The Lost Kids on the Line

In Lebanon, not far from the Syrian border, a crew of volunteer slackliners tries to bring fleeting moments of magic into displaced children’s lives.

Published: Mar 14, 2018
Length: 19 minutes (4,978 words)

Burning Out: What Really Happens Inside a Crematorium

As religious rules around cremation have relaxed, more and more Americans are turning to cremation as a cost effective way to deal with the dead. As Caren Chesler tours Rosehill Cemetery’s crematorium, she reports not on the process of cremation, but also on how loved ones often struggle to deal with the cremains of family members. Not knowing where to store them, urns end up in closets, garages, and in storage — liminal spaces that place the dead out of sight and out of mind.

Published: Mar 1, 2018
Length: 22 minutes (5,588 words)

The Blood of the Crab

Horseshoe crab blood is an irreplaceable medical marvel — biomedical companies bleed 500,000 of them every year. Can this creature that’s been around since the dinosaurs be saved?

Published: Apr 13, 2017
Length: 14 minutes (3,555 words)

The Surgeon Will Skype You Now

A look into the immense possibility—and myriad problems—associated with a future where surgery can routinely be performed from hundreds of miles away.

Published: Feb 9, 2016
Length: 12 minutes (3,148 words)

The Asteroid Hunters

A look at the community of scientists and astronomers who are designing plans to prevent Earth from being devastated by an asteroid.

Author: Josh Dean
Published: Nov 11, 2015
Length: 48 minutes (12,241 words)

The Man Who Found the Titanic Is Not Done Yet

At seventy-three, Bob Ballard remains the world’s most vigorous ocean explorer.

Published: Aug 4, 2015
Length: 17 minutes (4,350 words)

Meet the Man Who Finds Your Stolen Passwords

A profile of Alex Holden, a Ukrainian immigrant who lives in Milwaukee and runs a cyber security firm. His work often takes him deep into the so-called Dark Web.

Published: Feb 5, 2015
Length: 12 minutes (3,000 words)

What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447

02:11:21 (Robert) On a pourtant les moteurs! Qu’est-ce qui se passe bordel? Je ne comprends pas ce que se passe.
We still have the engines! What the hell is happening? I don’t understand what’s happening.

Unlike the control yokes of a Boeing jetliner, the side sticks on an Airbus are “asynchronous”—that is, they move independently. “If the person in the right seat is pulling back on the joystick, the person in the left seat doesn’t feel it,” says Dr. David Esser, a professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “Their stick doesn’t move just because the other one does, unlike the old-fashioned mechanical systems like you find in small planes, where if you turn one, the [other] one turns the same way.” Robert has no idea that, despite their conversation about descending, Bonin has continued to pull back on the side stick.

The men are utterly failing to engage in an important process known as crew resource management, or CRM. They are failing, essentially, to cooperate. It is not clear to either one of them who is responsible for what, and who is doing what. This is a natural result of having two co-pilots flying the plane.

Author: Jeff Wise
Published: Dec 6, 2011
Length: 17 minutes (4,253 words)

How to Fall 35,000 Feet—And Survive

You’re six miles up, alone and falling without a parachute. Though the odds are long, a small number of people have found themselves in similar situations—and lived to tell the tale.

Published: Jan 29, 2010
Length: 11 minutes (2,778 words)