In 1955, aliens from the planet Clarion contacted a Chicago housewife to warn her that the end of the world was imminent. Psychologist Leon Festinger saw this as a unique opportunity to test a new theory about human cognition. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow him inside a UFO religion as it approaches the apocalypse.
We'll also try to determine when exactly LBJ became president and puzzle over some wet streets.
In the 1870s, new farmsteads on the American plains were beset by enormous swarms of grasshoppers sweeping eastward from the Rocky Mountains. The insects were a disaster for vulnerable farmers, attacking in enormous numbers and devouring everything before them. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe the grasshopper plagues and the […]
When Maria Marten disappeared from the English village of Polstead in 1827, her lover said that they had married and were living on the Isle of Wight. But Maria’s stepmother began having disturbing dreams that hinted at a much grimmer fate. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll tell the story of […]
In 1952, New Zealander Tom Neale set out to establish a solitary life for himself on a remote island in the South Pacific. In all he would spend 17 years there, building a fulfilling life fending entirely for himself. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe Neale’s adventures on the island […]
Whether you own or rent your place, insurance on that home is a necessary hassle – but a new tech-driven company called Lemonade is starting to show that while it might indeed be a necessity, it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here’s the way insurance typically works: You pay premiums and hope an accident never happens. […]
Bad news: Your brain reaches its peak performance sometime before you turn 26, and it’s all downhill from there. Good news: At any age, training with brain exercises has big-time benefits. Better news? The Ultimate Memory Mastery Bundle hooks you up with 20 hours of proven psychology and neuroscience techniques to boost your brain and […]
Admit it…even having a pocket knife within reach at a moment’s notice makes you feel a little like James Bond, right? Like, if you run up against a locked vault or a sinister superweapon, all you’d need are a couple of hand-held tools to diffuse the whole situation and save the world. Look, we don’t […]