Stuff You Should Know

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Category: Society & Culture

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Subscribers: 60616
Reviews: 162


 Sep 29, 2022

Alan
 Sep 9, 2022
This IS stuff we should ALL know. Rabit holes and personal anecdotes all add to this circus of knowledge!

Jed Palmer
 Sep 4, 2022
Informative, entertaining, and relaxed. It's as good as it gets.


 Aug 21, 2022

Rick
 Jul 25, 2022
Well researched and interesting topics, marred by excessively long ads, and too many ads. Great chemistry between the hosts, and great display of empathy for different cultures and backgrounds.

Description

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Episode Date
Selects: How Clowns Work
2808

Jesters of some sort have been around since ancient Egypt and China. Our modern clown was invented around 1800 and ever since they have been getting steadily creepier. Learn all about clowns in this classic episode.

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Oct 01, 2022
How The Rosenhan Experiment Worked
3176

In 1973 a study was published in Science where psychologist David Rosenhan revealed he had duped hundreds of psychiatric workers by planting perfectly sane pseudopatients within their hospitals and every last one went unnoticed.

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Sep 29, 2022
Short Stuff: Curse Tablets
625

Curse tablets are exactly what you think - tablets with curses inscribed on them. But what were they used for, and when did people do this? Hit play and those answers shall be revealed!

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Sep 28, 2022
Vasectomies: Stop Being A Wimp
2665

You can uncross your legs you big babies. Getting a vasectomy isn’t bad at all – recovery time is a breeze, pain is minimal, and you can consider it a gift to your partner. Learn the real deal on vasectomies (and get 20% off with our code: STUFF).

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Sep 27, 2022
Selects: How LSD Works
4619

In 1943 Swiss chemist Albert Hofman discovered he'd created what may be the most potent hallucinogen known to humankind. Then he took a bike ride. Learn about the chemistry, neurology, history and cultural impact of LSD-25 in this classic episode.

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Sep 24, 2022
Sitcoms Part II
2196

Listen in now for part II of our homage to sitcoms. 

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Sep 22, 2022
Short Stuff: Laugh Tracks
931

Laugh tracks have been around since the early 1950s and it’s all thanks to one (reviled) sound engineer who invented them. But as much as people like to hate laugh tracks most shows wouldn’t be at all funny without them.

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Sep 21, 2022
Sitcoms Part I
1870

Traditional multi-camera sitcoms have fallen out of style in recent years, but the golden age of the genre lives on with streaming services. Sitcom will never go away completely. Join us for part I.

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Sep 20, 2022
Selects: Frida Kahlo: Painter, Icon, Genius
2856

Frida Kahlo was a painter who transcended her own work to became an icon. Learn all about her fascinating and inspiring life and work in this classic episode.

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Sep 17, 2022
Pearls: Second Best Thing About Oysters
3019

Pearls are super cool. And humans figuring out how to make them is even cooler. Learn all about the most interesting gemstone today!

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Sep 15, 2022
Short Stuff: Hangry?
746

When you’re hungry, you’re not yourself. So say the good people at Snickers and it turns out science backs it up. Being hangry is a verifiable thing, we’re just not quite sure yet what’s going on.

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Sep 14, 2022
The Georgia Guidestones: The Elite Have a Laugh
3220

In 1980 the “rural as rural can be” town of Elberton, Georgia erected a granite monument with a bizarre set of instructions (commandments?) that touched on eugenics, population control, and living in harmony with nature. Conspiracy theorists went wild.

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Sep 13, 2022
Selects: What Happened to the Neanderthals?
3055

As recently as 40,000 years ago we lived among humans from an entirely different species – Neanderthals. About the same time our species showed up, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Just what happened to the other guys? Did our ancestors do something … bad? Find out in this classic episode.

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Sep 10, 2022
Everything We Know About Squids
2589

Squids are very closely related to our old friend the octopus, but there are some key differences. You can learn all of this and more by simply clicking the play button right now. 

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Sep 08, 2022
Short Stuff: RIP Man of the Hole
739

The Man of the Hole has died and we're pretty sad to hear it. Listen in to our tribute to this solitary hero today.

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Sep 07, 2022
Did Mallory Make it to the Top of Everest First?
3126

George Mallory was a member of the first three European expeditions to Everest, world’s tallest mountain. He wanted to summit it so badly, he gave his life trying. Since that fateful day in 1924, climbers have wondered – was Mallory the first to summit?

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Sep 06, 2022
Selects: How the Pony Express Worked
2701

For as long a shadow as it casts across the history of the Old West, the Pony Express was a failed business venture, doomed from the start, that only lasted 18 months. But since the last rider headed out with his bag of mail, its legend has only grown. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Sep 03, 2022
Rolling Stone Magazine
3099

Part celebration and part take down, this episode on Rolling Stone magazine dives into the highs and lows of one of America's iconic rags.

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Sep 01, 2022
Short Stuff: Mason-Dixon Line
756

The dividing line between the North and South is purely political. But the story of its creation is pretty interesting.

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Aug 31, 2022
We Need More Sustainable Packaging, Like, Yesterday
3036

Since the advent of single-use plastics, we’ve become awash in waste. Barrels of petroleum are extracted, turned into plastics that contain products, which are then opened and the containers thrown away. It’s a bonehead process start to finish.

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Aug 30, 2022
Selects: Knife Throwing: Super Cool
2495

Sure knives can cut through a steak or slash through jungle vines, but probably the coolest thing you can do with a knife is throw it. At a person mounted to a wooden wheel. Spinning around. While you’re blindfolded. Learn all about the impalement arts in this classic episode.

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Aug 27, 2022
Kissing Cousins: A History of Marrying Family
2974

Despite the overall creepiness of it, marrying family members is way more common than you might think, both historically and today. Ewwww!

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Aug 25, 2022
Short Stuff: Marrying Up
793

The idea of "marrying up" is as old as the hills, but things are, and have been, changing for quite a while. And this episode explains it all.

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Aug 24, 2022
Introvert or Extravert: Which are you? (Probably both)
2856

The world isn’t divided into cat people and dog people, or Beatles fans and Rolling Stones fans (or neither). What really divides us is introversion or extraversion, right? Turns out people just aren’t that binary and all of us are a little of both.

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Aug 23, 2022
Selects: How Gossip Works
2218

You know what I heard? That Josh and Chuck hate each other and they're just faking being friends for the show. That's called gossip, folks and it can do serious damage. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Aug 20, 2022
How Enemas Work
2451

If you think about it, enemas are kind of gross. And if you don’t now you definitely will by the end of this wild ride of an episode. All who make it through the whole way earn SYSK bragging rights. We now wonder why we ever chose to record it.

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Aug 18, 2022
Short Stuff: Selling the Brooklyn Bridge
684

You've heard the phrase "If you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you." But did you know it's based in truth?

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Aug 17, 2022
Mariachi: The Rodney Dangerfield of Music
3226

Mariachi bands have a bad rap as nothing more than "restaurant music." But there is a rich and long cultural tradition many people are missing and the music deserves our respect. Listen in today!

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Aug 16, 2022
Selects: Desert Survival: Josh and Chuck Save Your Tookus
2736

The chances are pretty low that you’ll find yourself lost in the desert, but on the off chance you do you’ll thank yourself that you listened to this classic episode, where we guide you to safety. 

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Aug 13, 2022
The Origins of Breakfast Foods
3185

Who doesn't love breakfast? But do you know where most of the typical breakfast foods come from? Well listen in to find out.

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Aug 11, 2022
Short Stuff: The Berners Street Hoax
657

A full 200 years on, we're still talking about one of the most sweeping hoaxes of all time. 

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Aug 10, 2022
What's the deal with energy drinks?
2859

Chuck hates them, Josh has flirted with them. Energy drinks. Listen in to learn all about this canned speed. 

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Aug 09, 2022
Selects: How Droughts Work
3099

Droughts can be an inevitable feature of a local climate or a catastrophic result of human meddling. In this classic episode, learn the ins and outs of droughts including the American mother of them all, the Dust Bowl.

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Aug 06, 2022
Thrill to the Stunning Bicameral Mind Hypothesis
2986

Psychologist Julian Jaynes came up with a stunning hypothesis in 1976, that human consciousness only developed in the last 3000 years. And he seemed to have proof in ancient texts. Scholars have been picking it apart ever since and today we join the club.

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Aug 04, 2022
Short Stuff: Divorcing Your Parents
732

It really happens! But most people call it emancipation of a minor. Either way, there's some interesting legal stuff in here.

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Aug 03, 2022
Silly String: Disaster in a Can
2363

It's been a while since we tackled a classic toy, so here we go with all you ever wanted to know about Silly String.

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Aug 02, 2022
Selects: Some Movies That Changed Filmmaking
3428

An estimated 50,000 films were made worldwide in 2009 alone. Many are surely clunkers, but in this episode Chuck and Josh talk about the ones that emerged throughout cinema history to change the course of all movies that followed. Get your popcorn and lean back while you enjoy this classic episode.

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Jul 30, 2022
How Menstruation Works
3458

Two dudes talking about menstruation? You bet! And there’s no way you could be any more nervous to listen than we were to record it. But give it a listen, we think you’ll find it enlightening – whether you menstruate or not.

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Jul 28, 2022
Short Stuff: The Mars Rock with Signs of Life?
908

In 1996, real-deal NASA scientists announced they had discovered signs of ancient microbial life in a rock that had broken off Mars and landed on Antarctica. The news set off a controversy still going today. Do we already have proof of alien life?

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Jul 27, 2022
Where Did Human Intelligence Come From?
2768

We humans are smart, to be sure, but if we’re so smart then how come we can’t figure how we got so smart in the first place? Think about that! We sure did and we go over some theories in this super interesting episode.

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Jul 26, 2022
Selects: What's the misery index?
2690

Economists love their data because somewhere in the numbers lies the answer to the ills of the country. They also love to frame data in a way people can relate to. Such is the case with the famous "misery index." Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Jul 23, 2022
Googie: The Architecture of the Space Age
3357

You may not have heard of it, but you’ve definitely seen it before – 50s buildings with bright, loud colors, roofs at crazy angles, and space-age shapes like starbursts. It turns out that Googie architecture is as fun to look at as it is to say.

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Jul 21, 2022
Short Stuff: Death from Astral Projection
933

In 1975, yoga enthusiast Robert Antoszczyk retired to his room in a group house in Ann Arbor, MI to try a meditation technique that would allow him to astrally project his spirit. He died, never coming out of his meditative state. What happened?

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Jul 20, 2022
Supernovae: Best Around, Case Closed
2505

Face it, supernovae are the most interesting phenomena in the universe. Black holes are cool, but did you know they sprout from a supernova? What could be cooler than a star exploding so powerfully, the flash it creates shines for months after?

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Jul 19, 2022
Selects: What Happens When the Government Thinks You're Dead?
2342

It’s bad enough when the government knows you’re alive – there are taxes to pay, laws to be followed, all sorts of boring and unpleasant things. But each year, thousands of Americans find out life is far, far worse when the government thinks you are dead. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Jul 16, 2022
Why Bowling is Awesome
3580

Bowling is awesome. It just is. And if you don't think so, maybe take a listen to today's episode. 

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Jul 14, 2022
Short Stuff: Catatumbo Lightning
684

Catatumbo lightning is one of nature's most amazing displays of showiness, with strikes occurring 28 times per minute for nine hours a day, 300 days a year. So take cover and take a listen.

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Jul 13, 2022
Mangroves: Nature's Best Tree?
2646

Mangroves are incredible survivors and adapters. They're also amazing at lessening the impact of tropical storms and climate change. And heck, they're cool looking. So jump into the brackish waters and have a listen.

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Jul 12, 2022
Selects: How Ayahuasca Works
2723

One day in the Amazon Basin, a shaman put together a plant containing DMT with a vine that allows the body to absorb DMT. The combination, a foul-tasting, wildly hallucinogenic brew called ayahuasca, has changed cultures throughout the Americas. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Jul 09, 2022
The Maya Civilization
3226

After inspiration from Chuck's recent trip to the Yucatan, the fellas dive into the Maya Civilization. 

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Jul 07, 2022
Short Stuff: Alligator Gar
662

The alligator gar is one scary looking fish. Learn all about these monsters in today's episode.

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Jul 06, 2022
How Ultraprocessed Foods Work
3440

Ultraprocessed is a new term for junk food, but it means much more than that – it’s also a cautionary tale for the way we’re supposed to cook and eat, using real food and sitting down with friends and family. But who has the time and money to do that?

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Jul 05, 2022
Selects: How Freak Shows Worked
2920

Not too long ago, people would pay money to gawk and stare at a performer with a physical disformity. They were called freak shows and they began in large part thanks to P.T. Barnum, whose circus we still enjoy today. Sounds awful, but some of these performers became rich folks as a result. Exploitive? You decide, after taking in this classic episode.

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Jul 02, 2022
A Dispassionate Review of Roe v Wade
3571

Given the landmark undoing of Roe v Wade, Chuck and Josh lay out all the relevant facts of the 1973 case.

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Jun 30, 2022
Short Stuff: What did we use before infant formula?
761

There's an infant formula shortage. But infant formula is relatively new. So what did we do before it was perfected? Listen in and learn already!

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Jun 29, 2022
How Alien Contact Might Work
3009

If we ever found evidence of intelligent alien life (or they found us) what would we say? Who would say it for us? These seemingly silly questions are vitally important depending on your view.

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Jun 28, 2022
Selects: Chiggers: The Phantom Menace
1952

Chiggers are tiny little mites capable of making your life miserable. Worse than mosquitoes? Maybe. But they aren't insects - mites are actually part of the arachnid family and behave a little like ticks. Learn all about these nearly invisible pests in this classic episode.

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Jun 25, 2022
What's up with bariatric surgery?
2893

Bariatric surgery can also be called weight loss surgery. Some people think it's a highly underused tool to fight obesity. Others think it's a shortcut. We discuss all the ins and outs in this week's episode.

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Jun 23, 2022
Short Stuff: Do Fish Get Thirsty?
705

One of the greatest questions we’ve ever heard, answered (in a roundabout way).

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Jun 22, 2022
The Appalachian Trail: A Heckuva Hike
3068

A few short years after the hiking trails from Maine to Georgia were connected into the world’s longest hiking-only footpath, a WWII vet walked the whole thing in one go. He kicked off a challenge that’s still taken on by thousands of people each year.

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Jun 21, 2022
Selects: How Steadicams Work
2074

There have been many inventions that have advanced filmmaking, but maybe none as important as the steadicam. Invented in the mid-70s, it literally changed the way movie making happened, and made the impossible possible. Learn about the fascinating history behind this amazing technology, in this classic episode.

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Jun 18, 2022
What were the IRA hunger strikes?
3011

In the early 1980s, imprisoned IRA members went on a prolonged hunger strike, leading to the death of ten men. This is their story.

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Jun 16, 2022
Short Stuff: HR8 Gun Legislation
895

Today we dive into HR8, a gun bill supported by 90% of Americans that will likely never get through the Senate.

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Jun 15, 2022
How Wind Works
2552

Beloved egghead Buckminster Fuller said the wind doesn’t blow, it sucks. And he was pretty much right, depending on your perspective. Find out how everything from the hurricane to summer breeze makes life on Earth possible.

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Jun 14, 2022
Selects: How Drowning Works
3107

Hundreds of thousands of people drown around the world every year, and yet it can be easily prevented and is widely misunderstood – like how you can officially drown but live to tell the tale, or how you can drown but die days later. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Jun 11, 2022
The 4-minute Mile: Greatest Sports Story?
2987

Nobody thought the 4-minute mile was humanly possible, until it was. The story of how it happened is remarkable. So sit back and take a listen.

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Jun 09, 2022
Short Stuff: Cleveland’s Infamous 10-Cent Beer Night
811

In 1974, the Cleveland (then Indians) baseball club held an unlimited 10 cent beer promotion to attract fans to the game. An actual riot broke out.

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Jun 08, 2022
How Freedom of the Press Works
2928

Countries around the world – capitalist democracies to communist unitary states – guarantee a free press in their constitutions. It turns out, though, that there is a galaxy of methods for subverting a free press. Find out why that matters in this episode.

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Jun 07, 2022
Selects: How Satanism Works
3153

Satanism may be the most misunderstood "religion" in the world. Part of that is because there are, and have been, many offshoots of Satanism, from The Church of Satan to The Satanic Temple. One thing is sure though, none of them are filled with evil humans who perform ritual blood sacrifice and worship a cloven-hoofed devil. Learn all about Satanism in this classic episode.

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Jun 04, 2022
Kidney Donation: You Could Be A Saint!
2844

Kidneys are one of the few organs that you can donate while you’re alive. And the vast majority of donors experience no complications and their remaining kidney functions just fine. Yet thousands of people die each year waiting for a donated kidney. Why?

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Jun 02, 2022
Short Stuff: Happy Foods!
836

Some foods make you happy. But they aren't necessarily comfort foods. You know what they call that? SCIENCE!

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Jun 01, 2022
The Scintillating World of Interest Rates
2689

When the Fed raises interest rates a half point, the world market reacts. But why does this tiny percentage make such a difference? Listen and learn!

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May 31, 2022
Selects: Waterbeds: The Sexiest Bed?
2364

Waterbeds came and went pretty quickly in the United States, but despite their marketing as sex beds, they were actually invented to deliver a great night's sleep. Learn all about these super 70's beds in this classic episode.

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May 28, 2022
The Myth of Absinthe
3024

Absinthe makes you hallucinate and possibly even have a seizure, right? Nope. It's all a part of the myth of absinthe, which is really just a bitter tasting liquor with a bad reputation. 

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May 26, 2022
Short Stuff: Do people move in predictable directions?
778

Depending on where you are in the world, you either have an instinct to go left or right when entering a place. Learn all about this today.

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May 25, 2022
Cats: Invasive Species?
2783

Josh and Chuck wade into dangerous waters with the debate over just how destructive cats are for local ecosystems (turns out it’s pretty bad) and some ideas on what to do about that (you may not want to know). Tune in and tense up!

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May 24, 2022
Selects: The Disappearance of the Yuba County Five
2991

In 1978, five friends set out for home from a basketball game. The next day, their car was discovered in a lonely mountain road. The next spring, their bodies began to turn up. What happened that night remains a mystery to this day. Explore what we know with Josh and Chuck in this classic episode.

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May 21, 2022
What's in a surname?
2599

Surnames are way more interesting that you think, trust us. Just hit play and prepare to be wowed.

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May 19, 2022
Short Stuff: Artificial Banana Flavor
769

In the Watermelon episode, Chuck and Josh stumbled into a bit of little-known history about why artificial banana flavor doesn’t taste like bananas. Turns out it does; it just tastes like a banana you’ve probably never eaten.

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May 18, 2022
Squirrels, Ahoy!
3120

Squirrels are rodents, sure, but they’re rodents with personalities the size of Las Vegas and Detroit put together. Get to know your bushy-tailed (and sometimes not so bushy) neighbors who live interesting hidden lives right out in the open.

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May 17, 2022
Selects: How Lizzie Borden Worked
2554

Everybody knows how many whacks Lizzie Borden gave her mother and father with that axe, but there is plenty about the infamous double homicide that remains unresolved, like who actually did it. Travel into the mystery of Lizzie Borden in this classic episode.

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May 14, 2022
Rhinoplasty, aka Nose Jobs
3476

Nose jobs have been around a lot longer than you think. And the process is pretty interesting. Tune in for all things rhinoplasty. 

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May 12, 2022
Short Stuff: Fainting At The Sight Of Blood
763

As many as 15% of people faint when they see blood! And it’s not just blood that gets them. It can be an injury or even a needle. Learn about this fascinating phobia in this episode.

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May 11, 2022
What are land acknowledgments?
2673

Land acknowledgements are all the rage in some parts of the world. But they also open a can of worms if not done properly. Learn all about this increasingly common practice today. 

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May 10, 2022
Selects: How Champagne Works
3584

Sure we can all agree that champagne is probably the greatest thing humans have or ever will invent, but how much do we understand how it's made? Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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May 07, 2022
Marcus Garvey: Black Moses
3289

One of the more controversial black leaders, Marcus Garvey divided black and white Americans with his assertion of black pride, and sowed division in the black community as well. Yet, possibly no one has had more global impact on black lives than him.

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May 05, 2022
Short Stuff: Shar Pei
648

Today we dive into the lovable folds of the Shar Pei.

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May 04, 2022
The Mystery of Coal
2413

There’s a mystery afoot! Almost all of the coal we use around the world was created in the same 60 million year period. Before or after that relatively short window of time, not so much. Just what exactly explains this geological mystery?

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May 03, 2022
Selects: How Rodney Dangerfield Worked, Live From LA
3413

Other comedians cry on the inside, but Rodney Dangerfield built his entire act around his sad life. Get to know this legendary comic who was nearing 50 when he got his break, in this classic episode recorded live in LA.

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Apr 30, 2022
Understudies: Hardest Workers on Broadway?
2806

Being an understudy is far more challenging than simply learning the lines of a lead actor in case of emergency. Learn all about these unsung stage heroes today. 

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Apr 28, 2022
Short Stuff: Smelly Homes
907

Does your house smell? No? What if we told you it’s impossible for you to know whether  it does or not?

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Apr 27, 2022
“Postmodernism:”
3422

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Apr 26, 2022
Selects: The Baffling Case of the Body On Somerton Beach
3889

Since his corpse was found in 1948, wearing a nice suit in summer on an Australian beach, an unidentified man has refused to fade into obscurity, gripping the imagination of sleuths around the world. Learn all about the mystery in this classic episode.

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Apr 23, 2022
Just Say No to... Bottled Water
3177

Bottled water is huge business, and terrible for the environment. But where did this all start? Listen in and learn.

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Apr 21, 2022
Short Stuff: Salute the Grilled Cheese
953

Today we pay tribute to the comfiest of comfort food, the grilled cheese sandwich.

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Apr 20, 2022
The Christine Collins Story
2904

When Christine Collins' son disappeared in 1928, she thought that was the worst that could happen.  What followed was more upsetting than any parent could imagine. 

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Apr 19, 2022
Selects: What happens to abandoned mines?
1673

Did you know there are as many as 500,000 abandoned mines in the US, but the federal government knows where only 30,000 of them are? Learn about how these places go from money pit to death trap when mine companies simply walk away, in this classic episode.

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Apr 16, 2022
How Mensa Works
2958

Most of us know Mensa’s a smart people club. And that Geena Davis is a member. But did you know it was originally intended as a rolodex when the government needed the UK’s most intelligent minds? And that the Kansas City chapter staged a revolt in the 60s?

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Apr 14, 2022
Short Stuff: Animal Politicians
875

Small towns around the world have a longstanding tradition of nominating – and voting for – animals in elected positions like mayor and some animals have made it to being nominated for president.

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Apr 13, 2022
The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles
2618

If you've ever been to Philadelphia then you've probably walked right by a Toynbee Tile embedded in the street. But what's the meaning on these mysterious installations, and who is doing it? Listen in to find out.

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Apr 12, 2022
Selects: A Partial History of Action Figures
4399

Action figures have a long and glorious history. From GI Joes to Star Wars figures, these offshoots of dolls came along at just the right time to capture the hearts and minds of children everywhere. Learn all about the partial history of action figures in this classic episode.

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Apr 09, 2022
The Delightful History of Pubs
2939

In today's episode, Chuck and Josh dive into the wonderful history of the public house. So pull up a stool, grab a pint and have a listen.

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Apr 07, 2022
Short Stuff: The Church Choir That Didn't Explode
748

Perhaps the most amazing coincidence ever documented took place when a church in a tiny town in Nebraska exploded in 1950.

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Apr 06, 2022
Watermelons: Nature's Gift to the World
2570

Turns out most people love watermelons. Why? Because they're delicious. And they also have a pretty interesting history. Check it out.

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Apr 05, 2022
Selects: How No-fly Zones Work
1643

They have become such a ubiquitous tool used by the UN and NATO to intervene in international crises, that it seems like no-fly zones have been around forever. But it was only the 1990s that the first one was enacted and they've only be used twice more since then. Learn about this peculiar military tool with Chuck and Josh in this classic episode.

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Apr 02, 2022
What’s NATO All About?
2989

NATO formed at a time when Russia threatened Europe as a potential invader. Then the Soviet Union broke up and NATO lost its way for a bit. Now Russia’s back to business as usual and NATO has found its purpose again, protecting peace in Europe.

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Mar 31, 2022
Short Stuff: Greenbrier Bunker
732

The Greenbrier Bunker was a secret nuclear hideout for Congress, until it wasn't. Once it was exposed as a thing, it ceased to be a thing. Listen in to a fascinating short stuff today!

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Mar 30, 2022
How Light Pollution Works
2897

Artificial light at night, aka light pollution, affects almost everyone on Earth. And not just people – trees, plants, animals, insects, and marine life are affected by our propensity to light up everything we can. Learn what you – YOU! – can do to help.

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Mar 29, 2022
Selects: The Tylenol Murders, Part II
2757

The panic that began in Chicago spreads and begins to change the world. The investigation into the murders turns up leads and suspects, but still no one has ever been charged with the murders. It remains unsolved to this day. Find out the extent of what we know in this classic episode.

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Mar 26, 2022
Selects: The Tylenol Murders, Part I
2661

On one terrible day in Chicago in 1982, seven people died suddenly and mysteriously. In just a matter of hours, it becomes clear, someone has poisoned bottles of Extra-Strength Tylenol, one of the most trusted and widely-used products in America. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Mar 26, 2022
The Truth Behind Cage-Free and Free-Range
3245

You’d think terms like cage-free and free-range means the chickens we eat are frolicking happily in the fresh air under the shining sun, but you’d be so, so wrong. Cage-free is a huge improvement but free-range is lacking and both have a long way to go.

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Mar 25, 2022
Short Stuff: Magnet Fishing
823

Magnet fishing has nothing to do with fish. It's more like metal detecting in waterways. Please enjoy our take!

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Mar 23, 2022
Why was Titicut Follies banned?
2973

Titicut Follies is a documentary made famous by its banning. But why was it banned? And what was it even about? Listen in to learn all you need to know about this infamous doc. 

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Mar 22, 2022
Selects: How Hate Works
2220

Hate is generally defined as an extreme hostility to something or someone, usually stemming from fear, anger or a sense of injury. But how does it work? Join Josh and Chuck in this classic episode as they dig into the nature of hate.

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Mar 19, 2022
How Rewilding Works
2760

A big new push toward nature conservation (and saving the planet) is based on a simple premise: remove humans from the equation and let nature take its own course.

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Mar 17, 2022
Short Stuff: Nose Breathing
753

Nose breathing > mouth breathing for many reasons. Listen and learn!

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Mar 16, 2022
Operation Northwoods: The False Flag Op That Never Was
2806

There is presumably some very dark, very depressing stuff in the annals of America’s secret history. But perhaps the darkest classified document to see the light of day was the memo that called for faked attacks on the US to justify invading Cuba.

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Mar 15, 2022
Selects: A Brief Overview of Punk Rock
3134

Punk rock really needs about 10 episodes to do it justice, but we'll try and tackle anyway. Learn all about this movement right now in this classic episode.

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Mar 12, 2022
Aleister Crowley: Blowhard Narcissist?
3124

Aleister Crowley was known as the "wickedest man in the world." But was he really just a blowhard narcissist? You decide!

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Mar 10, 2022
Short Stuff: Great Smog of London
727

In 1952 London was gripped by a acrid smog that settled throughout the city so thickly residents couldn’t see their own feet on the sidewalk.

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Mar 09, 2022
Behold, National Parks!
3259

The National Park system is one of America's great achievements. We'll take you on a journey, from sea to shining sea, in today's episode. 

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Mar 08, 2022
Selects: How Tabloids Work
3036

Having started as an egalitarian answer to 19th-century newspapers, tabloids came to peddle shock and sleaze. They've cleaned up a bit, but they remain the world's guilty pleasure. Learn more about the fascinating history of tabloids with Chuck and Josh in this classic episode.

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Mar 05, 2022
How Effective Altruism Works
2861

A branch of philanthropy led by philosophers is dedicated to finding the most impactful ways to help humans survive and thrive. Anyone can find that agreeable, but it can be tough to hear it also means your donations to local charities are kind of a waste.

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Mar 03, 2022
Short Stuff: Friends of Dorothy
826

The gay community had to use code not too many years ago and one way they identified was as “Friends of Dorothy.” So who was Dorothy?

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Mar 02, 2022
What's the deal with phantom pain?
2773

Phantom pain is when you sense pain from a lost limb. We don't entirely know how why, but we have some ideas. Listen in to find out. 

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Mar 01, 2022
Selects: Is the Pied Piper About a Real Historic Tragedy?
2478

In the German town of Hameln a tragedy that took place on a specific date in 1284 and befell specifically 130 children is commemorated every year. Aside from those two details, the event is cloaked in mystery. What about the Pied Piper fairy tale is real? Find out in this classic episode.

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Feb 26, 2022
How Mindfulness Works
3154

What has become a buzz word for corporate retreats and a way to get a discount on your health insurance is, at its core, a powerful, centuries-old Buddhist method of moving through life and dealing with the suffering that inevitably comes along with it.

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Feb 24, 2022
Short Stuff: Commensalism
781

What's commensalism? Sort of nature's way of sponging off something, but that something doesn't mind. If that doesn't make sense, take 12 minutes to listen and find out for yourself.

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Feb 23, 2022
The Improbable Story of Martin Guerre
2887

Like most 16th-century French peasants, Martin Guerre’s life seemed likely to be lost to history. But a strange series of events took place that would so cement the legend surrounding him that we’re talking about him still today, 450 years later.

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Feb 22, 2022
Selects: How Moss Works
2009

Think you have moss figured out? You probably don't. Join Josh and Chuck in this classic episode as they explore some of the surprising aspects of these most ancient and important plants on the planet.

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Feb 19, 2022
The Ins and Outs of Albinism
2272

Today we dive into the science behind the genetic condition albinism, which is not pronounced how you think it is. 

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Feb 17, 2022
Short Stuff: Cassowary
722

Australia is home to a kind of bird that is the second largest in the world and can kill a human being, making it the closest living version of a velociraptor? Of course it is!

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Feb 16, 2022
Leeches: Oh Hell No!
3028

Leeches are pretty creepy. They feed on blood, they stick to you body. We get it. But they're also pretty fascinating and worthy of discussion. 

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Feb 15, 2022
Selects: The Ins and Outs of Beekeeping
3869

Who wants fresh honey? We do! Learn all about the ancient art of beekeeping today in this classic episode.

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Feb 12, 2022
Littering: Not Cool
3195

The history of litter is in lock step with the history of disposable packaging. Learn all about this nasty habit today.

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Feb 10, 2022
Short Stuff: Schmidt Stinging Pain Index
771

If you want to know how the pain from that yellowjacket sting on your arm compares to stings from other insects, you need look no further than the body of work of entomologist Justin O. Schmidt.

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Feb 09, 2022
The Chowchilla Bus Kidnapping
3334

The largest ever kidnapping case in the United States went down in the small town of Chowchilla, CA. Learn all about it today. 

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Feb 08, 2022
Selects: What's the Deal With Staring?
2148

Gazing too long upon another person is almost universally viewed as anywhere from impolite to hostile, which is odd considering science isn't fully certain why we stare - and why we're so good at knowing when we're being stared at. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Feb 05, 2022
How the Nobel Peace Prize Works
3029

The Nobel Peace Prize is perhaps the most prestigious award in the world, yet there are plenty of other similar awards. What is it about this one that makes it so honored? And how did the guy who invented dynamite end up creating a peace award?

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Feb 03, 2022
Short Stuff: Firewalking
772

It’s pretty amazing to see a human walk over a bed of hot coals – until you learn the physics beneath it. Then it’s just fairly impressive.

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Feb 02, 2022
How Tacos Work
3375

It’s Taco Tuesday! If you like eating tacos, you’re going to love learning all about them in this delectable episode. You’ll realize how much you’ve taken tacos for granted and just what a debt we owe our friends in Mexico for inventing them.

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Feb 01, 2022
Selects: How Sloths Work
3269

Everyone knows sloths are super slow, but do you know they’re slow because their bodies produce an astoundingly small amount of energy? And did you know that might be an adaptation that protects them from predators? Sloths are awesome and we prove it in this classic episode.

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Jan 29, 2022
How Forgiveness Works
3522

For most of history, forgiveness fell under the domain of religion. But in the 1980s science started investigating it and found that forgiving someone is really, really good for you. Learn how anybody can be the better person in this really great episode.

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Jan 27, 2022
Short Stuff: Arctic Fox
840

The Arctic Fox is one of the cutest critters on the planet. It also has an amazing ability to survive the coldest temps on Earth. Dive into the snow and listen today!

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Jan 26, 2022
Tug of War
3055

Tug of War is a simple display of strength, but is there more to it than that? Listen in to find out. 

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Jan 25, 2022
Selects: How SETI Works
2133

SETI stands for 'search for extraterrestrial intelligence,' and the term is used to describe both the SETI institute and the search for alien life in general. In this classic spaced-out episode, Josh and Chuck explore the origin, aims and challenges facing SETI.

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Jan 22, 2022
How Classified Information Works
2949

The government loves to mark just about any information as secret, which wouldn’t be a big deal if it wasn’t so contrary to running a healthy democracy.

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Jan 20, 2022
Short Stuff: Jaywalking
899

Jaywalking is a crime. Sort of. But why? Learn all about this weird law today.

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Jan 19, 2022
Rock Paper Scissors: Decider of Things
2922

Rock Paper Scissors is a child's game. But it's more than that if you can believe it, and it has a pretty cool history as well. 

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Jan 18, 2022
Selects: Project Azorian: The CIA's Super 70s Mission To Steal A Sunken Soviet Sub
3062

In 1974 the CIA undertook one of its most brazen operations – secretly raising a sunken Soviet submarine lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean right under the noses of the Russian Navy. With the help of billionaire recluse Howard Hughes, obviously. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Jan 15, 2022
What were the black codes?
2869

The black codes were proposed laws that basically tried to keep a form of slavery alive and well after the end of the Civil War. It didn't last long but the shadow of those codes still exist today.

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Jan 13, 2022
Short Stuff: Fortune Cookies
889

Everything you thought you knew about fortune cookies is wrong. Learn all the right stuff in this episode.

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Jan 12, 2022
The Circleville Poison Pen Letters Mystery
3075

For 20 years, a tiny town in Ohio was held enrapt by the prolific author of a series of unhinged letters. By the time they abruptly stopped, the letters – which revealed terrible secrets – had claimed a life and sent a possibly innocent man to prison.

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Jan 11, 2022
Selects: Carl Sagan: American Hero
2332

Carl Sagan was the world's first mainstream media super scientist, capapble of breaking down complex ideas for the common folk. But what made him tick? Billions and billions of great ideas. Explore his life and legacy with Josh and Chuck in this classic episode.

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Jan 08, 2022
Ants! Part 2!
2550

The exciting conclusion of Ants Part 2!

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Jan 06, 2022
Short Stuff: The Casket Racket
694

And you thought we were done with talking about funeral homes. Well guess again!

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Jan 05, 2022
Ants! Part 1!
2641

Ants are pretty much amazing. So we're gonna spend two episodes talking all about them. Please enjoy!

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Jan 04, 2022
Selects: Horoscopes: Written in the Stars?
2947

A lot of people read their daily horoscopes, but does anyone really take stock in them? Turns out the answer is yes, even though there is no evidence of their accuracy. Learn all about horoscopes today in this classic episode.

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Jan 01, 2022
Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!
2998

No, we didn’t find another international distress signal we forgot to mention in our Mayday! Short Stuff, we’re just that jazzed about our episode on cookies. Are they even better than cakes? It’s up to you to listen and decide!

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Dec 30, 2021
Short Stuff: Traffic Signals
775

The history of traffic signals is way more interesting than you might think. Trust us. 

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Dec 29, 2021
Unsung Heroes of the Court
2796

Attorneys and judges get all the press. What about bailiffs, court reporters and sketch artists? Yeah, let's give them their due. 

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Dec 28, 2021
Selects: How Tipping Works
3089

Tipping is commonly expected in some places, such as U.S. restaurants. Yet this practice varies across cultures. Join trivia gurus (and former waiters) Josh and Chuck in this classic episode as they take a closer look at the history, practice and controversy surrounding tipping.

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Dec 25, 2021
SYSK’s 2021 Glad Tidings Bonanza Holiday Special
3111

Josh and Chuck’s holiday mojo has returned and they’re back in the saddle to rustle up some holiday cheer. So put on your comfiest sweater, ugly or otherwise, grab a mug of whatever makes you happy, gather round with your favorite people, and listen in.

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Dec 23, 2021
Short Stuff: Christmas Cards
752

You ever thought about where those cards you send out during the holidays came from? Prepare to do just that!

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Dec 22, 2021
How Snowmen (And Snowwomen) Work
2551

The details may vary but building snowmen is pretty much universal where there’s snow. Humans have probably been making them for tens of thousands of years. But it wasn’t until the last century or two that they have become the winter icon they are today.

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Dec 21, 2021
Selects: Star Wars Holiday Spectacular
3260

Long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, George Lucas allowed the Star Wars Holiday Special to be made. What happened on the night of November 17, 1978 can never be fully explained, but we make our best effort in our annual special edition of SYSK. May the force be with us all.

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Dec 18, 2021
Kidney Stones: No! Please, NO!
2852

Kidney stones are widely considered the most painful affliction a person can endure, even worse than labor. And in rare cases they can even kill. Learn all about how these things you really, really don’t want form and pass in this faint-inducing episode.

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Dec 16, 2021
Short Stuff: Charity Tips
816

It's the end of the year so we thought we might give you some advice on how to better pick out a charity, Short Stuff style.

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Dec 15, 2021
Palm Trees: Technically, Giant Plants
3139

Palm trees. You see them all over the world and for good reason. There are more than 2,500 varieties. Learn all about these giant plants today. 

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Dec 14, 2021
Selects: How the Terracotta Army Works
1940

In 1974, Chinese farmers discovered the first of what would number 7,000 terracotta soldiers meant to protect China's first emperor in the afterlife. Learn all about them in this classic episode.

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Dec 11, 2021
What's the deal with blue people?
2782

The famous blue people of Kentucky are no longer blue. But why were they like that in the first place? 

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Dec 09, 2021
Short Stuff: Funny Bone
714

Hitting your funny bone doesn’t just hurt, it feels really weird too. That’s because you’re not hitting a bone at all, but instead the most vulnerable nerve in your body.

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Dec 08, 2021
Why Do Great Flood Myths Seem To Be Universal?
2681

If look into the mythology of just about any culture in the world, you will find a myth about a great flood that destroyed humanity and submerged the Earth in the distant past. Does this mean that a great flood actually happened?

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Dec 07, 2021
Selects: What Is Collective Hysteria?
2557

Throughout the history of the world, there have been many cases of what is known as collective hysteria - groups of people, usually young women, who all exhibit the same physical symptoms of non-existent conditions. Is it psychosomatic? Is it group think? Find out in this classic episode.

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Dec 04, 2021
Your Gut Is Also A Brain
2806

Your gut – not your spare tire, but your digestive tract – is deceptively smart. Not only does it handle processing food and nutrients, but the hundreds of trillions of bacteria that live in your gut may actually be telling your brain what to do too.

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Dec 02, 2021
Short Stuff: SINA
751

In the 1950s a group dedicated to clothing animals out of a sense or morality gained momentum. “A nude horse is a rude horse!” was their battle cry.

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Dec 01, 2021
The Twisted History of Dentistry
3175

If you think going to the dentist now is not fun, just wait until you hear about what they did in the Middle Ages. 

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Nov 30, 2021
Selects: Why Do Lefties Exist?
2447

For at least the last 200,000 years, between 10-15% of the human population are left-handed and this fact has utterly left science baffled. In searching to explain handedness, all sorts of contradictory evidence has emerged, creating a fascinating mystery. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Nov 27, 2021
Python-a-palooza!
2584

Pythons are big snakes. Really big. But there's more to them than their size. Learn all about these big daddies in today's episode. 

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Nov 25, 2021
Short Stuff: Mayday!
857

Say it three times and help may arrive. But where did "Mayday!" come from? Listen in to find out. 

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Nov 24, 2021
The Apache Wars
3022

America’s longest-running war was between the US government and the loosely-confederated groups we know as the Apache. As their lands were encroached upon, the Apache pushed back with disastrous consequences, nearly becoming exterminated.

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Nov 23, 2021
Selects: How Hoarding Works
3691

You may be familiar with compulsive hoarding from TV, but something that’s often missing from those shows and the news is the deep and overwhelming shame that this disorder creates in its victims who are neurologically incapable of parting with their stuff. Find out all about it in this classic episode.

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Nov 20, 2021
Why Is DC Not A State?
2579

The residents of Washington, D.C., the capital of the oldest democracy in the world, are not allowed to pass their own laws without the federal government agreeing with them first. That’s because DC is not a state, something DC residents want to change.

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Nov 18, 2021
Short Stuff: The Paper Dress Fad
722

There was a brief period when it was highly on trend to wear a super short dress made out of paper. Learn why right now!

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Nov 17, 2021
Hot Dog!(s)
3198

No, there aren’t snouts and anuses in your hot dogs, so go ahead and chow down. There are, however, plenty of other things that may give you pause so listen to this episode where we dissect the beloved hot dog and poke around inside.

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Nov 16, 2021
Selects: How Feng Shui Works
2450

Feng Shui is an Asian concept that strives to unlock your chi by how your home or office is arranged. Or at least that's the simplified "Western" version. It's a little more complicated than that in reality. We'll unlock your chi by explaining how feng shui works in this classic episode.

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Nov 13, 2021
The Flannan Isles Mystery
2970

In December 1900 three lighthouse keepers vanished without a trace from a deserted island in Scotland. To this day no one knows exactly what happened to them.

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Nov 11, 2021
Short Stuff: Your Dirty Bed
714

Is your bed dirty? You bet it is. Are chimpanzee beds dirty? Not as dirty as yours!

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Nov 10, 2021
What are blue laws?
2998

Blue laws are laws that restrict certain activities on certain days. Are they antiquated? Yes! Are they still around? In some places, yes!

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Nov 09, 2021
Selects: The Stories Behind A Few Food Fads
2887

America loves to go nuts over new food trends and it turns out that the 20th century was a boon time for them. Revisit them with Josh and Chuck in this classic episode.

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Nov 06, 2021
The Rock Ampersand Roll Hall of Fame
2955

Cleveland rocks! So said the city of Cleveland when they lobbied for the "Rock Hall" way back in 1985. Since then the museum has grown and evolved amidst great support and controversy. 

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Nov 04, 2021
Short Stuff: Friendly Floatees
643

In 1992 more than 28,000 rubber ducks got loose in the ocean and began a decades-long experiment in oceanography.

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Nov 03, 2021
How mRNA Vaccines Work
3105

The two mRNA Covid vaccines are the first vaccines to come out of a new field of immunology and represent such an amazing leap forward that they are taking us into a new era of medicine. Learn all about them so you can set your uncle straight.

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Nov 02, 2021
Selects: What is folklore?
2537

What is folklore? Turns out it's just about anything you can think of that's shared by more than two people. Art, literature, stories, dance, music, traditions, even those family heirlooms qualify. Turns out folklore is pretty neat. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Oct 30, 2021
2021 Halloween Spooktacular!
3401

Dim the lights and join Josh and Chuck for their annual spooky Halloween story reading. 

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Oct 28, 2021
Short Stuff: Most Haunted House in England
772

In the 1930s paranormal investigator declared Borley Rectory the “most haunted house in England” – and with good cause!

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Oct 27, 2021
Salem Witchcraft Trials: More Bonkers Than You Know
2949

Looking back 300 years on, it’s easy to overgeneralize why the Salem Villagers decided to persecute (and execute) their neighbors. But as much as this story has become an American history chestnut, we still don’t understand why Salem lost its mind.

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Oct 26, 2021
Selects: Will We Find Evidence of Aliens by Their Engineering Projects?
2702

In 1960 physicist Freeman Dyson suggested that in the hunt for alien life, we should search for evidence of massive engineering projects that encapsulate stars with solar arrays to harness their energy. Could we humans ever make one ourselves? Find out in this classic episode.

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Oct 23, 2021
Harry Houdini: More than Magic
2793

Harry Houdini was a master magician. He was also a movie star. And an inventor. And an aviator. Listen and learn all about the late great illusionist.

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Oct 21, 2021
Short Stuff: Bloody Mary
781

In this edition of Short Stuff we may accidentally conjure a deadly spirt, so look out!

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Oct 20, 2021
Heat Waves!
3177

Heat waves are one of the easiest natural disasters to overlook yet they kill more people in the US than any other natural disaster (and maybe all others combined). And if climate predictions prove correct, they’re going to get longer and hotter.

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Oct 19, 2021
Selects: Why is Venice so wet?
2077

Venice, Italy has a problem. It's sinking, and the water around it is rising. Thankfully, some engineers are working hard on the MOSE project - huge gates that keep high tide from happening. Learn all about Venice in this classic episode.

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Oct 16, 2021
Noise Pollution: Arrrgh!
3114

If you’ve ever found your blood pressure rising because some guy down the street doesn’t know how to keep the trigger on a leaf blower pulled all the way, then you’ve experienced noise pollution. Not only is it annoying, it turns out it’s deadly too!

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Oct 14, 2021
Short Stuff: Jack O'Lanterns and Sleepy Hollow
762

We launch our spooky October episodes with a little bit on Jack O' Lanterns and Sleepy Hollow.

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Oct 13, 2021
Venus Flytraps: Plant or Monster?
2454

After looking into the Venus Flytrap, we quickly moved it to the top of our favorite plant list. Part plant, part monster? What's not to love?

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Oct 12, 2021
Selects: How X-Rays Work
2355

Like many huge discoveries, X-rays were accidentally stumbled upon. That serendipity led to a medical breakthrough still in use today. Learn about how X-rays are created and why they make such delightful images of our bones, in this classic episode.

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Oct 09, 2021
The Tale of the Church of the SubGenius
3125

The Church of the SubGenius is a religion, but really a parody of religion. Learn all about this group of weirdo outsiders in today's episode.

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Oct 07, 2021
Short Stuff: Dingoes!
764

Are dingoes dogs? Not really? Then what are they? Listen in to find out.

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Oct 06, 2021
Research Bias: Sort It Out, Science
3182

There’s a sticky issue scientists have to deal with – science is carried out by humans. We humans have flaws (and how) and they can end up in our work. Fortunately, science is waking up to research bias. In the meantime, here’s what to look out for.

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Oct 05, 2021
Selects: How Empathy Works
3141

Empathy can often be confused with sympathy and regular old compassion. But it's not exactly either one of those. Some say a lack of empathy can indicate sociopathic tendencies, but that's not always true either. So what is empathy and what makes someone prone to empathize? Listen in to this classic episode to find out.

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Oct 02, 2021
All About Alligators
3082

Here at SYSK, we love alligators? Why? Because they're basically living dinosaurs. Dive in (metaphorically) and swim with these beasts today!

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Sep 30, 2021
Short Stuff: Exploring Irish Monk
814

There’s a long-standing legend that an Irish monk was the first European to sail to America - in 500 CE! Is there any evidence?

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Sep 29, 2021
How Numerology Works
2632

The premise of numerology - that numbers are responsible for our destinies and personalities - is plainly nuts, but the history and thinking behind it is too interesting to skip. 

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Sep 28, 2021
Selects: Planned Obsolescence: Engine of the Consumer Economy
3346

If you’ve ever heard an old timer gripe that things aren’t built like they used to be, that old timer was right! In this classic episode, learn about the nefarious, possibly mythical, mechanism that’s responsible for the cruddy products and waste our consumer society is based on.

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Sep 25, 2021
The Statue of Liberty
2888

You've seen her there in NY Harbor, standing tall. But do you know the story of how she came to be? Learn all about the Statue of Liberty today.

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Sep 23, 2021
Short Stuff: Lake Erie's Rights
726

The good people of Toledo, OH are leading the environmental pack by giving legal rights to Lake Erie to fight off polluters.

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Sep 22, 2021
How Mail Order Marriages Work
3000

Everybody knows mail order marriages are at best a last resort for jerks looking to boss a foreign spouse around or, at worst, a front for human trafficking. Or are they? Yes and no. Mail order marriage comes with nuance and a surprisingly long history.

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Sep 21, 2021
Selects: How Free Speech Works
3906

Freedom of speech and the press are values vital to American democracy. But the First Amendment doesn't really define free speech, and plenty of expressions are restricted. Learn all about the ins and outs of this cherished right in this classic episode.

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Sep 18, 2021
What's the deal with crash testing?
2813

Crash testing has been around since the 1930s, but only got serious in the 1970s. Today we dive in and learn all about why companies and the U.S. government purposefully wreck cars. 

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Sep 16, 2021
Short Stuff: The Javelina
685

Pigs, hogs, boars and javelinas. What's the difference? Tune in to find out.

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Sep 15, 2021
How Embalming Works
3123

The Death Suite continues! In this installment, Josh and Chuck go over what it takes to preserve a human body using chemicals and whether that’s such a good thing to do as far as the environment is concerned.

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Sep 14, 2021
Selects: Southerners Aren't Lazy and Dumb, They Just Had Hookworm
2873

There was a time when the lower classes of the American South were considered lazy and dimwitted, a stereotype that still somewhat survives today. But this stereotype was rooted in fact. Hookworms, it turns out, were sapping Southerners’ life force. Find out all about it in this classic episode.

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Sep 11, 2021
How the Magna Carta Worked
2881

In 1215 at Runnymede (doo dah, doo dah) the nobles and the king agreed to end a rebellion against the power of the English throne. While the treaty that emerged contained all sorts of arcane Medieval details, it also contained the seeds of Western liberty and civil rights.

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Sep 09, 2021
Short Stuff: Chameleons
786

In today's short stuff, we bust a few myths about cute little chameleons.

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Sep 08, 2021
The Creepy Legacy of the Hotel Cecil
2933

The Hotel Cecil in downtown Los Angeles has had no less than 16 unnatural deaths, from suicides to murders and everything in between. Listen in to the history of this decidedly creepy hotel. 

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Sep 07, 2021
Selects: How Temper Tantrums Work
2289

When your kid boils over in the grocery store, it can be tough to stay calm and ignore it, but that's precisely what experts prescribe parents do to deal with temper tantrums. Learn about the anatomy of a tantrum and the best way to deal in this classic episode.

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Sep 04, 2021
Criminal Records: No Thanks!
2911

And you thought our crime and punishment suite was finished. Not yet it isn't! Not before we cover criminal records.

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Sep 02, 2021
Short Stuff: Handwashing vs Dishwashers
939

Josh and Chuck finally put to rest the age old debate over which is better – and learn a little about themselves along the way.

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Sep 01, 2021
How Trepanation Worked
3041

One of the oldest medical procedures in human history is also one of the riskiest. For thousands of years humans carried a type of proto brain surgery where a hole would be cut into the skull. And they were pretty good at it too.

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Aug 31, 2021
Selects: Composting: Nature's Most Interesting Process
3079

You may think composting is just a bunch of old banana peels rotting away into dirt but, friend, you're not looking closely enough. Inside that compost pile is a microcosmic universe doing some magical stuff. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Aug 28, 2021
Les Paul & Leo Fender Part II
2869

Today we continue the story of Les Paul and Leo Fender, inventors, innovators and rivals.

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Aug 26, 2021
Short Stuff: Jackalope
825

Jackalopes aren’t real, right? Wouldn’t you like to know, city slicker.

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Aug 25, 2021
Les Paul & Leo Fender Part I
2626

The story of Les Paul and Leo Fender defines rock and roll music. Listen in to part one of the tale of these two musical rivals. 

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Aug 24, 2021
Selects: How Pet Psychics Work
2214

In the early 21st century a trend of people who claim to be able to telepathically and clairvoyantly communicate with animals has grown. Today, the concept of visiting a pet psychic to find a lost pet, find out why a pet is behaving badly or even to learn if a pet is ready to be put to sleep is becoming more commonplace, but is there any basis to pet psychics' abilities? Join Josh and Chuck as they investigate the pet psychic phenomenon, in this classic episode.

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Aug 21, 2021
Y2K: Much Ado About Something
2606

Y2K was a special time when we all thought nothing bad would really happen at the stroke of midnight, but secretly worried the world would end. Turns out the mitigation efforts worked and we hardly noticed. 

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Aug 19, 2021
Short Stuff: 5 Lazarus Species
804

Lazarus species were thought to be gone, but had something else in mind. Today we talk about 5 of them.

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Aug 18, 2021
How MRI Works
2512

At long last Chuck and Josh dive into the nuts and bolts of what makes the Wonder Machine so wondrous and find it actually lives up to the years-long hype they’ve given it.

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Aug 17, 2021
Selects: How Animal Domestication Works
2978

It's strange to hear, but the transition from hunting-gathering to agriculture, including the domestication of wild animals, is the single biggest thing to ever happen to humanity. You can thank it for everything from kingdoms to Ebola. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Aug 14, 2021
How Fireflies and Lightning Bugs Work
2918

Whether called fireflies, lightning bugs, or glow worms, the tiny, bioluminescent bugs that light up the evening are universally beloved. Which makes their sudden and swift decline very distressing. Listen to find out how you – YOU – can save the firefly.

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Aug 12, 2021
Short Stuff: Humpty Dumpty
701

Humpty Dumpty is not a good nursery rhyme. And what was Humpty anyway? Listen in to find out.

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Aug 11, 2021
Child Labor: Not Funny
3132

Child labor is no laughing matter. Even though we've taken care of it in the USA (mostly), it's still an issue around the globe. Listen and learn!

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Aug 10, 2021
Selects: How Landslides Work
1990

Landslides are a form of mass movement of the Earth, and with the amount of death and destruction they wreak on the people and towns they cover, their toll can be massive. Learn all about landslides with Josh and Chuck in this classic episode.

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Aug 07, 2021
How Transcendentalism Works
2170

Every teenager in America knows the transcendentalists were a handful of goofy 19th century philosophers who were into walking in the woods, but they were also so much more. Anyone who focuses on the beauty and the good in the world can’t be too wrong.

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Aug 05, 2021
Short Stuff: Calamity Jane
784

Calamity Jane is group with the legends of the Wild West. Who was she really? A tough woman who made her way in a tough world from the age of 12.

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Aug 04, 2021
The Three Christs of Ypsilanti Experiment
3301

In the early 1960s, one of the most unethical experiments in psychology’s history was quietly conducted in a state hospital in Michigan. It sought to upend the delusions of the three patients involved, but ultimately disabused the experimenter of his own.

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Aug 03, 2021
Selects: How Police Interrogation Works
3921

Every year, police across the U.S. get thousands of criminals to confess to their crimes. The trouble is, the procedure that almost all departments use is grounded in bad science and can produce false confessions. Learn about ways of making you talk in this classic episode.

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Jul 31, 2021
How Sarcasm Works
2602

In this episode, we get to the bottom of why people sometimes talk like jerks some and how sarcasm isn’t all bad. Stand back everybody, this one is just soooo great. 

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Jul 29, 2021
Short Stuff: Space Hurricanes
714

Space hurricanes are officially a thing. What does that mean for us here on Earth? Probably not much.

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Jul 28, 2021
Conservatorships: #freebritney
2858

Britney Spears has made a lot of noise lately in her bid to nullify her conservatorship. But what are they even? Listen in to find out!

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Jul 27, 2021
Selects: How Mars Works
3121

Sure today Mars would kill you with its thin, toxic atmosphere and cold desert temperature swings of 100 degrees,but early on it and Earth were practically twins. Find out how the two planets diverged and if there might be life on the Red Planet, in this classic episode.

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Jul 24, 2021
The Origins of Some Everyday Superstitions
2422

Why exactly do we avoid walking under a ladder? Why is stepping on a crack in the sidewalk such a big deal? What kind of monster carries a rabbit’s foot in their pocket? The answers to these questions and more lie in wait ahead in this episode. Look out!

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Jul 22, 2021
Short Stuff: RICO Act
750

If you’re even passingly interested in mobsters you’ve heard of the RICO Act, but most people don’t know how it actually works. Make your Goodfellas fandom more well-rounded with this explainer episode.

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Jul 21, 2021
Stranger Danger!
2900

If you grew up in the 1980s, you thought you had a 50% chance of getting kidnapped every time you left your house. But like with the Satanic Panic and other 80s hysteria, it was much ado about (almost) nothing.

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Jul 20, 2021
Selects: How Ketchup Works
3176

Little-known fact: Ketchup, possibly the most all-American of condiments, evolved from fermented fish sauce people in Southeast Asia have been making for more than a thousand years. Learn more in this classic episode.

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Jul 17, 2021
How Reverse Osmosis Will Save the World
2587

Can we save the future of the human race with some thin membranes riddled with ultra-tiny holes? Science says yes! Thanks to reverse osmosis filtration, we can turn saltwater to fresh and finally say, Water, water everywhere so let’s all have a drink!

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Jul 15, 2021
Short Stuff: Hanged, Drawn and Quartered
832

The words "hanged, drawn and quartered" are an accurate description of the grizzly execution process. They're just not in the right order.

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Jul 14, 2021
The Radium Girls
2732

The Radium Girls painted watched with glow-in-the-dark radium in the 1920s and '30s. Most got sick, many died. This is their story. 

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Jul 13, 2021
Selects: How Historic Districts Work
2704

A fascinating thing about Americans is that we can disagree on anything. Such is the case with historic districts – areas of historic importance protected by local laws. Seems innocuous, but are they also to blame for the affordable housing crisis? Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Jul 10, 2021
SYSK Live: Koko, the Gorilla Who Talked
4233

Recorded live before the pandemic in January 2020 at the Castro Theatre for San Francisco Sketchfest, Josh and Chuck explore the 70s movement that attempted to teach apes human language and the Ape Language Wars that erupted from it.

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Jul 08, 2021
Short Stuff: Sulfanilamide Disaster
831

In the 1920s, before the era of consumer protection, a poison entered the medicine supply and killed more than 100 people before the pubic health disaster could be stopped.

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Jul 07, 2021
The Sad Story of William James Sidis
2807

Are geniuses made or born? Listen in today to the story of child prodigy William James Sidis.

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Jul 06, 2021
Selects: Are good samaritan laws effective?
2772

Good samaritan laws have been around for many years, helping to provide legal protections for people who try to help other people. But do they work? Listen to this classic episode and decide for yourself today!

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Jul 03, 2021
The Grand Ole Opry Cast
2595

Josh and Chuck take a virtual walk through country music's legendary music venue. 

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Jul 01, 2021
Short Stuff: Beast of Gevaudan
759

The first truly international news story covered a beast that terrorized the French countryside, eviscerating dozens of villagers for three years in the 1760s. How about that?

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Jun 30, 2021
Poison Control Centers: A Good Thing
3062

Poison control centers are one of those things you don’t think about until you need it. With all the poisons in our homes you very well may someday. When you do there is a cadre of toxicological specialists ready to oversee the process of saving your life.

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Jun 29, 2021
Selects: How Royalty Works
2804

In some nations royals are so ingrained in the national fabric they are considered part of the country. In this classic episode, Josh and Chuck take a look backward in time at the ancient tradition of despotism and unbridled privilege.

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Jun 26, 2021
How Faraday Cages Work
2554

Faraday cages are one of those peculiar miracles of nature that we can actually explain – not to mention, they save us from potentially fatal electrocutions and electronic eavesdropping which are bonuses. Learn about this amazing hidden technology here.

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Jun 24, 2021
Short Stuff: Chastity Belts
758

Were chastity belts real? Sort of. But not in the way you might think. Tune in to hear the real story.

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Jun 23, 2021
The Mystery of Damascus Steel
2219

Damascus steel and the recipe behind it remained a mystery for many years. But it turns out the key was a bygone ingredient. Listen in to this medieval mystery to learn all about it. 

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Jun 22, 2021
Selects: Operation Mincemeat: How A Corpse Fooled the Nazis
2693

In World War II, a secret department of British ‘corkscrew thinkers’ hatched a plan to use the cadaver of an unclaimed homeless man to turn the tide of the war in the Allies’ favor. It worked. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Jun 19, 2021
How Venus Works
2483

Venus is so hot lead would melt on the planet’s surface. It spins backwards. Its year is shorter than its day. Venus is amazingly awesome. 

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Jun 17, 2021
Short Stuff: Mojave Megaphone
728

What is the Mojave Megaphone? Well, nobody really knows. Listen in today to learn about this desert mystery.

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Jun 16, 2021
Seven - No, Wait, Five - Mysteries of the Art World
2800

When you get a bunch of artistic types together into a community – aka, the art world – some intrigue and mystery are bound to arise. Listen in as Chuck and Josh cover strangeness around Van Gogh, Caravaggio, Raphael, and Vermeer – plus don’t miss Hilter!

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Jun 15, 2021
Selects: How Sea Monsters Work
2225

Legends of sea monsters are as old as humanity, and some ancient cultures even credited them with creating the universe. Learn more about humanity's attachment to seeing monsters in the deep in this classic episode.

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Jun 12, 2021
POGs: The 90s in a Bottle Cap
2930

Today, Chuck and Josh go down a 90s rabbit hole with another in their classic toy series. This time, they tackle the odd sensation that was POGs.

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Jun 10, 2021
Short Stuff: Chinatowns
824

If you live in a major city in the USA, you probably have a Chinatown. Listen in and learn all about these unique cultural staples today.

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Jun 09, 2021
Slime Mold: 0% Mold, 100% Amazing
2913

If you’ve ever wandered past what looked like a pile of dog barf on a log during a hike in the woods, you’d just seen slime mold - one of the most perplexing organisms on Earth. 

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Jun 08, 2021
Selects: Who was America's first murderer?
1785

John Billington didn't just sign the Mayflower Compact -- he was also the colony's first criminal, and had the dubious honor of being the first European to be convicted of murder in this new place. But how did it happen? Tune in to this classic episode to find out.

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Jun 05, 2021
John Muir: Outdoor Enthusiast
2547

John Muir loved being outside. So much so that he dedicated his life to helping preserve it, but not without some controversy. Listen in to this decidedly nature-centric episode today!

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Jun 03, 2021
Short Stuff: Runner's High
773

Listen in to today's short stuff to learn if a runner's high is really a thing.

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Jun 02, 2021
What Causes Inflation?
2831

Inflation seems super boring, but if you know how it works (important point: no one really does) you can exist as a functioning human being in a modern economy. 

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Jun 01, 2021
Selects: How Nitrous Oxide Works
3221

For about 175 years people have been huffing nitrous oxide for everything from vision quests to anesthetic to get plain old high. And after all that time we are only now beginning to understand how it works on our brains. Get the scoop in this classic episode.

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May 29, 2021
Night Trap: The Video Game Failure that Changed the Industry
2459

In the early 90s a video game was released that changed the industry, despite poor sales and bad game play. That game was Night Trap. This is that story.

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May 27, 2021
Short Stuff: Parachute Emergency!
768

Your parachute won’t open – now what?! Listen up to Josh and Chuck and you may make it out of this in one piece.

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May 26, 2021
How Cleft Lips and Palates Work
2424

Cleft lips and palates are common birth defects, but for the kids who have them (and their parents), its no small matter: Years of surgeries, therapy, and possibly lifelong health issues, not to mention the teasing that comes along with looking different.

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May 25, 2021
Selects: How Hot Wheels Work
2492

If you're an American who had a childhood, you probably have some nostalgia for Hot Wheels. Get your engines revved for this trip down memory lane as we discuss these fun and iconic toys in this classic episode.

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May 22, 2021
Girl Scouts: More than cookie sellers
3010

We put our research to the test and it turns out the Girl Scouts is a great organization.

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May 20, 2021
Short Stuff: Speed Reading
798

Back in the 60s and 70s, a speed reading craze broke out. Tough luck that speed reading is bunk.

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May 19, 2021
The Cleveland Torso Murders
2905

During the depths of the Great Depression, Cleveland’s most vulnerable and destitute residents were prey for one of history’s most horrific serial killers. The killer’s identity remains a mystery to this day.

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May 18, 2021
Selects: How Limousines Work
2201

The first limousines weren’t even cars! Learn all about the history of limousines, how they’re made and some of the most creative and expensive amenities you can find inside them in this classic episode with Josh and Chuck.

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May 15, 2021
How Monster Trucks Work
2817

If you’ve never seen a huge truck with gigantic tires do backflips or roll backward perched only on its two front tires, you haven’t lived yet. Chuck and Josh are here to ignite your interest.

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May 13, 2021
Short Stuff: Garter Snakes
683

Garter snakes aren’t scary, they’re pretty great! Learn all the reasons why in this episode!

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May 12, 2021
The Ivy League
2950

The Ivy League is technically a sports conference, but it's much more than that. Enjoy this special 3D episode with your earbuds on and learn all about these revered, elite universities.

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May 11, 2021
Selects: How Snake Handlers Work
3270

Snake handling ranges from professional snake milkers for antivenin to religious handlers who tend to get bitten and sometimes die from it. Either way, it can be a dangerous business. Learn all about snake handling in this classic episode.

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May 08, 2021
How Uranium Mining Works
2988

Mining uranium is dangerous work. Not only does it involve mining, which is dangerous itself, uranium is also found alongside some very radioactive stuff. Learn the ins and outs of this thrilling endeavor in this episode of SYSK.

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May 06, 2021
Short Stuff: Squarer Than Wombat Poop
770

One of the cutest animals on the planet is also the only one that squeezes out cube-shaped poop. Find out why today.

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May 05, 2021
The Appendix: No Respect
2602

The poor appendix. Despite findings that it serves a purpose, many people still cast it off as a second rate organ and the Rodney Dangerfield of organs. We aim to correct that notion.

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May 04, 2021
Selects: How Cave Dwellers Work
2315

You know the cavemen, a race of human cousins who lived exclusively in caves? They didn’t exist. Sure prehistoric hominids used caves sometimes but they lived in other places too. Luckily the time they spent in caves has given us a glance at their culture thanks to the protective environments of caves. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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May 01, 2021
How Corporate Taxes Work
2937

There are lots of reasons to tax corporations: as a check on their power, to help pay for infrastructure, as a wealth tax. But the biggest reason economists cite for why they've stuck around is that everyday people think companies should have to pay them too.

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Apr 29, 2021
Short Stuff: Ivar The Boneless
656

Was Ivar the Boneless a real Viking warrior? Probably. Did he really have no bones? Probably not.

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Apr 28, 2021
Truffles: Underground Treasures
2421

Truffles are rare, expensive and apparently delicious. Learn all about these earthy fungi today.

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Apr 27, 2021
Selects: How Profiling Works
2997

At its base, criminal profiling is a legitimate investigatory tool. The Supreme Court has drawn a clear line that bans profiling when it includes race. So why do we still do it? Take a closer look with Josh and Chuck in this classic episode.

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Apr 24, 2021
How Stamp Collecting Works
3288

Over the last two centuries philatelists – stamp collectors – have learned just about everything there is to know about every stamp ever printed. You won’t by the end of this episode, but you might be interested enough to start yourself.

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Apr 22, 2021
Short Stuff: Madam C.J. Walker
781

Join us today as we dive into the story of the first female self-made millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker.

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Apr 21, 2021
Mechanical Bulls!
2740

Mechanical bulls are kind of weird, but they have certainly made a place in American pop culture over the years. Largely due to one movie, Urban Cowboy.

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Apr 20, 2021
Selects: How Tupperware Works
2252

Tupperware won immediate design acclaim when it was released in 1947, but it took a pioneering female executive to make a line of plastic food storage into an icon of the American postwar boom. Learn about the surprisingly intriguing history of Tupperware, in this classic episode.

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Apr 17, 2021
Hair Loss: The Pits
3422

Losing your hair is a situation that seems to be universally considered to absolutely stink. Unsurprisingly, humans have been trying all sorts of weird stuff to combat hair loss for millennia, but we’re only just now starting to get a handle on it.

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Apr 15, 2021
Short Stuff: Palindromes
783

Chuck loves palindromes. So much that his very name is one. Oh wait...

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Apr 14, 2021
How the Electrical Grid Works
3458

The electrical grid that provides power to the US is one of those things you don’t give a second thought to until it stops working – then it’s tough to think about anything else. Learn why this engineering marvel is past its prime and how to update it.

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Apr 13, 2021
Selects: The Unsolved Mystery Disappearance of the Sodder Children
2653

In 1945 a house fire took the lives of five children - except that their bodies were never found. In this classic episode, dive into the longstanding mystery of the odd circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the Sodder children.

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Apr 10, 2021
Muzak: Easy Listening Goodness
3145

Muzak got a bad reputation as bland garbage music. We aim to set the record straight.

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Apr 08, 2021
Short Stuff: Venus de Milo
664

Step into today's short stuff to learn all about the armless wonder!

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Apr 07, 2021
Havana Syndrome: ¿Qué Diablos?
2504

In 2016, diplomats at the American embassy in Cuba began suffering weird neurological symptoms after hearing strange noises. Some say it was a sonic attack using a secret weapon, but the Havana Syndrome remains a baffling scientific mystery to this day.

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Apr 06, 2021
Selects: How Circus Families Work
2656

Don't be confused - this one is about actual circus acts made of family members, not the controversial comic strip. Step right up to this classic episode.

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Apr 03, 2021
How the Titanic Worked: Part Two
2920

After the Titanic sank recriminations and blame followed, sometimes ruining careers unjustifiably. As the decades wore on and she was found almost 2.5 miles down, history rehabilitated some people. The question still remains how to preserve the ship.

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Apr 01, 2021
Short Stuff: What's the oldest book?
711

In order to figure out what the oldest book is, one has to define what a book actually is. Listen in as we discuss this debatable topic.

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Mar 31, 2021
How the Titanic Worked: Part One
2834

When the Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage in April 1912, the world was divided into two types of people: those who considered her unsinkable and those who weren’t so sure about that. Both types were aboard when she went down with 1500 souls.

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Mar 30, 2021
Selects: What was the Philadelphia Experiment?
2900

The Philadelphia Experiment is a bad movie from the 1980s, and also the conpiracy theory that refuses to die, despite virtually zero evidence of its occurance. Learn all about this strange non-event in this classic episode.

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Mar 27, 2021
Space Junk, Ahoy!
2930

The orbits hundreds to thousands of miles above Earth are littered with garbage. Space garbage, sure, but it’s still garbage. Littering in space is bad enough but it poses practical problems too – like space junk crashing into satellites or astronauts.

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Mar 25, 2021
Short Stuff: Cellphones on Airplanes
786

Are we finally at the place where we can make cell phone calls on airplanes? PLEASE NO! Listen in to find out.

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Mar 24, 2021
What is biophilic design?
3017

Biophilic design is all about bringing the outside in. But it's also much more than that. Open your windows and have a listen!

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Mar 23, 2021
Selects: How Lighthouses Work
2708

People have been burning fires on cliffs as long as other people have used boats, but after the Age of Exploration, lighthouses took their unmistakable form and the great stories of the people who kept the lights around the world began. Learn all about them in this classic episode.

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Mar 20, 2021
The Texas City Disaster of 1947
2435

In 1947 the port town of Texas City, Texas became the site of the largest industrial disaster in American history. An enormous explosion blew ships out of the water, created a tidal wave that flooded the town, and killed hundreds of people instantly.

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Mar 18, 2021
Short Stuff: Brazilian Jars
912

In the 1970s big news was made when some underwater artifacts were found in a bay by Rio de Janeiro that would have rewritten history. Then it just kind of petered out.

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Mar 17, 2021
The Parrot Episode
3076

If you think parrots are simply mimics that fly, you're wrong. Tune in and learn about these colorful friends today.

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Mar 16, 2021
Selects: Please Listen to How Plasma Waste Convertors Work
2168

There is a way to not only sustainably get rid of our household waste, but also produce enough energy from it to power the process and even create electricity for the grid. The future is here. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Mar 13, 2021
Karaoke: Tuesday Night Fever
3230

Listen in and learn all about the fascinating history of everybody's favorite pastime... karaoke!

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Mar 11, 2021
Short Stuff: Tooth Fairy: Not Real
774

Today we break down the history of everyone's favorite home invader, the tooth fairy.

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Mar 10, 2021
Dragons: As Real as Mermaids
2382

Dragons are like mermaids in that they're not real. And that's about where the comparison ends. Learn all about dragons today.

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Mar 09, 2021
Selects: Mermaids: Not a real thing
2476

Mermaids aren't real. That much we know. But the history and lore of these magical and sometimes menacing creatures of the sea is pretty interesting stuff. Learn all about these half women/half fish in this classic episode.

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Mar 06, 2021
Why is the Equal Rights Amendment still not ratified?
2956

The United States is one of only 28 countries in the world that doesn’t have equal protection for women under the law enshrined in its constitution. There was a moment in the 70s where it came very close, but then the conservative movement was born.

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Mar 04, 2021
Short Stuff: Dog Suicide Bridge
762

A bridge at the town of Dumbarton in Scotland has a terrible reputation as a site where dogs inexplicably leap to their death on the rocks 50 feet below. There is no shortage of theories why, but none fully explain it.

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Mar 03, 2021
Is the Free Radical Theory of Aging Wrong?
3051

In the 1990s we thought we’d identified the root cause of aging: nasty molecules called free radicals that wreaked havoc on our cells. Even better, we’d figured out how to counteract them with loads of antioxidants. Then science started raising questions.

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Mar 02, 2021
Selects: Bridges: Nature Abhors Them
3449

From prehistoric logs across streams to the 102-mile Kunshan Grand Bridge, nature works ceaselessly to take down spans. In this classic episode, learn about the fascinating ins and outs of bridge design and building and the mind-boggling challenges structural engineers face.

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Feb 27, 2021
How Bruce Lee Worked
3060

Bruce Lee may have introduced more Westerners to Asian culture than any person in history. And, because he died young just as he became an international superstar, he’s become a legend. Josh and Chuck try to uncover the man underneath.

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Feb 25, 2021
Short Stuff: The Body in the Cylinder
849

In 1945, residents of a Liverpool neighborhood found a desiccated body in a long cylinder they’d been using for years using as a bench. It launched a mystery that’s still alive today.

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Feb 24, 2021
What Will Farming 4.0 Look Like?
2919

The human population is expected to increase by a couple billion people in the next 30 years and those who are paying attention are wondering exactly how we’ll feed all those extra mouths. Will going high tech or getting back to nature save us?

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Feb 23, 2021
Selects: How Chili Peppers Work
3136

Born and raised in South America, chilis were the earliest crop domesticated in the continent and among the first items brought back to Europe by Columbus. Today people are really, really into them. Find out all about 'em in this classic episode.

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Feb 20, 2021
How Blue Holes Work
2201

Geologists and biologists have recently realized that the planet’s oceans and coasts are littered with a unique type of ecosystem called blue holes, submerged sinkholes that were once dry caves. They are turning out to be weird and amazing places.

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Feb 18, 2021
Short Stuff: Freedom House Ambulance Services
984

As part of Black History Month, we wanted to share the little known story of the Freedom House Ambulance Service. Listen in to learn all about this seminal group of EMTs.

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Feb 17, 2021
The Disappearance of Lars Mittank
2567

In 2014, a young German man walked into an airport in Bulgaria with a flight booked, then suddenly ran out leaving all his posessions behind, never to be heard from again. This is the story of Lars Mittank.

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Feb 16, 2021
Selects: Why Are So Many Disembodied Feet Washing Ashore In British Columbia?
2227

Between 2007 and 2016, 17 disembodied feet - still wearing shoes - have washed ashore between Washington and British Columbia. What's behind the sudden influx of Vancouver's mystery feet? Find out in this classic episode.

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Feb 13, 2021
How Housing Discrimination Works
3254

Owning a home in the US is a way to pass wealth down from one generation to the next and lift families into a comfortable life down the road. But there have been barriers to buying homes that Black Americans have faced from the time of slavery to today.

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Feb 11, 2021
Short Stuff: How California Got Its Name
767

California is a pretty cool name. And the story about where it came from is even cooler.

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Feb 10, 2021
Sacagawea: Impressive Teen
2869

Sacagawea was only 16 when she joined the Corps of Discovery. That is one seriously impressive teenager.

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Feb 09, 2021
Selects: Earwax: Live With It
2204

Despite tons of people using cotton swabs each day to clean the earwax from their ears, cerumen (as earwax is clinically known) is actually quite beneficial to the health of your ears - and even kind of ingenious as your body's defense goes. Learn more in this classic episode.

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Feb 06, 2021
The NAACP
2727

The NAACP has long been one of the most robust and effective non-profits in the USA. And while it has faded a bit from its glory days, it still remains a vital cog in the battle for equality.

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Feb 04, 2021
Short Stuff: Balloonfest
807

In 1986 Cleveland released more than a million helium balloons at once! It didn’t go at all according to plan!

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Feb 03, 2021
How Groundhog Day Works
2990

You know Groundhog Day – the holiday on February 2 when you wake up and have to go through the same day over and over again. It turns out the holiday has deep roots in a pagan past, and has survived in a surprisingly similar form.

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Feb 02, 2021
Selects: Maggots: Good For Healing Wounds, Turns Out
2300

Cultures around the world over the years have been inspired by, then repulsed, then inspired by maggots' ability to heal persistent wounds. We are in an inspired-by phase right now. Learn more in this classic episode.

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Jan 30, 2021
How Hydropower Works
3093

Humans have been stealing energy from flowing water for at least two thousand years. It wasn’t until the advent of electricity that things really got cookin’. All we need to do now is to work out the harmful environmental impacts of this green energy.

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Jan 28, 2021
Short Stuff: Vantablack
741

How black is vantablack? About as black as you could imagine.

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Jan 27, 2021
The KKK: Loathsome Cosplay Rednecks
3402

The history of the KKK is rooted in hatred and racism, and it still is today. Learn all about these loathsome rednecks today.

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Jan 26, 2021
Selects: How Blimps Work
2786

After newsreels captured the Hindenburg erupting in fire in 1937, the promising development of airship aviation was cut short. Today companies and militaries are taking another look at blimps and the unique qualities that may revive them. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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Jan 23, 2021
Finding the Fenn Treasure
2919

In 2010 an eccentric art dealer hid a treasure chest with $2 million in valuables somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and published a poem with clues on where to find it. Hence began the most famous treasure hunt in modern times.

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Jan 21, 2021
Short Stuff: Necco