The Actuality year-in-review: Bankruptcies, bombers, rum, rockets, and a grand ayatollah

You never know who will show up to a holiday party.
You never know who will show up to a holiday party.
Image: AP Photo/Dennis Cook
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This week, Actuality just happens to stop by your house with a helping of holiday cheer, a glass of eggnog, and some special guests armed with well-informed cocktail chatter about five of our favorite stories in 2015.

Plus, these sweet potatoes are FIRE.

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For the first of our five stories this week, Quartz reporter Marc Bain helps us sort out American Apparel’s plunge into bankruptcy, which came just months after we learned about the troubled company’s comeback plans. Then, we spin the globe to Asia for an update from maritime analyst Greg Poling on China’s plans for island building, and the US efforts to troll them with bomber over-flights and destroyer drive-bys.

Our middle segment travels to Iran with Quartz editor Bobby Ghosh, who had tea with a grand ayatollah. Next, we catch up with American efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, with expert and frequent Havana visitor Alana Tummino, who gives us the state of play as US executives and Cuban government officials try to figure out how to work together.

To wrap things up, Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams joins us to swap tales about the exhilarating rise (and occasional explosive fall) of the commercial space industry in 2015.

Our surprising discovery—about a flaming tube of dehydrated sweet potatoes—comes from the Associated Press.

Actuality is a podcast jointly produced by Quartz and Marketplace, hosted by Tim Fernholz and Sabri Ben-Achour. Follow Actuality on Twitter, and let us know what you think of the show!