This American Life

  • Hosted by Ira Glass

So usually we just say what we're not. We're not a news show or a talk show or a call-in show. We're not really formatted like other radio shows at all. Instead, we do these stories that are like movies for radio. There are people in dramatic situations. Things happen to them. There are funny moments and emotional moments and—hopefully—moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It has to be surprising. It has to be fun.

It's hard to believe that not only was there no Serial six months ago, there was no Serial three months ago. The hugely popular podcast, a spinoff production of This American Life, didn't even premiere until early October, but since then, it has made its way with great speed into worlds from Sesame Street to Funny Or Die.

On this week's This American Life, we took a close look at a patent lawsuit involving the online backup company Carbonite. Carbonite was sued for patent infringement by a shell company called Oasis Research. According to Carbonite, Oasis was seeking $20 million in damages.

This story from Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and NPR's Laura Sydell aired this weekend on This American Life. A shorter version of the piece is also airing today on All Things Considered. Here's the story.

Hundreds of people on Facebook and Twitter have already commented on our disability series. We wanted to give readers and listeners a chance to comment here, as well.

So: Read the full story here, and add your comment below.

We're an economics show. We cover the economy. But it's come to our attention that, until now, we've missed one of the biggest stories in our economy: The startling rise in the number of people on federal disability programs.

It's the story of 14 million people who don't show up in most of the numbers we look at to understand the economy. These 14 million Americans don't have jobs, but they don't show up in any of the unemployment measures that we use. They receive federal assistance, but are often overlooked in discussions of the social safety net.

Parts of this story will air on This American Life this weekend, and on All Things Considered today and next week.

We'll be on This American Life this weekend, with a story from our trip to Honduras. As we wrote recently:

This story is part of a Planet Money series on money in politics. Also see our story, "Senator By Day, Telemarketer By Night, and listen to us this weekend on This American Life.

Democrats love Nancy Pelosi. Republicans hate Nancy Pelosi.

One key reason for both the love and the hate: Nancy Pelosi is incredibly good at her job. And a huge part of that job is raising money.

This is the first story in a Planet Money series on money in politics. We'll have more this afternoon on All Things Considered, and this weekend on This American Life.

We think of lawmakers having one job: making laws. But there's a second job most lawmakers have to do. And it's a big job.

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