Stories by Roman Mars

“The zone” is a sort of trance state that gamblers experience while they’re playing. One’s sense of time, space, body, and sense of self can disappear. So there’s an imperative to design against interruption.

Roman Mars
99% Invisible
19 min 28 sec
Air Date: 04/30/2013

The main concept behind the Trappist lifestyle is that the abbey should be self sufficient. The monks should make something and sell it to the public. Some make cheese. Some make spirits. But none of the Trappist products are as famous as the beer.

Roman Mars
99% Invisible
13 min 21 sec
Air Date: 05/31/2012

Urban planner Daniel D’Oca on architectural weapons — design elements in the urban landscape used to wage the ongoing war between integration and segregation.

Roman Mars
99% Invisible
10 min 47 sec
Air Date: 04/03/2012

Even during construction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the deck would go up and down by several feet with the breeze. In the months the bridge was open, people came just to ride the waves as they crossed above Puget Sound. The thrill ride didn’t last long.

Roman Mars
99% Invisible
12 min 27 sec
Air Date: 04/18/2012

In the US, it’s called a line. In Canada, it’s often referred to as a line-up. Pretty much everywhere else, it’s known as a queue. Benjamen Walker’s preoccupation with the subject led him to find a man known as “Dr. Queue,” a queue theorist at MIT.

Benjamen Walker
Roman Mars
99% Invisible
09 min 54 sec
Air Date: 03/08/2012

“I have this habit of walking into any door that’s unlocked,” says Andrea Seabrook, NPR’s congressional correspondent. “You start poking around, you find the coolest things.” That’s how she found the marble bathtubs in the Capitol basement.

Andrea Seabrook
Roman Mars
99% Invisible
11 min 07 sec
Air Date: 02/26/12

Even a building is a living thing. It breathes and it moves, and this movement makes a sound. Les Robertson, the structural engineer of the World Trade Center, says that the people working inside the tower couldn’t feel this movement, but they could hear it.

The Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis became most famous at the moment of its demise. The 33 high-rise towers were supposed to solve an impending population crisis, but when conditions started to decline, everything got very bad, very fast.

Roman Mars
99% Invisible
11 min 27 sec
Air Date: 01/05/2012

As an information designer, Nick Felton has tabulated thousands of tiny measurements in his life and depicted them in graphs that detail the activities of a particular year. In 2010, his father died and Felton turned his annual report into a full biography.

Nate Berg
Roman Mars
99% Invisible
09 min 55 sec
Air Date: 07/13/2011

Without all the beeps and chimes, without sonic feedback, all of your modern conveniences would be very hard to use. Electronic things are made to feel mechanical. The sound of an iPhone turning on? Sounds a lot like a vise.

Roman Mars
99% Invisible
4 min 51 sec
Air Date: 02/11/2011