305-Cast Away in the New World

Marooned in Florida in 1528, four Spanish colonists made an extraordinary journey across the unexplored continent. Their experiences changed their conception of the New World and its people. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the remarkable odyssey of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his reformed perspective on the Spanish conquest. We'll also copy the Mona Lisa and puzzle over a deficient pinball machine. Intro: The Russian navy built two circular warships in 1871. When shaken, a certain chemical solution will change from yellow to red to green. Sources for our feature on Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: Andrés Reséndez, A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca, 2009. Robin Varnum, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: American Trailblazer, 2014. Donald E. Chipman, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: The 'Great Pedestrian' of North and South America, 2014. Alex D. Krieger, We Came Naked and Barefoot: The Journey of Cabeza de Vaca Across North America, 2010. Peter Stern, "Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: Conquistador and Sojourner," in Ian Kenneth Steele and Nancy Lee Rhoden, eds., The Human Tradition in Colonial America, 1999. Rolena Adorno, "The Negotiation of Fear in Cabeza de Vaca's Naufragios," in Stephen Greenblatt, ed., New World Encounters, 1993. Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, The Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions From Florida to the Pacific, 1528-1536, 1542. Andrés Reséndez, "A Desperate Trek Across America," American Heritage 58:5 (Fall 2008), 19-21. Nancy P. Hickerson, "How Cabeza De Vaca Lived With, Worked Among, and Finally Left the Indians of Texas," Journal of Anthropological Research 54:2 (Summer 1998), 199-218. Donald E. Chipman, "In Search of Cabeza de Vaca's Route Across Texas: An Historiographical Survey," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 91:2 (October 1987), 127-148. Paul E. Hoffman, "A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca, the Extraordinary Tale of a Shipwrecked Spaniard Who Walked Across America in the Sixteenth Century," Journal of American History 95:2 (September 2008), 496-497. R.T.C. Goodwin, "Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and the Textual Travels of an American Miracle," Journal of Iberian & Latin American Studies 14:1 (April 2008), 1-12. John L. Kessell, "A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca," American Historical Review 113:5 (December 2008), 1519-1520. Robert Wilson, "A Long Walk in the New World," American Scholar 77:1 (Winter 2008), 137-139. Nan Goodman, "Mercantilism and Cultural Difference in Cabeza de Vaca's Relación," Early American Literature 40:2 (2005), 229-250, 405. Ali Shehzad Zaidi, "The Spiritual Evolution of Cabeza de Vaca in Shipwrecks," Theory in Action 7:3 (July 2014), 109-117. Kun Jong Lee, "Pauline Typology in Cabeza De Vaca's Naufragios," Early American Literature 34:3 (1999), 241-262. "How Cabeza de Vaca, Explorer, Came by His Strange Name," New York Times, March 9, 1930. Donald E. Chipman, "Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar Núñez," Texas State Historical Association (accessed July 12, 2020). "The Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca," American Journeys Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society Digital Library and Archives, 2003. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "City of Death" (accessed July 17, 2020). Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Cloud Seeding" (accessed July 17, 2020). Wikipedia, "Cloud Seeding" (accessed July 17, 2020). Andrew Moseman, "Does Cloud Seeding Work?", Scientific American, Feb. 19, 2009. Janet Pelley, "Does Cloud Seeding Really Work?", Chemical & Engineering News 94:22 (May 30, 2016), 18-21. Lulin Xue, Sarah A. Tessendorf, Eric Nelson, Roy Rasmussen, Daniel Breed, et al., "Implementation of a Silver Iodide Cloud-Seeding Parameterization in WRF. Part II: 3D Simulations of Actual Seeding Events and Sensitivity Tests," Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 52:6 (June 2013), 1458-1476. Rachel Hager, "Idaho Power Can Make It Snow — Increasing Water Reserves, Powering Homes. But Is It Safe?", Idaho Statesman, July 25, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Eric Waldow. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 27, 2020, 5 a.m.

304-The Dog Who Joined the Navy

The only dog ever enlisted in the Royal Navy was a Great Dane who befriended the sailors of Cape Town in the 1930s. Given the rank of able seaman, he boosted the morale of British sailors around the world. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Just Nuisance and his adventures among the sailors who loved him. We'll also examine early concentration camps and puzzle over a weighty fashion. Intro: For most of World War I a statue of Mary hung over Albert, France. J.B.S. Haldane learned to detect methane by reciting Julius Caesar. Sources for our feature on Just Nuisance: Terence Sisson, Just Nuisance, AB: His Full Story, 1985. Leslie M. Steyn, Just Nuisance: Life Story of an Able Seaman Who Leads a Dog's Life, 1945. Malcolm Archibald, Sixpence for the Wind: A Knot of Nautical Folklore, 1998. Douglas Reed, Somewhere South of Suez, 1950. Lance Van Sittert and Sandra Scott Swart, Canis Africanis: A Dog History of Southern Africa, 2008. W.M. Bisset, "New Light on South Africa's Naval Heritage," Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies 7:4 (1977), 38-44. H.H. Curson, "Service Pets," Journal of the South African Veterinary Association 27:1 (1956), 31-50. Lance Van Sittert and Sandra Swart, "Canis familiaris: A Dog History of South Africa," South African Historical Journal 48:1 (2003), 138-173. Leslie Witz, "The Making of an Animal Biography: Huberta's Journey Into South African Natural History, 1928-1932," Kronos (2004), 138-166. "Navy Dog Just Nuisance to Get New Cap, Collar," Cape Times, Sept. 19, 2019, 2. "Have Fun With the Kids on Just Nuisance Day," Cape Times, March 8, 2018, 6. Ellen Castelow, "Able Seaman Just Nuisance," Historic UK (accessed July 5, 2020). Jon Earle, "'A Dog, But a Sailor at Heart': The Story of Just Nuisance, the Only Dog Ever Enlisted in the Royal Navy," Royal Museums Greenwich, Nov. 4, 2019. Listener mail: Andrea Pitzer, "Concentration Camps Existed Long Before Auschwitz," Smithsonian, Nov. 2, 2017. "Timeline: February, 1896: Reconcentration Policy," Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War, PBS, 1999. Paul Harris, "'Spin' on Boer Atrocities," Guardian, Dec. 8, 2001. "Women and Children in White Concentration Camps During the Anglo-Boer War, 1900-1902," South African History Online (accessed July 6, 2020). "Black Concentration Camps During the Anglo-Boer War 2, 1900-1902," South African History Online (accessed July 6, 2020). "Jacob Rees-Mogg Comments on Concentration Camps," BBC News, Feb. 14, 2019. Fransjohan Pretorius, "Concentration Camps in the South African War? Here Are the Real Facts," The Conversation, Feb. 18, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Cate Burlington, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 20, 2020, 5 a.m.

303-Camp Stark

In 1943, the U.S. established a camp for German prisoners of war near the village of Stark in northern New Hampshire. After a rocky start, the relations between the prisoners and guards underwent a surprising change. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Camp Stark and the transforming power of human decency. We'll also check out some Canadian snakes and puzzle over some curious signs. Intro: Why does Dracula go to England? The rattleback is a top that seems to prefer spinning in a certain direction. Sources for our feature on Camp Stark: Allen V. Koop, Stark Decency: German Prisoners of War in a New England Village, 2000. Antonio Thompson, Men in German Uniform: POWs in America During World War II, 2010. Michael Greenberg, Tables Turned on Them: Jews Guarding Nazi POWS Held in the United States, 2019. Felice Belman and Mike Pride, The New Hampshire Century: Concord Monitor Profiles of One Hundred People Who Shaped It, 2001. Andrew Streeb, "Measuring Ideas: The Political Segregation of German Prisoners of War in America, 1943-1946," Historical Studies Journal 26 (Spring 2009), 15-29. Jake W. Spidle Jr., "Axis Prisoners of War in the United States, 1942-1946: A Bibliographical Essay," Military Affairs 39:2 (April 1975), 61-66. Earl O. Strimple, "A History of Prison Inmate-Animal Interaction Programs," American Behavioral Scientist 47:1 (2003), 70-78. "Roadside History: Camp Stark, NH's WWII German POW Camp, Housed About 250 Soldiers," New Hampshire Union Leader, Sept. 25, 2016. Robert Blechl, "A Stark Remembrance of German POWs Storming North Country Woods in WWII," Caledonian Record, May 16, 2015. Kayti Burt, "Stark Remembers Former POW Camp," Salmon Press, March 31, 2010. "Camp Stark Is Remembered," Berlin [N.H.] Daily Sun, March 29, 2010. Royal Ford, "N.H. Woods Hold Echoes of War Village Recalls Life at Camp Stark, Where German WWII Prisoners Were Held," Boston Globe, May 12, 1995, 31. Adolphe V. Bernotas, "POW Camp in New Hampshire Was Meeting Ground," Associated Press, May 25, 1994, 29E. "Northeast POWs, Guards Reunite," Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Sept. 29, 1986, 3A. John Ellement, "Ex-German POWs and Guards Hold Reunion at N.H. Camp Site," Boston Globe, Sept. 28, 1986, 85. Michael Mokrzycki, "German WWII Prisoners, American Guards Reunite," Associated Press, Sept. 27, 1986. "Escaped War Captive Lived on Art Here," New York Times, Oct. 15, 1944. "Captured Nazi Escapes," New York Times, Aug. 27, 1944. "Two War Prisoners Escape," New York Times, June 29, 1944. Listener mail: "If You're Scared of Snakes, Don't Watch This," National Geographic, June 26, 2014. Calvin Dao, "Narcisse Snake Pits," Canadian Geographic, May 1, 2015. "Narcisse Snake Dens," Atlas Obscura (accessed July 1, 2020). "Snakes of Narcisse," Manitoba.ca (accessed July 1, 2020). Ian Austen, "This Canadian Town Comes Alive Once a Year, as Thousands of Snakes Mate," New York Times, June 16, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener David Roth. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 13, 2020, 5 a.m.

302-The Galápagos Affair

In 1929 a German couple fled civilization to live on an uninhabited island in the Eastern Pacific. But other settlers soon followed, leading to strife, suspicion, and possibly murder. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Galápagos affair, a bizarre mystery that remains unsolved. We'll also meet another deadly doctor and puzzle over a posthumous marriage. Intro: Damon Knight invented a way to compose stories without having to write them. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, why do we regard some tastes as bad? Photo: Captain Allan G. Hancock, Dore Strauch, and Friedrich Ritter at Floreana. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7231, Waldo L. Schmitt Papers, Box 90, Folder 4, Image No. SIA2011-1149. Sources for our feature on Floreana: Dore Strauch, Satan Came to Eden: A Survivor's Account of the "Galápagos Affair," 1936. Margret Wittmer, Floreana: A Woman's Pilgrimage to the Galápagos, 1989. John E. Treherne, The Galápagos Affair, 2011. Elizabeth Hennessy, On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galapagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden, 2019. Alexander Mann, Yachting on the Pacific: Together With Notes on Travel in Peru, and an Account of the Peoples and Products of Ecuador, 1909. K. Thalia Grant and Gregory B. Estes, "Alf Wollebæk and the Galápagos Archipelago's First Biological Station," Galápagos Research 68 (2016), 33-42. Hans-Rudolf Bork and Andreas Mieth, "Catastrophe on an Enchanted Island: Floreana, Galapagos, Ecuador," Rapa Nui Journal: Journal of the Easter Island Foundation 19:1 (2005), 5. David Cameron Duffy, "Galapagos Literature -- Fact and Fantasy," Noticias de Galápagos 44 (1986), 18-20. Gavin Haines, "Cannibalism, Nude Germans and a Murder Mystery: The Secret History of the Galapagos," Telegraph, Feb. 12, 2018. Oliver Smith, "Cannibalism, Murder and Chronic Obesity: 10 Island Paradises With Dark and Deadly Secrets," Telegraph.co.uk, Aug. 9, 2017. Allison Amend, "In the Footsteps of Charles Darwin," New York Times (Online), June 20, 2017. Trevor Seymour, "Murder on Seduction Island," [Surry Hills, New South Wales] Daily Telegraph, June 25, 2002, 26. Shiela Waddell, "At the Ends of the Earth," Glasgow Herald, Nov. 20, 1999, 12. Mitchell Smyth, "Satan in Paradise -- Lust and Murder on a Desert Isle," Toronto Star, Oct. 22, 1994, L2. Katherine Woods, "From Utopian Dream to Nightmare," New York Times, May 24, 1936. "Woman Is Leaving Galapagos 'Eden,'" New York Times, Dec. 9, 1934. "Desert Isles' 'Ruler' Escapes Eviction," New York Times, Jan. 23, 1934. Stephanie Merry, "'The Galapagos Affair: When Satan Came to Eden' Movie Review," Washington Post, May 8, 2014. Stephen Holden, "Seeking Eden, They Fled to Far Isle; Hell Followed," New York Times, April 3, 2014. Andrea Crossan, "A New Film Unearths the True Story of a 1930s Murder Mystery in the Galapagos," The World, PRI, April 4, 2014. Moira Macdonald, "'The Galapagos Affair': A Murder Mystery in Paradise," Seattle Times, April 17, 2014. Alan Scherstuhl, "Murder in Paradise in The Galapagos Affair," Village Voice, April 2, 2014. Ryan Gilbey, "Death in Paradise: Ryan Gilbey on The Galapagos Affair," New Statesman, July 28, 2014. Listener mail: "Cremation Medical Certificate," gov.uk, Jan. 2, 2009. "Doctors’ Fees, Cremation Forms & Certificates," beyond.life (accessed June 22, 2020). Trevor Jackson and Richard Smith, "Harold Shipman," BMJ 328:7433 (Jan. 24, 2004), 231. "Harold Shipman (1946–2004)," Biography, April 27, 2017. John Philip Jenkins, "Harold Shipman," Encyclopaedia Britannica (accessed June 22, 2020). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Alon Eitan. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 6, 2020, 5 a.m.

301-Tschiffely's Ride

In 1925, Swiss schoolteacher Aimé Tschiffely set out to prove the resilience of Argentina's criollo horses by riding two of them from Buenos Aires to New York City. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Tschiffely's unprecedented journey, which has been called "the most exciting and influential equestrian travel tale of all time." We'll also read an inscrutable cookbook and puzzle over a misbehaving coworker. Intro: English was Joseph Conrad's third language, but it held a peculiar mystique for him. Thanks to a mathematical oddity, one measurement suffices to establish the area of a carousel deck. Sources for our feature on Aimé Tschiffely: A.F. Tschiffely, Tschiffely's Ride: Ten Thousand Miles in the Saddle From Southern Cross to Pole Star, 1933. Lawrence Scanlan, Wild About Horses: Our Timeless Passion for the Horse, 2012. Sam Leith, "The Incredible Journey," Spectator 324:9694 (June 14, 2014), 36-37. "Long Ride," Time 21:16 (April 17, 1933), 51. Bacil F. Kirtley, "Unknown Hominids and New World Legends," Western Folklore 23:2 (April 1964), 77-90. Aimé Tschiffely - Long Rider. "Tschiffely's 10,000-Mile, Three-Year Ride," Horse Canada, Jan. 2, 2014. Filipe Masetti Leite, "Journey to the End of the World," Toronto Star (Online), Dec. 19, 2016. Paul Theroux, "Run for Your Life," New York Times, March 5, 1989. "A.F. Tschiffely, Made Noted Trip," New York Times, Jan. 6, 1954. "Noted Horse Dies in Argentina at 37," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, Dec. 26, 1947, A-11. "Famous 'Trek' Horse Embalmed," New York Times, Dec. 25, 1947. "A Homeric Exploit in the Saddle," New York Times, April 23, 1933. "10,000-Mile, Ride Recounted in Book," New York Times, April 10, 1933. "Argentinian Horseman Home Again," New York Times, Dec. 20, 1928. "Nelson Extols Ponies," New York Times, Oct. 6, 1928. "Argentine Rider Glad to Rest Here," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, Aug. 30, 1928, 17. "Yipee! (or Spanish Meaning That): Look, Girls! a Pampas Cowboy!", Indianapolis Times, July 10, 1928. "6,000 Miles on Horseback," New York Times, May 12, 1927. "Testing Endurance of Horse by Long Ride," New Britain [Conn.] Herald, Oct. 30, 1925, 15. Tschiffely's ride on Google Maps. Listener mail: Samille Mitchell, "Sophie Matterson Ditched City Life and Embraced the Isolation of a 5,000km Solo Trek Across Australia," ABC News, May 16, 2020. Sophie Matterson's website. Sian Johnson, "Victorian Man 'Crayfish Dan' Spent 40 Years Living in a Coastal Cave Near Warrnambool," ABC News, May 9, 2020. local student, "Evan got scammed on a cookbook he bought off amazon? It’s like it was written by a neural network," Twitter, May 23, 2020. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Dave Lawrence. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 29, 2020, 5 a.m.

300-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Intro: In the 1850s, a $5 bill featuring Santa Claus was legal tender in the United States. In 1910 DuPont suggested that "some farmers have a wrong idea about dynamite." The sources for this week's puzzles are below. In a few places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 is from listener Cody Scace. Puzzle #2 is from listener Jay Graham. Puzzle #3 is from Greg. Here are two links. Puzzle #4 is from listener Paul Rippey. Puzzle #5 is from listener Hanno Zulla, who sent these links. Puzzle #6 is from Greg. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 22, 2020, 5 a.m.

299-Ursula Graham Bower and the Nagas

In 1937, Englishwoman Ursula Graham Bower became fascinated by the Naga people of northeastern India. She was living among them when World War II broke out and Japan threatened to invade their land. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Bower's efforts to organize the Nagas against an unprecedented foe. We'll also consider a self-censoring font and puzzle over some perplexing spacecraft. Intro: In 1822 the Yorkshire Observer published the schedule of a bachelor's life. In 1988 philosopher Edward J. Gracely offered a dilemma regarding a flight from hell. Sources for our feature on Ursula Graham Bower: Vicky Thomas, Naga Queen: Ursula Graham Bower and Her Jungle Warriors 1939-45, 2011. Ursula Graham Bower, Naga Path, 1950. Christopher Alan Bayly and Timothy Norman Harper, Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945, 2005. Nicholas van der Bijl, Sharing the Secret: The History of the Intelligence Corps 1940–2010, 2013. Montgomery McFate, Military Anthropology: Soldiers, Scholars and Subjects at the Margins of Empire, 2018. Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes and Heather Norris Nicholson, British Women Amateur Filmmakers, 2018. Alex Lubin, Romance and Rights: The Politics of Interracial Intimacy, 1945-1954, 2009. Margaret MacMillan, History's People: Personalities and the Past, 2015. Andrew Jackson Waskey, "Bower, Ursula Graham," in Bernard A. Cook, ed., Women and War: A Historical Encyclopedia From Antiquity to the Present, 2006. Paul Cheeseright, "Queen Without a Throne: Ursula Graham Bower and the Burma Campaign," Asian Affairs 45:2 (June 2014), 289-299. Ajailiu Niumai, "Rani Gaidinliu: The Iconic Woman of Northeast India," Indian Journal of Gender Studies 25:3 (August 2018), 351-367. Stuart Blackburn, "Colonial Contact in the 'Hidden Land': Oral History Among the Apatanis of Arunachal Pradesh," Indian Economic & Social History Review 40:3 (October 2003), 335-365. Charles Allen, "Spirit of Roedean," Spectator, April 14, 2012. dipanita nath, "Woman Who Came in From the Wild," Indian Express, Aug. 12, 2017. Esha Roy, "My Mother, The Naga Warrior," Indian Express, Oct. 27, 2013. Ved Mohendra, "A Bloody Battle to Remember," [Kuala Lumpur] New Straits Times, June 28, 2014, 16. "Rays of a New Dawn in Nagaland," Assam Tribune, Nov. 26, 2012. Mary Johnson Tweedy, "A Troubled, Far-Off Land," New York Times, Oct. 18, 1953. "Blond Englishwoman, Naga Queen, Helped Fight Japs," Wilmington [N.C.] Morning Star, Dec. 8, 1944, 14. Melissa van der Klugt, "Warrior Queen Ursula Graham Bower's Is Staged for Her Tribal Comrades," Sunday Times, Dec. 30, 2017. Neha Kirpal, "Ursula the 'Jungle Queen': The Extraordinary Story of the Englishwoman Who Led Naga Soldiers in WWII," Scroll, Jan. 10, 2018. "The Nagas: Hill Peoples of Northeast India," Cambridge Experimental Videodisc Project. Martin Gienke, "Film Interviews With Leading Thinkers: Ursula Graham Bower," University of Cambridge, Nov. 4, 1985. "Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood," Supplement to the London Gazette, April 20, 1945, 2166. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Sydney Harbour Bridge" (accessed June 4, 2020). Sydney Harbour Bridge coat hanger. "A Short History of the Sydney Harbour Bridge," New South Wales Government (accessed June 4, 2020). Damien Murphy, "Sydney Harbour Bridge Celebrates 85th Anniversary," Sydney Morning Herald, March 16, 2017. Scunthorpe Sans. Alex Hern, "Anti-Porn Filters Stop Dominic Cummings Trending on Twitter," Guardian, May 27, 2020. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jeremy Vander Munnik. Here's an (intermittently!) corroborating link. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 15, 2020, 5 a.m.

298-The Theft of the Mona Lisa

In 1911, the Mona Lisa disappeared from the Louvre. After an extensive investigation it made a surprising reappearance that inspired headlines around the world. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the painting's abduction, which has been called the greatest art theft of the 20th century. We'll also shake Seattle and puzzle over a fortunate lack of work. Intro: A hard-boiled egg will stand when spun. What's the largest sofa one can squeeze around a corner? Sources for our feature on Vincenzo Peruggia and the theft of the Mona Lisa: Noah Charney, The Thefts of the Mona Lisa: On Stealing the World's Most Famous Painting, 2011. Martin Kemp and Giuseppe Pallanti, Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting, 2017. Andrea Wallace, A History of Intellectual Property in 50 Objects, 2019. Monica R. DiFonzo, "'Think You Can Steal Our Caravaggio and Get Away With It? Think Again,' An Analysis of the Italian Cultural Property Model," George Washington International Law Review 44:3 (2012), 539-571. Niels Christian Pausch and Christoph Kuhnt, "Analysis of Facial Characteristics of Female Beauty and Age of Mona Lisa Using a Pictorial Composition," Journal of Advances in Medicine and Medical Research (2017), 1-7. Donald Capps, "Leonardo's Mona Lisa: Iconic Center of Male Melancholic Religion," Pastoral Psychology 53:2 (2004), 107-137. Joseph A. Harris, "Seeking Mona Lisa," Smithsonian 30:2 (May 1999), 54-65. Simon Kuper, "Who Stole the Mona Lisa?", Slate, Aug. 7, 2011. Terence McArdle, "How the 1911 Theft of the Mona Lisa Made It the World's Most Famous Painting," Washington Post (online), Oct. 20, 2019. Jeff Nilsson, "100 Years Ago: The Mastermind Behind the Mona Lisa Heist," Saturday Evening Post, Dec. 7, 2013. Sheena McKenzie, "Mona Lisa: The Theft That Created a Legend," CNN, Nov. 19, 2013. "Unravelling the Mona Lisa Mystery," Irish Independent, Aug. 5, 2017, 20. John Timpane, "'Mona Lisa' Theft a Century Ago Created Modern Museums," McClatchy-Tribune Business News, Sept. 7, 2011. "Noah Charney: Art Theft, From the 'Mona Lisa' to Today," Lima [Ohio] News, Aug. 23, 2011. "Mona Lisa Thief Honored With a Play in Italian Hometown," [Beirut] Daily Star, Aug. 22, 2011. Mary Orms, "Steal My Painting!", Toronto Star, Aug. 21, 2011, IN.1. Jori Finkel, "Little-Known Facts About the 1911 Theft of Famed 'Mona Lisa,'" [Charleston, W.V.] Sunday Gazette-Mail, Aug. 21, 2011, F.9. Alastair Sooke, "A Century of Mona Lisa, Superstar," Daily Telegraph, Aug. 20, 2011, 21. "100 Years Ago, the Mona Lisa Vanishes," Times of Oman, Aug. 20, 2011. "Mona Lisa: Still Smiling 100 Years After Being Stolen," Saudi Press Agency, Aug. 19, 2011. "Mona Lisa Mystery," Atherton [Queensland] Tablelander, Jan. 5, 2010, 13. Greg Callaghan, "A Short History of ... the Mona Lisa," Weekend Australian Magazine, Oct. 10, 2009, 8. Jonathan Lopez, "The Tale of an Unsophisticated Criminal Convicted of Single-Handedly Stealing the Mona Lisa," Boston Globe, May 17, 2009, K.6. Dwight Garner, "No Smiley Faces the Day the Lady Left the Louvre," New York Times, April 30, 2009. Nick Morrison, "The Art of Lifting a Masterpiece," Darlington [U.K.] Northern Echo, Aug. 29, 2003, 12. Helen Holmes, "Jodie Foster Will Direct a Movie About the Famous 'Mona Lisa' Heist," Observer, Jan. 31, 2020. Miriam Berger, "Theft of German Treasures Joins Ranks of Brazen Museum Heists — From the 'Mona Lisa' to a Solid Gold Toilet," Washington Post (online), Nov. 28, 2019. Terence McArdle, "How the Mona Lisa Became World-Famous," [Nairobi] Daily Nation, Nov. 2, 2019. "Italy Alarmed by Art 'Sales,'" New York Times, Jan. 24, 1926. "'Mona Lisa' Thief Gets a Year in Jail," New York Times, June 6, 1914. "Trial of Perugia Begun," New York Times, June 5, 1914. "Tried to Sell 'Mona Lisa,'" New York Times, Dec. 27, 1913. "Three More Held in 'Mona Lisa' Theft," New York Times, Dec. 22, 1913. "'Mona Lisa' Goes to Rome," New York Times, Dec. 20, 1913. "Thinks Perugia Had Aid," New York Times, Dec. 17, 1913. "Florentines in Riot Over 'Mona Lisa,'" New York Times, Dec. 15, 1913. "Perugia's Eye to Business," New York Times, Dec. 15, 1913. "Perugia Loved Girl Like 'Mona Lisa,'" New York Times, Dec. 15, 1913. "Reading Mona Lisa's Riddle," New York Times, Dec. 15, 1913. "Mona Lisa' on View to Public To-Day," New York Times, Dec. 14, 1913. "Find 'Mona Lisa,' Arrest Robber," New York Times, Dec. 13, 1913. "Thief's Story of His Crime," New York Times, Dec. 13, 1913. Listener mail: Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Daniel Keith Ludwig" (accessed May 23, 2020). Anderson Antunes, "Was Eike Batista's Dream of Becoming the World's Richest Man Just That, a Dream?", Forbes, April 17, 2013. Eric Pace, "Daniel Ludwig, Billionaire Businessman, Dies at 95," New York Times, Aug. 29, 1992. Brian Nicholson, "End of U.S. Owner's Dream in the Amazon Jungle," UPI, Jan. 23, 1982. Wikipedia, "Jari Project" (accessed May 23, 2020). Jim Brooke, "Billionaire's Dream Founders in Amazon Jungle," Washington Post, May 31, 1981. "Seahawks' KamQuake Rattled Seattle, but Beast Quake Still Rules," NBC News, Jan. 9, 2015. Wikipedia, "Beast Quake" (accessed May 23, 2020). Mike Triplett, "Beast Quake Remembered: Epic Run by Marshawn Lynch Still Reverberates in Seattle," ESPN, Dec. 24, 2019. John Vidale, "One Year Ago, Seattle Seahawks 12th Man Earthquake," Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, Dec. 31, 2011. Greg Bishop, "NFL Odd Jobs: The Seismologists Who Measure 'Fanquakes' at Seahawks Games," Sports Illustrated, Jan. 10, 2017. Alan Boyle, "Seismologists Register 'Fan Quakes' From the Seattle Sounders' Stadium Crowd," GeekWire, Nov. 10, 2019. Steve Malone, "SoundersFC Soccer Shake Experiment," Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, Nov. 8, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Ian Hauffe. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 1, 2020, 5 a.m.

297-A Sinto Boxer in Nazi Germany

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 over some mysterious towers. Intro: In 1872 Edward Lear offered a recipe for "Gosky Patties." In 1927, engineer Edward R. Armstrong proposed a string of floating airports to link Europe and America. Sources for our feature on Johann Trollmann: Jud Nirenberg, Johann Trollmann and Romani Resistance to the Nazis, 2016. Andrea Pitzer, One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, 2017. Susan Tebbutt, "Piecing Together the Jigsaw: The History of the Sinti and Roma in Germany," in Susan Tebbutt, ed., Sinti and Roma: Gypsies in German-Speaking Society and Literature, 1998. Theodoros Alexandridis, "Let's See Action," Roma Rights Quarterly 4 (2007), 95-97. Linde Apel, "Stumbling Blocks in Germany," Rethinking History 18:2 (June 2014), 181-194. Sybil Milton, "Sinti and Roma in Twentieth-Century Austria and Germany," German Studies Review 23:2 (May 2000), 317-331. Paweł Wolski, "Excessive Masculinity: Boxer Narratives in Holocaust Literature," Teksty Drugie 2 (2017), 209-229. Michaela Grobbel, "Crossing Borders of Different Kinds: Roma Theater in Vienna," Journal of Austrian Studies 48:1 (Spring 2015), 1-26. Rainer Schulze, "Johann 'Rukeli' Trollmann," Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (accessed May 10, 2020). Christina Newland, "Gypsy in the Ring: The Brave Life of Johann 'Rukeli' Trollmann," Fightland, Vice, July 25, 2016. Rainer Schulze, "Punching Above Its Weight," Times Higher Education 2232 (Dec. 3, 2015). Carol Sanders, "Boxers Have Long History of Fighting for Human Rights," Winnipeg Free Press, May 25, 2015, A.10. A.J. Goldmann, "Memorials: Remembering the Resistance," Wall Street Journal, Aug. 26, 2014, D.5. Alexandra Hudson, "Germany Finally Commemorates Roma Victims of Holocaust," Reuters, Oct. 23, 2012. Von Siobhán Dowling, "Monument Honors Sinti Boxer Murdered by the Nazis," Spiegel, June 30, 2010. Trollmann's professional boxing record. Listener mail: Megan Gannon, "'Forgotten' Nazi Camp on British Soil Revealed by Archaeologists," National Geographic, March 30, 2020. Mindy Weisberger, "Hidden Atrocities of Nazis at Concentration Camp on British Island Finally Come to Light," Live Science, April 1, 2020. Amy Brunskill, "Alderney's Concentration Camp Uncovered," Current Archaeology, May 12, 2020. "Only Nazi Concentration Camp on British Soil May Be Protected," BBC News, March 10, 2015. Alex Fox, "Archaeologists Reveal the Hidden Horrors of Only Nazi SS Camp on British Soil," Smithsonian.com, April 1, 2020. Caroline Sturdy Colls, Janos Kerti, and Kevin Colls, "Tormented Alderney: Archaeological Investigations of the Nazi Labour and Concentration Camp of Sylt," Antiquity 94:374 (2020), 512-532. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg, based on an item in Rebecca Zurier's 1991 book The Firehouse: An Architectural and Social History. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 25, 2020, 5 a.m.

296-The Little Giants

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 for one in Germany and puzzle over a deadly stick. Intro: In a poetry contest, Mark Twain offered an entry of undeniable value. Lewis Carroll composed a bewildering puzzle about a pig. Sources for our feature on the Monterrey Industrials: W. William Winokur, The Perfect Game, 2008. Robin Van Auken, The Little League Baseball World Series, 2002. Lance Van Auken, Play Ball!: The Story of Little League Baseball, 2001. Jorge Iber, "Mexico: Baseball's Humble Beginnings to Budding Competitor," in George Gmelch and Daniel A. Nathan, eds., Baseball Beyond Our Borders: An International Pastime, 2017, 75–84. Jim Morrison, "The Little League World Series' Only Perfect Game," Smithsonian.com, April 5, 2010. Ramona Shelburne, "Giant Steps: A 12-Mile Walk to a Small Texas Town Started a Little League Championship Run for a Team From Monterrey, Mexico. Fifty Years Later, Its Story Is Retold," Los Angeles Daily News, Aug. 26, 2007, S.1. Pablo Jaime Sáinz, "1957 Little League Champions Treated Like Heroes in San Diego," La Prensa San Diego, Nov. 24, 2010, 3. Ben Brigandi, "Macias Returns to LLWS for Ceremony," Williamsport [Pa.] Sun-Gazette, Aug. 24, 2017. "Reynosa Little Leaguers Inspired by 1957 Mexico Champions," Associated Press, Aug. 26, 2017. Steve Wulf, "As Williamsport Opened Its Arms to Mexico's Team, Its Players Embraced the Legacy of Their Predecessors From Monterrey," ESPN, Aug 18, 2016. "Cinderella Club Wins LL Crown," United Press, Aug. 24, 1957. Michael Strauss, "88-Pounder Hope of Monterrey in Little League Series Today; Angel Macias, Ambidextrous, Is Team's No. 1 Pitcher, Batter and Fielder," New York Times, Aug. 22, 1957. "Little League World Series Opens With Big-Time Pomp," [Kittanning, Pa.] Simpson's Leader-Times, Aug. 21, 1957, 13. Michael Strauss, "Macias Hurls Perfect No-Hitter As Monterrey Captures Series," New York Times, Aug. 24, 1957. Elaine Ayala, "Movie, Book Look Back at 'Perfect' Little League Game," My San Antonio, Sept. 2, 2009. Reed Johnson, "'The Perfect Game' Dodged Many Curveballs En Route to Big Screen," Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2010. "Pitcher Has Perfect Game As Taiwan Advances, 18-0," New York Times, Aug. 24, 1979. Edward Wong, "Baseball: Bronx Team Wins Opener On Almonte's Perfect Game," New York Times, Aug. 19, 2001. David Falkner, "Boys' Baseball and Men's Memories," New York Times, Aug. 20, 1986. Marshall G. Most and Robert Rudd, "A Less Than Perfect Game, in a Less Than Perfect Place: The Critical Turn in Baseball Film," Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, 2011-2012, 180-195. "Inspired by Film, Mexico Wins Little Series," Salt Lake Tribune, Aug. 24, 1997, B.7. "First Perfect Game in 44 Years in Little League World Series: Bronx Pitcher Strikes Out 16 of 18 Batters," Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 19, 2001, B2. "Gómez Inspired by Story Behind 'The Perfect Game': Cuban Actor Saw Similarities Between Role and His Upbringing," [Chicago] Extra, April 28, 2010. Jeffrey Bair, "Little League World Series History Repeats Itself for Mexico With Dramatic, Last-Inning Victory," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 24, 1997, 18. Nancy Cleeland, "Two Cities That Are ... Going to Town; Monterrey: Exploits of Guadalupe Stir 40-Year-Old Memories of First Team to Wrest Little League World Series Title From U.S.," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 23, 1997, C, 1:5. "1957 Little League Baseball World Series Champion, Angel Macias, to Be Enshrined Into the Little League Hall of Excellence," Little League, Aug. 4, 2017. 1957 Little League World Series line scores (accessed May 3, 2020). Baseball Reference, "Angel Macias" (accessed May 3, 2020). Listener mail: Jack Ritchie, "A Square Foot of Texas," Good Housekeeping 148:3 (March 1959), 90-91, 109-114. (Protected under copyright; used by permission of the Jack Ritchie Estate and the Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency.) Wikipedia, "Dinner for One" (accessed May 7, 2020). Stefanie Bolzen, "Dinner for One: The British Comedy Germans Have Been Laughing at for Years," Guardian, Dec. 30, 2018. Joanna Robertson, "Dinner for One: English Comedy Spices Up German New Year," BBC News, Dec. 30, 2018. Travis M. Andrews, "This British Comedy Sketch Is a Record-Breaking New Year's Eve Tradition in Germany. No One Knows Why," Washington Post, Jan. 4, 2017. The "Dinner for One" sketch. The "Dinner for One" sketch with the German introduction. "Hermitage Remains Uninhabited This Year," Radio Salzburg, March 31, 2020 (translated from the original). "An AI's Prank Suggestions," Pluralistic, April 2, 2020. "An AI's Idea of a Prank," AI Weirdness, April 1, 2020. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Miles, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 18, 2020, 5 a.m.

295-An Unlikely Attempt on Everest

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." Well also explore an enigmatic musician and puzzle over a mighty cola. Intro: The Sanskrit epic poem Shishupala Vadha contains a palindrome that can be read in any of four directions. Type designer Matthew Carter offered a typeface for public buildings that comes with its own graffiti. Sources for our feature on Maurice Wilson: Dennis Roberts, I'll Climb Mount Everest Alone: The Story of Maurice Wilson, 2013. Scott Ellsworth, The World Beneath Their Feet: Mountaineering, Madness, and the Deadly Race to Summit the Himalayas, 2020. Geoff Powter, Strange and Dangerous Dreams: The Fine Line Between Adventure and Madness, 2006. Sherry B. Ortner, Life and Death on Mt. Everest: Sherpas and Himalayan Mountaineering, 2001. Maurice Isserman, Stewart Angas Weaver, and Dee Molenaar, Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering From the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes, 2010. Conrad Anker, The Call of Everest: The History, Science, and Future of the World's Tallest Peak, 2013. Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air, 1998. Eric Shipton, Upon That Mountain, 1943. Martin Gutmann, "Wing and a Prayer," Climbing, Dec. 6, 2010. Robert M. Kaplan, "Maurice Wilson’s Everest Quest," Quadrant, June 18, 2016. T.S. Blakeney, "Maurice Wilson and Everest, 1934," Alpine Journal 70 (1965), 269-272. John Cottrell, "The Madman of Everest," Sports Illustrated, April 30, 1973. Audrey Salkeld, "The Struggle for Everest," Climbing 188 (Sept. 15, 1999), 108-116. Colin Wells, "Everest the Mad Way," Climbing 224 (Sept. 15, 2003), 40-44. Troy Lennon, "Deadly Lure of Being on Top of the World," [Surry Hills, N.S.W.] Daily Telegraph, May 26, 2006, 74. Ed Douglas, "Rivals Race to Solve Everest Body Mystery," Guardian, May 15, 2004. Graham Hoyland, "The Complete Guide to: Mount Everest," Independent, May 10, 2003. Nick Ravo, "Charles Warren, 92; Introduced Top Sherpa to Everest Climbers," New York Times, May 3, 1999. Eric E. Shipton, "Body of Climber Found on Everest," New York Times, March 23, 1936. "Perishes in Effort to Scale Everest," [Hendersonville, N.C.] Times-News, July 27, 1934, 4. "Briton Perishes High on Everest," New York Times, July 20, 1934. "The Eccentric Everest Adventurer," Inside Out, BBC One, Sept. 24, 2014. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Sixto Rodriguez" (accessed April 27, 2020). David Malitz, "'Searching for Sugar Man' Documentary Rediscovers Musician Sixto Rodriguez," Washington Post, July 26, 2012. Alexis Petridis, "The Singer Who Came Back From the Dead," Guardian, Oct. 6, 2005. Greg Myre, "In Tragic Twist to Poignant Tale, Oscar-Winning Director Commits Suicide," Parallels, National Public Radio, May 14, 2014. Geoffrey Macnab, "Searching for Sugar Man (12A)," Independent, July 27, 2012. Wikipedia, "Franz von Werra" (accessed April 29, 2020). Luis Rees-Hughes et al., "Multi-Disciplinary Investigations at PoW Camp 198, Bridgend, S. Wales: Site of a Mass Escape in March 1945," Journal of Conflict Archaeology 11:2-3 (2016), 166-191. "Story of German POW to Escape Captivity in Britain Disclosed After 94 Years," Telegraph, Feb. 11, 2011. David J. Carter, "Prisoner of War Camps in Canada," Canadian Encyclopedia, June 17, 2015. Robin Quinn, Hitler's Last Army: German POWs in Britain, 2015. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Paul Heitkemper, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 11, 2020, 5 a.m.

294-'The Murder Trial of the Century'

In 1957, an English doctor was accused of killing his patients for their money. The courtroom drama that followed was called the "murder trial of the century." In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the case of John Bodkin Adams and its significance in British legal history. We'll also bomb Calgary and puzzle over a passive policeman. Intro: In 1959, James Sellers proposed installing microphones in baseball bases. In the Strand, Henry Dudeney offered a puzzle about asparagus bundles. Sources for our feature on John Bodkin Adams: Patrick Baron Devlin, Easing the Passing: The Trial of Dr John Bodkin Adams, 2004. Sybille Bedford, The Trial of Dr. Adams, 1962. Percy Hoskins, Two Men Were Acquitted: The Trial and Acquittal of Doctor John Bodkin Adams, 1984. Kieran Dolin, "The Case of Dr. John Bodkin Adams: A 'Notable' Trial and Its Narratives," in Brook Thomas, ed., Law and Literature, 2002. Jonathan Reinarz and Rebecca Wynter, eds., Complaints, Controversies and Grievances in Medicine: Historical and Social Science Perspectives, 2014. Russell G. Smith, Health Care, Crime and Regulatory Control, 1998. Gail Tulloch, Euthanasia, Choice and Death, 2005. Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Munby, "Medicine and the Law of Homicide: A Case for Reform?", King's Law Journal 23:3 (December 2012), 207-232. Percy Hoskins, "Points: Dr John Bodkin Adams," British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition) 287:6404 (Nov. 19, 1983), 1555. "Trial of Dr. J. Bodkin Adams," British Medical Journal 1:5020 (March 23, 1957), 712-713. "Trial of Dr. J. Bodkin Adams," British Medical Journal 1:5021 (March 30, 1957), 771-772. "Trial of Dr. J. Bodkin Adams: Expert Evidence," British Medical Journal 1:5022 (April 6, 1957), 828-834. "Trial of Dr. J. Bodkin Adams: Expert Evidence Continued," British Medical Journal 1:5023 (April 13, 1957), 889-894. Daniel E. Murray, "The Trial of Dr. Adams," University of Miami Law Review 13:4 (1959), 494. A.W. Simpson, "Euthanasia for Sale?", Michigan Law Review 84:4 (February-April 1986), 807. J.E. Hall Williams, "The Report of the Tucker Committee on Proceedings Before Examining Justices (July, 1958: Cmnd. 479)," Modern Law Review 21:6 (November 1958), 647-652. Caitlin Mahar, "Roy Porter Student Prize Essay, 2012: Easing the Passing: R v Adams and Terminal Care in Postwar Britain," Social History of Medicine 28:1 (2015), 155-171. Peter Ranscombe, "Shipman and Bodkin Adams in the Dock," Lancet Psychiatry 2:11 (November 2015), e32. "Crown vs. Dr. Adams: A Majestic Trial in Old Bailey," Life 42:16 (April 22, 1957), 30-37. Amanda Poole, "Did Antrim's Notorious 'Doctor Death' Go to His Grave With 300 Murders on His Conscience?", Belfast Telegraph, May 21, 2013, 3. Joyce Galbraith, "What Happens When Doctors Play God ...," Irish Medical Times 40:14 (April 7, 2006), 28. Jeremy Laurance, "Serial Killers 'Attracted to Medical Profession,'" Independent, May 10, 2001, 10. Ian Starrett, "Ulster's Notorious 'Mercy' Killing Doc," Belfast News Letter, Feb. 2, 2000, 13. "Dr. John Bodkin Adams Is Buried, and So Is Answer to Patients' Deaths," Philadelphia Inquirer, July 22, 1983, C.18. "Hearing for Dr. Adams Opens," New York Times, May 21, 1957. "Dr. Adams -- One Month After Acquittal," New York Times, May 5, 1957. "Adams Acquitted," New York Times, April 14, 1957. Kennett Love, "Adams Case Due to Go to Jurors," New York Times, April 8, 1957. Kennett Love, "Murder Defense May Call Adams," New York Times, April 1, 1957. Kennett Love, "The Trial of Dr. Adams," New York Times, March 31, 1957. Kennett Love, "Dr. Adams' Trial Enters 2d Week," New York Times, March 25, 1957. Kennett Love, "Suicide Bid Cited in Poison Hearing," New York Times, Jan. 24, 1957. Kennett Love, "Aim of Addiction Linked to Doctor," New York Times, Jan. 23, 1957 Kennett Love, "Britain's Doctor's Plot Already a Classic Case," New York Times, Jan. 20, 1957. Kennett Love, "Unusual Request Linked to Doctor," New York Times, Jan. 19, 1957. Kennett Love, "Evidence Is Gone, Britons Testify," New York Times, Jan. 18, 1957. "Murder by Narcotic Addiction Is Charged to a British Doctor," New York Times, Jan. 15, 1957. Percy Hoskins, "Adams, John Bodkin (1899–1983)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Before Present" (accessed April 25, 2020). Wikipedia, "Radiocarbon Dating" (accessed April 25, 2020). Erin Blakemore, "Radiocarbon Helps Date Ancient Objects -- But It's Not Perfect," National Geographic, July 12, 2019. Mindy Weisberger, "Nuclear Fallout Exposes Fake 'Antique' Whisky," Live Science, Jan. 27, 2020. David Williams, "Scottish Scientists Use Radioactive Isotopes From Old Nuclear Tests to Find Counterfeit Whisky. More Than 40 Percent of What They Tested Is Fake," CNN, Jan. 24, 2020. "Cal Cavendish, the 'Mad Manure Bomber,' Tells His Story," CBC News, May 7, 2015. Heath McCoy, "A Buzz From the Past," Calgary Herald, Jan. 31, 2009. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Chris Pallant. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 4, 2020, 5 a.m.

293-Lennie Gwyther

In 1932, 9-year-old Lennie Gwyther set out to ride a thousand kilometers to see the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Along the way he became a symbol of Australian grit and determination. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Lennie's journey, and what it meant to a struggling nation. We'll also recall a Moscow hostage crisis and puzzle over a surprising attack. Intro: Japanese detective novelist Edogawa Rampo's name is a phonetic homage. Samuel Barber decided his future at age 9. Sources for our feature on Lennie Gwyther: Peter Lalor, The Bridge: The Epic Story of an Australian Icon -- The Sydney Harbour Bridge, 2006. Stephanie Owen Reeder, Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony, 2015. Susan Carson, "Spun From Four Horizons: Re-Writing the Sydney Harbour Bridge," Journal of Australian Studies 33:4 (2009), 417-429. Paul Genoni, "The Sydney Harbour Bridge: From Modernity to Post-Modernity in Australian Fiction," Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature 12 (2012), 1-12. "Lennie's Sister Thanks the Community in a Book," South Gippsland Sentinel-Times, Dec. 13, 2018. Rachael Lucas, "Leongatha's Legendary 9yo Lennie Gwyther Garners a Statue for Epic Sydney Harbour Bridge Pony Ride," ABC Gippsland, Oct. 18, 2017. Peter Lalor, "Salute for Bridge Boy Who Rode Into History," Weekend Australian, Oct. 14, 2017, 5. Alexandra Laskie, "Lennie Gwyther's Solo Ride From Leongatha to Sydney Remembered," [Melbourne] Weekly Times, Oct. 13, 2017. Jessica Anstice, "Lennie's Statue to Be Revealed," Great Southern Star, Oct. 10, 2017. Yvonne Gardiner, "Lennie's Famous Ride Adds a New Bronzed Chapter," Queensland Times, June 15, 2017. "Immortalising Lennie," South Gippsland Sentinel-Times, March 1, 2016. Carolyn Webb, "The Nine-Year-Old Who Rode a Pony 1000km to Sydney," Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 22, 2015. Neil Kearney, "Little Lennie the Toast of a Nation," [Melbourne] Herald Sun, March 17, 2007, 33. Michelle Cazzulino, "The Boy Who Rode 1400km to See Our Bridge," [Surry Hills, N.S.W.] Daily Telegraph, March 12, 2007, 11. Peter Lalor, "A Symbol for Australia," Weekend Australian, March 10, 2007, 1. "A Ride Into History," [Surry Hills, N.S.W.] Sunday Telegraph, Oct. 16, 2005, 91. "Lennie Gwyther's Long Ride Ended," Bombala [N.S.W.] Times, June 17, 1932, 1. "Lennie Gwyther Home," Lockhart [N.S.W.] Review and Oaklands Advertiser, June 14, 1932, 2. "Lennie Gwyther," Sydney Morning Herald, June 11, 1932, 18. "Visit of Lennie Gwyther," [Benalla, Victoria] North Eastern Ensign, May 27, 1932, 3. "Lennie Gwyther," Sydney Morning Herald, May 9, 1932, 10. "Lennie Gwyther Returning," Newcastle [N.S.W.] Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, April 21, 1932, 6. "Lennie Gwyther's Return Journey," Sydney Morning Herald, April 20, 1932, 12. "Lennie Gwyther," Morwell [Victoria] Advertiser, April 15, 1932, 1. "Lennie Gwyther's Example," Sydney Morning Herald, March 18, 1932, 7. Lennie Gwyther, "The Boy With the Pony," Sydney Morning Herald, March 12, 1932, 9. "Boy's Long Ride to Attend the Royal Show," Sydney Morning Herald, March 10, 1932, 12. "550-Mile Pony Ride," Melbourne Herald, March 9, 1932, 11. "A Boy, His Pony and the Sydney Harbour Bridge," Conversations, ABC Radio, Oct. 31, 2018. "Lennie the Legend," The History Listen, ABC Radio National, April 17, 2018. Charlotte Roberts, "Lennie Gwyther," Sydney Living Museums (accessed April 13, 2020). Listener mail: Claire Bates, "When Foot-and-Mouth Disease Stopped the UK in Its Tracks," BBC News Magazine, Feb. 17, 2016. "Foot-and-Mouth Outbreak of 2001," BBC News, Feb. 18, 2011. Wikipedia, "2001 United Kingdom Foot-and-Mouth Outbreak" (accessed April 18, 2020). Video of a 4x4 Panda navigating a challenging track. "Hostage Crisis in Moscow Theater," History.com, Nov. 24, 2009. Wikipedia, "Moscow Theater Hostage Crisis" (accessed April 15, 2020). Michael Wines, "The Aftermath in Moscow: Post-Mortem in Moscow; Russia Names Drug in Raid, Defending Use," New York Times, Oct. 31, 2002. Erika Kinetz and Maria Danilova, "Lethal Chemical Now Used as a Drug Haunts Theater Hostages," Associated Press, Oct. 8, 2016. Artem Krechetnikov, "Moscow Theatre Siege: Questions Remain Unanswered," BBC Russian, Oct. 24, 2012. Becky Little, "How Opioids Were Used as Weapons During the Moscow Theater Hostage Crisis," History.com, May 25, 2018. Anna Rudnitskaya, "Nord-Ost Tragedy Goes On," Moscow News, Feb. 29, 2008. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 27, 2020, 5 a.m.

292-Fordlandia

In 1927, Henry Ford decided to build a plantation in the Amazon to supply rubber for his auto company. The result was Fordlandia, an incongruous Midwestern-style town in the tropical rainforest. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the checkered history of Ford's curious project -- and what it revealed about his vision of society. We'll also consider some lifesaving seagulls and puzzle over a false alarm. Intro: In 1891, the Strand tried to notate the songs of English birds. The third line of Gray’s Elegy can be rearranged in 11 different ways while retaining its sense. Sources for our feature on Fordlandia: Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City, 2010. Elizabeth D. Esch, The Color Line and the Assembly Line: Managing Race in the Ford Empire, 2018. Stephen L. Nugent, The Rise and Fall of the Amazon Rubber Industry: An Historical Anthropology, 2017. Tom W. Bell, Your Next Government?: From the Nation State to Stateless Nations, 2018. Ralf Barkemeyer and Frank Figge, "Fordlândia: Corporate Citizenship or Corporate Colonialism," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management 19:2 (2012), 69-78. John Galey, "Industrialist in the Wilderness: Henry Ford's Amazon Venture," Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 21:2 (May 1979), 261-289. Joseph A. Russell, "Fordlandia and Belterra, Rubber Plantations on the Tapajos River, Brazil," Economic Geography 18:2 (April 1942), 125-145. Mary A. Dempsey, "Henry Ford's Amazonian Suburbia," Americas 48:2 (March/April 1996), 44. Nathan J. Citino, "The Global Frontier: Comparative History and the Frontier-Borderlands Approach in American Foreign Relations," Diplomatic History 25:4 (Fall 2001), 677. Anna Tsing, "Earth Stalked by Man," Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 34:1 (Spring 2016), 2-16. Bill Nasson, "Fording the Amazon," South African Journal of Science 106:5-6 (2010), 1-2. Simon Romero, "Deep in Brazil's Amazon, Exploring the Ruins of Ford's Fantasyland," New York Times, Feb. 20, 2017. Drew Reed, "Lost Cities #10: Fordlandia – The Failure of Henry Ford's Utopian City in the Amazon," Guardian, Aug. 19, 2016. Greg Grandin, "Henry Ford's Jungle Folly," Sunday Telegraph, Jan. 31, 2010, 14. Ben Macintyre, "Dearborn-on-Amazon," New York Times, July 16, 2009. Mary A. Dempsey, "Trailing Henry Ford in Amazon Forest," Globe and Mail, Aug. 20, 1994, F.7. "Brazil to Take Over Ford Rubber Lands," Associated Press, Dec. 26, 1945. "Brazil May Grow Rubber for U.S.," Wilmington [N.C.] Morning Star, Feb. 19, 1942. Thomas R. Henry, "Of Stars, Men, and Atoms," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, Feb. 7, 1942. "Fordlandia to Get Labor; Brazil Prepares to Send Men to Rubber Plantation," New York Times, Aug. 22, 1940. "Fordlandia Built in Brazil's Jungle," New York Times, Dec. 9, 1934. "Opposition to Ford Dropped in Brazil," New York Times, May 3, 1931. "Ford Project Aids Amazon Progress," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, June 29, 1930. "Ford Plantation in Brazil Is Ideal," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, Nov. 4, 1928. Katie Canales, "Henry Ford Built 'Fordlandia,' a Utopian City Inside Brazil's Amazon Rainforest That's Now Abandoned — Take a Look Around," Business Insider, Feb. 10, 2020. "Fordlandia: The Failure of Ford's Jungle Utopia," All Things Considered, National Public Radio, June 6, 2009. "Popular Research Topics: Ford Rubber Plantations in Brazil," The Henry Ford (accessed April 5, 2020). Listener mail: "Hundreds of Billions of Locusts Swarm in East Africa," BBC News, March 10, 2020. Antoaneta Roussi, "Why Gigantic Locust Swarms Are Challenging Governments and Researchers," Nature, March 12, 2020. Kaamil Ahmed, "Locust Crisis Poses a Danger to Millions, Forecasters Warn," Guardian, March 20, 2020. Rodney Muhumuza, "New, Larger Wave of Locusts Threatens Millions in Africa," Associated Press, April 10, 2020. "China Will Not Send Ducks to Tackle Locusts in Pakistan, Says Expert," Guardian, Feb. 27, 2020. Kate Ng, "Army of 100,000 Ducks Deployed to Combat Locust Infestation," Independent, Feb. 27, 2020. "China May Send Ducks to Battle Pakistan's Locust Swarms," BBC News, Feb. 27, 2020. Katherine J. Wu, "Is a Duck Army Coming for Pakistan's Locusts? Not So Fast," Smithsonian, Feb. 28, 2020. Wikipedia, "Seagull Monument" (accessed April 6, 2020). Wikipedia, "Miracle of the Gulls" (accessed April 6, 2020). Ryan Cunningham, "A Seagull Story," Salt Lake City Weekly, Feb. 15, 2017. Trent Toone, "Was the 'Miracle of the Gulls' Exaggerated? LDS Historians Explain," LDS Living, July 23, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Florian, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 20, 2020, 5 a.m.

291-Half-Safe

In 1946, Australian engineer Ben Carlin decided to circle the world in an amphibious jeep. He would spend 10 years in the attempt, which he called an "exercise in technology, masochism, and chance." In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Carlin's unlikely odyssey and the determination that drove him. We'll also salute the Kentucky navy and puzzle over some surprising winners. Intro: During World War II a New Zealand duck served as sergeant in a U.S. Marine battalion. In 1938 H.P. Lovecraft wrote an acrostic sonnet to Edgar Allan Poe. Sources for our feature on Ben Carlin and the Half-Safe: Gordon Bass, The Last Great Australian Adventurer: Ben Carlin's Epic Journey Around the World by Amphibious Jeep, 2017. Boyé De Mente, Once a Fool -- From Tokyo to Alaska by Amphibious Jeep, 2005. William Longyard, A Speck on the Sea: Epic Voyages in the Most Improbable Vessels, 2004. Paula Grey, A History of Travel in 50 Vehicles, 2016. "Across the Atlantic by Jeep," Life 29:21 (Nov. 20, 1950), 149-153. James Nestor, "Half-Safe: A Story of Love, Obsession, and History's Most Insane Around-the-World Adventure," Atavist 20 (December 2012). Justin Pollard, "The Eccentric Engineer: How Sea Sickness and Near-Suffocation Spoiled a Romantic Getaway," Engineering & Technology 14:5 (2019), 89. Gordon Bass, "The Great Escape," Weekend Australian Magazine, July 29, 2017, 20. "50 Years Ago in Alaska," Alaska 73:10 (December 2007/January 2008), 13. Dag Pike, "Still Crazy," Yachting 201:4 (April 2007), 74-78. Eliza Wynn, "Northam Born Adventurer Showcased in Travel Film Festival," [Northam, Western Australia] Avon Valley Advocate, May 23, 2018, 2. "Guildford to Get a Taste of Adventure," Midland Kalamunda [Western Australia] Reporter, April 17, 2018, 5. Troy Lennon, "Aussie Adventurer's Crazy Global Jeep Jaunt," Daily Telegraph, Aug. 1, 2017, 23. "Ben Carlin Subject of New Book," Midland Kalamunda Reporter, Sept. 15, 2015, 2. Lorraine Horsley and Emma Wynne, "School Remembers Perth Adventurer Who Circumnavigated Globe in Half Safe, World War II Amphibious Jeep," ABC Premium News, June 22, 2015. "No Half Measures for Carlin," Melville [Western Australia] Times, June 28, 2011, 29. "Half-Safe Inspires Couple in Their Travels Across the Globe," Midland Kalamunda Reporter, July 7, 2009, 3. Warren Brown, "Jeep Thrills on the High Seas," [Surry Hills, New South Wales] Daily Telegraph, Oct. 29, 2004, Y07. "Ben Carlin Ends 10-Year 'Around the World' Trip," The Age, May 15, 1958, 4. Listener mail: Andrea Gallo and Ben Kesling, "Par-A-Dice Captain Is Lucky to Roll Once a Year," Wall Street Journal, Aug. 10, 2014. Jennifer Delgado and Robert McCoppin, "Des Plaines Casino Goes Vegas to Corner Upscale Chicago Market," Chicago Tribune, July 15, 2011. Douglas Holt, "Gambling Boats May Go Nowhere, But Captain, Crew Stay Afloat," Chicago Tribune, April 16, 2000. Paul Sloca, "Missouri's 'Boats in Moats' Get That Sinking Feeling," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 18, 1998. Wikipedia, "Riverboat Casino" (accessed April 1, 2020). Wikipedia, "Rivers Casino (Des Plaines)" (accessed March 23, 2020). Mark Ballard, "First Riverboat Casino Approved to Come Ashore Near Lake Charles; See Next Steps, Expected Completion," [New Orleans] Advocate, Dec. 19, 2019. Text of Kentucky House Resolution 256, "Encourage the Purchase of a Submarine to Destroy Casino Riverboats": A RESOLUTION encouraging the purchase and vigorous use of the USS Louisville 688 VLS Class submarine. WHEREAS, in the past few years the scourge of the casino riverboat has been an increasingly significant presence on the Ohio River; and WHEREAS, the Ohio River borders the Commonwealth of Kentucky; and WHEREAS, the siren song of payola issuing from the discordant calliopes of these gambling vessels has led thousands of Kentucky citizens to vast disappointment and woe; and WHEREAS, no good can come to the citizens of Kentucky hypnotized from the siren song issuing from these casino riverboats, the engines of which are fired by the hard-earned dollars lost from Kentucky citizens; NOW, THEREFORE, Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky: Section 1. The House of Representatives does hereby encourage the formation of the Kentucky Navy and subsequently immediately encourages the purchase and armament of one particularly effective submarine, namely, the USS Louisville 688 VLS Class Submarine, to patrol the portion of the Ohio River under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth to engage and destroy any casino riverboats that the submarine may encounter. Section 2. The House of Representatives does hereby authorize the notification of the casino riverboat consulate of this Resolution and impending whoopin' so that they may remove their casino vessels to friendlier waters. (To find the resolution on the website of the Kentucky General Assembly, search for the term "submarine" in the Legislative Record for the 2002 Regular Session.) "Kentucky Lawmaker Makes Fiscal Point With Humorous Legislation," Fox News, March 29, 2002. David Mikkelson, "Kentucky Submarine Purchase," Snopes, July 18, 2007. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Frank Kroeger, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 13, 2020, 5 a.m.

290-Voss' Last Stand

In 1917, German pilot Werner Voss had set out for a patrol over the Western Front when he encountered two flights of British fighters, including seven of the best pilots in the Royal Flying Corps. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the drama that followed, which has been called "one of the most extraordinary aerial combats of the Great War." We'll also honk at red lights in Mumbai and puzzle over a train passenger's mistake. Intro: The minuet in Haydn's Piano Sonata in A Major is a palindrome. In 1909, Ulysses, Kansas, moved two miles west. Sources for our feature on Werner Voss: Barry Diggens, September Evening: The Life and Final Combat of the German World War One Ace Werner Voss, 2012. Dan Hampton, Lords of the Sky: Fighter Pilots and Air Combat, From the Red Baron to the F-16, 2014. Michael Dorflinger, Death Was Their Co-Pilot: Aces of the Skies, 2017. Michael O'Connor, In the Footsteps of the Red Baron, 2005. Norman S. Leach, Cavalry of the Air: An Illustrated Introduction to the Aircraft and Aces of the First World War, 2014. O'Brien Browne, "Shooting Down a Legend," MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 23:2 (Winter 2011), 66. Jon Guttman, "Aerial Warfare Revived the Ancient Drama of the One-on-One Duel," Military History 18:5 (December 2001), 6. O'Brien Browne, "The Red Baron's Lone Wolf Rival," Aviation History 13:6 (July 2003), 30. Jon Guttman, "The Third Battle of Ypres Saw the Death of an Idealistic Generation -- in the Air as Well as on the Ground," Military History 14:5 (December 1997), 6. Kirk Lowry, "September Evening: The Life and Final Combat of the German World War One Ace Werner Voss," Military History 22:6 (September 2005), 68. O'Brien Browne, "The Perfect Soldier," Aviation History 22:1 (September 2011), 30-35. David T. Zabecki, "Hallowed Ground German War Cemetery Langemark, Belgium," Military History 32:5 (January 2016), 76-77. O'Brien Browne, "Deadly Duo," Aviation History 24:1 (September 2013), 44-49. A.D. Harvey, "Why Was the Red Baron's Fokker Painted Red? Decoding the Way Aeroplanes Were Painted in the First World War," War in History 8:3 (2001), 323-340. Dick Smith, "Build Your Own Fokker F.I Triplane," Aviation History 13:6 (July 2003), 37. James Lawrence, "A Victory That Vanished in the Mire," Times, May 20, 2017, 16. Robert Hands, "'Master of the Skies for a Fleeting Moment': A Brief and Brilliant Life -- Arthur Rhys Davids Was a Pioneering Pilot in the First World War," Times, July 3, 2010, 108. Karen Price, "World War I, by Four Men Who Were There," Western Mail, Aug. 19 2006, 24. Meir Ronnen, "Death in the Mud," Jerusalem Post, Nov. 10, 1989, 14. "Famous 'Aces' Downed; Friend and Foe Lose," Madison [S.D.] Daily Leader, Feb. 14, 1918. Listener mail: Richard Proenneke's website. Hannah Ellis-Petersen, "'Honk More, Wait More': Mumbai Tests Traffic Lights That Reward the Patient Driver," Guardian, Feb. 5, 2020. Rory Sullivan and Esha Mitra, "Mumbai Tests Traffic Lights That Stay Red If You Honk Your Horn," CNN, Feb. 5, 2020. Jeffrey Gettleman, "Mumbai Police Play a Trick on Honking Drivers," New York Times, Feb. 4, 2020. "The Punishing Signal in Collaboration With Mumbai Police," FCB Interface Communications, Jan. 30, 2020. "Killer's Remains Will Stay in Museum," East Anglian Daily Times, March 23, 2007. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Marie Nearing, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 5, 2020, 4:40 p.m.

289-The Johnstown Flood

In 1889, a dam failed in southwestern Pennsylvania, sending 20 million tons of water down an industrialized valley toward the unsuspecting city of Johnstown. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe some of the dramatic and harrowing personal stories that unfolded on that historic day. We'll also celebrate Christmas with Snoopy and puzzle over a deadly traffic light. Intro: For an 1866 California lecture tour, Mark Twain wrote his own handbills. Raymond Chandler's unused titles include The Diary of a Loud Check Suit. Sources for our feature on the Johnstown flood: David McCullough, Johnstown Flood, 1968. Richard O'Connor, Johnstown the Day the Dam Broke, 1957. Neil M. Coleman, Johnstown's Flood of 1889: Power Over Truth and the Science Behind the Disaster, 2018. Frank Connelly and George C. Jenks, Official History of the Johnstown Flood, 1889. John Stuart Ogilvie, History of the Great Flood in Johnstown, Pa., May 31, 1889, 1889. Willis Fletcher Johnson, History of the Johnstown Flood, 1889. Neil M. Coleman, Uldis Kaktins, and Stephanie Wojno, "Dam-Breach Hydrology of the Johnstown Flood of 1889 -- Challenging the Findings of the 1891 Investigation Report," Heliyon 2:6 (2016), e00120. Christine M. Kreiser, "Wave of Destruction," American History 50:4 (October 2015), 38-41. Uldis Kaktins et al., "Revisiting the Timing and Events Leading to and Causing the Johnstown Flood of 1889," Pennsylvania History 80:3 (2013), 335-363. Sid Perkins, "Johnstown Flood Matched Volume of Mississippi River," Science News, Oct. 20, 2009. Emily Godbey, "Disaster Tourism and the Melodrama of Authenticity: Revisiting the 1889 Johnstown Flood," Pennsylvania History 73:3 (2006), 273-315. Mary P. Lavine, "The Johnstown Floods: Causes and Consequences," in S.K. Majumdar et al., eds., Natural and Technological Disasters: Causes, Effects and Preventative Measures, Pennsylvania Academy of Science, 1992. Robert D. Christie, "The Johnstown Flood," Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 54:2 (April 1971), 198-210. John Bach McMaster, "The Johnstown Flood," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 57:3 (1933), 209-243. John Bach McMaster, "The Johnstown Flood: II," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 57:4 (1933), 316-354. "The Johnstown Disaster," Scientific American 60:26 (June 29, 1889), 406-407. Jason Zweig, "National News, 1889: Club Is Found Culpable in Johnstown Flood," Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2014. David Hurst, "'It's Still Controversial': Debate Rages Over Culpability of Wealthy Club Members," [Johnstown, Pa.] Tribune-Democrat, May 25, 2014. Peter Smith, "Johnstown Flood of 1889: Greatest Disaster in the State Continues to Resonate," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 24, 2014. Henry Fountain, "Research at the Source of a Pennsylvania Flood," New York Times, Oct. 26, 2009. "Town's Ads Say Its Catastrophic Flood 'Is Over,'" [Prescott, Ariz.] Daily Courier, March 31, 2002. "Bones May Be From 1889 Flood," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 8, 1998, B-4. Eric Pace, "Frank Shomo, Infant Survivor of Johnstown Flood, Dies at 108," New York Times, March 24, 1997. D. Byron Yake, "In Johnstown, They Still Talk About the Flood 85 Years Ago," [Washington, Pa.] Observer-Reporter, May 31, 1974, B-6. "Black Day in 1889; Johnstown, Pa., Marks Flood Anniversary," New York Times, May 24, 1964. "Flood Just Part of Little Known Tale Behind Johnstown Woes," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, May 30, 1939. "A Valley of Death," Three Rivers [Mich.] Tribune, June 7, 1889, 6. Johnstown Area Heritage Association, "Johnstown Flood Museum: Pennsylvania Railroad Interview Transcripts," 2013. Listener mail: Kelly Servick, "Brain Parasite May Strip Away Rodents' Fear of Predators -- Not Just of Cats," Science, Jan. 14, 2020. Madlaina Boillat et al., "Neuroinflammation-Associated Aspecific Manipulation of Mouse Predator Fear by Toxoplasma gondii," Cell Reports 30:2 (2020), 320-334. "Toxoplasma Infection in Mice Reduces Generalized Anxiety, Not Just Feline Fear," Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Jan. 15, 2020. The Royal Guardsmen, "Snoopy's Christmas," 1967. The Royal Guardsmen, "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron," 1966. Wikipedia, "Snoopy's Christmas" (accessed March 15, 2020). Alistair Hughes, "Snoopy Still Flying at Christmas," Stuff, Dec. 8, 2014. "Snoopy's Christmas 'Worst Christmas Song of All Time,'" New Zealand Herald, Dec. 18, 2007. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was suggested by listeners David and Becky Pruessner. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 30, 2020, 5 a.m.

288-Death at the Lane Cove River

On New Year's Day 1963, two bodies were discovered on an Australian riverbank. Though their identities were quickly determined, weeks of intensive investigation failed to uncover a cause or motive for their deaths. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Bogle-Chandler case, which riveted Australia for years. We'll also revisit the Rosenhan study and puzzle over a revealing lighthouse. Intro: Alphonse Allais' 1897 Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man is silent. In 1975 muralist Richard Haas proposed restoring the shadows of bygone Manhattan buildings. Sources for our feature on the Bogle-Chandler case: Peter Butt, Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler?, 2017. "A New Twist in the Case That Puzzled a Nation," Canberra Times, Sept. 3, 2016, 2. Damien Murphy, "New Twist in Gilbert Bogle and Margaret Chandler Murder Mystery," Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 2, 2016. Tracy Bowden, "Two Women May Hold Answer to How Dr Gilbert Bogle and Margaret Chandler Died in 1963," ABC News, Sept. 2, 2016. Tracy Bowden, "Two Women May Hold Key to Bogle-Chandler Case," 7.30, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sept. 2, 2016. Frank Walker, "Deadly Gas Firms as Chandler-Bogle Killer," Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 17, 2006, 41. D.D. McNicoll, "Riddle by the Riverside," Weekend Australian, Sept. 9, 2006, 21. Malcolm Brown, "The Gas Did It: Bogle-Chandler Theory Blames Toxic Cloud," Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 8, 2006, 3. Anna Salleh, "Bogle-Chandler Case Solved?", ABC Science, Sept. 8, 2006. Michael Edwards, "Experts Divided Over Bogle Death Theory," PM, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sept. 8, 2006. Lisa Power, "Daring Affairs Came to a Gruesome End," Daily Telegraph, Sept. 7, 2006, 28. Skye Yates, "New Year's Curse," Daily Telegraph, March 26, 2001, 63. Tony Stephens, "New Year Murder Theory in Bogle Affair," Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 2, 1998, 6. Joseph Lose, "Lovers 'Poisoned', Not LSD; Bodies Found Neatly Covered," [Auckland] Sunday News, Jan. 28, 1996, 7. "Breakthrough in 30-year Murder Mystery," [Wellington, New Zealand] Sunday Star-Times, Jan. 21, 1996, A1. Jack Waterford, "Mystery Unsolved After 25 Years," Canberra Times, Jan. 1, 1988, 2. "Court Told of Close Association," Canberra Times, May 25, 1963, 3. "Chandler in Witness Box," Canberra Times, May 23, 1963, 3. "Woman Called to 2-Death Inquest," The Age, March 1, 1963. Cameron Hazlehurst, "Bogle, Gilbert Stanley (1924–1963)," Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, 1993. Malcolm Brown, "Sweeney, Basil (1925–2009)," Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (accessed March 2, 2020). Listener mail: Vaughan Bell, "I Seem to Be What I'm Not (You See)," Lancet Psychiatry 7:3 (March 1, 2020), 242. Roderick David Buchanan, "The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness," Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 56:1 (Winter 2020), 52-53. Jennifer Szalai, "Investigating a Famous Study About the Line Between Sanity and Madness," New York Times, Nov. 27, 2019. Emily Eakin, "Her Illness Was Misdiagnosed as Madness. Now Susannah Cahalan Takes on Madness in Medicine," New York Times, Nov. 2, 2019. Hans Pols, "Undercover in the Asylum," Science, Nov. 8, 2019, 697. Gina Perry, "Deception and Illusion in Milgram's Accounts of the Obedience Experiments," Theoretical & Applied Ethics 2:2 (2013), 79-92. Hannah Dwan, "Fighting Baseball on the SNES Had Some of the Funniest Names in Gaming," Telegraph, Oct. 5, 2017. Wikipedia, "MLBPA Baseball" (accessed March 7, 2020). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Steven Jones. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 16, 2020, 5 a.m.

287-The Public Universal Friend

After a severe fever in 1776, Rhode Island farmer's daughter Jemima Wilkinson was reborn as a genderless celestial being who had been sent to warn of the coming Apocalypse. But the general public was too scandalized by the messenger to pay heed to the message. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Public Universal Friend and the prejudiced reaction of a newly formed nation. We'll also bid on an immortal piano and puzzle over some Icelandic conceptions. Intro: When identical images of a tower are placed side by side, the towers appear to diverge. In 2002, Erl E. Kepner patented a one-sided coffee mug. Sources for our feature on the Public Universal Friend: Paul B. Moyer, The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America, 2015. Herbert Andrew Wisbey, Pioneer Prophetess: Jemima Wilkinson, the Publick Universal Friend, 1964. Catherine A. Brekus, Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740-1845, 2000. Michael Bronski, A Queer History of the United States, 2011. Joel Whitney Tibbetts, Women Who Were Called: A Study of the Contributions to American Christianity of Ann Lee, Jemima Wilkinson, Mary Baker Eddy and Aimee Semple McPherson, 1978. Stafford Canning Cleveland, History and Directory of Yates County, 1873. Lewis Cass Aldrich, History of Yates County, N.Y., 1892. Wilkins Updike, James MacSparran, and Daniel Goodwin, A History of the Episcopal Church in Narragansett, Rhode Island, Volume 1, 1907. Sharon Betcher, "'The Second Descent of the Spirit of Life from God': The Assumption of Jemima Wilkinson," in Brenda E. Brasher and Lee Quinby, eds., Gender and Apocalyptic Desire, 2014. Paul Buckley, "The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America," Friends Journal 62:6 (June-July 2016), 38. Scott Larson, "'Indescribable Being': Theological Performances of Genderlessness in the Society of the Publick Universal Friend, 1776-1819," Early American Studies 12:3 (Fall 2014), 576-600. Shelby M. Balik, "The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America," Journal of the Early Republic 38:1, 157-160. Gwen Gosney Erickson, "The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America," Quaker History 106:1 (Spring 2017), 28-29. Beverly C. Tomek, "The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America," Journal of American History 103:3 (December 2016), 746–747. Charles Lowell Marlin, "Jemima Wilkinson: Errant Quaker Divine," Quaker History 52:2 (Autumn 1963), 90-94. Jeremy Rapport, "The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America," Early American Literature 52:1 (2017), 249-253, 267. Janet Moore Lindman, "From Salvation to Damnation: Popular Religion in Early America," Reviews in American History 45:4 (December 2017), 570-575. Margaret Bendroth, "Angry Women and the History of American Evangelicalism," Fides et Historia 34:2 (Summer 2002), 113. Samantha Schmidt, "A Genderless Prophet Drew Hundreds of Followers Long Before the Age of Nonbinary Pronouns," Washington Post, Jan. 5, 2020. Molly Worthen, "A Tour Through the 'American Messiahs' of Our Past," New York Times, April 26, 2019. Greg Barnhisel, "The Book of Nonconformists: America Has Always Been a Home to Self-Styled Messiahs," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 7, 2019, E5. Chris Jennings, "The Prophets Among Us," Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2019, A15. Gary Craig, "'Friend' Fund Named in Suit Found Offshore," Rochester [N.Y.] Democrat and Chronicle, Jan. 7, 2007, A7. "Life Story: The Public Universal Friend (1752–1819)," Women & The American Story, New York Historical Society (accessed Feb. 25, 2020). Listener mail: Sonia Purnell, A Woman of No Importance, 2019. "Britain's Secret WWII Weapons Revealed," BBC News, Oct. 26, 1999. Patrick Sawer and Hannah Furness, "From Garlic Chocolate to Exploding Animal Droppings: How Britain's Weird WWII Inventions Helped Fool the Nazis," Telegraph, June 1, 2017. Neil Johnston, "Weird Weapons That Nobbled Nazis Revealed in New Book," Times, June 2, 2017. Wikipedia, "Charles Fraser-Smith" (accessed Feb. 29, 2020). Wikipedia, "Q-Ship" (accessed Feb. 29, 2020). James Barron, "Charles Fraser-Smith, Mr. Gadget For James Bond Tales, Dies at 88," New York Times, Nov. 13, 1992. Barry Fox, "Review: Careful Carruthers, That Paper Clip Is Loaded," New Scientist, Aug. 14, 1993. Owen Mortimer, "'Immortal Piano' Offered for Sale Online," Rhinegold Publishing, Jan. 20, 2020. Russian pianist Anatole Kitain performs the Adagio from Bach's Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV 564, on the Siena piano. eBay, "Siena Pianoforte Immortal Piano Marchisio 1800's Sculpted By Bartalozzi & Ferri," listing ended Feb. 5, 2020. "Seized by Nazis, Found in Israel, 'Immortal Piano' Expected to Fetch $1m," Times of Israel, March 1, 2020. "'Immortal Piano' Set for Israel Auction," ArtDaily, March 6, 2020. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Chris Pallant. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 9, 2020, 5 a.m.

286-If Day

In 1942, Manitoba chose a startling way to promote the sale of war bonds -- it staged a Nazi invasion of Winnipeg. For one gripping day, soldiers captured the city, arrested its leaders, and oppressed its citizens. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe If Day, which one observer called "the biggest and most important publicity stunt" in Winnipeg's history. We'll also consider some forged wine and puzzle over some unnoticed car options. Intro: In 1649 Claude Mellan carved a portrait of Jesus with a single line. A pebble discovered in southern Africa may be the earliest evidence of an aesthetic sense among our ancestors. Sources for our feature on If Day: Jody Perrun, The Patriotic Consensus: Unity, Morale, and the Second World War in Winnipeg, 2014. Darren Sean Wershler-Henry, Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, 2010. Michael Newman, "February 19, 1942: If Day," Manitoba History 13 (Spring 1987), 27-30. Graham Chandler, "If Day: The Occupation of Manitoba," Legion Feb. 1, 2017. Ted Burch, "The Day the Nazis Took Over Winnipeg," Maclean's, Sept. 10, 1960. "Winnipeg Is 'Conquered,'" Life 12:10 (March 9, 1942), 30-32. "Tips for Spotting Nazis," National Post, May 10, 2019. Tristin Hopper, "Rare Photos From 'If Day' — The Time Winnipeg Staged a Full-Scale Nazi Invasion of Itself," National Post, Feb. 21, 2019. Don Pelechaty, "Remembrance Day Memories of 1942," Central Plains Herald-Leader, Nov. 9, 2017, A.17. Mike Huen, "'If Day' Currency Blast From the Possible Past," Winnipeg Free Press, June 30, 2017, E3. Christian Cassidy, "When War Came to Winnipeg: 75 Years Ago, City Staged Bold and Hugely Successful Publicity Stunt," Winnipeg Free Press, Feb. 19, 2017, 1. "75 Years Ago, Winnipeggers Said 'What If?", Winnipeg Free Press, Feb. 17, 2017. Karen Howlett, "Fundraiser Sees Winnipeg Invaded by Fake Nazis," Globe and Mail, Feb. 19, 2014, A.2. Alexandra Paul, "When War Came to Winnipeg," Winnipeg Free Press, Feb. 19, 2012, A.4. Ron Robinson, "The Day Nazis Came to Winnipeg," National Post, June 21, 2008, A.23. "George Waight, 93 Was Banker, Actor," Toronto Star, Dec. 17, 1985, B5. "George Waight, Bank Executive, Was Actor," Globe and Mail, Dec. 17, 1985, A.14. "Nazi Army's 'Invasion' of Winnipeg Remembered," Regina [Saskatchewan] Leader-Post, March 4, 1985, A5. "If Day," University of Manitoba Digital Collections. Listener mail: Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Wolfgang Beltracchi" (accessed Feb. 22, 2020). Christopher Goodwin, "Wolfgang Beltracchi: A Real Con Artist," Times, May 10, 2014. "Convicted Forger Claims He Faked 'About 50' Artists," BBC News, March 7, 2012. Ben Kenigsberg, "Review: 'Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery' Tells How a Swindler Fooled the World," New York Times, Aug. 18, 2015. Wikipedia, "Rudy Kurniawan" (accessed Feb. 22, 2020). Ed Cumming, "The Great Wine Fraud," Guardian, Sept. 10, 2016. Tatiana Schlossberg, "Wine Dealer Sentenced to 10 Years for Defrauding Clients," New York Times, Aug. 7, 2014. William K. Rashbaum and Matt Flegenheimer, "Renowned Wine Dealer Accused of Trying to Sell Counterfeits," New York Times, March 8, 2012. "Third of Rare Scotch Whiskies Tested Found to Be Fake," BBC News, Dec. 20, 2018. "Whisky Sour? Rare or Fake Scotch Exposed by Carbon-Dating," Reuters, Dec. 20, 2018. Mindy Weisberger, "Nuclear Fallout Exposes Fake 'Antique' Whisky," LiveScience, Jan. 27, 2020. David Williams, "Scottish Scientists Use Radioactive Isotopes From Old Nuclear Tests to Find Counterfeit Whisky. More Than 40 Percent of What They Tested Is Fake," CNN, Jan. 24, 2020. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Brian Voeller, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 2, 2020, 5 a.m.

285-The Grasshopper Plagues

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 settlers' struggles against them. We'll also delve into urban legends and puzzle over some vanishing children. Intro: In 2001, a Washington earthquake drew a rose with a pendulum. In 2003, Japanese web designer Nobuyuki Kayahara created a curiously ambiguous animation. Sources for our feature on the grasshopper plagues: Jeffrey A. Lockwood, Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect That Shaped the American Frontier, 2009. Annette Atkins, Harvest of Grief: Grasshopper Plagues and Public Assistance in Minnesota, 1873-78, 2003. Joanna Stratton, Pioneer Women, 2013. Samuel Clay Bassett, Buffalo County, Nebraska, and Its People, 1916. Harold E. Briggs, "Grasshopper Plagues and Early Dakota Agriculture, 1864-1876," Agricultural History 8:2 (April 1934), 51-63. Stephen Gross, "The Grasshopper Shrine at Cold Spring, Minnesota: Religion and Market Capitalism Among German-American Catholics," Catholic Historical Review 92:2 (April 2006), 215-243. Mary K. Fredericksen, "The Grasshopper Wars," The Palimpsest 62:5 (1981), 150-161. Cyrus C. Carpenter, "The Grasshopper Invasion," Annals of Iowa 4:6 (July 1900), 437-447. Chuck Lyons, "The Year of the Locust," Wild West 24:6 (April 2012), 44-49. Wiley Britton, "The Grasshopper Plague of 1866 in Kansas," Scientific Monthly 25:6 (December 1927), 540-545. G. Prosper Zaleski, "The Grasshopper Plague," Scientific American 33:9 (Aug. 28, 1875), 132. Thomas Hayden, "A Long-Ago Plague of Locusts," U.S. News & World Report 136:19 (May 31, 2004), 66. Kathie Bell, "The Grasshopper Plague," Dodge City Daily Globe, April 15, 2019. Lance Nixon, "Dakota Life: The Grasshopper and the Plow," [Topeka, Kan.] Capital Journal, Sept. 3, 2015. Frank Lee, "Grasshopper Chapel Inspires Faith, Prayer," St. Cloud [Minn.] Times, Aug. 6, 2005, C.1. "The Grasshopper Plague," New York Times, July 1, 1888. "The Grasshopper Plague," New York Times, Dec. 29, 1876. "The Bright Side of the Grasshopper Plague," New York Times, July 17, 1875. "The Grasshopper Plague," New York Times, Aug. 10, 1874. "The Locusts of the West," New York Times, July 14, 1874. "The Grasshopper Plague," New York Times, July 14, 1874. "The Grasshopper Plague," New York Times, July 10, 1874. "The Grasshoppers," New York Times, July 10, 1874. "A Plague of Grasshoppers," New York Times, June 22, 1874. Matthew Garcia, "Melanoplus spretus: Rocky Mountain Locust," Animal Diversity Web (accessed Feb. 22, 2020). R.L. Cartwright, "Grasshopper Plagues, 1873–1877," MNopedia, Nov. 17, 2011. Listener mail: "If you thinking about taking a NIGHT TRAIN in ITALY DON'T," Lonely Planet (accessed Feb. 14, 2020). "Urgently Need Advice About Trenitalia Sleeper Trains," Tripadvisor (accessed Feb. 14, 2020). Wikipedia, "Rick Steves" (accessed Feb. 14, 2020). "About Rick Steves," Rick Steves' Europe (accessed Feb. 14, 2020). "Sleeping on Trains," Rick Steves' Europe (accessed Feb. 14, 2020). John Hooper, "'Sleeping Gas' Thieves Target Super-Rich at Italian Billionaires' Resort," Guardian, Aug. 30, 2011. Wikipedia, "Jan Harold Brunvand" (accessed Feb. 14, 2020). Wikipedia, "Urban Legend" (accessed Feb. 14, 2020). Jan Harold Brunvand, The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings, 2003. Andrew Noymer, "The Transmission and Persistence of 'Urban Legends': Sociological Application of Age-Structured Epidemic Models," Journal of Mathematical Sociology 25:3 (2001), 299-323. Henry B. Dunn and Charlotte A. Allen, "Rumors, Urban Legends and Internet Hoaxes," Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Marketing Educators, 2005. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Frequently Asked Questions," March 21, 2018. Mayo Clinic, "Carbon Monoxide Poisoning," Oct. 16, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Moxie LaBouche, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 24, 2020, 5 a.m.

284-The Red Barn

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 the Red Barn, which transfixed Britain in the early 19th century. We'll also encounter an unfortunate copycat and puzzle over some curious births. Intro: In 1859, a penurious Henry Thoreau donated $5 to a college library. Georges Perec rendered "Ozymandias" without the letter E. Sources for our feature on the Red Barn: James Curtis, The Murder of Maria Marten, 1828. Shane McCorristine, William Corder and the Red Barn Murder: Journeys of the Criminal Body, 2014. Lucy Worsley, The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock, 2014. James Moore, Murder at the Inn: A History of Crime in Britain's Pubs and Hotels, 2015. Colin Wilson, A Casebook of Murder, 2015. Maryrose Cuskelly, Original Skin: Exploring the Marvels of the Human Hide, 2011. Henry Vizetelly, The Romance of Crime, 1860. "Trial of William Corder for the Murder of Maria Marten," Annual Register, 1828, 337-349. James Redding Ware, Wonderful Dreams of Remarkable Men and Women, 1884. Jessie Dobson, "The College Criminals: 4. William Corder," Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 11:4 (1952), 249. Richard Grady, "Personal Identity Established by the Teeth; the Dentist a Scientific Expert," American Journal of Dental Science 17:9 (1884), 385. Harry Cocks, "The Pre-History of Print and Online Dating, c. 1690-1990," in I. Alev Degim, James Johnson, and Tao Fu, Online Courtship: Interpersonal Interactions Across Borders, 2015. Sarah Tarlow, "Curious Afterlives: The Enduring Appeal of the Criminal Corpse," Mortality 21:3 (2016), 210–228. Ruth Penfold-Mounce, "Consuming Criminal Corpses: Fascination With the Dead Criminal Body," Mortality 15:3 (August 2010), 250-265. "The Trial of William Corder, for the Wilful Murder of Maria Marten, Etc.," 1828. "The Trial, at Length, of William Corder, Convicted of the Murder of Maria Marten," 1828. "An Accurate Account of the Trial of William Corder for the Murder of Maria Marten," 1828. "The Trial of William Corder at the Assizes, Bury St. Edmunds," 1828. "Dream Testimony," Notes & Queries 52, Dec. 27, 1856. Paul Collins, "The Molecatcher's Daughter," Independent on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2006, 20. Peter Watson, "Alternatives: Natural Barn Killer," Guardian, Feb. 19, 1995, 23. Jonathan Kay, "Lessons From a Molecatcher's Daughter," National Post, Jan. 9, 2007, A17. Michael Horsnell, "Red Barn Murderer Finally Laid to Rest," Times, Aug. 18, 2004, 10. Max Haines, "The Red Barn Murder," Sudbury [Ontario] Star, Aug. 16, 2003, D.11. Maryrose Cuskelly, "Of Human Bondage," Australian, June 3, 2009, 18. "Gruesome Murder Still Has the Power to Fascinate," East Anglian Daily Times, Oct. 28, 2013. "True Crime From the 1820s: Shades of Capote," Weekend Edition Saturday, National Public Radio, Oct. 28, 2006. Colin Wilson, "A Murder Mystery: Why Do Some Killings Dominate the Headlines?", Times, Jan. 28, 2006, 25. Pamela Owen, "The Day Murder Became a National Obsession," The People, Sept. 22, 2013, 34. Stephanie Markinson, "Dark History," Yorkshire Post, Jan. 10, 2020, 7. "Collection Articles: The Trial, at Length, of William Corder, Convicted of the Murder of Maria Marten," British Library (accessed Feb. 2, 2020). Alsager Richard Vian, "Corder, William," Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Vol. 12. Alsager Vian, "Corder, William," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004. Listener mail: Malcolm Gladwell, "Safety in the Skies," Gladwell.com, Oct. 1, 2001. Hugh Morris, "The Strangest Stories From the Golden Age of Plane Hijacking," Telegraph, July 5, 2019. Thom Patterson, "How the Era of 'Skyjackings' Changed the Way We Fly," CNN, Oct. 2, 2017. "Three Cheeseburgers and a Rental Car," Fear of Landing, July 26, 2019. Wikipedia, "D. B. Cooper" (accessed Feb. 4, 2020). Joni Balter, "Attorney: Hijacker Couldn't Hurt Anyone," UPI, Jan. 21, 1983. "Man Killed in Attempted Hijacking on Coast," UPI, Jan. 21, 1983. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by both Ronald Gainey and Chris Zinsli, based on an item they heard on the podcast 99% Invisible. Here are four additional corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 17, 2020, 5 a.m.

283-The Hermit of Suwarrow

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 and his impressions of an isolated existence. We'll also revisit Scunthorpe and puzzle over a boat's odd behavior. Intro: A 17th-century London handbill advertised the virtues of coffee. In 1905 Mark Twain illustrated the full meaning of a prayer for military victory. Sources for our feature on Tom Neale: Tom Neale, An Island to Oneself: The Story of Six Years on a Desert Island, 1966. Dom Degnon, Sails Full and By, 1995. James C. Simmons, Castaway in Paradise: The Incredible Adventures of True-Life Robinson Crusoes, 1998. Nataša Potocnik, "Robert Dean Frisbie -- An American Writer in the South Pacific," Acta Neophilologica 33:1-2 (2000), 93-105. Joseph Bockrath, "Law on Remote Islands: The Convergence of Fact and Fiction," Legal Studies Forum 27 (2003), 21. Alexey Turchin and Brian Patrick Green, "Islands as Refuges for Surviving Global Catastrophes," Foresight 21:1 (2019), 100-117. Ella Morton, "The Self-Made Castaway Who Spent 16 Years on an Atoll With His Cats," Slate, Oct. 26, 2015. Bette Thompson, "The Happy Exile," New York Times, Nov. 26, 1972. Gerard Hindmarsh, "An Island to Oneself Revisited," Nelson [New Zealand] Mail, Dec. 15, 2018, 6. "Book Mark," Niue News Update, Sept. 18, 2001. Listener mail: A photo taken by Derryl Murphy's grandfather of a ski plane at Fort Reliance, Northwest Territories. Joel Tansey, "Looking Back at the Original Trapper, Golden's Premier Meeting Place," Golden [B.C.] Star, May 28, 2015. Audrey Gillan, "Town Gets Stuck Into Semolina," Guardian, Oct. 27, 2006. "Semolina Snowfall for Yarmouth," [Norwich, U.K.] Eastern Daily Press, Oct. 26, 2006. "Sticky Problem of Semolina Spill," BBC News, Oct. 27, 2006. Wikipedia, "Semolina" (accessed Jan. 31, 2020). Mary Branscombe, "Lyft Is Having Its Scunthorpe Moment Because We Don't Learn From History," Twitter, Dec. 20, 2019. Andrew J. Hawkins, "Lyft's Algorithm Is Trying to Block People With Names Like 'Dick,' 'Finger,' and 'Cummings,'" The Verge, Dec. 19, 2019. Alyse Stanley, "Need a Lyft? Too Bad, Dick Assman," Gizmodo, Dec. 19, 2019. Lisa Eadicicco, "Lyft Thought Some Users' Real Names Were Offensive Content. Candice Poon, Cara Dick, Mike Finger, and Others Were Ordered to Get New Names Within 2 Days," Business Insider, Dec. 19, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Patrick Steinkuhl, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 10, 2020, 5 a.m.

282-Helga Estby's Walk

In 1896, Norwegian immigrant Helga Estby faced the foreclosure of her family's Washington farm. To pay the debt she accepted a wager to walk across the United States within seven months. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow her daring bid to win the prize, and its surprising consequence. We'll also toast Edgar Allan Poe and puzzle over a perplexing train. Intro: The Dutch and French words for kidney are reversals of one another. In Japan, Douglas Adams encountered a new conception of persistence. Sources for our feature on Helga Estby: Linda Lawrence Hunt, Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America, 2007. Margaret Riddle, "Estby, Helga (1860-1942)," HistoryLink, Sept. 23, 2011. Stefanie Pettit, "Helga Estby a Walking Tale," Spokesman Review, July 9, 2015, S.8. Pia Hallenberg Christensen, "Cross-Country Walk Inspires Women," [Spokane, Wash.] Spokesman Review, May 3, 2008, B.1. Chris Rodkey, "Women Get No Mileage From Cross-Country Trek," Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2003, A.27. Linda Duval, "The Forgotten Walk: Helga Estby's Hike Across America," [Colorado Springs, Colo.] Gazette, June 8, 2003, LIFE1. Dan Webster, "A Feat Nearly Forgotten," [Spokane, Wash.] Spokesman Review, April 27, 2003, F1. "Mrs. Helga Estby," Spokane Daily Chronicle, April 21, 1942. "A $10,000 Walk," Saint Paul Globe, June 2, 1897, 3. "From Spokane to New York," San Francisco Call 79:157 (May 5, 1896), 4. Listener mail: Ian Duncan, "New Poe Toaster Takes Up a Baltimore Tradition," Baltimore Sun, Jan. 17, 2016. Keith Perry, "New Spate of Attacks by Sleeping Gas Gang, Caravanners Warned," Telegraph, Sept. 1, 2014. Joel Gunter, "Jenson Button Robbery: Are French Burglars Really Using Has?", BBC News, Aug. 7, 2015. Sarah Hilley, "Holiday Couple Gassed and Robbed," Swindon Advertiser, Aug. 15, 2007. "Gassed When Wild Camping," Motor Home Fun, March 31, 2009. "Travelling In France - Warning," Caravan Talk, Aug. 16, 2007. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Colin Sommers, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 27, 2020, 5 a.m.

281-Grey Owl

In the 1930s the world's best-known conservationist was an ex-trapper named Grey Owl who wrote and lectured ardently for the preservation of the Canadian wilderness. At his death, though, it was discovered that he wasn't who he'd claimed to be. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of his curious history and complicated legacy. We'll also learn how your father can be your uncle and puzzle over a duplicate record. Intro: Dutch engineer Theo Jansen builds sculptures that walk. Helen Fouché Gaines' 1956 cryptanalysis textbook ends with a cipher that "nobody has ever been able to decrypt." Sources for our feature on Grey Owl: Donald B. Smith, From the Land of Shadows: The Making of Grey Owl, 2000. Albert Braz, Apostate Englishman: Grey Owl the Writer and the Myths, 2015. Jane Billinghurst, Grey Owl: The Many Faces of Archie Belaney, 1999. Allison Mitcham, Grey Owl's Favorite Wilderness Revisited, 1991. Lovat Dickson, Wilderness Man: The Strange Story of Grey Owl, 1973. Anahareo, Devil in Deerskins: My Life With Grey Owl, 1972. James Polk, Wilderness Writers, 1972. Brian Bethune, "Truth and Consequences," Maclean's 112:40 (Oct. 4, 1999), 58. Kenneth Brower, "Grey Owl," Atlantic 265:1 (January 1990), 74-84. Trent Frayne, "Grey Owl the Magnificent Fraud," Maclean's 64 (Aug. 1, 1951), 14-16, 37-39. Dane Lanken, "The Vision of Grey Owl," Canadian Geographic 119:2 (March/April 1999), 74-80. Fenn Stewart, "Grey Owl in the White Settler Wilderness: 'Imaginary Indians' in Canadian Culture and Law," Law, Culture and the Humanities 14:1 (Oct. 8, 2014), 161-181. Kevin Young, "Cowboys & Aliens," Kenyon Review 39:6 (November/December 2017), 10-32. David Chapin, "Gender and Indian Masquerade in the Life of Grey Owl," American Indian Quarterly 24:1 (Winter 2000), 91-109. John Hayman, "Grey Owl's Wild Goose Chase," History Today 44:1 (January 1994), 42. Mark Collin Reid, "Grey Owl," Canada's History 95:5 (October/November 2015), 14-15. Donald B. Smith, "Belaney, Archibald Stansfeld [called Grey Owl]," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004. Donald B. Smith, "Belaney, Archibald Stansfeld, Known as Grey Owl and Wa-sha-quon-asin," in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 16, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003 (accessed Jan. 5, 2020). Donald B. Smith, "Archibald Belaney, Grey Owl," The Canadian Encyclopedia, June 17, 2008 (accessed Jan. 5, 2020). Susan Griffith, "Grey Owl: Champion of the Canadian Wilderness," Independent, Nov. 12, 2015. Jane Onyanga-Omara, "Grey Owl: Canada's Great Conservationist and Imposter," BBC News, Sept. 19, 2013. James H. Marsh, "Grey Owl's Great Deception," CanWest News, Sept. 17, 2003, 1. Tony Lofaro, "Why I Kept Grey Owl's Secret," Ottawa Citizen, Sept. 21, 1999, D3. Peter Unwin, "The Fabulations of Grey Owl," The Beaver 79:2 (April 1999), 13-19. Henrietta Smyth, "Grey Owl Returns to England," North Bay [Ont.] Nugget, April 3, 1999, B1. "Grey Owl," New York Times, April 17, 1938. "Service Honors Grey Owl," New York Times, April 16, 1938. "Grey Owl, Worker for Conservation," New York Times, April 14, 1938. "Doctor and Nurse to Beavers in Canada Is Indian Grey Owl," New York Times, June 24, 1934. "Do You Know?", Roanoke Rapids [N.C.] Herald, Nov. 24, 1932, 2. Listener mail: Roger Schlueter, "Getting a Bone Marrow Transplant Could Give You New DNA, Too," Belleville [Ill.] News-Democrat, Jan. 16, 2018. "She's Her Own Twin," ABC News, Aug. 15, 2006. Wikipedia, "Lydia Fairchild" (accessed Jan. 8, 2020). Wikipedia, "Chimera (Genetics)" (accessed Jan. 9, 2020). Jessica Richardson, "Man Fails Paternity Test Due to Passing on Unborn Twin's DNA," BioNews, Nov. 2, 2015. Alice Park, "How a Man's Unborn Twin Fathered His Child," Time, Oct. 28, 2015. Heather Murphy, "When a DNA Test Says You're a Younger Man, Who Lives 5,000 Miles Away," New York Times, Dec. 7, 2019. Heather Murphy, "The Case of a Man With Two Sets of DNA Raises More Questions," New York Times, Dec. 12, 2019. Carl Zimmer, "In the Marmoset Family, Things Really Do Appear to Be All Relative," New York Times, March 27, 2007. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Paul Kapp. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 20, 2020, 5 a.m.

280-Leaving St. Kilda

1930 saw the quiet conclusion of a remarkable era. The tiny population of St. Kilda, an isolated Scottish archipelago, decided to end their thousand-year tenure as the most remote community in Britain and move to the mainland. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the remarkable life they'd shared on the island and the reasons they chose to leave. We'll also track a stork to Sudan and puzzle over the uses of tea trays. Intro: Reportedly the 3rd Earl of Darnley believed he was a teapot. Henry Hudson's journal records a 1610 encounter with a mermaid. Sources for our feature on St. Kilda: Charles MacLean, Island on the Edge of the World: The Story of St Kilda, 1972. Tom Steel, The Life and Death of St. Kilda: The Moving Story of a Vanished Island Community, 2011. Andrew Fleming, St Kilda and the Wider World: Tales of an Iconic Island, 2005. Alexander Buchan, A Description of St. Kilda, The Most Remote Western Isle of Scotland, 1741. Martin Martin, A Voyage to St. Kilda, 1749. George Seton, St Kilda Past and Present, 1878. Alastair Gray, A History of Scotland, 1989. John Macculloch, A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, 1819. Fraser MacDonald, "St Kilda and the Sublime," Ecumene 8:2 (2001), 151-174. L.F. Powell, "The History of St. Kilda," Review of English Studies 16:61 (January 1940), 44-53. "St. Kilda," British Medical Journal 1:2683 (June 1, 1912), 1249-1251. "St. Kilda," British Medical Journal 2:3418 (July 10, 1926), 80-81. Fergus McIntosh, "A Trip to St. Kilda, Scotland's Lost Utopia in the Sea," New Yorker, Dec. 3, 2017. Alison Campsie, "New Images Throw Light on a St Kilda Fit for the 21st Century," Scotsman, Oct. 8, 2018, 24. Roger Cox, "Deserted Streets, Sea Cliffs and Stark Military Towers Show Real St Kilda in Black and White," Scotsman, May 26, 2018, 58. Neel Mukherjee, "A Veritable No Man's Land, Off the Coast of Scotland," New York Times, May 7, 2018. Alison Campsie, "What It's Like Living on St Kilda," Scotsman, Feb. 21, 2018. "'End of an Era': Last Native of Remote Island St Kilda Dies," [London] Express, April 7, 2016. Gabriella Swerlingwrites, "St Kilda: Islands That Were Not So Remote After All," Times, Nov. 3, 2015, 5. "Norman John Gillies: Obituaries," Daily Telegraph, Oct. 3, 2013, 35. Steven McKenzie, "The New Residents of St Kilda Archipelago," BBC News, Aug. 29, 2010. "Eighty Years Ago St Kilda Was Evacuated. Today One of Only Two Survivors Remembers Leaving the Islands," Scotsman, Aug. 11, 2010. Charlie English, "St Kilda: The Edge of the World," Guardian, Aug. 28, 2009. Nigel Johnson, "St. Kilda Tells of Lonely, Difficult Existence," Winnipeg Free Press, June 10, 2006, E.6. Nigel Richardson, "Revisiting the Margin of the World," National Post, Aug. 21, 1999, B12. Edmund Antrobus, "St. Kilda, the Enigma Out to Sea," [Bergen County, N.J.] Record, Aug. 15, 1999. "Return to St Kilda," Glasgow Herald, March 18, 1987. "Island to Be Abandoned," New York Times, July 30, 1930. "St. Kilda," London Graphic, Nov. 14, 1885. "St Kilda," Caledonian Mercury, Sept. 1, 1834. "Stories from St Kilda," National Records of Scotland (accessed Dec. 29, 2019). Listener mail: "Polish Charity Gets Huge Phone Bill Thanks to Stork," BBC News, June 28, 2018. "Polish Stork Vanishes From GPS but Delivers Huge Phone Bill," AP News, June 29, 2018. Iain Thomson, "What a Flap: SIM Swiped From Slain Stork's GPS Tracker Used to Rack Up $2,700 Phone Bill," The Register, July 3, 2018. Helena Horton, "Palmerston, the Foreign Office Cat, Returns to Work After Six Months Off for Stress," Telegraph, Dec. 2, 2019. Megan Baynes, "Foreign Office Cat Palmerston Returns to Work After Six Months Off With Stress," London Press Association, Dec. 3, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Miriam Fewtrell, based on a fact she read in Leonard Mosley's 1974 book The Reich Marshal: A Biography of Hermann Goering. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 13, 2020, 5 a.m.

279-The Champawat Tiger

At the turn of the 20th century, a rogue tiger terrorized the villages of Nepal and northern India. By the time British hunter Jim Corbett was called in, it had killed 434 people. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Corbett's pursuit of the elusive cat, and his enlightened efforts to address the source of the problem. We'll also revisit a Confederate spy and puzzle over a bloody ship. Intro: Ralph Beaman devised a sentence that ends with 15 prepositions. The stones of Pennsylvania's Ringing Rocks Park chime when struck. Sources for our feature on the Champawat tiger: Jim Corbett, Man-Eaters of Kumaon, 1944. Dane Huckelbridge, No Beast So Fierce: The Terrifying True Story of the Champawat Tiger, the Deadliest Man-Eater in History, 2019. Hemanta Mishra, Bones of the Tiger: Protecting the Man-Eaters of Nepal, 2010. Nayanika Mathur, Paper Tiger, 2016. Sujeet Kumar Singh, et al., "Understanding Human–Tiger Conflict Around Corbett Tiger Reserve India: A Case Study Using Forensic Genetics," Wildlife Biology in Practice 11:1 (June 2015), 1-11. Iti Roychowdhury, "Man Eaters and the Eaten Men: A Study of the Portrayal of Indians in the Writings of Jim Corbett," Research Journal of English Language and Literature 5:1 (January-March 2017), 37-41. A.J.T. Johnsingh, "Status and Conservation of the Tiger in Uttaranchal, Northern India," AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 35:3 (May 2006), 135-137. Jim Doherty, "Tigers at the Gate," Smithsonian 32:10 (January 2002), 66-67. Sarah Zielinski, "How a Tiger Transforms Into a Man-Eater," Science News, March 19, 2019. Adele Conover, "The Object at Hand," Smithsonian 26:8 (November 1995), 28. "Jim Corbett Dies; Big-Game Hunter; Told of His Exploits Against Indian Killer Tigers in 'Man-Eaters of Kumaon,'" New York Times, April 21, 1955. "Champawat Residents Remember Jim Corbett on Birth Anniversary," Hindustan Times, July 26, 2017. "The Remarkable Legacy of Tiger Jim," Independent, Nov. 1, 2007, 38. Michael T. Kaufman, "Tiger, Protected From Man, Flourishes Again in India; The Tiger, Protected, Prospers in India Tiger Cubs Live Longer A Special Counting Method," New York Times, Sept. 16, 1980. Christine Hauser, "Number of Tigers in the Wild Is Rising, Wildlife Groups Say," New York Times, April 11, 2016. "A Hunter Who Went on to Save the Hunted," The Hindu, Nov. 10, 2018. "Remembering Corbett! A Legend, Man of Many Parts," [New Delhi] Pioneer, July 26, 2015. "The Tiger Hunter Who Earned His Stripes," Sunday Telegraph, Oct. 13, 2019, 16. Vineet Upadhyay, "Jim Corbett's 100-Yr-Old Rifle Returns Home to His Village," Economic Times, April 6, 2016. Dane Huckelbridge, "How to Ensure Tigers Come Roaring Back," Globe and Mail, Feb. 9, 2019, O.5. D.B.N. Murthy, "It Is Jim Corbett's Country," Alive 365 (March 2013), 48-50. Gregory Crouch, "'No Beast So Fierce' Review: The Making of a Killer," Wall Street Journal, Feb. 4, 2019. R. Raj Rao, "'No Beast So Fierce: The Champawat Tiger and Her Hunter, the First Tiger Conservationist' by Dane Huckelbridge: In the Forests of the Night," The Hindu, May 11, 2019. Bill Purves, "History's Deadliest Single Animal? Story of the Killer Indian Tiger and the Man Who Hunted It Down Detailed in New Book," South China Morning Post, March 6, 2019. Listener mail: The Patreon posts mentioned in the listener mail segment are "Greenhow Misgivings" (discussing the problem) and "Followup to 'Greenhow Misgivings'" (describing the measures we took). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Steven Jones. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 6, 2020, 5 a.m.

278-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Intro: Ixonia, Wisconsin, was named at random. Ben Franklin harnessed the power of long-term interest to make large gifts to Boston and Philadelphia. The sources for this week's puzzles are below. In two places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 is from listener Gabriel Bizcarra. Puzzle #2 is adapted from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale's 2014 book Remarkable Lateral Thinking Puzzles. Puzzle #3 is from Greg. Puzzle #4 is from listener Peter Quinn. Puzzle #5 is from Greg. Here are two links. Puzzle #6 is from Sharon. Two links. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 30, 2019, 5 a.m.

277-The Mad Trapper of Rat River

In the winter of 1931, a dramatic manhunt unfolded in northern Canada when a reclusive trapper shot a constable and fled across the frigid landscape. In the chase that followed the mysterious fugitive amazed his pursuers with his almost superhuman abilities. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the hunt for the "Mad Trapper of Rat River." We'll also visit a forgotten windbreak and puzzle over a father's age. Intro: Korean soldier Yang Kyoungjong was conscripted successively by Japan, the Soviet Union, and Germany. In 1978, Arnold Rosenberg examined idioms to trace a path to the most incomprehensible natural language. RCMP constable Alfred King is at far left in the photo; constable Edgar Millen is second from right. Sources for our feature on Albert Johnson: Dick North, Mad Trapper of Rat River: A True Story of Canada's Biggest Manhunt, 2005. Barbara Smith, The Mad Trapper: Unearthing a Mystery, 2011. Richard C. Davis, "The Mad Trapper, by Rudy Wiebe," Arctic 35:2 (1982), 342. Leslie McCartney, "'You Need to Tell That True Albert Johnson Story Like We Know It': Meanings Embedded in the Gwich'in Version of the Albert Johnson Story," Canadian Journal of Native Studies 37:1 (2017), 201-235. "Who Was the Mad Trapper of Rat River?", Forensic Magazine, June 6, 2018. "Lawbreakers: More Hustlers, Rustlers and Wild Men," Canada's History 96:2 (April/May 2016). Jay Merrett, "Caught by the Mad Trapper," Canada's History 93:1 (February/March 2013). Bob Butz, "Bad Guys Gone 'Wild,'" Outdoor Life 213:6 (June/July 2006), 19. Alan Phillips, "Who Was the Mad Trapper of Rat River?", Maclean's, Oct. 1, 1955. Barbara Roden, "The Mad Trapper Part 4: The Quest to Identify Albert Johnson Begins," [Ashcroft, B.C.] Journal, Sept. 17, 2019. Barbara Roden, "Golden Country: The Mad Trapper Part 5," [Ashcroft, B.C.] Journal, Oct. 3, 2019. Marc Montgomery, "Canada History: Feb 17, 1932: The End and Beginning of the Mystery of the Mad Trapper," Radio Canada International, Feb. 17, 2017. Michael Gates, "Dick North: Farewell to Yukon's Great Storyteller," Yukon News, Oct. 4, 2013. "Hunt for the Mad Trapper -- The Story Ends," [Swan Hills, Alberta] Grizzly Gazette, March 13, 2012, 5. "Hunt for the Mad Trapper," [Swan Hills, Alberta] Grizzly Gazette, Jan. 10, 2012, 4. Josh Wingrove, "Feb. 17, 1932 / Mounties Get the Mad Trapper," Globe and Mail, Feb. 17, 2011, A.2. Joe McWilliams, "Mad Trapper Story Still Fascinates," [High Prairie, Alberta] South Peace News, Dec. 15, 2010, 6. Darah Hansen, "Tooth Enamel Reveals Mad Trapper No Canadian," Edmonton Journal, May 23, 2009, A.5. James Adams, "DNA Tests Prove Mad Trapper Still a Mystery," Globe and Mail, May 13, 2009, R.1. "Mad Trapper Not a Canadian, Scientific Tests Discover," CBC News, Feb. 20, 2009. Jeff Holubitsky, "Fugitive Could Live All Winter in Deep Bush, Outfitter Says," Edmonton Journal, Oct. 10, 2007, A18. Erin Hitchcock, "The Mad Trapper, Unmasked," [New Westminster, B.C.] Record, Sept. 15, 2007, 3. "Trapper Almost Evades Capture," Guelph Mercury, Aug. 16, 2007, A6. "Filmmakers Exhume Mad Trapper's Body," Nanaimo [B.C] Daily News, Aug. 15, 2007, A2. Keith Bonnell, "Mystery of 'Mad Trapper' Nearly Solved," Vancouver Sun, Aug. 15, 2007, C10. "Mad Trapper's Remains Surface in Historic Dig," CBC News, Aug 13, 2007. Katherine Harding, "Hunt for the Mad Trapper Is Back On," Globe and Mail, May 29, 2007, A.3. "Remains of Mad Trapper of Rat River Could Finally Lead to Identification," [Prince Rupert, B.C.] Daily News, May 7, 2007, 11. "Mad Trapper Mystery May Finally Be Solved," Winnipeg Free Press, May 5, 2007, A.13. Ian Mcinroy, "Tracker of Mad Trapper Remembered," [Barrie, Ontario] Examiner, Jan. 13, 2006, A3. Tom Hawthorn, "He Hunted the Mad Trapper," Globe and Mail, March 15, 2003, F.11. Bob Gilmour, "Frontiersmen Pay Tribute to Trapper's Victim," Edmonton Journal, Sept. 28, 1997, A.10. Kerry Powell, "Glory Days; Mad Trapper's Nemesis; Signal Success," Edmonton Journal, Aug. 6, 1995, B.3. "Group to Retrace Mad Trapper Route," Hamilton Spectator, March 5, 1994, A8. Rudy Wiebe, "Trapper Identification Fails to Convince Author," Edmonton Journal, Sept. 2, 1989, E6. Garth Hopkins, "Sequel to The Mad Trapper of Rat River Fascinating Piece of Work," Vancouver Sun, July 29, 1989, D4. Alan Hustak, "a.k.a. the Mad Trapper," [Montreal] Gazette, May 13, 1989, K12. Lynne Van Luven, "Hobby-Turned-Obsession Led to Mad Trapper Solution," Edmonton Journal, May 13, 1989, D3. "Hunt Resumes for Elusive Mad Trapper," Ottawa Citizen, May 9, 1987, H15. "Mad Trapper Film Sparks Furor," Globe and Mail, April 2, 1980, P.16. "Royal Police Get Insane Trapper -- Dead," Las Vegas Age, Feb. 18, 1932, 1. "A Most Bizarre Case: The Mad Trapper of Rat River," Whitehorse Star, Feb. 17, 1932. "Mad Trapper Eludes Cops," Las Vegas Age, Feb. 10, 1932, 1. "Plane Nears Aklavik in Hunt for Trapper," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, Feb. 5, 1932, C-5. "Canadian Trapper Slays Policeman," Bismarck Tribune, Feb. 1, 1932, 2. "'Mad Hermit' Flees Canadian Police," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, Jan. 27, 1932, A-7. "10 Men Off to Take Barricaded Trapper," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, Jan. 20, 1932, B-5. "Canadian Trapper Has Defied Police," Bismarck Tribune, Jan. 14, 1932, 1. "Arctic Trapper Defies Officers," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, Jan. 14, 1932, A-16. "Constable Millen's Cairn Territorial Historic Site," Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (accessed Dec. 1, 2019). Edward Butts, "Albert Johnson, 'The Mad Trapper of Rat River,'" Canadian Encyclopedia, Jan. 22, 2008. Leslie McCartney, "That Albert Johnson Story: Aboriginal Oral History Inclusion in Canadian Archives," First Nations, First Thoughts Conference, University of Edinburgh, May 2005. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Anna Sorokin," (accessed Dec. 4, 2019). "A Fake Heiress Bilked NYC Socialites for Years. Then the Elaborate Hoax Unraveled," CBS News, March 27, 2019. Emily Palmer, "A Fake Heiress Called Anna Delvey Conned the City's Wealthy. 'I'm Not Sorry,' She Says," New York Times, May 10, 2019. "Anna Sorokin: Fake Heiress Apologises as She Is Sentenced," BBC News, May 9, 2019. Jonathan Allen, "Fake Heiress Who Dazzled New York Elite Gets 4 to 12 Years for Fraud," Reuters, May 9, 2019. Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Dust Bowl," Dec. 12, 2019. "Dust Bowl," History.com, March 14, 2019. Adam Wernick, "Trees That Helped Save America's Farms During the Dust Bowl Are Now Under Threat," Public Radio International, Feb. 3, 2018. Wikipedia, "Great Plains Shelterbelt" (accessed Dec. 2, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Paul Bigler. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 16, 2019, 5 a.m.

276-An Unlikely Confederate Spy

As the Civil War fractured Washington D.C., socialite Rose O'Neal Greenhow coordinated a vital spy ring to funnel information to the Confederates. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe one of the war's most unlikely spies, and her determination to aid the South. We'll also fragment the queen's birthday and puzzle over a paid game of pinball. Intro: German officer Ernst Jünger likened the sounds of World War I shelling to "being menaced by a man swinging a heavy hammer." Bowdoin College compiled a list of odd how-to titles. NOTE: After this episode was originally released, some listeners objected to our handling of Greenhow's story, saying that we were treating her too sympathetically when she was defending the institution of slavery. They're entirely right about that -- I had focused on her personal story without being sensitive to its larger implications. I'm very sorry for that oversight. We're presenting the story here as it originally ran, and we'll discuss listeners' reactions to it in Episode 279. -- Greg Sources for our feature: Ann Blackman, Wild Rose: Rose O'Neale Greenhow, Civil War Spy, 2006. Ishbel Ross, Rebel Rose: Life of Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Confederate Spy, 1954. Karen Abbott, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War, 2014. Rose O'Neal Greenhow, My Imprisonment and the First Year of Abolition Rule at Washington, 1863. H. Donald Winkler, Stealing Secrets: How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles, and Altered the Course of the Civil War, 2010. Michael J. Sulick, Spying in America: Espionage from the Revolutionary War to the Dawn of the Cold War, 2014. Allan Pinkerton, The Spy of the Rebellion, 1886. John Bakeless, Spies of the Confederacy, 2011. Ernest B. Furgurson, "The End of Illusions," Smithsonian 42:4 (July/August 2011), 56-64. Jack Finnegan, "Professional Results for an Amateur," Military History, suppl. "Spies and Secret Missions: A History of American Espionage" (2002), 34-35. Nancy B. Samuelson, "Employment of Female Spies in the American Civil War," Minerva 7:3 (Dec. 31, 1989), 57. "Seized Correspondence of Rose O'Neal Greenhow," U.S. National Archives (accessed Nov. 24, 2019). Rose O'Neal Greenhow Papers, Special Collections Library, Duke University. "The Wild Rose of Washington," New York Times, Aug. 22, 2011. "Spy Loved, Died in Line of Duty," [Wilmington, N.C] Morning Star, Dec. 31, 1999, 23. "Civil War Day by Day," Washington [D.C.] Herald, Sept. 30, 1914, 4. "Fair Southern Spies," [Savannah, Ga.] Morning News, Sept. 29, 1896, 5. "Blockade Running," [Winston, N.C.] Western Sentinel, Jan. 14, 1886. "A Rich New Year's Gift," Yorkville [S.C.] Enquirer, Feb. 6, 1862, 1. "The Female Traitors in Washington," New York Herald, Jan. 22, 1862, 2. "Mrs. Greenhow's Indignant Letter to Mr. Seward," New York Herald, Dec. 16, 1861, 4. Phyllis F. Field, "Greenhow, Rose O'Neal," American National Biography, February 2000. Listener mail: "Public Holidays in Western Australia," Government of Western Australia Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (accessed Nov. 27, 2019). Wikipedia, "Oscar Wilde" (accessed Nov. 27, 2019). Howard Markel, "No, Oscar Wilde Probably Didn't Die of Syphilis," PBS NewsHour, Nov. 30, 2015. Jon Henley, "Wilde Gets Revenge on Wallpaper," Guardian, Dec. 1, 2000. "What Are the Best Last Words Ever?", Atlantic 317:4 (April 2016), 13. "Grand Lakes St. Marys Educational Series: History of GLSM What You Don't Know," Lake Improvement Association (accessed Nov. 30, 2019). "Grand Lake St. Marys State Park: History," Ohio State Parks and Watercraft (accessed Nov. 30, 2019). Lew Powell, "Behind the Lines, Fighting Malaria With Whiskey," North Carolina Miscellany, July 10, 2011. Wikipedia, "Gin and Tonic" (accessed Nov. 30, 2019). Wikipedia, "Tonic Water" (accessed Nov. 30, 2019). "'The Book of Gin' Distills a Spirited History," Morning Edition, National Public Radio, Dec. 28, 2012. Kal Raustiala, "The Imperial Cocktail," Slate, Aug. 28, 2013. "The Largest Human-Made Lakes in the World," WorldAtlas (accessed Nov. 30, 2019). Wikipedia, "Lake Kariba" (accessed Nov. 30, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was inspired by an item heard on the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 9, 2019, 5 a.m.

275-A Kidnapped Painting

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 surprising twists that followed. We'll also discover Seward's real folly and puzzle over a man's motherhood. Intro: One of the desks on the U.S. Senate floor is full of candy. Astronaut John Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich into space. The following list of "Sasha Spottings" comes from Brandi Sweet, caretaker of Bella, Ojo, Schatzi, Babu, and Atte: Episode 9 Episode 46 Episode 63 Episode 114 Episode 139 Episode 144 Episode 146 ("mentioned as purring but I couldn't hear her") Episode 148 Episode 156 Episode 164 Episode 168 Episode 173 Episode 183 Episode 201 Episode 207 Episode 215 Sources for our feature on Kempton Bunton and Goya's Portrait of the Duke of Wellington: Alan Hirsch, The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!, 2016. Simon Mackenzie, "Criminal and Victim Profiles in Art Theft: Motive, Opportunity and Repeat Victimisation," Art Antiquity and Law 10:4 (November 2005), 353-370. Melvin E. DeGraw, "Art Theft in Perspective," International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 31:1 (1987), 1-10. Richard LeBlanc, "Thief-Proofing Our Art Museums: Security Expensive? ... Not the Morning After," UNESCO Courier 18:10 (November 1965), 4-6, 10-17 "Hugh Courts' Papers Relating to the Trial of Kempton Bunton," National Gallery (accessed Nov. 17, 2019). "The National Gallery: The Missing Masterpiece," Royal Society (accessed Nov. 17, 2019). James Whitfield, "The Duke Disappears" History Today 61:8 (August 2011), 43-49. "Thefts From Museums," Burlington Magazine 109:767 (February 1967), 55-56. Noah Charney, "The Wackiest Art Heist Ever," Salon, Nov. 15, 2015. "Spectre of Goya: Letters to the Editor," Times, Oct. 31, 2019, 28. "'The Thieves Vanished Into the Rio Carnival Crowds' - The 10 Most Audacious Art Heists in History," Telegraph.co.uk, Jan. 26, 2018. Adrian Lee, "Britain's Most Bizarre Art Heist," Daily Express, April 16, 2016, 37. Alan Travis, "Revealed: 1961 Goya 'Theft' From National Gallery Was a Family Affair," Guardian, Nov. 30, 2012. "A Blizzard and a Blaze," [Newcastle-upon-Tyne] Evening Chronicle, Dec. 31, 2011, 10. Noah Charney, "Art Thieves No Longer Oddballs," [Christchurch, New Zealand] Press, Sept. 2, 2011. Sandy Nairne, "From National Gallery to Dr No's lair," Guardian, Aug. 6, 2011, 14. Sandy Nairne, "How Goya's Duke of Wellington Was Stolen," Guardian, Aug. 5, 2011. "Hero or Villain?: Geordie's Bizarre Crime of Conscience," [Newcastle-upon-Tyne] Evening Chronicle, June 30, 2010, 10. David Lee, "It's a Steal: Why Art Remains a Favourite Among Thieves," Times, May 22, 2010, 21. Chris Cobb, "Stolen Masterpieces," Ottawa Citizen, Jan. 11, 2009, B.1. "Goya Thief Sent for Trial," Times, Aug. 18, 2001, 25. Peter Lennon and Edward Pilkington, "Files Reveal Innocent Man Was Jailed for Stealing Goya Painting From the National Gallery in 1961," Guardian, Jan. 13, 1996, 3. Paul Hoffman, "Psst! Wanna Buy a Hot Rembrandt?", New York Times, June 1, 1975. "Stolen Wellington by Goya Rehung in London Gallery," New York Times, Jan. 12, 1966. W. Granger Blair, "Briton Acquitted of Stealing Goya; But Admitted Thief Is Guilty of Taking the Frame," New York Times, Nov. 17, 1965. Clyde H. Farnsworth, "Ransom Asked for Goya Stolen in '61," New York Times, Dec. 31, 1964. "Work Said to Be Uninsured," New York Times, Feb. 18, 1964. "'No Questions' Deal Is Offered for Goya," New York Times, Jan. 8, 1964. "Scotland Yard to Examine Alleged Ashes of Painting," New York Times, Jan. 2, 1964. "Greatest Heists in Art History," BBC News, Aug. 23, 2004. "Portrait of the Duke of Wellington," Paintings in Movies (accessed 11/17/2019). Jillian Elizabeth Seaton, "Touching the Void: The Museological Implications of Theft on Public Art Collections," dissertation, University of Edinburgh, 2014. County Cork's Algiers Inn, from listener Ken Murphy. Listener mail: The Algiers Inn. Barry Roche, "Pirate Raid That Stunned Nation," Sun, Jan. 10, 2003, 8. Wikipedia, "Alaska Purchase" (accessed Nov. 22, 2019). Jesse Greenspan, "Why the Purchase of Alaska Was Far From 'Folly,'" History.com, March 30, 2017. "Purchase of Alaska, 1867," Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State (accessed Nov. 22, 2019). "History of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the United States Department of State," U.S. Department of State, October 2011 (page xxiii). Ralph E. Weber, "Seward's Other Folly: America's First Encrypted Cable," Studies in Intelligence 36 (1992), 105-109. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jesse Schlaud. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 2, 2019, 5 a.m.

274-Death in a Nutshell

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 modern investigations. We'll also appreciate an overlooked sled dog and puzzle over a shrunken state. Intro: In a lecture at Cornell, Vladimir Nabokov considered Gregor Samsa's new species. Siren Elise Wilhelmsen taught a clock to knit a scarf. Flickr and the Smithsonian American Art Museum have image galleries of Frances Glessner Lee's nutshell studies. Sources for our story: Corinne May Botz, The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, 2004. Frances Glessner Lee, "Legal Medicine at Harvard University," Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science 42:5 (January-February 1952), 674-678. M. Uebel, "Corpus Delicti: Frances Glessner Lee and the Art of Suspicion," Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 27:2 (2018), 124-126. Jacquelyn A.D. Jones, "The Value and Potential of Forensic Models," Forensics Journal 8 (2017), 58-65. Katherine Ramsland, "The Truth in a Nutshell," Forensic Examiner 17:2 (2008), 1620. "Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death," Forensic Magazine, Sept. 8, 2017. Jimmy Stamp, "How a Chicago Heiress Trained Homicide Detectives With an Unusual Tool: Dollhouses," Smithsonian.com, March 6, 2014. Sarah Zhang, "How a Gilded-Age Heiress Became the 'Mother of Forensic Science,'" Atlantic, Oct. 14, 2017. Nicole Cooley, "Death and Feminism in a Nutshell," Paris Review, Feb. 5, 2018. Nigel Richardson, "Murder She Built," Telegraph Magazine, Jan. 31, 2015, 36. Catherine Nixey, "Who Shot Barbie?", Times, Nov. 10, 2014, 9. Jessica Snyder Sachs, "Welcome to the Dollhouses of Death," Popular Science 262:5 (May 2003), 38. William L. Hamilton, "Heiress Plotted 19 Grisly Crimes. Investigation Underway," New York Times, Jan. 10, 2018. Ariella Budick, "Bring Up the Bodies: Dioramas," Financial Times, Dec. 30, 2017, 14. "The Art of Murder: Miniature Dioramas of Unexplained Deaths – In Pictures," Guardian, Oct. 27, 2017. Maura Judkis, "Homicide Sweet Homicide," Washington Post, Oct. 27, 2017, T19. "These Miniature Murder Scenes Have Shown Detectives How to Study Homicides for 70 Years," Washington Post, Sept. 17, 2017, A.24. Chris Hewitt, "Crime-Scene Replicas Still Have Tale to Tell in Minneapolis Filmmaker's Documentary," Saint Paul Pioneer Press, March 18, 2013. Michael Sragow, "Murder in a Nutshell," Baltimore Sun, June 3, 2012, E.1. "Visible Proofs: Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death," New York Times, May 11, 2009. Amanda Schaffer, "Solving Puzzles With Body Parts as the Pieces," New York Times, Feb. 28, 2006. Robert Gottlieb, "True Story of Elderly Heiress Who Designed Dioramas of Death," New York Observer, Jan. 24, 2005, 21. Robin Summerfield, "Crime in a Nutshell," Calgary Herald, Jan. 1, 2005, G9. Jennifer Schuessler, "Murder in the Dollhouse," Boston Globe, Oct. 24, 2004, E.2. John Woestendiek, "Murder in Miniature," Baltimore Sun, Oct. 14, 2004, 1E. Eve Kahn, "Murder Downsized," New York Times, Oct. 7, 2004, F.1. "Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death," Smithsonian American Art Museum (accessed Nov. 10, 2019). "Dollhouse Crime Scenes," CBS Sunday Morning, Jan. 14, 2018. Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi, "The Tiny, Murderous World of Frances Glessner Lee," All Things Considered, National Public Radio, Nov. 18, 2017. Alison Thoet, "Photos: These Gruesome Dollhouse Death Scenes Reinvented Murder Investigations," PBS NewsHour, Nov. 20, 2017. Ann Marie Menting, "Death in a Nutshell," Harvard Medical School, Sept. 18, 2017. Corinne May Botz, "The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death" (accessed Nov. 10, 2019). Gabrielle Alberts, "This Is Where I Leave You: Unsettling Realities of a Miniature," dissertation, University of Cape Town, 2013. Ferdinand Demara as "Hospital Doctor" in The Hypnotic Eye (1960). Sources for our listener mail segment: Wikipedia, "Ferdinand Waldo Demara: Films/TV" (accessed Nov. 13, 2019). IMDb, "The Hypnotic Eye" (accessed Nov. 13, 2019). IMDb, "Fred Demara: Biography" (accessed Nov. 16, 2019). Wikipedia, "M*A*S*H (TV series)" (accessed Nov. 13, 2019). "Captain Adam Casey," The Monster M*A*S*H Wiki (accessed Nov. 13, 2019). "Dear Dad ... Again (TV series episode)," The Monster M*A*S*H Wiki (accessed Nov. 13, 2019). Brendan Michael, "Check Out Willem Dafoe Mushing in First Look Image of Disney+’s 'Togo,'" Collider, Oct. 24, 2019. IMDb, "Togo (2019)" (accessed Nov. 16, 2019). Wikipedia, "Togo (film)" (accessed Nov. 14, 2019). "'The Great Alaskan Race' Review: A Historic Sled Rescue Turned to Mush," New York Times, Oct. 24, 2019. IMDb, "The Great Alaskan Race (2019)" (accessed Nov. 16, 2019). Dennis Harvey, "Film Review: 'The Great Alaskan Race,'" Variety, Oct. 24, 2019. It Happens Every Thursday, 1953. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Dianna Gabbard. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). We're very sorry to have to say that we recently had to say goodbye to Sasha. We feel very grateful that we got to share our lives with her for over 18 years, but several days ago we learned that she had advanced bone cancer. Until quite recently she had been very active, alert, and engaged in life, so the news was rather a shock to us. The cancer wasn't treatable, and after a few days we realized that the time had come for us to have to say goodbye. She will be very missed, and no beloved pet is ever fully replaceable, but we do hope at some point in the future to find another cat that needs a good home, when we are ready. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 25, 2019, 5 a.m.

273-Alice Ramsey's Historic Drive

In 1909, 22-year-old Alice Huyler Ramsey set out to become the first woman to drive across the United States. In an era of imperfect cars and atrocious roads, she would have to find her own way and undertake her own repairs across 3,800 miles of rugged, poorly mapped terrain. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Ramsey on her historic journey. We'll also ponder the limits of free speech and puzzle over some banned candy. Intro: Journalist Henri de Blowitz received the Treaty of Berlin in the lining of a hat. In 1895 John Haberle painted a slate so realistic that viewers were tempted to use it. Sources for our feature on Alice Ramsey: Alice Ramsey and Gregory M. Franzwa, Alice's Drive: Republishing Veil, Duster, and Tire Iron, 2005. Curt McConnell, A Reliable Car and a Woman Who Knows It: The First Coast-to-Coast Auto Trips by Women, 1899-1916, 2000. Women's Project of New Jersey, Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women, 1997. Catherine Gourley, Gibson Girls and Suffragists: Perceptions of Women from 1900 to 1918, 2008. Christina E. Dando, Women and Cartography in the Progressive Era, 2017. David Holmstrom, "On the Road With Alice," American History 29:3 (July/August 1994). Don Brown and Evan Rothman, "Queen of the Road," Biography 1:2 (February 1997), 48-52. Marina Koestler Ruben, "Alice Ramsey's Historic Cross-Country Drive," Smithsonian.com, June 4, 2009. Katherine Parkin, "Alice Ramsey: Driving in New Directions," New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 4:2 (2018), 160-178. Carla Rose Lesh, "'What a Woman Can Do With an Auto': American Women in the Early Automotive Era," dissertation, State University of New York at Albany, 2010. Brandon Dye, "Girls on the Road," Autoweek 56:36 (Sept. 4, 2006), 34. Jay Levin, "Daughter of Motoring Pioneer Dies," [Bergen County, N.J.] Record, Nov. 18, 2015, L.6. Joe Blackstock, "Alice Ramsey First Woman to Cross U.S. by Car," Inland Valley [Calif.] Daily Bulletin, March 28, 2011. Robert Peele, "History That's More Than the Sum of Its Parts," New York Times, March 26, 2010. "Preservation Society Honors Historic Drive," Reno Gazette-Journal, Oct. 9, 2009. Robert Peele, "New York to San Francisco in a 1909 Maxwell DA," New York Times, July 12, 2009. Robert Peele, "Recreating a 100-Year-Old Road Trip," New York Times, June 20, 2009. Jane Palmer, "Driving Along Like It's 1909," McClatchy-Tribune Business News, June 18, 2009. Jay Levin, "The Same Trip, 100 Years Later: N.J. Mother's 1909 Milestone," [Bergen County, N.J.] Record, June 10, 2009, L.3. "Re-enacting a Ground-Breaking Journey," New York Times, June 5, 2009. Jay Levin, "Trailblazing Ride Made History: 1909 Road Trip First for a Woman," [Bergen County, N.J.] Record, March 22, 2009, L.1. "Women Transcontinentalists Nearing Chicago," Automobile Topics 8:11 (June 19, 1909), 742. David Conwill, "Alice Ramsey," Hemmings Classic Car 164 (May 2018). "Alice Ramsey," Automotive Hall of Fame (accessed Nov. 3, 2019). Guide to the Alice Huyler Ramsey Papers, 1905-1989, Vassar College (accessed Nov. 3, 2019). Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Rage (King novel)," (accessed Nov. 6, 2019). Corey Adwar, "This Stephen King Novel Will Never Be Printed Again After It Was Tied to School Shootings," Business Insider, April 1, 2014. "Vermont Library Conference/VEMA Annual Meeting: The Bogeyboys," StephenKing.com (accessed Nov. 6, 2019). Wikipedia, "Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors" (accessed Nov. 6, 2019). Wikipedia, "Paladin Press" (accessed Nov. 10, 2019). "Killer of Three Gets Reduced Sentence," Washington Times, May 17, 2001. Emilie S. Kraft, "Hit Man Manual," First Amendment Encyclopedia, Middle Tennessee State University (accessed Nov. 10, 2019). Calvin Reid, "Paladin Press Pays Millions to Settle 'Hit Man' Case," Publishers Weekly, May 31, 1999. David G. Savage, "Publisher of 'Hit Man' Manual Agrees to Settle Suit Over Triple Slaying," Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1999. Rice v. Paladin Enterprises, Inc., 128 F. 3d 233 - Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit 1997. David Montgomery, "If Books Could Kill," Washington Post, July 26, 1998. Robert W. Welkos, "Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against Oliver Stone," Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2001. "Natural Born Killers Lawsuit Finally Thrown Out," Guardian, March 13, 2001. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Simone and her father. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 18, 2019, 5 a.m.

272-The Cannibal Convict

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. Intro: Two presenters at an 1884 AAAS meeting reported on "musical sand" at Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. In scenes of pathos, Charles Dickens often slipped into blank verse. Sources for our feature on Alexander Pearce: Paul Collins, Hell's Gates, 2014. Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding, 2012. Robert Cox, A Compulsion to Kill: The Surprising Story of Australia's Earliest Serial Killers, 2014. Jane Stadler, Peta Mitchell, and Stephen Carleton, Imagined Landscapes: Geovisualizing Australian Spatial Narratives, 2015. "Alexander Pearce," Convict Records of Australia (accessed Oct. 27, 2019). Roger W. Byard and Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, "Cannibalism Amongst Penitentiary Escapees From Sarah Island in Nineteenth Century Van Diemen's Land," Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology 1:3 (September 2018), 410–415. Therese-Marie Meyer, "Prison Without Walls: The Tasmanian Bush in Australian Convict Novels," Antipodes 27:2 (December 2013), 143-148. Michael A. Ashby and Leigh E. Rich, "Eating People Is Wrong ... or How We Decide Morally What to Eat," Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 10:2 (June 2013), 129–131. Gananath Obeyesekere, "'British Cannibals': Contemplation of an Event in the Death and Resurrection of James Cook, Explorer," Critical Inquiry 18:4 (Summer 1992), 630-654. Craig Cormick, "Confessions of a Cannibal," MARGIN: Monash Australiana Research Group Informal Notes, Issue 62, April 2004. Cassie Crofts, "Australian History: The Cannibal Convict," National Geographic, Jan. 8, 2016. "Alexander Pearce," Australian Geographic (accessed Oct. 27, 2019). Simon Morris, "No Person Can Tell What He Will Do When Driven by Hunger," Australian Geographic 94 (April-June 2009), 74-79. "The Convict Cannibal," Australian Geographic 94 (April-June 2009), 77. Tim Kroenert, "Cannibal Convict's Tour of Hell," Eureka Street 19:18 (Sept. 25, 2009), 5-7. "John Hagan: On the Trail of a Cannibal," Belfast Telegraph, May 12, 2007, 1. Paul Kalina, "Grisly Confession of a Cannibal Convict: Cover Story," The Age, Jan. 22, 2009, 12. Christopher Bantick, "Mind of a Maneater," Sunday Tasmanian, Aug. 10, 2008, A.8. Rebecca Fitzgibbon, "Our Own Breed of Horror," Sunday Tasmanian, Nov. 2, 2008, 68. Anita Beaumont, "Cannibal Convicts: Cover Story," [Newcastle, N.S.W.] Herald, Jan. 23, 2009, 5. Fran Cusworth, "Meat on the Hoof," [Melbourne] Herald Sun, Dec. 7, 2002, W.21. "A Real Life Horror Story of the Irish Cannibal Who Terrorized Australia," IrishCentral, Oct. 4, 2018. Rebecca Fitzgibbon, "Heart of Darkness," Sunday Tasmanian, Sept. 20, 2009, 25. LJ Charleston, "'We Ate Each Other One by One': The Gruesome Story of Alexander Pearce the Cannibal Convict," news.com.au, May 5, 2019. Greg Clarke, "Heavenly Signs at Gates to Hell," Sunday Tasmanian, Aug. 3, 2008, A.18. "Colonial Crime: Alexander Pearce, the Cannibal," Nightlife, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Dec. 20, 2018. "Alexander Pearce (1790 - 1824)," WikiTree (accessed Nov. 1, 2019). Listener mail: A. Glenn Rogers, "The Taughannock Giant," Life in the Finger Lakes, 1953. Charley Githler, "A Look Back At: Home-Grown Hoax: The Taughannock Giant," [Ithaca, N.Y.] Tompkins Weekly, Dec. 26, 2017. Charley Githler, "Local Legend: The Taughannock Giant," Ithaca.com, June 15, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Sharon. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 11, 2019, 5 a.m.

271-The Fraudulent Life of Cassie Chadwick

In 1902, scam artist Cassie Chadwick convinced an Ohio lawyer that she was the illegitimate daughter of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. She parlayed this reputation into a life of unthinkable extravagance -- until her debts came due. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Chadwick's efforts to maintain the ruse -- and how she hoped to get away with it. We'll also encounter a haunted tomb and puzzle over an exonerated merchant. Intro: Inventor Otis L. Boucher offered a steel suit for soldiers during World War I. The tippe top leaps up onto its stem when spun. Sources for our feature on Cassie Chadwick: Kerry Segrave, Women Swindlers in America, 1860-1920, 2014. Alan F. Dutka, Misfortune on Cleveland's Millionaires' Row, 2015. George C. Kohn, The New Encyclopedia of American Scandal, 2001. William Henry Theobald, Defrauding the Government: True Tales of Smuggling, From the Note-book of a Confidential Agent of the United States Treasury, 1908. Karen Abbott, "The High Priestess of Fraudulent Finance," Smithsonian.com, June 27, 2012. "Chadwick, Cassie L.," Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (accessed Oct. 20, 2019). Lindsay Kernohan, "Cassie Chadwick: A Very Double Life," Strathroy [Ontario] Age Dispatch, May 17, 2018, A7. Sadie Stein, "Impostors Among Us," Town and Country, February 2017. "Top 10 Imposters," Time, May 26, 2009. "Mrs. Chadwick Measured," Poughkeepsie Journal, Dec. 30, 2004, C.1. "Femme Fatale," D&B; Reports 40:4 (July/August 1992), 47. "Cassie Chadwick's Jewels," The Bankers Magazine 106:3 (March 1923), 551. Arthur B. Reeve, "New and Old South Sea Bubbles," World's Work 41:1 (November 1920), 31-35. C.P. Connolly, "Marvelous Cassie Chadwick," McClure's Magazine 48:1 (November 1916), 9-11, 65-71. Walter Prichard Eaton, "The Gullible Rich," Munsey's Magazine 46:3 (December 1911), 335-340. "Cassie Chadwick Fretted Life Away in Ohio Prison," Cañon City [Colo.] Record 30:42 (October 17, 1907), 12. "Cassie Chadwick Dies in Prison," New York Times, Oct. 11, 1907. "Mrs. Chadwick Broken Down," Chickasha [Indian Territory] Daily Express, Feb. 19, 1907. "Mrs. Chadwick's Sentence," New York Times, March 28, 1905. "Carnegie Sees Note; Laughs at Bad Spelling of Chadwick Trust Agreement," New York Times, March 6, 1905. "Mr. Carnegie on Hand for Chadwick Trial," New York Times, March 5, 1905. "Chadwick Indictments," New York Times, Feb. 22, 1905. "Motion to Quash," St. John Daily Sun, Feb. 28, 1905. "Tracing Chadwick Satchel," New York Times, Dec. 22, 1904. "Nearly Collapsed in Court," [Fredericksburg, Va.] Daily Star, Dec. 19, 1904. "Meeting Dramatic," Associated Press, Dec. 16, 1904. "Chadwick Paper Out Is Over $19,000,000," New York Times, Dec. 11, 1904. "Trail of Mrs. Chadwick," Carroll [Iowa] Herald, Dec. 7, 1904. Listener mail: C.H. Shanan, "The Haunted Tomb," Wide World Magazine 35:207 (July 1915), 281-285. (Listener Peter Atwood found this story through the podcast Reading, Short and Deep, Episode 188.) Wikipedia, "The Wide World Magazine" (accessed Oct. 26, 2019). "The Wide World Magazine," The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia (accessed Oct. 23, 2019). "Biography: The Boer War," The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia (accessed Oct. 23, 2019). Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Arthur Conan Doyle" (accessed Oct. 23, 2019). "Govt Mulling Over 1400-km Long Great 'Green Wall' to Tackle Land Desertification," News 18 India, Oct. 9, 2019. Vishwa Mohan, "Government Plans 1,400km Long Great 'Green Wall' of India," Times of India, Oct. 9, 2019. Aryn Baker, "Can a 4,815-Mile Wall of Trees Help Curb Climate Change in Africa?", Time, Sept. 12, 2019. Tony Hoare, "Null References: The Billion Dollar Mistake," QCon 2009. Wikipedia, "Tony Hoare" (accessed Oct. 23, 2019). The Chambers Dictionary. Chambers' 500 entertaining words. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 4, 2019, 5 a.m.

270-Kidnapped by North Korea

In 1978, two luminaries of South Korean cinema were abducted by Kim Jong-Il and forced to make films in North Korea in an outlandish plan to improve his country's fortunes. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Choi Eun-Hee and Shin Sang-Ok and their dramatic efforts to escape their captors. We'll also examine Napoleon's wallpaper and puzzle over an abandoned construction. Intro: In 1891, Robert Baden-Powell encoded the locations of Dalmatian forts in innocent drawings of butterflies. Legal scholar Mark V. Tushnet suggests how a 16-year-old might seek the presidency. Sources for our feature on Choi Eun-Hee and Shin Sang-Ok: Paul Fischer, A Kim Jong-Il Production, 2015. Johannes Schönherr, North Korean Cinema: A History, 2012. Steven Chung, Split Screen Korea: Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema, 2014. Bradley K. Martin, Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty, 2007. "Choi Eun-hee: South Korean Actress Who Was Kidnapped by North Dies," BBC, April 17, 2018. Martin Belam, "Choi Eun-hee, Actor Once Abducted by North Korea, Dies," Guardian, April 17, 2018. "A Hong Kong Kidnap: How Kim Jong-il Had South Korea's Top Actress Abducted From Repulse Bay," South China Morning Post, March 25, 2015. "Famed South Korean Actress Choi Eun-Hee, Who Was Abducted by North Korean Spies in Hong Kong for Film Fan Kim Jong-Il, Dies Aged 91," South China Morning Post, April 17, 2018. Olivier Holmey, "Remembering Choi Eun-hee, the South Korean Film Actor Once Abducted by Pyongyang," Independent, May 14, 2018. Ilana Kaplan, "Choi Eun-Hee Dead: South Korean Actress Once Kidnapped by North Korea Dies Aged 92," Independent, April 17, 2018. Barbara Demick, "Secret Tape Recordings of Kim Jong Il Provide Rare Insight Into the Psyche of His North Korean Regime," Los Angeles Times, Oct. 27, 2016. Euan McKirdy, "South Korean Actress and Former North Korean Abductee Choi Eun-Hee Dies," CNN, April 17, 2018. Julian Ryall, "The Incredible Life Story of Actress Choi Eun-Hee, Abducted by North Korea and Forced to Make Films for Kim Jong-il," Telegraph, April 17, 2018. Nicolas Levi, "Kim Jong Il: A Film Director Who Ran a Country," Journal of Modern Science 25:2 (2015), 155-166. Choe Sang-Hun, "Obituary: Shin Sang Ok, 80, Korean Film Director," New York Times, April 12, 2006. Douglas Martin, "Shin Sang Ok, 80, Korean Film Director Abducted by Dictator, Is Dead," New York Times, April 13, 2006. Alexandra Alter, "North Korea’s Love-Hate of Movies," New York Times, Dec. 31, 2014. Peter Maass, "The Last Emperor," New York Times, Oct. 19, 2003. Chris Knight, "Kim Jong-il's Bizarre Interlude in the Movies," Ottawa Citizen, Sept. 30, 2016, E.5. "A Memoir: Shin Sang-ok, Choi Eun-hee and I," Korea Times, Oct. 5, 2016. "Choi Eun-hee: Beautiful Actress and Doyenne of Postwar South Korean Films Before Her Kidnap by North Korea Where She Lived in a Gilded Cage," Times, June 4, 2018, 48. Ronald Bergan, "Obituary: Shin Sang-Ok: South Korean Film Director Whose Life Read Like the Plot of a Far-Fetched Thriller," Guardian, April 19, 2006, 34. Lawrence Levi, "Lights, Camera, Kidnap," Newsday, Feb. 8, 2015, C.17. "The Incredible Life Story of Actress Choi Eun-hee, Abducted by North Korea and Forced to Make Films for Kim Jong-il," Telegraph, April 17, 2018. An Hong-Kyoon, "More Dramatic Than Movie," Korea Times, Oct. 6, 2016. Hannah McGill, "Acting in the Dictator's Cut," Independent, March 14, 2015, 22. Olivier Holmey, "South Korean Film Actor Abducted by Pyongyang," Independent, May 16, 2018, 36. Peter Keough, "How Kim Jong-il Got What He Wanted," Boston Globe, Sept. 23, 2016, G.8. Peter Keough, "That Time Kim Jong-il Kidnapped His Favorite Movie Star and Director," Boston Globe, Sept. 21, 2016, G.8. Khang Hyun-sung, "Director's Colourful Life Competed With His Cinematic Creations," South China Morning Post, April 15, 2006, 11. Jennifer Hunter, "The Stranger-Than-Fiction Abduction of a Director and His Star," Toronto Star, Jan. 31, 2015, IN.3. "Obituary of Shin Sang-ok," Daily Telegraph, May 6, 2006. Tim Robey, "Losing the Plot: Kim Jong-il Was So Set on Film-Making He Kidnapped Two South Korean Stars," Daily Telegraph, Feb. 28, 2015, 30. Here's Pulgasari, the monster movie that got Shin and Choi to Vienna. In the West it's regarded as a dud. "Pulgasari marked a turn in Shin's career, the first time he had put all his energy into a picture and created a stinker," writes Paul Fischer. "It was a sudden, inexplicable transformation, after which Shin never recovered his magic touch." Listener mail: Ted Chamberlain, "Napoleon Death Mystery Solved, Experts Say," National Geographic, Jan. 17, 2007. "Napoleon Death: Arsenic Poisoning Ruled Out," Live Science, Feb. 12, 2008. "Was Napoleon Poisoned?", American Museum of Natural History, Jan. 21, 2014. J. Thomas Hindmarsh and John Savory, "The Death of Napoleon, Cancer or Arsenic?", Clinical Chemistry 54:12 (2008), 2092-2093. William J. Broad, "Hair Analysis Deflates Napoleon Poisoning Theories," New York Times, June 10, 2008. Max Finkel, "Instead of a Ticket, Some Speeders in Estonia Are Getting a Time Out," Jalopnik, Sept. 28, 2019. Jonathan Schultz, "Speed Camera Lottery Wins VW Fun Theory Contest," New York Times, Nov. 30, 2010. Elizabeth Haggarty, "Speed Camera Lottery Pays Drivers for Slowing Down," Toronto Star, Dec. 9, 2010. DDB, "DDB's Fun Theory for Volkswagen Takes Home Cannes Cyber Grand Prix," June 25, 2010. Wikipedia, "Radar Speed Sign: Effectiveness," (accessed Oct. 19, 2019). "The Speed Camera Lottery - The Fun Theory," Rolighetsteorin, Nov. 12, 2010. Volkswagen, "The Fun Theory 1 – Piano Staircase Initiative," Oct. 26, 2009. Elle Hunt, "Cash Converters: Could This Dutch Scheme Stop Drivers Speeding?", Guardian, May 25, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale's 2014 book Remarkable Lateral Thinking Puzzles. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 28, 2019, 5 a.m.

269-The Sack of Baltimore

One night in 1631, pirates from the Barbary coast stole ashore at the little Irish village of Baltimore and abducted 107 people to a life of slavery in Algiers -- a rare instance of African raiders seizing white slaves from the British Isles. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the sack of Baltimore and the new life that awaited the captives in North Africa. We'll also save the Tower of London and puzzle over a controversial number. Intro: In 1999, inventor Allison Andrews proposed dividing all our pants in half. In 1955, test pilot Alvin Johnston put an airliner through a barrel roll. Sources for our feature on the sack of Baltimore: Des Ekin, The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates, 2012. Nabil Matar, British Captives From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, 2014. David D. Hebb, Piracy and the English Government 1616–1642: Policy-Making Under the Early Stuarts, 2016. Sir Robert Lambert Playfair, The Scourge of Christendom: Annals of British Relations With Algiers Prior to the French Conquest, 1884. Theresa D. Murray, "From Baltimore to Barbary: The 1631 Sack of Baltimore," History Ireland 14:4 (July/August 2006). Nabil Matar, "The Barbary Corsairs, King Charles I and the Civil War," Seventeenth Century 16:2 (October 2001), 239-258. Nabil I. Matar, "Wives, Captive Husbands, and Turks: The First Women Petitioners in Caroline England," Explorations in Renaissance Culture 40:1-2 (Summer-Winter 2014), 125+. Paul Baepler, "The Barbary Captivity Narrative in American Culture," Early American Literature 39:2 (January 2004), 217-246. Robert C. Davis, "Counting European Slaves on the Barbary Coast," Past & Present 172 (August 2001), 87-124. Paul Baepler, "White Slaves, African Masters," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 588 (July 2003), 90-111. Erik Göbel, "The Danish Algerian Sea Passes, 1747-1838: An Example of Extraterritorial Production of Human Security," Historical Social Research 35:4, 164-189. Des Ekin, "The Irish Village That Was Kidnapped by Islamist Extremists," Irish Independent, Sept. 2, 2006, 1. "Cork Village to Recall Historical Event in Summer Festival," Irish Times, June 20, 2000, 2. Frank McNally, "An Irishman's Diary," Irish Times, June 20, 2007, 17. "Algerian Pirates Who Took Devon Settlers as Slaves," [Exeter] Express & Echo, June 20, 2007, 15. "Pirates of the Cork Coast," Irish Times, Sept. 16, 2006, 9. "Village Stolen for a Life of Slavery," [Plymouth, U.K.] Western Morning News, Feb. 17, 2007, 10. "Islamic Pirates' Raid on Baltimore," Nationalist, Nov. 16, 2010. Lara Marlowe, "Secrets of Barbary Corsair Life Uncovered: Historian Debunks Myth of 'Savage' Attack by Barbary Corsairs on Baltimore," Irish Times, Feb. 18, 1998, 13. "Anniversary of Baltimore Pirate Raid," Irish Examiner, June 20, 2013. "The Irish Slaves in North Africa," Irish Independent, Nov. 11, 2006, 1. James McConnachie, "Scourge of the Waves: Mediterranean Pirates Were Easily as Exotic and Terrifying as Their More Famous Caribbean Counterparts," Sunday Times, March 28, 2010, 42. Barry Roche, "Pirate Raid That Stunned Nation," Sun, Jan. 10, 2003, 8. Thomas Osborne Davis, "The Sack of Baltimore," in Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed., A Victorian Anthology, 1895. Listener mail: Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Victoria Day" (accessed Oct. 10, 2019). Canadian Encyclopedia, "Victoria Day," Feb. 7, 2006. "Why Do We Celebrate Victoria Day?", CBC Kids (accessed Oct. 10, 2019). Wikipedia, "Victoria Day (Scotland)" (accessed Oct. 10, 2019). No Such Thing as a Fish, Episode 111, "No Such Thing as Snappedy Chat," originally aired April 28, 2016. Wikipedia, "Queen's Official Birthday" (accessed Oct. 9, 2019). Wikipedia, "Ravens of the Tower of London" (accessed Oct. 10, 2019). William Booth, "The Secrets of the Tower of London's Royal Ravenmaster," Washington Post, Oct. 20, 2018. "How the Ravenmaster of London Protects the Kingdom With Birds," CBC Radio, Oct. 30, 2018. PD Smith, "The Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife Review -- My Life at the Tower of London," Guardian, Nov. 3, 2018. "Tower of London Welcomes First Raven Chicks in 30 Years," BBC News, May 17, 2019. Meilan Solly, "Tower of London Welcomes Baby Ravens for the First Time in 30 Years," Smithsonian.com, May 21, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Mendel Smith, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 21, 2019, 5 a.m.

268-The Great Impostor

Ferdinand Demara earned his reputation as the Great Impostor: For over 22 years he criss-crossed the country, posing as everything from an auditor to a zoologist and stealing a succession of identities to fool his employers. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review Demara's motivation, morality, and techniques -- and the charismatic spell he seemed to cast over others. We'll also make Big Ben strike 13 and puzzle over a movie watcher's cat. Intro: In 1825, Thomas Steele proposed enclosing Isaac Newton's residence in a pyramid surmounted by a stone globe. In 1923 Arthur Guiterman found a rhyme for wasp. Sources for our feature on Ferdinand Demara: Robert Crichton, The Great Impostor, 1959. Robert Crichton, The Rascal and the Road, 1961. Frank E. Hagan, Introduction to Criminology: Theories, Methods, and Criminal Behavior, 2008. Joe McCarthy, "The Master Imposter: An Incredible Tale," Life, Jan. 28, 1952. Susan Goldenberg, "Unmasked," Canada's History 91:1 (February/March 2011), 31-36. Ray Cavanaugh, "Brother, Doctor, Soldier, Lies," National Catholic Reporter 51:20 (July 17, 2015), 16. David Goldman, "The Great Impostor," Biography 4:8 (August 2000), 24. "Ferdinand Waldo Demara, 60, An Impostor in Varied Fields," Associated Press, June 9, 1982. Tim Holmes, "Ferdinand Waldo Demara: One of the Greatest Imposters the World Has Ever Seen," Independent, Aug. 29, 2019. Kevin Loria, "The True Story of a Con Artist Who Conducted Surgeries, Ran a Prison, Taught College, and More," Business Insider, Feb. 20, 2016. "Americana: Ferdinand the Bull Thrower," Time, Feb. 25, 1957. Samuel Thurston, "Champion Rascal," New York Times, July 26, 1959. "Top 10 Imposters," Time, May 26, 2009. "'The Great Imposter' Reportedly a Cleric," Associated Press, Jan. 8, 1970. Thomas M. Pryor, "Universal to Film 'Great Impostor'; Career of Ferdinand Demara Jr. Will Be Traced -- Lilli Palmer's Pact Extended," New York Times, March 12, 1959. John Schwartz, "Ideas & Trends; James Gatz, Please Call Your Office," New York Times, March 11, 2001. Eric Pace, "Notes on People," New York Times, April 6, 1978. "Fake Surgeon a Success; Canada to Oust American Who Served Navy in Korea," New York Times, Nov. 21, 1951. "Navy Drops Bogus Surgeon," New York Times, Jan. 30, 1952. "Schoolmaster a Fraud; 'Surgeon' During Korea War Is Unmasked in Maine," New York Times, Feb. 15, 1957. Samuel T. Williamson, "Life Is a Masquerade," New York Times, Dec. 3, 1961. Glen Hallick, "Local Veteran Reflects on Service in the Korean War," Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times [Manitoba], July 25, 2013, 14. Glenn R. Lisle, "Waldo Demara Was a Daring Imposter," Ottawa Citizen, Jan. 20, 2006, A15. "The Original 'Impostor'," Newsday, Oct. 13, 1996, A.41. "Korean War Veteran Wells Met the Great Imposter," Scarborough [Ontario] Mirror, Nov. 12, 2012, 1. Marty Gervais, "My Town," Windsor [Ontario] Star, May 31, 2003, A5. Darren Mcdonald, "The Great Imposter," Chilliwack [B.C.] Times, Nov. 11, 2005, B2. John F. Morrison, "'The Great Imposter': Jack Doe of All Trades," Philadelphia Daily News, March 30, 1983, 22. Pat MacAdam, "The Great Impostor's Last Victim," Ottawa Citizen, April 11, 1999, A3. John Affleck, "Bold Look Into Minds of Conmen," Gold Coast [Southport, Queensland] Bulletin, June 18, 2016, 55. Glen Hallick, "Stan Davis Reflects on His Service in the Korean War," Interlake Spectator, July 25, 2013, 12. "From Our Pages: 1951," Kingston [Ontario] Whig, Dec. 27, 1999, 54. Darrel Bristow-Bovey, "The Man With 50 Lives," [Johannesburg] Times, Nov. 3, 2017. When Demara appeared on You Bet Your Life in 1959, Groucho Marx called him "the most intelligent and charming and likable crook I've ever met." Listener mail: "Hear Big Ben on the Radio Before You Hear It in Real Life," Londonist, Sept. 26, 2014. John O'Ceallaigh, "40 Amazing Facts About Big Ben – As Its Clock Takes on a New Colour," Telegraph, March 22, 2019. "The Great Bell - Big Ben," parliament.uk (accessed Oct. 5, 2019). Wikipedia, "Big Ben" (accessed Oct. 5, 2019). "How to Make Big Ben Strike Thirteen?", Secrets of the Universe, BBC, Nov. 1, 2010. Wikipedia, "Big Ben Strikes Again" (accessed Oct. 3, 2019). Jets Hunt, GPS Puzzles and the Sherlock Holmes Mystery: GPS (Global Positioning System) vs. Sherlock Holmes, 2010. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listeners Neil De Carteret and Nala. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 14, 2019, 5 a.m.

267-The Murchison Murders

In 1929, detective novelist Arthur Upfield wanted to devise the perfect murder, so he started a discussion among his friends in Western Australia. He was pleased with their solution -- until local workers began disappearing, as if the book were coming true. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the Murchison murders, a disturbing case of life imitating art. We'll also incite a revolution and puzzle over a perplexing purchase. Intro: Jacques Jouet wrote a love poem in the language of Tarzan's great apes. To accompany Apollo 11, the president of Ivory Coast wrote a message to the moon. Above: Snowy Rowles with James Ryan's car, photographed by Arthur Upfield. Sources for our feature on the Murchison murders: Arthur Upfield, The Murchison Murders, 1932. Arthur Upfield, The Sands of Windee, 1931. Arthur Upfield, Up and Down the Real Australia, 2009. Jack Coulter, With Malice Aforethought, 1982. James Morton and Susanna Lobez, Dangerous to Know: An Australasian Crime Compendium, 2009. Travis Barton Lindsey, Arthur William Upfield: A Biography, dissertation, Murdoch University, 2005. Carol Hetherington, "Bony at Home and Abroad: The Arthur Upfield Phenomenon," Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (2009). Bill Casey, "Some Burning Issues: Arthur Upfield and the Murchison Murders, Marginalising Aboriginal People and Suggestions on Teaching Australia's History of Frontier Violence," Australian Aboriginal Studies 1 (2018), 29-42. "Turning Pages," The Age, July 18, 2015, 29. Christopher Fowler, "Arthur Upfield," Independent, Sept. 15, 2013, 16. Terry Sweetman, "Perfect Murder Around the Fire," [Brisbane] Courier-Mail, Aug. 25, 2013, 55. James Cockington, "Detective Work Pays Off: Enjoy It - Collect," Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 17, 2010, 13. Rachel Browne, "Perfect Crime," [Sydney] Sun-Herald, June 14, 2009, 3. Bridget McManus, "A Novel Approach to Crime," Sydney Morning Herald, June 8, 2009, 6. Many thanks to Graham Marshall for his help in researching this story. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "The Scottish Play" (accessed Sept. 4, 2019). Royal Shakespeare Company, "The Curse of the Scottish Play" (accessed Sept. 4, 2019). "Macbeth: The Curse of the Scottish Play," Telegraph, Sept. 18, 2015. Laura Schumm, "Why Do Actors Avoid the Word 'Macbeth'?", History.com, April 9, 2014. David Berre, "'Macbeth' Curse of the Stage," Washington Post, Jan. 28, 1988. "'Scottish Curse' Struck Heston in Bermuda," Bernews, April 7, 2013. Tim Hodgson, "Heston's 'Macbeth' Painting Goes on Display," Royal Gazette, April 18, 2016. "Did the Dumb Girl of Portici Really Set Off the Belgian Revolution in 1830?", Focus on Belgium, Aug. 10, 2018. Wikipedia, "La muette de Portici," (accessed Sept. 17, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jim Power. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 7, 2019, 5 a.m.

266-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are seven new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Intro: The Rotator typeface presents the digits 0-9 even when turned upside down. In 1897 The Strand designed a complete alphabet using three human acrobats. The sources for this week's puzzles are below. In a few places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 is from Kyle's Hendrickson's 1998 book Mental Fitness Puzzles. Puzzle #2 was contributed by listener Chris. Puzzle #3 was contributed by listener Wayne. Here are two links with further information. Puzzle #4 is from listener Jeff Harvey. Puzzle #5 is from listener Ben Sack, who sent two corroborating links. Puzzle #6 is based on an item in Dan Lewis' Now I Know newsletter. Here's a corroborating link. Puzzle #7 is from listener Katie Tripp. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 30, 2019, 5 a.m.

265-The Great Hedge of India

In the 19th century, an enormous hedge ran for more than a thousand miles across India, installed by the British to enforce a tax on salt. Though it took a Herculean effort to build, today it's been almost completely forgotten. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe this strange project and reflect on its disappearance from history. We'll also exonerate a rooster and puzzle over a racing murderer. Intro: A group of plasterers working in London’s Tate Britain art gallery in 1897 left a message for future generations. Four chemical elements were discovered in the same Swedish mine. Sources for our feature on the Great Hedge of India: Roy Moxham, The Great Hedge of India: The Search for the Living Barrier that Divided a People, 2001. Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History, 2011. Sir William Henry Sleeman, Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official, 1844. Shugan Chand Aggarwal, The Salt Industry in India, 1976. Sir John Strachey, India, 1888. Ajit K. Neogy, The Paramount Power and the Princely States of India, 1858-1881, 1979. Henry Francis Pelham, Essays, 1911. G.S. Chhabra, Advanced Study in the History of Modern India: 1813-1919, 1971. D.A. Barker, "The Taxation of Salt in India," The Economic Review 20 (1910), 165-172. Nicholas Blomley, "Making Private Property: Enclosure, Common Right and the Work of Hedges," Rural History 18:1 (2007), 1-21. Barry Lewis, "Village Defenses of the Karnataka Maidan, AD 1600–1800," South Asian Studies 25:1 (2009), 91-111. Roy Moxham, "Salt Starvation in British India: Consequences of High Salt Taxation in Bengal Presidency, 1765 to 1878," Economic and Political Weekly 36:25 (June 23-29, 2001), 2270-2274. Roy Moxham, "The Great Hedge of India," in Jantine Schroeder, Radu Botez, and Marine Formentini, Radioactive Waste Management and Constructing Memory for Future Generations: Proceedings of the International Conference and Debate, September 15-17, 2014, Verdun, France, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, 2015. "The Great Hedge of India: A Lost Wonder of the World," The Long View, BBC Radio 4, March 14, 2017. Adrian Higgins, "The Odd Tale of Britain's Wall — a Hedge — Across a Swath of India," Washington Post, Feb. 13, 2019. David G.W. Birch, "When Britain Built Its Own Wall: The Great Hedge of India," iNews, Feb. 9, 2017. Stephen Pritchard, "Privets on Parade ..." Guardian, Jan. 14, 2001. Nilanjana S. Roy, "Of Indian Elections, Onions and Salt," New York Times, Nov. 20, 2013. Maurice Chittenden, "Great Hedge of India Defended the Empire," Sunday Times, Dec. 10, 2000, 7. Aneesh Gokhale, "Why British Built the Great Hedge of India," DNA, Aug. 12 2018. Roy Moxham, "The Great Hedge of India," Sunday Telegraph, Jan. 7, 2001, 4. Annabelle Quince, "Border Walls Around the World," Rear Vision, ABC Premium News, May 17, 2017. "Have You Heard of the Salt Hedge?" New Indian Express, March 16, 2015. Roy Moxham, "Magnificent Obsession," Weekend Australian, Oct. 5, 2002, B.26. Matthew Wilson, "In the Thicket of It," Financial Times, Nov. 12, 2016, 20. Moxham writes, "My GPS reading at Pali Ghar was 26° 32.2’ N, 79° 09.2’ E. If this reading is put into Google Earth, the embankment of the Hedge is clearly visible – but only if you already know it is there." Listener mail: Jonathan M. Gitlin, "Geeky License Plate Earns Hacker $12,000 in Parking Tickets," Ars Technica, Aug. 13, 2019. Brian Barrett, "How a 'NULL' License Plate Landed One Hacker in Ticket Hell," Wired, Aug. 13, 2019. Kim Willsher, "Maurice the Noisy Rooster Can Keep Crowing, Court Rules," Guardian, Sept. 5, 2019. "French Rooster Maurice Wins Battle Over Noise With Neighbours," BBC News, Sept. 5, 2019. "If It Quacks Like a Duck: Boisterous Poultry Land French Owner in Court," Agence France-Presse, Sept. 2, 2019. Tom Whipple, "Larry the Cat Faces Rival as Jack Russell Puppy Arrives in Downing Street," Times, Sept. 2 2019. Amy Walker, "Downing Street Gets New Resident -- a Dog Named Dilyn," Guardian, Sept. 2, 2019. Hayley Dixon, "Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds to Move Rescued Jack Russell Puppy Into Downing Street," Telegraph, Sept. 1, 2019. "Boris Johnson's New Rescue Puppy Moves Into Downing Street," BBC News, Sept. 2, 2019. "Dogs That Keep Mice Away," Animal & Pest Control Specialist, Dec. 5, 2013. "Working History of the Jack Russell Terrier," Jack Russell Terrier Club of America. Tom Ough, "Sepsis, Incontinence, and Murder Mysteries: A History of Downing Street Pets," Telegraph, Sept. 2, 2019. Meagan Flynn, "A Lawsuit Against Maurice the Rooster Divided France. Now a Judge Says He Can Crow in Peace," Washington Post, Sept 6, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Dafydd Viney, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 16, 2019, 5 a.m.

264-Jack Renton and the Saltwater People

In 1868, Scottish sailor Jack Renton found himself the captive of a native people in the Solomon Islands, but through luck and skill he rose to become a respected warrior among them. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Renton's life among the saltwater people and his return to the Western world. We'll also catch some more speeders and puzzle over a regrettable book. Intro: Thanks to one representative's 1904 demand, the U.S. House dining room serves a perpetual bean soup. A 1962 Times correspondent asserts that all thrushes quote Mozart. Sources for our feature on Jack Renton: Nigel Randell, The White Headhunter: The Story of a 19-Century Sailor Who Survived a South Seas Heart of Darkness, 2004. Clive Moore, Making Mala: Malaita in Solomon Islands, 1870s–1930s, 2017. Judith A. Bennett, Wealth of the Solomons: A History of a Pacific Archipelago, 1800-1978, 1987. Walter George Ivens, Revival: Melanesians of the South-East Solomon Islands, 1927. Dennis Chute, "Shipwrecked on an Island Paradise," Edmonton Journal, Feb. 1, 2004, D11. Christopher Hudson, "Life and Death of a White Headhunter," [Melbourne] Sunday Herald-Sun, Aug. 17, 2003, 37. "The White Headhunter," Geographical 75:8 (August 2003), 64. Stephen McGinty, "Portrait of a Head Hunter," Scotsman, July 26, 2003, 1. "Secret Life of the White Headhunter," Scotsman, March 2, 2003. "The Adventures of John Renton," [Melbourne] Argus, Oct. 23, 1875. "The Recovery of John Renton From the Solomon Islands," Rockhampton [Queensland] Bulletin, Sept. 17, 1875. "Renton, John," Solomon Islands Historical Encyclopaedia 1893-1978 (accessed Aug. 25, 2019). Listener mail: "German Constitutional Court Questions Speed Camera Reliability," TheNewspaper.com, July 5, 2019. "Finland," SpeedingEurope.com, July 7, 2019. Joe Pinsker, "Finland, Home of the $103,000 Speeding Ticket," Atlantic, March 12, 2015. Wikipedia, "Day-Fine" (accessed Aug. 31, 2019). Bill McKelvey, "Along the Delaware & Raritan Canal: A History & Resources Database," D&R; Canal Watch, 2011. Ken Hansen, "How-to: Texas Amateur Radio Operator License Plate," Irving Amateur Radio Club, Jan. 25, 2018. "Speed and Red Light Cameras," Governors Highway Safety Association (accessed Sept. 3, 2019). "Automated Speed-Camera Enforcement," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (accessed Sept. 3, 2019). Wikipedia, "Traffic Enforcement Camera" (accessed Sept. 3, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Sharon. Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 9, 2019, 5 a.m.

263-Memories of Proust

Confined in a Soviet prison camp in 1941, Polish painter Józef Czapski chose a unique way to cope: He lectured to the other prisoners on Marcel Proust's novel In Search of Lost Time. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Czapski's ambitious project and the surprising importance of literature to the prisoners of oppressive regimes. We'll also race some lemons and puzzle over a woman's birthdays. Intro: A piano keyboard can be used as a calendar mnemonic. After the Civil War, thousands of Confederates settled in Brazil. Sources for our feature on Józef Czapski: Józef Czapski, Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp, 2018. Eric Karpeles, Almost Nothing: The 20th-Century Art and Life of Józef Czapski, 2018. Józef Czapski, The Inhuman Land, 1952. Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, 2012. György Faludy, My Happy Days in Hell, 1962. Jan Zielinski, "Milosz and Wat Read Brzozowski," Studies in East European Thought 63:4 (November 2011), 293-302. Aden Kumler and Christopher R. Lakey, "Res et significatio: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages," Gesta 51:1 (2012), 1-17. Józef Czapski et al., "An Appeal on Behalf of the Western Edition of Puls," Polish Review 24:4 (1979), 122. Eric Karpeles, "Proust in Prison," Brick: A Literary Journal 102 (Winter 2019), 128-137. John Gray, "Józef Czapski: Painter, Prisoner, and Disciple of Proust," New Statesman, May 1, 2019. Marta Figlerowicz, "Poland's Forgotten Bohemian War Hero," Boston Review, Feb. 6, 2019. Paul Dean, "In Memoriam," New Criterion 37:7 (March 2019), 60-62. Andrew Schenker, "The Work of Historical Witness: Józef Czapski’s 'Lost Time' and 'Inhuman Land,'" Los Angeles Review of Books, Dec. 18, 2018. Ayten Tartici, "Reading Proust in the Gulag," New York Times Book Review, Jan. 16, 2019. Michael Pinker, "Józef Czapski: A Life in Translation," Review of Contemporary Fiction 29:3 (Fall 2009), 182-183. Edward Alden Jewell, "Polish Art Works to Assist Relief," New York Times, Dec. 13, 1939. "Jurzykowski Fund Gives Awards to 11," New York Times, Jan. 13, 1966. Ewa Kuryluk, "Subverting Poland From Paris," New York Times, April 1, 1990. "Red Massacre of Poles Told," Manitoba Ensign, Dec. 31, 1949. Stanislaw Frenkiel, "Obituary: Jozef Czapski Krakow to Katyn," Guardian, Jan. 27, 1993. Cynthia Haven, "Shouldering the Century's Burden," Wall Street Journal, Jan. 25, 2019. Malgorzata Kitowska-Lysiak, "Józef Czapski," Culture.pl, 2001. Listener mail: Michigan City Historical Society Old Lighthouse Museum, March 24, 2018. Wikipedia, "24 Hours of LeMons" (accessed Aug. 22, 2019). Tadd Haislop, "24 Hours of Lemons Is Like the 24 Hours of Le Mans — Just Funnier and Cheaper," Sporting News, June 15, 2019. 24 Hours of Lemons. "Lemons Penalties 101," rahulnair.net, April 7, 2009. "Prices & Rules," 24 Hours of Lemons (accessed Aug. 22, 2019). Murilee Martin, "LeMons Prize Money: Rubles, Nickels, or Toilet-Seat Checks!" RoadKill, July 11, 2016. Eric Rood, "The Index of Effluency: How to Win 24 Hours of LeMons' Top Prize," RoadKill, Dec. 1, 2015. Estes Park Police Department, Facebook, Aug. 10, 2019. Justin Wingerter, "Bear Crashes Through Estes Park Home 'Like the Kool-Aid Man,'" Denver Post, Aug. 11, 2019. "Bear Breaks Into House and Smashes Wall to Leave," BBC News, Aug. 12, 2019. Wikipedia, "Kool-Aid Man" (accessed Aug. 24, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Romy Higgins. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 2, 2019, 5 a.m.

262-A Modern-Day Thoreau

In 1968, Richard Proenneke left his career as a heavy equipment operator and took up an entirely new existence. He flew to a remote Alaskan lake, built a log cabin by hand, and began a life of quiet self-reliance. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll hear Proenneke's reflections on a simple life lived in harmony with nature. We'll also put a rooster on trial and puzzle over a curious purchase. Intro: Joshua Steele preserved David Garrick's line readings in a "prosodia rationalis." The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 passed because one large MP was counted as 10. Sources for our feature on Richard Proenneke: Sam Keith, One Man's Wilderness, 1973. John Branson, More Readings From One Man's Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke, 2012. "Reflections on a Man in His Wilderness," National Parks 91:2 (Spring 2017), 52-58. Rosanne Pagano, "A Pebble in the Water," National Parks 83:2 (Spring 2009), 24-31. Rona Marech, "Off the Grid," National Parks 91:2 (Spring 2017), 4. Leigh Newman, "Cabin Fever," Sunset 234:2 (February 2015), 28-32. "A Modern Day Thoreau," Alaska 69:7 (Sept. 2003), 78-79. Jennifer Rebecca Kelly and Stacy Rule, "The Hunt as Love and Kill: Hunter-Prey Relations in the Discourse of Contemporary Hunting Magazines," Nature and Culture 8:2 (2013), 185-204. Shelley Fralic, "An Icon for Modern Times; He Lived Alone for 32 Years in a Cabin He Built in Alaska," Vancouver Sun, March 26, 2010, A.15. Jene Galvin, "Alaskan Cabin an Adventurer's Shrine," Cincinnati Enquirer, Oct. 28, 2007, 1. Jenna Schnuer, "An Alaska National Park as Big as Connecticut. Annual Visitors? 23,000," New York Times, July 16, 2018. Michael Babcock, "Check Out 'Alone in the Wilderness,'" Great Falls [Mont.] Tribune, Dec. 8, 2011, O.1. Robert Cross, "Wrangell-St. Elias/Lake Clark: A Pair Too Big to Comprehend," Knight Ridder Tribune News Service, June 16, 2003, 1. "Proenneke's Cabin," Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, National Park Service (accessed Aug. 11, 2019). Alan Bennett, "Dick Proenneke – Hiking With a Legend," The Alaska Life (accessed Aug. 11, 2019). Here's an excerpt from Alone in the Wilderness, a 2004 documentary about Proenneke's life on the lake. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!" (accessed Aug. 15, 2019). "Saint Louis du Ha!Ha! Gets Guinness World Record Nod for Its Exclamation Marks," Canadian Press, Sept. 20, 2017. Wikipedia, "Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump" (accessed Aug. 15, 2019). Wikipedia, "Buffalo Jump" (accessed Aug. 15, 2019). Wikipedia, "Happy Adventure" (accessed Aug. 15, 2019). Wikipedia, "Swastika, Ontario" (accessed Aug. 15, 2019). Wikipedia, "Pain Court, Ontario" (accessed Aug. 15, 2019). Wikipedia, "Punkeydoodles Corners" (accessed Aug. 15, 2019). (Non-family-friendly Newfoundland place name.) Jack Guy and Antoine Crouin, "Maurice the Rooster in the Dock in Divisive French Trial," CNN, July 4, 2019. Henry Samuel, "Trial Over Maurice the Cockerel's 'Rowdy' Dawn Crowing Becomes Gallic Cause Celebre," Telegraph, July 4, 2019. "Rooster Maurice in Noisy French Court Battle With Neighbours," BBC News, July 4, 2019. Adam Nossiter, "'The Rooster Must Be Defended': France’s Culture Clash Reaches a Coop," New York Times, June 23, 2019. "The Londoner: Entreprepurr Jeremy Hunt Backs Larry the Cat," Standard, July 18, 2019. Boris Johnson, "A very happy #InternationalCatDay to our Chief Mouser, Larry," Twitter, Aug. 8, 2019. Jimmy Nsubuga, "Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Could Be Ousted Under Boris," Metro, July 26, 2019. Wikipedia, "International Cat Day" (accessed Aug. 15, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was adapted from Edward J. Harshman's 1996 book Fantastic Lateral Thinking Puzzles. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 26, 2019, 5 a.m.

261-The Murder of Lord William Russell

  In May 1840 London was scandalized by the murder of Lord William Russell, who'd been found in his bed with his throat cut. The evidence seemed to point to an intruder, but suspicion soon fell on Russell's valet. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the investigation and trial, and the late revelation that decided the case. We'll also marvel at Ireland's greenery and puzzle over a foiled kidnapping. Intro: Marshal Ney directed his own execution. Lewis Carroll invented an alphabet he could write in the dark. Sources for our feature on the murder of Lord William Russell: Yseult Bridges, Two Studies in Crime, 1959. Claire Harman, Murder by the Book: The Crime That Shocked Dickens's London, 2019. Thomas Dunphy and Thomas J. Cummins, Remarkable Trials of All Countries, 1870. J.E. Latton Pickering, Report of the Trial of Courvoisier for the Murder of Lord William Russell, June 1840, 1918. William Harrison Ainsworth, Jack Sheppard: A Romance, 1839. "Remarkable Cases of Circumstantial Evidence," in Norman Wise Sibley, Criminal Appeal and Evidence, 1908. Samuel Warren, "The Mystery of Murder, and Its Defence," in Miscellanies, Critical, Imaginative, and Juridical, 1855, 237-271. "Trial, Confession, and Execution of Courvoisier for the Murder of Lord Wm. Russell: Memoir of F.B. Courvoisier, Lord W. Russell's Valet [broadside]," 1840. "Russell, Lord William (1767-1840)," in D.R. Fisher, ed., The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1820-1832, 2009. "The Practice of Advocacy: Mr. Charles Phillips, and His Defence of Courvoisier," Littell's Living Age 25:313 (May 18, 1850), 289-311. "English Causes Celebres," Legal News 14:39 (Sept. 26, 1891), 310-311. O'Neill Ryan, "The Courvoisier Case," Washington University Law Review 12:1 (January 1926), 39-46. Michael Asimow, "When the Lawyer Knows the Client Is Guilty: Legal Ethics, and Popular Culture," Law Society of Upper Canada 6th Colloquium, University of Toronto Faculty of Law 10 (2006). J.B. Atlay, "Famous Trials: The Queen Against Courvoisier," Cornhill Magazine 2:11 (May 1897), 604-616. Paul Bergman, "Rumpole's Ethics," Berkeley Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law 1:2 (April 2012), 117-124. Abigail Droge, "'Always Called Jack': A Brief History of the Transferable Skill," Victorian Periodicals Review 50:1 (Spring 2017) 39-65, 266. Albert D. Pionke, "Navigating 'Those Terrible Meshes of the Law': Legal Realism in Anthony Trollope's Orley Farm and The Eustace Diamonds," ELH: Journal of English Literary History 77:1 (2010), 129-157. Matthew S. Buckley, "Sensations of Celebrity: Jack Sheppard and the Mass Audience," Victorian Studies 44:3 (2002), 423-463. Elizabeth Stearns, "A 'Darling of the Mob': The Antidisciplinarity of the Jack Sheppard Texts," Victorian Literature and Culture 41:3 (2013), 435-461. Ellen L. O'Brien, "'Every Man Who Is Hanged Leaves a Poem': Criminal Poets in Victorian Street Ballads," Victorian Poetry 39:2 (Summer 2001), 319-342. Matthew Buckley, "Sensations of Celebrity: Jack Sheppard and the Mass Audience," Victorian Studies 44:3 (Spring 2002), 423-463. "This Day's Examination of the Valet for the Murder of Lord William Russell, M.P.," 1840, English Crime and Execution Broadsides, Harvard Digital Collections. Peter Dean, "Death by Servant," Daily Mail, May 18, 2019, 12. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, "The Victorian Melodrama That Led to Murder and Mayhem," Spectator, Nov. 10, 2018. Hannah Rosefield, "The Strange Victorian Murder of Lord William Russell," New Statesman, Oct. 31, 2018. "Look Death in the Face," [Liverpool] Daily Post, Sept. 1, 2018, 12. Alexandra Mullen, "Bloody-Minded Victorians," Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2013. Dalya Alberge, "Vital Clue Ignored for 50 Years," Independent, Dec. 9, 2012. "Murder of Lord William Russell -- Confession of the Murderer," Sydney Herald, Oct. 20, 1840, 3. William Makepeace Thackeray, "Going to See a Man Hanged," Fraser's Magazine 128:22 (August 1840), 150-158. "Murder of Lord William Russell," New-Orleans Commercial Bulletin, June 16, 1840. "Further Evidence Concerning the Murder of Lord William Russell," Spectator, May 23, 1840, 7. "Francois Benjamin Courvoisier: Killing: Murder," Proceedings of the Old Bailey, June 15, 1840 (accessed Aug. 4, 2019). Annalisa Quinn, "Could A Novel Lead Someone To Kill? 'Murder By The Book' Explores The Notion," National Public Radio, March 27, 2019. Listener mail: "Local Elections Results," Irish Times, Aug. 17, 2019. Wikipedia, "List of Political Parties in the Republic of Ireland," (accessed Aug. 8, 2019). Wikipedia, "List of Political Parties in the United States" (accessed Aug. 9, 2019). Wikipedia, "United States Marijuana Party" (accessed Aug. 9, 2019). Wikipedia, "United States Congress" (accessed Aug. 8, 2019). Justin McCurry, "South Korea Mulls Ending Arcane Age System to Match Rest of World," Guardian, June 2, 2019. James Griffiths and Yoonjung Seo, "In South Korea, You're a 1-Year-Old the Day You're Born. Some Want to Change That," CNN, June 3, 2019. Beatrice Christofaro, "In South Korea's Unique Aging System, Some Babies Turn 2 Years Old the Day After They Were Born. A Bill Is Trying to Change That," Insider, Jun. 3, 2019. "Life Term in Murder Contested; Culture Cited on Age," KDKA Pittsburgh, Aug. 7, 2019. James Halpin, "Killer Claims Ignorance of Korean Age Custom," Citizens' Voice, Aug. 8, 2019. James Halpin, "Killer Blames Culture Quirk for Age Miscalculation," Citizens' Voice, Aug. 7, 2019. Wikipedia, "National Assembly (South Korea)" (accessed Aug. 11, 2019). Penelope's drawing: This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Ken Murphy. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 19, 2019, 5 a.m.

260-The Rugged Road

In 1934, two Englishwomen set out to do what no one had ever done before: travel the length of Africa on a motorcycle. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Theresa Wallach and Florence Blenkiron from Algiers to Cape Town on a 14,000-mile adventure that many had told them was impossible. We'll also anticipate some earthquakes and puzzle over a daughter's age. Intro: Among the survivors of the Titanic were two boys who were unclaimed by any adult. In 1638, Galileo saw through a mistake in Aristotle simply by thinking about it. Sources for our feature on Theresa Wallach and Florence Blenkiron's trans-African odyssey: Theresa Wallach, The Rugged Road, 2001. Steven E. Alford and Suzanne Ferriss, Motorcycle, 2007. Iain Burns, "The British Women Who Conquered the Sahara," Daily Mail, Jan. 22, 2018. Miles Davis, "Incredible Journeys," Walneck's Classic Cycle Trader 267 (June 2006), 143-145. "Theresa Wallach – Motorcycle Pioneer of the 1930s," Archives Blog, Institution of Engineering and Technology (accessed July 28, 2019). "Through Africa by Motor-Cycle (1934-1935)," Africa Overland Network, July 9, 2014. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Earthquake Warning System" (accessed July 27, 2019). Wikipedia, "Earthquake Early Warning (Japan)" (accessed July 27, 2019). Wikipedia, "Mexican Seismic Alert System" (accessed August 1, 2019). Wikipedia, "2017 Puebla Earthquake" (accessed August 1, 2019). "Earthquake Early Warning System," Japan Meteorological Agency. Sarah E. Minson, et al., "The Limits of Earthquake Early Warning Accuracy and Best Alerting Strategy: Discussion," Scientific Reports 9:1 (Feb. 21, 2019), 2478. Sarah E. Minson, et al., "The Limits of Earthquake Early Warning: Timeliness of Ground Motion Estimates," Science Advances 4:3 (March 21, 2018), eaaq0504. "Earthquake Early Warning," United States Geological Survey. "Earthquake Early Warning: Background," United States Geological Survey. Mary Halton, "How Effective Are Earthquake Early Warning Systems?," BBC News, March 24, 2018. Jonathan Amos, "Are Mexico's Two September Earthquakes Connected?," BBC News, Sept. 20, 2017. "How Did Mexico's Early Warning System Perform During Recent Earthquakes?," Seismological Society of America, Feb. 7, 2018. "False Earthquake Warning Panics Japan," BBC, Jan. 5, 2018. ShakeAlert. Richard M. Allen, et al., "Lessons From Mexico's Earthquake Early Warning System," Eos, Sept. 17, 2018. Mary Beth Griggs, "LA's Earthquake Warning System Worked — Just Not How People Expected," The Verge, July 5, 2019. Emily Baumgaertner, "L.A.'S ShakeAlert Earthquake Warning App Worked Exactly as Planned. That's the Problem," Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2019. Alex Dobuzinskis, "California Expanding Early Quake Detection and Warning System," Reuters, July 9, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Paul Schoeps. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 12, 2019, 5 a.m.

259-The Astor Place Riot

The second-bloodiest riot in the history of New York was touched off by a dispute between two Shakespearean actors. Their supporters started a brawl that killed as many as 30 people and changed the institution of theater in American society. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Astor Place riot, "one of the strangest episodes in dramatic history." We'll also fertilize a forest and puzzle over some left-handed light bulbs. Intro: In 1968, mathematician Dietrich Braess found that installing a traffic shortcut can actually lengthen the average journey. What key is "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" written in? Sources for our feature on the Astor Place riot: Nigel Cliff, The Shakespeare Riots: Revenge, Drama, and Death in Nineteenth-Century America, 2007. Richard Moody, The Astor Place Riot, 1958. Lawrence Barrett, Edwin Forrest, 1881. Joel Tyler Headley, Pen and Pencil Sketches of the Great Riots, 1873. H.M. Ranney, Account of the Terrific and Fatal Riot at the New-York Astor Place Opera House, 1849. Leo Hershkowitz, "An Anatomy of a Riot: Astor Place Opera House, 1849," New York History 87:3 (Summer 2006), 277-311. Bill Kauffman, "New York's Opera House Brawl," American Enterprise 13:4 (June 2002), 51. M. Alison Kibler, "'Freedom of the Theatre' and 'Practical Censorship': Two Theater Riots in the Early Twentieth Century," OAH Magazine of History 24:2 (April 2010), 15-19. Edgar Scott, "Edwin Forrest, First Star of the American Stage," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 84 (1960), 495-497. Adam I.P. Smith, "The Politics of Theatrical Reform in Victorian America," American Nineteenth Century History 13:3, 321-346. Daniel J. Walkowitz, "'The Gangs of New York': The Mean Streets in History," History Workshop Journal 56 (Autumn 2003), 204-209. Gretchen Sween, "Rituals, Riots, Rules, and Rights: The Astor Place Theater Riot of 1849 and the Evolving Limits of Free Speech," Texas Law Review 81:2 (December 2002), 679-713. Michael J. Collins, "'The Rule of Men Entirely Great': Republicanism, Ritual, and Richelieu in Melville's 'The Two Temples,'" Comparative American Studies 10:4 (December 2012), 304-317. Loren Kruger, "Our Theater? Stages in an American Cultural History," American Literary History 8:4 (Winter 1996), 699-714. Dennis Berthold, "Class Acts: The Astor Place Riots and Melville's 'The Two Temples,'" American Literature 71:3 (September 1999), 429-461. Cary M. Mazer, "Shakespearean Scraps," American Literary History 21:2 (Summer 2009), 316-323. Barbara Foley, "From Wall Street to Astor Place: Historicizing Melville's 'Bartleby,'" American Literature 72:1 (March 2000), 87-116. Neil Smith, "Imperial Errantry," Geographical Review 102:4 (October 2012), 553-555. Betsy Golden Kellem, "When New York City Rioted Over Hamlet Being Too British," Smithsonian.com, July 19, 2017. Amanda Foreman, "A Night at the Theater Often Used to Be a Riot," Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2015. Scott McCabe, "At Least 22 Killed in Astor Place Riots," [Washington, D.C.] Examiner, May 10, 2011. Timothy J. Gilfoyle, "A Theatrical Rivalry That Sparked a Riot," Chicago Tribune, April 22, 2007, 14.11. Paul Lieberman, "The Original Star; On His 200th Birthday, America's First 'Celebrity' Actor, Edwin Forrest, Still Has Fans," Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2006, E.1. Michael Grunwald, "Shakespeare in Hate; 150 Years Ago, 23 People Died In a Riot Over 'Macbeth,'" Washington Post, March 28, 1999, G01. Mel Gussow, "Richard A. Moody, 84, American-Theater Expert," New York Times, April 4, 1996. Frank Rich, "War of Hams Where the Stage Is All," New York Times, Jan. 17, 1992. "Theater: When 'Macbeth' Shook the World of Astor Place," New York Times, Jan. 12, 1992. "The Biggest Publicity Coup in the History of the Stage," New York Tribune, May 4, 1913, 4. "Death of an Aged Actress," New York Times, March 17, 1880. J. Brander Matthews, "W.C. Macready," Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly 10 (1880), 97-101. "The Astor Place Riots," New York Times, April 11, 1875. "An Old Story Retold; The Astor Place Riot -- Reminiscences of Macready," New York Times, April 3, 1875. "Dreadful Riot and Bloodshed in New York," British Colonist, May 23, 1849. "Remembering New York City's Opera Riots," Weekend Edition Saturday, National Public Radio, May 13, 2006. Listener mail: M. Ben-David, T.A. Hanley, and D.M. Schell, "Fertilization of Terrestrial Vegetation by Spawning Pacific Salmon: The Role of Flooding and Predator Activity," OIKOS 83 (1998), 47-55. James M. Helfield and Robert J. Naiman, "Effects of Salmon-Derived Nitrogen on Riparian Forest Growth and Implications for Stream Productivity," Ecology 82:9 (2001), 2403-2409. Wikipedia, "Salmon" (accessed July 13, 2019). Paul Clements, "An Irishman's Diary on Football Legend Danny Blanchflower," Irish Times, April 11, 2015. "Danny Blanchflower," Big Red Book (accessed July 13, 2019). Alex Finnis, "Jersey Is Being Terrorised by 100-Strong Gangs of Feral Chickens Waking Up Locals and Chasing Joggers," i, June 18, 2019. "Jersey Residents Annoyed by Feral Chickens," BBC, July 6, 2018. "Channel Islands Residents Cry Foul Over Feral Chickens," Morning Edition, National Public Radio, June 28, 2019. Daniel Avery, "Gang of 100 Feral Chickens Terrorizing Town," Newsweek, July 2, 2019. Will Stewart, "Russian Hermit Cut Off From World Refuses to Leave Despite Rocket Debris Fears," Mirror, June 21, 2019. "Siberian Hermit, 75, Who 'Lives in 18th Century' Refuses to Be Moved by Space Age," Siberian Times, June 21, 2019. A bridge of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), from listener Alex Baumans: This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 5, 2019, 5 a.m.

258-The First Great Train Robbery

In 1855 a band of London thieves set their sights on a new target: the South Eastern Railway, which carried gold bullion to the English coast. The payoff could be enormous, but the heist would require meticulous planning. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the first great train robbery, one of the most audacious crimes of the 19th century. We'll also jump into the record books and puzzle over a changing citizen. Intro: British birdwatcher Chris Watson discovered Scottish starlings memorializing forgotten farm machinery. Can a psychotic patient's "sane" self consent to a procedure on his "insane" self? Sources for our feature on the great gold robbery of 1855: David C. Hanrahan, The First Great Train Robbery, 2011. Donald Thomas, The Victorian Underworld, 1998. Adrian Gray, Crime & Criminals of Victorian England, 2011. Jonathan Oates, Great Train Crimes: Murder & Robbery on the Railways, 2010. G.A. Sekon, The History of the South-Eastern Railway, 1895. David Morier Evans, Facts, Failures, and Frauds: Revelations, Financial, Mercantile, Criminal, 1859. Michael Robbins, "The Great South-Eastern Bullion Robbery," The Railway Magazine 101:649 (May 1955), 315–317. "The Story of a Great Bullion Robbery," Chambers's Journal 2:59 (Jan. 14, 1899), 109-112. "Law Intelligence," Railway Times 19:46 (Nov. 15, 1856), 1355. "Chronicle: January, 1857," Annual Register, 1857. "The Gold Dust Robbery," New York Times, Nov. 12, 1876. "Edward Agar: Deception: Forgery, 22nd October 1855," Proceedings of the Old Bailey (accessed July 19, 2019). Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Kiwi Campus" (accessed July 14, 2019). Carolyn Said, "Kiwibots Win Fans at UC Berkeley as They Deliver Fast Food at Slow Speeds," San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 2019. Kalev Leetaru, "Today's Deep Learning Is Like Magic -- In All the Wrong Ways," Forbes, July 8, 2019. James Vincent, "The State of AI in 2019," The Verge, Jan. 28, 2019. Wikipedia, "Carl Lewis" (July 9, 2019). Wikipedia, "Wind Assistance" (accessed July 14, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Wayne Yuen. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 29, 2019, 5 a.m.

257-The Sledge Patrol

In 1943 an isolated sledge patrol came upon a secret German weather station in northeastern Greenland. The discovery set off a series of dramatic incidents that unfolded across 400 miles of desolate coast. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow this arctic struggle, an often overlooked drama of World War II. We'll also catch some speeders and puzzle over a disastrous remedy. Intro: In 1970 the Journal of Organic Chemistry published a paper in blank verse. In 1899 the Journal of Mental Science described a man who cycled in his sleep. Sources for our feature on the North-East Greenland Sledge Patrol: David Howarth, The Sledge Patrol, 1957. Mark Llewellyn Evans, Great World War II Battles in the Arctic, 1999. John McCannon, A History of the Arctic: Nature, Exploration and Exploitation, 2012. Bjørnar Olsen and Þóra Pétursdóttir, Ruin Memories: Materialities, Aesthetics and the Archaeology of the Recent Past, 2014. Spencer Apollonio, Lands That Hold One Spellbound: A Story of East Greenland, 2008. Jens Fog Jensen and Tilo Krause, "Wehrmacht Occupations in the New World: Archaeological and Historical Investigations in Northeast Greenland," Polar Record 48:3 (2012), 269-279. Leif Vanggaard, "The Effects of Exhaustive Military Activities in Man: The Performance of Small Isolated Military Units in Extreme Environmental Conditions," Royal Danish Navy Gentofte (Denmark) Danish Armed Forces Health Services, 2001. "History: The Sledge Patrol," Arctic Journal, April 6, 2017. M.J. Dunbar, "Greenland During and Since the Second World War," International Journal 5:2 (Spring 1950), 121-140. Maria Ackrén and Uffe Jakobsen, "Greenland as a Self-Governing Sub-National Territory in International Relations: Past, Current and Future Perspectives," Polar Record 51:4 (July 2015), 404-412. Anthony K. Higgins, "Exploration History and Place Names of Northern East Greenland," Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Bulletin 21, 2010. David Howarth, "Secrets of the Unknown War," Saturday Evening Post 230:9 (Aug. 31, 1957), 30-90. Stephan Wilkinson, "10 Great POW Escapes," Military History 28:4 (November 2011), 28-33. Denver David Robinson, "The World's Most Unusual Military Unit," Christian Science Monitor, June 22, 2016. Robert P. Sables, "Coast Guard Emergency Acquisitions in WWII," Sea Classics 36:10 (October 2003), 12. "News From the Field," American Foreign Service Journal 21:7 (July 1944), 363, 397. Joe Alex Morris, "The Nazis Get Licked in Greenland," Saturday Evening Post 216:35 (Feb. 26, 1944), 16-86. Kevin L. Jamison, "The Sledge Patrol: A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival and Victory [review]," Military Review 83:4 (July/August 2003), 67. Denver David Robinson, "The Men on the Ice," Boston Globe, March 19, 2016, 1. "Danes Get Merit Medals; Group Is Honored for Reporting Nazi Base in Greenland," New York Times, June 10, 1944. Sidney Shalett, "Secret Nazi Base in Arctic Erased; U.S. Planes and Coast Guard Discover and Destroy Radio Station Off Greenland," New York Times, Nov. 10, 1943. Eric Niderost, "The Weather War of WWII," Warfare History Network, Dec. 11, 2018. Listener mail: "Debate to Decide How 'Shrewsbury' Should be Pronounced?", BBC News, July 2, 2015. "Shroosbury Voted the Triumphant Pronunciation in Charity Debate," University Centre Shrewsbury, July 3, 2015. "What Means 'Strekningsmåling' on Norwegian Roads?", Travel Blog Europe, June 19, 2018. Tanya Mohn, "Does The U.S. Take Road Safety Seriously? The Low Cost of Traffic Violations Suggests We Don't," Forbes, Nov. 27, 2018. "BBC's 'Top Gear' Allegedly Caught Speeding Through Norway at 151 MPH," Fox News, June 26, 2017. "Norway," Speeding Europe, July 7, 2019. Wikipedia, "SPECS (speed camera)" (accessed July 3, 2019). "Speed Cameras Catch One Million Offenders on A2 and A12 Last Year," DutchNews.nl, Feb. 7, 2018. Patrick Scott and Ellie Kempster, "A Record Two Million Speeding Tickets Were Handed Out Last Year -- How Punitive Are the Roads You Drive on?", Telegraph, Oct. 25, 2018. Wikipedia, "Pit Stop" (accessed July 4, 2019). Wikipedia, "Denny Hulme" (accessed July 4, 2019). "Denny Hulme," New Zealand History, Nov. 8, 2017. "Denny Hulme," ESPN (accessed July 4, 2019). Susan Orlean, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011. Susan Orlean, "The Dog Star," New Yorker, Aug. 22, 2011. Bruce Davis, "No, Rin Tin Tin Didn't Really Win the First Best Actor Oscar," The Wrap, Feb. 15, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 15, 2019, 5 a.m.

256-Lasseter's Reef

In 1930 Harold Lasseter claimed he'd discovered an enormous deposit of gold in the remote interior of Australia, and a small group of men set off into the punishing desert in search of a fortune estimated at 66 million pounds. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Lasseter's reef, one of the most enduring legends of the Australian outback. We'll also reconsider the mortality rates of presidents and puzzle over an unlocked door. Intro: Where is pain? In the early 1800s a Frenchman known as Tarrare gained fame for eating practically anything. Sources for our feature on Lasseter's reef: David Hill, Gold!: The Fever That Forever Changed Australia, 2010. Ion Llewellyn Idriess, Lasseter's Last Ride, 1940. National Library of Australia, National Treasures from Australia's Great Libraries, 2005. Andrew Bain, "Lasseter's Footsteps," Australian Geographic 69 (January-March 2003), 100. Declan Cooley, "Gladstone Man's Massive Gold Find Claim, Needs Mining Giant," [Gladstone, Queensland] Observer, Feb. 24, 2017. Simon Caterson, "Lasseter's Gold: Search for Reef a Sparkling Story by Warren Brown," Australian, Sept. 5, 2015. Warren Brown, "Lasseter's Gold: Could Letter Finally Solve the Mystery of Dead Explorer Harold Lasseter and Gold Treasure?" Sunday Telegraph, Sept. 12, 2015. Bob Watt, "Battered Suitcase Reveals a Rich History," Northern Territory News, May 3, 2015, 38. "Google Earth Helps in Hunt for Lasseter's Reef of Gold," Sunshine Coast Daily, July 2, 2013, 2. Kathy Marks, "El Dorado 'Found' on Google Earth," Independent, June 30, 2013. "Lasseter's Legendary Reef of Gold Still Beckoning Aussie 'Battlers,'" New Zealand Herald, June 22, 2013, B.4. Nicole Hasham, "Google Puts Gold on Map for Mates Seeking Lasseter's Reef," Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 10, 2012, 10. Sally Brooks, "Lasseter's Reef: Rock Samples Gold Test Riddle," Centralian Advocate, Nov. 11, 2011, 5. "NT: eBay Map Could Hold Key to Lasseter's Reef," AAP General News Wire, Sept. 27, 2011. Mark Day, "Lasseter's Legendary Gold Still Beckons," Weekend Australian, Sept. 24, 2011, 5. Penelope Bergen, "Alice Focus in Hunt for Lasseter's Reef," Centralian Advocate, May 4, 2010, 3. Alison Bevege, "'I've Found Lasseter's Reef,'" [Brisbane] Courier-Mail, May 10, 2007. Penelope Bergen, "Lasseter's Reef Is Real, Claims Son," ABC Rural, April 13, 2010. "Lasseter's Reef Remains Legend," Gold Coast Bulletin, July 15, 2006, 13. Rebel Black, "In the Footsteps of a Famous Father," Daily Telegraph, June 1, 2002, 13. Noula Tsavdaridis, "Lasseter's Reef: Fabulous Fortune or Fool's Gold," Daily Telegraph, Jan. 24, 2002, 27. "Outback Treasure Australian Firm May Be on Trail of Gold Deposit," Reuters, Sept. 6, 1990, 3D. "Has Lasseter's Reef Been Found?" Australian Women's Weekly, Oct. 26, 1935. "Gold Rush in Desert Is Aided by Planes," Chicago Tribune, Nov. 14, 1932. "Geologist Gets Trace of Fabulous Gold Reef; Will Face Australian Desert Perils to Find It," New York Times, May 25, 1931. In a sense, Lasseter has never ceased his search -- above his grave in an Alice Springs cemetery is a statue perpetually assaying the desert sands. It bears an inscription by Theodore Roosevelt: It is not the critic who counts, or how the strong man stumbled and fell or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion and spends himself in a worthy cause. If he fails, he fails by daring greatly, So that he will never be one of those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory or defeat. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Mortality Rate" (accessed June 27, 2019). "Measures of Risk: Mortality Frequency Measures," Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006. "Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities: Dangerous Jobs," Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 28, 2018. Guy A. Toscano, "Dangerous Jobs," Compensation and Working Conditions 2 (Summer 1997), 57-60. "National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2017," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dec. 18, 2018. Michael B. Sauter and Charles Stockdale, "25 Most Dangerous Jobs in America," 24/7 Wall St., Jan. 2, 2019. Wikipedia, "Remembrance of the Daleks: Filming and Effects" (accessed June 24, 2019). "These 10 Towns in Idaho Have the Most Bizarre Names," Only in Your State, Jan. 21, 2016. Wikipedia, "Dickshooter, Idaho" (accessed June 29, 2019). "Tobar, Nevada," Howard Hickson's Histories, Great Basin College, Nevada, 2005. Wikipedia, "Eagle, Alaska" (accessed July 1, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Gregory LeBlanc. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 8, 2019, 5 a.m.

255-Death on the Ice

In 1914, 132 sealers found themselves stranded on a North Atlantic icefield as a bitter blizzard approached. Thinly dressed and with little food, they faced a harrowing night on the ice. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Newfoundland sealing disaster, one of the most dramatic chapters in Canadian maritime history. We'll also meet another battlefield dog and puzzle over a rejected necklace. Intro: England has seen some curious cricket matches. In 1940 two Australian planes collided in midair and landed as one. Above: Crewmembers carry bodies aboard the Bellaventure. Sources for our feature on the 1914 sealing disaster: Cassie Brown, Death on the Ice: The Great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster of 1914, 2015. Melvin Baker, "The Struggle for Influence and Power: William Coaker, Abram Kean, and the Newfoundland Sealing Industry, 1908–1915," Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 28:1 (2013). Willeen Keough, "(Re-) Telling Newfoundland Sealing Masculinity: Narrative and Counter-Narrative," Journal of the Canadian Historical Association/Revue de la Société historique du Canada 21:1 (2010), 131-150. R.M. Kennedy, "National Dreams and Inconsolable Losses: The Burden of Melancholia in Newfoundland Culture," in Despite This Loss: Essays on Culture, Memory, and Identity in Newfoundland and Labrador, 2010, 103-116. Kjell-G. Kjær, "Where Have All the Barque Rigged Sealers Gone?", Polar Record 44:3 (July 2008), 265-275. Helen Peters, "Shannon Ryan, The Ice Hunters: A History of Newfoundland Sealing to 1914, Newfoundland History Series 8 [review]," Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 12:1 (1996). Raymond Blake, "Sean Cadigan, Death on Two Fronts: National Tragedies and the Fate of Democracy in Newfoundland, 1914–34 [review]," Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 30:1 (2015). Michael Harrington and Barbara Moon, "Tragedy on Ice: One of the Most Dramatic Disasters in Canadian History Occurred on the Newfoundland Ice Floes in 1914," Maclean's 113:48 (Nov. 27, 2000), 76. "Disaster on the Ice," [Winnipeg] Beaver 89:3 (June/July 2009), 22-23. Guy Ray, "Seal Wars," Canadian Geographic 120:2 (January/February 2000), 36-48. Jenny Higgins, "1914 Sealing Disaster," The [Newfoundland and Labrador] Independent, April 1, 2011. Sue Bailey, "Newfoundland Marks 1914 Sealing Disaster With Father and Son's Frozen Embrace," Guelph Mercury, March 30, 2014. "Frozen Embrace to Mark 1914 Tragedy at Sea," Prince George [B.C.] Citizen, March 31, 2014, A.13. "The 1914 Sealing Disaster: 100 Years Later," CBC News, March 30, 2014. Francine Kopun, "Gale of 1914 Proved Deadly," Toronto Star, April 24, 2007, A8. Tim B. Rogers, "The Sinking of the Southern Cross," [Winnipeg] Beaver 89:3 (June/July 2009), 16-22. Alison Auld and Michael MacDonald, "Questions Raised About Coast Guard's Actions in Fatal Sealing Accident," Canadian Press, March 29, 2008. Joanna Dawson, "Newfoundland's 1914 Sealing Disaster," Canada's History, March 31, 2014. Sean T. Cadigan, "Tuff, George," Dictionary of Canadian Biography (accessed June 16, 2019). "The 1914 Sealing Disaster," Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage (accessed June 16, 2019). Wes Kean and the S.S. Newfoundland. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Rin Tin Tin" (accessed June 19, 2019). Michael Schaub, "'Rin Tin Tin': The Dog Who Never Died," National Public Radio, Sept. 29, 2011. Linda Holmes, "Rin Tin Tin: From Battlefield to Hollywood, a Story of Friendship," Weekend Edition Saturday, National Public Radio, Sept. 24, 2011. John Banville, "Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean – review," Guardian, Feb. 2, 2012. Wikipedia, "The Lighthouse by the Sea" (accessed June 21, 2019). Wikipedia, "Political Colour" (accessed June 17, 2019). "Why Is the Conservative Party Blue?" BBC News, April 20, 2006. Wikipedia, "Red States and Blue States" (accessed June 22, 2019). Stephen Battaglio, "When Red Meant Democratic and Blue Was Republican," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 3, 2016. Ruaridh Arrow, "Gene Sharp: Author of the Nonviolent Revolution Rulebook," BBC News, Feb. 21, 2011. "Commentary: Braille Restaurant Menus Are Still Hard to Find," Chicago Lighthouse (accessed June 22, 2019). Sophie Meixner and Tara Cassidy, "Braille on the Menu to Accommodate Blind and Vision Impaired Patrons," ABC News, June 1, 2018. Josh Haskell and Armando Barragan, "Blind Monrovia Student Creates Braille Menus for Local Restaurants," KABC-TV Los Angeles, May 11, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listeners Jeff and Emmett Moxon. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 1, 2019, 5 a.m.

254-The Porthole Murder

In 1947 actress Gay Gibson disappeared from her cabin on an ocean liner off the coast of West Africa. The deck steward, James Camb, admitted to pushing her body out a porthole, but insisted she had died of natural causes and not in a sexual assault. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review the curious case of the porthole murder, which is still raising doubts today. We'll also explore another fraudulent utopia and puzzle over a pedestrian's victory. Intro: Soldiers in World War I described "shell sense" -- an uncanny foreknowledge of imminent shellfire. British artist Patrick Hughes creates three-dimensional paintings that reverse the traditional rules of perspective. Sources for our feature on the death of Gay Gibson: Geoffrey Clark, ed., Trial of James Camb, 1949. Colin Evans, The Casebook of Forensic Detection: How Science Solved 100 of the World's Most Baffling Crimes, 2007. Robin Odell and Wilfred Gregg, Murderers' Row: An International Murderers' Who's Who, 2011. J.F. Northey, "Murder. Proof of Corpus Delicti," Modern Law Review 15:3 (July 1952), 348-351. Lee Aitken, "Interpreting R V Baden-Clay: 'Discovering the Inward Intention', or 'What Lies Under the Veil'?", University of Queensland Law Journal 35:2 (2016) 301-311. Robert Kennaugh, "Proving Murder Without a Body," De Rebus Procuratoriis 1969:24 (1969), 485-491. Basil Hearde, "The Vanished Redhead in Cabin 126," Sea Classics 35:2 (February 2002), 54. T. Mervyn Jones, "Trial of James Camb (The Port-Hole Murder) by Geoffrey Clark [review]," Cambridge Law Journal 10:3 (1950), 492-494. H.A. Hammelmann, "The Trial of James Camb by Geoffrey Clark [review]," Modern Law Review 13:4 (October 1950), 546-547. Richard Latto, "Porthole Murder: Did Gay Gibson Die From Natural Causes?", BBC News, March 22, 2018. Laura Connor, "The Lady Vanishes," Paisley [Scotland] Daily Express, April 7, 2018, 8. John Macklin, "Deathly Nightmare Comes True; The Murder He Saw in His Dreams Was Soon to Become a Brutal Fact," [Moncton, N.B.] Times & Transcript, Nov. 30, 2002. "Murder Most Foul on Durban Castle: Liner Gains Notoriety After 'Porthole Killer' Dumps Woman's Body Overboard," [Durban, South Africa] Independent on Saturday, May 30, 2015, 11. "Murder Conviction Without a Body," [Wellington, New Zealand] Dominion Post, May 5, 2018, A.8. Listener mail: Cory Turner and Clare Lombardo, "The Town That Hanged an Elephant Is Now Working to Save Them," All Things Considered, National Public Radio, May 15, 2019. Bill Metcalf, "Utopian Fraud: The Marquis de Rays and La Nouvelle-France," Utopian Studies 22:1 (2011), 104-124. Jordan Goodman, "Phantom Pacific Paradise: Was the Marquis De Rays' New France a Cleverly Plotted Scam or a Fantasy That Went Horribly Wrong?" Geographical 83:6 (June 2011), 26. Wikipedia, "Marquis de Rays" (accessed June 13, 2019). Wikipedia, "De Rays Expedition" (accessed June 13, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Karl Hiscock. Here are two related links. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 24, 2019, 5 a.m.

253-The Dame of Sark

In June 1940, German forces took the Channel Islands, a small British dependency off the coast of France. They expected the occupation to go easily, but they hadn't reckoned on the island of Sark, ruled by an iron-willed noblewoman with a disdain for Nazis. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Sibyl Hathaway and her indomitable stand against the Germans. We'll also overtake an earthquake and puzzle over an inscrutable water pipe. Intro: Raymond Chandler gave 10 rules for writing a detective novel. In 1495 Leonardo da Vinci designed a mechanical knight. Sources for our feature on Sybil Hathaway: Sybil Hathaway, Dame of Sark: An Autobiography, 1961. Alan and Mary Wood, Islands in Danger: The Story of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands, 1940-1945, 1955. Gilly Carr, Paul Sanders, and Louise Willmot, Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands, 2014. Madeleine Bunting, The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule, 1940-1945, 2014. Roy MacLoughlin, Living With the Enemy: An Outline of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands With First Hand Accounts by People Who Remember the Years 1940 to 1945, 2002. Cheryl R. Jorgensen-Earp, Discourse and Defiance Under Nazi Occupation: Guernsey, Channel Islands, 1940-1945, 2013. Hazel Knowles Smith, The Changing Face of the Channel Islands Occupation: Record, Memory and Myth, 2014. George Forty, German Occupation of the Channel Islands, 2002. Paul Sanders, The British Channel Islands Under German Occupation, 1940-1945, 2005. George Forty, Channel Islands at War: A German Perspective, 2005. Gilly Carr, "Shining a Light on Dark Tourism: German Bunkers in the British Channel Islands," Public Archaeology 9:2 (2010), 64-84. Gillian Carr, "The Archaeology of Occupation and the V-Sign Campaign in the Occupied British Channel Islands," International Journal of Historical Archaeology 14:4 (2010), 575-592. Gilly Carr, "Occupation Heritage, Commemoration and Memory in Guernsey and Jersey," History and Memory 24:1 (Spring 2012), 87-117, 178. Gilly Carr, "Concrete's Memory: Positioning Ghosts of War in the Channel Islands," Terrain 69 (April 2018). Peter Tabb, "'You and I Will Eat Grass ...,'" History Today 55:5 (May 2005), 2-3. Paul Sanders, "Managing Under Duress: Ethical Leadership, Social Capital and the Civilian Administration of the British Channel Islands During the Nazi Occupation, 1940-1945," Journal of Business Ethics 93, Supplement 1 (2010), 113-129. Lucas Reilly, "How the World's Only Feudal Lord Outclassed the Nazis to Save Her People," Mental Floss, Nov. 6, 2018. "Dame of Sark, 90, Ruler of Channel Island, Dead," New York Times, July 15, 1974. John Darnton, "St. Helier Journal; Facing Nazis, Upper Lips Were Not Always Stiff," New York Times, May 6, 1995. Robert Philpot, "New Film on Nazi Occupation of Channel Islands Prompts Disquieting Questions for Brits," Times of Israel, April 13, 2017. Francesca Street, "Radio Tower: Jersey's Former German WWII Gun Tower Now for Rent," CNN, Aug. 28, 2018. Liza Foreman, "The Crazy Medieval Island of Sark," Daily Beast, Oct. 4, 2014. Julie Carpenter, "John Nettles: 'Telling the Truth About Channel Islands Cost Me My Friends,'" Express, Nov. 5, 2012. Ben Johnson, "Sark, Channel Islands," Historic UK (accessed June 2, 2019). William D. Montalbano, "Nazi Occupation in WWII Haunts Islands Off Britain," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 29, 1996. Graham Heathcote, "Quiet Occupation by German Troops on Britain’s Channel Islands," Associated Press, May 9, 1995. William Tuohy, "Britain Files Reveal a Dark Chapter of War Years Nazis Occupied the Channel Islands Until Mid-1945, and Many Residents Collaborated," Los Angeles Times, Dec. 5, 1992, 3. Marcus Binney, "Release of War Files Reopens the Wounds of Nazi Occupation," Times, Dec. 2, 1992. Julia Pascal, "Comment & Analysis: Our Hidden History: Sixty Years After the Deportation of Britons from the Channel Islands, the Suffering Is Neither Acknowledged Nor Compensated," Guardian, Sept. 5, 2002, 1.23. Ray Clancy, "War Files Show How Alderney Was Left Alone Against Nazis," Times, Dec. 2, 1992. William Montalbano, "Nazi Reports Raise Islands' Painful Past: Channel Islands' Invasion Created Moral Dilemmas," Toronto Star, Dec. 1, 1996, A.8. Andrew Phillips, "The Ghosts of War," Maclean's 106:1 (Jan. 4, 1993), 50-51. "Taylor: Remembering the Channel Islands Occupation," Toronto Sun, Nov. 3, 2018. Rosemary F. Head et al., "Cardiovascular Disease in a Cohort Exposed to the 1940–45 Channel Islands Occupation," BMC Public Health 8:303 (2008). Madeleine Bunting, "Living With the Enemy," The World Today 71:3 (June/July 2015), 10. Listener mail: "'Not on Your Life!' Says Actress, Flees Spotlight," Chicago Tribune, Nov. 12, 1993. "Seismic Waves," xkcd, April 5, 2010. Sune Lehmann, "TweetQuake," Aug. 25, 2011. Rhett Allain, "Tweet Waves vs. Seismic Waves," Wired, Aug. 26, 2011. Javed Anwer, "Delhi Earthquake Proves Twitter Is Faster Than Seismic Waves. Again," India Today, April 13, 2016. Brad Plumer, "Tweets Move Faster Than Earthquakes," Washington Post, Aug. 25, 2011. Lauren Indvik, "East Coasters Turn to Twitter During Virginia Earthquake," Mashable, Aug. 23, 2011. Catharine Smith, "Twitter's New Ad Claims It's Faster Than An Earthquake (VIDEO)," Huffington Post, Sept. 1, 2011. Alex Ward, "Larry the Cat, UK's 'Chief Mouser,' Caused a Brief Headache for Trump's Security Team," Vox, June 4, 2019. Jennifer Ouellette, "No, Someone Hasn't Cracked the Code of the Mysterious Voynich Manuscript," Ars Technica, May 15, 2019. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was offered by M. Lobak in the old Soviet popular science magazine Kvant (collected with other such puzzles by Timothy Weber in the excellent 1996 book Quantum Quandaries). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 17, 2019, 5 a.m.

252-The Wild Boy of Aveyron

In 1800 a 12-year-old boy emerged from a forest in southern France, where he had apparently lived alone for seven years. His case was taken up by a young Paris doctor who set out to see if the boy could be civilized. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll explore the strange, sad story of Victor of Aveyron and the mysteries of child development. We'll also consider the nature of art and puzzle over the relationship between salmon and trees. Intro: Reading Luc Étienne's expressions forward and backward produces sentences in different languages. In 1883 John Maguire invented a raincoat that wouldn't make your legs wet. Sources for our feature on Victor of Aveyron: Harlan Lane, The Wild Boy of Aveyron, 1976. Geoff Rolls, Classic Case Studies in Psychology, 2010. Julia V. Douthwaite, The Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the Monster: Dangerous Experiments in the Age of Enlightenment, 2002. Adriana S. Benzaquén, Encounters With Wild Children: Temptation and Disappointment in the Study of Human Nature, 2006. Patrick McDonagh, Idiocy: A Cultural History, 2008. Richard M. Silberstein and Helen Irwin, "Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard and the Savage of Aveyron: An Unsolved Diagnostic Problem in Child Psychiatry," Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry 1:2 (1962), 314-322. Murray K. Simpson, "From Savage to Citizen: Education, Colonialism and Idiocy," British Journal of Sociology of Education 28:5 (September 2007), 561-574. Annemieke1 van Drenth, "Sensorial Experiences and Childhood: Nineteenth-Century Care for Children With Idiocy," Paedagogica Historica 51:5 (October 2015), 560-578. Raf Vanderstraeten and Gert Biesta, "How Is Education Possible? Pragmatism, Communication and the Social Organisation of Education," British Journal of Educational Studies 54:2 (June 2006), 160-174. Patrick McDonagh, "The Mute's Voice: The Dramatic Transformations of the Mute and Deaf-Mute in Early-Nineteenth-Century France," Criticism 55:4 (Fall 2013), 655-675. Nicole Simon, "Kaspar Hauser's Recovery and Autopsy: A Perspective on Neurological and Sociological Requirements for Language Development," Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia 8:2 (1978), 209-217. Andrey Vyshedskiy, Rita Dunn, and Shreyas Mahapatra, "Linguistically Deprived Children: Meta-Analysis of Published Research Underlines the Importance of Early Syntactic Language Use for Normal Brain Development," RIO, Aug. 31, 2017, 846-857. Nancy Yousef, "Savage or Solitary?: The Wild Child and Rousseau's Man of Nature," Journal of the History of Ideas 62:2 (April 2001), 245-263. Kenneth Kidd, "Bruno Bettelheim and the Psychoanalytic Feral Tale," American Imago 62:1 (Spring 2005), 75-99. Roger Shattuck, "The Wild Boy of Aveyron," New York Times, May 16, 1976. Paul Sieveking, "Savage Behaviour: Children Who Really Are Running Wild," Sunday Telegraph, March 3, 2002, 37. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Marcel Duchamp" (accessed May 29, 2019). Wikipedia, "Fountain (Duchamp)" (accessed May 29, 2019). "Art Term: Readymade," Tate (accessed May 29, 2019). "Marcel Duchamp: Fountain, 1917, Replica 1964," Tate (accessed May 29, 2019). "Duchamp's Urinal Tops Art Survey," BBC News, Dec. 1, 2004. Jonathon Keats, "See Why This Urinal Was the Leading Artwork of the 20th Century (But Is Still Underappreciated)," Forbes, Nov. 8, 2017. Wikipedia, "Andy Warhol" (accessed May 30, 2019). "Lesson: Brillo: Is It Art?", Andy Warhol Museum (accessed June 1, 2019). Philadelphia Museum of Art, "Brillo Boxes, Andy Warhol, American, 1928-1987" (accessed June 1, 2019). Wikipedia, "Vocaloid" (accessed June 1, 2019). Mark Jenkins, "This Singer Is Part Hologram, Part Avatar, and Might Be the Pop Star of the Future," Washington Post, July 5, 2018. Hatsune Miku, "World Is Mine - Live HD," June 9, 2011. "Lucky Orb feat. Hatsune Miku," May 6, 2019. James Vincent, "This AI-Generated Joe Rogan Fake Has to Be Heard to Be Believed," The Verge, May 17, 2019 (contains explicit language). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Sharon. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 10, 2019, 5 a.m.

251-Joseph Palmer's Beard

In 1830 Joseph Palmer created an odd controversy in Fitchburg, Massachusetts: He wore a beard when beards were out of fashion. For this social sin he was shunned, attacked, and ultimately jailed. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of a bizarre battle against irrational prejudice. We'll also see whether a computer can understand knitting and puzzle over an unrewarded long jump. Intro: Prospector William Schmidt dug through California's Copper Mountain. The bees of Bradfield, South Yorkshire, are customarily informed of funerals. Sources for our feature on Joseph Palmer: Stewart Holbrook, "The Beard of Joseph Palmer," American Scholar 13:4 (Autumn 1944), 451-458. Paul Della Valle, Massachusetts Troublemakers: Rebels, Reformers, and Radicals From the Bay State, 2009. John Matteson, Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father, 2010. Richard Corson, Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years, 2001. Stewart H. Holbrook, Lost Men of American History, 1947. Zechariah Chafee, Freedom of Speech, 1920. Clara Endicott Sears and Louisa May Alcott, Bronson Alcott's Fruitlands, 1915. George Willis Cooke, Ralph Waldo Emerson: His Life, Writings, and Philosophy, 1881. Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Theodore Parker: A Biography, 1874. Louisa May Alcott, Transcendental Wild Oats, 1873. Joseph J. Thorndike Jr., "Fruitlands," American Heritage 37:2 (February/March 1986). David Demaree, "Growing the Natural Man: The Hirsute Face in the Antebellum North," American Nineteenth Century History 18:2 (June 2017), 159–176. Richard E. Meyer, "'Pardon Me for Not Standing': Modern American Graveyard Humor," in Peter Narváez, ed., Of Corpse: Death and Humor in Folkore and Popular Culture, 2003. J. Joseph Edgette, "The Epitaph and Personality Revelation," in Richard E. Meyer, ed., Cemeteries and Gravemarkers: Voices of American Culture, 1989. Herbert Moller, "The Accelerated Development of Youth: Beard Growth as a Biological Marker," Comparative Studies in Society and History 29:4 (October 1987), 748-762. Carl Watner, "Those 'Impossible Citizens': Civil Resistants in 19th Century New England," Journal of Libertarian Studies 3:2 (1980), 170-193. Ari Hoogenboom, "What Really Caused the Civil War?", Wisconsin Magazine of History 44:1 (Autumn 1960), 3-5. Richard Gehman, "Beards Stage a Comeback," Saturday Evening Post 231:20 (Nov. 15, 1958), 40-108. Stewart H. Holbrook, "Lost Men of American History," Life 22:2 (Jan. 13, 1947), 81-92. George Hodges, "The Liberty of Difference," Atlantic Monthly 117:6 (June 1916), 784-793. James Anderson, "'Fruitlands,' Historic Alcott Home Restored," Table Talk 30:12 (December 1915), 664-670. Marion Sothern, "'Fruitlands': The New England Homestead of the Alcotts," Book News Monthly 33:2 (October 1914), 65-68. Rick Gamble, "Speaking From the Grave Through Monuments," [Brantford, Ont.] Expositor, Feb. 23, 2019, D.2. James Sullivan, "Beard Brains: A Historian Uncovers the Roots of Men's Facial Hair," Boston Globe, Jan. 1, 2016, G.8. Kimberly Winston, "When Is Facial Hair a Sign of Faith?", Washington Post, Oct. 11, 2014, B.2. Christopher Klein, "Pulling for the Beards," Boston Globe, Nov. 2, 2013, V.30. "Shared History: Whisker Rebellion Whets Writer's Curiosity," [Worcester, Mass.] Telegram & Gazette, Jan. 27, 2009, E.1. William Loeffler, "Facial Hair Has Said a Lot About a Man," McClatchy-Tribune Business News, Oct. 26, 2008. Paul Galloway, "A Shave With History: Tracking Civilization Through Facial Hair," Chicago Tribune, July 28, 1999, 1. Billy Porterfield, "Bearded Abolitionist Set Fad on Both Sides of Mason-Dixon," Austin American Statesman, Jan. 19, 1990, B1. "Very Set in His Ways," Bridgeport [Conn.] Evening Farmer, Oct. 26, 1916, 9. "Man's Beard Cause of Jeers," [Mountain Home, Idaho] Republican, Jan. 9, 1906. "'Persecuted for Wearing the Beard': The Hirsute Life and Death of Joseph Palmer," Slate, April 16, 2015. "Joseph Palmer, Fashion Criminal, Persecuted for Wearing a Beard," New England Historical Society (accessed May 19, 2019). Listener mail: Wikipedia, "TX-0" (accessed May 24, 2019). Wendy Lee, "Can a Computer Write a Script? Machine Learning Goes Hollywood," Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2019. Sean Keane, "First AI-Scripted Commercial Tugs Hard at Our Heart Strings -- for a Lexus," CNET, Nov. 19, 2018 Reece Medway, "Lexus Europe Creates World's Most Intuitive Car Ad With IBM Watson," IBM, Nov. 19, 2018. Janelle Shane, "Skyknit: When Knitters Teamed Up With a Neural Network," AI Weirdness, 2018. Alexis C. Madrigal, "SkyKnit: How an AI Took Over an Adult Knitting Community," Atlantic, March 6, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was suggested by one that appeared in 2005 on the National Public Radio program Car Talk, contributed by their listener David Johnson. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 3, 2019, 5 a.m.

250-The General Slocum

In 1904 a Manhattan church outing descended into horror when a passenger steamboat caught fire on the East River. More than a thousand people struggled to survive as the captain raced to reach land. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the burning of the General Slocum, the worst maritime disaster in the history of New York City. We'll also chase some marathon cheaters and puzzle over a confusing speeding ticket. Intro: In 1959 a Norwegian insulation company wrangled a three-ton block of ice from the arctic to the equator. At his death in 1838, the governor of Bombay was transported into innumerable pussycats. Sources for our feature on the General Slocum: Edward T. O'Donnell, Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum, 2003. Henry Davenport Northrop, New York's Awful Steamboat Horror, 1904. Annual Report of the Supervising Inspector General, Steamboat Inspection Service to the Secretary of Commerce, 1915. "In re Knickerbocker Steamboat Co. (District Court, S.D. New York, April 7, 1905)," in The Federal Reporter: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit and District Courts of the United States, Volume 136, 1905. Gilbert King, "A Spectacle of Horror -- The Burning of the General Slocum," Smithsonian.com, Feb. 21, 2012. Frances A. Scully, "Tragic Last Voyage of the General Slocum," Sea Classics 37:2 (February 2004), 14-17, 66-67. Valerie Wingfield, "The General Slocum Disaster of June 15, 1904," New York Public Library, June 13, 2011. Ted Houghtaling, "Witness to Tragedy: The Sinking of the General Slocum," New York Historical Society Museum & Library, Feb. 24, 2016. Valerie Bauman, "Anniversary of 1904 General Slocum Steamboat Disaster Marked," Newsday, June 10, 2017. "100 Years After the General Slocum Fire, Smoke on the Water," Newsday, June 15, 2004, A42. Glenn Collins, "A 100-Year-Old Horror, Through 9/11 Eyes," New York Times, June 8, 2004. John E. Thomas, "Echoes of a Church Picnic," Newsday, May 23, 2004, G06. Douglas Martin, "Last Survivor of General Slocum Steamboat Disaster Was 100," Montreal Gazette, Feb. 6, 2004, E7. Douglas Martin, "Adella Wotherspoon, Last Survivor of General Slocum Disaster, Is Dead at 100," New York Times, Feb. 4, 2004. Jay Maeder, "Built Like a Bonfire General Slocum, 1904," New York Daily News, March 12, 1998, 31. Eric Pace, "Years After Ship Fire Captain's Role Debated," New York Times, June 11, 1984. "Survivors Remember the General Slocum," New York Times, June 11, 1979. David C. Berliner, "Fateful Day on Which 1,030 Died Is Recalled," New York Times, June 9, 1974. "General Slocum Disaster Is Commemorated Here," New York Times, June 10, 1963. "Mrs. Anna Kindley Dies; Nurse Took Part in General Slocum Rescue in 1904," New York Times, Nov. 7, 1958. "Van Schaick Pardoned; Captain of the Ill-Fated Slocum Is Restored to Full Citizenship," New York Times, Dec. 20, 1912. "The General Slocum Gone; Ill-Fated Steamer, Converted Into a Barge, Sinks Off Atlantic City," New York Times, Dec. 6, 1911. "Last of the General Slocum; Hull of the Steamer of Disaster Sinks as a Brick Barge," New York Times, March 7, 1909. "Captain of Slocum Surrenders to Law," Deseret News, Feb. 27, 1908. "Full Extent of the Law: Sentence of Captain of the Gen. Slocum," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, January 28, 1906, 2. "Thousands Sob as Baby Unveil Slocum Statue," New York Times, June 16, 1905. "Indictment for Slocum Captain," Minneapolis Journal, July 29, 1904, 1. "Slocum Memorial," New York Tribune, July 8, 1904, 2. "Slocum's Owners and Crew Held," Clinton [Iowa] Morning Age, June 30, 1904. "Grand Opera House Benefit," New York Tribune, June 25, 1904, 3. "No More Needed for Relief," New York Tribune, June 24, 1904, 7. "Over Six Hundred Perish," Muskogee [Okla.] Cimeter, June 23, 1904, 2. "Official Inquiry Into Burning of the Steamer General Slocum," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, June 22, 1904, 6. "Seven Hundred Lives Lost," Stark County [Ohio] Democrat, June 17, 1904, 1. "Hundreds Perished by Fire and Water," [Newberry, S.C.] Herald and News, June 17, 1904, 1. "504 Bodies Found," Boston Evening Transcript, June 16, 1904. "The 'General Slocum,'" New York Times, June 16, 1904. "The General Slocum an Unlucky Craft," New York Times, June 16, 1904. "More Than Six Hundred Women and Children Die on Flaming Vessel or Leap Overboard to Drown," San Francisco Call, June 16, 1904, 1. "Horror in East River," New York Tribune, June 16, 1904, 1. "Horror Claims Over a Thousand," Washington Times, June 16, 1904, 1. "An Appalling Catastrophe Women and Children Perish," [Walla Walla, Wash.] Evening Statesman, June 15, 1904, 1. "City and Suburban News," New York Times, June 26, 1891. Listener mail: Stephanie Gosk, Rich McHugh, and Tracy Connor, "Marathon Investigator Derek Murphy Reveals How He Catches Cheaters," NBC News, Jan. 22, 2017. Nik DeCosta-Klipa, "For a Marathon Cheater, the Biggest Obstacle Isn't in Boston," Boston Globe, April 3, 2019. Mark Wilding, "Meet the Marathon Cheats," Guardian, Oct. 28, 2018. Jen A. Miller, "Cheating to Make the Boston Marathon? You Can’t Run From This Detective," New York Times, April 11, 2019. Wikipedia, "Rosie Ruiz" (accessed May 19, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Lex Beckley. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 27, 2019, 5 a.m.

249-The Robbers Cave Experiment

In 1954 a social psychologist started a war between two teams of fifth graders at an Oklahoma summer camp. He wanted to investigate the sources of human conflict and how people might overcome them. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review the Robbers Cave Experiment and examine its evolving reputation. We'll also dredge up a Dalek and puzzle over a hazardous job. Intro: Butler University mathematician Jerry Farrell can control coin flips. Nashville attorney Edwin H. Tenney gave a baffling Independence Day speech in 1858. Sources for our feature on the Robbers Cave experiment: Muzafer Sherif et al., Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation: The Robbers Cave Experiment, 1961. Gina Perry, The Lost Boys: Inside Muzafer Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment, 2018. Ayfer Dost-Gozkan and Doga Sonmez Keith, Norms, Groups, Conflict, and Social Change: Rediscovering Muzafer Sherif's Psychology, 2015. Paul Bloom, Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, 2013. Gina Perry, "The View From the Boys," Psychologist 27:11 (November 2014), 834-836. Ralph H. Turner, "Some Contributions of Muzafer Sherif to Sociology," Social Psychology Quarterly 53:4 (December 1990), 283-291. Muzafer Sherif, "Superordinate Goals in the Reduction of Intergroup Conflict," American Journal of Sociology 63:4 (January 1958), 349-356. Gregory M. Walton and Carol S. Dweck, "Solving Social Problems Like a Psychologist," Perspectives on Psychological Science 4:1 (January 2009), 101-102. O.J. Harvey, "Muzafer Sherif (1906–1988)," American Psychologist 44:10, October 1989, 1325-1326. Elton B. McNeil, "Discussions and Reviews: Waging Experimental War: A Review," Journal of Conflict Resolution 6:1 (March 1962), 77. Alex Haslam, "War and Peace and Summer Camp," Nature 556:7701 (April 19, 2018), 306-307. Steven N. Durlauf, "A Framework for the Study of Individual Behavior and Social Interactions," Sociological Methodology 31 (2001), 47. Gary Alan Fine, "Review: Forgotten Classic: The Robbers Cave Experiment," Sociological Forum 19:4 (December 2004), 663-666. Andrew Tyerman and Christopher Spencer, "A Critical Test of the Sherifs' Robber's Cave Experiments: Intergroup Competition and Cooperation Between Groups of Well-Acquainted Individuals," Small Group Research 14:4 (November 1983), 515-531. Samuel L. Gaertner et al., "Reducing Intergroup Conflict: From Superordinate Goals to Decategorization, Recategorization, and Mutual Differentiation," Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice 4:1 (March 2000), 98-114. Furkan Amil Gur, Benjamin D. McLarty, and Jeff Muldoon, "The Sherifs' Contributions to Management Research," Journal of Management History 23:2 (2017), 191-216. Anna E. Kosloski, Bridget K. Welch, "Confronting Student Prejudice With 'Mario Kart' Nintendo Wii," Social Thought and Research 31 (2010), 79-87. Carol Tavris, "Thinking Critically About Psychology's Classic Studies," Skeptic 19:4 (2014), 38-43, 64. Michael J. Lovaglia, "From Summer Camps to Glass Ceilings: The Power of Experiments," Contexts 2:4 (Fall 2003), 42-49. J. McKenzie Alexander, "Group Dynamics in the State of Nature," Erkenntnis 55:2 (September 2001), 169-182. Maria Konnikova, "Revisiting Robbers Cave: The Easy Spontaneity of Intergroup Conflict," Scientific American, Sept. 5, 2012. Peter Gray, "A New Look at the Classic Robbers Cave Experiment," Psychology Today, Dec. 9, 2009. David P. Barash, "Why People Kill," Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 8, 2015. Barbara McMahon, "I Survived the Real-Life Lord of the Flies," Times, April 25, 2018, 2. Leyla Sanai, "'The Lost Boys: Inside Muzafer Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment', by Gina Perry - Review," Spectator, April 28, 2018. Anoosh Chakelian, "The Lasting Wounds of Robbers Cave," New Statesman 147:5425 (June 29-July 5, 2018), 16-17. Judy Golding Carver, "What Lord of the Flies Is Really About," Guardian, April 20, 2018, 8. Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff, "'What Are We? Humans? Or Animals? Or Savages?'" Independent on Sunday, March 16, 2014, 26. Darragh McManus, "The Real-Life 'Lord of the Flies,'" Irish Independent, May 5, 2018, 18. David Shariatmadari, "A Real-Life Lord of the Flies: The Troubling Legacy of the Robbers Cave Experiment," Guardian, April 16, 2018. Gina Perry, "Real-Life Lord of the Flies," Qatar Tribune, Feb. 24, 2018. Peter Waterson, "Letters: Love-Hate," Guardian, Oct. 18, 2001, 25. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Mojibake" (accessed May 10, 2019). Victoria Ward, "'Weekend Foggy Earphones': How Three Random Words Helped Police Come to Rescue of Mother and Daughter," Telegraph, March 25, 2019. Tiffany Lo, "How Mum and Daughter Were Saved by Saying Words 'Weekend Foggy Earphones' to Cops," Mirror, March 26, 2019. Jane Wakefield, "Three-Unique-Words 'Map' Used to Rescue Mother and Child," BBC News, March 26, 2019. Mark Bridge, "Valerie Hawkett: Three Words Find Woman Who Crashed Car in a Field," Times, March 26, 2019. "Dr Who Dalek Found in Pond," Telegraph, March 4, 2009. Wikipedia, "Dalek" (accessed May 10, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Sam Dyck, who, for background, sent this summary of 2017 fatal occupation injuries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 20, 2019, 5 a.m.

248-Smoky the War Dog

In 1944, an American soldier discovered a Yorkshire terrier in an abandoned foxhole in New Guinea. Adopted by an Army photographer, she embarked on a series of colorful adventures that won the hearts of the humans around her. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Smoky the dog, one of the most endearing characters of World War II. We'll also contemplate chicken spectacles and puzzle over a gratified diner. Intro: In 1955 a Wisconsin supermarket manager fulfilled the requirements for a promotional trip to Mars. In 1898, Jules Verne sent a congratulatory telegram to honor the first submarine to operate successfully in the open sea. Sources for our feature on Smoky the dog: Damien Lewis, Smoky the Brave, 2018. Kari Williams, "Champion Mascot, Fearless War Dog," VFW Magazine 105:10 (August 2018), 42-43. "The Tale of Bill Wynne and 'Smoky the War Dog,'" Veteran's News Journal, Aug. 6, 2018, A3. Rebecca Frankel, "Dogs at War: Smoky, a Healing Presence for Wounded WWII Soldiers," National Geographic, May 22, 2014. Brian Albrecht, "Smoky of World War II Recognized by U.S. War Dogs Association," Cleveland Plain Dealer, Oct. 13, 2017. Linda Slusser, "The Story of Smoky, The First Therapy Dog," American Kennel Club, Aug. 11, 2016. Marie Wilson, "A 'Yorkie Doodle Dandy' Dog," [Arlington Heights, Ill.] Daily Herald, Aug. 3, 2014, 1. Damien Lewis, "The Tiniest Hero," [Adelaide, South Australia] Advertiser, June 9, 2018, 18. Ron Simon, "A Veteran's Story: WWII Recon Photographer's Canine Sidekick Is Claim to Fame," [Mansfield, Ohio] News Journal, Jan. 14, 2008, A3. Ron Simon, "Local Man's Dog Prompts War Memorial," [Mansfield, Ohio] News Journal, Nov. 11, 2005, A1. Karl Terry, "Author of Dog Tales Visits ENMU," McClatchy-Tribune Business News, May 9, 2007, 1. Harry Levins, "Museum Notes: Every Dog Has His Day, Even the Soldierly Breeds," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 29, 1996, 4. Ron Simon, "Veteran's Dog Was a Loved Mascot for Unit During WWII," [Mansfield, Ohio] News Journal, Aug. 8, 2004, B1. Ron Simon, "Stuff: Special Wartime Hero Gets an Award," [Mansfield, Ohio] News Journal, July 25, 2012. Lara Lauth, "Braveheart War Dog Wins Honour at Last," [Brisbane, Queensland] Sunday Mail, July 22, 2012, 10. Tanya Bielski-Braham, "Courageous, Yet Unconventional, War Dog Awaits Her Memorial," AKC Gazette 122:5 (May 2005), 14. Lissa Kaplan, "Smoky Is Remembered in a Book Celebrating Canine Participation on the Battlefield," Dayton Daily News, July 27, 1996, 8D. Ron Simon, "Stuff: Smoky Awarded for Heroic Actions," [Mansfield, Ohio] News Journal, May 22, 2011. "An Honour Roll of Australia's Most Decorated Canine War Heroes," [Brisbane, Queensland] Courier-Mail, June 2, 2018, 15. "Smoky the Terrier: A Tiny War Hero Immortalized," Morning Edition, National Public Radio, Aug. 3, 2011. Janelle Miles, "Smoky's Heroics Honoured," [Brisbane, Queensland] Courier-Mail, Dec. 12, 2012, 11. Robert Reno, "The Dog Days of Washington," Austin American Statesman, May 16, 1998, A13. Cleo Fraser, "QLD: War Hero Pup Honoured," AAP General News Wire, Nov. 17, 2015. Scott Eyman, "Therapy Dog Is Unlikely Teacher," [West Palm Beach, Fla.] Post, July 28, 2013, F5. "A Dog Is Not Just a Pet, But a 'Kind of Counsellor With Fur,'" [Dublin] Sunday Independent, Dec. 9, 2018, 30. Tina White, "Remembering Furry Heroes," [Palmerston North, New Zealand] Manawatu Standard, Feb. 24, 2018, WM17. "Remembering the Animals of War," [Invercargill, New Zealand] Southland Times, Feb. 24, 2018, A16. "Animals to the Fore at Museum's New War Exhibit," Asbury Park Press, July 26, 2010. Listener mail: Adam Alter, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, 2012. "Game Theory: Red vs Blue, The SECRET Color Strategy," The Game Theorists, June 25, 2015. Russell A. Hill and Robert A. Barton, "Psychology: Red Enhances Human Performance in Contests," Nature 435:7040 (May 19, 2005), 293. Andrei Ilie et al., "Better to Be Red Than Blue in Virtual Competition," CyberPsychology & Behavior 11:3 (June 7, 2008), 375-377. "Effect of Colors: Blue Boosts Creativity, While Red Enhances Attention to Detail," Science Daily, Feb. 6, 2009. "Stop On Red! The Effects of Color May Lie Deep in Evolution ...," Association for Psychological Science, June 7, 2011. "League of Legends: Are There Any Advantages to Starting on the Red or Blue Side?," Quora (accessed May 3, 2019). Jack Kee, "Why Does Blue Side Win More Games in League of Legends?" 5v5 Esports, March 1, 2018. "Blue Side Advantage," League of Legends (accessed May 3, 2019). "Interesting Statistic Regarding Sides in League of Legends," DBLTAP, June 20, 2017. Sara A. Khan et al. "Red Signals Dominance in Male Rhesus Macaques," Psychological Science 22:8 (August 2011), 1001-1003. Wikipedia, "Cayo Santiago" (accessed May 3, 2019). Darrel G. Clarke and Randall E. Wise, "Optical Distortion, Inc. (A)," Harvard Business School Case 575-072, January 1975. Wikipedia, "Chicken Eyeglasses" (accessed April 27, 2019). Esther Inglis-Arkell, "Thousands of Chickens Once Wore Glasses to Stop Them Killing Each Other," io9, April 27, 2015. B. Huber-Eicher, A. Suter, and P. Spring-Stähli, "Effects of Colored Light-Emitting Diode Illumination on Behavior and Performance of Laying Hens," Poultry Science 92:4 (April 2013), 869–873. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2012-02679 This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Anne Joroch, who sent this link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 13, 2019, 5 a.m.

247-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. The sources for this week's puzzles are below. In a few places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 was suggested by an item on the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish. Here are two corroborating links. Puzzle #2 is by Greg. Here's a link. Puzzle #3 was suggested by an item in Dan Lewis' Now I Know enewsletter. Here are two links. Puzzle #4 is from Greg. Puzzle #5 is from Sharon. Puzzle #6 was contributed by listener David White, who sent this link. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 6, 2019, 5 a.m.

246-Gene Tierney's Secret Heartbreak

At the height of her fame in 1943, movie star Gene Tierney contracted German measles during pregnancy and bore a daughter with severe birth defects. The strain ended her marriage to Oleg Cassini and sent her into a breakdown that lasted years. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Tierney's years of heartbreak and the revelation that compounded them. We'll also visit some Japanese cats and puzzle over a disarranged corpse. Intro: The indexes of two mathematics textbooks contain hidden jokes. In 1973 Stanford statistician Herman Chernoff proposed using cartoon faces to encode information. Sources for our feature on Gene Tierney: Gene Tierney, Self-Portrait, 1979. Oleg Cassini, In My Own Fashion, 1990. Steven Rybin, Gestures of Love: Romancing Performance in Classical Hollywood Cinema, 2017. Karen Burroughs Hannsberry, Femme Noir: Bad Girls of Film, 2013. Agatha Christie, The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side, 1962. Dan Callahan, "Only a Dream," Sight & Sound 22:3 (March 2012), 50-53. Maureen Orth, "Cassini Royale," Vanity Fair 52:9 (September 2010), 302. Amy Davidson Sorkin, "Wakefield's Vaccine Follies," New Yorker, May 26, 2010. "Gene Tierney," Variety, Nov. 10, 1991. "Welcome for a Troubled Beauty," Life, Sept. 29, 1958, 87-92. "Debutante Gene Tierney Makes Her Entrance in a Broadway Success," Life, Feb. 19, 1940, 35-40. Donald G. McNeil Jr., "Rubella Has Been Eliminated From the Americas, Health Officials Say," New York Times, April 29, 2015. Patti S. Spencer, "60-Year-Old Divorce Agreement Put to the Test," [Lancaster, Pa.] Intelligencer Journal, Sept. 24, 2012, B.8. "Oleg Cassini," Times, March 21, 2006, 63. Richard Severo and Ruth La Ferla, "Oleg Cassini, Designer for the Stars and Jacqueline Kennedy, Dies at 92," New York Times, March 19, 2006. Donald P. Myers, "Call Him Casanova," Newsday, Aug. 16, 2001, B06. Alex Witchel, "At Home With: Oleg Cassini; Ducking the Hunters," New York Times, Nov. 16, 1995. Frank Rizzo, "Glimpses of a Troubled Life: Gene Tierney Was More Than Just a Beautiful Vision," Hartford Courant, July 3, 1994, G1. Richard Severo, "Gene Tierney, 70, Star of 'Laura' And 'Leave Her to Heaven,' Dies," New York Times, Nov. 8, 1991. "Actress Gene Tierney, Screen Beauty of 1940s," Chicago Tribune, Nov. 8, 1991, 10. "Gene Tierney, Acclaimed as Star of 'Laura,' Dies at 70," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 8, 1991. "Actress Gene Tierney Dies at 70," Washington Post, Nov. 8, 1991, D4. Carrie Rickey, "Gene Tierney, Famed for Her Roles in 'Laura' and 'Heaven Can Wait,'" Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 8, 1991, C.9. "Actress Gene Tierney Dies," Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 8, 1991, F10. "Show Bits: Tragedy Clouded Tierney's Triumphs," Windsor Star, Nov. 8, 1991, C2. "Actress Gene Tierney, Star of 'Laura,' Dies at 70," Associated Press, Nov. 8, 1991. Laura Tolley, "Actress Gene Tierney, Known For Role in 'Laura,' Dies At 70," Associated Press, Nov. 7, 1991. Michael Gross, "Oleg Cassini: A Celebrity Life in Fashion," New York Times, Aug. 28, 1987. Mitchell Smyth, "She Fell in Love With Young JFK," Toronto Star, July 21, 1985, D04. "Movie Recalls Gene Tierney," Lodi [Calif.] News-Sentinel, July 3, 1980, 3-G. Seymour Peck, "Star Trouble," New York Times, April 8, 1979. "Gene Tierney Re-Enters Clinic," New York Times, Jan. 22, 1959. "Gene Tierney Leaves Clinic," New York Times, Sept. 26, 1959. "Gene Tierney Enters Hospital," Deseret News, Jan. 21, 1958, A13. "Gene Tierney Gets Divorce," New York Times, April 9, 1953. "Gene Tierney Robbed in Britain," New York Times, July 8, 1952. "Gene Tierney Gets Divorce," New York Times, Feb. 29, 1952. "Gene Tierney Loses Gems; Actress Reports $15,300 Jewels Stolen From Home Here," New York Times, Sept. 24, 1948. "Gene Tierney Suspended; Actress Says She Couldn't Fill 'Walls of Jericho' Role," New York Times, Sept. 29, 1947. "Gene Tierney Wins California Divorce," New York Times, March 11, 1947. "Saves Family Homestead; Gene Tierney Redeems Property 24 Hours After Foreclosure," New York Times, March 8, 1942. "Gene Tierney, Actress, Wed to Count Cassini," New York Times, June 2, 1941. Listener mail: Steve Annear, "Museum of Fine Arts Will Use a Puppy to Sniff Out Pests That Could Damage Its Collections," Boston Globe, Jan. 9, 2018. "Meet Riley the Museum Dog," Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (accessed April 15, 2019). Jason Daley, "Meet Riley, the Puppy Training to Sniff Out Bugs in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts," Smithsonian.com, Jan. 11, 2018. Lillian Brown, "Riley the Museum Dog Gets His Own Book," Boston Globe, April 3, 2019. "Riley the Museum Dog Stars in New Children's Book Released by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and The Boston Globe," Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (accessed April 15, 2019). "A Nose For Art: Meet The MFA's New Four-Legged Employee," WBZ NewsRadio, April 17, 2019. "Popular Dog Has Book Signing, Meets Fans at Museum of Fine Arts," News 7 Boston, April 17, 2019. Wikipedia, "Tama (cat)" (accessed April 15, 2019). Maggie Hiufu Wong, "Meet Nitama, the New Cat in Charge at Japan's Kishi Station," CNN, Aug. 24, 2015. "Cat Stationmaster Tama Mourned in Japan and Elevated as Goddess," Associated Press, June 28, 2015. Maggie Hiufu Wong, "The Cat That Saved a Japanese Train Station," CNN Travel, May 24, 2013. "Stationmaster Cat," Animal Planet, April 18, 2012. Philip Brasor and Masako Tsubuku, "'Nekonomics' Does Its Bit to Keep Japan's Economy Purring," Japan Times, April 8, 2017. "Can 'Nekonomics' Save Japan's Economy?" Japan Today, March 3, 2016. "31 Pictures That Show Japan's Crazy Obsession With Cats," Business Insider, July 10, 2013. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Christopher McDonough, who suggests this book for further information (warning -- this link spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 29, 2019, 5 a.m.

245-Jeanne Baret

The first woman to circumnavigate the world did so dressed as a man. In 1766, 26-year-old Jeanne Baret joined a French expedition hoping to conceal her identity for three years. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of her historic journey around the globe. We'll also hear Mark Twain's shark story and puzzle over a foiled con artist. Intro: In 1856 Samuel Hoshour wrote an imaginary correspondence full of polysyllabic words. In 1974 Dennis Upper published a study of his intractable writer's block. Sources for our feature on Jeanne Baret: Glynis Ridley, The Discovery of Jeanne Baret, 2010. Sandra Knapp, "History: The Plantswoman Who Dressed as a Boy," Nature 470 (Feb. 3, 2011), 36–37. Eric J. Tepe, Glynis Ridley, and Lynn Bohs, "A New Species of Solanum Named for Jeanne Baret, an Overlooked Contributor to the History of Botany," PhytoKeys 8 (2012), 37. H. Walter Lack, "The Discovery, Naming and Typification of Bougainvillea spectabilis (Nyctaginaceae)," Willdenowia 42:1 (2012), 117-127. Genevieve K. Walden and Robert Patterson, "Nomenclature of Subdivisions Within Phacelia (Boraginaceae: Hydrophylloideae)," Madroño 59:4 (2012), 211-223. Beth N. Orcutt and Ivona Cetinic, "Women in Oceanography: Continuing Challenges," Oceanography 27:4 (2014), 5-13. Londa Schiebinger, "Exotic Abortifacients and Lost Knowledge," Lancet 371:9614 (2008), 718-719. Frank N. Egerton, "History of Ecological Sciences, Part 61C: Marine Biogeography, 1690s–1940s," Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 100:1 (January 2019), 1-55. Vivienne Baillie Gerritsen, "Moody Wallpaper," Protein Spotlight 33 (2003). Richard H. Grove, "Origins of Western Environmentalism," Scientific American 267:1 (July 1992), 42-47. Allison Bohac and Susan Milius, "Science Notebook," Science News 181:5 (March 10, 2012), 4. Londa Schiebinger, "Jeanne Baret: The First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe," Endeavour 27:1 (2003), 22-25. Raquel González Rivas, "Gulf 'Alter-Latinas': Cross-Dressing Women Travel Beyond the Gulfs of Transnationality and Transexuality," Southern Literary Journal 46:2 (Spring 2014), 128-139. Andy Martin, "The Enlightenment in Paradise: Bougainville, Tahiti, and the Duty of Desire," Eighteenth-Century Studies 41:2 (Winter 2008), 203-216. Françoise Lionnet, "Shipwrecks, Slavery, and the Challenge of Global Comparison: From Fiction to Archive in the Colonial Indian Ocean," Comparative Literature 64:4 (2012), 446-461. Marie-Hélène Ghabut, "Female as Other: The Subversion of the Canon Through Female Figures in Diderot's Work," Diderot Studies 27 (1998), 57-66. Londa Schiebinger, "Feminist History of Colonial Science," Hypatia 19:1 (Winter 2004), 233-254. Kai Mikkonen, "Narrative Interruptions and the Civilized Woman: The Figures of Veiling and Unveiling in Diderot's Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville," Diderot Studies 27 (1998), 129-147. Londa Schiebinger, "Agnotology and Exotic Abortifacients: The Cultural Production of Ignorance in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 149:3 (2005), 316-343. "5 Underrated Pioneers in Circumnavigation," New York Times, Oct. 14, 2016. Brian Maffly, "Botanical Explorer Jeanne Baret Finally Gets Her Due," Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 18, 2012. "Incredible Voyage," Wall Street Journal, Jan. 24, 2011. "A Female Explorer Discovered on the High Seas," All Things Considered, National Public Radio, Dec. 26, 2010. "Briefing: Jeanne Baret," [Glasgow] Herald, March 8, 2005, 13. Christine Hamelin, "An Ace Adventurer, a Brilliant Botanist," Kingston Whig, March 5, 2005, 2. Elizabeth Kiernan, "The Amazing Feat of Jeanne Baret," New York Botanical Garden, March 12, 2014. Listener mail: "This Is Your Story," The Ernie Kovacs Show, 1957. David Margolick, "Sid Caesar's Finest Sketch," New Yorker, Feb. 14, 2014. Wikipedia, "Sid Caesar" (accessed March 15, 2019). Wikipedia, "Following the Equator" (accessed April 13, 2019). Wikipedia, "Cecil Rhodes" (accessed April 13, 2019). "Following the Equator, 1895-1896," UC Berkeley Library (accessed April 13, 2019). Mark Twain, Following the Equator, 1897. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener David White. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 22, 2019, 5 a.m.

244-The Women's Protest

In February 1943, hundreds of German women joined in a spontaneous protest in central Berlin. They were objecting to the roundup of some of the city's last Jews -- their husbands. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the Rosenstrasse protest, a remarkable example of civil disobedience. We'll also ponder whether a computer can make art and puzzle over some unusual phone calls. Intro: Between 1946 and 1953, British wordplay maven Leigh Mercer published 100 immortal palindromes in Notes & Queries. In 1933 English sculptor John Skeaping recorded his opinions of his contemporaries inside a horse of mahogany. Sources for our feature on the Rosenstrasse demonstration: Nathan Stoltzfus, Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany, 2001. Wolf Gruner and Ursula Marcum, "The Factory Action and the Events at the Rosenstrasse in Berlin: Facts and Fictions About 27 February 1943: Sixty Years Later," Central European History 36:2 (2003), 179-208. Nathan Stoltzfus, "Historical Evidence and Plausible History: Interpreting the Berlin Gestapo's Attempted 'Final Roundup' of Jews (Also Known as the 'Factory Action')," Central European History 38:3 (2005), 450-459. Wolf Gruner, "A 'Historikerstreit?' A Reply to Nathan Stoltzfus' Response," Central European History 38:3 (2005), 460-464. Michael Geyer, "Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany (review)," Journal of Church and State 40:1 (Winter 1998), 189-190. "The Rosenstrasse Incident Is Recounted," Canadian Jewish News, Feb. 27, 1997, 11. Jeff McMillan, "A Moment of Courage in Hitler's Berlin," Chronicle of Higher Education 43:8 (Oct. 18, 1996), A9. Evan B. Bukey, "Widerstand in der Rosenstrasse: Die Fabrik-Aktion und die Verfolgung der 'Mischehen' 1943 (review)," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 21:2 (Fall 2007). Ron Madson, "The Restoration of Conscientious Objection," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 51:4 (Winter 2018), 77-103, 251. Nathan Stoltzfus, "Dissent in Nazi Germany," Atlantic 270:3 (September 1992), 86-94. Nathan Stoltzfus and Mordechai Paldiel, "Rosenstrasse at 75," Jerusalem Post, Feb. 24, 2018. Julia M. Klein, "The Time Hitler Blinked," Forward, Aug. 5, 2016, 23-24. "Lecture: Nonviolent Resistance to Nazis," University Wire, Nov. 3, 2013. Dori Laub, "In Search of the Rescuer in the Holocaust," Historical Reflections 39:2 (Summer 2013), 40-56. Susan Neiman, "To Resist Hitler and Survive," New York Times, Feb. 3, 2008. Barbara Kellerman, "Those Who Stood Against Hitler," New York Times, Feb. 3, 2008. J. Kelly Nestruck, "The Good Germans," National Post, Sept. 24, 2004, PM9. Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, "'Give Us Our Husbands Back!'" Jerusalem Post, April 25, 2003, 10. "She Won't Use 'Holocaust' or 'Kristallnacht,'" Oakland Tribune, April 13, 2003, 1. Norm Guthartz, "Triumph Over Hatred," Jerusalem Post, Sept. 18, 1997, 9. Nathan Stoltzfus, "Unsung Heroes Defied the Nazis: Too Often Resistance Is Seen as a Choice of Martyrdom vs. Passivity," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 18, 1997, A.13. Anne Karpf, "A Remarkable Demonstration of Love," Times, Dec. 12, 1996, 36. David Molner, "History Lesson: In 1943 Berlin, a Group of Wives Won the Release of Their Jewish Husbands," Chicago Tribune, Nov. 28, 1993, 11. "27 February 1943: The Rosenstrasse Protest," Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (accessed March 31, 2019). "The Rosenstrasse Demonstration, 1943," United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (accessed March 31, 2019). Max Rennebohm, "German Wives Win the Release of Their Jewish Husbands (Rosenstrasse Protest), 1943," Global Nonviolent Action Database, May 18, 2011. Listener mail: Svea Eckert, "Inside the Fake Science Factory," DEF CON 26, Sept. 17, 2018. (The description of the WASET sting starts at about 10:50.) SCIgen - An Automatic CS Paper Generator. Adam Conner-Simons, "How Three MIT Students Fooled the World of Scientific Journals," MIT News, April 14, 2015. "Springer and Université Joseph Fourier Release SciDetect to Discover Fake Scientific Papers," Springer, March 23, 2015. Mike Rugnetta, "This Episode Was Written by an AI," PBS Idea Channel, June 29, 2016. Mike Rugnetta, "Can an Artificial Intelligence Create Art?", PBS Idea Channel, June 30, 2016. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jennifer Sinnott. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 15, 2019, 5 a.m.

243-The Peshtigo Fire

In 1871, while the Great Chicago Fire was riveting the nation's attention, a blaze six times as deadly was ravaging a desperate town in northeastern Wisconsin. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Peshtigo fire, the deadliest wildfire in American history. We'll also watch an automated western and puzzle over some discounted food. Intro: Harry Mathews composed a poem in which every syllable is doubled. In 1766, French draughtsman Charles-Louis Clérisseau painted a Roman room to resemble a ruin. Sources for our feature on the Peshtigo fire: Denise Gess and William Lutz, Firestorm at Peshtigo, 2002. Peter Pernin, "The Great Peshtigo Fire: An Eyewitness Account," Wisconsin Magazine of History 54:4 (Summer 1971), 246-272. United States Department of Agriculture, Report on Forestry, Volume 3, 1882. William F. Steuber Jr., "The Problem at Peshtigo," Wisconsin Magazine of History 42:1 (Autumn 1958), 13-15. Hutch Brown, "'The Air Was Fire': Fire Behavior at Peshtigo in 1871," Fire Management Today 64:4 (Fall 2004), 20-30. Sara E. Caton, et al., "Review of Pathways for Building Fire Spread in the Wildland Urban Interface Part I: Exposure Conditions," Fire Technology 53:2 (2017), 429-473. Jack Cohen, "The Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Problem," Forest History Today 11 (2008), 20-26. Lisa A. Schulte and David J. Mladenoff, "Severe Wind and Fire Regimes in Northern Forests: Historical Variability at the Regional Scale," Ecology 86:2 (2005), 431-445. Robert N. Meroney, "Fire Whirls and Building Aerodynamics," Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Wind Engineering, 2003. Stewart Holbrook, "The Peshtigo Fire," American Scholar 13:2 (Spring 1944), 201-209. Michael E. Telzrow, "The Peshtigo Fire," New American 22:5 (March 6, 2006), 33-38. John Steele Gordon, "Forgotten Fury," American Heritage 54:2 (April/May 2003), 35. Tom Skilling, "Was Peshtigo Fire Worse Than the Great Chicago Fire?" Chicago Tribune, Oct. 7, 2018. Chelsey Lewis, "Remembering America's Deadliest Forest Fire," Wausau [Wis.] Daily Herald, July 22, 2018, C.3. Michael S. Rosenwald, "'The Night America Burned': The Deadliest — and Most Overlooked — Fire in U.S. History," Washington Post, Dec. 6, 2017. Warren Gerds, "Tin Can May Date Back to Peshtigo Fire Relief," Green Bay (Wis.) Press Gazette, Dec. 10, 2011, C.1. Jay Jones, "The 140-Year-Old Mystery of the 'Forgotten Fire,'" Los Angeles Times, Oct. 9, 2011, L.3. Everett Rosenfeld, "Top 10 Devastating Wildfires," Time, June 8, 2011. Cynthia Crossen, "Deja Vu: In 1871, Chicago Blaze Made News, But More Died in Wisconsin Fire," Wall Street Journal, Aug. 4, 2004, A.5. Warren Gerds, "Hallowed Reminders," Green Bay [Wis.] Press Gazette, July 24, 2004, E.3. Greg Tasker, "Worst Fire Largely Unknown," Baltimore Sun, Oct. 10, 2003. Dennis McCann, "History Seared Into Peshtigo's Memory," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 20, 2003, 1H. James Zabawski, "Peshtigo Fire Tale Stirs Sympathy," Madison [Wis.] Capital Times, Aug. 9, 2002, 13A. Susan Lampert Smith, "Peshtigo Fire Images Burn Hot in Memory," Wisconsin State Journal, Sept. 10, 2000, 1C. Dennis McCann, "'Menacing Crimson' Blaze Raged Through Peshtigo," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Oct. 8, 1998, 2. Jerry Resler, "Where the World Ended Peshtigo Marks 125th Anniversary of Fire That Killed 1,200," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 15, 1996, 1. Bill Stokes, "Life and Death in the Forest 122 Years Later, Peshtigo Still Bears the Scar," Chicago Tribune, Oct. 3, 1993, 1. Casey Bukro, "Fire Alarm Recalls Night of Horror 121 Years Ago," Chicago Tribune, June 23, 1992, 7. "Continent's Worst Blaze Always Overshadowed," Washington Post, Oct. 9, 1988, A12. Jay Clarke, "On the Night Chicago Burned, a Storm of Fire Consumed Peshtigo, Wis.," Chicago Tribune, Nov. 17, 1985, 25. "The Great Peshtigo Fire," Newsweek, Oct. 15, 1979, 32. Peter J. Burns, "The Peshtigo Fire," Saturday Evening Post 243:3 (Winter 1971), 88-113. "Town to Correct Error in History," St. Petersburg [Fla.] Times, Jan. 9, 1954. "The Wisconsin Fires," New York Times, Nov. 13, 1871. "Wisconsin Fires," The Carroll [City, Iowa] Herald, Oct. 25, 1871. "A Cyclone of Fire," New-Orleans Commercial Bulletin, Oct. 18, 1871. "The Peshtigo Fire," National Weather Service. Peshtigo Fire Museum. Listener mail: MIT Centennial Film, "The Thinking Machine," 1960. John E. Pfeiffer, The Thinking Machine, 1962. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Michael Grigoriev, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 8, 2019, 5 a.m.

242-The Cardiff Giant

In 1869, two well diggers in Cardiff, N.Y., unearthed an enormous figure made of stone. More than 600,000 people flocked to see the mysterious giant, but even as its fame grew, its real origins were coming to light. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Cardiff giant, one of the greatest hoaxes of the 19th century. We'll also ponder the effects of pink and puzzle over a potentially painful treatment. Intro: Edgar Rice Burroughs invented a variant of chess for a book set on Mars. Due to an unfortunate edict, a ladder in Jerusalem has remained unmoved for 200 years. Sources for our feature on the Cardiff giant: Scott Tribble, A Colossal Hoax, 2008. Nate Hendley, The Big Con, 2016. Magnus Magnusson, Fakers, Forgers and Phoneys, 2007. Brian Innes, Fakes & Forgeries, 2005. Mark Rose, "When Giants Roamed the Earth," Archaeology 58:6 (2005), 30-35. Barbara Franco, "The Cardiff Giant: A Hundred Year Old Hoax," New York History 50:4 (October 1969), 420-440. James Taylor Dunn, "The Cardiff Giant Hoax," New York History 29:3 (July 1948), 367-377. Michael Pettit, "'The Joy in Believing': The Cardiff Giant, Commercial Deceptions, and Styles of Observation in Gilded Age America," Isis 97:4 (December 2006), 659-677. Julian D. Corrington, "Nature Fakes," Bios 27:3 (October 1956), 159-169. Kat Eschner, "The Cardiff Giant Was Just a Big Hoax," Smithsonian.com, Oct. 16, 2017. Jessie Szalay, "Cardiff Giant: 'America's Biggest Hoax,'" Live Science, Aug. 16, 2016. Ruth Mosalski, "Cardiff Giant Turned Out to Be Really Big US Hoax," South Wales Echo, Jan. 21, 2017, 24. Gerald Smith and George Basler, "Hull Earned a Spot in 'Con Man's Hall of Fame,'" [Binghamton, N.Y.] Press & Sun-Bulletin, Oct. 6, 2014, 4. Ed Kemmick, "'Petrified' Man Was Big Attraction in Turn-of-the-Last-Century Montana," Billings Gazette, March 13, 2009. Bill White, "Cardiff Giant, Piltdown Man -- And Now Heydt Man," [Allentown, Pa.] Morning Call, March 10, 2001, B3. "It Was a Giant Joke, Now Largely Forgotten," Associated Press, Nov. 14, 1999, L3. Roger Munns, "19th Century Hoax Now Just an Interesting Relic," Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1997, 11. Harvey Berman, "Prehistoric Giant Was a Hoax," [Montreal] Gazette, May 18, 1991, J8. Bob Hughes, "The Cardiff Giant: How a Great Hoax Came to Life in a North Side Barn," Chicago Tribune, June 2, 1985, 10. "Cardiff Giant in Suit," New York Times, April 18, 1949. Louis C. Jones and James Taylor Dunn, "Cardiff Giant Again," New York Times, May 23, 1948. "'Cardiff Giant' Sale Barred by Fort Dodge," Associated Press, Aug. 4, 1934. "Syracuse Plea Fails to Get Cardiff Giant," Associated Press, Dec. 6, 1930. Ruth A. Gallaher, "The Cardiff Giant," The Palimpsest 2:9 (1921), 269-281. "Gigantic Hoax Fools Scientists," El Paso [Texas] Herald, June 8, 1912, 10. "The Cardiff Giant: A Hoax That Took," Coeur d'Alene [Idaho] Evening Press, April 15, 1910, 4. Frank Lewis Ford, "The Last of a Famous Hoax," The Scrap Book 3:2 (April 1907), 221-223. "Cardiff Giant Fake Recalled by Death of the One of the Sculptors," Butte [Mont.] Inter Mountain, Nov. 8, 1902, 14. "Cardiff Giant Fake," [Marshalltown, Iowa] Evening Times-Republican, Nov. 6, 1902, 2. Andrew D. White, "The Cardiff Giant," The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 64:6 (October 1902), 948-955. "The History of the Cardiff Giant," Scranton [Pa.] Tribune, June 24, 1899, 11. "Cardiff Giant Fraud," Salt Lake [Utah] Herald, April 23, 1899. "He Made the Giant," Reading [Pa.] Eagle, Feb. 10, 1889, 2. "The Cardiff Giant," in The History of Sauk County, Wisconsin, Western Historical Company, 1880, 547-552. "More About the Colorado Cardiff Giant," New York Times, Sept. 30, 1877. "The Cardiff Giant's Carpet-Bag," New York Times, Dec. 10, 1876. W.A. McKinney, "The Cardiff Giant," English Mechanics and the World of Science, 22:562 (Dec. 31, 1875), 393-394. "The Cardiff Giant Again," New York Times, May 11, 1874. "Can a Married Woman Hold Property in a Cardiff Giant?" St. Louis Democrat, Dec. 12, 1872. "The Cardiff Giant," College Courant 5:22 (Dec. 11, 1869), 347. "The Cardiff Giant," Harper's Weekly 13:675 (Dec. 4, 1869), 776. "The Cardiff Giant a Humbug," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, December 1869 meeting, 161-163. Today the giant resides at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. Listener mail: "About Us," Town of Chicken (accessed March 15, 2019). "ptarmigan," Oxford Living Dictionaries (accessed March 15, 2019). "ptarmigan," Dictionary.com (accessed March 15, 2019). "Chicken of Chicken, Alaska" (accessed March 15, 2019). Wikipedia, "Chicken, Alaska" (accessed March 15, 2019). Danny Payne, "Paint the Town Pink: Iowa's Unusual Tactic of Messing With Its Opponents," Sports Illustrated, Sept. 24, 2015. Rick Brown, "Hayden Fry Jokes About Health, Pink Locker Room," Des Moines Register, Aug. 30, 2014. Mark Snyder, "Michigan Football Covers Iowa's Pink Visitors Locker Room," Detroit Free Press, Nov. 12, 2016. Mark Wogenrich, "Penn State Readies for Iowa and Its Soothing Pink Locker Room," [Allentown, Pa.] Morning Call, Sept. 19, 2017. Alexander G. Schauss, "The Physiological Effect of Color on the Suppression of Human Aggression: Research on Baker-Miller Pink," International Journal of Biosocial Research 2:7 (1985), 55-64. Wikipedia, "Baker-Miller Pink" (accessed March 16, 2019). Oliver Genschow, et al., "Does Baker-Miller Pink Reduce Aggression in Prison Detention Cells? A Critical Empirical Examination," Psychology, Crime & Law 21:5 (2015), 482-489. Morwenna Ferrier, "This Colour Might Change Your Life: Kendall Jenner and Baker-Miller Pink," Guardian, Jan. 10, 2017. Natalie Way, "In the Pink: The Secret Wall Color for Dropping Pounds and Calming Down," realtor.com, Jan. 12, 2017. Jake New, "The Meaning of Pink," Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 29, 2014. Kabir Chibber, "Sports Teams Think the Color Pink Can Help Them Win," Quartz, Aug. 22, 2018. "Norwich City Paint Carrow Road Away Dressing Room Pink," BBC, Aug. 20, 2018. "Norwich City Stats," FootyStats (accessed March 19, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Neil de Carteret, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 25, 2019, 5 a.m.

241-A Case of Scientific Self-Deception

In 1903, French physicist Prosper-René Blondlot decided he had discovered a new form of radiation. But the mysterious rays had some exceedingly odd properties, and scientists in other countries had trouble seeing them at all. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of N-rays, a cautionary tale of self-deception. We'll also recount another appalling marathon and puzzle over a worthless package. Intro: In the 1960s, two dolphins at Hawaii's Sea Life Park were inadvertently switched and performed each other's acts. Franz Bibfeldt is an invisible scholar at the University of Chicago divinity school. Sources for our feature on Prosper-René Blondlot and the N-rays: René Blondlot, Julien François, and William Garcin, "N" Rays: A Collection of Papers Communicated to the Academy of Sciences, With Additional Notes and Instructions for the Construction of Phosphorescent Screens, 1905. William Seabrook, Doctor Wood, 1941. Walter Gratzer, The Undergrowth of Science: Delusion, Self-Deception, and Human Frailty, 2001. Terence Hines, Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, 2003. Richard C. Brown, Are Science and Mathematics Socially Constructed?, 2009. Robert W. Proctor and E.J. Capaldi, Psychology of Science: Implicit and Explicit Processes, 2012. Paul Collins, Banvard's Folly, 2015. Roelf Bolt, The Encyclopaedia of Liars and Deceivers, 2014. Walter Gratzer and Walter Bruno Gratzer, Eurekas and Euphorias: The Oxford Book of Scientific Anecdotes, 2004. Robert W. Wood, How to Tell the Birds From the Flowers, 1907. Robert W. Wood, "The n-Rays," Nature 70:1822 (1904), 530-531. Mary Jo Nye, "N-Rays: An Episode in the History and Psychology of Science," Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences 11:1 (1980), 125-156. Robert T. Lagemann, "New Light on Old Rays: N Rays," American Journal of Physics 45:281 (1977), 281-284. Irving M. Klotz, "The N-ray Affair," Scientific American 242:5 (1980), 168-175. John Butler Burke, "The Blondlot n-Rays," Nature 70 (June 30, 1904), 198. John Butler Burke, "The Blondlot n-Rays," Nature 69 (Feb. 18, 1904), 365. Jeffrey Kovac, "Reverence and Ethics in Science," Science and Engineering Ethics 19:3 (September 2013), 745-56. Nancy S. Hall, "The Key Role of Replication in Science," Chronicle of Higher Education 47:11 (Nov. 10, 2000), B14. "The Blondlot Rays," British Medical Journal 1:2245 (Jan. 9, 1904), 90. "The Romance of the Blondlot Rays," British Medical Journal 1:2244 (Jan. 2, 1904), 35-36. "Blondlot and Prof. Wood on the N-Rays," Scientific American 91:25 (Dec. 17, 1904), 426. Malcolm Ashmore, "The Theatre of the Blind: Starring a Promethean Prankster, a Phoney Phenomenon, a Prism, a Pocket, and a Piece of Wood," Social Studies of Science 23:1 (1993), 67-106. Luis Campos, "The Birth of Living Radium," Representations 97:1 (Winter 2007), 1-27. "The Latest Wonder of Science," Public Opinion 4:36 (Jan. 28, 1904), 115-116. J.J. Stewart, "The N-Rays of Blondlot," Knowledge & Scientific News 2:10 (September 1905), 218-219. "Science and Invention: Radio-Activity," Current Literature 38:3 (March 1905), 258. J.R. Whitehead, "Radioactivity and Radiation," Electrical World and Engineer 43:7, 310. Mark Pilkington, "N-Rays Exposed," Guardian, Sept. 1, 2004. "Latest Scientific Discovery," Leavenworth [Wash.] Echo, April 8, 1910, 4. Listener mail: Karen Abbott, "The 1904 Olympic Marathon May Have Been the Strangest Ever," Smithsonian.com, Aug. 7, 2012. Wikipedia, "1904 Summer Olympics" (accessed March 7, 2019). Wikipedia, "Athletics at the 1904 Summer Olympics – Men's Marathon" (accessed March 7, 2019). Brian Cronin, "Sports Legend Revealed: A Marathon Runner Nearly Died Because of Drugs He Took to Help Him Win," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 10, 2010. Wikipedia, "George Eyser" (accessed March 9, 2019). Wikipedia, "Andarín Carvajal" (accessed March 9, 2019). "1956 Olympic Long Jump Champion Krzesinska Dies," IAAF News, Dec. 30, 2015. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Murli Ravi. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 18, 2019, 5 a.m.

240-The Shark Papers

In 1799 two Royal Navy ships met on the Caribbean Sea, and their captains discovered they were parties to a mind-boggling coincidence that would expose a crime and make headlines around the world. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the shark papers, one of the strangest coincidences in maritime history. We'll also meet some Victorian kangaroos and puzzle over an expedient fire. Intro: Hungarian composer György Ligeti wrote a symphonic poem for 100 metronomes. In 1935 a 7-year-old Berliner fell in love with Adolf Hitler. Sources for our feature on the shark papers: Edgar K. Thompson, "Tale of the Nancy Brig," Mariner's Mirror 56:1 (January 1970), 97-104. D.A. Proctor, "Notes: Michael Fitton," Mariner's Mirror 79:2 (May 1993), 206-208. Edward Warren Guyol, "The Navy, the Shark, and the 'Nancy' Brig," Harper's Weekly 52:2708 (Nov. 14, 1908), 29. W.J. Fletcher, "Michael Fitton," Temple Bar 114:5 (July 1898), 350-364. Clinton Vane de Brosse Black, Tales of Old Jamaica, 1966. Edward Rowe Snow, Marine Mysteries and Dramatic Disasters of New England, 1976. Sir Philip Manderson Sherlock, Jamaica Way, 1962. Caroline Rochford, Forgotten Songs and Stories of the Sea, 2016. Xavier Maniguet, The Jaws of Death: Sharks as Predator, Man as Prey, 2007. Julia W. Wolfe, "Shark Tale of Jamaica; Old Papers at Kingston Tell a Strange Sea Story of 1799," New York Times, April 20, 1941. "Pirates Convicted by Shark," [Burnie, Tasmania] Advocate, July 2, 1935. "The Shark That Ate the Papers of the Nancy Brig," Otago [New Zealand] Daily Times, June 12, 1920. "The King's Dominion of the Islands: Major and Minor West Indian Notes," United Empire: The Royal Colonial Institute Journal 7:4 (April 1916), 271-276. "Odds and Ends," Wide World Magazine 1:5 (August 1898), 554-560. "Miscellaneous," [Portland, Maine] Eastern Argus, June 5, 1833, 1. Henry Baynham, "Fitton, Michael," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Jan. 3, 2008. Listener mail: Angus Trumble, "'O Uommibatto': How the Pre-Raphaelites Became Obsessed With the Wombat," Public Domain Review, Jan. 10, 2019. "The Kangaroo in England," Country Life Illustrated 3:72 (May 21, 1898), 617-618. David J. Travis, Andrew M. Carleton, and Ryan G. Lauritsen, "Regional Variations in US Diurnal Temperature Range for the 11–14 September 2001 Aircraft Groundings: Evidence of Jet Contrail Influence on Climate," Journal of Climate 17:5 (2004), 1123-1134. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Bob Seidensticker. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 11, 2019, 5 a.m.

239-The Man-Eaters of Tsavo

In 1898, two lions descended on a company of railway workers in British East Africa. For nine months they terrorized the camp, carrying off a new victim every few days, as engineer John Patterson struggled to stop them. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll track the "man-eaters of Tsavo" and learn what modern science has discovered about their motivations. We'll also consider more uses for two cars and puzzle over some prolific penguins. Intro: MIT drops a piano off a building every year. French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée proposed honoring Isaac Newton with a sarcophagus inside a 500-foot globe. Sources for our feature on the Tsavo man-eaters: John Henry Patterson, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo, 1907. J.H. Patterson, "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo: The Lions That Stopped a Railway," Wide World Magazine 10:55 (October 1902), 3-12; 10:56 (November 1902), 112-118. J.H. Patterson, "The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo," Field Museum of Natural History, 1926. Philip Caputo, Ghosts of Tsavo, 2002. Bruce D. Patterson, The Lions of Tsavo, 2004. Julian C. Kerbis Peterhans and Thomas Patrick Gnoske, "The Science of 'Man-Eating' Among Lions Panthera leo With a Reconstruction of the Natural History of the 'Man-Eaters of Tsavo,'" Journal of East African Natural History 90:1 (2001), 1-41. T.P. Gnoske, G.G. Celesia, and J.C. Kerbis Peterhans, "Dissociation Between Mane Development and Sexual Maturity in Lions (Panthera leo): Solution to the Tsavo Riddle?" Journal of Zoology 270:4 (2006), 551-560. Justin D. Yeakel, et al., "Cooperation and Individuality Among Man-Eating Lions," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106:45 (2009), 19040-19043. Bruce D. Patterson, et al., "Livestock Predation by Lions (Panthera leo) and Other Carnivores on Ranches Neighboring Tsavo National Parks, Kenya," Biological Conservation 119:4 (2004), 507-516. Bruce D. Patterson, "On the Nature and Significance of Variability in Lions (Panthera leo)," Evolutionary Biology 34:1-2 (2007), 55-60. Bruce D. Patterson, Ellis J. Neiburger, Samuel M. Kasiki, "Tooth Breakage and Dental Disease as Causes of Carnivore-Human Conflicts," Journal of Mammalogy 84:1 (Feb. 28, 2003), 190–196. Roland W. Kays and Bruce D. Patterson, "Mane Variation in African Lions and Its Social Correlates," Canadian Journal of Zoology 80:3 (March 2002), 471. Larisa R.G. DeSantis and Bruce D. Patterson, "Dietary Behaviour of Man-Eating Lions as Revealed by Dental Microwear Textures," Scientific Reports 7:1 (2017), 904. Ellis J. Neiburger and Bruce D. Patterson, "The Man-Eaters With Bad Teeth," New York State Dental Journal 66:10 (2000), 26. "The Tale Teeth Tell About Legendary Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo," Laboratory Equipment, April 19, 2017. Alba Tomasula y Garcia, "The Lions of Tsavo: Man-Made Man-Eaters," Western Humanities Review 68:1 (Winter 2014), 195-200. Paul Raffaele, "Man-Eaters of Tsavo," Smithsonian Magazine, January 2010. Jason Bittel, "Why Man-Eating Lions Prey on People -- New Evidence," National Geographic, April 19, 2017. Mindy Weisberger, "What Drove Tsavo Lions to Eat People? Century-Old Mystery Solved," Live Science, April 19, 2017. David Salisbury, "The Tale Teeth Tell About the Legendary Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo," Vanderbilt University, April 19, 2017. Can Buckley, "Irishman's Account of Man-Eating Lions, 'the Ghost' and 'the Darkness,' in Africa," Irish Examiner, April 29, 2017. Ed Yong, "How Many People Did the Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo Actually Eat?" Discover, Nov. 2, 2009. Gemma Tarlach, "Infamous Man-Eaters of Tsavo Ate Like Zoo Animals," Discover, April 19, 2017. Jennifer McNulty, "Legendary 'Man-Eating' Lions of Tsavo Likely Ate About 35 People -- Not 135, Say Scientists," UCSC Newscenter, Nov. 1, 2009. Hannah Osborne, "Infamous Man-Eating Tsavo Lions Were Apparently Suffering From Toothache," Newsweek, April 19, 2017. Restored by a taxidermist, the lions are currently on display in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Listener mail: "Sweden's Jobs Agency to Lay Off 4,500 Staff," The Local Sweden, Jan. 30, 2019. Greg Myre, "Gas Lines Evoke Memories of Oil Crises in the 1970s," The Picture Show, National Public Radio, Nov. 10, 2012. Wikipedia, "Odd–Even Rationing" (accessed Feb. 23, 2019). Wikipedia, "1973 Oil Crisis" (accessed Feb. 23, 2019). Wikipedia, "1979 Oil Crisis" (accessed Feb. 23, 2019). Carl Bialik, "Fuel Rationing Is Hard to Gauge," Wall Street Journal, Nov. 16, 2012. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Mat Spedding, based on an item he heard on the podcast No Such Thing As a Fish. Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 4, 2019, 5 a.m.

238-The Plight of Mary Ellen Wilson

In 1873 a Methodist missionary in New York City heard rumors of a little girl who was kept locked in a tenement and regularly whipped. She uncovered a shocking case of neglect and abuse that made headlines around the world. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell how one girl's ordeal led to a new era in child welfare. We'll also outsource Harry Potter and puzzle over Wayne Gretzky's accomplishments. Intro: By a 1976 resolution, George Washington forever outranks every other officer in the U.S. Army. Humorist Robert Benchley invented some creative excuses for missing deadlines. Sources for our feature on Mary Ellen Wilson: Eric A. Shelman and Stephen Lazoritz, The Mary Ellen Wilson Child Abuse Case and the Beginning of Children's Rights in 19th Century America, 2005. Susan J. Pearson, The Rights of the Defenseless: Protecting Animals and Children in Gilded Age America, 2011. Frank R. Ascione, Children and Animals: Exploring the Roots of Kindness and Cruelty, 2005. John E.B. Myers, Child Protection in America: Past, Present, and Future, 2006. Karel Kurst-Swanger and Jacqueline L. Petcosky, Violence in the Home: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 2003. Mary Renck Jalongo, "The Story of Mary Ellen Wilson: Tracing the Origins of Child Protection in America," Early Childhood Education Journal 34:1 (August 2006), 1-4. Lela B. Costin, "Unraveling the Mary Ellen Legend: Origins of the 'Cruelty' Movement," Social Service Review 65:2 (June 1991), 203-223. Sallie A. Watkins, "The Mary Ellen Myth: Correcting Child Welfare History," Social Work 35:6 (November 1990), 500-503. Jini L. Roby, "Child Welfare Workers in the Legal Arena: What Works, What Doesn't," Child & Youth Care Forum 30:5 (October 2001), 305-319. John E.B. Myers, "A Short History of Child Protection in America," Family Law Quarterly 42:3 (Fall 2008), 449-463. Susan Vivian Mangold, "Protection, Privatization, and Profit in the Foster Care System," Ohio State Law Journal 60 (1999), 1295. Natan Sznaider, "Compassion and Control: Children in Civil Society," Childhood 4:2 (1997). Marian Eide, "The First Chapter of Children's Rights," American Heritage 41:5 (July/August 1990). Wanda Mohr, Richard J. Gelles, Ira M. Schwartz, "Shackled in the Land of Liberty: No Rights for Children," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 564:1 (July 1999), 37-55. Gerald P. Mallon, "From the Editor: The Legend of Mary Ellen Wilson and Etta Wheeler: Child Maltreatment and Protection Today," Child Welfare 92:2 (March/April 2013), 9-11. Amy D. Ronner, "Dostoevsky as Juvenile Justice Advocate and Progenitor of Therapeutic Jurisprudence," St. Thomas Law Review 30:1 (Fall 2017), 5-41. "Mary Ellen Wilson: Fact and Fiction," [Wooster, Ohio] Daily Record, April 29, 2017, 7. Howard Markel, "Case Shined First Light on Abuse of Children," New York Times, Dec. 14, 2009. Daniel Bergner, "The Case of Marie and Her Sons," New York Times Magazine, July 23, 2006. Al Baker, "Plan to Hasten Abuse Inquiries Came Up Short," New York Times, Jan. 21, 2006. "Mary Ellen Wilson," New York Times, June 14, 1874. "Mary Ellen Wilson," New York Times, June 2, 1874. "The Custody of Mary Ellen Wilson," New York Times, May 1, 1874. "Mary Ellen Wilson," New York Times, April 22, 1874. "Mary Ellen Wilson; Further Testimony in the Case Two Indictments Found Against Mrs. Connolly by the Grand Jury," New York Times, April 14, 1874. "Mary Ellen Wilson; Further Testimony as to the Child's Ill Treatment by Her Guardians," New York Times, April 12, 1874. "The Mission of Humanity; Continuation of the Proceedings Instituted by Mr. Bergh on Behalf of the Child, Mary Ellen Wilson," New York Times, April 11, 1874. "Mr. Bergh Enlarging His Sphere of Usefulness," New York Times, April 10, 1874. Listener mail: Mary Ilyushina and Lianne Kolirin, "Russia Reopens Investigation Into 60-Year-Old Dyatlov Pass Mystery," CNN, Feb. 4, 2019. "Russia's Reopening the Investigation of the Spooky Dyatlov Pass Incident," The Chive, Feb. 8, 2019 (warning: contains some potentially disturbing photos and one strong expletive). Emma Friedlander, "Russian Investigators Are Reopening the Dyatlov Pass Case. But What Is It?" Moscow Times, Feb. 14, 2019. Wikipedia, "Tiddles" (accessed Feb. 12, 2019). Rob Baker, "Tiddles, a rather fat cat that lived in the public lavatories at Paddington Station - 1978 - photo by Chris Moorhouse," Twitter, Jan. 22, 2019. Anna Menta, "Absurd New 'Harry Potter' Book Written By Predictive Text Already Has Fan Art," Newsweek, Dec. 14, 2017. Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, "Harry Potter Chapter Written by Bots Is Magically Terrible," CNET, Dec. 12, 2017. Charles Pulliam-Moore, "This New Harry Potter Chapter, Written With Predictive Keyboards, Is Magically Unhinged," io9, Dec. 12, 2017. Shannon Liao, "This Harry Potter AI-Generated Fanfiction Is Remarkably Good," The Verge, Dec 12, 2017. Evan Narcisse, "That Freaky Bot-Written Harry Potter Chapter Got Turned into a Freaky Cartoon," io9, Feb. 13, 2018. Botnik. Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Mandie Bauer. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 25, 2019, 5 a.m.

237-The Baseball Spy

Moe Berg earned his reputation as the brainiest man in baseball -- he had two Ivy League degrees and studied at the Sorbonne. But when World War II broke out he found an unlikely second career, as a spy trying to prevent the Nazis from getting an atomic bomb. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Berg's enigmatic life and its strange conclusion. We'll also consider the value of stripes and puzzle over a fateful accident. Intro: Johann David Steingruber devised floor plans in the shapes of letters. At least six of Felix Mendelssohn's songs were written by his sister Fanny. Sources for our feature on Moe Berg: Nicholas Dawidoff, The Catcher Was a Spy, 1994. Louis Kaufman, Barbara Fitzgerald, and Tom Sewell, Moe Berg: Athlete, Scholar, Spy, 1996. W. Thomas Smith, Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency, 2003. Glenn P. Hastedt, Spies, Wiretaps, and Secret Operations: An Encyclopedia of American Espionage, 2011. Nicholas Dawidoff, "The Fabled Moe," American Scholar 63:3 (Summer 1994), 433-439. Alan Owen Patterson, "The Eastern European Jewish Immigrant Experience With Baseball in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century," Modern Judaism 28:1 (February 2008), 79-104. "Morris 'Moe' Berg," Atomic Heritage Foundation (accessed Feb. 3, 2019). "'Moe' Berg: Sportsman, Scholar, Spy," Central Intelligence Agency, Jan. 17, 2013. Richard Sandomir, "Baseball Hall of Fame to Celebrate a Catcher (and a Spy)," New York Times, July 30, 2018. Bruce Fretts, "Who Was Moe Berg? A Spy, a Big-League Catcher and an Enigma," New York Times, June 21, 2018. Josh Pollick, "Moe Berg -- OK Player, Outstanding Individual," Jerusalem Post, Dec. 30, 2004, 11. "To Be a Spook," Justin Ewers, et al., U.S. News & World Report 134:3 (Jan. 27, 2003). Hal Bock, "A Catcher and a Spy -- Journeyman Backstop Was an Operative During WWII -- Moe Berg," Associated Press, June 25, 2000. Paul Schwartz, "Classic Look at Moe Berg, Catcher & Spy," New York Post, June 21, 2000, 68. "An Abstruse Topic Saved His Life," New York Times, March 21, 2000. Steve Bailey, "Moe Berg's Legacy," Boston Globe, Oct. 6, 1999, D1. Jonathan Wasserman, "The Enigmatic Life of Moe Berg," Jewish Advocate, Sept. 29, 1994, 1. Louis Jay Herman, "'To Hell With Moe Berg!'," New York Times, Aug. 14, 1994. David A. Hollinger, "How Uncertain Was He?", New York Times, March 14, 1993. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "Books of the Times: Did a German Scientist Prevent Catastrophe in World War II?," New York Times, March 8, 1993. William J. Broad, "New Book Says U.S. Plotted to Kill Top Nazi Scientist," New York Times, Feb. 28, 1993. Ira Berkow, "Sports of the Times; The Catcher Was Highly Mysterious," New York Times, Dec. 14, 1989. Bernard Kogan, "Baseball Anecdotes," New York Times, June 4, 1989. William Klein, "The Spy Who Came in From the Diamond," New York Times, Dec. 1, 1985. Moe Berg, "Baseball: What It's All About," New York Times, April 13, 1975. Jonathan Schwartz, "Catcher Magna Cum Laude," New York Times, March 30, 1975. Dave Anderson, "Mysterious Moe Is De-Classified," New York Times, Jan. 28, 1975. "Moe Berg, a Catcher in Majors Who Spoke 10 Languages, Dead," New York Times, June 1, 1972. Arthur Daley, "Sports of the Times," New York Times, June 1, 1972. Whitney Martin, "'Mysterious' Berg Well Equipped for Place of Latin Ambassador," Wilmington [N.C.] Morning Star, Jan. 17, 1942, 6. "Moe Berg, Red Sox, Gets Job as Envoy," New York Times, Jan. 15, 1942. Richard McCann, "Baseball's One-Man Brain Trust," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, May 21, 1939, 11. Tom Doerer, "Nationals Hire Berg as Manush Signs," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, March 10, 1932, D-1. "Moe Berg Attracts Schalk as Catcher," Norwalk [Conn.] Hour, Dec. 14, 1927, 17. "Veteran Scott Will Start at Short for White Sox," [St. Petersburg, Fla.] Evening Independent, March 24, 1926. "White Sox Get Moe Berg," New York Times, Sept. 16, 1925. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "This Is Your Life (UK TV series)" (accessed Feb. 5, 2019). Wikipedia, "This Is Your Life" (accessed Feb. 9, 2019). "Group Captain Sir Douglas BADER CBE, DSO, DFC, FRAeS, DL," Big Red Book (accessed Feb. 9, 2019). Douglas Bader on This Is Your Life. Dick Cavett, "Can You Stand Some More Stan?" New York Times, Oct. 5, 2012. Wikipedia, "Horse-Flies as Disease Vectors" (accessed Jan. 16, 2019). Gábor Horváth, Ádám Pereszlényi, Susanne Åkesson, and György Kriska, "Striped Bodypainting Protects Against Horseflies," Royal Society Open Science 6:1 (Jan. 2, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Manon Molliere. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 18, 2019, 5 a.m.

236-The Last Lap

In 1908 a 22-year-old Italian baker's assistant arrived in London to take part in the Olympic marathon. He had no coach, he spoke no English, and he was not expected to challenge the elite runners at the top of the field. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Dorando Pietri on the most celebrated race in Olympic history. We'll also ponder the Great Mull Air Mystery and puzzle over a welcome murder. Intro: In July 1968 ethologist John B. Calhoun built a paradise for mice. Mother Goose rhymes can be hidden phonetically in French and German. Sources for our feature on Dorando Pietri: David Davis, Showdown at Shepherd's Bush, 2012. Timothy D. Noakes, "Reduced Peripheral Resistance and Other Factors in Marathon Collapse," Sports Medicine 37:4–5 (April 2007) 382–385. Jonathan Esteve-Lanao, Alejandro Lucia, Jos J. deKoning, and Carl Foster, "How Do Humans Control Physiological Strain During Strenuous Endurance Exercise?" PLoS One 3:8 (August 2008), e2943. Tim Lincoln, "Mostly in the Mind," Nature 389:6654 (Oct. 30, 1997), 911-912. Karl Lennartz, "Some Case Studies on How Media Constructs Olympic Legends," Timisoara Physical Education and Rehabilitation Journal 2:3 (2009), 10-19. Markus Stauff, "The Pregnant-Moment Photograph: The 1908 London Marathon and the Cross-Media, Evaluation of Sport Performances," Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung 43:2 (2018), 203-219. Peter Lovesey, "Conan Doyle and the Olympics," Journal of Olympic History 10:10 (2001), 8. Mark Will-Weber, "Dorando Pietri," Runner's World 34:1 (January 1999), 42-43. International Olympic Committee, "Dorando Pietri" (accessed Jan. 27, 2019). "Dorando Pietri," Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia (accessed Jan. 27, 2019). Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Dorando Pietri: Falling at the Finish" (accessed Jan. 27, 2019). Simon Kuper, "The Original Olympic Hero," FT.com, July 27, 2012. "Marathon Men Were Games' Attraction," [Los Angeles] Daily News, July 22, 2012, C.1. "Italian Stumbles to Marathon Glory," Sunday Times, May 27, 2012, 15. Ian O'Riordan, "London Calls Me to Retrace Pietri's Footsteps," Irish Times, April 21, 2012, 12. Simon Burnton, "How Dorando Pietri Lost the Race but Won the Hearts of Millions," Guardian, Feb. 29, 2012. Stuart Bathgate, "Centenary of Albert Hall Marathon, Where Pietri Fell Short Once Again," Scotsman, Dec. 18, 2009, 56. David Davis, "Beijing 2008," Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2008, D.1. Elliott Denman, "Remembering the Incredible 1908 Marathon," New York Times, July 23, 2008. Doug Gillon, "Going the Distance: A Centenary Tale Full of Drama and Heroism," [Glasgow] Herald, April 12, 2008, 14. Richard Owen, "Italy Celebrates Centenary of a Fallen Hero," Times, Feb. 18, 2008, 33. "Dorando Pietri: London Marathon," Times, March 29, 1995, 1. Charles Singer, "The First Case of Marathon Fever," New York Times, Oct. 9, 1983. Bud Greenspan, "Truths, Half-Truths and Myths of Marathon Running," New York Times, Oct. 26, 1980. Dave Anderson, "The Olympic Time Capsule," New York Times, April 25, 1976. "Dorando Certainly Won," Montreal Gazette, Jan. 23, 1909, 7. "Fifteen Teams in Race," New York Times, Dec. 4, 1908. "Why Is Dorando Not Dorando? Because He Is Pietri," The Sketch 63:809 (July 29, 1908), 69. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Baader–Meinhof Effect" (accessed Jan. 31, 2019). "There's a Name for That: The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon," Pacific Standard, July 22, 2013. Arnold M. Zwicky, "Why Are We So Illuded?", Stanford University, September 2006. Wikipedia, "Confirmation Bias" (accessed Feb. 2, 2019). Wikipedia, "Red Army Faction" (accessed Jan. 31, 2019). Wikipedia, "Great Mull Air Mystery" (accessed Jan. 31, 2019). Wikipedia, "Mull" (accessed Feb. 4, 2019). "The Riddle of the Lost Flight," Independent, Feb. 18, 2004. "Mystery Plane Found on Sea Bed," BBC News, Feb. 7, 2004. "Sunken Wreckage Identified as Crashed Wartime Flying Boat," Scotsman, April 3, 2004. "The Great Mull Air Mystery," BBC Radio 4, Aug. 22, 2015. What3Words. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Peter Bartholomew. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 11, 2019, 5 a.m.

235-Leon Festinger and the Alien Apocalypse

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. Intro: There's a hexagon of cloud at Saturn's north pole. You're not as unpopular as you think you are. Sources for our feature on Leon Festinger: Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, When Prophecy Fails, 1956. Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, 1957. Joel Cooper, Cognitive Dissonance: Fifty Years of a Classic Theory, 2007. Camille Morvan with Alexander J. O'Connor, An Analysis of Leon Festinger's A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, 2017. Leon Festinger, "Cognitive Dissonance," Scientific American 207:4 (October 1962), 93-106. Stanley Schachter, "Leon Festinger," Biographical Memoirs, Vol. 64, National Academy of Sciences, 1994. R.B. Zajonc, "Obituary: Leon Festinger (1919–1989)," American Psychologist 45:5 (1990), 661-662. Michael S. Gazzaniga, "Leon Festinger: Lunch With Leon," Perspectives on Psychological Science 1:1 (2006), 88-94. Elliot Aronson, "Leon Festinger and the Art of Audacity," Psychological Science 2:4 (July 1, 1991), 213-221. Serge Moscovici, "Obituary: Leon Festinger," European Journal of Social Psychology 19:4 (July 1989), 263-269. Dion Scott-Kakures, "Unsettling Questions: Cognitive Dissonance in Self-Deception," Social Theory and Practice 35:1 (January 2009), 73-106. Stephen Cox, "An Experiment in Apocalypse," Liberty 24:11 (December 2010) 17-22. Louisa C. Egan, Laurie R. Santos, and Paul Bloom, "The Origins of Cognitive Dissonance: Evidence From Children and Monkeys," Psychological Science 18:11 (November 2007), 978-983. Merton S. Krause, "An Analysis of Festinger's Cognitive Dissonance Theory," Philosophy of Science 39:1 (March 1972), 32-50. Charles G. Lord, "Was Cognitive Dissonance Theory a Mistake?" Psychological Inquiry 3:4 (1992), 339-342. Betty M. Bayer, "Wonder in a World of Struggle?" Subjectivity 23:1 (July 2008), 156-173. Chris Mooney, "The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science," Issues 95 (June 2011), 27-32. Chris Bader, "When Prophecy Passes Unnoticed: New Perspectives on Failed Prophecy," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 38:1 (March 1999), 119-131. Lorne L. Dawson, "When Prophecy Fails and Faith Persists: A Theoretical Overview," Nova Religio 3:1 (October 1999), 60-82. Jon R. Stone, "Prophecy and Dissonance: A Reassessment of Research Testing the Festinger Theory," Nova Religio 12:4 (May 2009), 72-90. Michael Barkun, "The Occultist and the Spaceman," in Cathy Gutierrez, Handbook of Spiritualism and Channeling, 2015. Diana Tumminia, "How Prophecy Never Fails: Interpretive Reason in a Flying-Saucer Group," Sociology of Religion 59:2 (Summer 1998), 157-170. Robert W. Balch, Gwen Farnsworth, and Sue Wilkins, "When the Bombs Drop: Reactions to Disconfirmed Prophecy in a Millennial Sect," Sociological Perspectives 26:2 (April 1983), 137-158. Daniel Finkelstein, "Prosecutors Don't Know How Biased They Are," Times, Jan. 24, 2018, 27. Matthew Syed, "Trial and Error," New Statesman 144:5288 (Nov. 13-19, 2015), 28-31, 33. "Leon Festinger, 69, New School Professor," New York Times, Feb. 12, 1989. Adam Grant, "The Virtue of Contradicting Ourselves," New York Times, Nov. 14, 2015. Kristin Wong, "Why It's So Hard to Admit You're Wrong," New York Times, May 22, 2017. John Tierney, "Go Ahead, Rationalize. Monkeys Do It, Too," New York Times, Nov. 6, 2007. Listener mail: Simon Usborne, "The LBJ Missal: Why a Prayer Book Given to John F. Kennedy Was Used to Swear in the 36th US President," Independent, Nov. 16, 2013. "About the Constitution: Article II: Executive Branch," National Constitution Center (accessed Jan. 25, 2019). Scott Bomboy, "How JFK's Assassination Led to a Constitutional Amendment," Constitution Daily, Nov. 22, 2018. "Art & History: Vice President of the United States (President of the Senate)," United States Senate (accessed Jan. 25, 2019). "Art & History: John Tyler, Tenth Vice President (1841)," United States Senate (accessed Jan. 25, 2019). Wikipedia, "William Henry Harrison" (accessed Jan. 25, 2019). Wikipedia, "Presidency of John Tyler" (accessed Jan. 27, 2019). "John Tyler," whitehouse.gov (accessed Jan. 25, 2019). "Amendment XXV: Presidential Disability and Succession," National Constitution Center (accessed Jan. 25, 2019). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 4, 2019, 5 a.m.

234-The Dig Tree

In 1860 a party of explorers set out to traverse the Australian continent, but bad management and a series of misfortunes sent it spiraling toward tragedy. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Victorian Exploring Expedition and its dramatic climax at Cooper's Creek. We'll also try to validate Archimedes and puzzle over an unlucky thief. Intro: In 1990 Jon Perez Laraudogoitia wrote a philosophy article that compelled its own acceptance. In 1976 architect Robert Venturi found a way to commemorate a house with no surviving description. Sources for our story on the Burke and Wills expedition: Alan Moorehead, Cooper's Creek, 1963. Sarah P. Murgatroyd, The Dig Tree, 2002. Dave Phoenix, Following Burke and Wills Across Australia: A Touring Guide, 2015. Ian Clark and Fred Cahir, The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills: Forgotten Narratives, 2013. A.W. Howitt, et al., "Exploring Expedition From Victoria to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Under the Command of Mr. Robert O'Hara Burke," Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 32 (1862), 430-529. The Diary of William John Wills. William John Wills, A Successful Exploration Through the Interior of Australia: From Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria, 1863. Dave Phoenix, "Burke and Wills -- An Overview of the Expedition, Its Preparation, Planning and Outcomes," Queensland History Journal 21:8 (2012), 497. Jessica Campion, "Burke and Wills: Botany's Untold Success Story," Australian Geographic, July 27, 2011. Bernie Joyce and Doug McCann, "The Scientific Legacy of Burke & Wills," Australasian Science 32:5 (June 2011), 29-31. Sally Woollett, "Thiamine and the Dig Tree Tragedy," Chemistry in Australia 78:10 (November 2011), 4. John W. Earl and Barry V. McCleary, "Mystery of the Poisoned Expedition," Nature 368:6473 (April 21, 1994), 683. Deirdre Slattery, "If Burke Had Been a Naturalist ...: Telling and Re-Telling National Narratives," Australian Journal of Outdoor Education 8:2 (2004), 13-21. Peter Daszak, "A Last Waltz for Burke, Wills, and King," EcoHealth 13:4 (December 2016), 821–823. "Burke & Wills: From Melbourne to Myth," [Melbourne] Herald Sun, Sept. 24, 2002, 34. Carolyn Webb, "Exploring the Myth," The Age, Aug. 26, 2002, 3. "Memoirs of the Late Leaders of the Exploring Expedition," Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 19, 1861, 2. "Memorandum on the Recent Journeys of Exploration Across the Continent of Australia," Sydney Morning Herald, Dec. 20, 1861, 7. "The Australian Exploring Expedition," North Wales Chronicle, Feb. 22, 1862. "Australian Explorations," Newcastle Courant, May 23, 1862. Richard Garnett, "Burke, Robert O'Hara," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004. C.A. Harris, "Wills, William John," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004. Burke and Wills Collection, National Museum Australia. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Concentrated Solar Power" (accessed Jan. 17, 2019). Wikipedia, "Ivanpah Solar Power Facility" (accessed Jan. 17, 2019). Adam Clark Estes, "How the World's Largest Solar Plant Wants to Fix Its Fried Bird Problem," Gizmodo, Aug. 19, 2014. Associated Press, "BrightSource Solar Plant Sets Birds on Fire as They Fly Overhead," Aug. 18, 2014. Ian Sample, "Doubt Cast on Archimedes' Killer Mirrors," Guardian, Oct. 23, 2005. Jeremy Hsu, "Archimedes' Flaming Death Ray Was Probably Just a Cannon, Study Finds," Christian Science Monitor, June 29, 2010. Thomas W. Africa, "Archimedes Through the Looking-Glass," The Classical World 68:5 (February 1975), 305-308. Josh Clark, "What Was Archimedes' Death Ray?" How Stuff Works (accessed Jan. 17, 2019). "Archimedes Death Ray," student experiment, Product Engineering Processes, MIT, October 2005. "Archimedes Death Ray: Testing With MythBusters," Product Engineering Processes, MIT, October 2005. Renee Montagne, "Was Archimedes' Mirror Real?" Morning Edition, National Public Radio, July 25, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Sharon. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 28, 2019, 5 a.m.

233-Flight to Freedom

In 1978 two families hatched a daring plan to escape East Germany: They would build a hot-air balloon and sail it by night across the border. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow their struggles to evade the authorities and realize their dream of a new life in the West. We'll also shuffle some vehicles and puzzle over a perplexing worker. Intro: In 1993 Tom Peyer and Hart Seely found that Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto's utterances can be cast as free verse. Jane Austen wrote three novels on a tiny table in her family's sitting room, subject to continual interruption. Sources for our story on the East German balloon escape: Jürgen Petschull, With the Wind to the West, 1980. John Dornberg, "Freedom Balloon," Popular Mechanics 153:2 (February 1980), 100-103, 150. Kate Connolly, "Film of Daring Balloon Escape From East Revives German Identity Debate," Guardian, Oct. 7, 2018. "Man Who Fled East Germany in a Homemade Balloon and Whose Story Was Made Into a Film Dies," Sunday Express, March 15, 2017. "Fleeing Communism in a Hot Air Balloon," BBC World Service, June 18, 2015. Donata Von Hardenberg, "Escaping the East by Any Means," McClatchy-Tribune Business News, Nov. 12, 2009. "Great Escapes," National Post, Nov. 7, 2009. Scott Dick, "Those Who Risked It All on a Flight to Freedom," Daily Telegraph, April 13, 2004. Alice Demetrius Stock, "Homemade Craft Made Daring Escape," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 3, 1995. Paul Martin, "The House at Checkpoint Charlie: A Little West Berlin Museum Celebrates the Ingenuity of Those Who Conquered the Wall," Chicago Tribune, Dec. 7, 1986. Victoria Pope, "Berlin Wall, 20 Years Later: People Still Try to Flee," Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 13, 1981. "East-West: The Great Balloon Escape," Time, Oct. 1, 1979. Michael Getler, "Harrowing Flight From East Germany," Washington Post, Sept. 28, 1979. "Eight Flee East Germany in Homemade Balloon," UPI, Sept. 17, 1979. "Günter Wetzel Und Peter Strelzyk," Haus de Bayerischen Geschichte Museum (accessed January 6, 2019). Günter Wetzel's website. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Road Space Rationing" (accessed Jan. 10, 2019). Wikipedia, "Vehicle Restriction in São Paulo" (accessed Jan. 10, 2019). Reddit legaladvice (accessed Jan. 12, 2019). "I trained an AI to generate /r/legaladvice post titles, and it asks 'Is it legal for me to get in legal trouble?'," Reddit legaladviceofftopic (accessed Jan. 11, 2019). Wikipedia, "Keyforge: Call of the Archons" (accessed Jan. 10, 2019). "Archon Names," Fantasy Flight Games, Nov. 9, 2018. "The Amazing KeyForge Deck Names," Heavy Punch Games (accessed Jan. 19, 2019). Dave Lawrence posts lists of neural net outputs on his blog, Aardvark Zythum. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Peter Wilds, who sent this related link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 21, 2019, 5 a.m.

232-The Indomitable Spirit of Douglas Bader

Douglas Bader was beginning a promising career as a British fighter pilot when he lost both legs in a crash. But that didn't stop him -- he learned to use artificial legs and went on to become a top flying ace in World War II. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review Bader's inspiring story and the personal philosophy underlay it. We'll also revisit the year 536 and puzzle over the fate of a suitcase. Intro: In 1872 Celia Thaxter published an unsettling poem about an iceberg. In 193 the Praetorian Guard auctioned off the Roman empire. Sources for our story on Douglas Bader: Paul Brickhill, Reach for the Sky, 1954. S.P. Mackenzie, Bader's War, 2008. Andy Saunders, Bader's Last Fight, 2007. Joel Ralph, "Their Finest Hour," Canada's History 95:6 (December 2015/January 2016), 22-31. Paul Laib, "Bader, Sir Douglas Robert Steuart," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, May 19, 2011. A.W.G. English, "Psychology of Limb Loss," BMJ: British Medical Journal 299:6710 (Nov. 18, 1989), 1287. "Obituary," Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 130:5315 (October 1982), 750-751. The Douglas Bader Foundation. Neil Tweedie, "Tribute to a Very British Hero," Daily Telegraph, Aug. 10, 2001, 10. "Reaching for the Sky: Lady Bader Unveils Statue in Honour of Sir Douglas," Birmingham Post, Aug. 10, 2001, 6. "Who Really Shot Down Douglas Bader?" Daily Telegraph, Aug. 9, 2001, 23. Arifa Akbar, "In Memory of a Legendary Hero," [Darlington, UK] Northern Echo, Aug. 8, 2001, 8. "Sir Douglas Bader, Legless RAF Ace Who Shot Down 22 German Planes," Associated Press, Sept. 6, 1982, 1. "Sir Douglas Bader, World War II Ace," Associated Press, Sept. 5, 1982. Herbert Mitgang, "He Fought Sitting Down," New York Times, Nov. 17, 1957. "Legless British Pilot to Aid Veterans Here," New York Times, May 7, 1947. "Legless Air Hero Enters British Title Golf Event," New York Times, April 5, 1946. "Legless RAF Ace Honored," New York Times, Nov. 28, 1945. "Bader, Legless RAF Flier, Freed by Yanks in Reich," New York Times, April 19, 1945. "Germans Recapture Flier Bader As He Tries Out Those New Legs; Bader Is Caught Trying to Escape," New York Times, Sept. 29, 1941. "Bader Gets New Artificial Leg, But Escape Attempt Fails," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, Sept. 29, 1941 A-4. "Legless Pilot Honored; Bader, Now War Prisoner, Gets Bar to Flying Cross," New York Times, Sept. 5, 1941. "Epic of Bader's Leg," New York Times, Aug. 21, 1941. "R.A.F., on Sweep, Drops Artificial Leg for Bader," New York Times, Aug. 20, 1941. "Bader Is Nazi Prisoner; Legless R.A.F. Ace Safe After Parachuting in France," New York Times, Aug. 15, 1941. "Bader, Legless R.A.F. Ace, Reported Missing," New York Times, Aug. 13, 1941. "Two British Air Force Aces, One Legless, Reported Missing," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, Aug. 12, 1941, A-18. "10 Leading R.A.F. Aces Listed for Exploits," New York Times, Jan. 10, 1941. Bader with Flight Lieutenant Eric Ball and Pilot Officer Willie McKnight of No. 242 Squadron, Duxford, October 1940. Bader himself designed the squadron's emblem, a boot kicking Hitler in the breeches. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Settlement of Iceland" (accessed Jan. 4, 2019). Wikipedia, "History of Iceland" (accessed Jan. 4, 2019). Wikipedia, "Papar" (accessed Jan. 4, 2019). Encyclopedia.com, "The Discovery and Settlement of Iceland" (accessed Jan. 4, 2019). Neil Schlager, Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery, 2001. Wikipedia, "Thule" (accessed Jan. 4, 2019). Wikipedia, "(486958) 2014 MU69" (accessed Jan. 4, 2019). NASA, "New Horizons Chooses Nickname for 'Ultimate' Flyby Target," March 13, 2018. "Is This the Reason Ireland Converted to Christianity?," Smithsonian Channel, June 26, 2014. Mike Wall, "How Halley's Comet Is Linked to a Famine 1,500 Years Ago," NBC News, Dec. 19 2013. Colin Barras, "The Year of Darkness," New Scientist 221:2952 (2014), 34-38. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jeff King. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 14, 2019, 5 a.m.

231-The Halifax Explosion

In 1917, a munitions ship exploded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, devastating the city and shattering the lives of its citizens. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the events of the disaster, the largest man-made explosion before Hiroshima, and the grim and heroic stories of its victims. We'll also consider the dangers of cactus plugging and puzzle over why a man would agree to be assassinated. Intro: In 1989 an unmanned Soviet MiG-23 flew all the way from Poland to Belgium. In 1793 architect Sir James Hall fashioned a model of Westminster Abbey from rods of willow. Sources for our story on the Halifax explosion: John U. Bacon, The Great Halifax Explosion, 2017. Laura M. Mac Donald, Curse of the Narrows, 2005. Ken Cuthbertson, "The Horrors of the Halifax Explosion," Queen's Quarterly 125:4 (Winter 2018), 510-529. Joseph Scanlon, "Dealing With Mass Death After a Community Catastrophe: Handling Bodies After the 1917 Halifax Explosion," Disaster Prevention and Management 7:4 (1998), 288-304. Jesse N. Bradley, "The December 6, 1917, Halifax Explosion Was the Largest Man-Made Non-Nuclear Blast in History," Military History 19:5 (December 2002), 16. Chryssa N. McAlister et al., "The Halifax Disaster (1917): Eye Injuries and Their Care," British Journal of Ophthalmology, 91:6 (June 2007), 832-835. Meagan Campbell, "The Luckiest Man in Canada," Maclean's 130:2 (March 2017), 14-15. Marc Wortman, "A Newly Discovered Diary Tells the Harrowing Story of the Deadly Halifax Explosion," Smithsonian.com, July 14, 2017. Canadian Encyclopedia, "Halifax Explosion" (accessed 12/24/2018). "Halifax Explosion," Nova Scotia Legislature (accessed 12/24/2018). Bertram Chambers, "Halifax Explosion," Naval Review 8 [1920], 445-457. https://books.google.com/books?id=oKtAAQAAMAAJ&pg;=PA445 "The Work of Rehabilitating Halifax," Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen's Magazine 64:2 (Jan. 15, 1918), 18. "The Halifax Disaster Brings the Hazards of War Close to American Citizens," Current Opinion 64:1 (January 1918), 4-6. "The Halifax Disaster of December 6, 1917, in Its Relation to Blindness," Proceedings, American Association of Instructors of the Blind 24th Biennial Convention, 55-58. Will Ashton, "Tales of a Forgotten Disaster: Before Hiroshima, There Was Halifax," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 3, 2018, D-6. Ian Austen, "The Halifax Explosion and Au Revoir to Hi: The Canada Letter," New York Times, Dec. 8, 2017. Steve Hendrix, "Two Ships Collided in Halifax Harbor. One of Them Was a Floating, 3,000-Ton Bomb," Washington Post, Dec. 6, 2017. Ian Austen, "Century After Halifax’s Great Explosion, City Marks Anniversary," New York Times, Dec. 6, 2017. Dean Jobb, "The Halifax Explosion Still Reverberates," Globe and Mail, Dec. 2, 2017, 27. Brett Bundale, "The Silence After the Blast: How the Halifax Explosion Was Nearly Forgotten," Canadian Press, Nov. 30, 2017. "Survivors Mark Halifax Explosion," North Bay [Ontario] Nugget, Dec. 7, 2005, A8. "Halifax Bomb Likely Relic of 1917 Explosion Bomb Found in Harbour Probably Came From Munitions Ship That Triggered Massive Halifax Explosion," [Moncton, N.B.] Times & Transcript, April 27, 1999. Graeme Hamilton, "Lost in a Flash: The 1917 Halifax Explosion," [St. Catharines, Ontario] Standard, Dec. 6, 1997, D12. "The Halifax Explosion," New York Times, May 23, 1995. "'Unholy Horror' of the Halifax Explosion," Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 6, 1992, E12. "Capt. Francis Mackey; Pilot of Vessel in the 1917 Halifax Explosion Dies," New York Times, Jan. 1, 1962. "Halifax Blast Recalled," New York Times, Dec. 7, 1955. "Joseph Quirk; Halifax Explosion Survivor Had Many Escapes From Death," New York Times, Jan. 15, 1940. "Prince of Wales Sees Halifax Ruins," New York Times, Aug. 19, 1919. "Commander Wyatt Held," New York Times, March 21, 1918. "Appeal for Halifax Blind," New York Times, Jan. 27, 1918. "Halifax Buries 200 Dead," New York Times, Dec. 18, 1917. "Fund for Halifax Blind," New York Times, Dec. 16, 1917. "Halifax Death Roll Is Fixed at 1,266," New York Times, Dec. 13, 1917. "Halifax Appeals for $25,000,000 to Aid Victims," New York Times, Dec. 10, 1917. "Americans Escape Death at Halifax," New York Times, Dec. 10, 1917. "Prevented Second Halifax Explosion," New York Times, Dec. 10, 1917. "German Citizens of Halifax Are Being Arrested," Berkeley (Calif.) Daily Gazette, Dec. 10, 1917. "Halifax Now Counts Its Dead at 4,000," New York Times, Dec. 9, 1917. "Richmond an Appalling Waste After Explosion and Fires," New York Times, Dec. 9, 1917. "Fragments Hurled 5 Miles," New York Times, Dec. 9, 1917. "The Halifax Horror," New York Times, Dec. 8, 1917. "Blizzard Adds to the Halifax Horror," New York Times, Dec. 8, 1917. "Carried 2,800 Tons of Explosives," New York Times, Dec. 8, 1917. "Call Scene Worse Than Battlefield," New York Times, Dec. 8, 1917. "Halifax Thought of German Shelling as Shock Came," New York Times, Dec. 7, 1917. "Disaster in Halifax Kills Thousand People," Daily Alaskan, Dec. 6, 1917. "Dead and Dying Line Streets of Halifax After an Explosion," Alaska Daily Empire, Dec. 6, 1917. "100 Years After the Great Halifax Explosion," Morning Edition, National Public Radio, Dec. 6, 2017. Listener mail: Stacey Leasca, "So Many Cacti Are Getting Stolen From Arizona's National Park, They're Being Microchipped," Travel + Leisure, March 24, 2018. Wikipedia, "Saguaro" (accessed Dec. 23, 2018). Snopes, "Death by Saguaro," Feb. 8, 2015. "Plant of the Week: Saguaro Cactus," University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Dec. 12, 2008. "Ariz. Man in Intensive Care After Being Pinned by 16-Foot Cactus," CBS News, June 22, 2012. Matthew Hendley, "Yuma Man Crushed by 16-Foot Cactus Lands in 'Ripley's Believe It or Not,'" Phoenix New Times, Sept. 13, 2013. Wikipedia, "Liquid-Crystal Display" (accessed Dec. 24, 2018). Mentour Pilot, "Which Pilot Sunglasses to Buy," Oct. 5, 2017. Captain Joe, "Why Pilots Can't Wear Polarized Sunglasses," Sept. 7, 2017. Kyle Wiens, "iPhones are Allergic to Helium," iFixIt.org, Oct. 30, 2018. "Does Helium Break iPhones," iFixit Video, Nov. 2, 2018. "MEMs Oscillator Sensitivity to Helium (Helium Kills iPhones)," Applied Science, Nov. 18, 2018. Listener Callie Bunker, her Christmas tree ship sweatshirt, and Chicago's commemorative plaque. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Peter Bartholomew. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle).  You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 7, 2019, 5 a.m.

230-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. The sources for this week's puzzles are below. In a few places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 was contributed by listener Phil Moore. Here are two corroborating links. Puzzle #2 is from Jed's List of Situation Puzzles. Puzzle #3 is adapted from Edward J. Harshman's 1996 book Fantastic Lateral Thinking Puzzles. Puzzle #4 is from Greg. Here's a link. Puzzle #5 was inspired by an item on the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish. Here are two links. Puzzle #6 is from listener Dave Capozzi, who sent this link. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 24, 2018, 5 a.m.

229-The Stone of Destiny

  In 1950, four patriotic Scots broke in to Westminster Abbey to steal the Stone of Scone, a symbol of Scottish independence that had lain there for 600 years. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the memorable events of that evening and their meaning for the participants, their nation, and the United Kingdom. We'll also evade a death ray and puzzle over Santa's correspondence. Intro: In the 1920s Massachusetts mechanical engineer Elis Stenman fashioned a house out of pressed newspaper. Julijonas Urbonas' Euthanasia Coaster is designed to kill its riders. Sources for our story on the Stone of Scone: Ian Hamilton, The Taking of the Stone of Destiny, 1991. Warwick Rodwell, The Coronation Chair and Stone of Scone, 2013. Ian Hamilton, "How We Stole the Stone of Scone," Life, May 14, 1951, 141-153. Antonia Kearton, "Imagining the 'Mongrel Nation': Political Uses of History in the Recent Scottish Nationalist Movement," National Identities 7:1 (March 2005), 23-50. H.J. Hanham, "The Scottish Nation Faces the Post-Imperial World," International Journal 23:4 (December 1, 1968). "Stone of Scone Thief Questions," Times, Dec. 21, 2015, 8. Victoria Ward, "Stone of Scone 'Should Not Automatically Be Loaned to England for Next Coronation,'" Telegraph, Dec. 20, 2015. "Kay Matheson: Obituaries Teacher and Ardent Nationalist Who Helped 'Reclaim' the Stone of Scone From Westminster Abbey," Daily Telegraph, July 15, 2013, 25. "Woman Who Took Stone of Destiny Back to Scotland Dies," BBC News, July 8, 2013. Olga Craig, "Ian Hamilton on Stone of Destiny: I Felt I Was Holding Scotland's Soul," Telegraph, Dec. 14, 2008. Auslan Cramb, "Stone of Destiny Is Fake, Claims Alex Salmond," Telegraph, June 16, 2008. Gillian Bowditch, "Stone Reunion in Hamilton's Destiny," Sunday Times, Nov. 4, 2007, 5. "Obituary of Gavin Vernon," Daily Telegraph, March 26, 2004, 29. "Took Part in Stone of Scone Theft," Montreal Gazette, March 26, 2004, E8. Joanne Laucius, "Repatriation of Stone of Scone Is a Story Prankster Scotsman Gavin Vernon Brought to Canada and Leaves Behind Upon His Death," CanWest News, March 25, 2004, 1. Jim Gilchrist, "Stone That Stole Nation's Heart," Scotsman, Dec. 9, 2000, 11. Michael Fry, "A Dark Date With Destiny," [Glasgow] Herald, Sept. 2, 1999, 19. Jack O'Sullivan, "Where Does the Real Stone of Scone Lie?", Independent, July 9, 1999. Michael White, "Stone of Scone Going Home After 700 Years," Guardian, July 4, 1996. Gillian Bowditch, "Unsolved Riddle of the Real Relic," Times, July 4, 1996, 1. Archibald Rollo, "The Christmas They Stole the Stone of Destiny," Vancouver Sun, Dec. 24, 1993, E1. "London Police Foil Effort to Take Stone of Scone," New York Times, Sept. 5, 1974. "Stone of Scone Put Back in Royal Chair in Abbey," New York Times, June 2, 1953. "Stone of Scone Guarded; Scotland Yard Takes Precaution at Westminster Abbey," New York Times, Dec. 26, 1952. "Scots Call for Stone of Scone," New York Times, April 28, 1952. "Medieval Tourney Urged," New York Times, March 29, 1952. "Stone of Scone Restored Quietly," New York Times, Feb. 27, 1952. "Stone of Scone Case Off," Associated Press, April 20, 1951. "Coronation Stone Back in London," New York Times, April 14, 1951. "Scots Press Drive to Keep Stone of Scone," New York Times, April 13, 1951. Clifton Daniel, "Scots Surrender Stone of Scone," New York Times, April 12, 1951. Clifton Daniel, "Stone of Scone Thieves Traced, But Scotland Yard Delays Arrests," New York Times, April 3, 1951. "Clue to Stone of Scone," New York Times, Feb. 1, 1951. "Stone Clue Stirs Scots," New York Times, Dec. 31, 1950. "Scotch on the Rock," New York Times, Dec. 31, 1950. "New 'Confession' in Stone of Scone Theft," New York Times, Dec. 30, 1950. "London Lake Is Dragged," New York Times, Dec. 29, 1950. "Wristwatch Held Abbey Theft Clue," New York Times, Dec. 28, 1950. "The Stone of Scone," New York Times, Dec. 27, 1950. "Theft of Stone of Scone Still Puzzle as Police Uncover Only 3 Initials," New York Times, Dec. 27, 1950. "Coronation Stone Is Stolen From Westminster Abbey," New York Times, Dec. 26, 1950. P.J. Philip, "Coronation Stone Is Back in Westminster," New York Times, April 9, 1946. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Sarah T. Hughes" (accessed Dec. 8, 2018). Wikipedia, "First Inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson" (accessed Dec. 8, 2018). Wikipedia, "Calvin Coolidge: Presidency" (accessed Dec. 10, 2018). Harry Rosehill, "The Walkie Talkie Death Ray Could Actually Have Killed Someone," Londonist, Nov. 23, 2018. Jiajie Zhu, Wolfram Jahn, and Guillermo Rein, "Computer Simulation of Sunlight Concentration Due to Façade Shape: Application to the 2013 Death Ray at Fenchurch Street, London," Journal of Building Performance Simulation, Nov. 22, 2018. Sixty Symbols, "How to Melt Cars and BBQ Pigeons," Sept. 4, 2013. Rose Palazzolo, "British Sculpture Could Fry Birds," ABC News, March 7, 2018. Davidson Institute, "Solar Furnace," Dec. 25, 2014 (turn on "CC" to see English captions). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Sharon based on an item in Dan Lewis' Now I Know newsletter. Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 17, 2018, 6 a.m.

228-The Children's Champion

Polish educator Janusz Korczak set out to remake the world just as it was falling apart. In the 1930s his Warsaw orphanage was an enlightened society run by the children themselves, but he struggled to keep that ideal alive as Europe descended into darkness. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the children's champion and his sacrifices for the orphans he loved. We'll also visit an incoherent space station and puzzle over why one woman needs two cars. Intro: Elbert Hubbard and his wife decided on a final gesture aboard the sinking Lusitania. E.E. Cummings dedicated his 1935 collection of poetry to the 14 publishing houses that rejected it. Sources for our story on Janusz Korczak: Betty Jean Lifton, The King of Children, 1988. Adir Cohen, The Gate of Light, 1994. E.P. Kulawiec, ed., The Warsaw Ghetto Memoirs of Janusz Korczak, 1979. Marc Silverman, A Pedagogy of Humanist Moral Education: The Educational Thought of Janusz Korczak, 2017. Susan J. Berger, "The Children's Advocate: Janusz Korczak," American Educational History Journal 33:2 (2006), 137-142. Robert Leiter, "For the Sake of Children," Jewish Exponent, April 6, 2000, 59. Liba H. Engel, "Does School Reform Have Legs? The Flourishing of Janusz Korczak's Pedagogy in Modern Israel," Educational Forum 68:2 (Winter 2004), 170-179. Reinhold Boschki, "Re-Reading Martin Buber and Janusz Korczak: Fresh Impulses Toward a Relational Approach to Religious Education," Religious Education 100:2 (Spring 2005), 114-126. Liba H. Engel, "Experiments in Democratic Education: Dewey's Lab School and Korczak's Children's Republic," Social Studies 99:3 (May/June 2008), 117-121. Robert Leiter, "'Who Is That Man?' In the End, He Was the Comforter of Lost Children," Jewish Exponent, June 10, 2004, 32. Daniel Feldman, "Honoring the Child's Right to Respect: Janusz Korczak as Holocaust Educator," The Lion and the Unicorn 40:2 (April 2016), 129-143. Martha J. Ignaszewski, Kevin Lichtenstein, and Maya Ignaszewski, "Dr. Janusz Korczak and His Legacy," British Columbia Medical Journal 55:2 (March 2013), 108-110. Gabriel Eichsteller, "Janusz Korczak -- His Legacy and Its Relevance for Children's Rights Today," International Journal of Children's Rights 17:3 (July 2009), 377-391. Sara Efrat Efron, "Moral Education Between Hope and Hopelessness: The Legacy of Janusz Korczak," Curriculum Inquiry 38:1 (January 2008), 39-62. Aleksander Lewin and Agnieszka Bolczynska, "Janusz Korczak Is Greater Than His Legend: The Saint of All Creeds," Dialogue & Universalism 11:9/10 (2001), 75. Marie Syrkin, "The Saint in the Ghetto," New Republic 198:23 (June 6, 1988), 44. Yerachmiel Weingarten, "Janusz Korczak -- Living Legend of Warsaw," Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Dec. 8, 1944. Vivian Eden, "Korczak Controversy," Jerusalem Post, April 14, 1989, 7. Amy O'Brian, "Exhibit Honours Hero of the Holocaust," Vancouver Sun, Oct. 21, 2002, B2. Eva Hoffman, "My Hero: Janusz Korczak," Guardian, April 8, 2011. James MacDonald, "Himmler Program Kills Polish Jews," New York Times, Nov. 25, 1942. Gabrielle Glaser, "Warsaw Journal; Where Children Are Taught Survival," New York Times, May 30, 1992. Vincent Canby, "Of a Saintly Jewish Doctor in Poland Who Died at Treblinka," New York Times, April 12, 1991. Betty Jean Lifton, "Wajda's 'Korczak'; Human Values, Inhuman Time," New York Times, May 5, 1991. Stephen Engelberg, "Wajda's 'Korczak' Sets Loose the Furies," New York Times, April 14, 1991. Carolyn A. Murphy, "The King of Children," New York Times, Aug. 21, 1988. Geoffrey Wolff, "A Saint's Life in Warsaw," New York Times, July 31, 1988. Betty Jean Lifton, "Shepherd of the Ghetto Orphans," New York Times, April 20, 1980. James Feron, "Awarding of a West German Peace Prize Stirs Memories of a Wartime Martyr of the Warsaw Ghetto," New York Times, Oct. 1, 1972. "Parenting Advice From a Polish Holocaust Hero," Weekend All Things Considered, NPR, March 3, 2007. Listener mail: Annalee Newitz, "Movie Written by Algorithm Turns Out to Be Hilarious and Intense," Ars Technica, June 9, 2016. Dyllan Furness, "'Sunspring' Is an Absurd Sci-Fi Short Film Written By AI, Starring Thomas Middleditch," Digital Trends, June 10, 2016. Jacob Brogan, "An Artificial Intelligence Scripted This Short Film, But Humans Are Still the Real Stars," Slate, June 9, 2016. Amanda Kooser, "AI-Written Film 'Sunspring' a Surreal Delight, Upchucked Eyeball Included," CNET, June 13, 2016. "HAL 90210," "This Is What Happens When an AI-Written Screenplay Is Made Into a Film," Guardian, June 10, 2016. Max Woolf, "I trained an (actual) AI on the titles of BuzzFeed YouTube videos and it generated some *interesting* results," Twitter, Nov. 19, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener B Vann. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 10, 2018, 6 a.m.

227-The Christmas Tree Ship

In the late 1800s Chicago families bought their Christmas trees from the decks of schooners that had ferried them across Lake Michigan. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll meet Herman Schuenemann, known as "Captain Santa," who brought Christmas to the city for 30 years until a fateful storm overtook him. We'll also peruse some possums and puzzle over a darkening phone. Intro: In 1991 a Yale physician proposed naming toes. No one's quite sure how cats navigate. Photo: Herman Schuenemann, center, with W.K. Vanaman, left, and a Mr. Colberg aboard a Christmas tree ship in the Chicago River, 1909. Sources for our story: Fred Neuschel, Lives & Legends of the Christmas Tree Ships, 2007. Larry Peterson, "The Legend of the Christmas Ship," Wisconsin Magazine of History 96:2 (Winter 2012/2013), 28-39. Glenn V. Longacre, "The Christmas Tree Ship," Prologue 38:4 (Winter 2006), 6-12. Shannon Marie Lange, Chicago Shipwrecks: Disasters and Their Impact on Maritime Law, dissertation, Southern New Hampshire University, 2017. Fred Neuschel, "Sailors as Entrepreneurs in a Great Lakes Maritime Village," Northern Mariner 8 (1998), 65-82. Fred Hollister, "Loss of the Christmas Tree Schooner," Sea Classics 39:5 (May 2006), 50-55. Amy Meyer, "Rouse Simmons Mystery Still Relevant," [Manitowoc, Wis.] Herald Times Reporter, Nov. 1, 2015. Kevin Collier, "Is 'Christmas Tree Ship' a Ghost of Christmas Past?" TCA Regional News, Dec. 22, 2014. "Lake Michigan Almost Canceled Christmas," Battle Creek [Mich.] Enquirer, Nov. 30, 2014. Doug Moe, "Film Tells Tale of Christmas Tree Ship," Wisconsin State Journal, Nov. 29, 2013. John Gurda, "'Christmas Tree Ship' Went Down on the Lake 100 Years Ago," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 1, 2012. Meg Jones, "Events Mark 100 Year Anniversary of Sinking of Christmas Tree Ship," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 22, 2012. Jordan Tilkens, "Centennial Celebration Commemorates Sunken Ship," [Appleton, Wis.] Post-Crescent, Nov. 22, 2012. Jordan Tilkens, "Two Rivers Museum Marks 100th Anniversary of 'Christmas Tree Ship' Sinking," Green Bay [Wis.] Press Gazette, Nov. 21, 2012. Tony Trowbridge, "When the Christmas Spirit Foundered in Chicago," Chicago Tribune, Nov. 11, 2012. Kristopher Wenn, "Smaller Stories Fill Christmas Tree Ship's History," [Manitowoc, Wis.] Herald Times, Nov. 18, 2007. Dennis McCann, "Christmas Tree Ship Surfaces in Memory," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 12, 2006. Mike Michaelson, "Algoma Remembers 19th-Century Christmas Tree Ships," [Arlington Heights, Ill.] Daily Herald, Nov. 21, 2004. Susan Smith, "89 Years Later ... ; Legend of Famed But Ill-Fated Christmas Tree Ship Revived," Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 2, 2001. "Coast Guard Re-Enacts 'Christmas Tree' Voyages," Associated Press, Dec. 4, 2000. David Young, "The Fir Trade Separating Fact From Legend in Loss of Christmas Tree Ship," Chicago Tribune, Dec. 26, 1999. David Young, "A Tall Order Milwaukee Schooner Being Built to Meet a Solid Heritage," Chicago Tribune, Oct. 4, 1998. Margaret H. Plevak, "The Ship That Never Arrived Schooner Loaded With Yule Trees Vanished in Lake," Milwaukee Journal, Dec. 8, 1992. "Large Christmas Tree Crop," Michigan Manufacturer & Financial Record 14:24 (Dec. 12, 1914), 27. "Heart to Heart Talks," Successful Farming 12:12 (December 1913), 81. "Chicago Notes," Horticulture 18:18 (Nov. 1, 1913), 611. "Christmas Tree in Crepe; Mourning Recalls to Chicagoans Death of Lake Captain and Crew," New York Times, Dec. 26, 1912. "Has Christmas Tree Widow; Chicago to Be Supplied with Firs, Despite Schooner's Wreck," New York Times, Dec. 11, 1912. "Had Fifteen on Board," Lemmon [S.D.] Herald, Dec. 6, 1912. "Christmas Tree Ship Lost; Wreckage of Old Schooner Washed Ashore in Lake Michigan," New York Times, Dec. 5, 1912. "Vessel With 15 Men Lost," Rock Island [Ill.] Argus, Dec. 4, 1912. "To Greet Santa Claus," Fruit Trade Journal and Produce Record 46:10 (Dec. 9, 1911), 6. "Notes," American Florist 35:1174 (Dec. 3, 1910), 937. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Opossum" (accessed Nov. 21, 2018). Wikipedia, "Powhatan Language" (accessed Nov. 21, 2018). Ann Gibbons, "Why 536 Was 'The Worst Year to Be Alive,'" Science, Nov. 15, 2018. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days: The Standard of Truth: 1815–1846, 2018. "Downing Street's Larry the Cat Gets a Helping Hand From Police," BBC News, Nov. 20, 2018. "Hilarious Moment Downing Street Policeman Knocks on Number 10 to Let Larry Cat In," Sun, Nov. 20, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Scott Richards. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 3, 2018, 6 a.m.

226-The Great Match Race

America's first national sports spectacle took place in 1823, when the North and South sent their best horses for a single dramatic race that came to symbolize the regional tensions of a changing nation. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Great Match Race, which laid the foundations of modern American thoroughbred racing. We'll also ponder a parasite's contribution to culture and puzzle over a misinformed criminal. Intro: Quentin Tarantino's cast and crew left greetings to his editor in their work. The first subject in Anton Reicha's Fugue No. 18 is a single note repeated 34 times. Sources for our feature on the Great Match Race: John Eisenberg, The Great Match Race, 2006. Nancy L. Struna, "The North-South Races: American Thoroughbred Racing in Transition, 1823-1850," Journal of Sport History 8:2 (Summer 1981), 28-57. Paul E. Johnson, "Northern Horse: American Eclipse as a Representative New Yorker," Journal of the Early Republic 33:4 (Winter 2013), 701-726. Katherine Carmines Mooney, Race Horse Men: Slavery and Freedom at the Nineteenth-Century Racetrack, dissertation, Yale University, 2012. Richard Nash, "Joy and Pity: Reading Animal Bodies in Late Eighteenth-Century Culture," Eighteenth Century 52:1 (Spring 2011), 47-67. Michael S. Rosenwald, "Before Justify, There Was Eclipse and a Horse-Racing War Between North And South," Washington Post, May 19, 2018. Oswald West, "Famous Horses and Horsemen of the Pioneer Period," Oregon Historical Quarterly 46:2 (June 1945), 140-155. C.C. Colden, "The Great Match Race Between Eclipse and Sir Henry," Frank Forester's Horse and Horsemanship, 1857, 184-194. Max Farrand, "The Great Race -- Eclipse Against the World!" Scribner's Magazine 70:4 (October 1921), 457-464. "The Match Race," The Port Folio 16:255 (July 1823), 81-83. W.E. Beard, "The War of the Roses," Trotwood's Monthly 3:2 (November 1906), 178-189. "The Running Turf in America," Harper's New Monthly Magazine 241:41 (June 1870), 91-97. Famous Horses of America, 1877. James Douglas Anderson and Balie Peyton, Making the American Thoroughbred, 1916. Listener mail: Kevin D. Lafferty, "Can the Common Brain Parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, Influence Human Culture?" Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 273:1602 (2006), 2749-2755. Jaroslav Flegr, "Influence of Latent Toxoplasma Infection on Human Personality, Physiology and Morphology: Pros and Cons of the Toxoplasma–Human Model in Studying the Manipulation Hypothesis," Journal of Experimental Biology 216:1 (2013), 127-133. Jaroslav Flegr, Marek Preiss, and Jirí Klose, "Toxoplasmosis-Associated Difference in Intelligence and Personality in Men Depends on Their Rhesus Blood Group but Not Abo Blood Group," PLoS One 8:4 (2013), e61272. M. Novotná et al. "Toxoplasma and Reaction Time: Role of Toxoplasmosis in the Origin, Preservation and Geographical Distribution of Rh Blood Group Polymorphism," Parasitology 135:11 (2008), 1253-1261. Jaroslav Flegr et al. "Neurophysiological Effect of the Rh Factor: Protective Role of the RhD Molecule Against Toxoplasma-Induced Impairment of Reaction Times in Women," Neuroendocrinology Letters 29:4 (2008), 475. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener John Levine. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 26, 2018, 6 a.m.

225-The Great Stork Derby

When Toronto attorney Charles Vance Millar died in 1926, he left behind a mischievous will that promised a fortune to the woman who gave birth to the most children in the next 10 years. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the Great Stork Derby and the hope and controversy it brought to Toronto's largest families during the Great Depression. We'll also visit some Portuguese bats and puzzle over a suspicious work crew. Intro: The programming language Shakespeare produces code that reads like a stage play. In a qualification round for the 1994 Caribbean Cup, Barbados and Grenada seemed to switch sides. Sources for our feature on the Great Stork Derby: Mark M. Orkin, The Great Stork Derby, 1982. In Re Estate of Charles Millar (1937), [1938] 1 D.L.R. 65 (Supreme Court of Canada). Chris Bateman, "Historicist: The Great Stork Derby," Torontoist, Oct. 29, 2016. David Goldenberg, "How a Dead Millionaire Convinced Dozens of Women to Have as Many Babies as Possible," Five Thirty Eight, Dec. 11, 2015. Adam Bunch, "The Great Toronto Stork Derby — Why the City Went Baby Crazy During the Great Depression," Spacing Magazine, July 23, 2013. Steuart Henderson Britt, "The Significance of the Last Will and Testament," Journal of Social Psychology 8:3 (August 1937), 347-353. Peter Edwards, "1926 Will Sparked Toronto's Great 'Stork Derby,'" Toronto Star, Sept. 9, 2006. "Big Family, Big Prize," Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jan. 17, 2002. Douglas J. Johnston, "Will Power," The Beaver 81:4 (August/September 2001), 37-39. Marty Gervais, "Stork Derby of '26 Meant to Tweak Beaks of Clergy," Windsor Star, June 23, 2000. Craig Zawada, "Dumb Moments in Legal History," Saskatchewan Business 20:6 (Nov. 1, 1999), 7. Pat MacAdam, "The Mischievous Will: Toronto the Good Left Shaken by Staid Lawyer's Quirky Last Wishes," Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 2, 1999. John Picton, "Lawyer's Will Started Baby Boom," Toronto Star, Feb. 26, 1989. Kathleen Walker, "Stork Derby Strangest of Lawyer's Bequests," Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 14, 1981. Susan Schwartz, "Prim Toronto Was Site of Baby Race," Montreal Gazette, Dec. 9, 1981. "Mrs. Annie Smith," New York Times, Jan. 21, 1948. "Toronto Bequest Provides for Second 'Stork Derby,'" New York Times, March 12, 1946. "Stork Derby Victors Lonely for Children," New York Times, July 6, 1938. "Topics of the Times," New York Times, June 1, 1938. "Last of 'Stork Derby'?", Ottawa Evening Citizen, May 31, 1938. "'Stork Derby' Winners Paid," New York Times, May 30, 1938. "Stork Derby' Prize Awarded 4 Women," New York Times, March 20, 1938. "Justice 'Troubled' in Baby Derby Plea," New York Times, Feb. 27, 1938. "Four Mothers of Nine Win Shares in $500,000 Stork Derby Cash," New York Times, Feb. 13, 1938. "Has Her 12th Baby," New York Times, Jan. 6, 1938. "Stork Derby' Will Upheld on Appeal," New York Times, Dec. 23, 1937. "Toronto Baby Race Upheld on Appeal," New York Times, Feb. 24, 1937. "Lady Astor Declares Stork Derby 'Horror,'" New York Times, Nov. 29, 1936. "Stork Derby Will Upheld by Court," New York Times, Nov. 21, 1936. "'Baby Clause' Held Valid in Millar Will," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 19, 1936. "Ruling on Stork Promised in Week," New York Times, Nov. 17, 1936. "Dr. Hayne Thinks Toronto Mothers in 'Piker' Class," [Spartanburg, S.C.] Herald-Journal, Nov. 4, 1936. "Stork Derby 'Winner' Offers to Split Prize," New York Times, Nov. 2, 1936. "Birth Derby Ends; 6 Mothers in 'Tie,'" New York Times, Nov. 1, 1936. "Reaper at Finish Line in Baby Race," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, Oct. 30, 1936. "'Stork Derby' Will Is Attacked by Kin," New York Times, Oct. 29, 1936. "Foul Is Claimed in Baby Derby," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, Oct. 27, 1936. "Stork Derby Rule Taken by Premier," New York Times, Oct. 24, 1936. "To Fight Baby Derby Fund," New York Times, Oct. 16, 1936. "Threats in 'Baby Derby,'" New York Times, Aug. 30, 1936. "Another Baby Enters $500,000 Stork Derby," New York Times, Aug. 18, 1936. "12 in Toronto Stork Race, Parents of 89, Join Party," New York Times, Aug. 1, 1936. "Mrs. Kenny Leads in Stork Derby," Nashua [N.H.] Telegraph, Feb. 6, 1936. "'Dark Horse' in 'Stork Derby' Now Believes in Birth Control," Milwaukee Journal, Nov. 29, 1935. Phillis Griffiths, "Stork Derby Field Scorns Split Prize," New York Times, Sept. 15, 1935. "$500,000 Carried by Toronto Stork," New York Times, Sept. 8, 1935. "Toronto 'Baby' Will Safe," New York Times, Sept. 7, 1935. "12 in Toronto Stork Race, Parents of 89, Join Party," New York Times, Aug. 1, 1936. "The Commonwealth: Birth Race," Time, Dec. 20, 1926. Listener mail: "I Met a Celebrity at the London Openhouse!! Lord Palmerston, The Fuzzy," Reddit London, Sept. 24, 2018. Rachel Nuwer, "Bats Act As Pest Control at Two Old Portuguese Libraries," Smithsonian.com, Sept. 19, 2013. Julie H. Case, "These Portuguese Libraries Are Infested With Bats -- and They Like It That Way," Smithsonian.com, June 7, 2018. Patricia Kowsmann, "The Bats Help Preserve Old Books But They Drive Librarians, Well, Batty," Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2018. Universidade de Coimbra Library. Christina Caron, "Zanesville Animal Massacre Included 18 Rare Bengal Tigers," ABC News, Oct. 19, 2011. Kathy Thompson, "Ohio Exotic Animal Owner Speaks Out 1st Time Since Ordeal," [Zanesville, Ohio] Times Recorder, Oct. 18, 2012. "William Walker: Diver Who Saved Winchester Cathedral Remembered," BBC News, Oct. 6, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listeners Wil, Cassidy, and Sydney, inspired by an item on 99 Percent Invisible (warning -- this link spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 19, 2018, 6 a.m.

224-Lady Death

Lyudmila Pavlichenko was training for a career as a history teacher when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. She suspended her studies to enlist as a sniper in the Red Army, where she discovered a remarkable talent for shooting enemy soldiers. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll trace the career of "Lady Death," the deadliest female sniper in history. We'll also learn where in the world futility.closet.podcast is and puzzle over Air Force One. Intro: Andy Warhol's Brillo Boxes creates a host of puzzles in the philosophy of art. German architect Herman Sörgel wanted to dam the Congo to create two African seas. Sources for our feature on Lyudmila Pavlichenko: Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Lady Death: The Memoirs of Stalin's Sniper, 2018. Roger Reese, "Soviet Women at War," Military History 28:1 (May 2011), 44-53,5. Drew Lindsay, "Why Not Send Women to War?" MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 25:3 (Spring 2013), 50-55, 58-61. Karl E. Friedl, "Biases of the Incumbents: What If We Were Integrating Men Into a Women's Army?" Military Review 96:2 (March/April 2016), 69-75. Jonathan W. Jordan, "Master of the Long Rifle," MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 18:4 (Summer 2006), 49-53. D'Ann Campbell, "Women in Combat: The World War II Experience in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and the Soviet Union," Journal of Military History 57:2 (April 1993), 301-323. E.M. Tenney, "Mrs. Roosevelt, the Russian Sniper, and Me," American Heritage 43:2 (April 1992), 28. John Kass, "This Soldier's Skill Had Nothing to Do With Gender," Chicago Tribune, Jan. 25, 2013. Peter Sheridan, "Meet Lady Death: The Deadliest Female Sniper That Ever Lived," Express, Feb. 5, 2018. Marea Donnelly, "'Lady Death' Sniper Made 309 Kills After Young Comrade Shot," Daily Telegraph, July 12, 2016, 23. Gilbert King, "Eleanor Roosevelt and the Soviet Sniper," Smithsonian.com, Feb. 21, 2013. Alex Lockie, "Meet the World's Deadliest Female Sniper Who Terrorized Hitler's Nazi Army," Independent, March 18, 2018. "Soviet Girl Sniper Learned to Shoot as University Co-Ed," [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, August 28, 1942, 2-X. "Africa a Prelude, Maisky Declares," New York Times, Nov. 15, 1942. "Rifle Match Proposed," New York Times, Sept. 3, 1942. Public Radio International, "The Life and Myths of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Soviet Russia's Deadliest Sniper," PRI's The World, March 9, 2018. "Sharp-Shooting Women Best Soviet Snipers," USA Today Magazine, 135:2739 (December 2006), 3-4. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Maidenhead Locator System" (accessed Nov. 3, 2018). Wikipedia, "Contesting" (accessed Nov. 4, 2018). "An Evaluation of Location Encoding Systems," GitHub (accessed Nov. 9, 2018). Our territory on What3Words. Meh. Gfycat. The Silly Party takes Luton. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 12, 2018, 6 a.m.

223-The Prince of Forgers

Denis Vrain-Lucas was an undistinguished forger until he met gullible collector Michel Chasles. Through the 1860s Lucas sold Chasles thousands of phony letters by everyone from Plato to Louis the 14th, earning thousands of francs and touching off a firestorm among confused scholars. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll trace the career of the world's most prolific forger. We'll also count Queen Elizabeth's eggs and puzzle over a destroyed car. Intro: In 2011 Australian architect Horst Kiechle sculpted a human torso from paper. English historian Thomas Birch went angling dressed as a tree. Sources for our feature on Denis Vrain-Lucas: Joseph Rosenblum, Prince of Forgers, 1998. Michael Farquhar, A Treasury of Deception, 2005. John Whitehead, This Solemn Mockery, 1973. James Anson Farrer, Literary Forgeries, 1907. Rebekah Higgitt, "'Newton Dépossédé!' The British Response to the Pascal Forgeries of 1867," British Journal for the History of Science 36:131 (December 2003), 437-453. Stephen Ornes, "Descartes' Decipherer," Nature 483:7391 (March 29, 2012), 540. R.A. Rosenbaum, "Michel Chasles and the Forged Autograph Letters," Mathematics Teacher 52:5 (May 1959), 365-366. Ken Alder, "History's Greatest Forger: Science, Fiction, and Fraud along the Seine," Critical Inquiry 30:4 (2004), 702-716. Bruce Whiteman, "Practice to Deceive: The Amazing Stories of Literary Forgery's Most Notorious Practitioners, by Joseph Rosenblum," Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 39:1 (2001). "Missives Impossible: Fake News Is Nothing New -- Even Isaac Newton Was a Victim, Says Stephen Ornes," New Scientist 236:3157/3158 (Dec. 23, 2017), 76-77. Steve Kemper, "Signs of the Times," Smithsonian 28:8 (November 1997), 134-140. Cullen Murphy, "Knock It Off," Atlantic Monthly 294:5 (December 2004), 187-188. Paul Gray, "Fakes That Have Skewed History," Time 121:20 (May 16, 1983), 58-61 Matthew Adams, "Archivist Talks About History of Forgery," University Wire, Oct. 24, 2014. Charles Whibley, "Of Literary Forgers," Cornhill Magazine 12:71 (May 1902), 624-636. "Literary Frauds and Forgers," Washington Times, Aug. 13, 1907. "Literary Forgers," New York Times, May 17, 1902. "Personal Gossip," Charleston Daily News, Oct. 20, 1869. Listener mail: Ben Zimmer, "Particitrousers of the Revolutionary Movement," Language Log, Sept. 7, 2015. Ben Zimmer, "Incorrections in the Newsroom: Cupertino and Beyond," Language Log, Feb. 1, 2008. Ben Zimmer, "Hugh Jackilometresan," Language Log, Jan. 4, 2017. Ben Zimmer, "It Was As If a Light Had Been Nookd ...," Language Log, June 1, 2012. Eddie Wrenn, "eBook Replaces All Mentions of the Word 'Kindle' With Rival 'Nook' -- and Ends Up Destroying War and Peace," Daily Mail, June 7, 2012. "Poor Mr Anus, the Council Candidate Given a Bum Deal by Facebook," Guardian, Sept. 28, 2018. Kevin Jackson, "Illusion / Right Before Your Very Eyes: Penn and Teller Do Magic, but the Real Trick Is That They Like to Give the Game Away," Independent, Jan. 30, 1993. Wikipedia, "Japanese Name: Imperial Names" (accessed Oct. 25, 2018). Wikipedia, "Akihito: Ichthyological Research" (accessed Oct. 25, 2018). Russell Goldman, "5 Things to Know About Japan's Emperor and Imperial Family," New York Times, Aug. 8, 2016. Akihito et al., "Speciation of Two Gobioid Species, Pterogobius elapoides and Pterogobius zonoleucus Revealed by Multi-Locus Nuclear and Mitochondrial DNA Analyses," Gene 576:2 (2016), 593-602. Rob Beschizza, "Joachim Rønneberg, Saboteur Who Wrecked Nazi Nuke Program, Dies at 99," Boing Boing, Oct. 22, 2018. "Joachim Roenneberg: Man Who Stopped Nazi Germany's Nuclear Ambitions Has Died, Aged 99, Norwegian Authorities Confirm," Reuters, Oct. 21, 2018. "Joachim Ronneberg: Norwegian Who Thwarted Nazi Nuclear Plan Dies," BBC News, Oct. 22, 2018. Robert D. McFadden, "Joachim Ronneberg, Leader of Raid That Thwarted a Nazi Atomic Bomb, Dies at 99," New York Times, Oct. 22, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Christopher McDonough. Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 5, 2018, 6 a.m.

222-The Year Without a Summer

The eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 was a disaster for the Dutch East Indies, but its astonishing consequences were felt around the world, blocking the sun and bringing cold, famine, and disease to millions of people from China to the United States. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review the volcano's devastating effects and surprising legacy. We'll also appreciate an inverted aircraft and puzzle over a resourceful barber. Intro: The Veterinary Record addressed an overlooked species in 1972. Goats like towers. Map: The 1816 summer temperature anomaly (°C) with respect to 1971-2000 climatology (data source). Sources for our feature on the Tambora eruption: Gillen D'Arcy Wood, Tambora, 2014. William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P. Klingaman, The Year Without a Summer, 2013. Angus M. Gunn, Encyclopedia of Disasters, 2008. Jelle Zeilinga de Boer and Donald Theodore Sanders, Volcanoes in Human History, 2012. Jihong Cole-Dai et al. "Cold Decade (AD 1810–1819) Caused by Tambora (1815) and Another (1809) Stratospheric Volcanic Eruption," Geophysical Research Letters 36:22 (November 2009). Clive Oppenheimer, "Climatic, Environmental and Human Consequences of the Largest Known Historic Eruption: Tambora Volcano (Indonesia) 1815," Progress in Physical Geography 27:2 (2003), 230-259. Bernice de Jong Boers, "Mount Tambora in 1815: A Volcanic Eruption in Indonesia and Its Aftermath," Indonesia 60 (October 1995), 37-60. Chaochao Gao et al., "Climatic Aftermath of the 1815 Tambora Eruption in China," Journal of Meteorological Research 31:1 (February 2017), 28-38. Richard B. Stothers, "The Great Tambora Eruption in 1815 and its Aftermath," Science, New Series 224:4654 (June 15, 1984), 1191-1198. Shuji Cao, Yushang Li, and Bin Yang, "Mt. Tambora, Climatic Changes, and China's Decline in the Nineteenth Century," Journal of World History 23:3 (September 2012), 587-607. Gillen D'Arcy Wood, "The Volcano Lover: Climate, Colonialism, and the Slave Trade in Raffles's History of Java (1817)," Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 8:2 (Fall/Winter 2008), 33-55. Lucy Veale and Georgina H. Endfield, "Situating 1816, the 'Year Without Summer', in the UK," Geographical Journal 182:4 (December 2016), 318-330. Christos S. Zerefos, et al., "Atmospheric Effects of Volcanic Eruptions as Seen by Famous Artists and Depicted in Their Paintings," Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 7:15 (2007), 4027-4042. C.S. Zerefos, et al., "Further Evidence of Important Environmental Information Content in Red-to-Green Ratios as Depicted in Paintings by Great Masters," Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 14:6 (2014), 2987-3015. Sarah Zielinski, "How Paintings of Sunsets Immortalize Past Volcanic Eruptions," Smithsonian.com, March 25, 2014. Alan MacEachern, "The Big Chill," Canada's History 96:4 (August September 2016), 52-55. Richard Cavendish, "The Eruption of Mount Tambora," History Today 65:4 (April 2015), 8. Robert Evans, "Blast From the Past," Smithsonian 33:4 (July 2002), 52-57. Michael Greshko, "201 Years Ago, This Volcano Caused a Climate Catastrophe," National Geographic, April 8, 2016. William J. Broad, "A Volcanic Eruption That Reverberates 200 Years Later," New York Times, Aug. 24, 2015. John Noble Wilford, "Under an 1815 Volcano Eruption, Remains of a 'Lost Kingdom,'" New York Times, Feb. 28, 2006. Listener mail: "Trudeau to Apologize Nov. 7 for 1939 Decision to Turn Away Jewish Refugees Fleeing Nazis," CBC News, Sept. 6, 2018. "Trudeau to Offer Formal Apology in Commons for Fate of Jewish Refugee Ship MS St. Louis," CBC News, May 8, 2018. David Harry, "Box-Top Bonanza: Portland Land Bank May Get Park Land for $6,400," Forecaster, Aug. 14, 2018. "Owney: Tales From the Rails," Smithsonian National Postal Museum, March 6, 2018. James Barron, "An Inverted Jenny Surfaces. The Flawed Stamp Had Not Been Seen Since 1918," New York Times, Sept. 6, 2018. Daniel Fernandez, "How the Inverted Jenny, a 24-Cent Stamp, Came to Be Worth a Fortune," Smithsonian.com, May 15, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Frank Kroeger, inspired by Johann Peter Hebel's story "Der Barbierjunge von Segringen." You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 29, 2018, 5 a.m.

221-The Mystery Man of Essex County

In 1882, a mysterious man using a false name married and murdered a well-to-do widow in Essex County, New York. While awaiting the gallows he composed poems, an autobiography, and six enigmatic cryptograms that have never been solved. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll examine the strange case of Henry Debosnys, whose true identity remains a mystery. We'll also consider children's food choices and puzzle over a surprising footrace. Intro: In 1972 two Canadian scientists set out to figure the number of monsters in Loch Ness. Winston Churchill's country home must always maintain a marmalade cat named Jock. Sources for our feature on Henry Debosnys: Cheri L. Farnsworth, Adirondack Enigma, 2010. Craig P. Bauer, Unsolved!, 2017. George Levi Brown, Pleasant Valley: A History of Elizabethtown, Essex County, New York, 1905. Caroline Halstead Barton Royce, Bessboro: A History of Westport, Essex Co., N.Y., 1902. "Debosnys Ciphers," The Cipher Foundation (accessed Oct. 7, 2018). Craig P. Bauer, "When Killers Leave Ciphers," history.com, Nov. 14, 2017. Nick Pelling, "Henry Debosnys and the Cimbria ... ?" Cipher Mysteries, Nov. 16, 2015. Nick Pelling, "Thoughts on the Debosnys Ciphers ..." Cipher Mysteries, Nov. 7, 2015. Nick Pelling, "The Person Not on the S.S.Cimbria ..." Cipher Mysteries, Nov. 17, 2015. "Guilty of Wife Murder," [Washington D.C.] National Republican, March 8, 1883. "Hangman's Day," [Wilmington, Del.] Daily Republican, April 28, 1883. "A Murderer's Story," Burlington [Vt.] Weekly Free Press, Nov. 24, 1882. "A Wife's Fearful Death," New York Times, Aug. 6, 1882. "A Remarkable Man Hanged," New York Times, April 28, 1883. The Troy Times of Nov. 23, 1882, had noted, "The prisoner spends his time writing verses, or what he thinks is poetry, and he has over a ream of foolscap paper closely written. Much of this doggerel is written in Latin, French, and an unknown cipher, which Debosnys says is used in Europe quite extensively." These six cryptograms came to light in 1957 -- none has been solved: Listener mail: August Skalweit, Die Deutsche Kriegsernährungswirtschaft, 1927. Emma Beckett, "Food Fraud Affects Many Supermarket Staples, So How Do You Choose the Good Stuff?" ABC, Sept. 3, 2018. Stephen Strauss, "Clara M. Davis and the Wisdom of Letting Children Choose Their Own Diets," Canadian Medical Association Journal 175:10 (Nov. 7, 2006), 1199–1201. Benjamin Scheindlin, "'Take One More Bite for Me': Clara Davis and the Feeding of Young Children," Gastronomica 5:1 (Winter 2005), 65-69. Clara M. Davis, "Results of the Self-Selection of Diets by Young Children," Canadian Medical Association Journal 41:3 (September 1939), 257. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was inspired by an item on the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 22, 2018, 5 a.m.

220-The Old Hero of Gettysburg

In 1863, on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, a 69-year-old shoemaker took down his ancient musket and set out to shoot some rebels. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow John Burns' adventures in that historic battle, which made him famous across the nation and won the praise of Abraham Lincoln. We'll also survey some wallabies and puzzle over some underlined 7s. Intro: Alberta has no rats. In a 1963 travel book, Ian Fleming gives James Bond's recipe for scrambled eggs. Sources for our feature on John Burns: Timothy H. Smith, John Burns, 2000. Harry W. Pfanz, Gettysburg: The First Day, 2011. Tom Huntington, "Out to Shoot Some 'Damned Rebels,'" America's Civil War 21:3 (July 2008), 46-49. Eric J. Wittenberg and J. David Petruzzi, "Why JEB Stuart Was Too Late," Civil War Times 46:1 (February 2007), 30-37. Robert L. Bloom, "'We Never Expected a Battle': The Civilians at Gettysburg, 1863," Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 55:4 (October 1988), 161-200. Robert Fortenbaugh, "Lincoln as Gettysburg Saw Him," Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 14:1 (January 1947), 1-12. George T. Ness Jr., "Wisconsin at West Point: Her Graduates Through the Civil War Period," Wisconsin Magazine of History 25:2 (December 1941), 210-216. James W. Wensyel, "Tales of a Gettysburg Guide," American Heritage 45:2 (April 1994), 104. "Letters," Civil War Times 56:4 (August 2017), 6. Luther William Minnigh, Gettysburg: What They Did There, 1912. Samuel Penniman Bates, The Battle of Gettysburg, 1875. "The Field of Gettysburg," Ocala [Fla.] Evening Star, Dec. 6, 1920. "The Field of Gettysburg," Caldwell [Idaho] Tribune, Dec. 26, 1908. "John Burns of Gettysburg," [Washington D.C.] National Tribune, Jan. 19, 1899, 10. "John Burns of Gettysburg," National Tribune, Nov. 10, 1898, 8. "Brave John Burns," Gettysburg Compiler, Sept. 28, 1897. "John Burns of Gettysburg," Helena [Mont.] Independent, Oct. 6, 1890, 6. "John Burns, of Gettysburg," New York Times, Feb. 11, 1872. "John Burns of Gettysburg," New York Times, July 27, 1871. John T. Trowbridge, "The Field of Gettysburg," Atlantic Monthly 16:97 (November 1865), 616-624. A writer to the Civil War Times asks whether the man seated farthest left at this Gettysburg field hospital might be Burns. "Burns favored that style of top hat, and they have the same jug ears and long noses. They also seem to wear similar scowls, but nowadays so do I, at least when I can't get enough Advil." More here. Listener mail: Filey Bird Garden & Animal Park, Facebook, Sept. 25, 2018. "Escaped Filey Animal Park Wallaby Found Dead on Roadside," BBC News, Sept. 25, 2018. Thomas Manch and Matt Stewart, "Mystery of Wellington's Dead Wallaby Remains, Despite Thermal Imaging Tech," Stuff, May 22, 2018. Thomas Mead, "Hunters Take Out Pests in Annual South Canterbury Wallaby Hunt," NewsHub, March 17, 2018. A. David M. Latham, M. Cecilia Latham, and Bruce Warburton, "What Is Happening With Wallabies in Mainland New Zealand?" Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research (accessed Oct. 3, 2018). "Waimate's Wallabies," Waimate.org (accessed Oct. 3, 2018). John Wilson, "South Canterbury Places - Waimate," Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand (accessed Oct. 3, 2018). Ryan Dunlop, "Cost of Wallabies in South Island Could Reach $67m a Year by 2027," Stuff, Dec. 22, 2017. Rachel E. Gross, "New Zealand's War on 30 Million Possums," Atlantic, March 1, 2013. Mark Edwards, "Isle of Man Wallaby-Related Police Call-Outs Revealed," BBC News, Sept. 7, 2018. Francesca Marshall, "Calls for Wallaby Warning Signs to be Implemented on the Isle of Man to Tackle Growing Numbers," Telegraph, Sept. 7, 2018. "Orphaned Isle of Man Wallaby 'Getting Stronger,'" BBC News, May 8, 2018. "Wild Wallabies Running Amok on Isle of Man," Times, Sept. 8, 2018. Camila Domonoske, "Mystery Kangaroo Is at Large in Austria, Confusing Everybody," National Public Radio, Sept. 4, 2018. "No Kangaroos in Austria? At Least One Is Lost in the Snow," Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 29, 2015. "Runaway Kangaroo Seen in Upper Austria," The Local, Aug. 10, 2015. "Escaped Kangaroo on the Run in Austria," The Local, July 7, 2016. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener John Spray, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 8, 2018, 5 a.m.

219-The Greenbrier Ghost

In 1897, shortly after Zona Shue was found dead in her West Virginia home, her mother went to the county prosecutor with a bizarre story. She said that her daughter had been murdered -- and that her ghost had revealed the killer's identity. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Greenbrier Ghost, one of the strangest courtroom dramas of the 19th century. We'll also consider whether cats are controlling us and puzzle over a delightful oblivion. Intro: Anagrams, a palindrome, and a letter bank regarding American presidents. A crossword without clues, by Lee Sallows. Mary Jane Heaster, Zona's mother. Sources for our feature on the Greenbrier Ghost: Katie Letcher Lyle, The Man Who Wanted Seven Wives, 1986. "The Greenbrier Ghost," West Virginia Division of Culture and History (accessed Sept. 22, 2018). David Jenkins, "Common Law, Mountain Music, and the Construction of Community Identity," Social & Legal Studies 19:3 (September 2010), 351-369. Joel Ebert, "Trials in High Profile," Charleston [W.V.] Sunday Gazette-Mail, Oct. 11, 2015, A.1. Joel Ebert, "Blankenship's Just One of Many High-Profile Trials in WV History," TCA Regional News, Oct. 11, 2015. Sandi Toksvig, "Ghosts Obviously Have Their Downsides, But at Least They Make Life Interesting," Sunday Telegraph, Jan. 23, 2011, 5. Mike Conley, "Ghost Brings Murderer to Justice," Marion [N.C.] McDowell News, Aug. 27, 2009. Allison Barker, "Courthouse Old Enough to Have Ghost in Its History," Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail, March 9, 2003, 2B. Chris Stirewalt, "A Haunting Halloween," Charleston Daily Mail, Oct. 31, 2002, 1C. Michelle Saxton, "West Virginia's Hills Are Home to Ghostly Tales," Charleston Gazette, Oct. 30, 2000, 7A. Marina Hendricks, "Retelling a Greenbrier Ghost Tale," Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail, Oct. 31. 1999, 1E. "Trial of Trout Shue," The Bar 11:2 (February 1904). "Foul Play Suspected," Greenbrier Independent, Feb. 25, 1897. "Foul Play Suspected," Staunton [Va.] Spectator and Vindicator, March 4, 1897. Garry Rodgers, "How a Ghost's Evidence Convicted a Murderer," Huffington Post, Feb. 19, 2017. Listener mail: Nic Fleming, "Hungry Cats Trick Owners With Baby Cry Mimicry," New Scientist, July 13, 2009 [contains audio files of urgent and non-urgent purrs]. Lynne Peeples, "Manipulative Meow: Cats Learn to Vocalize a Particular Sound to Train Their Human Companions," Scientific American, July 13, 2009. Karen McComb et al., "The Cry Embedded Within the Purr," Cell 19:13 (July 14, 2009), R507-R508. Mayo Clinic, "Toxoplasmosis," Oct. 3, 2017. Paul R. Torgerson and Pierpaolo Mastroiacovo, "The Global Burden of Congenital Toxoplasmosis: A Systematic Review," Bulletin of the World Health Organization 91 (2013), 501-508. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Parasites - Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma Infection)" (accessed Sept. 26, 2018). Ed Yong, "Mind-Bending Parasite Permanently Quells Cat Fear in Mice," National Geographic, April 26, 2013. M. Berdoy et al., "Fatal Attraction in Rats Infected With Toxoplasma gondii," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 267:1452 (2000), 1591-1594. Karen Sugden et al., "Is Toxoplasma Gondii Infection Related to Brain and Behavior Impairments in Humans? Evidence From a Population-Representative Birth Cohort," PLoS One 11:2 (2016), e0148435. Samuel Osborne, "Mind-Altering Parasite Spread by Cats Could Give Humans More Courage and Overcome 'Fear of Failure', Research Suggests," Independent, July 25, 2018. "The Myth of 'Mind-Altering Parasite' Toxoplasma Gondii?" Discover, Feb. 20, 2016. Jaroslav Flegr, "Effects of Toxoplasma on Human Behavior," Schizophrenia Bulletin 33:3 (2007), 757-760. B.D. Pearce et al., "The Relationship Between Toxoplasma gondii Infection and Mood Disorders in the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey," Biological Psychiatry 72:4 (2012), 290-295. Lucy Jones, "Ten Sinister Parasites That Control Their Hosts' Minds," BBC Earth, March 16, 2015. F. Thomas et al., "Biochemical and Histological Changes in the Brain of the Cricket Nemobius sylvestris Infected by the Manipulative Parasite Paragordius tricuspidatus (Nematomorpha)," International Journal for Parasitology 33:4 (2003), 435-443. Sandra B. Andersen et al., "The Life of a Dead Ant: The Expression of an Adaptive Extended Phenotype," American Naturalist 174:3 (2009), 424-433. Chris Reiber, "Change in Human Social Behavior in Response to a Common Vaccine," Annals of Epidemiology 20:10 (2010), 729-733. F. Solmi, et al., "Curiosity Killed the Cat: No Evidence of an Association Between Cat Ownership and Psychotic Symptoms at Ages 13 and 18 Years in a UK General Population Cohort," Psychological Medicine 47:9 (2017), 1659-1667. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Ben Snitkoff. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 1, 2018, 5 a.m.

218-Lost in the Amazon

In 1769, a Peruvian noblewoman set out with 41 companions to join her husband in French Guiana. But a series of terrible misfortunes left her alone in the Amazon jungle. In this week's episode we'll follow Isabel Godin des Odonais on her harrowing adventure in the rain forest. We'll also learn where in the world "prices slippery traps" is and puzzle over an airport's ingenuity. Intro: In 1949 neurophysiologist Grey Walter built electronic "tortoises" with primitive nervous systems. In 1952 G.V. Carey added an index to his manual of indexing. Sources for our feature on Isabel Godin des Odonais: Anthony Smith, The Lost Lady of the Amazon, 2003. Robert Whitaker, The Mapmaker's Wife, 2004. Jean Godin, "Voyage of Madame Godin Along the River of the Amazons, in the Year 1770," in Charlotte-Adélaïde Dard et al., Perils and Captivity, 1827. Larrie D. Ferreiro, Measure of the Earth, 2011. Edward Julius Goodman, The Explorers of South America, 1992. Londa L. Schiebinger, Plants and Empire, 2009. J. Donald Fernie, "Marginalia: The Shape of the Earth, Part II," American Scientist 79:5 (September/October 1991), 393-395. Donald D. Brand, "A Brief History of Anthropology in Brazil," New Mexico Anthropologist 5:4 (October-December 1941), 99-150. David Taylor, "An Adventure of Historic Measures," Americas 50:6 (November/December 1998), 14-21. James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1898. Edwin McDowell, "The Middle of the World," New York Times, Nov. 25, 1990. "First Woman Over Andes," New York Times, Nov. 5, 1922. Henri Froidevaux, "Documents Inédits sur Godin des Odonais et sur Son Séjour a la Guyane," Journal de la Société des Américanistes de Paris I, 1896. "An Account of the Singular Misfortunes of Madame Godin, in a Voyage Which She Made From the Province of Quito to Cayenne, by the River of the Amazons," New Wonderful Magazine and Marvellous Chronicle 4:37 (July 1794), 309-313. Listener mail: Robert Plummer, "Giving Everyone in the World an Address," BBC News, April 30, 2015. "Ivory Coast Post Office Adopts Three-Word System," BBC News, Dec. 9, 2016. Plus Codes. Wikipedia, "Open Location Code" (accessed Sept. 13, 2018). what3words. Wikipedia, "What3words" (accessed Sept. 13, 2018). Belinda Lanks, "This App Gives Even the Most Remote Spots on the Planet an Address," Magenta, Oct. 11, 2016. Joon Ian Wong, "Mongolia Is Changing All Its Addresses to Three-Word Phrases," Quartz, June 13, 2016. Jacopo Prisco, "Ivory Coast Street Addresses Are Now Made of Three Words," CNN, Sept. 4, 2017. what2numbers. what3emojis. what3goshdarnits. what3ducks. what3[redacted] (warning: many, many expletives). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Josva Dammann Kvilstad, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 24, 2018, 5 a.m.

217-The Bone Wars

The end of the Civil War opened a new era of fossil hunting in the American West -- and a bitter feud between two rival paleontologists, who spent 20 years sabotaging one another in a constant struggle for supremacy. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Bone Wars, the greatest scientific feud of the 19th century. We'll also sympathize with Scunthorpe and puzzle over why a driver can't drive. Intro: Nepal's constitution contains instructions for drawing its flag. The tombstone of Constanze Mozart's second husband calls him "the husband of Mozart's widow." Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. Sources for our feature on the Bone Wars: David Rains Wallace, The Bonehunters' Revenge, 1999. Mark Jaffe, The Gilded Dinosaur, 2000. Elizabeth Noble Shor, The Fossil Feud, 1974. Hal Hellman, Great Feuds in Science, 1998. Tom Huntington, "The Great Feud," American History 33:3 (August 1998), 14. Richard A. Kissel, "The Sauropod Chronicles," Natural History 116:3 (April 2007), 34-38. Keith Stewart Thomson, "Marginalia: Dinosaurs as a Cultural Phenomenon," American Scientist 93:3 (May-June 2005), 212-214. Genevieve Rajewski, "Where Dinosaurs Roamed," Smithsonian 39:2 (May 2008), 20-24. James Penick Jr., "Professor Cope vs. Professor Marsh," American Heritage 22:5 (August 1971). Alfred S. Romer, "Cope versus Marsh," Systematic Zoology 13:4 (December 1964), 201-207. Renee Clary, James Wandersee, and Amy Carpinelli, "The Great Dinosaur Feud: Science Against All Odds," Science Scope 32:2 (October 2008), 34-40. Susan West, "Dinosaur Head Hunt," Science News 116:18 (Nov. 3, 1979), 314-315. P.D. Brinkman, "Edward Drinker Cope's Final Feud," Archives of Natural History 43:2 (October 2016), 305-320. Eric J. Hilton, Joseph C. Mitchell and David G. Smith, "Edward Drinker Cope (1840–1897): Naturalist, Namesake, Icon," Copeia 2014:4 (December 2014), 747-761. John Koster, "Good to the Old Bones: Dreaming of Dinosaurs, Digging for Dollars," Wild West 25:2 (August 2012), 26-27. Daniel Engber, "Bone Thugs-N-Disharmony," Slate, Aug. 7, 2013. Walter H. Wheeler, "The Uintatheres and the Cope-Marsh War," Science, New Series 131:3408 (April 22, 1960), 1171-1176. Lukas Rieppel, "Prospecting for Dinosaurs on the Mining Frontier: The Value of Information in America's Gilded Age," Social Studies of Science 45:2 (2015), 161-186. Michael J. Benton, "Naming Dinosaur Species: The Performance of Prolific Authors," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30:5 (2010), 1478-1485. Cary Woodruff and John R. Foster, "The Fragile Legacy of Amphicoelias fragillimus (Dinosauria: Sauropoda; Morrison Formation-Latest Jurassic)," PeerJ PrePrints 3 (2014), e838v1. Paul Semonin, "Empire and Extinction: The Dinosaur as a Metaphor for Dominance in Prehistoric Nature," Leonardo 30:3 (1997), 171-182. Jennie Erin Smith, "When Fossil-Finding Was a Contact Sport," Wall Street Journal Asia, June 10, 2016, A.11. Adam Lusher, "The Brontosaurus Is Back After 150 Million Years... At Least in Name," Independent, April 8, 2015, 10. Will Bagley, "Rivals Fought Tooth and Nail Over Dinosaurs," Salt Lake Tribune, March 25, 2001, B1. Clive Coy, "Skeletons in the Closet," Ontario National Post, Jan. 22, 2000, 10. Rose DeWolf, "Philly Is Facile With Fossils," Philadelphia Daily News, March 27, 1998, D.6. Mark Jaffe, "Phila. and Fossils Go Way Back," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 22, 1998, 2. Malcolm W. Browne, "Dinosaurs Still Star in Many Human Dramas and Dreams," New York Times, Oct. 14, 1997. John Noble Wilford, "Horses, Mollusks and the Evolution of Bigness," New York Times, Jan. 21, 1997. Jerry E. Bishop, "Bones of Contention: Should Dr. Cope's Be The Human Model?" Wall Street Journal, Nov. 1, 1994, A1. "Dinosaur Book Has Museum Aide Losing His Head," Baltimore Sun, Oct. 17, 1994, 6A. "The Bricks of Scholarship," New York Times, Jan. 21, 1988. Dick Pothier, "Fossil Factions: Dinosaur Exhibit Points Out a Battle in Science," Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 9, 1986, B.14. Rose DeWolf, "Dinosaurs: Bone in the USA," Philadelphia Daily News, Jan. 24, 1986, 52. William Harper Davis, "Cope, a Master Pioneer of American Paleontology," New York Times, July 5, 1931. George Gaylord Simpson, "Mammals Were Humble When Dinosaurs Roved," New York Times, Oct. 18, 1925. "A Prehistoric Monster," Hartford Republican, Sept. 1, 1905. "The Scientists' New President," Topeka State Journal, Oct. 9, 1895. Listener mail: David Mack, "This Woman With a 'Rude' Last Name Started the Best Thread on Twitter," BuzzFeed News, Aug. 29, 2018. Natalie Weiner, Twitter, Sept. 6, 2018. Wikipedia, "Scunthorpe Problem" (accessed Sept. 6, 2018). Declan McCullagh, "Google's Chastity Belt Too Tight," CNET, April 23, 2004. Daniel Oberhaus, "Life on the Internet Is Hard When Your Last Name is 'Butts,'" Motherboard, Aug. 29, 2018. Matthew Moore, "The Clbuttic Mistake: When Obscenity Filters Go Wrong," Telegraph, Sept. 2, 2008. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener David Malki. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 17, 2018, 5 a.m.

216-The Tromelin Island Castaways

In 1761 a French schooner was shipwrecked in the Indian Ocean, leaving more than 200 people stranded on a tiny island. The crew departed in a makeshift boat, leaving 60 Malagasy slaves to fend for themselves and wait for rescue. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Tromelin Island castaways, which one observer calls "arguably the most extraordinary story of survival ever documented." We'll also admire some hardworking cats and puzzle over a racer's death. Intro: In 1830 architect Thomas Willson proposed building an enormous pyramid to house London's dead. In 1959 a Norwegian insulation manufacturer undertook to transport a three-ton block of ice to the equator without refrigeration. Sources for our feature on the Tromelin Island castaways: Samir S. Patel, "Castaways," Archaeology, Sept. 15, 2014. "Lèse humanité," Economist, Dec. 16, 2015. Max Guérout, "Esclaves oubliés," La Revue Maritime 477 (December 2006). John Lichfield, "Shipwrecked and Abandoned: The Story of the Slave Crusoes," Independent, Feb. 5, 2007. James Russell, "The Recovery of Tromelin Island," National Geographic, April 11, 2016. V. Laroulandie and C. Lefèvre, "The Use of Avian Resources by the Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin Island (Indian Ocean)," International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 24:3 (2014), 407-416. Matthieu Le Corre, et al. "Seabird Recovery and Vegetation Dynamics After Norway Rat Eradication at Tromelin Island, Western Indian Ocean," Biological Conservation 185 (2015), 85-94. Nick Marriner et al., "A Geomorphological Reconnaissance of Tromelin Island, Indian Ocean," Journal of Coastal Research 28:6 (November 2012), 1606-1616. Urko Apaolaza Ávila, "Basques in the Caribbean Slave Trade (Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries)," in William A. Douglass, ed., Basques in Cuba, 2016. Jane Webster, "Slave Ships and Maritime Archaeology: An Overview," International Journal of Historical Archaeology 12:1 (March 2008), 6–19. Annabelle Georgen, "Abandonnés sur une île déserte: la tragédie des esclaves oubliés de Tromelin," Slate, Feb. 22, 2017. Peter Mitchell and Paul Lane, The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology, 2013. Carl Thompson, Shipwreck in Art and Literature: Images and Interpretations from Antiquity to the Present Day, 2014. Nelly Schmidt, "Slavery and Its Abolition, French Colonies, Research and Transmission of Knowledge," UNESCO Slave Route Project. Constance Holden, "Random Samples," Science, New Series 315:5812 (Feb. 2, 2007), 579. Jasmina Sopova, "UNESCO Launches Forgotten Slaves Programme," UNESCO, April 23, 2004. "Archaeological Science," Health & Medicine Week, May 17, 2010, 1593. Sylviane Diouf, "Survivors: Sand Island," New York Public Library, March 7, 2012. H.A. Moriarty, Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean, Westward of Longitude 80° East, Including Madagascar, 1904. Alexander G. Findlay, A Directory for the Navigation of the Indian Ocean, 1866. A. Constable, Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea, 1812. Lawrence G. Green, "Mystery Isles of the East," New York Times, June 21, 1931. Bernie McClenny, "Tromelin Island," QST 98:9 (September 2014), 91-92. "Foreign Intelligence," [London] General Evening Post, Aug. 21, 1777. "Extract of a Letter From Amsterdam, Aug. 7," London Chronicle, Aug. 22, 1777. Listener mail: "Chief Mouser Palmerston Develops a Taste for Duck," Times, July 24, 2018. "Library Cat Outlasts Councilman That Wanted Him Gone," CBS News, Dec. 16, 2016. Bud Kennedy, "Council Critic Takes Yet Another Swipe at Browser the Library Cat," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 10, 2016. Ricki Harris, "Beloved Cat Will Keep His Job at the Local Library After International Backlash," ABC News, July 5, 2016. Ricki Harris, "Beloved Cat Fired From His Job at a Local Public Library," ABC News, June 28, 2016. Wikipedia, "Mike (cat)" (accessed Sept. 4, 2018). E.A. Wallis Budge, "Mike", the Cat Who Assisted in Keeping the Main Gate of the British Museum From February 1909 to January 1929, 1929. R.B. Shaberman, Mike, the British Museum Cat, 1909-1929: A Jubilee Reminiscence, 1979. Dog Days of Summer Family Festival, Smithsonian National Postal Museum (accessed Sept. 6, 2018). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Bryant Pocock, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 10, 2018, 5 a.m.

215-The Lieutenant Nun

In 1607, a 15-year-old girl fled her convent in the Basque country, dressed herself as a man, and set out on a series of unlikely adventures across Europe. In time she would distinguish herself fighting as a soldier in Spain's wars of conquest in the New World. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Catalina de Erauso, the lieutenant nun of Renaissance Spain. We'll also hunt for some wallabies and puzzle over a quiet cat. Intro: In 1856 the Saturday Review asked: Why do ghosts wear clothes? Because of the peculiarities of bee reproduction, the population of each generation is a Fibonacci number. Sources for our feature on Catalina de Erauso: Joaquín María de Ferrer, The Autobiography of doña Catalina de Erauso, 1918 (translated by Dan Harvey Pedrick). Heidi Zogbaum, Catalina de Erauso: The Lieutenant Nun and the Conquest of the New World, 2015. Sonia Pérez-Villanueva, The Life of Catalina de Erauso, the Lieutenant Nun: An Early Modern Autobiography, 2014. Eva Mendieta, In Search of Catalina de Erauso: The National and Sexual Identity of the Lieutenant Nun, 2009. Sherry Velasco, The Lieutenant Nun: Transgenderism, Lesbian Desire, and Catalina de Erauso, 2000. Robin Cross and Rosalind Miles, Warrior Women: 3000 Years of Courage and Heroism, 2011. Christel Mouchard, Women Travelers: A Century of Trailblazing Adventures 1850-1950, 2007. Faith S. Harden, "Military Labour and Martial Honour in the Vida de la Monja Alférez, Catalina de Erauso," Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 94:2 (2017), 147-162. Madera Gabriela Allan, "'Un Hombre Sin Barbas': The Transgender Protagonist of La Monja Alférez (1626)," Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 17:2 (June 2016), 119-131. Sonia Pérez Villanueva, "Vida y sucesos de la Monja Alférez: Spanish Dictatorship, Basque Identity, and the Political Tug-of-War Over a Popular Heroine," Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 83:4 (2006), 337-347. Matthew Goldmark, "Reading Habits: Catalina de Erauso and the Subjects of Early Modern Spanish Gender and Sexuality," Colonial Latin American Review 24:2 (June 2015), 215-235. Mary Elizabeth Perry, "The Manly Woman: A Historical Case Study," American Behavioral Scientist 31:1 (September/October 1987), 86. Joy Parks, "Passing Into Legend," The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 8:6 (Dec. 31, 2001), 41. Benito Quintana, "The Life of Catalina de Erauso, the Lieutenant Nun: An Early Modern Autobiography," Biography 38:3 (2015). Christine Hamelin, "Outrageous Adventurer Risked Her Safety for Freedom," Kingston Whig, May 11, 2002, 6. "The Daring, Dueling 'Lieutenant Nun,'" El Pais, Jan. 31, 2009, 8. Angeline Goreau, "Cross-Dressing for Success," New York Times, March 17, 1996. "Catalina de Erauso's Story; La Nonne Alferez," New York Times, April 21, 1894. Listener mail: "Wallaby on Loose After Filey Park Escape," BBC News, Aug. 21, 2018. "Wallaby Seen Near Wombourne Sainsbury's," BBC News, Aug. 16, 2018. Filey Bird Garden & Animal Park, Facebook, Aug. 27, 2018. "Wallaby Update," Filey Bird Garden & Animal Park, Facebook, Aug. 29, 2018. "Zoo Hunts for 'Friendly' Missing Wallaby Who Was Spotted Sunbathing in Wolverhampton," Sky News, Aug. 16, 2018. WILD Zoological Park, Facebook, Aug. 16, 2018. WILD Zoological Park, Facebook, Aug. 25, 2018. WILD Zoological Park, Facebook, Aug. 29, 2018. Makenzie O'Keefe, "Bear Gets Stuck Inside Truck, Destroys Interior," 4CBS Denver, July 27, 2018. Rob Griffiths, "Life Is Different in Mammoth Lakes," Twitter, Aug. 12, 2018. Ben Hooper, "Bear Visits Tennessee Hotel, Carries Bag of French Toast," UPI, March 22, 2018. Matt Lakin, "Mom's Close Call With Gatlinburg Bear Makes for Viral Video," Knox News, March 22, 2018. "A Bear Had a Scary Good Time After Wandering Into the Shining Hotel in Colorado," Associated Press, Aug. 24, 2018. Amanda Maile, "Black Bear Wanders Around Colorado Hotel Lobby," ABC News, Aug. 24, 2018. Ryan White, "Parks Canada Officials Endorse the Human Voice and Bear Spray Over Bear Bangers and Bells," CTV News Calgary, June 9, 2017. Karin Brulliard, "Bear Breaks Into House, Plays the Piano but Not Very Well," Washington Post, June 8, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listeners Kelly and Cherie Bruce (and Juno). Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 3, 2018, 5 a.m.

214-The Poison Squad

In 1902, chemist Harvey Wiley launched a unique experiment to test the safety of food additives. He recruited a group of young men and fed them meals laced with chemicals to see what the effects might be. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Wiley's "poison squad" and his lifelong crusade for food safety. We'll also follow some garden paths and puzzle over some unwelcome weight-loss news. Intro: In 1887, an inadvertent dot in a telegram cost wool dealer Frank Primrose $20,000. For 25 years, two Minnesota brothers-in-law exchanged a weaponized pair of moleskin pants. Harvey Washington Wiley's poison squad dined in formal clothing and wrote their own inspirational slogan. Sources for our feature: Bernard A. Weisberger, "Doctor Wiley and His Poison Squad," American Heritage 47:1 (February/March 1996). Oscar E. Anderson Jr., The Health of a Nation: Harvey W. Wiley and the Fight for Pure Food, 1958. Paul M. Wax, "Elixirs, Diluents, and the Passage of the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act," Annals of Internal Medicine 122:6 (March 15, 1995), 456-461. James Harvey Young, "Food and Drug Regulation Under the USDA, 1906-1940," Agricultural History 64:2 (Spring 1990), 134-142. Cornelius C. Regier, "The Struggle for Federal Food and Drugs Legislation," Law and Contemporary Problems 1:1 (December 1933), 3-15. Donna J. Wood, "The Strategic Use of Public Policy: Business Support for the 1906 Food and Drug Act," Business History Review 59:3 (Autumn 1985), 403-432. E. Pendleton Herring, "The Balance of Social Forces in the Administration of the Pure Food and Drug Act," Social Forces 13:3 (March 1935), 358-366. Carol Lewis and Suzanne White Junod, "The 'Poison Squad' and the Advent of Food and Drug Regulation," FDA Consumer 36:6 (November-December 2002), 12-15. Mike Oppenheim, "Food Fight," American History 53:4 (October 2018), 68. Bette Hileman, "'Poison Squads' Tested Chemical Preservatives," Chemical & Engineering News 84:38 (Sept. 18, 2006). Wallace F. Janssen, "The Story of the Laws Behind the Labels," FDA Consumer 15:5 (June 1981), 32-45. G.R. List, "Giants From the Past: Harvey W. Wiley (1844-1930)," Inform 16:2 (February 2005), 111-112. Bruce Watson, "The Poison Squad: An Incredible History," Esquire, June 27, 2013. Deborah Blum, "Bring Back the Poison Squad," Slate, March 2, 2011. Lance Gay, "A Century Ago, the Federal Government Launched One of Its Most Unusual and Controversial Investigations," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 30, 2002, A-8. "Harvey W. Wiley: Pioneer Consumer Activist," FDA Consumer 40:1, (January-February 2006), 34-35. "Harvey Washington Wiley," Science History Institute, Jan. 10, 2018. Karen Olsson, "We Must Eat, Drink and (Still) Be Wary," Washington Post, Sept. 6, 1998, C01. O.K. Davis, "The Case of Dr. Wiley," Hampton Columbian Magazine 27:4 (October 1911), 469-481. A.A. Langdon, "Food Expert Defends Borax," What-to-Eat 22:3 (March 1907), 91-92. "To Investigate Wiley's Food Squad Methods," National Provisioner 36:2 (Jan. 12, 1907), 1. "Letter Box," Pharmaceutical Era 37:22 (May 30, 1907), 514. "The Case of Dr. Wiley," American Food Journal 4:2, Feb. 15, 1909, 16. "Food Law's Anniversary," New York Times, June 30, 1908. "Wiley's Foes Think They've Beaten Him," New York Times, Dec. 29, 1908. H.H. Langdon, "Why Wiley Is Criticised; His Radical Views Said to Justify Tests by the National Commission," New York Times, April 7, 1907. "Benzoate Indorsed; Wiley Loses Fight," New York Times, Aug. 27, 1909. "Health Rather Than Money," New York Times, Aug. 21, 1910. "Germans Verified Wiley Poison Tests," New York Times, Aug. 19, 1911. "Forbidden Fruit," New York Times, Oct. 11, 1911. "Pure Food in One State Is Poison in Another," New York Times, Jan. 25, 1914. "Dr. H.W. Wiley Dies, Pure-Food Expert," New York Times, July 1, 1930. Listener mail: Listener Rob Emich discovered Spring-Heeled Jack London-Style Porter in Cape Cod last month (see Episode 34). Brittany Hope Flamik, "Australia's Endangered Quolls Get Genetic Boost From Scientists," New York Times, July 26, 2018. April Reese, "Ecologists Try to Speed Up Evolution to Save Australian Marsupial From Toxic Toads," Nature, July 23, 2018. Jesse Thompson and Liz Trevaskis, "Questions Over Quarantined Astell Island Quolls Who Lost Their Fear of Predators," ABC Radio Darwin, Aug. 9, 2018. Wikipedia, "Garden-Path Sentence" (accessed Aug. 17, 2018). "Garden Path Sentences," Fun With Words (accessed Aug. 17, 2018). BBC Sound Effects. Dave Lawrence, "RNN of BBC Sound Effects," Aardvark Zythum, Aug. 2, 2018. Dave Lawrence, "More Sound Effects," Aardvark Zythum, Aug. 3, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener David Palmer. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 27, 2018, 5 a.m.

213-Grover Cleveland's Secret Surgery

In 1893, Grover Cleveland discovered a cancerous tumor on the roof of his mouth. It was feared that public knowledge of the president's illness might set off a financial panic, so Cleveland suggested a daring plan: a secret surgery aboard a moving yacht. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the president's gamble -- and the courageous reporter who threatened to expose it. We'll also audit some wallabies and puzzle over some welcome neo-Nazis. Intro: Robert Louis Stevenson inadvertently borrowed much of Treasure Island from Washington Irving. When Graeme Gibson donated his parrot to the Toronto Zoo, it suddenly called after him. Sources for our feature on Grover Cleveland's secret surgery: Matthew Algeo, The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth, 2011. William Williams Keen, The Surgical Operations on President Cleveland in 1893, 1917. Shahid R. Aziz, "The Oral Surgical Operations of Grover Cleveland: A Presidential Cover-Up," Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 53:9 (1995), 1088-1090. W.O. Fenn et al., "Dr. Joseph Bryant's Role in President Grover Cleveland's Secret Anesthesia and Surgery," Anesthesiology 119:4 (October 2013), 889. "The Secret Operation on President Cleveland," British Medical Journal 1:3568 (May 25, 1929), 965. Ronald H. Spiro, "Verrucous Carcinoma, Then and Now," American Journal of Surgery 176:5 (1998), 393-397. Andrew Renehan and J.C. Lowry, "The Oral Tumours of Two American Presidents: What If They Were Alive Today?", Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 88:7 (1995), 377. Philip H. Cooper, "President Cleveland's Palatal Tumor," Archives of Dermatology 122:7 (1986), 747-748. Richard L. Rovit and William T. Couldwell, "A Man for All Seasons: WW Keen," Neurosurgery 50:1 (2002), 181-190. "Without Prejudice," British Medical Journal 2:5467 (Oct. 16, 1965), 938. John J. Brooks and Horatio T. Enterline, "The Final Diagnosis of President Cleveland's Lesion," JAMA 244:24 (1980), 2729-2729. William Maloney, "Surreptitious Surgery on Long Island Sound," New York State Dental Journal 76:1 (January 2010), 42-45. Robert S. Robins and Henry Rothschild, "Ethical Dilemmas of the President's Physician," Politics and the Life Sciences 7:1, Medicine and Political Behavior (August 1988), 3-11. Richard Norton Smith, "'The President Is Fine' and Other Historical Lies," Columbia Journalism Review 40:3 (September/October 2001), 30-32. "A Yacht, A Mustache: How A President Hid His Tumor," Morning Edition, National Public Radio, July 6, 2011. "Grover Cleveland - Secret Surgery," University of Arizona Health Sciences Library, July 20, 2018. Arlene Shaner, "The Secret Surgeries of Grover Cleveland," New York Academy of Medicine, Feb. 27, 2014. Paul Maloney, "Grover Cleveland's Secret Surgery," Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association (accessed July 23, 2018). "Dr. W.W. Keen Dies; Famous Surgeon," New York Times, June 8, 1932. Abigail Trafford, "Presidential Illness: Are Coverups Still Possible?", Montreal Gazette, Jan. 8, 1987, A1. Martin D. Tullai, "Health Secret Was Once Possible for U.S. President," Salt Lake Tribune, March 14, 1994, A6. Allan B. Schwartz, "Medical Mystery: Grover Cleveland’s Secret Operation," Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 24, 2016. Dan Gunderman, "The Secretive, Disfiguring Medical Battle Waged by President Grover Cleveland as the Nation Fell Into a Deep Depression," New York Daily News, Dec. 25, 2016. David Steinberg, "Should the President Undergo Independent Medical Evaluations?", Boston Globe, May 27, 2018, A.4. Listener mail: "Wallabies in Onchan," Onchan and Garff Area Matters, Facebook, July 12, 2018. Samantha Harrelson, "Wandering Kangaroo Causes Rollover Crash Near Dodson in Northern Montana," KTVQ, June 21, 2018. "Two Injured in Montana After Swerving to Avoid a Kangaroo or Wallaby," KULR 8, June 21, 2018. Rob Rogers, "Startled Driver Rolls Car to Avoid 'Kangaroo' in Northern Montana," Billings Gazette, June 21, 2018. "Prohibited Species," Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (accessed Aug. 16, 2018). "Animals Go Wild! The Wallabies of Kalihi Valley," Hawaii News Now (accessed Aug. 16, 2018). "Native Animals," New Zealand Department of Conservation (accessed Aug. 16, 2018). "Kawau Island Wallabies," New Zealand Department of Conservation (accessed Aug. 16, 2018). Wikipedia, "Kawau Island: History" (accessed Aug. 12, 2018). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Sharon. Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 20, 2018, 5 a.m.

212-The Lost Treasure of Cocos Island

Cocos Island, in the eastern Pacific, was rumored to hold buried treasure worth millions of dollars, but centuries of treasure seekers had failed to find it. That didn't deter August Gissler, who arrived in 1889 with a borrowed map and an iron determination. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Gissler's obsessive hunt for the Treasure of Lima. We'll also marvel at the complexity of names and puzzle over an undead corpse. Intro: In 1875, Frederick Law Olmsted warned his son of the dangers of unchecked pussycats. Dogs were formerly so common at church services that "dog whippers" were employed to manage them. Sources for our feature on August Gissler: Ralph Hancock and Julian A. Weston, The Lost Treasure of Cocos Island, 1960. John Chetwood, Our Search for the Missing Millions of Cocos Island: Being an Account of a Curious Cruise and a More Than Curious Character, 1904. Hervey De Montmorency, On the Track of a Treasure: The Story of an Adventurous Expedition to the Pacific Island of Cocos in Search of Treasure of Untold Value Hidden by Pirates, 1904. Theon Wright, The Voyage of the Herman, 1966. David McIntee, Fortune and Glory: A Treasure Hunter's Handbook, 2016. Alex Capus, Sailing by Starlight: In Search of Treasure Island, 2013. Judith Schalansky, Atlas of Remote Islands, 2010. Alban Stewart, "Expedition of the California Academy of Sciences to the Galapagos Islands, 1905-1906: V. Notes on the Botany of Cocos Island," Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Fourth Series, Vol. 1, Jan. 19, 1912, 375-404. Laws of the American Republics Relating to Immigration and the Sale of Public Lands: Costa Rica, United States Congressional Serial Set, Issue 2, 1892. Maarten Kappelle, Costa Rican Ecosystems, 2016. "Gold of Cocos Not for Them," San Francisco Call, Oct. 14, 1901. "Race for Treasure," Topeka State Journal, Aug. 4, 1902. Alban Stewart, "Further Observations on the Origin of the Galapagos Islands," The Plant World 18:7 (July 1915), 192-200. "People Do Find Buried Treasure: Like to Join in the Search?" Changing Times 10:5 (May 1956), 44. Stuart Mann, "Another 'Treasure' Island?" Toronto Star, Aug. 26, 1989, H5. Denise Kusel, "Only in Santa Fe: Sailing Family Reaches Mystical Cocos," Santa Fe New Mexican, June 24, 2001, B-1. Jos Eduardo Mora, "Culture-Costa Rica: New Status to Help Preserve 'Treasure Island,'" Global Information Network, Dec. 21, 2002, 1. "Explorers Closing In on Pirate's Fabled Buried Treasure," Sunday Independent, Aug. 5, 2012. Jasper Copping, "'Treasure Island' Jewels Sought," Edmonton Journal, Aug. 6, 2012, A.2. Graham Clifford, "Did an 'Indo' Man Get the Hidden €200m Pirates' Treasure First?" Independent, Aug. 12, 2012. Jasper Copping, "British Expedition to Pacific 'Treasure Island' Where Pirates Buried Their Plunder," Telegraph, Aug. 5, 2012. Jasper Copping, "Closing in on Treasure Island's Hoard: An English Explorer Believes Hi-Tech Wizardry Can Finally Locate a Fabled 160m Stash Buried on Cocos, Off Costa Rica's Coast," Sunday Telegraph, Aug. 5, 2012, 27. Karen Catchpole, "Crossing Paradise: Off Costa Rica's Remote and Pristine Cocos Island, a Profusion of Fish Draws Divers -- and Illegal Fishermen -- to the Protected Marine Area," Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sept. 23, 2012, G.1. Bernie McClenny, "Cocos Island - TI9," QST 99:2 (February 2015), 93-94. Listener mail: Patrick McKenzie, "Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names," June 17, 2010. "Awesome Falsehood: A Curated List of Awesome Falsehoods Programmers Believe in," GitHub (accessed August 11, 2018). Richard Ishida, "Personal Names Around the World," W3C, Aug. 17, 2011. Wikipedia, "Chinese Name" (accessed August 11, 2018). Wikipedia, "Mononymous Person" (accessed August 11, 2018). Michael Tandy, "Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Addresses," May 29, 2013. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jamie Cox, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 13, 2018, 5 a.m.

211-Cast Away on an Ice Floe

Germany's polar expedition of 1869 took a dramatic turn when 14 men were shipwrecked on an ice floe off the eastern coast of Greenland. As the frozen island carried them slowly toward settlements in the south, it began to break apart beneath them. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the crew of the Hansa on their desperate journey toward civilization. We'll also honor a slime mold and puzzle over a reversing sunset. Intro: The yellow-bellied longclaw, Macronyx flavigaster, could produce the long-sought 10×10 word square. Bruckner's seventh symphony has made generations of cymbalists nervous. A ground plan of the "Hansa house," from expedition commander Karl Koldewey's 1874 narrative. Sources for our feature on the Hansa: Fergus Fleming, Ninety Degrees North: The Quest for the North Pole, 2007. William James Mills, Exploring Polar Frontiers: A Historical Encyclopedia, 2003. David Thomas Murphy, German Exploration of the Polar World: A History, 1870-1940, 2002. Karl Koldewey, The German Arctic Expedition of 1869-70: And Narrative of the Wreck of the "Hansa" in the Ice, 1874. "The 'Polaris' Arctic Expedition," Nature 8:194 (July 17, 1873), 217-220. "The Second German Arctic Expedition," Nature 11:265 (Nov. 26, 1874), 63-66. "The Latest Arctic Explorations -- The Remarkable Escape of the Polaris Party," Scientific American 28:23 (June 7, 1873), 352-353. Leopold M'Clintock, "Resumé of the Recent German Expedition, from the Reports of Captain Koldewey and Dr. Laube," Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 15:2 (1870-1871), 102-114. William Barr, "Background to Captain Hegemann's Account of the Voyage of Hansa and of the Ice-Drift," Polar Geography and Geology 17:4 (1993), 259-263. "The Polaris," Report to the Secretary of the Navy, Executive Documents, First Session, 43rd Congress, 1873-1874, 12-627. Fridtjof Nansen, "Towards the North Pole," Longman's Magazine 17:97 (November 1890), 37-48. T. Nelson, Recent Expeditions to Eastern Polar Seas, 1882. N.S. Dodge, "The German Arctic Expedition," Appleton's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art 5:93 (Jan. 14, 1871), 46-47. "The Thrones of the Ice-King; or, Recent Journeys Towards the Poles," Boy's Own Paper 5:237 (July 28, 1883), 700-702. William Henry Davenport Adams, The Arctic: A History of Its Discovery, Its Plants, Animals and Natural Phenomena, 1876. "A Contrast," New York Times, July 21, 1875. "Letters to the Editor," New York Times, July 12, 1875. A sphinx of snow. Listener mail: "I am the Airport K-9 Guy. My dog is the 'Airport Guard Dog' that made the front page last week. AMA!," Reddit Ask Me Anything, Feb. 29, 2016. Cherry Capital Airport K-9. Kris Van Cleave, "Meet Piper, a Dog Helping Protect Planes From Bird Strikes," CBS News, June 9, 2016. "Visiting Non-Human Scholar: Physarum Polycephalum," Hampshire College (accessed July 26, 2018). Robby Berman, "Slime Molds Join the Faculty at Hampshire College," Big Think (accessed July 26, 2018). Robby Berman, "Scientists Catch Slimes Learning, Even Though They Have 0 Neurons," Big Think (accessed July 26, 2018). Karen Brown, "Should We Model Human Behavior on a Brainless, Single-Cell Amoeba?", NEPR, Nov. 7, 2017. Ashley P. Taylor, "Slime Mold in Residence," The Scientist, March 2, 2018. Joseph Stromberg, "If the Interstate System Were Designed by a Slime Mold," Smithsonian.com, May 15, 2012. "Heather Barnett: What Humans Can Learn From Semi-Intelligent Slime," TED, July 17, 2014. Tejal Rao, "With a Sniff and a Signal, These Dogs Hunt Down Threats to Bees," New York Times, July 3, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Dan Lardner. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 6, 2018, 5 a.m.

210-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Here are the sources for this week's puzzles. In a few places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 was contributed by listener Amy Howard. Puzzle #2 was suggested by an item on the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish. Here are some corroborating links: 1, 2, 3, 4 Puzzle #3 was inspired by an item in Jerry Clark and Ed Palattella's 2015 book A History of Heists, and here's a link. Puzzle #4 was devised by Sharon. Here are two links; note that both contain some nudity. Puzzle #5 is from listener Justin Sabe, who was inspired by an item on the podcast 99% Invisible. Puzzle #6 is from listener Sam Dyck, who sent these links. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 23, 2018, 5 a.m.

209-Lost Off Newfoundland

In 1883 fisherman Howard Blackburn was caught in a blizzard off the coast of Newfoundland. Facing bitter cold in an 18-foot boat, he passed through a series of harrowing adventures in a desperate struggle to stay alive and find help. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Blackburn's dramatic story, which made him famous around the world. We'll also admire a runaway chicken and puzzle over a growing circle of dust. Intro: During Oxfordshire's annual stag hunt in 1819, the quarry took refuge in a chapel. With the introduction of electric light, some American cities erected "moonlight towers." Sources for our feature on Howard Blackburn: Joseph E. Garland, Lone Voyager: The Extraordinary Adventures of Howard Blackburn, Hero Fisherman of Gloucester, 1963. Louis Arthur Norton, "The Hero of Gloucester," American History 35:5 (December 2000), 22. "The Terrible Odyssey of Howard Blackburn," American Heritage 33:2 (February/March 1982). Peter Nielsen, "Howard Blackburn: Heroism at Sea," Sail, July 31, 2017. Matthew McKenzie, "Iconic Fishermen and the Fates of New England Fisheries Regulations, 1883-1912," Environmental History 17:1 (January 2012), 3-28. R. Guy Pulvertaft, "Psychological Aspects of Hand Injuries," Hand 7:2 (April 1, 1975), 93-103. Paul Raymond Provost, "Winslow Homer's 'The Fog Warning': The Fisherman as Heroic Character," American Art Journal 22:1 (Spring 1990), 20-27. "Ask the Globe," Boston Globe, Jan. 24, 2000, B8. Michael Carlson, "Obituary: Joseph Garland: Voice of Gloucester, Massachusetts," Guardian, Oct. 6, 2011, 46. Larry Johnston, "During a Struggle to Survive '83 Blizzard, a Sailor Becomes a Hero," Florida Today, June 21, 2006, E.1. Herbert D. Ward, "Heroes of the Deep," Century 56:3 (July 1898), 364-377. "Alone in a Four-Ton Boat," New York Times, June 19, 1899. "Passed Blackburn's Boat," New York Times, Aug. 11, 1899. "Capt. Blackburn at Lisbon," New York Times, July 21, 1901. Sherman Bristol, "The Fishermen of Gloucester," Junior Munsey 10:5 (August 1901), 749-755. Patrick McGrath, "Off the Banks," Idler 24:3 (March 1904), 522-531. John H. Peters, "Voyages in Midget Boats," St. Louis Republic Sunday Magazine, Dec. 11, 1904, 9. M.B. Levick, "Fog Is Still the Fisherman's Nemesis," New York Times, July 19, 1925. "Capt. Blackburn Dies," New York Times, Nov. 5, 1932. James Bobbins, "Two Are Rescued as Boat Capsizes," New York Times, Jan. 30, 1933. L.H. Robbins, "Out of Gloucester to the Winter Sea," New York Times, Feb. 12, 1933. Robert Spiers Benjamin, "Boats Dare Ice and Fog," New York Times, Dec. 22, 1935. Cape Ann Museum, "Captain Howard Blackburn, the Lone Voyager" (accessed July 1, 2018). Listener mail: Below the Surface. Kristina Killgrove, "You Can Virtually Excavate Artifacts From a Riverbed in Amsterdam With This Website," Forbes, June 30, 2018. "Home to Roost! Clever Hen Takes Flight and Opens a Glass Door After Eyeing Up Chicken Feed Inside," Daily Mail, June 30, 2018. Listener Sofia Hauck de Oliveira found this f on the Thames foreshore: This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener James Colter. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 16, 2018, 5 a.m.

208-Giving Birth to Rabbits

In 1726 London was rocked by a bizarre sensation: A local peasant woman began giving birth to rabbits, astounding the city and baffling the medical community. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review the strange case of Mary Toft, which has been called "history's most fascinating medical mystery." We'll also ponder some pachyderms and puzzle over some medical misinformation. Intro: The notion of music without substance raises some perplexing philosophical puzzles. Japanese haiku master Masaoka Shiki wrote nine verses about baseball. Sources for our feature on Mary Toft: Dennis Todd, Imagining Monsters: Miscreations of the Self in Eighteenth-Century England, 1995. Clifford A. Pickover, The Girl Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: A True Medical Mystery, 2000. Richard Gordon, Great Medical Mysteries, 1984. Lisa Forman Cody, Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of Eighteenth-Century Britons, 2005. Wendy Moore, "Of Rabbit and Humble Pie," British Medical Journal 338 (May 7, 2009). Palmira Fontes da Costa, "The Medical Understanding of Monstrous Births at the Royal Society of London During the First Half of the Eighteenth Century," History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 26:2 (2004), 157-175. Lawrence Segel, "What's Up, Doc?" Medical Post 39:11 (March 18, 2003), 37. Glennda Leslie, "Cheat and Impostor: Debate Following the Case of the Rabbit Breeder," Eighteenth Century 27:3 (Fall 1986), 269-286. Bill Bynum, "Maternal Impressions," Lancet 359:9309 (March 9, 2002), 898. Dolores Peters, "The Pregnant Pamela: Characterization and Popular Medical Attitudes in the Eighteenth Century," Eighteenth-Century Studies 14:4 (Summer 1981), 432-451. S.A. Seligman, "Mary Toft -- The Rabbit Breeder," Medical History 5:4 (1961), 349-360. Charles Green Cumston, "The Famous Case of Mary Toft, the Pretended Rabbit Breeder of Godalming," American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children 68:2 (August 1913), 274-300. Nathaniel Saint-André, A Short Narrative of an Extraordinary Delivery of Rabbets, Perform'd by Mr John Howard, Surgeon at Guilford, 1727. Sir Richard Manningham, An Exact Diary of What Was Observ'd During a Close Attendance Upon Mary Toft, the Pretended Rabbet-Breeder of Godalming in Surrey, From Monday Nov. 28, to Wednesday Dec. 7 Following, 1726. Cyriacus Ahlers, Some Observations Concerning the Woman of Godlyman in Surrey, 1726. Thomas Brathwaite, Remarks on a Short Narrative of an Extraordinary Delivery of Rabbets, Perform'd by Mr. John Howard, Surgeon at Guilford, 1726. A Letter From a Male Physician in the Country, to the Author of the Female Physician in London; Plainly Shewing, That for Ingenuity, Probity, and Extraordinary Productions, he Far Surpasses the Author of the Narrative, 1726. The Several Depositions of Edward Costen, Richard Stedman, John Sweetapple, Mary Peytoe, Elizabeth Mason, and Mary Costen; Relating to the Affair of Mary Toft, of Godalming in the County of Surrey, Being Deliver'd of Several Rabbits, 1727. Jonathan Swift, The Anatomist Dissected: or the Man-Midwife Finely Brought to Bed, 1727. "Merry Tuft," Much Ado About Nothing: or, a Plain Refutation of All That Has Been Written or Said Concerning the Rabbit-Woman of Godalming, 1727. "Full and Impartial Relation and Detection of the Rabbit Imposture &c.;," The Political State of Great Britain 32:12 (December 1726), 572-602. Edward White, "An Extraordinary Delivery of Rabbits," Paris Review, July 5, 2016. Listener mail: Rasnov Fortress, Romania Tourism (accessed July 5, 2018). Wikipedia, "Rasnov Citadel" (accessed July 5, 2018). Wikipedia, "Polybius" (accessed July 5, 2018). "Polybius," Encyclopaedia Britannica (accessed July 5, 2018). "The British Alpine Hannibal Expedition," John Hoyte (accessed July 5, 2018). Wikipedia, "War Elephant" (accessed July 5, 2018). "Battle of the Trebbia River," Encyclopaedia Britannica (accessed July 5, 2018). Philip Ball, "The Truth About Hannibal's Route Across the Alps," Guardian, April 3, 2016. Paul Rodgers, "Tracing Hannibal's Elephants -- With Dung," Forbes, April 5, 2016. Franz Lidz, "How (and Where) Did Hannibal Cross the Alps?" Smithsonian, July 2017. Michael B. Charles and Peter Rhodan, "'Magister Elephantorvm': A Reappraisal of Hannibal's Use of Elephants," The Classical World 100:4 (Summer 2007), 363-389. S. O'Bryhim, "Hannibal's Elephants and the Crossing of the Rhône," The Classical Quarterly 41:1 (1991), 121-125. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Benjamin Busser, who was inspired by the "Peter Weinberger" episode of the Casefile podcast. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 9, 2018, 5 a.m.

207-The Bluebelle's Last Voyage

In 1961, Wisconsin optometrist Arthur Duperrault chartered a yacht to take his family on a sailing holiday in the Bahamas. After two days in the islands, the ship failed to return to the mainland, and the unfolding story of its final voyage made headlines around the world. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll recount the fate of the Bluebelle and its seven passengers and crew. We'll also sympathize with some digital misfits and puzzle over some incendiary cigarettes. Intro: John Brunner's novel The Squares of the City encodes an 1892 chess game between Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Chigorin. Around 1730 Ben Franklin laid out 11 "necessary hints to those that would be rich." Sources for our feature on the Bluebelle: Richard D. Logan and Tere Duperrault Fassbender, Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean, 2011. "The Sea: The Bluebelle's Last Voyage," Time, Dec. 1, 1961. Herbert Brean, "The 'Bluebelle' Mystery," Life, Dec. 1, 1961. Erle Stanley Gardner, "The Case of the Bluebelle's Last Voyage," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, March 25, 1962. "Shipwrecked Girl, 11, Rescued After 4 Days on Raft in Atlantic," United Press International, Nov. 17, 1961. "Skipper Is Suicide After Yacht Wreck," United Press International, Nov. 18, 1961. "Yacht Girl Rallies," New York Times, Nov. 19, 1961. "Yacht Girl Questioned; Survivor of Sinking Reported on Way to Full Recovery," Associated Press, Nov. 20, 1961. "Rescued Girl's Story Indicates Skipper Killed Others on Yacht," Associated Press, Nov. 21, 1961. "The Mystery of the Bluebelle," New York Times, Nov. 22, 1961. "Dead Skipper's Papers Are Held by Court Order," Associated Press, Nov. 22, 1961. "Rescued Skipper Showed No Grief," Associated Press, Nov. 23, 1961. "Yacht Survivor Hears of Deaths," United Press International, Nov. 24, 1961. "Bluebelle Survivor Tells Story Again," United Press International, Nov. 28, 1961. "Coast Guard Rules Harvey Was Killer," Associated Press, April 26, 1962. "Bluebelle's Owner Sued in Deaths of 4," Associated Press, April 28, 1962. Mary Ann Grossmann, "'Alone' Book Recounts Green Bay Girl's 1961 Ordeal at Sea -- and Life After," Saint Paul Pioneer Press, May 30, 2010. John Bogert, "The Tale of the Bluebelle Still Captivates Decades Later," [Torrance, Calif.] Daily Breeze, May 26, 2010. Marlene Womack, "Out of the Past: The Mystery of the Yacht Bluebelle," [Panama City, Fla.] News Herald, Nov. 10, 2014. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Isle of Man" (accessed June 28, 2018). Wikipedia, "Geography of the Isle of Man" (accessed June 28, 2018). Wikipedia, "Wallaby" (accessed June 28, 2018). Wikipedia, "Red-Necked Wallaby" (accessed June 28, 2018). "Searching for the Isle of Man's Wild Wallabies," BBC News, Oct. 17, 2010. "Isle of Man Wallaby Population 'Increasing,'" BBC News, Sept. 16, 2014. Nazia Parveen, "Wallabies Flourishing in the Wild on Isle of Man," Guardian, Aug. 14, 2016. Christopher Null, "Hello, I’m Mr. Null. My Name Makes Me Invisible to Computers," Wired, Nov. 5, 2015. Associated Press, "Apostrophe in Your Name Can Cause a World O'Trouble," February 21, 2008. Anna Tims, "I Was Denied Boarding a Plane -- All Because of a Hyphen," Guardian, April 27, 2018. Tim O'Keefe, "Apostrophe in Name Causes Computer Chaos," April 29, 2016. Freia Lobo, "Here's Why Airlines Have Trouble With Your Hyphenated Name," Mashable, June 25, 2017. John Scott-Railton, "#HyphensUnite: A Decade of United Airlines Ignoring the Hyphenated," June 21, 2017. Click consonants are speech sounds that occur as consonants in Southern and East African languages. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Mike Wolin, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 2, 2018, 5 a.m.

206-The Sky and the Sea

Swiss physicist Auguste Piccard opened two new worlds in the 20th century. He was the first person to fly 10 miles above the earth and the first to travel 2 miles beneath the sea, using inventions that opened the doors to these new frontiers. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Piccard on his historic journeys into the sky and the sea. We'll also admire some beekeeping serendipity and puzzle over a sudden need for locksmiths. Intro: Herbert Hoover's doctor invented a game to keep him in shape. William Howard Taft boasted that he lost 70 pounds on this diet. Sources for our feature on Auguste Piccard: Auguste Piccard, Between Earth and Sky, 1950. Auguste Piccard, Earth, Sky and Sea, 1956. Alan Honour, Ten Miles High, Two Miles Deep: The Adventures of the Piccards, 1957. Fergus Fleming and Annabel Merulla, eds., The Explorer's Eye, 2005. Tom Cheshire, The Explorer Gene: How Three Generations of One Family Went Higher, Deeper, and Further Than Any Before, 2013. Markus Pagitz, "The Future of Scientific Ballooning," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 365:1861, 3003-3017. G. Pfotzer, "History of the Use of Balloons in Scientific Experiments," Space Science Reviews 13:2 (June 1972), 199-242. Don Walsh, "Dr. Piccard and His Wonderful Electric Submarines," United States Naval Institute Proceedings 137:9 (September 2011), 102. "Bathyscaphe Explores Ocean Bottom," Science News-Letter 733 (Jan. 18, 1958), 35. Jean Piccard, "Exploration by Balloon," Scientific Monthly 47:3 (September 1938), 270-277. J.R. Dean, "Deep Submersibles Used in Oceanography," Geographical Journal 131:1 (March 1965), 70-72. "Scientists Fortunate to Return from Region of Black Skies," Science News-Letter 19:530 (June 6, 1931), 364. "Auguste Piccard," Physics Today 15:8 (August 1962), 80. "Ten Miles High in an Air-Tight Ball," Popular Science, August 1931, 23. Mark Betancourt, "See The World From 100,000 Feet," Air & Space Smithsonian, July 2015. Malcolm W. Browne, "A Balloonist's Adventurous Lineage," New York Times, March 21, 1999, 8. "Balloon's Historic Flight an Aviation Milestone," South Bend [Ind.] Tribune, March 27, 1999, A9. "Jacques Piccard," Times, Nov. 5, 2008, 58. Naomi Koppel, "Balloonist Piccard Comes From Long Line of Record-Setting Pioneers," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 21, 1999, 21. Glenn C. Altschuler, "What Propels the Piccards to Their Extremes," Boston Globe, Dec. 3, 2013, G.6. Helen Fields, "A Swiss Family's Triple Crown," U.S. News & World Report 136:7 (Feb. 23, 2004), 78-80. "Brother Had Faith in Piccard's Success," New York Times, May 29, 1931. "Jacques Piccard, Scientist Who Explored the Deep Seas, Dies at 86," Associated Press, Nov. 1, 2008. "Piccard on Radio Describes Flight," New York Times, June 2, 1931. "Piccard and Cosyns to Aid Argentine Flight," New York Times, Jan. 21, 1940. "Auguste Piccard, Explorer, Is Dead. Auguste Piccard Is Dead at 78. Stratosphere and Sea Explorer," New York Times, March 26, 1962. Whit Burnett, "Piccard and Aide Had Close Call," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, May 29, 1931, A-4. Auguste Piccard, "Conquest of the Stratosphere at Hand," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, Feb. 14, 1932, 5. "Plan Stratosphere Flight," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, May 23, 1933, A-2. Max Cosyns, "Conquest of the Stratosphere at Hand," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, June 26, 1934, 11. Listener mail: Scott McArt, "The Latest Bee Science Distilled," American Bee Journal, April 1, 2018. Bettina Ziegelmann et al., "Lithium Chloride Effectively Kills the Honey Bee Parasite Varroa destructor by a Systemic Mode of Action," Scientific Reports 8:1 (2018), 683. Mary Bammer, "Lithium Chloride for Varroa Control?" Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and University of Florida, April 18, 2018. Sarah De Filippe, "Director of Geese: A Dog With a Job," Vassar College Miscellany News 134:8 (Nov. 12, 2004), 16. Maxim Alter, "Dog Days May End Fowl Play," New Paltz Oracle, Oct. 28, 2010. "New Paltz Welcomes the Arrival of Geese Herding Border Collie," New Paltz News, Feb. 16, 2011. This week's lateral thinking puzzle is based on an item in Dan Lewis' Now I Know enewsletter (warning -- this link spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 25, 2018, 5 a.m.

205-The White Mouse

In 1928 Nancy Wake ran away from her Australian home and into an unlikely destiny: She became a dynamo in the French resistance, helping more than a thousand people to flee the Germans and then organizing partisans to fight them directly. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the White Mouse, one of the bravest heroes of World War II. We'll also marvel at mailmen and puzzle over an expensive homework assignment. Intro: The town of Agloe, New York, was invented by a pair of mapmakers. F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise contains two hidden poems. Sources for our feature on Nancy Wake: Peter FitzSimons, Nancy Wake, 2001. Nancy Wake, The White Mouse, 1985. Russell Braddon, The White Mouse, 1956. "Dispatches," World War II 26:4 (November/December 2011), 16. "History in the Media," History Today 55:4 (April 2005), 9. "Sound Off," Leatherneck 85:6 (June 2002), 2. Adam Bernstein, "Nancy Wake, 'White Mouse' of World War II, Dies at 98," Washington Post, Aug. 9, 2011. Paul Vitello, "Nancy Wake, Proud Spy and Nazi Foe, Dies at 98," New York Times, Aug. 13, 2011. "Obituary: Nancy Wake," Economist 400:8746 (Aug. 13, 2011), 82. Chris Brice, "The Mouse That Roared," [Adelaide] Advertiser, June 2, 2001. Bruce Wilson, "Forever in Her Debt," [Brisbane] Courier-Mail, Feb. 15, 2003, 34. "War Heroine Nancy Wake Dies," ABC Premium News, Aug. 8, 2011. "Prince Helps Pauper Heroine," [Adelaide] Advertiser, Feb. 11, 2003, 22. "Australian 'White Mouse' Was a Guerrilla to Nazis Selling Her War Medals Did Not Endear Her to Countrymen, Though," Christian Science Monitor, June 8, 1994. Sandra Laville, "Penniless Resistance Hero Stays On ... and On ... at Hotel," Vancouver Sun, Feb. 11, 2003, A16. Red Harrison, "All Guts and Garters," Weekend Australian, June 9, 2001. Lydia Clifford, "Secrets and White Lies," Daily Telegraph, June 1, 2001, 117. Bruce Wilson, "Penniless Wake Is Also Priceless," Daily Telegraph, Feb. 14, 2003, 23. Nate Rawlings, "Nancy Wake," Time 178:8 (Aug. 29, 2011), 20. Roderick Bailey, "Wake, Nancy Grace Augusta," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Jan. 8, 2015. Listener mail: A 1797 George III Cartwheel penny, a handgun, and a selection of pottery and pipes found on the Thames foreshore. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle's "Police Reports." The neural net that Dave Lawrence fed them through. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Simone Hilliard, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 18, 2018, 5 a.m.

204-Mary Anning's Fossils

In 1804, when she was 5 years old, Mary Anning began to dig in the cliffs that flanked her English seaside town. What she found amazed the scientists of her time and challenged the established view of world history. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of "the greatest fossilist the world ever knew.” We'll also try to identify a Norwegian commando and puzzle over some further string pulling. Intro: William Rowan Hamilton was so pleased with the fundamental formula for quaternions that he carved it into the bridge on which it occurred to him. On Christmas morning 1875, Mark Twain's daughter discovered a letter from the moon. Sources for our feature on Mary Anning: Shelley Emling, The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World, 2009. Thomas W. Goodhue, Fossil Hunter: The Life and Times of Mary Anning (1799-1847), 2004. Hugh Torrens, "Presidential Address: Mary Anning (1799-1847) of Lyme; 'The Greatest Fossilist the World Ever Knew,'" British Journal for the History of Science 28:3 (September 1995), 257-284. Crispin Tickell, "Princess of Palaeontology," Nature 400:6742 (July 22, 1999), 321. Adrian Burton, "The Ichthyosaur in the Room," Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10:6 (August 2012), 340. Tom Huntington, "The Princess of Paleontology," British Heritage 26:2 (May 2005), 44-59. Michael A. Taylor and Hugh S. Torrens, "Fossils by the Sea," Natural History 104:10 (October 1995), 66. Renee M. Clary and James H. Wandersee, "Mary Anning: She's More Than 'Seller of Sea Shells at the Seashore,'" American Biology Teacher 68:3 (March 2006), 153-157. Peggy Vincent et al., "Mary Anning's Legacy to French Vertebrate Palaeontology," Geological Magazine 151:1 (January 2014), 7-20. Michael A. Taylor and Hugh S. Torrens, "An Anonymous Account of Mary Anning (1799–1847), Fossil Collector of Lyme Regis, England, Published in Chambers's Journal in 1857, and its Attribution to Frank Buckland (1826–1880), George Roberts (c.1804–1860) and William Buckland (1784–1856)," Archives of Natural History 41:2 (2014), 309–325. Justin Pollard and Stephanie Pollard, "Mary Anning: Born 21 May 1799," History Today 68:3 (March 2018), 22-23. Sarah Zielinski, "Mary Anning, an Amazing Fossil Hunter," Smithsonian, Jan. 5, 2010. Shelley Emling, "Mary Anning and the Birth of Paleontology," Scientific American, Oct. 21, 2009. "Mary Anning," Discover 38:4 (May 2017), 47. "Mary Anning, the Fossil Finder," All the Year Round 13:303 (Feb. 11, 1865), 60-63. John P. Rafferty, "Mary Anning," Encyclopaedia Britannica, May 17, 2018. "Mary Anning (1799-1847)," University of California Museum of Paleontology (accessed May 27, 2018). "Mary Anning," University of Bristol Paleobiology Research Group (accessed May 27, 2018). In 1830 the geologist Henry De la Beche painted this watercolor depicting every one of Mary's finds -- he sold lithographs and gave the proceeds to her. This increased her security, but apparently not beyond worry. Listener mail: Ryan Osborne, "'America's Spirit Animal 2018:' Twitter Loves the Bear Who Ate Two Dozen Cupcakes," WFAA, May 12, 2018. Michael George, "New Jersey Baker Says Bear Broke Into Car, Ate 2 Dozen Cupcakes, Left Only Paw Print," NBC New York, May 11, 2018. Gene Myers, "Cupcake-Eating Bear Celebrated With Bear-Shaped Cupcakes by Bakery," North Jersey, May 11, 2018. Thomson Reuters, "Alaska Bear Falls Through Skylight Into Party, Eats All the Cupcakes," CBC News, June 25, 2014. Lindsay Deutsch, "Bear Falls Through Skylight, Eats Birthday Cupcakes," USA Today, June 26, 2014. Brendan Rand, "5-Year-Old Girl Attacked, Dragged by Black Bear," ABC News, May 14, 2018. Courtney Han, "5-Year-Old Girl Who Was Attacked and Dragged by Bear Is Released From Hospital," ABC News, May 19, 2018. To Tell the Truth, Jan. 17, 1966. Wikipedia, "To Tell the Truth" (accessed June 9, 2018). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Stefan, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils this puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 11, 2018, 6 a.m.

203-Notes and Queries

In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll explore some more curiosities and unanswered questions from Greg's research, including a misplaced elephant, a momentous biscuit failure, a peripatetic ax murderer, and the importance of the 9 of diamonds. We'll also revisit Michael Malloy's resilience and puzzle over an uncommonly casual prison break. Intro: In 1846, geologist Adam Sedgwick sent his niece some tips on pronouncing Welsh. In 1961, psychologist Robert Sommer reflected that a person's importance is reflected in his keyring. Sources for our feature on notes and queries: Justin Kaplan and Anne Bernays mention the naming of Deathball Rock, Oregon, in their 1999 book The Language of Names: What We Call Ourselves and Why It Matters. The anecdote about the King Kong animator is from Orville Goldner and George E. Turner's 1975 book The Making of King Kong. The anecdote about Fred Astaire and the editor is from Brian Seibert's 2015 history of tap dancing, What the Eye Hears, supplemented by this New Yorker letter. Oxford mathematician Nick Trefethen's jotted thoughts are collected in Trefethen's Index Cards, 2011. The identity of the "bravest man" at the Battle of the Little Bighorn is discussed in Thom Hatch's 2000 Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn: An Encyclopedia and Frederic C. Wagner III's 2016 Participants in the Battle of the Little Big Horn. But I don't know any source that makes a decided claim as to his identity. "Icy Mike," the bull elephant skeleton discovered on Mount Kenya, is mentioned in Matthew Power and Keridwen Cornelius' article "Escape to Mount Kenya" in National Geographic Adventure 9:7 (September 2007), 65-71. Bernard Suits defines games in The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia, 1978. The anecdote about Maidenhead, Berkshire, is from Gordon Snell's The Book of Theatre Quotes, 1982. The observation about William Byrd's diary is in Margaret Fleming's "Analysis of a Four-Letter Word," in Maledicta 1:2 (1977). Bill James' book about the Villisca ax murders is The Man From the Train, co-written with his daughter Rachel McCarthy James. Richard O. Jones describes the Cincinnati privy disaster of 1904 in this Belt Magazine article of Nov. 4, 2014. (Thanks, Glenn.) Here's a diagram of the Woodingdean Well, the deepest hand-dug well in the world. Barry Day mentions P.G. Wodehouse's characterization of his comic novels in his 2004 book The Complete Lyrics of P.G. Wodehouse (according to N.T.P. Murphy's 2006 A Wodehouse Handbook). Wikipedia gives a long list of reputed reasons the 9 of diamonds is called the "curse of Scotland." English curate Francis Kilvert mentions a mysterious organ grinder in his diary entry for May 12, 1874. Horace Walpole's owl whistles are mentioned in Arthur Michael Samuel's Mancroft Essays, 1912. The story about the Dabneys' clothesline telegraph appears in David Williams' I Freed Myself: African American Self-Emancipation in the Civil War Era, 2014, among other modern sources. Williams cites John Truesdale's The Blue Coats, and How They Lived, Fought and Died for the Union, from 1867. I'd be more sanguine with more authoritative sources. Listener mail: Nidhi Goyal, "Your Stomach Acid Can Dissolve Metal," Industry Tap, Feb. 3, 2016. Wikipedia, "Hydrochloric Acid" (accessed June 2, 2018). S.E. Gould, "What Makes Things Acid: The pH Scale," Lab Rat, Scientific American, Dec. 3, 2012. Charles Herman Sulz, A Treatise on Beverages, Or, The Complete Practical Bottler, 1888. "Properties of Some Metals: Tin," James P. Birk, CHM-115: General Chemistry with Qualitative Analysis, Arizona State University. P.K. Li et al., "In Vitro Effects of Simulated Gastric Juice on Swallowed Metal Objects: Implications for Practical Management," Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 46:2 (August 1997), 152-155. IMDb, "Open Water 2: Adrift." https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0470055/ Wikipedia, "Open Water 2: Adrift" (accessed June 2, 2018). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 4, 2018, 6 a.m.

202-The Rosenhan Experiment

In the 1970s psychologist David Rosenhan sent healthy volunteers to 12 psychiatric hospitals, where they claimed to be hearing voices. Once they were admitted, they behaved normally, but the hospitals diagnosed all of them as seriously mentally ill. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the Rosenhan experiment, which challenged the validity of psychiatric diagnosis and set off a furor in the field. We'll also spot hawks at Wimbledon and puzzle over a finicky payment processor. Intro: In 2002, Burkard Polster investigated the mathematics of shoelaces. A raindrop that lands on Montana's Triple Divide Peak might arrive at any of three oceans. Sources for our feature on the Rosenhan experiment: Roger R. Hock, Forty Studies That Changed Psychology, 2009. Dusan Kecmanovic, Controversies and Dilemmas in Contemporary Psychiatry, 2017. Donald O. Granberg and John F. Galliher, A Most Human Enterprise, 2010. David Rosenhan, "On Being Sane in Insane Places," Science 179:4070 (Jan. 19, 1973), 250–258. Paul R. Fleischman et al., "Psychiatric Diagnosis," Science, New Series 180:4084 (April 27, 1973), 356+358+360-369. Robert L. Spitzer, "On Pseudoscience in Science, Logic in Remission, and Psychiatric Diagnosis: A Critique of Rosenhan's 'On Being Sane in Insane Places,'" Journal of Abnormal Psychology 84:5, 442–452. Ulric Neisser, "Reversibility of Psychiatric Diagnoses," Science, New Series 180:4091 (June 15, 1973), 1116. Martin Bulmer, "Are Pseudo-Patient Studies Justified?," Journal of Medical Ethics 8:2 (June 1982), 65-71. Peter C. Gaughwin, "On Being Insane in Medico-Legal Places: The Importance of Taking a Complete History in Forensic Mental Health Assessment," Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 12:2 (2005), 298-310. Theodore Millon, "Reflections on Rosenhan's 'On Being Sane in Insane Places,'" Journal of Abnormal Psychology 84:5 (October 1975), 456-461. Maurice K. Temerlin, "Suggestion Effects in Psychiatric Diagnosis," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 147:4 (October 1968), 349–353. Murray J. Goddard, "Personal Accounts: On Being Possibly Sane in Possibly Insane Places," Psychiatric Services 62:8 (August 2011), 831-832. Jared M. Bartels and Daniel Peters, "Coverage of Rosenhan's 'On Being Sane in Insane Places' in Abnormal Psychology Textbooks," Teaching of Psychology 44:2 (2017), 169-173. Marti Loring and Brian Powell, "Gender, Race, and DSM-III: A Study of the Objectivity of Psychiatric Diagnostic Behavior," Journal of Health and Social Behavior 29:1 (March 1988), 1–22. Jim Schnabel, "Puck in the Laboratory: The Construction and Deconstruction of Hoaxlike Deception in Science," Science, Technology, & Human Values 19:4 (October 1, 1994), 459-492. Michael Fontaine, "On Being Sane in an Insane Place -- The Rosenhan Experiment in the Laboratory of Plautus' Epidamnus," Current Psychology: Research and Reviews 32:4 (December 2013), 348-365. Mark Moran, "Writer Ignites Firestorm With Misdiagnosis Claims," Psychiatric News 41:7 (April 7, 2006), 10–12. Sandra Blakeslee, "8 Feign Insanity in Test and Are Termed Insane," New York Times, Jan. 21, 1973. Nathaniel Morris, "This Secret Experiment Tricked Psychiatrists Into Diagnosing Sane People as Having Schizophrenia," Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2017. Claudia Hammond, "One Flew Into the Cuckoo's Nest," Times, July 27, 2009, 8. Richard M. Restak, "Medicine of the Mind," Wilson Quarterly 7:4 (Autumn 1983), 112-118. Listener mail: Pierre Bertrand, "Feral Parakeets Taking Over London, Prompting Concerns They'll Push Out Native Birds," CBC News, Feb. 14, 2016. Wikipedia, "Feral Parakeets in Great Britain," (accessed May 23, 2018). James Owen, "Feral Parrot Population Soars in U.K., Study Says," National Geographic News, July 8, 2004. Hazel Jackson, "Move Aside, Pigeons: Wild Parakeets Poised for World Domination," CNN, Aug. 17, 2016. Oliver Pickup, "Introducing Rufus the Hawk: The Official Bird Scarer of the Wimbledon Championships," Telegraph, July 3, 2017. Wikipedia, "Rufus the Hawk" (accessed May 23, 2018). "Rufus the Hawk Back at Work," BT, June 25, 2013. Bryony Gordon, "Rufus the Hawk: Quails, Baths And Me-Time -- Meet Wimbledon's Biggest Diva," Telegraph, July 2, 2012. "Nosy Neighbour," finalist, 2016 Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year, 2016. Sam Hobson's photography. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Tommy Honton, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 28, 2018, 6 a.m.

201-The Gardner Heist

In 1990, two thieves dressed as policemen walked into Boston's Gardner museum and walked out with 13 artworks worth half a billion dollars. After 28 years the lost masterpieces have never been recovered. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the largest art theft in history and the ongoing search for its solution. We'll also discover the benefits of mustard gas and puzzle over a surprisingly effective fighter pilot. Intro: In 1938, Italian physicist Ettore Majorana vanished without a trace. Many of the foremost intellectuals of the early 20th century frequented the same café in Vienna. Sources for our feature on the Gardner heist: Ulrich Boser, The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft, 2008. Stephen Kurkjian, Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World's Greatest Art Heist, 2015. Michael Brenson, "Robbers Seem to Know Just What They Want," New York Times, March 19, 1990. Peter S. Canellos, Andy Dabilis, and Kevin Cullen, "Art Stolen From Gardner Museum Was Uninsured, Cost of Theft Coverage Described as Prohibitive," Boston Globe, March 20, 1990, 1. Robert Hughes, "A Boston Theft Reflects the Art World's Turmoil," Time 135:14 (April 2, 1990), 54. Peter Plagens, Mark Starr, and Kate Robins, "To Catch an Art Thief," Newsweek 115:14 (April 2, 1990), 52. Scott Baldauf, "Museum Asks: Does It Take a Thief to Catch a Degas?," Christian Science Monitor 89:193 (Aug. 29, 1997), 3. Steve Lopez and Charlotte Faltermayer, "The Great Art Caper," Time 150:21 (Nov. 17, 1997), 74. "Missing Masterpieces," Security 37:6 (June 2000), 14-18. Robert M. Poole, "Ripped From the Walls (And the Headlines)," Smithsonian 36:4 (July 2005), 92-103. Paige Williams, "The Art of the Story," Boston Magazine, March 2010. Randy Kennedy, "20th Anniversary of a Boston Art Heist," New York Times, March 17, 2010. Mark Durney and Blythe Proulx, "Art Crime: A Brief Introduction," Crime, Law and Social Change 56:115 (September 2011). Katharine Q. Seelye and Tom Mashberg, "A New Effort in Boston to Catch 1990 Art Thieves," New York Times, March 18, 2013. Tom Mashberg, "Isabella Stewart Gardner: 25 Years of Theories," New York Times, Feb. 26, 2015. Shelley Murphy, "Search for Artworks From Gardner Heist Continues 25 Years Later," Boston Globe, March 17, 2015. Tom Mashberg, "Arrest by F.B.I. Is Tied to $500 Million Art Theft From Boston Museum, Lawyer Says," New York Times, April 17, 2015. Serge F. Kovaleski and Tom Mashberg, "Reputed Mobster May Be Last Link to Gardner Museum Art Heist," New York Times, April 24, 2015. "New Video in 25-Year-Old Art Heist at Boston's Isabella Gardner Museum," New York Daily News, Aug. 6, 2015. Tom Mashberg, "25 Years After Gardner Museum Heist, Video Raises Questions," New York Times, Aug. 6, 2015. Rodrigue Ngowi and William J. Kole, "2 Suspects in Boston Art Theft Worth $500 Million Are Dead, FBI Says," Washington Post, Aug. 7, 2015. Sarah Kaplan, "Surveillance Video Raises Questions — and Possible Clues — in 25-Year-Old Museum Mystery," Washington Post, Aug. 7, 2015. Justin Peters, "Why Is Stolen Art So Hard to Find?," Slate, Aug. 14, 2015. Erick Trickey, "The Gardner Museum Heist: Who's Got the Art?," Boston Magazine, March 13, 2016. Shelley Murphy and Stephen Kurkjian, "Six Theories Behind The Stolen Gardner Museum Paintings," Boston Globe, March 18, 2017. Graham Bowley, "Gardner Museum Doubles Reward for Recovery of Stolen Masterpieces," New York Times, May 23, 2017. Edmund H. Mahony, "Stubborn Stand-Off Over Stolen Gardner Museum Art Could End With Sentencing of Hartford Gangster," Hartford Courant, Sept. 5, 2017. Katharine Q. Seelye, "Clock Is Ticking on $10 Million Reward in Gardner Art Heist," New York Times, Dec. 26, 2017. Camila Domonoske, "Got the Scoop on the Gardner Museum Art Heist? You Have 4 Days to Earn $10 Million," The Two-Way, National Public Radio, Dec. 27, 2017. Edmund H. Mahony, "Museum Extends $10 Million Reward in Notorious Boston Gardner Museum Art Heist," Hartford Courant, Jan. 11, 2018. Colin Moynihan, "Gardner Museum Extends $10 Million Reward for Information in Art Heist," New York Times, Jan. 11, 2018. Nadja Sayej, "Will Boston's $500m Art Heist Ever Be Solved?," Guardian, Jan. 19, 2018. Leah Silverman, "Suspect in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist Sentenced to Four Years in Prison," Town & Country, Feb. 28, 2018. Sarah Cascone, "Paintings Stolen in America's Biggest Art Heist Have Returned to Their Frames -- Thanks to Augmented Reality," Artnet, March 26, 2018. "Learn About the Theft," Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (accessed April 29, 2018). Listener mail: Derek Lowe, "Understanding Antidepressants -- or Not," Science Translational Medicine, Feb. 12, 2018. Johnathan Frunzi, "From Weapon to Wonder Drug," Hospitalist, February 2007. "Evolution of Cancer Treatments: Chemotherapy," American Cancer Society (accessed May 17, 2018). Augustus De Morgan, A Budget of Paradoxes Reprinted, With the Author's Additions, From the Athenaeum, 1872. Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, "Medicinal Notes: Honey Works Better Than Cow-Dung," Independent, May 4, 1999. Ole Peter Grell, Paracelsus, 1998. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Steven Jones. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 21, 2018, 6 a.m.

200-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

  Here are five new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Here are the sources for this week's puzzles. In a few places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 was contributed by listener Mary McNally. Puzzle #2 is from listeners Tay Moss and John Russell. Puzzle #3 is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale's 2014 book Remarkable Lateral Thinking Puzzles, plus this article. Puzzle #4 was suggested by an item in Kevin McAleer's 2014 book Dueling: The Cult of Honor in Fin-de-Siècle Germany. Puzzle #5 was devised by Sharon. Here are three corroborating links. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 14, 2018, 6 a.m.

199-The Mystery of the Carroll A. Deering

In 1921 a schooner ran aground on the treacherous shoals off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. When rescuers climbed aboard, they found signs of a strange drama in the ship's last moments -- and no trace of the 11-man crew. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll examine the curious case of the Carroll A. Deering, which has been called "one of the enduring mysteries of maritime history." We'll also experiment with yellow fever and puzzle over a disputed time of death. Intro: Benoni Lanctot's 1867 Chinese and English Phrase Book is not a model of cross-cultural comity. In 1916 a bank director mailed 15,000 bricks to establish a new bank in Vernal, Utah. Sources for our feature on the Carroll A. Deering: Bland Simpson, Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals, 2002. Edward Rowe Snow, Mysteries and Adventures Along the Atlantic Coast, 1948. David Stick, Graveyard of the Atlantic: Shipwrecks of the North Carolina Coast, 1952. David H. Grover, "Baffling Mystery of Cape Hatteras' Twin Ship Disappearances," Sea Classics 40:6 (June 2007), 42. David Grover, "Bedeviling Mystery of the Vanished Conestoga," Sea Classics 42:4 (April 2009), 42-49. National Park Foundation, "The Legend of the Ghost Ship: Carroll A. Deering," Oct. 28, 2015. National Park Service, "The Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks," April 14, 2015. Richard Seamon, "Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals: The Mystery of Carroll A. Deering," United States Naval Institute Proceedings 128:11 (November 2002), 82-84. "3 U.S. Ships Vanish at Sea With Crews; Reds Blamed," New York Tribune, June 21, 1921. "Piracy Suspected in Disappearance of 3 American Ships," New York Times, June 21, 1921. "Ghost Ship Met Foul Play, U.S. Charges," Washington Times, June 21, 1921. "Bath Owners Skeptical," New York Times, June 21, 1921. "Schooner Deering Seized by Pirates Off the North Carolina Coast, Is Belief," Great Falls [Mont.] Tribune, June 22, 1921. "Deering Skipper's Wife Caused Investigation," New York Times, June 22, 1921. "More Ships Added to Mystery List," New York Times, June 22, 1921. "Divided as to Theory About Missing Ships," New York Times, June 22, 1921. "Are Pirates Afloat in North Atlantic? Is Question Asked," Union [S.C.] Times, June 23, 1921. "Skipper's Daughter Holds Pirate Theory," New York Times, June 23, 1921. "London Isn't Thrilled by Ship Mysteries," New York Times, June 25, 1921. "Soviet Pirate Tale Declared a 'Fake,'" New York Times, Aug. 26, 1921. Shaila Dewan, "A Journey Back in Maritime," New York Times, July 4, 2008. Alyson Cunningham, "Schooner's Voyage Ends on Carolina Coast," [Salisbury, Md.] Daily Times, Feb. 26, 2014, 40. "The 'Ghost Ship' Mysteries Yet to be Solved," Telegraph, Jan. 23, 2014. Engineer James Steel took the above photograph of the Carroll A. Deering from the deck of the lightship off Cape Lookout, North Carolina, on Jan. 28, 1921. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Self-Experimentation in Medicine" (accessed May 4, 2018). Wikipedia, "Max Joseph von Pettenkofer" (accessed May 4, 2018). Wikipedia, "Jesse William Lazear" (accessed May 4, 2018). Kiona N. Smith, "The Epidemiologist Who Killed Himself for Science," Forbes, Sept. 25, 2017. Neil A. Grauer, "'The Myth of Walter Reed,'" Washington Post, Aug. 26, 1997 Karin Brulliard, "Could a Bear Break Into That Cooler? Watch These Grizzlies Try," Washington Post, Nov. 29, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdOcrUtE-UQ This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listeners Neil de Carteret and Nala, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 7, 2018, 6 a.m.

198-The Man Who Wouldn't Die

In 1932 a quartet of Bronx gangsters set out to murder a friend of theirs in order to collect his life insurance. But Michael Malloy proved to be almost comically difficult to kill. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review what one observer called "the most clumsily executed insurance scam in New York City history." We'll also burrow into hoarding and puzzle over the value of silence. Intro: In May 1856 Abraham Lincoln gave a fiery speech of which no record exists. Calvin S. Brown argued that Thomas De Quincey modeled the third part of his 1849 essay "The English Mail-Coach" deliberately on a musical fugue. Sources for our feature on Michael Malloy: Simon Read, On the House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy, 2005. Deborah Blum, The Poisoner's Handbook, 2011. Karen Abbott, "The Man Who Wouldn't Die," Smithsonian, Feb. 7, 2012. Isabelle Keating, "Doctor and Undertaker Held in 'Murder Trust,'" Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 12, 1933. "Insurance Murder Charged to Five," New York Times, May 13, 1933. "4 Murder Attempts Cited in Weird Insurance Plot," Altoona (Pa.) Tribune, May 13, 1933. "Murder Plot Seen in Another Death," New York Times, May 14, 1933. "Murder Inquiry Is Widened by Foley," New York Times, May 16, 1933. "Six Are Indicted in Insurance Plot," [Washington D.C.] Evening Star, May 17, 1933. "Indicted as Slayers in Insurance Plot," New York Times, May 17, 1933. "4 on Trial in Bronx Insurance Slaying," New York Times, Oct. 5, 1933. "4 Men Go on Trial in Old Insurance Plot," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Oct. 18, 1933. "Jury Weighs Fate of Four in Killing," New York Times, Oct. 19, 1933. "Four Men to Die for Bronx Killing," New York Times, Oct. 20, 1933. "Three Die at Sing Sing for Bronx Murder," New York Times, June 8, 1934. "Murphy Goes to the Chair," New York Times, July 6, 1934. "The Durable Mike Malloy," New York Daily News, Oct. 14, 2007. Max Haines, "Inept Gang of Murderers Found Barfly Michael Malloy Almost Indestructible," Kamloops [B.C.] Daily News, Feb. 23, 2008. Deborah Blum, "The Strange Death of Mike the Durable," Women in Crime Ink, March 23, 2010. Listener mail: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Fugen Neziroglu, "Hoarding: The Basics," Anxiety and Depression Association of America (accessed April 27, 2018). Scott O. Lilienfeld and Hal Arkowitz, "Hoarding Can Be a Deadly Business," Scientific American, Sept. 1, 2013. Ferris Jabr, "Step Inside the Real World of Compulsive Hoarders," Scientific American, Feb. 25, 2013. Homer and Langley's Mystery Spot Antiques: This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener David Marrero, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 30, 2018, 6 a.m.

197-Alone Across the Outback

In 1977, a young woman named Robyn Davidson set out to pursue what she called a "lunatic idea" -- to lead a group of camels 1,700 miles across western Australia, from the center of the continent to the Indian Ocean. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Davidson's remarkable journey alone through the Outback and learn what it taught her. We'll also dive into the La Brea Tar Pits and puzzle over some striking workers. Intro: O.E. Young of Petersburg, Va., assembled a two-story house from the marble headstones of 2,000 Union soldiers. In 1946 Stan Bult began recording the faces of London clowns on eggshells. Sources for our feature on Robyn Davidson: Robyn Davidson, Tracks, 1980. Paul Smethurst, Travel Writing and the Natural World, 1768-1840, 2012. Robert Clarke, Travel Writing From Black Australia: Utopia, Melancholia, and Aboriginality, 2016. Amanda Hooton, "Travels of the Heart," Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 8, 2014. Robyn Davidson, "Walk My Country," Mānoa 18:2 (Winter 2006), 7-17. "The Inspiration: Robyn Davidson," Australian Geographic 90 (April-June 2008), 112-112. Dea Birkett, "The Books Interview: Robyn Davidson -- Landmarks of an Accursed Art," Independent, Aug. 4, 2001, 9. Luke Slattery, "10 Questions: Robyn Davidson, Writer, Traveller, 59," Australian Magazine, Oct. 13, 2012, 10. Michele Field, "Robyn Davidson: A Literary Nomad," Publishers Weekly 243:46 (Nov. 11, 1996), 52-53. Cathy Pryor, "Tracks Author Robyn Davidson Reflects on a Changing Australia, 40 Years After Her Desert Trek," ABC News, Dec. 8, 2017. Richard Feloni, "16 Striking Photos of One Woman's 2,835km Trek Across the Australian Outback," Business Insider Australia, Feb. 15, 2015. Robyn Davidson, "Tracks: The True Story Behind the Film," Telegraph, April 19, 2014. Duncan Campbell, "Making Tracks: Robyn Davidson's Australian Camel Trip on the Big Screen," Guardian, April 21, 2014. "Indomitable Spirit," Canberra Times, Sept. 29, 2012, 8. Coburn Dukehart, "Rick Smolan's Trek With Tracks, From Australian Outback to Silver Screen," National Geographic, Sept. 19, 2014. Brad Wetzler, "Australian Camel Odyssey: A Voyage of Self Discovery," Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Jan. 2, 1993, E1. Eleanor Massey, "Women Who Discovered the World," Eureka Street 21:2 (Feb. 11, 2011), 1-2. Mary Warner Marien, "Desert Journeys With Women Are Anything But Dry," Christian Science Monitor, March 12, 1997. Jennifer H. Laing and Geoffrey I. Crouch, "Lone Wolves? Isolation and Solitude Within the Frontier Travel Experience," Geografiska Annaler, Series B, Human Geography 91:4 (December 2009), 325-342. Gary Krist, "Ironic Journeys: Travel Writing in the Age of Tourism," Hudson Review 45:4 (Winter 1993), 593-601. Robert Clarke, "Travel and Celebrity Culture: An Introduction," Postcolonial Studies 12:2 (June 2009), 145-152. Richard Snailham, "Tracks by Robyn Davidson," Geographical Journal 148:1 (March 1982), 116-117. Ihab Hassan, "Australian Journeys: A Personal Essay on Spirit," Religion & Literature 34:3 (Autumn, 2002), 75-90. Rachael Weaver, "Adaptation and Authorial Celebrity: Robyn Davidson and the Context of John Curran's Tracks (2013)," Adaptation 9:1 (March 2016), 12-21. Listener mail: Helen Lawson, "'My Job Stinks': The Diver Who Has to Swim Through Sewers to Unblock the Drains of Mexico City," Daily Mail, March 23, 2013. Michael Walsh, "It's A Dirty Job: Meet Mexico City’S Official Sewer Diver," New York Daily News, March 23, 2013. Eric Hodge, Phoebe Judge, and Rebecca Martinez, "Criminal: La Brea Dave's Deep Dive," WUNC, Dec. 18, 2015. Wikipedia, "La Brea Tar Pits" (accessed April 19, 2018). "FAQs," La Brea Tar Pits & Museum (accessed April 19, 2018). Andrew Blankstein, "Police Find Evidence Linked to Homicide in La Brea Tar Pits," Los Angeles Times, June 7, 2013. Wikipedia, "Grapheme-Color Synesthesia" (accessed April 19, 2018). Maggie Koerth-Baker, "Magnetic Letters Taught Us More Than How to Spell," National Geographic, March 9, 2016. "Synesthesia," Psychology Today (accessed April 19, 2018). Nathan Witthoft, Jonathan Winawer, and David M. Eagleman, "Prevalence of Learned Grapheme-Color Pairings in a Large Online Sample of Synesthetes," PLOS One 10:3 (March 4, 2015), e0118996. A.N. Rich, J.L. Bradshaw, and J.B. Mattingley, "A Systematic, Large-Scale Study of Synaesthesia: Implications for the Role of Early Experience in Lexical-Colour Associations," Cognition 98:1 (November 2005), 53-84. Wikipedia, "Synesthesia" (accessed April 19, 2018). Patricia Lynne Duffy, Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color Their Worlds, 2011. This week's lateral thinking puzzle is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale's 2014 book Remarkable Lateral Thinking Puzzles. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 23, 2018, 6 a.m.

196-The Long Way Home

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the crew of an American seaplane were caught off guard near New Zealand. Unable to return across the Pacific, they were forced to fly home "the long way" -- all the way around the world. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the adventures of the Pacific Clipper on its 30,000-mile journey through a world engulfed in war. We'll also delve into the drug industry and puzzle over a curious case of skin lesions. Intro: In the 18th century Italian artist Giovanni Piranesi began to turn out etchings of fantastic prisons. Spanish philologist Valentín García Yebra contends that this six-word Portuguese poem can't be translated effectively into another language. Sources for our feature on the Pacific Clipper: Ed Dover, The Long Way Home, 2010. Archie Satterfield, The Day the War Began, 1992. C.V. Glines, "The China Clipper, Pan American Airways and Popular Culture," Aviation History 18:1 (September 2007), 69-70. C.V. Glines, "Clippers Circle the Globe," Aviation History 17:4 (March 2007), 34-43. John A. Marshall, "The Long Way Home," Air & Space Smithsonian 10:2 (June/July 1995), 18. Wolfgang Saxon, "Robert Ford, Clipper Pilot of 40's Who Circled Globe, Dies at 88," New York Times, Oct. 19, 1994. "World Travelers Pearl Harbor Turns a Routine Pan Am Clipper Flight Into a 31,500-Mile Odyssey," Chicago Tribune, Dec. 3, 2000. Byron Darnton, "Pacific Clipper, Racing War, Circles Globe, Lands Here," New York Times, Jan. 7, 1942. "Pacific Clipper at Noumea," New York Times, Nov. 11, 1941. "Pan Am's Pacific Clippers," Pacific Aviation Museum, Sept. 14, 2011. Robert van der Linden, "December 7, 1941 and the First Around-the-World Commercial Flight," Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Dec. 8, 2011. John A. Marshall, "Celebrating the 75th Anniversary: The 'Round The World Saga of the 'Pacific Clipper,'" Pan Am Historical Foundation (accessed April 1, 2018). Listener mail: Nicola Nosengo, "Can You Teach Old Drugs New Tricks?", Nature, June 14, 2016. James Rudd, "From Viagra to Valium, the Drugs That Were Discovered by Accident," Guardian, July 10, 2017. Thomas A. Ban, "The Role of Serendipity in Drug Discovery," Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 8:3 (September 2006), 335–344. David W. Thomas et al., "Clinical Development Success Rates 2006-2015," BIO/Biomedtracker/Amplion, 2016. Charlie Sorrel, "The Bicycle Is Still a Scientific Mystery: Here's Why," Fast Company, Aug. 1, 2016. Michael Brooks, "We Still Don't Really Know How Bicycles Work," New Statesman, Aug. 6, 2013. Michael Brooks, "How Does a Bicycle Stay Upright?", New Scientist, Sept. 2, 2015. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Arabo Avanes. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 16, 2018, 6 a.m.

195-A Case of Musical Plagiarism

When the English concert pianist Joyce Hatto died in 2006, she was remembered as a national treasure for the brilliant playing on her later recordings. But then doubts arose as to whether the performances were really hers. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review a surprising case of musical plagiarism, which touched off a scandal in the polite world of classical music. We'll also spot foxes in London and puzzle over a welcome illness. Intro: In 1964 a British meteorologist found an abandoned whaleboat on the most remote island in the world. Scores of dogs have jumped to their deaths from the bridge approaching Scotland's Overtoun House. Sources for our feature on Joyce Hatto: Richard Dyer, "After Recording 119 CDs, A Hidden Jewel Comes to Light," Boston Globe, Aug. 21, 2005. Richard Dyer, "Joyce Hatto, At 77; Pianist Was Prolific Recording Artist," Boston Globe, July 4, 2006. Jeremy Nicholas, "Joyce Hatto," Guardian, July 10, 2006. "Joyce Hatto," Telegraph, July 28, 2006. David Denton, "The Remarkable Story of Joyce Hatto, Part 2: An Overview Discography," Fanfare 30:2 (September 2006), 65-67. Ates Orga, "Joyce Hatto," Independent, Aug. 13, 2006. "Masterpieces or Fakes? The Joyce Hatto Scandal," Gramophone, Feb. 15, 2007. Alan Riding, "A Pianist's Recordings Draw Praise, But Were They All Hers?", New York Times, Feb. 17, 2007. Martin Beckford, "Pianist's Virtuosity Is Called Into Question," Telegraph, Feb. 17, 2007. Martin Beckford, "My Wife's Virtuoso Recordings Are Genuine," Telegraph, Feb. 20, 2007. Mike Musgrove, "Too Perfect Harmony: How Technology Fostered, and Detected, a Pianist's Alleged Plagiarism," Washington Post, Feb. 22, 2007. David Weininger, "Alleged Hatto Plagiarism Shakes Music World," Boston Globe, Feb. 23, 2007. Claudia Joseph and Adam Luck, "Revenge of the Phantom Pianist," Mail on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007. Denis Dutton, "Shoot the Piano Player," New York Times, Feb. 26, 2007. Alan Riding, "Pianist's Widower Admits Fraud in Recordings Issued as His Wife's," New York Times, Feb. 27, 2007. Martin Beckford, "Yes, I Did Pass Off Piano CDs as Wife's Work, Says Widower," Telegraph, Feb. 27, 2007. Geoff Edgers, "Cherished Music Wasn't Hers," Boston Globe, Feb. 27, 2007. William Weir, "The Ivories Snow Job: Pianist Joyce Hatto's Recordings Found To Be Fakes," McClatchy-Tribune Business News, Feb. 28, 2007. "Joyce Hatto Recordings Queried," International Piano, March 1, 2007, 6. Pierre Ruhe, "Classical Notes: Our Nature Makes Fraud a Given," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 4, 2007. Ann McFerran, "Yes, I Lied About Joyce. Now I'll Face the Music," Sunday Times, March 4, 2007. Howard Reich, "Reviewers Not to Blame for Hatto Fraud," McClatchy-Tribune News Service, March 7, 2007. Esther Bintliff, "Grand Theft Piano," Newsweek 149:21 (May 28, 2007), 60. Mark Singer, "Fantasia for Piano," New Yorker, Sept. 17, 2007. Mark Singer, "Joyce Hatto: Notes on a Scandal," Telegraph, Nov. 10, 2007. Kenneth Walton, "How Simple Tinkering With Tempo Took in the Top Critics," Scotsman, July 29, 2009. Christopher Webber, "Hatto, Joyce Hilda," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Jan. 7, 2010. Eric Drott, "Fraudulence and the Gift Economy of Music," Journal of Music Theory 54:1 (Spring 2010), 61-74. Ewan Foskett, "Exclusive: Husband of Pianist in Recording Scandal Speaks to The Crow," Royston Crow, March 1, 2012. Frances Hubbard, "The Piano Genius Who Never Was," Daily Mail, April 4, 2012. Joyce Hatto Identifications and Scandal lists the identities of the artists whose work was stolen. Listener mail: China Miéville, "'Oh, London, You Drama Queen,'" New York Times Magazine, March 1, 2012. Murray Wardrop, "Fox Takes Tube Station Escalator," Telegraph, Dec. 8, 2009. "Project: Control of Pigeon Population," Effective Bird Control (accessed April 7, 2018). "Deep Learning, Blockchain, CRISPR, and Neural Networks, Explained with Food," Super Deluxe, Aug. 5, 2017. Jacob Brogan, "Out of the Loop," Slate, Aug. 9, 2017. "Try These Neural Network-Generated Recipes at Your Own Risk," AI Weirdness, Aug. 6, 2017. "Tech Talk," Futility Closet, March 13, 2018. "Candy Heart Messages Written by a Neural Network," AI Weirdness, Feb. 9, 2018. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Carsten Hamann, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 9, 2018, 6 a.m.

194-The Double Life of Clarence King

American geologist Clarence King led a strange double life in the late 1800s: He invented a second identity as a black railroad porter so he could marry the woman he loved, and then spent 13 years living separate lives in both white and black America. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll consider the extraordinary lengths that King went to in order to be with the woman he loved. We'll also contemplate the dangers of water and puzzle over a policeman's strange behavior. Intro: Artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster arrange household trash to cast shadow self-portraits. Participants 140 meters apart can hold an inaudible conversation across South Australia's Barossa Reservoir dam. Sources for our feature on Clarence King: Martha A. Sandweiss, Passing Strange, 2009. Bill Croke, "The Many Lives of Clarence King," American Spectator, Feb. 28, 2011. John Koster, "He Tried to Solve Earth’s Mysteries And Left a Few Mysteries of His Own- Clarence King," Wild West, February 2014. William Grimes, "Recalling a Geologist, Adventurer and Raconteur Whom Henry Adams Looked Up to," New York Times, Feb. 22, 2006. David L. Beck, "A Geologist's Secret Life," St. Petersburg Times, April 12, 2009. William Howarth, "Sex, Lies and Cyanide," Washington Post, May 20, 1990. Michael K. Johnson, "Passing Strange," Western American Literature 44:4 (Winter 2010), 404-405. Martha A. Sandweiss, "Ada Copeland King," American National Biography (accessed March 23, 2018). Thurman Wilkins, "Clarence Rivers King," American National Biography (accessed March 23, 2018). "American Lives: The 'Strange' Tale of Clarence King," Morning Edition, National Public Radio, Aug. 18, 2010. Annette Gordon-Reed, "Color Blind," Washington Post, Feb. 22, 2009. Jennifer Greenstein Altmann, "Sandweiss Unearths a Compelling Tale of Secret Racial Identity," Princeton University, Dec. 17, 2009. Baz Dreisinger, "A Transracial Man," New York Times, March 5, 2009. "American Lives: The 'Strange' Tale of Clarence King," WBUR News, Aug. 18, 2010. Elinore Longobardi, "Two Lives," Columbia Journalism Review, Feb. 4, 2009. "King Peak," Antarctica: An Encyclopedia, 2011. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Bhopal Disaster" (accessed March 23, 2018). Alan Taylor, "Bhopal: The World's Worst Industrial Disaster, 30 Years Later," Atlantic, Dec. 2, 2014. An example of a current safety manual warning of the dangers of rust in steel tanks, from Gillian Brent. "The Case of the Rusty Assassin," Maritime Accident Casebook (accessed March 25, 2018). Steve Selden, "Polar Bear Encounters on Rise in Churchill," Churchill Polar Bills, Feb. 29, 2016. A Colorado bear breaks into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Scott Miller. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 26, 2018, 6 a.m.

193-The Collyer Brothers

In the 1930s, brothers Homer and Langley Collyer withdrew from society and began to fill their Manhattan brownstone with newspapers, furniture, musical instruments, and assorted junk. By 1947, when Homer died, the house was crammed with 140 tons of rubbish, and Langley had gone missing. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the strange, sad story of the Hermits of Harlem. We'll also buy a bit of Finland and puzzle over a banker's misfortune. Intro: When New Amsterdam governor Wilhelm Kieft tried to outlaw smoking in the 1630s, his citizens literally puffed him into submission. Residents of the Canary island La Gomera communicate over long distances using a unique whistled language. Sources for our feature on the Collyer brothers: Franz Lidz, Ghosty Men, 2003. Franz Lidz, "The Paper Chase," New York Times, Oct. 26, 2003. William Bryk, "The Collyer Brothers," New York Sun, April 13, 2005. Michael Kernan, "The Collyer Saga And How It Grew; Recalling the Men Who Turned Trash Into Legend," Washington Post, February 8, 1983, B1. "Strange Case of the Collyer Brothers," Life, April 7, 1947. Robert M. Jarvis, "The Curious Legal Career of Homer L. Collyer," Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce 38:4 (October 2007), 571-582. Keith P. Ronan, "Navigating the Goat Paths: Compulsive Hoarding, or Collyer Brothers Syndrome, and the Legal Reality of Clutter," Rutgers Law Review 64:1 (Fall 2011), 235-266. Kenneth J. Weiss, "Hoarding, Hermitage, and the Law: Why We Love the Collyer Brothers," Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 38:2 (June 2010), 251-257. Kenneth J. Weiss and Aneela Khan, "Hoarding, Housing, and DSM-5," Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 43:4 (December 2015), 492-498. Scott Herring, "Collyer Curiosa: A Brief History of Hoarding," Criticism 53:2 (Spring 2011), 159-188. Patrick W. Moran, "The Collyer Brothers and the Fictional Lives of Hoarders," Modern Fiction Studies 62:2 (Summer 2016), 272-I. Jackie McAllister, "The Collyer Brothers," Grand Street 14:2 (Fall 1995), 201. Joyce Carol Oates, "Love and Squalor," New Yorker, Sept. 7, 2009. "Collyer Mansion Keeps Its Secrets," New York Times, Sept. 30, 1942. Harold Faber, "Homer Collyer, Harlem Recluse, Found Dead at 70," New York Times, March 22, 1947. "Thousands Gape at Collyer House," New York Times, March 24, 1947. Harold Faber, "Police Fail to Find Collyer in House," New York Times, March 25, 1947. "The Collyer Mystery," New York Times, March 26, 1947. "Collyer Mansion Yields Junk, Cats," New York Times, March 26, 1947. "Langley Collyer Is Dead, Police Say," New York Times, March 27, 1947. Russell Owen, "Some for O. Henry: Story of the Collyers," New York Times, March 30, 1947. "3D Search Starts at Collyer House," New York Times, April 1, 1947. "53 Attend Burial of Homer Collyer," New York Times, April 2, 1947. "More Secrets Taken From Collyer Home," New York Times, April 4, 1947. Harold Faber, "Body of Collyer Is Found Near Where Brother Died," New York Times, April 9, 1947. "Langley Collier Dead Near Month," New York Times, April 10, 1947. "200 Bid Spiritedly for Collyer Items," New York Times, June 11, 1947. "Collyer Home 'Unsafe,'" New York Times, June 26, 1947. "Collyer Brothers Park," Atlas Obscura (accessed March 4, 2018). Andy Newman, "Origin Aside, 'Collyers' Mansion' Is Code for Firefighter Nightmare," New York Times, July 5, 2006, B1. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Category:Drugs With Unknown Mechanisms of Action" (accessed March 16, 2018). Wikipedia, "Theories of General Anaesthetic Action" (accessed March 16, 2018). Wikipedia, "Paracetamol" (accessed March 16, 2018). Tanya Lewis, "Mystery Mechanisms," The Scientist, July 29, 2016. Bruce Schneier, "Harassment by Package Delivery," Schneier on Security, Feb. 22, 2018. Sean P. Murphy, "'I Just Want It To Stop': Women Get Sex Toys In Packages They Didn't Order," Boston Globe, Feb. 20, 2018. Sean P. Murphy, "This Couple Keeps Getting Mystery Packages From Amazon They Didn't Order," Boston Globe, Feb. 6, 2018. "Bow Tie - Every Buyer Gets 100 Square Feet of Scandinavian Forest - Hand Made in Finland from Finnish Curly Birch - By Woodinavia," Amazon UK (accessed March 16, 2018). Woodinavia. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Tommy Honton, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 19, 2018, 6 a.m.

192-The Winchester Diver

In 1905 Winchester Cathedral was in danger of collapsing as its eastern end sank into marshy ground. The surprising solution was to hire a diver, who worked underwater for five years to build a firmer foundation for the medieval structure. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of William Walker and his curious contribution to saving a British landmark. We'll also contemplate a misplaced fire captain and puzzle over a shackled woman. Intro: Anthony Trollope became a prolific author by simply demanding it of himself. Wyoming's North Two Ocean Creek drains into both the Atlantic and the Pacific. Sources for our feature on William Walker: Ian T. Henderson and John Crook, The Winchester Diver, 1984. Barry Shurlock, The Winchester Story, 1986. Frederick Bussby, William Walker, 1970. John Crook and Yoshio Kusaba, "The Transepts of Winchester Cathedral: Archaeological Evidence, Problems of Design, and Sequence of Construction," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 50:3 (September 1991), 293-310. Gwilym Roberts, "How a Diver Saved Winchester Cathedral, UK: And Today's Solution?" Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers -- Engineering History and Heritage 166:3 (August 2013), 164-176. "William Walker: The Diver Who Saved the Cathedral," Winchester Cathedral (accessed Feb. 25, 2018). "Images of History," Journal of Diving History 21:2 (Spring 2013), 40. John Crook, "William Robert Walker," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004. "How a Diver Saved a Cathedral," Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder 20:4 (October 1912), 61. "Foundations: The Use of Divers and the Grouting Machine," American Architect and Building News 93:1689 (May 6, 1908), 147. "Portland Cement in the Restoration of Winchester Cathedral," Cement 13:3 (July 1912), 84. "Winchester Cathedral," Journal of the Society of Estate Clerks of Works 19:222 (Dec. 1, 1906), 182. "Diving at Winchester Cathedral," American Architect 90:1607 (Oct. 13, 1906), 120. Charles William Domville-Fife, Submarine Engineering of To-Day, 1914. J.W. Overend, "Saving a Cathedral With a Diver," Scientific American 108:19 (May 10, 1913), 428. "Toilers Beneath the Sea," Popular Science 3 (1912), 1580. "Hidden Service," Expositor and Current Anecdotes 13:5 (February 1912), 302. "A Great Feat," Advance 62:2392 (Sept. 7, 1911), 303. David Newnham, "Statuesque Mistake," Times Educational Supplement, May 30, 2003, 5. Jonathan Petre and Hazel Southam, "Cathedral to Replace Statue of 'Wrong Man'," Telegraph, May 27, 2001. "Another Statue in Aid of Cathedral Hero," [Southampton] Southern Daily Echo, Dec. 21, 2001. "Croydon Man Helped to Save a Gothic Cathedral," Croydon Advertiser, May 15, 2014, 32. Andrew John Davies, "Site Unseen: 'Diver Bill', Winchester Cathedral," Independent, Oct. 4, 1996, L2. Sally A. Fall, "Winchester Cathedral Owes Debt to Diver," San Diego Union, June 26, 1988 G-3. "Diver Who Saved a Cathedral," New Zealand Herald, Nov. 1, 2011, C.4.   In this diagram, from Popular Science, 1912, two men operate a large pump at ground level. Below them, standing on a platform just above the water level, the diver's assistant pulls in and pays out the diver's air and signal lines as he moves about the trench. Walker, at the bottom, holds a bag of concrete that's just been lowered to him. The trenches were generally longer and narrower than depicted here, and the water would have been impenetrably clouded with sediment. Listener mail: "Police Want Anyone Who May Have Seen Toronto Firefighter on His Journey Across U.S. to Come Forward," CBC News, Feb. 14, 2018. Jeff Farrell, "Skier Who Went Missing From New York Mountain Slopes Ends Up Six Days Later in California Still Wearing Ski Clothes," Independent, Feb. 15, 2018. "Skier Lost in New York Doesn't Know How He Got to California," Associated Press, Feb. 14, 2018. "Toronto Firefighter Who Disappeared in New York and Wound Up in California, May Have Travelled Across U.S. Thanks to Friendly Truck Driver," Toronto Star, Feb. 14, 2018. Sofia Tancredi, "Anorexia Through the Ages: From Sainthood to Psychiatry," E/I Balance, March 3, 2013. Muriel Darmon, Becoming Anorexic: A Sociological Study, 2016. Jane E. Brody, "HEALTH; Personal Health," New York Times, May 19, 1988. Fernando Espi Forcen, "Anorexia Mirabilis: The Practice of Fasting by Saint Catherine of Siena in the Late Middle Ages," American Journal of Psychiatry, April 1, 2013. Wikipedia, "Fasting Girl" (accessed March 10, 2018). "Sarah Jacobs: The Fasting Girl," BBC Wales, March 14, 2011. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Steven Jones. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 12, 2018, 6 a.m.

191-The Longest Flight

The world's longest airplane flight took place in 1958, when two aircraft mechanics spent 64 days above the southwestern U.S. in a tiny Cessna with no amenities. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the aerial adventures of Bob Timm and John Cook as they set a record that still stands today. We'll also consider a derelict kitty and puzzle over a movie set's fashion dictates. Intro: The Pythagorean theorem can be demonstrated using tangrams. Sculptor Marc Quinn molded a self-portrait from nine pints of his own frozen blood. Sources for our feature on Bob Timm and John Cook: Peter Garrison, "Beyond Endurance," Flying 144:2 (February 2017), 80-81. Marc C. Lee, "A Skyhawk for Everyone: Cessna's Hit Airplane Keeps Getting Better With Age," Plane and Pilot 48:2 (March 2012), 26-30,32-33. "From the Editor's Desk," Cessna Pilot 34:2 (March/April 2014), 2. "Endurance Test, Circa 1958," News & Videos, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, March 1, 2008. Shaun McKinnon, "They Kept a Tiny Plane Aloft for Months," Arizona Republic, April 14, 2013, A1. Warren Bates, "Plane Used to Set Record to Land at Airport Museum," Las Vegas Review, Feb. 11, 1999, 1B. "Hall of Fame," SP's Aviation, July 2015. Gannett News Service, "Risk Takers Make Long Flights Into History," April 13, 2013. George C. Larson, "The Pressure's On," Air & Space Smithsonian 27:1 (April/May 2012), 84. "Museum Honors City," Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 21, 1997, 2D. Ginger Mikkelsen, "Aviation Museum Draws 400,000 Annual Visitors," Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 13, 2001, 20AA. Anders Clark, "The Flight Endurance World Record," Disciples of Flight, Jan. 20, 2015. "Robert E. Timm & John W. Cook, Sr.," Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame (accessed Feb. 11, 2018). Barry Meek, "The Longest Flight In History - In a Cessna 172," Santa Clara County Airports (accessed Feb. 11, 2018). Shaun McKinnon, "Risk Takers Make Long Flights Into History," Arizona Republic, April 14, 2013. Rebecca Maksel, "Airborne for 64 Days," Air & Space Smithsonian, March 22, 2012. Fred Martin, A Reminiscence Over Old Airplanes, 2010. Listener mail: Helena Horton, "Battersea Has Been Trying to Get Parliament to Adopt a Cat Since 2014 -- and Has Two Which Are Perfect for Mousing," Telegraph, Aug. 17, 2017. Ben Glaze, "'Lazy' Larry the Cat Is So Bad at Killing Downing Street Mice That Pest Controllers Have Been Brought In," Mirror, Feb. 13, 2018. Wikipedia, "Ooka Tadasuke" (accessed March 2, 2018). Roman Cybriwsky, Historical Dictionary of Tokyo, 2011. Kerry Segrave, Lie Detectors: A Social History, 2003. Wikipedia, "Sky Burial" (accessed March 2, 2018). Meg Van Huygen, "Give My Body to the Birds: The Practice of Sky Burial," Atlas Obscura, March 11, 2014. The "Buzzard Lope" performed at the Berlin Blues Explosion 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle is based on an item that Sharon read in Dan Lewis' Now I Know newsletter (warning -- this link spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 5, 2018, 7 a.m.

190-Mary Patten and the Neptune's Car

In 1856, an American clipper ship was approaching Cape Horn when its captain collapsed, leaving his 19-year-old wife to navigate the vessel through one of the deadliest sea passages in the world. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Mary Patten and the harrowing voyage of the Neptune's Car. We'll also consider some improbable recipes and puzzle over a worker's demise. Intro: In 1943, the U.S. considered releasing glowing foxes in Japan to frighten Shintoists. Rice University chemist James Tour fashions stick figures from organic molecules. Sources for our feature on Mary Patten: Paul W. Simpson, Neptune's Car: An American Legend, 2018. Glenn A. Knoblock, The American Clipper Ship, 1845-1920, 2014. Sam Jefferson, Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail, 2014. David Cordingly, Seafaring Women, 2010. Jane D. Lyon, The Great Clippers, 2016. Bill Caldwell, Rivers of Fortune, 2002. Julie Baker, "The Troubled Voyage of Neptune's Car," American History 39:6 (February 2005), 58-65. Raymond A. Rydell, "The California Clippers," Pacific Historical Review 18:1 (February 1949), 70-83. Ann Whipple Marr, "Mary Ann Brown Patten," Oxford Dictionary of American National Biography, Dec. 2, 1999. "Neptune's Car," Ships of the World, 1997, 356. Kenneth J. Blume, Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Maritime Industry, 2012. "Mary Patten, 19 and Pregnant, Takes Command of a Clipper Ship in 1856," New England Historical Society (accessed Feb. 2, 2018). "The Story of Mary Patten," National Sailing Hall of Fame (accessed Feb. 2, 2018). "Women in Maritime History," San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, National Park Service (accessed Feb. 2, 2018). Alan Flanders, "Clipper Neptune's Car Saved From Disaster by Quick-Learning Wife of Stricken Skipper," [Norfolk] Virginian-Pilot, Oct. 15, 2000, 3. George Tucker, "Woman's Touch Helped Clipper Ship Make History," [Norfolk] Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 14, 1999, B3. Joanne Lannin and Ray Routhier, "The Ladies of Maine," Portland Press Herald, March 13, 1996, 1C. "A Noble Woman," Sailor's Magazine, April 1857. "A Heroine of the Sea," Friends' Intelligencer 14 (1857), 46-47. "A Heroine Arrived -- The Young Wife Who Took Neptune's Car Around Cape Horn," New York Times, March 18, 1857. "A Wife Worth Having," New York Times, Feb. 21, 1857. "Report of the Select Committee on the Rights of Married Women," Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Ohio, 1857, 110. "Modern Female Heroism," Annual Register, March 1857. "The Heroic Mrs. Patten," Boston Evening Transcript, June 23, 1857. "Marine Matters," New York Times, March 24, 1857. "Neptune's Car," New York Times, July 27, 1857. "Funeral of Capt. Joshua A. Patten," New York Times, Aug. 31, 1857. "Personal," New York Times, Sept. 23, 1857. "Marine Matters," New York Times, March 20, 1857. "Personal," New York Times, March 20, 1861. Listener mail: Jeffrey Gettleman and Kai Schultz, "India's Punishment for Plant-Eating Donkeys: Jail Time," New York Times, Nov. 28, 2017. Faiz Siddiqui, "Donkeys Destroy Plants, 'Jailed' for 4 Days in Orai," Times of India, Nov. 28, 2017. "50,000 Meows by @hugovk," github, Nov. 1, 2014. "Delicious Recipes," scootah.com (accessed Feb. 23, 2018). Wikipedia, "Echo Answer" (accessed Feb. 23, 2018). Lindsay Flint sent this example of answering yes/no questions in Welsh. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Gillian Brent. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 26, 2018, 7 a.m.

189-The "Wild White Man"

In 1835, settlers in Australia discovered a European man dressed in kangaroo skins, a convict who had escaped an earlier settlement and spent 32 years living among the natives of southern Victoria. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review the extraordinary life of William Buckley, the so-called "wild white man" of colonial Australia. We'll also try to fend off scurvy and puzzle over some colorful letters. Intro: Radar pioneer Sir Robert Watson-Watt wrote a poem about ironically being stopped by a radar gun. The programming language Ook! is designed to be understood by orangutans. Sources for our feature on William Buckley: John Morgan, Life and Adventures of William Buckley, 1852. R.S. Brain, Letters From Victorian Pioneers, 1898. Francis Peter Labillière, Early History of the Colony of Victoria, 1878. James Bonwick, Port Phillip Settlement, 1883. William Thomas Pyke, Savage Life in Australia, 1889. Marcus Andrew Hislop Clarke, Stories of Australia in the Early Days, 1897. John M. White, "Before the Mission Station: From First Encounters to the Incorporation of Settlers Into Indigenous Relations of Obligation," in Natasha Fijn, Ian Keen, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael Pickering, eds., Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies II, 2012. Patrick Brantlinger, "Eating Tongues: Australian Colonial Literature and 'the Great Silence'," Yearbook of English Studies 41:2 (2011), 125-139. Richard Broome, "Buckley, William," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004. Marjorie J. Tipping, "Buckley, William (1780–1856)," Australian Dictionary of Biography, 1966. Reminiscenses of James Buckley Who Lived for Thirty Years Among the Wallawarro or Watourong Tribes at Geelong Port Phillip, Communicated by Him to George Langhorne (manuscript), State Library of Victoria (accessed Jan. 28, 2018). "William Buckley," Culture Victoria (accessed Jan. 28, 2018). Jill Singer, "Here's a True Hero," [Melbourne] Herald Sun, June 8, 2001, 22. "Australia's Most Brazen, Infamous Jailbreaks," ABC Premium News, Aug. 19, 2015. "Extraordinary Tale of Our Early Days," Centralian Advocate, April 6, 2010, 13. Bridget McManus, "Buckley's Story Revisited: Documentary," The Age, April 8, 2010, 15. Albert McKnight, "Legend Behind Saying 'You've Got Buckley's'," Bega District News, Oct. 21, 2016, 11. David Adams, "Wild Man Lives Anew," [Melbourne] Sunday Age, Feb. 16, 2003, 5. Leighton Spencer, "Convict Still a Controversial Figure," Echo, Jan. 10, 2013, 14. "Fed: Museum Buys Indigenous Drawings of Convict," AAP General News Wire, April 23, 2012. The drawing above is Buckley Ran Away From Ship, by the Koorie artist Tommy McRae, likely drawn in the 1880s. From Culture Victoria. Listener mail: Yoshifumi Sugiyama and Akihiro Seita, "Kanehiro Takaki and the Control of Beriberi in the Japanese Navy," Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 106:8 (August 2013), 332–334. Wikipedia, "Takaki Kanehiro" (accessed Feb. 9, 2018). Yoshinori Itokawa, "Kanehiro Takaki (1849–1920): A Biographical Sketch," Journal of Nutrition 106:5, 581–8. Alan Hawk, "The Great Disease Enemy, Kak’ke (Beriberi) and the Imperial Japanese Army," Military Medicine 171:4 (April 2006), 333-339. Alexander R. Bay, Beriberi in Modern Japan: The Making of a National Disease, 2012. "Scott and Scurvy," Idle Words, March 6, 2010. Marcus White, "James Lind: The Man Who Helped to Cure Scurvy With Lemons," BBC News, Oct. 4, 2016. Jonathan Lamb, "Captain Cook and the Scourge of Scurvy," BBC History, Feb. 17, 2011. Wikipedia, "Vitamin C: Discovery" (accessed Feb. 9, 2018). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Miles, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 19, 2018, 7 a.m.

188-The Bat Bomb

During World War II, the U.S. Army experimented with a bizarre plan: using live bats to firebomb Japanese cities. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the crazy history of the bat bomb, the extraordinary brainchild of a Pennsylvania dentist. We'll also consider the malleable nature of mental illness and puzzle over an expensive quiz question. Intro: Ever since George Washington, American presidents have hated the job. Harpsichordist Johann Schobert composed a series of "puzzle minuets" that could be read upside down. Sources for our feature on the bat bomb: Jack Couffer, Bat Bomb, 1992. James M. Powles, "Lytle S. Adams Proposed One of America's Battiest Weapons," World War II 17:2 (July 2002), 62. Robert M. Neer, "Bats Out of Hell," MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 25:4 (Summer 2013), 22-24. C.V. Glines, "Bat & Bird Bombers," Aviation History 15:5 (May 2005), 38-44. Stephan Wilkinson, "10 of History's Worst Weapons," Military History 31:1 (May 2014), 42-45. "Holy Smokes, Batman!" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 49:2 (March 1993), 5. Alexis C. Madrigal, "Old, Weird Tech: The Bat Bombs of World War II," Atlantic, April 14, 2011. Toni Kiser, "Bat Bomb Tests Go Awry," National WWII Museum, May 15, 2013. Joanne Grant, "Did They Have Bats in the Belfry? WWII Team Created Novel Bomb to Defeat Japan," [Bergen County, N.J.] Record, Oct. 27, 1996, A31. "Air Force Scrapped Top Secret 'Bat Bomb' Project in Carlsbad 70 Years Ago," Carlsbad [N.M.] Current-Argus, May 26, 2014. Curt Suplee, "Shot Down Before It Could Fly," Washington Post, Nov. 16, 1992, D01. T. Rajagopalan, "Birds and Animals in War and Peace," Alive 401 (March 2016), 92-93. Cara Giaimo, "The Almost Perfect World War II Plot To Bomb Japan With Bats," Atlas Obscura, Aug. 5, 2015. The total loss due to the Carlsbad fire was $6,838, nearly $100,000 today, and the cause was listed as "explosion of incendiary bomb materials." Base fire marshal George S. Young wrote to the base commander: "In-as-much as the work being done under Lt. Col. Epler was of a confidential nature, and everyone connected with this base had been denied admission, it is impossible for me to determine the exact cause of the fire, but my deduction is that an explosion of incendiary bomb material cause the fire." Listener mail: Ethan Watters, "The Americanization of Mental Illness," New York Times Magazine, Jan. 8, 2010. Neel Burton, "The Culture of Mental Illness," Psychology Today, June 6, 2012. J.J. Mattelaer and W. Jilek, "Koro -- The Psychological Disappearance of the Penis," Journal of Sexual Medicine 4:5 (September 2007), 1509-1515. Steven Johnson, Wonderland: How Play Shaped the Modern World, 2016. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Alexander Rodgers. Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. This episode is supported by Dittach, a Chrome extension to browse, search, or manage your Gmail attachments. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 12, 2018, 7 a.m.

187-A Human Being in the Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo unveiled a controversial exhibit in 1906 -- a Congolese man in a cage in the primate house. The display attracted jeering crowds to the park, but for the man himself it was only the latest in a string of indignities. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review the sad tale of Ota Benga and his life in early 20th-century America. We'll also delve into fugue states and puzzle over a second interstate speeder. Intro: Finnegans Wake contains nine thunderclaps of precisely the same length. In 1928 a British steamer seemed to receive an SOS from a perfectly sound ship. Sources for our feature on Ota Benga: Pamela Newkirk, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, 2015. Phillips Verner Bradford and Harvey Blume, Ota: The Pygmy in the Zoo, 1992. Pascal Blanchard, et al., eds., Human Zoos: Science and Spectacle in the Age of Colonial Empires, 2008. Pascal Blanchard, Gilles Boëtsch, and Nanette Jacomijn Snoep, eds., Human Zoos: The Invention of the Savage, 2011. Rikke Andreassen, Human Exhibitions, 2016. Karen Sotiropoulos, "'Town of God': Ota Benga, the Batetela Boys, and the Promise of Black America," Journal of World History 26:1 (March 2015), 41-76. Sarah Zielinski, "The Tragic Tale of the Pygmy in the Zoo," Smithsonian, Dec. 2, 2008. Pamela Newkirk, "Bigotry on Display," Chronicle of Higher Education, May 26, 2015. Geoffrey C. Ward, "The Man in the Zoo," American Heritage 43:6 (October 1992), 12. Paul Raffaele, "The Pygmies' Plight," Smithsonian 39:9 (December 2008), 70-77. Pamela Newkirk, "The Man Who Was Caged in a Zoo," Guardian, June 3, 2015. "A Fresh Lens on the Notorious Episode of Ota Benga," New York Times, May 29, 2015. Pamela Newkirk, "When the Bronx Zoo Exhibited a Man in an Iron Cage," CNN, June 3, 2015. Michael Coard, "Ota Benga, an African, Caged in a U.S. Zoo," Philadelphia Tribune, March 19, 2016. Mitch Keller, "The Scandal at the Zoo," New York Times, Aug. 6, 2006. "Looking Back at the Strange Case of Ota Benga," News & Notes, National Public Radio, Oct. 9, 2006. Ann Hornaday, "A Critical Connection to the Curious Case of Ota Benga," Washington Post, Jan. 3, 2009. Eileen Reynolds, "Ota Benga, Captive: The Man the Bronx Zoo Kept in a Cage," NYU, Aug. 7, 2015. Samuel P. Verner, "The Story of Ota Benga, the Pygmy," Bulletin of the New York Zoological Society 19:4 (July 1916), 1377-1379. "The True Story of Ota Benga," Scrap Book 3:1 (March 1907), 61. "Pygmy Ota and His Pet Chimpanzee," McCook [Neb.] Tribune, Oct. 5, 1906, 8. "A Northern Outrage," Lafayette [La.] Advertiser, Oct. 10, 1906, 2. Harper Barnes, "The Pygmies in the Park," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 4, 1992, 1C. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Fugue State" (accessed Jan. 25, 2018). "Dissociative Amnesia," Merck Manual (accessed Jan. 25, 2018). Steve Bressert, "Dissociative Fugue Symptoms," PsychCentral (accessed Jan. 25, 2018). Steve Bressert, "Dissociative Amnesia Symptoms," PsychCentral (accessed Jan. 25, 2018). Bill Donahue, "Fixing Diane's Brain," Runner's World 56:2 (February 2011), 56. Neel Burton, "Dissociative Fugue: The Mystery of Agatha Christie," Psychology Today, March 17, 2012. Stefania de Vito and Sergio Della Sala, "Was Agatha Christie's Mysterious Amnesia Real or Revenge on Her Cheating Spouse?", Scientific American, Aug. 2, 2017. Vanessa Thorpe, "Christie's Most Famous Mystery Solved at Last," Guardian, Oct. 14, 2006. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Martin Bentley. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 29, 2018, 7 a.m.

186-The Children's Blizzard

In January 1888, after a disarming warm spell, a violent storm of blinding snow and bitter cold suddenly struck the American Midwest, trapping farmers in fields, travelers on roads, and hundreds of children in schoolhouses with limited fuel. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the Children's Blizzard, one of the most harrowing winter storms in American history. We'll also play 20 Questions with a computer and puzzle over some vanishing vultures. Intro: In 1835 an assassin shot two good pistols at Andrew Jackson and both misfired. In 1958 Brooklyn College chemistry professor Homer Jacobson built a self-replicating model train. Sources for our feature on the Children's Blizzard: David Laskin, The Children's Blizzard, 2004. Mitchell Newton-Matza, ed., Disasters and Tragic Events, 2014. Steven L. Horstmeyer, The Weather Almanac, 2011. "The Pitiless Blizzard," Aurora Daily Express, Jan. 16, 1888. "Victims of the Storm," Bridgeport Morning News, Jan. 19, 1888. "In the Neighborhood," Deseret News, Jan. 24, 1888. "A Brave Girl," Gettysburg [Pa.] Compiler, Jan. 31, 1888. Edythe H. Dunn, "Not Even an Act of God," Phi Delta Kappan 30:7 (March 1949), 245-249. Jill Callison, "The Children's Blizzard," Argus Leader, Dec. 26, 2004. Maria Houser Conzemius, "That's Why They Call It the Children's Blizzard," Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 13, 2007. Steve Tracton, "Freak, Deadly Storm: Children's Blizzard of 1888," Washington Post, Jan. 14, 2011. Jeanie Mebane, "Blizzard!" Cobblestone 33:3 (March 2012). "One-Room Schoolhouse Lives," Argus Leader, Sept. 4, 2012. Beccy Tanner, "213 Schoolchildren Perished in the Great Plains Blizzard of 1888," Wichita Eagle, Dec. 31, 2012. Alyssa Ford, "125 Years Ago, Deadly 'Children's Blizzard' Blasted Minnesota," MinnPost, Jan. 11, 2013. Tom Lawrence, "Children's Blizzard Struck Great Plains 125 Years Ago," McClatchy-Tribune Business News, Jan. 12, 2013. Paula Quam, "Warm Weather Like This Week's Preceded 1888 Deadly Blizzard," Saint Paul Pioneer Press, Dec. 19, 2015. Sean Potter, "Retrospect: January 12, 1888: The Children's Blizzard," Weatherwise (accessed Jan. 6, 2018). Amber Pariona, "The Ten Deadliest Blizzards In History," World Atlas, April 25, 2017. Listener mail: "Hitler's Sunken Secret," NOVA, pbs.org. 20Q. Robin Burgener describes teaching a neural network to play a surprisingly accurate game of 20 Questions. Karen Schrock, "Twenty Questions, Ten Million Synapses," ScienceLine, July 28, 2006. "A Heroic Commando, A Deadly Mission to Sabotage Nazi Bomb -- and the Pregnant Widow He Left Behind," Cork Evening Echo Holly Bough, Christmas 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Eugene Grabowski. Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 22, 2018, 7 a.m.

185-The Man From Formosa

In 1703, London had a strange visitor, a young man who ate raw meat and claimed that he came from an unknown country on the island of Taiwan. Though many doubted him, he was able to answer any question he was asked, and even wrote a best-selling book about his homeland. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll consider the curious question of the man from Formosa. We'll also scrutinize a stamp forger and puzzle over an elastic Utah. Intro: In 1892 a legionnaire in West Africa met a rifle he'd owned 22 years earlier in France. Americans and Canadians can visit one another's territory through a Peace Arch on the border. Sources for our feature on George Psalmanazar: Michael Keevak, The Pretended Asian, 2004. Frederic J. Foley, The Great Formosan Impostor, 1968. Tobias B. Hug, Impostures in Early Modern England, 2010. George Psalmanazar, An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa, 1704. George Psalmanazar, A Dialogue Between a Japonese and a Formosan, About Some Points of the Religion of the Time, 1707. George Psalmanazar, Essays on the Following Subjects ..., 1753. George Psalmanazar, An Enquiry Into the Objections Against George Psalmanaazaar of Formosa, 1710. Memoirs of ****. Commonly Known by the Name of George Psalmanazar, a Reputed Native of Formosa, 1764. "George Psalmanazar," National Magazine 6:1 (1859), 123-127. "George Psalmanazar," Dictionary of National Biography, 1896, 439-442. Benjamin Breen, "No Man Is an Island: Early Modern Globalization, Knowledge Networks, and George Psalmanazar's Formosa," Journal of Early Modern History 17:4, 391-417. Michael Keevak, "A World of Impostures," Eighteenth Century 53:2 (Summer 2012), 233-235. Donald Rayfield, "Forgiving Forgery," Modern Language Review 107:4 (October 2012), xxv-xli. C. Macfie Campbell, "A Note on the Imagination and Its Exploitation: Psalmanazar and Hélène Smith," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 92:5 (November 1940), 605-613. Ben Downing, "Psalmanazar the Amazing," Yale Review 90:3 (July 2002), 46-74. Peter Mason, "Ethnographic Portraiture in the Eighteenth Century: George Psalmanaazaar's Drawings of Formosans," Eighteenth-Century Life 23:3 (November 1999), 58. Kembrew McLeod, "The Fake 'Asian' Who Fooled 18th-Century London," Atlantic, April 22, 2014. Benjamin Breen, "Illustrations From an 18th-Century Frenchman's Completely Made-Up Book About Taiwan," Slate, Nov. 6, 2013. Listener mail: Jessica Bineth, "Somerton Man: One of Australia's Most Baffling Cold Cases Could Be a Step Closer to Being Solved," ABC News, Jan. 1, 2018. Colin Gleadell, "Art Sales: The Finest Forger of All Time?" Telegraph, Jan. 9, 2007. Rosslyn Beeby, "The Rubens of Philately," Sydney Morning Herald, March 31, 2012. Elle Hunt, "New Zealand's New Flag: 15 Quirky Contenders," Guardian, May 14, 2015. "Are These The Craziest Designs for a New Flag?" TVNZ, July 15, 2015. "The Colourful Contenders for New Zealand's New Flag," BBC, May 15, 2015. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Michael Förtsch, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 15, 2018, 7 a.m.

184-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Here are the sources for this week's puzzles. In a few places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 is adapted from an item that Sharon heard on the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish. Here are two corroborating links. Puzzle #2 is from listener Simon Grimes. Puzzle #3 is from listener Jean-Yves. Here's a corroborating link. Puzzle #4 is from Kyle Hendrickson's 1998 book Mental Fitness Puzzles. Puzzle #5 is from listener Alex Baumans. Puzzle #6 is adapted from W.S. Anglin's 1994 book Mathematics: A Concise History and Philosophy. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 1, 2018, 7 a.m.

183-An Everest Mystery

In 1924 two British mountaineers set out to be the first to conquer Mount Everest. But they never returned to camp, and to this day no one knows whether they reached the top. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review the case of George Mallory and Andrew Irvin, which has been called "one of the greatest unsolved adventure mysteries of the 20th century." We'll also learn what to do if attacked by a bear and puzzle over the benefits of a water shortage. Intro: Marshall Islanders navigated using "charts" of lashed sticks, threads, and shells. Jan Brueghel's 1617 painting Hearing immortalizes a well-traveled Australian cockatoo. Sources for our feature on George Mallory and Andrew Irvine: Wade Davis, Into the Silence, 2011. Jochen Hemmleb, Larry A. Johnson, and Eric R. Simonson, Ghosts of Everest, 1999. Peter Firstbrook, Lost on Everest, 1999. Ed Douglas, "Lifelong Secret of Everest Pioneer: I Discovered Mallory's Body in 1936," Guardian, Nov. 23, 2013. Nick Squires, "Mallory and Irvine's Everest Death Explained," Telegraph, Aug. 4, 2010. Secrets of the Ice. Jon Kelly, "Mallory and Irvine: Should We Solve Everest's Mystery?" BBC News Magazine, Oct. 3, 2011. United Press International, "Team Heads for Everest," Aug. 11, 1986. Associated Press, "2 Everest Climbers Killed Near Summit," June 21, 1924. Henry W. Bunn, "The Story the Week Has Told," Washington Evening Star, June 22, 1924, 3. David Holmstrom, "Going Up or Down, Mt. Everest Pioneer," Christian Science Monitor 92:26 (Dec. 30, 1999), 17. Audrey Salkeld and Jochen Hemmleb, "Did They or Didn't They?" Geographical 75:5 (May 2003), 120. Martin Varley, "It's Tough at the Top," Geographical 71:9 (September 1999), 32. Jerry Adler, "Ghost of Everest," Newsweek 133:20 (May 17, 1999), 68. Kevin Cook and Mark Mravic, "A Riddle on Top of the World," Sports Illustrated 90:19 (May 10, 1999), 28. Lost on Everest: The Search for Mallory & Irvine, BBC, 2000. N.E. Odell, "The Last Climb of Mallory and Irvine," Geographical Journal 64:6 (December 1924), 455-461. "The Mount Everest Expedition," Geographical Journal 64:1 (July 1924), 56-58. Gordon T. Stewart, "Tenzing's Two Wrist-Watches: The Conquest of Everest and Late Imperial Culture in Britain 1921-1953," Past & Present 149 (November 1995), 170-197. G.W. Kent Moore, John L. Semple, and Dev Raj Sikka, "Mallory and Irvine on Mount Everest: Did Extreme Weather Play a Role in Their Disappearance?" Weather 65:8 (August 2010), . "Mallory and Irvine Killed in Attempt to Conquer Everest," New York Times, June 21, 1924, 1. Christopher S. Wren, "New Insight Into Everest Mystery; Finding Mallory Elicits A Flurry of Theories," New York Times, Nov. 27, 1999. Christopher S. Wren, "A Body on Mt. Everest, a Mystery Half-Solved," New York Times, May 5, 1999. Agence France-Presse, "Discovery of Corpse Reopens Debate on Who First Climbed Everest," May 4, 1999. "Sees Everest Dash Failure for 1924," New York Times, June 22, 1924. E.F. Norton, "Everest Climbers Send the Story of Last Fatal Effort," New York Times, June 26, 1924. Listener mail: Diarmaid Fleming, "The Man Who Blew Up Nelson," BBC News, March 12, 2016. Wikipedia, "F.D.C. Willard" (accessed Dec. 22, 2017). "Cat as Coauthor," Futility Closet, Nov. 10, 2005. "F.D.C. Willard," P.I. Engineering (accessed Dec. 22, 2017). "Staying Safe Around Bears," National Park Service (accessed Dec. 22, 2017). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was inspired by an item in Dan Lewis's Now I Know newsletter. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 25, 2017, 7 a.m.

182-The Compulsive Wanderer

In the 1870s, French gas fitter Albert Dadas started making strange, compulsive trips to distant towns, with no planning or awareness of what he was doing. His bizarre affliction set off a 20-year epidemic of "mad travelers" in Europe, which evaporated as mysteriously as it had begun. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll consider the parable of pathological tourism and its meaning for psychiatry. We'll also contemplate the importance of sick chickens and puzzle over a farmyard contraption. Intro: Ontario doctor Samuel Bean designed an enigmatic tombstone for his first two wives. The Pythagorean theorem can spawn a geometric tree. Sources for our feature on Albert Dadas: Ian Hacking, Mad Travelers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illnesses, 2002. Carl Elliott, Better Than Well, 2004. Peter Toohey, Melancholy, Love, and Time, 2004. Petteri Pietikäinen, Madness: A History, 2015. Craig Stephenson, "The Epistemological Significance of Possession Entering the DSM," History of Psychiatry 26:3 (September 2015), 251-269. María Laura Martínez, "Ian Hacking's Proposal for the Distinction Between Natural and Social Sciences," Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39:2 (June 2009), 212-234. Dominic Murphy, "Hacking's Reconciliation: Putting the Biological and Sociological Together in the Explanation of Mental Illness," Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31:2 (June 2001), 139-162. Roy Porter, "Fugue-itive Minds and Bodies," Times Higher Education, October 15, 1999. Listener mail: Sarah Laskow, "How Sick Chickens and Rice Led Scientists to Vitamin B1," Atlantic, Oct. 30, 2014. "Christiaan Eijkman, Beriberi and Vitamin B1," nobelprize.org (accessed Dec. 16, 2017). Wikipedia, "Casimir Funk" (accessed Dec. 16, 2017). "Gerrit Grijns in Java: Beriberi and the Concept of 'Partial Starvation,'" World Neurology, March 19, 2013. The Winnie-the-Pooh monument in White River, Ontario, from listener Dan McIntyre: This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 18, 2017, 7 a.m.

181-Operation Gunnerside

  During World War II, the Allies feared that Germany was on the brink of creating an atomic bomb. To prevent this, they launched a dramatic midnight commando raid to destroy a key piece of equipment in the mountains of southern Norway. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll remember Operation Gunnerside, "one of the most daring and important undercover operations of World War II." We'll also learn what to say when you're invading Britain and puzzle over the life cycle of cicadas. Intro: Hundreds of students overlooked an error in a Brahms capriccio; a novice found it. Hesiod's Theogony gives a clue to the distance between earth and heaven. Sources for our feature on Operation Gunnerside: Ray Mears, The Real Heroes of Telemark, 2003. Knut Haukelid, Skis Against the Atom, 1954. John D. Drummond, But for These Men, 1962. Neal Bascomb, The Winter Fortress, 2016. Thomas B. Allen, "Saboteurs at Work," MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 26:2 (Winter 2014), 64-71. Ian Herrington, "The SIS and SOE in Norway 1940-1945: Conflict or Co-operation?" War in History 9:1 (January 2002), 82-110. Neal Bascomb, "Saboteurs on Skis," World War II 31:2 (July/August 2016), 58-67,6. Hans Børresen, "Flawed Nuclear Physics and Atomic Intelligence in the Campaign to Deny Norwegian Heavy Water to Germany, 1942-1944," Physics in Perspective 14:4 (December 2012), 471-497. "Operation Gunnerside," Atomic Heritage Foundation, July 28, 2017. Ray Mears, "Norwegian Resistance Coup," NOVA (accessed Nov. 19, 2017). Simon Worrall, "Inside the Daring Mission That Thwarted a Nazi Atomic Bomb," National Geographic, June 5, 2016. Andrew Han, "The Heavy Water War and the WWII Hero You Don't Know," Popular Mechanics, June 16, 2016. Gordon Corera, "Last Hero of Telemark: The Man Who Helped Stop Hitler's A-Bomb," BBC News, April 25, 2013. Tim Bross, "Sabotage Slowed Nazi's Pursuit of Atomic Power, Author Writes," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 1, 2016, D.7. Andrew Higgins, "WWII Hero Credits Luck and Chance in Foiling Hitler's Nuclear Ambitions," New York Times, Nov. 20, 2015. "Colonel Jens-Anton Poulsson," Times, Feb. 17, 2010, 65. Richard Bernstein, "Keeping the Atom Bomb From Hitler," New York Times, Feb. 12, 1997, 17. Howard Schneider, "Defusing the Nazi Bomb," Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2016. "Norwegian Resistance Hero Helped Halt Nazi Bomb Plans," Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 13, 2003, A6. E.W. Fowler, "Obituary: Heroic Saboteur Knut Anders Haukelid," Guardian, March 15, 1994. "War Hero Was Last Kon-Tiki Survivor," Edmonton Journal, Jan. 10, 2010, E.7. Listener mail: Modern mudlarkers, from listener Tom Mchugh: Wikipedia, "Petroleum Warfare Department" (accessed Dec. 9, 2017). Sir Donald Banks, Flame Over Britain: A Personal Narrative of Petroleum Warfare, 1946. Wikipedia, "KRACK" (accessed Dec. 9, 2017). James Sanders, "KRACK WPA2 Protocol Wi-Fi Attack: How It Works and Who's at Risk," TechRepublic, Oct. 16, 2017. Brad Chacos and Michael Simon, "KRACK Wi-Fi Attack Threatens All Networks: How to Stay Safe and What You Need to Know," PCWorld, Nov. 8, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Sam Long. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 11, 2017, 7 a.m.

180-An Academic Impostor

Marvin Hewitt never finished high school, but he taught advanced physics, engineering, and mathematics under assumed names at seven different schools and universities between 1945 and 1953. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll trace the curious career of an academic impostor, whose story has been called "one of the strangest academic hoaxes in history." We'll also try on a flashproof scarf and puzzle over why a healthy man would check into a hospital. Intro: Between 1950 and 1995, mathematician Marion Tinsley took first place in every checkers tournament he played in. The Hoover Dam contains a map of our sky so that future historians can date its creation. Sources for our feature on Marvin Harold Hewitt: Herbert Brean, "Marvin Hewitt, Ph(ony) D.," Life 36:15 (April 12, 1954), 144. "Honest Career for a Ph(ony) D.," Life 42:3 (Jan. 21, 1957), 57. "A Bogus Professor Is Unmasked," New York Times, March 6, 1954, 1. Michael L. James, "Bogus Professor Expects Job Bids," New York Times, March 7, 1954. "Ousted 'Professor' Gets Offer of a Job," Associated Press, April 11, 1954, 63. Helene Deutsch, "The Impostor: Contribution to Ego Psychology of a Type of Psychopath," Psychoanalytic Quarterly 80:4 (October 2011), 1005-1024. Ian Graham, Ultimate Book of Impostors, 2013. Maria Konnikova, The Confidence Game, 2017. Listener mail: One of the hard-won 1911 penguin eggs, now at London's Natural History Museum (thanks to listener Dave Lawrence). An anti-paparazzi scarf (thanks to Kevin Cedrone). Natural History Museum, "Treasures in the Cadogan Gallery" (accessed Nov. 30, 2017). Audio guide to the Cadogan Gallery (the penguin egg is at 26:14). Tiana Attride, "Celebrities Are Obsessed With This 'Paparazzi-Proof' Clothing Brand That Makes Them Impossible to Photograph," Business Insider, March 17, 2017 (contains video of anti-flash photography clothing). Mark Molloy, "This Genius 'Paparazzi-Proof' Scarf Can Make You 'Invisible' in Photos," Telegraph, June 30, 2016. Timothy Revell, "Glasses Make Face Recognition Tech Think You're Milla Jovovich," New Scientist, Nov. 1, 2016. Mahmood Sharif et al., "Accessorize to a Crime: Real and Stealthy Attacks on State-of-the-Art Face Recognition," Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security, 2016. "Snow Prints Spark 'Devil' Mystery," BBC News, March 13, 2009. "Ancient Legend of Satan's Visit Reawakened by Footprints in the Snow," Telegraph, March 13, 2009. Centre for Fortean Zoology: "Mysterious Footprints in Woolsery." This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Sharon. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 4, 2017, 7 a.m.

179-Two Vanished Young Writers

Everett Ruess and Barbara Newhall Follett were born in March 1914 at opposite ends of the U.S. Both followed distinctly unusual lives as they pursued a love of writing. And both disappeared in their 20s, leaving no trace of their whereabouts. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the brief lives of two promising young authors and the mystery that lingers behind them. We'll also patrol 10 Downing Street and puzzle over when a pigeon isn't a pigeon. Intro: In the 1890s, tree-sized corkscrews were unearthed in Nebraska. Pyrex vanishes when immersed in oil. Sources for our feature on Everett Ruess and Barbara Newhall Follett: W.L. Rusho, Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty, 1983. Philip L. Fradkin, Everett Ruess: His Short Life, Mysterious Death, and Astonishing Afterlife, 2011. David Roberts, "Finding Everett Ruess," National Geographic Adventure 11:3 (April/May 2009), 75-81,101-104. Howard Berkes, "Mystery Endures: Remains Found Not Those of Artist," Weekend Edition Saturday, National Public Radio, Oct. 24, 2009. Susan Spano, "Not Finding the Lost Explorer Everett Ruess," Smithsonian, Nov. 4, 2011. Thomas H. Maugh II, "The Mystery of Everett Ruess' Disappearance Is Solved," Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2009. Jodi Peterson, "Everett Ruess Redux," High Country News, April 30, 2013. Peter Fish, "The Legend of Everett Ruess," Sunset 200:2 (February 1998), 18-21. Bruce Berger, "American Eye: Genius of the Canyons," North American Review 274:3 (September 1989), 4-9. Kirk Johnson, "Solution to a Longtime Mystery in Utah Is Questioned," New York Times, July 5, 2009, 13. Kirk Johnson, "Bones in a Desert Unlock Decades-Old Secrets for 2 Families," New York Times, May 1, 2009, A14. "A Mystery Thought Solved Is Now Renewed," New York Times, Oct. 22, 2009, A25. "Lost Artist Believed Living With Sheepmen," Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1935, 15. "Artist Believed Murder Victim," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 27, 1935, 9. "Burros Found in Snow Spur Hunt for Artist," Los Angeles Times, March 5, 1935, A10. "Flyer-Miner Joins Hunt for Artist Lost in Hills," Los Angeles Times, March 3, 1935, 3. Norris Leap, "Utah Canyons Veil Fate of L.A. Poet: Everett Ruess' Literary, Artistic Promise Lost in His Beloved Wilderness 18 Years Ago," Los Angeles Times, June 15, 1952, B1. Ann Japenga, "Loving the Land That Engulfed Him: New Interest in Young Man Who Vanished 53 Years Ago," Los Angeles Times, March 15, 1987, F1. Harold Grier McCurdy, ed., Barbara: The Unconscious Autobiography of a Child Genius, 1966. Paul Collins, "Vanishing Act," Lapham's Quarterly 4:1 (Winter 2011). "Barbara Newhall Follett, Disappearing Child Genius," Weekend Edition Saturday, National Public Radio, December 18, 2010. "Girl Novelist Held in San Francisco," New York Times, Sept. 21, 1929, 40. Floyd J. Healey, "Freedom Lures Child Novelist," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 21, 1929, A8. "Child Writer in Revolt," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 22, 1929, 8. Listener mail: Jane Mo, "Woman Wakes Up to Find 3 Bears Inside Her Car," KUSA, Oct. 4, 2017. Sara Everingham, "Town Under Siege: 6,000 Camels to Be Shot," ABC News, Nov. 26, 2009. Wikipedia, "10 Downing Street: Front Door and Entrance Hall" (accessed Nov. 25, 2017). Molly Oldfield and John Mitchinson, "QI: Quite Interesting Facts About 10 Downing Street," Telegraph, May 29, 2012. Wikipedia, "Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office" (accessed Nov. 25, 2017). "Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office," gov.uk (accessed Nov. 25, 2017). "Purr-fect Ending Fur Humphrey!" BBC News, Nov. 25, 1997. "'Pro-Cat Faction' Urges Downing Street Rat Rethink," BBC News, Jan. 25, 2011. "No. 10 Has Its First Cat Since Humphrey," Reuters, Sept. 12, 2007. Andy McSmith, "Farewell to the Original New Labour Cat," Independent, July 28, 2009. Lizzie Dearden, "George Osborne's Family Cat Freya Sent Away From Downing Street to Kent," Independent, Nov. 9, 2014. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Doug Shaw, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 27, 2017, 7 a.m.

178-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles to test your wits and stump your friends -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Here are the sources for this week's puzzles. In a few places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 is adapted from the 2000 book Lateral Mindtrap Puzzles. Puzzle #2 was contributed by listener Dave Lawrence. Puzzle #3 was devised by Greg. Here are three corroborating links. Puzzle #4 is from listener Andrea Crinklaw. Here are two corroborating links. Puzzle #5 is from Greg. Here are three corroborating links. Puzzle #6 was inspired by an item on the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish. Here are three corroborating links. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 20, 2017, 7 a.m.

177-Averting a Catastrophe in Manhattan

New York's Citicorp Tower was an architectural sensation when it opened in 1977. But then engineer William LeMessurier realized that its unique design left it dangerously vulnerable to high winds. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the drama that followed as a small group of decision makers tried to ward off a catastrophe in midtown Manhattan. We'll also cringe at an apartment mixup and puzzle over a tolerant trooper. Intro: A surprising number of record releases have been made of sandpaper. In high school, Ernest Hemingway wrote a poem composed entirely of punctuation. Sources for our feature on the Citicorp Tower: Joseph Morgenstern, "The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis," New Yorker, May 29, 1995. "All Fall Down," The Works, BBC, April 14, 1996. Eugene Kremer, "(Re)Examining the Citicorp Case: Ethical Paragon or Chimera?" Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly 6:3 (September 2002), 269-276. Joel Werner, "The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper," Slate, April 17, 2014. Sean Brady, "Citicorp Center Tower: How Failure Was Averted," Engineers Journal, Dec. 8, 2015. Michael J. Vardaro, "LeMessurier Stands Tall: A Case Study in Professional Ethics," AIA Trust, Spring 2013. P. Aarne Vesilind and Alastair S. Gunn, Hold Paramount: The Engineer's Responsibility to Society, 2010. Caroline Whitbeck, Ethics in Engineering Practice and Research, 1998. Ibo van de Poel and Lambèr Royakkers, Ethics, Technology, and Engineering: An Introduction, 2011. Matthew Wells, Skyscrapers: Structure and Design, 2005. Gordon C. Andrews, Canadian Professional Engineering and Geoscience: Practice and Ethics, 2009. "William J. LeMessurier," American Society of Civil Engineers, July 1, 2007. David Langdon, "Citigroup Center / Hugh Stubbins + William Le Messurier," ArchDaily, Nov. 5, 2014. Vanessa Rodriguez, "Citicorp Center - New York City (July 1978)," Failures Wiki (accessed Oct. 28, 2017). Jason Carpenter, "The Nearly Fatal Design Flaw That Could Have Sent the Citigroup Center Skyscraper Crumbling," 6sqft., Aug. 15, 2014. Stanley H. Goldstein and Robert A. Rubin, "Engineering Ethics," Civil Engineering 66:10 (October 1996), 40. "Selected Quotes," Civil Engineering 66:10 (October 1996), 43. "Readers Write," Civil Engineering 66:11 (November 1996), 30. James Glanz and Eric Lipton, "A Midtown Skyscraper Quietly Adds Armor," New York Times, Aug. 15, 2002. "F.Y.I.," New York Times, Feb. 2, 1997, CY2. Anthony Ramirez, "William LeMessurier, 81, Structural Engineer," New York Times, June 21, 2007, C13. Henry Petroski, "Engineering: A Great Profession," American Scientist 94:4 (July-August 2006), 304-307. Richard Korman, "LeMessurier's Confession," Engineering News-Record 235:18 (October 30, 1995), 10. Richard Korman, "Critics Grade Citicorp Confession," Engineering News-Record 234:21(Nov. 20, 1995), 10. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Relative Hour (Jewish Law)" (accessed Nov. 11, 2017). "The Jewish Day," chabad.org (accessed Nov. 11, 2017). "Hours," chabad.org (accessed Nov. 11, 2017). "Zmanim Briefly Defined and Explained," chabad.org (accessed Nov. 11, 2017). Wikipedia, "Twenty Questions" (accessed Nov. 11, 2017). "Two Types: The Faces of Britain," BBC Four, Aug. 1, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Kelly Bruce. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 13, 2017, 7 a.m.

176-The Bear That Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

In 1914, Canadian Army veterinarian Harry Colebourn was traveling to the Western Front when he met an orphaned bear cub in an Ontario railway station. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the adventures of Winnie the bear, including her fateful meeting with A.A. Milne and his son, Christopher Robin. We'll also marvel at some impressive finger counting and puzzle over an impassable bridge. Intro: At least two British television series have included Morse code in their theme music. A map of the American Midwest depicts an elf making chicken. Sources for our feature on Winnie the bear: Ann Thwaite, A.A. Milne, 1990. Val Shushkewich, The Real Winnie, 2005. Christopher Milne, The Enchanted Places, 1974. A.R. Melrose, ed., Beyond the World of Pooh, 1998. Paul Brody, In Which Milne's Life Is Told, 2014. Jackie Wullschläger, Inventing Wonderland, 1995. Gary Dexter, Why Not Catch-21?, 2008. Anna Tyzack, "The Story of Winnie the Pooh Laid Bare," Telegraph, Dec. 20, 2015. Lindsay Mattick, "The Story of How Winnie the Pooh Was Inspired by a Real Bear -- in Pictures," Guardian, Nov. 24, 2015. Tessa Vanderhart, "Winnie The Pooh Story Turns 99," Winnipeg Sun, Aug. 25, 2013. Jim Axelrod, "The Story of the Real Winnie the Pooh," CBS News, March 21, 2016. The Real Winnie, Ryerson University (accessed Oct. 22, 2017). "The True Tale of Winnie the Pooh, an Unlikely First World War Legacy," CBC Radio, Nov. 11, 2015. Christopher Klein, "The True Story of the Real-Life Winnie-the-Pooh," history.com, Oct. 13, 2016. Sean Coughlan, "The Skull of the 'Real' Winnie Goes on Display," BBC News, Nov. 20, 2015. "Winnie and Lieutenant Colebourn, White River, 1914," Canadian Postal Archives Database (accessed Oct. 22, 2017). Michael Palmer, "Artefact of the Month: Winnie the Bear and Lt. Colebourn Statue," Zoological Society of London, Nov. 28, 2014. "Winnie-the-Pooh: Inspired by a Canadian Bear," Canada Post Corporation (accessed Oct. 22, 2017). "Major Harry Colebourn," Canadian Great War Project (accessed Oct. 22, 2017). "The Real-Life Canadian Story of Winnie-the-Pooh," CBC Kids (accessed Oct. 22, 2017). Christopher Robin Milne feeding Winnie in her enclosure at the London Zoo in the 1920s. Listener mail: A demonstration of a binary or base 2 finger-counting method. Wikipedia, "Benford's Law" (accessed Nov. 3, 2017). "Counting," QI (accessed Nov. 3, 2017). "Sumerian/Babylonian Mathematics," The Story of Mathematics (accessed Nov. 3, 2017). Wikipedia, "Sexagesimal" (accessed Nov. 3, 2017). Wikipedia, "Chisanbop" (accessed Nov. 3, 2017). "Math Lesson Plan: Chisanbop (Korean Counting to 99)," LessonThis (accessed Nov. 3, 2017). A 3-year-old doing arithmetic using the Chisanbop method. A kindergartener doing more complicated arithmetic using the Chisanbop method. Older kids doing very fast, advanced arithmetic using a mental abacus. Wikipedia, "Mental Abacus" (accessed Nov. 3, 2017). Alex Bellos, "World's Fastest Number Game Wows Spectators and Scientists," Guardian, Oct. 29, 2012. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jack McLachlan. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 6, 2017, 7 a.m.

175-The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island

In 1835, a Native American woman was somehow left behind when her dwindling island tribe was transferred to the California mainland. She would spend the next 18 years living alone in a world of 22 square miles. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the poignant story of the lone woman of San Nicolas Island. We'll also learn about an inebriated elephant and puzzle over an unattainable test score. Intro: As construction began on Scotland’s Forth Bridge, engineers offered a personal demonstration of its cantilever design. In the 1880s, Manhattan's rationalist "Thirteen Club" held a dinner on the 13th of each month to flout superstition. Sources for our feature on the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island: Sara L. Schwebel, ed., Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader's Edition, 2016. William Henry Ellison, ed., The Life and Adventures of George Nidever, 1937. Robert F. Heizer and Albert B. Elsasser, eds., "Original Accounts of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island," in Aboriginal California: Three Studies of Cultural History, University of California Archaeological Research Facility, 1963. Travis Hudson, "Recently Discovered Accounts Concerning the 'Lone Woman' of San Nicolas Island," Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 3:2 (1981), 187-199. Marla Daily, "The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island: A New Hypothesis on Her Origin," California History 68:1/2 (Spring-Summer 1989) 36-41. Jon M. Erlandson, Lisa Thomas-Barnett, René L. Vellanoweth, Steven J. Schwartz, and Daniel R. Muhs, "From the Island of the Blue Dolphins: A Unique Nineteenth-Century Cache Feature From San Nicolas Island, California," Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 8:1 (2013), 66-78. Amira F. Ainis, et al. "A Cache Within a Cache: Description of an Abalone 'Treasure-Box' from the CA-SNI-14 Redwood Box Cache, San Nicolas Island, Alta California," California Archaeology 9:1 (2017), 79-105. Eighth California Islands Symposium, National Park Service, Oct. 25, 2012. Steve Chawkins, "Island of the Blue Dolphins' Woman's Cave Believed Found," Los Angeles Times, Oct. 29, 2012. S.J. Schwartz, "Some Observations on the Material Culture of the Nicoleño," in Proceedings of the Sixth California Island Symposium 2005, 83–91. Ron Morgan, "An Account of the Discovery of a Whale-Bone House on San Nicolas Island," Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 1:1 (1979), 171-177. Louis Sahagun, "With Island Dig Halted, Lone Woman Still a Stinging Mystery," Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2015. "The Woman of San Nicolas Island," [Lake Providence, La.] Banner-Democrat, Dec. 28, 1901. Associated Press, "Traces of Prehistoric People are Found on Pacific Island," Dec. 14, 1940. Robert L. Carl, "The Lost Woman of San Nicolas Island," Western Folklore 11:2 (April 1952), 123-124. "A Female Crusoe," London Journal 69:1785 (April 26, 1879), 268-268. Ron Givens, "Island of Blue Dolphins Revisited," American History 48:1 (April 2013), 10. Emma C. Hardacre, "Eighteen Years Alone," Century Magazine, September 1880, 657-663. L.L. Hanchett, Lennox Tierney, and Austin E. Fife, "The Lost Woman of San Nicolás," California Folklore Quarterly 3:2 (April 1944), 148-149. C.F. Holder, "The Wind-Swept Island of San Nicolas," Scientific American 81:15 (Oct. 7, 1899), 233-234. Margaret Romer, "The Last of the Canalinos," Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly 41:3 (September 1959), 241-246. Clement W. Meighan and Hal Eberhart, "Archaeological Resources of San Nicolas Island, California," American Antiquity 19:2 (October 1953), 109-125. "On an Isle of Skulls," New York Times, Dec. 1, 1895, 29. "Relics of Vanished Race Found on a Desert Isle," New York Times, May 1, 1927, XX4. "Relic Hunt in the Pacific," New York Times, June 22, 1897, 1. "Old California Islanders," New York Times, June 16, 1897, 2. Gladwin Hill, "California's Little-Known Offshore Island," New York Times, Jan. 12, 1958, XX22. "Sea Lion Herds Bask on Island," Los Angeles Times, April 25, 1949, A1. S.J. Mathis, "The Lone Woman of San Nicolas," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 8, 1899, B11. Harold Orlando Wright, "San Nicolas -- Abode of Demons," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 29, 1931, K6. "Indians Once Lived on Channel Islands," Los Angeles Times, July 9, 1951, 2. "Centerpiece: Once Upon a Time There Was a Little Girl Stranded on a Channel Island," Los Angeles Times, Dec. 13, 1990, VCJ1. William Crosby Bennett, "Mrs. Robinson Crusoe," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 9, 1936, I3. William S. Murphy, "5,000-Year-Old Mystery Probed," Los Angeles Times, Dec. 20, 1970, C1. "Story of Lost Woman Retold," Los Angeles Times, Feb. 28, 1928, A14. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Pasilalinic-Sympathetic Compass" (accessed Oct. 27, 2017). Toby Howard, "Progress at Snail's Pace," Skeptic, 1995. Daniel Hahn, The Tower Menagerie, 2004. Isabelle Janvrin and Catherine Rawlinson, The French in London, 2016. Laura Bannister, "Rare Beasts, Birds, and the Calaboose," Paris Review, Sept. 22, 2016. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Robert Cairns. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 30, 2017, 6 a.m.

174-Cracking the Nazi Code

In 1940, Germany was sending vital telegrams through neutral Sweden using a sophisticated cipher, and it fell to mathematician Arne Beurling to make sense of the secret messages. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the outcome, which has been called "one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of cryptography." We'll also learn about mudlarking and puzzle over a chicken-killing Dane. Intro: In 1836, three boys discovered 17 tiny coffins entombed near Edinburgh. On his 1965 album A Love Supreme, John Coltrane "plays" a poem on the saxophone. Sources for our feature on Arne Beurling: Bengt Beckman, Codebreakers: Arne Beurling and the Swedish Crypto Program During World War II, 1996. David Kahn, The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing, 1967. David Joyner, ed., Coding Theory and Cryptography, 2000. Bengt Beckman and Jonathan Beard, "Codebreakers: Arne Beurling and the Swedish Crypto Program During World War II," Intelligence and National Security 18:4 (January 2004), 206-207. Lars Ulfving, "The Geheimschreiber Secret: Arne Beurling and the Success of Swedish Signals Intelligence," in Bo Hugemark and Probus Förlag, eds., I Orkanens Öga, 1941 -- Osäker neutralitet, 1992. Louis Kruh, "Arne Beurling and Swedish Crypto," Cryptologia 27:3 (July 2003), 231. John Wermer, "Recollections of Arne Beurling," Mathematical Intelligencer 15:3 (January 1993), 32–33. Jurgen Rohwer, "Signal Intelligence and World War II: The Unfolding Story," Journal of Military History 63:4 (October 1999), 939-951. Bo Kjellberg, "Memories of Arne Beurling, February 3, 1905–November 20, 1986," Mathematical Intelligencer 15:3 (January 1993), 28–31. Håkan Hedenmalm, "Codebreakers: Arne Beurling and the Swedish Crypto Program During World War II," Mathematical Intelligencer 28:1 (December 2006), 57–59. Craig Graham McKay, "Swedish Cryptanalysis and the Saga of Arne Beurling: A Book Review," Cryptologia 23:3 (July 1999), 257. Louis Kruh, "Swedish Signal Intelligence History," Cryptologia 27:2 (April 2003), 186-187. "How Sweden Cracked the Nazi Code," Swedish History, Jan. 22, 2017. Lars Ahlfors and Lennart Carleson, "Arne Beurling In Memoriam," Acta Mathematica 161 (1988), 1-9. John Borland, "Looking Back at Sweden's Super-Code-Cracker," Wired, Aug. 11, 2007. "Arne Carl-August Beurling," MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive (accessed Oct. 8, 2017). "Arne Beurling," Mathematics Genealogy Project (accessed Oct. 8, 2017). "Joins Advanced Study School," New York Times, Oct. 10, 1954. "Arne Beurling," Physics Today, February 2015. Listener mail: "Two Types: The Faces of Britain," BBC Four, Aug. 1, 2017. "Who Are the Mudlarks?", Thames Museum (accessed 10/21/2017). Lara Maiklem, "London's History in Mud: The Woman Collecting What the Thames Washes Up," Guardian, Sept. 14, 2016. Military High Command Department for War Maps and Communications, German Invasion Plans for the British Isles, 1940. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Carsten Hamann, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 23, 2017, 6 a.m.

173-The Worst Journey in the World

In 1911, three British explorers made a perilous 70-mile journey in the dead of the Antarctic winter to gather eggs from a penguin rookery in McMurdo Sound. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the three through perpetual darkness and bone-shattering cold on what one man called "the worst journey in the world." We'll also dazzle some computers and puzzle over some patriotic highways. Intro: In 2014, mathematician Kevin Ferland determined the largest number of words that will fit in a New York Times crossword puzzle. In 1851, phrenologist J.P. Browne examined Charlotte Brontë without knowing her identity. Sources for our feature on Apsley Cherry-Garrard: Apsley Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, 1922. Sara Wheeler, Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard, 2007. "Scott Perishes Returning From Pole," Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 11, 1913. Paul Lambeth, "Captain Scott's Last Words Electrify England and World by Their Pathetic Eloquence," San Francisco Call, Feb. 12, 1913. Hugh Robert Mill, "The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctic, 1910-1913," Nature 111:2786 (March 24, 1923), 386-388. "Cherry-Garrard, Explorer, Dead," New York Times, May 19, 1959. "Obituary: Apsley Cherry-Garrard," Geographical Journal 125:3/4 (September-December 1959), 472. James Lees-Milne, "From the Shavian Past: XCII," Shaw Review 20:2 (May 1977), 62. W.N. Bonner, "British Biological Research in the Antarctic," Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 14:1 (August 1980), 1-10. John Maxtone-Graham, "How Quest for Penguin Eggs Ended," New York Times, Oct. 2, 1994. Gabrielle Walker, "The Emperor's Eggs," New Scientist 162:2182 (April 17, 1999), 42-47. Gabrielle Walker, "It's Cold Out There," New Scientist 172:2315 (Nov. 3, 2001), 54. Edward J. Larson, "Greater Glory," Scientific American 304:6 (June 2011), 78-83. "When August Was Cold and Dark," New York Times, Aug. 8, 2011, A18. Robin McKie, "How a Heroic Hunt for Penguin Eggs Became 'The Worst Journey in the World,'" Guardian, Jan. 14, 2012. Matilda Battersby, "Cache of Letters About Scott Found as Collection of His Possessions Acquired for the Nation," Independent, July 19, 2012. Karen May, "Could Captain Scott Have Been Saved? Revisiting Scott's Last Expedition," Polar Record 49:1 (January 2013), 72-90. Karen May and Sarah Airriess, "Could Captain Scott Have Been Saved? Cecil Meares and the 'Second Journey' That Failed," Polar Record 51:3 (May 2015), 260-273. Shane McCorristine and Jane S.P. Mocellin, "Christmas at the Poles: Emotions, Food, and Festivities on Polar Expeditions, 1818-1912," Polar Record 52:5 (September 2016), 562-577. Carolyn Philpott, "Making Music on the March: Sledging Songs of the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic Exploration," Polar Record 52:6 (November 2016), 698-716. Listener mail: Robinson Meyer, "Anti-Surveillance Camouflage for Your Face," Atlantic, July 24, 2014. Adam Harvey, "Face to Anti-Face," New York Times, Dec. 14, 2013. "How to Find a Spider in Your Yard on a Tuesday at 8:47pm." This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Petr Smelý, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 16, 2017, 6 a.m.

172-An American in Feudal Japan

In 1848, five years before Japan opened its closed society to the West, a lone American in a whaleboat landed on the country's northern shore, drawn only by a sense of mystery and a love of adventure. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Ranald MacDonald as he travels the length of Japan toward a destiny that will transform the country. We'll also remember a Soviet hero and puzzle over some security-conscious neighbors. Intro: In 1794, two French Hussars began an episodic duel that would last until 1813. In 1945, the Arkansas legislature accidentally repealed every law in the state. Sources for our feature on Ranald MacDonald: Frederik L. Schodt, Native American in the Land of the Shogun, 2003. Jo Ann Roe, Ranald MacDonald: Pacific Rim Adventurer, 1997. William S. Lewis and Naojiro Murakami, Ranald MacDonald: The Narrative of His Early Life on the Columbia Under the Hudson's Bay Company's Regime, 1990. Herbert H. Gowen, Five Foreigners in Japan, 1936. Gretchen Murphy, Shadowing the White Man's Burden: U.S. Imperialism and the Problem of the Color Line, 2010. Joel E. Ferris, "Ranald MacDonald: The Sailor Boy Who Visited Japan," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 48:1 (January 1957), 13-16. Benjamin MacDonald, "Narrative of Benjamin MacDonald," Washington Historical Quarterly 16:3 (July 1925), 186-197. David N. Cooper, "Behind the Bamboo Curtain: A Nineteenth-Century Canadian Adventurer in Japan," Manitoba History 74 (Winter 2014), 40-44. Gretchen Murphy, "'A Home Which Is Still Not a Home': Finding a Place for Ranald MacDonald," American Transcendental Quarterly 15:3 (September 2001), 225-244. Frederik L. Schodt, "The Chinook Who Paved the Way for Perry: Ranald MacDonald's Adventure in Japan, 1848-1849," Whispering Wind 33:3 (June 30, 2003), 20. Frederik L. Schodt and Shel Zolkewich, "Ranald MacDonald's Excellent Adventure," The Beaver 83:4 (August/September 2003), 29-33. "When Japan Was a Secret: Japanese Sea-Drifters," Economist 385:8560 (December 22, 2007), 93. Jeffrey Dym, "Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan [review]," Canadian Journal of History 39:2 (August 2004), 446-448. F.G. Notehelfer, "Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan [review]," Journal of Asian Studies 63:2 (May 2004), 513-514. Gordon B. Dodds, "Ranald MacDonald: Pacific Rim Adventurer [review]," Journal of American History 85:2 (September 1998), 663-664. Stephen W. Kohl, "Ranald MacDonald: Pacific Rim Adventurer [review]," Pacific Historical Review 68:1 (February 1999), 103-104. Herman J. Deutsch, "Ranald MacDonald: Adventurer by Marie Leona Nichols [review]," Pacific Historical Review 10:2 (June 1941), 231-232. Listener mail: "Stanislav Petrov, Who Averted Possible Nuclear War, Dies at 77," BBC News, Sept. 18, 2017. Associated Press, "Stanislav Petrov, 'The Man Who Saved the World' From Nuclear War, Dies at 77," Sept. 21, 2017. Roland Oliphant, "Stanislav Petrov, the 'Man Who Saved the World' Dies at 77," Telegraph, Sept. 18, 2017. Kristine Phillips, "The Former Soviet Officer Who Trusted His Gut -- And Averted a Global Nuclear Catastrophe," Washington Post, Sept. 18, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Mike Davis. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 2, 2017, 6 a.m.

171-The Emperor of the United States

In the 1860s, San Francisco's most popular tourist attraction was not a place but a person: Joshua Norton, an eccentric resident who had declared himself emperor of the United States. Rather than shun him, the city took him to its heart, affectionately indulging his foibles for 21 years. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll consider the reign of Norton I and the meaning of madness. We'll also keep time with the Romans and puzzle over some rising temperatures. Intro: Amazon customers have been reviewing a gallon of milk since 2005. G.W. Blake patented a flyswatter pistol in 1919. Sources for our feature on Joshua Norton: William Drury, Norton I: Emperor of the United States, 1986. William M. Kramer, Emperor Norton of San Francisco, 1974. Catherine Caufield, The Emperor of the United States of America and Other Magnificent British Eccentrics, 1981. Benjamin E. Lloyd, Lights and Shades in San Francisco, 1876. Fred Dickey, "Norton I: Ruler of All He Imagined," American History 41:4 (October 2006), 65-66,68,70,6. Robert Ernest Cowan, "Norton I: Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico (Joshua A. Norton, 1819-1880)," California Historical Society Quarterly 2:3 (October 1923), 237-245. Eric Lis, "His Majesty's Psychosis: The Case of Emperor Joshua Norton," Academic Psychiatry 39:2 (April 2015), 181–185. Gary Kamiya, "How Emperor Norton Rose to Power," San Francisco Chronicle, April 1, 2017. "Street Characters of San Francisco," Overland Monthly 19:113 (May 1892), 449-459. "Death of an American Emperor," Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper 49:1271 (Feb. 7, 1880), 428-429. "Emperor Norton," Sacramento Daily Record-Union, Jan. 26, 1880, 1. "Collections: The Emperor's Cane," California History 82:2 (2004), 3, 59. Alejandro Lazo and Daniel Huang, "Who Is Emperor Norton? Fans in San Francisco Want to Remember," Wall Street Journal, Aug. 13, 2015. David Warren Ryder, "The Strange Story of Emperor Norton," Saturday Evening Post 218:6 (Aug. 11, 1945), 35-41. Julian Dana, "San Francisco's Fabulous Fools," Prairie Schooner 27:1 (Spring 1953), 45-49. Jed Stevenson, "Notes Issued by the Self-Crowned Emperor of the United States Have Become Collector's Items," New York Times, Dec. 9, 1990, 84. "Death of an Eccentric Californian," New York Times, Jan. 10, 1880, 5. Listener mail: Leonhard Schmitz, "Hora," in William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 1875. Wikipedia, "Roman Timekeeping" (accessed Sept. 23, 2017). "A Brief Guide to Roman Timekeeping and the Calendar," World History (accessed Sept. 23, 2017). Wikipedia, "Finger-Counting" (accessed Sept. 23, 2017). Aditya Singhal, "Math Teachers Should Encourage Their Students to Count Using Fingers," Math Blog, July 20, 2016. Nancy Szokan, "Think Counting on Your Fingers Is Dumb? Think Again," Washington Post, July 30, 2016. An Indian 5-year-old doing mental sums. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Sofia Hauck de Oliveira, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Get a free audiobook with a 30-day trial at Audible. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 25, 2017, 6 a.m.

170-The Mechanical Turk

In 1770, Hungarian engineer Wolfgang von Kempelen unveiled a miracle: a mechanical man who could play chess against human challengers. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll meet Kempelen's Mechanical Turk, which mystified audiences in Europe and the United States for more than 60 years. We'll also sit down with Paul Erdős and puzzle over a useful amateur. Intro: Lewis Carroll sent a birthday wish list to child friend Jessie Sinclair in 1878. An octopus named Paul picked the winners of all seven of Germany’s World Cup games in 2010. Sources for our feature on the Mechanical Turk: Tom Standage, The Turk, 2002. Elizabeth Bridges, "Maria Theresa, 'The Turk,' and Habsburg Nostalgia," Journal of Austrian Studies 47:2 (Summer 2014), 17-36. Stephen P. Rice, "Making Way for the Machine: Maelzel's Automaton Chess-Player and Antebellum American Culture," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Third Series, 106 (1994), 1-16. Dan Campbell, "'Echec': The Deutsches Museum Reconstructs the Chess-Playing Turk," Events and Sightings, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 26:2 (April-June 2004), 84-85. John F. Ohl and Joseph Earl Arrington, "John Maelzel, Master Showman of Automata and Panoramas," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 84:1 (January 1960), 56-92. James W. Cook Jr., "From the Age of Reason to the Age of Barnum: The Great Automaton Chess-Player and the Emergence of Victorian Cultural Illusionism," Winterthur Portfolio 30:4 (Winter 1995), 231-257. W.K. Wimsatt Jr., "Poe and the Chess Automaton," American Literature 11:2 (May 1939), 138-151. Peggy Aldrich Kidwell, "Playing Checkers With Machines -- From Ajeeb to Chinook," Information & Culture 50:4 (2015), 578-587. Brian P. Bloomfield and Theo Vurdubakis, "IBM's Chess Players: On AI and Its Supplements," Information Society 24 (2008), 69-82. Nathan Ensmenger, "Is Chess the Drosophila of Artificial Intelligence? A Social History of an Algorithm," Social Studies of Science 42:1 (February 2012), 5-30. Martin Kemp, "A Mechanical Mind," Nature 421:6920 (Jan. 16, 2003), 214. Marco Ernandes, "Artificial Intelligence & Games: Should Computational Psychology Be Revalued?" Topoi 24:2 (September 2005), 229–242. Brian P. Bloomfield and Theo Vurdubakis, "The Revenge of the Object? On Artificial Intelligence as a Cultural Enterprise," Social Analysis 41:1 (March 1997), 29-45. Mark Sussman, "Performing the Intelligent Machine: Deception and Enchantment in the Life of the Automaton Chess Player," TDR 43:3 (Autumn 1999), 81-96. James Berkley, "Post-Human Mimesis and the Debunked Machine: Reading Environmental Appropriation in Poe's 'Maelzel's Chess-Player' and 'The Man That Was Used Up,'" Comparative Literature Studies 41:3 (2004), 356-376. Kat Eschner, "Debunking the Mechanical Turk Helped Set Edgar Allan Poe on the Path to Mystery Writing," Smithsonian.com, July 20, 2017. Lincoln Michel, "The Grandmaster Hoax," Paris Review, March 28, 2012. Adam Gopnik, "A Point of View: Chess and 18th Century Artificial Intelligence," BBC News, March 22, 2013. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21876120 Ella Morton, "The Mechanical Chess Player That Unsettled the World," Slate, Aug. 20, 2015. "The Automaton Chess Player," Scientific American 48:7 (February 17, 1883), 103-104. Robert Willis, An Attempt to Analyse the Automaton Chess Player, of Mr. de Kempelen, 1821. "The Automaton Chess-Player," Cornhill Magazine 5:27 (September 1885), 299-306. Edgar Allan Poe, "Maelzel's Chess-Player," Southern Literary Messenger, April 1836, 318-326. You can play through six of the Turk's games on Chessgames.com. Listener mail: Nicholas Gibbs, "Voynich Manuscript: The Solution," Times Literary Supplement, Sept. 5, 2017. Annalee Newitz, "The Mysterious Voynich Manuscript Has Finally Been Decoded," Ars Technica, Sept. 8, 2017. Natasha Frost, "The World's Most Mysterious Medieval Manuscript May No Longer Be a Mystery," Atlas Obscura, Sept. 8, 2017. Sarah Zhang, "Has a Mysterious Medieval Code Really Been Solved?" Atlantic, Sept. 10, 2017. Annalee Newitz, "So Much for That Voynich Manuscript 'Solution,'" Ars Technica, Sept. 10, 2017. "Imaginary Erdős Number," Numberphile, Nov. 26, 2014. Oleg Pikhurko, "Erdős Lap Number," Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick (accessed Sept. 15, 2017). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Alex Baumans, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 18, 2017, 6 a.m.

169-John Harrison and the Problem of Longitude

Ships need a reliable way to know their exact location at sea -- and for centuries, the lack of a dependable method caused shipwrecks and economic havoc for every seafaring nation. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll meet John Harrison, the self-taught English clockmaker who dedicated his life to crafting a reliable solution to this crucial problem. We'll also admire a dentist and puzzle over a magic bus stop. Intro: Working in an Antarctic tent in 1908, Douglas Mawson found himself persistently interrupted by Edgeworth David. In 1905, Sir Gilbert Parker claimed to have seen the astral body of Sir Crane Rasch in the House of Commons. Sources for our feature on John Harrison: Dava Sobel and William H. Andrews, The Illustrated Longitude, 1995. William J.H. Andrewes, ed., The Quest for Longitude, 1996. Katy Barrett, "'Explaining' Themselves: The Barrington Papers, the Board of Longitude, and the Fate of John Harrison," Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 65:2 (June 20, 2011), 145-162. William E. Carter and Merri S. Carter, "The Age of Sail: A Time When the Fortunes of Nations and Lives of Seamen Literally Turned With the Winds Their Ships Encountered at Sea," Journal of Navigation 63:4 (October 2010), 717-731. J.A. Bennett, "Science Lost and Longitude Found: The Tercentenary of John Harrison," Journal for the History of Astronomy 24:4 (1993), 281-287. Arnold Wolfendale, "Shipwrecks, Clocks and Westminster Abbey: The Story of John Harrison," Historian 97 (Spring 2008), 14-17. William E. Carter and Merri Sue Carter, "The British Longitude Act Reconsidered," American Scientist 100:2 (March/April 2012), 102-105. Robin W. Spencer, "Open Innovation in the Eighteenth Century: The Longitude Problem," Research Technology Management 55:4 (July/August 2012), 39-43. "Longitude Found: John Harrison," Royal Museums Greenwich (accessed Aug. 27, 2017). "John Harrison," American Society of Mechanical Engineers (accessed Aug. 27, 2017). J.C. Taylor and A.W. Wolfendale, "John Harrison: Clockmaker and Copley Medalist," Notes and Records, Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, Jan. 22, 2007. An Act for the Encouragement of John Harrison, to Publish and Make Known His Invention of a Machine or Watch, for the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea, 1763. John Harrison, An Account of the Proceedings, in Order to the Discovery of the Longitude, 1763. John Harrison, A Narrative of the Proceedings Relative to the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea, 1765. Nevil Maskelyne, An Account of the Going of Mr. John Harrison's Watch, at the Royal Observatory, 1767. John Harrison, Remarks on a Pamphlet Lately Published by the Rev. Mr. Maskelyne, 1767. An Act for Granting to His Majesty a Certain Sum of Money Out of the Sinking Fund, 1773. John Harrison, A Description Concerning Such Mechanism as Will Afford a Nice, or True Mensuration of Time, 1775. Steve Connor, "John Harrison's 'Longitude' Clock Sets New Record -- 300 Years On," Independent, April 18, 2015. Robin McKie, "Clockmaker John Harrison Vindicated 250 Years After 'Absurd' Claims," Guardian, April 18, 2015. Listener mail: Charlie Hintz, "DNA Ends 120 Year Mystery of H.H. Holmes' Death," Cult of Weird, Aug. 31, 2017. "Descendant of H.H. Holmes Reveals What He Found at Serial Killer's Gravesite in Delaware County," NBC10, July 18, 2017. Brian X. McCrone and George Spencer, "Was It Really 'America's First Serial Killer' H.H. Holmes Buried in a Delaware County Grave?", NBC10, Aug. 31, 2017. Daniel Hahn, The Tower Menagerie, 2004. James Owen, "Medieval Lion Skulls Reveal Secrets of Tower of London 'Zoo,'" National Geographic News, Nov. 3, 2005. Richard Davey, Tower of London, 1910. Bill Bailey reads from the Indonesian-to-English phrasebook Practical Dialogues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZZv6D4hpK8 A few photos of Practical Dialogues. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Oskar Sigvardsson, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 11, 2017, 6 a.m.

168-The Destruction of the Doves Type

In March 1913, Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson threw the most beautiful typeface in the world off of London's Hammersmith Bridge to keep it out of the hands of his estranged printing partner. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll explore what would lead a man to destroy the culmination of his life's work -- and what led one modern admirer to try to revive it. We'll also scrutinize a housekeeper and puzzle over a slumped child. Intro: Gustav Mahler rejected the Berlin Royal Opera because of the shape of his nose. In 1883, inventor Robert Heath enumerated the virtues of glowing hats. Sources for our feature on the Doves Press: Marianne Tidcombe, The Doves Press, 2002. The Journals of Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson, 1926. "The Doves Press" -- A Kelmscott Revival," New York Times, Feb. 16, 1901, BR9. "The Revival of Printing as an Art," New York Tribune, Sept. 14, 1901, 11. "The Doves Press Bible," Guardian, March 10, 1904. "The Doves Press," Athenaeum, Jan. 12, 1907, 54-54. "The Doves Press," Athenaeum, June 13, 1908, 729-730. Dissolution of the partnership, London Gazette, July 27, 1909, 5759. "Doves Press Type in River: Memoirs of T.C. Sanderson Tell How He Disposed of It," New York Times, Sept. 8, 1926, 27. Arthur Millier, "Bookbinding Art Proves Inspiration: Doves Press Exhibit Reveals Devotion to Lofty Ideals," Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1933, A2. Charles B. Russell, "Cobden-Sanderson and the Doves Press," Prairie Schooner 14:3 (Fall 1940), 180-192. Carole Cable, "The Printing Types of the Doves Press: Their History and Destruction," Library Quarterly 44:3 (July 1974), 219-230. Marcella D. Genz, "The Doves Press [review]," Library Quarterly 74:1 (January 2004), 91-94. "Biographies of the Key Figures Involved in the Doves Press," International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, Dec. 22, 2009. "The Doves Type Reborn," Association Typographique Internationale, Dec. 20, 2010. "The Fight Over the Doves," Economist, Dec. 19, 2013. Justin Quirk, "X Marks the Spot," Sunday Times, Jan. 11, 2015, 22. Rachael Steven, "Recovering the Doves Type," Creative Review, Feb. 3, 2015. Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, "The Gorgeous Typeface That Drove Men Mad and Sparked a 100-Year Mystery," Gizmodo, Feb. 16, 2015. Rich Rennicks, "The Doves Press Story," New Antiquarian, Feb. 24, 2015. "One Man's Obsession With Rediscovering the Lost Doves Type," BBC News Magazine, Feb. 25, 2015. "15 Things You Didn't Know About the Doves Press & Its Type," Typeroom, Oct. 20, 2015. "An Obsessive Type: The Tale of the Doves Typeface," BBC Radio 4, July 28, 2016. Sujata Iyengar, "Intermediating the Book Beautiful: Shakespeare at the Doves Press," Shakespeare Quarterly 67:4 (Winter 2016), 481-502. "The Doves Type," Typespec (accessed Aug. 20, 2017). "Raised From the Dead: The Doves Type Story," Typespec (accessed Aug. 20, 2017). "History of the Doves Type," Typespec (accessed Aug. 21, 2017). "Doves Press," Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum (accessed Aug. 20, 2017). "Doves Press Collection," Bruce Peel Special Collections, University of Alberta (accessed Aug. 20, 2017). Listener mail: Becky Oskin, "Yosemite Outsmarts Its Food-Stealing Bears," Live Science, March 3, 2014. Kristin Hohenadel, "Vancouver Bans Doorknobs," Slate, Nov. 26 2013. Jeff Lee, "Vancouver's Ban on the Humble Doorknob Likely to Be a Trendsetter," Vancouver Sun, Nov. 19, 2013. Jonathan Goodman, The Slaying of Joseph Bowne Elwell, 1987. "Housekeeper Admits Shielding Woman by Hiding Garments in Elwell Home," New York Times, June 17, 1920. "Elwell Crime Still Mystery," Los Angeles Times, June 19, 1920. "Housekeeper Gives New Elwell Facts," New York Times, June 25, 1920. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Dean Gootee. Please visit Littleton Coin Company to sell your coins and currency, or call them toll free 1-877-857-7850. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Sept. 4, 2017, 6 a.m.

167-A Manhattan Murder Mystery

In May 1920, wealthy womanizer Joseph Elwell was found shot to death alone in his locked house in upper Manhattan. The police identified hundreds of people who might have wanted Elwell dead, but they couldn't quite pin the crime on any of them. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review the sensational murder that the Chicago Tribune called "one of the toughest mysteries of all times." We'll also learn a new use for scuba gear and puzzle over a sympathetic vandal. Intro: The Dodgers, Yankees, and Giants played a three-way baseball game in 1944. Avon, Colorado, has a bridge called Bob. Sources for our feature on Joseph Elwell: Jonathan Goodman, The Slaying of Joseph Bowne Elwell, 1987. Joseph Bowne Elwell, Bridge, Its Principles and Rules of Play, 1903 "J.B. Elwell, Whist Expert and Race Horse Owner, Slain," New York Times, June 12, 1920, 1. "Seek Young Woman in Elwell Mystery," New York Times, June 13, 1920, 14. "Scour City Garages for Elwell Clue," New York Times, June 14, 1920, 1. "'Woman in Black' at the Ritz Enters Elwell Mystery," New York Times, June 16, 1920, 1. "Two Men and Women Hunted in New Trail for Slayer of Elwell," New York Tribune, June 16, 1920, 1. "Housekeeper Admits Shielding Woman by Hiding Garments in Elwell Home," New York Times, June 17, 1920, 1. "Mrs. Elwell Bares Divorce Project," New York Times, June 17, 1920, 1. "Swann Baffled at Every Turn in Elwell Mystery," New York Times, June 19, 1920, 1. "'Mystery Girl in Elwell Case Is Found," Washington Times, June 19, 1920, 1. "Elwell, Discarding Palm Beach Woman, Revealed Threats," New York Times, June 20, 1920, 1. "Elwell, the Man of Many Masks," New York Times, June 20, 1920, 12. "Elwell Traced to Home at 2:30 on Day of Murder," New York Times, June 21, 1920, 1. "'Unwritten Law' Avenger Sought in Elwell Case," New York Times, June 22, 1920, 1. "Think Assassin Hid for Hours in Elwell Home," New York Times, June 23, 1920, 1. "Admits Breakfasting With Von Schlegell," New York Times, June 23, 1920, 3. "Officials Baffled by Contradictions Over Elwell Calls," New York Times, June 24, 1920, 1. "Housekeeper Gives New Elwell Facts," New York Times, June 25, 1920, 1. "Pendleton, Amazed Awaiting Inquiry in Elwell Case," New York Times, June 28, 1920, 1. "'Bootlegger' Clue in Elwell Case Bared by Check," New York Times, June 29, 1920, 1. "Elwell Rum Ring Bared by Shevlin," New York Times, July 2, 1920, 14. "Viola Kraus Again on Elwell Grill," New York Times, July 3, 1920, 14. "The People and Their Daily Troubles," Los Angeles Times, July 6, 1920: II2. "Says Witness Lied in Elwell Inquiry," New York Times, July 7, 1920, 11. "Whisky Is Seized in Elwell Mystery," New York Times, July 10, 1920, 10. "New Elwell Clue Found by Police," New York Times, July 11, 1920, 16. "'Beatrice,' New Witness Sought in Elwell Case," New York Tribune, July 11, 1920, 6. "Says He Murdered Elwell," New York Times, July 14, 1920, 17. "Quiz Figueroa Again in Elwell Mystery," New York Times, July 17, 1920, 14. "Chauffeur Quizzed in Elwell Mystery," New York Times, July 20, 1920, 8. "Elwell Evidence Put Up to Whitman," New York Times, April 2, 1921, 11. "Confesses Murder of Elwell and Says Woman Paid for It," New York Times, April 7, 1921, 1. "Admits Elwell Murder," Los Angeles Times, April 7, 1921, I1. "Confessed Elwell Slayer Identifies Woman Employer," New York Times, April 8, 1921, 1. "Confessed Slayer of Elwell Is Sane, Alienist Declares," New York Times, April 9, 1921, 1. "Harris Admits His Elwell Murder Tale Was All a Lie," New York Times, April 11, 1921, 1. "Elwell and Keenan Slayers Are Known," Fort Wayne [Ind.] Sentinel, Oct. 17, 1923, 1. "Elwell's Slayer Known to Police," New York Times, Oct. 21, 1923, E4. "Fifth Anniversary of the Elwell Murder Finds It Listed as the Perfect Mystery," New York Times, June 12, 1925, 21. "Elwell Cut Off," New York Times, April 12, 1927, 19. "Murder of Elwell Recalled in Suicide," New York Times, Oct. 15, 1927, 21. "Joseph Elwell Murder in 1920 Still Mystery," Chicago Tribune, Feb. 21, 1955. David J. Krajicek, "Who Would Want to Kill Joe Elwell?" New York Daily News, Feb. 13, 2011. Douglas J. Lanska, "Optograms and Criminology: Science, News Reporting, and Fanciful Novels," in Anne Stiles et al., Literature, Neurology, and Neuroscience: Historical and Literary Connections, 2013. Kirk Curnutt, "The Gatsby Murder Case," in Alfred Bendixen and Olivia Carr Edenfield, eds., The Centrality of Crime Fiction in American Literary Culture, 2017. Listener mail: Paul Rubin, "Burning Man: An Attorney Says He Escaped His Blazing Home Using Scuba Gear; Now He's Charged with Arson," Phoenix New Times, Aug. 27, 2009. Michael Walsh, "Autopsy Shows Michael Marin, Arizona Man Who Was Former Wall Street Trader, Killed Self With Cyanide After Hearing Guilty Verdict," New York Daily News, July 27, 2012. "Michael Marin Update: Canister Labeled 'Cyanide' Found in Arsonist's Vehicle, Investigators Say," CBS News/Associated Press, July 12, 2012. Ed Lavandera, "Ex-Banker's Courtroom Death an Apparent Suicide," CNN, July 11, 2012. At the guilty verduct, Marin put his hands to his mouth, apparently swallowed something, and collapsed in court: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWO_O4ScAsg Alex Papadimoulis, "Suzanne the 1000th Malone," The Daily WTF, Jan. 15, 2008. Lexico, "What Are the Plurals of 'Octopus', 'Hippopotamus', 'Syllabus'?" "Octopus," "Ask the Editor," Merriam-Webster. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Oliver Bayley. Here are some corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). Please visit Littleton Coin Company to sell your coins and currency, or call them toll free 1-877-857-7850. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 28, 2017, 6 a.m.

166-A Dangerous Voyage

After Japan invaded the Philippines in 1941 two American servicemen hatched a desperate plan to sail 3,000 miles to Allied Australia in a 20-foot wooden fishing boat. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll join Rocky Gause and William Osborne as they struggle to avoid the Japanese and reach safety. We'll also tell time in Casablanca and puzzle over a towing fatality. Intro: H.M. Small patented a hammock for railway passenger cars in 1889. The clock face on the Marienkirche in Bergen auf Rügen, Germany, has 61 minutes. Sources for our feature on Damon Gause: Damon Gause, The War Journal of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause, 1999. William L. Osborne, Voyage into the Wind, 2013. Stephan Wilkinson, "10 Great POW Escapes," Military History 28:4 (November 2011), 28-33,5. "Two U.S. Officers Flee Philippines By a 159-Day Journey to Australia," New York Times, Oct. 20, 1942, 6. "Bataan-to-Australia Escape Takes 159 Days," Los Angeles Times, Oct. 20, 1942, 1. "U.S. Officers in Australia After Fleeing Philippines," New York Times, Oct. 24, 1942, 5. "Angry Officer Who Fled Luzon Tells Odyssey," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 4, 1942, A1. "Crash Kills Gause, Who Fled Bataan," New York Times, March 17, 1944, 7. Mark Pino, "Bataan Survivors Meet, Share Stories of Strength," Orlando Sentinel, May 4, 1997, 1. Tunku Varadarajan, "Bidding War for Diary of Great Escape," Times, May 8, 1998, 20. David Usborne, "Hero's Voyage Ends in Hollywood," Independent, May 9, 1998, 13. Don O'Briant, "Georgia Officer's Great Escape to Get Hollywood Treatment," Atlanta Constitution, March 4, 1999, 1. Mark Pino, "War Hero's Tribute Marching On," Orlando Sentinel, April 21, 1999, 1. Bill Baab, "Journal Documents Great Escapes During War," Augusta Chronicle, Jan. 16, 2000, F5. Christopher Dickey, "The Great Escape," New York Times, Jan. 23, 2000. Don O'Briant, "Veterans Day: Sons Relive WWII Tale of Perilous Getaway," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 11, 2001, 1. "The Firsthand Account of One of the Greatest Escapes of World War II," Book TV, CSPAN2, 2000. Robert E. Hood, "The Incredible Escape," Boys' Life, May 2002. Chris Petrikin and Benedict Carver, "Miramax Escapes With 'War Journal,'" Variety, Feb. 9, 1999. Listener mail: Telling time in Casablanca. We discussed English as She Is Spoke in Episode 58. Deb Belt, "Chesapeake Bay Lighthouse Is the Right House for $15K," Baltimore Patch, Aug. 1, 2017. Beth Dalbey, "5 Historic Great Lakes Lighthouses for Sale in Michigan," Baltimore Patch, July 28, 2017. A Maryland lighthouse for sale by the General Services Administration. To see all the lighthouses currently at auction, search for "lighthouse" on this page. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener David Pruessner. Please visit Littleton Coin Company to sell your coins and currency, or call them toll free 1-877-857-7850. Get your free trial set from Harry's, including a handle, blade, shave gel, and travel blade cover, by visiting http://harrys.com/closet. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 21, 2017, 6 a.m.

165-A Case of Mistaken Identity

In 1896, Adolf Beck found himself caught up in a senseless legal nightmare: Twelve women from around London insisted that he'd deceived them and stolen their cash and jewelry. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Beck's incredible ordeal, which ignited a scandal and inspired historic reforms in the English justice system. We'll also covet some noble socks and puzzle over a numerical sacking. Intro: A 1631 edition of the Bible omitted not in "Thou shalt not commit adultery." When the first hydrogen balloon landed in 1783, frightened villagers attacked it with pitchforks. Sources for our feature on Adolph Beck: Tim Coates, The Strange Story of Adolph Beck, 1999. Jim Morris, The Who's Who of British Crime, 2015. "An English Dreyfus," Goodwin's Weekly, Sept. 22, 1904, 6. "Police Effort Was Tragedy," [Grand Forks, N.D.] Evening Times, Dec. 24, 1909, 1. "Errors of English Court," Holt County [Mo.] Sentinel, Dec. 2, 1904, 2. "England's Dreyfus Case Is at an End," [Scotland, S.D.] Citizen-Republican, Dec. 1, 1904, 3. "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a Detective in Real Life," New York Sun, May 31, 1914, 3. "Jailed for Another's Crime," [Astoria, Ore.] Morning Astorian, Aug. 13, 1904, 4. Judith Rowbotham, Kim Stevenson, and Samantha Pegg, Crime News in Modern Britain: Press Reporting and Responsibility, 1820-2010. Graham Davies and Laurence Griffiths, "Eyewitness Identification and the English Courts: A Century of Trial and Error," Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 15:3 (November 2008), 435-449. Haia Shpayer-Makov, "Journalists and Police Detectives in Victorian and Edwardian England: An Uneasy Reciprocal Relationship," Journal of Social History 42:4 (Summer 2009), 963-987. D. Michael Risinger, "Unsafe Verdicts: The Need for Reformed Standards for the Trial and Review of Factual Innocence Claims," Houston Law Review 41 (January 2004), 1281. "Remarkable Case of A. Beck: Innocent Man Twice Convicted of a Mean Offense," New York Times, Aug 13, 1904, 6. J.H. Wigmore, "The Bill to Make Compensation to Persons Erroneously Convicted of Crime," Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology 3:5 (January 1913), 665-667. C. Ainsworth Mitchell, "Handwriting and Its Value as Evidence," Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 71:3673 (April 13, 1923), 373-384. Brian Cathcart, "The Strange Case of Adolf Beck," Independent, Oct. 16, 2004. "Adolf Beck, Unlawfully Obtaining From Fanny Nutt Two Gold Rings," Proceedings of the Old Bailey, Feb. 24, 1896. In the photo above, Adolph Beck is on the left, John Smith on the right. In July 1904, Smith was actually brought to Brixton Prison while Beck was being held there. Beck wrote, "I saw him at chapel two or three times. There is no resemblance between us." Listener mail: "Why Weren't the Clothes of the Pompeii Victims Destroyed by the Heat of a Pyroclastic Current?" Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time, Learning Zone, BBC, March 28, 2013. Natasha Sheldon, "How Did the People of Pompeii Die? Suffocation Versus Thermal Shock," Decoded Past, April 1, 2014. Harriet Torry, "It's a Vasectomy Party! Snips, Chips and Dips With Your Closest Friends," Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Anees Rao, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). Please visit Littleton Coin Company to sell your coins and currency, or call them toll free 1-877-857-7850. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 14, 2017, 6 a.m.

164-Vigil on the Ice

In 1930, British explorer Augustine Courtauld volunteered to spend the winter alone on the Greenland ice cap, manning a remote weather station. As the snow gradually buried his hut and his supplies steadily dwindled, his relief party failed to arrive. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Courtauld's increasingly desperate vigil on the ice. We'll also retreat toward George III and puzzle over some unexpected evidence. Intro: Rudyard Kipling hid messages in his illustrations for the Just So Stories. In the early 1900s, Danes bred pigs colored to resemble the Danish flag. Sources for our feature on Augustine Courtauld: Nicholas Wollaston, The Man on the Ice Cap, 1980. Mollie Butler, August and Rab, 1987. "Augustine Courtauld," Encyclopedia Arctica (accessed July 23, 2017). "Augustine Courtauld," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (accessed July 23, 2017). "The British Arctic Air Route Expedition," Geographical Journal 76:1 (July 1930), 67-68. "British Air Route to the Arctic Regions," Science, New Series, 72:1857 (Aug. 1, 1930), 108-109. "Swedish Flier Ready to Hop for Greenland to Rescue Courtauld, Young British Explorer," New York Times, April 27, 1931, 4. Svend Carstensen, "Ahrenberg to Start Rescue Flight Today," New York Times, April 29, 1931, 12. Svend Carstensen, "Ahrenberg on Way to Save Courtauld, Lost in Greenland," New York Times, April 30, 1931, 1. "Rescuers Race to Locate Lost Arctic Explorer," China Press, May 2, 1931, 13. E. Lemon, "Plane in Greenland to Hunt Courtauld," New York Times, May 3, 1931, 2. Percy Lemon, "Ahrenberg Ready to Fly to Ice Cap," New York Times, May 5, 1931, 6. "Courtauld Hunted by Sea, Air And Land: Area of Great Arctic Search," New York Times, May 8, 1931, 12. "Courtauld Rescued," Los Angeles Times, May 8, 1931, 3. Percy Lemon, "Courtauld Is Found Safe on the Greenland Ice Cap," New York Times, May 8, 1931, 1. Albin Ahrenberg, "Ahrenberg to Guide Courtauld To Camp," New York Times, May 9, 1931, 1. Percy Lemon, "Courtauld Back Safely on Greenland Coast," New York Times, May 12, 1931, 1. H.G. Watkins, "Courtauld Search a Surprise to Him," New York Times, May 14, 1931, 12. "Courtauld Buried in Igloo 2 Months," Associated Press, May 15, 1931. "Arctic Burial Escape Told," Los Angeles Times, May 15, 1931, 4. "Courtauld Tells Story of Long Imprisonment," China Press, May 15, 1931, 1. "Rescued From Greenland's Icy Cap," Sphere 125:1634 (May 16, 1931), 278. "Courtauld to Sail Home on First Ship," New York Times, May 17, 1931, 2. T.J.C. Martyn, "Greenland Is Still a Scientific Puzzle," New York Times, May 24, 1931, 4. Augustine Courtauld, "Courtauld's Story of the Five Months He Spent on Ice Cap," New York Times, May 29, 1931, 1. "The Ice-Cap Hero," New York Times, May 30, 1931, 8. "The British Arctic Air Route Expedition," Geographical Journal 77:6 (June 1931), 551-554. "From the Four Winds: Mr. Courtauld's Arctic Vigil," China Herald, June 30, 1931, 459. "The British Arctic Air Route Expedition," Geographical Journal 78:3 (September 1931), 291. F.S. Chapman, "Watkins and Aides Held in No Danger," New York Times, Sept. 19, 1931, 17. "Explorers Return From Greenland," New York Times, Nov. 14, 1931, 8. William Goodenough, Augustine Courtauld, Lauge Koch, J.M. Wordie, and H.R. Mill, "The British Arctic Air Route Expedition: Discussion," Geographical Journal 79:6 (June 1932), 497-501. Percy Cox, Helge Larsen, Augustine Courtauld, M.A. Spender and J.M. Wordie, "A Journey in Rasmussen Land: Discussion," Geographical Journal 88:3 (September 1936), 208-215. Henry Balfour, E.C. Fountaine, W.A. Deer, Augustine Courtauld, L.R. Wager, and Ebbe Munck, "The Kangerdlugssuak Region of East Greenland: Discussion," Geographical Journal 90:5 (November 1937), 422-425. "Augustine Courtauld Dies at 54: Explored Greenland in Thirties," New York Times, March 4, 1959, 31. L.R. Wager, "Mr. Augustine Courtauld," Nature 183:4666 (April 4, 1959). Quintin Riley, "Obituary: Augustine Courtauld 1904-1959," Geographical Journal 125:2 (June 1959), 286-287. Ronald Porter, "Lady Butler of Saffron Walden,'" Independent, April 1, 2009. Listener mail: Matthew J. Kinservik, Sex, Scandal, and Celebrity in Late Eighteenth-Century England, 2007. Chris Best, "Watch: Hungry Bear Opens Fridge, Rummages Through Home," wkrg.com, July 6, 2017. "NC Bear Opens SUV Door, Climbs Inside and Destroys It," wncn.com, July 8, 2017. Mark Price, "NC's Bears Are Now Opening Car Doors, Leading to Strange Driveway Encounters," Charlotte Observer, July 9, 2017. "Bear and the SUV," Sylva Herald, June 21, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Sharon. Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website or browse our online store for Futility Closet merchandise. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Aug. 7, 2017, 6 a.m.

163-Enslaved in the Sahara

In 1815 an American ship ran aground in northwestern Africa, and its crew were enslaved by merciless nomads. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the desperate efforts of Captain James Riley to find a way to cross the Sahara and beg for help from Western officials in Morocco. We'll also wade through more molasses and puzzle over a prospective guitar thief. Intro: In 1972 archaeologists in northwestern Iran found evidence of one couple's tender final moment. An anonymous author recast "A Visit From St. Nicholas" in legal language. Sources for our feature on James Riley: Dean King, Skeletons on the Zahara, 2004. James Riley, An Authentic Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce, 1817. Archibald Robbins, A Journal, Comprising an Account of the Loss of the Brig Commerce, of Hartford Conn., 1847. James Riley and William Willshire Riley, Sequel to Riley's Narrative, 1851. Robert J. Allison, The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815, 1995. Christine E. Sears, American Slaves and African Masters, 2012. Paul Baepler, ed., White Slaves, African Masters: An Anthology of American Barbary Captivity Narratives, 1999. Eamonn Gearon, The Sahara: A Cultural History, 2011. Dean King, "The Cruelest Journey," National Geographic Adventure 6:1 (February 2004), 46. Paul Michel Baepler, "The Barbary Captivity Narrative in American Culture," Early American Literature 39:2 (2004), 217-246. Sven D. Outram-Leman, "Alexander Scott: Constructing a Legitimate Geography of the Sahara From a Captivity Narrative, 1821," History in Africa 43 (2016), 63-94. Gordon M. Sayre, "Renegades From Barbary: The Transnational Turn in Captivity Studies," American Literary History 22:2 (Summer 2010), 347-359. Glenn James Voelz, "Images of Enemy and Self in the Age of Jefferson: The Barbary Conflict in Popular Literary Depiction," War & Society 28:2 (2009), 21-47. Hester Blum, "Pirated Tars, Piratical Texts: Barbary Captivity and American Sea Narratives," Early American Studies 1:2 (Fall 2003), 133-158. Paul Baepler, "White Slaves, African Masters," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 588:1 (July 2003), 90-104. R. Gerald McMurtry, "The Influence of Riley's Narrative Upon Abraham Lincoln," Indiana Magazine of History 30:2 (June 1934), 133-138. K. Gerald McMurtry, "Some Books That Lincoln Read," Journal of Developmental Reading 1:2 (Winter 1958), 19-26. Mark Kirby, "Author's Sahara Trek Inspired by Classic Tale," National Geographic Adventure, Jan. 27, 2004. "Riley's Sufferings in the Great Desert," Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, Dec. 24, 1836, 382-383. Robert C. Davis, "Slavery in North Africa -- The Famous Story of Captain James Riley," Public Domain Review (accessed July 9, 2017). Lev Grossman, "Sailing the Seas of Sand," Time 163:9 (March 1, 2004), 47. Listener mail: Dana Rieck, "Loveland's Sticky Situation Reaches 25-Year Anniversary," Loveland [Colo.] Reporter-Herald, Feb. 16, 2015. "Meet Stan, the New Flemish Hermit!" Flanders News, Feb. 5, 2017. Ben Gilbert, "These Incredible Photos Show One 72-Year-Old Woman's Hermit Lifestyle in Siberia," Business Insider, July 1, 2017. Jennifer Schaffer, "The Snatching of Hannah Twynnoy." "Hannah Twynnoy and the Tiger of Malmesbury." Steve Winters' decimal clock. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Dan White, who sent this corroborating photo (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website or browse our online store for Futility Closet merchandise. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 31, 2017, 6 a.m.

162-John Muir and Stickeen

One stormy morning in 1880, naturalist John Muir set out to explore a glacier in Alaska's Taylor Bay, accompanied by an adventurous little dog that had joined his expedition. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the harrowing predicament that the two faced on the ice, which became the basis of one of Muir's most beloved stories. We'll also marvel at some phonetic actors and puzzle over a season for vasectomies. Intro: In 1904 a 12-year-old J.R.R. Tolkien sent this rebus to a family friend. In 1856 Preston Brooks beat Charles Sumner with a gold-headed cane on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Sources for our feature on John Muir and Stickeen: John Muir, Stickeen, 1909. Ronald H. Limbaugh, John Muir's "Stickeen" and the Lessons of Nature, 1996. Kim Heacox, John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire, 2014. Ronald H. Limbaugh, "Stickeen and the Moral Education of John Muir," Environmental History Review 15:1 (Spring 1991), 25-45. Hal Crimmel, "No Place for 'Little Children and Tender, Pulpy People': John Muir in Alaska," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 92:4 (Fall 2001), 171-180. Stefan Beck, "The Outdoor Kid," New Criterion 33:4 (December 2014), 1-6. Edward Hoagland, "John Muir's Alaskan Rhapsody," American Scholar 71:2 (Spring 2002), 101-105. Ronald H. Limbaugh, "John Muir and Modern Environmental Education," California History 71:2 (Summer 1992), 170-177. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "John Muir" (accessed July 2, 2017). "John Muir: Naturalist," Journal of Education 81:6 (Feb. 11, 1915), 146. William Frederic Badè, "John Muir," Science 41:1053 (March 5, 1915), 353-354. Charles R. Van Hise, "John Muir," Science 45:1153 (Feb. 2, 1917), 103-109. Listener mail: Delta Spirit, "Ballad of Vitaly." Wikipedia, "Aftermath (2017 Film)" (accessed July 14, 2017). Wikipedia, "Überlingen Mid-Air Collision" (accessed July 14, 2017). Anthony Breznican, "'The Princess Bride': 10 Inconceivable Facts From Director Rob Reiner," Entertainment Weekly, Aug. 16, 2013. Wikipedia, "Charlotte Kate Fox" (accessed July 14, 2017). Wikipedia, "Incubus (1966 film)" (accessed July 14, 2017). Wikipedia, "Esperanto" (accessed July 14, 2017). Toño del Barrio, "Esperanto and Cinema" (accessed July 14, 2017). Wikipedia, "Phonetical Singing" (accessed July 14, 2017). Wikipedia, "Deliver Us (The Prince of Egypt)" (accessed July 14, 2017). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was inspired by an item in Dan Lewis' Now I Know enewsletter. (Warning: This link spoils the puzzle.) You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 17, 2017, 6 a.m.

161-The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

In 1971 high school student Juliane Koepcke fell two miles into the Peruvian rain forest when her airliner broke up in a thunderstorm. Miraculously, she survived the fall, but her ordeal was just beginning. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Juliane's arduous trek through the jungle in search of civilization and help. We'll also consider whether goats are unlucky and puzzle over the shape of doorknobs. Intro: Before writing about time machines, H.G. Wells calculated that he'd earned a single pound in his writing endeavors. In 1868, as an engineering trainee, Robert Louis Stevenson explored the foundation of a breakwater at Wick. Sources for our feature on Juliane Koepcke: Juliane Diller, When I Fell From the Sky, 2011. "She Lived and 91 Others Died," Life 72:3 (Jan. 28, 1972), 38. "Jungle Trek: Survivor of Crash Tells of Struggle," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 6, 1972, A11. "Didn't Want to Steal: Survivor of Crash Passed Up Canoe," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 9, 1972, A7. Jennings Parrott, "The Newsmakers: It's Back to School for Peru Survivor," Los Angeles Times, March 20, 1972, A2. Werner Herzog, Wings of Hope, 2000. Dan Koeppel, "Taking a Fall," Popular Mechanics, February 2010. Jason Daley, "I Will Survive," Outside 29:9 (Sept. 1, 2004), 64. Stephan Wilkinson, "Amazing But True Stories," Aviation History, May 2014. Tom Littlewood, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth," Vice, Sept. 2, 2010. "Juliane Koepcke: How I Survived a Plane Crash," BBC News, March 24, 2012. Frederik Pleitgen, "Survivor Still Haunted by 1971 Air Crash," CNN, July 2, 2009. Sally Williams, "Sole Survivor: The Woman Who Fell to Earth," Telegraph, March 22, 2012. Katherine MacDonald, "Survival Stories: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky," Reader's Digest (accessed July 2, 2017). Listener mail: "America's First Serial Killer - H.H. Holmes," geocaching.com (accessed July 7, 2017). Colin Ainsworth, "Mystery in Yeadon: Who Is Buried in Serial Killer's Grave?" Delaware County [Pa.] Daily Times, May 21, 2017. Robert McCoppin and Tony Briscoe, "Is 'Devil in White City' Buried in Tomb? Remains to Be Unearthed to Find Out," Chicago Tribune, May 4, 2017. ShaoLan Hsueh, "The Chinese Zodiac, Explained," TED2016, February 2016. Wikipedia, "Erdős–Bacon Number" (accessed July 7, 2017). Erdos, Bacon, Sabbath. Natalie Portman (Erdős-Bacon number 7) co-authored this paper under her birth name, Natalie Hershlag: Abigail A.Baird, Jerome Kagan, Thomas Gaudette, Kathryn A. Walz, Natalie Hershlag, and David A.Boas, "Frontal Lobe Activation During Object Permanence: Data From Near-Infrared Spectroscopy," NeuroImage 16:4 (August 2002), 1120–1126. Colin Firth (Erdős-Bacon number 7) was credited as a co-author of this paper after suggesting on a radio program that such a study could be done: Ryota Kanai, Tom Feilden, Colin Firth, and Geraint Rees, "Political Orientations Are Correlated With Brain Structure in Young Adults," Current Biology 21:8 (April 2011), 677–680. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Alon Shaham, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website or browse our online store for Futility Closet merchandise. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!  

History
Published: July 10, 2017, 6 a.m.

160-The Birmingham Sewer Lion

Birmingham, England, faced a surprising crisis in 1889: A lion escaped a traveling menagerie and took up residence in the city's sewers, terrifying the local population. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll descend into the tunnels with Frank Bostock, the 21-year-old manager who set out to capture the desperate beast. We'll also revisit a cosmic mystery and puzzle over an incomprehensible language. Intro: Historian Bell Wiley collected the misspellings of Confederate soldiers. The minuet in Haydn's Piano Sonata in A Major is a palindrome. Sources for our feature on the Birmingham lion escape: "The Escape of Lions From the Menagerie at Birmingham," Graphic, Oct. 5, 1889, 412. "A Lion Hunt in Birmingham," Graphic 40:1036 (Oct. 5, 1889), 407. "Hunting a Lion in a Sewer," New York Times, Oct. 20, 1889, 9. "Lion Hunting in Birmingham," Scientific American Supplement, No. 724 (Nov. 16, 1889), 11568. "Lion-Hunting in Birmingham," Poverty Bay (New Zealand) Herald, 16:5625 (Nov. 21, 1889), 3. Frank Charles Bostock, The Training of Wild Animals, 1903. Frank C. Bostock and H.J. Shepstone, "A Lion-Hunt in a Sewer," Wide World Magazine 21:126 (October 1908), 523-529. Frank C. Bostock, "The Tightest Corner I Was Ever In," Boys' Life 1:4 (June 1911), 44-46. Will Oliphant, "The Lion Tamer of Birmingham," Birmingham Evening Mail, July 31, 2010, 3. Helen Cowie, "Philadelphia Zebras: Six Great Animal Escapes of the Victorian Era," Independent, Nov. 17, 2015. Ben Hurst, "Panic on Streets as Circus Lion Runs Free," Birmingham Evening Mail, Nov. 27, 2015. Bethan Bell, "When a Lion Prowled the Streets of Birmingham," BBC News, May 14, 2017. "A terrific fight took place between the two animals." From Wide World Magazine. Listener mail: Jesse Emspak, "Has Mysterious Signal From Space Finally Been Explained?" NBC News, June 14, 2017. "The 'Wow!' Signal," Center for Planetary Science (accessed June 30, 2017). Rachel Premack, "Why Korean Companies Are Forcing Their Workers to Go by English Names," Washington Post, May 12, 2007. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Steven Jones. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website or browse our online store for Futility Closet merchandise. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: July 3, 2017, 6 a.m.

159-The Mozart of Mathematics

Mathematician Paul Erdős had no home, no job, and no hobbies. Instead, for 60 years he wandered the world, staying with each of hundreds of collaborators just long enough to finish a project, and then moving on. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll meet the "magician of Budapest," whose restless brilliance made him the most prolific mathematician of the 20th century. We'll also ponder Japanese cannibalism in World War II and puzzle over a senseless stabbing. Intro: Elbert Hubbard published 12 blank pages in 1905. A duck spent 18 months in the U.S. 2nd Marine Division in 1943. Sources for our feature on Paul Erdős: Paul Hoffman, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, 1999. The magisterial biography of Erdős. The first chapter is here. Bruce Schechter, My Brain Is Open, 2000. Béla Bollobás, "Paul Erdős (1913-96)," Nature, 383:6601 (Oct. 17, 1996), 584. Melvin Henriksen, "Reminiscences of Paul Erdős," Mathematical Association of America (accessed June 10, 2017). László Babai, Carl Pomerance, and Péter Vértesi, "The Mathematics of Paul Erdős," Notices of the AMS 45:1 (January 1998). László Babai and Joel Spencer, "Paul Erdős (1913–1996)," Notices of the AMS 45:1 (January 1998). Ronald L. Graham, Jaroslav Nesetril, Steve Butler, eds., The Mathematics of Paul Erdős, 2013. Rodrigo De Castro and Jerrold W. Grossman, "Famous Trails to Paul Erdős," Mathematical Intelligencer 21:3 (January 1999), 51–53. Bruce Torrence and Ron Graham, "The 100th Birthday of Paul Erdős/Remembering Erdős," Math Horizons 20:4 (April 2013), 10-12. Krishnaswami Alladi et al., "Reflections on Paul Erdős on His Birth Centenary," Parts I and II, Notices of the American Mathematical Society 62:2 and 62:3 (February and March 2015). Béla Bollobás, "To Prove and Conjecture: Paul Erdős and His Mathematics," American Mathematical Monthly 105:3 (March 1998), 209-237. "Information About Paul Erdős (1913-1996)," Oakland University (accessed June 13, 2017). Calla Cofield, "An Arbitrary Number of Years Since Mathematician Paul Erdős's Birth," Scientific American, March 26, 2013. Béla Bollobás, "Obituary: Paul Erdős," Independent, Oct. 2, 1996. N Is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdős, Kanopy Streaming, 2014. "Paul Erdős," MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive (accessed June 10, 2017). Above: Erdős teaching 10-year-old Terence Tao in 1985. Tao is now recognized as one of the world's finest mathematicians; he received the Fields Medal in 2006. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Chichijima Incident" (accessed June 23, 2017). Charles Laurence, "George HW Bush Narrowly Escaped Comrades' Fate of Being Killed and Eaten by Japanese Captors," Telegraph, Feb. 6, 2017. James Bradley, Flyboys, 2003. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Waldo van der Waal, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website or buy merchandise in our store. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 26, 2017, 6 a.m.

158-The Mistress of Murder Farm

Belle Gunness was one of America's most prolific female serial killers, luring lonely men to her Indiana farm with promises of marriage, only to rob and kill them. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of The LaPorte Black Widow and learn about some of her unfortunate victims. We'll also break back into Buckingham Palace and puzzle over a bet with the devil. Intro: Lee Sallows offered this clueless crossword in November 2015 -- can you solve it? Souvenir hunters stole a rag doll from the home where Lee surrendered to Grant. Sources for our feature on Belle Gunness: Janet L. Langlois, Belle Gunness, 1985. Richard C. Lindberg, Heartland Serial Killers, 2011. Ted Hartzell, "Belle Gunness' Poisonous Pen," American History 3:2 (June 2008), 46-51. Amanda L. Farrell, Robert D. Keppel, and Victoria B. Titterington, "Testing Existing Classifications of Serial Murder Considering Gender: An Exploratory Analysis of Solo Female Serial Murderers," Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 10:3 (October 2013), 268-288. Kristen Kridel, "Children's Remains Exhumed in 100-Year-Old Murder Mystery," Chicago Tribune, May 14, 2008. Dan McFeely, "DNA to Help Solve Century-Old Case," Indianapolis Star, Jan. 6, 2008. Kristen Kridel, "Bones of Children Exhumed," Chicago Tribune, May 14, 2008. Ted Hartzell, "Did Belle Gunness Really Die in LaPorte?" South Bend [Ind.] Tribune, Nov. 18, 2007. Edward Baumann and John O'Brien, "Hell's Belle," Chicago Tribune, March 1, 1987. Associated Press, "Authorities Question Identity of Suspect in Matrimonial Farm," St. Petersburg [Fla.] Evening Independent, July 18, 1930. "Hired Hand on Murder Farm," Bryan [Ohio] Democrat, Jan. 11, 1910. "The First Photographs of the 'American Siren' Affair: Detectives and Others at Work on Mrs. Belle Gunness's Farm," The Sketch 62:801 (June 3, 1908), 233. "Horror and Mystery at Laporte Grow," Los Angeles Times, May 7, 1908. "Police Are Mystified," Palestine [Texas] Daily Herald, May 6, 1908. "Federal Authorities Order All Matrimonial Agencies in Chicago Arrested Since Gunness Exposure," Paducah [Ky.] Evening Sun, May 8, 1908. "Tale of Horror," [Orangeburg, S.C.] Times and Democrat, May 8, 1908. "Lured to Death by Love Letters," Washington Herald, May 10, 1908. "Fifteen Victims Die in Big Murder Plot," Valentine [Neb.] Democrat, May 14, 1908. "Murderess," Stark County [Ohio] Democrat, May 22, 1908. "Mrs. Belle Gunness of LaPorte's Murder Farm," Crittenden [Ky.] Record-Press, May 29, 1908. "The La Porte Murder Farm," San Juan [Wash.] Islander, July 11, 1908. "Ray Lamphere Found Guilty Only of Arson," Pensacola [Fla.] Journal, Nov. 27, 1908. "Lamphere Found Guilty of Arson," Spanish Fork [Utah] Press, Dec. 3, 1908. Listener mail: "Text of Scotland Yard's Report on July 9 Intrusion Into Buckingham Palace," New York Times, July 22, 1982. Martin Linton and Martin Wainwright, "Whitelaw Launches Palace Inquiry," Guardian, July 13, 1982. Wikipedia, "Michael Fagan Incident" (accessed June 16, 2017). Wikipedia, "Isn't She Lovely" (accessed June 16, 2017). Wikipedia, "Body Farm" (accessed June 16, 2017). Kristina Killgrove, "These 6 'Body Farms' Help Forensic Anthropologists Learn To Solve Crimes," Forbes, June 10, 2015. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Frank Kroeger. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!  

History
Published: June 19, 2017, 6 a.m.

157-The Brutal History of Batavia's Graveyard

In 1629, a Dutch trading vessel struck a reef off the coast of Australia, marooning 180 people on a tiny island. As they struggled to stay alive, their leader descended into barbarity, gathering a band of cutthroats and killing scores of terrified castaways. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll document the brutal history of Batavia's graveyard, the site of Australia's most infamous shipwreck. We'll also lose money in India and puzzle over some invisible Frenchmen. Intro: In 1946, an Allied dentist inscribed "Remember Pearl Harbor" on Hideki Tojo's dentures. Sigourney Weaver named herself after a character in The Great Gatsby. Sources for our feature on the Batavia mutiny: Mike Dash, Batavia's Graveyard, 2002. Mike Sturma, "Mutiny and Narrative: Francisco Pelsaert's Journals and the Wreck of the Batavia," The Great Circle 24:1 (2002), 14-24. "We Are Still on the Batavia," Queen's Quarterly 12:4 (Winter 2005), 489. Bruce Bennett, "Politics and Spying: Representations of Pre- and Early Australia," Antipodes 22:1 (June 2008), 17-22. "Batavia," Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopedia, 1997, 52-53. D. Franklin, "Human Skeletal Remains From a Multiple Burial Associated With the Mutiny of the VOC Retourschip Batavia, 1629," International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 22:6 (Jan. 19, 2011), 740-748. Michael Titlestad, "'Changed as to a Tiger': Considering the Wreck of the Batavia," Antipodes 27:2 (December 2013), 149-156. Mark Staniforth, "Murder and Mayhem," dig 8:4 (April 2006), 20-21. Christopher Bray, "The Wreck of the Batavia [review]," Financial Times, Aug 17, 2007. "Batavia's History," Western Australian Museum (accessed May 28, 2017). Sarah Taillier, "Unearthed Grave Sheds Light on Batavia Shipwreck Mass Murder," Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Feb. 3, 2015. "Australia Dig Unearths Batavia Mutiny Skeleton," BBC News, Feb. 4, 2015. Libby-Jane Charleston, "The Batavia Mutiny and Massacre of 1629 Is Still Revealing Secrets," Huffington Post, July 2, 2016. Karl Quinn, "Mutiny, Shipwreck, Murder: The Incredible True Story Russell Crowe Wants to Film," Sydney Morning Herald, March 30, 2016. Interest in the Batavia was reawakened in the 1960s, when archaeologists began to examine the site of the mutiny. This victim, excavated in 1963, had received a cutting wound to the head; the right shoulder blade was broken, and the right foot was missing. Listener mail: Andrew Levy, "Doctors Solve Mystery of a Man Who 'Died From Laughter' While Watching The Goodies After His Granddaughter Nearly Dies From Same Rare Heart Condition," Daily Mail, June 20, 2012. Wikipedia, "2016 Indian Banknote Demonetisation" (accessed June 9, 2017). "The Dire Consequences of India's Demonetisation Initiative," Economist, Dec. 3, 2016. Micheline Maynard, "The 'Zion Curtain' Is About to Fall in Utah, and Restaurants Can't Wait," Forbes, March 29, 2017. Donald Hoffman, "Do We See Reality As It Is?" TED, March 2015. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Aden Lonergan. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 12, 2017, 6 a.m.

156-The Most Dedicated Soldier

When American forces overran the Philippine island of Lubang in 1945, Japanese intelligence officer Hiroo Onoda withdrew into the mountains to wait for reinforcements. He was still waiting 29 years later. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll meet the dedicated soldier who fought World War II until 1974. We'll also dig up a murderer and puzzle over an offensive compliment. Intro: In 1896, Austrian engineers designed a mountain railway pulled by a balloon. In 1965 Kingsley Amis inventoried Ian Fleming's unsavory descriptions of M. Sources for our feature on Hiroo Onoda: Hiroo Onoda, No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War, 1974. Mark Felton, "The Soldiers Who Would Not Surrender," World War II 18:4 (November 2003), 18. Robert D. McFadden, "Hiroo Onoda, Soldier Who Hid in Jungle for Decades, Dies at 91," New York Times, Jan. 17, 2014. Adam Bernstein, "Hiroo Onoda, Japanese Soldier Who Hid in Philippine Jungle for 29 Years, Dies at 91," Washington Post, Jan. 17, 2014. David Powers, "Japan: No Surrender in World War Two," BBC, Feb. 17, 2011. "Last Man Fighting: Hiroo Onoda," Economist 410:8871 (Jan. 25, 2014). "Hiroo Onoda - Obituary," Telegraph, Jan. 17, 2014. Justin McCurry, "Hiroo Onoda: Japanese Soldier Who Took Three Decades to Surrender, Dies," Guardian, Jan. 17, 2014. "Japan WW2 Soldier Who Refused to Surrender Hiroo Onoda Dies," BBC News, Jan. 17, 2014. Jethro Mullen, Yoko Wakatsuki and Chandrika Narayan, "Hiroo Onoda, Japanese Soldier Who Long Refused to Surrender, Dies at 91," CNN, Jan. 17, 2014. Noah Rayman, "Hiroo Onoda, World's 'Last Ninja', Dead at 91," Time.com, Jan. 21, 2013. Mike Dash, "Final Straggler: The Japanese Soldier Who Outlasted Hiroo Onoda," Mike Dash History, Sept. 15, 2015. Associated Press, "Bulletins," March 16, 1974. Listener mail: Travis M. Andrews, "An Infamous and Sadistic American Serial Killer Was Hanged in 1896. Or Was He?" Washington Post, May 4, 2017. Kristen De Groot, "Body of 19th Century Serial Killer Exhumed Near Philadelphia," Associated Press, May 3, 2017. "New Jersey Couple Says They Found Note in Family Bible Signed by Notorious Serial Killer H.H. Holmes," NBC Philadelphia, May 22, 2017. Craig Cook, "Scientist at Centre of DNA Break-Throughs in Cold Case Appeals for Government to Exhume the Body Somerton Man to Finally 'Give Him Name,'" The Advertiser, Oct. 1, 2016. Dan Vergano, "DNA Just Tied a Mystery Death in Australia to Thomas Jefferson," BuzzFeed, Sept. 24, 2016. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Noah Kurland. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: June 5, 2017, 6 a.m.

155-The Giraffe Who Walked to Paris

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. Intro: In 1952 a stray cat made a home in Classroom 8 of a California elementary school. Abe Lincoln's ghost seems to spend a lot of time in the Lincoln Bedroom. Sources for our feature on Zarafa the giraffe: Michael Allin, Zarafa, 1998. Erik Ringmar, "Audience for a Giraffe: European Expansionism and the Quest for the Exotic," Journal of World History 17:4 (December 2006), 375-397. Heather J. Sharkey, "La Belle Africaine: The Sudanese Giraffe Who Went to France," Canadian Journal of African Studies 49:1 (2015), 39-65. Olivier Lagueux, "Geoffroy's Giraffe: The Hagiography of a Charismatic Mammal," Journal of the History of Biology, 36:2 (June 2003), 225–247. Samuel J.M.M. Alberti, "Objects and the Museum," Isis 96:4 (December 2005), 559-571. Philip McCouat, "The Art of Giraffe Diplomacy: How an African Giraffe Walked Across France and Became a Pawn in an International Power Struggle," Journal of Art in Society (accessed May 14, 2017). Olivier Lagueux, "Zarafa: A Giraffe's True Story, From Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris [review]," Isis 92:1 (March 2001), 186-187. S. Mary P. Benbow, "Death and Dying at the Zoo," Journal of Popular Culture 37:3 (2004), 379-398. Elena Passarello, "Beautiful Animal of the King," Paris Review, Dec. 20, 2016. Henry Nicholls, "Meet Zarafa, the Giraffe That Inspired a Crazy Hairdo," Guardian, Jan. 20, 2014. Olivier Lebleu, "Long-Necked Diplomacy: The Tale of the Third Giraffe," Guardian, Jan. 11, 2016. Today Zarafa stands on the landing of a stone staircase in the Museum of Natural History in La Rochelle. Listener mail: Julia Baird, Victoria, 2016. C. Dack, "The Coronation of Queen Victoria," Pall Mall Magazine 48:219 (July 1911), 2-5. Wikipedia, "East Asian Age Reckoning" (accessed May 26, 2017). Josh Clark, "How Thoroughbred Horses Work," How Stuff Works, Oct. 4, 2011. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 29, 2017, 6 a.m.

154-Spared by a Volcano

The worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century struck Martinique in 1902, killing 30,000 people in the scenic town of Saint-Pierre. But rescuers found one man alive -- a 27-year-old laborer in a dungeon-like jail cell. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll meet Ludger Sylbaris, who P.T. Barnum called "The Only Living Object That Survived in the Silent City of Death." We'll also address some Indian uncles and puzzle over a gruesome hike. Intro: The French newspaper La Bougie du Sapeur is published only on Leap Day. When a vat burst in 1814, 323,000 imperial gallons of beer flooded a London street. Sources for our feature on Ludger Sylbaris: Peter Morgan, Fire Mountain, 2003. Edmund Otis Hovey, The 1902-1903 Eruptions of Mont Pelé, Martinique and the Soufrière, St. Vincent, 1904. Ludger Sylbaris, "Buried Alive in St. Pierre," Wide World Magazine, November 1903. Matthew St. Ville Hunte, "Inside the Volcano," Paris Review, Sept. 16, 2016. "Prison Cell of 'The Man Who Lived Through Doomsday,'" Slate, July 31, 2013. Brian Morton, "There's No Smoke Without Fire," Financial Times, Feb. 13, 2003. Tony Jones, "Lone Survivor," New Scientist 177:2382 (Feb. 15, 2003), 48-49. "[front page -- no title]," New York Times, Oct. 13, 1906. Listener mail: Kate Connolly, "He's Hired: Belgian Lands 'Dream Job' as Hermit for Austrian Cliffside Retreat," Guardian, April 19, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener David White, who sent two sets of corroborating links -- these contain explicit photos, and these don't. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 22, 2017, 6 a.m.

153-A Victorian Stalker

Between 1838 and 1841, an enterprising London teenager broke repeatedly into Buckingham Palace, sitting on the throne, eating from the kitchen, and posing a bewildering nuisance to Queen Victoria's courtiers, who couldn't seem to keep him out. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the exploits of Edward Jones -- and the severe measures that were finally taken to stop them. We'll also salute some confusing flags and puzzle over an extraterrestrial musician. Intro: Tourists who remove rocks from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park face a legendary curse. Periodicals of the 19th century featured at least two cats that got along on two legs. Sources for our feature on "the boy Jones": Jan Bondeson, Queen Victoria's Stalker: The Strange Case of the Boy Jones, 2011. Joan Howard, The Boy Jones, 1943. Lytton Strachey, Queen Victoria, 1921. John Ashton, Gossip in the First Decade of Victoria's Reign, 1903. Thomas Raikes, A Portion of the Journal Kept by Thomas Raikes, Esq., from 1831 to 1847, vol. 4, 136. Paul Thomas Murphy, "Jones, Edward," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (accessed April 22, 2017). "The Boy Jones," Examiner 1750 (Aug. 14, 1841), 524-524. "The Boy Jones," Court and Lady's Magazine, Monthly Critic and Museum 21 (September 1841), 223-225. Punch, July–December 1841. "Occurrences," Examiner 1793 (June 11, 1842), 381-381. "The Boy Jones," Reynold's Miscellany of Romance, General Literature, Science, and Art 17:424 (Aug. 23, 1856), 56. "The Boy Jones," All the Year Round 34:814 (July 5, 1884), 234-237. "The Latest News of the Boy Jones," Examiner 1902 (July 13, 1844), 434-434. "Palace Intruder Stayed 3 Days and Sat on Throne," Globe and Mail, July 21, 1982. "Strange Tale of the First Royal Stalker," Express, Nov. 6, 2010, 14. "Story of Boy Jones Who Stole Queen Victoria's Underwear," BBC News, Feb. 2, 2011. Helen Turner, "Royal Rumpus of First Celebrity Stalker," South Wales Echo, Feb. 3, 2011, 26. Jan Bondeson, "The Strange Tale of the First Royal Stalker," Express, Nov. 1, 2010. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Chad–Romania Relations" (accessed May 12, 2017). "'Identical Flag' Causes Flap in Romania," BBC News, April 14, 2004. Wanderlust, "10 of the World's Most Confusing Flags -- and How to Figure Them Out," Aug. 9, 2016. Erin Nyren, "'Whitewashing' Accusations Fly as Zach McGowan Cast as Hawaiian WWII Hero," Variety, May 9, 2017. Kamlesh Damodar Sutar, "Highway Liquor Ban: Bar Owners Say They Will Be Forced to Commit Suicide Like Farmers," India Today, April 3, 2017. "Government Officials Rush to Denotify Highways Running Through Cities," Economic Times, April 4, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Greg Yurkovic, who sent this corroborating link (warning: this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 15, 2017, 6 a.m.

152-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are five new lateral thinking puzzles to test your wits and stump your friends -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Here are the sources for this week's puzzles. In a couple of places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 was contributed by listener Dave Lawrence. Puzzle #2 is from listener Michael Berman. Puzzle #3 is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale's Ingenious Lateral Thinking Puzzles, 1998. Puzzle #4 is from listener Paul Sophocleous. Here are two associated links. Puzzle #5 is from listener Noah Kurland. Here's an associated link. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: May 1, 2017, 6 a.m.

151-Double-Crossing the Nazis

In 1941, Catalonian chicken farmer Juan Pujol made an unlikely leap into the world of international espionage, becoming a spy first for the Germans, then for the British, and rising to become one of the greatest double agents of World War II. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Pujol's astonishing talent for deceiving the Nazis, which led one colleague to call him "the best actor in the world." We'll also contemplate a floating Chicago and puzzle over a winding walkway. Intro: In 1999, Kevin Baugh declared his Nevada house an independent republic. Foxie the dog stayed by her master's side for three months after his hiking death in 1805. Sources for our feature on Juan Pujol: Juan Pujol, Operation Garbo, 1985. Jason Webster, The Spy With 29 Names, 2014. Tomás Harris, Garbo: The Spy Who Saved D-Day, 2000. Stephan Talty, Agent Garbo, 2012. Thomas M. Kane, Understanding Contemporary Strategy, 2012. David C. Isby, "Double Agent's D-Day Victory," World War II 19:3 (June 2004), 18,20. Marc De Santis, "Overlooked Reasons Overlord Succeeded," MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 26:4 (Summer 2014), 15-16. David Kahn, "How I Discovered World War II's Greatest Spy," Cryptologia 34:1 (December 2009), 12-21. Stephen Budiansky, "The Art of the Double Cross," World War II 24:1 (May 2009), 38-45,4. Kevin D. Kornegay, "Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies," Army Lawyer, April 2014, 40-43. Gene Santoro, "Harbor of Hope and Intrigue," World War II 26:2 (July/August 2011), 26-28. P.R.J. Winter, "Penetrating Hitler's High Command: Anglo-Polish HUMINT, 1939-1945," War in History 18:1 (January 2011), 85-108. Neville Wylie, "'An Amateur Learns his Job'? Special Operations Executive in Portugal, 1940–42," Journal of Contemporary History 36:3 (July 2001), 441-457. "An Unexpected Threat to the Normandy Invasion," World War II 31:5 (January/February 2017), 16. "'Agent Garbo,' The Spy Who Lied About D-Day," All Things Considered, National Public Radio, July 7, 2012. Tom Morgan, "Revealed: How a Homesick Wife Nearly Blew It for the British Double Agent Who Fooled Hitler," Telegraph, Sept. 28, 2016. Adam Lusher, "How a Dozen Silk Stockings Helped Bring Down Adolf Hitler," Independent, Sept. 27, 2016. Ian Cobain, "D-Day Landings Put at Risk by Double-Agent's Homesick Wife," Guardian, Sept. 27, 2016. Listener mail: Mark Torregrossa, "Superior Mirages Over Chicago Skyline Now Appearing," mlive, April 18, 2017. Allison Eck, "The Perfectly Scientific Explanation for Why Chicago Appeared Upside Down in Michigan," Nova Next, May 8, 2015. Jonathan Belles, "Fata Morgana Provides Eerie Look at Chicago Across Lake Michigan," weather.com, April 18, 2017. Listener Jason Gottshall directed us to these striking photos of the Chicago mirage. "5.17a- Supplemental Gregor MacGregor," Revolutions, Oct. 24, 2016. Brooke Borel, The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking, 2016. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Alon Shaham, who sent this corroborating link (warning: this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 24, 2017, 6 a.m.

150-The Prince of Nowhere

In 1821, Scottish adventurer Gregor MacGregor undertook one of the most brazen scams in history: He invented a fictional Central American republic and convinced hundreds of his countrymen to invest in its development. Worse, he persuaded 250 people to set sail for this imagined utopia with dreams of starting a new life. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the disastrous results of MacGregor's deceit. We'll also illuminate a hermit's behavior and puzzle over Liechtenstein's flag. Intro: In 1878, a neurologist noted that French-Canadian lumberjacks tended to startle violently. Each year on Valentine's Day, someone secretly posts paper hearts in Montpelier, Vt. Sources for our feature on Gregor MacGregor: David Sinclair, Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Land That Never Was, 2003. Matthew Brown, "Inca, Sailor, Soldier, King: Gregor MacGregor and the Early Nineteenth-Century Caribbean," Bulletin of Latin American Research 24:1 (January 2005), 44-70. T. Frederick Davis, "MacGregor's Invasion of Florida, 1817," Florida Historical Society Quarterly 7:1 (July 1928), 2-71. Emily Beaulieu, Gary W. Cox, and Sebastian Saiegh, "Sovereign Debt and Regime Type: Reconsidering the Democratic Advantage," International Organization 66:4 (Fall 2012), 709-738. R.A. Humphreys, "Presidential Address: Anglo-American Rivalries in Central America," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 18 (1968), 174-208. Courtenay de Kalb, "Nicaragua: Studies on the Mosquito Shore in 1892," Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York 25:1 (1893), 236-288. A.R. Hope Moncrieff, "Gregor MacGregor," Macmillan's Magazine 92:551 (September 1905), 339-350. "The King of Con-Men," Economist 405:8816 (Dec. 22, 2012), 109-112. "Sir Gregor MacGregor," Quebec Gazette, Oct. 18, 1827. Guardian, "From the Archive, 25 October 1823: Settlers Duped Into Believing in 'Land Flowing With Milk and Honey,'" Oct. 25, 2013. Maria Konnikova, "The Con Man Who Pulled Off History's Most Audacious Scam," BBC Future, Jan. 28, 2016. "Thomas Strangeways", Sketch of the Mosquito Shore, 1822. A Bank of Poyais dollar, printed by the official printer of the Bank of Scotland. MacGregor traded these worthless notes for the settlers' gold as they departed for his nonexistent republic. Listener mail: Robert McCrum, "The 100 Best Novels: No 42 - The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915)," Guardian, July 7, 2014. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was inspired by an item in Dan Lewis' Now I Know newsletter. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- both links spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!  

History
Published: April 17, 2017, 6 a.m.

149-The North Pond Hermit

Without any forethought or preparation, Christopher Knight walked into the Maine woods in 1986 and lived there in complete solitude for the next 27 years, subsisting on what he was able to steal from local cabins. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the North Pond hermit, one man's attempt to divorce himself completely from civilization. We'll also look for coded messages in crosswords and puzzle over an ineffective snake. Intro: Disneyland's Matterhorn contains a basketball goal. Two tombstones in the Netherlands "hold hands" across a cemetery wall. Sources for our feature on the North Pond hermit: Michael Finkel, "Into the Woods: How One Man Survived Alone in the Wilderness for 27 Years," Guardian, March 15, 2017. Associated Press, "Christopher Knight: Inside the Maine Hermit's Lair," April 12, 2013. "Hermit Caught After 27 Years in Maine Woods," Guardian, April 11, 2013. Wikipedia, "Christopher Thomas Knight" (accessed April 6, 2017). Nathaniel Rich, "Lessons of the Hermit," Atlantic, April 2017. Michael Finkel, "The 27-Year Hunt for Maine's North Pond Hermit," Toronto Star, March 26, 2017. Betty Adams, "'North Pond Hermit' Knight Balks at Paying Costs Related to His Remote Campsite," Kennebec Journal, April 26, 2016. Craig Crosby, "After 27 Years of Burglaries, 'North Pond Hermit' Is Arrested," Kennebec Journal, April 9, 2013. Brian MacQuarrie, "In Rural Maine, a Life of Solitude and Larceny," Boston Globe, May 26, 2013. Michael Finkel, "The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit," GQ, Aug. 4, 2014. Leonard Dawe and the D-Day crosswords: Michelle Arnot, Four-Letter Words: And Other Secrets of a Crossword Insider, 2008. Nicholas Lezard, "One Hundred Years of Solvitude," Independent, Dec. 16, 2013. Michael E. Haskew, "In Spite of All the Preparation, D-Day Remained a Gamble," World War II 16:2 (July 2001), 6. R. Murray Hayes, "A Beach Too Far: The Dieppe Raid," Sea Classics 44:4 (April 2011), 18-22, 24-25. George J. Church and Arthur White, "Overpaid, Oversexed, Over Here," Time 123:22 (May 28, 1984), 45. Val Gilbert, "D-Day Crosswords Are Still a Few Clues Short of a Solution," Telegraph, May 3, 2004. Tom Rowley, "Who Put Secret D-Day Clues in the 'Telegraph' Crossword?", Telegraph, April 27, 2014. Fred Wrixon, Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Languages, 1989. Gregory Kipper, Investigator's Guide to Steganography, 2003. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Dave Lawrence. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 10, 2017, 11:18 a.m.

148-The Perfect Murder

Insurance agent William Herbert Wallace had a terrible night in January 1931 -- summoned to a nonexistent address in Liverpool, he returned home to find that his wife had been murdered in his absence. An investigation seemed to show a senseless crime with no weapon, no motive, and no likely suspects. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll revisit the slaying of Julia Wallace, which Raymond Chandler called "the impossible murder." We'll also recount some wobbly oaths and puzzle over an eccentric golfer. Intro: In the 1960s, Washington state televised the World Octopus Wrestling Championships. Kansas schoolteacher Samuel Dinsmoor spent two decades fashioning a Garden of Eden out of concrete. Sources for our feature on William Herbert Wallace: W.F. Wyndham-Brown, ed., The Trial of William Herbert Wallace, 1933. Yseult Bridges, Two Studies in Crime, 1959. Roger Wilkes, Wallace: The Final Verdict, 1984. Ronald Bartle, The Telephone Murder, 2012. Hans Von Hentig, "Pre-Murderous Kindness and Post-Murder Grief," Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science 48:4 (November-December 1957), 369-377. Roger Wilkes, "The 1931 Slaying of a Liverpool Housewife Remains to This Day the Perfect Murder," Telegraph, May 12, 2001. Liverpool Echo, "Riddle of Man from the Pru," April 7, 2008. David Harrison, "PD James Unmasks the Perfect Killer," Sunday Times, Oct. 27, 2013. Edward Winter, "Chess and the Wallace Murder Case," Chess History (accessed March 19, 2017). Listener mail: "Murder Castle," Lights Out, Feb. 16, 1938. Wikipedia, "Lights Out (radio show)" (accessed March 30, 2017). Wikipedia, "Oath of Office of the President of the United States" (accessed March 30, 2017). Jeffrey Toobin, The Oath, 2013. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jake Koethler. Here's a corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: April 3, 2017, 11:14 a.m.

147-The Call of Mount Kenya

Stuck in an East African prison camp in 1943, Italian POW Felice Benuzzi needed a challenge to regain his sense of purpose. He made a plan that seemed crazy -- to break out of the camp, climb Mount Kenya, and break back in. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Benuzzi and two companions as they try to climb the second-highest mountain in Africa using homemade equipment. We'll also consider whether mirages may have doomed the Titanic and puzzle over an ineffective oath. Intro: Under the law of the United Kingdom, a sturgeon when caught becomes the personal property of the monarch. On July 4, 1853, 32 people held a dance on the stump of a California sequoia. Sources for our feature on Felice Benuzzi: Felice Benuzzi, No Picnic on Mount Kenya, 1953. Dave Pagel, "The Great Escape," Climbing 215 (Sept. 15, 2002), 87. Matthew Power and Keridwen Cornelius, "Escape to Mount Kenya," National Geographic Adventure 9:7 (September 2007), 65-71. Stephan Wilkinson, "10 Great POW Escapes," Military History 28:4 (November 2011), 28-33. Jon Mooallem, "In Search of Lost Ice," New York Times Magazine, Dec. 21, 2014, 28-35. "Because It Was There; Great Escapes," Economist 417:8965 (Nov. 21, 2015), 78. This is the package label that showed the prisoners the southern face of the mountain: Listener mail: Tim Maltin and Andrew T. Young, "The Hidden Cause of the Titanic Disaster" (accessed March 24, 2017). Smithsonian, "Did the Titanic Sink Because of an Optical Illusion?" (accessed March 24, 2017). Telegraph, "Titanic Sank Due to 'Mirage' Caused by Freak Weather" (accessed March 24, 2017). Matt Largey, "He Got a Bad Grade. So, He Got the Constitution Amended. Now He's Getting the Credit He Deserves," kut.org, March 21, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener David White. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please go to http://podsurvey.com/futility to take a quick, anonymous survey to help us get the best advertisers for the show. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 27, 2017, 11:42 a.m.

146-Alone in the Wilderness

In 1913 outdoorsman Joseph Knowles pledged to spend two months in the woods of northern Maine, naked and alone, fending for himself "without the slightest communication or aid from the outside world." In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Knowles' adventures in the woods and the controversy that followed his return to civilization. We'll also consider the roots of nostalgia and puzzle over some busy brothers. Intro: In 1972, a French physicist discovered a natural uranium reactor operating underground in Gabon. In the 13th century the English royal menagerie included a polar bear. Sources for our feature on Joseph Knowles: Jim Motavalli, Naked in the Woods, 2007. Joseph Knowles, Alone in the Wilderness, 1913. Bill Donahue, "Naked Joe," Boston Magazine, April 2013. Richard O. Boyer, "The Nature Man," New Yorker, June 18, 1938. John Gould, "Tarzan of the Pines," Christian Science Monitor, June 18, 1999. Roderick Nash, "The American Cult of the Primitive," American Quarterly 18:3 (Autumn 1966), 517-537. Robert Moor, "The 1913 'Nature Man' Whose Survivalist Stunts Were Not What They Seemed," Atlas Obscura, July 7, 2016. "Joe Knowles, Lived in Wilds Unarmed!", New York Times, Oct. 23, 1942. Joseph B. Frazier, "An Early Nature Buff: By Going Into the Woods Alone, Did Joe Knowles Remind America of Its Potential?", Orlando Sentinel, March 2, 2008. Joseph B. Frazier, "'Natural Man' Inspired, Despite Fraud Claims," Augusta Chronicle, March 16, 2008. "The 100th Anniversary of Joe Knowles' Famous Odyssey into the Wilds," Lewiston [Maine] Sun Journal, April 14, 2013. "Joe Knowles and the Legacy of Wilderness Adventures," Lewiston [Maine] Sun Journal, May 12, 2013. "Nature Man Badly Injured," Los Angeles Times, May 18, 1915. "The Nature Man," The Billboard, Nov. 6, 1915. Grace Kingley, "Joe Knowles, Nature Man, at Republic," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 23, 1914. Still dressed in his bearskin and cedar-bark shoes, Knowles was examined by Harvard physician Dudley Sargent on Oct. 9, 1913. "He surpassed every test he took before starting on the trip," Sargent declared. "His scientific experiment shows what a man can do when he is deprived of the luxuries which many people have come to regard as necessities." A portion of the crowd that met him in Boston. Listener mail: Fireworks disasters in Oban, Scotland, and San Diego. MURDERCASTLE, from the Baltimore Rock Opera Society. John Tierney, "What Is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit, Research Shows," New York Times, July 8, 2013. University of Southampton, "What Nostalgia Is and What It Does" (accessed March 18, 2017). "Nostalgia," Google Books Ngram Viewer, March 18, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Rod Guyler. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 20, 2017, 8:18 a.m.

145-The Pied Piper of Saipan

Guy Gabaldon was an untested Marine when he landed on the Pacific island of Saipan during World War II. But he decided to fight the war on his own terms, venturing alone into enemy territory and trying to convince Japanese soldiers to surrender voluntarily. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Gabaldon's dangerous crusade and learn its surprising results. We'll also examine Wonder Woman's erotic origins and puzzle over an elusive murderer. Intro: In 1955 Dodge introduced the La Femme -- "the first car ever exclusively designed for the woman motorist." In 1911 a 16-year-old English girl died when a gust of wind carried her 20 feet into the air. Sources for our feature on Guy Gabaldon: Guy Gabaldon, Saipan: Suicide Island, 1990. "Diminutive WWII Hero Gabaldon Dies at 80," Associated Press, Sept. 4, 2006. Richard Goldstein, "Guy Gabaldon, 80, Hero of Battle of Saipan, Dies," New York Times, Sept. 4, 2006. Jocelyn Y. Stewart, "Guy Gabaldon, 80; WWII Hero Captured 1,000 Japanese on Saipan," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 6, 2006. "Guy Gabaldon," Latino Americans, PBS, Sept. 24, 2013. Richard Gonzalez, "Filmmaker: Pacific War Hero Deserved Higher Honor," Morning Edition, National Public Radio, April 25, 2008. "Guy Gabaldon: An Interview and Discussion," War Times Journal (accessed Feb. 26, 2017). "Milestones," Time 168:12, Sept. 18, 2006. Gregg K. Kakesako, "'Pied Piper' Returning to Saipan," Honolulu Star Bulletin, June 6, 2004. "Guy Gabaldon," University of Texas Oral History Project (accessed Feb. 26, 2017). Gabaldon receives the Navy Cross, 1960: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVKEdyt_mvo Listener mail: Wikipedia, "William Moulton Marston" (accessed March 9, 2017). "The Man Behind Wonder Woman Was Inspired By Both Suffragists And Centerfolds," NPR Books, October 27, 2014. Jill Lepore, "The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman," Smithsonian Magazine, October 2014. Katha Pollitt, "Wonder Woman's Kinky Feminist Roots," Atlantic, November 2014. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Steven Jones (thanks also to Hanno Zulla). Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 13, 2017, 9:43 a.m.

144-The Murder Castle

When detectives explored the Chicago hotel owned by insurance fraudster H.H. Holmes in 1894, they found a nightmarish warren of blind passageways, trapdoors, hidden chutes, and asphyxiation chambers in which Holmes had killed dozens or perhaps even hundreds of victims. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the career of America's first documented serial killer, who headlines called "a fiend in human shape." We'll also gape at some fireworks explosions and puzzle over an intransigent insurance company. Intro: In 1908 a Strand reader discovered an old London horse omnibus on the outskirts of Calgary. If Henry Jenkins truly lived to 169, then as an English subject he'd have changed religions eight times. Sources for our feature on H.H. Holmes: Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City, 2004. John Borowski, The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes, 2005. Harold Schechter, Depraved: The Definitive True Story of H.H. Holmes, 1994. Alan Glenn, "A Double Dose of the Macabre," Michigan Today, Oct. 22, 2013. John Bartlow Martin, "The Master of the Murder Castle," Harper's, December 1943. Corey Dahl, "H.H. Holmes: The Original Client From Hell," Life Insurance Selling, October 2013. "Claims an Alibi: Holmes Says the Murders Were Committed by a Friend," New York Times, July 17, 1895. "Holmes in Great Demand: Will Be Tried Where the Best Case Can Be Made," New York Times, July 24, 1895. "Accused of Ten Murders: The List of Holmes's Supposed Victims Grows Daily," New York Times, July 26, 1895. "The Holmes Case," New York Times, July 28, 1895. "Expect to Hang Holmes: Chicago Police Authorities Say They Can Prove Murder," New York Times, July 30, 1895. "Chicago and Holmes," New York Times, July 31, 1895. "No Case Against Holmes: Chicago Police Baffled in the Attempt to Prove Murder," New York Times, Aug. 2, 1895. "Did Holmes Kill Pitzel: The Theory of Murder Gaining Ground Steadily," New York Times, Nov. 20, 1894. "Holmes Fears Hatch: Denies All the Charges of Murder Thus Far Made Against Him," New York Times, Aug. 2, 1895. "Quinlan's Testimony Against Holmes: They Think He Committed Most of the Murders in the Castle," New York Times, Aug. 4, 1895. "Modern Bluebeard: H.H. Holmes' Castles Reveals His True Character," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 18, 1895. "The Case Opened: A Strong Plea, by the Prisoner for a Postponement," New York Times, Oct. 29, 1895. "Holmes and His Crimes: Charged with Arson, Bigamy, and Numerous Murders," New York Times, Oct. 29, 1895. "Holmes Grows Nervous: Unable to Face the Portrait of One of His Supposed Victims," New York Times, Oct. 30, 1895. "Holmes Is Found Guilty: The Jury Reaches Its Verdict on the First Ballot," New York Times, Nov. 3, 1895. "Holmes Sentenced to Die: The Murderer of Benjamin F. Pietzel to Be Hanged," New York Times, Dec. 1, 1895. "The Law's Delays," New York Times, Feb. 4, 1896. "Holmes' Victims," Aurora [Ill.] Daily Express, April 13, 1896. "Holmes Cool to the End," New York Times, May 8, 1896. Rebecca Kerns, Tiffany Lewis, and Caitlin McClure of Radford University's Department of Psychology have compiled an extensive profile of Holmes and his crimes (PDF). Listener mail: The Seest disaster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4iNOguCNFQ Wikipedia, "Seest Fireworks Disaster" (accessed March 3, 2017). "Dutch Fireworks Disaster," BBC News, May 14, 2000. Wikipedia, "Enschede Fireworks Disaster" (accessed March 3, 2017). "Vuurwerkramp," Visit Enschede (accessed March 3, 2017). Beverly Jenkins, "10 Worst Fireworks Disasters Ever," Oddee, July 4, 2013. Jessie Guy-Ryan, "Inside the World's Deadliest Fireworks Accident," Atlas Obscura, July 4, 2016. Wikipedia, "Puttingal Temple Fire" (accessed March 3, 2017). Rajiv G, "Kollam Temple Fire: Death Toll Reaches 111, 40 Badly Wounded," Times of India, April 12, 2016. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Daniel Sterman, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: March 6, 2017, 9:43 a.m.

143-The Conscience Fund

For 200 years the U.S. Treasury has maintained a "conscience fund" that accepts repayments from people who have defrauded or stolen from the government. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the history of the fund and some of the more memorable and puzzling contributions it's received over the years. We'll also ponder Audrey Hepburn's role in World War II and puzzle over an illness cured by climbing poles. Intro: Wisconsin banker John Krubsack grafted 32 box elders into a living chair. According to his colleagues, Wolfgang Pauli's mere presence would cause accidents. Sources for our feature on the conscience fund: Warren Weaver Jr., "'Conscience Fund' at New High," New York Times, March 18, 1987. "$10,000 to Conscience Fund," New York Times, July 21, 1915. "$6,100 to Conscience Fund," New York Times, Feb. 4, 1925. "Swell Conscience Fund; Two Remittances, Small and Large, Bring In $4,876.70," New York Times, Feb. 6, 1916. "Sends $50 to War Department for Equipment Stolen in 1918," New York Times, March 2, 1930. "Depression Swells Total of Federal Conscience Fund," New York Times, April 21, 1932. "Federal Treasury Gets $300 to Add to Conscience Fund," New York Times, March 25, 1932. "9,896 Two-Cent Stamps Sent to City's Conscience Fund," New York Times, May 15, 1930. "$30,000 to Conscience Fund; Contributor Says He Has Sent Four Times Amount He Stole," New York Times, March 10, 1916. "Guilt: Settling With Uncle Sam," Time, March 30, 1987. "The Conscience Fund: Many Thousands Contributed -- Some Peculiar Cases," New York Times, Aug. 5, 1884. "Pays Government Fourfold; Conscience Bothered Man Who Took $8,000 from Treasury," New York Times, June 13, 1908. Rick Van Sant, "Guilt-Stricken Pay Up to IRS 'Conscience Fund' Gets Cash, Quilts," Cincinnati Post, Jan. 26, 1996. John Fairhall, "The Checks Just Keep Coming to the 'Conscience Fund,'" Baltimore Sun, Dec. 10, 1991. Donna Fox, "People Who Rip Off Uncle Sam Pay the 'Conscience Fund,'" Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 24, 1987. Associated Press, "Ten Thousand Dollars in Currency Is Sent to U.S. 'Conscience Fund,'" Harrisburg [Pa.] Telegraph, July 20, 1915. "Washington Letter," Quebec Daily Telegraph, July 3, 1889. "Figures of the Passing Show," Evening Independent, Sept. 16, 1909. James F. Clarity and Warren Weaver Jr., "Briefing: The Conscience Fund," New York Times, Dec. 24, 1985. Warren Weaver Jr., "'Conscience Fund' at New High," New York Times, March 18, 1987. "Conscience Fund Too Small," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 16, 1925. "Laborer Swells Conscience Fund," New York Times, June 28, 1912. "A Conscience Fund Contribution," New York Times, Feb. 14, 1895. "The Conscience Fund," New York Times, March 27, 1932. "Swells Conscience Fund: Californian, Formerly in the Navy, Gets Religion and Pays for Stationery on His Ship," Los Angeles Times, May 5, 1915. "2 Cents, Conscience Fund: Sent to Pay for Twice-Used Stamp -- Costs Post Office a Dollar," New York Times, June 2, 1910. "$30,000 to Conscience Fund: Contributor Says He Has Sent Four Times Amount He Stole," New York Times, March 10, 1916. "'Conscience Fund' Rises: New Yorker's $8 Is Item in $896.49 Sent Treasury," New York Times, Nov. 28, 1937. "The Conscience Fund: Many Thousands Contributed -- Some Peculiar Cases," New York Times, Aug. 5 1884. "The Conscience Fund: Young Woman Seeks a Loan From It From a Belief It Was Created for Benefit of Honest People," Los Angeles Times, July 13, 1914. "Gives to Conscience Fund: Contributor of $36 'Forgot Tax Item' -- Another Sends $32," New York Times, April 3, 1936. "Conscience-Fund Flurries: Due to Religious Revivals," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 28, 1903. "$100 for Conscience Fund: Customs Officials Think Same Person Sent $10c a Few Days Ago," New York Times, March 10, 1928. "Swell Conscience Fund: Two Remittances, Small and Large, Bring In $4,876.70," New York Times, Feb. 6, 1916. "Conscience Fund for President: Pasadena Writer Sends Dollar to Harding to Make Good for 20-Year-Old Theft," Los Angeles Times, April 17, 1921. "$33 for Conscience Fund: Smuggler Sent Taft the Money After Selling His Goods," New York Times, May 21, 1911. "$1 to Conscience Fund: Remorseful Laborer Pays Off Debt to Government by Installments," New York Times, Nov. 10, 1912. "The Nation's Conscience Fund," Scrap Book, May 1906. "Uncle Sam's Conscience Fund," Book of the Royal Blue, November 1904. "The Conscience Fund," Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, July 1894. "Gives $18,669 to Conscience Fund," Chicago Tribune, Nov. 26, 1901. "Large and Small Sums Swell Conscience Fund," Virginia Chronicle, March 6, 1925. "Miscellaneous Revenue Collections, or Conscience Fund," Internal Revenue Manual 3.8.45.7.35 (01-01-2011), U.S. Internal Revenue Service (accessed Feb. 12, 2017). Listener mail: "Myth Debunked: Audrey Hepburn Did Not Work for the Resistance" [in Dutch], Dutch Broadcast Foundation, Nov. 17, 2016. The official Audrey Hepburn site. To see the mentioned image of Hepburn and her mother in a musical benefit concert in 1940, Samantha gives these steps: From the homepage, go to the "life & career" section. On the left side of the page, choose "1929-1940," then "Audrey's childhood." Click the down arrow below the image 15 times. A screen test of Hepburn in 1953, in which she says she gave secret ballet performances to raise money for "the underground": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSnKWwRCWnw Airborne Museum's exhibition on Audrey Hepburn and her mother, Ella van Heemstra. Two obituaries of Michael Burn: William Grimessept, "Michael Burn, Writer and Adventurer, Dies at 97," New York Times, Sept. 14, 2010. "Michael Burn," Telegraph, Sept. 6, 2010. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Alexander Loew. Here are two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 27, 2017, 12:28 p.m.

142-Fingerprints and Polygraphs

Fingerprint identification and lie detectors are well-known tools of law enforcement today, but both were quite revolutionary when they were introduced. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the memorable cases where these innovations were first used. We'll also see some phantom ships and puzzle over a beer company's second thoughts. Intro: In 1892, Bostonians realized that the architects of their new library had hidden their name in the façade. In 1918, a California businessman built a 7,900-ton steamer out of ferrocement. Sources for our feature on fingerprints and polygraphs: Ken Alder, The Lie Detectors, 2007. Jack Fincher, “Lifting 'Latents' Is Now Very Much a High-Tech Matter,” Smithsonian, October 1989, 201. James O'Brien, The Scientific Sherlock Holmes, 2013. Ian Leslie, Born Liars, 2011. William J. Tilstone, Kathleen A. Savage, and Leigh A. Clark, Forensic Science: An Encyclopedia of History, Methods, and Techniques, 2006. Benjamin Netanyahu, Criminal Justice: New Technologies and the Constitution, 1989. Kenneth R. Moses et al., "Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)," in The Fingerprint Sourcebook, Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis Study and Technology and National Institute of Justice, 2011, 1-33. Raymond Dussault, "The Latent Potential of Latent Prints," Government Technology, Dec. 31, 1998. Barbara Bradley, "Fingered by the Police Computer," Christian Science Monitor, June 9, 1988. U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, "New Technology for Investigation, Identification, and Apprehension," in Special Report: Criminal Justice, New Technologies, and the Constitution, May 1988. Thanks to listener Pål Grønås Drange for suggesting the Ken Moses story. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Mirage" (accessed Feb. 17, 2017). W.H. Lehn, "The Nova Zemlya Effect: An Arctic Mirage," Journal of the Optical Society of America 69:5 (May 1979), 776-781. Wikipedia, "Novaya Zemlya Effect" (accessed Feb. 17, 2017). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Tommy Honton, who sent these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. If you have a moment, please go to podcastsurvey.net to take a very short anonymous survey about today's episode. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 20, 2017, 12:31 p.m.

141-Abducted by Indians, a Captive of Whites

In 1836, Indians abducted a 9-year-old girl from her home in East Texas. She made a new life among the Comanche, with a husband and three children. Then, after 24 years, the whites abducted her back again. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, caught up in a war between two societies. We'll also analyze a forger's motives and puzzle over why a crowd won't help a dying woman. Intro: Mathematician Ernst Straus invented a shape in which a ball might bounce forever without finding a hole. In 1874 a Massachusetts composer set the American constitution to music. Sources for our feature on Cynthia Ann Parker: Margaret Schmidt Hacker, Cynthia Ann Parker: The Life and the Legend, 1990. Jack K. Selden, Return: The Parker Story, 2006. Jan Reid, "One Who Was Found: The Legend of Cynthia Ann Parker," in Michael L. Collins, ed., Tales of Texoma, 2005. Jo Ella Powell Exley, Frontier Blood, 2001. Jack C. Ramsay Jr., Sunshine on the Prairie, 1990. George U. Hubbard, The Humor and Drama of Early Texas, 2003. Richard Selcer, "The Robe," Wild West 28:5 (February 2016), 60-64. Glen Sample Ely, “Myth, Memory, and Massacre: The Pease River Capture of Cynthia Ann Parker [review],” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 115:1 (July 2011), 91-92. Gregory Michno, "Nocona's Raid and Cynthia Ann's Recapture," Wild West 23:2 (August 2010), 36-43. Paul H. Carlson and Tom Crum, "The 'Battle' at Pease River and the Question of Reliable Sources in the Recapture of Cynthia Ann Parker," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 113:1 (July 2009), 32-52. Anne Dingus, "Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker," Texas Monthly 27:5 (May 1999), 226. "Cynthia Ann Seized History," Southern Living 25:3 (March 5, 1990), 61. Lawrence T. Jones III, "Cynthia Ann Parker and Pease Ross: The Forgotten Photographs," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 93:3 (January 1990), 379-384. Rupert N. Richardson, "The Death of Nocona and the Recovery of Cynthia Ann Parker," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 46:1 (July 1942), 15-21. Listener mail: Donald MacGillivray, "When Is a Fake Not a Fake? When It's a Genuine Forgery," Guardian, July 1, 2005. Noah Charney, "Why So Many Art Forgers Want to Get Caught," Atlantic, Dec. 22, 2014. Jonathon Keats, "Masterpieces for Everyone? The Case of the Socialist Art Forger Tom Keating," Forbes, Dec. 13, 2012. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Paul Sophocleous, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!  

History
Published: Feb. 13, 2017, 12:41 p.m.

140-Ramanujan

In 1913, English mathematician G.H. Hardy received a package from an unknown accounting clerk in India, with nine pages of mathematical results that he found "scarcely possible to believe." In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll follow the unlikely friendship that sprang up between Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan, whom Hardy called "the most romantic figure in the recent history of mathematics." We'll also probe Carson McCullers' heart and puzzle over a well-proportioned amputee. Intro: W.H. Hill's signature was unchanged when inverted. Room 308 of West Java's Samudra Beach Hotel is reserved for the Indonesian goddess Nyai Loro Kidul. Sources for our feature on Srinivasa Ramanujan: Robert Kanigel, The Man Who Knew Infinity, 1991. K. Srinivasa Rao, Srinivasa Ramanujan: A Mathematical Genius, 1998. S.R. Ranganathan, Ramanujan: The Man and the Mathematician, 1967. Bruce C. Berndt and Robert A. Rankin, Ramanujan: Letters and Commentary, 1991. G.H. Hardy, "The Indian Mathematician Ramanujan," American Mathematical Monthly 44:3 (March 1937), 137-155. Gina Kolata, "Remembering a 'Magical Genius,'" Science 236:4808 (June 19, 1987), 1519-1521. E.H. Neville, "Srinivasa Ramanujan," Nature 149:3776 (March 1942), 293. Bruce C. Berndt, "Srinivasa Ramanujan," American Scholar 58:2 (Spring 1989), 234-244. B.M. Srikantia, "Srinivasa Ramanujan," American Mathematical Monthly 35:5 (May 1928), 241-245. S.G. Gindikin, "Ramanujan the Phenomenon," Quantum 8:4 (March/April 1998), 4-9. "Srinivasa Ramanujan" in Timothy Gowers, June Barrow-Green, and Imre Leader, eds., Princeton Companion to Mathematics, 2010. "Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan," MacTutor History of Mathematics (accessed Jan. 22, 2017). In the photo above, Ramanujan is at center and Hardy is at far right. Listener mail: "Myth Debunked: Audrey Hepburn Did Not Work for the Resistance" [in Dutch], Dutch Broadcast Foundation, Nov. 17, 2016. "Audrey Hepburn's Son Remembers Her Life," Larry King Live, CNN, Dec. 24, 2003. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Tyler Rousseau. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Feb. 6, 2017, 12:45 p.m.

139-The Painter's Revenge

When critics dismissed his paintings, Dutch artist Han van Meegeren decided to seek his revenge on the art world: He devoted himself to forgery and spent six years fabricating a Vermeer masterpiece. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll recount the career of a master forger and the surprising mistake that eventually brought him down. We'll also drop in on D.B. Cooper and puzzle over an eyeless fruit burglar. Intro: In 1976, the New York Times accidentally dated an issue "March 10, 1075." In 1987, University of Illinois freshman Mike Hayes financed his education by asking Chicago Tribune readers for a penny apiece. Sources for our feature on Han van Meegeren: Edward Dolnick, The Forger's Spell, 2008. Jonathan Lopez, The Man Who Made Vermeers, 2008. John Raymond Godley, Van Meegeren: A Case History, 1967. John Raymond Godley, Master Art Forger: The Story of Han Van Meegeren, 1966. P.B. Coremans, Van Meegeren's Faked Vermeers and de Hooghs: A Scientific Examination, 1949. Humphrey Van Loo, "Art Hoax Which Cost the World Millions," Britannia and Eve 33:4 (October 1946). "The Man Who Paints: Hans Van Meegeren Stands Trial at Amsterdam," Sphere 191:2493 (Nov. 15, 1947). "The Strange Story of the Forged Vermeers," Sphere 184:2400 (Jan. 19, 1946). Serena Davies, "The Forger Who Fooled the World," Telegraph, Aug. 5, 2006. "Han van Meegeren," Fake or Fortune?, BBC One. Peter Schjeldahl, "Dutch Master," New Yorker, Oct. 27, 2008. Listener mail: Chris Ingalls, "Scientists Say They May Have New Evidence in D.B. Cooper Case," USA Today, Jan. 16, 2017. Erik Lacitis, "Does That Evidence Truly Tie D.B. Cooper to Boeing? Plot Thickens," Seattle Times, Jan. 20, 2017. Citizen Sleuths. Wikipedia, "Avoidance Speech" (accessed Jan. 27, 2017). Bryant Rousseau, "Talking to In-laws Can Be Hard. In Some Languages, It's Impossible," New York Times, Jan. 9, 2017. Danny Lewis, "Austrian Town Seeks Professional Hermit," Smithsonian, Jan. 17, 2017. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Ned Harkness. The "Lincolnshire Household Riddle" appears in Notes and Queries, Nov. 2, 1872. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!  

History
Published: Jan. 30, 2017, 12:11 p.m.

138-Life in a Cupboard

In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell two stories about people who spent years confined in miserably small spaces. North Carolina slave Harriet Jacobs spent seven years hiding in a narrow space under her grandmother's roof, evading her abusive owner, and Irishman Patrick Fowler spent most of World War I hiding in the cabinet of a sympathetic family in German-occupied France. We'll also subdivide Scotland and puzzle over a ballerina's silent reception. Intro: During a printers' strike in 1923, New York newspapers put out a paper with 10 nameplates. Henry Hudson's journal reports an encounter with a mermaid in 1610. Sources for our feature on Harriet Jacobs and Patrick Fowler: Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, 1861. Jean Fagan Yellin, Harriet Jacobs: A Life, 2004. Jean Fagan Yellin, ed., The Harriet Jacobs Family Papers, 2008. Daneen Wardrop, "'I Stuck the Gimlet in and Waited for Evening': Writing and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," Texas Studies in Literature and Language 49:3 (Fall 2007), 209-229. Christina Accomando, "'The Laws were Laid Down to Me Anew': Harriet Jacobs and the Reframing of Legal Fictions," African American Review 32:2 (Summer 1998), 229-245. Georgia Kreiger, "Playing Dead: Harriet Jacobs's Survival Strategy in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," African American Review 42:3/4 (Fall 2008), 607-621, 795. Anne Bradford Warner, "Harriet Jacobs at Home in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," Southern Quarterly 45.3 (Spring 2008), 30-47. Miranda A. Green-Barteet, "'The Loophole of Retreat': Interstitial Spaces in Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," South Central Review 30:2 (Summer 2013) 53-72. Anna Stewart, "Revising 'Harriet Jacobs' for 1865," American Literature 82:4 (2010), 701-724. John Devine and Chris Glennon, "WWI Film to Tell How Irish Soldier Spent Four Years in Cupboard," Irish Independent, Jan. 6, 2000. Frank Moss, "He Lived in Cupboard for 4 Years: True-Life Adventure," Answers 127:3287 (April 30, 1955). "By the Skin of His Teeth," Top Spot, Nov. 28, 1959. "Left-Hand Door," Time 9:12 (March 21, 1927), 16. Tony Millett, "WW 1 Centenary: The Soldier Who Came Home to Devizes After Four Years in Hiding Behind German Lines," Marlborough News, Aug. 1, 2014. "Cupboard Used by Trooper Patrick Fowler as Refuge During the First World War," Imperial War Museums (accessed Jan. 22, 2017). Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Islay" (accessed Jan. 21, 2017). Stand Still, Stay Silent, "The Nordic Languages," Oct. 13, 2014. Stand Still, Stay Silent, "Old World Language Families," Oct. 14, 2014. Reuters has two photos from the 1999 molasses flood in Delft, the Netherlands. Listener Vadas Gintautas' bluegrass band: This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Sid Collins, who sent two corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 23, 2017, 7 a.m.

137-The Mystery of Fiona Macleod

When the Scottish writer William Sharp died in 1905, his wife revealed a surprising secret: For 10 years he had kept up a second career as a reclusive novelist named Fiona Macleod, carrying on correspondences and writing works in two distinctly different styles. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll explore Sharp's curious relationship with his feminine alter ego, whose sporadic appearances perplexed even him. We'll also hunt tigers in Singapore and puzzle over a surprisingly unsuccessful bank robber. Intro: In 1904 Mrs. Membury, of Hyde Corner, Bridport, Dorset, set out to make a snake of stamps. In 1996, mathematician Michael J. Bradley noticed that his son's Little League rulebook specified a geometrically impossible home plate. Sources for our feature on Fiona Macleod: Flavia Alaya, William Sharp -- “Fiona Macleod,” 1855-1905, 1970. Terry L. Meyers, The Sexual Tensions of William Sharp, 1996. John Sutherland, Curiosities of Literature, 2013. "Sharp's Death Solves a Literary Mystery," New York Times, Dec. 15, 1905. Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, "A Man With Two Souls," Votes for Women, Jan. 6, 1911. "The Past Year's Literary Output," Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 16, 1901. "Fiona Macleod," Athenaeum 3733 (May 13, 1899), 596. "Fiona Macleod," The Academy, May 15, 1897, 525-526. Georgiana Goddard King, "Fiona Macleod," Modern Language Notes 33:6 (June 1918), 352-356. Alfred Noyes, "Fiona Macleod," Fortnightly Review 79:469 (January 1906), 163. "Fiona Macleod," The Academy, Dec. 16, 1905, 1312-1313. Ethel Rolt-Wheeler, "Fiona Macleod -- The Woman," Fortnightly Review 106:635 (November 1919), 780-790. Frank Rinder, "William Sharp -- 'Fiona Macleod,'" Art Journal, February 1906, 44-45. "Miss Fiona Macleod," The Sketch 23:296 (Sept. 28, 1898), 430. "Fiona Macleod," Vogue 13:13 (March 30, 1899), 206. Catharine A. Janvier, "Fiona Macleod and Her Creator William Sharp," North American Review 184:612 (April 5, 1907), 718-732. William Sharp "Fiona Macleod" Archive, Institute of English Studies, University of London. James Norman Hall, Oh Millersville!, 1940. Edward Brunner, "'Writing Another Kind of Poetry': James Norman Hall as 'Fern Gravel' in Oh Millersville!", Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies 8/9 (Spring 2006), 44-59. Listener mail: Cara Giaimo, "How Millions of Secret Silk Maps Helped POWs Escape Their Captors in WWII," Atlas Obscura, Dec. 20, 2016. "A Tiger in Town," Straits Times, Aug. 13, 1902. "Notes of the Day," Straits Times, Oct. 27, 1930. Tom Standage, A History of the World in Six Glasses, 2010. Mark Pendergrast, Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World, 2010. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Davide Tassinari, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 16, 2017, 7 a.m.

136-The Boston Molasses Disaster

In 1919 a bizarre catastrophe struck Boston's North End: A giant storage tank failed, releasing 2 million gallons of molasses into a crowded business district at the height of a January workday. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Boston Molasses Disaster, which claimed 21 lives and inscribed a sticky page into the city's history books. We'll also admire some Scandinavian statistics and puzzle over a provocative Facebook photo. Intro: In 1888 three women reported encountering a 15-foot flying serpent in the woods near Columbia, S.C. In 1834 the American Journal of Science and Arts reported the capture of a pair of conjoined catfish near Fort Johnston, N.C. Sources for our feature on the Boston Molasses Disaster: Stephen Puleo, Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, 2003. Fred Durso Jr., "The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919," NFPA Journal 105:3 (May/June 2011), 90-93. Sean Potter, "Retrospect: January 15, 1919: Boston Molasses Flood," Weatherwise 64:1 (January/February 2011), 10-11. Kaylie Duffy, "Today in Engineering History: Molasses Tanker Explodes, Kills 21," Product Design & Development, Jan. 15, 2015. Steve Puleo, "Death by Molasses," American History 35:6 (February 2001), 60-66. Chuck Lyons, "A Sticky Tragedy," History Today 59.1 (January 2009), 40-42. Dick Sinnott, "21 Persons Drowned in Molasses Flood," Reading [Pa.] Eagle, Jan. 15, 1959. Edwards Park, "Without Warning, Molasses in January Surged Over Boston," Smithsonian 14:8 (November 1983), 213-230. "12 Killed When Tank of Molasses Explodes," New York Times, Jan. 16, 1919. Ferris Jabr, "The Science of the Great Molasses Flood," Scientific American, Aug. 1, 2013. United Press International, "The Great Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919," Jan. 17, 1979. Peter Schworm, "Nearly a Century Later, Structural Flaw in Molasses Tank Revealed," Boston Globe, Jan. 14, 2015. William J. Kole, "Slow as Molasses? Sweet but Deadly 1919 Disaster Explained," Associated Press, Nov. 24, 2016. Erin McCann, "Solving a Mystery Behind the Deadly 'Tsunami of Molasses' of 1919," New York Times, Nov. 26, 2016. (The corn syrup video is midway down the page.) Jason Daley, "The Sticky Science Behind the Deadly Boston Molasses Disaster," Smithsonian, Nov. 28, 2016. Jennifer Ouellette, "Incredible Physics Behind the Deadly 1919 Boston Molasses Flood," New Scientist, Nov. 24, 2016. The Boston Public Library has photos and newspaper headlines. Listener mail: Erik Bye's song on the 15th Wisconsin Regiment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o5TUozjQXw Statistics Norway's names database. Wikipedia, "Old Norse" (accessed Jan. 5, 2017). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Tommy Honton, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Jan. 9, 2017, 7 a.m.

135-Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles to test your wits and stump your friends -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions. Below are the sources for this week's puzzles. In a few places we've included links to further information -- these contain spoilers, so don't click until you've listened to the episode: Puzzle #1 is from Dan Lewis' Now I Know newsletter of April 28, 2016. Puzzle #2 was contributed by listener Jon Sweitzer-Lamme, who sent these corroborating links. Puzzle #3 is from listener Jonathan Knoell. Puzzle #4 is from listener Nick Hare. Puzzle #5 is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale's 2014 book Remarkable Lateral Thinking Puzzles. Puzzle #6 was devised by Greg. Here's a link. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 26, 2016, 7:43 a.m.

134-The Christmas Truce

In December 1914 a remarkable thing happened on the Western Front: British and German soldiers stopped fighting and left their trenches to greet one another, exchange souvenirs, bury their dead, and sing carols in the spirit of the holiday season. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Christmas truce, which one participant called "one of the highlights of my life." We'll also remember James Thurber's Aunt Sarah and puzzle over an anachronistic twin. Intro: In 1898, G.W. Roberts of Birmingham made a full-size piano from 3,776 matchboxes and 5 pounds of glue. In 1892, 69 men raced 302 miles on stilts, from Bordeaux to Bayonne and Biarritz and back. Sources for our feature on the Christmas truce: Terri Blom Crocker, The Christmas Truce: Myth, Memory, and the First World War, 2016. Stanley Weintraub, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, 2001. Chris Baker, The Truce: The Day the War Stopped, 2014. Peter Hart, "Christmas Truce," Military History 31:5 (January 2015), 64-70. Joe Perry, Christmas in Germany: A Cultural History, 2010. Ian Herbert, "Muddy Truth of the Christmas Truce Game," Independent, Dec. 24, 2014. David Brown, "Remembering a Victory For Human Kindness," Washington Post, Dec. 25, 2004. "Alfred Anderson, 109, Last Man From 'Christmas Truce' of 1914," New York Times, Nov. 22, 2005. "The Christmas Truce, 1914," The Henry Williamson Society (accessed Dec. 16, 2016). Mike Dash, "The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce," Smithsonian, Dec. 23, 2011. Stephen Moss, "Truce in the Trenches Was Real, But Football Tales Are a Shot in the Dark," Guardian, Dec. 16, 2014. Listener mail: Kirk Ross, The Sky Men: A Parachute Rifle Company's Story of the Battle of the Bulge and the Jump Across the Rhine, 2004. A short version of the barrel-of-bricks episode from MythBusters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt230Pd1oSo Listener Daniel Sterman recommends the original episode, "Barrel of Bricks," from Oct. 10, 2003. Wikipedia, "Sandman (Wesley Dodds)" (accessed Dec. 16, 2016). Wikipedia, "Sala Gang" (accessed Dec. 16, 2016). This week's lateral thinking puzzle was suggested by listeners Greg Askins, Stacey Irvine, and Donald Mates. Here are three corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 19, 2016, 1:55 p.m.

133-Notes and Queries

In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll explore some more curiosities and unanswered questions from Greg's research, including a pilot who saved Buckingham Palace, a ghost who confronted Arthur Conan Doyle, what Mark Twain learned from a palm reader, and a bedeviling superfluity of Norwegians. We'll also discover a language used only by women and puzzle over a gift that's best given sparingly. Intro: Horatio Nelson's coffin was fashioned from the mast of a French flagship that he had defeated. In 1994 the city council of Green River, Wyoming, designated an airstrip south of town as an "intergalactic spaceport." Sources for our feature on notes and queries: The story of the Singapore tiger shooting appears in this history of the Raffles hotel. Neil Kagan's 2013 book The Untold Civil War alleges that the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment was so thick with Norwegians that it contained dozens of men named Ole Olson. The Norwegian American Genealogical Center says that the Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers shows that the 15th had 128 men whose first name was Ole, 75 men whose last name was Olson, Olsen, or Oleson, but just 15 whose names were Ole Olson, Ole Olsen, or Ole Oleson. The anecdote about the Gettysburg ordinance is mentioned in Michael Sanders' 2006 More Strange Tales of the Civil War, which cites Gregory A. Coco's A Strange and Blighted Land, Gettysburg: The Aftermath of a Battle, 1995. I found it in Allen C. Guelzo's Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, 2013. Frances Wilson describes Titanic survivor Lawrence Beesley's visit to the set of A Night to Remember in her 2011 book How to Survive the Titanic, Or The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay. The observation about John Ford's eye for camerawork appears in Robert L. Carringer's 1996 book The Making of Citizen Kane. Dan Murphy's Puritan name is spelled out in Willard R. Espy's An Almanac of Words at Play, 1975. (I first wrote about unusual Puritan names in 2009.) The two long names cited by H.L. Mencken appear in his 1921 study The American Language. Douglas Hofstadter describes Stanford art professor Matt Kahn's confetti illusion in his foreword to Al Seckel's 2004 book Masters of Deception. Mark Twain wrote about Cheiro's prophecy in his notebook in 1903. His affidavit regarding the palmist's insight into his character is described in Sarah E. Chinn's 2000 book Technology and the Logic of American Racism. Three sources regarding Georges Simenon's prolificity: Stanley G. Eskin, Simenon, A Critical Biography, 1987. Henry Anatole Grunwald, "World's Most Prolific Novelist," Life 45:18 (Nov. 3, 1958). Aubrey Dillon-Malone, Stranger Than Fiction: A Book of Literary Lists, 1999. Also in Stranger Than Fiction, Dillon-Malone says that Anthony Trollope's quota of seven pages a day would sometimes carry him out of one book and into the next. Dillon-Malone says he's quoting Malcolm Cowley, who indeed says as much in this Paris Review interview, but I'd like to confirm the anecdote. British fighter pilot Ray Holmes' severing of a Dornier bomber's tail is depicted in this painting. In his 2010 book Royal Prayer: A Surprising History, David Baldwin says "the whole engagement was captured on film," but I've never been able to find it. The best I've found is the opening moments of this National Geographic documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lACDhxSLbYQ The anecdote about Arthur Conan Doyle in Africa is from Russell Miller's 2008 book The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle: A Biography. Among other places, the story about Kant's soul appears in Arthur Stone Dewing's 1903 Introduction to the History of Modern Philosophy. And Cornelia Parker's comment about her conversation with Noam Chomsky appears in "Apocalypse Later," Guardian, Feb. 11, 2008. Listener mail: Noah Shachtman, "They Cracked This 250-Year-Old Code, and Found a Secret Society Inside," Wired, Nov. 16, 2012. Wikipedia, "Copiale cipher" (accessed Dec. 8, 2016). "Scientists Crack Mysterious 'Copiale Cipher,'" Guardian, Oct. 26, 2011. Jon Watts, "The Forbidden Tongue," Guardian, Sept. 23, 2005. Wikipedia, "Nüshu script" (accessed Dec. 8, 2016). David Kahn, The Codebreakers, 1967. This week's lateral thinking puzzle is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale's 2014 book Remarkable Lateral Thinking Puzzles. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 12, 2016, 12:54 p.m.

132-The Mad Gasser of Mattoon

In 1944, a bizarre criminal assaulted the small town of Mattoon, Illinois. Victims reported smelling a sickly sweet odor in their bedrooms before being overcome with nausea and a feeling of paralysis. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll pursue the mad gasser of Mattoon, who vanished as quickly as he had struck, leaving residents to wonder whether he had ever existed at all. We'll also ponder the concept of identical cousins and puzzle over a midnight stabbing. Intro: Enterprise, Ala., erected an $1,800 monument to the boll weevil. In the late 1930s, a plaster mannequin named Cynthia archly toured the New York social scene. Sources for our feature on the mad gasser of Mattoon: Bob Ladendorf and Robert E. Bartholomew, "The Mad Gasser of Mattoon: How the Press Created an Imaginary Chemical Weapons Attack," Skeptical Inquirer 26:4 (July/August 2002), 50-54. Robert E. Bartholomew and Jeffrey S. Victor, "A Social-Psychological Theory of Collective Anxiety Attacks: The 'Mad Gasser' Reexamined," Sociological Quarterly 45:2 (March 2004), 229–248. Robert E. Bartholomew and Erich Goode, "Phantom Assailants & the Madness of Crowds: The Mad Gasser of Botetourt County," Skeptic 7:4 (1999), 50. D.M. Johnson, "The 'Phantom Anesthetist' of Mattoon: A Field Study of Mass Hysteria," Journal of Abnormal Psychology 40:2 (April 1945), 175-186. Debbie Carlson, "The Mattoon Mad Gasser -- Looking Back at a Textbook Case of Mass Hysteria," Belt Magazine, June 4, 2015. Romeo Vitelli, "The Mad Gasser of Mattoon," James Randi Educational Foundation Swift Blog, April 23, 2011. Robert E. Bartholomew, Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics, 2001. Mike Dash, Borderlands, 2000. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Battle of Blair Mountain" (accessed December 2, 2016). Wikipedia, "Shelton Brothers Gang" (accessed December 2, 2016). Wikipedia, "Tulsa race riot" (accessed December 2, 2016). Wikipedia, "The Patty Duke Show" (accessed December 2, 2016). The Dubliners -- The Sick Note: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_Vfxuk8x_A The Corries -- The Bricklayer's Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZwGk5xmlq0 This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg, who gathered these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Dec. 5, 2016, 10:25 a.m.

131-Escape From Libby Prison

Libby Prison was one of the most infamous prison camps of the Civil War -- thousands of Union prisoners were packed together in a converted warehouse, facing months or years of starvation and abuse. The Confederates thought the prison was escape-proof, and in this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll show how a determined group of prisoners set out to prove them wrong. We'll also duel with a barrel and puzzle over why an admitted forger would be found innocent. Intro: Iowa attorney Townsend M. Zink directed that his money be used to build a library that would exclude women and stock books written only by men. In the early 1960s, the American Automobile Association forgot to include Seattle on its road map of the United States. Sources for our feature on the Libby Prison breakout: Joseph Wheelan, Libby Prison Breakout, 2010. Jonathan Franklin William Vance, Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment, 2006. Bruce Klee, "Libby Prison," Civil War Times Illustrated 37:7 (February 1999), 32-38. Steven Trent Smith, "The Great Libby Prison Breakout," Civil War Times 49:4 (August 2010), 46-53. Michael Morgan, "Breakout From Rat Hell," Civil War Times Illustrated 40:5 (October 2001), 28-37. A.G. Hamilton, "Story of the Famous Tunnel Escape From Libby Prison," 1893. Emeric Szabad, "Diary in Libby Prison," Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country 77:459 (March 1868), 385-406. Frank E. Moran, "Libby Prison's Tunnel," Toledo Blade, Nov. 9, 1882. This diagram accompanied "Colonel Rose's Tunnel at Libby Prison," Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, March 1888: Second feature: "Five Accidents, But Only One Indemnity," American Lawyer, August 1906. This story was a staple of vaudeville, made most famous, I think, by Fred Allen. But Allen was 12 when this version appeared, and 1 when the joke made its debut. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Adam Behring, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 28, 2016, 1:16 p.m.

130-The Unlikely Ultramarathoner

Australia's Westfield ultramarathon had a surprise entrant in 1983: A 61-year-old potato farmer named Cliff Young joined a field of elite professional runners for the 500-mile race from Sydney to Melbourne. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Young's fortunes in the race and the heart, tenacity, and humor that endeared him to a nation. We'll also learn the difference between no and nay and puzzle over a Japanese baby shortage. Intro: Thomas Wedders exhibited his 7.5-inch nose throughout Yorkshire in the 1770s. Two meteorologists played ping-pong on a solid block of snow atop Scotland's Ben Nevis in 1902. Sources for our feature on Cliff Young: Julietta Jameson, Cliffy: The Cliff Young Story, 2013. Phil Essam, ed., I've Finally Found My Hero, 2016. Matthew Ricketson, "Cliff's Not Finished Yet," The Age, Nov. 29, 1983. J. Freeman, "Cliff Calls It a Day," Telegraph, April 17, 1985. Greg Truman, "A Long-Running Favorite Draws to an End," The Advertiser, May 5, 1986. Louise Evans, "Cliff, the Battler's Hero, Refuses to Shuffle Off Into the Sunset," Sydney Morning Herald, June 4, 1988. R. Reed, "Westfield Highway Closed to Cliff: Old Shuffler 'Saved' From Himself," Sunday Herald, March 11, 1990. G. Legg, "Cliff, 70, Has Enough Puff for 170km," Courier-Mail, May 23, 1992. Derek Ballantine, "For Cliff, a Long Road to Nowhere," The Advertiser, April 10, 1993. Alan Rider, "'Where's Cliffy?': In Hobart Run-Walk!," Hobart Mercury, April 20, 1993. Tony Baker, "An Epic of Eccentricity," Hobart Mercury, April 25, 1997. "End of the Road for Cliff," Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 3, 2003. Graeme Leech, "Shy Runner Shuffled Into a Nation's Heart," The Australian, Nov. 7, 2003. Charles Happell, "A Gumbooted Forrest Gump, Cliff Young Ran His Own Race," The Australian, March 23, 2013. "Running Legend's Cup Will Return to District," Colac Herald, April 17, 2015. Here's Neil Kearney's 1983 documentary Cliffy, made shortly after Young's victory and showing his trademark shuffling gait: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R276S1KMgQ0 Listener mail: "Frenemies — Churchill’s Planned 1945 Surprise Attack on the Soviets," Military History Now, Oct. 15, 2012. Wikipedia, "Operational Unthinkable" (accessed Nov. 18, 2016). Historical Board Gaming: Operation Unthinkable Custom Map & Rules. BoardGameGeek: Castle Itter. Digital Capricorn Studios: Castle Itter. National Public Radio, "No, Yes, Definitely: On the Rise of 'No, Totally' as Linguistic Quirk," Morning Edition, April 12, 2015. Kathryn Schulz, "What Part of 'No, Totally' Don't You Understand?", New Yorker, April 7, 2015. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jon Sweitzer-Lamme, who sent this corroborating link (warning: this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 21, 2016, 12:38 p.m.

129-The Voynich Manuscript

In 1912, bookseller Wilfrid Voynich discovered an illustrated manuscript that was written in a mysterious alphabet that had never been seen before. The text bears the hallmarks of natural language, but no one has ever been able to determine its meaning. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll learn about the Voynich manuscript, which has been bewildering scholars for more than a century. We'll also ponder some parliamentary hostages and puzzle over a tormenting acquisition. Intro: In 1851, George Merryweather invented the Tempest Prognosticator, a rack of bottled leeches who would ring a bell when a storm approached. Between 1884 and 1896, visitors to Coney Island could stay in a 31-room hotel shaped like an elephant. Sources for our feature on the Voynich manuscript: Gerry Kennedy and Rob Churchill, The Voynich Manuscript, 2004. "Voynich Manuscript," Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. Klaus Schmeh, "The Voynich Manuscript: The Book Nobody Can Read," Skeptical Inquirer 35:1 (January/February 2011). Diego R. Amancio et al., "Probing the Statistical Properties of Unknown Texts: Application to the Voynich Manuscript," PLoS One, July 2, 2013. Andreas Schinner, "The Voynich Manuscript: Evidence of the Hoax Hypothesis," Cryptologia 31:2 (March 2007). Marcelo A. Montemurro and Damián H. Zanette, "Keywords and Co-Occurrence Patterns in the Voynich Manuscript: An Information-Theoretic Analysis," PLoS One, June 21, 2013. Bec Crew, "Researcher Finds Evidence That the 'World's Most Mysterious Book' Is an Elaborate Hoax," Science Alert, Sept. 23, 2016. Melissa Hogenboom, "Mysterious Voynich Manuscript Has 'Genuine Message'," BBC News, June 22, 2013. Reed Johnson, "The Unread: The Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript," New Yorker, July 9, 2013. Rich McCormick, "Decrypting the Most Mysterious Book in the World," The Verge, Feb. 28, 2014. Wikipedia has scans of the entire manuscript, sortable by page, folio, or topic. Listener mail: Wikipedia, "Hostage MP" (accessed Nov. 12, 2016). Wikipedia, "State Opening of Parliament" (accessed Nov. 12, 2016). Matt Field, "Queen's Speech: Your Guide to All the Parliamentary Pomp and Pageantry," Guardian, May 27, 2015. "Intertwined Love Story: Twins Who Married Twins," Morning Edition, National Public Radio, May 28, 2010. "Identical Twins Marry, Give Birth to Identical Twins," Telegraph, July 22, 2008. Danielle Centoni, "The Secret Life of Pears (in Brandy)," Oregon Live, September 2011. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jake Koethler. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 14, 2016, 12:33 p.m.

128-The Battle for Castle Itter

The closing days of World War II witnessed a bizarre battle with some unlikely allies: American and German soldiers joined forces to rescue a group of French prisoners from a medieval castle in the Austrian Alps. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the Battle for Castle Itter, the only time that Allies and Germans fought together in the war. We'll also dodge another raft of aerial bombs and puzzle over a bottled pear. Intro: In 1917, Royal Flying Corps trainee Graham Donald fell out of his plane at the top of a loop. In 1750, the 1st Earl of Hardwicke installed an artificial ruin near his country house, Wimpole Hall. Sources for our feature on the Battle for Castle Itter: Stephen Harding, The Last Battle, 2013. Stephen Harding, "The Battle for Castle Itter," World War II 23:3 (August/September 2008), 38-45. George Hodge, "The Last Battle: When U.S. and German Soldiers Joined Forces in the Waning Hours of World War II in Europe," Military Review 94:4 (July/August 2014), 100. John G. Mayer, "12th Men Free French Big-Wigs," 12th Armored Division Hellcat News, May 26, 1945. Andrew Roberts, "World War II's Strangest Battle: When Americans and Germans Fought Together," Daily Beast, May 12, 2013. Bethany Bell, "The Austrian Castle Where Nazis Lost to German-US Force," BBC News, May 7, 2015. Listener mail: Roadside America, "Omaha, Nebraska: Plaque: Japanese Balloon Bomb Exploded Here." "B-52 Accidentally Bombs Kansas Lake," Aero News Network, Dec. 16, 2006. Bill Kaczor, "Bombs Rained on Florida Family in 1944," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 14, 1994. Wikipedia, "MOVE: 1985 bombing" (accessed Nov. 4, 2016). Wikipedia, "Pavlovsk Experimental Station" (accessed Nov. 4, 2016). Ian Crofton, A Curious History of Food and Drink, 2014. Wikipedia, "1958 Tybee Island Mid-Air Collision" (accessed Nov. 4, 2016). This week's lateral thinking puzzles were adapted from the Soviet popular science magazine Kvant and the 2000 book Lateral Mindtrap Puzzles and contributed by listener Steve Scheuermann. We refer to this image in the second puzzle: You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Nov. 7, 2016, 12:44 p.m.

127-Rowing Across the Atlantic

In 1896 two New Jersey clam diggers made a bold bid for fame: They set out to cross the North Atlantic in a rowboat, a feat that had never been accomplished before. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the adventure of George Harbo and Frank Samuelsen, which one newspaper called "the most remarkable event in the way of ocean navigation that ever transpired." We'll also meet some military mammals and puzzle over a thwarted burglar. Intro: The score for Telemann's Gulliver Suite includes "Lilliputian" and "Brobdingnagian" note values. In 1964 Zambia announced a rather low-tech space program. Sources for our feature on Harbo and Samuelsen: David W. Shaw, Daring the Sea, 1998. William Longyard, A Speck on the Sea, 2003. David W. Shaw, "A Fool's Errand, but a Nautical Landmark," Scandinavian Review 102:1 (Spring 2015), 46-60. "To Row Across the Atlantic," New York World, Feb. 13, 1896, 16. "To Cross Ocean in Rowboat," New York Herald, June 6, 1896, 7. The log of the Fox. "Over the Sea With Oars," New York World, Aug. 2, 1896, 10. "The Fox Arrives at Havre," Daily Telegraph, Aug 7, 1896. "They Rowed to Havre," National Police Gazette, Aug. 22, 1896. "The Following Is Worth Reading," National Police Gazette, Sept. 12, 1896. "Harbo and Samuelson and the Tiny Boat in Which They Rowed Across the Atlantic," New York Herald, March 21, 1897, 2. Andy Philpott and Geoff Leyland, "Rowing to Barbados," OR/MS Today, April 2006. Thao Hua, "Manager Backs Atlantic Crossing," Pensions & Investments 36:12 (June 9, 2008), 8. BBC News, "Artemis Rowing Crew Smashes Transatlantic Record," July 31, 2010. Listener mail: Yuko, Cher Ami, 2016. Leah Tams, "How Did Animals (Even Slugs) Serve in World War I?", National Museum of American History, Nov. 14, 2014. Jessica Talarico, "15 Animals That Went to War," Imperial War Museums (accessed Oct. 22, 2016). History.com, "War Animals From Horses to Glowworms: 7 Incredible Facts," Dec. 22, 2011. Nick Tarver, "World War One: The Circus Animals That Helped Britain," BBC News, Nov. 11, 2013. U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program (accessed Oct. 22, 2016). Mark Strauss, "These Are the Brave and Fluffy Cats Who Served in World War I," io9, Aug. 22, 2014. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Tommy Honton, who sent this corroborating link (warning -- this spoils the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

History
Published: Oct. 24, 2016, 12:20 p.m.

126-The Great Australian Poetry Hoax

In 1943, fed up with modernist poetry, two Australian servicemen invented a fake poet and submitted a collection of deliberately senseless verses to a Melbourne arts magazine. To their delight, they were accepted and their author hailed as "one of the most remarkable and important poetic figures of this country." In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Ern Malley hoax, its perpetrators, and its surprising legacy in Australian literature. We'll also hear a mechanized Radiohead and puzzle over a railroad standstill. Intro: In 1896 an English statistician decided that "brass instruments have a fatal influence on the growth of the hair." The Lincoln Electric Company presented a check made of steel to each winner of a 1932 essay contest. Sources for our feature on Ern Malley: Michael Heyward, The Ern Malley Affair, 1993. Brian Lloyd, "Ern Malley and His Rivals," Australian Literary Studies 20:1 (May 2001) 20. Philip Mead, "1944, Melbourne and Adelaide: The Ern Malley Hoax," in Brian McHale and Randall Stevenson, eds., The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Literatures in English, 2006. The Ern Malley website contains the complete story and poems. In June 2002 Jacket Magazine ran a special "hoax" issue, with much background and commentary on the Malley story. Listener mail: Radiohead's "Nude" played by a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, an Epson LX-81 dot matrix printer, an HP Scanjet 3c, and an array of hard drives. Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" via Super Mario World. "Logická Hádanka" by Horkýže Slíže -- a Slovak punk band sings a lateral thinking puzzle (translation and solution in video description). Guy Clifton and Emerson Marcus, "A Tale of the '70s: When D.B. Cooper's Plane Landed in Reno," Reno Gazette-Journal, July 13, 2016. Ralph P. Himmelsbach and Thomas K. Worcester, Norjak: The Investigation of D.B. Cooper, 1986. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg, who collected these corroborating links (warning -- these spoil the puzzle). You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for you