Podcasts

What was the 'Great Stink' of London?

Every city has its drawbacks -- parking, for example, or crime, or the price of a decent pizza slice -- but in the 1800s London faced a particularly unusual and disgusting problem: the city literally stank. And this wasn't an occasional whiff of urine or hot garbage from an alleyway, oh no. Instead, a pervasive stench permeated the area, an odor so strong that it disrupted Parliament, forcing the government to take action (and eventually rewriting our understanding of disease in the process).

How Farmers Built A Barbed Wire Phone Network

Nowadays smartphones are an ubiquitous part of many civilizations, but not so long ago telephones of any sort were a rare commodity -- and the infrastructure was enormously expensive. When telephones hit the mass market, companies focused on densely-populated urban areas, leaving rural communities with no hope of getting a phone line. Until, that is, a group of MacGyver-esque farmers figured out an ingenious way to connect not just themselves, but everyone in their town.

The Strange Story of Canadian Margarine Bootleggers

Today, most grocery stores carry a variety of margarine and butter brands -- but this wasn't always the case. In fact, both Canada and the United States once had bizarre laws banning the production or importation of margarine. So what launched the margarine bootlegging industry? Join the guys as they explore the startling, strange story of the Big Butter versus margarine and its ''kindred abominations''.

When People Waged War Over Eggs

How much would you pay for an egg? Would you kill for one? Join the guys as they explore the strange story of the Gold Rush, the Common Murre and Farallon Island -- the site of California's Egg War

The Wild West Was Actually Pretty Chill

If you're like most people, the phrase ''Wild West'' conjures images of brutal gunfights in dusty, tumbleweed-ridden streets, visions of criminals slinking into the shadows of dimly-lit saloons and the vast stretch of lawless, unforgiving frontier. But how much of that image is actually true? Join Ben and Noel as they delve into the myth of the American frontier to discover how wild -- or mild -- it actually was.

How A Grudge Match Launched the Ford GT40

Today the Ford GT40 is one of the world's most iconic vehicles -- but this award winning automotive beast is, it turns out, the result of a serious grudge match. Join the guys as they delve into the strange, spiteful history of the Ford GT40.

Vitamin Donuts Were A Real Thing

Donuts: they're sweet, delectable and dangerous. Nowadays they're best known as a sugary snack or a nice accompaniment to a cup of coffee, but this wasn't always the case. In fact, for a few years manufacturers tried to sell them as -- believe it or not -- a health food. Join the guys as they explore the strange rise and fall of the infamous vitamin donut.

The Rotten, Sausagey Secret Origin of Botox

Today botox is one of the world's most well-known wrinkle treatments, as well as a go-to joke in the realm of pop culture. But where did this treatment come from, and what on Earth does it have to do with sausage? Join Ben and Noel as they trace the origins of botox to one man's unending obsession with food safety and rotting pork.

The Weird World of Meat Jell-O (Gelatin Origin Story)

Today Jell-O and other gelatin foodstuffs are generally relegated to world of desserts, but this wasn't always the case. In fact, gelatin took a long, strange path from ancient history to modern-day grocery shelves -- and got pretty gross along the way. Tune in to learn more about the bizarre world of savory gelatin.

London Made a Train for the Dead

When London was in the grips of a cholera epidemic, the already-overfilled cemetaries couldn't handle the extra bodies. So when there's literally no room in the soil for another dead body, what's a city to do? To the creators of the London Necropolis Railway, the answer was simple -- build a train for the dead.