Radiolab

Radiolab

WNYC Studios
150 episodes

About

Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Jad Abumrad, Lulu Miller, and Latif Nasser.
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13 May 2022

Frailmales

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)

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 specifically, a male cricket. This is a tale about a tiny Romeo insect trying to find a mate, and the ingenious lengths he’ll go to have his beckoning heard.

And second, producer Annie McEwen journeys through perhaps the zaniest game of football that has ever been played. When a ragtag group of players take on the top team, will it be an underdog tale for the ages or an absolute disaster?

Special thanks to Stephen Spann and Joshua Baxter at the Doris and Harry Vice University Library at Cumberland University as well as Alison Reynolds at Georgia Tech Library. Thanks also to Rick Bell, and to Scott Larson who wrote a book all about this game called Cumberland: The True Story of the Highest Scoring Football Game in History. And finally, thanks so much to our tape syncer Ambriehl Crutchfield for her help with this episode. 

If you’re still interested in learning more about this epic football game, be sure to check out this brilliant and hilarious video by sportswriter Jon Bois.

Lastly, don't forget to check out Death Sex and Money. We recommend episode titled Hard, which is deep dive into our relationship with erectile dysfunction, and the drugs developed to treat it.  

Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

06 May 2022

Debatable

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)

Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
29 April 2022

Hello, My Name Is

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)

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 they drag the weight of expectation and even irony along with them. This week on Radiolab, we’ve got six stories all about names. Horse names, the names of diseases, names for the beginning, and names for the end. Listen to “Hello, My Name Is” on Radiolab, wherever you find podcasts. 

Special thanks to Jim Wright, author of “The Real James Bond”, Tad Davis, Cole delCharco, Peter Frick-Wright, Alexa Rose Miller, Katherine De La Cruz, and Fahima Haque.

Members of The Lab, watch for an audio extra on your exclusive feeds, a poem written and read by Mary Szybist, whom Molly Webster interviewed for her story in this episode about endlings. It is titled “We Think We Do Not Have Medieval Eyes.” If you are not yet a member and would like to listen to it, 
you can join here.

Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE (https://zpr.io/BmPeeLvvRDrD)


Citations:

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Warhorse: Cavalry in Ancient Warfare by Philip Sidnell

Check out ArtsPractica.com, a site focused on medical uncertainty. Alexa Rose Miller.


22 April 2022

The Other Latif: Cuba-ish

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)

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 world.

The Radiolab special series, The Other Latif, kicked off when one of our hosts, Latif Nasser, made a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with detainee 244. A man the U.S. government paints a terrifying picture of as Al-Qaeda’s top explosives expert, and one of the most important advisors to Osama bin Laden. Nasser’s lawyer claims, on the other hand, that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that he was never even in Al-Qaeda. This clash launched our Latif into a years-long investigation, picking apart evidence, attempting to separate fact from fiction, and trying to uncover what the man with whom he shares a name actually did or didn’t do. Along the way, Radiolab’s Latif reflects on American values and his own religious past, and wonders how a fellow nerdy, suburban Muslim kid, may have gone down such a strikingly different path.

Episode 5: Cuba-ish 

To mark the solemn occasion of the other Latif's transfer to, "the legal equivalent of outer space," we thought we'd replay Cuba-ish, the fifth episode of our special series which first aired back in 2020. In this episode, our Latif heads to Guantanamo Bay to try to speak to his namesake. Before he gets there, he dives deep, seeking the answer to what seems like a simple question: why Cuba? Why in the world did the United States pick this sleepy military base in the Caribbean to house “the worst of the worst”?  

Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

 

15 April 2022

NULL

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)
08 April 2022

In the Dust of This Planet

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)

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, and True Detective.

Today on Radiolab, a puzzle. Jad’s brother-in-law wrote a book called 'In The Dust of This Planet'.

It’s an academic treatise about the horror humanity feels as we realize that we are nothing but a speck in the universe. For a few years nobody read it. But then …

 

Then in a fashion magazine.

 

And then on Jay-Z's back. How? 

We talk nihilism with Eugene Thacker & Simon Critchley, leather jackets with June Ambrose, climate change with David Victor, and hope with the father of Transcendental Black Metal - Hunter Hunt Hendrix of the band Liturgy.

Also, check out WNYC Studio's On the Media episode Staring into the Abyss, in it Brooke Gladstone and Jad Abumrad continue their discussion of nihilism and its place in history.

You can find Eugene Thacker's 'In The Dust Of the Planet' at Zero Books

Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

01 April 2022

Inheritance

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)

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 hearts and minds, but the basic biological blueprint that we pass on to future generations.

Support Radiolab by becoming a member of 
The Lab today.    

Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

25 March 2022

The Right Stuff

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)

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 if, this whole time, we’ve had it all wrong?

In this episode, reporter Andrew Leland joins a blind linguistics professor named Sheri Wells-Jensen and a crew of eleven other disabled people on a mission to prove that disabled people have what it takes to go to space. And not only that, but that they may have an edge over non-disabled people. We follow the Mission AstroAccess crew members to Long Beach, California, where they hop on an airplane to take an electrifying flight that simulates zero-gravity – a method used by NASA to train astronauts – and afterwards learn that the biggest challenges to a future where space is accessible to all people may not be where they expected to find them. And our reporter Andrew, who is legally blind himself, confronts some unexpected conclusions of his own.

This episode was reported by Andrew Leland and produced by Maria Paz Gutierrez, Matt Kielty and Pat Walters. Jeremy Bloom contributed music and sound design. Production sound recording by Dan McCoy.

Special thanks to William Pomerantz, Sheyna Gifford, Jim Vanderploeg, Tim Bailey, and Bill Barry

Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE (https://zpr.io/vWtJYGLn6UXm)

 

Citations in this episode

Multimedia:
Sheri Wells-Jensen’s SETI Institute presentation
Learn more about Mission AstroAccess
Other work by Andrew Leland

Articles:
Sheri Wells-Jensen’s, “The Case for Disabled Astronauts,” Scientific American

18 March 2022

Stress

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)
11 March 2022

The Helen Keller Exorcism

wnycdigital@gmail.com (WNYC Studios)

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 different from her in a million different ways. Then, a year ago, an online conspiracy theory claiming Helen was a fraud exploded on TikTok, and suddenly Elsa found herself drawing her sword and jumping to Helen’s defense, setting off a chain of events that would bring her closer to the disability icon than she ever dreamt. For over a year, Elsa, Lulu and the Radiolab team dug through primary sources, talked to experts, even visited Helen’s birthplace Ivy Green, and discovered the real story of Helen Keller is far more complicated, mysterious and confounding than the simple myth of a young Deafblind girl rescued by her teacher Annie Sullivan. It’s a story of ghosts, surprises, a few tears, a bit of romance, some hard conversations, and a possibly psychic dog.

This episode was reported by Elsa Sjunneson and Lulu Miller. It was produced by Sindhu Gnanasambandan and Rachel Cusick, with help from Sarah Qari, Tanya Chawla, and Carolyn McClusker. Jeremy Bloom contributed music and sound design. Additional Mixing by Arianne Wack.

Special thanks to Georgina Kleege, Julia Bascom, Desiree Kocis, Peter C. Kunze, Andrew Leland, Sara Luterman, Alexander Richey, Will Healy, Nate Jones, Nate Peereboom, and Pamela Sabaugh (who was our voice of Helen Keller).

ASL TRANSCRIPTION


Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE (https://zpr.io/s23JtuYxyrNA)

Citations in this episode

Books:
Elsa Sjunneson, Being Seen
Kim Nielsen, The Radical Lives of Helen Keller
Georgina Kleege, Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller
Katie Booth, The Invention of Miracles: language, power, and Alexander Graham Bell’s quest to end deafness
Haben Girma, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

Articles:

Susan Crutchfield, “
Play[ing] her part correctly: Helen Keller as Vaudevillian Freak,” Disability Studies Quarterly.
Desiree Kocis, “Did Helen Keller Fly A Plane?” (she did), Plane & Pilot Magazine.
Peter C. Kunze, “What We Talk about When We Talk about Helen Keller,” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly
The archives of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)