Subscribe!

2020-07-14
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