99% Invisible

Podcast Favorites 99% Invisible

: 99% Invisible Website

: Podcast

: 16 episodes

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars.

376- Great Bitter Lake Association

376- Great Bitter Lake Association

: Website

: Oct 30th, 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
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369- Wait Wait...Tell Me!

369- Wait Wait...Tell Me!

: Website

: Sep 4th, 2019

Waiting is something that we all do every day, but our experience of waiting, varies radically depending on the context. And it turns out that design can completely change whether a five minute wait feels reasonable or completely unbearable. Transparency is key.
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364- He's Still Neutral

364- He's Still Neutral

: Website

: Jul 31st, 2019

When confronted with trash piling up on a median in front of their home in Oakland, Dan and Lu Stevenson decided to try something unusual: they would install a statue of the Buddha to watch over the place. When asked by Criminal’s Phoebe Judge why they chose this particular religious figure, Dan explained simply: “He’s neutral.”
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363- Invisible Women

363- Invisible Women

: Website

: Jul 23rd, 2019

Men are often the default subjects of design, which can have a huge impact on big and critical aspects of everyday life. Caroline Criado Perez is the author of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, a book about how data from women is ignored and how this bakes in bias and discrimination in the things we design.
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99% Invisible

Gerrymandering

: Website

: Mar 20th, 2018

The way we draw our political districts has a huge effect on U.S. politics, but the process is also greatly misunderstood. Gerrymandering has become a scapegoat for what's wrong with the polarized American political system, blamed for marginalizing groups and rigging elections, but there's no simple, one-size-fits-all design solution for drawing fair districts. Drawing districts may be the most important design problem of representative democracy and this week FiveThirtyEight will guide us through the ways different states have tackled this problem.
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99% Invisible

Reversing the Grid

: Website

: May 12th, 2017

When Thomas Edison built his first electric power stations, there were no electric meters in people's homes. Lacking a better method, he started billing people a monthly fee based on how many light bulbs they had. It wasn't a very precise system.
Restored Westinghouse OB electric meter (circa 1920) by John Lester (CC BY 2.0)
Electric meters (much like the ones we still have today) were soon developed to replace the bulb-counting system. As electricity comes into houses, a little dial turns forward to show how much is used. And while the original designers never considered this possibility, it turns out that the little dial turns backward when electricity leaves a home.
For most people, electricity only flows one way (into the home), but there are exceptions - people who use solar panels, for instance. In those cases, excess electricity created by the solar cells travels back out into the grid to be distributed elsewhere. And in some states, people can can be paid for this excess electricity. The practice is called "net metering" (referring to the total or "net" amount of energy used) and while it started off as a relatively non-controversial practice, there are now big political battles being fought over it.
In this featured episode of Outside/In, Sam Evans-Brown of New Hampshire Public Radio and his colleagues Maureen McMurry and Taylor Quimby explore the origins and evolution of this practice, which all began quite accidentally with a single individual: Steven Strong.
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Logo Design with Michael Bierut

Logo Design with Michael Bierut

: Website

: Mar 17th, 2017

Michael Bierut is an award-winning designer, partner at Pentagram in New York City, and author of various books on design. Over his decades in the field of graphic design, he has witnessed a shift in public awareness, especially when it comes to logos. With this increased attention, some endeavors (like political campaigns) that once relied on relatively simple conventions (candidate names and variations on flags) are being called upon to develop more refined and versatile solutions.
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Half a House

Half a House

: Website

: Oct 11th, 2016

On the night of February 27th, 2010, a magnitude of 8.8 earthquake hit Constitucion, Chile and it was the second biggest that the world had seen in half a century. The quake and the tsunami it produced completely crushed the town. By the time it was over, more than 500 people were dead, and about 80% of the Constitucion's buildings were ruined. As part of the relief effort, an architecture firm called Elemental was hired to create a master plan for the city, which included new housing for people displaced in the disaster. But the structures that Elemental delivered were a radical and controversial approach toward housing. They gave people half a house.
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Longbox

Longbox

: Website

: Sep 27th, 2016

Reporter Whitney Jones argues that R.E.M.'s Out of Time is the most politically significant album in the history of the United States. Because of its packaging.
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The Blazer Experiment

The Blazer Experiment

: Website

: Jun 14th, 2016

In 1968, the police department in Menlo Park, California hired a new police chief. His name was Victor Cizanckas and his main goal was to reform the department, which had a strained relationship with the community at the time. Cizanckas made a number of changes to improve the department's image. One of the most ground-breaking and controversial was the new blazer-style uniform he implemented.
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War and Pizza

War and Pizza

: Website

: Oct 27th, 2015

Households tend to take pantry food for granted, but canned beans, powered cheese, and bags of moist cookies were not designed for everyday convenience. These standard products were made to meet the needs of the military.
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Structural Integrity

Structural Integrity

: Website

: Oct 13th, 2015

99% Invisible is honored to accept a 2015 Third Coast International Audio Festival award for Structural Integrity, a story of architectural engineering gone wrong, and then covertly made right. When it was built in 1977, the 59-story CitiCorp Center had a potentially fatal flaw that could have caused the building to collapse during a sever storm, and take out the entire Midtown Manhattan skyline with it. This flaw (and the plan to fix it) was so secret, that even the person who found the problem only discovered the full story decades later.
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Milk Carton Kids

Milk Carton Kids

: Website

: Sep 15th, 2015

On a Sunday morning in 1982, in Des Moines, Iowa, Johnny Gosch left his house to begin his usual paper route. A short time later, his parents were awakened by a phone call-it was a neighbor-their paper hadn't come. When the Gosches went looking for Johnny they found only his red wagon full of newspapers, abandoned on the sidewalk. Johnny Gosch was 13 when he disappeared. He had blue eyes and dirty blond hair with a small gap between his front teeth. And his would be the first face of a missing child ever printed on a milk carton.
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Johnnycab (Automation Paradox, pt. 2)

Johnnycab (Automation Paradox, pt. 2)

: Website

: Jun 30th, 2015

More than 90% of all automobile accidents are all attributable to human error, for some car industry people, a fully-automated car is a kind of holy grail. However, as automation makes our lives easier and safer, it also creates more complex systems, and fewer humans who understand those systems. Which means when problems do arise-people can be left unable to deal with them. Human factors engineers call this "the automation paradox."
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Children of the Magenta (Automation Paradox, pt. 1)

Children of the Magenta (Automation Paradox, pt. 1)

: Website

: Jun 23rd, 2015

On the evening of May 31, 2009, 216 passengers, three pilots, and nine flight attendants boarded an Airbus 330 in Rio de Janeiro. This flight, Air France 447, was headed across the Atlantic to Paris. The take-off was unremarkable. The plane reached a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. The passengers read and watched movies and slept. Everything proceeded normally for several hours. Then, with no communication to the ground or air traffic control, flight 447 suddenly disappeared.
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The Sizzle

The Sizzle

: Website

: Jan 13th, 2015

Right now there are fewer than two hundred active trademarks for sounds. A surprisingly small number, considering sound has the power make-or-break brand.
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