Today, Explained, Vox’s daily explainer podcast, is publishing its 500th episode this afternoon. To celebrate this milestone, our team thought to share a few of its favorites. (I’ve already picked a baker’s dozen myself.) From President Trump’s impeachment to poop on the moon, we’ve covered so many topics over the course of (nearly) two years. Please enjoy a curated playlist.
I still can’t believe we left human waste on the moon. This episode is so far from the stories that make headlines every day, but it’s about the origins of life itself so maybe it’s the most important? I love when we can take a moment away from the daily grind to better understand the universe.
—Amina Al-Sadi, producer
Aging in America
This episode was a gut punch, but it taught me so much at the same time. My dad has spent years taking care of his mother, and this episode helped me see that experience in a new light, with a new understanding of how tough choices around elder care can be.
—Noam Hassenfeld, producer/reporter
Too Juul for School
This episode had it all: funny YouTube clips of kids doing tricks with their Juul, a serious explanation of vaping and its health risks from Julia Belluz, first-person voices (from a high school principal dealing with kids sneaking their vape pens into the classroom and college student unhappily addicted to vaping), and a parody song to end all parody songs.
—Brigid McCarthy, editor/producer
Achy Breaky Charts
“Old Town Road” is a song from last year that’s hard to forget and so is this episode. The music industry—especially country music—has a fascinating history that is deeply entwined with race in America. I was hooked when the episode dove into the controversy over how to categorize a song that emerged on TikTok, trail-blazed a new genre, and got the youngs and the olds talking.
—Haleema Shah, producer
Daily news doesn’t lend itself to resting on laurels, so at this moment, I feel a lot of pride for the New Hampshire results episode. Though we stayed up until 3 am to publish the show, it didn’t feel like much of an inconvenience. In fact, it was a thrill to work with the team to create something so timely, and the show turned out really well!
—Efim Shapiro, engineer