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Stories about the ins, outs, and whathaveyous of what keeps us safe. So, grab a beer and buckle up. It gets bumpy! Hosted by Laicie Heeley.

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  • It took two years, after holdups from Turkey and Hungary, but Sweden has officially joined NATO. A move not everyone in Sweden is super psyched about. But this country’s history isn’t quite so peaceful as it might seem. So, can a peace-loving nation with a war-loving legacy keep the peace… when someone starts a war[...]
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  • This season on Things That Go Boom, we’re on a mission to figure out this new thing spreading like wildfire across the world: feminist foreign policy. But to even begin to understand what it is and where it’s going, we had to start in the place where it failed. We’re calling this season, “The F[...]
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  • With more than 50 elections set to take place around the world, 2024 will be a battle for democracy. It will also be a battle for peace. Because after doing things the same way for, pretty much ever, countries in Europe and Latin America have been experimenting with something called “feminist foreign policy,” and feeling[...]
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  • What do swarms of autonomous drones, facial recognition, and nuclear test site monitoring have in common? They are all things we were still curious about as we wrapped up this internet and security season of Things That Go Boom. In this mailbag episode, experts weigh in to help answer some tough questions from you, our[...]
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  • On Sunday, the people of Poland cast their votes in an election that some have called a battle for the country’s soul. When we released this episode, we were still watching for the various parties to confirm the parliamentary coalitions that would lead to the final result. But experts tell us no matter who wins,[...]
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  • We’re about a year out from a presidential election, and former President Donald Trump is leading the Republican pack in spite of his supporters’ attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The attack reflected the anger and violence that can be stoked by misinformation. But the issue of misinformation has become heavily politicized[...]
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  • When we say that we’re going to store something “in the cloud” it sounds like an ethereal place somewhere in the atmosphere. But the online cloud is generated by computer servers in data centers all over the world. Thousands of them. And AI is likely to ramp up demand. But data centers don’t employ a[...]
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  • Internet blackouts — when internet service is shut down in a country or region — have become much more common over the last decade. But who gets to decide when these disruptions are necessary? From thwarting political protests to preventing cheating on school exams, we’re diving into the who, what, and why of internet blackouts around the[...]
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  • It’s one of our biggest problems in 2023, and it can feel distinctly human. But it's not. All sorts of animals deal with all sorts of misinformation every day, including some of our oldest ancestors — like the humble fish. This week on Things That Go Boom, we exit the human world entirely to see[...]
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  • Greg is an artist whose clients include Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons. And much like a lot of the folks striking in Hollywood right now, he’s ticked off about AI. It’s a story we hear a lot these days: AI is having an impact on everything in our lives, and it’s killing creators’[...]
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  • In the age of Oppenheimer, nuclear weapons didn’t have much to do with computers. And, for a long time, most nukes were running on 1970s-era floppy disk systems. But as technology has advanced the US — and all the other nuclear weapons states — have started putting military communications, early warning systems, and even control of nuclear[...]
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  • We need the internet. No, seriously. In 2023, the digital realm isn’t so much a portal as it is the undercurrent of our lives: The web carries our culture, our communication, our bank accounts — and, yes, our global security. But all of that traffic flows through a series of cables at the bottom of[...]
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  • You know the internet — that big, vast, expanse that powers our lives and every single thing we do. It’s all we seem to talk about these days: spyware, malware, phishing attacks, TikTok bans, Russian disinformation, and beyond. But how much do you really know about the internet? Or the threats that wait to greet[...]
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  • America’s war on communism in southeast Asia dragged the entire region into the fray, and the impacts are still an ever-present danger. (You might remember our episode this season on landmines and clusters.) But here’s what we didn’t get into before: The legacy of that violence here — in our own communities. Today, much of[...]
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  • There are tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of edible plants in the world. But humans only cultivate a couple hundred of those at any significant scale. And when we eat, we tend to stick to just a few: More than half of the calories that humans consume around the world today come from just[...]
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  • Just two years ago, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was in prison. It’s a fairytale-like comeback story. But his life is also a food story. From a hungry childhood raised by sharecropper parents, Lula made ending hunger a major part of his first two highly popular terms as president. Now, as he settles[...]
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  • Despite being banned, anti-personnel landmines and unexploded submunitions still litter fields from Bosnia to Bangladesh. And mines are even being used in Ukraine. Does that mean the treaties that ban their use aren’t working? Experts say the story isn’t so simple, and that, actually, the treaties to ban these weapons have shown a new way[...]
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  • One morning in the 2010s, a rural midwestern farmer called the cops. There was a guy in a suit sniffing around a field near town. A big SUV dropped him off. And the story of how the man got there? That can tell us a lot about Xi Jinping’s past, present, and future. China’s seen[...]
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  • We turn our attention to the narrow strait that divides China and Taiwan, which some analysts believe is the most likely flashpoint for another far-away conflict involving the US military. If President Biden reconfigures foreign policy to focus more on threats at home, will that leave us unprepared to defend US interests abroad? Or should[...]
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