The Great Hanoi Rat Massacre of 1902

The Great Hanoi Rat Massacre of 1902

Podcast Transcript 1902, the French governor of Indochina faced a huge problem in the city of Hanoi. They were suffering from a massive infestation of rats and the rats could carry diseases, including the plague. The governor implemented a plan to get rid of the rats. Thousands of people were recruited in the effort. However, …

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Stanislav Petrov: The Man Who Saved the World

Stanislav Petrov: The Man Who Saved the World

Podcast Transcript I’ve done episodes before about people who have saved a large number of human lives. Mostly, these people have done so through inventions or innovations in fields like agriculture or medicine.  What about people who prevented an impending disaster? Like when Superman stops an asteroid from hitting the Earth.  Well, there was such …

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The USS Constitution: The Oldest Ship Still Afloat

Podcast Transcript On March 27, 1794, the United States Congress passed the Naval Act. The Naval Act authorized funding for six frigates which would become the basis for the new US Navy.  One of those six ships, and the third one built, was the USS Constitution. It was launched in 1797 and saw service in …

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The Four Great Inventions of Ancient China

The Four Great Inventions of Ancient China

Podcast Transcript As I have mentioned before on this podcast, there are a great many things that were originally invented in Ancient China. There are literally hundreds of inventions that were developed in China before they were introduced anywhere else. However, there are four inventions in particular which stand out as having revolutionized not just …

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Survivorship Bias

Survivorship Bias

Podcast Transcript During World War II, the US Army assigned statistician Abraham Wald the task of statistically figuring out where extra armor should be added to American bombers. After analyzing the evidence and sharing it with the Army, he recommended the exact opposite of what the Army assumed. The reason was that the Army had …

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Righties vs Lefties

Righties vs Lefties

Podcast Transcript Statistically speaking, about 90% of you listening to my words right now are right-handed. Of the rest of you, almost all of you will be left-handed.  The question of why so many more people are right-handed as opposed to left-handed is one that people have asked for centuries. It is an imbalance that …

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1961 US Figure Skating Team

1961 US Figure Skating Team

Podcast Transcript In 1961, the United States figure skating team was one of the top programs in the world. The year before at the 1960 Olympics, they took the gold in both the men’s and women’s competitions.  Then on February 15, 1961, the team suffered a terrible catastrophe. One which took the better part of …

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The Carrington Event

The Carrington Event

Podcast Transcript On September 1 and 2 of 1859, people all over the world were treated to something quite rare. Auroras were seen in the skies as far south as the Caribbean and as far north as Brisbane, Australia.  However, some astronomers and telegraph operators experienced something different.  If this same event were to happen …

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The History of Credit Cards

The History of Credit Cards

Podcast Transcript One of the most ubiquitous forms of payment today is credit cards. The odds are good that you have one, and most probably have one on your person right now.  But how did it come about that you could pay for something by just giving someone a piece of plastic and who exactly …

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