99% Invisible

A Tiny Radio Show about Design with Roman Mars.

Bonus Episode- Avery talks Articles of Interest with Roman (12/2018)

Roman talks with Avery about the lessons learned from making Articles of Interest

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332- The Accidental Room (12/2018)

A group of artists find a secret room in a massive shopping center in Providence, RI and discover a new way to experience the mall.

Plus, we look at the origin of the very first mall and the fascinating man who designed it, Victor Gruen.

The Accidental Room

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331- Oñate's Foot (12/2018)

Juan de Oñate is one of the world’s lesser-known conquistadors, but his name can be found all over New Mexico. There are Oñate streets, Oñate schools, and, of course, Oñate statues. When an activist group removed one foot off an Oñate statue in 1998, they said it was a symbolic act meant to highlight the atrocities Oñate committed against the indigenous population.

Just as people in New Mexico were learning more of this history, the city of Albuquerque was considering building yet another statue of him. This resulted in a years long conflict about how New Mexico should commemorate a “founding father” who committed such cruel acts.

Oñate’s Foot

This was a collaboration with Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

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330- Raccoon Resistance (11/2018)

After Toronto unveiled its "raccoon-resistant" compost bins in 2016, some people feared the animals would be starved, but many more celebrated the innovative design. Rolling out this novel locked bin opened a new battlefront in city's ongoing "war on raccoons."

Journalist Amy Dempsey was researching the bins and raccoon behavior when her reporting took an unexpected turn down her own garbage-strewn alleyway. Had local raccoons finally figured out how to defeat the greatest human effort in our “war” against their kind?

Raccoon Resistance

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201- The Green Book redux (11/2018)

The new film “Green Book” is rolling out across the country. I have not seen the film, so I can’t speak to its merits or shortcomings, but while people are possibly being introduced to the concept of the Green Book for the first time, we thought we’d re-release this story from a few years ago about the origin and significance of the Green Book: the Negro Motorists’ Travel Guide to the segregated US.

As a special bonus to our story, we also have a Green Book story from Nate DiMeo of the memory palace. Nate had coincidentally written his episode called “Open Road” and we both released them without having heard the other. I think hearing them one after the other is real treat.

The Green Book

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329- Orphan Drugs (11/2018)

We chronicle the epic struggle to get drugs that treat very rare diseases on the market, and the unintended consequence of that fight, which affected the cost of all kinds of drugs. This is a strange story that involves a hit 70s TV show, a fake march on Washington, a courageous advocate, a carnival concessions wholesaler, and a new drug law that helped a lot of people, made drug companies billions of dollars, and opened a whole can of worms.

Adapted from the new podcast An Arm and a Leg by Dan Weissmann

Orphan Drugs

328- Devolutionary Design (11/2018)

It’s hard to overstate just how important record album art was to music in the days before people downloaded everything. Visuals were a key part of one's experience with a record or tape or CD. The design of the album cover created a first impression of what was to come. Album art was certainly important to reporter Sean Cole, one particular album by one particular band: Devo. This is the story of Devo’s first record and the fight over the arresting image of a flashy, handsome golf legend on the cover.

Plus, Katie Mingle gets the backstory of the Langley Schools Music Project LP, a haunting and uplifting outsider artist masterpiece.

Devolutionary Design

327- A Year in the Dark (10/2018)

Early on the morning of September 20th, 2017, a category four hurricane named Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico. It was a beast of a hurricane -- the strongest one to hit the island since 1932.

Daniel Alarcon went down to Puerto Rico to report on the aftermath of the storm. He wrote a piece for Wired about the almost year-long struggle to get power working on the island, and the utility worker who became a Puerto Rican folk hero.

A Year in the Dark

326- Welcome to Jurassic Art (10/2018)

At least for the time being, art is the primary way we experience dinosaurs. We can study bones and fossils, but barring the invention of time travel, we will never see how these animals lived with our own eyes. There are no photos or videos, of course, which means that if we want to picture how they look, someone has to draw them.

The illustrated interpretation of dinosaur morphology and behavior has had a big impact on how the public views dinosaurs and it's gone through a couple of key turning points, including a more recent push for more speculative paleoart.

Welcome to Jurassic Art

325- The Worst Way to Start a City (10/2018)

Sam Anderson, author of Boom Town, guides us through the chaotic founding of Oklahoma City, which happened all in one day in 1889, in an event called the Land Run.

Plus, we talk about Operation Bongo, the supersonic flight tests that rattled OKC residents in the 1960s. Anderson calls Operation Bongo his favorite research discovery of his entire career.

The Worst Way to Start a City