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The Atlantic

Stories and conversations that feed your intellectual curiosity

  • 27 minutes 16 seconds
    Finally, Male Contraceptives

    Researchers have been hard at work on a number of male contraceptives that could hit the market in the next couple of decades. Options include a hormone-free birth control pill, an injection that accomplishes the same thing as a vasectomy but is easily reversible, and a topical gel men can rub on their shoulders that doesn’t affect mood or libido. 



    There is a recurring theme in the research on male contraceptives: easy, convenient, minimal side effects. Which is very much not the focus of women’s contraceptive options. What changes in a future in which male contraceptives are readily available, and a routine part of men’s health care? We talk to staff writer Katie Wu.


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    16 May 2024, 10:00 am
  • 33 minutes 20 seconds
    The Chaos of AI Voice Cloning

    What happens when voices can be copied so well they can fool friends, family… and voters?


    Staff writer Charlie Warzel has followed the explosion of AI technology with a mix of fascination and fear. DALL-E, Midjourney, Chat-GPT. New leaps in AI tech seem to happen every month now. Recently, he narrowed in on AI voice cloning for a feature for The Atlantic.


    He and host Hanna Rosin cloned their voices and tested it out before a live audience at the Cascade PBS Ideas Festival. What are the promises of the technology? And what are the perils?


    Related Atlantic Podcast: How to Know What's Real 

    Subscribe here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | | Pocket Casts


    Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub.

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    9 May 2024, 10:00 am
  • 29 minutes
    If Plants Could Talk

    Staff writer Zoë Schlanger is the proud owner of a petunia that glows in the dark. But she doesn’t just appreciate the novelty houseplant as work of science. Zoë sees its glow as a way to help us appreciate plants as more alive, more vital, and more complex than we humans typically do. Because in recent years, some scientists have reopened a provocative debate: Are plants intelligent?

    They’ve devised  experiments that break down elements of this big broad question: Can plants be said to hear? Sense touch? Communicate? Make decisions? Recognize kin? 

    Schlanger is the author of the upcoming book: The Light Eaters: How the Unseen World of Plant Intelligence Offers a New Understanding of Life in Earth. How could a thing without a brain be considered intelligent? Schlanger has spoken with dozens of botanists, from the most renegade to the most cautious, and she reports back on the state of the revolution in thinking. 

    Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub.

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    2 May 2024, 10:00 am
  • 24 minutes 4 seconds
    In Search of America on the Biggest Cruise Ship Ever

    Writer Gary Shteyngart set sail on the inaugural voyage of the biggest cruise ship ever built—the Icon of the Seas—in search of the "real" America. (And maybe to throw a great suite party along the way.) What he found instead, like many a great novelist before him, was a far more isolating experience. Shteyngart recounts his "seven agonizing nights" aboard a giant floating mall full of memorable characters, bad entertainment, even worse food—and the ever-present desire to keep up.

    Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub.

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    25 April 2024, 10:00 am
  • 28 minutes 10 seconds
    Trump’s Courtroom Campaign

    The Stormy Daniels case may have a less serious fact pattern. But it might turn out to be the one chance to hold Donald Trump accountable for election interference. Atlantic staff writer David Graham explains the importance of the case and how Trump might actually be enjoying this new form of courtroom campaigning.


    Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub.

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    18 April 2024, 10:00 am
  • 25 minutes 25 seconds
    Money Can Buy You Everything, Except Maybe a Birkin Bag

    Is having a Birkin bag ... a right? Earlier this year, two California residents filed a class-action lawsuit against the French luxury design company Hermès. Their grievance was that although they could afford a coveted Birkin bag made by the company, they could not buy one.

    We talk to Atlantic staff writer Amanda Mull about the lawsuit and the current state of the luxury market. What do we actually want from luxury these days? Is there even such a thing anymore as a rare luxury good? And what handbag is Amanda carrying?

    Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub.

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    11 April 2024, 10:00 am
  • 19 minutes 55 seconds
    During the Eclipse, Don't Just Look Up

    Where were you for the 2017 total eclipse? Where will you be this year? And where will you be for the next one in 2045? Hanna talks to Atlantic staff writer Marina Koren about the eclipse as a peculiar event: a beautiful if not slightly unsettling moment that is also a strange marker of time.

    And we hear from retired astrophysicist Fred Espenak who's seen more than 20 total eclipses in his life and wonders which eclipse might end up being his last.

    Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub.

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    4 April 2024, 10:00 am
  • 26 minutes 30 seconds
    Do Trump Supporters Mind When He Mocks Biden’s Stutter?

    Atlantic political reporter John Hendrickson has had a stutter since he was a kid. Recently he heard Donald Trump make fun of Joe Biden’s stutter, and he noticed that the audience laughed.

    Hendrickson’s working theory has been that disability is apolitical, and he wondered what Trump supporters actually feel about him making fun of people with disabilities. We go to a Trump rally in Dayton, Ohio and poll the crowd. 

    Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub.

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    28 March 2024, 10:00 am
  • 29 minutes 30 seconds
    The Smartphone Kids Are Not All Right

    Hanna talks to her child Jacob about the thing they've argued the most about: being on their phone.

    Then, Hanna sits down with social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. In his new book, The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness, Haidt argues there is a direct tie between the wide distribution of smartphones and a rise in depression, anxiety, and loneliness among young people.

    After which, Hanna asks Jacob: Did I ruin your life?

    Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub.

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    21 March 2024, 10:00 am
  • 24 minutes 29 seconds
    Inside a Hospital’s Abortion Committee

    Sarah Osmundson knows how to talk about abortion. She’s learned over the course of her career as a maternal-fetal medicine doctor that some patients are comfortable with the option, and others would never consider it. 


    Osmundson is a physician in Tennessee, a state with one of the strictest abortion bans in the country following the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision. The procedure is illegal at any stage of pregnancy, with limited exceptions to protect the life and health of the mother. 


    But which cases meet those exceptions? The risks and outcomes of pregnancy aren’t easy to predict, especially for the types of patients Osmundson treats. After Dobbs, her hospital—and others around the country—formed what’s informally known as an “abortion committee” to decide if a patient meets the state’s exceptions. In this episode, Osmundson brings us the rare view inside these deliberations.


    Further Reading:

    “Their States Banned Abortion. Doctors Now Say They Can’t Give Women Potentially Lifesaving Care” by Kavitha Surana


    Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub.

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    14 March 2024, 10:00 am
  • 22 minutes 53 seconds
    The Sound of Cruelty

    We talk to Oscar-nominated sound designer Johnnie Burn about how he created the soundscape of horrors for The Zone of Interest. Burn explains how he collected real sounds from the streets of Europe and mixed them into a soundscape of cruelty happening just out of view. We also do a close analysis of key scenes from the film. "You can shut your eyes, but you can't shut your ears," Burn says.

    Want to share unlimited access to The Atlantic with your loved ones? Give a gift today at theatlantic.com/podgift. For a limited time, select new subscriptions will come with the bold Atlantic tote bag as a free holiday bonus.

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    7 March 2024, 11:00 am
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