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
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
2
“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
3
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
4
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
5
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
6
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
7
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
8
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
9
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
10
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
11
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
12
A plan to protect the planet
Or at least 30 percent of it.
28 min
13
Is nuclear energy good or bad?
Listen to the Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer explain the arguments and then decide for yourself.
32 min
14
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
15
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
16
Peanut butter and jellyfish
And other items from the lunch menu of 2050.
25 min
17
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
18
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
19
Gaetzgate
Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz’s sex scandal.
25 min
20
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
21
Vaccine passport, please
Recode’s Rebecca Heilweil explains how proving you got the shot became controversial.
20 min
22
CICADAPOCALYPSE 2021
Or maybe, after listening to this episode, it’ll be more like CICADAPALOOZA!
24 min
23
Taylor Swift rewrites her story
One of the biggest pop stars in the world is rerecording her first six albums at the artistic peak of her career. The Atlantic’s Shirley Li explains Swift’s gambit to reclaim her catalog.
25 min
24
KKK High
A group of students in Topeka, Kansas, discovered their high school was named after an exalted cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan. Then they tried to change it.
27 min
25
Hot Senate procedural news
On Monday night, the Senate parliamentarian gave Democrats an unprecedented blessing. Vox’s Ella Nilsen and Li Zhou explain what they might do with it.
16 min
26
MLB to Georgia: You’re out!
Major League Baseball, Delta, and Coke are calling out Georgia for its new voting reforms, but some of these corporations were involved in crafting the legislation. WABE’s Emma Hurt explains.
25 min
27
“My friend” has a question about the vaccine
We asked if you still had vaccine questions, and you did. We found answers.
26 min
28
High crimes
New York is the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana, but President Joe Biden won’t budge. This means that it’s possible to become a billionaire or a convicted felon for selling weed in the US.
25 min
29
Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan
It’s infrastructure week in America. President Joe Biden unveiled a plan to spend trillions on bridges, roads, housing, and clean energy to prove it.
20 min
30
Making tennis a misdemeanor
More than half of US states are working to ban, or even criminalize, trans athletes playing sports. Vox contributor Katelyn Burns explains how conservative politicians came to care so much about women’s sports.
29 min
31
Ship happens
After six days, a very big boat is finally afloat. While stuck, it brought international trade through the Suez Canal to a halt and cost companies billions of dollars.
20 min
32
The original anti-vaxxer
When a Swedish American pastor refused to get a smallpox vaccine in 1902, he ended up in the United States Supreme Court. The Atlantic’s new podcast The Experiment tells the story of Pastor Henning Jacobson.
38 min
33
The end of minty cigarettes?
With Democrats in charge, there is a lot of talk about big ideas for the country, including … banning menthol cigarettes? Politico’s Sarah Owermohle explains why Black lawmakers are split over whether a ban would help or hurt Black communities.
26 min
34
Would NOT demanding gun control be more effective?
The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia explains why two gun reform bills the House recently passed are likely to fail in the Senate. Patrick Blanchfield from the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research argues the American gun control debate is a big part of the problem.
23 min
35
WTF is an NFT?
On Monday, a tweet sold for $2.9 million. That followed a JPEG that went for $69 million. The Verge’s Liz Lopatto explains how internet ephemera turned to gold.
22 min
36
AnchoRage
The United States and China met in Anchorage, Alaska, on Thursday to air grievances, and the cameras were rolling. Vox’s Alex Ward explains how the meeting set the stage for one of the world’s biggest rivalries.
22 min
37
Why America needs a national pandemic memorial
People want to move on from Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean forgetting its victims. Historian Paul Farber and Vox reporter Alissa Wilkinson explain why a memorial could help us all heal and find accountability.
20 min
38
Racism, misogyny, and the shootings in Georgia
Eight people were killed in shootings at three Atlanta-area spas. Most of the victims were women. Six were Asian American.
20 min
39
Why are more children crossing the border?
A growing number of unaccompanied minors at the US-Mexico border is highlighting President Biden’s struggle to fulfill his campaign promises on immigration — as well as the difficult path to comprehensive immigration reform.
19 min
40
Who gets to vote?
It’s a question the US has struggled with since its founding.
22 min
41
Vaccines4Kids
President Biden says all adults will be eligible for a vaccine by May 1. But for the world to truly return to normal, young people will need shots, too. ProPublica’s Caroline Chen explains how, and when, that might happen.
24 min
42
No one nose
Believe it or not, scientists still don’t know how the sense of smell works. But that isn’t stopping one guy at MIT from trying to reverse-engineer it. Sounds like a job for Vox’s new podcast, Unexplainable.
27 min
43
It’s been a year
The year in revue.
18 min
44
Biden’s Big F***ing Deal
President Biden’s American Rescue Plan has been approved by Congress. It’s a revolution in American welfare disguised as stimulus.
20 min
45
You’re vaccinated. Now what?
New guidelines from the CDC for fully vaccinated people suggest it’s finally time to hug your grandparents. Dr. Kavita Patel explains the do’s and don’ts as we inch back towards “normal” life.
24 min
46
Alabama shakes up Amazon
Darryl Richardson, a worker at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, explains why he helped initiate a unionization effort that now has President Biden’s support. Recode’s Jason Del Rey explains how the Bessemer vote could be a game changer for American labor.
27 min
47
The Bachelor meets reality
Beset by controversy, The Bachelor’s latest season is winding down with an identity crisis. It’s a rare case of reality TV reflecting our cultural reality.
30 min
48
The surge of anti-Asian violence
The United States is stumbling through two racial reckonings at once. Author Jeff Chang says it’s an inflection point centuries in the making.
25 min
49
Manchin in the middle
Joe Biden won the presidency, but it’s Joe Manchin from West Virginia who seems to be the decider. The Charleston Gazette-Mail’s Joe Severino shadowed Senator Joe in the spotlight. Mountain State Spotlight’s Greg Moore explains why this is West Virginia’s moment.
23 min
50
The $15 dream
Washington’s hottest policy fight is over raising the minimum wage to $15. Emily Stewart explains the Democrats’ effort to get it through Congress, and Dylan Matthews explains whether it will cost the country jobs.
22 min
51
How acid trips led to better policing
Thirty years ago, Eugene, Oregon, figured out an alternative to the police. They called it CAHOOTS. Seriously.
29 min
52
Canceling Keystone XL
President Biden finally wants to put the Keystone XL pipeline to bed. But if the last 12 years of environmental fights are any indication, it won’t be easy.
26 min
53
The case for Covid-19 optimism
Vox’s German Lopez explains why he feels optimistic about the end of the pandemic even though 500,000 Americans have died, the virus is mutating, and it’s going to take a long time to vaccinate the world.
21 min
54
A tale of two governors
Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom were hailed for their leadership early on in the pandemic. Now, the former is mired in scandal and the latter is facing a recall campaign.
29 min
55
Stimu-less
What’s taking so long? What’s happening with those $1,400 checks? Are the Democrats betraying the people who voted for them? Vox’s Li Zhou and Andrew Prokop explain.
25 min
56
Googliath
Australia just reined in Google. Dozens of other countries want in on the action. The latest season of Land of the Giants explains how two grad students turned a search engine into what might be the most powerful company in history.
41 min
57
A tough week for Texas
First it was brutal winter weather, power outages followed, and then came a poorly timed trip to Cancun. Texas Public Radio’s Joey Palacios explains what comes next.
22 min
58
Rush Limbaugh’s legacy
Author Nicole Hemmer explains how Limbaugh helped pave the way for Fox News, OAN, and Newsmax.
26 min
59
Biden at the border
President Biden says he wants to undo his predecessor’s immigration policies, so why are some of them still in effect? The El Paso Times’s Lauren Villagran and the New Yorker’s Sarah Stillman explain.
25 min
60
57-43
Democrats made a strong case against Donald Trump. Republicans are being punished for supporting it. Vox’s Zack Beauchamp explains.
23 min
61
#FreeBritney
The movement to liberate Britney Spears from her conservatorship may not succeed, but it’s revealing a lot about how we treat young women. Vox’s Constance Grady explains.
25 min
62
The Republican(!) plan to give parents money
Sen. Mitt Romney wants to throw money at parents, Andrew Yang-style. President Biden is into it, too. Vox’s Dylan Matthews explains.
21 min
63
Vaccine hoarding
Poorer countries have received less than 1 percent of the Covid-19 vaccines distributed around the world. Vox’s Julia Belluz explains what the WHO is calling a “catastrophic moral failure.”
16 min
64
26 Words
A quarter-century after it was signed, Section 230, the law that made the modern internet, has done the impossible: united Democrats and Republicans.
25 min
65
Capitol punishment
Vox’s Andrew Prokop previews the historic second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. Law professor Alan Rozenshtein explains what the Justice Department can and cannot do to prosecute insurrectionists.
26 min
66
The Senate’s $1.9 trillion all-nighter
The Senate voted on more than 40 pieces of legislation overnight. Vox’s Li Zhou explains what the “vote-a-rama” means for President Biden’s agenda.
15 min
67
The Arab Spring, 10 years later
Ten years ago, a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire and set off a revolution across the Middle East and North Africa. The Independent’s Borzou Daragahi says the Arab Spring never ended.
33 min
68
Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “loony lies”
Vox’s Aaron Rupar explains why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has likened a fellow Republican’s views to cancer. And New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi explores what lawmakers peddling conspiracy theories means for the future of the GOP.
23 min
69
The coup in Myanmar
Some would say the military has always been in control of Myanmar. On Monday morning, they made it official once again.
18 min
70
Introducing Chicano Squad
After the 1977 murder of a young Latino man, the Houston Police Department created a team of five young Latino officers to solve homicides in their community. True crime meets forgotten history in the Vox Media Podcast Network’s 'Chicano Squad.'
47 min
71
Biden’s latest 13 actions (in 13 minutes)
And whether or not any of it will last beyond his presidency.
20 min
72
GameStock
Vox’s Emily Stewart explains how GameStop’s stock jumped by 1,700 percent this month. Bloomberg’s Matt Levine ponders the purpose of the stock market.
24 min
73
The military’s far-right problem
Sen. Tammy Duckworth wants the military to do a better job of rooting out extremism in its ranks. A military investigator explains how to solve a decades-old problem.
23 min
74
Coronavirus, 365 days later
One year after our first episode on the novel coronavirus, Vox’s Julia Belluz explains what we got right, what we got wrong, and what comes next.
21 min
75
Marianne Williamson on healing America’s soul
Marianne Williamson was applauded as well as ridiculed on the presidential debate stage when she warned of the “dark psychic forces of collectivized hatred.” Now, just a few weeks after a lethal insurrection, a historic second impeachment, and the inauguration of President Joe Biden, she talks about the possibility of unity.
23 min
76
Second in command, first in history
Kamala Harris has already broken barriers, but ahead lies the rare task of leading a polarized and evenly divided Senate.
24 min
77
Biden’s first 17 actions (in 17 minutes)
In his first few minutes in office, President Biden hit CTRL+Z on former President Trump’s agenda.
20 min
78
46
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in today and got straight to work. Vox’s Laura McGann and Dylan Matthews explain what will be done immediately, and what’s possible with the slimmest of majorities in Congress.
34 min
79
Abolish the lame-duck period?
America’s two-month lame-duck period gave supporters of the outgoing president ample time to plan a violent uprising. Vox’s Ian Millhiser argues the long transition needs to end.
22 min
80
The first global vaccination
Was distributed by 22 orphans.
19 min
81
Okay, Google: unionize!
A very big tech company now has a very small union. Recode’s Shirin Ghaffary explains why highly paid workers in an anti-union industry still organized and made history.
23 min
82
The people behind the insurrection
President Trump has been impeached for inciting an insurrection on the Capitol one week ago. CNN’s Elle Reeve was there and explains who was duped into mobbing the government. Plus, Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe reports on how the government plans to prevent another mob from wreaking havoc.
21 min
83
A step past impeachment
Impeachment won’t stop the United States’ slide towards authoritarianism. Voter reform might.
22 min
84
Deplatforming Donald
First he lost his Facebook. Then he lost his Twitter. As of today, President Trump had been limited or booted by more than a dozen platforms. Casey Newton, editor of Platformer, explains the historic shift on social media.
26 min
85
The flamethrowers and the fire extinguishers
Infighting among Republican lawmakers reached a breaking point this week. The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins explains why and the tough road ahead for the GOP.
33 min
86
How security at the Capitol failed
Washington Post national security reporter Dan Lamothe explains how a number of agencies and politicians put together a historically bad security plan for Congress on Wednesday.
25 min
87
The breach, explained by Rep. Maloney (locked i...
Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York explains what it was like to live through today’s violent transfer of power.
11 min
88
The virus gets more contagious
Viruses mutate, but this time it’s different.
18 min
89
All eyes on Georgia
Tuesday’s election will decide who controls the Senate, but the president is still hung up on the election he already lost.
25 min
90
The year in revue
It’s been a year.
6 min
91
How 2020 changed us
In the final episode of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” people look back on a very long year.
26 min
92
Animals catch Covid-19, too
In the fourth of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” a reminder that we’re not the only animals who got Covid-19 this year. Science writer David Quammen explains why our health and theirs are intertwined.
20 min
93
Dr. Fauci’s nightmare before Christmas
In the third of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” Dr. Anthony Fauci reflects back on his pandemic year, what he’s learned, and what he’d do differently.
21 min
94
The year live music died
In the second of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” musicians explain how they got creative when live shows and tours were canceled.
26 min
95
Moving home
In the first of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” millennials are moving back in with their parents (again), but they are discovering multigenerational living has its perks.
18 min
96
A climate change of address
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
97
How Netscape created our tech world
In this episode of the Go for Broke podcast, host Julia Furlan travels back to the mid-’90s to explain how a bygone web browser set the stage for modern tech.
29 min
98
Pornhub just deleted 80% of its videos
One of the most popular porn sites on the internet just purged more than 10 million videos. Vice’s Samantha Cole explains why.
18 min
99
Your vaccine questions, answered
The Covid-19 vaccine is being distributed in the United States, and you have questions. Vox’s Umair Irfan has answers.
29 min
100
India’s farmers strike
The world’s biggest democracy is contending with what might be the world’s biggest labor stoppage.
21 min