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Never Be Royals

Never Be Royals

It has been the habit of kings throughout the world to hire tasters to test their food, on the off-chance some oppressed mass had poisoned it. But Henry VIII cast a wider net with his paranoia. He wanted to be certain no one was going to poison him transdermally,...

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Ladies’ First

Ladies’ First

Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova was 22 years old when she made her first parachute jump with a local aviation club in 1959 and she loved it. Unbeknownst to her, this exhilarating pastime was giving her skills that would bring her to the attention of the Soviet...

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Firsties Denied

Firsties Denied

A content advisory before we begin. This episode contains a homophobic slur, in its original context. The history of the human being is divided into two major epochs, the dividing line between them being the first written record. If you were asked to name the greatest...

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What’s In A Scientific Name

What’s In A Scientific Name

From a lone example of a trilobite in Hunan, China named Han Solo to a butterfly pea flower reminiscent of a Georgia O'Keefe painting, called clitoria ternatea, the naming of species offers almost as much in the way of entertainment as it does scientific...

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Shenanigans Again

Shenanigans Again

In 2003, Oprah Winfrey used her daytime television platform to warn millions of people that teenage girls were attending parties wearing wild shades of lipstick and performing oral sex on boys. The boy with the most colors of lipstick smudges would win the accolades...

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Phenom-nom-nom Redux

Phenom-nom-nom Redux

You say potato, I say a dangerous tuber that people will only eat in the face of actual starvation. You say tomato, I say a poison apple from the mysterious new world that’s killing the aristocracy. We can hardly imagine a salad without tomatoes or trip to the...

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The Great Escapes

The Great Escapes

In 1935, on Long Island, NY, an employee of Frank Buck's Jungle Camp Animal Park left a plank of wood across the moat surrounding an enclosure of rhesus monkeys. The plank escaped the notice of the worker, but not that of a monkey named Capone. In an arguable moment...

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Fizz Fizz, with Fantastic History of Food

Fizz Fizz, with Fantastic History of Food

When president Teddy Roosevelt signed the Pure Food and Drug Act into law in 1906, manufactures of foods, beverages, and drugs had to scramble to remove ingredients the government just banned and update their labeling. The law hampered sales of things like Coca-Cola,...

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Sisters Doing It For Themselves

Sisters Doing It For Themselves

  In a small, rarely talked about African kingdom, surrounding the king, is an elite and highly trained corp of bodyguards.  Armed with staved and spears, they command respect everywhere they go.  And they’re all women.  This isn’t Wakanda and the Dora Milaje. ...

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How Does Your Garden Grow

How Does Your Garden Grow

On a once neglected plot on their recently inherited estate, the Duchess of Northumberland undertook to make a special garden.  Inspired by a trip to the Medici estates in Italy, the Duchess wanted to make a garden that was both beautiful and educational.  The...

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Bitty Beasty Buddies

Bitty Beasty Buddies

BOOK   "We predict complete societal collapse only within a year or so, linked to catastrophic failure of the food supply chain," a researcher writes. "Annihilation of most humans and nonmicroscopic life on the planet would follow a prolonged period of...

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