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Stuff You Should Know
Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks,... more

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Selects: Beavers: Tail Slapping Fun

Beavers are in fact, very busy. They're builders and solid family members, husbands and wives. Learn all about N America's... more

02 Dec 2023 · 42 minutes
You Down With OED?

The story of the Oxford English Dictionary is really something. From its origin to its crowd-sourced literary quotations. Dive in... more

30 Nov 2023 · 47 minutes
Short Stuff: The Zipper Merge

When you switch lanes on the highway after noticing that the lane you’re in is ending up ahead, you are... more

29 Nov 2023 · 14 minutes
Plate Tectonics Are What Makes Earth Inhabitable

It’s time to get jazzed about Earth science again. It’s only been 60 or so years since we’ve known the... more

28 Nov 2023 · 48 minutes
Selects: NYC Water: An Engineering Marvel

Getting the rain and melted snow from upstate NY into the taps of every NYC resident and business is one... more

25 Nov 2023 · 47 minutes
The Wreck of the Costa Concordia

It’s astounding that with the exceptional navigational equipment aboard a cruise ship can run aground in the 21st century, and... more

23 Nov 2023 · 50 minutes
Short Stuff: Magnetic Pole Switcheroo

Everyone once in a while, say a few hundred thousand years or so, the north and south poles of Earth’s... more

22 Nov 2023 · 12 minutes
Legs! Legs! Legs! (The Periodic Table)

If you’ve ever wanted to listen to two totally untrained, non-chemists who are fully unqualified to explain how the periodic... more

21 Nov 2023 · 47 minutes
Selects: E.T.: Is It Really the Worst Video Game of All Time?

If you play video games you probably have an easy answer to worst game of all time: ET. But it... more

18 Nov 2023 · 41 minutes
Diners: The Most American Establishment?

Diners may just be the most American establishment there is. They were born in the USA, thanks to European immigrants,... more

16 Nov 2023 · 46 minutes
Short Stuff: Liberty Bell

The story of the Liberty Bell is far more confusing than we imagined.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

15 Nov 2023 · 11 minutes
The Tragic Death of Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood was Hollywood royalty who tragically drowned after a long night of partying with her husband, Robert Wagner, and... more

14 Nov 2023 · 50 minutes
Selects: Who were the Buffalo Soldiers?

Josh and Chuck dive into history in this classic episode to tell the story of the Buffalo Soldiers.See omnystudio.com/listener for... more

11 Nov 2023 · 51 minutes
How Scuba Works

It’s a good, old fashioned how it works episode where we break down all of the nuts and bolts and... more

09 Nov 2023 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
Short Stuff: Petrified Wood

Petrified wood isn't just hard wood. Listen in today to learn all about this unique process. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

08 Nov 2023 · 10 minutes
Things We Believed Before the Scientific Method

It’s easy to think of people in the distant past as kinda dumb for believing things like that mice could... more

07 Nov 2023 · 43 minutes
Selects: Are Election Laws Designed to Suppress Voting?

Are laws that are meant to protect the sanctity of the polling place in reality designed to make it harder... more

04 Nov 2023 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
The Harlem Globetrotters: American Treasures

The Harlem Globetrotters are an American entertainment institution. Their story may not be quite what you think either. Hint, they... more

02 Nov 2023 · 53 minutes
Short Stuff: White Dog Poop

If you grew up from the 70s to the 90s you know white dog poop. It’s the old, crusty –... more

01 Nov 2023 · 14 minutes
The 14th Annual Halloween Spooktacular!

As per tradition, today Josh and Chuck perform a spooky Halloween story reading to delight, amuse and FRIGHTEN YOU TO... more

31 Oct 2023 · 1 hour, 4 minutes
Selects: How Mummies Work

A mummy is a human being whose soft tissue has been preserved after death, and there are mummies around the... more

28 Oct 2023 · 40 minutes
Naked Mole Rats: A Face Only a Mother Could Love

Naked mole rats are funny looking to be sure, but neither moles nor rats. So what are they? You'll have... more

26 Oct 2023 · 46 minutes
Short Stuff: Bed Sheet Ghosts

The simple bed sheet has provided countless kids and adults with an easy go-to Halloween costume. But why do we... more

25 Oct 2023 · 13 minutes
The Compton Cafeteria Riot

Three years before the riots at Stonewall, the LGBTQ community of San Francisco's Tenderloin rose up. And the story was... more

24 Oct 2023 · 37 minutes
Selects: Where Did Trick-Or-Treating Come From?

We aren’t exactly sure who invented trick-or-treating – kids who realized they could extort adults for candy, or adults who... more

21 Oct 2023 · 51 minutes
Kindness: Do It

In the tradition of our episodes on forgiveness and revenge, comes the third installment in the Emotional Roller Coaster trilogy.... more

19 Oct 2023 · 48 minutes
Short Stuff: Candy Corn

Is it vile? Is it delicious? It seems to be both! Hear all about the history of candy corn, how... more

18 Oct 2023 · 15 minutes
The Criminal Father of Criminology

Eugene Francois Vidocq is without a doubt one of the most interesting figures in modern history. He’s a former criminal... more

17 Oct 2023 · 53 minutes
Selects: Pain Scales: Yeeeow!

Pain is subjective; it is whatever the person experiencing it says it is. But to effectively treat pain, it helps... more

14 Oct 2023 · 43 minutes
How Intellectual Property Works

Intellectual property sounds as dry as can be, but it’s actually very interesting. It’s at the heart of the global... more

12 Oct 2023 · 52 minutes
Short Stuff: Longyou Caves

What’s better than discovering a mysterious cavern? Discovering five!See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

11 Oct 2023 · 15 minutes
Parasocial Relationships: That Podcaster is Your Friend!

Parasocial relationships are fascinating and it turns out Chuck knows what it's like from both sides. Listen in today to... more

10 Oct 2023 · 54 minutes
Selects: How Motion Sickness Works

Motion sickness is the worst and hits about 25 to 40 percent of humans when they ride in cars, boats,... more

07 Oct 2023 · 37 minutes
How Andy Warhol Worked

You know Andy Warhol from his quip on being famous for 15 minutes and paintings of soup cans, but even... more

05 Oct 2023 · 51 minutes
Short Stuff: Rhodium

Rhodium is one of the most valuable precious metals on Earth, though it has dropped in value by about 80%... more

04 Oct 2023 · 12 minutes
Night of the Grizzlies

Grizzly bears had never killed a person in Glacier National Park until the night of August 12, 1967. That's when... more

03 Oct 2023 · 48 minutes
Selects: Social Security Numbers: Less Boring Than You'd Think

Do you know that up until July 2011 an ambitious hacker with a good software program could deduce your social... more

30 Sep 2023 · 39 minutes
Revenge: Bitter, Not Sweet

Someone cuts you off in traffic or makes fun of your friend and all you can think of is how... more

28 Sep 2023 · 45 minutes
Short Stuff: The Dakota

The Dakota is one of New York City's great buildings. And its backstory is pretty great to boot. See omnystudio.com/listener for... more

27 Sep 2023 · 12 minutes
The Amazing Life of Christine Granville

Christine Granville was about as James Bond as it gets. Stories of her life as a spy during World War... more

26 Sep 2023 · 49 minutes
Selects: Cockney Rhyming Slang: Beautiful Gibberish

What is Cockney Rhyming Slang? It's complicated and its origins are unclear. Learn everything we know about it today in... more

23 Sep 2023 · 42 minutes
Kombucha: Fizzy Goodness

Kombucha is pretty popular right now. But what is it exactly and where did it come from? The answers await... more

21 Sep 2023 · 47 minutes
Short Stuff: Origin of Math Signs

Have you ever stopped mid-pencil mark and realized to your astonishment where the plus sign came from? Then this one’s... more

20 Sep 2023 · 11 minutes
10ish Worst Business Decisions Ever

It’s easy (and kind of fun) to laugh at the misfortune of CEOs and other high up business types when... more

19 Sep 2023 · 51 minutes
Selects: How Floods Work

Floods happen when more water is introduced to an area than can be quickly removed. That's about it, but there's... more

16 Sep 2023 · 33 minutes
The Hyatt Regency Skywalk Disaster

In 1981 America suffered the worst accidental structural collapse in its history. Listen in today to the tragic story of... more

14 Sep 2023 · 40 minutes
Short Stuff: Why Spilling Salt is Unlucky

Face it, when you spill salt your life goes totally off the rails, maybe even forever. Fortunately, we humans stumbled... more

13 Sep 2023 · 11 minutes
Axolotls: The Smiling Salamander from Mexico

It’s a listener request! Axolotls are one of the more amazing animals roaming the planet right now – they can... more

12 Sep 2023 · 48 minutes
Selects: How Space Stations Work

It seems like we largely take it for granted these days, but the fact that we have humans living in... more

09 Sep 2023 · 48 minutes
Native American Reservations

Today we dive into the history and current state of Native American reservations. This serves as a nice follow-up to... more

07 Sep 2023 · 52 minutes
Short Stuff: History of OK

Is OK the best word? It's certainly one of the most versatile. Check the interesting history of this weird contraction.See... more

06 Sep 2023 · 14 minutes
The Made-up Disease of Syndrome K

In WWII, Italy went through its own Jewish Holocaust, terrible at first then horrific as the Nazis took over the... more

05 Sep 2023 · 41 minutes
Selects: Body Odor: You Stink

Chuck and Josh end up making reduxes of past episodes on things like sweating and deodorant in this all-new episode... more

02 Sep 2023 · 46 minutes
Laurens Hammond: The Non-Musical Genius Who Changed Popular Music

Laurens Hammond invented the Hammond organ and in the process changed music history. But he was much more than that. See... more

31 Aug 2023 · 50 minutes
Short Stuff: Evil Eye

You've seen the evil eye. Many Middle Eastern cultures have a long history with it. Learn how to thwart this... more

30 Aug 2023 · 11 minutes
Fordlandia: Brazil Isn't Michigan

Henry Ford tried to build a Midwestern American town in the Amazon rainforest in the 1920s. It's true. And yes,... more

29 Aug 2023 · 46 minutes
Selects: How Toy Testing Works

It's every kid's dream - a job playing with toys that pays in toys. It's a real thing and has... more

26 Aug 2023 · 47 minutes
Plant Migration

Climate change is having sweeping effects on our climate and this is changing the world, not just for humans and... more

24 Aug 2023 · 45 minutes
Short Stuff: Saturn's Rings

Friends, treasure Saturn’s rings while they are young. They won’t be around forever.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

23 Aug 2023 · 11 minutes
Farmer's Almanac: Literature to Poop To

The Farmer's Almanac has a long rich history that is more than just moon phases and long-term weather patterns. Tune... more

22 Aug 2023 · 48 minutes
Selects: How Music Sampling Works

Today music sampling is a common practice, especially in electronic or hip-hop music. But how does it work? After all,... more

19 Aug 2023 · 44 minutes
The Mysterious Disappearance of the Franklin Expedition

One of the great Arctic mysteries was the disappearance of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition in search of a northwest passage... more

17 Aug 2023 · 50 minutes
Short Stuff: Edward Mordake

In the 19th century news spread of an unfortunate man who was born with an evil second face on the... more

16 Aug 2023 · 12 minutes
How We’re Learning to Talk to Animals

If we could talk with the animals, grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals, what would we say? We’d... more

15 Aug 2023 · 53 minutes
Selects: How Magnets Work

You can stick them to the fridge or use them to transpose sound to tape, whatever they are used for... more

12 Aug 2023 · 36 minutes

Science is just realizing the extent of the tiny pollutants that have entered ecosystems across Earth and inside all humans.... more

10 Aug 2023 · 45 minutes
Short Stuff: History of English

Who spoke English first and what was it like? Nothing like it is today. Listen in to learn all about... more

09 Aug 2023 · 12 minutes
Dear Diary...

Diaries have been around for a long time. There are many famous ones, and tens of millions that will never... more

08 Aug 2023 · 47 minutes
Selects: Rainbows: Delighting humanity since forever

Rainbows seem to defy nature, but they're really pretty simple when it comes down to it. Turns out it's just... more

05 Aug 2023 · 30 minutes
The Last Meal Ritual

The last meal of the executed is a longstanding tradition. Listen in today to learn about the dark history and... more

03 Aug 2023 · 49 minutes
Short Stuff: NATO Alphabet

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie. This is the NATO alphabet. But where did it come from?See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

02 Aug 2023 · 13 minutes
BPD: The Worst Disorder or Not a Disorder at All?

Borderline Personality Disorder has been described as emotional “third degree burns over ninety percent of your body.” It’s as close... more

01 Aug 2023 · 50 minutes
Selects: What's the deal with Stradivarius violins?

The Strad violin is noted for its tonal qualities and superior craftsmanship. And for its price tag. There are many... more

29 Jul 2023 · 40 minutes
MAD Magazine: A Tribute

Chuck and Josh grew up on MAD Magazine and we hope you did too. What started out as a comic... more

27 Jul 2023 · 1 hour,
Short Stuff: Blue Highway Signs

In the US those ubiquitous blue highway signs that tell you which direction you’ll find a Burger King have an... more

26 Jul 2023 · 14 minutes
Learning a Foreign Language

Today, Chuck and Josh dive into the ins and outs of language learning. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

25 Jul 2023 · 47 minutes
Selects: Nirvana: Not The Band

Hinduism and Buddhism are closely related in a number of ways, including their vision of what comes after we exit... more

22 Jul 2023 · 32 minutes
Magic Eye Illusions

What became the Magic Eye illusion fad of the 1990s was born by way of the stereogram of the 1950s... more

20 Jul 2023 · 47 minutes
Short Stuff: Pie-In-The-Face Gag

Throwing a pie in someone’s face was groundbreaking comedy once upon a time.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

19 Jul 2023 · 12 minutes
Insomnia: Why you can't sleep

Insomnia is rough stuff. Listen in and learn all about why you can't fall asleep and what you can do... more

18 Jul 2023 · 50 minutes
Selects: How Police Lineups Work

Police lineups are something most people have never had any firsthand experience with. What you see on TV and in... more

15 Jul 2023 · 52 minutes
How PCP Works

There is probably no drug more mythologized than PCP. It drives users insane and has the unfortunate side effect of... more

13 Jul 2023 · 49 minutes
Short Stuff: Père-Lachaise Cemetery

The most famous cemetery in Paris has some of the most famous people in the world buried there. And it's... more

12 Jul 2023 · 12 minutes
Birth Order: So nice, we did it twice

This is a very special episode, the first one we've ever fully recorded a second time and decided to release.... more

11 Jul 2023 · 55 minutes
Selects: How Bats Work

They are creepy, sure, but they are also useful, cute and in great danger of extinction. Get a new lease... more

08 Jul 2023 · 45 minutes
James Beard: Food Legend

James Beard is well-known now for the annual awards named in his honor. But he used to be the most... more

06 Jul 2023 · 55 minutes
Short Stuff: Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood sign is an iconic landmark that started out as a real estate billboard. Can you believe it?See omnystudio.com/listener... more

05 Jul 2023 · 13 minutes
How Trucking Works

If truckers suddenly vanished the global economy would come to a grinding halt in a couple days. But as important... more

04 Jul 2023 · 1 hour, 1 minute
Selects: What Makes Lead So Poisonous?

The people of Flint, MI were horrified to find their drinking water was poisoned with lead. As we learn more... more

01 Jul 2023 · 49 minutes
Butterflies: Caterpillars with Wings!

If you thought caterpillars were awesome, just wait until you see them with colorful, iridescent wings!See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

29 Jun 2023 · 51 minutes
Short Stuff: Fahrenheit or Celsius

Fahrenheit or Celsius? Why not both? If they can agree - exactly at -40 degrees  - then it seems like... more

28 Jun 2023 · 9 minutes
Caterpillars: Nature's Magicians

Caterpillars are simply the best. Don't think so? Well listen in and you'll soon agreeSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

27 Jun 2023 · 47 minutes
Selects: How Ocean Currents Work

It's easy to overlook the importance of ocean currents - they move along out at sea, while we stay mostly... more

24 Jun 2023 · 39 minutes
How Afrofuturism Works

Black sci-fi writers were shut out of their genre in the 20th century so they created their own vision of... more

22 Jun 2023 · 53 minutes
Short Stuff: Chia Pet

It has arrived, the most important podcast episode in the history of the world. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

21 Jun 2023 · 12 minutes
Large Language Models and You

There is a good chance that in March of 2023, humans crossed a threshold into a transformative new era when... more

20 Jun 2023 · 54 minutes
Selects: SYSK Live: Back When Ford Pintos Were Flaming Deathtraps

For this special live benefit episode recorded in Atlanta, Josh and Chuck go back to the 70s and look at... more

17 Jun 2023 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
How Alumin(i)um Works

Humans made it through the Bronze Age and Iron Age, then we dabbled in steel, and now we are living... more

15 Jun 2023 · 51 minutes
Short Stuff: Suicide Forest

The suicide forest in Japan is a beautiful place with a checkered reputation. Trigger Warning: This episode features a discussion... more

14 Jun 2023 · 11 minutes
The Stinky History of Human Hygiene

Ever wondered when and why people started caring about body odors and cleanliness? Well look no further than today's episode. See... more

13 Jun 2023 · 57 minutes
Selects: How Audience Testing Works

Did you know some of our most beloved movies originally had different, sometimes better, endings? That is until they were... more

10 Jun 2023 · 40 minutes
Is Reality Real?

Philosophers have been wondering whether we experience reality as it is for millennia now. They’ve pretty much settled on no,... more

08 Jun 2023 · 43 minutes
Short Stuff: DNA Data Storage

One of the more futuristic things around right now on Earth is research into encoding data into strings of genetic... more

07 Jun 2023 · 11 minutes
Why Manners?

Keeping your elbows off the table, keeping your fingers out of the gravy boat – at some point these became... more

06 Jun 2023 · 47 minutes
Selects: Pterosaurs: Not Flying Dinosaurs

Almost everything you know about pterosaurs is wrong. They weren't birds, they weren't flying dinosaurs and they weren't all pterodactyls.... more

03 Jun 2023 · 38 minutes
What's the deal with intermittent fasting?

Could eating at only certain times of the day lead to weight loss? Possibly! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

01 Jun 2023 · 44 minutes
Short Stuff: Rube Goldberg

Everyone knows what a Rube Goldberg machine is, but what do you know about the cartoonist who they're named after?See... more

31 May 2023 · 14 minutes
The Saga of Milli Vanilli

For a moment Milli Vanilli was the hottest musical act in the world. Then came the news that it was... more

30 May 2023 · 53 minutes
Selects: How Color Works

Science doesn't have a good explanation for why we sense color, yet it is everywhere and affecting us all the... more

27 May 2023 · 41 minutes
The Semi-Recent History of Exercise

Humans exercising for better health has not been around that long. Today we dive into this fun history as we... more

25 May 2023 · 55 minutes
Short Stuff: Pollen Count

If you watch the news and hear the pollen count is high for some particular type of plant then it’s... more

24 May 2023 · 12 minutes
What is the Bechdel Test?

The Bechdel Test is a is a measure of the representation of women in film. You'd be surprised how many... more

23 May 2023 · 42 minutes
Selects: How Dog Shows Work

You know those shows where people wearing sensible shoes jog dogs around in circles? They actually represent the pinnacle of... more

20 May 2023 · 41 minutes
How Juries Work

It’s totally bonkers that in the US and other countries, the job of determining the guilt or innocence of an... more

18 May 2023 · 57 minutes
Short Stuff: Mood Rings

Mood Rings were all the rage in the 1970s. Then they went away, and fast. What's your color today?See omnystudio.com/listener... more

17 May 2023 · 11 minutes
The Inflammation Theory of Disease

Not too long ago we thought that germs were the cause of most diseases, leading to germ theory. But when... more

16 May 2023 · 58 minutes
Selects: How Slinky Works

It has been called a "glorified spring", but Slinky is one of the best selling toys of all time. From... more

13 May 2023 · 51 minutes
How TV Weathercasters Work

TV weather people can seem corny and maybe a little nerdy, but beneath that toothsome exterior lies the heart of... more

11 May 2023 · 49 minutes
Short Stuff: Frances Kelsey: Hero of the FDA

Who is Frances Kelsey? Well, she's a semi-unsung hero of the FDA whose work helped save a lot of kids... more

10 May 2023 · 12 minutes
The Colosseum

It's funny how similar The Colosseum in Rome is to modern day arenas. They really had it figured out. Tune... more

09 May 2023 · 54 minutes
Selects: Does the body replace itself?

Does the human body really replace itself every few years? The answer is yes, but different parts of the body... more

06 May 2023 · 38 minutes
Introducing Smell-O-Vision!

Smell-O-Vision was a post-war movie theater gimmick that delivered well-timed scents to the noses of audiences to align with the... more

04 May 2023 · 38 minutes
Short Stuff: Dunbar's Number

There’s a theory that all of us have a maximum number of friendships that we can maintain – 150, to... more

03 May 2023 · 14 minutes

Another classic toys edition is at your collective feet. Today, we dive into the soft, padded world of NERF!See omnystudio.com/listener... more

02 May 2023 · 38 minutes
Selects: How Manhunts Work

When a suspect or prisoner goes on the lam there are plenty of ways to hide: in plain sight, in... more

29 Apr 2023 · 34 minutes
Carbon Monoxide: Please Just Listen Anyway

It might not be the sexiest topic we’ve ever covered (and by “might”, we mean “definitely”), but there are some... more

27 Apr 2023 · 47 minutes
Short Stuff: Botox Brain

Botox can chase away the lines on your face, apparently it can chase away your depression, borderline personality disorder, and... more

26 Apr 2023 · 13 minutes
Why does everyone love Dolly Parton?

Today we dive in to celebrate the international treasure that is Dolly Parton. Why is she nearly universally loved? Listen... more

25 Apr 2023 · 53 minutes
Selects: Was There A Real Robin Hood?

Is it true that Robin Hood hung out in Sherwood Forest and stole from the rich to give to the... more

22 Apr 2023 · 49 minutes
METI: Existential Threat? Probably Yes

We've wanted to contact extraterrestrials for as long as we've suspected they're out there. But as we get better and... more

20 Apr 2023 · 43 minutes
Short Stuff: Routines

Routines are a key part of a successful life. Ask anybody about theirs and they'll be happy to share!See omnystudio.com/listener... more

19 Apr 2023 · 15 minutes
Should Rich Countries Cancel Poor Countries’ Debt?

It sounds controversial, but there are persuasive arguments for the wealthy Global North to write off the debts lower-income nations... more

18 Apr 2023 · 53 minutes
Selects: How Coffins Work

Sure, you've probably laid in one at the store or a funeral home, but how much do you know about... more

15 Apr 2023 · 41 minutes
John Brinkley: The Quackiest Quack in History?

John Brinkley was perhaps the biggest quack who ever claimed to be practicing medicine. Learn all about this not so... more

13 Apr 2023 · 45 minutes
Short Stuff: Red Snow

Thanks to green algae, there's such a thing as red snow. And we've recently found it can accelerate global warming.... more

12 Apr 2023 · 11 minutes
How Skydiving Works

At 13,000 feet the ground is nothing but far-away squares of land, and you can even see some clouds below... more

11 Apr 2023 · 51 minutes
Selects: Some Nutso Fan Theories

It turns out that the characters in your favorite TV shows and the like are actually dead, dreaming, dying or... more

08 Apr 2023 · 53 minutes
Playing Cards? You Got That Right!

If you've ever wanted to learn more about playing cards, now is your big chance. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

06 Apr 2023 · 46 minutes
Short Stuff: Beethoven’s DNA

It's been all over the news, Beethoven's DNA has revealed some interesting things about his health.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

05 Apr 2023 · 9 minutes
What Caused the Late Bronze Age Collapse?

Humans’ first attempt at civilization went pretty well for the first thousand years. Important stuff like the wheel, writing, math,... more

04 Apr 2023 · 47 minutes
Selects: How Jet Lag Works

It was only since 1958 that the Jet Age began, and jet lag became a real condition. Also known as... more

01 Apr 2023 · 35 minutes
What's the deal with dowsing?

Dowsing, aka water-witching has been around a long time. And you might be surprised that's still a thing. We get... more

30 Mar 2023 · 44 minutes
Short Stuff: Theme Park Cremations

There’s a little-discussed trend you might run into at your favorite theme park – people scattering the ashes of a... more

29 Mar 2023 · 11 minutes
The First Road Trip

Back when cars were a brand new thing, before people even knew they'd stick around, two men and a dog... more

28 Mar 2023 · 49 minutes
Selects: Is The Uncanny Valley Real?

In 1970, roboticist Masahiro Mori wrote an essay that said the closer robots come to lifelike, the more they unsettle... more

25 Mar 2023 · 1 hour, 7 minutes
An Interesting, Vastly Incomplete Look at Baseball Cards

One of the all-stars of the hobby world is collecting baseball cards. Over time it’s gone from a kids’ hobby... more

23 Mar 2023 · 54 minutes
Short Stuff: Semantic Satiation

You know when you read a word over and over it starts to lose its meaning? There’s a term for... more

22 Mar 2023 · 12 minutes
The Tragic Tale of Floyd Collins

Floyd Collins was a natural-born caver who met a terrible fate, becoming stuck underground where no one could get him... more

21 Mar 2023 · 47 minutes
Selects: Do People Really Run Off to Join the French Foreign Legion?

Anyone who knows anything about Jean-Claude Van Damme knows he played a French legionnaire in the movies. He was just... more

18 Mar 2023 · 19 minutes
Arcades: Nostalgia Abounds

Chuck and Josh were around during the Golden Age of the arcade. And look how they turned out! Join them... more

16 Mar 2023 · 58 minutes
Short Stuff: John Cage's 639 Year Concert

John Cage was a unique artist to say the least. Learn all about this avant-garde composer today.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy... more

15 Mar 2023 · 13 minutes
That's Amaro!

Amaro is a delicious traditional liqueur, usually from Italy, that has delighted diners and drinkers for centuries. Tune in to... more

14 Mar 2023 · 53 minutes
Selects: The Time Nazis Invaded Florida

During World War II, Nazis invaded the United States with saboteurs bent on fomenting chaos. Three times. Learn all about... more

11 Mar 2023 · 55 minutes
Woodstock: The Festival for Stardust, Golden Hippies

You may have heard your parents or – gasp – grandparents prattle on about how amazing the original 1969 Woodstock... more

09 Mar 2023 · 56 minutes
Short Stuff: Paprika

Paprika is more than a smoky Hungarian spice. Actually, that's not true, that's exactly what it is. But it sure... more

08 Mar 2023 · 8 minutes
Noncompete Agreements, Come On

A noncompete agreement, a pledge not to work for a competitor for a set amount of time, makes sense –... more

07 Mar 2023 · 50 minutes
Selects: Live From San Francisco: How Malls Work

In this classic show recorded live on January 5, 2017 at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, Josh and Chuck delve into... more

04 Mar 2023 · 1 hour, 6 minutes
Crosswords episode, perhaps?

Crossword puzzles have an interesting history and are a lot of fun to do. Dive in today to learn about... more

02 Mar 2023 · 54 minutes
Short Stuff: La Pascualita

In a bridal shop in Chihuahua, Mexico a mannequin has been standing in the window since the 1930s that’s so... more

01 Mar 2023 · 11 minutes
The Awe-Inspiring, Absolutely Crucial Amazon

If you’ve ever thought, “What’s the Amazon rainforest ever done for me? Nothin, that’s what,” then you’re dead wrong, friend.... more

28 Feb 2023 · 54 minutes
Selects: Who Committed the 1912 Villisca Ax Murders?

In a small town in Iowa in 1912 eight people were murdered in the grisliest of ways while they slept.... more

25 Feb 2023 · 46 minutes
Naps: Chuck's Secret Talent

Naps are great if you can manage to find the space to take them. The trick is to do it... more

23 Feb 2023 · 44 minutes
Short Stuff: Sleeping On It

It’s pretty well known that if you wait to make a big decision until after you get some sleep, you’re... more

22 Feb 2023 · 14 minutes
The Mystery of the Lost Amber Room

Chuck and Josh turn into the Hardy Boys for one of the great unsolved mysteries of WWII, a work of... more

21 Feb 2023 · 47 minutes
Selects: The Max Headroom Affair

In 1987, a very strange broadcast intrusion occurred in the city of Chicago. For just a couple of minutes, the... more

18 Feb 2023 · 47 minutes
The Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire

The fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club was not in Los Angeles, but Kentucky. Which happened to be Las... more

16 Feb 2023 · 52 minutes
Short Stuff: Beulah Mae Donald

In 1981 a Mobile mother of six was forced into the role of civil rights activist when the Klan murdered... more

15 Feb 2023 · 12 minutes
The Glorious Flamingo

Flamingos are much more than just pretty pink birds. They are in fact, quite remarkable! Listen and learn…See omnystudio.com/listener for... more

14 Feb 2023 · 49 minutes
Selects: Cave Diving: Totally Nuts

There are extreme sports and then there is cave diving, the most extreme activity a person can engage in without... more

11 Feb 2023 · 50 minutes
How (O)possums Work

Josh and Chuck take a listener’s suggestion – many, many suggestions – and learn that possums are pretty great and... more

09 Feb 2023 · 49 minutes
Short Stuff: No Shirt, No Shoes, WTF

You can thank your parents and grandparents for the longstanding ban against dining shirtless and shoeless. While the concept was... more

08 Feb 2023 · 13 minutes
Honey: Nature's Wonder Sugar

Honey is an amazing thing. Just ask any bee. They make a ton of it. So much that humans get... more

07 Feb 2023 · 53 minutes
Selects: How Easy Bake Ovens Work

Easy Bake Ovens are as iconic as a toy can get, as American as apple pie or baseball. Learn all... more

04 Feb 2023 · 36 minutes
The Largely Equine History of Veterinary Medicine

Vets have been around for a long time, but mainly to care for horses. When horse travel went away, guess... more

02 Feb 2023 · 47 minutes
Short Stuff: Bird Migration

Where are all those birds flying anyway? How do they decide? When do they do it? All of these questions,... more

01 Feb 2023 · 11 minutes
Must We Suffer Emotional Pain?

It’s part of the human condition, to feel the pain of sorrow, loss, embarrassment. But isn’t it kind of weird... more

31 Jan 2023 · 49 minutes
Selects: Elephants: The Best Animals?

Elephants are pretty much the best. Why? Josh and Chuck will let you know in great detail in this classic... more

28 Jan 2023 · 1 hour, 1 minute
How Attachment Theory Works

A theory in the field of psychology has become so pervasive, it’s generally taken on faith that it’s true. It... more

26 Jan 2023 · 54 minutes
Short Stuff: Adam's Apples and Throat Lumps

This week's short stuff is all about throat lumps and Adam's apples.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

25 Jan 2023 · 10 minutes
Let's Talk About John DeLorean

John DeLorean: visionary, car maker extraordinaire, buyer of large amounts of cocaine, provider of time machine chassis. There is a... more

24 Jan 2023 · 56 minutes
Selects: How Game Shows Work

Join Josh and Chuck and a whole bunch of great people at the Gothic Theatre in Denver for this live... more

21 Jan 2023 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
Toast: As in browned bread

Toast is bread that has been browned by heat. It's delicious. This is our ode to toast.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy... more

19 Jan 2023 · 53 minutes
Short Stuff: Women Pirates

The Golden Age of Pirates didn’t have just men floating on the high seas. Some women became very successful pirates... more

18 Jan 2023 · 16 minutes
The Louisiana Purchase: Not a Purchase

Turns out the Louisiana Purchase was not so much a purchase, but the right to (steal) purchase it from indigenous... more

17 Jan 2023 · 46 minutes
Selects: How Therapeutic Hypothermia Works

Physicians noticed centuries ago that people exposed to cold temperatures often have amazing recoveries from serious medical emergencies. Now medicine... more

14 Jan 2023 · 49 minutes
How Tarot Works?

This is not a hit piece! Tarot helps plenty of people navigate their lives and reflect on their feelings –... more

12 Jan 2023 · 43 minutes
Short Stuff: Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Forest Lawn is no ordinary cemetery. Why? Listen in and find out.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

11 Jan 2023 · 11 minutes
How Enron Fooled the World

Until the 2007, the largest single corporate bankruptcy was Enron, a $67 billion energy trading company. Its decline was breathtaking,... more

10 Jan 2023 · 59 minutes
Selects: How Perfume Works

Women consistently rate scent as the most important factor in a man's attractiveness and men have been manipulating that for... more

07 Jan 2023 · 57 minutes
When Mount St. Helens Blew Its Top

Mount St. Helen's is a lovely sight to behold, but was a pretty scary thing to be around in the... more

05 Jan 2023 · 48 minutes
Short Stuff: Dangers of Nose Picking

You don’t have to lie - everybody picks their nose. But did you know it can be life-threatening? It’s true... more

04 Jan 2023 · 16 minutes
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (not the song)

Today Josh and Chuck delve into the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Not the song, but the maritime accident. Though... more

03 Jan 2023 · 54 minutes
Selects: Could There Be A Loch Ness Monster?

People have believed something strange lives in Loch Ness for at least 3500 years. Thousands of people have sighted the... more

31 Dec 2022 · 1 hour, 3 minutes
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Podcast Episode

This one goes out to the SYSK Army as a special request. Let's do the time warp again!See omnystudio.com/listener for... more

29 Dec 2022 · 51 minutes
Short Stuff: Mesas: Flat

Mesas, buttes and plateaus are all very similar. We'll break down the differences in each one just to be sure.See... more

28 Dec 2022 · 11 minutes
Juicy: The Fried Chicken Story

Fried chicken is Chuck’s favorite food, and Josh sure doesn’t dislike it. It is with this appreciation that SYSK plunges... more

27 Dec 2022 · 52 minutes
Selects: Star Wars Holiday Spectacular

Long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, George Lucas allowed the Star Wars Holiday Special to be made.... more

24 Dec 2022 · 54 minutes
2022 Holiday Spectacular!

Another year comes to a close here at SYSK, which means our annual Holiday Spectacular is at hand. So light... more

22 Dec 2022 · 48 minutes
Short Stuff: Snow Globes

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

21 Dec 2022 · 12 minutes
Who was Dorothy Parker, really?

She was known for her quick wit and sharp tongue. But she was also a poet, screenwriter and activist. Tune... more

20 Dec 2022 · 47 minutes
Selects: Nostradamus: Predictor of the future? Not so much.

Nostradamus delighted us all in grade school, but it turns out the real guy wasn't quite as prescient as we... more

17 Dec 2022 · 38 minutes
Interesting Origins of Everyday Phrases

We don’t think about the words and phrases we use all the time - until Josh and Chuck look into... more

15 Dec 2022 · 49 minutes
Short Stuff: The Atlanta Washer Woman Strike

One of the very first union strikes in US history was mounted by a group of African American women in... more

14 Dec 2022 · 14 minutes
How the Nintendo Entertainment System Changed Gaming Forever

For the holidays in 1986 (and ’87) (and ’88) the most stupendous, most wanted, most amazing thing any kid could... more

13 Dec 2022 · 57 minutes
Selects: How Polar Bears Work

Polar bears are more than just lovable creatures that roam the ice in search of food. They're one of the... more

10 Dec 2022 · 46 minutes
True Crime: The Phantom of Heilbronn

After the murder of a cop in southwest Germany in 2007 a massive hunt was launched across Europe. The suspect... more

08 Dec 2022 · 42 minutes
Short Stuff: Birthday Paradox

The Birthday Paradox involves math, so you know this one will go perfectly.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

07 Dec 2022 · 11 minutes
How Face Blindness Works

It’s not that the person who can never remember meeting you is snobby or even absent-minded; they may have a... more

06 Dec 2022 · 47 minutes
Selects: The Rubik's Cube Episode

Rubik's Cubes. Ronald Reagan. Jerry Falwell. Just Say No. One of these things was awesome. Take a guess and hop... more

03 Dec 2022 · 48 minutes
How Down Syndrome Works

People with Down syndrome lead rich, complex lives like any other human, but it’s only been in the last few... more

01 Dec 2022 · 57 minutes
Short Stuff: Goosebumps

Goosebumps are a pretty cool evolutionary holdover from our earlier days as furry beasts. Don't believe us? Listen in. See omnystudio.com/listener... more

30 Nov 2022 · 14 minutes
Peripersonal Space: Humans’ Got Talent

The space around you that you can reach with your arms is a very special place. It’s where we interact... more

29 Nov 2022 · 54 minutes
Selects: How Umami Works!

For millennia humans have recognized four tastes, but in the 1980s a fifth taste first isolated in Japan gained worldwide... more

26 Nov 2022 · 36 minutes
Roller Skating: Fun and Cool

The Victorians were the first to go bonkers for roller skating and since then the pastime has had bursts of... more

24 Nov 2022 · 47 minutes
Short Stuff: Liquid Paper

Correction fluid goes by many names, but the OG was Liquid Paper. And it has a pretty cool origin story. See... more

23 Nov 2022 · 12 minutes
Typewriters: Mechanical Brilliance

Chuck loves typewriters because he loves mechanical brilliance. Dive into the cool history of these amazing machines today. See omnystudio.com/listener for... more

22 Nov 2022 · 55 minutes
Selects: How Dark Money Works

Since the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 in the Citizens United case that political contributions are speech and should be... more

19 Nov 2022 · 48 minutes
Did Shakespeare really write all that stuff?

The question of Shakespeare's authorship has been around since at least the mid-1800s. Is there anything to it? We'll dig... more

17 Nov 2022 · 55 minutes
Short Stuff: Incomplete Yawns

Is there anything – anything – worse than a yawn you can’t finish? It’s hard to think of anything else... more

16 Nov 2022 · 10 minutes
The Sordid History of Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

When it comes to pre-wedding festivities, bachelor and bachelorette parties take the penis-shaped cake. Learn all about these sordid affairs... more

15 Nov 2022 · 56 minutes
Selects: Finders Keepers: Real Law

You know that heartbreak of the schoolyard – finders keepers, losers weepers? That’s actual law in a great many grown... more

12 Nov 2022 · 38 minutes
How Owls Work

It’s time for another great animal episode and in this one we swoop into the world of owls – nature’s... more

10 Nov 2022 · 51 minutes
Short Stuff: Dodleston Messages

It’s not everyday that a message from the 16th century appears on a computer from the 1980s, so when that... more

09 Nov 2022 · 14 minutes
What's so important about legal precedent?

Legal precedent is an odd thing. It matters, but it isn't codified. There are advantages and disadvantages. Let's all dive... more

08 Nov 2022 · 51 minutes
Selects: What is an invasive species?

Invasive species can mean a lot of things, from fungus to feral pigs and European starlings to kudzu vines. Basically,... more

05 Nov 2022 · 50 minutes
Vaudeville: Step Right Up!

In today's episode, you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about vaudeville, whether you like it or not. See... more

03 Nov 2022 · 51 minutes
Short Stuff: Birth Certificate Access

It’s unjust but true – if you are an adoptee in the US you may not have the same right... more

02 Nov 2022 · 11 minutes
The Harvey's Casino Bombing of 1980

In August of 1980 a bomb containing 1,000 pounds of dynamite was quietly delivered to Harvey’s, a casino and resort... more

01 Nov 2022 · 40 minutes
Selects: How Vampires Work

Out of obligation, Chuck and Josh mention Twilight, but it is the longstanding vampire lore that gets the most attention... more

29 Oct 2022 · 50 minutes
The 13th Annual Halloween Spooktacular!

It's hard to believe, but this is our 13th edition of the Halloween Spooktacular! So pour up a creepy brew... more

27 Oct 2022 · 50 minutes
Short Stuff: Robert the Doll

Robert the Doll is decidedly creepy. So is his story. Listen in to this spooky tale right now!See omnystudio.com/listener for... more

26 Oct 2022 · 14 minutes
The Tale of the Bloody Benders

Long before we knew what serial killers were, a family in remote Kansas was disposing of victims at their family... more

25 Oct 2022 · 48 minutes
Selects: 10ish Cases of Really Bad Luck

Some guys have all the luck, some guys have all the pain. So said Rod Stewart. And if this list... more

22 Oct 2022 · 50 minutes
Fundamentalism: Menace II Society

Fundamentalism is usually thought of as a problem religions have to deal with, but not all fundamentalists are religious. And... more

20 Oct 2022 · 57 minutes
Short Stuff: Water Towers

Water towers are so ubiquitous you can look right past them, despite them being giant balls of water thrust triumphantly... more

19 Oct 2022 · 11 minutes
The History of Fake Towns.

There have been a lot of fake towns built throughout history for a lot of different reasons. Tune in to... more

18 Oct 2022 · 51 minutes
Selects: How Pompeii Worked

What must be one of the most famous natural disasters in history took place when Mt Vesuvius buried Pompeii in... more

15 Oct 2022 · 50 minutes
10 Cases of Mistaken Identity

There’s a lot that can go wrong when your identity is at question. Charged with abandoning a baby? Check. Years... more

13 Oct 2022 · 42 minutes
Short Stuff: Blaschko's Lines

Did you know you have stripes? It’s true, you just can’t see them. Learn all about these little-known lines today!See... more

12 Oct 2022 · 12 minutes
Doppelgängers: Hey you, you're me!

Seeing your near twin is probably pretty weird. But could there be a genetic commonality as well? You bet  there... more

11 Oct 2022 · 47 minutes
Selects: Josh and Chuck's List of Horror Movies that Changed the Genre

Once in a while a movie comes along that's so forward-thinking it changes the way that horror is done. A... more

08 Oct 2022 · 59 minutes
How License Plates Work

The first tags were required just a few years after the firs cars debuted, as a way to catch jerks... more

06 Oct 2022 · 55 minutes
Short Stuff: Scratching

Listen in today as we salute turntablism, aka, record scratching.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

05 Oct 2022 · 13 minutes
Vinyl Records: Black Magic at Work

Despite reading all about how vinyl records are recorded and made, it's still a bit like black magic to us.... more

04 Oct 2022 · 59 minutes
Selects: How Clowns Work

Jesters of some sort have been around since ancient Egypt and China. Our modern clown was invented around 1800 and... more

01 Oct 2022 · 46 minutes
How The Rosenhan Experiment Worked

In 1973 a study was published in Science where psychologist David Rosenhan revealed he had duped hundreds of psychiatric workers... more

29 Sep 2022 · 52 minutes
Short Stuff: Curse Tablets

Curse tablets are exactly what you think - tablets with curses inscribed on them. But what were they used for,... more

28 Sep 2022 · 10 minutes
Vasectomies: Stop Being A Wimp

You can uncross your legs you big babies. Getting a vasectomy isn’t bad at all – recovery time is a... more

27 Sep 2022 · 44 minutes
Selects: How LSD Works

In 1943 Swiss chemist Albert Hofman discovered he'd created what may be the most potent hallucinogen known to humankind. Then... more

24 Sep 2022 · 1 hour, 16 minutes
Sitcoms Part II

Listen in now for part II of our homage to sitcoms. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

22 Sep 2022 · 36 minutes
Stuff You Should Know
Vinyl Records: Black Magic at Work
Stuff You Should Know

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Despite reading all about how vinyl records are recorded and made, it's still a bit like black magic to us. Dive in... more