150- Under The Moonlight01/28/15
In 1885,Austin, Texas was terrorizedby aserial killer known as the Servant Girl Annihilator.The murdererwas never actually found, but he claimedeight victims, mostly black servant girls, all attacked in the darkof night. The very, very dark night...
149- Of Mice And Men
If you are looking at acomputer screen, your right hand is probably resting on amouse. To the left of that mouse (or above, if you’re on a laptop) is your keyboard. As you work on the computer, your right hand … Continue reading →
148- The Sizzle
The first trademark for a sound in the United Stateswas issuedin 1978 to NBC for their chimes.MGM has a sound trademarkfor their roaring lion, as does 20th Century Fox for their trumpet fanfare. Harley Davidson tried to trademark the sound … Continue...
147- Penn Station Sucks
New Yorkers are known to disagree about a lot of things. Who’s got the best pizza? What’s the fastest subway route? Yankees or Mets? But all 8.5 million New Yorkers are likely to agree on one thing: Penn Station sucks. … Continue reading →
As you probably know, 99% Invisibleis a show about the built world, about things manufactured by humans. We don’t tend to do stories about animals or nature. Butourfriend Jon Mooallemwrites brilliant stories about the weird interactionsbetween animals...
If you want to follow conversation threads relating to this show on social media—whether Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, Tumblr—you know to look for the hashtag: #99pi. In our current digital age, the hashtag identifies movements, events, happenings,...
144- There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Hanging in the garage of Fire Station #6 in Livermore, California, there’s a small, pear-shaped light bulb. It is glowing right now. This lightbulb has been glowing, with just a couple of momentary interruptions, for 113 years. You can see … Continue...
143- Inflatable Men
You see them on street corners, at gas stations, at shopping malls. You see them at blowout sales and grand openings of all kinds. Their wacky faces hover over us, and then fall down to meet us, and then rise … Continue reading →
142- And The Winner Is
There’s a little trophy shop called Aardvark Laser Engraving down the street from our office in Oakland. Its small but bustling, and its windows are stuffed to the brim with awards made of all kinds of materials and in any … Continue reading →
141- Three Records from Sundown
This week on the show we’re presenting one of our favorite radio features, “Three Records from Sundown,”about singer Nick Drake. The documentary, by producer Charles Maynes, retraces the roots of Drake’s legend through interviews with Drake’s...
Vexillologists—those who study flags—tend to fall into one of two schools of thought. The first is one that focuses on history, category, and usage, and maintains that vexillologists should be scholars and historians of all flags, regardless of their...
139- Edge of Your Seat
“A Chair is a difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier.” —Mies van der Rohe. The chair presents an interesting design challenge, because it is anobject that disappears when in use. The person replaces the chair. So chairs need to … Continue...
The Ouija board is so simple and iconic that it looks like it comes from another time, or maybe another realm. The game is not as ancient as it was designed to look, but thosetwo arched rows of letters have … Continue reading →
137- Good Bread
The first print advertisement for Wonder Bread came out before the bread itself. It stated only that “a wonder” was coming. In a lot of ways, the statement was true. Wonder Breadwas the perfect loaf. “Slow food” advocates havepronounced industrial …...
136- Lights Out
On July 13th, 1977, lightning struck an electricity transmission line in New York City, causing the line’s automatic circuit breaker to kick in. The electricity from the affected line was diverted to another line. This was fairly normal and everything...
135- For Amusement Only
Everyone has tried it at some point. The authorities started turning a blind eye years ago, but it wasn’t officially legalized until the summer of 2014. Finally, after more than 80 years of illegitimacy, the City of Oakland has legalized…pinball …...
134- The Straight Line Is A Godless Line
Straight lines form the core of our built environment. Building in straight lines makes predicting costs and calculating structural loads easier, since building materials come in linear units. Straight lines might be logical, predictable, and...
133- Port of Dallas
There’s a photograph we have tacked to our studio at 99% Invisible HQ. The photo, taken 1899, shows three men, all looking very fashionable, suspended mid-air on the lifted arm of a giant dredging machine. There are plenty of images … Continue reading...
132- Castle on the Park
On the southwest corner of Central Park West and 106th Street in New York City, there’s an enormous castle. It takes up the whole east end of the block, with its red brick cylindrical turrets topped with gleaming silver cones. … Continue reading →
131- Genesis Object
In the beginning, there was design. Before any other human discipline, even before the dawn of mankind its self, design was a practice passed down from generation to generation of early humans. Today, everything that has been designed–space ships,...
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