February 2019

National Sword – 99% Invisible

China used to buy most of America’s (and Australia’s, and Canada’s) recycling – we sorted it, they recycled it. Then, in 2018, the Chinese Government surprised the world with a new policy, ‘National Sword’ (国门利剑), that banned the import of most foreign waste. A stab straight to the heart of waste management! This typically excellent episode of 99pi explains the impact of China’s decision, inspires outrage at the messed up geo/sociopolitical world order that got us in this murky situation in the first place, and forces you to think about the ‘recyclable’ waste you produce.

The Punchline – Radiolab

This is a story about sport – ice hockey. Only skilled storyteller like the legends at Radiolab, could make a show about sport that I not only got to the end of, but actually loved.

I listened to a story about a piece of graffiti on a wall in a tiny village in Italy, and how that graffiti was identified through a piece of oral history. The graffiti was done by an American soldier in the final days of WWII (or was it WW1?). More broadly, the story was about a young librarian who had developed a clever method of archiving oral history so that it’s contents were searchable. This is really interesting to me because it confounds me how invisible audio content is to the amazing searching powers of the internet. The fact that I have not been able to search my way into remembering on which podcast I heard this story is really a delightful case in point. Does this story ring a bell for anyone? I thought it was an episode of the Kitchen Sisters but I haven’t been able to find it on their website…

And here’s a fun thing I did in February