In 1959, Texas journalist John Howard Griffin darkened his skin and lived for six weeks as a black man in the segregated South. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe his harrowing story and what it showed about the true state of race relations in America.
We'll also ponder crescent moons, German submarines, and griffins in India and puzzle over why a man would be arrested for winning a prize at a county fair.
If you opened a box of Quaker Oats in 1955, you'd find a deed to one square inch of land in northwestern Canada. Read the rest
In the 1850s, settlers in western Nevada were cut off from the rest of the world each winter by deep snow. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll learn about their lifeline, Norwegian immigrant John Thompson, who for 20 years carried mail, medicine, and supplies through 90 miles of treacherous snowdrifts on a pair of homemade skis.
We'll also hear listener contributions regarding prison camp escape aids in World War II and puzzle over how lighting a cigarette results in a lengthy prison sentence.
In 1910, four Alaskan gold miners set out to climb the highest peak in North America just to show that it could be done. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the surprising story of the Sourdough Expedition, a mountaineering effort that one modern climber calls "superhuman by today's standards."
We'll also hear about a ghoulish tourist destination and puzzle over why a painter would blame himself for World War II.
Felix von Luckner was a romantic hero in the Great War, a dashing nobleman who commanded an old-style sailing ship. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Luckner's uniquely civilized approach to warfare, which won admiration even from his enemies.
We'll also puzzle over how a product intended to prevent drug abuse ends up encouraging it.
One of the most fearless and admired stagecoach drivers of the Wild West was discovered after death to be a woman.
What happens to a town founded explicitly to reject Christianity?
We’re happy for the Hugos, sad for the last Terry Pratchett novel, and J.R.R. Tolkien has a new book. Plus, we wrap up Uprooted by Naomi Novik and make our peace with a trope.
The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon! Read the rest
Here are four new lateral thinking puzzles to test your wits! Read the rest