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Best podcasts about Brainiac

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Latest podcast episodes about Brainiac

Your Brain on Facts
Dread Pirate Misinformation (ep 195)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2022 32:06


Finally, I get to the subtopic that launched not one but two episodes, the Gentleman Pirate Stede Bonnet, as well as the most interesting boring thing I could find and why science didn't get a handle on scurvy until nearly WWII. (Apologies in advance because I was red-lining my mic throughout and I have no idea why -- I'd been doing VO jobs all day with no such issue.) 1-star review shirt! and shirt raising money for Ukraine Red Cross  01:03 Ye scurvy dog 08:27 Gratitude et al 11:30 The doldrums 15:49 Livestream for the Cure 17:46 The Gentleman Pirate, Stede Bonnet  Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi. Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Kevin MacLeod, 

Your Brain on Facts
Yaarrrr Brain On Facts (ep. 194)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later May 10, 2022 31:36


What started as a need to tell the real story of "Gentleman Pirate" Stede Bonnet has turned into a myth vs history two-parter! I love when that happens. Hear about pirate pensions, the makeup of the mariners, and civil unions on the seven seas. Special thanks to Charlie and Jesse over the in Brainiac Breakroom for help with the title. 1-star review shirt! and shirt raising money for Ukraine Red Cross    Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi. Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Kevin MacLeod, and Tabletop Audio Calm History Podcast

Your Brain on Facts
We Can't Have Nice Things - Radio Contests (ep. 193)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2022 36:32


It's the return of our occasional series, We Can't Have Nice Things. This week, we look at radio contest and promotions that went badly wrong, often at the draft stage. Free nude wedding anyone? 1-star review shirt! and shirt raising money for Ukraine Red Cross at yourbrainonfacts.com/merch  02:45 Radio Luxembourg's Ice Block Challenge 06:02 Bait & switch 10:12 Rules are rules 17:36 Review and news 20:40 No accounting for taste 22:15 Library of Chaos 27:27 Good, better, breast 30:08 Playing matchmaker  Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi. Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Kevin MacLeod, Bobby Richards .  

Your Brain on Facts
We Can't Have Nice Things - Radio Contests (ep. 193)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2022 33:48


It's the return of our ocassional series, We Can't Have Nice Things.  This week, we look at radio contest and promotions that went badly wrong, often at the draft stage.  Free nude wedding anyone? 1-star review shirt! and shirt raising money for Ukraine Red Cross at yourbrainonfacts.com/merch 02:45 Radio Luxembourg's Ice Block Challenge 06:02 Bait & switch 10:12 Rules are rules 17:36 Review and news 20:40 No accounting for taste 22:15 Library of Chaos 27:27 Good, better, breast 30:08  Playing matchmaker  Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi.  Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Kevin MacLeod, Bobby Richards . Canadian radio station AMP Radio in Calgary, caused a lot of buzz with a promotion called “Bank it or Burn it” which asked listeners to vote whether they should #BANK C$5,000 and give it away to a listener, or #BURN the money, literally. With 54% of the votes, the option to #BURN emerged victorious, and AMP Radio burned C$5,000 and put it on YouTube.   A YouTube video was posted of the station's morning show hosts throwing the bills into an incinerator.  AMP Radio defended their actions noting that businesses can easily spend C$5,000 on marketing in a week, and that their promotion has garnered a lot of talk, but at what price?  While this promotion received a lot of attention, the vast majority of it came from outraged Calgarians claiming that they would no longer be listening to station. However, that hasn't stopped AMP Radio from continuing the promotion.  The second phase is currently underway, and this time C$10,000 is at stake.   Radio stunts, and their shifty cousins, radio hoaxes, have been with us since the early days of broadcasting as a favorite marketing tool to gain listeners and advertising sponsors. Orson Welles' 1938 "War of the Worlds," caused widespread panic among listeners, who actually believed Martians were invading.  The fallout can range from disappointment to embarassment to property damage, crimes against the person, and even deaths.  You probably recall the incident in California in 2007 where a contest called Hold Your Wee for a Wii, where contestants had to drink a large volume of water and the last person to go to the bathroom would win a video game console, resulted in a woman's death from acute water intoxication.  New Yorkers are unlikely to forget the day "shock jocks" Opie and Anthony finally went too far with a contest that encouraged people to have sex in public, with one couple opting to have their dalience in St. Patrick's Cathedral.     Today's topic was voted on by our patrons, including our newest member Paul D and Pigeon and our All that and Brain Too supporters, David N and EmicationLikely, who just got a bonus mini dealing specifically with radio pranks while I struggle, and struggle it is, to confine this episode to promotions and contests.  The pranks go way, way worse.  Patrons get early, ad-free episodes, but you can also get a glimpse of next week's show and what it's like hanging out in the booth with me by following my tiktok; I've start live-streaming *some of the recording process.     There's nothing new under the sun and that applies to radio contests as much as anything else in life.  Take Radio Luxembourg's and the ice block expedition of 1958.  The challenge: to transport three metric tonnes of ice from the arctic circle to the equator, without the benefit of any form of refrigeration.  The prize was set at 100,000 francs per kilo of ice that made it to its destination as a solid, or about a million bucks per tonne in today's money.  Radio Luxembourg felt they could put their money where their mouth is since who could transport ice that far without refrigeration?  The contest drew fewer hopefuls than your average ‘say the phrase that pays' call-in, but the Norwegian company Glassvatt took them up on it.  A company that produced fiberglass insulation, incidentally, and is still in business today.     Ice was cut out of the Svartisen glacier in 200kg blocks, flown to the nearest town, and melted together into a single 3,050kg block of ice.  It was then wrapped in the company's signature glass wool and placed in an iron container on a truck donated by the Scania company and fueled with with gas donated by Shell.  This was an opportunity for publicity for everyone involved, not just the radio station.  Together with a film crew and a van full of equipment, they  expedition set off from the Norwegian city of Mo i Rana on February 22, 1959, stopping in Oslo to pick up over 600 lbs/300kg of medicine to schlep along to a hospital in Lambarene, Gabon, because when else was so much cold storage going to be going that way?   They made stops in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, which was the comparatively easy bit, then on to Algeria, Niger, and finally Gabon.  That's when the going got tough.  Not a lot of paved roads across the desert, plus Algeria was in the midst of a civil war for independence from France.  Getting stuck in the sand was a frequent occurrence that cost them hours of digging-out time in the 120degF/50C heat, and their supply of water ironically rather limited.   It took a month a day, but they did it!  And the giant block of ice had only lost about 11% of its weight to melting, so even if Radio Luxemborg didn't pro-rate for partial tons, Glassvatt was still looking to collect about $2mil.  Except.  Radio Luxembourg had withdrawn the offer.  When an insulation company stepped up to their ‘move ice without refrigeration' challenge, Radio Luxembourg got cold feet, npi.  The cancellation wasn't the jerk move it sounds like; they actually called it off before the Glassvatt truck even set out.  Glassvatt decided to continue anyway, because even without the prize, it still seemed like good publicity.     That's really the name of the game, the whole reason radio stations do these things.  It's the aural equivalent of butts in seats.  You've got to entice the public to listen to your station over all their other options.  They can be cheaply run, these contests.  Folks my age probably won a bumper sticker, which costs the station very little, or some concert tickets, which often cost the station nothing since they come from the promoter.  But a constant need for contests means you've got to keep them interesting while not blowing through the promotions budget.  This leads some DJs to get creative and not in a good way.  Oh and a word about DJ.  My mom really wants me to refer to radio DJs as “on-air radio personalities” such as when I reference her background in FM radio in NY and FL in the 70's, because these days “DJ” means Skrillex types, but I can't be asked, so for today, they're all DJs.   In 2005, a Bakersfield, CA station announced they were giving away a Hummer to the person who could correctly guess the number of miles that two Hummers the station had had supposedly driven around the town during the course of a week.  The answer was 103.9, the same as the radio station's frequency, which one Shannon Castillo cleverly guessed.  She must have been on cloud 9 to have won herself a $60k vehicle, which if I were her I would sell because it would cost $60k in gas, so you can imagine her disappointment when she went to collect her prize and was handed a remote control car.  Castillo hired an attorney, and I don't blame her, who pointed out that the station had indicated that the vehicle had 22” rims, so either they were claiming it was a real vehicle or that was one jacked-up RC car.  Castillo sued the station for $60k, but as if often the case, lot of news outlets carry the initial story about the lawsuit, but nobody cared to report how it came out.  That's my research bug-bear.  Well, one of them.   A similar but 166% worse frustration was felt by that same year by Norreasha Gill, a KY woman who was the to the lucky tenth caller in a contest to win “100 grand.”  This was going to be life-changing!  She told her kids how they could finally buy a home of their own and have financial stability, so she probably saw red when she turned up at the station to collect her prize, only to be handed a 100 Grand candy bar.  I like caramel, rice crispies, and chocolate as much as the next person, probably more than a lot of next persons, but I totally agree with Gill suing the radio station for 100,000 actual dollars.   Pulling the wool over peoples' eyes is not only mean-spirited; it can also land businesses into all manner of trouble.  You can't say “it was just a joke” and go about your business.  A FL Hooters, not a radio station, I grant you, learned that lesson in 2001 when they held a contest among their waitstaff for most drinks sold, with the prize being a Toyota.  The winner was blindfolded and led out into the parking lot to discover her Toyota was a toy Yoda, a foot-tall figure of the puppet from Star Wars.  She quit and sued the owners of the franchise, settling out of court a year later.   Radio stations operate under the auspices of the Federal Communication Commission, and they have some pretty firm opinions about what shenanigans you can get up to if you want to do it on the broadcast airwaves.  The rules require a radio station fully and accurately disclose the material terms, aka the relevant details of the contest, which cannot be deceptive, misleading, or patently false, and then to follow through with those terms.  If you're talking about a contest on the air, you have to give the material terms on the air.  It's not good enough to say “we're giving away a hundred grand, see the website for more info” and on the website, admit that it's a candy bar, no siree.  No claiming it was just a joke if you made it out to be a legit contest.     The FCC fined a Kansaa station $4,000 for failing to announce all material terms of a contest, even though it was on the website, and for failure to comply with the terms for their Santa's Sack contest.  Listeners were to call in and guess what was in Santa's Sack and you'd win what was in the sack plus a teddy bear; seems simple enough.  A listener who guessed the sack held $1,000 was told she was wrong, but the next day, she heard someone else guess $1k and that person was proclaimed the winner.  The first caller complained to the station and when that went nowhere, filed a complaint with the FCC.  With the feds breathing down their necks –don't forget, the FCC isn't just about issuing fines, they can yank your broadcast license– the radio station claimed it was an innocent mix-up among the staff, some of whom included the value of the $10 teddy bear and some didn't, and that the rules were on their website.  The radio station then sent a check for $1,000 to the complainant, meaning they were out $5k over a $10 teddy bear and for want of a memo.     The FCC issued KDKA in Pennsylvania with a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, a scary-sounding document that says “Look what you did!  I should take away your license for that.”  On Thanksgiving day 2007, a DJ, I assumed bored or annoyed at having to work a holiday, said that he'd give away $1,000,000 to the thirteenth caller and he'd do it once an hour.  A listener called and was told he was the thirteenth caller and was then placed on hold for 43 minutes before being put through to the DJ and immediately hung up on.  The station claimed that the on-air contest rules did not apply here because listeners should have realized it was a joke.  The FCC disagreed, since the DJ never said anything to indicate he wasn't serious, at one point saying it was “the real deal,” and he announced the “contest” *several times during his 3-hour show.  After finding that the on-air contest rules applied, the FCC smited them–smote?-- for the tag team of failure to announce the material terms *and failure to comply with said terms, i.e. pony up the dough, and fined the station $6,000.   An LA station got their own Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and $6k fine after they held a contest online with a drawing for tickets to the musical Les Miserables.  Their web site said the contest would run from 3:50 pm on May 29 to 8:50 pm on June 2.  A listener complained to the FCC after the station awarded the prize to three people at only 3:00.  Yer man must really have wanted to see Les Mis.  The radio station responded that the on-air contest rules didn't apply to its contest because the contest was exclusively online.  The FCC disagreed.  The rules apply to "all contests conducted by the licensee and broadcast to the public" and since the radio station had announced the contest several times on-air and told listeners who entered the contest to stay tuned, it was an on-air contest.   You don't necessarily need the FCC in your stable to hold a radio station's feet to the fire.  Just ask the folks at Singapore's Gold 905 after their big-money game “The Celebrity Name Drop.”  They made a montage of 14 celebrity voices, edited so that each celebrity said one word of “Gold 9-0-5, the station that sounds good, and makes you feel good.”  I couldn't find a clip of it, but if you do, hit up the soc meds or post it in soc.   To win $10,000, the caller had to correctly identify each voice in order.  It took a skilled ear, as well as listening out for other people's right and wrong guesses.  Muhammad Shalehan thought he had it after a month of puzzling and repeatedly trying to get through the phone lines, but when he read his list of names, the DJ said he got one wrong.  A few weeks later, Gold905 declared they had their winner, one Jerome Tan, and that was a wrap.     Except.  Listeners jumped on the station's FB page, pointing out that Shalehan had given the right answer more than two weeks earlier.  Mediacorp, the station;s parent company, said that Shalehan's attempt was invalidated because he failed to pronounce the string of celebrity names accurately, specifically that of Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet.  So Muhammad went to the mountain or in this case, the internet, whereby Shelahan was able to locate Hadley's management and ask if they could help.  He then got a video from Hadley himself, confirming that, while Muhammad Shalehan has a “slight accent,” he had, in fact, “pronounced my name absolutely correctly.”   Armed now with some pretty bitchin' evidence, Shalehan went back to the station again.  After viewing Hadley's video, Mediacorp …. still refused to pay out. [sfx]  But they offered to make a “goodwill gesture” of $5,000.  By then, the online community, a barely-controlled and badly-tempered beast on the best of days, was having none of it, making for some long work-days for the PR department.  Finally, Mediacorp relented and paid Muhammad Shalehan the full $10k.     MIDROLL  don't forget ad sting   If these stories haven't made you face-palm and ask “what were they thinking,” I'd bet my mortgage one of these will.  Strap in, kids.  The tragic Hold Your Wee for a Wii contest wasn't the first or only radio station promotion to involve urine.   In 1999, KOMP 92.3-FM of Las Vegas DJ Greg McFarlane was trying to think up a novel approach to give away some Mötley Crüe tickets.  His first idea was to have contestants re-enact the Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee sex tape live on-air, fully clothes of course; wouldn't want to be in bad taste.  Idea number 2: make contestants drink their own urine.  Y'all 1999.  What was the value in seeing Motley Crue in 1999?  That cheese had been moldy for years.  Three die-hard fans actually came into the studio, then lost their nerve when confronted with the fact that McFarlane was in no way kidding.  Then, in McFarlane's own words, “The fourth guy walks in, pushes everyone out of the way and throws it down like it was Pepsi.”  So concert tickets for guy #4 and an empty cardboard box to McFarlane, to gather his personal effects because he's just been sacked.   Hey, remind me to check my stats and see how many people jumped ship in the last 60 seconds.  For those still with me, we go now to a library in Ft Worth, TX, where the staff suddenly found themselves terrorized by crowds of people ransacking the stacks.  Unbeknownst to them, a KYNG DJ thought it would be a keen idea to announce that he had hidden $100 in $5 and $10 bills between pages of books in the library's fiction section.  Even adjusted for inflation, that's just under $200 to try to outcompete hundreds of other people for.   "People started climbing the bookshelves; they started climbing on each other, and books became airborne," library spokeswoman Marsha Anderson said, adding that 3k books had been thrown on the floor and some ended up ripped and with broken spines.  Count the books on your nearest bookcase or shelf.  How many of those would need to get to 3k?  That's a lot of damage!   Do I need to say that the library has an amount of heads-up from the radio station and that amount was none, or did you just assume because what librarian would agree to that?  More than 500 people stampeded through the Fort Worth Central Library looking for the money.  There was money in the library – the station claimed it was $100 and that was the only amount it was ever said to be, whereas a number of people in the money-mob thought it was as high as $10k.  A KYNG spokesman said the DJ was only trying to boost public interest in the library by giving away about $100, and they had no idea where people got the $10k idea.  That was after the fact of course.  In the moment, it was the librarians who had to handle the situation...because they couldn't get ahold of anyone at the radio station.  They told the crowd the only thing that could possibly make them stop looking – that someone already found the money and had just left.     Sometimes it's not judgment that's wobbly; it's taste, subjective as that may be.  BRMB in Birmingham, England ran a contest where they would pay for the winner's wedding, which as anyone less clever than my hillbilly butt getting married in my own yard both times can tell you can really run into money.  There was, of course, a catch.  The station reserved one creative right for the wedding that the station paid for.  This wedding had to be conducted au naturale.  In the buff.  Nude.  At a minimum, the happy couple had to be in all their glory; don't know if there was a maximum.  The lucky couple, who won by listener vote, had been together for eleven years, attributing their long engagement to the cost of the wedding.  Again, back yard, it's free.  The station paid all the expenses and the bride and groom held up their end…as it were, though the bride had her veil and the groom used a top hat as a fig leaf.   Your other why-is-this-so-expensive life event would come just after the end of your life, your funeral.  It costs as much as a decent used car and you don't even get to enjoy it.  Half of that would be handled if you won the contest offered by Radio Galaxy in Germany – they'd pay for your funeral, provided your funeral cost less than 3000 Euro and a modest one could.  Listeners sent in their own epitaphs, that being the words on their tombstone, like how Winston Churchill's says “I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”  But you can't have a party without a party-pooper and the radio station was hit was a lawsuit from the Association of German Undertakers.  Also in Germany, station RTL 89.0 wanted to give away a Mini Cooper, but couldn't apparently be asked to put a lot of effort, or forethought, into it.  They just said, pull off the most amazing stunt.  Because that's safe.  Whatever the other entries were paled in comparison to the stunt submitted by the eventual winner – he would have the word mini tattooed on … how to put this delicately?... onto an appendage which most gentlemen would find distressing to have labeled “mini.”  The winner, Andreas Muller, went through with it, live on air with the female host looking on.  Can you imagine if the station refused to give him the car though?   That kind of personal touch would have been right up the alley of the folks at WDVE 102.5 in Pittsburgh.  Every year, for the festive holiday season, they hold a "Breast Christmas Ever."  Yep, they foot the bill for breast enhancement surgery.  To the surprise of no one, the event has come under fire from both feminist groups and health care advocates, who should like us to remember a boob job is surgery and surgery carries risk.  But sometimes, even the tackiest contest isn't as bad as it seems - there's always a silver lining if we look for it.  A Calgary station did a similar give-away and the winner, by popular vote, was a 19 year old trans-female listener who was quotes as saying having breast implants would mean she wouldn't "have to face so much bigotry on a daily basis."   Ottawa radio station Hot 89.9 looked at all that and said Hold My Molson's.  They put on a “Win a baby!” contest.  Specifically, they would pay for up to three rounds of in-vitro fertility treatment up to $35,000.  The contest drew criticism like jellowjackets at a cook-out, but it wasn't without redemption – it brought attention to the issue of IVF funding in Ontario just before voters head to the polls to vote if the provincial government should be required to pay it like other health care.   Said Beverly Hanck, executive director of the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada, “The station is clearly, clearly capitalizing on vulnerable patients that are desperate to have a family.”  The fact that couples have to turn to a radio contest at all points to a “sad state of affairs” in Ontario, she added.   Morning show host Jeff Mauler said the contest was intended to appeal to the station's 24 to 54 year old demographic, but that it has opened up a dialogue about an issue that is “more common than you think.”  “Anyone who complains is lucky enough to have kids or doesn't want kids,” Mauler said. “Anyone in the struggle doesn't slam the contest.” Common enough that more than 400 couples applied for the contest, which they launched on Labor Day.  Because of course they did.   If babies aren't your thing, how about a full-grown human woman?  Edmonton's the Bear FM also poked the bear with their contest to win a Russian bride.  The Bear partnered with an on-line matchmaking service that connects Russian women with foreign husbands.  Problem the first: eww.  Problem the close second: it's not uncommon for women you can meet through such services being exploited.  Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk found the contest so offensive, he pulled his ministry's advertising from the station.  The prize included a free two-week trip to Russia, and $500 spending money.     New Zealand radio station The Rock FM sponsored their own contest in which the winner would be flown to the Ukraine to pick a bride from an agency, originally called “Win a Wife.”  When people complained, they changed it to “Win A Trip To Beautiful Ukraine For 12 Nights And Meet Eastern European Hot Lady Who Maybe One Day You Marry.”  Well, does what it says on the tin.  This is the same station that, when they needed a contest for Valentine's Day 2012, crab-walked around love and instead offered to cover all the costs of one lucky couple's divorce.  Asterisk, you had to drop the Big D bombshell on them live on the air.  Who says romance is dead?  No one who's watching OFMD on a binge loop for the last 9 days…not that I know anyone like that.  It's just a hypothetical.  An offly specific hypothetical   If you're thinking to yourself, it can't get worse than that, you haven't been paying attention.  Again in Canada (it's always the quiet ones), a Halifax radio station q104 put on a foreign bride contest.  The contest, which would send the winner to Prague, closed on March 8, International Women's Day.  The program director JC Douglad said firmly that there was no sexual connotatioin to the contest.  The men are promised dates with women in the Czech Republic, but they station made no warranty, express or implied, as to how those dates will go.  Okay, sure, but you've kind of undermined your position by calling it the "Male is in the Czech," didntcha?   And that's…AMP Radio defended their actions noting that businesses can easily spend C$5,000 on marketing in a week, and that their promotion has garnered a lot of talk, so it was kind of the same thing.  While a lot of Calgarians vowed to stop listening, then went on to do it again, this time with $10,000. this podcast remember thanks  

Hate Watching with Dan and Tony
Hate Watching Superman III

Hate Watching with Dan and Tony

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2022 75:33


Superman 3 is a movie that shows how Hollywood tries to take a star and cram them into an existing scirpt. They wrote a Brainiac and Mr. Mxyzptlk movie then brought in Richard Pryor but tried to keep the same weird plot points. So nothing makes sense in this movie.  Also there is a lottery plot and Lana Lang love story. Also this movie is an old time slapstick comedy.Hate Watching is the Show that figures it all out way too late.#Superman #Superman3 #RichardPryor #noGoodIdeas #brainiac #slapstick #MrMxyzptlk

Your Brain on Facts
Courthouse Rock (ep 192)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2022 34:30


Not all heroes wear capes.  Some wear leather jackets with chains, long hair, and lots of eyeliner!  Today we look at three times heavy metal musicians said "We're not gonna take it" and defended the freedom of speech, but were they "Breaking the Law" and just "Howl(ing) at the Moon"? 0:42 Twisted Sister vs Congress 17:07 Reviews and news 19:58 Ozzy Osbourne's Suicide Solution 26:20 Judas Priest, Better Than You 28:28 Subliminal back-masking 1-star review shirt! and shirt raising money for Ukraine Red Cross at yourbrainonfacts.com/merch Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi.  Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Kevin MacLeod, It's not unusual for the business side of the music business to include trips to the courthouse.  Usually, these are for copyright infringement, someone else ripping off your schtick.  In the halcyon days of 2005, the band Slipknot was moved to sue, of all people, Burger King for their commercial with a fake band, all in scary masks and costumes, called Cock Rock.   The best way to describe the 1980's would be to say, you had to see it to believe it.  Weird times, man.  If we weren't panicking about Russia, we were moral-panicking over Satanic things like heavy-metal music and Dungeons and Dragons, the things that make life worth living and were supposedly at the core of wildly rampant crises of child sex abuse and teen suicide.  In the red corner, the busy-body buzzkill today is Tipper Gore, then-wife of then-congressman Al, who had it in her head that rock music was a huge threat to the bedrock of society.  Feel free to picture Helen Lovejoy [sfx clip].  And in the blue corner, an unlikely hero in the form of Dee Snider, front man of oh so typical larger than life hair metal band Twisted Sister.     The trouble started when Tipper bought her 11-year-old daughter a copy of the album "Purple Rain," the smash-hit album from the *R-rated film, both courtesy of *Prince.  And Tipper was shocked, *shocked to hear inappropriate lyrics.  She clearly did not know his body of work.  "Darling Nikki" was a bridge too far, and if you know, you know.  With bra cups brimming with righteous indignation, Tipper gathered like-minded, and I'm assuming bored, wives of senators, cabinet members, and prominent businessmen to for the Parents Music Resource Council or PMRC.  But this wasn't censorship, the PMRC wanted everyone to know.  It was just about helping parents make informed decisions.  They wanted to see music rated like movies, with warnings for the R-rated stuff.   Critics pointed out that that was easier said than done.  The Motion Picture Association of America rated about 350 movies a year. By contrast the Recording Industry Association of America saw 25,000 songs a year being released in those days.  To focus their efforts, the PMRC threw down the gauntlet on the "Filthy Fifteen," a list of songs from the likes of Madonna and Sheena Easton to AC/DC and Judas Priest, that were part of what Gore called "the twisted tyranny of explicitness in the public domain." I did a Thundercats burlesque number to one of the songs.  Care to guess which one?    While the PMRC wasn't an official government anything, the record industry needed to stay on their good side.  They were lobbying for a tax on blank cassettes, absolutely besides themselves over the idea of losing money to tape dubbing.  Four members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation were all married to PMRC members.  This was enough for the RIAA to cross the street to get away from the principles of free expression in hopes of getting the blank-tape tax.   When the Senate committee called for hearings on this issue.  Arguing for totally'not'censorship, you guys, were PMRC members, child-health experts, and religious figures.  Standing up for their rights as musicians was an interesting trio – Twister Sister's Dee Snider, folk singer John Denver, and I would not insult him by trying to affix a label, gonzo rock god Frank Zappa.  We don't know how many musicians were invited, but they were the only ones who showed up.   Anyone else who was invited missed the chance for a lot of press – the hearing room was packed with reporters and tv cameras til the fourth estate were packed in like sardines.  PMRC husband Sen. Hollings played their hand right away, referring to the music in question as "porn rock," saying "If I could find some way to constitutionally do away with it, I would."  I bet he's fun at parties.  Sen. Paula Hawkins waved off concerns about artists' rights of free expression under the First Amendment as she waved away the idea of parental responsibility, and bemoaned rock music becoming much more explicit in the 30 years since Elvis.  A 2012 study by Elizabeth Langdon at Cleveland State University found that music has indeed grown more explicit in its sexual content, but "the sexual attitudes and behaviors (and related outcomes) of adolescents do not appear to be following suit at the national level."    When it came time to make their case before the government, Tipper Gore and Susan Baker, wife of then-Treasury Secretary James Baker, testified on behalf of the PMRC.  Album art, a much bigger part of the whole music buying and enjoying process.  Remember liner notes with all the lyics?  It was like Christmas!  Those albums that had Playboy, Boris Vallejo, or Saw vibes on their jacket were used as evidence.  A local pastor read salacious lyrics about bondage, incest, and "anal vapors"...to unrestrained tittering and laughter.  A child psychiatrist testified that David Berkowitz, the serial killer called "Son of Sam," was known to listen to Black Sabbath. sigh  You shouldn't be allowed to get a degree without understanding the difference between correlation and causation.     Then the defense took the stand.  Rally, lads!  Zappa was up first, looking as not Frank Zappa as I ever saw, with short hair and a suit.  "I've heard some conflicting reports on whether or not people on this committee want legislation. I understand that Senator Hollings does." Sen. James Exon butted in, saying he might support legislation that makes the music industry "voluntarily" clean up its act, which Zappa astutely pointed out is “hardly voluntary." [sfx clip]   "The PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years, dealing with the interpretation and enforcement problems inherent in the proposal's design.  It is my understanding that, in law, First Amendment issues are decided with a preference for the least restrictive alternative. In this context, the PMRC's demands are the equivalent of treating dandruff by decapitation."   He took dead aim at the inherent conflict of interest and said the whole issue was a facade for "trade-restraining legislation, whipped up like an instant pudding by the Wives of Big Brother."  Chef kiss.  The senators were less impressed.  Thankfully the next at-bat was Ivory soap clean, openly devout Christian John Denver, or as Dee Snider later described him, "mom-American-pie- John-Denver-Christmas-special- fresh-scrubbed guy."    Despite his broad appeal, Denver was no stranger to censorship, which he warned the PMRC was approaching.  "Rocky Mountain High," one of his biggest hits, was banned from some radio stations for drug references that weren't actually there.  "What assurance have I that any national panel to review my music would make any better judgment?" Denver asked the senators.  A "self-appointed moral watchdog," he argued, was antithetical to the ideals of a democratic society, the sort of thing you saw in Nazi Germany.  Denver then excused himself from the hearing because he had a meeting with NASA in hopes of becoming the first civilian in space.  Not a word of a lie.  Luckily, he didn't make the cut; the flight in question was the catastrophic last flight of the Challenger.   With the opening acts out of the way, it was time for the headliner, Dee Snider, who quite plausibly believes [1] “the PMRC — or the senators whose wives were in the PMRC — invited me to make a mockery out of me in front of the world."  When Snider walked in, they probably thought they'd gotten their wish.  He was wearing his “dirtbag couture” – jeans, a tank top, sunglasses, and voluminous bottle-blond hair.   But Dee Snider wasn't the airhead they were expecting.  He introduced himself as a married father, a Christian, and neither drinks nor does drugs.  He'd brought his Army and NYPD veteran father with him. (Zappa brought his kids, Moon Unit and Dweezil because they were Twisted Sister fans.)  He addressed Tipper personally for her misinterpretation and misrepresentation of his song "Under the Blade," which they claimed was about S&M and rape, citing the lyrics “Your hands are tied, your legs are strapped, a light shines in your eyes/You faintly see a razor's edge, you open your mouth to cry.”  Snider countered was about their bassist Eddie Ojeda having surgery, literally going under the knife.  "Ms. Gore was looking for sadomasochism and bondage and she found it," indicating the bondage was a metaphor for fear. Snider later wrote for the Huffington Post that he enjoyed the "raw hatred I saw in Al Gore's eyes when I said Tipper Gore had a dirty mind."    Snider highlighted another accusation from Tipper Gore, "You look at even the t-shirts that kids wear and you see Twisted Sister and a woman in handcuffs sort of spread-eagled."  This was a complete untruth.  Twisted Sister "never sold a shirt of this type; we have always taken great pains to steer clear of sexism in our merchandise, records, stage show, and personal lives. Furthermore, we have always promoted the belief that rock and roll should not be sexist, but should cater to males and females equally."  He challenged Tipper to produce any such shirt and when asked about it again by Senator Al Gore, Gore clarified for the record that "the word 't-shirts' was in plural, and one of them referred to Twisted Sister and the other referred to a woman in handcuffs." Snider stuck to his guns insisting Tipper was referring to Twisted Sister before Senator Gore changed the subject.   During Snider's testimony, Senator Ernest Hollings from South Carolina asked him about different perceptions of obscenity and vulgarity. He read part of a Supreme Court verdict in the Pacifica Case involving the Federal Communications Commission (famous for the role George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" played in it). In the case, the Supreme Court ruled that "Patently offensive, indecent material presented over the airwaves confronts the citizen not only in public, but also in the privacy of the home. The individual's right to be left alone, plainly outweighs the first amendment rights of an intruder."   They still hadn't figured out who they were dealing with.  Snider pointed out there was a difference between the airwaves”  as opposed to a person going with their money to purchase an album to play in their room, in their home, on their own time. The airwaves are something different."    Sen. Al Gore opened his questioning of Snider by asking what the initials of their fan club “S.M.F.” stood for.  [x] "It stands for the Sick Motherf------ Friends of Twisted Sister," Snider testified. "Is this also a Christian group?" Gore asked, to a smattering of laughter. "I don't believe profanity has anything to do with Christianity," Snider said.  I could watch replays of that hearing all day.   [y] "The beauty of literature, poetry, and music is that they leave room for the audience to put its own imagination, experience, and dreams into the words," Snider testified.  "There is no authority who has the right or the necessary insight to make these judgments. Not myself, not the federal government, not some recording industry committee, not the PTA, not the RIAA, and certainly not the PMRC," Snider said. [sfx clip?]   When it was said and done, it's unlikely that many minds were changed by the hearing. Although, despite the protestations to the contrary, quite a few senators and witnesses had explicitly argued in favor of government action.  No laws were passed, but they still got results.  The RIAA agreed to work with the PMRC on labeling objectionable content with a bold black and white sticker reading "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics."  So the rockers kinda lost, but they were awesome and I'm counting it as a moral victory.   That black and white sticker was worse than a Scarlet Letter.  Huge retailers like Walmart would not sell "labeled" records, period, cutting out a huge slice of the marketplace for "labeled" artists. Some smaller stores were threatened with eviction if they stocked "labeled" records.  The city of San Antonio barred "labeled" artists from performing.  Maryland and Pennsylvania debated requiring retailers to keep it in an "adults-only" area of the store.  Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra was prosecuted in California over "Distribution of Harmful Material to Minors."   But musicians would have the last laugh.  The explicit lyrics sticker very quickly went from mark to shame to selling point.  Retailers realized the money they were missing out on and began stocking the albums.  Teens and young adults would often buy albums *because they had the warning.  In fact, if you were hard-cord or counter-culture or punk in any way but didn't have a warning label, scoff!  There was also a shed load of reaction music, including Danzig's only mainstream hit. [sfx clip] Nowadays, not only have our buying habits changed, but our standards have too.     MIDROLL   CW: The following section is about news events subsequent to suicides, without going into too much detail about the suicides themselves.  If that's not where your head is today, no worries, we'll catch up next week.   In 1986, Sharon Osbourne called her management client and husband Ozzy Osbourne that he had to get on a plane as fast as possible and get to LA.  Like a phone call from a movie, she refused to tell him why, but demanded he go now.  Ozzy landed in LA into the loving embrace of a batallion of reporter's microphones and those stupidly bright news camera lights, asking him how he responded to the suicide.  What Sharon could have taken 10 seconds to explain to him was that the previous year, 19 year old John McCollum was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his California bedroom.  The album Blizzard of Oz which he'd allegedly been listening to for at least six hours straight, was still spinning on the stereo turntable.  McCollum's parents believed Osbourne was responsible, that his song “Suicide Solution” was a proximate cause of their son's death.  Okay, that was about 20 seconds, but I stand on my statement.   In their lawsuit, McCollum's parents claimed that there were hidden lyrics in the song that incited John to kill himself, with messages like “get the gun and try it, shoot, shoot, shoot.”  Osbourne countered that the song wasn't about a solution as in an answer, but a solution as in a liquid, specifically the one he was at the time slowly killing *himself with, and which has killed AC/DC's Bon Scott, alcohol.   [ozzy 1] "Suicide Solution wasn't written about, 'Oh that's the solution, suicide.' I was a heavy drinker and I was drinking myself to an early grave. It was suicide solution," Ozzy said later.  "Wine is fine but whiskey's quicker. Suicide is slow with liquor. That's what I was doing for a long while.”     The plaintiff's case was that the song Suicide Solution should be exempt from the first Amendment's freedom of speech.  In the US, you're free to express any viewpoint or feelings, up to a point – it is not legal to directly incite specific, imminent actions which cause harm to others.  That's hard to prove and virtually every attempt to hold an entertainer responsible for allegedly inciting action has failed.  One notable exception, and a replacement for the tired old ‘you can't yell fire in a crowded theater' example is that of radio disc jockey The Real Don Steele, who told listeners to hurry as quickly as they could to a certain Los Angeles address to win a prize.  This is 1970, only two years after seat belts became mandatory, and people were getting in crack-ups, and one motorist who had no idea what was happening was killed.  In a case still taught in law schools everywhere, his family sued and the California Supreme Court ruled in their favor.  I really could do a whole episode just on radio promotions going terribly, terribly wrong.  At issue in the McCollum case was not whether there actually were hidden lyrics, but whether such lyrics are protected speech or incitement to violence.  If successful, the McCollum lawsuit would have had sweeping consequences for artists in every medium, potentially holding them liable for the actions of those who watched, read or listened to what they'd created.  At the very least, it would have made Ozzy too big a liability for any record label or concert promoter to associate themselves with, and it's not hard to imagine that that pariah status would spread to other metal bands.   [ozzy 2]“I feel very sad for the boy, and I felt terribly sad for the parents. As a parent myself, I'd be pretty devastated if something like that happened. And I have thought about this, if the boot was on the other foot, I couldn't blame the artist."   The suit wasn't just about Suicide Solution; they also blamed the song Paranoid.  Data point of one, but I can disprove that one by sheer force of math; it's probably my most-listened-to Ozzy or Sabbath song, with the very Un-Sabbath Laguna Sunrise as a close second.   Plaintiff's counsel Tom Anderson claimed McCollum had been a normal, happy well-adjusted young man, who listened to ″Suicide Solution″ for hours before killing himself, and that a low-frequency hum on the record, only audible if you were using headphones as McCollum had been, had caused him to be more susceptible to the song's hidden message.  Attorneys for CBS, Ozzy's record label and party in the suit, argued that Osbourne was no more responsible for a listeners' actions than Shakespeare would be for Hamlet's soliloquy, Tolstoy for Anna Karenina throwing herself under the wheels of a train, or the producers of “M.A.S.H.” for choosing “Suicide Is Painless” for its theme tune.  When Judge John Cole dismissed the case, spoiler alert, he left room for the plaintiffs to appeal over the mysterious hum, which they did; the appellate judge upheld the dismissal.   This wasn't the last time a fan's suicide resulted in legal action.  The family of another young man brought a similar lawsuit against Osbourne in 1986. Their case was also unsuccessful.   5 years later, CBS was back in court, though this time it was Judas Priest who found themselves in the dock, but with a pseudoscience twist.  In December 1985, 20-year-old James Vance and 18-year-old Raymond Belknap of Nevada, concluded a day of drinking, drugs, and heavy metal with an alleged suicide pact by means of self-inflicted shotgun fire.  Belknap died instantly, while Vance survived for a further three years, though without the lower half of his face, before eventually succumbing to complications.   The two families subsequently alleged that Priest had placed subliminal messages throughout 1978's Stained Class album, inciting fans to kill themselves.  The worst offender on the album was Better By You, Better Than Me, where messages like ‘Let's be dead' and ‘Do it' were smuggled in by means of backmasking.  Let's hop out of the shallow end for a deep dive here.  Backwards-masking or backmasking an intentional recording in which a message is recorded backward onto a track that is meant to be played forward.  It goes all the way back to the 70's, the 1870's, when Thomas Edison discovered the novelty of playing recorded music backwards.  The beat generation of the 50s started to purposely include reverse audio into their music and artists continued to play around with it for decades.  The Beatles deliberate [...].  This splashed fuel on the Paul-is-dead urban legend/conspiracy theory with supposed messages like “Paul is dead, miss him, miss him,” in “I'm So Tired” and “turn me on, dead man” in Revolution 9.  Audiophiles kept an ear out for it, but it didn't come to wide public knowledge until the 80's.  These days, Easter eggs and hidden goodies are shared on social media and YT, but back then, it was conservatives ruining cassettes and vinyl records by playing them backwards in church, community meetings, local access television, whatever venue they could get.  They claimed that the backwards speech could subliminally influence the listener when listening to the music in the normal way.  They found backmasking in everything from Elvis to Led Zepplin.  Supposedly Stairway to Heaven contained Satanic commands like “here's to my sweet Satan,” “serve me,” and “there's no escaping it.”     Audio Engineer Evan Olcott claims that backmasking or finding phonetic reversals is purely coincidental in which the spoken or sung phonemes, a fancy word for individual speech sounds, seem to form words.  Our brains make sense of our environment, or they try, any road, and that can mean convincing themselves that garbled sounds are actually words.  There's a key to claims of backmasking and it's priming, telling the listener what they're going to hear.  [sfx example]     Backmasking is supposed to work subliminally, meaning literally below the threshold of sensation of consciousness.  In theory, subliminal messages deliver an idea that the conscious mind doesn't detect.  For those too young to remember Tyler Durden's projectionist hobby, the prime example of subliminal messages is a single frame of text slipped into a video, which *has been used on TV by both corporations and political candidates.  Whenever one of these comes to light, there is always much contention, yet thoroughly negligible results.  If you can find a properly organized scientific study that bears out claims that messages you don't know you saw can influence people's behavior, call us here in the studio.  Until then, I plant my banner on the hill of It's Utter Crap.   At the time, Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton said: “It's a fact that if you play speech backwards, some of it will seem to make sense. So I asked permission to go into a studio and find some perfectly innocent phonetic flukes. The lawyers didn't want to do it, but I insisted. We bought a copy of the Stained Class album in a local record shop, went into the studio, recorded it to tape, turned it over and played it backwards. Right away we found ‘Hey ma, my chair's broken' and ‘Give me a peppermint' and ‘Help me keep a job'.”   At one point, frontman Rob Halford was called upon to actually sing part of the song while on the stand, which he looks really uncomfortable doing without so much as a metronome to accompany him.  “It tore us up emotionally hearing someone say to the judge and the cameras that this is a band that creates music that kills young people. We accept that some people don't like heavy metal, but we can't let them convince us that it's negative and destructive. Heavy metal is a friend that gives people great pleasure and enjoyment and helps them through hard times.”   Eventually, the case against Judas Priest and their label was dismissed.  The judge did agree that you could hear words other than the printed lyrics, but these were “only discernible after their location had been identified and after the sounds were isolated and amplified. The sounds would not be consciously discernible to the ordinary listener under normal listening conditions”.   And that's… Slipknot filed a copyright infringement suit claiming Burger King misappropriated their images. The King fired back that Slipknot didn't invent masked rockers, the post-apocalyptic gas masks aesthetic, or white guys with dreadlocks and, therefore, had no copyrights to claim. Ultimately, I guess they all realized they had more important things to do and the case was dropped. Sources: https://johndenver.com/about/biography/#:~:text=He%20then%20became%20a%20leading,during%20take%2Doff%20in%201986. https://www.ranker.com/list/dee-snyder-speech-parents-music-resource-center/melissa-sartore https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_(Danzig_song) https://ultimateclassicrock.com/dee-snider-pmrc-interview-2015/ https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/musicandsuicide/ https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/judas-priest-suicide-lawsuit-subliminal-messages/ https://www.loudersound.com/features/how-a-suicide-pact-was-almost-the-end-of-judas-priest https://pop.inquirer.net/106559/the-auditory-phenomenon-called-backmasking-unmasked https://ultimateclassicrock.com/backward-message-songs/ https://www.livescience.com/does-subliminal-messaging-work.html https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/an-ozzy-osbourne-fan-commits-suicide https://www.kerrang.com/ozzy-osbourne-the-suicide-solution-controversy-and-what-the-song-actually-means https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1986-12-20-mn-4460-story.html https://apnews.com/article/05b56baebdc9ceaff3433f50fc941298 https://www.loudersound.com/features/how-a-suicide-pact-was-almost-the-end-of-judas-priest https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1758714.html https://www.dreadcentral.com/news/287706/that-time-slipknot-sued-burger-king-over-coq-roq-chicken-fries-commercial https://loudwire.com/remember-when-slipknot-sued-burger-king/ https://ultimateclassicrock.com/backward-message-songs/

christmas america tv american california science rock los angeles law care russia christianity ms data moon satan army revolution pennsylvania chefs congress weird nasa wine maryland suicide supreme court walmart cbs standing beatles south carolina senate sabbath nevada shakespeare commerce hang oz huffington post attorney rock and roll teens san antonio dungeons and dragons priest elvis rally blizzard transportation big brother blade wives critics distribution freedom of speech burger king amendment playboy sm ac dc first amendment backwards nypd yt hamlet satanic arguing challenger nazi germany black sabbath retailers al gore thomas edison ozzy osbourne ozzy slipknot thundercats frank zappa howl pta leo tolstoy moxie george carlin judas priest minors purple rain paranoid john denver twisted sister danzig this day in history zappa mccollum snider courthouse subliminal dee snider sharon osbourne riaa senate committee anna karenina federal communications commission brainiac dead kennedys rob halford plaintiffs osbourne scarlet letter bon scott david berkowitz cleveland state university tyler durden audiophiles tipper california supreme court jello biafra paula hawkins led zepplin sheena easton rocky mountain high midroll tipper gore pmrc tom anderson belknap so tired recording industry association motion picture association backmasking darling nikki dweezil glenn tipton better than you suicide solution boris vallejo twister sister john mccollum seven dirty words stained class james vance
Your Brain on Facts
Courthouse Rock (ep.192)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2022 37:14


Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear leather jackets with chains, long hair, and lots of eyeliner! Today we look at three times heavy metal musicians said "We're not gonna take it" and defended the freedom of speech, but were they "Breaking the Law" and just "Howl(ing) at the Moon"? 0:42 Twisted Sister vs Congress 17:07 Reviews and news 19:58 Ozzy Osbourne's Suicide Solution 26:20 Judas Priest, Better Than You 28:28 Subliminal back-masking 1-star review shirt! and shirt raising money for Ukraine Red Cross at yourbrainonfacts.com/merch Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi. Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Kevin MacLeod,  

Informed Dissent
Informed Dissent - The Brainiac - Dr Teryn Clarke

Informed Dissent

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 15, 2022 31:00


Dr. Jeff Barke and Dr. Mark McDonald turn the Informed Dissent microphones toward the elderly care with renowned expert, Dr. Teryn Clarke. The three doctors spend time discussing Dr. Clarke's observations of the impact of the CCP Virus on seniors. More importantly, Dr. Clarke reveals the practical solutions she found and continues to use in the care for the older population to promote mental agility. Dr. Clarke is a neurologist specializing in dementia and developer of the combined supplement Querzi. Listen now to add to your very own Informed Dissent.Find Querzi at Querzi.com. Find Dr. Clark at clarkeneurology.com or on Twitter. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=64432117)

Your Brain on Facts
Apple of Our Eye (ep. 191)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 12, 2022 34:16


1-star review shirt! and shirt raising money for Ukraine Red Cross. It's another one of those episodes all about a topic that sounds totally mundane and boring!  Where did apples come from?  Was Johnny Appleseed real?  Why does planting apple seeds lead to disappointment?  And why are some apples considered intellectual property?     Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi.  Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Kevin MacLeod, Tabletop Audio, and Steve Oxen.  Want to start a podcast or need a better podcast host?  Get up to TWO months hosting for free from Libsyn with coupon code "moxie." Sponsor: Starfleet Leadership Academy   What's more wholesome and iconic than an apple?  In the Bible, Eve ate an apple and now half of us have to have periods and crap.  In fairness to apples, the Bible just says “fruit” and it was Milton's “Paradise Lost” that declared the fruit was an apple because the Latin word for apple, m-a-l-u-s, is also the word for evil.  There's the Greek myth of Atalanta, who would only marry the man who beat her in a footrace, so Aphrodite helped a Melanion cheat by dropping golden apples that she stopped to pick up.  An apple fell on the head of Isaac Newton, leading to the discovery of gravity – prior to that, everyone weighed a lot less.  The record label that gave the world the Beatles and one of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world use an apple as their logo.  [tiktok] Bonus fact: The Apple computer logo has a bite taken out of it so it isn't mistaken for a cherry, which I don't think would really have been so great a danger, and is *not a nod to Alan Turing, the famous mathematician who helped Britain win WWII but was hounded by that same government for being gay and took his own life with a poisoned apple.  Steve Jobs and co repeatedly said they wished it was that clever.   We say something is “as American as apple pie” and even though Ralph Waldo Emerson dubbed apples “the American fruit,” the tasty, sweet malus domestica as you're used to it is about as native to North America as white people.  That's not to say there was nothing of the genus malus in the new world; there was the crabapple, a small, hard, exceedingly tart apple, which is better used for adding the natural thickener pectin to preserves than anything.   The story of apples actually begins in Kazakhstan, in central Asia east of the Caspian Sea.  Malus sieversii is a wild apple, native to Kazakhstan's Tian Shan Mountains, where they have been growing over millions of years and where they can still be found fruiting today.  There's evidence of Paleolithic people harvesting and using native crabapples 750,000 years ago, give or take a week.  The original wild apples grew in ‘apple forests' at the foot of the snow-tipped mountains, full of different shapes,sizes and flavors, most of them bad.  Kazakhstan is hugely proud of its fruity history.  The former capital city of Almaty claimed the honor of ‘birth place of the apple' about 100 years ago.  Seems a suitable sobriquet since the name ‘Almaty' was previously recorded as ‘Alma-Ata' which translates from Kazakh as ‘Father of the Apples,' though in Latin Alma means mother or nurturer, which feels more fitting but that's beside the point.   This origin story was not without controversy, but what am I here for if not to teach the controversy?  In 1929, Russian scientist Nikolai Vavilov first traced the apple genome. He identified the primary ancestor of most cultivars of the domesticated apple to be the ancient apple tree: Malus sieversii. There used to be some controversy over this, but it has since been confirmed, through detailed DNA testing, and a full sequencing of the genome, as recently as 2010.   It was probably birds and traveling mammal species that initially transported apple seeds out of Kazakhstan long before humans started to cultivate them – by eating the apples and then pooping out the seeds.  By 1500 BC apple seeds had been carried throughout Europe by the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans.  Bloody Romans.  What have they ever done for us?  I mean apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans really ever done for us?  Oh yeah, apples.  The Romans discovered apples growing in Syria and were central in dispersing them around the world from there, using the Silk Road as a means of transport from East to West.  Romans were a fair hand at grafting, taking a cutting from one apple variety and attaching it to a rootstock (young roots and trunk) from another tree – more on that later.  As such, the Romans started to grow apples in Europe and Britain that were bigger, sweeter, and tastier than any before.  Let's not forget variety.  There are a whopping 2,170 English cultivars of malus domestica alone.     Apples arrived in the new world first with the Spanish in the warm bits and then with English settlers in the cooler bits, which when I say it sounds like it was done on purpose.  Ask an American child how apples spread across the nascent US and they'll tell you it was Johnny Appleseed.  We tend to learn about him around the time we learn about “tall tales,” i.e. American folklore –stories like the giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, or John Henry, who could hammer railroad spikes in ahead of a moving train – so it can be a little tricky to be sure if Johnny Appleseed is real or not.  Don't feel bad, a friend of mine just learned that narwhals were real the other year when she wanted to be one in a cryptid-themed burlesque show.    Johnny Appleseed, real name John Chapman, was a real person, though naturally some aspects of his life were mythologized over time.  Details are sparse on his early life, but we know that Chapman was born in Massachusetts in 1774 and planted his first apple tree trees in the Allegheny Valley in Pennsylvania in his mid-twenties.  He then began traveling west through Ohio, planting as he went.  These were frontier times.  We're talking about a good 70 years before the transcontinental railroad, so much of the area he went through did not yet have white settlers in it, but Chapman seems to have a knack for predicting where they would settle and planting nurseries in those spots.  Chapman was also a devout follower of the mystical teachings of Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, and he tried to spread Swedenborgian doctrine as well.  People were open to some parts of it, like kindness to all animals, even the unpleasant ones.   The apples that Chapman brought to the frontier were completely distinct from the apples available at any modern grocery store or farmers' market, and they weren't primarily used for eating, but for making hard apple cider.  Cider was a mainstay item for the same reason people drank beer at breakfast, because it was safer than the water supply.  This didn't actually apply as much in the not-yet-destroyed frontier as it had back in London, but old habits die hard.    I've often wondered why cider is such a staple beverage in the UK, but only resurfaced in the last 20 or so years here in the States, where we have to specify hard cider” because the word “cider” normally means a glorious, thick, flavorful unfiltered apple juice you only get in the fall.  It's thanks to the colossal failure that was that “noble experiment,” Prohibition, when some people didn't like drinking and told the rest of us we couldn't either.   "Up until Prohibition, an apple grown in America was far less likely to be eaten than to wind up in a barrel of cider," writes Michael Pollan in The Botany of Desire. "In rural areas cider took the place of not only wine and beer but of coffee and tea, juice, and even water."  The cider apples are small and unpleasant to eat, so they were really only good for cider-making.  As such, during Prohibition, cider apple trees were often chopped down by FBI agents, effectively erasing cider, along with Chapman's true history, from American life.   But Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman wouldn't know anything about all that.  Within his own lifetime, tales of his activities began to circulate.  Most of these focused on his wilderness skills and his remarkable physical endurance.  Chapman cut an eccentric figure.  He wore a sack with holes for his head and arms rather than a proper shirt and after he'd worn through multiple pairs of shoes, he gave up and went barefoot.  Perhaps his most distinct feature, the one always included in drawings, apart from a bag of apple seeds, is his soup pot, just about his only possession, which he wore on his head like a hat.   Starting in 1792, the Ohio Company of Associates made an offer of 100 acres of land to anyone willing to make a homestead on the wilderness beyond Ohio's first permanent settlement.  These homesteads had to be permanent; no pitching a tent and saying ‘where's my land?'  To prove their homesteads were the real deal, settlers were required to plant 50 apple trees and 20 peach trees in three years.  Since an average apple tree took roughly ten years to bear fruit, you wouldn't bother unless you were in it for the long haul.  He might have looked like a crazy hermit, but Chapman realized that if he could do the difficult work of planting these orchards, he could sell them for a handsome profit to incoming frontiersmen.  “On this week's episode of Frontier Flipper, Johnny plants an orchard…again.”  Wandering from Pennsylvania to Illinois, Chapman would advance just ahead of settlers, cultivating orchards that he would sell them when they arrived, and then head to more undeveloped land.     That was very clever.  What wasn't clever was Chapman growing apples from seed at all.  This is the bit about grafting, in case you were jumping around looking for it.  Statistically, at least one person was really waiting for this part.  Apple trees don't grow “true-to-type,” as WSU tree fruit breeder Kate Evans explains. That means that if you were to plant, for instance, Red Delicious seeds in your backyard, you wouldn't get Red Delicious apples, not that you'd want to, but more on that later.  Boy, what a tease.  Instead, planting and breeding means matching a scion to a rootstock.  The scion is the fruiting part of the tree – most of what you actually see. The rootstock is everything that goes in the ground, as well as the first few inches of the trunk.  Buds from one variety are attached to the rootstock of another and they grow into a tree that will produce apples. But matching up the scion and rootstock isn't enough to grow good apples. You also need a tree to act as a pollinator.  “If you don't have good pollination, you can end up with misshapen or small unattractive fruit,” says Jim McFerson, director of the Wenatchee extension. Up to ten percent of an orchard can be pollinators, and most today are crabapple trees.  Apple trees cannot normally pollinate themselves.  Unlike, say, peaches, which can and do self-pollinate, predictably producing peaches virtually identical to the parents, the viable seeds (or pips) will produce apples which don't resemble the parents.  This requirement for pollination is how there have come to be so many varieties in the world, at least 20k and that's a conservative estimate.   For context, there are only two varieties of commercial banana and just one kiwifruit.    Grafting was an established way of propagating apples and was commonly done in New England, so why didn't Chapman do that?  Apart from the fact that it's easier to travel with just seeds and planting is faster than graftering, as a member of the Swedenborgian Church, Chapman was forbidden from cutting two trees to cobble together a new tree and it was thought to make the plants suffer.  John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman died in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1845, having planted apple trees as far west as Illinois or Iowa.   A century later, in 1948, Disney solidified his legend with an animated version of his life.  The cartoon emphasized his Christian faith, but conveniently left out all the Swedenborgian stuff. MIDROLL Speaking of varieties, as well we might, what would you guess the most popular apple variety has been for the past, say, 70 years?  The apple whose name is half-lying but unfortunately it's lying about the important half, the Red Delicious.  They are the most iconic apple across most of the world.  Don't believe me, just check emoji packs in other countries.  Their appearance is the whole reason these apples exist, with their deep, even red color and dimpled bottom that look so enticing in the produce department; it's also the reason they suck and are terrible.  They taste of wet cardboard and have the mouthfeel of resentment.  Their flavor and texture were sacrificed for botanical vanity and shippability.   Even apple growers hate them.  Mike Beck, who tends 80 acres of apples at Uncle John's Cider Mill, admits he grows some Red Delicious to add color to some of his ciders, but he won't eat them.    The Red Delicious was first called the Hawkeye, and one Jesse Hiatt found it growing as a random sapling on his Iowa farm around 1870.  The fruit that eventual tree produced was sweet and fruity, but it wasn't red, rather red and yellow-striped, like an heirloom tomato.  Of course, back then, those were just called tomatoes.   It was introduced to the market in 1874 and the rights to the Hawkeye apple were sold to the Stark Brothers Nursery, whose owner thought it was the best apple he'd ever tasted.  By 1914, Stark's renamed the variety Red Delicious, and over time, produced a fruit with less yellow and more red year over year.  It also gained its buxom top-heavy shape and five little feet nubs on the bottom.   As with any product, it took a hefty shovelful of marketing for Red Delicious to gain a following, but gain it did.  Current estimates have Red Delicious being 90% of the apple crop at one point.  That point happened in the 1950s, thanks to that force of nature, changes in buying habits.  PreWWII, people would buy food right from the farm or at farmers markets, then the modern grocery store, with its cold storage, and the refrigerated truck courtesy of Frederick Jones.  Bigger stores need to move more product and a big pyramid of shiny, sports car red apples by the front window will really bring the punters in.  Growers could sell them to packers, who in turn sold them to those grocery store chains, which also fueled a change in their taste.  Orchardists bred and crossbreed the Red Delicious to get that perfect shape and color, uniformity and resilience to handling and shipping; they just left off tiny considerations, very minor concessions really, like taste and texture.   But there's change a-foot again.  People began to realize you can have an apple in your pack lunch or the big bowl at the fancy hotel reception desk that you'd actually want to eat.  Now we're all about those Sweet Tangos, Braseburns, and Honeycrips.  Unwilling or unable to admit defeat, however, the Red Delicious is still out there.  But like a lot of has-beens, its seeing more success abroad than at home, and they're exported to the western Pacific Rim, Mexico and parts of Europe.      Apart from random saplings popping up randomly, new varieties of apples take a lot of people a lot of time and effort, to say nothing of a robust research & development budget.  Take Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, for example.  In 1981, now-retired horticulturist Bruce Barritt set out to create an apple bred for flavor and long storage instead of appearance, to compete with the Fuji from Japan and the Gala from New Zealand.  Like breeding animals, you start with two parents with known traits, then selectively breed for the ones you want over the course of several generations.  You have to have the patience of a Buddhist monk, since apple trees take four to five years to bear fruit and you know whether or not it worked.  Barritt needed that patience to eventually create the apple that actually made mainstream, even international, news in 2019 – the Cosmic Crisp.  These are no small potatoes, either.  There's probably a French language joke in there.  The marketing budget alone is $10 million.  A $10mil marketing budget….for an apple.     Cosmic Crisps are mostly a dark-ish red with yellowy speckles reminiscent of stars.  The website, did I mention it has its own website, says [commercial read] “The large, juicy apple has a remarkably firm and crisp texture. Some say it snaps when you bite into it!  The Cosmic Crisp® flavor profile is the perfect balance of sweet and tart, making it ideal for snacking, baking, cooking, juicing or any other way you like to enjoy apples.”  Hire me for voiceovers at moxielabouche.com for lightning-fast voiceovers because I was one time hit by lightning.   The first Cosmic Crisp seed began in 1997 with pollen from a Honeycrisp flower, applied by hand to the stigma of an Enterprise.  Racy stuff.  Honeycrisp as we know are lovely and Enterprise apples were known for disease-resistance and long storage life.  Storage life is important because an apple has to be as good in late spring as it was when it was picked in the fall, as most to all of the apples you buy are.  Yep, all apples are picked at once and sold for months to come.  Holding up in winter storage is one of malus domestica's best features.  If that bothers you on principle, though, don't look up harvesting oranges for juice – it's positively depressing.      After two years of greenhouse germination, the very first Cosmic Crisp trees were planted, and a few years later after that, fruit happened.  That was when, according to Barritt, the real work began.  He'd go through the orchard, randomly picking apples and taking a bite. “Most were terrible, but when I found one with good texture and flavor, I'd pick 10 or 20 of them. Then I put them in cold storage to see how they would hold up after a few months,” he told PopSci in 2018.  Barritt's team would compare the apples for crispness, acidity, firmness, how well it stored, and on and on anon, to determine which trees to cross with which and start the cycle all over again.  They weren't testing only Honeycrisp and Enterprise, but lots of crisp varieties – Honeycrisp is just the one that worked.  It took until 2017, a full 20 years after the first seeds went in the ground, for Cosmic Crisp trees to become available to growers, to say nothing of the fruit reaching the public.  The project actually outlived Barritt's participation, when he retired back in 2008 and turned everything over to WSU horticulture professor Kate Evans.   There's still the question of why, why spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars to create a new apple?  This wasn't about developing a product to sell and make money, it was about saving an entire region's industry.  The pacific northwest farmed Red Delicious apples like there was no tomorrow and in the 90's, tomorrow got real uncertain.  In the last three years of the decade, farmers lost around $760mil with fields full of fruit fewer and fewer folks wanted to fork over their funds for.  That was the problem that Barritt set out to solve.  They needed an apple that had it all - movie star good looks, full of flavor with a crunchy bit.  By the end of 2019, Washington farmers were growing 12,000 acres of Cosmic Crisp trees and there's talk of Cosmic Crisp's having a strong chance at taking over the market.   If you have a bit of land and want to grow your own Cosmic Crisp, you going to have to wait even longer than usual.  It's only available to grower in WA for the first ten years to give the growers an advantage.  Remember, you can't plant seeds and get a tree that gives you fruit like the one you ate to get the seeds.  Don't worry, just five more years.     But you can't, like, own a tree man.  I can but that's because I'm not a penniless hippie.  Sorry, Futurama moment, but the point still stands.  Because this is America and we've never seen a person, place, thing, or idea we didn't want to legally own and monetize.  We're talking about patents and before I go any further, do you have any idea what a pain it is to search for apple patents and *not get results about Apple the company.  According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, “a plant patent is granted …to an inventor … who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. The grant, which lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the application, protects the inventor's right to exclude others from asexually reproducing, selling, or using the plant so reproduced.”  So if you make a variety of plant that no one else has ever made, or at least no one has patented, you have ultra-dibs for 20 and no one else is supposed to breed, sell, or do anything else with plants of that variety.   Plant patents became a thing in the early 1930's, a fine time in American agriculture *sough*dustbowl*cough* first granted to Henry Bosenberg for a CLIMBING OR TRAILING ROSE (USPP1 P).  Since then, thousands of plant patents have been granted, and that includes apples.  Apples as intellectual property.  The beloved Honeycrisp was patented in the late 1980's by the University of Minnesota.  The Honeycrisp blossomed in popularity, pun allowed, among consumers, both grocery shoppers and growers.  Nurseries would sell the trees to anyone who called and ordered one, but since it was patented, buuuut growers would have to pay a royalty of one dollar per tree to the University of Minnesota until the patent has expired.  With an average size of 50 acres per orchard and 36 trees per acre, that only comes to $1800, which isn't too, too bad.  A much tighter rein was kept on University of Minnesota's patented MINNEISKA, which produces the SweeTango apple.  Only a small group of apple growers has been given license to grow this variety of apple and they have to pay royalties as well.  UM also has multiple trademarks registered, so anyone who tries to sell an apple under that name or a similar one may find themselves in court.  Now how about them apples?  Hey, at least I waited until the end. Sources: https://historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/horne-creek-farm/southern-heritage-apple-orchard/apples/apple-history/origins-apples https://www.americanscientist.org/article/the-mysterious-origin-of-the-sweet-apple https://www.theorchardproject.org.uk/blog/where-do-apples-come-from/ https://www.britannica.com/story/was-johnny-appleseed-a-real-person https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/real-johnny-appleseed-brought-applesand-booze-american-frontier-180953263/ https://www.nwpb.org/2017/05/03/want-to-grow-an-apple-tree-dont-start-with-apple-seeds/ https://www.popsci.com/story/diy/cosmic-crisp-apple-guide/ https://www.huffpost.com/entry/red-delicious-apples-suck_n_5b630199e4b0b15abaa061af https://suiter.com/how-do-you-like-them-apples-enough-to-patent-them/ https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/04/30/526069512/paradise-lost-how-the-apple-became-the-forbidden-fruit https://www.businessinsider.com/cosmic-crisp-apple-washington-state-scientists-2020-11 https://suiter.com/how-do-you-like-them-apples-enough-to-patent-them/  

Perfume Room
45. The Drugstore Fragrance Brand That's Giving *Niche* (w/ Good Chemistry Fragrance Director Greta Pagel)

Perfume Room

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 12, 2022 56:19


My quest for high quality, great-smelling fragrance that costs less than a SweetGreen salad is never-ending, and today I chat with Greta Pagel—the Fragrance Director of the brand I think does it best: Good Chemistry. Greta leads all fragrance development and strategy at Good Chemistry and ILLUME (including perfume, personal care, and home fragrance). We discuss what happened to some of our favorite discontinued gems (looking at you Brainiac)/ if they'll ever come back, secrets notes, how Greta got into fragrance development professionally, the process of creating your fave mass-market scents, the newness that is Coco Blush, and what we can look forward to within the next year! FRAGS MENTIONED: The Maker Wild, The Maker Fire, West Third Lost California, Good Chemistry Brainiac, Baccarat Rouge 540, Mugler Angel, Byredo Lil Fleur, Jovan Patchouli Oil, Guerlain Vetiver, Coty Wild Musk, YSL Paris, Bleu de Chanel, CB I Hate Perfume Walking in the Air, Good Chemistry Wild Child, Good Chemistry Magnolia Violet, Jovoy Remember Me, Milano Fragranze Basilica, Affinessence Paris Santal Basmati, Strangers Parfumerie Chokedee, Chabaud Lait et Chocolat, Good Chemistry: Tiger Lily, Copper Canyon, Pink Palm, Coco Blush, Sugar Berry; Maison Margiela Replica Beach Walk, Pink Sugar Aquolina, EB Florals Fragile Violet, Good Chemistry Queen Bee FOLLOW: @lovegoodchemistry DISCOUNT: www.good-chemistry.com PERFUMEROOM15 for 15% off

The Brain Candy Podcast
EP605: Buffet Scandal, Goblin Mode, & Ranch Dressing Romance

The Brain Candy Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 11, 2022 60:30


We're getting an update on Sarah's epic road trip from Denver to California and back again. Never a dull moment with her. She talks about her bad luck in Vegas and why she is never staying in a bad hotel again. She describes her epiphanies and the New Moon Energy that inspired them. She asks the Brainiacs for help with her plants. We find out what Goblin Mode is, and Sarah argues that it is sexist. We hear about a pig heart transplant in a human. And we learn about a diamond ring made from ranch dressing. Join our book club, shop our merch, sign-up for our free newsletter, & more by visiting The Brain Candy Podcast website: Connect with us on social media: BCP Instagram: Susie's Instagram: Sarah's Instagram: BCP Twitter: Susie's Twitter: Sarah's Twitter: Go to for 15% off your first order—plus FREE shipping! Get 20% off your first order at Get 30% off your first month plus FREE shipping on ANY crate line with code: BRAINCANDY at Go to the App Store or Google play to download Best Fiends for free! More podcasts at WAVE:

Your Brain on Facts
Gregor MacGregor (ep. 190)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 5, 2022 17:46


People used to say "If you believe that, I have some swampland in Florida to sell you," but they really should have said, "I have some lovely acres in the Republic of Poyais you can buy, but you have to act now!"  Presenting one of my favorite con artists ever, the man who declared himself prince of a South American country that didn't exist, Gregor MacGregor (yes, that's really his name). Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi.  Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Kevin MacLeod,  Want to start a podcast or need a better podcast host?  Get up to TWO months hosting for free from Libsyn with coupon code "moxie."   Remember back in episode 155, Hate to Burst your Bubble, we talked about, among other things, the Florida real estate boom and bust of the 1920s?  It's where we get the phrase, “if you believe that, I have some real estate in Florida to sell you.”  100 years before that, we could have been saying, “I have some acreage in Poyais to sell you.”  Never been to Poyais?  Trust me, it's amazing.  The weather is always perfect, sunny and warm.  Located along the eastern coast of present-day Nicaragua and Honduras, the soil of Poyais is so fertile, you can get three harvests of corn a year.  The trees are heavy with fruit and the forests teem with entrees in the form of game animals.  If you look into the rivers, you'll not only see water cleaner and more pure than you've ever seen in your life and more fish than you could hope to catch, but in the river bed, the sparkle of gold fills your eyes, not from flecks and dust, but nuggets as big as walnuts, just laying there, waiting for you to scoop them up.  The only thing missing is settlers to develop and leverage its resources to the fullest.  Wanna get your share?  Better hurry; hundreds of people are investing all their savings in a piece of the perfect Poyais.  All you have to do is [] to the Cazique or prince.  Who is the prince of this equatorial new world paradise?  A Scotsman named Gregor MacGregor.     MacGregor was born in 1786.  His father, who died when Gregor was 4, was a captain sailing with the East India Company, so adventuring on a quest for riches might well have been in his blood.  A clever chap from the get-go, Gregor enrolled in the University of Edinburgh at age 15, though he never finished his degree.  No shade thrown there, I'm a 3-time community college drop-out and look how I turned out!  (pause, sigh)  At age 17, he took after his grandfather and joined the British Army, where he quickly rose up the ranks to lieutenant, captain, and major, largely by buying the next rank up, but that's pretty much how it was done back then.  Two years after enlisting, MacGregor married a Royal Navy Admiral's daughter, and a mere five years after that, probably because he'd married into money, he retired from the army.  The young couple moved to London, where Gregor called himself Sir and claimed to be a baronet, which ranks underneath baron in British noble hierarchy and is apparently a modest enough lie that no one would think to put the effort and time into checking it out.     But ‘easy street' only lasted another year before his wife died.  No more wife meant no more wealthy in-laws, so MacGregor sold his Scottish estate and relocated to Caracas, Venezuela, where he married another wealthy family's daughter.  Never let it be said he's not consistent.  Wife 2 was actually a cousin of Simon Bolivar, of Bolivia fame.  He was able to sell his military prowess to Francisco de Miranda, the Venezuelan revolutionary general.  There was rather a lot of revolution going on in Spanish colonies at the time while Spain was well distracted dealing with a certain actually-of-average-height French emperor.  At least MacGregor wasn't lying about his soldiery, securing a number of victories and becoming a notable figure for the revolutionary set all across LatAm.     In 1820, MacGregor moved to a former British Colony, in Nicaragua, which, true to its name, a swampy and pest-infested area that Europeans had until that point left to the Mosquito Natives.  In 1830, MacGregor traded jewelry and rum for eight million acres of land.  Now that was either an F-ton of rum or the land was utterly worthless.  I'll give you three guesses.  The land was completely useless for farming, kinda of a big deal, being the production of foodstuff and whatnot.     Realizing there was no way he could draw settlers in with the land as it was, MacGregor decided to draw them in with the land as it wasn't.  So he headed back to England, where he was well-known in society circles for his military achievements, leading his men into battle against great odds.  Society not knowing that he'd also abandoned his men.  Twice.  But he rubbed elbows with the muckety-mucks nonetheless, telling them all about his new world paradise, the Republic of Poyais.  And he went so far beyond Baron Munchausenian story-telling.   Gregor made up a whole country and everything that goes along with it.  To hear him tell it, the Republic of Poyais was not an impenetrable, parasite-ridden jungle, but a glorious tableau with a thriving civilization with a parliament, banks, an opera house and cathedral.  The weather was ideal, a perpetual summer that was very appealing to Londoners.  The soil was so rich that farming required almost no labor.  The rivers that wound down the mountains teemed with fish and the surrounding forests were thick with game animals.  In this dubious district, the capital of St Joseph had a massive infrastructure and a population of about 20,000 people.  The economy was robust, if you felt like doing anything other than scooping up all the gold that was just laying around.  MacGregor had pamphlets promoting printed, and they sold in the thousands around the streets of London and Edinburgh.  He started a nationwide campaign to attract investment, taking out big ads in newspapers and even opened sales offices.     The world-building that went into this scam would have made GRRM blush.  Maybe even JRR Tolkien.  Feel free to at me on social media; I love a spirited nerd debate.  He came up with a tricameral Parliament and a commercial banking system.  Like an African dictator, he designed Poyaian military uniforms, several, different ones for different regiments.  He published a 350 page guidebook, under the pen name Thomas Strangeways, with a sliver of real facts about the region, but the Pacman portion of the pie chart all came from his preposterous posterior.  The book was full of detailed sketches and MacGregor had a seemingly endless supply of official-looking documents.  He had offices set up in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh to sell land certificates, which people eagerly bought.  The whole operation looked completely legit; you wouldn't even think to doubt it.  MacGregor didn't just succeed in his con, he was *wildly successful.  Not only did MacGregor raise £200,000 directly – the bond market value over his life ran to £1.3 million, or about £3.6 billion today – but he convinced seven ships' worth of eager settlers to make their way across the Atlantic. It became a popular investment, and many sank their life savings in land deed in Republic of Poyais.  A London Bank underwrote a £2000 pound loan, £23mil or $30mil today, secured with the land sales.     MacGregor was signing up settlers left and right.  Settlers meant development, which meant the value of bonds and land certificates would go up, which would attract more settlers and investors, driving the price up further.  Gee, it's like crime does kinda pay.  Skilled tradesmen were promised free passage and ostensibly, supposedly government contract work.  Don't think it was only the under-educated among the population that bought into this – bankers, doctors, civil servants, you name it.  Whole families signed up and backed their bags.   In September 1822, the first fifty settlers sailed for Poyais and were very confused when the landed.  There was…nothing there.  No port, not even a dock.  I mean, there were trees and snakes and mosquitos, but no city, no road, no nothing.  The settlers believed they were lost, but they couldn't get a ride to the “right” place because that ship had sailed.  Literally, the ship left them immediately.  So they set up camp.  150 more people, including children, shortly joined them.  They searched for civilization as best they could, but the rainy season descended on them, bringing on clouds of mosquitos, whose tiny bags were packed with yellow fever and malaria.  A few settlers who were saved by a passing ship informed the British Colony of Honduras about the situation. The colony organized a rescue mission, but only a third of the population was still alive and rescued. In the meantime, five more ships set for Poyais had to be stopped by the Honduras government.  They were informed that Poyais did not exist. It was Mickey Mouse, mate, spurious, not genuine.  Twisting the knife counter-clockwise, the King revoked the land grant and told them they were now illegal squatters and had swear allegiance or GTFO.  Dozens were too weak to leave.  In a particularly depressing bit of math, of 250 or so who had set sail for Poyais, with all their hopes and dreams pinned to this mythical land, 180 died.      That's not even the crazy bit.  Of those 70 who barely survived their ordeal, many of them did *not blame MacGregor.  Six of the survivors, including one man who lost two children to the ordeal, signed an affidavit insisting that blame lay not with MacGregor but with Hector Hall, a former army officer who was supposed to be in charge of the settlement.  They declared "[W]e believe that Sir Gregor MacGregor has been worse used by Colonel Hall and his other agents than was ever a man before, and that had they have done their duty by Sir Gregor and by us, things would have turned out very differently at Poyais". MacGregor claimed he's been a victim too, defrauded and embezzled from by his own agents and undermined by merchants in British Honduras because the richness of Poyais threatened their profits   Now I love a Scottish accent, but this must have been one charming melon-farmer.  MacGregor didn't know it, but he had actually been using “the six principles of persuasion.”  These comes from a 1984 book by Robert Cialdini, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” which looked at the factors that affect the decisions that people make, especially as pertains to sales, naturally.  At the core of his work is the idea that decision-making is effortful, so individuals use a lot of rules of thumb and decision making shortcuts (heuristics) when deciding what to do, and of course once you know what those things are, you can manipulate them to your advantage.  They are authority (in the sense that they're an authority on the subject), scarcity, reciprocity (i.e. you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours), consistency (I still believe in this idea as much as I always have), social validation (everyone you know is buying one of these), and friendship or liking (picture the smile on a used car salesman).  MacGregor seemed to know these instinctively.   Mcgregor skipped town when the scandal broke, claiming he needed to take his wife to warm, dry Italy for her health, and headed across the channel to France and began the whole thing all over again.  In Paris, he persuaded the Compagnie de la Nouvelle Neustrie, a firm of traders looking to break into the South American market, to seek investors and settlers for Poyais in France.  In a matter of months, he had a new group of settlers and investors ready to go.  Concurrent to all this, he tried to get in good with King Ferdinand VII of Spain, proposing to make Poyais a Spanish protectorate and a base of operations from which Spain could reconquer Guatemala.  Spain, at least, ignored MacGregor.  MacGregor might not have realized that France was more stringent than England in its passport requirements: when the government saw a flood of applications to a country no one had heard of, a commission was set to investigate the matter.  Or maybe he figured he was on a roll and utterly bulletproof.  This time, Mcgregor et al were arrested and tried.  But he was found not guilty on all accounts, mostly because one of his accomplices was hiding in the Netherlands with a ton of incriminating documents.  Once he felt that London had probably forgotten his colossal scam, he headed back…and started another scam.  Smaller this time; I guess he's learning.  But the bonds didn't sell well this time, and what's worse -for everyone- other fraudsters started pulling their own fake paradise scams following his model.  He retired to Edinburgh, then to Venezuela after the death of his wife, where he was granted citizenship and a pension as a retired general.  He never faced any consequences for his actions and when he died in 1845, Gregor MacGregor was buried with full military honors.  So the moral of the story is … crime does pay?  That's a terrible lesson.     Crocker Land   In 1907, Robert Peary was the most famous, and most experienced Arctic explorer in the world, but he had a problem—he hadn't yet managed to become the first to visit the most arctic of arctic places, the North Pole, and his cash reserves were becoming nonexistent. The previous year, he had almost made it—supposedly getting within 175 miles or 280 kilometers—but was turned around by a combination of storms and depleting supplies, but Robert Peary was sure he could get there if he just had another try. He possessed the kind of confidence that only a man with a Lorax level mustache can have. All he needed to make another journey was money. However, the arctic adventure capital market was a bit reluctant to give him more after the previous failures, so, Peary hatched a plan. The key to that plan was a wealthy San Francisco financier named George Crocker, who had previously donated $50,000 to Peary's failed 1906 voyage. This was, of course, a time when 50k bought you more than two buckets of movie theatre popcorn and a calculus textbook. Peary wanted Crocker to help fund his new voyage but, considering the previous trip he financed achieved diddly squat, this could be tough. But what if, and hear me out, the previous voyage wasn't a colossal failure. Peary thought of a way to not only convince Crocker that the previous voyage hadn't been a failure, but also to butter him up a little bit by doing the one thing that rich people love more than anything else—naming things after them. And so, Peary revealed that on his 1906 voyage, though he hadn't made it to the North Pole, he had seen, from a distance, an enormous, previously undiscovered land mass. He wrote that he spotted, “faint white summits,” 130 miles northwest of Cape Thomas Hubbard, and that once he got closer, he could make out, “the snow-clad summits of the distant land in the northwest, above the ice horizon.” In honor of George Crocker, the San Francisco financier, Peary named this beautiful, snow-peaked land mass, “Crocker Land.” But then Robert Peary had two problems. The first problem? George Crocker had already given most of his money to boring causes like rebuilding San Francisco after the earthquake of 1906, and so as flattered as he may have been, there wasn't money left for funding Peary's arctic antics. The second problem? The island was totally, 100%, made up. Now normally, this might not be such a big deal. Guy makes up an imaginary island, who cares? Captain James Cook did so three centuries ago and still nobody's called him out, but this fake island ended up mattering a lot. You see, eventually, Robert Peary did manage to secure funding for another voyage, mostly from the National Geographic Society. On April 6, 1909, he finally made it to the North Pole, or at least, he said he did. He had a picture, but this could be any old pile of snow. He returned home proudly proclaiming that he was the first man ever to reach the North Pole, to which a guy named Frederick Cook, another Arctic explorer, replied, “um…I was there, like, a year ago,” but, Cook said that he'd sailed through where this giant land mass called Crocker's Land was supposedly located. If I know anything about boats, it's that they don't work well on land and, since Cook hadn't found a thing except for cold water and walrus farts, someone's lying here. But, because of this, the existence of Crocker Land became crucially important as it would prove who had really gone to the North Pole first. If it did exist, then Frederick Cook must be lying about going to the North Pole. If it didn't exist, Frederick Cook did go to the North Pole, and Robert Peary was the liar. Of course, at that time you couldn't just fire up your handy household satellite to check and so, to settle it, a man named Donald McMillian decided to go on another expedition to find the land. Not only would this prove who was telling the truth, but it would possibly give McMillan the opportunity to be the first to step onto what was considered, “the last great unknown place in the world.” That voyage was, incredibly, a failure. In addition to their ship getting stuck in the ice for three years before they could return home, the only bright spot came when a crew member saw what looked to be the island—a beautiful, snowy-peaked landmass—but it turned out to be a mirage. In light of that fact, some have suggested that Peary didn't lie about the island, but was actually just seeing a mirage, but unfortunately for Peary's reputation, it looks like that's letting him off too easy. Historians looked at Peary's original notes and logs for the date that Crocker's Land was supposedly discovered, and they found that he doesn't mention anything about it. All he says happened that day was that he climbed up some rocks, and then climbed down the rocks. Plus, the early drafts of his book even didn't include anything about it, but then three paragraphs about Crocker Land mysteriously showed up just before the book was published—just when Peary needed to get more money. In other words, Crocker Land was a load of crock. One of Peary's major issues, aside from inventing an island, was that, when he supposedly went to this north pole, his crew did not include a single navigator who could make their own independent observations as to whether or not they were truly at the pole, or just some pile of ice, and so people didn't believe him. In the archives of the American Geographical Society in Milwaukee lies a century-old map with a peculiar secret. Just north of Greenland, the map shows a small, hook-shaped island labeled “Crocker Land” with the words “Seen By Peary, 1906” printed just below.   The Peary in question is Robert Peary, one of the most famous polar explorers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the man who claimed to have been the first to step foot on the North Pole. But what makes this map remarkable is that Crocker Land was all but a phantom. It wasn't “seen by Peary”—as later expeditions would prove, the explorer had invented it out of the thin Arctic air.   By 1906, Peary was the hardened veteran of five expeditions to the Arctic Circle. Desperate to be the first to the North Pole, he left New York in the summer of 1905 in a state-of-the-art ice-breaking vessel, the Roosevelt—named in honor of one of the principal backers of the expedition, President Theodore Roosevelt. The mission to set foot on the top of the world ended in failure, however: Peary said he sledged to within 175 miles of the pole (a claim others would later question), but was forced to turn back by storms and dwindling supplies.   Peary immediately began planning another attempt, but found himself short of cash. He apparently tried to coax funds from one of his previous backers, San Francisco financier George Crocker—who had donated $50,000 to the 1905-'06 mission—by naming a previously undiscovered landmass after him. In his 1907 book Nearest the Pole, Peary claimed that during his 1906 mission he'd spotted “the faint white summits” of previously undiscovered land 130 miles northwest of Cape Thomas Hubbard, one of the most northerly parts of Canada. Peary named this newfound island “Crocker Land” in his benefactor's honor, hoping to secure another $50,000 for the next expedition.   His efforts were for naught: Crocker diverted much of his resources to helping San Francisco rebuild after the 1906 earthquake, with little apparently free for funding Arctic exploration. But Peary did make another attempt at the North Pole after securing backing from the National Geographic Society, and on April 6, 1909, he stood on the roof of the planet—at least by his own account. “The Pole at last!!!" the explorer wrote in his journal. "The prize of 3 centuries, my dream and ambition for 23 years. Mine at last."   Peary wouldn't celebrate his achievement for long, though: When the explorer returned home, he discovered that Frederick Cook—who had served under Peary on his 1891 North Greenland expedition—was claiming he'd been the first to reach the pole a full year earlier. For a time, a debate over the two men's claims raged—and Crocker Land became part of the fight. Cook claimed that on his way to the North Pole he'd traveled to the area where the island was supposed to be, but had seen nothing there. Crocker Land, he said, didn't exist.   Peary's supporters began to counter-attack, and one of his assistants on the 1909 trip, Donald MacMillan, announced that he would lead an expedition to prove the existence of Crocker Land, vindicating Peary and forever ruining the reputation of Cook.   There was also, of course, the glory of being the first to set foot on the previously unexplored island. Historian David Welky, author of A Wretched and Precarious Situation: In Search of the Last Arctic Frontier, recently explained to National Geographic that with both poles conquered, Crocker Land was “the last great unknown place in the world.” American Geographical Society Library. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries. After receiving backing from the American Museum of Natural History, the University of Illinois, and the American Geographical Society, the MacMillan expedition departed from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in July 1913. MacMillan and his team took provisions, dogs, a cook, “a moving picture machine,” and wireless equipment, with the grand plan of making a radio broadcast live to the United States from the island.   But almost immediately, the expedition was met with misfortune: MacMillan's ship, the Diana, was wrecked on the voyage to Greenland by her allegedly drunken captain, so MacMillan transferred to another ship, the Erik, to continue his journey. By early 1914, with the seas frozen, MacMillan set out to attempt a 1200-mile long sled journey from Etah, Greenland, through one of the most inhospitable and harshest landscapes on Earth, in search of Peary's phantom island.   Though initially inspired by their mission to find Crocker Land, MacMillan's team grew disheartened as they sledged through the Arctic landscape without finding it. “You can imagine how earnestly we scanned every foot of that horizon—not a thing in sight,” MacMillan wrote in his 1918 book, Four Years In The White North.   But a discovery one April day by Fitzhugh Green, a 25-year-old ensign in the US Navy, gave them hope. As MacMillan later recounted, Green was “no sooner out of the igloo than he came running back, calling in through the door, ‘We have it!' Following Green, we ran to the top of the highest mound. There could be no doubt about it. Great heavens! What a land! Hills, valleys, snow-capped peaks extending through at least one hundred and twenty degrees of the horizon.”   But visions of the fame brought by being the first to step foot on Crocker Land quickly evaporated. “I turned to Pee-a-wah-to,” wrote MacMillan of his Inuit guide (also referred to by some explorers as Piugaattog). “After critically examining the supposed landfall for a few minutes, he astounded me by replying that he thought it was a ‘poo-jok' (mist).”   Indeed, MacMillan recorded that “the landscape gradually changed its appearance and varied in extent with the swinging around of the Sun; finally at night it disappeared altogether.” For five more days, the explorers pressed on, until it became clear that what Green had seen was a mirage, a polar fata morgana. Named for the sorceress Morgana le Fay in the legends of King Arthur, these powerful illusions are produced when light bends as it passes through the freezing air, leading to mysterious images of apparent mountains, islands, and sometimes even floating ships.   Fata morganas are a common occurrence in polar regions, but would a man like Peary have been fooled? “As we drank our hot tea and gnawed the pemmican, we did a good deal of thinking,” MacMillan wrote. “Could Peary with all his experience have been mistaken? Was this mirage which had deceived us the very thing which had deceived him eight years before? If he did see Crocker Land, then it was considerably more than 120 miles away, for we were now at least 100 miles from shore, with nothing in sight.”   MacMillan's mission was forced to accept the unthinkable and turn back. “My dreams of the last four years were merely dreams; my hopes had ended in bitter disappointment,” MacMillan wrote. But the despair at realizing that Crocker Land didn't exist was merely the beginning of the ordeal.   MacMillan sent Fitzhugh Green and the Inuit guide Piugaattog west to explore a possible route back to their base camp in Etah. The two became trapped in the ice, and one of their dog teams died. Fighting over the remaining dogs, Green—with alarming lack of remorse—explained in his diary what happened next: “I shot once in the air ... I then killed [Piugaattog] with a shot through the shoulder and another through the head.” Green returned to the main party and confessed to MacMillan. Rather than reveal the murder, the expedition leader told the Inuit members of the mission that Piugaattog had perished in the blizzard.   Several members of the MacMillan mission would remain trapped in the ice for another three years, victims of the Arctic weather. Two attempts by the American Museum of Natural History to rescue them met with failure, and it wasn't until 1917 that MacMillan and his party were finally saved by the steamer Neptune, captained by seasoned Arctic sailor Robert Bartlett.   While stranded in the ice, the men put their time to good use; they studied glaciers, astronomy, the tides, Inuit culture, and anything else that attracted their curiosity. They eventually returned with over 5000 photographs, thousands of specimens, and some of the earliest film taken of the Arctic (much of which can be seen today in the repositories of the American Geographical Society at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee).   It's unclear whether MacMillan ever confronted Peary about Crocker Land—about what exactly the explorer had seen in 1906, and perhaps what his motives were. When MacMillan's news about not having found Crocker Land reached the United States, Peary defended himself to the press by noting how difficult spotting land in the Arctic could be, telling reporters, “Seen from a distance ... an iceberg with earth and stones may be taken for a rock, a cliff-walled valley filled with fog for a fjord, and the dense low clouds above a patch of open water for land.” (He maintained, however, that "physical indications and theory" still pointed to land somewhere in the area.) Yet later researchers have noted that Peary's notes from his 1905-'06 expedition don't mention Crocker Land at all. As Welky told National Geographic, “He talks about a hunting trip that day, climbing the hills to get this view, but says absolutely nothing about seeing Crocker Land. Several crewmembers also kept diaries, and according to those he never mentioned anything about seeing a new continent.”   There's no mention of Crocker Land in early drafts of Nearest the Pole, either—it's only mentioned in the final manuscript. That suggests Peary had a deliberate reason for the the inclusion of the island.   Crocker, meanwhile, wouldn't live to see if he was immortalized by this mysterious new land mass: He died in December 1909 of stomach cancer, a year after Peary had set out in the Roosevelt again in search of the Pole, and before MacMillan's expedition.   Any remnants of the legend of Crocker Land were put to bed in 1938, when Isaac Schlossbach flew over where the mysterious island was supposed to be, looked down from his cockpit, and saw nothing. Bradley Land was the name Frederick Cook gave to a mass of land which he claimed to have seen between (84°20′N 102°0′W) and (85°11′N 102°0′W) during a 1909 expedition. He described it as two masses of land with a break, a strait, or an indentation between.[1] The land was named for John R. Bradley, who had sponsored Cook's expedition.   Cook published two photographs of the land and described it thus: "The lower coast resembled Heiberg Island, with mountains and high valleys. The upper coast I estimated as being about one thousand feet high, flat, and covered with a thin sheet ice."[2]   It is now known there is no land at that location and Cook's observations were based on either a misidentification of sea ice or an outright fabrication. Cook's Inuit companions reported that the photographs were actually taken near the coast of Axel Heiberg Island.[   Cook described two islands lying at about 85 degrees North, which he named Bradley Land.  These islands, like Peary's “Crocker Land,” do not exist, yet Cook's partisans have tried to resuscitate Cook's credibility by linking “Bradley Land” to a discovery made in the Arctic only since Dr. Cook's death.      After World War II, aerial reconnaissance revealed a number of large tabular bergs drifting slowly clockwise in the arctic basin north of Ellesmere Island. Several arctic researchers and scientists have suggested these so-called ice islands—breakaway pieces of its ancient ice shelf—are probably what Cook mistook for “Bradley Land,” and Cook's advocates have repeated these statements to support the doctor's claim.       Cook gave this description of “Bradley Land”: “The lower coast resembled Heiberg Island, with mountains and high valleys. The upper coast I estimated as being about one thousand feet high, flat, and covered with a thin sheet ice.”      Ice islands are no more than 100 to 200 feet thick, total. They are nearly flat with only rolling undulations and rise only about 25 feet above sea level. Cook's “Bradley Land” therefore does not remotely resemble an ice island, or even an ice island magnified by mirage. And Cook published two pictures of the high, mountainous land he called “Bradley Land.”        Cook's Inuit companions are reported to have said these pictures were of two small islands off the northwest coast of Axel Heiberg Island; others believe they are of the coast of Heiberg Island itself, though the pictures have never been duplicated.      Ren Bay  has been suggested as the site.  Ellesmere trekker Jerry Kobalenko reports he could not match the picture exactly to that site, but Cook might have taken it at a time when fog obscured prominent landmarks, as he did in Alaska, making it impossible to duplicate now.  In each picture the photographer is standing on a point above the flat ice.  Kobalenko's was taken off a ten-foot hillock.   Sources: https://www.jetsetter.com/magazine/islands-to-visit-before-they-disappear/ Brigadoon https://www.history.com/news/the-con-man-who-invented-his-own-country https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sandy-island-doesnt-exist_n_2184535 https://interestingengineering.com/10-islands-on-maps-that-never-actually-existed https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/8350278/mysterious-island-that-didnt-exist-four-years-ago-is-now-teeming-with-life-sea-volcano/ https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20160127-the-conman-who-pulled-off-historys-most-audaciou s-scam https://www.spurlock.illinois.edu/collections/notable-collections/profiles/crocker-land.html https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/article/crocker-land-peary-arctic-continent https://research.bowdoin.edu/crocker-land-expedition/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th_KQOeh-Co http://humbug.polarhist.com/bland.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Island,_New_Caledonia https://www.historytoday.com/miscellanies/gregor-macgregor-prince-poyais   There are Islands that have disappeared and not in the global warming, vanishing coastline type of way. These Islands are called Phantom Islands. To be considered a Phantom Island, a piece of land must have been agreed to exist at one point before eventually being undiscovered or corrected. Basically, academics and cartographers thought an island was real and then eventually found out it wasn't. For example, Atlantis would not be considered a Phantom Island because it was always considered a legend. But perhaps the best example of a Phantom Island is Burmeja. Bermeja first appeared on maps in the year 1539, and for nearly 400 years, it was accepted as a real island located in the Gulf of Mexico. But in the 2000s, the United States and Mexico were in a dispute over an oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. Basically, Burmeja marked the outermost limit of Mexico's economic territory. The oil field would have been within that border marked by Burmeja, thus making it Mexico's property. But when the Mexican government set a team to verify the island's position, it was gone. The team had the exact coordinates for the island, and Bermeja had appeared on maps for 400 years, but it just wasn't there. The team searched all over the Gulf of Mexico and concluded that Bermeja simply no longer existed. There are a few theories about how Bermer disappeared. One is that it vanished into the ocean as a result of natural geographic shifts. This has happened elsewhere in the world, so it's entirely plausible. There's also a theory that Birmingham was intentionally destroyed by the United States so they could gain access to the oil field. It's a bold strategy, and you would think someone would have noticed an entire island being blown up. But America has done worse things in the name of oil. Some people say early Mexican officials may have added it to the map in an effort to just expand their borders. This, again, would be a pretty bold strategy, but perhaps an effective one in the 15th century. The most likely explanation is that Burmeja never existed. It was a mistake by some cartographer in the 1500s, and everyone just went with it. Early cartographers were also known to add fake Islands to their maps to prevent plagiarism. These fake Islands would tip them off if their map was ever copied. But Burmeja has appeared in various ships, logs, and inventories, some of which were official documents from the Mexican government. Ultimately, Burmette was never found, and no one really knows why. But Bermuda has not been the only Phantom Island. The Baja Peninsula was believed to be the island of California for years before it was corrected. A fictitious place called Sandy Island appeared on maps for over a century near Australia. It was even on Google maps. Today, scientists think early explorers just saw a large piece of pumice stone floating in the ocean. Arctic Explorer Robert E. Pierre made up the Island Crocker land in an effort to scam some money from one of his investors. There have been dozens more of these Phantom Islands over the years with each having been undiscovered for different reasons. Today, though, thanks to satellite imagery, Phantom Islands are probably a thing of the past you. Con artists have long recognised that persuasion must appeal to two very particular aspects of human motivation – the drive that will get people to do something, and the inertia that prevents them from wanting to do it. In 2003, two social psychologists, Eric Knowles at the University of Arkansas and Jay Linn at Widener University, formalised this idea by naming two types of persuasive tactics. The first, alpha, was far more frequent: increasing the appeal of something. The second, omega, decreased the resistance surrounding something. In the one, you do what you can to make your proposition, whatever it may be, more attractive. You rev up the backstory – why this is such a wonderful opportunity, why you are the perfect person to do it, how much everyone will gain, and the like. In the other, you make a request or offer seem so easy as to be a no-brainer – why wouldn't I do this? What do I have to lose? Psychologists call it the ‘approach-avoidance' model of persuasion They called the juxtaposition the approach-avoidance model of persuasion: you can convince me of something by making me want to approach it and decreasing any reasons I might have to avoid it. According to Columbia University psychologist Tory Higgins, people are usually more likely to be swayed by one or other of the two motivational lines: some people are promotion-focused (they think of possible positive gains), and some, prevention-focused (they focus on losses and avoiding mistakes). An approach that unites the alpha with the omega appeals to both mindsets, however, giving it universal appeal – and it is easy to see how MacGregor's proposition offered this potent combination.  

ESO Network – The ESO Network
The Earth Station DCU Episode 276 – Monkey Dory

ESO Network – The ESO Network

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 1, 2022 114:52


This Week on Earth Station DCU! Drew Leiter and Cletus Jacobs are feeling Monkey Dory or are we? Maybe I should have called this episode The Rant about Williamson! Kal-El must save Metropolis before it is bottled up by Brainiac in Superman ’78 #6. Get a glimpse of Selena’s life through the holidays in Batman/Catwoman … The Earth Station DCU Episode 276 – Monkey Dory Read More » The post The Earth Station DCU Episode 276 – Monkey Dory appeared first on The ESO Network.

The Earth Station DCU Podcast
The Earth Station DCU Episode 276 – Monkey Dory

The Earth Station DCU Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 1, 2022 114:53


This Week on Earth Station DCU! Drew Leiter and Cletus Jacobs are feeling Monkey Dory or are we? Maybe I should have called this episode The Rant about Williamson! Kal-El must save Metropolis before it is bottled up by Brainiac in Superman '78 #6. Get a glimpse of Selena's life through the holidays in Batman/Catwoman Special #1. Jon and Damien team up to stop an alien from rampaging through the fortess in Superman & Robin Special #1. Arthur and Oliver return to Earth to find it inhabited by lizards and not humans in Aquaman/Green Arrow Deep Target #4. When Christopher Chance and Ice go to question Ted Kord about Lex Luthor's attempted murder, the trio end up going on a slew of super-heroing adventures in The Human Target #4. Superman befriends Kryl-Ux and learns more about War World in Action Comics #1039. Is good to be the king in Deathstroke Inc. #5. The Royal Flush gang attempt to steal the Fortress of Solitude in Justice League #71. Damien gets a glimpse into his family's past when he learns that Ras Al Ghul is a man of science in Robin #10. Red-X attacks in Teen Titans Academy #11. Flash is trapped on Gemworld while Irey and Jai are tangled up with human traffickers. Yara Flor must battle against the forces of Olympus to win her freedom in Wonder Girl #7. Nightwing goes undercover into Arkham Tower when he gets concerned about Helena in Detective Comics #1050. All this plus, DC News, DC TV, Shout Outs, and much, much more! ------------------------ Table of Contents 0:00:00 Show Open 0:01:25 DC News 0:13:14 Superman '78 #6 0:17:06 Batman/Catwoman Special #1 0:21:10 Superman & Robin Special #1 0:26:34 Aquaman/Green Arrow Deep Target #4 0:29:49 The Human Target #4 0:38:35 Action Comics #1039 0:43:53 Deathstroke Inc. #5 0:51:28 Justice League #71 1:01:32 Robin #10 1:10:25 Teen Titans Academy #11 1:19:56 The Flash #778 1:24:18 Wonder Girl #7 1:28:20 Detective Comics #1050 1:39:15 Peacemaker S1 Ep5 – Monkey Dory 1:45:02 Doom Patrol S3 Ep8 – Subconscious Patrol 1:51:47 Show Close   Links Superman '78 #6 Batman/Catwoman Special #1 Superman & Robin Special #1 Aquaman/Green Arrow Deep Target #4 The Human Target #4 Action Comics #1039 Deathstroke Inc. #5 Justice League #71 Robin #10 Teen Titans Academy #11 The Flash #778 Wonder Girl #7 Detective Comics #1050 Secret Six (2006) Vol. 1: Villains United(Cletus's Read More Comics Pick) Earth Station One Tales of the Station Earth Station One Tales of the Station Vol. 2 The Chameleon Chronicles: Colors of Fate The Chameleon Chronicles: Sisters of the Thorn   Want to Donate to the Show or Sponsor our Comics Talk for this week? No problem! Just click on the donate button below! If you would like to leave feedback, comment on the show, or would like us to give you a shout out, please call the ESDCU feedback line at (317) 564-9133 (remember long distance charges may apply) or feel free to email us @ earthstationdcu@gmail.com

Startup to Storefront
Brainiac Foods - Mark Brooks

Startup to Storefront

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 31, 2022 42:24


Parents will always want what's best for their children. Many go to great lengths to give their child just the tiniest leg up if that will mean success down the line. Whether that be after-school tutoring, private music lessons, or waking up at 5AM on a Saturday morning to drive your kid to practice, it's not difficult to find examples of parents making their child's development a priority. But what about that child's nutrition? Our guest today is Mark Brooks, co-founder of Brainiac Foods. Mark, together with his co-founder Jonathan Wolfson, found that certain nutrients were essential to early brain development; notably choline and omega-3. The problem is, it's not always easy to get your child to ingest foods that contain these nutrients. So the two founders decided to put a twist on a product that was already a hit in school lunchboxes: yogurt. By adding choline and omega-3 to yogurt they were able to support early-childhood brain development without asking parents (or kids) to sacrifice taste for growth. Listen in as we cover everything from why they're not trying to be the #1 applesauce company, why food is the first line of defense when it comes to healthcare, and why it's not nutritious if it's not eaten.

Digging for Kryptonite: A Superman Fan Journey
The Donnerverse Part II—Superman '78 & Action Comics

Digging for Kryptonite: A Superman Fan Journey

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 30, 2022 148:40


Host Anthony Desiato presents a double feature digging into director Richard Donner's impact on the world of Superman comics. In the first half of the episode, Anthony welcomes 13th Dimension editor-in-chief Dan Greenfield to discuss the 2021 SUPERMAN '78 miniseries by Robert Venditti & Wilfredo Torres, which features an all-new story set within the universe and continuity of SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. Then, in the second half, Anthony and guest Scott Honig examine the 2006-2008 ACTION COMICS storylines "Last Son" (co-written by Donner & Geoff Johns with art by Adam Kubert) and "Brainiac" (written by Johns with art by Gary Frank). This is Part 2 of a 5-episode event examining the works and influence of Donner across film and comics. Digging for Kryptonite is a Flat Squirrel Production. Key art by Gregg Schigiel and theme music by Basic Printer. Support the show and receive exclusive podcast content at https://www.patreon.com/anthonydesiato (Patreon.com/AnthonyDesiato). The spinoff podcast DIGGING FOR JUSTICE: A DC MOVIE FAN JOURNEY premieres this April on Patreon at all reward levels. Join the conversation by becoming part of the https://www.facebook.com/groups/flatsquirrelpodcastnetwork (Flat Squirrel Podcast Network Facebook Group), and follow DFK on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/diggingforkryptonitepod (@diggingforkryptonitepod)) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/diggingforkrpod (@diggingforkrpod)). Visit https://www.flatsquirrelproductions.com/ (FlatSquirrelProductions.com) for more film and podcast projects. Visit https://www.bcwsupplies.com/?acc=flatsquirrel (BCW Supplie)s and use promo code FSP to save 10% on your next order of comics supplies.

Ace Comicals
128: ACE COMICALS PRESENTS- CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS

Ace Comicals

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2022 102:29


In this episode, Greg and Leon are joined by special guest Marvyn to discuss DC's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (https://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/crisis-on-infinite-earths-1985/crisis-on-infinite-earths). The 1985-1986 DC Comics event that launched a thousand large scale universe shattering events! We get right to the marrow of the trail-blazing crossover event that forever changed the comics landscape. In 1985 nothing this big and far reaching, with such deep and lasting reprocussions within the DC Universe had ever been attempted before. We discuss the genesis of the large scale crossover and what was happening at DC Comics that might have made it necessary! We talk about the boundless creative energy behind CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (https://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/crisis-on-infinite-earths-1985/crisis-on-infinite-earths), it's meteoric impact and it's enduring legacy. In this episode we cover: * Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-12 * History of the DC Universe #1-2 Send any questions or feedback to (mailto:acecomicals@gmail.com) acecomicals@gmail.com. And also please subscribe (http://www.acecomicals.com/subscribe) and leave us a review! If you like what we do please consider donating to us (https://ko-fi.com/acecomicals) at https://ko-fi.com/acecomicals. All contributions will be used to defray the cost of hosting the website. Ace Comicals, over and out!# Special Guest: Marvyn Lafayette.

Your Brain on Facts
Fell on Black Days: Sunday (ep. 189)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2022 34:46


(Get Surfshark VPN at https://surfshark.deals/MOXIE - Enter promo code MOXIE for 83% off and 3 extra months free!) T-shirt for Ukraine, all proceeds and matching donation to Ukraine Red Cross at yourbrainonfacts.com/merch There are four Sundays a month, but more than a dozen days we call "Black Sunday."  Here are three -- two forces of nature and one parade of schadenfreude. 02:42 Black Blizzard 12:45 Bondi Beach 24:42 Disneyland Quote reader: Vlado from It's Not Rocket Surgery Promo: Remnant Stew Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi.  Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Dan Lebowitz,  Kevin MacLeod,  Want to start a podcast or need a better podcast host?  Get up to TWO months hosting for free from Libsyn with coupon code "moxie."   Every year, tens of millions people or so go through Denver International Airport, the fifth busiest in the country and in the top 20 busiest in the world.  That's a lot of bodies to get from hither to yon, so the airport relies heavily on Automated Guideway Transit System, a people-mover that connects all of the midfield concourses with the south terminal, providing the only passenger access to concourses B and C.  And in 1995, a day that will live in infamy for staff and passengers alike, the system failed.  They refer to that day as Black Sunday.  My name's…   So I said to myself the other day, you know what would make a good topic, days with colorful sobriquets, surely there are enough of those to write about.  In what they call a good problem to have, there are in fact, too many!  Most of the “black.”  So I'm starting with a few Black Sundays and if you thinks it's a fruitful area of discussion, I'll make it a series, maybe one a month.  I'd space them out because you don't hear about the planes that land and you don't call a day Black whatever if everything was chill.  As such, today's episode is two heavy topics and one packed with schadenfreude, so gauge how you're feeling today.,  I don't mind waiting – it's not how long you wait, it's who you're waiting for.  We're going to go heavy, heavy, light, as decided by folks in our Facebook group, the Brainiac Breakroom, where anyone can share clever or funny things they find; same goes to the ybof sud-reddit.   Speaking of social media, folks are starting to post pictures of themselves wearing their Russian Warship go F yourself shirts to raise money for the Ukraine red cross (url).  Thanks to them specifically and I want to send a sweeping cloud of thanks to people in other countries for taking in the refugees.  Speaking of refugees, there was a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans were refugees in their own country.  During WWI, wheat prices rose and farming in the open prairies of the great plains was an attractive proposition.  Homesteaders and farmers set up shop, ripping up or tilling under the native grasses that had evolved as part of that ecosystem, with long roots that both held onto lots of soil, but reached down far enough to reach water waaay below the topsoil, allowing it to better survive drought conditions.  But we don't like to eat those grasses, so they replaced it with shallow-rooted wheat.  The rain stopped falling in 1931, leaving instead a severe widespread drought that lasted the rest of the decade, eventually killed thousands of square miles of wheat fields.  No other crops, either, and nothing to feed livestock.  Without live plants to hold onto the topsoil, it blew away.  The prairie wind became a sandstorm and people's livelihoods blew away.  It got so bad, the dust clouds eventually reached the east coast and beyond.  At the same time, they had this Great Depression on, a real nuisance, you've seen the movies, Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, the other versions of Of Mice and Men, O Brother Where Art Thou (only time I enjoyed George Clooney), and dozens more.  The price of wheat [sfx raspberry] and people lost their jobs left right and center.  Many families were left with no choice but to pile whatever they still had left onto the family car and follow rumors of work, sometimes migrating all the way to California, where, even though they were regular ol' ‘Mericans, they were treated like foreign invaders.   Black Blizzard, American Dust Bowl, 1938   That's a broad-stroke quickie overview – and boy do I want to rewatch Carnivale for the fourth time (love me some Clancy Brown, rawr, I still would) – but we're here to talk about one day, a black Sunday, brought on by a black blizzard.  It's a blizzard but made up of dirt so thick, it blocks out the sun.  14 hit black blizzards hit in 1932, 38 in 1933, up to 70 by 1937 and so on.  The worst of it hit Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.  The storms became so frequent that people could discern the origin of the storm by the color of its dirt – brown dust storms were from Kansas or Nebraska, gray from Texas, and red dust storms were from Oklahoma.    People tried to protect themselves from breathing the dust and cloth masks were the least of it.  They'd hang wet sheets over doorways and seal up windows, sometimes with a paste ironically made of wheat flour because that's what they could get. They'd rub petroleum jelly into their nostrils, anything to try to prevent the “brown plague,” dust pneumonia.  Constant inhalation of dust particles killed hundreds of people, babies and young children particularly, and sickened thousands of others.   1934 was the single worst drought year of the last millennium in North America, temperatures soared, exceeding 100 degrees everyday for weeks on much of the Southern Plains, absolutely *baking the soil.  When spring of 1935 rolled around, there was a whole lot more dry dirt ready to be thrown into the air.  After months of brutal conditions, the winds finally died down on the morning of April 14, 1935, and people jumped on the chance to escape their homes.  Hope springs eternal and people thought maybe it was finally over.   It was, of course, not over.  The worst was standing in the wings in full costume, waiting for its cue.  A cold front down from Canada crashed into warm air over the Dakotas.  In a few hours, the temperature fell more than 30 degrees and the wind returned in force, creating a dust cloud that grew to hundreds of miles wide and thousands of feet high as it headed south.  Reaching its full fury in southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, it turned a sunny day totally dark.  Birds, mice and jackrabbits fled for their lives.  Have you ever heard the sound *one terrified rabbit makes?  I would not want to be on the ground while this was happening.  Domestic animals like cattle that couldn't get to shelter were blinded and even suffocated by the dust.   Drivers were forced to take refuge in their cars, while other residents hunkered down anywhere they could, from fire stations to tornado shelters to under beds if a bed was the closest you could find to safety.  Folksinger Woody Guthrie, then 22, who sat out the storm at his Pampa, Texas, home, recalled that “you couldn't see your hand before your face.” Inspired by proclamations from some of his companions that the end of the world was at hand, he composed a song titled “So Long, It's Been Good to Know Yuh.”  [sfx song] Guthrie would also write other tunes about Black Sunday, including “Dust Storm Disaster.”   The storm dragged on for hours and peoples' wits began to fray.  One woman reportedly thought the merciless howling wind blocking out the sky was the start of the Biblical end of the world – can't imagine how she arrived there-- contemplated killing her child to spare them being collateral damage in a war between heaven and hell.  By all accounts it was the worst black blizzard of the Dust Bowl, displacing 300,000 tons of topsoil.  That would be enough to cover a square area of .4mi/750 m on each side a foot deep.  “Everybody remembered where they were on Black Sunday,” said Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, a history professor at Iowa State University and the author of “Rooted in Dust: Surviving Drought and Depression in Southwestern Kansas.”  “For people on the Southern Plains, it was one of those defining experiences, like Pearl Harbor or Kennedy's assassination.”   The Black Sunday storm blew its dust all the way to the east coast, causing street lights to be needed during the day in Washington DC and even coating the decks of ships in the Atlantic ocean.  The next day, as the remnants of the storm blew out into the Gulf of Mexico, an Associated Press reporter filed a story in which he referred to “life in the dust bowl of the continent,” coining the phrase that would encapsulate a phenomenon, a place, and a time.  Inspired by the myriad tales of suffering that proliferated in Black Sunday's wake, the federal government began paying farmers to take marginal lands out of production. It also incentivized improved agricultural practices, such as contour plowing and crop rotation, which reduced soil loss roughly 65 percent. By then, however, many families had given up hope and ¼-⅓ of the most affected people fled the Southern Plains, never to return.  But in the win column, thanks to better agricultural management practices, the massive black blizzards never returned either. Bondi Beach, Australia, 1938   The phrase Black Sunday isn't exclusive to the US, of course.  My one sister's adoptive country of Australia has had their fair share as well.  Like Black Sunday from 1926, an especially bad day during an already disastrous bushfire season.  60 people were killed and 700 injured.  Or the Black Sunday bushfires across South Australia in 1955.  60 fire brigades and 1,000 volunteers were needed to get the fires under control.  Thankfully this time only 2 people died that time.     On the far side of the element wheel is the story of Bondi Beach, minutes east of Sydney, on a February Sunday in 1938.  Sydney had recently celebrated its 150th birthday, or sesqui-centenary, with a big old parade and events planned to last until April.  The city was a-bustle with visitors, many of whom joined the locals spending the hot, sunny day at Bondi Beach.     The sky was clear, but the sea was already acting a fool. A large swell was hitting the coast and lifeguards at Bondi were busy all day Saturday pulling people from the heavy surf, as many as 74 rescues in one hour.  Despite the heavy seas, beach inspectors gave a mayor of Amity-approved thumbs-up to opening the beach on Sunday, February 6.  Beachgoers started coming and coming and coming.  The morning started out relatively quiet for the lifeguards, but business got brisk, even as they tried to wave swimmers toward safer parts of the beach.  As the tide moved out, more and more people ventured out to a sandbar that ran parallel to the beach.  The crowd had grown to 35,000, enjoying the surf and sand.  Extra surf reels were brought out to the beach as they tried to keep pace with the ballooning battery of bathers.  A lifesaving reel is an Australian invention that was brilliant in its simplicity.  It was a giant reel of rope, with a belt or harness at the end, in a portable stand.  The life saver would attach the harness to his or her self then swim out to the struggling swimmer or surfer.  The lifeguard –and I am going to persist in saying the American lifeguard rather than the Australian lifesaver– then puts the rescuee in the harness and a lifeguard on the beach would reel them in.  The lifeguard in the water either accompanies that person back or goes on to rescue someone else.      Boat crews were out in the water dropping buoys to mark out a race course for weekly races held by and for the Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club.  This would turn out to be as fortuitous as when a woman had a heart attack on a trans-atlantic flight, but there were 15 cardiologists on board, going to a conference.  At about 3.00 p.m. two duty patrols were changing shifts at the Bondi surf club and some 60 club members were mingling around waiting for the competition.    Suddenly, five tremendous waves crashed high onto the beach, one right after the other, in such quick succession that the water could not recede.  Even though most bathers were only standing in water up to their waists, they were thrown onto the beach, and pummeled by the following waves.  Then the water receded.  What goes up must come down and what comes in must go back out.  The backwash, which is the term for water on the beach finding its level and returning to the ocean, swept people who'd been nowhere near the water, including non-swimmers who never planned to get in the water, into the water.  The people on the sandbar were then swept further out.  The club recorded 180 people, but news reports at the time put the figure as high as 250 – 250 people now in need of rescue, panicking and thrashing in the surf.     All hands from the Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club lept into action.  Beltmen took every available line out, many went in without belts and held up struggling bathers.  Lifesaver Carl Jeppesen is said to have simply dived into the surf to rescue six people without the aid of a surf reel.  One of the main problems was not lack of assistance but too much unskilled help from the huge crowd on the beach.  One beltman, George Pinkerton, was dragged under water by members of the public trying to haul him in. He ended up in need of medical attention. Once the lines had been cleared and a certain amount of order restored, the lifeguards could get on with the job.  Thankfully there were people who *could help.  “I was co-opted into the situation because I was a strong swimmer and they put me on a line,'' said Ted Lever, just 16 at the time, a member of the Bondi Amateur Swimming Club who would soon be invited to join the renowned Bondi lifesaving club.    Even when the well-meaning public had been cleared from the lines to leave them in trained hands, there were still problems. The beltmen often found themselves swamped by swimmers seeking assistance. Some of them had to punch their way through a wall of distressed bathers to get to others in more danger.  One beltman spoke of being seized by five men who refused to let go.  “I was trying to take the belt to a youngster who was right out the back but I didn't get the chance.  As I went by, dozens yelled for help and tried to grab me.  I told them to hang on to the rope as soon as I got it out.  I didn't think I had a chance when they all came at me.  One grabbed me around the neck, two others caught me by one arm, another around the waist and another one seized my leg.  I hit the man who had me around the neck, managed to get him on his chin and he let go.  I had to do it; but for that, I would have been drowned myself.”   The boat was still out after laying the buoys but the crew were waiting for the race to start, but they were completely unaware of the chaos just off the beach.  Nobody thought to signal them, but even if they had, the boat could have posed a danger to people in the water with overactive waves and rip currents.   It was difficult to tell exactly how many people had been rescued during the course of that chaotic 20 minutes.  Rescued swimmers were brought up the beach by the dozens.  About 60 needed to be resuscitated to one degree or another.  Five people died, including one man who died saving a girl.   American doctor Marshall Dyer, there on vacation, helped resuscitate swimmers.  “I have never seen, nor expect to see again, such a magnificent achievement as that of your lifesavers,'' he said. ``It is the most incredible work of love in the world.''   There were inarguably many heroes on Bondi Beach that day, but the Lifesavers' club stance afterwards was that “everyone did his job.”  “It must be realised that though perhaps less spectacular, the work on the beach and in the clubhouse was just as necessary if not more so,'' he told a newspaper.  Instead of recognising individuals for their efforts the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia recommended the entire club for a special meritorious award.   Opening day of Disneyland, 1955   even a potential COVID outbreak or the measles outbreak they had a few years ago would pale in comparison to the disaster that was opening day at Disney.  Disneyland is known as the happiest place on Earth.  But when the park opened on July 17, 1955, the now-ubiquitous nickname was downright ironic.  Disney employees who survived the day referred to it as Black Sunday.  So opening day at Disney was a bit more like the Simpsons episode where they went to itchy and scratchy world. The opening day was meant to be a relatively intimate affair, by invite only, not for every Huey, Dewey and Lewey.  If you were friends and family of the employees, members of the press, and celebrities of the day, you received a ticket in the mail.  If you were everyone else, you bought a counterfeit ticket.  The park was only expecting 15,000 guests; 28,000 showed up, nearly doubled what they prepared for.  Well, what they meant to prepare for, we'll ride the teacups back around to that in a sec.  The counterfeit tickets might have been better than the legit ones, as those were only good for half the day, morning or afternoon, to spread the workload out more evenly.  The morning tickets had an end time of 2:30 pm, when, assumably, they figured people would see that and just say, oh, bother, my time is up, guess I'll leave then.  Nobody did that.  One is stunned.  You buy a ticket for a theme park, you're there all day.  So the morning people were still milling about when the afternoon people started showing up.  And then there were the people who started just sneaking in.  One enterprising self-starter set a ladder up against the outside fence and charged people $5 to climb it.  That's about $50 adjusted for inflation, many many times over for schlepping along a ladder that I like to think he nicked from his neighbor's yard.    A lot of things were not ready on opening day, within the park and without.  The Santa Ana Freeway outside turned into a 7 mile long parking lot.  The opening of the park essentially shut the freeway down.  There were so many people waiting so long, according to some media reports, there was rampant [] relief on the side of the road and even in the Disney parking lot.  Like the video for Everybody Hurts, if folks couldn't hold their water.  If you just flashed back to your life when that video came out, be sure to stretch before you mow the lawn and don't forget your big sun hat.     Today might think of a Disney park as being meticulously manicured and maintained.  Opening day, not so much.  Walt Disney tried to have everything ready on time, hustling his people to work faster, but there's only so much you can do.  So there were bare patches of ground, some areas of bare ground that had been painted green, weeds where the lawns and flowers were meant to be.  Weeds and native flora that they couldn't get rid of in time, they instead put little signs with the Latin name of the plant in the weeds, so it kind of looks like it was meant to be there.  Turn a liability into an asset, I always say.  Returning to the topic of bathrooms, there was a plumber's strike going on during construction; Walt basically had to decide between working water fountains or working toilets.  Florida heat notwithstanding, he chose to have the toilets working, and I'd say that was probably a good call.  If you've ever played theme park tycoon or any of those games now, you know that a lack of water fountains means people *have to pay for drinks now…  Or they would… if the park's concessions had been fully stocked.  The overabundance of people meant that the food and drink sold out completely in just a couple of hours.  Did I mention it was literally 100 deg freedom/38C that day?  The asphalt had been finished so close to opening that it began sticking to people's shoes.  Some people even claimed to have gotten their shoes completely stuck to the pavement on Main Street, where lots of people spent lots of time, because the rides, kind of a big deal at a theme park, they were not ready.  A number of rides, like Peter Pan's Flight, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage, and the famous Flying Dumbo either broke down or never opened at all.   Disney's Black Sunday lasted for weeks.  A Stagecoach ride in Frontierland permanently closed when it became clear that they were as safe against rollovers as a Bronco II with a roof rack loaded with building supplies.  36 cars in Autopia crashed due to aggressive driving on the part of the patrons.  I'm starting to wonder if Disney ever met people.  Ironically, the ride was designed to help children learn to be respectful drivers on the road.  There were a number of live animals in a circus attraction, which was not great when a Tiger and a Panther escaped, which resulted in a furious death struggle on Main Street, USA.  Now that's an attraction you can't pay for, like Baghera vs Sher Khan, 8 years before The Jungle Book.  Like the park, the Mark Twain Riverboat was over capacity on opening day with over 500 people cramming onto the boat, causing it to jump its tracks and sink in the mud.  It took about half an hour to get it back onto the rail, and as soon as it pulled up to the landing, everyone rushed to one side of the boat to get off…. and tipped it over.  Thankfully, the water was shallow and there were no injuries.  There was, however, a gas leak inside Sleeping Beauty's Castle, which could have been a serious problem and prompted the closing of Adventureland, Fantasyland and Frontierland for a few hours because, whoopsie-doodles, Sleeping Beauty's Castle is on fire.  Well, trying to catch fire.  Reports vary as to how severe it actually was.  Walt was so busy handling the press that he didn't even learn about the fire until the following day.  That's how chaotic things were.     Disney was a shrewd and clever businessman, so he thought, I am opening this park. Let's make this into a big live television event.  He partnered with ABC, which had also helped provide nearly a third of the funding.  In return, Walt Disney would host a weekly TV show about what people could expect to see in Disneyland for the year before it opened.  So on opening day, Walt hosted a 90 minutes live TV special with Art Linkletter and future President Ronald Reagan.  90 million people tuned in to see the happiest place on Earth and that kind of ratings was no mean feat for the 50's.  The cameras showed all of the fun and excitement of Disneyland, completely obscuring all of the disasters and unhappiness that was actually happening.  But if you think the live broadcast would go off without a hitch, you may have pattern-recognition problems.  It was riddled with technical difficulties.  Parkgoers kept tripping over camera cables that snaked all over the park.  They were on-air flubs, mics that didn't work, people who forgot their mic *did work, and unexpected moments caught on camera, such as co host Bob Cummings caught making out with one of the dancers.  “This is not so much a show as is a special event,” Art Linkletter said during the broadcast.  “The rehearsal went about the way you'd expect a rehearsal to go if you were covering three volcanoes, all erupting at the same time and you didn't expect any of them. So from time to time, if I say we take you now by camera to the snapping crocodiles in adventure land and instead somebody pushes the wrong button and we catch Irene done adjusting her bustle on the Mark Twain. Don't be too surprised.”  And that's…. The train system is essential for the airport to function at its full capacity since it provides the only passenger access to Concourses B and C. In rare instances of the train system being out of service, shuttle buses have been used. While the system is highly reliable, one major system failure took place on April 26, 1998. A routing cable in the train tunnel was damaged by a loose wheel on one of the trains, cutting the entire system's power. The system was out of service for about seven hours. United Airlines, DIA's largest airline (who operates a large hub out of Concourse B), reported that about 30 percent of their flights and about 5,000 passengers were affected by the failure.     Sources: find sources for Disney https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2013/11/historical-echoes-what-color-is-my-day-of-the-week/ https://www.history.com/news/remembering-black-sunday https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/black-sunday-1938-hundreds-washed-out-to-sea-on-bondi-beach-as-freak-waves-kill-five-injure-dozens/news-story/2f584af7365abc298d039d42e5f2ddf1 https://bondisurfclub.com/the-club/history/black-sunday/ https://www.history.com/news/dust-bowl-migrants-california https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnEErB6sPRY https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1925%E2%80%9326_Victorian_bushfire_season https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sunday_bushfires https://web.archive.org/web/20110927091319/http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/19553/Black_Sunday.pdf https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/black-sunday-1938-hundreds-washed-out-to-sea-on-bondi-beach-as-freak-waves-kill-five-injure-dozens/news-story/2f584af7365abc298d039d42e5f2ddf1 http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/159183/Bondis_Black_Sunday,_1938_rev.pdf https://bondisurfclub.com/the-club/history/black-sunday/ https://web.archive.org/web/20110927091319/http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/19553/Black_Sunday.pdf https://www.history.com/news/remembering-black-sunday https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/1000-mile-long-storm-showed-horror-life-dust-bowl-180962847/ https://alchetron.com/Denver-International-Airport-Automated-Guideway-Transit-System  

Say It Skillfully™
Say It Skillfully® – Ryan Berman on Brave, Bullish & Brainiacs

Say It Skillfully™

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2022 60:00


Say It Skillfully® is a show that helps you to benefit from Molly Tschang's expert guidance on the best possible ways to speak your mind at work in a positive and productive manner. In Episode 124, Molly has a lively conversation with Ryan Berman, who inspires us to “fear more”! Don't miss this incredible journey and many gems that help us choose courage and succeed on our terms. With gratitude, Ryan acknowledges his lucky start. He grew up with supportive parents in a “very safe bubble” with a big brother showing him what NOT to do! ;-) Innately competitive, he was driven to play many sports, though always with a smile. He shares the *game changing* experience of his youth, along with his childhood demon: the label of “being good with people.” He's open about internalizing this as “I'm the dumb one” and taking a decade to finally let that go. The unintended benefit was his obsession to outwork everyone. A tv/radio major in college, Ryan talks fondly of his chance opening to pursue his love of creativity in New York City and the “madmen” era of advertising (have a chuckle at his first foray at “jingles”). He's confident that “our jobs pick us!” A self-proclaimed “compensated observationalist,” he encourages hearing what's NOT said. Much to learn from his perseverance and patience! Ryan shares undertaking his book and the realization in hindsight that he needed the book! And he notes how his different experiences have all contributed to his ability and success in founding Courageous, a change consultancy that helps companies operationalize courage. Ryan shares his “put it all on the line” moment as he took a leap to start anew—embracing “fear more” (not a fan of the term “fearless”). Ryan and Molly also cover his focus on “believership vs. leadership” and the distinction between resilience as a response to change and courage, to proactively drive it. Ryan's antidote to the great resignation involves clarity, conviction and a great story. There's much to digest personally and professionally in this episode. Join this master storyteller and hear his—you'll appreciate his mantras: “Courageous ideas are the only ones that matter.” “Mistake it ‘til you make it.” Learn how to navigate work while being invaluable and true to yourself. Molly's thought for the week: “Don't just look at the world differently, do the world differently.” —Ryan Berman. Choose #Courage! The Book: Return on Courage http://www.returnoncourage.com/ The Podcast: Courageous Podcast https://lnkd.in/dYXsXvv The Company: Courageous http://www.couragebrands.com/ Your Challenge: Are You Courageous? https://vimeo.com/417691766 Resources to help you #sayitskillfully

Our Gifted Kids Podcast
#047 Understanding Your Rainforest Mind with Paula Prober

Our Gifted Kids Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 22, 2022 57:50


#047 Understanding Your Rainforest Mind with Paula Prober It is Neurodiversity Celebration Week next week and we are diving into neurodiversity and what it is like to figure out you are neurodivergent as an adult. In the episode, we talk to the wonderful Paula Prober and seek to understand ourselves through her analogy of the Rainforest Mind; a subset of the gifted community that is especially creative. We dive into what is a rainforest mind? What is a multipotentialite? And why it's important to work on yourself, especially if you're a parent. Hit play and let's get started! Memorable Quote “The key thing, I think, is to recognize that you have a right to take care of yourself and it's a big gift that you give your kids because you heal whatever wounding you have, you understand yourself and you're more apt to understand your kids.” – Paula Prober “One of the traits of the rainforest minded person, which is someone who is interested in everything, is they want to do everything, but it's so hard to… settle into a certain career path because they feel like they have to give up all these other ones to do this one. So then I talk to them about - you don't have to do the same thing. Once you decide to do this one thing, you don't have to do that for the rest of your life. You can do it for a while and then go to the next thing. And the next thing. I have a client who stays in a job maybe for two years, and then she's ready to go to something else and not everybody can do that, but the multipotentialite gifted person is highly creative and, and so they have so many interests and ability, so many things that they are capable of doing. So how do you decide, how do you choose?... So that's where I come in. I help normalize that in a way, right?” – Paula Prober Resources Rainforest Mind Paula Prober on Instagram #paulaprober Paula Prober on Twitter @paulaprober Paula Prober on Facebook @paula.prober First Book by Paula Prober - Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth Second book by Paula Prober - Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens Bio – Paula Prober Paula Prober is a licensed psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon, USA. She specializes in counselling gifted adults and youth (in the state of Oregon) and consults with parents of gifted children and with gifted adults internationally. Before becoming a therapist in 1992, she was a teacher in public schools and she worked with gifted children in grades 1-8. She's been an adjunct instructor with University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University, and a presenter at multiple conferences, podcasts, and webinars. Her book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press. Her second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists was released in June 2019. Subscribe & Review If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I'd love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments. For more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast please leave a review. You can find show notes and more resources at www.ourgiftedkids.com See you in the same place next week. Connect Connect with me on LinkedIn Instagram & Facebook!  

Your Brain on Facts
Tax and Taxonomy (ep. 188)

Your Brain on Facts

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 22, 2022 34:36


(Get Surfshark VPN at https://surfshark.deals/MOXIE - Enter promo code MOXIE for 83% off and 3 extra months free!) T-shirt for Ukraine, all proceeds and matching donation to Ukraine Red Cross at yourbrainonfacts.com/merch Who you gonna believe -- me or your lying eyes?  Today we look at court cases where people try to avoid taxes by arguing that things aren't the things that they clearly are. 00:50 Tomato 08:18 Jaffa Cakes 17:48 Hydrox vs Oreo 37:40 X-Men Links to all the research resources are on the website. Hang out with your fellow Brainiacs.  Reach out and touch Moxie on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram.  Become a patron of the podcast arts! Patreon or Ko-Fi.  Or buy the book and a shirt. Music: Kevin MacLeod,  Want to start a podcast or need a better podcast host?  Get up to TWO months hosting for free from Libsyn with coupon code "moxie."   We like labels, as humans we like labeling things.  Taxonomy is the branch of science concerned with classification and there used to be several inconsistent and sometimes conflicting systems of classification in use.  Then came Carl Linneaus and his influential “Systema Naturae” in 1735, laying down the system we use to this day.  Linnaeus was the first taxonomist to list humans as a primate, though he did classify whales as fish. Years later, a New York court agreed with him.  My name's… D&D Stats Explained With Tomatoes Strength is being able to crush a tomato. Dexterity is being able to dodge a tomato. Constitution is being able to eat a bad tomato. Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad. Charisma is being able to sell a tomato based fruit salad.   TOMATOES So that's more clear, but it raises a rather mad –and for some, maddening– question: Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?  Well, yes, it's both, but actually no.  Botanically, it's a fruit. But legally, it's not.  A fruit is technically the seed-bearing structure of a plant whereas a vegetable can be virtually any part of the plant we eat.     Things must have been slow in March of 1893, because this definition was set by the Supreme Court.  The issue at hand was tariffs, specifically a 10% tariff on the import of vegetables into the United States.  Just veggies.  Imported fruits were not.  This was of particular interest to John Nix of Manhattan.  He ran a produce wholesale business along with his four sons and found himself the proud owner of an enormous tax bill on a shipment of Caribbean tomatoes.  John Nix & Co. were one of the largest sellers of produce in New York City at the time, and one of the first companies to bring the Empire state produce from such far-flung places as Florida and Bermuda.  Nix disputed the tax on the grounds that tomatoes were scientifically-supportably fruit.  Full of seeds, ain't they?  That's the part that seems to turn grown adults into fussy toddlers when their burger has a tomato despite their very clear instructions.  Worse than the anti-pickle crowd.  Anyway, Nix filed a suit against Edward L. Hedden, Collector of the Port of New York, to get back the tax money he'd been forced to pay under protest.    The crux of Nix's case was the opening of an uninspired speech -  counsel read the definitions of the words "fruit," "vegetables," and tomato from Webster's Dictionary, Worcester's Dictionary, and the Imperial Dictionary.  Judgment for the plaintiff, case closed!  But wait, there's more.  Not to be outdone, defendant's counsel then read into evidence the Webster's definitions of the words pea, eggplant, cucumber, squash, and pepper.  Oh, it's on now! Countering this, the plaintiff then read in the definitions of potato, turnip, parsnip, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot and bean.  That's when, I assume, all hell broke loose in the courtroom and perhaps a giant musical number broke out.  Just trying to jazz it up a bit.  Nix's side called two witnesses, not botanists or linguists, but men with a lot of years in the fruit & veg business, to say whether these words had "any special meaning in trade or commerce, different from those read."   The supreme court decided to look more practically and less pedantically at the situation and ruled that it's how a tomato is used that makes it a vegetable, not the official scientific definition.  If people cook and eat them like vegetables, then vegetables they must be, and so they were subject to the tariff.  “Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas,” wrote Justice Horace Gray in his 1893 opinion. “But in the common language of the people, whether sellers or consumers of provisions, all these are vegetables.”     What was really important about Nix's case was the timing.  We're talking late Victorian, after the age of sail had been obviated by the steam power of the industrial revolution.  You might have heard about it, it was in all the papers.  Ships could now cross the Atlantic in 1-2 weeks, rather than the 6-12 weeks it took in a century prior.  Foods from th