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.

News
Daily News
Politics
1
The shooters were 18
Writer and parent Joanna Schroeder wrote a guide for parents about what to look out for and how to intervene.
23 min
2
Monkeypox!?!?
Good news: Epidemiologists don’t think monkeypox will be as bad as Covid-19. Bad news: We stopped vaccinating people against this type of disease decades ago. Vox reporter (and resident epidemiologist) Keren Landman explains.
23 min
3
How to not give up on gun control
Vox’s Marin Cogan, who lived through a school shooting herself, explains why she hasn’t given up on a solution to our gun problem yet.
23 min
4
Why the internet hates Amber Heard
It’s not just Johnny Depp’s fans — it’s Amber Heard’s anti-fans, too. The Atlantic's Kaitlyn Tiffany explains the Depp-ressing social media hate campaign.
23 min
5
Finland and Sweden have entered the chat
Their admission to NATO would further isolate Russia, leaving it the only Arctic country outside the alliance.
23 min
6
Why the right is thirsty for Hungary
The Conservative Political Action Conference, which is like Republican Coachella, is usually held stateside, but this week it's throwing a party in Budapest, Hungary. Noel King got kicked out.
23 min
7
So I elected an autocrat
Noel King traveled to Hungary to talk to people who voted for Viktor Orbán, people being persecuted by his government, and an American just along for the ride.
23 min
8
How to lose a democracy in 10,000 days
The same man who helped usher in democracy in Hungary is the one who’s chipping away at it now. American conservatives want to know how Prime Minister Viktor Orban did it.
23 min
9
Formula None
Millions of US parents are struggling to feed their infants due to a nationwide shortage of baby formula.
23 min
10
Dr. Oz and the celebrity politician
This week Pennsylvania voters decide whether to give Dr. Oz a shot at the US Senate. To mark the occasion, Sean Rameswaram tries to understand what makes a celebrity candidate viable, from “the Gipper” to “the Governator” to “the Donald.”
23 min
11
Is abortion in the Constitution?
Not explicitly, no. But neither is the right to travel from New York to New Jersey. NYU law professor Kenji Yoshino explains our unenumerated rights.
23 min
12
Sri Lankans have had enough
Sri Lanka’s “Go home, Gota!” protesters want to throw President Gotabaya Rajapaksa out of office. Reveal’s Ike Sriskandarajah explains what could happen if Gota "goes home" to the serene suburbs of Southern California.
23 min
13
Dictator Jr.
The son of repressive dictator Ferdinand Marcos was just elected president of the Philippines. All he had to do was rewrite his country’s history.
23 min
14
Free Brittney (Griner)
A week before Russia invaded Ukraine, it detained WNBA superstar Brittney Griner. Now the United States is turning up the pressure to get her released. ESPN’s T.J. Quinn explains.
23 min
15
A priest explains Putin’s “holy” war
Patriarch Kirill is the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. A former colleague describes him as a one-time anti-Kremlin nonconformist. Now, he’s blessing Russia’s war in Ukraine.
23 min
16
A cure for sickle cell?
Scientists have developed a long-sought treatment — perhaps even a cure — for sickle cell anemia. But getting it to patients might be an even bigger challenge.
23 min
17
Why little kids don’t have vaccines
And how the seemingly endless wait in the US is affecting their development.
23 min
18
One man’s crusade against Roe v. Wade
Indiana lawyer Jim Bopp has spent most of his life chipping away at Roe v. Wade. His incremental approach to overturning the Court’s decades-old precedent appears to have paid off.
23 min
19
Justice Alito’s opinion
A largely unprecedented leak of a draft Supreme Court decision reveals the Court’s conservative majority intends to overturn Roe v. Wade. New York magazine’s Irin Carmon explains what that means for reproductive rights.
23 min
20
Our (machine) gun problem
For less than $20 plus shipping everyday people can turn their handguns into machine guns. The Trace’s Alain Stephens explains the rise of the “auto-sear.”
23 min
21
Trumpbilly Elegy
Liberals turned to J.D. Vance’s book to better understand Donald Trump’s victory. Now the “Hillbilly Elegy” author is turning to Trump to try and win the Republican primary in Ohio’s Senate race.
23 min
22
Twitter’s new Musk
Elon Musk and Twitter have reached a deal. Recode’s Peter Kafka and Shirin Ghaffary explain what it means for the business of Twitter, and for free speech on the platform.
23 min
23
The Senate’s age-old old age problem
Dianne Feinstein’s colleagues are concerned the 88-year-old senator is struggling with memory loss, reports Tal Kopan of the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s raising concerns about Feinstein’s ability to do her job and the aging of America's politicians.
23 min
24
ok groomer
Accounts like “Libs of TikTok” are fueling right-wing media to label people who speak openly about sexuality and gender as “groomers.” Vox’s Aja Romano and the Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz explain this age-old practice.
23 min
25
El Salvador’s bet on bitcoin
By making bitcoin a national currency, El Salvador tried to transform its economy. Rest of World’s Leo Schwartz explains why the bet hasn’t yet paid off.
23 min
26
A rough week for mask mandates
A Florida judge ended the federal government’s mass transit mask mandate this week. Vox’s Dylan Scott explains if mask mandates are over forever and Dr. Kavita Patel explores how much of a difference that would make.
23 min
27
Russia’s mercenary army
The Wagner Group, a superviolent (and supersecretive) team of Kremlin-aligned mercenaries, is doing Vladimir Putin’s dirty work in Ukraine and around the world.
23 min
28
@elonmusk
Elon Musk says he wants to buy Twitter, but is also making 420 jokes. Kara Swisher (who knows him) and Liz Lopatto (who doesn’t) explain whether the world should take him seriously (or care).
23 min
29
How Dylan got inflation wrong
Last year, Vox correspondent Dylan Matthews didn’t think inflation would be a big deal. He wasn’t the only one to miss the mark.
23 min
30
The threat of Russian cyberwar
Russia is ramping up attacks on Ukraine’s digital infrastructure. The US could be next.
23 min
31
China’s grip on Hollywood
Warner Bros. is censoring the newest Fantastic Beasts movie for Chinese audiences. It’s the latest reminder that Hollywood’s reliance on China comes at a cost.
23 min
32
The end of January 6
The congressional committee investigating the Capitol insurrection has gathered an enormous amount of information. Now it must decide what to do with it. Politico’s Kyle Cheney explains five crucial decisions that remain.This episode was produced by Miles Bryan, edited by Matt Collette, engineered by Paul Mounsey, fact-checked by Laura Bullard, and hosted by Sean Rameswaram.
23 min
33
Let’s talk about Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden may not be the archcriminal that conservatives describe, but his actions present problems for his father (the president of the United States). Vox's Andrew Prokop explains.
23 min
34
Pakistan’s vote of no Khanfidence
Pakistan’s prime minister was ousted. He blames the US.
23 min
35
A grande victory for Starbucks workers
Starting a union can be a tall order, but many baristas have found it’s an effective way to venti their frustration with management.
23 min
36
Canceling Russian culture
Vladimir Putin says the West is trying to erase 1,000 years of culture. Arts organizations say they have an obligation to respond to the war in Ukraine.
23 min
37
Buffalo Billions
The Buffalo Bills are set to receive $850 million in public funds to build a new stadium — even though they’re owned by a fracking billionaire and weren’t threatening to leave. An economist explains whether publicly funded stadiums ever work out in the public’s favor.
23 min
38
Should Congress be able to trade stocks?
A 2012 law tried to limit lawmakers' ability to make money on Wall Street. It hasn’t worked.
23 min
39
The isolation of Vladimir Putin
The Russian president has come to rely on a skewed version of history and an increasingly small circle of advisers. Journalist Marvin Kalb explains what that means for the war in Ukraine.
23 min
40
Did we just invent telepathy?
A groundbreaking new study claims to have found a way for a fully paralyzed person to communicate entirely via thought. But the scientists behind it have a checkered past.
23 min
41
Umami Mama
For thousands of years, there have been four basic tastes recognized across cultures. But thanks to Kumiko Ninomiya (aka the Umami Mama), scientists finally accepted a fifth. As part of its Making Sense series, Vox’s Unexplainable podcast explores whether there could be even more.
34 min
42
Microdosing goes mainstream
There is growing support for psychedelics as performance enhancers, mood boosters, and a shortcut to therapy. The science is mixed.
19 min
43
Ukrainians (and Russians) meet US Border Patrol
The US southern border remains closed to asylum seekers on account of Covid-19, unless you happen to be Ukrainian.
22 min
44
The National Guard is tired
And in Texas, they’re trying to unionize.
21 min
45
“The greatest night in the history of television”
The Oscars were bordering on irrelevancy until Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage.
22 min
46
Is the war in Ukraine unwinnable?
One month in, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine isn’t going according to plan. Historian and retired Army colonel Andrew Bacevich explains how it might end.
22 min
47
(Ukrainian) refugees welcome!
As Poland welcomes almost 2 million Ukrainians in, it’s spending $4 million on a wall to keep Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans out. Vox’s Sigal Samuel explains the myth of the “deserving” refugee.
22 min
48
Mariupol under siege
The Russian military may have committed war crimes in its brutal attack on the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. International law expert Philippe Sands explains how Vladimir Putin could be held accountable.
22 min
49
Permanent daylight saving time?
A bill to make daylight saving time permanent slipped through the Senate. Now, the real fight for time begins.
22 min
50
The Americans fighting for Ukraine
President Biden insists he won’t send American troops to join Ukraine’s war with Russia. Veterans like Alexander Szokoly joined the fight anyway.
23 min
51
South Korea’s incoming “anti-feminist” president
With its neighbor distracted by domestic culture wars, North Korea is making new moves.
22 min
52
“Don’t Say Gay”
The furor over Florida’s latest culture-war legislation has Disney, among the state’s largest employers, turning red.
22 min
53
Why Ukraine won’t quit
Millions of people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s war begin. We check back in with Kurii Vasyl, who stayed behind, and his niece Yulya, who fled.
22 min
54
Defunding Covid-19
The coronavirus pandemic isn’t over, but certain corners of Congress don’t want to spend a penny more on it. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel argues for $100 billion in new spending to fight Covid-19.
22 min
55
Beware the Madness of March
Americans bet more than $50 billion on sports last year, and that record will likely be broken in 2022 as more states legalize the practice. A professional named Captain Jack and a novice named Emily Stewart explain the perils and glory of betting on the game.
26 min
56
Radio, someone still loves you
The BBC is bringing back shortwave radio broadcasts to counter censorship and disinformation in Russia and Ukraine. Professor D.W. Stupples explains.
22 min
57
Putin’s war spills into space
Russia has threatened to let the International Space Station plummet. The Verge’s Loren Grush explains the Star Wars.
22 min
58
From Kabul’s airport to Virginia’s burbs
The world watched in horror as tens of thousands fled Afghanistan last August. Today, Explained’s Haleema Shah meets with an evacuee still stuck in immigration limbo.
26 min
59
Banning Russian oil
Gas prices hit a record high in the United States today. Then the White House put an embargo on Russian oil. The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer explains.
22 min
60
Breaking Russia’s banks
The US and EU are denying a handful of Russian banks access to SWIFT, a key tool in the global financial system.
22 min
61
Volodymyr vs. Vladimir
Volodymyr Zelenskyy went from a middling peacetime president to a heroic wartime president. Kyiv Independent’s Oleksiy Sorokin explains from an undisclosed location in western Ukraine.
22 min
62
The Texas transgender panic
Gov. Greg Abbott has instructed child protection officials to investigate the parents of transgender children. Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy explains why.
20 min
63
Why Ukraine has to fight Russia alone
And how the fight might end.
20 min
64
What Russians think of Putin’s war
It depends a lot on where they get their news.
25 min
65
Ketanji Brown Jackson
President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee is historic but may have little impact on American law. Vox’s Ian Millhiser explains.
24 min
66
The real and imagined history of Ukraine
Vladimir Putin says Ukraine isn’t a country. He’s wrong.
25 min
67
A phone call from Ukraine
Kurii Vasyl and his niece Yulya try to make sense of Russia’s invasion of their country. And Kyiv Independent reporter Igor Kossov explains the latest from Ukraine’s capital.
20 min
68
Why Ukraine matters
Vox’s Jonathan Guyer explain how a Russian invasion of Ukraine could affect me and you and everyone we know.
26 min
69
The Olympics on thin ice
This year’s weird Winter Olympics were overshadowed by politics, Covid-19, and the threat of war. But as NPR’s Tom Goldman explains, the biggest scandals were still about the sports.
25 min
70
Weapons of cash destruction
The US hopes the threat of sanctions will dissuade Russia from invading Ukraine. Historian Nicholas Mulder explains the surprising history of economic penalties as a weapon of war.
27 min
71
Bitcoin Bonnie and Clyde
A tech investor and his rapper wife were busted for a multi-billion dollar bitcoin heist. They couldn’t really spend any of the money.
19 min
72
All-American divorce
In her Today, Explained debut, co-host Noel King heads to Atlanta to find out why some people in one of its wealthiest neighborhoods are trying to secede from the rest of the city.
26 min
73
What the truck is happening in Canada?
A convoy of truckers angry over Covid-19 mandates is disrupting life in Canada’s capital city. Their movement is gaining traction in cities around the globe.
22 min
74
Sarah Palin v. The New York Times
The New York Times published an editorial that made false claims about Sarah Palin. A lawsuit over the error could change American media.
24 min
75
The best and worst of Tom Brady
Quarterback Tom Brady will retire as the winningest football player in NFL history. ESPN's Seth Wickersham explains why so many people are happy to see him go.
32 min
76
How Brett Kavanaugh views time
When it comes to fixing discriminatory voting maps, nine months may not be enough for some justices. Ian Millhiser explains.
19 min
77
Why America loves a Jackass
The Oscar nominations are out, but the No. 1 movie in America features Johnny Knoxville and his friends hurting each other. He attempts to explain why, and Vox's Alissa Wilkinson picks up his slack.
26 min
78
How this Syria raid was different
President Biden gave strict orders to avoid collateral damage during a raid on an ISIS leader. Civilians still died, but it might be a sign of a shift at the Pentagon.
20 min
79
RIP SAT
Why are colleges ditching the test? A) The SAT is biased B) Colleges want to admit more diverse students C) The pandemic D) All of the above
22 min
80
Is everything trauma now?
Psychologists are worried that "trauma" is losing its meaning. A trauma survivor says they shouldn't be.
26 min
81
The case against masks
At least in schools.
27 min
82
Throwing money at the migrant crisis
Vice President Kamala Harris just attended Honduras’s presidential inauguration. Her trip was really about the US-Mexico border.
18 min
83
Spotify’s Joe Rogan problem
The podcast host built a massive audience by speaking to fringe figures in culture, business, and science. During the pandemic, that got him in trouble with Neil Young, among others.
29 min
84
Honey, I shrunk the kids’ tax credit
The US government let the expanded child tax credit expire ... just as researchers produced a study showing giving parents money might help improve brain development in kids.
25 min
85
Ukraine’s pipeline problem
The US is negotiating to stop Russia from invading Ukraine, but a Germany-backed natural gas project complicates things.
19 min
86
Breyer to Reteyer
Vox’s Ian Millhiser says American politics shifted during Justice Stephen Breyer’s career, until he no longer had a place in them.
20 min
87
Joe Biden, r u ok?
Build Back Blunders, and other presidential misadventures.
24 min
88
A Syrian war criminal is actually going to prison
Crimes against humanity are rarely prosecuted successfully, but a Syrian colonel got a life sentence for just that. Documentarian Adithya Sambamurthy explains how Germany is spearheading the effort.
22 min
89
China’s Winter Olympics (feat. Covid-19)
The Games don’t begin until February 4, but the drama around the pandemic, free speech, and diplomatic boycotts has been building for months. NPR’s Emily Feng explains from Beijing.
25 min
90
10 Downer Street
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing political ruin because his aides partied while the UK locked down.
25 min
91
The man with a pig heart
That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.
24 min
92
The James Webb Time Machine
To look into deep space is to look back in time. Ahead of the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, Unexplainable talked to scientists who hope to see “cosmic dawn,” a period long ago when the first starlight transformed the universe.
24 min
93
The James Webb Space Telescope
This Sunday, the greatest telescope in the history of humanity is scheduled to reach its destination nearly a million miles away from Earth. Vox’s Unexplainable explored what it will do when it gets there.
26 min
94
Chile’s millennial president
The 35-year-old president-elect in Chile loves tattoos, Taylor Swift, and progressive policies. Gabriel Boric will now try to overhaul the government as Chile rewrites its constitution.
24 min
95
Why Russia sent its janky version of NATO to Ka...
The speedy arrival of CSTO troops in Kazakhstan is unprecedented in the 30-year history of the Russia-backed regional security alliance.
16 min
96
"Break the Senate"
President Joe Biden wants to change how the Senate works to pass voting reforms. Sen. Mitch McConnell is threatening hell if it happens.
25 min
97
Novax Djokovic
How the best-ranked men’s tennis player in the world went to Australia to become the greatest of all time and ended up being detained.
27 min
98
No substitutes for the substitutes
What happens when all the teachers get sick?
21 min
99
The high cost of cheap clothes
Fast fashion took over the apparel industry, but consumers are tiring of its poor labor and environmental standards. Vox’s Terry Nguyen explains.
22 min
100
Life on the Russia-Ukraine border
Russia has kept its military at Ukraine’s doorstep for almost a decade. But a recent escalation on the border is creating fears of a full-blown invasion.
24 min