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October 12 2015

#569: Put a Bow on It

This week we go into the room at the headquarters of fast food chain Hardee's with the people who decided that this burger with beef, hot dogs, and chips is what America should be eating. We'll hear the story of how they sold that burger and other instances where how you tell the story is more important than the literal facts.

October 05 2015

#568: Human Spectacle 2015

Gladiators in the Colosseum. Sideshow performers. Reality television. We've always loved to gawk at the misery or majesty of others. But this week, we ask the question: What's it like when the tables are turned and all eyes are on you?

An episode from last year, with one story swapped.

September 21 2015

#567: What's Going On In There?

Often we see someone’s situation from the outside and think we know exactly what’s going on. This week we get inside and find out just how much more interesting the reality of it is. Including a teenaged girl who records a remarkable story about the boyfriend who abuses her, and why it’s so hard to break up with him. Also this week: our new video by Bianca Giaever.

September 14 2015

#566: The Land of Make Believe

A father constructs an elaborate fantasy to occupy his 12 children, and a woman finds herself sucked into a world of make believe that we almost never get to see inside.


August 31 2015

#565: Lower 9 + 10

Katrina bus tours go all over New Orleans, but it’s illegal for them to go into the Lower 9th Ward, the area that's been the slowest to rebuild. This week we go around talking to residents there about what matters the most to them (and what doesn't) ten years after the hurricane. The episode we did in 2005 the week of the storm is here.

Pictured: map of Katrina-related fatalities.

August 17 2015

#564: Too Soon?

When is too soon for that celebrity comeback; that joke that is either brilliant or full-on repugnant; that parent-child conversation? This week: stories about a fallen man trying to kickstart his career with a reality show, and an awkward moment between a mom and a daughter.

August 10 2015

#563: The Problem We All Live With - Part Two

Last week we looked at a school district integrating by accident. This week: a city going all out to integrate its schools. Plus, a girl who comes up with her own one-woman integration plan.

August 03 2015

#562: The Problem We All Live With

Right now, all sorts of people are trying to rethink and reinvent education, to get poor minority kids performing as well as white kids. But there's one thing nobody tries anymore, despite lots of evidence that it works: desegregation. Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at a district that, not long ago, accidentally launched a desegregation program. First of a two-part series.

July 06 2015

#560: Abdi and the Golden Ticket

For July 4th, a story about someone who's desperately trying – against long odds – to make it to the United States and become an American. Abdi is a Somali refugee living in Kenya and gets the luckiest break of his life: he wins a lottery that puts him on a short list for a U.S. visa. This is his ticket out. But before he can cash in his golden ticket, the police start raiding his neighborhood, targeting refugees.

June 01 2015

#558: Game Face

Blair Braverman was a dog musher on an Alaskan glacier. One day the weather turned rough, and she and a pack of tourists were stuck. The worst part? They had to pretend like nothing was wrong. This and other stories of people facing very difficult situations who put their game face on and muscle through. And, we hear from people whose faces betray them and prominently display all their anxiety.

May 25 2015

#467: Americans in China

It used to be that the American expats in China were the big shots. They had the money, the status, the know-how. But that's changed. What's it like to be an American living in China now? And what do they understand about China that we don't?

May 18 2015

#557: Birds & Bees

Some information is so big and so complicated that it seems impossible to talk to kids about. This week, stories about the vague and not-so-vague ways to teach children about race, death and sex - including a story about colleges responding to sexual assault by trying to teach students how to ask for consent. Also, a story about how and when to teach kids about the horrors of slavery and oppression in America.

May 04 2015

#556: Same Bed, Different Dreams

Stories of people who are tied together, but imagine radically different futures. In one case, a movie star and her ex-husband plot against Kim Jong-Il. In another, a woman stalks her doppleganger. And sometimes, one bed is the basis for an entire relationship, even for a man who almost never sees the person who shares his bed.

April 27 2015

#555: The Incredible Rarity of Changing Your Mind

We tend to give credit to those who stand by their beliefs. But sometimes it requires even more courage to change them. This week, stories of people reconsidering how they really feel about their enemies, their homes, and themselves. We also talk to a girl named Zalena, who finds herself in a pretty unexpected place.

April 13 2015

#554: Not It!

Stories of people, cities, and commonwealths touching their noses and proclaiming "not it!" Including the story of how one city used a rocking chair to take retribution against a late night TV show host, and an island that takes people it doesn't want to deal with and ships them away.

April 06 2015

#553: Stuck In The Middle (2015)

Jan Brady is not the only one who hated being in the middle. This week we have stories about how it sucks to be in limbo or be the mediator, but we also hear from a man who absolutely loves being in that uncertain and boring middle most of us dread — on hold, listening to hold music.

March 30 2015

#552: Need To Know Basis

Even when you're not trying to get one over on someone, it can be useful to keep the truth to yourself. Or conversely, to not know why people are lying to your face all the time. This week we'll tell you the whole truth about not telling the whole truth. Including the story of a guy who learned to lie for the first time in his life at age 29.

March 23 2015

#551: Good Guys 2015

Yes fellas, lots of you think of yourselves as good guys. But what does it really take to be a good guy? We have stories of valiant men attempting to do good in challenging and not-so-challenging circumstances: in department stores, public buses, and at the bottom of a cave 900 feet underground.

March 16 2015

#550: Three Miles

There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better.

March 02 2015

#549: Amateur Hour

This week, stories of people who are in put into positions they’re completely unqualified to handle … but who try to make it work anyway. Including one story of a tough group of soldiers who attempt to save lives through the power of show tunes.
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