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Today in 1895, the birthday of Buckminster Fuller, the “engineer, architect and futurist" who once proposed building a see-through dome over part of Manhattan to save energy and money. Plus: a community festival that’s actually in a bunch of communities. The 1960 Plan To Put A Dome Over Midtown Manhattan (Gothamist) This Was Buckminster Fuller’s Pl…
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Around this time in 2012, a teacher in Germany saved a young student's life, literally keeping the three year old's head above water after falling into an abandoned mine shaft. Plus: starting tomorrow in Oklahoma, it’s the McLoud Blackberry Festival. Teacher jumps down mineshaft to save boy (The Local) The McLoud Blackberry Festival Want more stori…
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Today in 1899, the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, that established most of the border between Egypt and Sudan, but eventually led to a dispute over two stretches of land. Both countries want one stretch, and neither wants the other. Plus: this Friday in New Orleans, the running of the bulls! Well, sort of. This man is the latest in a se…
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On this National Fashion Day, we have a letter from 3,800 years ago that shows some things never change, like teenagers nagging their parents for a fancier set of clothes. Plus: an artist in Japan designs a pair of jeans that look like they're hanging out unzipped... because that's something someone needs, apparently? Reading Ancient Mail (JSTOR) J…
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Today in 1776, it's said that the Liberty Bell rang out in Philadelphia for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. More than two centuries later, a fast food giant put out fake ads claiming that it had acquired the Liberty Bell to help pay off the national debt. Plus: today in 1978, Def Leppard played its first-ever concert, i…
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Today in 1994, the start of a very unusual road trip: Alvin Straight drove 240 miles by lawn mower. Plus: next week in Wausau, Wisconsin, it’s the Taste ‘N Glow Balloon Fest. Brotherly Love Powers a Lawn Mower Trek (New York Times) Taste 'n Glow Balloon Fest Ride with us as a backer on Patreon --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.co…
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Today in 1827, the people of Boonsboro, Maryland marked Independence Day by trying to build a stone monument to George Washington in a single day. It was a Washington Monument way before the opening of the Washington Monument in DC. Plus: today in Michigan, it's the Berrien Springs Pickle Festival. The Little-Known Story of the First Washington Mon…
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Today in 1958, the Washington Post reported on a way to transform a Ford station wagon into a full-service campsite with the push of a button. Plus: this weekend in Congham, Norfolk, England, the World Snail Racing Championships. The 1959 Ford Country Squire Camper, the Pushbutton Dream Camper That Never Was (Auto Evolution) SNAIL RACING WORLD CHAM…
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Around this time of a year you may come to witness an eye-opening process in parts of Utah: it’s known as aerial fish stocking. Yes, they drop fish out of airplanes into bodies of water. Plus: in Traverse City, Michigan, there are still a few more days left of the National Cherry Festival. Utah is dropping thousands of fish from planes – again (CNN…
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Longtime baseball fans know this is the day each year that former star Bobby Bonilla gets more than a million bucks from the New York Mets, as part of the strangest salary deal the sport's ever seen. Plus: today in 1997, Len Libby’s Chocolates in Maine unveiled an icon, Lenny the chocolate moose. What is Bobby Bonilla Day? Explaining why the former…
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Today in 1919, the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the massive conflict known today as World War I and set a lot of postwar international standards, including standard musical pitch. Plus: the Vent Haven Museum in Kentucky showcases the world of ventriloquism, and this weekend it's hosting a a fun run and walk as The Dummy Run 5K. …
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This month in 1908, Anne of Green Gables was published. L.M. Montgomery's books have a lot of fans in Japan, which is why a community in northern Japan built a park called Canadian World, complete with a recreation of Anne's hometown of Avonlea. Plus: starting this Saturday in Washington state, it’s the Buckley Log Show. Abandoned Avonlea: Anne the…
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Yes, the coconut's tropical, and it didn't migrate, but a 2017 research paper found that “Medieval England was unexpectedly full of coconuts.” So King Arthur and his entourage really could've wandered around in search of the Grail banging coconuts together! Plus: starting this Friday in Oklahoma, it’s the Fort Gibson Sweet Corn Festival. Coconuts i…
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This month in 1878, a horse named Sallie Gardner ran past a series of cameras in Palo Alto, California. The series of photos those cameras took paved the way for motion pictures. Plus: starting tomorrow in Deridder, Louisiana, it’s the Beauregard Watermelon Festival. Eadweard Muybridge (International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum) Beauregard …
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Today in 1982, British Airways Flight 009 made a successful landing in Jakarta, Indonesia, after ash from a nearby volcano had shut down all of the plane’s engines. Plus: today in 2022, six new high school graduates in Port Jefferson, New York had to quickly duck out of the commencement ceremonies to go fight a fire. When volcanic ash stopped a Jum…
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This week we’re replaying a few of our sweetest episodes. In this show from January 2020, astronauts on the International Space Station bake chocolate chip cookies. But baking cookies in space is a little different than baking them on Earth. Plus: a new device called the Exolung can keep air flowing for virtually as long as a diver likes. ⁠Space-ba…
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This week we’re replaying a few of our sweetest episodes. In this show from June 2019, Wilmington, Ohio and Latrobe, Pennsylvania are split over which town was the true birthplace of the banana split. Plus: the mind-melting TV show known as the Banana Splits Adventure Hour was actually supposed to have an entirely different name! ⁠Wilmington Banana…
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This week we’re replaying a few of our sweetest episodes. In this show from November 2019, we get a look at a meringue that's just about the lightest dessert ever made. Plus: the story of a light-emitting fungus gnat in Brazil, which is maybe not as appetizing as the first story. ⁠World’s Lightest Dessert Is 96 Percent Air, Weighs Just One Gram⁠ (O…
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This week we’re replaying a few of our sweetest episodes. In this show from December 2020, we take a closer look at the amazing and frequently disturbing history of gingerbread, including how one of the most famous royals of all time helped bring gingerbread people into the world. Plus: a lesson in patience from a musical great who made herself int…
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This week we’re replaying a few of our sweetest episodes. In this show from July 2021, we meet Agnes B. Marshall, who helped make ice cream the icon that it is today. Plus: ground control once played the song “Hello Darlin” by country star Conway Twitty to astronauts in Earth orbit. Only this version of the song was a little different. ⁠The 19th-ce…
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Today in Readlyn, Iowa, it's the start of Grump Days - because Readlyn proudly bills itself as home to "857 friendly people and one old Grump!" Plus: today in 1955, Paul Bunyan died? Even though he’s a legendary person and didn’t really live? That's what a grave marker in Minnesota claims, anyway. THE TOWN WHERE IT’S FUN TO BE A GROUCH (Now I Know)…
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Wedding season is definitely here, and today we’ll tell you about a wedding tradition that used to have one very clear meaning and then did a 180. Plus: Stand With Pride is a network of people who volunteer to serve as stand-in parents when families of origin refuse to attend LGBTQ+ weddings. Why Do Couples Tie Cans to Wedding Cars? (New York Times…
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Lou Gehrig famously ended his consecutive games streak in the spring of 1939, not long before he was diagnosed with ALS. But on this day in 1939, he played one last exhibition game in Kansas City. Plus: today in 1977, the Kansas City Royals take to the field in Milwaukee with borrowed uniforms after a thief took off with most of their road gear. Ha…
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Today in 1993, the release of the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park. One of the small but key roles in that movie is the work of Jophery Brown, actor and a stuntman who's performed in some of the biggest movies of the last few decades. Plus: Sal Giardino's New Jersey gravestone is hard to miss: it's a giant black lightbulb featuring the words "World'…
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Legend has it that today in 1529, two armies in Switzerland decided that instead of having a war, they would have some soup. Plus: Idaho's Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is holding a centennial celebration through September. In Switzerland, the soup quarrelling politicians share (BBC) 100 Years of the Craters of the Moon (Visit …
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Today in 1520 the beginning of what may have been the biggest, most expensive party of all time, involving two kings, 18 days and $19 million. Plus: starting tomorrow in New Orleans, it’s the French Market Creole Tomato Festival. The Field of the Cloth of Gold (Historic-UK.com) French Market Creole Tomato Festival No need to spend millions, you can…
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For the birthday of Tetris, the story of a 13 year old who played so deep into the NES version of the game that it crashed - and the gamers who found ways to keep playing even past that "end" point. Plus: starting tomorrow the town of Metropolis, Illinois is hosting its annual Superman Celebration. It’s Possible to Hack Tetris From Inside the Game …
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If you're traveling abroad this summer you'll need a passport - unless you're one of a very small number of very prominent people who don't need to use passports. Plus: this week Louisville, Kentucky is home to Ali Fest. Does the President Have a Passport? (Slate) Ali Fest in Louisville, KY Travel over to our Patreon page to get bonus episodes and …
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It's National Cheese Day! Today we're telling the story of American cheese, which got its start from a guy who emigrated to Chicago from Ontario. Plus: a region of northern Sweden known as "the Kingdom of Cheese" drives the point home with two 23 foot tall cheese slicers. What Is American Cheese, Anyway? (Serious Eats) A Brief History of "American …
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Alexander Graham Bell is best known for the telephone, but he thought his light-based calling system, the photophone was way more important... so much so that he even tried to name his daughter Photophone Bell. Plus: for World Bicycle Day, the story of a Japanese company that let customers order a special set of socks that would be knitted by a bic…
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There’s some linguistic research that suggests that American hockey players sometimes start to sound more like Canadians as their hockey careers continue. Plus: The uses seven bridges to connect a bunch of islands in Norway together. You essentially get to drive right along the ocean. How do you pronounce “hockey”? US players say it with “fake Cana…
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Today in 1953, some 10,000 people took part in Woodruff, Wisconsin's Memorial Day "Penny Parade." They were raising to build a hospital, urged on by the leader of the effort, Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb. Plus: a teen who went fishing catches a guy's wallet that had fallen into the water three decades earlier. Penny Facts (Dr. Kate Museum) Dr. Kate Muse…
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Today in 1943, Norman Rockwell's painting "Rosie the Riveter" was on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. But that's not the image that we think of today as Rosie, and just as there were multiple depictions of the character, there were multiple real-life inspirations for those depictions. Plus: congrats to Max the cat, who just got an honorary d…
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Today in 1901, a court decision protected the right to say pretty much whatever we like while reviewing a podcast, or a song, or a performance. And it all started with some of the strangest performances of all time, put on by the Cherry Sisters. Plus: the start of summer travel season brings to mind a guy in Italy named Eduardo, who collects Do Not…
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For today’s holiday we wanted to replay an episode from 2019 about the history behind Memorial Day. Officially, the community that started Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York - but Waterloo is definitely not the only place with a Memorial Day origin story. How Waterloo, NY, became the birthplace of Memorial Day (New York Upstate) Birthplace of Memor…
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This week we’re replaying some of our favorite episodes about our neighbors in the solar system. In this episode from March 2023, long before the internet’s favorite planet got its very pun-filled name, an astronomer wanted to give it a much more chill one. Plus: modern day scientists have plenty of theories on how Uranus ended up on its side. ⁠Ura…
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This week we’re replaying some of our favorite episodes about our neighbors in the solar system. In this episode from May 2019, a look at Venera 5, an overlooked but important visit to a fairly nasty place, the planet Venus. Plus: McMinnville, Oregon kicks off its annual UFO Festival, complete with fun run called the Alien Abduction Dash. ⁠Venera 5…
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This week we’re replaying some of our favorite episodes about our neighbors in the solar system. In this episode from June 2019, a look at how the Curiosity Rover takes selfies on Mars without having its robot arm in the foreground of every shot. Plus: the University of St. Andrews teaches grey seals to sing the "Star Wars" theme. For research. ⁠Wh…
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This week we’re replaying some of our favorite episodes about our neighbors in the solar system. In this episode from July 2022, the story of Venetia Burney, who at age eleven did something few people have done: she named a planet! Plus: the people of Ripon, Wisconsin team up to make the world’s largest chocolate chip cookie. ⁠Venetia Burney Phair …
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This week we’re replaying some of our favorite episodes about our neighbors in the solar system. In this episode from October 2021, we find out whether scientists who study Uranus think the many jokes humans make about the seventh planet are funny. Plus: a visit to a magic shop in Burnsville, Minnesota that's the oldest in the US. ⁠Here’s What Uran…
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Ahead of World Baking Day, we look at the history of a baking and TV legend, the Pillsbury Doughboy. But did you know about his full name and his doughy relatives? Plus: today in Iowa, it’s day two of the three day Orange City Tulip Festival. Meet the Pillsbury Doughboy’s Family! (Huffington Post) The Doughboy is 50! (General Mills) Orange City Tul…
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Today in 1882 inventor Maria Beasley received the patent for what's probably her most well-known invention, a collapsible life raft. But Beasley was one of those inventors who came up with idea after idea in a bunch of fields, so there's lots more to her story. Plus: starting tomorrow in Nixa, Missouri, it’s Nixa Sucker Days. Maria Beasley: Enginee…
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There's a little Spanish enclave in southwestern France, and in the 1980s a dispute over a road between that community and the rest of Spain became known as a "war of the stop signs." Plus: when Harriet Richardson emailed a local church with some punny ideas for their sign, the church gave her a sign of her own. The Spanish town that ended up in Fr…
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Today in 2005, test pilot Didier Delsalle took a helicopter where a helicopter had never gone before: the summit of Mount Everest. Plus: could cargo drones lug gear up and down the world's tallest mountain so that Sherpas and others climbers don't have to put themselves at risk to do it? Landing on Everest: Didier Delsalle Recalls his Record Flight…
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This month in 2014, the debut of Mr. Trash Wheel! He’s become a social media sensation for his giant googly eyes and his dedication to cleaning up Baltimore’s waterfront. Plus: this month in 1984, the first online grocery order, by a retiree using her TV remote control (!) Baltimore’s Trash Wheel family celebrating 10 years of cleaner water (WBAL) …
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Today in 1907, the birthday of Finnish Olympic gold medalist Kalle Jalkanen. His relay team had a big come from behind victory in the 1936 Winter Games, but what legend says happened along the way is an even more unusual part of the story. Plus: If you’re celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday, you could head to St. Petersburg, Florida, which is home…
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Today in 2007, the New York Times published a feature story on Kool Aid pickles, a sweet and sour treat that found some diehard fans in the southern US. Plus: officials in North Yorkshire, England say that to avoid issues with their geographic computer systems, their street signs will henceforth have no apostrophes. A Sweet So Sour: Kool-Aid Dills …
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For National Have A Coke Day, a look at the time a few decades ago when Coke encouraged people not to drink something great, but to choose OK Soda. Plus: starting today in Homer, Alaska, it’s the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival. The Strange Story Of "OK Soda" (Buzzfeed) KACHEMAK BAY SHOREBIRD FESTIVAL If you want to back our show on Patreon, that’s…
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Today in 1989, El Reno, Oklahoma held its first ever El Reno Burger Day. It was in honor of a local creation that's been popular for almost a century, the fried onion burger. Plus: for Tchaikovsky's birthday, the story of how a benefactor gave him a stipend that let him compose full time... with one very unusual string attached. El Reno’s Fried Oni…
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Today was the birthday in 1915 of Orson Welles, who created timeless films, radio shows and stage plays... and outtakes for a wine commercial that went viral before any of us were on the internet. Plus: today in 1931, the birthday of baseball legend Willie Mays, who was such a great hitter that the scouting report had no advice on how to pitch to h…
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