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Damn Interesting

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Location:

United States

Language:

English

Contact:

801.876.0892


Episodes

-042- Death By Derivatives

11/20/2017
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The opening of a canal in 1848 led to the birth of modern financial derivatives, and the early demise of some of the men who traded them

Duration: 00:13:48


-041- Ghoulish Acts & Dastardly Deeds

7/29/2017
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In the 1950s, an anonymous terrorist planted a pipe bomb in a New York City public space. Then another. And another.

Duration: 00:48:58


-40- No Country For Ye Olde Men

7/18/2017
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Britain’s practice of transporting convicts to American colonies was a fearsome punishment, but not for the chronic criminal James Dalton.

Duration: 00:10:22


-039- Fire And Dice

6/12/2017
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The story of a tragic hotel fire of Rube Goldberg proportions.

Duration: 00:17:25


-038- The Reconstruction of Ulysses S. Grant

4/11/2017
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As a civilian, the beloved American Civil War general and two-term president failed at every attempt to make money. Except for one.

Duration: 00:18:25


-037- The Greatest Baroque Composer Never Known

3/6/2017
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A 300-year-old hunt for the unsung hero of Salzburg.

Duration: 00:14:05


-035- Starving For Answers

11/30/2016
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During WWII, 36 American conscientious objectors volunteered as subjects in a brutal science experiment to measure the body's response to starvation.

Duration: 00:11:08


-031- Into The Bewilderness

5/11/2016
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Charles Waterton was a pioneer of conservation. He was also extremely nutty, in ways that suggest he may have over-identified with his animal subjects.

Duration: 00:17:33


-030- Colonels Of Truth

3/13/2016
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The tumultuous true story of the life of a fast food icon.

Duration: 00:54:09


-029- 89, 263, 201, 500, 337, 480

12/14/2015
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The story of the Beale Ciphers; a set of three encrypted notes from the nineteenth century purportedly describing the location of hidden treasure. Only one has been deciphered.

Duration: 00:15:35


The First Ten Years

9/22/2015
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A happy-tenth-birthday-to-us retrospective.

Duration: 00:26:14


-025- Up In The Air

8/2/2015
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As night fell over the East German town of Pössneck on the evening of 14 September 1979, most of the town's citizens were busy getting ready for bed. But not Günter Wetzel. The mason was in his attic, hunched over an old motor-driven sewing machine, desperately working to complete his secret project. Wetzel and his friend H. Peter Strelzyk and their families had been working on their plan for more than a year and a half, and by now the authorities were looking for them. They were nearly...

Duration: 00:24:11


-024- The Zero Armed Bandit

6/14/2015
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"I don’t think it belongs here." Such was the assessment of Bob Vinson, the graveyard shift supervisor at Harvey's Wagon Wheel Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The "here" Vinson referred to was a nook just outside the telephone equipment room in the employees-only portion of the second floor of the hotel. The "it" was a curious piece of equipment of unknown origin loitering conspicuously in the cramped side room. It was a metallic gray box about the size of a desk, with a smaller box attached...

Duration: 00:55:50


-023- The American Gustation Crisis Of 1985

4/18/2015
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(This is a podcastification of an older article to observe the 30th anniversary of the events discussed herein). In April 1985, it is rumored that a collection of executives gathered at their corporate headquarters for an emergency meeting. On the table before them sat six small canisters which had been smuggled from their chief competitor's manufacturing plant. Inside the metal cylinders lurked a secret compound which represented the next strike in a long-running war: an altered version...

Duration: 00:19:27


-022- The Derelict

1/11/2015
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Under ordinary circumstances, the final evening of a cruise aboard the luxury turbo-electric ocean liner SS Morro Castle was a splendid event. Hundreds of lady and gentlemen passengers would gather in the Grand Ballroom in their finest evening attire for the customary Farewell Dinner, where veteran sailor Captain Willmott would captivate his guests with salty tales from his years at sea over endless glasses of champagne. Reality, bills, hangovers, and economic depression were all far away,...

Duration: 00:48:53


-020- Welcome To The Jungle

7/6/2014
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In 1744, a young geographer living in Spanish-colonial Peru with his wife and children decided the time had come to move the family back to his native France. Jean Godin des Odonais had come to Peru in 1735 as a part of a small scientific expedition and had ended up staying much longer than expected. He’d married a young woman from a local aristocratic family and now the couple had two children and a third on the way. But news from France eventually brought word of Godin’s father’s death,...

Duration: 00:26:15


-019- The Clockmaker

5/28/2014
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It was the middle of a cool September night in Munich, Germany. The year was 1939. In an otherwise unoccupied auditorium, a man knelt on hands and knees chiseling a square hole into a large stone pillar. The lights were out, but a small flashlight dimmed with a handkerchief provided a pallid puddle of light. The man's chisel was also wrapped in cloth to quiet his hammer strikes. Whenever there was some unexpected sound, he froze. Whenever a truck rumbled past the building, he seized the...

Duration: 00:24:11


-018- White Death

5/4/2014
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In April of 1938, representatives from the USSR approached the Finnish government and expressed a concern that Nazi Germany could attempt to invade Russia, and such an attack might come through parts of Finland. The Finns replied that they were officially neutral, but any Nazi incursion on Finland’s borders would be resisted. This did not mollify the Soviets. Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf, was published thirteen years previous with specific note that the Nazis would need to invade the...

Duration: 00:09:58


-017- Cry Havoc And Let Slip The Spuds Of War

4/9/2014
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Staple though it is today, the lowly potato had a hard time reaching its preeminent status in Western cuisine. Perhaps its lengthy purgatory has something to do with the tale that when Sir Walter Raleigh gave some potatoes to Queen Elizabeth, her cooks tossed aside the roots and served up the boiled greens instead, causing a court-wide case of indigestion. Whether that's the case or not—and there's no evidence that Raleigh ever so much as set eyes on a potato—for decades Europeans would have...

Duration: 00:13:13


-016- Absolute Zero is 0K

3/19/2014
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Near the heart of Scotland lies a large morass known as Dullatur Bog. Water seeps from these moistened acres and coalesces into the headwaters of a river which meanders through the countryside for nearly 22 miles, until its terminus in Glasgow. In the late 19th century this river adorned the landscape just outside of the laboratory of Sir William Thompson, renowned scientist and president of the Royal Society. The river must have made an impression on Thompson--when Queen Victoria granted...

Duration: 00:30:17

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