490 episodes

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org.
A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

99% Invisible Radiotopia

    • Design
    • 4.8 • 22.4K Ratings

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org.
A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

    439- Welcome to Jurassic Art Redux

    439- Welcome to Jurassic Art Redux

    Kurt and Roman talk about icebergs and how we visualize them all wrong.

    Plus, we visit a classic 99pi story by Emmett FitzGerald about visualizing dinosaurs.

    At least for the time being, art is the primary way we experience dinosaurs. We can study bones and fossils, but barring the invention of time travel, we will never see how these animals lived with our own eyes. There are no photos or videos, of course, which means that if we want to picture how they look, someone has to draw them.

    The illustrated interpretation of dinosaur morphology and behavior has had a big impact on how the public views dinosaurs and it's gone through a couple of key turning points, including a more recent push for more speculative paleoart.

    Welcome to Jurassic Art Redux

    • 35 min
    438- The Real Book

    438- The Real Book

    Since the mid-1970s, almost every jazz musician has owned a copy of the same book. It has a peach-colored cover, a chunky, 1970s-style logo, and a black plastic binding. It’s delightfully homemade-looking—like it was printed by a bunch of teenagers at a Kinkos. And inside is the sheet music for hundreds of common jazz tunes—also known as jazz “standards”—all meticulously notated by hand. It’s called the Real Book. But if you were going to music school in the 1970s, you couldn’t just buy a copy of the Real Book at the campus bookstore. Because the Real Book... was illegal. The world’s most popular collection of Jazz music was a totally unlicensed publication. The full story of how the Real Book came to be this bootleg bible of jazz is a complicated one. It’s a story about what happens when an insurgent, improvisational art form like Jazz gets codified and becomes something that you can learn from a book.

    The Real Book

    • 41 min
    437- Science Vs Snakes

    437- Science Vs Snakes

    More than 100,000 people die every year from snake bites. Snake venom can have up to 200 different toxins inside it and each toxin has a different horrible effect to your body. Some attack your muscles, while others attack your nerves. And sometimes two different toxins can work together to form an even more sinister combination. Part of the reason people are dying is because they're not getting antivenom - the medicine required to fight these horrible toxins - fast enough. The system we have to create snake antivenom is a time-consuming and inefficient process that basically hasn't changed for more than 100 years.

    This is a collaboration with the great podcast Science Vs from Gimlet

    Science Vs Snakes

    • 37 min
    436- Oops, Our Bad

    436- Oops, Our Bad

    In the 20th century, humans became very good at the control of nature, but now that we’ve spent some time with the consequences, such as species extinction and climate change, humans are focused on the control of the control of nature. In this episode, Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Under a White Sky, talks about everything from the introduction of poisonous frogs in Australia to launching diamond dust into the stratosphere.

    Oops, Our Bad

    • 30 min
    435- The Megaplex!

    435- The Megaplex!

    Back in the early 1990s, movie theaters weren't that great. The auditoriums were cramped and narrow, and the screen was dim. But in 1995, the AMC Grand 24 in Dallas changed everything. It was the very first movie megaplex in the United States. This is the gigantic, neon, big-box store of moviegoing that we're all used to  today, and it's easy to dismiss as a tacky ‘90s invention. But the megaplex—specifically this first megaplex in Dallas—upended the entire theater business and changed the kinds of movies that got made in ways you might not imagine.

    The Megaplex!

    • 33 min
    434- Artistic License

    434- Artistic License

    Idaho was the first state to slap a slogan on a license plate, “Idaho Potatoes,” which may not seem like a big deal, but it turns out this idea would end up having outsized consequences, and not just for Idaho. Because what started in one state would soon spread. And when it did, the question of what should go on a license plate, and what shouldn't, would prove surprisingly contentious.

    Artistic License

    Like 99pi? Get the 99pi book: The 99% Invisible City

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
22.4K Ratings

22.4K Ratings

!🤍BANANA🤍! ,

Amazing

I love this podcast the explanations and stories are AMAZING!!

happy<3s ,

The Best Podcast

This is my absolute favorite podcast! I love how it is clean and pulls back the curtains on what I see as any old building or structure and goes more in depth into it with some of the coolest and weirdest stories I’ve ever heard. 🤩

Thisisthelasttry ,

Over it

I used to love this podcast, was a longtime favorite, but recently they’ve started advertising for Amazon and it just turned me off so much I had to unsubscribe. Truthfully, aspects of the pod had been wearing on me already, but that was definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back, to be utterly cliche.

Amazon is one of the absolute worst companies to have ever existed. Their labor practices are absolutely, undeniably, horrific. Presumably 99PI isn’t a political podcast, except I am confident that the staff would agree that design is absolutely political.

I’m a designer and a union organizer. I’m sad y’all decided some ad revenue was worth more than ethical labor practices. It may seem petty of me, but you KNOW how much of an engaged and loyal audience you have. It’s hard enough for contemporary people to extricate themselves from the grip Amazon has on our lives. They don’t need your support and I’m pretty disappointed that you took their money.

✌🏻

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