Stuff You Should Know

1340 EpisodesProduced by iHeartRadio & HowStuffWorksWebsite

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

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SYSK Selects: How Sleepwalking Works

August 24th, 2019

Sleep behaviors are pretty fascinating. Some people snore, some grind their teeth -- and some take a little stroll, or perhaps a drive. In this …

How Ventriloquism Works

August 22nd, 2019

Ventriloquism – where a skilled performer “throws” their voice, making it seem like a dummy on their knee is talking – has taken a long, circuitous road from early prophets, to witches, then finally to the stage. Get to …

Short Stuff: Horseshoe Crab Blood

August 21st, 2019

Perhaps the most expensive liquid on the planet is the blue blood that comes from horseshoe crabs. Researchers realized that horseshoe crab blood …

Nuclear Semiotics: How to Talk to Future Humans

August 20th, 2019

The nuclear waste we produce will be dangerous for a very long time. We’ve figured out how to safely store it in the earth until it’s no longer a biohazard. Now we just have to figure out how to warn humans 10,000 years …

SYSK Selects: Are We in a Cyberwar?

August 17th, 2019

There's a secret war going on around us, and it's happening on a daily basis. The Air Force has a unit specifically designed to carry out and defend against cyberwar. Go deep into this alarming type of war in this …

How Peyote Works

August 15th, 2019

Josh and Chuck have tackled a lot of drugs on the show, but peyote has loomed like a bad Jim Morrison poem. Learn all about this plant today. 

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Short Stuff: Petrichor

August 14th, 2019

You know that amazing smell when it rains? Kind of clean, kind of earthy, one of a kind? It turns out that a miracle of nature produces it.

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Solar Power: The Future or What?

August 13th, 2019

We’ve been promised solar energy for a while now – where is it? Turns out, it’s been quietly and steadily growing across the world. And with a few …

SYSK Selects: What Is a Shotgun House?

August 10th, 2019

Shotgun houses are iconic pieces of American architecture: they're long, narrow, and filled with artistic flourishes. But where did they come from? Join Chuck and Josh and explore the mysterious origins of shotgun …

Iran-Contra Affair: Shady in the 80s, Part 2

August 8th, 2019

As the operation expands it also begins to unravel. Word starts to leak out of the illegal stuff the Reagan administration was up to, Congress and the press investigate and people start to point fingers. Spoiler alert – …

Short Stuff: Time Zones

August 7th, 2019

Time zones are a pain. Let's get rid of them! Can we? Sure!

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Iran-Contra Affair: Shady in the 80s, Part 1

August 6th, 2019

When Ronald Reagan was president, America got involved in some deeply shady stuff, not the least of which was the Iran-Contra scandal – a convoluted …

SYSK Selects: How the Black Death Worked

August 3rd, 2019

The Black Death was gruesome: Symptoms included tumors, purple splotches, fevers and vomiting. But how did this disease manage to spread from the …

What Were the BONE WARS?

August 1st, 2019

A pair of old timey fossil hunters had a rootin’ tootin’ rivalry that spilled from academic journals into the American Wild West - where fossils were …

Short Stuff: The Man Who Didn’t Eat for a Year

July 31st, 2019

In 1965, a 456-pound man walked into a hospital in Scotland and asked for help with a fast. That was the last day he ate for more than a year. Learn about the medical marvel that was Angus Barbieri.

Learn more about …

Will Deepfakes Ruin the World?

July 30th, 2019

Very recently, thanks to a new type of AI, it’s gotten much easier to create convincingly realistic videos of people saying and doing things they’ve never said or done. Will fake videos undermine our shared sense of …

SYSK Selects: How Human Cannonballs Work

July 27th, 2019

There's no question that human cannonballs are daredevils. They pack themselves into the confines of huge cannons, which shoot them into the air. But how does it work? Join Josh and Chuck to learn more about the bizarre …

How Eyewitness Testimony Works(?)

July 25th, 2019

Few things are more compelling than a witness pointing out a defendant in the courtroom as the perpetrator. But few things are also more unreliable than eyewitness testimony. Our memories can be pretty terrible, which …

Short Stuff: Aristides de Sousa Mendes

July 24th, 2019

This week we highlight another little known historical hero. In this case, a Portuguese diplomat who rescued people from Nazi Germany, at his own peril. Dig in and spread the word of Aristides de Sousa Mendes. 

Learn …

MOVE: Or When the Philly Police Dropped a Bomb on a Residential Neighborhood

July 23rd, 2019

Believe it or not, in 1985 the Philadelphia Police Department dropped a bomb from a helicopter onto a residential building in an African-American …

SYSK Selects: How Crack Works

July 20th, 2019

Back in the mid-1980s a new and extremely potent drug hit the scene: crack cocaine. In short order, America was in the grip of both a sweeping addiction and a state of hysteria over use of the drug and the social …

Sand Dunes: They Are What You Think They Are

July 18th, 2019

Sand dunes are exactly what you think they are. But still pretty interesting. Learn all about them right now!

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Short Stuff: Yellow Rain

July 17th, 2019

After the Vietnam War, the Hmong people told the world a toxic weapon was being used on them. Thus began a mystery that still remains today, which …

How Going to the Moon Works

July 16th, 2019

Fifty years ago, the first humans stepped onto the moon. After going back a few more times, humanity lost its taste for moon travel. But it’s being revived again. NASA is planning to send humans back to the moon by 2024 …

SYSK Selects: Duels - A Guide to Throwing Down the Gauntlet

July 13th, 2019

Pretty much everything you know about duels is true - it's a challenge to violence to defend honor. But did you know the U.S. Navy used to publish …

How Sloths Work

July 11th, 2019

Everyone knows sloths are super slow, but do you know they’re slow because their bodies produce an astoundingly small amount of energy? And did you know that might be an adaptation that protects them from predators? …

Short Stuff: The Coconut Cult

July 10th, 2019

Why we love short stuff - because we can tell stories like this one. A man goes to an island to start a commune of sorts that subsists entirely on coconuts. It didn't go well. 

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Cleopatra: Ms. Understood

July 9th, 2019

One of the great misunderstood figures in history was the last pharaoh of Egypt. Cleopatra’s story is almost always told along with the men in her …

SYSK Selects: What Makes us Yawn?

July 6th, 2019

What is it that makes us suddenly draw in a deep breath through a wide-open mouth? The beautiful thing about yawning is that researchers really don't …

How the Fairness Doctrine Worked

July 4th, 2019

Back in the day, broadcasters were bound by law to provide contrasting opinions on political matters. Why? Because of the Fairness Doctrine. What …

Short Stuff: Mitsuye Endo

July 3rd, 2019

In today's short stuff, we look at another amazing woman who has all but been ignored by history. The story of Mitsuye Endo. 

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Is photographic memory a real thing?

July 2nd, 2019

Photographic memory is the stuff of movies and TV, but is it real? Sort of. But not really. But kind of. It's a little bit a matter of semantics. Listen in and this will all make sense. 

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SYSK Selects: What Makes a One-hit Wonder?

June 29th, 2019

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 classic episode …

What is the Civil Air Patrol?

June 27th, 2019

The Civil Air Patrol is a civilian group of pilots and plane enthusiasts who do a lot of things, namely help out in search and rescue missions. But …

Short Stuff: Prison Food

June 26th, 2019

Prison food is kind of a joke, like airplane food. But there are real consequences involved. Let's get into it in today's short stuff.

Learn more …

Planned Obsolescence: Engine of the Consumer Economy

June 25th, 2019

If you’ve ever heard an old timer gripe that things aren’t built like they used to be, that old timer was right! Learn about the nefarious, possibly …

SYSK Selects: How the Donner Party Worked

June 22nd, 2019

Did they or didn't they? There is plenty of written evidence that the ill-fated Donner Party resorted to cannibalism - except there are no bones. Learn the details of one of the worst disasters of the early West in this …

What happened to the Neanderthals?

June 20th, 2019

As recently as 40,000 years ago we lived among humans from an entirely different species – Neanderthals. About the same time our species showed up, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Just what happened to the other guys? …

Short Stuff: Emperor Norton

June 19th, 2019

After a San Francisco real estate mogul went bankrupt, he reinvented himself as the Emperor of the United States – and became the city’s most …

How the Hygiene Hypothesis Works

June 18th, 2019

In the early 90s, a new study that found that kids who are exposed to more germs early in life are less likely to develop allergies later. With the …

SYSK Selects: What's the Deal with Crop Circles?

June 15th, 2019

For a while in the 1980s, people were fascinated and confused about what exactly crop circles were. Now we know that they aren't signs left from aliens, but art made by humans. Learn all about these stunning, large form …

How Area 51 Works

June 13th, 2019

The secret military base Area 51 is inextricably linked to every secret, shady project the US government is rumored to be involved in – from …

Short Stuff: Smoke Signals

June 12th, 2019

Were smoke signals real or a Hollywood invention? Turns out, they were indeed a thing and invented by the Chinese, even. 

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What's the gig economy?

June 11th, 2019

The gig economy is not new, but it's bigger than ever. Is that a good thing? We'll discuss that today!

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SYSK Selects: How Capgras Syndrome Works

June 8th, 2019

There is an extremely rare condition where the sufferer is convinced that everyone around him is an impostor posing as their friends and family. …

Introducing Unpopular

June 7th, 2019

At times when people accepted the status quo without question, some rebels have dared to resist. When a cause is noble, it often pays to be …

What is perfect pitch?

June 6th, 2019

Perfect pitch, or absolute pitch, is when you can sing a note with no reference from other notes, perfectly on key. Is it an asset? Chuck says yes. …

Short Stuff: Robert Johnson and the Devil

June 5th, 2019

Did the legendary blues singer really sell his soul to the devil in exchange for amazing musical skills? Probably not! But there’s still an …

How Barcodes Work

June 4th, 2019

Barcodes are everywhere. Those little lines and numbers that make up one of the most recognizable barcodes, the UPC, was designed to make going to the grocery a lot less miserable. It ended up becoming the central …

SYSK Selects: How TV Ratings Work

June 1st, 2019

Ever wonder why some great shows go off the air after a season or less? Blame it on the Nielsen company, which has for more than 60 years been the almost exclusive decider of what goes and what stays on TV.

Learn more …

The Tylenol Murders, Part II

May 30th, 2019

The panic that began in Chicago spreads and begins to change the world. The investigation into the murders turns up leads and suspects, but still no …

Short Stuff: Look-Alike Old Couples

May 29th, 2019

You know how some older married couples (sorry, senior adult married couples) start to look alike over time? That’s a really weird phenomenon if you …

The Tylenol Murders, Part I

May 28th, 2019

On one terrible day in Chicago in 1982, seven people died suddenly and mysteriously. In just a matter of hours, it becomes clear, someone has …

SYSK Selects: How Acne Works

May 25th, 2019

Over the course of our lives, 80 percent of us will experience acne. Ultimately, acne comes down to one thing, a blockage in the sebaceous gland. Learn what makes a blackhead black, and everything else about zits, in …

What was Tin Pan Alley?

May 23rd, 2019

Tin Pan Alley was an area of New York around the beginning of the 20th Century that served as ground zero for the earliest iterations of the music publishing industry. Learn all about this unique place and time right …

Short Stuff: James Polk, Disinterred

May 22nd, 2019

Did you know that former president James Polk had his final resting place moved twice? It's true! And almost a third time even. Let's go listen to …

How Crystals Work

May 21st, 2019

In a new age shop or on display at the Smithsonian, there are varying interpretations of what crystals can be used for. But at their base, they are a thumb in the eye to entropy, a perfectly ordered piece of matter. 

Introducing Ephemeral

May 20th, 2019

Lost materials, dropped threads, forgotten stories. Ephemera in the way that it’s intertwined in our lives. All those things, tangible and …

SYSK Selects: How Dying Works

May 18th, 2019

Chuck and Josh have covered just about every aspect of death except dying itself. Here, they fulfill the death suite of podcasts with an in-depth …

10ish Cases of Really Bad Luck

May 16th, 2019

Some guys have all the luck, some guys have all the pain. So said Rod Stewart. And if this list is any indication, “guys” is gender neutral. Listen to this episode as Chuck and Josh cover some instances of amazingly bad …

Short Stuff: Honorary Degrees

May 15th, 2019

Honorary degrees are not real degrees. They are marketing opportunities for universities. They make us mad, but we want one. Learn all about them in the next 12-15 minutes. 

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How Trampolines Work

May 14th, 2019

The world’s loved trampolines since they were invented by a pair of acrobats in Iowa in the 30s – so much so, trampolining is now an Olympic event. …

SYSK Selects: How Lie Detectors Work

May 11th, 2019

Instead of actually detecting lies, polygraph machines sense physiological variations, ostensibly brought on by guilt. The results are subject to …

Do Dietary Supplements Work?

May 9th, 2019

The world takes $40 billion of dietary supplements – from vitamin A to yohimbe bark – every year. Yet, the jury is still out on whether most of them work. In America, the FDA isn’t allowed to approve supplements, and no …

Short Stuff: Nicknames

May 8th, 2019

What's in a nickname? Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don't. Let's get our shorty on and find out the deal. 

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Remembering Live Aid

May 7th, 2019

Live Aid was a revolutionary concert event in two countries in 1985 that spanned the world via satellite. The brainchild of musician Bob Geldof, it …

SYSK Selects: How Does a Diving Bell Work?

May 4th, 2019

About 2,400 years ago Aristotle mentions the use of diving bells, apparatuses that convey divers to the bottom of the sea -- or at least below the surface of the water -- and allows them to breathe -- at least until the …

What Happens When the Government Thinks You're Dead?

May 2nd, 2019

It’s bad enough when the government knows you’re alive – there are taxes to pay, laws to be followed, all sorts of boring and unpleasant things. But …

Short Stuff: The Number 23

May 1st, 2019

There are people out there who believe that there’s something special about the number 23. Exactly what? Who knows. Exactly why? Because it pops up a lot. But does it? Who knows. 

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Michael Dillon: Trans Pioneer

April 30th, 2019

Michael Dillon was a lot of things - author, doctor, and most importantly, trans pioneer. Learn all about his story in today's episode. 

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SYSK Selects: How Zero Works

April 27th, 2019

Few numbers have as storied a past as zero. Even fewer have had as great an impact on our ability to understand our universe. Yet zero is a relatively recent arrival in math. Find out all about this surprisingly …

What Were Human Zoos?

April 25th, 2019

One of the off-putting byproducts of 19th century European colonialism were human zoos, living dioramas of people from far-away places made to be …

Short Stuff: Fear of Public Speaking

April 24th, 2019

Speaking in public is frequently cited as people’s number one fear, even more fearful than death. Most people go through life avoiding public …

Is birth order important?

April 23rd, 2019

There have been a lot of studies over the years regarding birth order. Some conclude that it's a big deal, while others more or less discount its importance. Learn all about it today.

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SYSK Selects: How Marijuana Works

April 20th, 2019

For millennia people used marijuana for fun and medicine. Not until the 20th century that was it vilified, unfairly say many. Weed has done lots of good things, from alleviating cancer symptoms to unlocking secrets of …

How the Hoover Dam Works, Part II

April 18th, 2019

And now for something completely different. Just kidding – tune in to hear the thrilling conclusion of America’s most amazing public works project in the 20th century.

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Short Stuff: Emu Wars

April 17th, 2019

Did Australians really wage war on a group of emus? YES. Learn all about it in today's short stuff. 

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How the Hoover Dam Works, Part I

April 16th, 2019

It’s one of America’s biggest accomplishments in the 20th century, a slab of concrete holding back one of the country’s most finicky rivers, …

SYSK Selects: How Yo-Yos Work

April 13th, 2019

You may have played with a yo-yo before -- perhaps you've even walked the dog -- but do you know about the physics behind what makes a yo-yo sleep …

How the Electric Chair Works

April 11th, 2019

The electric chair is an all-American invention. It spread almost nowhere else in the world as a capital punishment but worked overtime in the States. Despite the terrible sights and sounds an electrocution produces, it …

Short Stuff: Lake Peigneur

April 10th, 2019

In 1980 something catastrophic happened to the quiet town of New Iberia, Louisiana. Their wide, shallow lake grew much deeper after it underwent an apocalyptic transformation. 

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How Free Range Parenting Works

April 9th, 2019

Free range parenting is all about giving your child the freedom to play and explore life on their own. Are there benefits? Sure. Do some people hate the concept? Yes! Listen and learn right here. 

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SYSK Selects: How Pollen Works

April 6th, 2019

For about 375 million years, plants have been using pollen (aka plant sperm) to propagate their species. And the technique has stuck around because …

Were Nazis Drug-Fueled Crankheads?

April 4th, 2019

Nazis were bad people. And it turns out a lot of them were high as kites on speed. Was this a recipe for disaster? Yes it was. 

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Short Stuff: Unspent Campaign Money

April 3rd, 2019

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those campaign donations when a political campaign goes belly up? Or, even worse, is in debt! Wonder no …

How Rape Kits Work

April 2nd, 2019

Rape kits are simple forensic evidence collection kits used when someone is sexually assaulted. But the story is deeper than this. Learn all about …

SYSK Selects: How Immigration Works

March 30th, 2019

Immigration systems regulate the flow of foreign immigrants into any given country. But why is immigration such a controversial topic, especially in …

Etch A Sketch!

March 28th, 2019

The Etch A Sketch is yet another classic toy that Josh and Chuck love and respect. Learn all about this Hall of Fame entry today. 

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Short Stuff: When Elvis Met Nixon

March 27th, 2019

Elvis really did meet with Richard Nixon. Because Elvis wanted to help fight the drug trade. True story. Hear about it in today's short stuff. 

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How Druids Worked

March 26th, 2019

Anyone who likes Led Zeppelin, plays Dungeons & Dragons, or worships the rising sun at Stonehenge on the vernal equinox can tell you druids are …

SYSK Selects: How Sign Language Works

March 23rd, 2019

It wasn't until the was developed and despite its co-existence alongside English, a user would be hard-pressed to sign with a British person. Find …

How Disgust Works

March 21st, 2019

Disgust is an odd thing. It makes sense that we would feel a sense of revulsion at the thought of putting rotten meat in our mouths – that’s pure …

Short Stuff: The Sandman

March 20th, 2019

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream! But who is the sandman? We'll tell you in today's edition of short stuff. 

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Desert Survival: Josh and Chuck Save Your Tookus

March 19th, 2019

The chances are pretty low that you’ll find yourself lost in the desert, but on the off chance you do you’ll thank yourself that you listened to this episode, where we guide you to safety. 

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SYSK Selects: Was Atlantis A Real Place?

March 16th, 2019

While the search for Atlantis has been pushed to the fringes since the 19th century, archaeologists have quietly pursued cities that may have …

The Great Stink: The Stench So Bad They Gave It A Name

March 14th, 2019

In the summer of 1858, a heatwave dried up the Thames River to a trickle in London. As centuries’ worth of human waste, animal carcasses and other nasty things cooked in the sun, a stench arose that was so horrific it …

Short Stuff: Bedbugs

March 13th, 2019

We eradicated bedbugs so thoroughly in the 50s that generations who came later suspected they weren’t anymore real than jackalopes and snipes. But since we banned DDT, the pesticide that kills bedbugs best, they’re back …

The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti

March 12th, 2019

The trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, two anarchists accused of murder, was one of the first "crimes of the century." But did they do it? To this day …

SYSK Selects: How Wildfires Work

March 9th, 2019

Wildfires consume an annual average of 5 million acres in the US. But what causes wildfires? How do they become so powerful? More importantly, how do …

How Dyslexia Works

March 7th, 2019

For a learning disability that everyone seems to know about, dyslexia is maybe the most commonly misunderstood and controversial cognitive difficulty …

Short Stuff: Wigs in English Court

March 6th, 2019

What's the deal with the wigs in the English court system? Learn all about it in today's short stuff. 

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What's the deal with ASMR?

March 5th, 2019

ASMR is soothing to some, maddening to others. Learn all about these whisper tones in today's episode. 

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SYSK Selects: How the Panama Canal Works

March 2nd, 2019

It's on more than one list of the Seven Wonders of the World and for good reason - the Panama Canal is one of the great feats of engineering ever undertaken. First conceived of in the 1580s and finally completed in …

Tuskegee Airmen: American Heroes

February 28th, 2019

The Tuskegee Airmen braved racism and brutally tough training in order to secure their spot in American history as the first African-American military pilots. Listen in today to the story of their determination and …

Short Stuff: Black Loyalists

February 27th, 2019

The Black Loyalists were a group of Colonial slaves who fought for their freedom alongside the British. Learn all about this nearly forgotten group …

The Science of Break-Ups

February 26th, 2019

Breaking up is hard to do. Your brain might even think you're getting over a cocaine addiction. Learn all about the science behind break-ups today!

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SYSK Selects: How Lewis and Clark Worked

February 23rd, 2019

They may be the most famous explorers in U.S. history, but there are plenty of interesting details to the Lewis and Clark expedition that history has allowed to fade. Learn about the origin and the aftermath of …

How Galaxies Work

February 21st, 2019

In the universe things tend to cluster. This means there’s a coherent structure to the universe and learning about clusters of stars – galaxies - helps us figure out what that structure is. Join Chuck and Josh on an …

Short Stuff: Turbulence

February 20th, 2019

If you’ve ever had a bumpy airplane ride, you know it’s nothing fun. But have you ever noticed that the pilots sometimes tell you ahead of time to …

Yeti: The Asian Bigfoot

February 19th, 2019

We've covered Nessie and Bigfoot, so why not tackle the Yeti? Listen in today and Josh and Chuck cover what used to be known as the Abominable Snowman. 

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SYSK Selects: Interpol: World Police

February 16th, 2019

Interpol is an international police agency that helps other law-enforcement agencies track criminals who operate across national borders -- but how …

Elephants: The Best Animals?

February 14th, 2019

Elephants are pretty much the best. Why? Josh and Chuck will let you know in great detail in today's episode. 

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Short Stuff: War of Jenkins' Ear

February 13th, 2019

In the 18th century, Spain and England fought each other in the colonies of Georgia and Florida, a war kicked off by an English sea captain who was …

Could There Be A Loch Ness Monster?

February 12th, 2019

People have believed something strange lives in Loch Ness for at least 3500 years. Thousands of people have sighted the Loch Ness Monster and dozens of expeditions have been launched. But does the fact that nothing’s …

SYSK Selects: How Coral Reefs Work

February 9th, 2019

Coral reefs are the largest organic structures on Earth, yet they're created through a symbiotic relationship between creatures about 3 millimeters long. Learn more about the the world's coral reefs (and how to protect …

The True Story of BlacKkKlansman

February 7th, 2019

In 2018, director Spike Lee brought the story of Ron Stallworth to the big screen to great effect. Today, Josh and Chuck discuss the true story behind the Oscar nominated film. 

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Short Stuff: Ellen Richards

February 6th, 2019

Who is Ellen Richards? One of the most unsung scientists of all time, that's who. Her contribution? Bringing real science into the household and …

The Insidious Abuse of Stalking

February 5th, 2019

Stalking has only recently been recognized for what it is – a profound form of psychological abuse where the victim’s life is “infected” by the …

SYSK Selects: Saunas: More Interesting Than You Think!

February 2nd, 2019

Although they seem pretty mundane, saunas are surprisingly fascinating inventions. Josh and Chuck break out all sorts of sweaty, sauna-related trivia, from the Finnish affinity for saunas to sauna etiquette, in this …

How Central Park Works

January 31st, 2019

Central Park in Manhattan was America’s first landscaped public park, built at a time when New Yorkers’ only option for getting some fresh air was …

Short Stuff: Johnny Appleseed

January 30th, 2019

Johnny Appleseed was real! And he was about as amazing as the legend paints him. He really did plant apple trees all over America and if the feds hadn’t chopped them down during Prohibition, they’d still be around. …

How Ping Pong Works

January 29th, 2019

While Asia is well-known for being cuckoo for Ping Pong, the game was actually invented by bored British Victorian aristocrats. Go back and forth about Ping Pong’s place in the world with Chuck and Josh.

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SYSK Selects: Bioluminescence: A Bright and Shiny Fish

January 26th, 2019

Science has a handle on fireflies and glowworms, but most bioluminescent animals live in the ocean and are tough to study. Today, researchers are …

The Legend of Betsy Ross

January 24th, 2019

Betsy Ross is an American icon to many, the seamstress who sewed the first U.S. flag because of a personal commission from George Washington. But is it true? Sort of. Learn all about this fascinating story today.

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Short Stuff: Thread Count

January 23rd, 2019

Is thread count all it's cracked up to be? Listen in and find out in today's edition of Short Stuff!

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SYSK Live: The Kellogg Brothers’ Wacky World of Health

January 22nd, 2019

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 …

SYSK Selects: How Lobotomies Work

January 19th, 2019

Lobotomies -- brain surgeries to relieve psychiatric problems -- are rarely performed today, but they were once fairly common. Tune in to learn more about the controversial history and practice of lobotomies.

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The July 20th Plot to Assassinate Hitler

January 17th, 2019

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 …

Short Stuff: Olestra

January 16th, 2019

In the 90s a fat free miracle food came out that promised we could eat all we wanted and not gain weight. But there was a caveat: it could also make …

How Airbags Work

January 15th, 2019

It turns out that the inflatable bag of air that shoots out of your steering wheel or dashboard is the result of a controlled explosion of solid …

SYSK Selects: How Schizophrenia Works

January 12th, 2019

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 Great Finger in the Wendy’s Chili Caper

January 10th, 2019

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 …

Short Stuff: How Often Do You Need To Change Your Oil?

January 9th, 2019

First things, first: Take that oil change reminder sticker off your windshield and throw it away forever and never look back! 

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How the Spanish Flu Worked

January 8th, 2019

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 …

SYSK Selects: How Munchausen Syndrome Works

January 5th, 2019

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 …

What was the Tunguska event?

January 3rd, 2019

In 1908, the most powerful meteoroid explosion in recorded history happened over a remote area of Siberia. But the weird thing is there was no impact …

Short Stuff: Khipu

January 2nd, 2019

Listen in to learn all about the fascinating "language" of the Incan khipu knotted ropes. 

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Rockettes: Still Kicking After All These Years

January 1st, 2019

Tune in today to learn all about the legendary NYC Rockettes, who actually got their start in Missouri. 

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SYSK Selects: How Fossils Work

December 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 …

Dr. Seuss: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

December 27th, 2018

The Seuss is loose in this episode about legendary children's book author Ted Geisel. The funny thing is, he didn't ever want children of his own, and his past work was a bit problematic.

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Short Stuff: The Brain-Bladder Connection

December 26th, 2018

How much do you know about the brain-bladder connection? In about 15 minutes, it'll be a lot more. 

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SYSK Live Christmas Spectacular!

December 25th, 2018

This year, Josh and Chuck go live for their annual Christmas Spectacular. Recorded from the Center Stage Theater in Atlanta, pour up some eggnog, …

SYSK Selects: The Star Wars Holiday Special of 1978

December 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 …

E.T.: Is It Really the Worst Video Game of All Time?

December 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 …

Short Stuff: Unique Snowflakes

December 19th, 2018

Amazingly, it turns out that every snowflake truly is unique. Math backs it up. 

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Geodesic Domes: The Wave of the Future That Wasn't

December 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, …

SYSK Selects: How Igloos Work

December 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 …

Are good samaritan laws effective?

December 13th, 2018

Good samaritan laws have been around for many years, helping to provide legal protections for people who try to help other people. But do they work? Decide for yourself today!

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Short Stuff: Laughing Buddha

December 12th, 2018

Did you know that the friendly, smiling Buddha we all know from bars and restaurants isn't really Buddha?

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How Ayahuasca Works

December 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 …

SYSK Selects: That Dang-old Goat Fell Over

December 8th, 2018

Due to a condition known as Thomsen's disease, the muscles of fainting goats tense up whenever the animal is startled. In this episode, Josh and Chuck break down the science behind this bizarre condition.

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Was the PMRC censorship in disguise?

December 6th, 2018

The Parents Music Resource Center in the 1980s was really just censorship in disguise. But it kind of backfired. Learn all about Tipper Gore's crusade in today's episode. 

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Short Stuff: Dolphin Detectors

December 5th, 2018

They don’t actually disarm mines, but navies around the world use dolphins to find and tag sea mines so humans can disarm the mines themselves. But …

How Search and Rescue Dogs Work

December 4th, 2018

All dogs are great, but some dogs work harder than others. Or play harder, depending on your view. Learn all about the good boys and girls who find lost people and recover bodies to bring humans peace and closure.

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SYSK Selects: Can Your Grandfather's Diet Shorten Your Life?

December 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.

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Adidas v. Puma: A Sibling Rivalry

November 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 …

Short Stuff: iSmell

November 28th, 2018

Two men once had a dream - to add smell to the internet. And they almost gave it to us.

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How the Navajo Code Talkers Worked

November 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Black Friday Works

November 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, …

Fire twucks! Fire twucks! (sic)

November 22nd, 2018

Who doesn't love fire engines? We certainly do. So much that we geeked out on this one in a big way. Enjoy!

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Short Stuff: Safety Pins

November 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 …

Finders Keepers: Real Law

November 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Kleptomania Works

November 17th, 2018

In this episode of Stuff You Should Know, Josh and Chuck discuss kleptomania, a disorder in which people have an overwhelming impulse to steal …

Olive Oil: Mother Nature's Gift

November 15th, 2018

Olive oil is one of Mother Nature's greatest gifts to humanity. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the NUMBER ONE OIL, right here, right now. 

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Short Stuff: Lemonade

November 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 …

Pando: Earth’s Oldest, Hugest Organism Is Trees!

November 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Pizza Works

November 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 …

Is yogurt a miracle food?

November 8th, 2018

Yogurt has been touted as a health food, but is it? Maybe. If you eat it every day. We get into the rich and creamy history of this supposed miracle food in today's episode. Take a listen!

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Short Stuff: Vomitoria

November 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 …

What were war masks?

November 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Grief Works

November 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 …

How Easy Bake Ovens Work

November 1st, 2018

Easy Bake Ovens are as iconic as a toy can get, as American as apple pie or baseball. Learn all about these light bulb cooking, working ovens that …

Short Stuff: Labor Day

October 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 …

SYSK’s 2018 Super Spooktacular

October 30th, 2018

It’s Halloween again and Chuck and Josh want to creep you out. Listen to two great classic horror stories, dripping with Jeri’s creeptastic audio …

SYSK Selects: What's with the Winchester Mystery House?

October 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 …

How the Amityville Horror Worked

October 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 …

Short Stuff: Exploding Manholes

October 24th, 2018

If you live in a big city in a cold climate, you should keep an eye out for 100-pound cast-iron manhole covers suddenly launching 50 feet into the …

How Epilepsy Works

October 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Aphrodisiacs Work

October 20th, 2018

For thousands of years humankind has pursued the enhancement of sexual pleasure and performance through a plethora of medicines and practices -- but how many aphrodisiacs actually work?

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Waterbeds: The Sexiest Bed?

October 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 …

Short Stuff: Korean Fan Death

October 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 …

Was There A Real Robin Hood?

October 16th, 2018

Is it true that Robin Hood hung out in Sherwood Forest and stole from the rich to give to the poor? No. No, it’s not. Find out the real story in this …

SYSK Selects: How Homelessness Works

October 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 …

When inventions kill!

October 11th, 2018

Few things are more ironic than an invention killing its creator. The stories behind real life cases of death-by-invention are pretty interesting …

Short Stuff: William King

October 10th, 2018

Did you know that the United States has had one Vice-President who was sworn in on foreign soil? Well it turns out that may be the least interesting part of the story of William Rufus King. 

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How Marathons Work

October 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 …

SYSK Selects: Is lethal injection humane?

October 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 …

Algae: Food, Fuel, What?

October 4th, 2018

Just a couple years ago, algae was touted as the green, plentiful biofuel of the future. But that didn’t pan out. Why? And is algae down for the …

Short Stuff: Grandfather Clocks

October 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 …

How the Concorde Worked

October 2nd, 2018

The concorde was a wonderful thing, a super fast commerical airliner that got you across the pond in half the time. But it was small and cramped, …

SYSK Selects: Does the five-second rule work?

September 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 …

Seriously, What Is Dark Matter?

September 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? …

What is colorblindness?

September 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 …

SYSK Selects: Was Malthus right about carrying capacity?

September 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 …

How Ranked Choice Voting Works

September 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 …

Roundabouts: The Problem Is You

September 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Commercial Jingles Work

September 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 …

What are think tanks all about?

September 13th, 2018

Think tanks? More like stink tanks! We're kidding. Think tanks do valuable work, when they operate in a non-partisan way of course. Learn all about the history of these heady institutions today. 

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SYSK Live: How Game Shows Work

September 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Circumcision Works

September 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 …

The Lava Lamp: Goes Great With Acid

September 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 …

How Police Lineups Work

September 4th, 2018

Police lineups are something most people have never had any firsthand experience with. What you see on TV and in movies isn't so far off though. …

SYSK Selects: How Patents Work

September 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 …

How Elimination Diets Work

August 30th, 2018

Elimination diets are all about whittling down what you eat, then building it back up again in order to identify foods that don't work for your body. Is it safe? It can be. Learn all about this process in today's …

Why There Aren't So Many Hotel Fires Anymore

August 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 …

SYSK Selects: What's the deal with Voodoo?

August 25th, 2018

Voodoo is a religion found in parts of Africa and Haiti that's often misunderstood. In this episode, Josh and Chuck separate the faction from the fiction as they explore how Voodoo really works.

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Pterosaurs: Not Flying Dinosaurs

August 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 …

Ballpoint pens? Heck yes, ballpoint pens!

August 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Electroconvulsive Therapy Works

August 18th, 2018

With the exception of lobotomies, no other psychological treatment has a worse reputation. But thanks to some thoughtful tweaks, ECT has lately …

Who is The Man of the Hole?

August 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 …

How Board Breaking Works

August 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Traffic Works

August 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 …

How Attila the Hun Worked

August 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, …

How Search and Rescue Works

August 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Miranda Rights Work

August 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 …

How the U.S. Military Draft Works

August 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 …

How the Pony Express Worked

July 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 …

SYSK Selects: How the Cannonball Run Worked

July 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 …

The Dyatlov Pass Mystery

July 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 …

Recycling Update: How’s It Going?

July 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Foot Binding Worked

July 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 …

How Attorney-Client Privilege Works

July 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 …

Jobs of Bygone Eras

July 17th, 2018

Join Josh and Chuck today as they take a fun look at some of the strange jobs that our ancestors did. It's a SYSK top 10, meaning there will only be eight or so. 

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SYSK Selects: How Twinkies Work

July 14th, 2018

Twinkies have a reputation for being so processed that they can last for years and years, but they're not as hardy as you'd expect. Uncover the sweet story of Twinkies in this classic SYSK.

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Gerrymandering: How to Stifle Democracy

July 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 …

The Disappearance of the Yuba County Five

July 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 …

SYSK Selects: Did Reagan's Star Wars program win the Cold War?

July 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 …

How the Stanford Prison Experiment Worked

July 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 …

How Diabetes Works

July 3rd, 2018

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 …

SYSK Selects: How Ponzi Schemes Work

June 30th, 2018

Ponzi schemes. How do they work? And who's Ponzi? Join Josh and Chuck in this classic episode to discover how an Italian immigrant created a classic con that's still fleecing investors today.

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Narwhals: Unicorns of the Sea

June 28th, 2018

Narwhals are the unicorns of the sea. They're also whales with tusks. The tusks are really long tooths. Are you confused? Let us guide you! 

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Can Anarchism Work?

June 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Condoms Work

June 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 …

Genghis Khan: Madman or Genius?

June 21st, 2018

Depending on who you talk to, Genghis Khan was either a sadistic madman or one of the great leaders in world history. One thing is sure, he was one of the most advanced military minds of all time.

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How The Pill Changed the World

June 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Bullfighting Works

June 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 …

Skyscrapers: 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky

June 14th, 2018

Skyscrapers are much more than tall buildings. They're world wonders as far as we're concerned. From design to construction, these babies are …

How Tsunamis Work

June 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 …

SYSK Selects: How The Hum Works

June 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 …

Frida Kahlo: Painter, Icon, Genius

June 7th, 2018

Frida Kahlo was a painter who transcended her own work to became an icon. Learn all about her fascinating and inspiring life and work in today’s episode. 

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The Max Headroom Incident

June 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 …

SYSK Selects: Was there a real King Arthur?

June 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 …

Is the Pied Piper About a Real Historic Tragedy?

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 …

How Drug Courts Work

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 …

SYSK Selects: How Pinball Works

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 …

How Occam's Razor Works

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 …

A List Of Games You Would Surely Lose to a Computer

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 …

SYSK Selects: Is brain size related to intelligence?

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 …

The Collar Bomb Heist

May 18th, 2018

The collar bomb heist is the crime caper that keeps on giving. Every time the story seemed like it was figured out, another layer appeared. Tune in …

What's a quinceañera anyway?

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 …

SYSK Selects: How Cremation Works

May 12th, 2018

Cremation is a burial process practiced around the world, but how exactly does it work? Josh and Chuckers take a detailed look at cremation's history, practices and controversies in this episode.

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How Drowning Works

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 …

PT Barnum: More Complicated Than You've Heard

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 …

SYSK Selects: Are there undiscovered people?

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 …

North Korea: What's the Deal?

May 3rd, 2018

For almost 70 years, North Korea has been the bane of South Korea, Japan and the US or has stood as the sole defenders of the Korean homeland from …

Nepotism: When Hiring the Best Just Won't Do

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 …

SYSK Selects: Who killed JFK?

April 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 …

Does Pyromania Actually Exist?

April 26th, 2018

A fascination with fire is part of every kid’s childhood, but it’s meant to be passing. For some people, fire becomes the central focus of life, and …

Emojis: A New Language? Nah.

April 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. 

SYSK Selects: How Mirrors Work

April 21st, 2018

Whether using polished metal surfaces or clear glass, human beings have enjoyed admiring their reflections for centuries. In this episode, Josh and …

Two Times In the 70s When People Buried Ferraris

April 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 …

The Unabomber: Misguided to say the least

April 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 …

SYSK Selects: What happens in the brain during an orgasm?

April 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 …

How Paramedics Work

April 12th, 2018

Paramedics are not EMTs. Or fire fighters. Or cops. But they do ride around in ambulances (and drive) to help to save lives. It's a stressful job and …

Why Landmines Are The Deadliest Legacy Of War

April 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 …

SYSK Selects: Sherpas: Warm, Friendly Living

April 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 …

Project Azorian: The CIA's Super 70s Mission To Steal A Sunken Soviet Sub

April 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 …

When Words Take on New Meanings

April 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, …

SYSK Selects: How Guide Dogs Work

March 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 …

What are false positives?

March 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 …

How Meals on Wheels Works

March 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 …

SYSK Selects: Subways: HUH! What are they good for?

March 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 …

How the Framingham Heart Study Works

March 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 …

How the New England Vampire Panics Worked

March 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Trickle-Down Economics Works

March 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 …

Is Vaping Really Bad For You?

March 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 …

The Huggable, Lovable Walrus

March 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Cockroaches Work

March 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 …

Why Do People Believe In Faith Healing?

March 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 …

The Strange Story of Sea Monkeys

March 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 …

SYSK Selects: Is there treasure on Oak Island?

March 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 …

SYSK Live: Back When Ford Pintos Were Flaming Deathtraps

March 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 …

Knife Throwing: Super Cool

February 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 …

SYSK Selects: How the MPAA Works

February 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 …

Rosa Parks: Agent of Change

February 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 …

Are Feral Children Real?

February 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 …

SYSK Selects: How the Underground Railroad Worked

February 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? …

The Harriet Tubman Story

February 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. …

How Pompeii Worked

February 13th, 2018

What must be one of the most famous natural disasters in history took place when Mt Vesuvius buried Pompeii in 79 CE. But when the town was resurrected 1700 years later, a new chapter in its history was written.

Learn …

SYSK Selects: How Narco States Work

February 10th, 2018

In this episode of Stuff You Should Know, Josh and Chuck discuss Narco States, places where illegal drugs are traded openly with government support …

The Mystery of The Grand Canyon Newlyweds

February 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 …

What is a Mold-A-Rama?

February 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Lion Taming Works

February 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 …

Marijuana Vs. Alcohol: Which Is Worse For You?

February 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 …

The Manson Family Murders Part II

January 30th, 2018

Listen in today for the conclusion of the story of the Manson Family Murders.

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SYSK Selects: Prisons - Not as Fun as You'd Think

January 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 …

The Manson Family Murders Part I

January 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? …

How Hoarding Works

January 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 …

SYSK Selects: Lab-grown meat: Order up!

January 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 …

How Hang Gliding Works

January 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 …

How Removing Public Monuments Work

January 16th, 2018

Public monuments can be removed for a variety of reasons, from public sentiment changing, to governments being overthrown, to just being downright ugly. Learn all about this hot button topic today.

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SYSK Selects: The Wind Cries Typhoid Mary

January 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 …

What is an invasive species?

January 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 …

The Mystery of the Mary Celeste

January 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? …

SYSK Selects: What Makes a One-hit Wonder?

January 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 …

How Impeachment Works

January 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 …

How Orchids Work

January 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Willpower Works

December 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 …

How the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Works, Part II

December 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 …

How the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Works, Part I

December 26th, 2017

Long before slide rulers and pocket protectors, civilizations across the world used their noggins to build some impressive structures. Almost all …

SYSK Selects: The Star Wars Holiday Special of 1978

December 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 …

The 2017 SYSK Christmas Extravaganza!

December 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 …

Narcissism: But what about me?

December 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Population Works

December 16th, 2017

Population may not seem like the most scintillating topic in the world, but Josh and Chuck beg to differ. Join them as they explore how population …

How the Globe of Death Works

December 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 Deal With Doulas

December 12th, 2017

The word doula in Ancient Greek might mean "female servant" but it's really not a great description of the 21st century job. Doulas are birth coaches …

SYSK Selects: How much money is there in the world?​

December 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 …

How Flight Attendants Work

December 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 …

How Vomit Phobia Works

December 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Crime Scene Cleanup Works

December 2nd, 2017

Cleaning up crime scenes is a niche industry that's both lucrative and messy. In this episode, Josh and Chuck take a look at how crime-scene clean-up works.

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Cake: So Great. So, So Great

November 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 …

How Toy Testing Works

November 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Organ Donation Works

November 25th, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, tune in as Josh and Chuck take a detailed look at organ donation -- from the earliest organ transplants to the organ black market.

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What is nuclear forensics?

November 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 …

Bath Salts: Steer Clear

November 21st, 2017

Although much of the media-fueled hysteria over the designer drug called bath salts has been utterly unfounded, especially when it comes to driving users to eating people's faces, you'll still want to pass on them. …

SYSK Selects: How Daylight Saving Time Works

November 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 …

Can movies be cursed?

November 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 …

How the Flu Works

November 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Silly Putty Works

November 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 …

What's permaculture all about?

November 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 …

How Restaurant Health Inspections Work

November 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Exorcism Works

November 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 …

Movie Crush: Tig Notaro on Mask

November 3rd, 2017

Episode two of Movie Crush is a very special one. Comedian Tig Notaro dropped in minutes after a very important, life changing phone call to chat with Chuck about the movie Mask. Have a listen!

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Movie Crush: Janet Varney on Tron

November 3rd, 2017

This week Movie Crush launches with two great episodes. Up first, actress Janet Varney talks with Chuck about the movie Tron and how much it means to her.

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How Global Warming Works

November 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 …

SYSK's 2017 Super Spooktacular!

October 31st, 2017

In this year's super scary Halloween episode, Chuck and Josh read two great works of horror fiction: Gifts, by our very own Ed Grabianowski, and the classic The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Learn more …

SYSK Selects: How SPAM Works

October 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 …

Episode 1,000: The Simpsons Spectacular Part II

October 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 …

Episode 999: The Simpsons Spectacular Part I

October 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 …

SYSK Selects: The Cheesiest SYSK Episode Ever

October 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 …

How Internships Work

October 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 …

SYSK Live: The DB Cooper Heist

October 17th, 2017

Join Josh and Chuck live from Seattle as they (sky)dive into one of the most brazen robberies in the annals of crime and the only unsolved airline …

SYSK Selects: Is there such a thing as a truth serum?

October 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 …

How Buildering Works

October 12th, 2017

Up until recently we had no idea buildering was a word. Or that people scaling buildings has been a thing since the turn of the 20th Century. Learn along with us, and don't try it at home.

Learn more about your …

How the Rolling Jubilee Works

October 10th, 2017

Everyone thought it was the pits that banks were bailed out by taxpayers in 2008 while those same people weren't given any relief by the banks. So some Occupy Wall Street members did something about it.

Learn more about …

SYSK Selects: Did a cow start the Great Chicago Fire?

October 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 …

How Giraffes Work

October 5th, 2017

Even though giraffes are one of the most recognizable animals on the planet, it wasn't until the 21st century that biology really set about studying …

How Police Body Cameras Work

October 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 …

SYSK Selects: What was the most peaceful time in history?

September 30th, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, there is a lot of debate about whether pre-agricultural humans existed in a more harmonious state than we do …

How Nude Beaches Work

September 28th, 2017

Probably all beaches were nude early on, but as society developed and body shame became all the rage, people started wearing bathing suits. Some, though, liked the way it was before.

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How FOIA Works

September 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 …

SYSK Selects: Fecal Transplants: You Gonna Drink That Poop?

September 23rd, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, there's an emerging field in health care called medical ecology that's concerned with understanding how the 100 …

A Nostalgic Look at Crayons

September 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 …

How Frogs Work

September 19th, 2017

They survived the extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs, but unfortunately frogs seem to be no match for humans and are losing species in droves. This is not good for anyone.

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SYSK Selects: How Handwriting Analysis Works

September 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 …

How the Secret Service Works

September 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 …

How Psychopaths Work

September 12th, 2017

There are people who walk among us who seem normal, maybe even more charming or intelligent than average, yet they hide disturbing and at times dangerous personalities behind what one researcher called a 'mask of …

SYSK Selects: How Hip-hop Works

September 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 …

Are crickets the future of food?

September 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, …

The Baffling Case of the Body On Somerton Beach

September 5th, 2017

Since his corpse was found in 1948, wearing a nice suit in summer on an Australian beach, an unidentified man has refused to fade into obscurity, gripping the imagination of sleuths around the world.

Learn more about …

SYSK Selects: How Shrunken Heads Work

September 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 …

How Satanism Works

August 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, …

A Lip-Smacking Look at Barbecue

August 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 …

SYSK Selects: Is Stockholm Syndrome real?

August 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 …

How Personality Tests Work

August 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 …

Is the Uncanny Valley Real?

August 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Exploitation Films Work

August 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 …

What's the deal with accents?

August 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 …

How Stuttering Works

August 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 …

SYSK Selects: How McCarthyism Works

August 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, …

How Bioarchaeology Works

August 10th, 2017

Thanks to advancements in fields like genetics, and molecular chemistry, archaeology is undergoing a renaissance and opening up new understanding of …

Do motivational speakers motivate people?

August 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 …

SYSK Selects: Why do men have nipples?

August 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 …

Who Committed the 1912 Villisca Ax Murders?

August 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 …

How Public Broadcasting Works

August 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Disco Works

July 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 …

A Dry Look at Toilet Paper

July 27th, 2017

Over or under? One ply or two? How about six? TP has not been around that long, but is has been embraced in a big way by the United States. Learn all about the interesting history behind this decidedly dry product.

What is Ghost Fishing?

July 25th, 2017

It sounds cool, but ghost fishing is actually a tragic byproduct of modern fishing practices, where abandoned nylon nets can trap and kill sealife …

SYSK Selects: How the Sun Works

July 22nd, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, amateur astrophysicists Josh and Chuck break out the stats and attempt to explain the complex, boiling ball of gas that we call the sun.

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All We Know About Guessing

July 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 …

Sunburn, Suntans and Sunscreen

July 18th, 2017

It's pretty obvious something's gone wrong when you get a sunburn, but did you know a tan means you've damaged your DNA? Dive into the three Ss of summer and learn all about how to protect yourself from the sun.

Learn …

SYSK Selects: Why can't we find Amelia Earhart?

July 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 …

How Fever Dreams Work

July 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 …

Why is There a Battle Over Net Neutrality?

July 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 …

SYSK Selects: How HeLa Cells Work

July 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 …

Josh and Chuck's List of Horror Movies that Changed the Genre

July 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.

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What exactly is stoicism?

July 4th, 2017

The word stoic has taken on its own meaning apart from the philosophical movement which gave it life. Learn all about the early stoics, what the philosophy is all about and where the movement stands today.

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SYSK Selects: Why isn't the U.S. on the metric system?

July 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. …

How Standardized Patients Work

June 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 …

Remembering Stonewall

June 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 …

SYSK Selects: Scooby Dooby Doo, Where Are You?

June 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 …

How Ketchup Works

June 22nd, 2017

Little-known fact: Ketchup, possibly the most all-American of condiments, evolved from fermented fish sauce people in Southeast Asia have been making …

How Seed Banks Work

June 20th, 2017

Since the advent of agriculture, humans have been storing seeds. But as sea levels rise and climates change around the world, our reasons for banking …

SYSK Selects: Do you stay conscious after being decapitated?

June 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 …

What was Camp X?

June 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 …

How the Beagle Brigade Works

June 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Maps Work

June 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 …

Why Are Whale Strandings Still a Mystery?

June 8th, 2017

For millennia, mass strandings of whales have confounded us. Why should dozens or more whales come onto shore only to die a terrible and lengthy …

How Coelacanths Work

June 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 …

SYSK Selects: What's the deal with Rasputin's death?

June 3rd, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, Grigori Rasputin, the Russian charismatic cleric and political adviser to the ruling Romanovs, is said to have …

The Stories Behind A Few Food Fads

June 1st, 2017

America loves to go nuts over new food trends and it turns out that the 20th century was a boon time for them.

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Are Election Laws Designed to Suppress Voting?

May 30th, 2017

Are laws that are meant to protect the sanctity of the polling place in reality designed to make it harder for groups that traditionally vote …

SYSK Selects: How Beer Works

May 27th, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, at long last, Josh and Chuck take on perhaps their most important topic ever. Learn about the history of beer, …

How Schoolhouse Rock Rocked: Featuring Bob Nastanovich of Pavement

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 …

Is a head transplant really a thing?

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 …

SYSK Selects: How Magic Mushrooms Work

May 20th, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, for thousands of years, humans have used hallucinogenic mushrooms for spiritual reasons. Today, however, having them can get you thrown in prison. How do magic mushrooms do what they …

How the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis Work

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 …

How Champagne Works

May 16th, 2017

Sure we can all agree that champagne is probably the greatest thing humans have or ever will invent, but how much do we understand how it's made?

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SYSK Selects: Gesundheit! How Allergies Work

May 13th, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, about 30-40 percent of humans suffer from some sort of allergy. The big joke, though, is that every sufferer is …

How Charismatic Megafauna Work

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 …

How Itching Works

May 9th, 2017

It was only in the last few decades that science became aware that itches aren't just low-level pain. And in that time, the mystery of how we itch and why we scratch has gotten even more baffling.

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SYSK Selects: What's the 10,000 Year Clock?

May 6th, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, in a desert in Texas a 200-feet-tall clock is being constructed deep inside a mountain. Once completed, it will keep time for the next 10,000 years, even if there are no humans around …

Some Nutso Fan Theories

May 4th, 2017

It turns out that the characters in your favorite TV shows and the like are actually dead, dreaming, dying or don't exist.

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How Poetry Works

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 …

SYSK Selects: How Revisionist History Works

April 29th, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, perhaps you equate the term to conspiracy theories and Holocaust denials, but revisionism is a genuine discipline …

How Multiple Sclerosis Works

April 27th, 2017

When the immune system mistakes the tissue covering neural connections as foreign invaders, the result can devastate the body. There is hope, …

How the National Security Council Works

April 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Breast Implants Work

April 22nd, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, the first attempt at breast augmentation surgery was on a dog. The second on a woman who went in for tattoo removal. From those weird origins hundreds of thousands of breast implant …

How Swearing Works

April 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 …

How Corsets Work

April 18th, 2017

Sure, we're doing an episode on corsets. Why do you ask?

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SYSK Selects: Lying Liars: How Lying Works, Liar

April 15th, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, studies find that absolutely everyone lies - some have found as much as a quarter of our daily interactions …

How Supervolcanoes Work

April 13th, 2017

Until recently, volcanologists thought supervolcanoes were simply massive volcanoes. But further research has revealed that they are far different - …

How Supreme Court Nominations Work

April 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 …

SYSK Selects: Can you die of a broken heart?

April 8th, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, in the early 1990s, Japanese researchers found a strange anomaly in their study subjects, five people who had inexplicable heart attacks. From this first investigation has come a …

How Empathy Works

April 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 …

Composting: Nature's Most Interesting Process

April 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 …

SYSK Selects: How Filibusters Work

April 1st, 2017

In this week's SYSK Select episode, although lots of people incorrectly believe the filibuster was an intentional rule created by the founders of the …

The Shroud Of Turin: No Ordinary Bed Sheet

March 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 …

How Foreign Accent Syndrome Works

March 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 …

How the Hyperloop Will Work

March 23rd, 2017

If you’re out there, Elon Musk, this one’s for you (although you already know everything in this episode). Everybody else, buckle in and sit back for a 700 mph thrill ride from LA to SF in 35 minutes - coming soon!

Solitary Confinement: Cruel and Unusual

March 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 …

Southerners Aren’t Lazy and Dumb, They Just Had Hookworm

March 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 …

Pain Scales: Yeeeow!

March 14th, 2017

Pain is subjective; it is whatever the person experiencing it says it is. But to effectively treat pain, it helps to quantify it, which is why medicine came up with pain scales.

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History of the Trail of Tears, Part II

March 9th, 2017

In the second of two parts, what was once a voluntary resettlement program becomes a violent, forced relocation under the leadership of President …

History of the Trail of Tears, Part I

March 7th, 2017

In this first of two episodes on the Trail of Tears, learn about the forces that converged to create the series of events that formed the basis of what may be the most brutal decade in American history.

Learn more about …

How Optical Illusions Work

March 2nd, 2017

Now you see it, now you don't — optical illusions can fool us into seeing what's not actually there. But what causes that disconnect between …

How Free Speech Works

February 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 …

How Famines Work

February 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 …

The ins and outs of the DEATH TAX

February 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 …

The Black Panther Party

February 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 …

Tardigrades: Nature's Cuddly, Indestructible Microanimal

February 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 …

Live from San Francisco: How Malls Work

February 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 …

The Quinoa Revolution!

February 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 …

What's the future of virtual sex?

February 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. …

Elastics: Where God and Science Smooch

January 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 …

How Pacifism Works (And Could It?)

January 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 …

How Dictators Work

January 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 …

How Soylent Works

January 19th, 2017

Soylent is a meal replacement drink, but not really. So what is it? Total sustenance in a glass? Some say so. Is it made from humans? No, that's just a movie. Learn all about this odd concoction in today's episode.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Really Bad For You?

January 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 …

How Watersheds Work

January 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 …

What's the deal with Baby Boomers?

January 10th, 2017

Baby Boomers are probably the most talked about generation in American history. But who are these people and how did they help shape the country we know today? Find out all about the big boom in today's episode.

Learn …

How Feeding Babies Works: The Bottle

January 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 …

How Feeding Babies Works: The Breast

January 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 …

Human Blockheads: A Real Thing

December 29th, 2016

Human blockheads are performers who hammer nails and things into their noses. Yup. That's a thing. And it isn't a trick either - anyone can do it. Just please don't try to.

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Can you live without a bank account?

December 27th, 2016

Seems like it would be nearly impossible to live without a bank account these days. But it is possible! Learn all about banking and personal finance …

The Stuff You Should Know 2016 Christmas Extravaganza in 3-D!

December 22nd, 2016

It’s the most wonderful time of year again! Time for Josh and Chuck to take you on a cozy, hall-decked ride full of glad tidings right into the heart …

The Golden Age of Grave Robbing: Stuff You Should Know Live in London

December 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 …

How Porta-Potties Work

December 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 …

Will We Find Evidence of Aliens by Their Engineering Projects?

December 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 …

Is computer addiction a thing?

December 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 …

Horoscopes: Written in the Stars?

December 6th, 2016

A lot of people read their daily horoscopes, but does anyone really take stock in them? Turns out the answer is yes, even though there is no evidence of their accuracy. Learn all about horoscopes today.

Learn more about …

How a Flea Circus Works

December 1st, 2016

If you've ever seen a flea circus, then count yourself among the few. It's a dying art, but back in the day they thrilled and delighted young and old …

Frostbite: Yeeeow!

November 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. …

Should Advertising to Kids Be Banned?

November 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 …

The Kitty Genovese Story

November 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. …

What's the Deal with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

November 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 …

How Fireplaces Work

November 15th, 2016

They are dirty, harmful to your health, bad for the environment and utterly charming. Wood-burning fireplaces have been with us for centuries and, …

How Monty Python Worked: SYSK Live from LA Podfest

November 10th, 2016

Things get awesome when Josh and Chuck do a live show on Monty Python at the LA Podcast Festival. Hang out as the duo dives into the "Beatles of …

Do sin taxes work?

November 8th, 2016

Taxing things like alcohol, tobacco and gambling is big money and has been for a long time. But are these "sin taxes" keeping people from indulging …

A Partial History of Action Figures

November 3rd, 2016

Action figures have a long and glorious history. From GI Joes to Star Wars figures, these offshoots of dolls came along at just the right time to …

Ham Radio and the Hams Who Use Them

November 1st, 2016

If you thought that Ham Radio enthusiasts were (mostly) men and boys who sit alone late at night in order to scan frequencies searching for a human …

SYSK The Podcast: Special Halloween Bonus Episode 2016, The Sequel – From Hell

October 31st, 2016

Lock your doors and grab something heavy to defend yourself, like a candlestick or something, because Josh and Chuck are going to scare the wits out of you, courtesy of a story from The Grabster and listeners who …

The Hinterkaifeck Axe Murders

October 27th, 2016

In 1922, a little farm in the woods of Bavaria became the site of what would become Germany’s most famous unsolved murder, when six people were …

How Sleep Paralysis Works, or The Worst Thing That Can Happen While You're Sleeping

October 25th, 2016

For as long as people have been sleeping, about half of us have probably suffered from sleep paralysis. Thanks to an unusual fluke in the sleep cycle, the sufferer feels paralyzed and consumed by fear as something on …

Living Underground in Beijing

October 20th, 2016

Chairman Mao’s paranoia of a Soviet invasion led to hundreds of thousands of Beijing residents put to work for a decade building an 85-square-km underground city to serve as a massive bomb shelter. Instead it’s illegal …

What's the What with Fish Fraud?

October 18th, 2016

Fish fraud, misrepresenting a fish as a more expensive one, costs Americans $25 billion a year. And because less than 100 inspectors check for fraud …

How the Census Works

October 13th, 2016

Counting humans has been happening for a long, long time. It usually had to do with taxing them, but now census data can reveal a lot about a …

Hibernation: Not a Snooze

October 11th, 2016

When animals are faced with scarce food in the winter, they have two choices to stay alive: migrate or hibernate. For hibernators, their bodies …

Why Did Easter Island's Civilization Collapse?

October 6th, 2016

When the first Europeans landed on Rapa Nui, which they renamed Easter Island, they were puzzled by what happened there. Only a few thousand people lived there but there were signs of a massive civilization that once …

The Amazing History of Soda

October 3rd, 2016

The soda we get instantly mixed at a fast-food joint owes a lot to a rich history going back to the Roman baths, that features drugs, diseases and explosions. Learn all about soda and soda fountains in this surprisingly …

How Polar Bears Work

September 29th, 2016

Polar bears are more than just lovable creatures that roam the ice in search of food. They're one of the most fascinating animals on planet Earth. …

How Ice Ages Work

September 27th, 2016

Believe it or not, we live in an ice age. The polar glaciers give it away. Those glaciers used to come clear down to New York. We now know the traces …

All we know about Zika so far...

September 22nd, 2016

Zika is all over the news these days, yet in America, people don't seem to be too concerned just yet. Some say it's a case of the media crying wolf. …

How Cerebral Palsy Works

September 20th, 2016

Cerebral palsy isn’t a disease, but an umbrella term for conditions arising from brain damage suffered in the womb or shortly after birth. The …

What's the deal with Stradivarius violins?

September 15th, 2016

The Strad violin is noted for its tonal qualities and superior craftsmanship. And for its price tag. There are many theories why the Strad sounds so …

Alexander Hamilton: Most Influential American?

September 13th, 2016

Alexander Hamilton, the "ten dollar founding father," is more than the toast of Broadway. In fact, he just may be the most influential American in …

Do Animals Have Natural Rights?

September 8th, 2016

Animals have had legal protection from unnecessary harm since the 19th century. Yet what harm is necessary is open to interpretation and animals …

How Animal Testing Works

September 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 …

How the Negro Leagues Worked

September 1st, 2016

A decade before the U.S. officially segregated in 1896, baseball banned black players. A decade before the US integrated, baseball broke the color …

How Food Tasters Work

August 30th, 2016

Some people might think that tasting food for a living is the best job in the whole wide world. But think again! The reality is, it can be a tedious, …

This Custom of Customs

August 25th, 2016

Customs may be a pain when you're traveling, but it's a necessary instrument the government uses to regulate trade. And it has a very fascinating …

Jellyfish: Even Cooler than Octopi?

August 23rd, 2016

Jellyfish are among the most adaptable, competitive organisms on the planet. They can grow back into their juvenile stage when resources are scarce, …

The Delightful History of Steam Technology

August 18th, 2016

One of the coolest things humans have ever figured out is how to use steam as power. It made the Industrial Revolution possible and even today, 88% …

How Woolly Mammoths Worked

August 16th, 2016

It was only 11000 years ago that the last true woolly mammoths died out, close enough to the modern age that humans lived alongside them. But were …

Evel Knievel Part II

August 11th, 2016

In today's episode, we cover part two of our Evel Knievel suite. The man, the myth, the legend. Check in and listen to the latter stages of Evel's career as the world's most legendary daredevil.

Learn more about your …

Evel Knievel Part I

August 9th, 2016

Evel Knievel was perhaps the world's most legendary daredevil. He came along at a time when the world ate up this kind of entertainment, partially in hopes that he crashed. And crash he did. A lot. Learn all about this …

Mermaids: Not a real thing

August 4th, 2016

Mermaids aren't real. That much we know. But the history and lore of these magical and sometimes menacing creatures of the sea is pretty interesting stuff. Learn all about these half women/half fish today.

Learn more …

How Night Terrors Work

August 1st, 2016

Night terrors, an uncommon sleep disorder, happen when the brain doesn't transition correctly to deep sleep. The result is terrifying, with the …

What is exploding head syndrome?

July 28th, 2016

Exploding head syndrome isn't nearly as weird as it sounds, and there are no brain parts being damaged. But if you suffer from it, you will definitely be freaked out. The good news is, despite its name, it's not …

How Triage Works

July 26th, 2016

Triage is a system that provides immediate attention and categorization for medical emergencies that hopefully will never be a big part of your life. …
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