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Mexico 68 [EPISODE]

The 1968 Olympics took place in Mexico City, Mexico. It was the first games ever hosted in a Latin American country.

Accidental Cuppa Design: The Silk Sample Sacks that Turned into Tea Bags [ARTICLE]

Bags are to tea as filters are to coffee, each classic consumer staples integrated into our basic conception of these hot drinks.

Selling the Sky: “Air Rights” Take Strange Bites Out of Big Apple Architecture [ARTICLE]

A new luxury condo tower in Manhattan by S9 architecture looms over an adjacent low-rise brick building.

You Should Do a Story [EPISODE]

Years ago, 99% Invisible Host Roman Mars was talking to John Marr (the man behind the mantra “always read the plaque“), and Marr told Mars: you should do a story about this place in San Francisco, then sent him to a gas station to look around and see what stood out about it.

From Heaven to Hell: Exploring the Odd Vertical Limits of Land Ownership [ARTICLE]

As far back as the 13th century, a powerful principle has informed the legal notion of property ownership — in Latin, cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos, or in English: “whoever’s is the soil, it is theirs all the way to Heaven and all the way to Hell.” The idea is intuitive but potent: a property owner is entitled to an infinite vertical column of space defined by the horizontal boundaries of their estate.

The IKEA Effect: How Effort Imbues Everyday Objects with Personal Value [ARTICLE]

A lot of modern food startups have learned from trial and error that some customers prefer to take an active role in preparing their meals.

In the Same Ballpark [EPISODE]

In the 1992, the Baltimore Orioles opened their baseball season at a brand new stadium called Oriole Park at Camden Yards, right along the downtown harbor.

Lane Ends, Merge Left: Redesigning the W4-2 Road Sign to End Confusion [ARTICLE]

The W4-2, also known as the Lane Reduction Transition Sign, is one of the most ubiquitous road signs in the United States — historically, it has also been on of the most confusing.

Fit to Print: Split-Level Storage Explains “Upper-Case” & “Lower-Case” Letters [ARTICLE]

Intuitively, “upper” and “lower” letter cases make sense — after all, the former generally stand taller and bigger than their counterparts.

The Yin and Yang of Basketball [EPISODE]

In 1891, a physical education teacher in Springfield, Massachusetts invented the game we would come to know as basketball.

Monetary Design Mystery: The Nebulous Origins of America’s Iconic Dollar Sign [ARTICLE]

Despite its historical importance and ubiquitous usage, the original meaning of the United States dollar sign ($ or ) remains a subject of debate.

Rattles & Hums: The Accidental Acoustics of Noisy Urban Architecture [ARTICLE]

The floorboards of Nijo Castle in Kyoto emit chirps as people pass through the hallways. The acoustic disturbance is louder than old boards creaking and occurs very much by design.

Squatters of the Lower East Side [EPISODE]

In 1987, three years after moving to New York City, Maggie Wrigley found herself on the edge of homelessness.

The Color Sphere: A Professor’s Pivotal “Color Space” Numbering System [ARTICLE]

Some color cataloging systems have evolved around names that are easier to remember and communicate, from the somewhat abstract (“New Old Rose”) to those more grounded in nature (“Robin Egg Blue).

New Jersey [EPISODE]

Soccer came to Brazil in the late 19th century. It was first a game of the elites but then over time became a game of the poor and working class.

Origin of the Spectrum: A Naturalist’s Evolved Approach to Naming Colors [ARTICLE]

Research scientist and neural network enthusiast Janelle Shan recently tasked an AI to develop attractive names for 7,700 different paint colors.

Beyond Streets & Avenues: Simple Visual Guide to Different Types of Roads [ARTICLE]

In Tuscon, Arizona, most roads running east-west are called streets while roads running north-south are labeled as avenues.

This Is Chance: Anchorwoman of the Great Alaska Earthquake [EPISODE]

It was the middle of the night on March 27, 1964. Earlier that evening, the second-biggest earthquake ever measured at the time had hit Anchorage, Alaska.

From Guerrilla Signs to 3D Maps: Clever Wayfinding for the NYC Subway System [ARTICLE]

Urban subway systems can be disorienting, particularly when it comes to changing trains, exiting stations and maneuvering through multiple underground floors.

Paint & Press: “Pirate Printer” Turns Street Graphics into Clothing Patterns [ARTICLE]

Walking through visually rich cities, it is easy to miss horizontal signage and flattish infrastructure embedded underfoot in streets and sidewalks.