#630 : October 27, 2017
There are so many facts about the world that we take for granted—without ever questioning how we know them. Of course the earth revolves around the sun. Of course my dog loves me. But how exactly do we know things like that are true? This week, stories of people trying to unspool some of life’s certainties, and what they find.
#629 : October 20, 2017
We all love to travel to different places, but not many of us like the stressful, banal process of the journey. This week, stories about delays—including a town known entirely for its speed trap, and a woman who comes up against bureaucratic nightmares every time she wants to go just a few blocks away.
#628 : October 13, 2017
Stories that take place on the edge of civilization, just out of sight.
#627 : October 6, 2017
This week we ask: who thought that would be good for a kid? Neil Drumming looks back at a toy he loved that, in retrospect, probably wouldn’t love him back. And we go to a museum that educates children but also scares the hell out of them.
#626 : September 22, 2017
Right-wing groups like the Proud Boys say they have no tolerance for racism or white supremacist groups. Their leader Gavin McInnes disavowed the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. But the Proud Boys believe “the West is the best,” which, one of them points out, is not such a big jump from “whites are best.” And one of the Proud Boys organized the Charlottesville rally. (The group now claims he was a spy.) What should we make of groups like this?
#625 : September 8, 2017
In 1967, the first two black students were enrolled at an all-white private boarding school in Virginia. The main reason they were there? To benefit the white kids. This week: stories about being enlisted to benefit another person’s educational experience. A version of this story appears in The New York Times Magazine.
#624 : September 1, 2017
Everyone walks around on their own private map of the world. The places we’re from and how they made us, whether we like it or not.
#623 : August 18, 2017
One of our producers, Neil Drumming, has recently become fascinated with Afrofuturism. It's more than sci-fi. It’s a way of looking at black culture that’s fantastic, creative, and oddly hopeful—which feels especially urgent during a time without a lot of optimism. Featuring the new song "The Deep" by clppng. Original artwork by Paul Davey. Click to enlarge.
#622 : August 4, 2017
When everything goes wrong, one of the first things we think is, "Who do I call?" This week, stories of lucky people who have found the exact right person to ring up for help.
#621 : July 21, 2017
Two towns where people got really upset about undocumented immigrants, even though in both places, that did not seem to be the most important thing happening at all. One of the towns, a small town in Alaska, has no undocumented immigrants at all, but the possibility of them arriving put the whole town at each other’s throats.
#620 : July 14, 2017
Most of the time, we show the world a pretty superficial version of ourselves. "How about that weather?" But this week—people who try to go deeper, to get to something real, in some unexpected places: war, magic and porn.
#619 : June 30, 2017
Just a few years before he got the internship at NPR that started him in radio, our host Ira Glass had another career. He performed magic at children's birthday parties. A powerful sense of embarrassment has prevented him from ever doing an episode on the subject, but when he learned that producer David Kestenbaum was also a kid conjurer, they decided to dive in together. Photo: David P. Abbott demonstrates his floating ball routine.
#618 : June 9, 2017
A polygraph operator and his strange journey. And other stories.
#617 : May 19, 2017
Three people grapple with the question, “Are we alone?”
#616 : May 5, 2017
To be, or not to be a pirate? This week, that is the question. Hold fast, mateys! We have stories about both historical and modern-day swashbucklers who loot, pillage, and question their choices.
#615 : April 28, 2017
Before Donald Trump started his presidential campaign in 2015, there was a congressional race that redefined what was possible in American politics. Steve Bannon and Breitbart News got involved in that race early, just like they later got deeply involved in Donald Trump's race. On this week’s show: What happened in that campaign, what it made it work, and how we got to now.
#614 : April 14, 2017
Since Russia meddled in our election, there's been concern that the fake news and disinformation that's so prevalent there could be taking hold in this country. But is that hyperbole? This week we look at what it's actually like to live in the confusing information landscape that is Putin's Russia.
#613 : March 31, 2017
Stories of people who decide that they are the best person for the job, no matter how dangerous. Including a story about a stay-at-home mom with a history of gun running for a guerilla organization, and a surgeon who does surgery...on himself.
#612 : March 17, 2017
Stories from people who need a grown-up. Featuring teenage girls asking for advice about their love lives and Ira's tribute to his very grown-up friend Mary.
#611 : March 3, 2017
A show about rules and what happens when they’re vague and randomly enforced.
#610 : February 17, 2017
This week we have stories of people going to very extreme measures to demonstrate their feelings. Elna Baker makes a questionable trip to Africa, while a man in Florida commits a series of disturbing acts in the name of love. Ira also goes to a high school to talk to kids before a dance.
#609 : February 3, 2017
This week we document what happened when the President’s executive order went into effect temporarily banning travel from seven countries, and we talk about the way it was implemented. A major policy change thrown into the world like a fastball with no warning. It’s hard not to ask: “What just happened? What was that all about?”
#608 : January 20, 2017
Some people are super-stoked for the political changes that are coming. We hear from them. And others.
#607 : January 6, 2017
We’ve fought two wars since 9/11. We got help from tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans—some were targeted or killed because they helped us. We owe these people. We’ve passed laws that say so. So why has it been so hard for us to get many of them to safety?
#606 : December 23, 2016
Stories from people who want something desperately—for Christmas or otherwise—and then have their wishes fulfilled. Or do they?
#605 : December 16, 2016
Stories of kids using perfectly logical arguments, and arriving at perfectly wrong conclusions. An updated version of an episode from 2001, with one story swapped.
#604 : December 9, 2016
Samantha Broun talks to cops, politicians, inmates, and family closest to the crime that changed policy 20 years ago for inmates serving life sentences in Pennsylvania. It's a crime Samantha knows well, because it happened to her mom.
#603 : December 2, 2016
Stories of people who decide to rethink the way they’ve been doing things... or try to get others to do that. Including the story of a veteran who finds a new way to talk about war.
#602 : November 11, 2016
People around the country talking about the coming four years. Some of them exultant, some of them, as President Obama said Wednesday, "less so."
#601 : November 4, 2016
A story about Hillary Clinton that offers a different picture than what we’ve been hearing from both sides during this campaign. And some funny stuff, because everyone’s tired of the election.