ELT answers an age-old question: When you have to use a public toilet, should you sit on the seat? A team of microbiologists weigh in. Plus, the rise, fall, and re-rise of cargo shorts. Guests: Microbiologist Jack Gilbert; comedian Prashanth Venkataramanujam; cargo pantsologist Joe Hancock; Wall Street Journal reporter Nicole Hong. Special thanks to caller Jenny and the biology experts we surveyed: Jason Tetro, William Schaffn... Read more
When did organ music and baseball become an item? ELT talks to some pro organ players to find out how organs and ballparks got together. Plus, meet Nancy Faust — the legendary organist who brought trolling to modern baseball music.Guests: Steven Ball, organist and Director of Sacred Music at The Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis, Missouri; Josh Kantor, organist for the Boston Red Sox; Nancy Faust, retired organist for th... Read more
ELT goes underground to meet the creatures living in our subways and sewer systems. Plus, the 411 on another underground underdog: prairie dogs.Guests: Urban evolutionary biologist and rat expert Jason Munshi-South; animal behavioral scientist Jennifer Verdolin.Thanks to caller Jessica, and to all the listeners who demanded prairie dog facts.
For most of human history, tooth care has been pretty bare bones. How did we go from charlatans pulling teeth in a public square, to the modern dentist’s office? ELT exposes the roots of tooth care. Plus, meet the technician who makes movie stars’ teeth look terrible. Guests: Dental historian and retired dentist J. Henry Clarke; historian Richard Barnett. Thanks to callers Amanda and Tess for the questions.
Does swearing make you more powerful? Caller Mark’s dad thinks a well-timed “word of power” is the key to efficient yardwork. ELT asks a swearing expert about that theory. Plus, we talk to someone who turns the “mother f*ckers” into “manhole covers” for the TV versions of movies. Guests: Cognitive scientist Ben Bergen, author of What the F***; Gwen Whittle, supervising sound editor at Skywalker Sound. Thanks to caller Mark for... Read more
Through the 1800s, babies in the U.S. were dressed in gender neutral clothing — you couldn’t tell the girls from the boys based on their outfits. So why did parents start color-coding their kids in pink and blue? Plus, ELT’s long quest to get a sports team to have a flamingo as their mascot is finally over… or is it? Guests: textiles and clothing historian Jo Paoletti; cultural historian of medicine, gender, and the body Hanne... Read more
When you fly do you really need to put your phone in airplane mode? Should you fear the tray table? What’s happening in the cockpit while you’re fighting over the armrest? Two airline pilots answer your burning air travel questions. Guests: Pilot Sandy Williams of Skydive Deland; Pilot Nick Anderson of the Airline Pilot Guy podcast. Thanks to everyone who called in with their airplane questions.
If you found millions of dollars worth of buried treasure, what would you do next? Take it to the bank? Sell it on eBay? Call 60 Minutes? ELT unearths the tale of the largest buried treasure ever found in North America. Plus, practical tips for dealing with newfound millions, and a nationwide treasure hunt, ELT-style.Guest: David J. McCarthy, numismatist.Special thanks to listeners Kurt, Elizabeth, Travis, Vicki, Nikki, Kimberly, R... Read more
Who decides what a cheerleader looks like? Or sounds like? In part two of a two-part episode, ELT digs into the complicated legacy of an American archetype.Guests: Natalie Adams, cheerleading researcher and professor at the University of Alabama; Sharita Richardson, cheerleading researcher, instructional coach at North Carolina A&T State University, and founder of Black Girls Cheer. Thanks to caller Jessica for the question.&nb... Read more
How did one style of cheerleading come to dominate in so many American schools? In part one of a two-part episode, ELT flips through the history of cheerleading and meets the man who held cheerleading in the pompom of his hand. Guests: Cheerleading researcher and professor at the University of Alabama Natalie Adams; Barbara Hazlewood; Thanks to caller Jessica for the question.
While there’s some evidence clothes go back 170,000 years, pants are a relatively recent addition to our wardrobes. Why were pants developed and who wore them first? ELT unravels the surprising story of pants. Guests: Artist and clothing researcher Ulrike “Rike” Beck; folklorist and historian Adrienne Mayor; artist and writer Emily Spivack. Thanks to caller “Elle” for the question.
ELT introduces The Cut on Tuesdays, a new Gimlet Media podcast hosted by Molly Fischer. In this episode, chefs Samin Nosrat, Angela Dimayuga, and Carla Lalli Music do their best to help Madeleine Aggeler -- the Cut's semi-competent food columnist -- throw a dinner party for her friends.
Can duct tape really fix every little thing? ELT tests the limits — and gets to the bottom of a duct tape story that’ll blow your socks off. Plus, your most ingenious MacGyver stories. Guests: Daniel Munson, Senior Product Development Specialist at 3M; Gary LaRose, lodge owner and hunting guide on the Alaska Peninsula; Luke Miller, Anchorage-based pilot and guide. Thanks to callers Ian, Hunter, David, Whitney, Leanne, Stacie, ... Read more
While spoons, knives, and chopsticks have been commonplace for centuries, forks didn’t make it to most silverware drawers until the mid-1800s. What took so long? ELT investigates.Guest: Darra Goldstein, food historian, cookbook writer, and founding editor of Gastronomica, Thanks to caller Nicole.
When did organ music and baseball become a thing? ELT talks to some pro organ players to find out how organs and ballparks got together. Plus, meet Nancy Faust — the legendary organist who brought trolling to modern baseball music.Guests: Steven Ball, organist and Director of Sacred Music at The Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis, Missouri; Josh Kantor, organist for the Boston Red Sox; Nancy Faust, retired organist for th... Read more
ELT gets to the bottom of a familiar aroma -- thrift store smell. Why do thrift shops all smell the same? Plus, is washing your clothes better than freezing them? ELT investigates listener cleanspiracies with expert cleaner Jolie Kerr. Guest: Jolie Kerr, writer and host of Ask a Clean Person. Thanks to callers Theresa, Rachel, Jeremiah, Nikki, Vicki, Mark, Juliana, Ben and all the listeners who called in with cleanspiracies.
One eerie sound has been haunting Hollywood movies — from Poltergeist to Jurassic Park to Let the Right One In — and 14 seasons of Unsolved Mysteries. ELT tracks down the source of the scary sound.Guests: Rayme Waters, daughter of the spookiest sound in Hollywood’s inventor; percussionist Emil Richards; composer Gary Malkin.Thanks to caller Marianna. Thanks also to Brooks Hubbert, who runs the waterphone business, and musician Lee ... Read more
How do U.S. postage stamps come to be? ELT explores the secret world of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, the group that decides what gets stuck on America’s envelopes. Plus, Bigfoot gets his due.Guests: Bill Gicker, manager of stamp development at USPS; Jessica, ex-CSAC member; Kam Mak, artist and stamp illustrator. Thanks to caller Elizabeth. “Mr. Stampman” performed by Bobby Lord, Matthew Boll, MR Daniel, and Julia Kaplan.... Read more
Why do some auctioneers talk so fast? And what are they actually saying? ELT gets the low-down on auction talk from a professional auctioneer. Plus, pro-tips for developing your auctioneer chant.Guest: Junior Staggs, professional auctioneer. Thanks to caller Katie.
Every year the TSA confiscates millions of pounds of pocketknives, sunscreen and snow globes from airport travelers. Where does it all go? ELT investigates. Plus, tips for sneaking your weed onboard, from a former TSA agent.Guests: Ex-TSO “Taylor”; TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein; surplus agents for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Patrick Knight and Mike Starr; press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services Tr... Read more