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Endless Thread

Author: WBUR

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The front page of the Internet--also known as Reddit--is making noise. Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the site's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities, collaborating with Reddit's 330 million users and over 140 thousand communities to find all kinds of jaw-dropping narratives. A collaboration between WBUR and Reddit.
140 Episodes
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Unsent Letters

Unsent Letters

2020-09-1731:392

The unsent letter. We all have one, half-composed in our heads or fully-formed as an email draft. If you’re really poetic, it might be on a piece of paper, yellowing in a drawer. Whatever form these letters take, they go unsent because they might be better left unsent... or because we wouldn’t know how to send them even if we wanted to.  But there's a place online where these letters find an audience -- a big one. The "Unsent Letters" community on Reddit has over 350,000 members. In this episode, you'll hear from people who wrote letters addressing pet owners, COVID+ patients, bakery workers, bugs killed in the shower, and so much more. 
Snacktime: Odd Jobs

Snacktime: Odd Jobs

2020-09-1017:181

Do people say, "That's a thing??," when you tell them what you do for a living? Then you probably have an odd job. This week, Endless Thread tips its hat to you as we discuss the odd jobs of Redditors. 
Tight Squeeze

Tight Squeeze

2020-09-0333:573

You might not think about caves in the same breath as you do the deep ocean or outer space, but you probably should. There are approximately 70,000 caves in the United States alone, but the vast majority are inaccessible to the public. That means rare, delicate ecosystems have developed for tens of thousands of years in complete isolation from human contact. That is, until cavers travel deep underground through impossibly small spaces to find them. Join the Endless Thread team as we dive into the claustrophobia-inducing world of caving.
Snacktime: Dad Jokes

Snacktime: Dad Jokes

2020-08-2824:276

The spotlight is on r/DadJokes, which -- you guessed it -- is home to the most pun-derful, cheesy-but-lovable comedic material the internet has to offer. Starring the experts: Ben & Amory's DADS!
Angel's Glow

Angel's Glow

2020-08-2130:253

There's a Civil War legend that dates back to April of 1862, in the aftermath of the Battle of Shiloh. Supposedly, when night fell on thousands of wounded soldiers stranded on the battlefield, something strange happened. Some of their wounds started to glow.  Stranger still, those with glowing wounds seemed to have better rates of survival. Stories of this so-called "Angel's Glow" have echoed through history. But it wasn't until 2001, when a teenage Civil War buff embarked on a science project, that anyone found any answers.
Author John Boyne and Jeff the zebra plant take center stage in this edition of snacktime. Also, Ben and Amory realize they share an affinity for... melon ballers?
Ghost Town

Ghost Town

2020-08-0633:102

In the summer of 2018, Brent Underwood got a text in the middle of the night from a friend saying, "Look at this ghost town for sale!" Within a month, Brent had purchased Cerro Gordo, California, an abandoned silver mining town, with the help of friends and investors. He wants to revive the town for visitors while preserving its history. He's already faced some major setbacks -- from the lack of running water, to getting snowed in there during a global pandemic. But he calls Cerro Gordo his "life's work."
Ben, Amory, and Josh share some of the most memorable Reddit posts of late, from a "magical" parenting decision to a very bizarre business idea.
Randonauts

Randonauts

2020-07-2337:239

r/randonauts is a fast-growing community of Redditors who use random, quantum-generated coordinates to go on real-life adventures. But what happens when those random coordinates lead you straight to a grisly crime scene?
“What are the dimensions of an adult llama?” asked a Redditor called Mrs. Sam Handwich in the "No Stupid Questions" community. "I've been hired to make a tuxedo for a llama and I don't have its measurements," she added. We get to the bottom of this now-famous Reddit post. 
Giddyup

Giddyup

2020-07-0931:552

Images of Black men and women riding horses at protests around the country have been going viral. But the history of Black cowboys goes all the way back to the creation of the American West. The Endless Thread team digs into this history, and looks at how Black riding groups are carrying this legacy forward today.
Endless Thread is re-releasing a crown jewel from the archives. It's the team's epic adventure to locate a mountain of dishware in the middle of the woods and, truly, it's even more ridiculous than it sounds. Originally released as a two-part story almost exactly one year ago, we've re-edited it into one jumbo "combination platter" for your listening pleasure.  So sit back, relax, and dig in!
Shrinkflation

Shrinkflation

2020-06-2532:391

From the supermarket to the housing market, products are getting smaller but prices are not. Why is this happening? And can it be stopped before the toilet paper roll disappears right before our very… reaching hands?
Over the last few weeks, Endless Thread has been asking for stories that have caught your attention as millions of people around the country and around the world have come together to protest systemic racism and police brutality. Today, Juneteenth 2020, we present some of those stories.
Bonus: Making 'Madness'

Bonus: Making 'Madness'

2020-06-1126:521

"Madness," our 5-part series about the history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments, involved a lot of research and a lot of interviews -- most of which you heard excerpts from in the series, but some of which… you didn’t. Or, at least, not everything we wanted to share. In this bonus episode, we play highlights from the cutting room floor, answer listener questions, and share more about the making of this series. If you haven't heard Parts 1 through 5 of "Madness" you should listen to those episodes first. *** You can make a donation to Endless Thread and WBUR at the link below. All monthly contributors will continue receiving special Endless Thread bonus material: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trustees-of-boston-university/endless-thread-madness-fundraiser
The Endless Thread team has been watching as protests and police brutality have broken out in cities around the country, and around the world. We are working on covering these events thoughtfully and carefully. If you have a story or perspective you want to share, reach out to us at endlessthread@wbur.org.  In the meantime, instead of our regular programming, we’d like to play you an episode of the KQED podcast, Truth Be Told. It’s hosted by one of our colleagues, Tonya Mosley, the co-host of WBUR and NPR’s Here and Now, and their episode from this week is called “Protesting for the Soul of America: The New Civil Rights Movement.” Take a listen. 
Join the Endless Thread team on Friday, June 5th, at 5pm ET for a happy-hour Zoom discussion of our 5-part, in-depth series "Madness: The Secret Mission for Mind Control and the People Who Paid the Price." We'll answer your questions about the making of the series, the story itself, and about what's coming up for Endless Thread.  Register here: http://www.wbur.org/endlessthread/2020/05/29/endless-thread-happy-hour-rsvp
Dr. Ewen Cameron wanted to win a Nobel Prize for his work in psychiatry. He never got one. He died of a heart attack while climbing a mountain in the Adirondacks in 1967. So, we don’t have access to Cameron's thoughts on his own legacy. But we do have his son, Duncan Cameron. In the final installment of “Madness," we sit down with Duncan, and we explore the shocking ways his father's methods are still being used today. *** "Madness" unravels the shocking history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, investigate how the stigma around mental illness, combined with government secrecy, can silence the truth. *** You can make a donation to Endless Thread and WBUR here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trustees-of-boston-university/endless-thread-madness-fundraiser
In the early 1980s, victims of Dr. Ewen Cameron’s mind-altering experiments at the Allan Memorial Institute began a slow process of finding each other and building a case against the CIA for funding Cameron's work. The legacy of that case has played a key role in two separate lawsuits in progress today. These new lawsuits represent the interests of hundreds of families still seeking justice for the brutal “treatments” their loved ones were subjected to decades ago. *** "Madness" unravels the shocking history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, investigate how the stigma around mental illness, combined with government secrecy, can silence the truth. *** You can make a donation to Endless Thread and WBUR here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trustees-of-boston-university/endless-thread-madness-fundraiser
As the fear of communism was rising in the U.S. after World War II, government officials set their sights on developing a weapon that sounds straight out of science fiction: mind control. This effort was led by the CIA in a program called MK-ULTRA, which was made up of 149 "subprojects" involving more than 80 academic institutions, prisons, and organizations. In this episode, we learn the dark history of MK-ULTRA and examine the origins of Subproject 68: Dr. Ewen Cameron's experimentation on patients at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal. *** "Madness" unravels the shocking history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. Co-hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, along with producer Josh Swartz, investigate how the stigma around mental illness, combined with government secrecy, can silence the truth. *** You can make a donation to Endless Thread and WBUR here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trustees-of-boston-university/endless-thread-madness-fundraiser
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Comments (55)

Cindy R

this gave me great anxiety.

Sep 9th
Reply

Okamifan1 Productions

What a classic mystery... Well done podcast too.

Aug 17th
Reply

wanderluther

You hate Harry Potter?? 😡😠

Aug 11th
Reply

Bea Kiddo

It sounds to me that the Harry Potter kid knows she’s not a witch and the parents need to face reality. As huge fan of the Harry Potter stories, I know that kid is smarter than her parents. They need to lay off the poly juice potion 😉and let their kid do and be the good that comes from the Harry Potter stories but without the stories now.

Aug 1st
Reply

Bea Kiddo

It sounds to me that the Harry Potter kid knows she’s not a witch and the parents need to face reality. As huge fan of the Harry Potter stories, I know that kid is smarter than her parents. They need to lay off the poly juice potion 😉and let their kid do and be the good that comes from the Harry Potter stories but without the stories now. ✌🏻

Aug 1st
Reply

Bea Kiddo

It sounds to me that the Harry Potter kid knows she’s not a witch and the parents need to face reality. As huge fan of the Harry Potter stories, I know that kid is smarter than her parents. They need to lay off the poly juice potion 😉and let their kid do and be the good that comes from the Harry Potter stories but without the stories now. ✌🏻

Aug 1st
Reply

Bea Kiddo

It sounds to me that the Harry Potter kid knows she’s not a witch and the parents need to face reality. As huge fan of the Harry Potter stories, I know that kid is smarter than her parents. They need to lay off the poly juice potion 😉and let their kid do and be the good that comes from the Harry Potter stories but without the stories now. ✌🏻

Aug 1st
Reply

ellen cox

Thought this would be an especially interesting series since I'm listening to this during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic... I appreciate the hosts' presenting the myriad views associated with vaccinations... As a parent with an immunocompromised child, I get *intensely frustrated* 😬 when folks refuse to make choices (e.g., wearing a facemask in 2020) that ultimately benefit the community as a whole. I find these refusals to be, at best, disappointing, but also self-centered & repugnant because of the blatant disregard for the *impact* their actions could have on innocents...

Aug 1st
Reply

Nellie Fly

impressive, eh? 🤙👼

May 7th
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Jonella DeLimas

I completely disagree with the scientist's analysis of the thought process or desire to jump from a high place. Why wouldn't it just be something that is more instinctual based on our evolution? Why would people stand at a high place and get the alarm that there in danger, step back and then go to the process of thinking why did I step back oh it must have been because I wanted to jump that's ludicrous and that unscientific. Jung spoke about the shadow. Reach further, dig deeper.

Mar 18th
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Alissa Maxwell

I just discovered this pod, this week. I've been bingeing and learning so much. Last Seen brought me here. Observation: Amory is a puzzle. She has the buttery voice of a Disney voice over talent, the wit of an old soul, yet she doesn't understand basic pop culture references from as recently as the late 90s, so my assumption is she's very young.

Mar 9th
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Christopher Band

Not listening to something made by a Disney.

Dec 1st
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Mike B

"hate speech" aka stuff that hurts your fragile feelings...

Nov 10th
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Chris Matz

Thank you guys for your hard work! That was amaz ing!

Aug 23rd
Reply

Ryan O

Snack time in the woods , final sound is a modified car audio system, they do competitions for who can get the highest decibels for like 1.5 secs

Aug 17th
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Mae Lee Arant

gop bought and sold

Jul 23rd
Reply (1)

Mae Lee Arant

he voted for trump. the "overall" comment washed away a myriad of sins

Jul 23rd
Reply (1)

Mae Lee Arant

hate the glib overview of the animals killed and mounted for fun.

Jul 23rd
Reply (1)

Tadas Simokaitis

Ommmmggggggg. The clifffuckinghanger. 😂😂

Jul 1st
Reply (2)

Jason B

Interesting, but super biased. This should be titled, "In support of vaccination". Would be nice to hear a show without any bias. I would give this 1 out of 5 stars.

Jun 3rd
Reply (6)
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