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Radiolab: Worst. Year. Ever

Radiolab: Worst. Year. Ever

Update: 2024-03-199


What was the worst year to be alive on planet Earth? We make the case for 536 AD, which set off a cascade of catastrophes that is almost too horrible to imagine. A supervolcano. The disappearance of shadows. A failure of bread. Plague rats. Using evidence painstakingly gathered around the world - from Mongolian tree rings to Greenlandic ice cores to Mayan artifacts - we paint a portrait of what scientists and historians think went wrong, and what we think it felt like to be there in real time. (Spoiler: not so hot.) We hear a hymn for the dead from the ancient kingdom of Axum, the closest we can get to the sound of grief from a millennium and a half ago.

The horrors of 536 make us wonder about the parallels and perpendiculars with our own time: does it make you feel any better knowing that your suffering is part of a global crisis? Or does it just make things worse?"

This week we're sharing a bonus episode from Radiolab: Worst. Year. Ever.

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Comments (1)

Roxanne Weaver

I'm 9 minutes in and waiting for the actual episode to begin, while Throughline and Radiolab hosts gush on and on and on about how fantastic they all are. Couldn't they have done that before recording the episode...maybe just a quick 2 minute intro? I realize you're trying to share audiences with each other, but I think anyone that can skip over this drivel will, like I finally did at the 6 minute mark.

Mar 20th
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Radiolab: Worst. Year. Ever

Radiolab: Worst. Year. Ever