Two years ago, we did a program about a mysterious business in Texas that threatens companies with lawsuits for violating its patents. But the world of patent lawsuits is so secretive, there were basic questions we could not answer. Now we can. And we get a glimpse why people say our patent system may be discouraging, not encouraging, innovation.
Tagged with “this american life” (19)
Stories of kids using perfectly logical arguments, and arriving at perfectly wrong conclusions.
Stories about the pitfalls of knowing just a little bit too little.
Calamari is on one side of the plate, sliced hog rectums are on the other. Which is which? We got a tip about a meat plant selling pig intestines as fake calamari, wondered if it could be true, and decided to investigate. Doppelgangers, doubles, evil twins and not-so-evil twins, this week. Fred Armisen co-hosts with Ira Glass.
As kids and teachers head back to school, we wanted to turn away from questions about politics and unions and money and all the regular school stuff people argue about, and turn to something more optimistic — an emerging theory about what to teach kids, from Paul Tough’s new book How Children Succeed.
Only the clever need apply. This week, stories of people acting on a technicality in the face of some of life’s toughest regulators: financial regulators, parents and God.
The Psychopath Test — Recently we heard about this test that could determine if someone was a psychopath. So, naturally, our staff decided to take it. This week we hear the results. Plus Jon Ronson asks the question: is this man a psychopath?
Ira explains that when the radio staff decided to take a test that reveals who is a psychopath, very quickly everyone came to believe that the highest score would go to either Robyn, Jane, or him. (6 minutes)
ACT ONE. UNDERACHIEVEMENT TEST.
NPR Science Correspondent Alix Spiegel tells the story of Robert Dixon, who’s in a maximum security prison in Vacaville California and is unlikely to ever get parole because of his score on the psychopath test. The test also is called "the checklist" or, more formally, the PCL-R, which stands for "Psychopathy Check List—Revised." Alix tells the story of its creation and reports that the man who created the test, Bob Hare, is concerned at how it’s being used today in the criminal justice system. A version of this story aired on NPR’s All Things Considered. (28 minutes)
ACT TWO. KING OF THE FOREST.
Jon Ronson investigates whether corporate leaders can, in fact, be psychopaths by visiting a former Sunbeam CEO named Al Dunlap. This is an excerpt from Ronson’s book, The Psychopath Test. (15 minutes)
Song: "If I Were King of the Forest", Wizard of Oz Soundtrack
ACT THREE. THE RESULTS ARE IN.
Ira and the radio show staff get their results on the psychopath test from Dr. David Bernstein, of Forensic Consultants, LLC., who administered the test to them. (6 minutes)
Song: "If I Only Had the Nerve", Wizard of Oz Soundtrack
Regrettably, we have discovered that one of our most popular episodes was partially fabricated. This week, we devote the entire hour to detailing the errors in "Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory," Mike Daiseyâs story about visiting Foxconn, an Apple supplier factory in China.
Mike Daisey was a self-described "worshipper in the cult of Mac." Then he saw some photos from a new iPhone, taken by workers at the factory where it was made. Mike wondered: Who makes all my crap? He traveled to China to find out.
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries. (Transcript)
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