It’s easy to look around and see signs of social fragmentation, so today’s show takes a different approach and examines a few instances of people coming together: community. We explore an off-campus house that aimed to be an intentional community devoted to sustainability and find out where they failed and succeeded. We meet a community of Burning Man devotees who came together for a floating party on the Sacramento River Delta. Also we hear music made by a community of people who’d never met each other. Plus, the solution to the dirty dish dilemma.


Host: Charlie Mintz

Producers: Charlie Mintz, Rachel Hamburg, Matt Harnack

Featuring: Daniel Steinbock, Philip Narodick, Zuzanna Drozdz

Music: Noah Burbank

Links: Compostmodernist; inbflat

Release Date: 17 November 2009

image via wikimedia

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Story 1: Dirty Dish Dilemma Part 1

Community is essentially a group of people trying to live together. Daniel Steinbock has always viewed groups of people as complex systems. So what does he do with a complex system that’s stacking dirty dishes in his sink?

Producer: Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Daniel Steinbock

image via flickr


Dirty Dish Dilemma Part 2

The solution to the dirty dish dilemma might just be a simple formula called U + 1. This formula can even be proven with a computer simulation of a sink. Yes, somewhere out there is a computer simulation of a sink, filled with dirty dishes, and it might just solve the biggest problem facing communities.

Producer: Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Daniel Steinbock

image via flickr

Story 2: Lessons from a Community that Didn’t Happen

Matt Harnack lived in the same house as Daniel Steinbock, of U + 1 fame. He had high hopes for the house as a place of community spirit and abundance. But what happens when not everyone shares your vision of community? What do you do then?

Featuring: Zuzanna Drozdz, Philip Narodick

Producer: Matt Harnack


Story 3: At Ephermisle

Part Burning Man, part Waterworld, Ephemerisle is a yearly event that welcomes artists, architects, college kids, weirdos, geniuses and hundreds of other people who just want to hang out and be creative on the water.

Producer: Rachel Hamburg

image via flickr


Story 4: Community in the Key of B Flat

Most communities share a physical space. Our last community exists only on the internet. It’s a website where people submit videos of themselves playing some instrument delicately and slowly in the key of b flat. But does it sound good? How can a community function with only one rule?

URL: Inbflat

Producer: Charlie Mintz


Genetics promised us the book of life laid open. But even after the sequencing of the human genome, there’s still a lot we don’t know. How do people make choices based on the imperfect knowledge that genetic science provides? Today we look at a few examples of that. We hear a story about sperm donation and the perils of choosing your child’s father out of a book. We hear a story about using genetics to make a decision about surgery. We walk into an MRI to investigate the genetic basis of personality. And a short story about cannibalistic vultures. Prepare for a show that will leave you doubled up in a helix of joy.


Host: Charlie Mintz

Producers: Charlie Mintz, Matt Larson, Laura Chao, Angela Castellanos, Leah Bakst

Featuring: Max McClure

Music: Cults, Boomsnake, Mothlight

Release Date: 23 November 2009

image via flickr


Story 1: Two Women, a Frenchman, and Seth Rogen All Walk Into a Bank

Producer: Matt Larson

Imagine the chance to choose half your child’s genetic material from a book. How would you pick? The best looking? The smartest? The least Seth-Rogen-like? This is the choice one coupled faced when one half decided to become pregnant through a sperm donation.


Story 2: Uncertain Information

What would you do if you knew you were predisposed to get a certain disease? What if that disease was breast cancer? How far would you go to prevent yourself from getting sick?

Producer: Laura Chao

image via U. of Minnesota


Story 3: Is Your Personality in Your Genes?

Why do we end up like our parents? Is it because we model ourselves after them (despite vowing never to become them)? Or is there something in our DNA that codes for hating sports, or talking to strangers, or just being plain stubborn?

Producer: Angela Castellanos and Leah Bakst

image via flickr


Story 4: It Was Suggested the Vultures of the Region Refused to Eat Their Own Dead

Author: Max McClure

After the collapse of society, a scientist attempts to figure out why vultures refuse to eat their own dead. A story about science at the end of civilization–an odd, unsettling piece we think goes best with a plate of gado-gado.

image via wikimedia


We throw all kinds of things away without really thinking about it. These five stories take a look at where our trash goes, the creative things that people do with it, and even question what it means to throw something away. First, a story about small-scale composting and the worms who do it. Next, a story about what to do with all your old scraps of fabric lying around. Third, how what’s left in a city dump can provide inspiration for an art movement. Fourth, behind the scenes at an estate sale. And last, a short story about bringing a box of forgotten photographs back to life.



Host: Hannah Krakauer

Producers: Hannah Krakauer, Lydia Santos, Killeen Hanson, Laura Chao, Rebecca Pfiffner, Matt Larson, Kasiana Mclenaghan

Music: Noah Burbank, Japandi, Nimbleweed, Kissing Johnny

Links: FabMo, Recology

Release Date: 1 December 2009

image: Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Dirty White Trash (With Gulls), 1998

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Story 1: The Original Composters

When you toss a banana peel into a compost bin, it goes to a huge industrial composting complex. This is a step in the right direction, but some Stanford students say that big-scale composting is overrated. They’d rather watch worms do it themselves.


Producer: Lydia Santos

image via wikimedia



Story 2: FabMo

What to do with all those leftover scraps of fabric? Thousands are left behind from fashion shows, and, without intervention, headed for the landfill. One group decided to rescue these scraps and do something better with them.

Producers: Killeen Hanson and Laura Chao

image via flickr


Story 3: At the Dump

It’s all well and good to intervene before something gets thrown away. But what happens to the stuff you don’t save from the dump? It turns out that even then there’s a chance for re-use. Our next story explores the art of the San Francisco Dump.

Producers: Rebecca Pfiffner, Matt Larson

image via flickr


Story 4: The Person Behind the Stuff

We tend to think of throwing away as a voluntary act. But this isn’t always the case. Estate sales–the garage sales for property that belonged to people who have died–are a perfect example. Our next story looks at the stuff people who have moved on have left behind.

Producer: Kasiana Mclenagham

image via flickr

Unexpected Superheroes

Although superheroes may seem like two dimensional relics of our childhoods, they can have a significant impact on our lives. Stories of superheroes battling in academia, superheroes living among us, and fictional superheroes fighting real-world battles.


Host: Micah Cratty

Producers: Micah Cratty, Lee Konstantinou and Matt Larson

Featuring: Professor Scott Bukatman and Robert Walker

Music: Kissing Johnny and Noah Burbank

Release Date: 21 May 2009

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Intro Story: With Gawking Eyes

When Victor sees New York for the first time, he sees comic book magic. When he moves to New York for graduate school, the magic fades… then he applies for a job at Marvel Comics.
image via flickr

Story 1: Academic Superheroes

Lee Konstantinou talks with Scott Bukatman and finds that comic book superheroes have followed this esteemed professor from his childhood to the halls and classrooms of academia.

Story 2: What’s Your Superpower?

Matt Larson heads out to discover the super abilities and superheroes hiding in plain sight. After listening, you might not ever look at your fellow co-workers or students the same way again.
image via flickr

Story 3: Superheroes Can Fight Diseases Too

Robert Walker creates a set of super heroes who fight the most vicious killer on earth: HIV/AIDS.


We attempt to come to better terms with our impending doom. This is such a mind-blowing episode that it is in a record eight parts: one short story, one excerpt from a novel, two poems, one interview, one story-booth vignette, one ballad, and a correspondence with our friend Pete, on the other side.



Host: Bonnie Swift

Producers: Jonah Willihnganz, Bonnie Swift, Dan Hirsch, Micah Cratty, Lee Konstantinou, Killeen Hanson, Elizabeth Bradfield, Hannah Krakauer, Jack Wang

Featuring: Daniel Steinbock, Adrienne Chung

Music: Nataly Dawn

URLs: People Say I’ve Changed, Pop Apocalypse: A possible Satire, Long Now Foundation

Release Date: 28 May 2009

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SSP producer Micah Cratty reads his story of post-apocalyptic magical totalitarianism. You can also read this story at the McSweeney’s website.



Adrienne Chung reads her poem “Dr. Excelsior,” followed by music from Nataly Dawn.



Lee Konstantinou reads an excerpt from his novel,Pop Apocalypse: A possible Satire, which was published by Harper Perennial in 2009.



Daniel Steinbock sings “The Last Dance,” a song he wrote before an spring quarter circus party at Synergy house. For many Stanford Students, this was the last party before graduation. photo via flickr



The SSP Apocalypse takes to the streets, asking members of the Stanford Community about their feelings on the doom that potentially approaches all that is everything. Responses range from the very serious to the very un-serious.



Stanford Creative Writing Professor Adam Johnson waxes poetic on the many various Apocalypses that each of us faces in our daily lives.



Elizabeth Bradfield reads a poem of when Biblical stories are transformed into a shape that Arctic Native Americans can relate to.



Bonnie Swift interviews Alexander Rose, director of the Long Now Foundation. Among other things, they discuss Long Now’s 10,000 Year Clock project, in which they are constructing a gigantic mechanical clock in the middle of a mountain. This clock, when completed, is likely to outlast any civilization collapses that may occur in the next handful of millennia.

No Work and All Play

What is it to be a toy or a tool? What is the difference between work and play, or is there a difference at all? Seriously playful stories from an archaeologist, a designer of toys for disabled children, and circuit-bending musicians. Who is influencing who in the process of design, creation, and the use of toys and tools?



Host: Hannah Krakauer

Producers: Hannah Krakauer, Liz Bradfield, Daniel Hirsch

Featuring: Michael Shanks, Jessica Zarin Kessin, Reed Ghazala, Sridharan Devarajan, Mike Rosenthall, Mike Mellenthin, Heather Roberts

Music: Kissing Johnny, Dubious Ranger, Nimbleweed

Release Date: 14 May 2009


Story 1: World Of Things

Michael Shanks shares his experience with Chrysler Automobiles and their pursuit of understanding how people interact with their things, whether it be a car, an instrument or a cell phone. How do we, in an age of generic devices and mass produced baubles, define ourselves as individuals with these modern day artifacts?


Story 2: Enabling

The world of product design represents an academic and practical synthesis of engineering, psychology and art, put to test every day in the products we purchase and use. Stanford graduate and entrepreneur Jessica Zarin Kessin shares her experience starting and building her company, Development By Design, which creates developmental toys for children with disabilities.


Story 3: Using Toys to Make Music

Circuit Benders make music with machines. Co Hosts Mike Mellenthin and Heather Roberts interview Circuit Bending Legend Reed Ghazala, “Bent Fest” Organizer Mike Rosenthall and other musicians to get to the root of a question: what is the difference between music and noise?


Photos via flickr (1, 2, 3)

Rites of Passage

Sometimes our rites of passage are marked by large ceremonies, like graduations or weddings. But often the transformative moments of our lives come not on stage, but when we quietly face the challenges we are presented with. The strange importance of the unicycle in a young man’s life, Texas debutantes, and a 22-year-old trying to make it as a reporter in the real world.

Host: Micah Cratty

Producers: Micah Cratty, Matt Larson, Will Rogers

Featuring: Jon Ho

Music: Volunteer Pioneer, Kissing Johnny, Noah Burbank

URLs: Welch Widers unicycle performance, Texas Rose Documentary Blog

Release Date: 30 April 2009

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Story 1: Once Upon a Unicycle

Matt Larson recalls one of the most transformative episodes of his childhood – and it happens on only one wheel.
Image via flickr

Story 2: A Rose Festival by Any Other Name

Will Rogers heads home to Tyler, Texas to film a documentary on the annual Texas Rose Festival, and battles parades, beauty queens, and his own distaste for the event.

Story 3: So you wanna be a reporter?

Micah Cratty searches for the real world and finds a little more than he can handle.
Image via flickr

Narrow Escapes

Why are we drawn to stories of escape? How do we know when we’ve escaped or when we’ve been captured? Today’s show features stories of narrow escapes, written and read by the winners of our first story contest. The dangers of professional panty sniffing, a maybe catastrophic encounter with abandoned tires, and a short story recalling a scary chapter in Stanford’s past.

Host: Lee Konstantinou

Producers: Lee Konstantinou and Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Amanda Glasser, Erika Harrell, Mandy MacCalla

Release Date: 19 March 2009

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Story 1: Panty Sniffing 101

The desperate desire of one woman, fresh out of college, to escape from her first attempt at respectable employment.
Featuring: Amanda Glasser
image via flickr

Story 2: Tiretastrophy

An innocent high school shenanigan gone wrong
Featuring: Erica Harold
image via flickr

Story 3: Terror in College Terrace

This story presents frightening moment in Stanford’s past, when many women felt that they might not escape.
Featuring: Mandy McCallow
image via flickr

Writing on the Wall

There all sorts of ways to send a messages: composing an email, writing a text message, pasting up fliers, or literally writing on the wall. In this show, we explore the various ways people communicate: digital and analog, private and public, even legal and illegal. The surprising origins of online social networks, the world of graffiti art, and bathroom stall vandalism.

Host: Dan Hirsch

Producers: Dan Hirsch, Will Rogers,

Featuring: Fred Turner, Molly Butcher, Lyndsey Garlock, Lexi Tsien-Shiang, Mitchell Wilcox,

SK, Crayone, Demon 202, Niccolo De Luca

Music: Johnny Hwin, Lauchlan Casey, Ill-Conditioned

Release Date: 5 March 2009

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Intro Story: Flyer Pagoda

Dan Hirsch and Will Rogers explore a flyer pagoda at Stanford. It’s one of many self-standing bulletin boards that attract little attention from bikers, even though each one holds a little universe in itself.
image via flickr

Story 1: Hippies in Cyberspace

Dan travels back in time with Stanford Professor Fred Turner to discuss the “hippier” side of the internet’s beginnings. Thanks to people like Stewart Brand, the internet has been a place for Sharing since long before facebook started using the word.
image via flickr

Story 2: Your Bathroom Stall, My Art Project

Mollie Butcher now studies art in one of the graffiti capitals of the world – Berlin. Stanford is no Berlin, but, while here, Butcher did find a way to make a splash with what little graffiti she could find. Will Rogers makes a long-distance call to conduct the interview.
image via flickr

Story 3: Graffiti

Three Stanford Students go into the Bay Area graffiti scene, seeing graffiti as a form of urban renewal. They interview three graffiti artists and a public official about an art form that dances freely from legal to illegal to legal to illegal, and keeps on dancing.
image via flickr