183- Dead Letter Office09/30/15
When something is lost in the mail, it feels like it has disappeared into the ether, like it was sucked into a black hole, like it no longer exists. But, it turns out, a lot of the mail we think is lost is actually in a designated place. The USPS Mail...
182- A Sweet Surprise Awaits You
On the night of March 30, 2005, the Powerball jackpot was 25 million dollars. The grand prize winner was in Tennessee, but all over the United States, one hundred and ten second-place winners came forward. Normally just three or four players guess all...
181- Milk Carton Kids
On a Sunday morning in 1982, in Des Moines, Iowa, Johnny Gosch left his house to begin his usual paper route. A short time later, his parents were awakened by a phone call–it was a neighbor—their paper hadn’t come. When the Goschs went looking for...
180- Reefer Madness
There are around 6,000 cargo vessels out on the ocean right now, carrying 20,000,000 shipping containers, which are delivering most of the products you see around you. And among all the containers are a special subset of temperature-controlled units...
In 1860, a chance find at sea forever changed our understanding of marine habitats, sparking an unprecedented push to explore a new world of possibilities far below the surface of our planet’s oceans. Deep sea life, previously thought possible down …...
178- The Great Restoration
Stirling, Scotland is the home of Stirling Castle, which sits atop a giant crag, or hill, overlooking the whole town of Stirling. There has been a castle on that hill since the 12th century at least, and maybe before, but … Continue reading →
177- Lawn Order
In communities across America, lawns that are brown or overgrown are considered especially heinous. Elite squads of dedicated individuals have been deputized by their local governments or homeowners’ associations to take action against those whose...
176- Hard to Love a Brute
No matter which James Bond actor is your favorite, it’s undeniable that the Sean Connery films had the best villains. There’s Blofeld, who turned cat-stroking into a thing that super-villains do, and then there’s Goldfinger—Bond’s flashiest nemesis....
175- The Sunshine Hotel
The Bowery, in lower Manhattan, is one of New York’s oldest neighborhoods. It’s been through a lot of iterations. In the 1650s, a handful of freed slaves were the neighborhood’s first residents. At the time, New York was still a … Continue reading →
174- From the Sea, Freedom
In 1933, delegates from the United States and fourteen other countries met in Montevideo, Uruguay to define what it means to be a state. The resulting treaty from the Montevideo Convention established four basic criteria for statehood—essentially,...
By the late 1980s, AIDS had been in the United States for almost a decade. AIDS had be the number one killer of young men in New York City, then of young men in the country, then of young men … Continue reading →
172- On Location
So many classic movies have been made in downtown Los Angeles. Though many don’t actually take place in downtown Los Angeles. L.A. has played almost every city in the world, thanks to its diverse landscape and architectural variety, but particular …...
171- Johnnycab (Automation Paradox, Pt. 2)
More than 90% of all automobile accidents are all attributable to human error, for some car industry people, a fully-automated car is a kind of holy grail. However, as automation makes our lives easier and safer, it also creates more … Continue...
170- Children of the Magenta (Automation Paradox, pt. 1)
On the evening of May 31, 2009, 216 passengers, three pilots, and nine flight attendants boarded an Airbus 330 in Rio de Janeiro. This flight, Air France 447, was headedacross to Paris. Everythingproceeded normally for several hours. Then, with no …...
169- Freud’s Couch
Sigmund Freud’s ground-breaking techniques and theories for therapy came to be called “psychoanalysis,” and itwas embodied, in practice and popular culture, by a single piece of furniture: the couch. Producer Ann Hepperman explores the role of this...
168- All In Your Head
People who make horror movies know: if you want to scare someone, use scary music. Some of the most creative use of music and sound to evoke fear and anxiety is on the TV show Hannibal. Hrishikesh Hirway of Song … Continue reading →
167- Voices in the Wire
This week on 99% Invisible, we have two stories about the early days of broadcasting and home sound recording, produced by Radio Diaries and the Kitchen Sisters. The sounds that came out Frank Conrad’s Garage in 1919 and 1920 are … Continue reading →
166- Viva La Arquitectura!
On January 3rd, 1961, Che Guevara suggested to Fidel Castro that they go play a round of golf. They drove out to what was then the ritziest, most elite country club in Havana. It was empty—almost all the members had … Continue reading →
165- The Nutshell Studies
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, Maryland is a busy place. Anyone who dies unexpectedly in the state of Maryland will end up there for an autopsy. On an average day, they might perform twelve autopsies; on … Continue reading →
164- The Post-Billiards Age
We live in a post-billiards age. There was an age of billiards, and it has been over for so long, most of us have no idea how huge billiards once was. For many decades, starting in the mid-19th Century, billiards … Continue reading →
- San Francisco, CA