Curious State

Curious State

Could we have domesticated a T-Rex? Is the mafia really that violent? Haven't all the possible songs been written by now? Unexpected gems of knowledge are hidden all around us. Let’s dig them up, one offbeat question at a time.


December 20, 2022 2 mins

I come to you one last time to say goodbye. And to thank you for joining me on this journey of being curious for its own sake, of saddling a hunch and seeing where its long stride takes us. I think curiosity takes different forms throughout our lives. Wherever you are in your journey, it’s been an honor to be a part of it.

You can follow my next adventures on my website:

Here's my Twitter

And here's the ol' L...

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In 2021, the top three classical musicians on Spotify—Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart—were streamed 19.2 million times a month in 2021, which together would have earned them over $852,000. How is it that songs hundreds of years old are still being listened to? What is it about classical music that makes it so timeless?

Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, shares his passion for the love that classical music generates.


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Matt McGinley entered the music industry over 15 years ago as the drummer for the band Gym Class Heroes. Nowadays, Matt’s a contributing music producer for hit radio shows and podcasts, like This American Life, Serial, Nice White Parents, and S Town. Suffice it to say, he produces a lot of music. And it's all part of an ever-growing global library. By Google’s count, between 97 and 230 million songs exist worldwide. It makes you wo...

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Easy money is hard to come by. Unless you’re in the ransomware business. Then tens of millions of dollars can be yours in a single, unsuspecting click. Quick cash grabs fuel a worldwide economy, funneling extorted funds into secret bank accounts, hackers’ salaries, and even government pockets. 

In a world where your data is the gateway to a thief’s payday, all is not lost.

Cybercrime vigilantes like The Ransomware Hunting Team volunt...

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On Chris’s investigations (To Catch a Predator), the predators are real—so is the danger. And one night in Florida, that danger came with a car full of guns.


Curious State is a Quick and Dirty Tips podcast hosted and produced by Doug Fraser.

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Podcast Manager - Adam Cecil 
Podcast and Advertising Operations Specialist - M...

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Back in the day, Princeton eating clubs were all the rage. It’s where you tapped into the pulse of the Princeton experience. Allegiances were sworn. Bread was broken. Bonds were forged with fellow members, some of whom would become crucial connections in the post-college world.

The bicker of 1958 is a tale of a time gone by, but also a reminder of the continued struggle with anti-semitism and exclusion.

Listen to Gatecrashers, a hidd...

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It’s a tough world out there, eh? To live. To die. To hear the call of nature and answer it by eating your children. Just ask Bill Schutt, the author of Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History.

He discovered something shocking: Cannibalism in nature is incredibly widespread. In fact, it covers the entire spectrum of the animal kingdom.


Curious State is a Quick and Dirty Tips podcast hosted and produced by Doug Fraser.

Find Cur...

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The music of Stranger Things haunts living rooms across the globe, and at times steals the show. It takes a professional touch to properly integrate music to serve the goal of a scene, and of a moment. Be it for signaling tension, to call back to a previous season, to ratchet up the thrills, or to bring comic relief.

Creating the right music offers the opportunity to elevate a scene. But getting the timing just right is what makes i...

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Howard Berger started working in the movie industry at the young age of 13. Today, he has over 100 films to his credit as a professional makeup artist. He's worked on movies like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, From Dusk Till Dawn, and the blood-filled Kill Bill movies. But things on set don't always go as planned.

Click here to learn more about Howard and purchase his new book, Masters of Make-Up Ef...

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Growing up in rural Ohio, Michelle Belanger had to hide her unique abilities from classmates. Her grandmother worried that if she showed off too much, government men would take her away for testing. Luckily, that never happened. Instead, Michelle went on a journey of self-discovery and created the de facto code of ethics for the international vampire community.

A Quick Request

If you enjoy Curious State, would you mind sharing your f...

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Leonard Pickel's Hauntrepreneurs has designed over 300 original haunted attractions, including ones for Madison Square Garden, Universal Studios Florida, several Six Flags Amusement Parks, and the Kandy Halloween Party at the Playboy Mansion.

But what goes into designing a haunted house?

Leonard takes us through the spooky business of manipulating architecture, impossible floor plans, why you should always "scare forward," and the ki...

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Imagine the Ultimate Fighting Championship…but with pillows. That’s the basic recipe for the Pillow Fighting Championships. And it just might be the next big sport. 

Steve Williams, CEO of PFC, joins me to share pillow fighting’s journey into worldwide popularity (and possibly into the list of Olympic sports).

A few curiosities you’ll uncover in this episode:

  • The story of the one and only TKO so far in the PFC
  • How do you win a pill...
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Movie trailers are a game of chess. Except in this game, millions of dollars are at stake with every move.

Dallas Taylor, owner of Defacto Sound and host of Twenty Thousand Hertz, gives us a peek behind the curtains where creativity and business live in a pressure cooker.

A few curiosities you’ll uncover in this episode:

  • How many trillions of minutes of TV are watched in the US every year (yes, trillions)
  • The evolution of movie tra...
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Ashrita Furman broke the world record for underwater hoola-hooping in Florida, where a pod of dolphins watched from afar—in what I presume was utter confusion.

I've been in the presence of some pretty fascinating people. The voice of Porky Pig, a haunted house architect, a scientist who's close to bringing back a T-Rex (albeit in a less menacing, chicken-sized form). But Ashrita Furman is in a league of his own. He has world records...

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A photo album made with rabbit fur. 

A secret breeding project.

A lost alligator.

The story of Project Angora is truly stranger than fiction.

Holocaust researcher and founder of the Knitting Hope project, Tanya Singer, shares a little-known story from inside 31 concentration camps. 

A few curiosities you’ll uncover in this episode:

  • Why Heinrich Himmler was so obsessed with angora rabbits
  • The dark message of Nazi fashion
  • Why animal exhi...
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The line between friendship and a romantic relationship blurs when sex comes strutting into the room. How do you navigate the complications of going from buddy to booty call?

Thankfully, we’ve got an expert with the answers: Dr. Justin Lehmiller. He’s a social psychologist, Kinsey Institute Research Fellow, and the creator of Sex and Psychology

Justin was part of a team that conducted a year-long study of 200 friends-with-benefits ...

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Cyanide has made quite the name for itself. 

Take the Jonestown murder-suicide, for example—where cult leader Jim Jones called for over 900 of his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch. Cyanide also sits centerstage with a popular spy movie trope: the cyanide tooth. In case of capture, pop out the fake tooth that’s actually made of cyanide. Swallow it. And boom, a quick death is on its way.

But how exactly does cyanide kill you?


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Jackson Galaxy is America’s Cat Daddy. He’s the host of Animal Planet’s hit show, My Cat From Hell, he’s amassed over 100 million views on his YouTube channel, and he has his own toy line—when it comes to cats, Jackson knows best.

So, Jackson…is it true? Are cats assholes? Or is there more to those furry enigmas than meets the eye?

A few curiosities you’ll uncover in this episode:

  • The problems with seeing cats through dog-colored ...
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The shows we refer to as guilty pleasures may be more insightful than we think. Danielle J. Lindemann, author of True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us, takes us on a journey into ourselves.

A few curiosities you’ll uncover in this episode:

  • The character archetypes that make for compelling reality TV
  • Do people care that reality TV isn’t real?
  • The very first reality TV show (it’s almost 50 years old)
  • How reality TV builds communit...
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Only 80 known cases of highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) exist. What's it like to remember almost everything that’s ever happened to you? Rebecca Sharrock shares her experience—and how her dreams revealed an incredible feature of HSAM. 

A few curiosities you’ll uncover in this episode:

  • How she uses scent to relive positive memories
  • Rebecca’s first memory…at just 12 days old
  • What her dreams helped reveal about her memor...
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