Podcasts

SYSK Selects: How the Black Death Worked

The Black Death was gruesome: Symptoms included tumors, purple splotches, fevers and vomiting. But how did this disease manage to spread from the Gobi desert and kill approximately one-third of the population of 14th-century Europe? Find out in this classic episode.

What Were the BONE WARS?

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 dynamited and employees turned double agent. Learn about the two-fisted origins of American paleontology.

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

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.

Will Deepfakes Ruin the World?

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 reality and lead to the death of truth?

SYSK Selects: How Human Cannonballs Work

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 performances of human cannonballs.

How Eyewitness Testimony Works(?)

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 matters when you’re facing death row.

Short Stuff: Aristides de Sousa Mendes

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. 

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

Believe it or not, in 1985 the Philadelphia Police Department dropped a bomb from a helicopter onto a residential building in an African-American neighborhood. The fact that this story isn't more widely known says it all. Listen and learn about MOVE today.

SYSK Selects: How Crack Works

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 consequences of crack, like crack babies. Let's take a look back at the receding wave of the crack epidemic and its lasting legacy on America in this classic episode.

Sand Dunes: They Are What You Think They Are

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