In 1822, Irish thief Alexander Pearce joined seven convicts fleeing a penal colony in western Tasmania. As they struggled eastward through some of the most inhospitable terrain on Earth, starvation pressed the party into a series of grim sacrifices. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the prisoners on their nightmarish bid for freedom.
We'll also unearth another giant and puzzle over an eagle's itinerary.
As the Civil War fractured Washington D.C., socialite Rose O’Neal Greenhow coordinated a vital spy ring to funnel information to her beloved Confederates. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe Greenhow’s courage and resourcefulness, which won praise from Jefferson Davis and notoriety in the North. We’ll also fragment the queen’s birthday […]
In 1961, Goya’s famous portrait of the Duke of Wellington went missing from London’s National Gallery. The case went unsolved for four years before someone unexpectedly came forward to confess to the heist. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe one of the greatest art thefts in British history and the […]
In the 1940s, Frances Glessner Lee brought new rigor to crime scene analysis with a curiously quaint tool: She designed 20 miniature scenes of puzzling deaths and challenged her students to investigate them analytically. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death and their importance to […]
There are few intellectual exercises better than a good game of chess against a capable opponent, which is why a lot of old hands at the gameplay it online. But there’s still nothing like the tactile thrill of moving a knight into checkmate. (Or sweeping the pieces off dramatically when you lose.) That’s why we’re […]
Got a real music junkie on your list this year? It’s a good bet that they already have a solid pair of earbuds, but probably nothing quite like these Seeds Earphones. Here’s the thing: Wireless earbuds are all the rage right now, and there are a lot of good reasons for that. But for true […]
When it comes to the qualities of a good project manager, you hear a lot of talk about “soft skills” like leadership ability and confidence. And where does confidence come from? It comes from people who are dead certain they know the right steps to take. In other words, you’ve got to master the hard […]