Radiolab

Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Radiolab is heard around the country on more than 450 NPR member stations.
Schedule:

Sunday 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM on WUSF 89.7

Contact Info:

Contact the Show

Host:
Jad Abumrad

The son of a scientist and a doctor, Jad Abumrad did most of his growing up in Tennessee, before studying creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio. Following graduation, Abumrad wrote music for films, and reported and produced documentaries for a variety of local and national public radio programs, including On The Media,Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, Morning Edition, All Things Considered and WNYC's "24 Hours at the Edge of Ground Zero."

Host:
Robert Krulwich

Robert Krulwich is co-host of Radiolab, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning program that examines big questions in science, philosophy and the human experience through compelling storytelling.  Today, Radiolab is one of public radio's most popular shows.  Its podcasts are downloaded over 4 million times each month and the program is carried on 437 stations across the nation. In addition to Radiolab, Krulwich reports for National Public Radio. “Krulwich Wonders” is his NPR blog featuring drawings, cartoons and videos that illustrate hard-to-see concepts in science.

From Radiolab

  • More or Less Human
    <p>Seven years ago chatbots - those robotic texting machines - were a mere curiosity. They were noticeably robotic and at their most malicious seemed only capable of scamming men looking for love online. Today, the chatbot landscape is wildly different. From election interference to spreading hate, chatbots have become online weapons.</p> <p>And so, we decided to reinvestigate the role these robotic bits of code play in our lives and the effects they’re having on us. We begin with a little theater. In our live show “Robert or Robot?” Jad and Robert test 100 people to see if they can spot a bot. We then take a brief detour to revisit the humanity of the Furby, and finish in a virtual house where the line between technology and humanity becomes blurrier than ever before.</p> <p><em>This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler. Our live event was produced by Simon Adler and Suzie Lechtenberg.</em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab" target="_blank">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Dark Side of the Earth
    <p><span>Astronauts at the International Space Station can make one request to talk to an earthling of their choice. For some reason, Astronaut Mark Vande Hei chose us. A couple weeks ago, we were able to video chat with Mark and peer over his shoulder through the Cupola, an observatory room in the ISS. Traveling at 17,000 miles an hour, we zoomed from the Rockies to the East Coast in minutes. And from where Mark sits, the total darkness of space isn’t very far away. </span></p> <p><span>Talking to Mark brought us back to 2012, when we spoke to another astronaut, Dave Wolf. </span>When we were putting together our live show <em>In the Dark</em>, Jad and Robert called up Dave Wolf to ask him if he had any stories about darkness. And boy, did he. Dave told us two stories that  became the finale of our show.</p> <p>Back in late 1997, Dave Wolf was on his first spacewalk, to perform work on the Mir. Dave wasn't alone -- with him was veteran Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev. </p> <p>Out in blackness of space, the contrast between light and dark is almost unimaginably extreme -- every 45 minutes, you plunge between absolute darkness on the night-side of Earth, and blazing light as the sun screams into view. Dave and Anatoly were tethered to the spacecraft, traveling 5 miles per second. That's 16 times faster than we travel on Earth's surface as it rotates -- so as they orbited, they experienced 16 nights and 16 days for every Earth day.</p> <p>Dave's description of his first spacewalk was all we could've asked for, and more. But what happened next ... well, it's just one of those stories that you always hope an astronaut will tell. Dave and Anatoly were ready to call it a job and head back into the Mir when something went wrong with the airlock. They couldn't get it to re-pressurize. In other words, they were locked out. After hours of trying to fix the airlock, they were running out of the resources that kept them alive in their space suits and facing a grisly death. So, they unhooked their tethers, and tried one last desperate move.</p> <p>In the end, they made it through, and Dave went on to perform dozens more spacewalks in the years to come, but he never again experienced anything like those harrowing minutes trying to improvise his way back into the Mir.</p> <p>After that terrifying tale, Dave told us about another moment he and Anatoly shared, floating high above Earth, staring out into the universe ... a moment so beautiful, and peaceful, we decided to use the audience recreate it, as best we could, for the final act of our live show.</p> <p><em>This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Soren Wheeler. </em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Border Trilogy Part 3: What Remains
    <p>Border Trilogy:</p> <p>While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh.</p> <p>This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness.  In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.”</p> <p>Over three episodes, Radiolab will investigate this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.</p> <p> </p> <p>Part 3: What Remains </p> <p>The third episode in our Border Trilogy follows anthropologist Jason De León after he makes a grisly discovery in Arivaca, Arizona. In the middle of carrying out his pig experiments with his students, Jason finds the body of a 30-year-old female migrant. With the help of the medical examiner and some local humanitarian groups, Jason discovers her identity. Her name was Maricela. Jason then connects with her family, including her brother-in-law, who survived his own harrowing journey through Central America and the Arizona desert.</p> <p>With the human cost of Prevention Through Deterrence weighing on our minds, we try to parse what drives migrants like Maricela to cross through such deadly terrain, and what, if anything, could deter them.</p> <p><em>This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte and was produced by Matt Kielty and Tracie Hunte. </em></p> <p><em>Special thanks to Sandra Lopez-Monsalve, Chava Gourarie, Lynn M. Morgan, Mike Wells, and Tom Barry.</em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Border Trilogy Part 2: Hold the Line
    <p>Border Trilogy: </p> <p>While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh.</p> <p>This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness.  In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.”</p> <p>Over three episodes, Radiolab will investigate this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.</p> <p> </p> <p>Part 2: Hold the Line:</p> <p>After the showdown in court with Bowie High School, Border Patrol brings in a fresh face to head its dysfunctional El Paso Sector: Silvestre Reyes. The first Mexican-American to ever hold the position, Reyes knows something needs to change and has an idea how to do it. One Saturday night at midnight, with the element of surprise on his side, Reyes unveils ... Operation Blockade. It wins widespread support for the Border Patrol in El Paso, but sparks major protests across the Rio Grande. Soon after, he gets a phone call that catapults his little experiment onto the national stage, where it works so well that it diverts migrant crossing patterns along the entire U.S.-Mexico Border.</p> <p>Years later, in the Arizona desert, anthropologist Jason de León realizes that in order to accurately gauge how many migrants die crossing the desert, he must first understand how human bodies decompose in such an extreme environment. He sets up a macabre experiment, and what he finds is more drastic than anything he could have expected.</p> <p><em>This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte, and was produced by Matt Kielty, Bethel Habte, and Latif Nasser.</em></p> <p><em>Special thanks to Sherrie Kossoudji at the University of Michigan, Cheryl Howard, Andrew Hansen, William Sabol, Donald B. White, Daniel Martinez, Michelle Mittelstadt at the Migration Policy Institute, Former Executive Assistant to the El Paso Mayor Mark Smith, Retired Assistant Border Patrol Sector Chief Clyde Benzenhoefer, Paul Anderson, Eric Robledo, Maggie Southard Gladstone, and Kate Hall.</em></p> <p> <em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>
  • Border Trilogy Part 1: Hole in the Fence
    <p>Border Trilogy:</p> <p>While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh.</p> <p>This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness.  In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.”</p> <p>Over three episodes, Radiolab will investigate this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.</p> <p> </p> <p>Part 1: Hole in the Fence:</p> <p>We begin one afternoon in May 1992, when a student named Albert stumbled in late for history class at Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas.  His excuse: Border Patrol. Soon more stories of students getting stopped and harassed by Border Patrol started pouring in. So begins the unlikely story of how a handful of Mexican-American high schoolers in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country stood up to what is today the country’s largest federal law enforcement agency.   They had no way of knowing at the time, but what would follow was a chain of events that would drastically change the US-Mexico border. </p> <p><em>This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte and was produced by Matt Kielty, Bethel Habte, Tracie Hunte and Latif Nasser. </em></p> <p><em>Special thanks to Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Estela Reyes López, Barbara Hines, Francesca Begos and Nancy Wiese from Hachette Book Group, Professor Michael Olivas at the University of Houston Law Center, and Josiah McC. Heyman, Ph.D, Director, Center for Interamerican and Border Studies and Professor of Anthropology.</em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Rippin’ the Rainbow an Even Newer One
    <p>One of our most popular episodes of all time was our <a href="http://www.radiolab.org/story/211119-colors/">Colors episode</a>, where we introduced you to a sea creature that could see a rainbow far beyond what humans can experience.</p> <p>Peacock mantis shrimps are as extraordinary as they are strange and boast what may well be the most complicated visual system in the world. They each have 16 photoreceptors compared to our measly three. But recently researchers in Australia put the mantis shrimps’ eyes to the test only to discover that sure, they can SEE lots of colors, but that doesn't mean they can tell them apart.</p> <p>In fact, when two colors are close together - like yellow and yellow-y green - they can’t seem to tell them apart at all.  </p> <p><span>MORE ON COLORS: There was a time -- between the flickery black-and-white films of yore and the hi-def color-corrected movies we watch today -- when color was in flux. Check out this <a href="http://www.radiolab.org/story/219452-ringmaster-rainbow/">blog post</a> on how colors made it to the big screen from our director of research, Latif Nasser. </span></p> <p><em>Our original episode was produced by Tim Howard and Pat Walters. This update was produced by Amanda Aronczyk.</em></p> <p><em>Special thanks to Chris Martin of <a href="http://www.creativeaquariumnation.com/">Creative Aquarium Nation</a>, Phil Weissman, David Gebel and Kate Hinds for lending us their colorful garments. Also thanks to Michael Kerschner, Elisa Nikoloulias and the <a href="http://ynyc.org/">Young New Yorkers’ Chorus</a>, as well as Chase Culpon and The Greene Space team.</em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at </em><a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab"><em>Radiolab.org/donate</em></a><em>.</em></p>
  • Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Gun Show
    <p class="p1">The shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, reignited an increasingly familiar debate about guns in this country. Today, we’re re-releasing a <em>More Perfect </em>episode that aired just after the Las Vegas shooting last year that attempts to make sense of our country’s fraught relationship with the Second Amendment.</p> <p class="p1">For nearly 200 years of our nation’s history, the Second Amendment was an all-but-forgotten rule about the importance of militias. But in the 1960s and 70s, a movement emerged — led by Black Panthers and a recently-repositioned NRA — that insisted owning a firearm was the right of each and every American. So began a constitutional debate that only the Supreme Court could solve. That didn’t happen until 2008, when a Washington, D.C. security guard named Dick Heller made a compelling case.</p>
  • The Curious Case of the Russian Flash Mob at the West Palm Beach Cheesecake Factory
    <p>We don’t do breaking news. But when Robert Mueller released his indictment a few days ago, alleging that 13 Russian nationals colluded to disrupt the 2016 elections, we had a lot of questions. Who are these Russian individuals sowing discord? And who are these Americans that were manipulated?? Join us as we follow a trail of likes and tweets that takes us from a Troll Factory to a Cheesecake Factory.</p> <p><em>This episode was produced by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen with reporting help from Becca Bressler and Charles Maynes. </em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at<a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab"> Radiolab.org/donate</a>. </em></p>
  • Smarty Plants
    <p class="p1">Do you really need a brain to sense the world around you? To remember? Or even learn? Well, it depends on who you ask. Jad and Robert, they are split on this one. Today, Robert drags Jad along on a parade for the surprising feats of brainless plants. Along with a home-inspection duo, a science writer, and some enterprising scientists at Princeton University, we dig into the work of evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano, who turns our brain-centered worldview on it’s head through a series of clever experiments that show plants doing things we never would've imagined. Can Robert get Jad to join the march?</p> <p class="p1"><em>This episode was produced by Annie McEwen. </em></p> <p class="p2"><em>Support Radiolab today at<a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab"> Radiolab.org/donate</a>. </em></p>
  • Ghosts of Football Past
    <p>In anticipation of Super Bowl LII (Go Eagles), we're revisiting an old episode about the surprising history of how the game came to be. It's the end of the 19th century -- the Civil War is over, and the frontier is dead. And young college men are anxious. What great struggle will test their character? Then along comes a new craze: football. A brutally violent game where young men can show a stadium full of fans just what they're made of. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn -- the sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles. And then the most American team of all, with the most to prove, gets in the game and owns it. The Carlisle Indian School, formed in 1879 to assimilate the children and grandchildren of the men who fought the final Plains Wars against the fathers and grandfathers of the Ivy Leaguers, starts challenging the best teams in the country. On the football field, Carlisle had a chance for a fair fight with high stakes -- a chance to earn respect, a chance to be winners, and a chance to go forward in a changing world that was destroying theirs. </p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at<a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab"> Radiolab.org/donate</a>. </em></p>

 

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