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Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to someone who escaped from the twin towers with a minute to spare and someone who lost her husband on 9/11. Both say they try to avoid 9/11 commemorations.

Act Two: In the Garden of the Unknown Unknowns

Marian Fontana, whose husband was a firefighter who died on 9/11, originally appeared on our show in 2005. Ira talks with Marian today, about what has changed for her over the last 10 years.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to an expert stone cutter who makes headstones. One day he got a call from a guy who wanted him to make his headstone in advance, which is not all that uncommon.

Act Two: Not Just A Number

Captain Ryan Gist was given a particularly tough assignment in Iraq: To build relationships with a town where U.S. bombs had killed twelve innocent people. But first he has to apologize to the families of those who were killed.

Act Three: The War This Time

The Lancet's new study of deaths in Iraq, by the same research team that did the earlier study, yielded an astounding number—650,000 civilian deaths. Producer Alex Blumberg talks to Ira about the debate over this new study.

Act One: In the Event of An Emergency

In the middle of the news coverage of Hurricane Rita, newscasts broke into their coverage to show JetBlue flight 292, with its landing gear stuck in the wrong direction. For hours, the plane circled over the exurbs of Los Angeles to burn off fuel before it attempted an emergency landing.

Act Four: Life Sentence

The President of the Maryland State Senate, Mike Miller, a veteran political operator, talks about the off-the-cuff remark in 1989 that many people say changed his life forever.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass plays parts of a speech by George Ryan, former Governor of Illinois. When he was a state senator in 1977, Ryan was part of a successful coalition that voted to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass surveys various productions of Hamlet being staged around the country: At community colleges in Brooklyn and Honolulu, on a professional stage in Boston, and at a Shakespeare camp for kids in San Francisco—where all the scenes are death scenes.

Prologue

Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered.

Act Two: Kodak Moments Of The Dead

The story of Tyler Cassity and how he's trying to remake one of our oldest rituals of commemoration.Tyler is one of the owners of a cemetery called Hollywood Forever, and he's been introducing 20th-Century technology to American funerals, which haven't changed much since the Civil War. At Hollywood Forever, the cost of a burial includes a video of your life: to be shown at your funeral, to be viewable at kiosks on the cemetery grounds, and to be posted—for eternity—on the Internet.

Prologue

Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name: A Family, a Town, a Murder.) This is how it goes sometimes.

Act Two: How We Got Here

We hear the history of why these drug laws were enacted from a firsthand witness. Eric Sterling was the lawyer in charge of drug laws for the House Judiciary Committee during the 1980s, when mandatory minimums were put in place.

Act Two: Humanitarians

Modern-day fables of two different kinds of do-gooders during and after the 1994 genocide in the African country of Rwanda. Philip Gourevich, author of the book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, tells first about international relief workers who served as "caterers" to some of the Hutu powers as they continued their policy of ethnic cleansing after fleeing to refugee camps.

Act Five: Black Box

We go through transcripts from those black box flight recorders recovered from airplane crashes to see what people say. One pilot declares "I love you" to someone, another is doing his job like always and suddenly says, "uh-oh." It's an interview with Malcolm McPherson, author of The Black Box: All-New Cockpit Voice Recorder Accounts of In-Flight Accidents.