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The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong

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Let's Talk About Sex, Babies

Did you ever wonder where babies come from? So did all these guys! But only one of them managed to figure it out. This week, for our season finale, the remarkable story of how we came to know the most fundamental and critical of human questions, and all the bumps along the way.


People This Isle

Look, out in the sea: it's an earthquake, it's a boat fire, it's a sea monster! It's a tiny, newborn volcanic island! In 1831, a small scrap of land suddenly formed in The Mediterranean. Lifeless, inhospitable, fiery and useless. So, naturally, the world went to war over it. Settle in and listen to the short and ludicrous history of (deep breath) Correo-Hotham-Graham-Ferdinandea-Nerita-Sciacca-Julia.


Everyone Loves a Mystery

Today the story of a mysterious grave in the foothills of Appalachia, and the two wannabe detectives that set about deciphering it. This episode is a little different than most. It's a personal story. And we want more of them going forward. To that end, we've setup a hotline you can call to leave YOUR story of getting things wrong. We really want to hear from you. 708-761-0493 Warning: This episode also contains stories of harm to children. If you're not up for that or have sensitive...


Do Good Carefully

Here's something you don't see everyday: parachuting cats. It did happen, though. In the 1950s, The Royal Air Force airdropped parakitties onto the Island of Borneo. Why would they do such a thing? Stick around and find out.


Everything Aristotle Said is Wrong

We give Aristotle a pretty hard time here at The Constant. But we can't hold an Aristotle-hating candle to the guy in this episode. A man whose distaste and distrust for Aristotle is responsible for the birth of the enlightenment, and--maybe--his own demise. It's time you got to know Petrus Ramus.


Ice and Fire and Fury

It started off as an innocent enough idea: what if the moon was made of ice? But from there it grew. Into an alternative-science, into a grand conspiracy theory and, finally, into one of the greatest evils in history.


Bitcoin, Bitcoin, BITCOIN!

Would you like a serious deep-dive into the technical history of cryptocurrency? Too bad. That does sound like something we'd do, but instead we're giving you a political comedy piece by host Mark Chrisler, performed for The Paper Machete, a weekly live magazine out of our hometown, Chicago Illinois. We'll be back next week with more sober examinations of historical ephemera. For this week, give yourself a little break. You've possibly earned it.



In 1867, The Eliza set out to sea with a fresh crew, a full hold and fair weather. Yet no one expected her to ever make land again. This episode we look at why, and why, throughout the 19th century, hundreds of ships sank every year in entirely preventable circumstances. It's a story of high seas adventure, murder for profit and... a London coffee shop? It also happens to bear a more than passing resemblance to the gun debate happening in America today.


Tidbits and Trimmings

While we work away on season 2, here's a few extra stories related to the content from season 1 that didn't make their way into the episodes. More art hoaxes! More diligent prime number seekers! More birds on The Moon!


Way to Go, Einstein!

We could've called this show "Whoopsie!" or "Oops!" or "People Believe The Strangest Things." But instead, we called it "The Constant." On this, the season finale, we finally explain why. That means it's time to fawn about Einstein, and the thing he called "the biggest blunder of his life." It also means it's time for Mark to get a tattoo. Which... Look: let's not talk about it, okay?


Fire-Proof Lizards, Vegetable Sheep and Ball-Biting Beavers

Throughout time people have twisted the most humdrum of creatures until they were fantastical, bizarre, unbelievable monsters. From a logistically unfeasible hybrid to a self-castrating quarry, we're bringing you a suite of four stupefying animal myths, and then tracing them to their surprisingly humble beginnings. Plus, do you know what's in your vanilla flavoring? Do you want to? Well, listen anyway.


Take None of These and Call Me In The Morning

This week: a whirlwind history of bad medical practices, worse medical practices and medical practices that--while still pretty awful--looked fantastic by comparison. Western medical history began with a madman who threw himself into a volcano to prove he was a god, and it only went downhill from there. For our story, we look at how one man managed to change 19th century medicine for the better, and how his discovery managed to make 20th century medicine worse.


We're Still Here

"Threatening the world with Famine, Plague and War: To Princes, Death! To Kingdoms, many Crosses; To all Estates, inevitable Losses! To Herdsmen, Rot; to Plowmen, hapless Seasons; To Sailors, Storms, To Cities, Civil Treasons!" -John Gadsbury, 1665. This week we get superstitious with comets, the great bearded stars that herald wishes made true. Or else fiery death. One or the other. For millennia mankind was panicked by these heavenly signs, not knowing what they were. And once we did...


Art is Dead

You don't know this story. You don't know the killer. You don't know the victims. You don't know the artist and you don't know the artworks. But in 1998 Yugoslavia, a series of mutilated corpses shocked the public, rocked the art world and, maybe, changed politics forever.


Three Years of Sundays

It's difficult to honor the spirit of the season when you're making a show about mistakes, foibles and failures, but we've done our best. This week, the most uplifting story about prime numbers you'll hear all season. Promise.


1% Inspiration

In the 1960's, scientists discovered a new form of water, kicking off millions of dollars of research, Nobel Prize consideration and a new Cold War arms race between the USA and USSR. This episode we investigate the history of the miraculous discovery that almost changed the world, and the unbelievable story of why it didn't.


Why Do Birds Suddenly (Dis)Appear?

Have you ever wondered where birds go in the winter? Of course not. But throughout history, many people have. On this, the season premiere of The Constant, we dive into some of the incredible explanations people concocted for this seemingly obvious question, and give you the surprising story of how we eventually came to know what we do.


You Gotta Fry a Few Eggs

A preview of things to come: this is our "stress test" mini episode to try to work out all the kinks. Music byLee Rosevere and Animeistrash


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