What's the Point

A show about our data age. Each week, Jody Avirgan brings you stories and interviews on how data is changing our lives.


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July 6, 2017

The Sparks crew discusses how politicians and scientists wrestle with conflicts of interest, and what the science says about how conflict of interest can change our decisions.

June 1, 2017

FiveThirtyEight’s science team discusses “Flavor: The science of our most neglected sense,” a book by Bob Holmes. They also go flavor tripping.

May 18, 2017

Rae Wynn-Grant, a conservation researcher at the American Museum of Natural History, discusses her work tracking black bears in the American West.

May 4, 2017

What does it take to revise a cold, hard science fact? This montha€™s Sparks podcast explores that question in the context of a€œThe Hunt for Vulcana€ by Thomas Levenson.

April 20, 2017

Jody interviews Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, authors of “The Only Rule Is It Has To Work,” a chronicle of their summer spent as general managers for the Sonoma Stompers.

April 6, 2017

Our science podcast crew discusses the state of American health care, and what consumers can do about it. This month’s book: “An American Sickness” by Elisabeth Rosenthal.

February 2, 2017

From the archives, Jody Avirgan and James Hamblin discuss modern medicine, personal health tracking, and why health journalism is broken.

January 19, 2017

FiveThirtyEight’s science team discusses Will Storr’s book, “The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the enemies of science.”

December 22, 2016

Jody Avirgan and Kate Larue discuss the postcards we received for our “Dear Data” project, and then rerun our original conversation. Check it out: fivethirtyeight.com/deardata

December 15, 2016

Our science team discusses Michael Lewis’s new book, which is about the rise of behavioral economics. Check out part 2, coming soon, in which Nate Silver talks with Lewis.

December 8, 2016

What’s The Point is coming to an end with Jody Avirgan as the host. We discuss what we’ve learned over the last year and a half. Stay tuned for our next big thing!

November 5, 2016

Maggie Koerth-Baker talks with Kayt Sukel about how we define risk, and how to write about it responsibly.

October 28, 2016

Out monthly science series looks at why humans make, or don’t make, risky choices. Part 2 of this conversation – and interview with author Kayt Sukel – airs next week.

October 7, 2016

Carl Bialik discusses a new study that shows how Americans get their information, how they make decisions, and how they change their minds.

September 16, 2016

How a digital model can help prevent bear-human conflicts. Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant discusses her work in the field, and at the computer.

September 8, 2016

From Hot Takedown, how our editor Blythe Terrell used an algorithm to help pick a new NFL team to root for.

September 1, 2016

A new survey of one million websites reveals the latest tricks being used to track your online behavior. Arvind Narayanan of Princeton University discusses his research.

August 18, 2016

The debut of our new science series! The FiveThirtyEight science team discusses “Galileo’s Middle Finger,” and what happens when activism and science cross paths.

July 29, 2016

Mini-interviews with Charles Duhigg and Marcus Bullock of Flikshop, from the Aspen Ideas festival.

July 17, 2016

A mini-interview a day for a week about the 538 guns project. Leah Libresco discusses how other countries have reacted to mass shootings. fivethirtyeight.com/gundeaths

July 16, 2016

A mini-interview a day for a week about the 538 guns project. Hayley Mungia discusses how to get guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. fivethirtyeight.com/gundeaths

July 16, 2016

A mini-interview a day for a week about the 538 guns project. Hayley Mungia discusses how to get guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. fivethirtyeight.com/gundeaths

July 15, 2016

We’re doing a mini-interview every day for a week about the the 538 guns project. Anna Maria Barry-Jester discusses her reporting from Wyoming. fivethirtyeight.com/gundeaths

July 7, 2016

A rerun of a conversation with Samuel Sinyangwe describing why data on police shootings is so murky. Samuel runs mappingpoliceviolence.org and checkthepolice.org

June 23, 2016

David Yanofsky is suing the U.S. government for immigration data after they wanted to charge him $173,775 for it. fivethirtyeight.com/podcasts

June 10, 2016

A new project is testing different polling techniques to get input from Philadelphians about their civic lives. fivethirtyeight.com/podcasts

May 19, 2016

It’s Gut Week at FiveThirtyEight. Chad Matlin, filling in for Jody (who’s on jury duty) discusses the world of pro- and psycho-biotics. fivethirtyeight.com/podcasts

May 12, 2016

Ben Lindbergh describes what happened when a professional baseball team let him take over as general manager and apply the most cutting edge analytics to real games.

April 21, 2016

How algorithmic listening is changing our relationship to music. With New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff. Find more at fivethirtyeight.com/podcasts

April 14, 2016

A geospatial mapping formula may hold the clues to the graffiti artist Banksy’s real identity.

April 7, 2016

New developments in the story of the fraudulent research about persuasion and empathy. Visit fivethirtyeight.com/podcasts for more.

March 31, 2016

A visit to the NY Philharmonic archives. For 147 years, the Phil has had a data-collection streak. Now it’s all going to the cloud. More at fivethirtyeight.com/podcasts

March 24, 2016

Christopher Ingraham used a data sat to determine “the worst place to live in America.” Then he visited Red Lake Falls, MN; and now he’s moving there.

March 24, 2016

Christopher Ingraham used a data sat to determine “the worst place to live in America.” Then he visited Red Lake Falls, MN; and now he’s moving there.

March 17, 2016

Doug Rushkoff is one of our favorite media/tech thinkers. His new book is about how our economy is wired for growth that stifles innovation.

March 10, 2016

Every week for a year, Stefanie and Giorgia collected info about their lives and mailed each other postcards with a data visualization. Now it’s your turn! More on our site.

March 3, 2016

In countries like Yemen, cell phone metadata can serve as an end-around to paint a picture of daily life, the effect of drone strikes, and more.

February 25, 2016

Walt Hickey’s been trying to crack the tricky data problem that is the Oscars. He talks about his reporting, and we host the first ever WTP data debate.

February 18, 2016

A visit to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show with Oliver Roeder, who wrote about the rise and fall of the terrier dynasty.

February 11, 2016

We’ve been screwing up in the way we talk about privacy on the show. Kashmir Hill of Fusion sets us straight.

February 4, 2016

As you watch the Super Bowl this weekend, tons of data — and millions of dollars — will be zipping around. Jim Glanz of the New York Times discusses his reporting.

January 28, 2016

In Flint, Michigan, bad data decisions made the water crisis much worse. FiveThirtyEight’s Anna Barry-Jester recently reported on the story.

January 28, 2016

In Flint, Michigan, bad data decisions made the water crisis much worse. FiveThirtyEight’s Anna Barry-Jester recently reported on the story.

January 13, 2016

From a Des Moines hotel room, we talk about the Iowa caucus and the latest polling numbers. Let us know what you think by emailing podcasts@fivethirtyeight.com

January 7, 2016

A visit to a data-driven farm, where the light, water, nutrients and more are all optimized and controlled from an iPad.

January 4, 2016

Let us know what you think of our elections podcast as we continue to pilot. We’ll launch the show formally in a new feed before the Iowa caucus.

December 24, 2015

More of the most interesting stories and people of the year. Be sure to check out the special site fivethirtyeight.com/dataawards. We’ll be back with new shows in 2016!

December 22, 2015

538 is launching a proper election pod in January. For now, we’re piloting with Nate Silver, Clare Malone, Harry Enten and Jody Avirgan. Let us know what you think.

December 15, 2015

538 is launching an election podcast in January! We’re piloting now with Nate Silver, Harry Enten, Clare Malone, and Jody Avirgan. Take a listen, let us know what you think.

December 10, 2015

Forensic evidence has the promise of leading to science-based convictions. But for it to be reliable we need a better understanding of data and statistics, says Erin Murphy.

November 25, 2015

For your holiday travels, excerpts of our favorite conversations: Neil deGrasse Tyson – (15:50) Farai Chideya – (25:40) Bike Lanes – (37:30) Police Violence – (54:10) Drones

November 19, 2015

Religion is personal, nuanced, evolving — which makes it particularly resistant to easy quantification. Emma Green (Atlantic) and Leah Libresco (538) discuss stats and faith.

October 29, 2015

In 1970’s NYC, huge swaths of the city were engulfed in flames. Bad stats may have been to blame. Joe Flood, author of “The Fires,” tells the story.

October 16, 2015

We take a hike in the woods north of Santa Cruz in search of the marbled murrelet, an elusive bird that’s being tracked using remote sensors and machine learning. Tweet tweet.

October 8, 2015

A tour of the Bloomberg terminal — it’s clunky, powerful, addictive and ubiquitous on Wall Street. It also costs $2000/month and has everything a trader could need.

October 1, 2015

Your data creates its own data. Farai Chideya discusses how she thinks of data, security, and why your information is like your pet — you own it, but you can’t control it.

September 24, 2015

A.J. Jacobs is trying to build the world’s biggest family tree, connecting him to everyone on earth. The data-driven revolution genealogy is helping.

September 10, 2015

From Amazon to UPS, the data-driven workplace is here. Is your humanity being traded for your company’s efficiency?

September 3, 2015

The people behind @buzzfeed and @nba discuss how analytics help them decide what to post and when, plus the behind-the-scenes story of how Buzzfeed got that dress to go viral.

August 27, 2015

After a deluge of retractions, fraudsters, and high-profile failures, is it time to ask: “Is science broken?” FiveThirtyEight’s Christie Aschwanden answers.

August 20, 2015

Our military collects terabytes and terabytes of data every day. Is the drone-driven obsession with tactical information preventing a conversation about the morality of war?

August 13, 2015

It’s been a year of protest and unrest — and a year of data collection — in the effort to understand the scope of police violence in America.

August 6, 2015

New tools use data to predict whether someone who has committed a crime may do so again. Does this mean we’ll be locking people up for crimes they haven’t yet committed?

July 30, 2015

Journalist and internet activist Quinn Norton discusses the cookies and algorithms that track you online — including on FiveThirtyEight.com — and how they shape identity.

July 16, 2015

Dr. James Hamblin, writer for The Atlantic, discusses how big (and bad) data will affect your next visit to the doctor.