Invisibilia

Invisibilia

Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.... Show More

Episodes

June 13, 2020 47 min
Hacking, phishing, surveillance, disinformation... these are tools used to silence dissidents and influence elections. But what happens when these same methods are used against an ordinary citizen? The story of a man fighting an enemy he can't see and becoming increasingly paranoid.Which makes him a lot like the rest of us. What happens when you no longer know how to trust?
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April 9, 2020 45 min
Bernie Krause was a successful musician as a young man, playing with rock stars like Jim Morrison and George Harrison in the 1960s and '70s. But then one day, Bernie heard a sound unlike anything he'd ever encountered and it completely overtook his life. He quit the music business to pursue it and has spent the last 50 years following it all over the earth. And what he's heard raises this question: what can we learn abo...
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April 2, 2020 45 min
Daniel Martinez discovered the unthinkable: a creature that breaks one of the most fundamental laws of life. In the wake of his discovery--which has been widely confirmed by the scientific community--all kinds of people have thrown themselves into trying to unlock the secrets of how this creature seems to cheat death. Cellular biologists, aging researchers, and the biotech industry all hold high hopes that there may be some applica...
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March 26, 2020 62 min
A city council candidate says he's black. But his opponent accuses him of being a white man pretending to be black. If race is simply a social construct and not a biological reality, how do we determine someone's race? And who gets to decide? We tell the story of a man whose racial identity was fiercely contested... and the consequences this had on an entire city. | To learn more about this episode, subscribe to our newslet...
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March 19, 2020 52 min
What if you had a superpower that allowed you to see part of the world that was to come? At the age of 60, a Scottish woman named Joy Milne discovers she has a biological gift that allows her to see things that will happen in the future that no one else can see. A look at how we think about the future, and the important ways the future shapes the present. | To learn more about this episode, subscribe to our newsletter. Click here t...
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March 12, 2020 53 min
Welcome to what is possibly the most tense and uncomfortable summer program in America! The Boston-based program aims to teach the next generation the real truth about race, and may provide some ideas for the rest of us about the right way to confront someone to their face. | To learn more about this episode, subscribe to our newsletter. Click here to learn more about NPR sponsors.
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March 5, 2020 68 min
The strange story of an unlikely crew of people who band together to take on one of our largest problems using nothing but whale sounds, machine learning, and a willingness to think outside the box. Even stranger, several of the world's most accomplished scientists seem to think they might have a good idea. | To learn more about this episode, subscribe to our newsletter. Click here to learn more about NPR sponsors.
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March 1, 2020 1 min
You hear the train barreling towards you and you're tied to the tracks. It's an impossible situation. Most people would panic, and then a tiny handful would think up improbable workarounds. This season on Invisibilia: inventors in desperate times.
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December 19, 2019 8 min
A special gift during this season of giving: An original animated video in two parts! Part 1 explores a small but strange study about a machine that could predict human friendships. Then, in collaboration with fictionalist Ian Chillag (Everything Is Alive), we ask, What would the machine have to say about all of this, if it could talk? If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can watch it at npr.org/invisibilia. And, if you...
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December 16, 2019 30 min
What happens when you treat artificial intelligence with unconditional love?
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November 21, 2019 16 min
Producer B.A. Parker started recording her calls with her father because she was concerned about the care at his nursing home. But the recordings gave her a window into something very different: their relationship. So she started recording her calls with her grandmother as well. A story of relationships told through the small recorded calls between people who love each other.
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October 24, 2019 20 min
As a parent, what do you do when your four-year-old starts telling you about memories that can't possibly be his? Memories that he says are from a past life?
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Alix presents a new episode from NPR's Rough Translation about residents of an immigrant neighborhood in Marseille, France who considered their local McDonalds to be a home of sorts, so when the owner tries to sell it, they take extreme measures to try and save it.
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September 19, 2019 23 min
A mysterious profile pops up on a dating app - leading to a bubble of chaos and confusion. A story about trying to sort fact versus fiction, how destabilizing that can be, and a very strange confrontation with the truth. NOTE: Since this story was originally published, we have added some background reporting and context to the episode.
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August 22, 2019 27 min
Richard Kraft was in a fog of grief when he bought his first Disney collectible at an auction. But once he started, he couldn't stop. In the first episode of our new fall season, we explore the role of positive distraction in the face of adversity.
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April 11, 2019 52 min
Invisibilia is a show that runs on empathy. We believe in it. But are we right? In this episode, we'll let you decide. We tell the same story twice in order to examine the questions: who deserves our empathy? And is there a wrong way to empathize? If you or somebody you know might need help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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April 4, 2019 61 min
A young woman discovers a pattern in her dating habits that disturbs her - a pattern that challenges her very conception of who she is and what she believes in. The realization sets her off on a quest to change her attractions. But is this even possible? And should we be hacking our desire to match our values?
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March 28, 2019 46 min
What would it be like if you could control your mood with a hand held device? Literally turn the device to different settings and make yourself happier and sadder? Alix Spiegel talks to a woman who has that power. If you or somebody you know might need help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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March 21, 2019 43 min
In this episode of Invisibilia, we explore our relationship with uncertainty through the eyes of a chief meteorologist. We wonder: what do you do when you don't know what to do? And how do we handle it when that question has no answer?
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March 14, 2019 52 min
What is the relationship between the version of you that lives online and the one that walks around the earth? We think of our online selves as shadow versions of us which we can control. But in this age when facts are malleable, something strange is happening: our online selves are sometimes eclipsing our real ones, even when we don't want them to.
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