The newest episode of Search Engine is incredible

The newest episode of Search Engine is incredible
Deserted hotels and casinos in Cambodia, the setting for the show

PJ Vogt started one of my favorite podcasts on earth, Reply All, and before that, did one that was also great for On The Media at NPR. A couple years ago, he did a podcast series on crypto, but last year returned to covering the weirdest corners of the internet you had no idea existed, just like the old Reply All days, called Search Engine.

The conceit for each episode is that it aims to answer a simple question. The latest episode is straightforward: why do we always get weird familiar-but-strange text messages from random numbers? Who is behind them? What are they after? Where do they lead? Why are they happening?

That's where this episode begins, but the places it goes after to answer the question is at times enlightening, compelling, and also wildly horrifying.

I'll never think about those weird "Hey Linda, are we still on for lunch?" texts from strange numbers the same way ever again.