Something’s in the Air: Pollen, COVID Origin Theories, Police Reform

Published on: May 27, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round


  • First up: Let’s break down some headlines, from America’s top diplomat visiting Israel to Belarus faking an airline bomb threat.

  • Next: President Biden wants U.S. intelligence to figure out the origins of COVID-19. That’s reviving an old theory that the pandemic could have come from a laboratory.

  • Plus: It’s been a year since George Floyd was murdered. We’ll break down what progress has been made — and where activists say there’s more to do.

  • ICYMI: In a bid to get past the partisan standoff in Congress, politicians are reconnecting with some old friends: earmarks. We break down how the controversial practice could help — or hurt — in Washington D.C.

  • Finally: If you can’t stop sneezing … we know why. We’ll chat with a pollen expert about tips to cope and why pollen forecasting could offer some sweet relief.

Interested in joining our team? Check out our audio producer job opening here.


On this episode, you’ll hear from: 

  • Judith Browne Dianis, executive director, The Advancement Project

  • Fiona Lo, pollen scientist, University of Washington


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Correction: A previous version of our story on earmarks featured an archival news audio clip claiming that $500,000 had been earmarked for studying "shrimp on a treadmill." That news clip failed to mention that funding was spent on a variety of scientific projects.

Skimm'd by Alex Carr and Luke Vargas. Engineered by Andrew Callaway. With additional support from Ciara Long. TheSkimm’s head of audio is Graelyn Brashear.


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