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Search Engine

PJ Vogt, Audacy, Jigsaw

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Named a best podcast of 2023 by Vulture, Time, The Economist, & Vogue. No question too big, no question too small. On Search Engine, host PJ Vogt answers the kinds of questions you might ask the internet when you can't sleep. If you find the world bewildering, but also sometimes enjoy being bewildered by it, we're here for you. Edited by Sruthi Pinnamaneni.
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"'A podcast about the internet' that is actually an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it." - The Guardian. Hosted by Alex Goldman and Emmanuel Dzotsi from Gimlet.
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Since not long after the car was invented, we have wanted to stick wings on them and fly them through the sky. This week, we interview writer Gideon Lewis-Kraus about the surprisingly long history of actual, working flying cars in America. Plus, what it's like to actually fly in a modern flying car. Read Gideon's article! Support the show! To learn…
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It’s an election year and so Search Engine’s campaign desk is answering the questions you really want answers to: all the political yard signs in your neighbors’ yards … do they do anything besides make everyone like each other less? An experiment that definitively answers this question. Support the show! To learn more about listener data and our p…
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In part two of our story, we watch the state of New York try to pull off something we rarely see in America: a kind of reparations. A very ambitious dream encounters a thicket of details and complications. The whole time, cameras roll, broadcasting the meetings on YouTube. Help support the show! To learn more about listener data and our privacy pra…
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In 2021, New York legalized cannabis for adults. It was supposed to be the start of a legal market, led by people arrested during prohibition. Instead, a strange new market has flourished, seemingly every formerly empty store in the city now sells weed. How'd that happen? In part one, the history of prohibition and how it helps explain the mess we'…
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We've launched a new premium feed called Incognito Mode. It includes bonus episodes of Search Engine and some other very special features. We're including a preview episode here: an interview with a very candid, high-level drug dealer about adulterants in the illicit drug supply. Sign up now, at searchengine.show or go there to learn more. (More th…
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Something strange, new, and unsettling is happening in media right now. Huge institutions, both newspapers and online outlets, are being severely transformed by layoffs. As a person just trying to find good information on the internet, what are you supposed to do? We’re joined this week again by Ezra Klein, who has an explanation for why this is ha…
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"Hi David, I’m Vicky Ho. Don’t you remember me?" An investigative reporter travels halfway around the world to find out who is sending him random wrong number texts and why. After you hear this story, you'll never look at these messages the same way again. You can grab a copy of Zeke's book, Number Go Up, here. If you want to support Search Engine,…
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This episode will change how you look at games. We talk to Ben Brode, the designer behind Hearthstone and Marvel Snap, about how a creative person learns to make the things they love, and about the secret ideas hiding in games as simple as rock-papers-scissors. If you'd like to support the show, head to our newsletter. To learn more about listener …
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Cockroaches were a scourge that scuttled through the cracks and crevices of homes all throughout America. And then one day, large numbers of them mysteriously disappeared. A miracle for humankind? Sure. But for cockroaches: the world's grimmest true crime story. This story is a collaboration with our friends over at Radio Atlantic. If you want to s…
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A question that has launched a battle between bird-loving ecologists and ardent, cat-defending activists. What should we do about an invasive species beloved by many Americans -- cats? We hear from people on both sides of the war, and from one person who sits exactly in the middle. Support the show! To learn more about listener data and our privacy…
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Actor Molly Ringwald joins us to talk about a time in her life when her job was to pretend to be a normal American teenager, a job which made it impossible to actually be a normal American teenager. How did she learn to survive? In an era when the internet has turned many more people into public figures, what can everybody else learn from her? Plus…
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This week, the shocking finale of our investigation into who -- or what -- has been leaving chicken bones strewn across the sidewalks of American cities. Our team of investigators returns with surveillance footage, and a recording of a superintendent with a rat-hitting stick. Plus, an exclusive interview with a public servant with a vision for a re…
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A team of investigators with an unusual set of skills joins us this week to solve a mystery that haunts dog owners across modern American cities. On our journey, we'll have video surveillance, thousands of years of poultry history, and some hard truths about highway apples. Check out Manny, Noah, and Devan online. And if you'd like to support Searc…
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This week, a question a podcast has no business trying to answer. We talk to writer A.J. Daulerio about his own story of recovery, and the story of how he found himself opening a very unusual community on the internet. You can find the Search Engine newsletter here. To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.auda…
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We bring you the shattering conclusion to our investigation into whether a New York City sushi restaurant is swapping their tuna rolls for “the ex-lax fish.” The DNA test is in. Can we trust anyone? Are our fish safe to eat? What’s the email address where you submit for the Pulitzers? We have answers. Plus a bonus this week — the 5-second rule is p…
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We investigate unsettling rumors that fish purveyors may be mislabeling fish to save a buck. Our path leads us deep into the shadowy world of blackmarket fish sales, and sends us hot on the trail of the infamous ex-lax fish. Plus, we look back to antiquity for the first ever recorded emergency podcast. Support the show at pjvogt.com! To learn more …
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This week, the story of a very brief, very absurd revolution at the world’s leading artificial intelligence company, OpenAI. And we try to answer the quite real question that might be animating all of the drama. Check out Casey Newton's newsletter Platformer and our newsletter, too. To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit:…
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A question from a four-year-old tips us into an investigation of one of our most fundamental taboos: cannibalism. With help from New Yorker food critic Hannah Goldfield and writer Kelefa Sanneh. Support the show! at pjvogt.substack.com To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn …
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Every day in Manhattan, about 1,000 people will stand outside in a long line waiting for their chance to take a picture with a bronze bull. On many of those days, PJ Vogt stares at the scene trying to decode what exactly is going on here. This week, he get answers, and a story that leads back to one of the most peculiar art crimes of the 1980s. If …
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In part two of our story about ADHD medications, we approach the question from a different angle. We meet a doctor who spent two decades convinced that her brain does not work correctly, and who struggled to find someone who believed her. To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Lea…
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One of the millions of millennials given prescription stimulants to treat ADHD decides to quit. And afterwards wonders -- how did these drugs becomes so popular, so fast? This week, the story of amphetamine's birth, life, death, and rebirth in America. (Methylphenidates, too.) If you want to comment on this episode or financially support the show, …
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Ezra Klein joins Search Engine this week to answer a question that's increasingly confounded us: how do I use the internet now? How do I get information about the things I care about, without getting sucked into a vortex of opinion, unearned certainty, and yelling? If you'd like reading recommendations based on this episode, or if you'd like to sup…
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Search Engine is VERY EXCITED to share the news that Heavyweight, one of our favorite shows, is now available wherever you download podcasts. To celebrate, and to herald the release of their new season, we're sharing one of our favorite episodes of the show. We will be back with a new episode of our own on October 21. To learn more about listener d…
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Why would the government give Korianne a coupon for a free apartment that she can’t find? We have a question from a listener who finds herself very lost in Wisconsin. And a bonus question, from the internet’s own Taylor Lorenz: What happens when you pay someone else to surf your internet? If you want to see the images & videos referenced in this ep…
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This week, the story of former crypto wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried. The government alleges he stole over eight billion dollars from the customers of the crypto exchange he started, FTX. Our question ... how do you blow eight billion dollars? Investigative financial reporter Zeke Faux helps us answer our question. Be sure to check out Zeke's book, N…
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They’re shiny rocks that we’ve somehow agreed embody romance and eternity. But diamonds, it turns out, are not as rare as we think. And these days, they can be made in a lab. So why do we continue to spend so much money on them? This week, the story of a century-long, international scheme. And the story of how it fell apart. If you want to see the …
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PJ Vogt introduces his new show, Search Engine, where he digs into all kinds of questions, big and small. On this episode: why are drug dealers putting fentanyl in everything? You can find the concluding episode of the story here. To find more episodes of Search Engine or to submit a question to the show, go here. Learn more about your ad choices. …
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Maya Hawke, of Stranger Things, would like to know why won’t Netflix just tell her how many people watch the show? Plus the question underneath that question … might the internet have broken our TV industry? We get answers with help from Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw. Review the show! Check out my newsletter this week for some thoughts about how this stor…
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... Or, am I being lied to by a Brooklyn-based musician? At twenty-five, I had a question for The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn. This week, I finally got to ask it. If you have questions or comments about this episode, or if you'd like to support the show, head to our newsletter: pjvogt.com To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices vis…
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We speak to Luis, a former fentanyl dealer and user who tells us why a dealer might want to put fentanyl in less lethal drugs. Luis also tells us how he learned the rules of dealing, and how the rules changed over his multi-decade career. If you have questions or comments about this episode, or if you'd like to support the show, head to our newslet…
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Isn't it bad business to kill your own customers? In part one of our answer to this question, we talk to reporter Ben Westhoff, who helps us understand how Fentanyl became a street drug in the first place. He'll share recordings taped in a Chinese Fentanyl lab, and explain why some dealers might want to poison their own customers with the drug. If …
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Our quest for answers this week sends us over a hundred years into the past. We learn about the invisible rules and fights that determine what our neighborhoods look like. We also learn about houses with backyard roller coasters, tiny apartments inside of shopping malls, and then we think a little bit about death. Happy Friday! If you have question…
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We interview writer Andrew Leland, who has been gradually losing his sight for two decades. Andrew takes us inside the blind internet, and teaches us how you deal with anxiety about the things you can't control that aren't going away. Check out Andrew's new book, The Country of the Blind. If you have questions or comments about this episode, or if …
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Search Engine investigates the erratic behavior of the world’s wealthiest man with Hard Fork’s Casey Newton. The three top theories for why Elon Musk has begun to act strangely, including one theory that upset our understanding of reality itself. If you'd like to read more about this episode or support the show financially, go here. To learn more a…
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We enlist a very overqualified person to answer this question, writer Kelefa Sanneh, author of Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres. Kelefa listens to more music than practically anyone on earth, and this week he breaks down how even a normal person can find new stuff when they feel like their ears have rusted. Check out the Sea…
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Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski has heard a disgusting rumor — that the coffee on airplanes is unsafe to drink because the onboard water tanks are only cleaned once a year. We investigate and learn some disgusting lessons along the way. Go to our newsletter here to see the images referenced in this episode. To learn more about listener data and our pri…
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To answer this question, we’ll unpack a scientific battle centuries in the making, one that involves a serial killer elephant and a suicidal dog. We’ll also learn a new way that people who are ambivalent about zoos can now go to zoos in good conscience. Guest: Dr. Laurel Braitman, author of Animal Madness. https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Ani…
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No question too big, no question too small. A new show that’ll be out soon. You can hear it here, on this feed. The one you're on now. Question you'd like answered? Email pjvogt85@gmail.com To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podc…
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An art heist in the crypto world plunges us headfirst into another mystery — why did so many celebrities suddenly start selling us on NFTs last year? (To help support the show or subscribe to the free newsletter, check out http://www.pjvogt.com) To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-pol…
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