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By far the deadliest parasitic disease in human history, malaria has killed millions upon millions of people over the past several thousand years. Effective anti-malarial treatments have existed since the 17th century, but the disease still kills more than a million people a year, many of them children. Despite enormous efforts to neutralise and eradicate the disease, the malaria parasite has proved hugely resilient, capable of developing a resistance to everything humankind has ever thrown at it. Produced by NPR, Herbs and Empires traces the strange history of one of our most formidable foes.
Producers: Adam Cole, Ben de la Cruz
Witness the majesty of moths taking flight at 6,000 frames per second
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars. The Nobel Prize went to her supervisor
Animals and humans
A bluesy ballad tells the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in the US
In this 1975 lecture, the maglev train’s inventor deconstructs his ingenious design
Meaning and the good life
To know or not to know? Lillian weighs the costs of a life-changing genetic test
Information and communication
There are many ways to make a flat map of the world – each of them a unique distortion
Liquid experiments show how beautiful things can happen when chemicals meet
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states