Browse our archive by

Prologue

NPR reporter David Kestenbaum tells host Ira Glass 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: Twistery Mystery

Wayne Curtis has been puzzling over an unexplained meteorological phenomenon involving chickens...a riddle that's nearly two centuries old. Wayne is the author, most recently, of And A Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails.

Act One: You’re As Cold As Ice

In the late 1960s, a California TV repairman named Bob Nelson joined a group of enthusiasts who believed they could cheat death with a new technology called cryonics. But freezing dead people so scientists can reanimate them in the future is a lot harder than it sounds.

Act One: Kill One, Save Five

Say there's a group of five people standing on a train track, and you're on a train coming toward them. You can save the whole group by pulling a lever and switching to another track, but the catch is that you'll kill another person who's standing on that other track.

Act One: Spook Science

Jake Warga heads out with AGHOST, a Seattle group that's using whatever scientific principles they can find to hunt for ghosts. Jake's story got support from Hearing Voices and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and editorial advice from Barrett Golding.

Act Two: Government Science

The Union of Concerned Scientists has issued a report condemning the Bush Administration for what it called "distorting and censoring scientific findings that contradict" Administration policies. One of the cases cited in the report involves something called the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning.

Act Three: Beauty Science

Adam Sternbergh, the co-editor and co-founder of Fametracker.com, dissects the issue of People magazine which is now on newsstands — an issue which chooses the most beautiful people in the world, allegedly through purely scientific methods, somehow ending up with a list of people who have movies coming out this summer. This story first appeared at Fametracker.com.

Act One: What Really Happens In Marriage

Ira visits marital researcher John Gottman, who's part of a generation of researchers that have revolutionized the way we see marriage by observing successful and unsuccessful marriages and trying to figure out what the successful happy ones are doing that the ones who end up in divorce are not. Marriage research and links to marriage education programs for couples are online at www.smartmarriages.com.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass reminds the audience about the old TV series MacGyver, about the guy who stops bad guys without a gun. He uses science and sheer ingenuity to invent solutions.

Act Two: Files In Cakes, Ha!

There's a book called Prisoners' Inventions, by a California inmate who publishes under the pseudonym Angelo. He describes the ingenious devices prisoners build out of the rudimentary materials at hand.

Prologue

Producer Alex Blumberg explains that he wanted to do this show because of his conflicted relationship with his own testosterone. He tells host Ira Glass that the reasons go back to a girl in his eighth-grade homeroom and the 1970s seminal feminist novel The Women's Room. We also hear from a man who stopped producing testosterone due to a medical treatment and found that his entire personality was altered.