DNA science. Artificial intelligence. Smartphones and 3D printers. Science and technology have transformed the world we live in. But how did we get here? It wasn’t by accident. Well, sometimes it was. It was also the result of hard work, teamwork, and competition. And incredibly surprising moments.
Hosted by bestselling author Steven Johnson (“How We Got To Now”), American Innovations uses immersive scenes to tell the stories of the scientists, engineers, and ordinary people behind the greatest discoveries of the past century. From Wondery, the network behind Business Wars, American History Tellers, and Dirty John.
Fracking | Interview: The Price of Gas
Families who leased their gas-rich land to fracking companies during the boom are still wrestling with the impact of that decision. On this episode, Steven talks to Eliza Griswold, an award-winning poet, writer and journalist. Her book, “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America,” won a Pulitzer Prize for its immersive, insightful look into the fracking boom and its effect on Appalachian coal country.
Introducing: The Next Big Idea
Think bigger. Create better. Live smarter. Ideas are coming at you every day from all directions. Where do you even start? Hosted by Rufus Griscom, and featuring Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink, THE NEXT BIG IDEA brings you groundbreaking ideas with the power to change the way you see the world. This is just a preview of The Next Big Idea, but you can listen to full episodes at wondery.fm/NextBigIdea_Innovate.
Fracking | Something in the Water
As stories of water contamination and health issues become public, one of the largest grassroots environmental movements in decades emerges to protest fracking. The fracking industry, led by Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, fights back with lobbyists, PR flacks, and an unlikely ally: the Sierra Club. The battle over fracking will pit neighbor against neighbor, as poor rural communities are torn between the promise of easy money and the desire to protect their land and water.
Fracking | Land Grab
By the early 2000s, fracking was seen as the most promising new energy industry technology in decades. And when a Penn State geologist discovered that the shale field sitting under Pennsylvania and Upstate New York held over 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the race was on to bring fracking to the Northeast. But in the rush to frack the new field, accidents began to happen, making locals question just how safe this new technique really was.
Fracking | The Source Rock
In the late 1970s, oil and natural gas fields across the U.S. were drying up, making the country increasingly dependent on foreign oil.. Then, a Texas energy magnate named George Mitchell decided to try extracting natural gas from shale, a layer of rock almost two miles beneath the surface, using a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. His innovation would kick off an energy revolution, and spur a massive environmental backlash.
Encore: Heimlich Maneuver | Heimlich’s Maneuver
In the 1960s, choking was a national epidemic. In the United States alone, close to 4,000 people were dying from choking every year. Lobster, ham, and hamburger were common culprits. But steak was by far the greatest offender.
Coroners called for a solution to these “Cafe Coronaries,” and the medical community responded with weird and dangerous gadgets: vacuum tubes and long tweezers. But Dr. Henry Heimlich knew this problem required something else; a simple technique that anyone can use to save the lives of choking victims—the Heimlich Maneuver.
The Heimlich Maneuver would save the lives of thousands of people, including Carrie Fisher, Cher, New York Mayor Ed Koch, and at least one American President. And yet, Dr. Heimlich would spend a decade fighting for the legitimacy of his life-saving maneuver.
Follow up to my last review (get your reading glasses)
There was a time when I was known as BlueDeltaEchoCharlie. My last review I apologize for. My favorite Podcast by far, but I was having a bad day… I hate the people who are giving 1-star reviews for simple facts that the crew has gotten wrong once, out of many many episodes. Also, politics. I do not see a reason for podcasters to not be able express their political views. Freedom of speech, my friends. As long as it doesn’t depict either side as being the bad guys, (BC in my opinion all politicians are SOBs when it gets down to it. Why do we always have to demonize anyone with different ideas?) it is alright. As for the people who criticize the subscription service, do not forget that Wondery is a business, and businesses have to make money to pay the employees. And let’s be frank, they deserve it. Each season has to be brainstormed, then spit into episodes, and each of them has to be written, writes, rewritten and edited again, then needs to be recorded multiple times over to produce the flawless lines you hear in the final episode. Then everything has to be edited in, the theme songs, the ads, and the atmospheric noise you hear during conversations. And don’t even get me started on the guests for the last episode of every season. I will be making a separate review listing all my appreciation for every person enrolled in this podcast.
(HOLY CR— that was long… sorry…)
Interesting content by my favorite host
I really love Stephen Johnson’s work as an author, but even more than that I love his work hosting shows like “how we got to now” and “extra life”. This podcast seems like a natural extension of his history research as an author and he communicates the stories in such interesting ways. Mr. Johnson - much respect to you and thank you for teaching me history and pride in the innovations that America has brought to the world. And wondery, thanks for producing this interesting podcast.
Excellent. Educational and entertaining
Not only am I learning a lot about history, I am continually motivated by hearing about how following a dream was not ever easy.
What about the invention of Spanx? Or White Out?