A weekly podcast featuring short, surprising stories about the internet.

#48 — Art Critics Love Us On Yelp
Mar 5, 2015 • 10 min
Brian Droitcour is a professional art critic, and a Yelp user. In 2012 he started using the popular review site to post his reactions to galleries and museums, using a distinctly un-art world-y voice. This week, Brian sits down with TLDR to talk about…
#47 -
Feb 26, 2015 • 12 min
CJ Philips and Charlie Rainwater bought back in 2008 — but not because they’re huge Bush fans or want to sell the address at a markup. With the 2016 election approaching, the pair have launched the site as a place for discussion,…
#46 - Episode 45 Redux
Feb 19, 2015 • 23 min
The last episode of TLDR was titled “Quiet, Wadhwa.” It concerned a man named Vivek Wadhwa, but we did not ask him for comment. The episode was later removed. This week we look at the controversy we’ve become a part of and our role in it. To read Amelia…
#44 - Prostitute Laundry
Jan 29, 2015 • 10 min
Charlotte Shane writes a TinyLetter called Prostitute Laundry, writing frankly and lyrically about her feelings, her relationships, her body and her sex lives — both personal and professional. This week TLDR looks into women writing personal, voice-driven…
Jan 22, 2015 • 9 min
“Sweepers” are people who spend their free time entering hundreds of online sweepstakes — the contests most of us skip because we’re sure they’re all scams. It turns out, we’re wrong. Some people win big. Sandra Grauschopf is’s Contests and…
#43 - Hey Ladies
Jan 16, 2015 • 14 min
If you’ve ever been a bridesmaid, in a sorority, or just been friends with two or more women, you have probably received an off-the-wall planning email or two. Caroline Moss and Michelle Markowitz have been parodying these chains for The Toast since…
#42 - GodTube
Jan 8, 2015 • 12 min
When Will Rogers discovered, he was bothered by the idea of Christians segregating themselves from the larger cultural conversation. So he set out to start a dialogue. Meredith talks to Will about his videos, what he wanted to…
#41 - Tell Me How To Live My Life
Dec 18, 2014 • 9 min
Susan Miller, proprietor of Astrology Zone, is the biggest name in internet astrology. Her fans are many and devoted, and among them are both Meredith and Laura Mayer (this week’s co-investigator). This week marks Miller’s 19th year reading the stars…
#40 - Tinder Bros
Dec 11, 2014 • 7 min
The first message you send to a Tinder match can determine the rest of your relationship. To ease this pressure, some men on the internet have taken to their favorite forums to crowdsource the perfect opening line. Meredith evaluates their results. Thanks…
#39 - Little Sh*ts
Dec 4, 2014 • 6 min
For the past three years Alanah Pearce has been reviewing video games on YouTube. Like other women doing just about anything publicly online, she gets harassed, and in the past she just hasn’t replied. But recently Alanah got fed up with not responding at…
TLDR #38 - Ask Leah
Oct 15, 2014 • 14 min
In the late nineties Leah Reich was working for the video game website IGN, which was the most popular website on the internet for 13 to 18 year old boys at the time. She started reading and responding to the site’s mailbag, and before she knew it she had…
#38 - Ask Leah
Oct 15, 2014 • 14 min
In the late nineties Leah Reich was working for the video game website IGN, which was the most popular website on the internet for 13 to 18 year old boys at the time. She started reading and responding to the site’s mailbag, and before she knew it she had…
#37 - Every City Gets the Hero it Deserves
Sep 17, 2014 • 7 min
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Police released a video of some unidentified suspects in a brutal attack on a gay couple. Within a few hours, a Philly sports fan and his online friends had identified some of the people in the video without the blizzard of…
#36 - The Mystery of Childish Gambino
Sep 15, 2014 • 11 min
Rapper Childish Gambino (A.K.A actor Donald Glover) famously claims to have received his rap pseudonym, “Childish Gambino,” from an online Wu-Tang Name generator. But investigating whether this story is true or not led TLDR host Alex Goldman on an odyssey…
#35 - Stolen Pictures
Sep 3, 2014 • 7 min
This week, hackers stole and published naked photos of female celebrities. Forbes reporter Kashmir Hill has covered stories like this before, but she says that this latest example has completely changed her mind about who to blame for these thefts and how…
#34 - The Accidental Outing of Rwanda’s Most Powerful Troll
Aug 18, 2014 • 12 min
Steve Terrill is a journalist who works in Rwanda. Or at least he worked in Rwanda, until he accidentally got the office of Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame to implicate itself in a long-running online harassment campaign. Alex talks to Steve about…
#33 - Unfollow A Man
Aug 7, 2014 • 8 min
A few weeks ago, writer Katie Notopoulos created a holiday called Unfollow a Man Day, wherein everyone (women and men) was encouraged to Unfollow a Man on social media. Men’s rights activists were enraged, cable news was intrigued, and a lot of people…
#32 - An Imperfect Match
Jul 31, 2014 • 14 min
This week, dating site OK Cupid put up a blog post describing experiments it conducted on its users. In one experiment, the site told users who were bad matches for one another that they were actually good matches, and vice versa. Alex and PJ talk to OK…
#31 - Race Swap
Jul 17, 2014 • 9 min
Whether you think the internet is a great or terrible place is partly a reflection of which parts of the internet you choose to visit. It’s also a reflection of who you are, and how people online react to you. Mikki Kendall is a writer who deals with an…
#30 - The Russian Troll Army
Jun 26, 2014 • 10 min
Last month, documents surfaced that showed a company called the Internet Research Agency was paying people in Russia to go to an office and post pro-Kremlin comments all day. Alex talks to Buzzfeed’s Max Seddon about why they do it, and how successful…
#29 - Olivia Taters, Robot Teenager
Jun 18, 2014 • 10 min
Rob Dubbin accidentally built a teenage girl named Olivia Taters who lives on the internet. She may not always communicate in complete sentences, but she’s convincing enough that teenagers actually converse with her. Also, she’s very, very funny. PJ talks…
#28 - No Trail
Jun 5, 2014 • 9 min
In February of this year, Philip Welsh of Silver Spring, Maryland, was murdered. His murder remains unsolved, largely because he didn’t use the internet, and left no digital trail. Alex talks to Philip’s family and reporter Dan Morse about the case.
#27 - How Google is Killing the Best Site On the Internet
Jun 2, 2014 • 10 min
A couple weeks ago, Matt Haughey, the founder of TLDR’s favorite website, Metafilter, announced that his website is dying. And he says it’s because Google algorithmically stopped directing traffic to the site over a year ago. Alex tries to figure out what…
#26 - A Gold Bottle of Champagne The Size of An Adult Human Man
May 23, 2014 • 8 min
Most people use social networks to present themselves as happier than they really are - it’s hard to get an honest read on anyone. But writer Charlie Warzel believes there’s a secret method you can use to find out how someone is actually feeling online.…
#25 - Monsters
May 8, 2014 • 10 min
Kim Correa loves the online game DayZ, which lets you interact with other humans during a zombie apocalypse. DayZ’s appeal is that it allows weird, spontaneous interactions between players. It also allows really terrible ones. Kim talks about her…
#24 - The Million Dollar Homepage
May 1, 2014 • 7 min
In 2005, Alex Tew was a 21-year-old entrepreneur who wanted to make a million dollars before college. The only problem was he had literally nothing of value to sell. So he made The Million Dollar Homepage — possibly the most ambitiously garish website…
#23 - A Bitcoin Story for People Who Don’t Care About Bitcoin
Apr 24, 2014 • 10 min
When Wired reporter Andy Greenberg read Newsweek’s cover story claiming to have found mysterious Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, he was disappointed. Not so much that the mystery had been solved, but that the answer to the search was not all that…
#22 - What Happens When You Tell The Whole Internet Your Password
Apr 18, 2014 • 11 min
Earlier this week, a commenter named Y. Woodman Brown posted his online passwords in the Washington Post comments section to show just how little his online security mattered to him. It was quickly picked up by the press as an example of online security…
#21 - There Is No Such Thing As Silence
Apr 10, 2014 • 9 min
Continuing our expose into the very hush-hush world of Silence, we look at an app that promises to deliver you four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. PJ talks to Larry Larson, who helped design the 4’33” app.
#20 - Silence
Apr 3, 2014
Update: Vulfpeck received an email from Spotify asking the band to remove “Sleepify” from Spotify. See our update here. A band called Vulfpeck has asked fans to stream an entire album of silence on Spotify while they sleep, so the band can use the…
#19 - Project Flame
Mar 20, 2014 • 10 min
In 1966, a bored college freshman created Project Flame, an early computer dating system that promised to pair lonely hearts. Project Flame was an overnight sensation. The only problem was that the guy who founded didn’t have a computer. Or any idea how…
#18 - The Army’s Robot Recruiter
Mar 6, 2014 • 11 min
Sgt. Star is the army’s robot. Specifically, he’s a chatbot designed to influence potential recruits to enlist in the US Army. So how do we feel about that? Alex talks to the Army and a reporter who’s covered recruitment abuses to figure out if we’re…
#17 - Hey, Guess What? I Found Truth For Us
Feb 27, 2014 • 8 min
Last fall, TLDR covered a bunch of hoaxes. Some we liked, most we didn’t. On this episode, we talk to Paulo Ordoveza and Adrienne LaFrance, a couple of people who have devoted themselves to trying to debunk the innumerable falsehoods flying around the…
#16 - *Win a Million Dollar Mansion From Your HOME COMPUTER*
Feb 20, 2014 • 9 min
“Sweepers” are people who spend their free time entering hundreds of online sweepstakes — the contests most of us skip because we’re sure they’re all scams. It turns out, we’re wrong. Some people win big. Reporter Laura Mayer takes us into the online…
#15 - Internet Time
Feb 13, 2014 • 8 min
In 1998 Swatch tried to completely reinvent our concept of time. Swatch Internet Time (or .beat time) would have been a new way to conceive of moments. There’d be no time zones, and also, no hours, minutes, or seconds. PJ talks to Gizmodo’s Eric Limer and…
#14 - The Knowledge
Feb 6, 2014 • 13 min
Every year, a small group of sports fans scattered across the US play a game called “Last Man.” The goal is to be the last man in America to find out who won the Super Bowl. TLDR Sports reporter Lisa Pollak followed the game this year, and found out just…
#13.5 - I’m Matthew Mills
Feb 5, 2014 • 8 min
A special mini-episode of TLDR to get your mouth watering for tomorrow’s non-mini episode! This week, a man named Matthew Mills interrupted the post-Super Bowl MVP press conference to let the world know that 9/11 was perpetrated by the US Government. News…
#13 - Managing a Monster
Jan 30, 2014 • 9 min
The Slender Man is the internet’s monster - the subject of countless remixes, tributes, and parodies. He’s so ubiquitous he feels like he’s been around for ages, like folklore. But Slender Man has an owner and a point of origin. Alex talks to Eric…
#12 - Hunting For YouTube’s Saddest Comments
Jan 24, 2014 • 8 min
YouTube’s infamous for having one of the worst comment sections on the internet. There’s no reason to ever read them. Unless you’re writer & filmmaker Mark Slutsky. Mark spends hours scouring the comments section on YouTube, and occasionally, scattered in…
#11 - RIP Vile Rat
Jan 22, 2014 • 10 min
This episode of TLDR contains some explicit language. On September 11th, 2012, gunmen attacked two American compounds in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans. Sean Smith, one of the four killed in the attack, was an IT manager in the real world, but…
#10 - One Hundred Songs In A Day
Jan 22, 2014 • 12 min
One way to make money making music online is the boring way. Write one song that does incredibly well and live off the royalties for the rest of your life. Matt Farley is a musician who’s gone a different route. He’s written over 14,000 songs and he makes…
#9 - The Second Life of Marion Stokes
Dec 12, 2013 • 9 min
Marion Stokes was a hoarder. When she died last year, her family had to figure out what to do with 9 separate residences and 3 storage locations full of stuff - everything from tens of thousands of books to decades-old Apple computers. This is the story…
#8 - The Pace Picante Salsa Robot Has Gone Haywire
Dec 5, 2013 • 13 min
This episode of TLDR contains some explicit language. This has been a crazy season for internet hoaxes. This week, we investigate one we actually deeply enjoyed being fooled by — about a social media bot for Pace Picante Salsa going insane and…
What does TLDR mean?
Nov 22, 2013 • 31 min
Hello! We are taking a week off the podcast to work on some special things that you will like a lot. This episode is a Best Of*, in case you have a friend who hasn’t gotten a chance to check us out who you might like to share TLDR with. It also includes…
Bringing the Internet to Public Housing, Your Neighbors and a Unicorn
Nov 20, 2013 • 23 min
This week on New Tech City, we’re crossing the digital divide.
#7 - It’s Rating Men
Nov 15, 2013 • 7 min
Lulu is an app that lets women rate guys they’ve slept with. Was he willing to commit? Was he gassy? The ratings are anonymous, and men can’t see their profiles.
#6 - Ghost Town
Nov 6, 2013 • 8 min
Before the Internet as we know it today, there were text-based bulletin board systems all over the country that people could dial into. One of those systems, M-net, happened to live in Alex’s backyard, and it was his internet home base for the better part…
#5 - Goodbye, Secret, Invisible Internet
Oct 31, 2013 • 7 min
Up until this fall, there was a secret internet. You probably heard about one part of it, the Silk Road, but that was just one secret website among many. This week, we talk to Gawker’s Adrian Chen about the rest of the dark part of the internet, and how…
#4 - The Unicorn
Oct 21, 2013 • 8 min
Millions of Americans don’t use the internet at all. Some don’t have access because of poverty, geography, or age. But some just never logged on. This week, Alex goes on a quest to find a unicorn — someone who lives a life just like his, but entirely…
Oct 3, 2013 • 6 min
Daniel Drucker’s father died earlier this year. Daniel was excavating stuff on his Dad’s computer when he found a file called JOKES.TXT. It was filled with thirty one punchlines to jokes, but not the jokes themselves. So he turned to the internet for…
#2 - Stereotyped
Sep 26, 2013 • 7 min
Christopher Hermelin has a project called “The Roving Typist,” where he writes stories for people in the park on his typewriter. One day last summer, he found his photo posted to Reddit, and suddenly his image was the butt of jokes all over the internet.…
#1.5 - The Bonkers Conclusion to Pronunciation Book
Sep 25, 2013 • 7 min
One last update to episode 1 of TLDR. We all found out on Monday that Pronunciation Book (along with horse_ebooks) were part of a collaborative stunt between Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender to promote their art project Alternate Reality Game, Bear Stearns…
#1 - Something Is Going to Happen in 7 Days
Sep 17, 2013 • 7 min
A YouTube channel dedicated to pronouncing words suddenly starts issuing ominous warnings, and a reporter tries to get to the bottom of it.