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Episodes

Date Title & Description Contributors
2024-03-02

  Roman Mars Describes Santa Fe As It Is

Roman Mars is on a mission to describe the cities that shaped who he is and how he thinks about design. Next up, Santa Fe. Santa Fe wasn’t always on the proverbial map — in fact, the Santa Fe railroad just passed it on by. A lot of care has been taken ...
  Roman Mars author
2024-02-27

  438- The Real Book [rebroadcast]

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 ...
  Emmett FitzGerald author
2024-02-23

  Significant Others: A Sneak Peek at the Woman Behind Benedict Arnold’s Betrayal

It’s been said that history is written by the person at the typewriter. But who did the person who made history depend on? Often, it’s impossible to find out. But once in a while, we get lucky, and the story was not only recorded, it’s really good.Well...
  Significant Others author
2024-02-21

  571- You Are What You Watch

What we see on screen has this way of influencing our perception of the world, which makes sense because the average American spends 2 hours and 51 minutes watching movies and TV each day. That’s a whopping 19 percent of our waking hours. Walt Hickey i...
  sarah baik author
2024-02-16

  The Power Broker #2: Jamelle Bouie

This is the second official episode, breaking down the 1974 Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Power Broker by our hero Robert Caro. New York Times political columnist Jamelle Bouie is our book club guest.On today’s show, Elliott Kalan and Roman Mars wil...
  elliott kalan, isabel angell author
2024-02-13

  570- The White Castle System of Eating Houses

White Castle has its own take on fast food hamburgers. For starters, the patties are square, with five holes in each patty. And they’re small, too –- two-and-a-half inch sliders. Just big enough to fit into the palm of your hand. And since they’re stea...
  Mackenzie Martin author
2024-02-06

  569- Between the Blocks

Seen from above, Sofia, Bulgaria, looks less like a city and more like a forest. Large "interblock park" green spaces between big apartment structures are a defining characteristic of the city. They're not so much "parks" in the formal sense, with fenc...
  Andrew Anderson, Ashira Morris, kelly prime author
2024-01-30

  568- Don't Forget to Remember

When a highway gets made, there’s a clear and consistent process for doing so. Not so, public memorials. From the Vietnam Wall to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, it’s always different. Sometimes a handful of concerned citizens get together...
  chris colin, delaney hall author
2024-01-26

  Roman Mars Describes Chicago As It Is

A few years ago, at the very start of the pandemic, Roman Mars wrote an episode of 99pi in which he simply talked about design details in his house -- realizing that he, like the audience, didn't have many other places to go.  (You should check it out....
  Roman Mars author
2024-01-24

  567- The Double Kick

Watch a skate video today, and you'll notice how similarly shaped the boards are. It’s called the “popsicle” design, because the deck is narrow in the middle and rounded off at both ends, like a popsicle stick. This may seem stupid simple, but that bas...
  Christopher Johnson author