In 1824 the viceroy of Egypt sent a unique gift to the new king of France: a two-month-old giraffe that had just been captured in the highlands of Sudan. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the 4,000-mile journey of Zarafa, the royal giraffe, from her African homeland to the king's menagerie in Paris.
We'll also visit Queen Victoria's coronation and puzzle over a child's surprising recovery.
In the 1930s, Sinto boxer Johann Trollmann was reaching the peak of his career when the Nazis declared his ethnic inferiority. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe Trollmann’s stand against an intolerant ideology and the price he paid for his fame. We’ll also consider a British concentration camp and puzzle […]
In 1957, 14 boys from Monterrey, Mexico, walked into Texas to take part in a game of Little League baseball. What followed surprised and inspired two nations. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll tell the story of the Monterrey Industrials and their unlikely path into baseball history. We’ll also have dinner […]
In 1932, Yorkshireman Maurice Wilson chose a startling way to promote his mystical beliefs: He would fly to Mount Everest and climb it alone. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow Wilson’s misguided adventure, which one writer called “the most incredible story in all the eventful history of Mount Everest.” We’ll […]
Now that the world is starting to re-emerge from its self-imposed COVID-19 quarantine, we’re all going to have to start making some adjustments to both short-term and long-term changes. And the questions… Should customers be hounded out of a store if they aren’t wearing a face mask? Are crocheted face masks safe or not? And […]
Maybe you had a piano teacher as a kid that drove you off the instrument forever. Or maybe you always wished for some serious training, but never found the time. Whether you have dreams of tossing off a Beethoven or Chopin piece at the drop of a hat or you have visions of being the […]
When you see that curved arrow on the side of a cardboard box, you instantly know that box came from Amazon. The unfurled rainbow feathers of a peacock immediately scream NBC. And a partially eaten piece of fruit in the profile is a world-recognized symbol of tech titan Apple. Icons are powerful symbols, condensing volumes […]