Today, Explained

News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Today, Explained is your all killer, no filler, Monday to Friday news explainer co-hosted by Sean Rameswaram and Noel King. Every episode features the finest reporters from the Vox Media Podcast Network and beyond.

Daily News
The four-day workweek
The pandemic has changed how we think about work. Vox’s Anna North says it might be time to change how much we work, too.
24 min
The Texas abortion law
Texas didn't just make it almost impossible to get an abortion, the state made it easy to sue somebody who gets one after about six weeks of pregnancy — and anyone who helps. KUT reporter Ashley Lopez explains.
18 min
After the Afghan evacuation
The United States’ 20-year war in Afghanistan is officially over. Vox’s Nicole Narea explains what’s next for the more than 100,000 refugees evacuated from Kabul.
18 min
California could elect a Republican governor in a few weeks. KPCC reporter Libby Denkmann explains how. And the dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law argues the state's recall election process is unconstitutional.
25 min
The attack outside the Kabul airport on Thursday was perpetrated by an extremist group that doesn't think the Taliban is extreme enough.
24 min
I’ll take public scandal for $1000.
25 min
Fleeing Afghanistan
The Afghan refugee crisis started long before the US withdrawal. Al Jazeera English correspondent Ali Latifi explains from Kabul.
18 min
Booster shots
Vox’s Umair Irfan explains why you might need one. The Atlantic’s Sarah Zhang says the coronavirus is here forever, but ultimately, it might not be so bad.
23 min
Addicted and alone
The pandemic wiped out the slow but steady progress America had been making against another deadly disease: opioid addiction. The Washington Post’s Peter Jamison explains.
18 min
How to forgive
In this episode of Vox Conversations, the Atlantic’s Elizabeth Bruenig shares forgiveness strategies built for unforgiving times.
54 min
Taliban 2.0
The Taliban last controlled Afghanistan 20 years ago. They may be more pragmatic now, but their ideology hasn’t changed.
25 min
Who counts as white on the census?
Some recent analysis of America’s changing demographics is inaccurate and dangerous. NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang makes sense of the 2020 census.
21 min
Back-to-back crises in Haiti
An assassination followed by an earthquake followed by a tropical storm strike a country where aid organizations often have more influence than Haitians.
20 min
How the Taliban took back Afghanistan
And did it faster than the US ever imagined.
21 min
Delta in the Delta
Covid-19 is surging so high in several states, you’d think we didn’t have a vaccine. A Mississippi nurse who was initially skeptical explains her path to getting the shot.
18 min
The allies left behind
While the US withdraws from Afghanistan, the Taliban is surging, which is a likely death sentence for the thousands of Afghans who helped the US military. An interpreter who escaped explains.
22 min
“Code red for humanity”
A new UN report says humans are “unequivocally” causing climate change. Rich countries are to blame, but poorer ones, like Madagascar, are paying the price with an unprecedented climate-induced famine.
19 min
Oye Cuomo va
People said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would never resign. Then he did. New York magazine contributing writer David Freedlander explains.
18 min
Were the Olympics worth it?
The pandemic Olympics have come to an end. NPR’s Tom Goldman provides a highlight reel and an evaluation from Tokyo.
22 min
An MVP for the world
Giannis Antetokounmpo went from hawking watches and DVDs on the streets of Greece to winning an NBA championship for the Milwaukee Bucks. The Ringer’s Mirin Fader tells the story of his improbable rise.
32 min
The fight to ban evictions
Democrats this week scrambled to extend a federal evictions moratorium amid the government's failure to deliver tens of billions of dollars to renters in need. Vox’s Ian Millhiser and Jerusalem Demsas explain.
20 min
Who owns Amanda Knox?
The new Matt Damon movie, Stillwater, is based on Amanda Knox’s story. She wishes someone had asked her to tell it.
29 min
Collect $5 billion. Do not pay taxes.
The Roth IRA was invented by Congress to incentivize middle-class retirement savings. ProPublica’s Justin Elliott explains how venture capitalist Peter Thiel ended up with $5 billion in his.
25 min
The Provincetown cluster
Vox’s Dylan Scott explains what an outbreak in a mostly vaccinated beach town taught the CDC about the delta variant.
18 min
The spike in gun violence (Part II)
A Philadelphia election tested progressive ideas on how to reduce shootings in America. ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis explains.
24 min
The spike in gun violence (Part I)
The nation’s murder rate rose by almost 25 percent last year — the largest increase in at least 60 years. This year might be even worse. ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis reports on “The Great Regression.”
25 min
The Capitol police speak
Capitol police officers testified on Tuesday in the building they defended on January 6. Seamus Hughes, a former congressional investigator, explains whether their testimony will make a difference.
22 min
The Covid Olympics
The 2020 Games were mired in scandal before they even started. Vox’s Jen Kirby explains how things are going now that the Olympics have finally begun.
18 min
Panic! At The Delta
Vox’s Umair Irfan explains why the United States is seeing another Covid-19 surge. Dr. Rhea Boyd says the country is getting unvaccinated people all wrong.
22 min
Infrastructure Pete
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg explains what he and his boss are calling a once-in-a-generation spending plan.
18 min
Human infrastructure
President Biden wants infrastructure spending to include child care, elder care, food assistance, even community college. Vox’s Anna North explains how he might convince Republicans in Congress.
21 min
Our No. 2 problem
America’s sewage system is total crap, but there’s a new plumber in town.
23 min
Why we can’t have nice trains
And how it got so dam expensive to build things in America.
25 min
Hot infrastructure summer
It’s a big week for President Biden’s infrastructure plans. Vox’s Li Zhou explains the obstacles in his way, and a historian says one of them is our collective memory.
22 min
#FreeBritney was right
Britney Spears returned to conservatorship court this week. Vox’s Constance Grady explains how Spears has rapidly become the face of a legal reform movement.
24 min
Cuba's had enough
Cubans hit the streets for unprecedented protests against their communist government. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is on the ground in Havana with spotty wifi.
23 min
The Lone Star strategy
Republicans in Texas are legislating so far to the right the state’s Democrats up and fled to Washington, DC. Vox’s Nicole Narea explains.
17 min
What’s happening in Haiti
The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse is the latest in a long line of setbacks for Haiti’s stability. AyiboPost’s Widlore Mérancourt explains from Port-au-Prince.
24 min
Postcards from pandemic purgatory
Travel around the globe to hear how disparately people are experiencing the pandemic in July 2021.
22 min
Where to go when the world burns
An estimated 143 million people will relocate to escape climate change in the next three decades. Quartz’s Amanda Shendruk explains how cities can transform themselves into climate havens.
19 min
Thirty years ago, Eugene, Oregon, figured out an alternative to the police. They called it CAHOOTS. Seriously.
28 min
Let’s talk about terror (Part II)
When people see Deeyah Khan's documentary about white supremacists, they tell her, "The real problem is jihad. You should spend time with jihadists." She says, "I did."
20 min
Let’s talk about terror (Part I)
Documentary filmmaker Deeyah Khan grew tired of receiving death threats from white supremacists so she traveled to a Detroit motel to meet up with one.
23 min
The case for drinking
Getting buzzed helped build civilization.. The Atlantic's Kate Julian explains.
26 min
Law & Order: Special POTUS Unit
The Trump Organization and its top lieutenant have been indicted for tax fraud. Andrew Prokop says the case could have uge implications for American politics.
19 min
Unfair housing
A housing watchdog says real estate companies often discriminate against low-income tenants who use federal rental assistance. Now it’s suing.
20 min
Canada’s residential schools
The discovery of mass graves of Indigenous children in Canada has led to reckonings on both sides of the border.
24 min
The doctors are not all right
Doctors have suffered psychologically throughout the pandemic, but as Vox’s Julia Belluz reports, those who seek mental health treatment in the US put their careers at risk.
32 min
Food fight
Restaurant delivery apps have made it possible to order pretty much anything we want to eat with the click of a button. The latest season of the Land of the Giants podcast explores the cost of that convenience.
32 min
Bish, don't kill my vibe
Catholic bishops want to deny President Biden communion, even though Pope Francis thinks that's a terrible idea. The Atlantic's Emma Green explains.
24 min
Why stuff is getting more expensive
Vox’s Emily Stewart explains how scared you should be of inflation.
20 min
The delta variant
The fast-spreading coronavirus variant first detected in India is coming for the rest of the world.
17 min
A $55,000 drug that doesn’t cure Alzheimer’s
After 20 years of waiting, there’s a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s. For some patients, it’s a glimmer of hope. For some scientists, it’s one of the FDA’s worst drug approval decisions ever.
27 min
Tales from the crypto
Cryptocurrency is everywhere! And now some people are saying it could be good for the environment?! New York Magazine's Jen Wieczner is here to explain.
23 min
Once more unto the Brexit
The Atlantic’s Tom McTague provides a halftime report on Brexit. It appears it’s going very well for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
23 min
Israel is under new management
Benjamin Netanyahu is out. Israel has a new leader and a new coalition government. The question now is whether they bring anyone closer to peace.
17 min
What to do when your mom is with Q.
25 min
The Kardashi-end
Over 14 years and 20 seasons of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the show rewrote the rules of reality TV, social media, marketing, and popular culture. Next up? Politics.
25 min
You know who kinda crushed Covid?
Senegal. Vox’s Jen Kirby flew there to find out how.
23 min
Mare of New York
New York City is picking a new mayor with a new election system. What could go wrong?
23 min
Mexico’s deadly election
Gangs and drug cartels killed dozens of candidates in Mexico’s midterm elections. Voters weren’t intimidated.
18 min
Critical race theory
Across the country, Republican lawmakers are pushing laws banning “critical race theory” in schools. It’s already had a chilling effect on teachers.
23 min
It’s getting harder to vote in America
Texas isn’t the only state advancing legislation that would disenfranchise voters in Democratic strongholds. Vox’s Ian Millhiser explains why some voter suppression efforts are worse than others.
25 min
The lab leak theory
The idea that Covid-19 emerged from a Chinese lab once sounded too fringe to take seriously. That’s starting to change.
23 min
Myanmar wants a revolution
Despite a violent terror campaign by the military junta, protesters are still fighting for a new government. The latest conflict is uniting ethnic and religious groups that have long been at odds with one another.
21 min
The Tulsa massacre, 100 years later
It was one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history, but for a long time very few Americans learned what happened to the Black residents of the Greenwood district in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Guest host Jamil Smith explores why — and how — that’s changing.
23 min
The truth is out there
UFOs are having a renaissance. The New Yorker’s Gideon Lewis-Kraus explains what we stand to learn from an expected government disclosure, and why we want to believe.
30 min
MO Medicaid MO Problems
Missourians voted for more Medicaid. Missouri lawmakers said no. St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum explains what happens when you bypass the will of the people.
24 min
Why Belarus hijacked a plane
The hijacking of Ryanair flight 4978 is a big escalation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s attempts to hold on to power. It might also be his downfall.
20 min
You’re vaxxed. You test positive. Don’t panic.
Nine New York Yankees tested positive for Covid-19, even though they were all vaccinated. Vox’s Brian Resnick says it’s proof the system is working, just as New York City is opening back up.
23 min
Remember the insurrection?
Some would rather forget.
25 min
A million Muslims detained
China’s Uyghur minority has been subjected to torture, forced labor, religious restrictions, and even forced sterilization. NPR’s Throughline explains how they became the target of what many are calling a genocide.
55 min
For decades, Bill Gates exemplified the “good billionaire.” His reputation — tarnished almost overnight — highlights the danger of relying too much on billionaire philanthropists.
22 min
America and Israel
An arms deal between the United States and Israel is drawing criticism from Democrats. It's part of a shifting tide in the American approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
25 min
The 2020* Olympics
*Are being held this summer in Tokyo. And it’s a mess.
27 min
Take this job and shove it
Job growth has slowed, but there are plenty of positions posted. That's got politicians arguing about the cost of benefits. Matt Yglesias explains.
23 min
A new constitution
This weekend, Chileans head to the polls to decide who will rewrite the country's constitution. CNN's Daniel Matamala explains why it's a historic experiment in democracy not just for the country, but the world.
27 min
Weeks of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem have escalated into the region's worst violence in years. Two journalists in the holy city explain the conflict and its history.
28 min
How America’s gas got hacked
The largest-known ransomware attack on American energy infrastructure is driving up gas prices and creating shortages. Wired's Lily Hay Newman says it might be a turning point for cybersecurity.
25 min
Liz Cheney and the Big Lie
A push to remove Cheney from her House leadership position shows how Trump, marooned at Mar-a-Lago without Twitter, continues to hold sway in the GOP.
22 min
Vaccinated! (Still anxious.)
There’s no vaccine for Covid-19 anxiety. Nor is there one for those who aren’t ready to “go back to normal.” But, as Vox’s Sigal Samuel explains, there is hope.
25 min
“Free the vaccine!”
President Joe Biden heeded calls from low-income countries to try to relax patents on Covid-19 vaccines so they can make cheaper generic versions. Big Pharma was furious.
25 min
Fortnite fights Apple for your phone
One of the world's biggest video games is suing one of the world's biggest tech companies.
25 min
Can we get to 70%?
That’s President Joe Biden’s new vaccination goal, and he’s got some fresh ideas on how to get there. Vox’s German Lopez explains.
23 min
Congress takes on sexual assault in the military
Congress wants to change how the military prosecutes sex crimes. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand explains her bill.
24 min
The bonkers housing market
 Is it a bubble? Is it going to pop? Do you need to bid over asking? Has it already sold? Are there any houses left? Will you ever find one? Vox’s Jerusalem Demsas explains.
23 min
The enduring mystery of long Covid
An estimated 10 percent of people who test positive for Covid-19 experience long-haul symptoms. Vox’s Julia Belluz joins the Unexplainable podcast to sort out what’s known and what remains mysterious about long Covid.
23 min
We scored Biden's first 100 days
Biden’s biographer, Evan Osnos, explains why the president is a weather vane for the Democratic Party.
25 min
Apple vs. Facebook (feat. Privacy)
Apple updated its software and Facebook was very upset. Recode’s Sara Morrison and Peter Kafka explain. Roller derby is involved.
19 min
Biden vs. Putin (feat. Navalny)
President Biden is cranking the pressure on President Putin, but it was Russian dissident Alexei Navalny who scored a victory by refusing his prison food.
26 min
India’s SOS to the world
The world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer ended up with the world’s worst Covid-19 surge. Neha Arora, New Delhi correspondent for Reuters, explains.
23 min
A plan to protect the planet
Or at least 30 percent of it.
28 min
Is nuclear energy good or bad?
Listen to the Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer explain the arguments and then decide for yourself.
32 min
It’s electric!
Norway has lapped the world in adopting electric vehicles. Vox’s Umair Irfan explains how the US might catch up.
26 min
The case for climate optimism
In 2019, David Wallace-Wells wrote a book called The Uninhabitable Earth. Just two years later, he’s feeling hopeful — thanks to the world’s biggest polluters.
26 min
Peanut butter and jellyfish
And other items from the lunch menu of 2050.
25 min
America awaits a verdict
Arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin have wrapped after a brutal week for policing in America. Minnesota Public Radio’s Jon Collins shares his reporting from Minneapolis.
25 min
The Echo Park eviction
The recent police crackdown on a tent camp in Los Angeles has left the city divided. One thing everyone agrees on is the dire need for lasting solutions to the growing homelessness crisis in the United States.
27 min
Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz’s sex scandal.
25 min
Johnson & Johnson & Problems
The US government is calling for an immediate pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations after six recipients (out of millions) developed blood clots.
23 min