Favorites

  • 496: When Patents Attack... Part Two! 05.31.2013

    Two years ago, we did a program about a mysterious business in Texas that threatens companies with lawsuits for violating its patents. But the world of patent lawsuits is so secretive, there ...

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  • 492: Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde 04.12.2013

    Dr. Benjamin Gilmer (left) gets a job at a rural clinic. He finds out he’s replaced someone — also named Dr. Gilmer (picture) — who went to prison after killing his own father. But the ...

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  • 489: No Coincidence, No Story! 03.01.2013

    We asked listeners to send us their best coincidence stories, and we got more than 1,300 submissions! There were so many good ones we decided to make a whole show about them. From a chance ...

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  • 488: Harper High School, Part Two 02.22.2013

    We pick up where we left off last week in our second hour from Harper High School in Chicago. We find out if a shooting in the neighborhood will derail the school's Homecoming game and dance. We ...

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  • 487: Harper High School, Part One 02.15.2013

    We spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this ...

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  • 484: Doppelgängers 01.11.2013

    We got a tip about a meat plant selling pig intestines as fake calamari, wondered if it could be true, and decided to investigate. Doppelgängers, doubles, evil twins and not-so-evil twins, this ...

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  • 474: Back to School 09.14.2012

    As kids and teachers head back to school, we wanted to turn away from questions about politics and unions and money and all the regular school stuff people argue about, and turn to something more ...

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  • 472: Our Friend David 08.17.2012

    Favorite stories by our longtime contributor and friend David Rakoff. Note that the podcast and streaming versions contain unbeeped words that could not play on radio.

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  • 465: What Happened At Dos Erres 05.25.2012

    In 1982, the Guatemalan military massacred the villagers of Dos Erres, killing more than 200 people. Thirty years later, a Guatemalan living in the US got a phone call from a woman who told him ...

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  • 449: Middle School 10.28.2011

    This week, at the suggestion of a 14-year-old listener, we bring you stories from the awkward, confusing, hormonally charged world of middle school. Including a teacher who transforms peer ...

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  • 443: Amusement Park 08.12.2011

    We head to some of the happiest places on Earth: Amusement Parks! Jonathan Goldstein revisits one he worked at as a teen, Ira takes us behind the scenes at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, where the ...

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  • 436: The Psychopath Test 05.27.2011

    Recently we heard about this test that could determine if someone was a psychopath. So, naturally, our staff decided to take it. This week we hear the results. Plus Jon Ronson asks the question: ...

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  • 427: Original Recipe 02.11.2011

    The formula for Coca-Cola is one of the most jealously guarded trade secrets in the world. Locked in a vault in Atlanta. Supposedly unreplicable. But we think we may have found the original ...

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  • 405: Inside Job 04.09.2010

    For seven months a team of investigative journalists from ProPublica looked into a story for us, the inside story of one company that made hundreds of millions of dollars for itself while ...

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  • 403: NUMMI 03.26.2010

    A car plant in Fremont California that might have saved the U.S. car industry. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production ...

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  • 396: #1 Party School 12.18.2009

    This year, The Princeton Review named Penn State the #1 Party School in America. It's a rotating crown—last year it was University of Florida, before that it was West Virginia University. So we ...

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  • 388: Rest Stop 09.04.2009

    Nine radio producers. Two days. One rest stop on the New York State Thruway. In this show, we'll bring you stories of people who are just passing through, and people who are at the rest stop every ...

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  • 381: Turncoat 05.22.2009

    A well-known activist—an anarchic, revolutionary activist—is accused of spying on other activists for the FBI. The strangest thing about the rumor is, it's true. How Brandon Darby transformed from ...

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  • 361: Fear of Sleep 08.08.2008

    Mike Birbiglia got used to strange things happening to him when he slept—until something happened that almost killed him (Mike's story is now a feature film, Sleepwalk With Me). This and other ...

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  • 352: The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar 03.14.2008

    In 1912 a four year-old boy named Bobby Dunbar went missing in a swamp in Louisiana. Eight months later, he was found in the hands of a wandering handyman in Mississippi (the picture at left was ...

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  • 339: Break-Up 08.24.2007

    Writer Starlee Kine on what makes the perfect break-up song and whether really sad music can actually make you feel better. Plus, an eight-year-old author of a book about divorce, and other ...

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  • 322: Shouting Across the Divide 12.15.2006

    A Muslim woman persuades her husband that their family would be happier if they left the West Bank and moved to America. They do, and things are good...until September 11. After that, the ...

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  • 304: Heretics 12.16.2005

    The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson, a renowned evangelical pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who cast aside the idea of Hell, and with it everything he'd worked for over his entire life.

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  • 299: Back from the Dead 10.07.2005

    Stories about people and places that have come back to life after everything seemed lost.

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  • 290: Godless America 06.03.2005

    At a time when House Majority Leader Tom Delay calls for enacting a "Biblical world view" in government, when Christians are asserting their ideals in the selection of judges, in public school ...

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  • 282: DIY 02.11.2005

    After four lawyers fail to get an innocent man out of prison, his friend takes on the case himself. He becomes a do-it-yourself investigator. He learns to read court records, he tracks down ...

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  • 275: Two Steps Back 10.15.2004

    Ten years ago, when he was still a reporter for NPR's All Things Considered, host Ira Glass did a year-long series on a Chicago public school where things were getting better. Test scores were ...

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  • 268: My Experimental Phase 06.25.2004

    Three stories about people who decide to try out a new life—the kind of life their parents never wanted for them.

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  • 253: The Middle of Nowhere 12.05.2003

    Stories from faraway, hard-to-get-to places, where all rules are off, nefarious things happen because no one's looking, and there's no one to appeal to.

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  • 252: Poultry Slam 2003 11.28.2003

    During the period of the year with the highest turkey consumption, we bring you an annual This American Life tradition: Stories of turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks, fowl of all kinds, real and ...

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  • 248: Like It or Not 10.24.2003

    Some stories we make happen, others happen to us. Extremes from the latter category, where people let things happen to them and don't act, even when maybe they should. David Rakoff guest hosts.

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  • 246: My Pen Pal 09.12.2003

    Stories of very unusual pen pals, people whose relationship could not exist without the help of the postal service.

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  • 233: Starting from Scratch 03.07.2003

    Stories of people starting over, sometimes because they want to, other times because they have to.

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  • 220: Testosterone 08.30.2002

    Stories of people getting more testosterone and coming to regret it. And of people losing it and coming to appreciate life without it. The pros and cons of the hormone of desire.

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  • 204: 81 Words 01.18.2002

    The story of how the American Psychiatric Association decided in 1973 that homosexuality was no longer a mental illness.

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  • 203: Recordings for Someone 01.11.2002

    All the stories in this week's show center on personal recordings that one person made for just one other person.

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  • 199: House on Loon Lake 11.16.2001

    Our entire show this week is one long story, sort of a real-life Hardy Boys mystery. More than most of our shows, this one lends itself to a Hollywood-style tagline. Perhaps: "You Might Break ...

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  • 192: Meet the Pros 08.31.2001

    The story of one man's journey from obscurity to international professional celebrity—aided only by his own hard work, a sneaker commercial, and mad handles. And other stories of amateurs hurtling ...

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  • 186: Prom 06.08.2001

    While the seniors danced at Prom Night 2001 in Hoisington, Kansas—a town of about 3,000—a tornado hit the town, destroying about a third of it. When they emerged from the dance, they discovered ...

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  • 181: The Friendly Man 04.06.2001

    A special show, composed entirely of stories from just one This American Life contributor: Scott Carrier, whose strange and compelling stories sound like nothing else on the radio.

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  • 178: Superpowers 02.23.2001

    We answer the following questions about superpowers: Can superheroes be real people? (No.) Can real people become superheroes? (Maybe.) And which is better: flight or invisibility? (Depends who ...

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  • 164: Crime Scene 07.07.2000

    Every crime scene hides a story. In this week's show, we hear about crime scenes and the stories they tell.

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  • 154: In Dog We Trust 03.10.2000

    Stories of dogs and cats and other animals that live in our homes. Exactly how much are they caught up in everyday family dynamics? We answer this question and others.

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  • 119: Lockup 01.08.1999

    With the number of prisoners in the United States rising rapidly, we present stories of their lives and the lives of their families and children.

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  • 118: What You Lookin' At? 12.18.1998

    Stories about seeing and being seen. Taped before a live audience in Town Hall in New York City in December 1998, this was a co-production with WNYC New York, featuring live music by the pop band ...

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  • 103: Scenes from A Transplant 05.29.1998

    An NPR reporter leaves her three-year-old son and heads to Omaha—for cancer treatment—a last chance to save her life. After years of covering stories about medicine, Rebecca Perl enters the ...

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  • 90: Telephone 01.16.1998

    Stories of who we are on the phone, of things we learn on the phone, and of things that happen on the phone that don't happen anywhere else.

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  • 88: Numbers 01.02.1998

    Numbers lie. Numbers cover over complicated feelings and ambiguous situations. In this week's show, stories of people trying to use numbers to describe things that should not be quantified.

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  • 84: Harold 11.21.1997

    A parable of politics and race in America. The story of Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington, told two decades after his death. Washington died on November 25, 1987.

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  • 77: Pray 09.26.1997

    Can the secular world and the religious world understand each other?

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  • 61: Fiasco! 04.25.1997

    Stories of when things go wrong. Really wrong. When you leave the normal realm of human error, fumble, mishap, and mistake and enter the territory of really huge breakdowns. Fiascos. Things go so ...

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  • 46: Sissies 12.13.1996

    Though being gay no longer has much of a stigma in some parts of the country, being a sissy still does — even among gay men. In this show we have a number of surprising and unusual stories of ...

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  • 38: Simulated Worlds 10.11.1996

    Simulated worlds, Civil war reenactments, wax museums, simulated coal mines, fake ethnic restaurants, an ersatz Medieval castle and other re-created worlds that thrive all across America. (4 minutes)

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  • 27: The Cruelty of Children 06.21.1996

    Stories about kids being mean to each other... including a mysterious handbook for bullies, a surprising experiment conducted by a teacher who wants to make kids be nice, and a story of youthful ...

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