340 episodes

Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.

Endless Thread WBUR

    • Technology

Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.

    This Bonus Drop is Marked Seggsplicit

    This Bonus Drop is Marked Seggsplicit

    Is it just us, or has almost everything on the internet — even breaking news — become NSFW?

    In this bonus episode, Endless Thread host Ben Brock Johnson and producer Grace Tatter parse an eggplant emoji-filled chain text message about a breaking news event, the ubiquity of "Hawk Tuah" girl, and what it means that rated-R speak has gone mainstream.

    *****

    Credits: This episode was produced and co-hosted by Grace Tatter and Ben Brock Johnson. Mix and sound design by Paul Vaitkus.

    • 18 min
    Jamie Loftus' 'main characters'

    Jamie Loftus' 'main characters'

    Comedian, best-selling author and podcaster Jamie Loftus joins Amory and Ben to talk about her latest endeavor: a podcast called Sixteenth Minute (Of Fame) from iHeartMedia’s Cool Zone Media. Jamie talks to people "who became briefly notorious on the internet about how it affected their mental health, amongst other things," she says.

    Loftus explores the timing and context in which these "main characters" of the Internet, as she calls them, went viral and asks what their virality says about us, the people who helped — made? — them go viral in the first place.

    • 28 min
    How to Fight a Shark

    How to Fight a Shark

    When Endless Thread producer Grace Tatter heard a friend confidently assert that she could ward off a shark because of TikTok, Grace was both concerned for her friend's safety, and curious. Why are there so many videos about "redirecting" sharks on TikTok, and how accurate are they?

    Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dive into the controversial world of SharkTok, where influencers are trying to show a different side of sharks by getting up close and personal with them.

    *****

    Credits: This episode was produced by Grace Tatter with Cici Yu. Mix and sound design by Emily Jankowski. It was hosted by Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson.

    • 35 min
    Introducing Outside/In: 'The Papyrus and the Volcano'

    Introducing Outside/In: 'The Papyrus and the Volcano'

    Endless Thread presents an episode from the podcast Outside/In.

    While digging a well in 1750, a group of workers accidentally discovered an ancient Roman villa containing over a thousand papyrus scrolls. This was a stunning discovery: the only library from antiquity ever found in situ. But the scrolls were blackened and fragile, turned almost to ash by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

    Over the centuries, scholars’ many attempts to unroll the fragile scrolls have mostly been catastrophic. But now, scientists are trying again, this time with the help of Silicon Valley and some of the most advanced technology we’ve got: particle accelerators, CT scanners, and AI.

    After two thousand years, will we finally be able to read the scrolls?

    *****

    Reported, produced, and mixed by Justine Paradis

    Outside/In host: Nate Hegyi

    Edited by Taylor Quimby

    Our team also includes Felix Poon

    NHPR’s Director of Podcasts is Rebecca Lavoie

    Music in this episode came from Silver Maple, Xavy Rusan, bomull, Young Community, Bio Unit, Konrad OldMoney, Chris Zabriski, and Blue Dot Sessions.

    Volcano recordings came from daveincamas on Freesound.org, License Attribution 4.0 and  felix.blume on freesound.org, Creative Commons 0.

    Outside/In is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio.

    • 33 min
    This is Not a Pyramid Scheme

    This is Not a Pyramid Scheme

    Every year, thousands of Americans lose money participating in multi-level marketing (MLM). So, last year, when a new business idea that promised to correct MLM's sins bubbled up on Instagram and TikTok, a lot of people hopped off the MLM train, and onto this new one, lured by the promise of a low-lift and lucrative side hustle.

    This new business idea is called "master resell rights." But what exactly is it? Where did it come from? And does it actually solve any of MLM's problems? Endless Thread investigates.

    *****

    Credits: This episode was produced by Grace Tatter. Mix and sound design by Emily Jankowski. It was hosted by Ben Brock Johnson, Amory Sivertson, and Grace Tatter.

    • 37 min
    Worm Wars

    Worm Wars

    When Endless Thread producer Nora Saks learned that a "toxic, self-cloning worm that poops out of its mouth" was invading Maine, she started sounding the alarm about the impending eco-doom.

    Until, that is, state experts clued her into the "real threat" : A different creepy crawly wriggling towards The Pine Tree State's gardens and precious forests, and fast. In this rebroadcast from January 2023, Endless Thread tunnels down a wormhole, encountering a long history of xenophobic rhetoric about so-called invasive species, and some hard truths about the field of invasion biology itself.

    • 34 min

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