Podcasts

How Do Con Artists Keep Fooling Us?

America has a soft spot for scoundrels. From the (evil) genius who kept selling the Brooklyn Bridge to foreigners, to the original Snake Oil Salesman, we race through history's most legendary cons and discover why Denver was the Florence of the Con-Man Renaissance. Featuring Maria Konnikova and Patrick Hoffman.

What are our favorite secrets about the Vatican?

There are a lot of things we don’t know about the Vatican: Why did the Popes of yore sit on chairs with holes in the seats? How did Doc Martens become the unofficial walking shoe of John Paul II? And why has no one told you about the Vatican’s top-notch cricket team? We’ve got all these secrets and more. Featuring Jo Piazza.

What are the Weirdest Things the Government Invests In?

From onions hawked by animated ogres, to upbeat soundtracks created explicitly for sharks, there’s a lot of pork in the government’s budget. But just how outraged should we be? Will and Mango try to get an answer for you. Featuring James Ledbetter and the editors of CoinWeek.

What Does the Future of Water Look Like?

Americans get an incredible deal on tap water. For just $.03, you can draw 10 gallons of drinkable, bathable, flushable liquid easily from your faucet. But is there a water crisis on the horizon? (Spoiler: yes.) And can a whole slate of incredible inventions save the world? (Spoiler #2: also, yes!) Featuring water sommelier Martin Riese.

Are We Really Breathing Julius Caesar's Last Breath?

From air fresheners to air molecules, Montgolfier’s stinky hot air balloon to Alfred Nobel’s floating death barge, we’re taking deep breaths and pausing to savor all the incredible stories hidden in the air around us. Also, why Marie Curie would have gone bananas for bananas. Featuring Sam Kean.

Is Exercising to Lose Weight a Myth?

Usain Bolt can scarf down 47,000 calories worth of chicken nuggets and look great, while some dieters work out 4 hours a day and never shed a pound. So is exercising to lose weight a big scam? And what does Calvin Coolidge's exercise horse have to do with it? Featuring Dr. Herman Pontzer.

Do Personality Tests Work?

Long before there were sorting hats and Buzzfeed quizzes, Walt Whitman and Clara Barton were obsessed with personality tests. But can a scalp massage and 4-letter code really determine your potential success? And what do octagonal houses have to do with any of this? Featuring our sisters. And Jonathan Katz.

What's the Most American Place in the World? (Outside the States, that is)

We all know the American places in America (Cleveland is one). But where should a US citizen go to feel at home abroad? Will and Mango visit a wee America (in Brazil?!), tour the territories, and look for the Kentucky in Japan’s KFCs. Featuring Doug Mack.

How the Boy Scouts Conquered America

Get out your Horsemanship Badge and dust off your neckerchief-- we’re going deep on the Scouts! From its surprising roots in South Africa, to how it kickstarted Steven Spielberg’s career, Will and Mango wade their way through Boy Scout history. Featuring Chuck Bryant.

Why Are We Obsessed with World Records?

There’s a reason records books are routinely stolen from libraries! Learn just how hard it is to grow the world’s longest fingernails; why India’s lone records judge has the hardest job in the world, and how chainsawing apples out of your mouth can lead to glory. Featuring Dan Rollman.