When Kelley Benham and her husband finally got pregnant, after many attempts and a good deal of technological help, everything was perfect. Until it wasn’t. Their story raises questions that, until recently, no parent had to face.
long: stories that are 30:00+
Dr. Benjamin Gilmer gets a job at a rural clinic. He’s replaced the last doctor — also named Dr. Gilmer — who went to prison for murder. But the more Dr. Gilmer talks to his new patients, the more confused he becomes. Everyone loved the old Dr. Gilmer.
What if the moon were just a jump away? A beautiful answer to that question comes in Italo Calvino’s story, read live by Liev Schreiber.
In the last school year alone, 29 current and recent students of Harper High School in Chicago were shot. 29. This American Life spent five months at the school to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all that violence. Listen to Part 2.
China’s most famous living artist and most creative political dissident – no stranger to police beatings and imprisonment – makes a rare appearance in American media.
A 15-year-old boy travels more than a thousand miles, alone, to seek out his hero.
Growing up in Mankato, Minnesota, nobody talked about the most important historical event ever to happen there: in 1862, it was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Thirty-eight Dakota Indians were hanged by white settlers.
Writer and humorist David Rakoff, who died at the age of 47, wrote with a perfect balance of wit and gravity about the cancer that would ultimately take his life.
Document expert John Reznikoff comes into possession of papers that, if authentic, would change history. Think: proof of JFK and Marilyn. Then things get complicated.
Gordon Hempton says that silence is an endangered species. He defines real quiet as presence — an absence of noise. The Earth, as he knows it, is a “solar-powered jukebox.”
Tambor joined Marc Maron for a live WTF taping at SXSW. The two talk about Hank Kingsley, Al Pacino, George C. Scott, fatherhood, lisping, sobriety, and spiritual seeking.
An idealistic and serious man, a progressive politician, and the most popular mayor in Cincinnati history — that all describes the former life of talk show host Jerry Springer.
In 1982, the Guatemalan military massacred the villagers of Dos Erres, killing more than 200 people. Decades later, a Guatemalan in the US got a call from a woman who told him that two boys had been abducted during the massacre — and he was one of them.
A crusader for truth — or, as Karl Rove called him, “a nut with internet access” — Jason Leopold wanted to be a part of something. That quest brought him through a labyrinthine world of decadent glam metal, dangerous mafioso, love, and investigative journalism that challenges the heights of government and corporate power.
In 1942, Edna Lavilla Haynes died from a backyard abortion. After her death Edna was never mentioned again. More than 60 years later, Edna’s granddaughter looks for clues.
When Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on students during a war demonstration in May, 1970, four young lives were ended. Through archival tape and interviews, we learn about the events leading up to the shooting that stunned a nation.
Andy Kaufman lives in this epic WTF with Kaufman’s former comedy partner and Comic Relief co-founder Bob Zmuda, who goes back to his first meetings with Kaufman and the many mind-bending productions they put on through the years.
The phenomenon known as genetic sexual attraction occurs when family members who have never met until adulthood find themselves attracted to one another. And for those who experience it, GSA is often shrouded in secrecy, shame, and fear.
A dark tale about a woman obsessed with The Sound of Music and the Von Trapp Family as well as other things Austrian. That is, until she realizes Austria’s recent history is not just about apple strudel, singing nuns, and happy blond children.
Our brain performs all kinds of weird actions that seem counter-intuitive. What tricks do our minds play when we think it’s okay to lie, cheat, or steal? How in control are we of our decisions? And why do our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy?
It’s fitting that Dick Clark seemed to defy the ravages of time since he hosted the long-running “American Bandstand,” which helped bring rock’n’roll into the mainstream.
Snap Judgment’s first ever live show. With no notes, no do-overs, and no safety net, storytellers and poets tell stories of how they came to do what they do — the hard way.
The drummer backed Bob Dylan and sang with Van Morrison. Three decades after The Band split and ten years after a diagnosis of throat cancer, he put out a solo album.
“One of the greatest gifts I’ve gotten from SNL is getting out of my comfort zone,” Wiig says. “The first handful of years that I was there, most of my characters were ladies in their 40s with short hair and weird sweaters that no one wanted at their dinner party.”
“Night in London is a brief period of infinite possibility,” wrote the journalist HV Morton in the 1920s. Nowhere is this truer than in Hackney, which becomes an asphalt jungle for revellers, criminals, artists, lovers, all night eateries, and taxi drivers.
A look back at the late, great Earl Scruggs. The bluegrass pioneer took the humble five-string banjo out of the rhythm section and made it a solo star at the front of the band.
Hustlers. Some are straight-up con artists, others are just doing what they have to do.
Etgar Keret has been called the Kafka of Israel. His stories — short, weird, and wonderful — make you stop and think: Could your lover have a zipper under his tongue and another man entirely inside? Will our lies come back to greet us in another life?
Beethoven would try 70 versions of a musical phrase before settling on the right one. But other great ideas seem to come out of the blue. Bob Dylan wrote “Like a Rolling Stone” soon after telling his manager that he was quitting the business. Scientists are now learning more about how such moments occur, says science writer Jonah Lehrer.
In 1971, something new hit the TV screens of America. Don Cornelius stepped in front of live cameras and introduced “Soul Train,” putting at front and center a world Americans had never seen before on a national mainstream show.
The singer-songwriter still remembers when she first hit the music scene in Nashville and LA and was told she was “too rock for country” and “too country for rock.”
Favorites from the podcast’s first two years. “The Ring of Fire” by Michael Ian Black, “Fantasy Farm” by Adam Griffin, and “The Grind” by Guilia Rozzi. Listen to Part 2.
Bill Ferris is one of the country’s leading folklorists. As a boy, Bill began going to church with his family’s housekeeper, and fell in love with the music and the drama. A few years later, he hit the road with recording equipment, and discovered the blues.
What can economists possibly have to say about something as emotional and nuanced as parenting? Well maybe that’s why they are exactly the right people to sort it out.
Delivering a sort of pocket history of rock music, Bruce Springsteen talked about how doo-wop taught him about sex, country music helped him understand despair, and Woody Guthrie revealed the political roots of the fatalism he’d heard in Hank Williams.
One of This American Life’s most popular episodes turns out to have been partially fabricated. The show devotes an hour to detailing the errors in “Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory,” Mike Daisey’s story of visiting an Apple supplier factory in China.
More expensive wines should taste better than cheap ones. It’s like a cardinal rule. But do they? And what does one little rodent in a salad say about a restaurant’s future?
A ham radio operator in Austrialia makes contact with Russian cosmonauts; the country’s creative substitute for Alcoholics Anonymous; and Soviet-era goods attempting (with varying degrees of accuracy) to mimic stuff from the US.
Carson Harte decided to swap his career dealing with the victims of conflict in Northern Ireland to help heal the wounds of the thousands of Cambodians maimed by mines.
Carl Pillitteri was leading a team inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant when the earthquake hit, knocking out the lights. Pillitteri managed to get his team out of the building, but then they encountered the oncoming tsunami.
David Rakoff died on August 9, 2012. He’d appeared on This American Life 25 times. The show remembers him by telling his life story through his words over the years.
Without Charlie Parker, bebop as we know it might never have existed. While other musicians — Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk among them — created the building blocks, Parker’s innovative phrasing brought it all together as a new jazz revolution.
Talking Marilyn with Michelle Williams, a science lesson from Wu-Tang’s GZA, juicy gossip about Fidel Castro, and inhalation of America’s best vodka.
Andrew Solomon goes to Afghanistan in search of artists, Judy Gold talks about how Judaism helped her through her darkest hours, and the Reverend Al Sharpton finds forgiveness in his heart for the man who almost killed him. Mike Daisey hosts.
Children’s storyteller Roald Dahl was as dark and fabulous as they come. As every parent — and child — knows, these are not cute little stories. Horrible, peculiar, nasty things happen all the time. They happened to Roald Dahl, too.
“It’s just such a tangled-up issue, the way women present themselves — whether or not they choose to put their thumbs in their panties on the cover of Maxim and judge each other back and forth on it,” says Tina Fey. “We’re all kind of figuring it out as we go.”
Interviews with Spike Lee, Carrie Brownstein, and Randy Newman, disco godfather Nile Rodgers’ tale of the birth of “Le Freak,” and more.
Louis Ortiz was having a tough year. He had lost his job and was playing in pool tournaments to scratch together money. Then a friend pointed out that he looked strikingly similar to a man in the news: presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Stories of faking it or being faked. Elna Baker on losing her virginity at 28, Peter Aguero on not trusting whitey, Hanuman Welch on clean living, and more.
Within weeks of pledging to send a man to the moon, President Kennedy got cold feet and tried to get out of the commitment by bringing the Soviets on-board. The first of a two-part series on the lead up to Apollo 11′s flight to the moon.
“The only way you can manage creative people is with very loose reigns,” Michaels tells Alec Baldwin. He should know, having launched the careers of John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, Tina Fey …
Two cartoonists for the New Yorker, Matt Diffee and Alex Gregory, discuss the intricate and complex world of cartooning, to great hilarity.
The story of Maggie Iaquinto, an American-born Australian and ham radio operator who forged a unique relationship with Russian cosmonauts aboard the space station.
Every country song tells a story and has a story behind it. An iconic George Jones number, almost too sad to be sung; Woody Guthrie’s harrowing past; why everyone sings about Abilene; cowboys in Mongolia and Johnny Cash in Afghanistan.
The group Improv Everywhere decides that an unknown band, playing their first ever tour in New York, ought to think they’re a smash hit. So they study the band’s music and then crowd the performance, pretending to be hard-core fans.
“When I turned 40, I was offered, within one year, three different witch roles,” the actress tells Terry Gross. “I think there was, for a long time in the movie business, a period of — when a woman was attractive and marriageable or f- – -able, that was it.”
The astounding mad scientist life of Nikola Tesla. Who was this pioneer of radio, radar, and wireless communication, who claimed he saw machines swirling in his head?
The story of Rev. Carlton Pearson, a renowned evangelical pastor in Oklahoma, who cast aside the idea of Hell — and with it everything he’d worked for his entire life.
Off the coast of Baja, California, scientists have found gray whales are uncharacteristically social with humans, even allowing their faces, mouths and tongues to be massaged as they bump up beside boats.
The comedian returns to the garage for a very different conversation than last time. It’s an honest, open discussion unlike any other heard on WTF.
419s are the scam emails sent by Nigerians that clog up inboxes all over the world, and it’s also the nickname given to any form of corruption in Nigeria. In this oil-rich country, corruption is rife, causing a profound debauching of the government and the people.
Amy, a one-time fetish model, on her venture into an unusual corner of the porn world. Note: This story deals with mature themes.
At 16, Judd Apatow was already doing his own radio show, not so unlike WTF. Listen back to rare clips of Apatow in 1983 talking to Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Garry Shandling, well before the breaks that launched them all to superfame.
Sethu Ramaswamy read all of the novels of Charles Dickens before she turned ten. That was also the age she was forced to leave school to get married. And for most of her adult life, she was in the shadows. Then, at age 80, her memoir, Autobiography of an Unknown Indian Woman, was published to great acclaim all over India.
There are two impressions of Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon. One, that he is a ruthless businessman only interested in power. The other, that he is the champion of the free market that opened up British media from the stifling grip of unions.
More favorites from the podcast’s first two years. “I, Me Mime” by Kerri Kenney-Silver, “Ham and Samurai” by Kevin Allison, and “Hi God” by Elna Baker. Listen to Part 1.
There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the US, but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Digging through the numbers finds all kinds of surprises.
A conversation with the photographer, ranging from the peaks of celebrity life to the stark valley of death — the loss of her longtime soulmate Susan Sontag.
Adam Warner is spending his life by living out his wife’s goals.
Meditations on insanity and unsanity.
It set the model for the hit family sitcom. Lucy was a bad girl trapped in the life of a ‘50s housewife; her slapstick quest for fame and fortune ended in abject failure weekly.
Mike Daisey was a “worshipper in the cult of Mac.” Then he saw photos from a new iPhone, taken by workers at the factory where it was made. Mike wondered: Who makes my crap? He traveled to China to see. Note: This American Life has retracted this story.
In 2009, Natalie Kestecher visited Poland for the first time. It was a trip that she’d been planning and postponing for years. As the daughter of Polish Jews who’d lost so many family members during the war, she had very mixed feelings about going there.
In the early 1950′s, a young girl in the south of Ireland entered a psychiatric institution. Two years earlier, she had been raped. Almost 60 years later, that girl is an elderly woman and still in a psychiatric institution.
When it comes to politics and media, the left argues that the right is more biased than the left while the right argues that the left is more biased than the right. Who’s right?
Diaries of the author’s two Christmas seasons working as an elf in a Macy’s department store. If you’ve got less time to spare, there’s a seven minute version.
A chimp teaches us the ups and downs of growing up human (here’s the epilogue, too).
Christopher Hitchens was never a friend to religion. The British-born critic called Mother Theresa “the Ghoul of Calcutta.” He called organized faith “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism and bigotry.” And that’s just for starters.
On working his controversy with Dane Cook into the TV show: “I could have had him be a straw dog or had somebody else play him and gotten off on myself. But it was way more fun to go into something [with someone] who stole from me — supposedly — and have him call me a fraud.” C.K. also spoke with Terry Gross in July 2010.
Life aboard the USS John C. Stennis, an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea that’s supporting bombing missions over Afghanistan. Only a few dozen people actually fly F-18s and F-14s. It takes the rest of the 5,000 person crew to keep them in the air.
In the summer of 1951, two baby girls were born in a hospital in small-town Wisconsin. The infants were accidentally switched, and went home with the wrong families. One of the mothers realized the mistake right away, but chose to keep quiet.
It might seem hyperbole to claim, as many Wagnerites do, that The Ring Cycle is the greatest work of art ever. But the grandeur and power of this monumental work have permeated our culture from Star Wars to Bugs Bunny to J.R.R. Tolkien.
What happens at the moment we slip from life to the other side? When exactly does it happen? What happens afterward? Eleven meditations on how, and even if, we die.
Notes and stories about the Canadians among us. Are they different from red-blooded Americans? They claim they’re not. Skeptical Americans put their position to the test. Plus, Ira Glass un-ironically refers to the Internet as the World Wide Web.
With her rich, throaty voice, the singer has reinvented her sound in the decades since her start in 1950 — working with the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Prince, and Bob Dylan.
Following a private detective, Steve Murray, through the process of a marital investigation that tracks his client’s transition from doubt to certainty.
In the course of their reporting, several members of the Planet Money team separately found themselves asking the same stoner-ish question: What is money?
The late night legend makes good on his promise to sit down in Marc’s garage for a chat. They discuss Conan’s personal insecurities, the people who leave him starstruck, and how he is still processing what happened to him at NBC.
A rewind to the 1970s and ’80s, diving into the archives for the strange and hilarious work that was produced when public radio was a medium without a real template.
Bob Hill, 86, meets Katie Burningham, 28, at an East London market one day and an unlikely friendship blossoms. Katie begins to visit Bob, who turns out to be a wonderful dancer. Three years later, Katie is still having dance lessons with Bob.
A day in a Chicago diner, starting at 5 a.m. and going until 5 a.m. the next morning. The waitress who has worked the graveyard shift for two decades, regulars who come every day, couples working out their problems, various assorted drunks, and, of course, cops.
What do you talk about with a comedy superstar? How about alcoholism, cocaine, divorce, joke stealing, heart surgery, Richard Pryor, jealousy, and Twitter. This episode is repurposed for public radio, so it’s shorter and filled with bleeps.
Mike Nyberg adopts a little girl from Samoa, only to learn that her family had no intention of giving her up, forcing him to navigate through uncharted moral territory.
It’s Dublin in 1985 and two boys, ages 10 and 13, hop on a train for a ride that will take them a few thousand miles beyond their stop — to New York City.
The comedian details the origins of Late Night with David Letterman, where she served as the head writer. Plus, Marc Maron finds some culture and loses part of his identity.
A well-known activist — an anarchic, revolutionary activist — is accused of spying on other activists for the FBI. The strangest thing about the rumor is, it’s true. The story of how Brandon Darby transformed from cop-hater to federal witness.
A rabbi, a descendant of Charles Darwin, a philosopher and a scholar face off two against two on the motion “The World Would Be Better Off Without Religion.” Before the debate, the audience voted 52 percent in favor, afterward, 59 percent were in favor.
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declared that homosexuality was not a disease, simply by changing the 81-word definition of sexual deviance in its own reference manual. The story of what led up to that change involves a closeted group of gay psychiatrists — and another, even more secret group of gay psychiatrists.
Chaim and Billy both lived in Williamsburg, but in worlds that almost never collided. Chaim was a Hasidic Jew; Billy was the star of an underground band. When Billy put Chaim into his band, in one year, he leapt from the 19th century into the 21st.
An hour under the influence of the radio maestro and radical raconteur.
A series of convergences, but none of them are harmonic. The story of Pythagoras and the fifth hammer, using Nazi cameras in art, what happens when the mind goes pop!, and more. In other words, another hour with Benjamen Walker.
Filmmaking is an art that, he says, “distracts me from the uncertainty of life, the inevitability of aging and death and death of loved ones; mass killings and starvation, from holocausts — not just man-made carnage, but the existential position you’re in.”
In the early 1990s, many psychologists told patients that their problems could be traced to traumatic events they could not even remember, to memories that had to be recovered through special techniques. Turns out, many of those memories weren’t real.
“Best of the Best: The 2011 Third Coast Festival Broadcast” showcases the best radio stories of the year. Many of them are individually on Audiofiles, but “Best of the Best” also includes interviews with the winning producers. There’s a second part, too.
Bill Withers is the singer-songwriter behind classics like Ain’t No Sunshine, Lean on Me, Use Me and Lovely Day. Withers retired in the mid 1980s and, with the exception of a few songs penned for other artists, has stayed out of the public eye.
The comedian talks about getting his start in comedy thanks to Eddie Murphy and explains why he went from Saturday Night Live to In Living Color.
Ever wonder how earthworms do it? Isabella Rossellini has always been famous for her independence of mind. In “Green Porno,” her series of film shorts for Sundance, she applied that iconoclasm to the sex lives of the animal kingdom.
Sarah Koenig attends Penn State’s last home game of the season with Michael Winereb, a reporter who grew up in State College and worries that Joe Paterno and the team are so embedded into his childhood memories that the Jerry Sandusky scandal will rip at his feelings about the past. A follow-up to TAL’s first visit to Penn State in 2009.
A Guatemalan teenager’s trip with a coyote through Mexico to southwest Florida. The story is a composite of several women’s experiences. All of the women were raped, starved and drugged during the trip and then sold when they arrived in the US.
The comedian sends his brother, Seth, to a Best Show interview in his place. Seth is visiting from North Carolina and shares his new insights on calamari and the differences between the TGI Friday’s in New York and back home.
In the 1960s, a young professor of psychology at Yale set out to test our capacity for obedience and cruelty. Millions of words have been written about the results of Stanley Milgram’s experiment. Less is known about the effect it had on those involved.
For six months, the reporter followed a group of inmates at a high-security prison as they rehearsed and staged a production of the last act of Hamlet. It’s a play about murder and its consequences, performed by murderers, living out the consequences.
This is super insider-y, but still great. Jad Abumrad, the host of Radiolab, delivered the opening talk at the 2011 Public Radio Programming Conference, in which he wondered why the world of public radio is always agreeing with itself that it must change or die, but the change never really seems to happen.
A two-hour special hosted by Tina Fey. Stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, hidden identities — the secret life of girls and the women they become.
In this Peabody Award-winning show, the host sets sail in search of the white whale.
In 2004, Jess Goodell went to Iraq with the Marine Corps’ Mortuary Affairs unit, tasked with recovering the remains of fallen troops. She didn’t understand the reality of what she was getting into. “I don’t think I ever stopped smelling death,” she said.
The exchange between guest and host is priceless.
An hour of stories on the topic — from a man who spent years trying to decipher scratchy transmissions from North Korea, to mysterious signals hidden in between the AM and FM band, to an ode to a mythical pirate station.
In his memoir “God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F——-,” the Saturday Night Live impressionist details the systematic brutality he suffered at the hands of his mother, who beat him, stabbed him and tortured him with a hammer and electrical outlet.
At the heart of San Francisco, there’s a plaza called United Nations Plaza — less formally known as Urination Plaza. For most of the past three decades, it’s been the city’s most public theater of squalor. So how does this happen? Why does a public space fail?
Music philosopher Greil Marcus listens back and hears Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Lady Gaga, The Manson Family — the existential dread of a generation.
In 2009, The Princeton Review named Penn State the #1 Party School in America. It’s a rotating crown — the year before it was University of Florida, before that it was West Virginia University. So, what’s it like to be at the country’s top party school?
On finishing an album: “By the time you’re done, you don’t even want to hear it for a year. The songs have kind of grown up around you like vines, and you just want to distance yourself from it. And then when you hear it, it’s like an old buddy.”
Sodom and Gomorrah is a hellish place in Accra, Ghana, where children eke out a living scavenging from a scrap heap of discarded computers that the West no longer needs, while toxic chemicals in the waste slowly poison them. They dream of escaping illegally to Europe to live like those whose computers they are harvesting.
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire, a 40-pound cookbook, and a war waging across the software and tech industries.
In 1946, David Boder started to investigate the Holocaust — before it was called that. He dragged a primitive recording device around Europe and gathered the first recorded testimonials of concentration camp survivors. But his research was largely ignored.
Mike swaps mics with Marc and interviews the host himself. Armed with questions from past WTF guests, Mike takes Marc on a trip through the inner recesses of his soul and arrives at a destination more than 200 hours in the making.
The second of two stories about a California teenager, Hyder Akbar, who moved to Afghanistan, his family’s homeland, so his father could work for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Hyder brought along a tape recorder (listen to Part 1 here).
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “A Visit From the Goon Squad” captured something core about a rising generation’s sense of time. She writes “time is a goon” — as in an irresistible force. Her inspirations were Proust and The Sopranos.
Sam, an 18-year-old from Indiana, was brought to the US by his parents as a young child, but his family overstayed their visas. It wasn’t until Sam was asked to provide a Social Security number for college that the fact that he’s undocumented really hit home.
From a little workshop in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wayne Henderson makes what may be the most beautiful and beautifully-voiced guitars in the world.
Welch and Rawlings perform an in-studio concert featuring songs from the long-awaited The Harrow and the Harvest. “There’s a lot of stuff on this album dealing with unfulfilled expectations and when things don’t exactly go as you had thought or wished they would — and the true adult nature of dealing with that,” Welch says.
A conversation with the art great. Stella’s work has gone in reverse of the arc of American art. Painters began with lush, majestic landscapes and slowly moved abstract. Stella began with the most severe, minimalist paintings and has slowly moved lush.
Together, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger created some of the most iconic rock ‘n’ roll songs of the 20th century. But the opening line of one of The Rolling Stones’ most famous hits wasn’t a collaboration. The riff came to Richards in a dream.
Best friends Rich Carlson and Tom Swenor got so fed up with the political process that they decided to form their own Tea Party chapter. But as election season revved up, the two had very different ideas about how to advance a conservative agenda.
On how raising kids is an antidote for depression: “The day they go to their mom tends to be a pretty bad day for me. I tend to go straight to the deli and get a thing of Haagen Dazs and indulge in about 50 ways of badness.”
A drug court program that seems to be run very differently from every other drug court in the country. People with offenses that would get minimal or no sentences elsewhere sometimes end up in the system five to ten years.
A professor in Pennsylvania makes a calculation and discovers that his state sits atop a massive reserve of natural gas — enough to revolutionize how America gets its energy. But another professor does a different calculation and reaches a troubling conclusion: getting natural gas out of the ground poses a real risk to public health.
Long before he sold 50 million records worldwide, Jay-Z was living with his mom in the Marcy Houses housing project in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The rapper and record mogul discusses his childhood and the stories behind his most famous songs.
What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s?
In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: How it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved. The reporter explains why GM didn’t learn the lessons — until it was too late.
In the late 1960s, a California TV repairman named Bob Nelson joined a group of enthusiasts who believed they could cheat death with a new technology called cryonics. But freezing dead people so scientists can reanimate them in the future is a lot harder than it sounds. Harder still is admitting you’ve screwed up.
Raymond Buckley, a Democratic operative from New Hampshire, was instrumental in his party’s success in the 2006 midterm elections. He set his sights on becoming chair of the state Democratic Party. But then one of his rivals accused him of one of the worst things that anyone can be accused of.
At the time of the interview, Stephen Colbert was still the fake senior correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He talks about his reports, from “Rathergate” to “This Week in God.”
You’d be forgiven for confusing Tracy Morgan with his 30 Rock character Tracy Jordan. Jordan runs down the street in his underwear, wielding a plastic light saber; Morgan appeared on TV reclining on top of a desk with his shirt up over his belly.
Cellist Zoe Keating discusses the physics (if not metaphysics) of looping sound and how to use a 17th century instrument to make avant-garde electronic music.
The very first episode of This American Life.