THE STORY OF THE MEAN JAR as told by Alex Goldman of TLDR

There is a pretty regular volley of abuse between me and PJ. He makes fun of me for being a milquetoast suburbanite with a terrible sense of social cues, and I make fun of him for being an immature, disorganized mess with terrible taste in music.

The whole thing was getting a little exhausting, so I came up with an idea – The Mean Jar.

The way it worked was every time one of us was unnecessarily mean (and that means overtly abusive, wryly sarcastic, even in drawn form, which happens more than you’d think) the mean one would have to put 50 cents in The Mean Jar.

Our colleague Chris Neary would be the meanness referee, which was a benevolent act, seeing as we often contested his rulings.Once we reached 20 bucks, we were going to go out to lunch with our Mean Jar earnings.

Unfortunately, it was really only effective for about a week. PJ quickly began to see it as an excuse or even a provocation to be mean, dropping a dollar in to belt out a couple of epithets here and there. It wasn’t long before The Mean Jar experiment ended unceremoniously.

TLDR is a podcast from On The Media produced by Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt.

Imagine that you’re a surgeon. And day in and day out you operate on people. You save lives and you do good works, and one day something goes wrong in the operating room and a patient dies. even if it’s not your fault - keep in mind this bug was not coded by anyone on the OpenSSL team - you’re still going to feel terrible that it happened.



By Veronica Jean Seltzer

Would you trust a robot to tell you if working for the Army was right for you? Army recruiting has often been fraught with controversy, but PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman explore a whole new level of questionable recruiting techniques in this story for On the Media. They get to know Sergeant Star, a chatbot on the US Army website, who helps answer potential recruits’ questions about life in the Armed Forces.

Bob and Brooke’s Midnight Outtakes

Every Thursday night, Bob and Brooke record the script for the show. It’s almost the last step in the production process, so it usually happens late, after midnight. 

One of the fun parts of being a producer here is that you get to hear their late night back and forths. They’re funny, but a lot of it gets cut out of the show. Partly because they’re, uh, filled with unbroadcastable swear words.

Here’s an outtake from midnight last night that we liked a lot. 

One of my recurring daymares is that at the end of your life, you’re given Your Stats. How many hours, total, you spent waiting for your computer to load. Your total number of typos. An alphabetized index of all the people whose feelings you hurt without being aware of it at all. Most of those things are incalculable, thankfully. This website, unfortunately, reminds you that there are stats you can get right now, if you’d like.