Right Now in Stuff You Should Know

Occasionally here on the "Chuck half" of the Stuff You Should Know blog, I like to include something just because it's cool. Hence the name. This week we have some images of a bubble popping caught in super slow motion. Maybe it's the kid in me, but I thought it was super keen. The photographer used a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second to capture the images. The folks over at Discovery Channel's "Time Warp" have done similar work with super high speed (slow motion) digital cameras to great effect. But capturing it with a motion picture camera is one thing, getting the shots with a still camera is another.

Back when I was a younger pup, I used to be interested in all manner of weird phenomena, ghosts especially, and I figured I would grow up to go study at Duke's now-defunct school of parapsychology. That didn't pan out; as I grew further away from the ground, so too did I grow apart from the deep interest I held in the abnormal. I did manage to pick up a few things along the way, however: Borley Rectory, for example, is probably the most haunted house in the world. One of the coolest photographs ever is of spontaneous combustion victim Dr. John Bentley's charred leg. And! When the UFOs crashed in Roswell, NM, in 1947, along with aliens in various stages of death and dying, the federales also found a strange, lightweight metal that was tough as diamonds but pliable as paper. It looks like the cloned offspring of the Nazi scientists we poached before they could face the music at Nuremberg after World War II have finally managed to replicate it.

Podcast Goodness: Brainwashing and Twinkies!

Good morning sunshine! This week on the Stuff You Should Know podcast, Herr Clark and yours truly did a little science thing and then something for fun -- brainwashing and Twinkies.

It must suck to be old right now. Even during generations with the most modest of cultural change -- say, the 1950s -- the elderly tend to be wary of the younger, at the very least because they can run fast and punch much harder and pay little attention to signs that say things like "Stay off the Grass." Tough-talking youths and robots: They make the aged uneasy. There's a word for it; ephebiphobia -- the irrational fear of young people. Compared to what little the aged had to deal with in the 50s, it must be intensely terrifying to be old today. The 21st century has panned out, so far, to most decidedly be a young person's world. Case in point: The AP rolled out its annual fluff piece about new words that have made it through the editorial gauntlet and into the pages of Merriam-Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. Older people following traditional media had a chance to learn that locavore and frenemy await them when they receive the newest edition of M-W this upcoming holiday season. So now they're in the know.

Oh how the mighty have fallen. The wife of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff was forced to leave her tony and well appointed 4,000 plus square foot penthouse in Manhattan and was, until recently, in search of some new digs. You may remember that Mr. Madoff was convicted recently for his massive Ponzi scheme that bilked hundreds of people out of billions of dollars. While he'll never see the light of day again as a free man, his wife managed to escape any incarceration thanks to a deal cut with prosecutors. The New York Post reports that Ruth Madoff is moving in on a 400 square foot, one bedroom one bath condo on the Upper East Side. No more maids quarters and no more five bathroom penthouse. Don't feel too bad for her though, she was allowed to keep $2.5 million, which is more than many people make in a lifetime

How Twinkies Work

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 podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

Josh and Chuck Swim With Sharks!!

Dr. Clark and I had the awesome opportunity to dive in at the GA Aquarium yesterday and swim in the big tank. Let me just go ahead and say up front that it was one of the cooler things I've ever had the chance to do.

When it comes to shark deaths, you're the problem, jerk. You!

Chuck and I met a guy at the Georgia Aquarium recently who runs the whale shark exhibit. We asked him what the biggest threat to sharks might be -- though after having written about 100 shark articles between us, we already knew the answer. It's humans. That's right, you human jerk, you're the problem when it comes to sharks.

Is it possible to brainwash someone?

Brainwashing is an extreme form of "thought reform," but does it actually work? Tune in to this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com to find out.

Altoids Artists are "Tinnovative"

You gotta love humans. One of my favorite segments of the art world is those who take something and make it into something else. The practice goes by a lot of different names -- found art, reclaimed art, recycled art, etc. You get the picture. By any name, it's a medium that speaks to me for some reason.

Here's a really good idea for anyone in charge of public spectacles and festivities in a war torn and jumpy area: don't schedule a fireworks display. You'll find it terrifies more than amuses. Shooting off fireworks amid an entire population racked with PTSD is tantamount to the Little Albert study. We know this for a fact now, thanks to an unfortunate natural experiment conducted in the village of Goma in Congo, as Reuters tells it. When the display began, the villagers used Occam's Razor and decided that likeliest explanation was that the six-year-old peace had collapsed once more rather than it being just, you know, fireworks, and headed for the hills. One can imagine a local bureaucrat trailing after the rest of the town with a clipboard shouting, "Hey guys! Where are you going? Guys?"

Podcast Goodness: Earthquakes and Hypermiling

Greetings, earthlings. Dr. Clark and I hope that everyone has had a great week so far and that our American brothers and sisters are looking forward to a great holiday weekend. As for the rest of the world -- enjoy working tomorrow, suckers!

The EPA tests vehicles for maximum fuel efficiency, but those impressive estimates don't always pan out in real life. Hypermiling is one sure-fire way to improve your fuel efficiency. Find out how it works in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

Chuck and I have talked extensively about what happens to a body after it loses that 21 grams, mainly because I'm twisted and Chuck coddles me. In the rigor mortis podcast, we mentioned the bottlefly, which forensic investigators use to make ballpark estimates of time of death and the like. These investigators take samples of the maggots and larvae, measure them and so on to figure out how long they've been ingesting the dead flesh of a corpse. Cool enough, but what if a fly laid eggs and they hatched and began feasting on flesh of a person who was still walking around and could be really upset by this? My friends, it can happen! Lemme tell you about the botfly.

Be a Lazy, Unimaginative Schmuck, Destroy Civilization -- Simple as That

Here's a really good reason why you should think for yourself: if you don't, civilization as we know it will crumble and the streets will run red with the blood of the innocent. So that second part was fabricated, yes. The first part, about civilization crumbling, appears to be for real.

What makes the earth quake? Join Josh and Chuck as they explore the science and history of earthquakes in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

My hat is off and held humbly in my hands for the subculture of drivers who hypermile. I am something of what you might call an aggressive driver. The fast lane is meant as a pipeline for cars to shoot down at 90 mph past slower drivers who apparently have less to do or fish a lot. Those who don't observe fast lane rules get a good shot of me in their rear-view mirror, vomiting profanity, my front fender mere inches from their rear bumpers. This kind of driving calls for a lot of accelerating and decelerating, so I consume gas like I used to mash troves of Slim Jims I'd find hidden behind the good silver into my piehole back when I was a fat kid. Hypermilers are pretty much the exact opposite of me.

The Death of Michael Jackson and the Peter Pan Syndrome

I just can't do it. I can't not write about the death of Michael Jackson. It's too big of a deal. I don't even like the guy's music anymore, at least not the stuff he released from the late '80s on. I did worship him for several years, during the Thriller stage.

Podcast Goodness: Dream Sailors and I HATE MY NOSE!

Hi there, everybody! Chuck here to recap the week of June 25 in the land of Stuff You Should Know. I hope everyone has had a lovely week so far. Let me go ahead and say that we've broken our fan mail record here already on Thursday, thanks to the lucid dreams podcast.

How Body Dysmorphic Disorder Works

People who suffer with body dysmorphic disorder have a distorted, unhealthy view of their bodies. Learn more about this compulsive disorder in the following podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.