Getting a firm hold on the truth is never as simple as nailing down the facts of a situation. This hour, we go after a series of seemingly simple facts -- facts that offer surprising insight, facts that inspire deeply different stories, and facts that, in the end, might not matter at all.
"Hey kids," said physicist Tadashi Tokieda, "Wanna see a magic trick?" He pulled out a Slinky and did something that amazed the kids, & their dad Steve Strogatz. Steve, along with Neil deGrasse Tyson, explains what the gravity-defying Slinky trick reveals about the nature of all things great and small (including us).
Pain is a fundamental part of life, and often a very lonely part. Doctors want to understand their patients' pain, and we all want to understand the suffering of our friends, relatives, or spouses. But pinning down another person's hurt is a slippery business.
Celebrate the 35th anniversary of the launch of Voyager 2 (it rocketed off Earth on 8/20/77 carrying a copy of the Golden Record), and tip your hat to the Mars rover Curiosity as it kicks off its third week on the red planet, with a rebroadcast of one our favorite episodes: Space.
From a suburban sidewalk in southern California, Jad and Robert witness the carnage of a gruesome turf war. Though the tiny warriors doing battle clock in at just a fraction of an inch, they have evolved a surprising, successful, and rather unsettling strategy of ironclad loyalty, absolute intolerance, and brutal violence.
In early August of 1945, Tsutomu Yamaguchi had a run of the worst luck imaginable. A double blast of radiation left his future, and the future of his descendants, in doubt. In this short: an utterly amazing survival story that spans ... well, 4 billion years when you get down to it.
Turning ideas into radio is one of the most exciting, frustrating, rewarding, and insanely fun things there is. Which got us thinking--why not ask you to join in on the fun? So we teamed up with Indaba for our first-ever remix competition. And now we get to play the winners.
Mother's day is nigh. Sort of. Anyway, without knowing it, you might have already given your mom a pretty lasting gift. But whether it helps or hurts her, or both, is still an open question. In this Radiolab short, Robert updates us on the science of fetal cells -- one of the first topics he covered as an NPR science correspondent.
In this short, we go looking for the devil, and find ourselves tangled in a web of details surrounding one of the most haunting figures in music--a legendary guitarist whose shadowy life spawned a legend so powerful, it's still being repeated...even by fans who don't believe a word of it.
A look at the messy mystery in our middles, and what the rumblings deep in our bellies can tell us about ourselves.
Alan Turing's mental leaps about machines and computers were some of the most innovative ideas of the 20th century. But the world wasn't kind to him. In this short, Robert wonders how Turing's personal life shaped his understanding of mechanical minds and human emotions.
Every day, every moment, an epic battle is raging across the globe. It's happening in the ocean. And the evidence is both highly visible and totally hidden, depending on your perspective. In this short, the tale of an arms race involving trillions of sea creatures--and why their struggle is vital to our survival.
Stories about traps and getaways ... about getting stuck, and breaking free.
Sometimes being a good scientist requires putting aside your emotions. But what happens when objectivity isn't enough to make sense of a seemingly senseless act of violence? In this short, Jad and Robert talk to an entomologist about the risks, and the rewards, of trying to see the world through someone else's eyes.
We wrestle with the dark side of human nature, and ask whether it's something we can ever really understand, or fully escape.