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Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

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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Episodes

How Enemas Work

If you think about it, enemas are kind of gross. And if you don?t now you definitely will by the end of this wild ride of an episode. All who make it through the whole way earn SYSK bragging rights. We now wonder why we ever chose to record it.

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2022-08-18
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Short Stuff: Selling the Brooklyn Bridge

You've heard the phrase "If you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you." But did you know it's based in truth?

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2022-08-17
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Mariachi: The Rodney Dangerfield of Music

Mariachi bands have a bad rap as nothing more than "restaurant music." But there is a rich and long cultural tradition many people are missing and the music deserves our respect. Listen in today!

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2022-08-16
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Selects: Desert Survival: Josh and Chuck Save Your Tookus

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 classic episode, where we guide you to safety. 

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2022-08-13
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The Origins of Breakfast Foods

Who doesn't love breakfast? But do you know where most of the typical breakfast foods come from? Well listen in to find out.

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2022-08-11
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Short Stuff: The Berners Street Hoax

A full 200 years on, we're still talking about one of the most sweeping hoaxes of all time. 

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2022-08-10
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What's the deal with energy drinks?

Chuck hates them, Josh has flirted with them. Energy drinks. Listen in to learn all about this canned speed. 

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2022-08-09
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Selects: How Droughts Work

Droughts can be an inevitable feature of a local climate or a catastrophic result of human meddling. In this classic episode, learn the ins and outs of droughts including the American mother of them all, the Dust Bowl.

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2022-08-06
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Thrill to the Stunning Bicameral Mind Hypothesis

Psychologist Julian Jaynes came up with a stunning hypothesis in 1976, that human consciousness only developed in the last 3000 years. And he seemed to have proof in ancient texts. Scholars have been picking it apart ever since and today we join the club.

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2022-08-04
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Short Stuff: Divorcing Your Parents

It really happens! But most people call it emancipation of a minor. Either way, there's some interesting legal stuff in here.

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2022-08-03
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Silly String: Disaster in a Can

It's been a while since we tackled a classic toy, so here we go with all you ever wanted to know about Silly String.

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2022-08-02
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Selects: Some Movies That Changed Filmmaking

An estimated 50,000 films were made worldwide in 2009 alone. Many are surely clunkers, but in this episode Chuck and Josh talk about the ones that emerged throughout cinema history to change the course of all movies that followed. Get your popcorn and lean back while you enjoy this classic episode.

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2022-07-30
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How Menstruation Works

Two dudes talking about menstruation? You bet! And there?s no way you could be any more nervous to listen than we were to record it. But give it a listen, we think you?ll find it enlightening ? whether you menstruate or not.

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2022-07-28
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Short Stuff: The Mars Rock with Signs of Life?

In 1996, real-deal NASA scientists announced they had discovered signs of ancient microbial life in a rock that had broken off Mars and landed on Antarctica. The news set off a controversy still going today. Do we already have proof of alien life?

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2022-07-27
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Where Did Human Intelligence Come From?

We humans are smart, to be sure, but if we?re so smart then how come we can?t figure how we got so smart in the first place? Think about that! We sure did and we go over some theories in this super interesting episode.

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2022-07-26
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Selects: What's the misery index?

Economists love their data because somewhere in the numbers lies the answer to the ills of the country. They also love to frame data in a way people can relate to. Such is the case with the famous "misery index." Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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2022-07-23
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Googie: The Architecture of the Space Age

You may not have heard of it, but you?ve definitely seen it before ? 50s buildings with bright, loud colors, roofs at crazy angles, and space-age shapes like starbursts. It turns out that Googie architecture is as fun to look at as it is to say.

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2022-07-21
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Short Stuff: Death from Astral Projection

In 1975, yoga enthusiast Robert Antoszczyk retired to his room in a group house in Ann Arbor, MI to try a meditation technique that would allow him to astrally project his spirit. He died, never coming out of his meditative state. What happened?

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2022-07-20
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Supernovae: Best Around, Case Closed

Face it, supernovae are the most interesting phenomena in the universe. Black holes are cool, but did you know they sprout from a supernova? What could be cooler than a star exploding so powerfully, the flash it creates shines for months after?

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2022-07-19
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Selects: What Happens When the Government Thinks You're Dead?

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 each year, thousands of Americans find out life is far, far worse when the government thinks you are dead. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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2022-07-16
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Why Bowling is Awesome

Bowling is awesome. It just is. And if you don't think so, maybe take a listen to today's episode. 

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2022-07-14
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Short Stuff: Catatumbo Lightning

Catatumbo lightning is one of nature's most amazing displays of showiness, with strikes occurring 28 times per minute for nine hours a day, 300 days a year. So take cover and take a listen.

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2022-07-13
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Mangroves: Nature's Best Tree?

Mangroves are incredible survivors and adapters. They're also amazing at lessening the impact of tropical storms and climate change. And heck, they're cool looking. So jump into the brackish waters and have a listen.

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2022-07-12
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Selects: How Ayahuasca Works

One day in the Amazon Basin, a shaman put together a plant containing DMT with a vine that allows the body to absorb DMT. The combination, a foul-tasting, wildly hallucinogenic brew called ayahuasca, has changed cultures throughout the Americas. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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2022-07-09
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The Maya Civilization

After inspiration from Chuck's recent trip to the Yucatan, the fellas dive into the Maya Civilization. 

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2022-07-07
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Short Stuff: Alligator Gar

The alligator gar is one scary looking fish. Learn all about these monsters in today's episode.

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2022-07-06
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How Ultraprocessed Foods Work

Ultraprocessed is a new term for junk food, but it means much more than that ? it?s also a cautionary tale for the way we?re supposed to cook and eat, using real food and sitting down with friends and family. But who has the time and money to do that?

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2022-07-05
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Selects: How Freak Shows Worked

Not too long ago, people would pay money to gawk and stare at a performer with a physical disformity. They were called freak shows and they began in large part thanks to P.T. Barnum, whose circus we still enjoy today. Sounds awful, but some of these performers became rich folks as a result. Exploitive? You decide, after taking in this classic episode.

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2022-07-02
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A Dispassionate Review of Roe v Wade

Given the landmark undoing of Roe v Wade, Chuck and Josh lay out all the relevant facts of the 1973 case.

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2022-06-30
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Short Stuff: What did we use before infant formula?

There's an infant formula shortage. But infant formula is relatively new. So what did we do before it was perfected? Listen in and learn already!

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2022-06-29
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How Alien Contact Might Work

If we ever found evidence of intelligent alien life (or they found us) what would we say? Who would say it for us? These seemingly silly questions are vitally important depending on your view.

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2022-06-28
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Selects: Chiggers: The Phantom Menace

Chiggers are tiny little mites capable of making your life miserable. Worse than mosquitoes? Maybe. But they aren't insects - mites are actually part of the arachnid family and behave a little like ticks. Learn all about these nearly invisible pests in this classic episode.

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2022-06-25
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What's up with bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery can also be called weight loss surgery. Some people think it's a highly underused tool to fight obesity. Others think it's a shortcut. We discuss all the ins and outs in this week's episode.

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2022-06-23
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Short Stuff: Do Fish Get Thirsty?

One of the greatest questions we?ve ever heard, answered (in a roundabout way).

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2022-06-22
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The Appalachian Trail: A Heckuva Hike

A few short years after the hiking trails from Maine to Georgia were connected into the world?s longest hiking-only footpath, a WWII vet walked the whole thing in one go. He kicked off a challenge that?s still taken on by thousands of people each year.

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2022-06-21
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Selects: How Steadicams Work

There have been many inventions that have advanced filmmaking, but maybe none as important as the steadicam. Invented in the mid-70s, it literally changed the way movie making happened, and made the impossible possible. Learn about the fascinating history behind this amazing technology, in this classic episode.

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2022-06-18
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What were the IRA hunger strikes?

In the early 1980s, imprisoned IRA members went on a prolonged hunger strike, leading to the death of ten men. This is their story.

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2022-06-16
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Short Stuff: HR8 Gun Legislation

Today we dive into HR8, a gun bill supported by 90% of Americans that will likely never get through the Senate.

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2022-06-15
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How Wind Works

Beloved egghead Buckminster Fuller said the wind doesn’t blow, it sucks. And he was pretty much right, depending on your perspective. Find out how everything from the hurricane to summer breeze makes life on Earth possible.

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2022-06-14
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Selects: How Drowning Works

Hundreds of thousands of people drown around the world every year, and yet it can be easily prevented and is widely misunderstood – like how you can officially drown but live to tell the tale, or how you can drown but die days later. Learn all about it in this classic episode.

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2022-06-11
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The 4-minute Mile: Greatest Sports Story?

Nobody thought the 4-minute mile was humanly possible, until it was. The story of how it happened is remarkable. So sit back and take a listen.

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2022-06-09
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Short Stuff: Cleveland?s Infamous 10-Cent Beer Night

In 1974, the Cleveland (then Indians) baseball club held an unlimited 10 cent beer promotion to attract fans to the game. An actual riot broke out.

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2022-06-08
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How Freedom of the Press Works

Countries around the world – capitalist democracies to communist unitary states – guarantee a free press in their constitutions. It turns out, though, that there is a galaxy of methods for subverting a free press. Find out why that matters in this episode.

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2022-06-07
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Selects: How Satanism Works

Satanism may be the most misunderstood "religion" in the world. Part of that is because there are, and have been, many offshoots of Satanism, from The Church of Satan to The Satanic Temple. One thing is sure though, none of them are filled with evil humans who perform ritual blood sacrifice and worship a cloven-hoofed devil. Learn all about Satanism in this classic episode.

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2022-06-04
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Kidney Donation: You Could Be A Saint!

Kidneys are one of the few organs that you can donate while you’re alive. And the vast majority of donors experience no complications and their remaining kidney functions just fine. Yet thousands of people die each year waiting for a donated kidney. Why?

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2022-06-02
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Short Stuff: Happy Foods!

Some foods make you happy. But they aren't necessarily comfort foods. You know what they call that? SCIENCE!

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2022-06-01
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The Scintillating World of Interest Rates

When the Fed raises interest rates a half point, the world market reacts. But why does this tiny percentage make such a difference? Listen and learn!

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2022-05-31
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Selects: Waterbeds: The Sexiest Bed?

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 this classic episode.

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2022-05-28
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The Myth of Absinthe

Absinthe makes you hallucinate and possibly even have a seizure, right? Nope. It's all a part of the myth of absinthe, which is really just a bitter tasting liquor with a bad reputation. 

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2022-05-26
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Short Stuff: Do people move in predictable directions?

Depending on where you are in the world, you either have an instinct to go left or right when entering a place. Learn all about this today.

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2022-05-25
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