During World War II, Japan floated balloons across the Pacific to drop bombs on the U.S.

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Toward the end of World War II, Japan launched a strange new attack on the United States: thousands of paper balloons that would sail 5,000 miles to drop bombs on the American mainland. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll tell the curious story of the Japanese fire balloons, the world's first intercontinental weapon.

We'll also discuss how to tell time by cannon and puzzle over how to find a lost tortoise.

Show notes

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast recaps Game of Thrones S6E10, "The Winds of Winter"

Cersei Wineboarding

The sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones concludes, with what many are sure to call a literally explosive trial and a named character death toll to match. Each week following the show, Boars, Gore, and Swords recaps everything that goes down in the world of Westeros. To discuss this week's "The Winds of Winter," Ivan and Red are joined by Kelly Anneken to discuss Cersei's continuing stylistic reinventions, possible GIF-based meme density, Arya pulling a Cartman, ginger pride, and the greatest ongoing debate within male culture: how many kids you could fight at once. Stick with us now that the season's over as we go into our ASOIAF book club, while alternating with episodes covering other television, movies, and various media.

To catch up on previous seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon.

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The adventures of serial impostor Stanley Clifford Weyman

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Over the span of half a century, Brooklyn impostor Stanley Clifford Weyman impersonated everyone from a Navy admiral to a sanitation expert. When caught, he would admit his deception, serve his jail time, and then take up a new identity. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll review Weyman's surprisingly successful career and describe some of his more audacious undertakings.

We'll also puzzle over why the police would arrest an unremarkable bus passenger.

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Debullshitifying the EU referendum (radio comedy edition)

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BBC Radio 4's sketch comedy programme The Now Show has just posted a special podcast focused on Thursday's EU-UK referendum called The Vote Now Show: EU and Yours (MP3); it's both hilarious and intensely factual, which is a sadly compatible state of affairs. Read the rest

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast recaps Game of Thrones S6E09, "Battle of the Bastards"

Tyrion & Guards

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast recaps Game of Thrones S6E09, "Battle of the Bastards" The sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones reaches its penultimate episode, with an awesome, climactic battle leading to the comeuppance for which we've all been waiting. Each week following the show, Boars, Gore, and Swords recaps everything that goes down in the world of Westeros. To discuss this week's "Battle of the Bastards," Ivan and Red are joined by writer Maggie Tokuda-Hall to discuss what make-up you bring to the negotiating table, the gender dynamics of war councils, how Daenerys/Yara is the new greatest ship, and Ramsay's fate still being better than he deserves.

To catch up on previous seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

Debullshitifying the Brexit numbers

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On the BBC's More or Less podcast (previously), Tim Harford and his team carefully unpick the numerical claims made by both sides in the UK/EU referendum debate. Read the rest

What if all the active volcanoes on Earth erupted at the same time?

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In this episode, we take on a doomsday future: all the active volcanoes in the world erupt. At the same time. Kaboom. This is not good for us. What happens to humans and our planet? Who survives? How?

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We talk about the basics of a volcanic eruption, what makes something an active volcano, and all the terrible things that would happen if all 1,500 active volcanoes erupted at once.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast recaps Game of Thrones S6E08, "No One"

Blackfish & Brienne

The sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones nears its conclusion, as characters depart and return in their owns ways. Each week following the show, Boars, Gore, and Swords recaps everything that goes down in the world of Westeros. For this week's "No One," Ivan and Red discuss Terminator chases, Sandor Clegane's murder negotiations, and the most offscreen of any offscreen death in television history. To catch up on previous seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, or email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can support the podcast on Patreon. Read the rest

Why you judge things on the basis of the source of information

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We often overestimate and overstate just how much we can learn about a claim based on where that claim originated, and that’s the crux of the genetic fallacy, according to the experts in this episode.

The genetic fallacy appears when people trace things back to their sources, and if you traced back to their shared source the ad hominem attack (insulting the source instead of attacking its argument) and the argument from authority (praising the source instead of supporting its argument), you would find the genetic fallacy is the mother of both kinds of faulty reasoning.

You might be in danger of serially committing the genetic fallacy if your first instinct is to ask where attitude-inconsistent comes from once you feel the twinge of fear that appears after a belief is threatened.

In this episode, listen as three experts in logic and rationality when we should and when we should not take the source of a statement into account when deciding if something is true or false.

This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the eighth in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

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This episode is sponsored by Bombas – game-changing socks. Bombas decided to take socks seriously, by designing the most highly engineered, best-fitting, comfortable socks humans have ever imagined – and they look cool too. Go to Bombas.com/SOSMART for 20% off your first order.

This episode is also sponsored by Exo Protein. Read the rest

For 50 years, a London woman made a living selling the correct time.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast recaps Game of Thrones S6E07, "The Broken Man"

Lyanna Mormont

As season six of HBO's Game of Thrones continues, characters make returns both expected and incredibly unexpected. Each week following the show, Boars, Gore, and Swords recaps everything that goes down in the world of Westeros. For this week's "The Broken Man," Ivan and Red discuss skateboarding preachers, Margaery's manipulations, Yara's immersion therapy, and how Lady Mormont is the greatest character on the show even if she's only ten.

To catch up on previous seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

How you make excuses in order to maintain your beliefs

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Without realizing it, you sometimes apply a double standard to the things you love, believe, and consider crucial to your identity.

If you do this while arguing, it is sometimes called special pleading. You search for exemptions and excuses for why a rule or a description or a definition does not apply to something that you hold dear while still applying those standards to everything else.

You also use special pleading to explain away how something extraordinary failed to stand up to scrutiny, or why there is a lack of evidence for a difficult-to-believe claim that you personally think is credible.

One of the tools used by special pleaders is called moving the goalposts. Whenever your opponent eliminates one of your claims, you alter your claim just a smidge so that it remains right outside your opponent’s rhetorical grasp. When they do it again, you move your claim a bit more.

In this episode, listen as three experts in logic and reasoning dive deep into the odd thinking behind the special pleading fallacy and how you move the goalposts to keep from seeming incorrect.

This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the seventh in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

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This episode is brought to you by the MIT Press, publishing Marc Wittmann’s Felt Time The Psychology of How We Perceive Time. Read more about Felt Time and a few other new science, philosophy, language, and technology titles at mitpress.com/smart. Read the rest

Night Vale shorts that say "Creepy" on the butt

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Available as shorts ($25) or pants ($42), and they say "Creepy" on the butt, because they come from Night Vale, where "creepy" is a superlative. Read the rest

History podcasters occasionally mention women, butthurt dudes complain it's "all women"

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There's a well-studied phenomenon that men overestimate even occasional participation by, or mention of, women, but in case you had any doubt... Read the rest

How one man ran a company according to the Golden Rule

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In 1919, Ohio businessman Arthur Nash decided to run his clothing factory according to the Golden Rule and treat his workers the way he'd want to be treated himself. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll visit Nash's “Golden Rule Factory” and learn the results of his innovative social experiment.

We'll also marvel at metabolism and puzzle over the secrets of Chicago pickpockets.

Show notes

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What if all pop stars used avatars?

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Today we go to a future where all pop stars use avatars, clones, robots or cartoons instead of their real bodies and faces. What does that do to music? Can everybody pull off an avatar? And why would any pop star even want that?

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In this episode we talk about Beyonce clone conspiracy theories, how pop stars currently construct personas, and how fans might use their favorite star’s avatars. Plus, I go to a concert for a cartoon character.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast recaps Game of Thrones S6E06, "Blood of My Blood"

Samwell Tarly at The Wall

Season six of HBO's Game of Thrones soldiers on, with family reunions both fortunate and unfortunate. Each week following the show, Boars, Gore, and Swords recaps everything that goes down in the world of Westeros. On this week's "Blood of My Blood," Ivan and Red are accompanied by the fantastic Lisa Corrao to discuss new religious converts, bringing your north of the Wall girlfriend home to your family, Arya's position as theatre critic, and puppets both figurative and literal.

To catch up on previous seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

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