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Act Two: 2013

The dramatic conclusion to Laura and Alex's search for information about Intellectual Ventures, and the inventor they claimed they were helping, Chris Crawford. The story turns out to be different than the one Intellectual Ventures originally told.

Act One: The Hamster Wheel

Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and NPR Congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook take a tour through the world of money and politics, discovering just how much time members of Congress spend raising money and which committee assignments yield the biggest campaign donations. They also try to figure out what all this money is actually buying.For an interactive map of Washington DC fundraiser locations, charts of the best and worst types of fundraisers, and other online extras, visit Planet Money's website.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass tells listeners we can no longer stand behind the reporting in the recently aired episode "Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory." He explains how Marketplace reporter Rob Schmitz tracked down Daisey's interpreter in China — a woman named Cathy Lee — who disputes much of Daisey's story.

Act Three: The News That's Fit to Print

To get a sense of what really is true of Apple's working conditions in China, Ira talks to New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg. Duhigg, along with Times reporter David Barboza, wrote the newspaper's front-page investigative series in early 2012 about this subject.

Act One: Gameboy Grows Up

Ira continues with Cole Lindbergh and the hundred teenagers who work for himin the games department at Worlds of Fun. We watch them compete againsteach other to see who can do the most business, in Cole's Sweet Sixteenbracket tournament, which pits all 32 games in the park against each other.

Prologue

There's a derogatory term in Silicon Valley for companies that amass huge troves of patents and make money by threatening lawsuits: "patent trolls." When Jeff Kelling's Internet company Fototime was sued - along with more than 130 other companies - for violating someone's patent, he wondered if it was a troll (which the company denies), and then settled out of court.

Act One

NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. The investigation takes them to a small town in Texas, where they find a hallway full of empty companies with no employees.

Act Two

Laura and Alex continue their story about Intellectual Ventures and the practice of patent trolling. They learn why the buying and selling of patents is likely to continue being a huge, controversial business that affects the entire tech industry.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks about the infamous line in the band Van Halen's contract insisting that the groups' dressing room include a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown M&Ms removed. Ira used to think this request was just petulant rock-star behavior.

Prologue

Hanco's and Henry's are two restaurants in Brooklyn that sell Vietnamese sandwiches and bubble tea. Their menus are identical, down to the order of the items, the layout, the fonts.

Prologue

Ira Glass speaks with a man named Daniel Johnson, who is in the K&R business. That's the kidnap and ransom business, where a company helps you negotiate to get back your loved one.

Prologue

Ira talks about a friend who for years had a very trusted business partner and bookkeeper, until one day when he ran away with all of her money.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass introduces the story of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., aka NUMMI. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture.