Roman Mars

On the February 27, 2015 episode of 99% Invisible:

Disruptive camouflage?  Think about zebras: it’s hypothesized that their stripes make it difficult for a predator to distinguish one from another when the zebras are in a large herd. The stripes also might make zebras less attractive to blood sucking horseflies. This is called disruptive camouflage.

When it comes to humans, the greatest, most jaw-droppingly spectacular application of disruptive camouflage was called Dazzle.

On the February 20, 2015 edition of 99% Invisible:

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

Friday at 7:45am & 4:45pm and Saturday at 8:35am.

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

In 1945, Berlin was the fallen Nazi capital, carved up into two sectors—with western countries controlling the west of the city, and the Soviet Union controlling the east. West Berlin had a booming postwar economy, but life was tougher in East Berlin.  So in the decade that followed, more than 2 million people fled from east to west.  And East Germany was losing face with every East Berliner who chose to defect.

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

Americans love trophies. Giving them, receiving them, and watching other people give and receive them. This is what makes the Oscars such popular television programming, year after year.  The Oscar, as simple as it is, has been purposefully designed to be as desirable an object as possible.

Friday at 7:45am & 4:45pm and Saturday at 8:35am. 

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

You see them on street corners, at gas stations, at shopping malls. You see them at blowout sales and grand openings of all kinds. Their wacky faces hover over us, and then fall down to meet us, and then rise up again. Their bodies flop. They flail.  They are men. Men made of tubes. Tubes full of air.

Friday at 7:45am & 4:45pm and Saturday at 8:35am.

James Davies

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

“A Chair is a difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier.” — Mies van der Rohe.

The chair presents an interesting design challenge, because it is an object that disappears when in use. The person replaces the chair. So chairs need to look fantastic when empty, and remain invisible (and comfortable) while in use.

Friday at 7:45am & 4:45pm and Saturday at 8:35am.

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

Winning an early pinball game was much more about luck than skill, since there were no buttons to activate flippers on the sides. You basically had one action: pull the plunger and watch the ball go. Without the flippers, pinball was a truly a game of chance—perfect for gambling.

Friday at 7:45am & 4:45pm, Saturday at 8:35am.

99% Invisible: Unbuilt

Dec 12, 2014

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

There is an allure to unbuilt structures: the utopian, futuristic transports; the impossibly tall skyscrapers; even the horrible highways. They all capture our imagination with what could have been.  Producer Sam Greenspan spoke with Andrew Lynch (aka Vanshnookenraggen), creator of Hyperreal Cartography, a Tumblr of unbuilt cities across the globe.

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

Near the end of World War II, architects were anticipating the post-war housing shortage. Wallace Neff was L.A.'s start architect at the time, and wanted to create a solution that would not only meet this demand, but address the need for housing worldwide.

99% Invisible: Wonder Bread

Nov 28, 2014

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 food” advocates have pronounced industrial white bread of any brand a symbol of a modern grocery problem: consumers don’t know where our food comes from. The funny thing is that industrial white bread—that evenly sliced, squishy, moist, perfectly white and wondrous loaf—was once a highly designed solution to that very same problem.

The best of the best in new radio, winners of the Third Coast Festival Competition.  Award-winning writer, producer and humorist Gwen Macsai is host.  You’ll also hear interviews with winning producers and excerpts from the Third Coast Awards Ceremony, hosted by Roman Mars. 

The best of the best in new radio, winners of the Third Coast Festival Competition.  Award-winning writer, producer and humorist Gwen Macsai is host.  You’ll also hear interviews with winning producers and excerpts from the Third Coast Awards Ceremony, hosted by Roman Mars. 

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

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 rows of letters have been spooking people for over 125 years.  To understand where Ouija boards (generically called “talking boards”) come from, you have to go back to middle of the 1800s, to three sisters in New York.

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

The “driveway moment.” It’s when a story is so good that you can’t leave your car. Inside of a driveway moment, time becomes elastic–you could be staring straight at a clock for the entire duration of the story, but for that length of time, the clock has no power over you.

But ironically,  inside the machinery of public radio–the industry that creates driveway moments–the clock rules all.

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

Straight lines might be logical, predictable, and efficient, but they are also completely “godless”—at least according to Austrian artist and designer Tausendsassa Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (which translates to “Multi-Talented Peace-Filled Rainy Day Dark-Colored Hundred Waters” in German).

On this week's episode of 99% Invisible:

99% Invisible: Holdout

Sep 26, 2014

On this week's edition of 99% Invisible:

“Holdout”  Around 2005, a Seattle neighborhood called Ballard started to see unprecedented growth.  Developers offered a woman named Edith Macefield $750,000 for her small house.  Macefield turned down the money, and developers went ahead and enveloped her house on three sides with a shopping mall.

Friday at 7:35am & 4:45pm, Saturday at 8:35am.

  

99% Invisible: “Holdout”  Around 2005, a Seattle neighborhood called Ballard started to see unprecedented growth.  Developers offered a woman named Edith Macefield $750,000 for her small house.  Macefield turned down the money, and developers went ahead and enveloped her house on three sides with a shopping mall.

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.

99% Invisible.  Friday at 7:35am and 4:45pm, Saturday at 8:35am.

What happens when we build big?  For people who distrust the big project, Edward Tenner’s 2001 essay   "The Xanadu Effect"is some comfort. Tenner, a visiting scholar at Princeton University, ponders the ways in which obsession with bigness can presage hard times for a business or even a nation.

99% Invisible.  Friday at 7:30 am & 4:45pm.  Saturday at 8:35am.

This week on KALW's showcase for the best in public radio podcasts . . .Radio Diaries: Strange Fruit - Voices of a Lynching” Poet and songwriter Abel Meeropol wrote “Strange Fruit” after seeing a photograph of two black teenagers hanging from a tree.  Decades later, a box of recordings was found in a basement containing the recollections of people who witnessed or took part in the events of that day.

  

99% Invisible: "Duplitecture"The best knock-offs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes but China’s knock-offs go way beyond fashion. There are knock-off Apple stores that look so much like the real thing, some employees believe they are working in real Apple stores.  And then there are entire knock-off cities.

Friday at 7:35am and 4:45pm, Saturday at 8:35am.

Before the 1850s, dentures were made out of very hard, very painful and very expensive material, like gold or ivory. They were a luxury item. The invention of Vulcanite hard rubber changed everything. Everyone began making dentures with Vulcanite bases. But in 1864, a long disputed patent application was acquired by the Goodyear Dental Vulcanite Company, an outfit created to collect fees, or very often, sue dentists who already used vulcanite.  And there were plenty of dentists to go after. 

99% Invisible: "Duplitecture"  The best knock-offs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes but China’s knock-offs go way beyond fashion. There are knock-off Apple stores that look so much like the real thing, some employees believe they are working in real Apple stores.  And then there are entire knock-off cities.

99% Invisible: “Call Now” The subtle, possibly endless civil war over how attorneys should advertise their services (and whether they should advertise at all).

VoiceBox: "Auctioneering"  Inside the rhythm, art and sport of the live auction, with Colorado Auctioneers Hall of Famer Steve Linnebur and Tennessee auctioneer Justin Ochs.

Glen Weldon, author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography (and panelist of the great Pop Culture Happy Hour) talks us through the iconography of our first superhero and why Supes has managed to stay relevant for 75 years.

Radio producer Sam Greenspan, who works with Roman Mars on "99% Invisible" will share a special mix of extended "99%" episodes never before heard on KALW, plus some of his favorite podcasts.  Tuesday at 11pm.

If you’re not from California, or missed this bit of news, the University of California has a new logo – or, rather, had a new logo. To be more precise they had a new “visual identity system,” which is the kind of entirely accurate but completely wonky description that gets met with sarcastic eye rolls from anyone who isn’t a designer, but there it is. But they don’t have a new logo anymore. Because of a massive public backlash, the UC system actually suspended the monogram while we were reporting this story.

Though its official name is JFK Plaza, the open space near Philadelphia’s City Hall is more commonly known as LOVE Park, after the Robert Indiana sculpture installed there.  Designed by Edmund Bacon and Vincent Kling, the park was fashioned in high modernism:  sleek, granite benches; geometric raised planter beds, and long expanses of pavement.  Its success as a pedestrian plaza is debatable.  

But it turned out to be perfect for skateboarding. 

Though its official name is JFK Plaza, the open space near Philadelphia’s City Hall is more commonly known as LOVE Park, after the Robert Indiana sculpture installed there.  Designed by Edmund Bacon and Vincent Kling, the park was fashioned in high modernism:  sleek, granite benches; geometric raised planter beds, and long expanses of pavement.  Its success as a pedestrian plaza is debatable.  

But it turned out to be perfect for skateboarding. 

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