Radiolab

Airs Fridays at 9 pm & Saturdays at 1 pm
  • Hosted by Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich

Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated and encouraged to grow.

Distributed by: WNYC

Podcasts

  • Friday, August 17, 2018 6:20am

    Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a constitution of sorts, laying out what could and what couldn’t be posted on the site. Back then, the rules were simple, outlawing nudity and gore. Today, they’re anything but. 

    How do you define hate speech? Where’s the line between a joke and an attack? How much butt is too much butt? Facebook has answered these questions. And from these answers they’ve written a rulebook that all 2.2 billion of us are expected to follow. Today, we explore that rulebook. We dive into its details and untangle its logic. All the while wondering what does this mean for the future of free speech?

    This episode was reported by Simon Adler with help from Tracie Hunte and was produced by Simon Adler with help from Bethel Habte.

    Special thanks to Sarah Roberts, Jeffrey Rosen, Carolyn Glanville, Ruchika Budhraja, Brian Dogan, Ellen Silver, James Mitchell, Guy Rosen, and our voice actor Michael Churnus.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

  • Friday, July 27, 2018 8:00pm

    With all of the black-and-white moralizing in our world today, we decided to bring back an old show about the little bit of bad that's in all of us...and the little bit of really, really bad that's in some of us.  

    Cruelty, violence, badness... in this episode we begin with a chilling statistic: 91% of men, and 84% of women, have fantasized about killing someone. We take a look at one particular fantasy lurking behind these numbers, and wonder what this shadow world might tell us about ourselves and our neighbors. Then, we reconsider what Stanley Milgram's famous experiment really revealed about human nature (it's both better and worse than we thought). Next, we meet a man who scrambles our notions of good and evil: chemist Fritz Haber, who won a Nobel Prize in 1918...around the same time officials in the US were calling him a war criminal. And we end with the story of a man who chased one of the most prolific serial killers in US history, then got a chance to ask him the question that had haunted him for years: why?

    This episode was produced with help from Carter Hodge.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

  • Thursday, July 26, 2018 11:41pm

    If there’s one thing Gonads taught us, it’s just how complicated human reproduction is. All the things we thought we knew about biology and sex determination are up for debate in a way that feels both daunting and full of potential. At the same time, we're at a moment where we’re wrestling with how to approach conversations around sex, consent, and boundaries, at a time that may be more divisive than ever. So host Molly Webster thought: what if we took on sex ed, and tried to tackle questions from listeners, youth, reddit (oh boy), and staff.

    But instead of approaching these questions the way your high school health teacher might’ve (or government teacher, who knows), Molly invited a cast of storytellers, educators, artists, and comedians to grapple with sex ed in unexpected and thoughtful ways. To help us think about how we can change the conversation. In this episode, an edited down version of a Gonads Live show, Molly's team takes a crack at responding to the intimate questions you asked when you were younger but probably never got a straight answer to. Featuring:

    How Do You Talk About Condoms Without Condom Demonstrations? Sanford Johnson. Wanna see how to put on a sock?

    What Are Periods? Sindha Agha and Gul Agha. Check out Sindha's photography here.

    Is Anything Off-Limits? Ericka Hart, Dalia Mahgoub, and Jonathan Zimmerman 

    Why Do We Do This Anyway? And Other Queries from Fifth Graders Jo Firestone

    "Sex Ed" is an edited* recording of a live event hosted by Radiolab at the Skirball Center in New York City on May 16, 2018. Radiolab Team Gonads is Molly Webster, Pat Walters, and Rachael Cusick, with Jad Abumrad. Live music, including the sex ed questions, and the Gonads theme song, were written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington. 

    One more thing! 

    Over the past few months, Radiolab has been collecting sex ed book suggestions from listeners and staff, about the books that helped them understand the birds and the bees.

    Check out the full Gonads Presents: Sex Ed Bookshelf here! For now, a few of our favorites:

    It's Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health
    Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
    Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century
    The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness
    Guide to Getting It On!
    I Am Jazz
    The Boy & the Bindi
    Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation
    What Makes a Baby
    Where Did I Come From?

     

    *Our live show featured the following additional questions and answerers:

    How do you talk to your partner in bed without sound like an asshold or a slut? Upright Citizens Brigade, featuring Lou Gonzales, Molly Thomas, and Alexandra Dickson

    What Happens to All the Condom Bananas? Rachael Cusick

    With live event production help from Melissa LaCasse and Alicia Allen; engineering by Ed Haber and George Wellington; and balloons by Candy Brigham from Candy Twisted Balloons Special. Special thanks to Larry Siegel, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Emily Rothman and the Start Strong Initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission. 

    Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

     

  • Saturday, July 21, 2018 11:56pm

    When Dana Zzyym applied for their first passport back in 2014, they were handed a pretty straightforward application. Name, place of birth, photo ID -- the usual. But one question on the application stopped Dana in their tracks: male or female? Dana, technically, wasn’t either.

    In this episode, we follow the story of Dana Zzyym, Navy veteran and activist, which starts long before they scribble the word "intersex” on their passport application. Along the way, we see what happens when our inner biological realities bump into the outside world, and the power of words to shape us.

    This episode is a companion piece to Gonads, Episode 4, Dutee.

    "Dana" was reported by Molly Webster, and co-produced with Jad Abumrad. It had production help from Rachael Cusick, and editing by Pat Walters. Wordplay categories were written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington. 

    Special thanks to Paula Stone Williams, Gerry Callahan, Lambda Legal, Kathy Tu, Matt Collette, Arianne Wack, Carter Hodge, and Liza Yeager.

    Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

  • Saturday, July 21, 2018 11:53pm

    In 2014, India’s Dutee Chand was a rising female track and field star, crushing national records. But then, that summer, something unexpected happened: she failed a gender test. And was banned from the sport. Before she knew it, Dutee was thrown into the middle of a controversy that started long before her, and continues on today: how to separate males and females in sport.

    This story is a companion piece to Gonads, Episode 5, Dana

    "Dutee" was reported by Molly Webster, with co-reporting and translation by Sarah Qari. It was produced by Pat Walters, with production help from Jad Abumrad and Rachael Cusick. The Gonads theme was written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington.

    Special thanks to Geertje Mak, Maayan Sudai, Andrea Dunaif, Bhrikuti Rai, Joe Osmundson, and Payoshni Mitra. Plus, former Olympic runner Madeleine Pape, who is currently studying regulations around female, transgender, and intersex individuals in sport.

    Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.