Alex Blumberg investigates a little-studied phenomenon: Children who get a mistaken idea in their heads about how something works or what something means, and then don't figure out until well into adulthood that they were wrong. Including the tale of a girl who received a tissue box for Christmas, allegedly painted by trained monkeys.
Host Alex Blumberg talks about New York City’s long-standing ban on ferrets. And how, after years of forbidding them, the city is now poised to lift the ban.
Alex Blumberg takes us to an American classroom where students are reading a classic, The Education of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter. The book is marketed as a simple homespun autobiography of a Cherokee orphan.
Producer Alex Blumberg introduces us to Richard, a former executive at a big time marketing firm who smoked pot daily — sometimes at work. As it turns out, Alex is intimately familiar with how Richard's getting high kept him from focusing on the important things in his life.
Producer Alex Blumberg interviews the writer Jon Mooallem, who just wrote a story for the Atavist about a period in the early 1900’s when meat was scarce in the United States. A group of forward-thinking men had a plan to fix that problem.
Alex Blumberg talks to Shane Dubow about a time decades ago, when Shane went sea kayaking and camping with his friends on the beach in Baja California, Mexico. When Shane’s neck stiffens up on him, he finds himself looking for an unlikely chiropractor, in the middle of nowhere.
Several producers talked about the first stories they ever heard on the show, before they worked here. Former producer Jonathan Goldstein, now host of WireTap, remembers the prologue to episode 27: The Cruelty of Children: Then producer Brian Reed talks about the first time he heard the show, when Ira spoke at his college and played a story by Jack Hitt from episode 188: Kid Logic: Alex Blumberg talks about an early story by Adam Davidson, Alex's current colleague at Planet Money, from episode 94: How To.
NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. Executives at Intellectual Ventures insist they are not trolls, but rather, promoters of innovation.
The dramatic conclusion to Laura and Alex's search for information about Intellectual Ventures, and the inventor they claimed they were helping, Chris Crawford. The story turns out to be different than the one Intellectual Ventures originally told.
Producer Alex Blumberg tells the story of how Oklahoma, against huge odds,came to have the first and best publicly-funded pre-school system in thecountry, and how one businessman joined the fight because a cardboard boxfull of evidence convinced him that pre-school was the smartest businessdecision the state could make.
An estate attorney in Rhode Island discovers the investor's Holy Grail: afinancial scheme that guarantees only reward and no risk. All upside withno downside.
Producer Alex Blumberg tells the story of Jeff Smith, a former Missouri State Senator who spent last year in federal prison. The story of how Jeff ended up there includes large sins, but begins with a relatively small one.
Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and NPR Congressional correspondent AndreaSeabrook take a tour through the world of money and politics, discoveringjust how much time members of Congress spend raising money and whichcommittee assignments yield the biggest campaign donations. They also try tofigure out what all this money is actually buying.For an interactive map of Washington DC fundraiser locations, charts of thebest and worst types of fundraisers, and other online extras, visit PlanetMoney's website.
Ira Glass asks guest host Alex Blumberg whether we should really care aboutthe current European debt crisis. The answer: yes, we should, and we shouldWANT to care too, because this story—and it's actually the story of theEuro itself—is very surprising and dramatic.
Some adventures you seek out on purpose, and others hunt you down. Producer Alex Blumberg tells this story, about the experience a guy had in China...which started out as first kind of adventure, then quickly turned into the second kind.
NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. The investigation takes them to a small town in Texas, where they find a hallway full of empty companies with no employees.
Laura and Alex continue their story about Intellectual Ventures and the practice of patent trolling. They learn why the buying and selling of patents is likely to continue being a huge, controversial business that affects the entire tech industry.
Though the name of the Federal Reserve includes the word "federal," it's not actually part of the government. It's an independent institution tasked with something very simple, but very huge: Creating money out of thin air.
Ira with This American Life producer Alex Blumberg, about a kind of institutionalized crybabying in pro basketball called "the flop." Alex started to wonder if the story basketball fans tell themselves about the origins of the flop is true, and turned to Tommy Craggs at the sports blog Deadspin.com.
Why is it that Barbados and Jamaica faced almost identical financial crises, but now Jamaica is incredibly poor and Barbados is prospering? Alex Blumberg reports on the surprising strategy Barbados used to survive its crisis. Alex first learned about this story from a paper by Peter Blair Henry, the dean of the Stern School of Business at New York University.
A hedge fund named Magnetar comes up with an elaborate plan to make money. It sponsors the creation of complicated and ultimately toxic financial securities...while at the same time betting against the very securities it helped create. Planet Money's Alex Blumberg teams up with two investigative reporters from ProPublica, Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger, to tell the story.
Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg from our Planet Money team report on economic forecasts for 2010 and what they can and cannot accurately predict. Planet Money is a co-production of This American Life and NPR News.