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Recent Episodes and Articles

The Puzzling Promise of Graphene

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

If you’ve heard about graphene, you’ve probably heard that it’s a miracle substance. The only atom-thick material known to man, it seems to also be the lightest, strongest, and most conductive material on earth. Its potential applications seem almost limitless. The only problem, as John Colapinto explained in a recent magazine piece, is that nobody has figured out what to do with it yet. On this week’s Out Loud, Colapinto joins Nicholas Thompson, the editor of newyorker.com, and Vauhini Vara, a business and technology blogger for the site, to discuss the challenges that hyped new technologies face in the marketplace, and whether graphene is likely to live up to its promise.
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For Love of the Ice

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hockey fans make up a small but vocal contingent of The New Yorker’s staff. On this week’s Out Loud podcast, three of the magazine’s most ardent rink rats—Ben McGrath, who recently wrote about the hockey player P. K. Subban; Nick Paumgarten, who plays regularly in a local league; and Adam Gopnik, who is Canadian—join the editor John Bennet to discuss the sport. They talk about how they first encountered hockey and learned to love it, the relationship between hockey and writing, and why, as Bennet puts it, having a child who plays hockey “seems to exacerbates the psychosis that is parenthood.”
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Famous on YouTube

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

In this week’s magazine, Tad Friend writes about the celebrities of YouTube and Vine, who gather millions of fans—and sometimes millions of dollars—with their viral online videos, even if most of us have never heard of them. Friend and Kelefa Sanneh, a staff writer who frequently covers pop culture, join Michael Agger, the culture editor of The New Yorker’s Web site, on this week’s Out Loud podcast to discuss the “Beatlemania-type receptions” of these figures, the economy of YouTube fame, and what the phenomenon reveals about the nature of modern celebrity. Friend says, “In the old world, someone like Kim Kardashian, everyone knew a little bit about her.... In the future, there will be people who are incredibly famous and deeply well known to a small group of people, but not known to everyone else.”
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Growing Up in the Rodeo

Monday, December 01, 2014

In this week’s magazine, Burkhard Bilger writes about the children who compete in rodeo in his home state of Oklahoma. Bull riding is the most dangerous sport in the world, and it’s become even riskier in recent years, as bull breeders have begun selecting for extreme aggression. But in the families Bilger interviewed for his story, little boys as young as three or four years old participate in rodeo events, and begin riding bulls around the age of ten. Bilger and Mark Singer, another staff writer and Oklahoma native, join host Amelia Lester on this week’s Out Loud podcast to discuss the kids who compete in rodeo, the parents who let them do it, and the attraction of trying to ride an angry two-thousand-pound animal. As Bilger describes it, when the kids start out, riding sheep and calves, “it’s like the best bumper-car ride you’ve ever been on. And then what you’re doing is just gradually turning up the volume. Or another metaphor might be the frog in the water that’s getting turned up hotter and hotter until it dies.”
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Elevating Excrement

Monday, November 24, 2014

In this week’s magazine, Emily Eakin reports on fecal transplantation, a medical procedure in which the stool from a healthy person is transferred to the bowel of a sick person to restore the balance of flora in the latter’s gut. On Out Loud, Eakin explains that it’s “a procedure that grew out of desperation”—patients suffering from certain untreatable conditions, such as infection with the superbug C. difficile, formed a D.I.Y. fecal-transplant movement. In a conversation with Nick Thompson, the editor of newyorker.com, Eakin and Alan Burdick—an editor at the magazine, as well as the editor of the Web site’s Elements blog—discuss the science world’s fascination with the microbiome, the F.D.A.’s attempts to regulate the procedure, and the reasons fecal transplantation caught their interest as a story worth reporting. Eakin says, “the notion that stool—something that we associate with aversion and repulsion—was being elevated into a substance that was lifesaving and precious was tremendously appealing.”
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Music in the Age of Spotify

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, John Seabrook writes about how the streaming service Spotify is changing the landscape of the music industry. On Out Loud, Seabrook joins Kelefa Sanneh, who also writes frequently about music for the magazine, and Nicholas Thompson, the editor of newyorker.com, to discuss how artists, record companies, and their own listening habits are adapting to the economics of streaming. They discuss how Spotify became the dominant streaming company, why Taylor Swift recently pulled her entire catalogue from the service, and how the industry is likely to evolve as the tech industry and the music business continue to converge. Seabrook says, “The tips of the two continents are just touching. And that is going to be a fascinating, enormous cultural change, conflict, and hopefully synthesis to watch.”
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David Remnick's Reporting on Israel

Monday, November 10, 2014

In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, David Remnick writes about Israel’s new conservative President, Reuven Rivlin, whose support for both a one-state solution and Palestinian civil rights has made him the country’s “most unlikely moralist.” On Out Loud, Remnick joins Sasha Weiss, the literary editor of newyorker.com, to discuss Rivlin’s role in Israeli politics, the evolution of the one-state/two-state debate, and his own experience reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the magazine. “No matter who you are and what you are and what you write, you will be reacted to with enormous emotional force, fury, and often abuse,” Remnick says. “The pitch of the battle is something to behold.”
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A Sex-Abuse Scandal in a Hasidic Community

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Hasidic Jews of Borough Park, Brooklyn, rarely interact with outsiders—they rely upon their own education and justice systems and see their extreme insularity as a means of self-preservation. But Rachel Aviv, a staff writer, spent months among Borough Park’s Hasidim for her story in this week’s magazine, about a man named Sam Kellner who was ostracized after he accused a prominent member of his community of molesting his son. On this week’s Out Loud podcast, Aviv talks to Sasha Weiss, the literary editor of newyorker.com, about the practical and moral complexities of reporting the story. She describes the lengths she went to in order to interview Hasidic men—buying special clothes, finding meeting places that wouldn’t violate the restriction against men and women meeting behind closed doors—and what it was like to discuss sexual abuse with men who rarely interact with non-Hasidic women. Aviv acknowledges the dangers of a community policing itself, but adds, “I hope that the story also shows that there’s a lot of courage within the community.”
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Two American Obsessions

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Do we care too much about food? Do we care too much about Bob Dylan? Those are two of the questions our writers ask in this week’s week's magazine, which is a special issue on food. On Out Loud, the editor of the issue, Amelia Lester, talks to the journalist and reformed foodie John Lanchester about the value of professional restaurant critics, how food trends reflect anxieties in the wider culture, and whether our collective obsession with food has gone too far. Later in the episode, Sasha Weiss, the literary editor of newyorker.com, hosts a discussion about Dylan’s music with one ambivalent fan—Sasha Frere-Jones, the magazine’s pop-music critic, who writes about the basement tapes in this week’s issue—and two die-hards: the longtime New Yorker editor John Bennet and the editor-in-chief, David Remnick. Speaking of his first encounter with Dylan's music, Remnick says, “It set my hair on fire.”
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Outsmarting Ebola

Monday, October 20, 2014

In a piece in this week’s magazine titled “The Ebola Wars,” Richard Preston reports on a doctor’s efforts to combat the disease in Sierra Leone, and follows researchers at Harvard and M.I.T. as they study the virus’s genetic code. On this week’s podcast, Preston, the author of the 1994 best-seller “The Hot Zone,” about the origins of Ebola, joins Sasha Weiss, the literary editor of newyorker.com, to clear up misconceptions about the current outbreak and discuss the efforts of physicians and epidemiologists to contain the disease.
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Out Loud: Oliver Sacks

Monday, October 13, 2014

Oliver Sacks looks back at his experiences with drugs in the early nineteen-sixties. Here Sacks talks with John Bennet and Sasha Weiss about some of his drug-induced hallucinations, how his interest in neurology connects to his experimentation with drugs, and how one drug experience led to his writing career.
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Out Loud: Online Outrage

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

On this week’s podcast, Joshua Rothman and Rebecca Mead discuss the culture of public judgment and moral shaming on social media.
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Ann Goldstein and D.T. Max on Elena Ferrante

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ann Goldstein and D.T. Max on Elena Ferrante
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Jeffrey Toobin and Tim Wu on The Right To Be Forgotten

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jeffrey Toobin and Tim Wu on The Right To Be Forgotten
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Lizzie Widdicombe and Judith Thurman on Full-figured Fashion

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lizzie Widdicombe and Judith Thurman on the designers, models, and activists who are bringing plus-size fashion into the mainstream.
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Bill Cosby Can't Stop

Monday, September 08, 2014

Kelefa Sanneh and Sarah Larson on Bill Cosby’s Stage Persona
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Adam Gopnik on the Pleasures and Perils of Bipedalism

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Adam Gopnik on the Pleasures and Perils of Bipedalism
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Beware the Soul-Crushing Pitfalls of Ivy League Mania

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nathan Heller and Joshua Rothman on whether elite colleges are bad for the soul
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Héctor Tobar on the Chilean mine disaster.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Héctor Tobar on the Chilean mine disaster.
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Michael Specter and Alan Burdick on the controversy over GMOs

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Michael Specter and Alan Burdick on the controversy over GMOs
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