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David Kestenbaum

Act One: The Oldest Trick in the Book

Magicians say it can take years to create and polish a new magic trick. Teller (of Penn and Teller) shows host Ira Glass how he invented one of his most beautiful and puzzling routines.

Act Two: The Lady Vanishes

Producer David Kestenbaum became obsessed with one trick he loved as a kid—when David Copperfield made the statue of liberty disappear.


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.


David Kestenbaum tells Ira about the time, when he was doing graduate work in physics, he and his other single friends decided to figure out the mathematical probability that they’d find girlfriends. They wanted to know what the chances were that there was more than one person in the world for them.

Act Four: Villains And How To Sue Them

David and Chana meet another toxic asset owner, like themselves. Only difference, David and Chana bought theirs after it was already toxic, for a steep discount, 99% off.

Act Two: Investigation Report #2

Alex Blumberg and NPR correspondent (and "Planet Money" reporter) Dave Kestenbaum examine what went wrong with the credit ratings agencies. When all these financial instruments that brought down our economy—the mortgage backed securities, the derivatives—were originally issued, the rating agencies (Standard and Poors, Moody's and Fitch) gave many of these things their top rating of triple-A.