Luz the firefly is missing, and producers Izii and Sara want to know why. They take a trip to the Island of Explained, where they learn why whole species are losing their habitats and what humans can do about it.
“To [REDACTED] a Mockingbird”
Some conservative parents are trying to get books about race and sexuality banned from libraries and schools. Author Clint Smith says it’s dangerous to ban books to eliminate discomfort.
Shinzo Abe’s call to arms
The assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe may have given his agenda to militarize Japan new life. Abe biographer Tobias Harris explains.
The case of the fake Basquiats
Art crime is booming and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings (or at least some very realistic forgeries) are the loot du jour. Reporter Brett Sokol and a guy who used to forge Basquiats explain.
Joe Biden’s Saudi vacation
Candidate Biden said he would make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” on the world stage. Now President Biden is traveling there, asking for the kingdom’s help on gas prices.
Joe Biden’s tampon shortage
No, President Biden didn’t cause the tampon shortage — or any of the recent shortages. But that won’t stop him from taking the blame.
Congress just had its first hearings on UFOs in over 50 years. We revisit a 2021 episode where the New Yorker’s Gideon Lewis-Kraus explained why the US government started taking sightings seriously.
What if you could talk without speaking?
A groundbreaking new study claims to have found a way for a fully paralyzed person to communicate entirely via thought. But as we learned in an episode earlier this year, the scientists behind it have a checkered past.
How the US learned to love sanctions
The US hoped sanctions would end Russia’s war in Ukraine quickly. We revisit our conversation with historian Nicholas Mulder who explains the surprising history of economic penalties as a weapon of war.
Ask for Jane
Before Roe v. Wade, Eleanor Oliver was a Jane: a member of a group in Chicago that helped women get safe but illegal abortions. Sean Rameswaram sat down with her on the day Roe was overturned.
This country is a lot right now
The past week/month/year/pandemic has taken a toll on a lot of people’s mental health. And the US has proven woefully incapable of dealing with mental health for years.
Roe v. Wade v. God
A rabbi, a priest, and an imam walk into the abortion debate. The priest wins.
It’s safe and easy to end a pregnancy during the first trimester using a pair of FDA-approved pills. Accessing them is the latest abortion battleground. Vox's Rachel Cohen explains.
The Supreme Court’s decision was most immediately felt in states that pegged abortion bans to the fall of Roe v. Wade.
The end of Roe v. Wade
The Supreme Court overturned a 49-year-old precedent that secured the right to an abortion. Irin Carmon from New York magazine breaks down the case and Vox’s Ian Millhiser argues the Supreme Court is undermining democracy.
Is Ukraine losing now?
The US is spending billions to arm Ukraine against Russian invaders. But without the proper training or supplies, Javelin missiles can only do so much.
The rise and fall of the “millennial lifestyle ...
Venture capitalists spent years subsidizing the price of things like Uber rides and food delivery. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson explains why they’ve stopped.
From Russia with cash
Oligarchs from Russia and beyond stash their cash in British banks, which play a central role in the global offshore economy.
What if we saw the gunshot wounds?
John Temple was the editor of Rocky Mountain News in April 1999, when two students committed mass murder at Columbine High School. The photos he published that day would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize and enrage Daniel Rohrbough’s mom.
A gun policy game-changer
America’s gun violence epidemic is a public health crisis. After 24 years of blocked funding, Congress is finally starting to treat it like one.
Gun laws that work
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says tougher gun laws wouldn’t have stopped the Uvalde shooter. He’s wrong.
Let’s untangle the Second Amendment
It wasn’t until 2008 that the US Supreme Court established what a confusing sentence in the Constitution really meant for gun ownership. Sean Rameswaram reported on District of Columbia v. Heller for Radiolab’s More Perfect.
Has the gun control movement failed?
You might look at school shootings and think “Yes, obviously.” But two people who have been studying and participating in the movement for decades explain how its success isn’t obvious.
ConGRADulations, fellow kids
Ten months ago the faculty of Cramer Hill Elementary set out to get their kids back on track after a year of mostly remote learning. Today, Explained’s Miles Bryan attended eighth-grade graduation to see how they did.
Adderall via Instagram
The mental health startup Cerebral benefited from pandemic-era changes to federal telehealth laws. But its easy-to-get prescriptions for tightly regulated stimulants — heavily promoted on social media — have sparked a Department of Justice investigation.