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January 23, 2015

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS

It’s safe to say whatever you want on the Internet; nobody will know it’s you. But that same anonymity makes it possible for people to say all the awful things that make the Internet such an annoying and sometimes frightening place. This week: what happens when the Internet turns on you?
The Internet version of this episode contains unbleeped curse words. If you prefer, here is a bleeped version.

Freedom Fries

Recently, This American Life has been getting a lot of hate mail about the young women on our staff — listeners complain about their "vocal fry." Ira investigates the phenomenon. (8 1/2 minutes)

Words of Prey

Jeffrey Brodeur worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and was put in charge of an Osprey Cam — a live web feed of an osprey nest near his office. Which he thought was just charming — until the mother osprey in the nest began acting strangely. (14 minutes)

Mailer Demon

This story, produced by the podcast Reply All (website, iTunes), asks the question — can internet bile ever be helpful? PJ Vogt interviews Paul Ford, a man who programmed a website to deal with his anxiety. The website sends him abusive comments all day long. (6 1/2 minutes)

Song:

“Give a Hater a Hug” by Watsky ft. Wax