Streams

138- O-U-I-J-A

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Ouija board is so simple and iconic that it looks like it comes from another time, or maybe another realm. The game is not as ancient as it was designed to look, but those two arched rows of letters have been spooking people for over 125 years.

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137- Good Bread

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The first print advertisement for Wonder Bread came out before the bread itself. It stated only that “a wonder” was coming. In a lot of ways, the statement was true. Wonder Bread was the perfect loaf.  “Slow food” advocates have pronounced i...

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Kickstart Radiotopia- A Storytelling Revolution

Sunday, October 19, 2014

When you support Radiotopia, you are making sure 99% Invisible can keep coming to you weekly and you'll be supporting our entire collective of award-winning, independent radiomakers. Please go to our Kickstarter page and back us in our effort to remak...

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136- Lights Out

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On July 13th, 1977, lightning struck an electricity transmission line in New York City, causing the line's automatic circuit breaker to kick in. The electricity from the affected line was diverted to another line.

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135- For Amusement Only

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Everyone has tried it at some point. The authorities started turning a blind eye years ago, but it wasn't officially legalized until the summer of 2014. Finally, after more than 80 years of illegitimacy, the City of Oakland has legalized...

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134- The Straight Line Is A Godless Line

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Straight lines form the core of our built environment. Building in straight lines makes predicting costs and calculating structural loads easier, since building materials come in linear units. Straight lines might be logical, predictable, and efficient,

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133- Port of Dallas

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dallas is 300 miles from the ocean. For most of its history, it wanted to be a sea port. Here's how a city moved its river in pursuit of that dream.

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132- Castle on the Park

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

On the southwest corner of Central Park West and 106th Street in New York City, there's an enormous castle.

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131- Genesis Object

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In the beginning, there was design. Before any other human discipline, even before the dawn of mankind its self, design was a practice passed down from generation to generation of early humans. Today, everything that has been designed–space ships,

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130- Holdout

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Around 2005, a Seattle neighborhood called Ballard started to see unprecedented growth. Condominiums and apartment buildings were sprouting up all over the community which had once been mostly single family homes and small businesses. Around this time,

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129- Thomassons

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cities, like living things, evolve slowly over time. Buildings and structures get added and renovated and removed, and in this process, bits and pieces that get left behind. Vestiges. Just as humans have tailbones and whales have pelvic bones,

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128- Hacking IKEA

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

IKEA hacking is the practice of buying things from IKEA and reengineering—or "hacking"—them to become customized, more functional, and often just better designed stuff. The locus of the IKEA hacking movement is a website called IKEAhackers.net.

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127- The Sound of Sports

Monday, August 11, 2014

Way back in October 2011 (see episode #38, true believers!), we broadcast a short excerpt of a radio documentary produced by Peregrine Andrews about faking the sounds of sports on TV broadcasts. It was one of our most popular and provocative programs...

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126- Walk This Way

Monday, August 04, 2014

As humans have developed cities and built environments, we have also needed to develop ways to find our way through them. Sam Greenspan went on a wayfinding tour with Jim Harding in the Atlanta airport. Harding is one of the expert "invisibles" that do...

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125- Duplitecture

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The best knock-offs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes, but China's knock-offs go way beyond fashion. There are knock-off Apple stores that look so much like the real thing,

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124- Longbox

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reporter Whitney Jones argues that R.E.M.’s Out of Time is the most politically significant album in the history of the United States. Because of its packaging.

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123- Snowflake

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Well before the early 1500s, when Sir Thomas Moore first coined the term "Utopia," people have been thinking about how to design their ideal community. Maybe it's one that doesn't use money, or one that drops traditional family structures and raises ch...

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122- Good Egress

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

When designing a commercial structure, there is one safety component that must be designed right into the building from the start: egress. “Egress” refers to an entire exit system from a building: stairs, corridors,

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121- Cold War Kids

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

During the 1961 Berlin Crisis—one of the various moments in the cold war in which we came frighteningly close to engaging in actual war with the Soviets—President John F. Kennedy vowed to identify spaces in "existing structures both public and priv...

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120- Skyjacking

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The term "hijacking" goes back to prohibition days, when gangsters would rob moonshine trucks saying, "Hold your hands high, Jack!" However, in the early days of commercial air travel, the idea that someone would hijack a plane was scarcely even consid...

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