Episode 5

142: And The Winner Is

There’s a little trophy shop called Aardvark Laser Engraving  down the street from our office in Oakland. It's small but bustling, and its windows are stuffed to the brim with awards made of all kinds of ...

Episode 26

141: Three Records From Sundown

This week on the show we're presenting one of our favorite radio features, "Three Records from Sundown," about singer Nick Drake.  Neither the devastating beauty of Drake's music, nor the amazing craftsmanship of the documentary itself are ...

Episode 28

140: Vexillonaire

Here's a trick: if you want to design a kickass flag, start by drawing a one-by-one-and-a half inch rectangle on a piece of paper. A design at these dimensions held 15 inches from your eye looks about the same as a ...

Episode 17

139: Edge Of Your Seat

“A Chair is a difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier.” — Mies van der Rohe. Van der Rohe, as with Eames, Gehry, Hadid, Libeskind, Corbusier, and Breuer: if they’ve designed a big building, chances are they’ve designed a ...

Episode 19

138: O-U-I-J-A

The Ouija board is so simple and iconic that it looks like it comes from another time, or maybe another realm. The game is not as ancient as it was designed to look, but those two arched ...

Episode 23

137: Good Bread

The first print advertisement for Wonder Bread came out before the bread itself. It stated only that “a wonder” was coming. In a lot of ways, the statement was true. Wonder Bread was the perfect loaf.  "Slow ...

Episode 10

136: Lights Out

On July 13th, 1977,  lightning struck an electricity transmission line in New York City, causing the line's automatic circuit breaker to kick in. The electricity from the affected line was diverted to another line. This was ...

Episode 14

135: For Amusement Only

Everyone has tried it at some point. The authorities started turning a blind eye years ago, but it wasn't officially legalized until the summer of 2014. Finally, after more than 80 years of illegitimacy, the City of Oakland ...

Episode 20

134: The Straight Line Is A Godless Line

Straight lines form the core of our built environment. Building in straight lines makes predicting costs and calculating structural loads easier, since building materials come in linear units. Straight lines might be logical, predictable, and efficient, but they are also completely "godless"—at ...

Episode 14

133: Port of Dallas

There’s a photograph we have tacked to our studio at 99% Invisible HQ. The photo, taken 1899, shows three men, all looking very fashionable, suspended mid-air on the lifted arm of a giant dredging machine.  [Scene from the reversal ...

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