99% Invisible-logo

99% Invisible

PRX

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible (99 Percent Invisible) is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars and KALW in San Francisco. Learn more: http://99percentinvisible.org Awesome people saying nice things: "Roman Mars lights the radio. His pieces conjure other worlds, grapple with big ideas, make sound three dimensional. They are smart and funny and original. The Kitchen Sisters would like to be Presidents of his Fan Club." -The Kitchen Sisters, NPR "Highly digging 99% Invisible. One of the best podcasts I've bumped into in a while." -Jad Abumrad, Radiolab "I love the show. It's wonderful. Actually reminded me of why I love radio." -Jonathan Goldstein, CBC's WireTap 99% Invisible is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible (99 Percent Invisible) is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars and KALW in San Francisco. Learn more: http://99percentinvisible.org Awesome people saying nice things: "Roman Mars lights the radio. His pieces conjure other worlds, grapple with big ideas, make sound three dimensional. They are smart and funny and original. The Kitchen Sisters would like to be Presidents of his Fan Club." -The Kitchen Sisters, NPR "Highly digging 99% Invisible. One of the best podcasts I've bumped into in a while." -Jad Abumrad, Radiolab "I love the show. It's wonderful. Actually reminded me of why I love radio." -Jonathan Goldstein, CBC's WireTap 99% Invisible is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Networks:

PRX

Radiotopia

Description:

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible (99 Percent Invisible) is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars and KALW in San Francisco. Learn more: http://99percentinvisible.org Awesome people saying nice things: "Roman Mars lights the radio. His pieces conjure other worlds, grapple with big ideas, make sound three dimensional. They are smart and funny and original. The Kitchen Sisters would like to be Presidents of his Fan Club." -The Kitchen Sisters, NPR "Highly digging 99% Invisible. One of the best podcasts I've bumped into in a while." -Jad Abumrad, Radiolab "I love the show. It's wonderful. Actually reminded me of why I love radio." -Jonathan Goldstein, CBC's WireTap 99% Invisible is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm

Twitter:

@romanmars

Language:

English


Episodes

390- Fraktur

2/18/2020
If you have ever caught even one minute of the history channel, you have seen fraktur. You’ve seen the font on Nazi posters, on Nazi office buildings, on Nazi roadwork signs. Today in Germany, blackletter typefaces are frequently used by Neo-Nazi groups and for many Germans, they bring to mind the dark times of the country’s fascist past. This is ironic because fraktur has a long and strange history that includes the font actually being banned by the Nazis. Plus, we get an opinion from Kate...

Duration:00:40:22

389- Whomst Among Us Has Let The Dogs Out

2/11/2020
The story of how “Who Let The Dogs Out” ended up stuck in all of our brains goes back decades and spans continents. It tells us something about inspiration, and how creativity spreads, and about whether an idea can ever really belong to just one person. About ten years ago, Ben Sisto was reading the Wikipedia entry for the song when he noticed something strange. A hairdresser in England named “Keith” was credited with giving the song to the Baha Men, but Keith had no last name and the fact...

Duration:00:41:06

388- Missing the Bus

2/4/2020
If you heard that there was a piece of technology that could do away with traffic jams, make cities more equitable, and help us solve climate change, you might think about driverless cars, or hyperloops or any of the other new transportation technologies that get lots of hype these days. But there is a much older, much less sexy piece of machinery that could be the key to making our cities more sustainable, more liveable, and more fair: the humble bus. Steve Higashide is a transit expert,...

Duration:00:39:32

387- The Worst Video Game Ever

1/28/2020
Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. Subscribe to Sidedoor on Apple...

Duration:00:29:46

386- Their Dark Materials

1/21/2020
Vantablack is a pigment that reaches a level of darkness that’s so intense, it’s kind of upsetting. It’s so black it’s like looking at a hole cut out of the universe. If it looks unreal because Vantablack isn’t actually a color, it’s a form of nanotechnology. It was created by the tech industry for the tech industry, but this strange dark material would also go on to turn the art world on its head. Their Dark Materials

Duration:00:41:24

385- Shade

1/14/2020
Journalist Sam Bloch used to live in Los Angeles. And while lots of people move to LA for the sun and the hot temperatures, Bloch noticed a real dark side to this idyllic weather: in many neighborhoods of the city, there's almost no shade. Shade can literally be a matter of life and death. Los Angeles, like most cities around the world, is heating up. And in dry, arid environments like LA, shade is perhaps the most important factor influencing human comfort. Without shade, the chance of...

Duration:00:33:43

384- Mini-Stories: Volume 8

1/7/2020
This is part 2 of the 2019- 2020 mini-stories episodes where I interview the staff about their favorite little stories from the built world that don’t quite fill out an entire episode for whatever reason but they are cool 99pi stories nonetheless… We have centuries old bonds, standard tunings mandated by international treaty, abandoned mansions, and secret babies. If you ever need a conversation starter, the mini-stories are our gift to you. Mini-Stories 8

Duration:00:53:46

383- Mini-Stories: Volume 7

12/18/2019
It’s the end of the year and time for our annual mini-stories episodes. Mini-stories are fun, quick hit stories that came up in our research for another episode...or maybe it was some cool thing someone told us about that we found really interesting. They didn’t quite warrant a full episode and two months of hard reporting, but they’re great 99pi stories nonetheless. And my favorite part is we do them as unscripted interviews where I’m in the studio with the people who work on this show, who...

Duration:00:49:02

Smart Stuff with Justin and Roman- Founder Effect

12/15/2019
The long-awaited return of Smart Stuff with Justin and Roman, featuring Justin McElroy and Roman Mars. Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today. Everyone should listen to My Brother, My Brother, and Me on the Max Fun Network.

Duration:00:05:38

382- The ELIZA Effect

12/10/2019
Throughout Joseph Weizenbaum's life, he liked to tell this story about a computer program he’d created back in the 1960s as a professor at MIT. It was a simple chatbot named ELIZA that could interact with users in a typed conversation. As he enlisted people to try it out, Weizenbaum saw similar reactions again and again -- people were entranced by the program. They would reveal very intimate details about their lives. It was as if they’d just been waiting for someone (or something) to ask....

Duration:00:51:01

381- The Infantorium

12/3/2019
“Incubators for premature babies were, oddly enough, a phenomenon at the turn of the 20th century that was available at state and county fairs and amusement parks rather than hospitals,” explains Lauren Rabinowitz, an amusement park historian. If you wanted your at-risk premature baby to survive, you pretty much had to bring them to an amusement park. These incubator shows cropped up all over America. And they were a main source of healthcare for premature babies for over forty years. The...

Duration:00:39:54

380- Mannequin Pixie Dream Girl

11/26/2019
In the 1930s, Lester Gaba was designing department store windows and found the old wax mannequins uninspiring. So he designed a new kind of mannequin that was sleek, simple, but conveyed style and personality. As a marketing stunt, he took one of these mannequins everywhere with him and she became a national obsession. “Cynthia” captivated millions and was the subject of a 14-page spread in Life Magazine. Cynthia and the other Gaba Girls changed the look and feel of retail stores. Mannequin...

Duration:00:47:20

379- Cautionary Tales

11/19/2019
Galileo tried to teach us that adding more and more layers to a system intended to avert disaster often makes catastrophe all the more likely. His basic lesson has been ignored in nuclear power plants, financial markets and at the Oscars... all resulting in chaos. At the 2017 Academy Awards, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway famously handed the Best Picture Oscar to the wrong movie. In this episode of Cautionary Tales, Tim Harford takes us through all of the poor design choices leading into the...

Duration:00:34:19

378- Ubiquitous Icons: Peace, Power, and Happiness

11/12/2019
There are symbols all around us that we take for granted, like the lightning strike icon, which indicates that something is high voltage. Or a little campfire to indicate that something is flammable. Those icons are pretty obvious, but there are others that aren't so straightforward. Like, why do a triangle and a stick in a circle indicate "peace"? Where does the smiley face actually come from? Or the power symbol? We sent out the 99PI team to dig into the backstory behind some of those...

Duration:00:39:05

377- How To Pick A Pepper

11/5/2019
The chili pepper is the pride of New Mexico, but they have a problem with their beloved crop. There just aren’t enough workers to pick the peppers. Picking chili peppers can be especially grueling work even compared to other crops. So most workers are skipping chili harvests in favor of other sources of income. As a result, small family farms have been planting less and less chili every year in favor of other less-labor intensive crops. So, scientists are trying to find ways to automate the...

Duration:00:38:24

376- Great Bitter Lake Association

10/29/2019
A little-known bit of world history about a rag tag group of sailors stranded for years in the Suez Canal at the center of a war. Great Bitter Lake Association

Duration:00:36:17

375- Audio Guide to the Imperfections of a Perfect Masterpiece

10/22/2019
To help celebrate its 60th anniversary, the Guggenheim Museum teamed up with 99% Invisible to offer visitors a guided audio experience of the museum. Even if you've never been to the Guggenheim Museum, you probably recognize it. From the outside, the building is a light gray spiral, and from the inside, the art is displayed on one long ramp that curves up towards a glass skylight in the ceiling. We’re going to take the greatness of this building as a given. What we’re going to focus on are...

Duration:00:30:46

374- Unsure Footing

10/15/2019
Before 1992, the easiest way to run the time off the clock in a soccer game was just to pass the ball to the goalkeeper, who could pick the ball up, and hold it for a few seconds before throwing it back into play. This was considered by some to be unsportsmanlike and bad for spectators. So in 1992, the International Football Association Board, the committee in charge of determining the rules of soccer, made a minor change to the laws of the game. From that season forward, in every league...

Duration:00:30:26

373- The Kirkbride Plan

10/8/2019
Today, there are more than a hundred abandoned asylums in the United States that, to many people, probably seem scary and imposing, but not so long ago they weren't seen as scary at all. Many of them were built part of a treatment regimen developed by a singular Philadelphia doctor named Thomas Story Kirkbride. Kirkbride was obsessed with architecture and how it could be harnessed therapeutically to cure people suffering from mental illness. The Kirkbride Plan

Duration:00:43:24

372- The Help-Yourself City

10/1/2019
There’s an idea in city planning called “informal urbanism.” Some people call it “do-it-yourself urbanism.” Informal urbanism covers all the ways people try to change their community that isn’t through city planning or some kind of official process. If you’ve put up a homemade sign warning people not to sit on a broken bench, that’s DIY urbanism. If you’ve used cones or a chair to reserve your own parking spot on a public street, that’s also DIY urbanism. Gordon Douglas has written a whole...

Duration:00:33:51