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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.

A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

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Episodes

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

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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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405- Freedom House Ambulance Service

One night halfway through a graveyard shift at the hospital, orderly John Moon watched as two young men burst through the doors. They were working desperately to save a dying patient. Maybe today he wouldn?t bat an eye at this scene, but in 1970 nothing about it made sense. The two men weren?t doctors, and they weren?t nurses. And their strange uniforms weren?t hospital issued. Moon was witnessing the birth of a new profession?one that would go on to change the face of emergency medicine.  The two men were some of the worlds first paramedics, and, like Moon, they were Black. This is the story of Freedom House Ambulance Service of Pittsburgh. They were the first paramedics and they changed the way we think about emergency medicine.

Freedom House Ambulance Service

2020-07-08
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404- Return of Oñate's Foot

All across the country, protestors have been tearing down old monuments. These monuments have been falling in the middle of historic protests against police brutality. Sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, these demonstrations have spread to communities, big and small, across the country and around the world. And as they've grown, the protests have become about much more than police violence. This national uprising has inspired a massive reckoning with our country's past. Suddenly, decades of inertia and foot-dragging have given way to decisive action. In 2018, we did a story about a couple of controversial monuments in New Mexico. They honored a Spanish conquistador named Juan de Oñate, who was an early settler in the region. We're revisiting that story with extensive updates about the current protests and a shooting that occurred at an Oñate demonstration in June.

Return of Oñate's Foot

2020-07-01
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403- Return of the Yokai

In the US, mascots are used to pump up crowds at sporting events, or for traumatizing generations of children at Chuck E. Cheese, but in Japan it?s different. There are mascots for towns, aquariums, dentists' offices, even prisons. There are mascots in cities that tell people not to litter, or remind them to be quiet on the train. Everything has a mascot and anything can be a mascot. The reason why mascots and character culture flourish in Japan is connected with the nation?s fascinating history with mythical monsters known as Yokai.

Return of the Yokai

2020-06-24
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402- Instant Gramification

If you?re on Instagram, there?s a decent chance you?ve seen a picture of one particular building called the Yardhouse. It was designed by the London-based architecture collective Assemble. The design of the building had a lot to say about creating spaces that were functional, collaborative, and inexpensive. But people on Instagram mainly saw a pretty wall to serve as the backdrop to their photos. Instagram and architecture have formed a symbiosis and the consequences of them interacting and feeding back on each other are still playing out.

Instant Grammification

2020-06-17
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Wedding Dresses: Articles of Interest #12

A wedding was once seen as a start of young adulthood. Now, a wedding has come to represent a crowning achievement -- a symbol that your whole life is together and you have accrued the time and space and resources to afford your ascent to another level of fulfillment. And there's no greater symbol for this day, and all the pressure it brings, than a white dress.

Articles of Interest is a limited-run podcast series about fashion, housed inside the design and architecture podcast 99% Invisible. Launched in 2018 by Avery Trufelman, the show encourages people to rethink the way we look at what we wear and what it says about us.

2020-06-09
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Diamonds: Articles of Interest #11

Diamonds represent value, in all its multiple meanings: values, as in ethics, and value as in actual price. But what are these rocks actually worth? The ethics and costs of diamond rings have shifted with society, from their artificial scarcity perpetuated by DeBeers to their artificial creation in labs.

Articles of Interest is a limited-run podcast series about fashion, housed inside the design and architecture podcast 99% Invisible. Launched in 2018 by Avery Trufelman, the show encourages people to rethink the way we look at what we wear and what it says about us.

2020-05-29
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Suits: Articles of Interest #10

Menswear can seem boring. If you look at any award show, most of the men are dressed in black pants and black jackets. This uniform design can be traced back to American Revolution, classical statuary, and one particular bloke bopping around downtown London way back in the 1770s.

Articles of Interest is a limited-run podcast series about fashion, housed inside the design and architecture podcast 99% Invisible. Launched in 2018 by Avery Trufelman, the show encourages people to rethink the way we look at what we wear and what it says about us.

2020-05-26
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Perfume: Articles of Interest #9

The world of high end perfume is surprisingly lucrative, considering that scent is often the most ignored of our senses. But one can't judge a scent solely by the brand and shape of the bottle. With the right amount of attention, perfume can be a key to a whole olfactory world.

Articles of Interest is a limited-run podcast series about fashion, housed inside the design and architecture podcast 99% Invisible. Launched in 2018 by Avery Trufelman, the show encourages people to rethink the way we look at what we wear and what it says about us.

2020-05-20
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Knockoffs: Articles of Interest #8

Brands hold immense sway over both consumers and the American legal system. Few know this as well as Dapper Dan, who went from street hustler to fashion impresario and has spent time on both sides of American trademark law.

Articles of Interest is a limited-run podcast series about fashion, housed inside the design and architecture podcast 99% Invisible. Launched in 2018 by Avery Trufelman, the show encourages people to rethink the way we look at what we wear and what it says about us.

2020-05-15
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A Fantasy of Fashion: Articles of Interest #7

In the wake of World War II, the government of France commissioned its most prominent designers to create a collection of miniature fashion dolls. It might seem like an odd thing to fund, but the fantasy of high fashion inspired hope in postwar Paris. These dolls also forever changed the curator who discovered them almost 40 years later, in a strange museum perched on a cliff in rural Washington state.

Articles of Interest is a limited-run podcast series about fashion, housed inside the design and architecture podcast 99% Invisible. Launched in 2018 by Avery Trufelman, the show encourages people to rethink the way we look at what we wear and what it says about us.

2020-05-12
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401- The Natural Experiment

In general, the coronavirus shutdowns have been terrible for academic research. Trips have been canceled, labs have shut down, and long-running experiments have been interrupted. But there are some researchers for whom the shutdowns have provided a unique opportunity?a whole new data set, a chance to gather new information, or to look at information in a new way. And so, this week, we?re bringing you stories very different academic fields, about researchers who are using this bizarre, tragic moment to learn something new about the world.

The Natural Experiment

2020-05-06
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400- The Smell of Concrete After Rain

There have been over 200,000 deaths as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. All have been tragic, but there are two people in particular we?ve lost due to COVID that were part of the world of architecture and design that we want to honor with a couple of stories today. First, we are mourning the loss of architect Michael McKinnell. Along with Gerhard Kallman, McKinnell designed the unforgettable Boston City Hall, completed in 1968. They won the commission for Boston City Hall after submitting their brutalist, heroic monument in a contest when Michael McKinnell was just 26 years old. It was always a controversial structure, much of the public found it ugly and too unconventional, but architects and critics tend to love it. This is the often the case with Brutalism in general and that is the subject of our first story starring Boston City Hall.

Another voice who is gone too early was Michael Sorkin. Sorkin was a designer and the Village Voice architecture critic in the 80s. He brought a totally new kind of approach to writing about buildings, one that focused on people and politics. We spoke with design critic at Curbed, Alexandra Lange, about Sorkin's work, and Roman Mars reads excerpts from one of his pieces called Two Hundred and Fifty Things an Architect Should Know.

The Smell of Concrete After Rain

2020-04-29
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399- Masking for a Friend

Here in the US, we're not used to needing to cover half of our faces in public, but if you look at the other side of the world, it's a different story. In parts of Asia, wearing a mask in response to the coronavirus pandemic was a totally easy and normal adjustment. Rebecca Kanthor is a reporter based in Shanghai who has lived in China for the past 17 years, and she tells us why the culture behind masks developed so differently there, and the doctor who started it all.

Plus, we look at the manufacturers who pivoted to make products that are in short supply because of the pandemic.

Masking for a Friend

We have a book coming out!!! Check out The 99% Invisible City here.

2020-04-22
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398- Unsheltered in Place

99% Invisible producer Katie Mingle had already been working on a series about unhoused people in the Bay Area for over a year when the current pandemic began to unfold. Suddenly, this vulnerable demographic was cast into the spotlight due to the virulent spread of COVID-19. It is clear from the data that this virus is hitting black and poor communities the hardest. COVID-19 has made American society?s racial and wealth inequities even more obvious. The disease is most dangerous to older and immunocompromised people, two groups to which those experiencing homelessness disproportionately belong.

Plus, hotels have long been used as crucial infrastructure during disasters. Now they?re being used to help fight the pandemic.

Unsheltered in Place

2020-04-15
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397- Wipe Out

If you have tried to buy toilet paper in the last few weeks, you might have found yourself staring at an empty aisle in the grocery store, wondering where all the toilet paper has gone. Although it may seem like a product that we've always been reliant upon, toilet paper has not actually been around very long, and may not be as essential as we think it is. Instead, it's the product of very good marketing.

Plus, we talk about the bane of wastewater utilities everywhere: flushable wipes.

Wipe Out

2020-04-07
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396- This Day in Esoteric Political History

In times like these, we could all use a little historical perspective. In this new podcast from Radiotopia, Jody Avirgan, political historian Nicole Hemmer, and special guests rescue moments from U.S. history to map our journey through a tumultuous year.

On this episode of 99% Invisible, Jody talks with Roman about his new show and we play two short episodes of This Day in Esoteric Political History.

Subscribe to This Day in Esoteric Political History on Apple Podcasts

2020-04-01
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395- This is Chance! Redux

It was the middle of the night on March 27, 1964. Earlier that evening, the second-biggest earthquake ever measured at the time had hit Anchorage, Alaska. Some houses had been turned completely upside down while others had skidded into the sea. But that brief and catastrophic quake was just the beginning of the story. This is the story of one woman who held a community together.

This is Chance! Redux

Buy Jon Mooallem?s This is Chance!

2020-03-25
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394- Roman Mars Describes Things As They Are

On this shelter-in-place edition of 99pi, Roman walks around his house and tells stories about the history and design of various objects

Buy Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are and all Beauty Pill records on Bandcamp or wherever you can find it.

Roman Mars Describes Things As They Are

2020-03-17
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393- Map Quests: Political, Physical and Digital

The only truly accurate map of the world would be a map the size of the world. So if you want a map to be useful, something you can hold in your hands, you have to start making choices. We have to choose what information we're interested in, and what we're throwing out. Those choices influence how the person reading the map views the world. But a map?s influence doesn?t end there, maps can actually *shape *the place they?re trying to represent and that?s where things get weird.

Map Quests

2020-03-11
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392- The Weather Machine

The weather can be a simple word or loaded with meaning depending on the context -- a humdrum subject of everyday small talk or a stark climactic reality full of existential associations with serious disasters. In his book The Weather Machine, author Andrew Blum discusses these extremes and much in between, taking readers back in time to early weather-predicting aspirations and forward with speculation about the future of forecasting, including potentially dark clouds on the horizon.

The Weather Machine

2020-03-03
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391- Over the Road

At the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, drivers from all over the country converge each year to show off their chrome and exchange stories, tips and gripes. One thing unites most in attendance this year: concerns about the steady march of technology, especially the recently imposed, mandatory electronic logging device, or ELD, which records every detail of a driver?s working hours.

Over the Road is an eight-part series that gives voice to the trials and triumphs of America?s long haul truckers. Host ?Long Haul Paul? Marhoefer, a musician, storyteller and trucker for nearly 40 years, takes you behind the wheel to explore a devoted community and a world that?s changing amidst new technologies and regulations.

Listen to more episodes at OvertheRoad.fm.

2020-02-26
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390- Fraktur

If you have ever caught even one minute of the history channel, you have seen fraktur. You?ve seen the font on Nazi posters, on Nazi office buildings, on Nazi roadwork signs. Today in Germany, blackletter typefaces are frequently used by Neo-Nazi groups and for many Germans, they bring to mind the dark times of the country?s fascist past. This is ironic because fraktur has a long and strange history that includes the font actually being banned by the Nazis.

Plus, we get an opinion from Kate Wagner (McMansion Hell) about ?Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again.?

Fraktur

2020-02-19
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389- Whomst Among Us Has Let The Dogs Out

The story of how ?Who Let The Dogs Out? ended up stuck in all of our brains goes back decades and spans continents. It tells us something about inspiration, and how creativity spreads, and about whether an idea can ever really belong to just one person. About ten years ago, Ben Sisto was reading the Wikipedia entry for the song when he noticed something strange. A hairdresser in England named ?Keith? was credited with giving the song to the Baha Men, but Keith had no last name and the fact had no citation. This mystery sent Ben down a rabbit hole to uncover the true story.

Whomst Among Us Has Let The Dogs Out

2020-02-12
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388- Missing the Bus

If you heard that there was a piece of technology that could do away with traffic jams, make cities more equitable, and help us solve climate change, you might think about driverless cars, or hyperloops or any of the other new transportation technologies that get lots of hype these days. But there is a much older, much less sexy piece of machinery that could be the key to making our cities more sustainable, more liveable, and more fair: the humble bus. Steve Higashide is a transit expert, bus champion, and author of a new book called Better Busses Better Cities. And the central thesis of the book is that buses have the power to remake our cities for the better.

Missing the Bus

2020-02-05
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387- The Worst Video Game Ever

Deep within the National Museum of American History?s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what?s known as ?the worst video game of all time.? The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it?s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s.

Subscribe to Sidedoor on Apple Podcasts or RadioPublic

The Worst Video Game Ever

2020-01-29
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386- Their Dark Materials

Vantablack is a pigment that reaches a level of darkness that?s so intense, it?s kind of upsetting. It?s so black it?s like looking at a hole cut out of the universe. If it looks unreal because Vantablack isn?t actually a color, it?s a form of nanotechnology. It was created by the tech industry for the tech industry, but this strange dark material would also go on to turn the art world on its head.

Their Dark Materials

2020-01-22
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385- Shade

Journalist Sam Bloch used to live in Los Angeles. And while lots of people move to LA for the sun and the hot temperatures, Bloch noticed a real dark side to this idyllic weather: in many neighborhoods of the city, there's almost no shade. Shade can literally be a matter of life and death. Los Angeles, like most cities around the world, is heating up. And in dry, arid environments like LA, shade is perhaps the most important factor influencing human comfort. Without shade, the chance of mortality, illness, and heatstroke can go way up.

Shade

2020-01-15
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384- Mini-Stories: Volume 8

This is part 2 of the 2019- 2020 mini-stories episodes where I interview the staff about their favorite little stories from the built world that don?t quite fill out an entire episode for whatever reason but they are cool 99pi stories nonetheless?

We have centuries old bonds, standard tunings mandated by international treaty, abandoned mansions, and secret babies. If you ever need a conversation starter, the mini-stories are our gift to you.

Mini-Stories 8

2020-01-07
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383- Mini-Stories: Volume 7

It?s the end of the year and time for our annual mini-stories episodes. Mini-stories are fun, quick hit stories that came up in our research for another episode...or maybe it was some cool thing someone told us about that we found really interesting. They didn?t quite warrant a full episode and two months of hard reporting, but they?re great 99pi stories nonetheless. And my favorite part is we do them as unscripted interviews where I?m in the studio with the people who work on this show, who I like a lot. Sometimes I know a little about what they?re going to talk about, but sometimes I know nothing. It?s very fun. This week we have stories of mistaken identity, unreachable iconic tour destinations, haunted architecture, and of course, raccoons.

Mini-Stories: Volume 7

Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today.

2019-12-19
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Smart Stuff with Justin and Roman- Founder Effect

The long-awaited return of Smart Stuff with Justin and Roman, featuring Justin McElroy and Roman Mars.

Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today.

Everyone should listen to My Brother, My Brother, and Me on the Max Fun Network.

2019-12-15
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382- The ELIZA Effect

Throughout Joseph Weizenbaum's life, he liked to tell this story about a computer program he?d created back in the 1960s as a professor at MIT. It was a simple chatbot named ELIZA that could interact with users in a typed conversation. As he enlisted people to try it out, Weizenbaum saw similar reactions again and again -- people were entranced by the program. They would reveal very intimate details about their lives. It was as if they?d just been waiting for someone (or something) to ask. ELIZA was one of the first computer programs that could convincingly simulate human conversation, which Weizenbaum found frankly a bit disturbing.

The ELIZA Effect

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2019-12-11
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381- The Infantorium

?Incubators for premature babies were, oddly enough, a phenomenon at the turn of the 20th century that was available at state and county fairs and amusement parks rather than hospitals,? explains Lauren Rabinowitz, an amusement park historian. If you wanted your at-risk premature baby to survive, you pretty much had to bring them to an amusement park. These incubator shows cropped up all over America. And they were a main source of healthcare for premature babies for over forty years.

The Infantorium

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2019-12-04
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380- Mannequin Pixie Dream Girl

In the 1930s, Lester Gaba was designing department store windows and found the old wax mannequins uninspiring. So he designed a new kind of mannequin that was sleek, simple, but conveyed style and personality. As a marketing stunt, he took one of these mannequins everywhere with him and she became a national obsession. ?Cynthia? captivated millions and was the subject of a 14-page spread in Life Magazine. Cynthia and the other Gaba Girls changed the look and feel of retail stores.

Mannequin Pixie Dream Girl

Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today.

2019-11-27
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379- Cautionary Tales

Galileo tried to teach us that adding more and more layers to a system intended to avert disaster often makes catastrophe all the more likely. His basic lesson has been ignored in nuclear power plants, financial markets and at the Oscars... all resulting in chaos. At the 2017 Academy Awards, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway famously handed the Best Picture Oscar to the wrong movie. In this episode of Cautionary Tales, Tim Harford takes us through all of the poor design choices leading into the infamous La La Land/Moonlight debacle, and how it could have been prevented.

Cautionary Tales

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2019-11-20
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378- Ubiquitous Icons: Peace, Power, and Happiness

There are symbols all around us that we take for granted, like the lightning strike icon, which indicates that something is high voltage. Or a little campfire to indicate that something is flammable. Those icons are pretty obvious, but there are others that aren't so straightforward. Like, why do a triangle and a stick in a circle indicate "peace"? Where does the smiley face actually come from? Or the power symbol? We sent out the 99PI team to dig into the backstory behind some of those images you see every day.

Ubiquitous Icons: Peace, Power, and Happiness

2019-11-13
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