99% Invisible

by Roman Mars

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. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org.

A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

  

Latest Episodes

329- Orphan Drugs

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


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Posted on 14 November 2018 | 12:20 am


328- Devolutionary Design

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


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Posted on 6 November 2018 | 11:31 pm


327- A Year in the Dark

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


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Posted on 31 October 2018 | 2:43 am


326- Welcome to Jurassic Art

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


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Posted on 23 October 2018 | 11:56 pm


325- The Worst Way to Start a City

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


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Posted on 16 October 2018 | 10:02 pm


Punk Style: Articles of Interest #6

There is this myth that it’s frivolous or unproductive to care about how you look. Clothing and fashion get trivialized a lot. But think about who, culturally, gets associated with clothing and fashion: young people, women, queers, and people of color. Groups of people who historically haven’t had a voice, have expressed themselves on their bodies. Through their style, their hair, their tattoos, their piercings, and what they wear.

Articles of Interest is a show about what we wear; a six-part series within 99% Invisible, looking at clothing. It is produced and hosted by Avery Trufelman. Episodes will be released on Tuesdays and Fridays from September 25th through October 12th.

Punk Style: Articles of Interest #6


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Posted on 12 October 2018 | 6:59 pm


Blue Jeans: Articles of Interest #5

For the most part, we tend to keep our clothes relatively clean and avoid spills and rips and tears. But denim is so hard-wearing and hard-working that it just kind of amasses more and more signs of wear. So you can learn a lot from observing an old pair of blue jeans.

Articles of Interest is a show about what we wear; a six-part series within 99% Invisible, looking at clothing. It is produced and hosted by Avery Trufelman. Episodes will be released on Tuesdays and Fridays from September 25th through October 12th.

Blue Jeans: Articles of Interest #5


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Posted on 9 October 2018 | 8:46 pm


Hawaiian Shirts: Articles of Interest #4

There are a few ways to tell if you’re looking at an authentic, high-quality aloha shirt. If the pockets match the pattern, that’s a good sign, but it’s not everything. Much of understanding an aloha shirt is about paying attention to what is on the shirt itself. It’s about looking at the pattern to see the story it tells.

Articles of Interest is a show about what we wear; a six-part series within 99% Invisible, looking at clothing. It is produced and hosted by Avery Trufelman. Episodes will be released on Tuesdays and Fridays from September 25th through October 12th.

Hawaiian Shirts: Articles of Interest #4


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Posted on 5 October 2018 | 6:13 pm


Pockets: Articles of Interest #3

Womenswear is littered with fake pockets that don’t open, or shallow pockets that can hardly hold more than a paperclip. If women's clothes have pockets at all, they are often and smaller and just fit less than men’s pockets do. And when we talk about pockets, we are talking about who has access to the tools they need. Who can walk through the world comfortably and securely.

Articles of Interest is a show about what we wear; a six-part series within 99% Invisible, looking at clothing. It is produced and hosted by Avery Trufelman. Episodes will be released on Tuesdays and Fridays from September 25th through October 12th.

Pockets: Articles of Interest #3


Audio Download

Posted on 2 October 2018 | 10:11 pm