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

554- Devil in the Details

September 26, 2023 00:34:23 7.06 MB ( 26.06 MB less) Downloads: 0

This week we have two stories featuring the devil.An infamous "training video" teaching cops how to spot and stop "satanic crimes." And a stretch of highway with the misfortune of being officially named US Route 666.Devil in the Details

553- Cautionary Tales of the Sydney Opera House

September 19, 2023 00:40:32 7.71 MB ( 31.31 MB less) Downloads: 0

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic and distinctive buildings in the world. It took a relative newcomer and architectural outsider to dream it up, but the saga of making this world heritage landmark a reality is a tale for the ages: a cautionary tale. And for Cautionary Tales, I turn to the brilliant Tim Harford. I’ve been dying to hear the story of the Sydney Opera House told in this way, and Tim and his team just nailed it,  and I know you are going to love it as much as I do. Enjoy. 

552- Blood in the Machine

September 12, 2023 00:29:04 28.01 MB Downloads: 0

Brian Merchant is a tech reporter, and he'd been covering the industry for years when he started to notice a term that kept coming up. When he wrote a story that was critical of tech, he'd be accused of being a "Luddite."Like most people, Brian knew at least vaguely what the term "Luddite" meant. But as time went on, and as Brian watched tech grow into the disruptive behemoth it is today, he started to get more curious about the actual Luddites. Who were they? And what did they really believe? Brian has a new book out about the Luddites called Blood in the Machine. And it explores how English textile workers in the 19th century rose up against the growing trend of automation and the machines that were threatening their livelihoods.Blood in the Machine

389- Whomst Among Us Let the Dogs Out AGAIN

September 05, 2023 00:38:42 37.26 MB Downloads: 1

All kinds of songs get stuck in your head. Famous pop tunes from when you were a kid, album cuts you've listened to over and over again. And then there's a category of memorable songs—the ones that we all just kind of know. Songs that somehow, without anyone’s permission, sneak their way into the collective unconscious and are now just lingering there for eternity. There’s one song that best exemplifies this phenomenon— "Who Let The Dogs Out" by the Baha Men.The story of how that song ended up stuck in all of our brains goes back decades and spans continents. It tells us something about inspiration, and how creativity spreads, and about whether an idea can ever really belong to just one person. Whomst Among Us Let the Dogs Out AGAIN

551- Office Space

August 29, 2023 00:32:55 6.41 MB ( 25.31 MB less) Downloads: 0

In most big cities, there’s a housing crisis. And empty office buildings are creating a different crisis known to urbanists as a ‘doom loop.’ Converting an office into housing can solve both of these crises at once, using one piece of property. This solution just seems so obvious and elegant. But for all the hype around this idea, there are surprisingly few adaptive reuse projects actually underway.Office Space

550- Melanie Speaks

August 22, 2023 00:50:26 48.53 MB Downloads: 0

The story of a voice training VHS tape that helped trans women at a time when other resources were hard to access.The way a person's voice changes over time feels like a simple, and overlooked act of magic. Whether intentionally or subconsciously, our voices are products of our environments as much as they are part of us. Today we’re featuring an episode about voices from a series called Sounds Gay, a brilliant show about queer culture, community and music.Plus, guest host Swan Real discusses the universality of voice training with 99pi regular host Roman Mars.Melanie Speaks 

549- Trail Mix: Track Two

August 15, 2023 00:34:07 32.87 MB Downloads: 0

Welcome to our second episode of short stories all about what may be the original designed object: the trail. If you haven’t heard the first episode yet you should totally go back and listen. It’s a lot of fun.Take this episode with you on your next hike!Trail Mix: Track Two

548- Trail Mix

August 08, 2023 00:35:06 33.82 MB Downloads: 0

We deconstruct and examine what might be the original designed object-- the humble trail. We discuss how park trails are designed, what makes a good trail, and...what even is a trail anyway?Trail Mix

547- Cooking with Gas

August 01, 2023 00:29:01 27.96 MB Downloads: 0

Back in January, Bloomberg News published a story quoting an obscure government official named Richard Trumka Jr. He works with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which regulates stuff like furniture and electronics and household appliances. Basically, the agency is supposed to make sure that the stuff we buy is safe, and won't kill us or make us sick.  The Bloomberg story talked about how a growing body of research shows that gas stoves are really bad for indoor air quality. They let off pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, and they've been linked to heart problems, cancer, and asthma. And in this story, Trumka said the government would look into it, and maybe recommend some regulations on the appliance. Within days, the US went batshit crazy and gas stoves were all over the news. They had become the subject of the latest skirmish in our seemingly never-ending culture war. Cooking with Gas

546- The Country of the Blind

July 25, 2023 00:47:38 45.83 MB Downloads: 0

Andrew Leland grew up with full vision, but starting in his teenage years, his sight began to degrade from the outside in, such that he now sees the world as if through a narrow tube. Soon—but without knowing exactly when—he will likely have no vision left. In this episode, Andrew takes us through the fascinating history of alternative reading technologies designed for blind people and discusses his fantastic new book The Country of the Blind, which is out today!The Country of the Blind

545- Shade Redux

July 18, 2023 00:29:50 28.76 MB Downloads: 0

This past May, the city of Los Angeles rolled out a brand new, state-of-the art feature for bus shelters. It’s called La Sombrita. La Sombrita is a metal screen that’s intended to provide shade for the thousands of people who ride the bus every day. The shade screen is about two feet wide, ten feet tall, and it kinda looks like a curved teal metal surfboard filled with tiny holes. Right away, Angelinos were not happy. This heated conversation got us thinking about our interview with Sam Bloch about inequality and shade and we asked Sam back to get thoughts about La Sombrita, and whether the controversial shade sail could actually be a good thing for shade-starved Angelinos. Shade Redux

544- Chick Tracts

July 11, 2023 00:34:59 33.63 MB Downloads: 0

In the 1980s, the little Christian comic books known as Chick Tracts were EVERYWHERE. You’d find them in movie theaters and bus station bathrooms, on subways, and all over shopping malls. People would slip them inside VHS rentals or library books. Many Chick Tracts are black and white Christian horror stories that pull from a huge cast of characters: witches, bikers, Hindus, rock and rollers, Catholics, queer people, truckers, Masons and trick-or-treaters. And at some point in the tract, the protagonist often has to make a choice: either accept Jesus as their savior, or get tossed like cordwood into a Lake Of Fire. Chick Tracts have left a really complicated legacy. Collectors are mesmerized by their edginess and kitsch. The Smithsonian regards Chick Tracts as American religious artifacts, and keeps a bunch of them in its vaults.  At the same time, many of these comics are filled with some ugly and dangerous messages, including homophobia and Islamophobia. So the same tracts that have been hoarded and preserved have ALSO been boycotted and banned, and condemned as hate speech.

543- In Proximity: Ryan Coogler and Roman Mars

July 04, 2023 00:30:23 29.28 MB Downloads: 0

In Proximity is a podcast from Proximity Media about craft, career, and creativity.Proximity founder Ryan Coogler talks all about podcasts with Roman Mars, host and creator of 99% Invisible, a sound-rich narrative podcast about architecture and design. They discuss holding pandemic meetings about the business of podcasting, Roman’s journey from science to public radio to 99% Invisible, finding the balance between being an artist and business owner plus why Roman believes a producer is the highest form of worker, collaborating on the Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast, the read-to-tape system, and Prox Recs that include a good coffee table book that will impress your friends and how to make great radio.Listen to In Proximity on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or your favorite podcast app.

542- Player Piano

June 27, 2023 00:53:29 51.46 MB Downloads: 0

This week we're featuring an episode of The Last ArchiveThe Last Archive is a history show. Our evidence is the evidence of history, the evidence of archives. Manuscripts, photographs, letters and diaries, government documents. Facebook posts, Youtube videos, DVDs. Oral histories. This stuff is known as the “historical record,” but of course it’s not a record, in the sense of an audio recording: It’s everything.On this episode of The Last Archive, the story of the composer Raymond Scott’s lifelong quest to build an automatic songwriting machine, and what it means for our own AI-addled, ChatGPT world.

541- The Frankfurt Kitchen

June 20, 2023 00:34:23 33.12 MB Downloads: 0

After World War I, in Frankfurt, Germany, the city government was taking on a big project. A lot of residents were in dire straits, and in the second half of the 1920s, the city built over 10,000 public housing units. It was some of the earliest modern architecture — simple, clean, and uniform. The massive housing effort was, in many ways, eye-poppingly impressive, with all new construction and sleek, cutting edge architecture. But one room in these new housing units was far and away the most lauded and influential: and that was the kitchen.Many consider the Frankfurt Kitchen to be nothing less than the first modern kitchen. A few of these kitchens still exist, some in museums. And it's strange to see one there, because to modern eyes, it doesn’t appear to be high art. It just looks like a kitchen.The Frankfurt Kitchen