Futility Closet Podcast #003: Extreme Pedestrians, Kangaroo Stew, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Menu of a Paris restaurant from Christmas 1870, about 99 days into the Prussian siege

Hosted by Greg and Sharon Ross, Futility Closet is an interactive exploration of the popular website that catalogs more than 7,000 curiosities in history, language, mathematics, literature, philosophy, and art. In each episode we answer listener questions, discuss recent popular posts on the site, share readers' contributions on previous topics, present intriguing leads that we've encountered in our research, and offer a contest in which listeners can match their wits.

In 1926, a woman named Lillian Alling grew disenchanted with her life as a maid in New York City and resolved to return to her native Russia. She lacked the funds to sail east, so instead she walked west -- trekking 6,000 miles alone across the breadth of Canada and into Alaska. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll consider Alling's lonely, determined journey, compare it to the efforts of other long-distance pedestrians, and suggest a tool to plot your own virtual journey across the United States.

We'll also learn the truth about the balloon-borne messenger dogs of 1870 Paris, ponder the significance of October 4 to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and offer a chance to win a book in the next Futility Closet Challenge. (See show notes for the episode.)

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