244: MacGyver

244: MacGyver

Aug 15, 2003
In real life, we usually never get to invent ingenious solutions, like the guy in the old TV series MacGyver. Today, four real stories in which real people invent amazingly clever solutions to their problems.
  • Host Ira Glass reminds the audience about the old TV series MacGyver, about the guy who stops bad guys without a gun. He uses science and sheer ingenuity to invent solutions. Then Ira interviews This American Life contributing editor Sarah Vowell, who lives in New York, about how, even in the middle of the biggest power failure in the history of the U.S., it's hard for an average citizen to exercise MacGyveresque ingenuity. (4 minutes) ScienceTelevision

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  • Chuck Klosterman talks about the time he MacGyvered his way out of one of the worst situations a boyfriend can find himself in. Klosterman is the author of the book Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto. (6 minutes) HolidaysRomance

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  • There's a book called Prisoners' Inventions, by a California inmate who publishes under the pseudonym Angelo. He describes the ingenious devices prisoners build out of the rudimentary materials at hand. Actor Felix Solis reads excerpts. Our story was produced with help from Jonathan Menjivar; thanks also to Temporary Services. The book is available on the website whitewalls.org. (4 minutes) Criminal JusticeScience

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  • The story of an FBI sting that involves gangsters, G-men, and lots and lots of people who want to work in the movies. It's adapted from an article by Elizabeth Gilbert that first appeared in GQ magazine. (25 minutes) CrimeFilm/Film Making

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  • Susan Burton tells the story of how she used a clever scheme to get over a broken heart. (17 minutes)RomanceTeenagers

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