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Radiolab

WNYC Studios

4.3K
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11.5K
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Radiolab
Radiolab

Radiolab

WNYC Studios

4.3K
Followers
11.5K
Plays
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Radiolab

Latest Episodes

Radiolab Presents: Dolly Parton's America

Radiolab creator and host Jad Abumrad spent the last two years following around music legend Dolly Parton, and we're here to say you should tune in! In this episode of Radiolab, we showcase the first of Jad's special series,Dolly Parton's America. In this intensely divided moment, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is Dolly Parton—but why? That simple question leads to a deeply personal, historical, and musical rethinking of one of America’s great icons. We begin with a simple question: How did the queen of the boob joke become a feminist icon? Helen Morales, author of “Pilgrimage to Dollywood,” gave us a stern directive – look at the lyrics!So we dive intoDolly’s discography, starting with the early period of what Dolly calls “sad ass songs” to find remarkably prescient words of female pain, slut-shaming, domestic violence, and women being locked away in asylums by cheating husbands. We explore how Dolly took the centuries-old tradition of the Appalachian “murder ballad”—an oral tradition of men singing songs about brutally killing women—and flipped the script, singing from the woman’s point of view. And as her career progresses, the songs expand beyond the pain to tell tales of leaving abuse behind. How can such pro-woman lyrics come from someone who despises the word feminism? Dolly explains. Check out Dolly Parton's America here at:https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/dolly-partons-america

60 MIN2 d ago
Comments
Radiolab Presents: Dolly Parton's America

Silky Love

We eat eels in sushi, stews, and pasta. Eels eat anything. Also they can survive outside of water for hours and live for up to 80 years. But this slippery snake of the sea harbors an even deeper mystery, one that has tormented the minds of Aristotle and Sigmund Freud and apparently the entire country of Italy: Where do they come from? We travel from the estuaries of New York to the darkest part of the ocean in search of the limits of human knowledge. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Becca Bressler. Support Radiolab today atRadiolab.org/donate. Further reading: Lucy Cooke's bookThe Truth about Animals! Chris Bowser's Eel ResearchProject

36 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Silky Love

Tit for Tat

In the early 60s, Robert Axelrod was a math major messing around with refrigerator-sized computers. Then a dramatic global crisis made him wonder about the space between a rock and a hard place, and whether being good may be a good strategy. With help from Andrew Zolli and Steve Strogatz, we tackle the prisoner’s dilemma, a classic thought experiment, and learn about a simple strategy to navigate the waters of cooperation and betrayal. Then Axelrod, along with Stanley Weintraub, takes us back to the trenches of World War I, to the winter of 1914, and an unlikely Christmas party along the Western Front.

28 MINSEP 18
Comments
Tit for Tat

What's Left When You're Right?

More often than not, a fight is just a fight... Someone wins, someone loses. But this hour, we have a series of face-offs that shine a light on the human condition, the benefit of coming at something from a different side, and the price of being right. Special thanks to Mark Dresser for the use of his music.

63 MINSEP 6
Comments
What's Left When You're Right?

The Memory Palace

Nate DiMeo waspreoccupied with the past, and how we relate to it, from a very young age. For the last decade or so he's beenscratching this itch with The Memory Palace, a podcast he created. He doesthings very differently than we do, but his show has captured the hearts of Radiolab staffers, past and present, time and time again. So wedecided toget Nate into the studio to share a few of his episodes with usandtalk to us about how and why he does what he does. He brought usstories about the Morse Code, the draft lottery, and then he hit us with a brand new episode about a bull on trial, that bounces off a story we did pretty recently. More history on scrub bulls. Follow @thememorypalace on Twitter. This episode was produced with help from Bethel Habte. Support Radiolab today atRadiolab.org/donate. Other staff favorites: Zulu Charlie Romeo Notes on an Imagined Plaque Snakes! Outliers

42 MINAUG 28
Comments
The Memory Palace

Right to be Forgotten

In an online world, that story about you lives forever. The tipsy photograph of you at the college football game? It’s up there. That news article about the political rally you were marching at? It’s up there. A DUI? That’s there, too. But what if ... it wasn’t. In Cleveland, Ohio, a group of journalists are trying out an experiment that has the potential to turn things upside down: they are unpublishing content they’ve already published. Photographs, names, entire articles. Every month or so, they get together to decide what content stays, and what content goes. On today’s episode, reporter Molly Webster goes inside the room where the decisions are being made, listening case-by-case as editors decide who, or what, gets to be deleted. It’s a story about time and memory; mistakes and second chances; and society as we know it. This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Molly Webster and Bethel Habte. Special thanks to Kathy English, David Erdos, Ed Haber, Brews...

47 MINAUG 23
Comments
Right to be Forgotten

More Perfect: Cruel and Unusual

On the inaugural episode ofMore Perfect, we explore three little words embedded in the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “cruel and unusual.” America has long wrestled with this concept in the context of our strongest punishment, the death penalty. A majority of “we the people” (61 percent, to be exact) are in favor of having it, but inside the Supreme Court, opinions have evolved over time in surprising ways. And outside of the court, the debate drove one woman in the UK to take on the U.S. death penalty system from Europe. It also causedstates to resuscitate old methods used for executing prisoners on death row. And perhaps more than anything, it forced a conversation on what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Special thanks toClaire Phillips, Nina Perry, Stephanie Jenkins, Ralph Dellapiana, Byrd Pinkerton,Elisabeth Semel, Christina Spaulding, andThe Marshall Project Support Radiolab today atRadiolab.org/donate. Also! We’re working on collecting some audience fee...

58 MINAUG 9
Comments
More Perfect: Cruel and Unusual

G: The World's Smartest Animal

This episode begins with a rant. This rant, in particular, comes from Dan Engber - a science writer who loves animals but despises animal intelligence research. Dan told us that so much of the way we study animals involves tests that we think show a human is smart ... not the animals we intend to study. Dan’s rant got us thinking: What is the smartest animal in the world? And if we threw out our human intelligence rubric, is there a fair way to figure it out? Obviously, there is. And it’s a live game show, judged by Jad, Robert … and a dog. For the last episode of G, Radiolab’s miniseries on intelligence, we’re sharing that game show with you. It was recorded as a live show back in May 2019 at the Greene Space in New York City. We invited two science writers, Dan Engber and Laurel Braitman, and two comedians, Tracy Clayton and Jordan Mendoza, to compete against one another to find the world’s smartest animal. What resulted were a series of funny, delightful stories about unexp...

51 MINJUL 30
Comments
G: The World's Smartest Animal

G: Unnatural Selection

This past fall, a scientist named Steve Hsu made headlines with a provocative announcement.He would start selling a genetic intelligence test to couples doing IVF:a sophisticated prediction tool, built on big data and machine learning, designed to help couples select the best embryo in their batch. We wondered, how does that work? What can the test really say? And do we want to live in a world where certain people can decide how smart their babies will be? This episode was produced by Simon Adler, with help from Rachael Cusick and Pat Walters. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Engineering help from Jeremy Bloom. Special thanks to Catherine Bliss. Radiolab’s “G” is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. Support Radiolab today atRadiolab.org/donate.

36 MINJUL 26
Comments
G: Unnatural Selection

G: Unfit

When a law student named Mark Bold came across a Supreme Court decision from the 1920s that allowed for the forced sterilization of people deemed “unfit,” he was shocked to discover that it had never been overturned. His law professors told him the case, Buck v Bell, was nothing to worry about, that the ruling was in a kind of legal limbo and could never be used against people. But he didn’t buy it. In this episode we follow Mark on a journey to one of the darkest consequences of humanity’s attempts to measure the human mind and put people in boxes, following him through history, science fiction and a version of eugenics that’s still very much alive today, and watch as he crusades to restore a dash of moral order to the universe. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty, Lulu Miller and Pat Walters. You can pre-order Lulu Miller’s new book Why Fish Don’t Exist here. Special thanks to Sara Luterman, Lynn Rainville, Alex Minna Stern, Steve Silberman and Lydia X.Z. Brown. Radiol...

51 MINJUL 17
Comments
G: Unfit

Latest Episodes

Radiolab Presents: Dolly Parton's America

Radiolab creator and host Jad Abumrad spent the last two years following around music legend Dolly Parton, and we're here to say you should tune in! In this episode of Radiolab, we showcase the first of Jad's special series,Dolly Parton's America. In this intensely divided moment, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is Dolly Parton—but why? That simple question leads to a deeply personal, historical, and musical rethinking of one of America’s great icons. We begin with a simple question: How did the queen of the boob joke become a feminist icon? Helen Morales, author of “Pilgrimage to Dollywood,” gave us a stern directive – look at the lyrics!So we dive intoDolly’s discography, starting with the early period of what Dolly calls “sad ass songs” to find remarkably prescient words of female pain, slut-shaming, domestic violence, and women being locked away in asylums by cheating husbands. We explore how Dolly took the centuries-old tradition of the Appalachian “murder ballad”—an oral tradition of men singing songs about brutally killing women—and flipped the script, singing from the woman’s point of view. And as her career progresses, the songs expand beyond the pain to tell tales of leaving abuse behind. How can such pro-woman lyrics come from someone who despises the word feminism? Dolly explains. Check out Dolly Parton's America here at:https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/dolly-partons-america

60 MIN2 d ago
Comments
Radiolab Presents: Dolly Parton's America

Silky Love

We eat eels in sushi, stews, and pasta. Eels eat anything. Also they can survive outside of water for hours and live for up to 80 years. But this slippery snake of the sea harbors an even deeper mystery, one that has tormented the minds of Aristotle and Sigmund Freud and apparently the entire country of Italy: Where do they come from? We travel from the estuaries of New York to the darkest part of the ocean in search of the limits of human knowledge. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Becca Bressler. Support Radiolab today atRadiolab.org/donate. Further reading: Lucy Cooke's bookThe Truth about Animals! Chris Bowser's Eel ResearchProject

36 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Silky Love

Tit for Tat

In the early 60s, Robert Axelrod was a math major messing around with refrigerator-sized computers. Then a dramatic global crisis made him wonder about the space between a rock and a hard place, and whether being good may be a good strategy. With help from Andrew Zolli and Steve Strogatz, we tackle the prisoner’s dilemma, a classic thought experiment, and learn about a simple strategy to navigate the waters of cooperation and betrayal. Then Axelrod, along with Stanley Weintraub, takes us back to the trenches of World War I, to the winter of 1914, and an unlikely Christmas party along the Western Front.

28 MINSEP 18
Comments
Tit for Tat

What's Left When You're Right?

More often than not, a fight is just a fight... Someone wins, someone loses. But this hour, we have a series of face-offs that shine a light on the human condition, the benefit of coming at something from a different side, and the price of being right. Special thanks to Mark Dresser for the use of his music.

63 MINSEP 6
Comments
What's Left When You're Right?

The Memory Palace

Nate DiMeo waspreoccupied with the past, and how we relate to it, from a very young age. For the last decade or so he's beenscratching this itch with The Memory Palace, a podcast he created. He doesthings very differently than we do, but his show has captured the hearts of Radiolab staffers, past and present, time and time again. So wedecided toget Nate into the studio to share a few of his episodes with usandtalk to us about how and why he does what he does. He brought usstories about the Morse Code, the draft lottery, and then he hit us with a brand new episode about a bull on trial, that bounces off a story we did pretty recently. More history on scrub bulls. Follow @thememorypalace on Twitter. This episode was produced with help from Bethel Habte. Support Radiolab today atRadiolab.org/donate. Other staff favorites: Zulu Charlie Romeo Notes on an Imagined Plaque Snakes! Outliers

42 MINAUG 28
Comments
The Memory Palace

Right to be Forgotten

In an online world, that story about you lives forever. The tipsy photograph of you at the college football game? It’s up there. That news article about the political rally you were marching at? It’s up there. A DUI? That’s there, too. But what if ... it wasn’t. In Cleveland, Ohio, a group of journalists are trying out an experiment that has the potential to turn things upside down: they are unpublishing content they’ve already published. Photographs, names, entire articles. Every month or so, they get together to decide what content stays, and what content goes. On today’s episode, reporter Molly Webster goes inside the room where the decisions are being made, listening case-by-case as editors decide who, or what, gets to be deleted. It’s a story about time and memory; mistakes and second chances; and society as we know it. This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Molly Webster and Bethel Habte. Special thanks to Kathy English, David Erdos, Ed Haber, Brews...

47 MINAUG 23
Comments
Right to be Forgotten

More Perfect: Cruel and Unusual

On the inaugural episode ofMore Perfect, we explore three little words embedded in the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “cruel and unusual.” America has long wrestled with this concept in the context of our strongest punishment, the death penalty. A majority of “we the people” (61 percent, to be exact) are in favor of having it, but inside the Supreme Court, opinions have evolved over time in surprising ways. And outside of the court, the debate drove one woman in the UK to take on the U.S. death penalty system from Europe. It also causedstates to resuscitate old methods used for executing prisoners on death row. And perhaps more than anything, it forced a conversation on what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Special thanks toClaire Phillips, Nina Perry, Stephanie Jenkins, Ralph Dellapiana, Byrd Pinkerton,Elisabeth Semel, Christina Spaulding, andThe Marshall Project Support Radiolab today atRadiolab.org/donate. Also! We’re working on collecting some audience fee...

58 MINAUG 9
Comments
More Perfect: Cruel and Unusual

G: The World's Smartest Animal

This episode begins with a rant. This rant, in particular, comes from Dan Engber - a science writer who loves animals but despises animal intelligence research. Dan told us that so much of the way we study animals involves tests that we think show a human is smart ... not the animals we intend to study. Dan’s rant got us thinking: What is the smartest animal in the world? And if we threw out our human intelligence rubric, is there a fair way to figure it out? Obviously, there is. And it’s a live game show, judged by Jad, Robert … and a dog. For the last episode of G, Radiolab’s miniseries on intelligence, we’re sharing that game show with you. It was recorded as a live show back in May 2019 at the Greene Space in New York City. We invited two science writers, Dan Engber and Laurel Braitman, and two comedians, Tracy Clayton and Jordan Mendoza, to compete against one another to find the world’s smartest animal. What resulted were a series of funny, delightful stories about unexp...

51 MINJUL 30
Comments
G: The World's Smartest Animal

G: Unnatural Selection

This past fall, a scientist named Steve Hsu made headlines with a provocative announcement.He would start selling a genetic intelligence test to couples doing IVF:a sophisticated prediction tool, built on big data and machine learning, designed to help couples select the best embryo in their batch. We wondered, how does that work? What can the test really say? And do we want to live in a world where certain people can decide how smart their babies will be? This episode was produced by Simon Adler, with help from Rachael Cusick and Pat Walters. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Engineering help from Jeremy Bloom. Special thanks to Catherine Bliss. Radiolab’s “G” is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. Support Radiolab today atRadiolab.org/donate.

36 MINJUL 26
Comments
G: Unnatural Selection

G: Unfit

When a law student named Mark Bold came across a Supreme Court decision from the 1920s that allowed for the forced sterilization of people deemed “unfit,” he was shocked to discover that it had never been overturned. His law professors told him the case, Buck v Bell, was nothing to worry about, that the ruling was in a kind of legal limbo and could never be used against people. But he didn’t buy it. In this episode we follow Mark on a journey to one of the darkest consequences of humanity’s attempts to measure the human mind and put people in boxes, following him through history, science fiction and a version of eugenics that’s still very much alive today, and watch as he crusades to restore a dash of moral order to the universe. This episode was produced by Matt Kielty, Lulu Miller and Pat Walters. You can pre-order Lulu Miller’s new book Why Fish Don’t Exist here. Special thanks to Sara Luterman, Lynn Rainville, Alex Minna Stern, Steve Silberman and Lydia X.Z. Brown. Radiol...

51 MINJUL 17
Comments
G: Unfit