Bit Flip

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May 08 2019 57 mins   51.6k

Back in 2003, Belgium was holding a national election. One of their first where the votes would be cast and counted on computers. Thousands of hours of preparation went into making it unhackable. And when the day of the vote came, everything seemed to have gone well. That was, until a cosmic chain of events caused a single bit to flip and called the outcome into question.

Today on Radiolab, we travel from a voting booth in Brussels to the driver's seat of a runaway car in the Carolinas, exploring the massive effects tiny bits of stardust can have on us unwitting humans.

This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen.

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Check out our accompanying short video Bit Flip: the tale of a Belgian election and a cosmic ray that got in the way.

This video was produced by Simon Adler with animation from Kelly Gallagher.