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Truth Warriors

Thursday, August 03, 2017 - 07:00 PM

After last week's episode exploring the future of fakery scared the living daylights out of us, we decided to search for a bit of hope. What we found... A few folks, warriors really, ready to defend the truth with all they've got. 

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Comments [30]

Peter Sarbacker from Park City, UT

I know the song playing at the end and I cannot place it. It's driving me crazy. Does anyone know that song? It sounds like Erik Satie but I can't find it. Thanks!

Oct. 03 2017 07:06 PM

Hi Radiolab, I've been a long time listener to your great and engaging podcast. I started listening to you several years ago when my painting professor recommended it to me in school. I always thought your investigations into your chosen topics have been well thought out and delivered. I have to say I feel that by removing Truth Trolls you have compromised the integrity of your program and the trust of listeners such as myself. I wish you would bring the story back so that we may see more facets to the complexity of the internet culture and its impact on contemporary social justice movements.

Sep. 18 2017 01:35 PM
Joe from Kentucky

Does anyone have a copy they downloaded and could share? I hate that Radiolab took down the production. I want to hear it.

Sep. 10 2017 07:31 AM
trphoto from Los Angeles

Speaking of truth, what's the truth about why the podcast now has so many acknowledgements of supporters popping up throughout the program? I don't remember previous podcasts having this kind of frequent interruption for what amounts to brief ads. I find it incredibly annoying and disruptive to the program itself. Is this a new thing for the show? If so, you're undermining the continuity and integrity of your show with this.

Aug. 31 2017 07:58 AM
Rootclaim from

Check out for through probabilistic analysis that find where the truth is most likely to be.

Aug. 27 2017 06:53 AM

It's been a long time since I've seen that photograph so my memory could be failing. It's a very striking photograph. Also striking is the lack of body parts. If staged, where are the tracks? The balls don't look fired there. More like the simply fell off of a wagon. Guess I need to look it up.

Aug. 20 2017 01:15 AM
John from Carolina

You took down Truth Tolls because of despicable ideology and petty behavior? Which side did you mean was doing that? The side protesting Trump? Or the side protesting the protesters? They both seemed petty to me. Either way, it was an enlightening story. You should have left it up and made your audience grow up instead.

I was surprised you left the fears from "Breaking News" and went in this direction. In a time when every news organization is considered unreliable(even NPR and BBC), how will we elect anyone for public office? Where will we find "the truth"? How will we know it when we see it? Will so-called news networks have to prove what they air? Will that force them to do their own reporting again? Will they become professionals again? Where do we go from here?

Also from the podcast taken down, I'm not sure if I should be scared or impressed that a group of people that don't know each other, can find an unknown location somewhere in the US with nothing but FB(a post days old), frogs, and a video of the sky, in less than 24 hours. I always thought the Bourne movies were far fetched. Guess not. Amazing.

Finally, I guess I've been out of the loop. I know nothing of the frog in the story but I often drink milk in public. I had no idea this was a "symbol of hate". Can someone explain this to me? Or is that your own creation?

Oops, last thing. What's the name of the show whee they find things(letters on the side of the road)? I'm trying to get my friends to listen to that one.

Aug. 20 2017 12:33 AM
Harry from Forest Hills, NY

Sorry not about this story

By removing Truth Trolls - you have removed the template which would enable people to figure out the maze or web they spin.

People learn by bad examples.

What makes you think this will not be acquire elsewhere - via a more and less objective source.


Aug. 16 2017 08:42 PM
Caitlyn from Denver

Isn't the story about the cannon balls from an earlier episode Radiolab did years ago? It seems really familiar to me, but I didn't hear the previous episode referenced during the story. Are these truth warrior episodes part of searching through the archives of lost Radiolab stories?

I enjoyed the stories thoroughly, enough to (possibly) remember them from years ago.

Aug. 16 2017 10:36 AM
Dhika from The Hague

I admire people's pursuit for truth, it is certainly something I try to aspire to. However, I think it would be worth the time to also discuss the equating of truth as fact. Are they equal to each other or are facts one form of truth? and if so, can that argument be made without meaning to belittle the importance of facts?

The point on 'emotional truth'was interesting, but I feel could benefit from further exploration.

Aug. 16 2017 08:30 AM
Kombo from Zimbabwe

So let's just 'feel' our way through doctored photos I guess.

Aug. 16 2017 06:05 AM
Tim from NSW Australia

Was the other truth warrior episode removed? The one with the cannonballs and NDGT? I listened to it the other day but it has since disappeared

Aug. 15 2017 08:25 AM
Bob from London, UK

In response to Terry's comment about cannonballs blowing things up…

Cannon balls were mostly just solid balls of iron, called "round shot". And in earlier times, stone.

Against massed infantry they were fired with an almost flat trajectory, bouncing through men with huge momentum before coming to a stop. Damage was done not just by the shot itself but by dirt and stones thrown up as it hit the ground, and by bits of men and their equipment as it tore through them. Artillerymen would aim to have the ball first hit the ground just in front of the first rank of the enemy, throwing dirt up into their faces with enough velocity to blind them, then bouncing on through the ranks inflicting horrible destruction as it went.

Explosive shells were sometimes used against fortifications or enemy artillery but then you'd only find shrapnel, not balls.

Aug. 14 2017 06:38 AM

It was pretty usual for photographers to stage images early in the days of photojournalism. Plenty of the most famous war photos are staged (Alexander Gardner's Body of Confederate sharpshooter, Robert Capa's Falling Man). People still try to do it today, but if they get caught, it's a big deal. They didn't look at it the same way back then, when photojournalism was a pretty new thing and considered more of an art like painting. Moving some canonballs into the road, as opposed to only having the ones in the ditches simply made a better shot.

Aug. 13 2017 08:23 PM
Kaedence from California

I'm a former barista who has personally witnessed whip cream seemingly sinking into hot beverages in my early days of barista-ing. When it sinks it soon completely dissolves. I love Neil deGrasse Tyson, but this was a sad moment for NDGT, Radiolab and minimum wage workers all around the world.

Perhaps a teaching moment in the pursuit of truth?

Aug. 11 2017 11:00 PM
Terry from Belgrade, MT.

Robert/ Jad,
Forgive me, I never comment negatively about these things, but it seemed too clear to my laymans mind that you had overlooked something seemingly fundamental here. Not like you guys.
And you've besmirched this photographers name and descendants by calling him a
My question is this:
What, in the end, do cannonballs do when they land?
-they blow things UP. All over the place, really.
Things perhaps, such as Lionel and Oswald, etc.
An explosives engineer or a combat technologist might have something to add to your story.


Aug. 10 2017 03:28 PM

chris from Philadelphia, I'm also ignorant of these matters so this is a guess. The cannonballs would have initially landed some distance from where they were when they were photographed, but then rolled.

Aug. 10 2017 11:39 AM

@Ken from California

It is a good point that the experiment setup should have had the same initial conditions. At typical hot chocolate temperatures though the cream would remain on top, like in one of these photos:

Homogenization( is typically a mechanical process with milk products. The heat could help by making the fat globules easier to break up, but it would have to be stirred for it not to show. If the waiter did this that would have been his go to answer.

Also "Nobody would lie about putting whipped cream in hot chocolate" does not work as an argument as it is possible that it could happen despite your initial belief that it is inconsequential. The waiter could be on notice for making mistakes, the y could have a quota on product and overused it earlier etc. They also might even think that they remember doing it, they could have even pulled out the container and remember that part but forgot to actually put it in.

Also Incredibly obvious... there is that word again

Aug. 09 2017 03:24 PM
chris from Philadelphia

The idea is that there was no life on this road because all these cannonballs had been launched on to it, correct? And if that's the case wouldn't it be easy to determine whether it was real or not by the fact that there are no craters around the cannonballs? I don't know much about this subject but I have to imagine that a cannonball impact would leave some sort of mark on any terrain it hits

Aug. 09 2017 09:01 AM
Jim G from Omaha

The story from NDGT probably isn't even real. He is really bad about making up stories or putting words into peoples mouths to give him a straw man to beat up on.

Aug. 08 2017 10:08 PM
Ken from California

Nobody would lie about putting whipped cream in hot chocolate.

It looked like it sank because it melted in the hot liquid.

Incredibly obvious.

Whipped cream melts in hot beverages. The second scoop didn't melt because the first one absorbed the heat and reduced the temperature of the liquid below where it could entirely melt whipped cream.

Cream is made of fat, which floats on water, but also melts around body butter, wh

A proper experiment would have involved a fresh hot cup of cocoa, basic understanding of food chemistry, and an open mind.

Through this story, celebrity scientist NDGT not only revealed he's more celebrity than scientist, but also that he's a dick to minimum wage service workers.

Boo, NDGT. Boo to your lack of scientific insight into a totally obvious situation and boo to your lack of compassion and social etiquette to someone who was trying to do a crappy job that you inexplicably made worse.

You are truly a horse's patoot.

Aug. 08 2017 02:41 PM
Nick from Redmond, WA

The song in the background at the very beginning is "United We Stand" by Matias Puumala. They make amazing movie theme music.

Aug. 07 2017 04:09 PM
Jim G from Omaha

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

Albert Einstein

Aug. 07 2017 01:24 PM
Wendy Phillips from Houston, TX

@Julia Zatyko from Orange County, both pictures are seen here...

Aug. 05 2017 03:47 PM
Ian Woollard

I investigated the veracity of the claim by one N.Tyson to establish whether 'all liquids devised by man' would in fact float cream, but was able to disprove this wild claim.

It turns out that the density of liquid hydrogen has a relative density 0.07, whereas the relative density of cream is around 0.3. Therefore whipped cream would sink in liquid hydrogen.

If anyone sees Tyson, they might like to convey this fact to him, and wish him a "good day sir, good day!" on my behalf. Thanks!

Aug. 05 2017 11:00 AM
Frank from Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Let me throw another scenario from the peanut gallery regarding Fenton's cannon balls. (pure speculation)
1) Fenton sees (but isn't equipped to photograph), or has described to him, the striking image of a stretch of road littered with cannon balls.
2) He arrives, and discovers the road has been cleared for traffic.
3) After taking a photograph, he is unsatisfied, and attempts to recreate the image he saw or heard described earlier, and takes another shot.
How legitimate is recreation as documentation? Because that story wasn't blurry enough. :)

Aug. 05 2017 10:50 AM
Julia Zatyko from Orange County, CA.

Where can I access the cited sources from this podcast? I would specifically would like to see the the photograph from the crimean war. Thanks!

Aug. 05 2017 05:01 AM
Branford from KC

@ Christopher Plante from Montréal

The song at the end is:

Dustin O'Halloran - Opus 23

He has a lot of great music if you like this.

Aug. 04 2017 03:26 PM
barb from KCMO

Where can I find the names of people named in this podcast?

Aug. 04 2017 02:26 PM
Christopher Plante from Montréal

Awsome épisode! I'm wondering, what is that piano music AT the end of the podcast?


Aug. 04 2017 12:41 PM

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