Why ask about your coworker’s weekend when you can ask whether they think Beyoncé would want a clone? Or whether smiling is creepy? Or why gay activists started using the word “pride”? It’s Monday, which means it’s time to refresh your water-cooler conversation repertoire—all by listening to these excellent new podcast episodes on your way to the office.

Flash Forward, “Popnonymous”

What if Beyoncé isn’t exponentially more productive than normal humans—she just has an army of clones to do her bidding? Each week on Flash Forward, host Rose Eveleth explores a different possible future, from the sudden disappearance of the Internet to nefarious space pirates. But Eveleth doesn’t just armchair philosophize—she brings listeners an audio report from that alternate reality. In “Popnonymous,” she plays a news broadcast from 2085, a time during which all pop stars are anonymous, represented by holograms and avatars—and then brings it back to Hatsune Miku and some excellent Beyoncé conspiracy theories.

What if Beyoncé isn’t exponentially more productive than normal humans—she just has an army of clones to do her bidding? Each week on Flash Forward, host Rose Eveleth explores a different possible future, from the sudden disappearance of the Internet to nefarious space pirates. But Eveleth doesn’t just armchair philosophize—she brings listeners an audio report from that alternate reality. In “Popnonymous,” she plays a news broadcast from 2085, a time during which all pop stars are anonymous, represented by holograms and avatars—and then brings it back to Hatsune Miku and some excellent Beyoncé conspiracy theories.

The Memory Palace, “A White Horse”

Each episode of The Memory Palace is an intimate rendering of a particular place or narrative. That motif is particularly poignant this week, after the tragedy in Orlando, as host Nate DiMeo tells listeners the story of the White Horse Inn in Oakland, California, the oldest continuously open gay bar in the United States. Bars have long offered safe spaces for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities, and the White Horse Inn, open from 1933 until present day, continues to do so. Listen here.

The Memory Palace

Each episode of The Memory Palace is an intimate rendering of a particular place or narrative. That motif is particularly poignant this week, after the tragedy in Orlando, as host Nate DiMeo tells listeners the story of the White Horse Inn in Oakland, California, the oldest continuously open gay bar in the United States. Bars have long offered safe spaces for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities, and the White Horse Inn, open from 1933 until present day, continues to do so. Listen here.

The Allusionist, “Pride”

On The Allusionist, host Helen Zaltzman examines the story behind a word, and in this episode, she looks at how the gay rights movement found identity in the word “pride.” So, how did the word go from meaning bravery to acceptance of self? After the Stonewall Riots in 1969, activists in New York needed a slogan. Craig Schoonmaker evokes what it was like to be an openly gay protester in the 1970s, and how far the movement—and the term “pride”—has come since then.

On The Allusionist, host Helen Zaltzman examines the story behind a word, and in this episode, she looks at how the gay rights movement found identity in the word “pride.” So, how did the word go from meaning bravery to acceptance of self? After the Stonewall Riots in 1969, activists in New York needed a slogan. Craig Schoonmaker evokes what it was like to be an openly gay protester in the 1970s, and how far the movement—and the term “pride”—has come since then.

Invisibilia, “The New Norm”

Invisibilia, NPR’s science podcast examining the forces that shape our world, starts out its second season with a doozy: Can you change emotional norms? To explore whether we can learn to express—or maybe even feel—happiness or sadness, the team turns to two groups of repressed individuals: oil riggers in the Gulf of Mexico who learned how to communicate their vulnerabilities, and folks in Cold War-era Russia who learned—thanks to McDonald’s—how to emulate good old American cheer. Listen here.

NPR

Invisibilia, NPR’s science podcast examining the forces that shape our world, starts out its second season with a doozy: Can you change emotional norms? To explore whether we can learn to express—or maybe even feel—happiness or sadness, the team turns to two groups of repressed individuals: oil riggers in the Gulf of Mexico who learned how to communicate their vulnerabilities, and folks in Cold War-era Russia who learned—thanks to McDonald’s—how to emulate good old American cheer. Listen here.

Internet Explorer, “How Parentheses Became a Symbol for Hate Speech”

Have you been stymied by the recent proliferation of triple parens around various names on Twitter? Sadly, it no longer means a virtual hug. In the latest Internet Explorer, BuzzFeed’s podcast about the Internet, Katie Notopoulos and Ryan Broderick delve deep into the online code used by anti-Semites. But it gets scarier: Neo-Nazis aren’t the only ones using the parens as the grammatical gold Star of David. Notopoulos and Broderick explain that these online communities unite anti-Semites across a generational divide, bringing neo-Nazis and Trump supporters and 4chan trolls all into the same poisonous corner of the Internet. Listen here.

Buzzfeed

Have you been stymied by the recent proliferation of triple parens around various names on Twitter? Sadly, it no longer means a virtual hug. In the latest Internet Explorer, BuzzFeed’s podcast about the Internet, Katie Notopoulos and Ryan Broderick delve deep into the online code used by anti-Semites. But it gets scarier: Neo-Nazis aren’t the only ones using the parens as the grammatical gold Star of David. Notopoulos and Broderick explain that these online communities unite anti-Semites across a generational divide, bringing neo-Nazis and Trump supporters and 4chan trolls all into the same poisonous corner of the Internet. Listen here.

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5 Podcast Episodes You Must Hear This Week