Episode 6

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 8

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 10

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 19

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 ...

Episode 8

132: Castle On The Park

On the southwest corner of Central Park West and 106th Street in New York City, there's an enormous castle. It takes up the whole east end of the block, with its red brick cylindrical turrets topped with gleaming silver ...

Episode 17

131: Genesis Object

In the beginning, there was design. Before any other human discipline, even before the dawn of mankind its self, design was a practice passed down from generation to generation of early humans. Today, everything that has been designed–space ships, buildings, pyramids, weapons, ...

Episode 50

130: Holdout

In 1914, the government of New York City took ownership of a Manhattan apartment building belonging to one David Hess. The city used a legal power called eminent domain, allowing governments to seize private property for public use—in this ...

Episode 30

129: Thomassons

Cities, like living things, evolve slowly over time. Buildings and structures get added and renovated and removed, and in this process, bits and pieces that get left behind. Vestiges.  Just as humans have tailbones and whales have ...

Episode 30

128: Hacking IKEA

IKEA hacking is the practice of buying things from IKEA and reengineering—or "hacking"—them to become customized, more functional, and often just better designed stuff. The locus of the IKEA hacking movement is a website called IKEAhackers.net. It’s a showcase ...

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