It’s difficult to overstate the impact of syphilis on the Western world, and it remains a threat to this day despite effective antibiotic treatments. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the history of the illness and its cultural effects, from powdered wigs and false noses to surgical advances and vampire myths.
Doctors have called it the great imitator because this destructive venereal disease can manifest almost any symptom. Initially spreading through sexual contact, Syphilis can remain dormant in the body for decades before flaring up again in brutally disfiguring, debilitating and deadly ways. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the science of syphilis.
Hetty Green was the wealthiest woman in the U.S., but her eccentric behavior and miserly ways led to bad press and a less-than-flattering nickname. (And one we’d heard so many times from listeners that both of us were sure she’d been the subject of an episode before.)
What does it take to make yourself anonymous online? The Internet was made for sharing information, after all — concealing your communications and identity ain’t easy. We’re joined by Ben of Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know to break down why it’s so difficult and what lengths you’d have to go to if you wanted to surf truly anonymously.
The Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut, was founded with the plan that it would educate young men, convert them to Christianity, and then send them back home again to spread their new-found religion. Many of these young men were from Hawaii or belonged to to one of the continental United States’ Native American tribes, so the school quickly became known as the Heathen School.
Legendary weird fiction author H.P. Lovecraft revolutionized our understanding of supernatural horror in the early 20th century, but he was also a science writer and lived in a time of tremendous scientific advancement and global war. Join Robert and Julie as they chat with S.T. Joshi about the science of H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction and how it influenced popular culture. Plus, hear from a few HowStuffWorks podcast personalities on their own favorite Lovecraft tales.
Continuing on from Monday’s episode, today we tell the story of Andrews’ Raid, also known as the Great Locomotive Chase, from the time the raiders left Big Shanty until they were, in some cases posthumously, awarded the first Medals of Honor in the United States. (Also part of the story: a very dramatic jail break with an improbable route back to the Union.)
Another installment from our listener-submitted suggestions for happier history subjects: Today’s episode is about the Great Locomotive Chase, also known as Andrews’ Raid. This is the story of a Northern raid deep into Southern territory during the American Civil War. The objective: Steal a train outside Atlanta, drive it north, and destroy the tracks along the way, cutting Atlanta off from the rest of the Confederacy and seriously hampering the South’s war effort. The chase itself is a lot of fun, even though its aftermath takes a more serious turn.
This episode is two parts. The first takes us up to the actual theft of the train, and the second takes us all the way through some very dramatic prison escapes to where these train engines are today.
hen we asked for suggestions for happier history stories not long ago, we got a fair number of responses that were closer to “deeply upsetting” than “sunshine and unicorns” on the subject spectrum. Fortunately, Randy not only suggested longitude, but he also followed it with eight exclamation points. While not a 100 percent happy story, the story of longitude, and of European efforts to figure out how to calculate it, features inventions, clocks and shipwrecks – but mostly their prevention, not their carnage and loss. So: Randy wins.
The Teatro alla Scala is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world, and is Italy’s crown jewel of the arts. Even if you have only a passing knowledge of opera, odds are, you know a name connected to the history of this legendary cultural hub.
The word “Ebola” is enough to summon feelings of fear, body horror and even xenophobia. But don’t give in to paranoia. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie arm you with information about Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever.