Today, Explained

Today, Explained is Vox's daily news explainer podcast. Hosts Sean Rameswaram and Noel King will guide you through the most important stories of the day.

Part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Daily News
Inside the AI factory
We are used to thinking of artificial intelligence as knowledge generated by machines. The Verge’s Josh Dzieza pulls back the curtain on the vast network of human labor that powers AI.
23 min
I want you! (to fight the culture war)
The defense bill is the latest piece of legislation to be weaponized by the far-right Freedom Caucus. It’s also the latest test for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
23 min
Barbie Dreampodcast
Is Barbie a toy commercial doubling as the first installment of an inevitable Mattel Cinematic Universe? Or does it have something important to say? Barbie’s multitudes, explained.
23 min
A lot of Americans are still feeling iffy about the economy, but Joe Biden’s so proud of how things are going that he’s stuck his name on it. The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein explains “Bidenomics.”
23 min
Is ethical investing a sham?
Republican presidential candidates have a bone to pick with ESG investments. So does James Surowiecki, contributing writer at The Atlantic.
23 min
Inside the Actors Strike
The actors are officially on strike. Vox senior correspondent and critic Alissa Wilkinson breaks down what SAG-AFTRA is afta, and the New Yorker’s Michael Schulman explains how one of Netflix’s first original shows was an early warning sign.
23 min
Vacation ... all I ever wanted?
🎵 Now that I’m away, I wish I had stayed. 🎵 Vox’s Allie Volpe explains why travel feels like such a mess right now (and how to make it a bit better). And the New Yorker’s Agnes Callard makes the case against travel altogether.
23 min
The Joshua Generation
A group of evangelical Christians raised their children to become influential in the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in the Supreme Court. Now, as adults, the "Joshua generation" are reckoning with their upbringing.
24 min
Disaster unpreparedness
Vermont just got slammed with flash floods, road closures, and evacuations. Harvard’s Juliette Kayyem says the storm reveals how unprepared the US is for the present moment, when natural disasters are more frequent and more intense than ever before.
23 min
Can Threads unravel Twitter?
As Meta launches its Twitter competitor, The Verge’s David Pierce says that we are watching the end of the social internet in real time.
23 min
NATO to Ukraine: Not yet
President Biden and other world leaders say it’s too dangerous to admit Ukraine into NATO while it’s at war with Russia. But, to the dismay of allies, the US will send cluster bombs to the front.
23 min
Why everyone’s mad about equity
Everyone is fighting about “equity.” If only they could define it. Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains.
23 min
Where’s the beef?
A rancher in the Pacific Northwest scammed two companies out of $244 million. In this episode we first served in February, KUOW’s Anna King — host of the Ghost Herd podcast — explains how Cody Easterday went from ranching royalty to prison.
23 min
Inflation happens for a lot of reasons that can be hard for even economists to fully grasp. But — as we learned this spring in an episode we’re rerunning today — there’s also a more straightforward reason prices keep going up: greedy corporations are using inflation as an excuse to jack up prices.
23 min
Even more forever chemicals
The chemical manufacturer 3M will pay $10 billion to settle claims it contaminated drinking water with “forever chemicals.” Good thing we already spoke with Barbara Moran, WBUR’s climate and environmental correspondent, who explained these non-stick chemicals that stick around forever.
23 min
For the second time this month, huge sections of the US are blanketed by wildfire smoke. Vox’s Rebecca Leber and climate journalist Jeff Goodell say we’re gonna have to get used to it.
23 min
Supreme Court: Race need not apply
The Supreme Court ruled against race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard and UNC. The ruling is likely to reshape affirmative action in America.
22 min
Mall cop nation
The three biggest private employers in North America are Walmart, Amazon, and a security firm you’ve maybe never heard of: Allied Universal. Time’s Alana Semuels explains the rise of poorly trained and poorly paid private security guards across America.
22 min
Woke, woke, woke, woke, woke
How “woke” went from Marcus Garvey to Childish Gambino to Ron DeSantis.
23 min
The man behind Russia’s mutiny
Yevgeny Prigozhin rose from hot dog seller to top chef to Russia’s leading mercenary. Journalist Paul Wood and Harvard’s Timothy Colton explain why he turned on Vladimir Putin this weekend.
23 min
Deep-sea explorer G. Michael Harris has been down to the wreck of the Titanic 14 times. He begged his friend PH Nargeolet not to get on the OceanGate Titan submersible before it imploded in the sea earlier this week. He explains why he saw this coming.
23 min
Dinner and a Modi
Despite US concerns over the decline of Indian democracy and human rights, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is getting a prestigious state dinner from the Biden administration. Sadanand Dhume and Irfan Nooruddin explain.
23 min
A group in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will pay remote workers $10,000 to move there. Vox’s Rani Molla explains why the city is banking on a digital workforce — and whether the program leaves longtime Tulsans behind.
23 min
Childproofing Pornhub
States want to restrict kids’ access to harmful content online via age verification systems. New York Times reporter Natasha Singer explains how a wave of new legislation could dramatically reshape the internet.
23 min
The Today, Explained Center for Kids Who Can’t ...
For decades, American schools have taught reading with an approach that doesn’t work very well. Emily Hanford of the podcast “Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong” explains how things are starting to change.
23 min