May 19, 2017

Fermi’s Paradox

Three people grapple with the question, “Are we alone?”

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.


If there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, why haven’t we heard from the extraterrestrials yet? Producer David Kestenbaum explains The Fermi Paradox to host Ira Glass. The possibility that we are alone in the universe makes David sad. (7 minutes)

I Think We’re Alone Now

David’s story continues. He visits his old physics professor, who helps him figure out what to think. And Ira checks in with Dan Werthimer, chief scientist for SETI–the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence–at Berkeley. (15 minutes)

Your personal computer can help SETI crunch through its data looking for intelligent life with [email protected].


“I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tommy James and the Shondells

Rosie’s Paradox

One night Rosie’s father, busy working, told Rosie, then 9, to stop distracting him with her questions. She should write them all down, he said. Rosie returned with about 50 of the most fundamental human questions. Three years later, her father is still answering them. Producer Stephanie Foo tells the story. (12 minutes)

Matt Salyer is working on a collection of poems that’s coming out later this year called "Ravage and Snare."


“The Half-Remarkable Question” by The Incredible String Band