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Alex Blumberg

As a producer, Alex was the driving force behind The Fix Is In (168), The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar (352) and Act V (218, with Jack Hitt). It was his obsession with mortgage-backed securities that led us to The Giant Pool of Money (355) and all the Planet Money shows that came after.

Act One: Small Thoughts In Big Brains

This American Life producer 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. Includes the tale of a girl who received a tissue box for Christmas, allegedly painted by trained monkeys.

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 One: Show Me The Monet

You can't do a program about middlemen without a story about business. In this act, we hear from a man who made his living buying low and selling high...incredibly high, sometimes at mark-ups of up to 1,000 percent.

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.

Act Two: What We Talk About When We Talk About The Issues

The 2000 election season was strange in that many of the issues that the candidates debated most heatedly were ones that most of us have no handle on—prescription drug policy, social security solvency...and educational accountability. Producer Alex Blumberg travels to North Carolina, a state where many of the promises both candidates make regarding education are already in place.

Act Four: When Businesses Act Like Humans

Then Chicago-radio-listener and writer Alex Blumberg (he's now one of our producers) tells the story of encountering a corporation on its first day. It made all the human errors anyone does on a first day: exhibiting false confidence, pretending it wasn't the first day, trying too hard.