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 hosted by Sean Rameswaram and featuring the finest reporters from the Vox Media Podcast Network and beyond.

News
Daily News
Politics
1
2020 makes no census
The 2020 census is fighting a losing battle against the coronavirus and President Trump. NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang explains how a decade of money and power are at stake.
21 min
2
Kamala
Biden picked Harris. Vox’s Fabiola Cineas explains the role race is already playing in the election, and Ezra Klein argues Donald Trump is making things easy for his opponents.
18 min
3
The dictator vs. the homemaker
The longtime leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, is facing nationwide protests and accusations that he stole Sunday’s election. His opponent, a 37-year-old homemaker who entered the race in place of her imprisoned husband, has fled the country.
19 min
4
How Trump’s relief plan helps and hurts
President Trump wants to resolve the congressional deadlock over stimulus relief by himself. Vox’s Li Zhou rummages through the mixed bag.
18 min
5
TikTok, on the clock, Donald says your time is up
President Trump is threatening to ban TikTok, but Microsoft might be able to stop the clock.
22 min
6
Florida’s Covid-19 tragedy
The state saw Covid-19 coming. It still became an outbreak epicenter.
19 min
7
What’s going on in Lebanon
A chemical blast has made a very bad situation worse for Lebanon. Journalist Habib Battah explains from Beirut.
18 min
8
Everything that could go wrong with the Novembe...
A worsening pandemic. A poll worker shortage. A hobbled postal service. Russian hacking. Donald Trump. Vox’s Ella Nilsen explains the many obstacles facing the United States as Election Day nears.
17 min
9
Who’s “Karen?” And what’s BIPOC?
A Washington Post columnist named Karen explains her feelings about “Karen.” A University of Arizona linguist named Sonja explains BIPOC and the capitalization of “Black” and “White.”
19 min
10
The Island of Explained: Election Day
It’s Election Day on the Island of Explained! Will the candidate with the most votes win, or will the island’s Electoral College determine a different leader?
23 min
11
Tim, Mark, Jeff, and Sundar
The leaders of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google testified before Congress on Wednesday in what The Verge’s Casey Newton says might have been the most important Webex in human history.
24 min
12
Life after Covid-19, explained by Carl (who had...
Some people walk away from Covid-19 feeling fine. Others are dealing with a long list of lingering health issues.
19 min
13
Stimulating America
Democrats and Republicans have a $2 trillion disagreement on how to relieve Americans from the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.
21 min
14
Rural America meets Black Lives Matter
In Bethel, Ohio, a Black Lives Matter rally became a standoff between armed bikers and peaceful protesters. BuzzFeed’s Anne Helen Petersen explains.
20 min
15
Houston, we have a problem
Baseball’s back, but fans won’t get the chance to boo the cheating Astros.
20 min
16
The Anti-maskers
The United States has now confirmed 4 million cases of Covid-19. Some Americans still don’t want to wear a mask.
19 min
17
Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan
Joe Biden is tacking to the left and embracing a historic climate plan. Vox’s David Roberts explains whether it stands a chance.
18 min
18
Tucker Carlson’s America
The most popular host in the history of cable news returned from a week-long vacation after his head writer was exposed as a raging bigot. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple explains why the scandal won’t stick.
23 min
19
When the feds came to Portland
They came in military camouflage and unmarked vans. Now the state of Oregon is suing the federal government over its policing tactics. Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Conrad Wilson explains.
18 min
20
The Island of Explained: Vaccines
We return to the magical Island of Explained with a microbiologist and a talking moth to find out what it will take to produce a coronavirus vaccine.
23 min
21
#CancelRent
Eviction bans and expanded unemployment benefits are expiring, leaving millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes by the end of the summer.
19 min
22
What happened to California?
California once looked like an example of how to handle the pandemic. Now it’s a warning for other states looking to reopen.
21 min
23
The Washington Football Team
The District of Columbia's football team is abandoning the name it adopted almost a century ago. Paul Chaat Smith, a curator at the National Museum of the American Indian, hopes the country is at long last ready to reckon with its past.
16 min
24
Stone free
President Trump commuted Roger Stone’s sentence in what Vox’s Andrew Prokop says is a particularly troubling variety of political corruption.
23 min
25
A million international students in limbo
The Trump administration announced it would send a million international students home this week. But Vox’s Nicole Narea says the students are collateral in a bigger political play.
20 min
26
Supreme Tax Court
The Supreme Court issued its remaining decisions today for the 2020 term, including the biggie: Trump’s tax returns.
18 min
27
“SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!”
President Trump says students and teachers must return to the classroom. Reality says this is going to be the toughest reopening yet.
18 min
28
Surfaces vs. droplets vs. aerosols
239 scientists have signed a letter urging the WHO to warn people about airborne transmission of the coronavirus.
21 min
29
Netflix has no chill
How Netflix has upended tech, Hollywood, and how we spend our free time.
39 min
30
How AI makes policing more racist
Turns out it’s just as biased as people are.
17 min
31
A bounty on American troops
Russia allegedly paid the Taliban to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan. But President Trump’s response may be the real scandal.
19 min
32
Helicopter policing
Police across the country have responded to recent protests with military tactics and equipment. The Washington Post’s Alex Horton investigated how two military helicopters were used as a show of force against protesters in the nation’s capital.
19 min
33
Lockdown, reopen, repeat
Hospitals are stretched to their breaking point in Texas, Arizona, and other states where Covid-19 cases are rising sharply. Vox’s Dylan Scott says the US could be in store for more lockdowns. And more reopenings. And more lockdowns…
18 min
34
Justice for Breonna Taylor
There hasn’t been an arrest in the case in the three months since police shot and killed Taylor in her home in Louisville, Kentucky. But now the “Justice for Breonna” movement has the potential to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
27 min
35
Black Lives Matter is working
America is undergoing a new racial reckoning. The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer explains why this time is different.
20 min
36
Brazil’s coronavirus disaster
President Jair Bolsonaro called it the "sniffles" and recommended hydroxychloroquine. Now the country has over a million confirmed cases. Reporter Gustavo Ribeiro explains how Brazil could become the next epicenter.
18 min
37
A world without bail?
With the wave of protests came waves of arrests and record-breaking donations to bail funds across the US, but reformers hope for a reckoning of one of the only for-profit bail systems in the world.
19 min
38
How not to fire someone
Attorney General William Barr tried to quietly push out the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan on Friday night. Then everybody noticed.
18 min
39
Celebrate Juneteenth!
The celebration of emancipation is as vital today as ever.
16 min
40
A good day for DREAMers
In a major decision from the Supreme Court, DACA lives to fight another day. But it's not in the clear yet.
16 min
41
The return of sports
There are two ways to do it: safely or not so safely. Guess which one we’re heading toward in the United States?
17 min
42
Welcome to CHAZ
Some are calling six blocks of a Seattle neighborhood the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. KUOW’s Casey Martin spent a week within its loosely guarded walls.
16 min
43
A landmark LGBTQ ruling
The Supreme Court of the United States has decided the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
14 min
44
Copaganda
After 33 seasons, the reality TV show Cops was canceled this week. Should scripted police dramas follow?
20 min
45
Is this the second wave?
Vox’s Dylan Scott says it’s hard to tell because the United States is riding 50 different Covid-19 waves.
16 min
46
Can Congress reform the police?
The United States has a policing problem and Congress wants to fix it. Vox’s Li Zhou explains whether the Democrats’ new bill will go anywhere.
21 min
47
Minneapolis commits to “dismantling” the police
Minneapolis City Council member Alondra Cano explains what the city wants to do and what might get in the way.
19 min
48
Biden his time
Pandemic, protests, and the best poll numbers yet for Joe Biden.
17 min
49
The Talk
Two mothers talk to their teenage sons about race and police brutality in the United States.
23 min
50
What “abolish the police” means
It’s not what you think.
17 min
51
The problem with police unions
Even after Derek Chauvin was captured on video killing George Floyd, he could still get his job back. BuzzFeed’s Melissa Segura explains how.
19 min
52
Antifa?
President Trump wants to blame the unrest on antifa. Vox’s Zack Beauchamp explains why he can’t.
22 min
53
American Nightmare
Professor Ibram X. Kendi explains how the protests and unrest are a result of black America’s living nightmare and what it will take to wake up.
19 min
54
“I can’t breathe.” Again.
The former police officer who killed George Floyd has been charged with murder. But Floyd’s case is just one of many recent incidents of police brutality in Minneapolis. The Marshall Project’s Simone Weichselbaum explains why police reform hasn’t worked in the city.
16 min
55
100,000 is an undercount
It could take years for all the Covid-19 deaths to be counted properly. Vox’s Matthew Yglesias explains why the Trump administration is pushing for an undercount.
17 min
56
"First Hong Kong, then the world"
While most of the world was distracted by the pandemic, China unveiled a law to strip Hong Kong of its autonomy, setting off a new wave of protests in the city.
14 min
57
One giant leap for SpaceX
For the first time in almost a decade, an American rocket is launching people into space. The Verge’s Loren Grush explains why the launch could fundamentally alter the future of spaceflight.
18 min
58
Today, Explained: Greatest Hits
Sean and Noam break down all the original songs in Today, Explained's back catalog.
24 min
59
Blame WHO?
President Trump would like to.
18 min
60
The case for reopening parks
Reopening America’s parks could help fight the pandemic. It’s a good time to rethink streets, too.
15 min
61
Is this Trump's fault?
Ezra Klein has some thoughts.
20 min
62
Elongate
Elon Musk fought the law and Elon won. Transcript at vox.com/todayexplained.
24 min
63
The Class of 2020
Graduate? In this economy!? The Atlantic's Annie Lowrey explains the economic reality new graduates face and Sean offers one graduating senior a commencement speech.
22 min
64
Facebook’s PTSD payout
Facebook has agreed to pay a $52 million settlement to its content moderators. Reporting by The Verge’s Casey Newton was a game changer.
22 min
65
Covid, kids, and a mystery illness
Dozens of children have fallen ill with an inflammatory syndrome that may be linked to Covid-19. Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Kevin Friedman explains.
15 min
66
Will Ahmaud Arbery’s killing change Georgia law?
Two white men are accused of killing a black jogger. Georgia state Rep. Jasmine Clark wants to change the laws that could be used to defend them.
21 min
67
A few men in fishing boats try to take Venezuela
While the world was distracted by a pandemic, a ragtag team of Americans and Venezuelans attempted to overthrow President Maduro.
15 min
68
Quarantine dreams
Think you’ve been having exceptionally strange dreams lately? Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett says it’s not a figment of your imagination.
23 min
69
The Reopening States of America
Dr. Richard Besser, former head of the Centers for Disease Control, explains how states can reopen without putting lives in danger. Transcript at vox.com/todayexplained.
19 min
70
Why Sweden stayed open
The Kingdom of Sweden watched the world lock down and decided to do the opposite. Swedish journalist Nathalie Rothschild explains. Transcript at vox.com/todayexplained.
18 min
71
How to be happy
The most popular course in Yale's 300-year history is all about achieving happiness. The pandemic has made it more relevant than ever.
22 min
72
Tara Reade alleges, Joe Biden denies
Vox's Laura McGann explains the sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden, and the implications for his campaign. Transcript at vox.com/todayexplained.
16 min
73
The Island of Explained
Come with us to the magical Island of Explained, where we’ll climb trees and venture into caves to answer kids’ biggest coronavirus questions. Go to vox.com/todayexplainedlearning to find supplemental activities, from testing how far snot travels to coloring in a map of the Island of Explained. Transcript at vox.com/todayexplained.
23 min
74
The Invisible Man
Vox's Alex Ward explains what's going on with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
17 min
75
Overflowing farms, desperate food banks
American farmers are destroying their crops while demand is mounting at food banks. Politico food and agriculture reporter Helena Bottemiller Evich explains.
24 min
76
Inside the world's biggest lockdown
Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered 1.4 billion Indians to stay home. The world had never seen anything like it.
22 min
77
Oil is broke. Green New Deal with it?
Oil just went negative for the first time in history. Vox's David Roberts says that creates an opportunity to make more history.
21 min
78
Georgia on my mind
As the state reopens, Vox's Jillian Weinberger zooms to rural Georgia to hear how a Covid-19 outbreak spiraled out of control.
16 min
79
Conspiracy-19
Vox’s science editor, Eliza Barclay, arms you with the facts you need to fight your uncle’s favorite coronavirus conspiracy theories.
22 min
80
This one's for Earth
Cryptic treehunters. Unknown apples. Flowers fighting back. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Vox’s Umair Irfan and Brian Resnick explain what we learned about the planet in the last year.
19 min
81
One day, three healthcare workers
A nurse, a paramedic, and a physician’s assistant record themselves throughout the course of a day in the fight against Covid-19.
21 min
82
The epicenter of the epicenter
Covid-19's victims, and the people they leave behind.
23 min
83
Long shot
It could be a year or more before the vaccine is ready, but there’s a radical plan to speed up the process.
25 min
84
Zeke Emanuel’s exit strategy
President Trump wants to reopen the country yesterday. Bioethicist Zeke Emanuel, who served as a health policy advisor to former President Obama, offers a safe path.
25 min
85
Death Cab for The Postal Service?
The United States Postal Service is on the brink of collapse. Vox's Matthew Yglesias explains how and why the country should save it.
25 min
86
All praise, no pay
Essential workers in the food, transportation, and retail industries are being called American heroes. They want to be paid as such.
25 min
87
Elizabeth Warren has a plan for this, too
Friend of the show Ezra Klein speaks to Sen. Elizabeth Warren about several plans she has proposed to combat this pandemic.
51 min
88
The loneliness pandemic
Coronavirus has led to another pandemic: social isolation. Vox’s Ezra Klein says this sickness has a cure.
19 min
89
Six feet away from God
While a few religious leaders flout shelter in place ordinances, Easter, Passover, and Ramadan are inspiring most to get creative with worship.
24 min
90
Vote and die
Wisconsinites had to choose between catching Covid-19 and voting on Tuesday. Is the rest of the country next?
24 min
91
"The Great Equalizer"
Madonna was wrong. Covid-19 isn't an equalizer. It's coming for America's most vulnerable populations.
22 min
92
The immunity test
A vaccine will take a while, but Vox's Umair Irfan says the global effort to test for immunity and treat Covid-19 is well underway.
19 min
93
Mask on? Mask off?
In an about-face, the Centers for Disease Control would now like you to cover your mouth and nose when you go outside.
25 min
94
6.6 million more unemployed
Last week's unemployment numbers shattered all records. This week, they doubled. Vox's Matthew Yglesias, host of The Weeds podcast, proposes a way out of this mess.
26 min
95
Lockdown while locked up
Arthur Longworth calls Sean from Washington State Reformatory to explain what it's like to serve a life sentence at a prison where the coronavirus is spreading.
25 min
96
The trouble with Trump’s daily briefings
Part rally, part media-bashing, part critical updates on the coronavirus crisis, President Trump's daily press briefings are muddying the message.
25 min
97
How Covid-19 attacks your body
In this episode of Vox's Reset podcast Ed Yong from The Atlantic explains how a little spiky ball called SARS-CoV2 brought the world to its knees.
23 min
98
Your coronavirus questions, answered (Part II)
On today's show, more listener questions: Why isn't everyone social distancing? Will I be immune after I get it? When will this end? My anxiety is spiking!
23 min
99
The emergency room emergency
The Atlantic's James Hamblin explains why America has a critical shortage of medical supplies. New York City ER doctor Calvin Sun says, “It’s like a lottery that we don’t want to play, but we’re forced to play.”
25 min
100
The two trillion dollar question
Congress has settled on an historic stimulus package, but Ezra Klein is worried it might not be enough.
24 min