53:41 | Nov 14th, 2017
Every year the flu virus makes the rounds, laying up young and old alike for days before moving on to another hapless victim. But flu viruses can mutate and once in awhile they turn into something much deadlier, a pandemic that can kill millions.
57:13 | Sep 14th, 2017
The U.S. Secret Service began after a mandate from President Lincoln called for a service to combat counterfeiters. Since then, they have become more well known as the agency that guards and protects the president and the first family, along with tha...Show More
1:05:21 | May 25th, 2017
Schoolhouse Rock is possibly the best children's program of all time. Join Josh and Chuck as they tell the story of SR, featuring an interview with Pavement's Bob Nastanovich, contributor to the '90s Schoolhouse Rock tribute record.
51:29 | Aug 21st, 2018
Get ready, folks. The ballpoint pen is far more interesting than you could ever imagine. For real. Brilliant in its simplicity. Took the world by storm. We love our ballpoint pens and you should too. Listen in today!
40:05 | Aug 16th, 2018
In 2018, there's a man from a lost tribe still living deep in the jungles of Brazil who has been all alone since the mid 1990s. He's referred to as the Man of the Hole, and has had no face-to-face with modern humans. Who is he? We'll answer that ques...Show More
51:33 | Jun 5th, 2018
In 1987, a very strange broadcast intrusion occurred in the city of Chicago. For just a couple of minutes, the odd TV character Max Headroom appeared onscreen in the middle of an episode of Dr. Who. He spoke in garbled tones, brandished a marital aid...Show More
50:26 | Apr 24th, 2018
Believe it or not, there's a lot more to Emojis than meets the eye. Turns out their history is pretty interesting stuff. Join Josh and Chuck today as they tell the tale of the little faces that we all love to hate.
1:05:14 | Jan 23rd, 2018
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...Show More
54:09 | Jan 11th, 2018
Invasive species can mean a lot of things, from fungus to feral pigs and European starlings to kudzu vines. Basically, it's anything brought to a place, either by humans or nature, that didn't originate there. They aren't always a problem, but many t...Show More
1:05:00 | Jan 9th, 2018
When the Mary Celeste was discovered floating and abandoned in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean one day in 1872, the legend of the ghost ship was born. Why did the Mary Celeste’s crew disappear? Was it pirates? Mutiny? UFOs? Well, probably not that l...Show More
1:03:41 | Dec 19th, 2017
This week Josh and Chuck dive into the world of narcissism, one of the most perplexing and disturbing disorders humans can have. Learn all you ever cared to know about people who largely are centered on the self, lack empathy and don't understand wha...Show More
44:32 | Dec 7th, 2017
Flight attendants have come a long way. From having to put up with rampant sexism, to the current incarnation as your first line of defense in case of an incident, they are valued airline employees. Learn all about this cool job in today’s episode.
38:23 | Nov 18th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, Benjamin Franklin first came up with daylight saving time in 1748, and people still practice it today. But how does it work? What are the pros and cons? Join Josh and Chuck as they turn back the clock to explore th...Show More
55:12 | Nov 9th, 2017
Permaculture is a growing trend in the world of farming and home landscaping. It's basically a design principle that emphasizes sustainability and the would-be, natural ecosystem of an area. Simple concepts like planting downhill from a pond and usin...Show More
43:32 | Oct 28th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, SPAM is a canned meat product made from pork shoulder and ham. First introduced in 1937, this iconic food has spread to stores across the world. But what exactly is it, how did it get here -- and why is its shelf l...Show More
1:04:05 | Oct 26th, 2017
Today concludes our two part celebration of one of the greatest TV shows of all time - The Simpsons! It also officially marks our 1,000th episode. Can you believe it? We sure can't. So join us today as we wrap up our tribute to America's favorite TV ...Show More
53:46 | Oct 24th, 2017
For our 999th and 1,000th episodes, we go down the rabbit hole on a TV show that quite literally altered popular culture as we know it. The Simpsons has been around since Josh and Chuck were in grade school, and is still cranking out episodes today. ...Show More
42:23 | Oct 19th, 2017
The term intern comes from the medical community, but virtually every industry now uses them. From real world training to coffee fetchers, interns can be used and misused in many different ways. Dive into the world of internships with us today. And f...Show More
54:05 | Sep 26th, 2017
In the 60s, Congress worried the White House was operating too much in secret and passed the Freedom Of Information Act, opening the government to public questioning. It has been an ongoing struggle to pry those secrets loose ever since.
55:55 | Aug 31st, 2017
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 ...Show More
54:22 | Aug 29th, 2017
Barbecue, or for the lazy, BBQ, is a Southern cooking tradition, but also much more than that. It's a cultural touchstone of the South where people of all classes and races can sit and break bread with one another. In today's episode, you'll learn al...Show More
1:00:28 | Aug 24th, 2017
For millennia, we have tried to put human personalities into neat types, an effort psychology took up early in its history in an effort to legitimize itself. But is the idea of types – which all personality inventories are based on - flawed to begin ...Show More
59:51 | Aug 17th, 2017
Accents are truly fascinating. Put simply, they are how a person sounds when they talk. From England to America and all over the world, the way people speak in their native tongue can vary drastically. What are the influences? When do accents begin t...Show More
30:30 | Jul 8th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, after she was diagnosed with the cervical cancer that shortly killed her, a tissue sample was taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951 without her knowledge. Those cells would go on to become the first immortal line of h...Show More
39:54 | Jul 1st, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, the U.S. stands proudly defiant and the world looks at Americans as dopes for the U.S.’s stubborn refusal to go metric. However, the States have been going metric for about 150 years. Find out what’s the haps in th...Show More
1:08:11 | May 2nd, 2017
Poetry is a broad and expansive art form. From dramatic verse to haiku, rhyming poetry and spoken word, there are many hats a poet can wear. Join Josh and Chuck today as they break down the history of poetry, a dive into what's so great about it.
1:07:16 | Feb 16th, 2017
The Black Panther Party was a complex political movement that was unfairly painted as a militant group who hated white people. Far from it, they were actually men and women trying to affect change in their community. Their history is one of the more ...Show More
1:16:31 | Jan 26th, 2017
There is deep disagreement over whether humans are essentially peaceful or essentially warlike. Depending on your view you may see pacifism as either hopelessly naïve or the unsung response to conflict that’s kept us from wiping ourselves out.
44:06 | Nov 17th, 2016
Concussions are bad enough for football players, but research has found all of those smaller hits can add up to massive brain trauma later in life too, leading to a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition the NFL sought to cove...Show More
54:40 | Sep 6th, 2016
The use of animals for commercial and scientific testing is a quietly controversial topic. That we humans have advanced as a species because we use animals as literal and figurative guinea pigs is undeniable. But do we have the right to do that?
1:14:11 | Jan 22nd
There’s no way you haven’t had one of their breakfast cereals, but we bet you don’t know the story behind the two brothers who brought the world corn flakes. Buckle in for a lot of talk about poop, religion and masturbation, live from Sydney, Austral...Show More
49:18 | Jan 17th
A lot of people in Hitler's inner circle wanted him dead toward the end of the war. But he proved impossible to kill from within. Listen in today as Josh and Chuck dig into the infamous July 20th plot to blow up Der Führer.
46:30 | Jan 12th
Up to 24 million people worldwide have schizophrenia. Despite the vast amounts of research, the disorder remains mysterious. In this episode, Josh and Chuck delve into the nature of schizophrenia, from the history of the disorder to the latest resear...Show More
46:47 | Jan 10th
In 2005 a woman named Anna Alaya discovered a length of human finger – nail and all – in her Wendy’s chili. Her cries of disgust would set off a media firestorm, a criminal investigation and a prison sentence for her and her husband.
1:00:37 | Jan 8th
The Spanish Flu killed anywhere from 20-100 million or more people over 1918/1919. All of this played out with World War I in the foreground, one big reason why the flu spread so far, so fast. Learn all about this devastating pandemic in today's epis...Show More
42:32 | Jan 5th
Why would someone fake an illness? Here's an even better question: Why would someone repeatedly make themselves sick? Join Josh and Chuck as they separate the facts from fiction and give you the scoop on Munchausen syndrome.
39:28 | Dec 29th, 2018
A fossil is a piece of once-living organic material that has undergone a transition from an organic state to an inorganic state. But what exactly is fossilization? Listen in as Josh and Chuck break down the process of fossilization.
57:08 | Dec 22nd, 2018
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 a very special edition of SYSK. May the...Show More
44:18 | Dec 20th, 2018
If you play video games you probably have an easy answer to worst game of all time: ET. But it turns out there are no easy answers, especially when you’re talking about a game so terrible it’s blamed for bringing the entire video game industry with i...Show More
52:28 | Dec 18th, 2018
Sometimes a good idea doesn’t pan out in real life. Take Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome: It requires less energy to heat and cool, it’s cheap, and it’s durable enough to withstand a hurricane – but it’s also godawful ugly and that was its undoing...Show More
31:13 | Dec 15th, 2018
Igloos were traditionally used by Inuit Indians as temporary shelter while on hunting and fishing trips. In this episode, Josh and Chuck look at the design of igloos, from their impressive heat-catching properties to their ingenious construction.
47:40 | Dec 11th, 2018
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.
33:18 | Dec 1st, 2018
Epigenetics is a fascinating field of genetics that studies how the epigenome and environmental, nutritional and social factors affect gene expression. Josh and Chuck explain how epigenetics works in this episode.
44:09 | Nov 29th, 2018
Join Josh and Chuck today as they go down the sport shoe rabbit hole, detailing the strange tail of the brothers who brought Puma and Adidas to the world. Sibling rivalry, Nazis, shoes - there's a lot to unpack here.
47:38 | Nov 27th, 2018
In WWII the US Marines devised an unbreakable code-within-a-code made from Navajo, one of the most linguistically difficult languages in the world. A handful of Navajos sent messages on the frontlines in a language they’d been forbidden to speak as s...Show More
43:26 | Nov 24th, 2018
On the day after Thanksgiving, Americans go kind of crazy for the deep discount sales that kick off the holiday shopping season in stores. So crazy, in fact, at least four people have lost their lives and as many as 63 others have been injured during...Show More
13:22 | Nov 21st, 2018
Safety pins are so ubiquitous, we take them for granted. But that’s the genius of their design – they work so intuitively they might as well have come from nature. Instead, they were invented by a man who never went to the trouble of patenting them.
41:15 | Nov 20th, 2018
You know that heartbreak of the schoolyard – finders keepers, losers weepers? That’s actual law in a great many grown up places. Enter the murky legal world of finding something that belongs to someone else, from buried treasure to a misplaced ring.
14:45 | Nov 14th, 2018
Ever wonder where lemonade came from? Let’s up the stakes a little, what about pink lemonade? Well wonder no more! Join Josh and Chuck as they (briefly) cover the history of putting lemons together with sugar and water and coming up with something gr...Show More
45:34 | Nov 13th, 2018
In Utah, lives a 106-acre stand of Quaking Aspen trees that are all genetically identical because they are all growing from the same massive root system. It’s Pando, the most massive, and almost certainly oldest (by far) organism on Earth.
54:00 | Nov 10th, 2018
Sure it's everywhere and there's a more-than-90-percent chance you eat it once a month. But we'll bet you don't know the full history of that pizza (or tomato pie) you're about to chow down on. Join Chuck and Josh as they explain it to you, bite by b...Show More
14:04 | Nov 7th, 2018
A vomitorium was a place where ancient Romans went to make themselves throw up after gorging themselves at a sumptuous banquet. Everybody knows that. Except that’s not true at all. Learn about what vomitoria were in this episode and impress your frie...Show More
42:28 | Nov 7th, 2018
Ever wondered where all the aliens are? It’s actually very weird that, as big and old as the universe is, we seem to be the only intelligent life. In this episode, Josh examines the Fermi paradox, and what it says about humanity’s place in the univer...Show More
42:04 | Nov 6th, 2018
War masks were made for soldiers in WWI who had horrible accidents that left their faces sometimes unrecognizable. Though it may seem rudimentary today, they went a long way in restoring their dignity. Learn all about them today.
43:12 | Nov 3rd, 2018
You can probably name the five stages of grief - from denial to acceptance - they've become pretty well known since being proposed in 1969. But later researchers are finding that grief is rarely that cut and dried, and it may not be as widely experie...Show More
14:04 | Oct 31st, 2018
Labor Day, the day when most people in America paradoxically take off work, is actually rooted in some deeply radical and anarchistic thinking. Learn all about this most subversive of American holidays in this episode of Short Stuff.
33:32 | Oct 27th, 2018
After her daughter and husband died, heiress Sarah Winchester became obsessed with the idea that spirits haunted her and to appease them she had to have a house continuously built for them. So she did - 24 hours a day for 38 years.
55:22 | Oct 25th, 2018
In early 1975, the world was introduced to George and Kathy Lutz, a couple who had fled their home in Amityville, NY to escape a powerful, evil supernatural presence living there. And this being the 70s, the world went nuts for their story.
56:46 | Oct 23rd, 2018
A seizure is like an electrical overload in the brain – when it gets overwhelmed, it just shuts down and resets itself. But imagine being susceptible to these overloads, where one could come at any time with little or no warning. That is epilepsy.
41:40 | Oct 18th, 2018
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 today's episode.
15:15 | Oct 17th, 2018
There’s a commonly-held belief in Korea that if you fall asleep with a fan blowing on your face you may die in your sleep from it. And while this idea is found nowhere else in the world, Korean culture has come up with some interesting explanations.
44:36 | Oct 13th, 2018
Today, millions of people around the world are homeless. In this classic episode, Josh and Chuck take a look at homelessness in the United States, discussing everything from the factors that lead to homelessness to what you can do to help alleviate t...Show More
1:07:58 | Oct 9th, 2018
You’d have to be crazy to try to run 26.2 miles in a single stretch, right? Right. But people still try it anyway. And a lot of them even survive! Find out all about the pitfalls of marathons and the obsession they can inspire in this episode.
47:26 | Oct 6th, 2018
Since the Supreme Court's ban on capital punishment was reversed, states have sought a humane method of killing sentenced criminals. They settled on lethal injection, but is this quasi-medical means of killing as quick and painless as we think?
14:10 | Oct 3rd, 2018
If you've ever wondered why a grandfather clock is called a grandfather clock and you have 12 minutes to spare, this is your lucky day. Listen in to the brand new Short Stuff series. It's everything you want from Josh and Chuck, and less!
2:18 | Oct 1st, 2018
History is full of stories we think we know. They are old and dark, but time has robbed us of perspective and clarity. They've become obscured and misunderstood. Which is why this series exists: to dig deep and shed light on some of history’s darkest...Show More
37:22 | Sep 29th, 2018
You know when you drop a piece of food and if you pick it up within five seconds it's still good to eat? Researchers have studied whether that's true or not and in doing so have inadvertently shone a light on how utterly covered our world is with bac...Show More
45:48 | Sep 27th, 2018
Chuck and Josh take on astrophysics again and this time it pans out well. It turns out that there simply isn’t enough matter in the universe to account for its mass. Which is super weird. What is this missing matter? Does it even exist?
38:32 | Sep 25th, 2018
Being colorblind doesn't mean you see in black and white, although in severe cases it can look a bit like that. The condition is on a spectrum ranging from dulled colors to shades of grey. Learn all about what colorblindness means in today's episode....Show More
27:39 | Sep 22nd, 2018
Thomas Malthus concluded that humanity is bound to outgrow Earth's carrying capacity. The prediction was based on humanity's exponential growth and the linear growth of the food supply -- but was he correct? Tune in to this classic episode to find ou...Show More
45:49 | Sep 20th, 2018
In the US, winner-take-all voting has created A LOT of political polarization. But what if rather than voting for one candidate, you could rank all of them so if your first choice doesn’t win, your vote goes to your second choice? So long, polarizati...Show More
1:00:56 | Sep 18th, 2018
They’re as American as Washington, DC yet most people in the US are terrified of them, hate them or both. What is it about traffic circles and roundabouts - which do nothing but safely, inexpensively and greenly direct traffic – that America can’t st...Show More
38:25 | Sep 15th, 2018
You probably can recite five right now. Commercial jingles are designed to hijack your working memory and implant a product or service and they really work. In this classic episode, learn about the history of these insidious and catchy advertising ve...Show More
1:10:49 | Sep 11th, 2018
Join Josh and Chuck and a whole bunch of great people at the Gothic Theatre in Denver for this live show on game shows and their place in cultures around the world, recorded on June 28, 2018. You just come right on down, why don’t you?
45:00 | Sep 8th, 2018
Circumcision is a common practice in which the foreskin of a male's penis is removed, typically as a baby. In this classic episode, Josh and Chuck take a look at the origins, practices, and arguments for and against circumcision in this episode.
49:01 | Sep 6th, 2018
What started out as an egg timer at a London pub became a furnishing for bachelor pads before it took its rightful place as the most recognizable icon of psychedelia. The lava lamp became popular with people on LSD not once, but twice, decades apart.
1:04:24 | Sep 1st, 2018
What was originally designed to encourage innovation by rewarding the people who create technological advances, the U.S. patent system has become a big mess. Wade into this surprisingly interesting mire to learn how to save this important institution...Show More
3:39 | Aug 31st, 2018
We have something new and truly different to introduce. What would it be like to be raised by a serial killer? The newest podcast on our network comes straight from Melissa Moore, the daughter of the Happy Face Serial Killer, because not all victims ...Show More
46:44 | Aug 28th, 2018
1946 was a particularly deadly year for hotel fires in the US. Fires killed hundreds of people in Chicago, Dubuque, Dallas and, in Atlanta, the worst hotel fire in American history broke out. Find out how they made staying in hotels safe.
40:45 | Aug 23rd, 2018
Almost everything you know about pterosaurs is wrong. They weren't birds, they weren't flying dinosaurs and they weren't all pterodactyls. Which makes this a great episode for you to learn some new and amazing stuff about terrifying prehistoric beast...Show More
29:21 | Aug 18th, 2018
With the exception of lobotomies, no other psychological treatment has a worse reputation. But thanks to some thoughtful tweaks, ECT has lately emerged from the dark ages and toward the respectable forefront of treatment for major depression.
47:37 | Aug 14th, 2018
If you’ve ever seen someone break a stack of boards or concrete blocks with a single karate chop you know what it means to experience awe. Board breaking is indeed cool but there’s also a lot of physics to help it along. Learn all about this secret a...Show More
37:02 | Aug 11th, 2018
Whether you've been stuck in a traffic jam or forced to merge and avoid road construction, everyone's had a few bad experiences with traffic. But how does traffic actually work? In this episode, Chuck and Josh take a look at traffic waves (and bubble...Show More
45:15 | Aug 9th, 2018
If you go to the Internet you'll see a few people championed as all-time greatest conquerors - Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Atilla the Hun. Listen in today as Josh and Chuck dive into number three on this list, Atilla the Hun.
1:03:01 | Aug 7th, 2018
There are thankfully about as many ways to look for someone as there are ways to get lost. And the people who dedicate themselves to saving the lives of people who are missing take their job seriously. Learn about this fascinating world in this episo...Show More
32:30 | Aug 4th, 2018
Back in 1966, the Supreme Court decided that suspects in criminal cases had the right to be reminded that they didn't have to talk to the fuzz if they didn't want to, as stated in the 5th amendment. Since that ruling, scores of other cases have shape...Show More
57:26 | Aug 2nd, 2018
The U.S. military draft is far more interesting than you'd think. The process of conscription can get quite complicated, but we're here to clear it up for you. We'll also talk a bit about whether or not this could ever happen again.
47:14 | Jul 31st, 2018
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 grow...Show More
35:13 | Jul 28th, 2018
The Cannon Ball Run is a cross-country car race famously portrayed in the campy 1981 movie "Cannon Ball Run." But it isn't fictional. Tune in as Josh and Chuck take you on a wild ride through the real (and colorful) history of this infamous race.
42:19 | Jul 26th, 2018
The incident at Dyatlov Pass is one of the more enduring wilderness mysteries of all time. Russian hikers found in various states of undress, frozen. What happened to them? Why were there weird internal injuries and no outward signs of distress? We'l...Show More
1:07:12 | Jul 24th, 2018
It’s been about a decade since Josh and Chuck last checked in on recycling and since then a lot has changed. A global commodities market dealing in recyclables has developed and recently crashed. Jump back into the fascinating world of recycling.
31:01 | Jul 21st, 2018
Once in a while, all the necessary factors converge to produce a peculiar nationalized sexual fetish. In China, that fetish was foot binding and over a millennia three billion Chinese women's feet were brutally disfigured for men's pleasure.
39:25 | Jul 19th, 2018
One of the oldest protected forms of speech comes from when a lawyer speaks with their client. Over centuries, this legal privilege has been protected and defined and still stands stronger than ever. Find out why a person’s ability to speak freely to...Show More
39:20 | Jul 12th, 2018
No matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, you should be outraged about the practice of gerrymandering. Redrawing voter district maps to ensure political dominance is about as undemocratic as it gets. Please enjoy Josh and Chuck gett...Show More
54:41 | Jul 10th, 2018
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.
38:12 | Jul 7th, 2018
Putting lasers in space to blast Soviet missiles out of the air was a very real part of Ronald Reagan's defense policy. While his "Star Wars" program was derided at home and abroad, historians are beginning to wonder if it didn't help win the Cold Wa...Show More
48:48 | Jul 5th, 2018
The infamous Stanford Prison Experiment wasn't really much of an experiment as it turns out. It was more like a poorly thought out exercise conducted by a professor who didn't dot the i's and cross the t's. Listen in as Josh and Chuck give this exper...Show More
58:06 | Jul 3rd, 2018
Type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest killers of people on the planet. And yet, it also seems to be tied to diet and exercise, which makes it preventable. Learn about the fascinating mechanisms that can make your body go haywire and lead to this dise...Show More
1:03:56 | Jun 26th, 2018
Teenage punks going through a phase probably come to mind when you think of anarchists, but anarchism is a legitimate political philosophy based on the idea that governments are unnecessary and do more harm than good. Could we actually live without t...Show More
1:03:59 | Jun 23rd, 2018
The earliest depiction of a condom is found in a 15,000-year-old cave painting. Ever since humans realized sex led to children, we've been using condoms to prevent pregnancy. Join Josh and Chuck for this comprehensive tour of all things condom.
48:02 | Jun 19th, 2018
When the birth control pill hit the market in 1960 it landed like a social bomb. Almost overnight, women gained the ability to separate sex from pregnancy and everything from feminism to patients’ rights centered on it.
48:50 | Jun 16th, 2018
When the Visigoths ruled Spain, they introduced the idea of battling bulls at festivals. Today matadors get paid $100,000 and perform in front of 50,000 fans. But is bullfighting an antiquated, abusive relic or a cultural tradition above reproach?
49:43 | Jun 12th, 2018
Tsunamis are amazingly devastating natural disasters. They're miles tall and wide, travel as fast as a commercial airliner and can wipe out entire coastal towns. And if the last couple decades are any indication, they seem to be getting worse.
40:54 | Jun 9th, 2018
There is a mysterious droning sound often described as like a diesel engine idling that is severely impacting the quality of life of 2 percent of people in places around the world. The thing is, no one knows what's causing it - or if it actually exis...Show More
46:15 | Jun 2nd, 2018
The legend of King Arthur is very old and very established. By the time the king who saved Britain and united it was first written about, his story was already hundreds of years old. And while many of the details of his life and adventures, from the ...Show More
43:22 | May 31st, 2018
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 ...Show More
54:16 | May 29th, 2018
If you aren't in the know, you may think drug courts are set up to quickly prosecute drug users and get them into prison in short order. Turns out it's just the opposite - they're empathetic courts set up to give people a second and sometimes third c...Show More
47:49 | May 26th, 2018
Pinball was actually illegal until the 1970s in NY and other cities, hidden in the backs of pornography shops. The game was finally legalized, thanks to a Babe Ruth-style shot by the best player in the world. Learn all about it with Josh and Chuck.
44:05 | May 24th, 2018
You know the rule that says the simplest explanation is probably the correct one? That’s called a razor and it’s meant to guide logic. But over time it’s become a broadsword used to disprove opposing arguments. Learn how to spot a faux skeptic in thi...Show More
58:43 | May 22nd, 2018
We live in a time where computers can beat the best humans in the world at chess, checkers, poker and video games. But these games are really just demonstrations of how intelligent our machines are growing. They’re growing more intelligent by the hou...Show More
37:34 | May 19th, 2018
The idea that the larger the brain, the higher the intelligence is an old one, but it's pretty much utterly false. Modern investigation into how the brain works suggests there's a lot more to take into account when comparing brain biology to intellec...Show More
42:23 | May 15th, 2018
A quinceañera is the celebration of a girl of Hispanic heritage becoming a young woman on her 15th birthday. It involves family, friends, music and a lot of great food. Join Josh and Chuck as they don their favorite pink dresses and go over this wond...Show More
54:13 | May 10th, 2018
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.
1:01:05 | May 8th, 2018
When your life is as outsized as the World’s Greatest Showman PT Barnum it’s pretty easy to - you know - gloss over the grimmer aspects when you turn it into an uplifting musical movie. But the way to understand a person is to look at them, warts and...Show More
29:09 | May 5th, 2018
In this classic episode, Josh and Chuck discuss whether there are any truly "undiscovered" groups of people left on the planet, the definition of undiscovered -- and why groups might want to avoid modern civilization.
44:32 | May 1st, 2018
Nepotism is something that is very hard to avoid, and very hard to resist, even if you know it may be the wrong thing to do. We all love helping out families get ahead, but you're also costing someone else an opportunity when you play ball. Learn all...Show More
48:08 | Apr 28th, 2018
For the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Josh and Chuck delve into the killing, the investigations and the conspiracy theories to get to the bottom of an enduring national question.
30:59 | Apr 21st, 2018
Whether using polished metal surfaces or clear glass, human beings have enjoyed admiring their reflections for centuries. In this episode, Josh and Chuck reflect on the types, mind-melting physics, superstitions and rather interesting history of mirr...Show More
48:28 | Apr 19th, 2018
Not once, but twice in the 1970s people buried amazingly valuable Ferraris, arguably the greatest sports cars ever built. One was dug up after being secretly buried; the other was put in the ground forever. These are their stories.
48:52 | Apr 17th, 2018
The Unabomber was one of the most notorious and longest lasting cases in the history of the FBI. Just because the manifesto reads like he was a fortune teller doesn't make his actions any less deplorable. Learn all about this fascinating case in toda...Show More
40:10 | Apr 14th, 2018
In this classic episode, Chuck and Josh test the limits of their decorum as they explore the physiology of an orgasm. Learn all about this inexplicably taboo subject (including how even women who are paralyzed can experience orgasms).
54:11 | Apr 10th, 2018
One of the worst legacies of war are the millions of landmines left behind. They hide for decades after a conflict is over, exploding beneath unsuspecting civilians and children. To many, removing mines and banning new ones is of paramount importance...Show More
33:02 | Apr 7th, 2018
Pop quiz: What word denotes a nation of people, a last name and an occupation? If you guessed 'Sherpa,' then congratulations: You're correct. But what exactly is a Sherpa? Tune in and learn more as Chuck and Josh explore the culture of the Sherpa peo...Show More
53:29 | Apr 5th, 2018
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.
1:00:06 | Apr 3rd, 2018
Historical words often morph and change to take on new meanings. Today on the podcast, Josh and Chuck sit down and talk about a handful of them, their original meanings, and how they changed over the years to reflect almost nothing about their origin...Show More
43:42 | Mar 31st, 2018
You know how when you see a guide dog leading a blind person to their destination and you think, "There goes a truly great dog?" It turns out you are absolutely correct. Guide dogs are about as special as dogs can get and it's through years of hard w...Show More
47:13 | Mar 29th, 2018
When getting a medical diagnosis, it's important to understand the terms. Negative is good, positive is bad, false positive is great in a way, but false negative is the worst. Learn all about false positives, when your tests indicate you have a disea...Show More
50:27 | Mar 27th, 2018
Meals on Wheels is one of the great charitable organizations in the world, providing much-needed nutrition for elderly people in need. It also has a pretty interesting backstory, starting in multiple places in different countries almost simultaneousl...Show More
48:22 | Mar 24th, 2018
As ubiquitous as they've become, it's easy to overlook the marvels of engineering that are subways. Chuck and Josh go boring as they explore these systems of tubes that must circumnavigate rock, rivers, cables and more to get you where you're going.
54:29 | Mar 22nd, 2018
In the 1940s, a tiny town outside Boston volunteered to be test subjects in a study that would become one of the longest and broadest in the history of medicine. Originally designed to study heart disease, it's revealed things about plenty else too: ...Show More
50:46 | Mar 20th, 2018
In the 19th century, in isolated villages and godforsaken towns in rural New England, people began to suspect their deceased family members had become undead. Thus began everything we know today about killing vampires.
46:17 | Mar 17th, 2018
The concept of trickle-down economics is tied to Ronald Reagan, but the idea's been around and in use since the 20s. It's simple: Give more money to the wealthy and they can use it to rev up an economy. But is the whole thing just a scam?
44:32 | Mar 15th, 2018
E-cigs, vapes, whatever you call them they have been touted as a safer alternative to tobacco and even a way for people to quit smoking. But recent studies have found that perhaps they’re not so harmless after all. So who’s right?
53:53 | Mar 13th, 2018
When it comes to the animal kingdom, SYSK has covered a wide range. This week, the guys dive into the frigid waters of the Arctic to delight in everything that is the huggable, lovable walrus. From their tendency to sticking together in tough times, ...Show More
47:30 | Mar 10th, 2018
You've seen them in your home and probably squealed in terror, but now it's time to learn all about cockroaches. From their ability to run incredibly fast to the appendage that alerts them when you're about to whack them with your shoe, cockroaches a...Show More
56:45 | Mar 8th, 2018
Since a 1906 revival in Los Angeles, people around the world say they’ve been cured by the Holy Spirit after preachers with the Gift of Healing laid their hands on them. Skeptics scoff, but science’s explanations are kind of vague. So what’s going on...Show More
55:59 | Mar 6th, 2018
Anyone who ever picked up a comic book as a kid probably marveled at the ads for the mysterious Sea Monkeys. In reality, they are just brine shrimp, not fantastical beings with magical powers. But the story behind the invention of the Sea Monkey is t...Show More
40:36 | Mar 3rd, 2018
Off Nova Scotia, the tiny spit of land called Oak Island has been host to waves of treasure hunters for more than 200 years. Some of them lost their lives in the search for a treasure reputedly buried in a deep pit. But is anything really there?
1:18:42 | Mar 1st, 2018
For this special live benefit episode recorded in Atlanta, Josh and Chuck go back to the 70s and look at the decidedly ungroovy course of events that led to Ford recalling its Pinto after people started burning up in them.
45:42 | Feb 27th, 2018
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 ar...Show More
47:32 | Feb 24th, 2018
You may be surprised to learn those ubiquitous ratings, from G to NC-17, put on movies in America are actually handed down by anonymous employees of a secretive organization that serves as a lobbying firm for Hollywood's six biggest studios.
54:30 | Feb 22nd, 2018
Rosa Parks finishes out our Black History Month episodes in grand fashion. While most know her from that fateful day on the Montgomery city bus, she actually had a long life as an advocate, protestor and agent of change. Join us today as we celebrate...Show More
45:31 | Feb 20th, 2018
For millennia people have been amazed by legends of wild children found in the forest or jungle, sometimes raised by animals like wolves or apes. But it turns out these stories may actually be true in some cases and may actually have been children wi...Show More
39:41 | Feb 17th, 2018
As early as 1786, groups assembled to help slaves escape lives of bondage. And, as the 19th century progressed, the emergent Underground Railroad grew more sophisticated in aiding escaped slaves. But how did it work? Join Josh and Chuck to learn more...Show More
50:49 | Feb 15th, 2018
Harriet Tubman is a legendary figure in history, but the details of her life are even more remarkable than what you may have learned in school. Listen in today as Josh and Chuck pay tribute to a true icon of African-American history.
55:40 | Feb 8th, 2018
In 1928 Bessie and Glen Hyde attempted to navigate their way through the belly of the Grand Canyon in a homemade boat. They disappeared without a trace and their mystery endures all these years later. Listen in today to hear all about the tragic and ...Show More
42:48 | Feb 6th, 2018
In the 1960s, a very cool machine debuted at the Seattle World's Fair - the Mold-A-Rama. It made real plastic toys on-demand from melted plastic pellets, to the delight of children and adults alike. They didn't last too long, but can still be found a...Show More
31:47 | Feb 3rd, 2018
Bossing a lion around in front of a crowd at a circus has been an attraction for 200 years, but exactly how lion tamers get their captive wild animals to comply has evolved over time. Take a peek in the jaws of this odd profession with Josh and Chuck...Show More
55:12 | Feb 1st, 2018
It's been the subject of teenage conversation for decades already, but now you can join Josh and Chuck as they dive into the science of how pot and booze affect your body, mind and behavior and learn which one comes out on top.
48:00 | Jan 27th, 2018
Most people have a basic understanding of how prisons work, but it's often heavily influenced by fiction. What's it really like behind those bars? In this episode, Josh and Chuck reveal the practices, controversies and harsh realities of prison life.
49:43 | Jan 25th, 2018
The '60s ended with a lot of turbulence, not the least of which was the Manson Family Murders. What made Charles Manson so alluring to his family? What makes one person kill for another? And what did The Beatles have to do with it all? Learn all this...Show More
29:47 | Jan 20th, 2018
Since Winston Churchill predicted we'd grow meat in a lab by 1981, researchers have considered doing just that. And thanks to the current work of about 30 groups, we may be only years away from mass-produced artificial meat. But will anyone eat it?
45:02 | Jan 18th, 2018
It’s a super 70s thing, sure, but hang gliding is a thrill ride for the ages. So strap in with Josh and Chuck and learn all about the earliest method of human flight, originally created by a German man who flew over 2000 times before dying in a crash...Show More
39:54 | Jan 13th, 2018
In the 19th century, typhoid was considered a disease of the lower classes. When an outbreak occurred in wealthy Oyster Bay, New York, a mystery was afoot. Tune in to learn how this event began an ongoing debate over public safety versus civil rights...Show More
31:28 | Jan 6th, 2018
The term one-hit wonder gets thrown around a lot, and - yes - you probably are using it correctly, but Chuck Bryant went to the trouble to really define what makes a one-hit wonder in the article this episode is based on. Join him and Josh as they ge...Show More
55:05 | Jan 4th, 2018
Impeachment is does not necessarily mean a president is removed from office. But it could. It's a fascinating procedure that has been crafted and shaped over the years because of a lack of detail in its initial definition. Listen in today to learn al...Show More
54:09 | Jan 2nd, 2018
Ever since Victorian orchid hunters ravaged the tropics in search of unique specimens to sell for ludicrous amounts of money, the West has been gripped by orchidelirium. Small wonder since orchids are not only beautiful, they’re among the most intere...Show More
34:11 | Dec 30th, 2017
You use it every day to overcome your lower self (which wants you to eat cake until your vision blurs) in pursuit of the goals of your higher self (which wants you to not develop Type-II diabetes). Yet it was only in the 1990s that researchers began ...Show More
49:09 | Dec 28th, 2017
We finish our tour of the best sights of the ancient world when we get deep into the history of a lighthouse that stood for 1200 years, an unsettling statue of Zeus, the world’s first mausoleum, and Chuck’s favorite, the Colossus of Rhodes!
46:27 | Dec 26th, 2017
Long before slide rulers and pocket protectors, civilizations across the world used their noggins to build some impressive structures. Almost all have crumbled to ruins over the millennium, but thanks to the earliest tourists, we admire them still to...Show More
58:23 | Dec 23rd, 2017
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 a very special edition of SYSK. May the...Show More
55:07 | Dec 21st, 2017
It's the most wonderful episode of the year! Join Josh and Chuck as they ride their sleigh through the debate over whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie, the Rockefeller Center tree, a boozy holiday recipe and plenty more great holiday tidings!
46:06 | Dec 14th, 2017
The Globe of Death – el Globo de la Muerte to our Spanish-speaking friends – is perhaps the greatest of all the circus arts. It requires no smoke, no mirrors, only motorcycles, a giant sphere and fearless riders with the will to bend physics.
38:59 | Dec 9th, 2017
There are few things more futile than trying to count all of the money in the world. Even many governments have no idea how much currency they have issued. But that won't stop Chuck and Josh from trying and explaining why we can't be sure how much mo...Show More
33:05 | Dec 5th, 2017
No one - no one - likes to vomit, but there are some people who would prefer to die rather than vomit, people who spend their days worrying they will vomit at any moment and become so obsessed they curtail their lives to prevent it from happening.
1:13:56 | Nov 30th, 2017
Cake has been around for a long time, but mostly less than great forms. It took the Industrial Revolution, the advent of plentiful sugar, and some good old American know-how to come together to make the cake we know and love today.
50:17 | Nov 28th, 2017
It's every kid's dream - a job playing with toys that pays in toys. It's a real thing and has been around for a long time. Then there's the other side of the testing process, companies who ensure that toys are safe. It takes both of these testing tec...Show More
51:15 | Nov 23rd, 2017
Nuclear forensics is a lot of things - from UN sponsored inspections to tasks more on the down low. But either way, the job of these men and women is to root out possible nuclear weapon threats. It's a fairly unknown and thankless task, so allow us t...Show More
55:51 | Nov 16th, 2017
First of all, movies can't be cursed because curses aren't real. However, that can't stop Josh and Chuck from taking a look at some movies throughout history that have had a disturbing number of bad things surrounding their production and release. Di...Show More
41:17 | Nov 11th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, when the Japanese invaded Southeast Asia in World War II, they cut off America's rubber supply. Luckily, American can-do created a synthetic rubber and saved the War. Learn about the inventor, fluid chemistry and m...Show More
57:45 | Nov 7th, 2017
If you've ever worked in a restaurant, you know the feeling that occurs when the health inspector pays a visit. While nerve wracking, it's the best insurance patrons have that their food will be prepared and served in a proper environment. Learn all ...Show More
23:52 | Nov 4th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, is the idea of possession a misunderstanding of physiological and psychological conditions, or has science failed to account for unknown, legitimate factors? Learn whether exorcism and psychology are mutually exclu...Show More
1:03:26 | Nov 2nd, 2017
It's a confusing part of climate change when it seems winter is as cold as ever, but as global temperatures creep ever so slightly higher, a cascade of catastrophic events will almost surely follow. The ball is in humanity's court.
48:43 | Oct 21st, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, cheese is often overlooked as a one of humanity's great achievements. Making cheese is surprisingly easy: It's been accidentally created by more than one culture at different times. Tune in to learn more about chee...Show More
40:11 | Oct 14th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, ever since people have had secrets, other people have been looking for ways to get it out of them. Law enforcement and chemistry alike have searched for a drug that can remove the ability to lie. Join Josh and Chuc...Show More
32:15 | Oct 7th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, Josh and Chuck find who's probably to blame for the Great Chicago Fire. The newspapers of the day reported that a cow (or perhaps its owner) was responsible for a fire that burned half of Chicago in 1871. Yet in 19...Show More
48:14 | Oct 3rd, 2017
Cops wearing cameras is a new thing. So new that we aren't entirely sure of all the ramifications that go along with them just yet. In theory they should protect both police and citizens, but as we learned, they are no magic pill police against bruta...Show More
32:04 | Sep 30th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, there's a lot of debate about whether pre-agricultural humans existed in a more harmonious state than we do today. Did we slip out of Eden when we began building large scale societies? Or is it possible that the mo...Show More
37:03 | Sep 23rd, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, medical ecology is concerned with understanding how microbes living inside us keep us healthy. The field’s first breakthrough is the fecal transplant, moving poop from a healthy person and into the gut of a sick pe...Show More
55:32 | Sep 21st, 2017
Mixing wax with pigment is something artists have been doing since DaVinci. These little implements would later go on to be called crayons and gained popularity among the elementary school set. Learn all about crayons in today's episode.
44:33 | Sep 16th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, one of the fields of forensic investigation, handwriting analysis is based on the principle of uniqueness - that each person writes in their own peculiar way. Learn about this interesting area of crime fighting and...Show More
55:23 | Sep 9th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select, what you hear is not a test, instead it's Chuck and Josh discussing the cultural history of the Hip-Hop movement. Born out of the South Bronx, by way of Jamaica, Hip-Hop culture grew up suddenly as DJs learned to use two t...Show More
47:18 | Sep 7th, 2017
Crickets are part of a larger insect-based diet enjoyed in most parts of the world. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and protein, and green to boot, crickets could help solve some of the world's food problems if Europe and America get on board. Learn a...Show More
58:42 | Sep 2nd, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, although U.S. museum collections are rife with counterfeits, shrunken heads are far from fiction. The Shuar tribe of Ecuador has shrunken heads for centuries. Learn the methodical process of shrinking a head and ho...Show More
37:27 | Aug 26th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, since a hostage standoff in Sweden took place in 1972 a peculiar and mysterious psychological phenomenon has had a name. But is Stockholm Syndrome real? And what conditions have to be present? Join Chuck and Josh a...Show More
1:11:02 | Aug 22nd, 2017
In 1970, roboticist Masahiro Mori wrote an essay that said the closer robots come to lifelike, the more they unsettle humans. His theory became the Uncanny Valley, and science has been evaluating it – and what makes something creepy - in recent years...Show More
51:55 | Aug 19th, 2017
In today's SYSK Select episode, we learn about exploitation films. During the 1930s-80s, the work of directors operating in the shadows of Hollywood led to explorations in sexuality and violence that mainstream cinema wouldn't touch. Join Chuck and J...Show More
54:07 | Aug 15th, 2017
Despite as much as one percent of the adult population having the condition, science doesn't actually know how stuttering works. The best it's come up with so far: there seems to be an issue between the physical process of speaking and the thought pr...Show More
45:46 | Aug 12th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, if you're accusing someone of disloyalty or subversion without decent evidence, then you may be guilty of McCarthyism. In this episode, Josh and Chuck explore the origin of the term, starting with the infamous Comm...Show More
53:32 | Aug 8th, 2017
There are all kinds of motivational speakers, from people who have overcome incredible hardships to those who hold pep-rally style events in stadiums. But do these speakers actually help anyone? Science can't prove it out, but people who take part sw...Show More
28:47 | Aug 5th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, they’re always right there, taunting you: why do you have me, they ask? Why do men have nipples? It turns out there’s a good answer why and nipples on men aren’t entirely useless after all.Join Chuck and Josh for t...Show More
49:23 | Aug 3rd, 2017
In a small town in Iowa in 1912 eight people were murdered in the grisliest of ways while they slept. Local reputations were ruined when accusations flew, but could a drifting serial killer working across the Midwest have been behind it?
1:00:02 | Aug 1st, 2017
Public broadcasting works a bit differently depending on where you are in the world. American TV made the leap more toward commercial broadcasting in the early days, yet PBS and NPR still remain a vital part of our national fabric. In England and man...Show More
53:37 | Jul 29th, 2017
In today's SYSK Select episode, fly, robin, fly indeed. No musical genre has risen and burned out as quickly as disco, and historians are still trying to unravel the animosity aimed at it. Join Chuck and Josh as they dig into disco’s underground root...Show More
1:00:58 | Jul 20th, 2017
Guessing is a weird thing. For millennia, it could have meant the difference between life and death. Now it's not as vital, but we still do it every day, whether behind the wheel of a car, or judging what another person might be feeling. From wild gu...Show More
31:59 | Jul 15th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, famed aviator Amelia Earhart's disappearance in 1937 is a mystery that endures to this day. Why don't we know what happened to her? In this episode, Josh and Chuck examine the facts and evidence behind the famous c...Show More
39:59 | Jul 13th, 2017
Fever dreams can be unsettling experiences. These ramped up nightmares are vivid, detailed and only happen when the human body experiences a fever. What is it about the combination of fevers and dreams that make these night terrors so hellish? Learn ...Show More
1:04:53 | Jul 11th, 2017
Net neutrality is the idea that the internet is a public good and that everyone should have equal, unfettered access to it. Though the FCC strongly supported it with new rules in 2015, today’s FCC is under new leadership and has other ideas.
1:03:48 | Jul 6th, 2017
Once in a while a movie comes along that's so forward-thinking it changes the way that horror is done. A new subgenre is spawned, new tropes are established, and audiences are more terrified than ever.
54:03 | Jun 29th, 2017
Even the most brilliant medical minds need a good bedside manner, and thanks to standardized patients, they can improve their skills. What are they? Part-time workers who pretend to be real patients so doctors can practice on live humans. If you're r...Show More
58:53 | Jun 27th, 2017
One of American history's darker moments, the Stonewall Riots were also the event that galvanized the gay rights movement in the United States. Today there's a monument in NYC to memorialize this important time. Learn all about this often overlooked ...Show More
44:19 | Jun 24th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, for decades, Scooby Doo has captivated children across the world. It's been translated to multiple languages and remains as popular as newer programs. But why? Join Chuck and Josh as they shed light on the seemingl...Show More
33:24 | Jun 17th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, historically speaking, decapitation was a popular means of execution -- it's been used by everyone from ancient Romans to French revolutionaries. But is there any truth to claim that victims retain their consciousn...Show More
53:21 | Jun 15th, 2017
In the early days of World War II, there was a secret training program in Canada that taught Allied saboteurs everything from espionage and bridge blowing to karate chops to the neck of an enemy. It was called Camp X and was so secret that not even t...Show More
53:02 | Jun 13th, 2017
If you've ever been to an international airport, you've probably seen one of the keenest spotters of illegal contraband - The Beagle Brigade! These cute dogs aren't after drugs or bombs, they're carefully trained to sniff out agricultural products. L...Show More
42:47 | Jun 10th, 2017
In this week's SYSK Select episode, yes, your brain may have just flash-dried from boredom at the thought of learning about maps, but it turns out they are a lot more than just tools for navigation. Maps are two-dimensional representations of how we ...Show More
43:42 | Jun 6th, 2017
Coelacanths are incredibly interesting as far as fish go. For one, they were thought to have gone the way of the dinosaur, along with the dinosaur. They also give birth to live fish and tend to dwell more than 800 feet below the ocean's surface. And ...Show More
47:06 | May 23rd, 2017
'Head transplant' is a bit of a misnomer, because it's more like a body transplant. But either way, the idea is that one human will wake up from surgery with a decidedly different look. Is it possible? Probably not. But there are a couple of surgeons...Show More
46:10 | May 18th, 2017
It wasn't too long ago that humans thought the polar lights were signs from the afterlife. Thanks to a 19th century Norwegian, we now understand that they are a fascinating interplay with Earth's magnetic field and wind from the sun.
50:05 | May 11th, 2017
Charismatic Megafauna is not just a great band name. It's really just a fancy word for the cutest and most personality plus animals at the zoo. We're talking pandas, elephants and anything else you might see on a poster. Their mission? To help raise ...Show More
57:12 | Apr 25th, 2017
Until recently, most people probably never paid much attention to the National Security Council. It's been around a long time though, and the president has quite a bit of leeway as to who sits at the table. Learn all about this important group of ind...Show More
51:55 | Apr 20th, 2017
Swearing is something that's been done across all cultures, virtually since humans began speaking. What is it about these taboo words that offend some, and are beloved by others? Does it help to relieve stress to swear? Are there general rules of thu...Show More
49:24 | Apr 11th, 2017
Being nominated as a Supreme Court Justice is no small thing, and it doesn't always go as planned. With this week's confirmation of Justice Gorsuch, Josh and Chuck take a look at the process of getting named to America's highest court.
56:14 | Apr 6th, 2017
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 som...Show More
55:16 | Apr 4th, 2017
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.
48:19 | Mar 30th, 2017
The Shroud of Turin is no ordinary bed sheet. Some think it's the burial cloth of Jesus. Others think it's an amazing piece of artwork. The truth is, we'll probably never know what it really is. The mystery of the Shroud of Turin awaits you...
50:58 | Mar 28th, 2017
Foreign accent syndrome isn't when your mom talks funny when she goes abroad. It's an actual condition where people wake up one day with an entirely different accent, usually from some kind of head trauma. Learn all about this decidedly rare afflicti...Show More
50:34 | Mar 21st, 2017
In our continuing exploration of crime and punishment, we take a look at the practice of solitary confinement. To be sure, it has its place in prisons, sometimes for protection of the inmates themselves. However, leaving people in solitary for weeks,...Show More
51:35 | Mar 16th, 2017
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.
1:07:42 | Feb 28th, 2017
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 today's episode.
54:03 | Feb 23rd, 2017
It’s common knowledge that famines are usually caused by major droughts: Rain doesn’t fall, crops don’t grow, and people go hungry. But recent research suggests that while weather may trigger famines, they may actually be more of a human-made catastr...Show More
52:41 | Feb 21st, 2017
The estate tax, also known as the death tax, is not new. It's actually been around in some form since ancient Rome. Some say it's a necessary tax to help prevent resting on your inheritance laurels. Others say it's straight up double tax robbery. Lea...Show More
37:08 | Feb 14th, 2017
You can burn them, freeze them, shoot them into space – they wouldn’t bat an eyelash, even if they had eyelashes. Go into the microcosmos and learn about the tiny animals that are so astoundingly durable, they can survive conditions not found here on...Show More
1:08:33 | Feb 9th, 2017
In this show recorded live on January 5, 2017 at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, Josh and Chuck delve into the history and the heyday of the church of consumerism and what it means for local communities and our capitalist society at large when malls ...Show More
47:19 | Feb 7th, 2017
Quinoa is a trendy food, right alongside kale and anything else farm to table. But it's really an ancient grain. Although it's not exactly a grain at all. Technically it's a pseudo-cereal. But it is tasty and nutritious, a true superfood. Learn all a...Show More
1:00:25 | Feb 2nd, 2017
In the not too distant future, sex may not involve being in the same room as your partner. In fact, your partner may not even have to be a human. We're talking virtual sex here. Couple VR with high tech, smart sex toys and intercourse as we know it m...Show More
54:59 | Jan 31st, 2017
You could be forgiven for thinking the story behind elastics was boring. You’d still be wrong, though. The story of what’s holding up your underwear is a global drama, replete with war, industrial espionage, colonialism, destitute inventors – everyth...Show More
48:53 | Jan 24th, 2017
There are many types of dictators, from so called 'benevolent' ones to the kind who rule with an iron fist. There are also many ways they can come into power, and they don't all include violence. Learn all about dictators past and present in today's ...Show More
59:41 | Jan 17th, 2017
Artificial sweeteners have gotten a bad rap in the press for as long as they’ve been in use. But is it just the result of a fear of science or do artificial sweeteners cause real harm? A mounting body of studies is starting to paint a pretty grim pic...Show More
32:14 | Jan 12th, 2017
Unless you happen to be standing on a hilltop or swimming in the ocean right now, you are on a watershed. These unsung wonders of topography and hydrology are an important contributor to the rain cycle and yet we humans tend to abuse them.
1:13:34 | Jan 5th, 2017
The decision to bottle feed a baby instead of breast-feeding is a weighty one these days, fraught with supposed developmental pitfalls and very real social implications. But is bottle feeding a bad thing? And are benefits of breast-feeding overestima...Show More
1:12:10 | Jan 3rd, 2017
Breast milk is considered a perfect food for infants, so much so that for the first four to six months of life, a baby can subsist on mother’s milk alone. Learn all about the most fascinating milk around and the science behind it in this episode.
1:19:04 | Dec 20th, 2016
There was a brief period in the US, UK and Ireland when a dead body could fetch a pretty penny for a person willing to dig it up and sell it to surgeons for dissection. It turns out that there was no shortage of ghoulish types willing to do just that...Show More
47:05 | Dec 15th, 2016
Despite our lengthy history of evacuating our bowels and bladders, it wasn’t until the relatively recent 1940s that we began to construct portable, self-contained toilets to accept our waste. Dive into the world of porta-potties in this episode.
51:58 | Dec 13th, 2016
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?
53:39 | Dec 8th, 2016
Computer addiction is really an umbrella term for the various addictions that can come along with the computer. We're talking video games, porn, gambling and the like. We dive deep into the world of digital addiction in today's episode.
42:10 | Nov 29th, 2016
Up to the 1950s most reports of frostbite came from the world’s militaries, but as outdoor sports have gotten more popular, so have frostbite cases. Learn about how frostbite wreaks havoc on your extremities, even literally freezing off your tookus.
1:11:53 | Nov 24th, 2016
As kids’ buying power in America has exploded in recent decades, so too has the amount companies spend advertising to them. But because of a quirk of brain development, kids aren’t equipped to understand ads are manipulating them. Should they be bann...Show More
43:27 | Nov 22nd, 2016
Most people have heard of the story of Kitty Genovese. She was murdered near her apartment in 1964 and her neighbors didn't do much to help. It caused a nationwide outcry, but the story has often been misrepresented. We'll set the record straight.