• Podcast

#82 – CRISPR? I barely knew her!

CRISPR is a method of editing human DNA that is as amazing and futuristic as it is troubling and ultimately terrifying. Is humanity ready for designer super humans and DNA hacking? It doesn’t matter —... Read More
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#81- Face/Blind

“Wait, ‘Face Blindness’ is real?” was my reaction to hearing about this strange (and real) condition called “prosopagnosia” that causes those afflicted to be unable to recognize or remember the faces of even those closest... Read More
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#80 – Plight of the Navigator

This week we take a look at a man named John Harrison, who revolutionized naval navigation in the early 1700s through clocks — at first inventing a gyroscopic-like containment system for a giant pendulum, then... Read More
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#78 – Eclipses: Throwing Shade

There’s a historic total solar eclipse coming up later this year, so we take this opportunity to talk about the various types and phases of solar and lunar eclipses. Spoilers: the sun will melt your... Read More
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#77 – Get Fresh With Preservatives

What exactly are the “preservatives” we find in our food? Are they poison? Magic? Natural? Safe? This week we take a look at the various methods in which we keep our foods fresh and disease... Read More
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#76 – Mark and Todd Get Salty

Salt is as important to modern human existence as water, touching every arena of life from biology to medicine, from culinary to monetary, and even to the spread of civilization. Get a tiny taste of... Read More
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#75 – Prepare To Be Mesmerized

Is hypnosis a real thing, or a carnival scam? Can your mind be controlled against your will? What is happening to the brain of someone who is hypnotized? Find out the answer to these and... Read More
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#74 – Perfect Cans

Raise your beers to this episode about the surprisingly fascinating manufacturing and design background of the humble aluminum can. There’s a lot going on with this seemingly simple container, and we get to the bottom... Read More
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#73 – Escape Rooms and Other News

From Portland’s “Escape Room,” to Fukushima, to Denmark, to China, and finally to space, this roving episode covers a lot of ground. Join us as Mark, Todd, and the Unipiper recount their experience with one... Read More
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#72 – Dinner in the Dark

You know those dinner parties where you’re blindfolded and made to sit in the dark while you’re served mystery foods to eat with your hands? We do! Hear about our sensory/social experiment, both from the... Read More
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Portland at the Movies #3 – Dr. Giggles

Is it possible to write a movie whose dialogue consists solely of ham-fisted doctor puns? Is it necessary to film an entire movie in a tiny park in unincorporated SW Portland even though it mostly... Read More
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#70 – Of Mice and Man

Douglas Engelbart is not a household name, but you owe much of what you do in day-to-day life to him. He invented modern computing, and by 1968 he had the vision to predict what our... Read More
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#68 – We’re Looking Forward To 2017

We make up for last week’s missed show by giving you a super-sized double episode! Join us as we look ahead to what 2017 will bring in the areas of science, technology, and blimp-platform-based delivery... Read More
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#67 – The Year in Science Minus One

As 2016 comes to a close, we take a look at the biggest news stories from this past year, from the detection of gravitational waves, to SpaceX, to advancements in medicine, to a brand new... Read More
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#66 – The Unipiper Goes Viral and Other News

This week’s show is packed, as we catch up with a bevvy of news stories and followups we’ve been collecting. Also, we talk to the Unipiper about his very popular last video (6.5 million views... Read More
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#65 – Chernobyl

In 1986, the world saw first-hand what a wide-spread nuclear disaster could look like when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant melted down. What happened? What were the effects both short term and long term? Find... Read More
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Portland at the Movies #2: The Hunted

What do you get when you mix 3 respected Oscar winners and one of the most beautiful cities in America? In the case of “The Hunted,” sadly, you get crap. But boy was the crap... Read More
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#63 – James Maxwell Smart

If you ever wondered who Einstein idolized, his name was James Maxwell, a pioneering mathematician of the 19th century. Hear about his amazing story, and how we still use the formulas he created, in this... Read More
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#60 – Remember Atari?

In this week’s “Member Berry”-inspired episode, we discuss how the Atari Corporation went from the fastest-growing company in history to losing half a billion dollars and 80% of its workforce in just a few years.... Read More
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#58 – What If The Earth Rotated Backwards?

In this week’s episode, we perform a little thought experiment of “If the Earth had rotated the other direction since the beginning of time, would anything be different?” The answer might surprise you (as it... Read More
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#57 – A Little Taste of Everything

This week we chat about a variety of topics, including our taste experiment with the “Miracle Fruit,” a berry that binds to your taste buds and changes the taste of all the food you eat.... Read More
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#55 – VR + DB Cooper

While the main topic of this week’s show is the legendary unsolved plane hijacking and parachute escape of D.B. Cooper over the Pacific Northwest in 1971, we also talk quite a bit about our first-hand... Read More
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#54 – Aluminum: More Than Just Nice Cans

Aluminum used to be so valuable that the French government once displayed bars of it next to the Crown Jewels, and America capped the Washington Monument with 6 pounds of it to brag about its... Read More
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#52 – Earth’s Magnetic Personality

What *is* “True North,” why is it different than “magnetic north,” and what does that have to do with the streets of Portland? We navigate the Earth’s magnetic core in this great episode. Also discussed:... Read More
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#51 – The Fascinating Case of Phineas Gage

In between the worst opening and closing to our podcast ever is the amazing story of Phineas Gage, who survived an 1848 blasting accident that blew a 3-foot long metal rod clean through his face... Read More
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# 50 – The Flux Capacitor of Space Travel

This week we tackle a listener-submitted topic: the physics-defying “EM Drive” rocket. Find out the fantastic promise–yet much less fantastic reality–of “a reactionless propulsion system that supposedly generates thrust by converting electrical energy via microwaves.”... Read More
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#49 – Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Marketing Scam

Diamond engagement rings are a time-tested tradition. Well, at least since 1940, when the DeBeers “Diamonds are Forever” marketing campaign convinced the world that a) diamonds aren’t worthless, and b) they are inextricably linked to... Read More
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#48 – No, The *Other* Margaret Hamilton

Find out how Margaret Hamilton (not the Wicked Witch) pioneered — and coined the word — Software Engineering as she (and her Little Old Ladies) coded, programmed, and literally threaded by hand NASA’s entire Apollo... Read More
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# 47 – Tinnitus: It’s All In Your Head

In this surprisingly fascinating discussion, we turn our ears toward tinnitus, a pervasive ringing in the ears that plagues many people, including Mark. Except, as he finds out, it’s not an ear problem, but a... Read More
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#46 – Jupiter? I Barely Knew Her!

With the Juno space probe successfully arriving in Jupiter’s orbit, we take a closer look at both the mission and the planet itself. Also discussed: Todd’s Hitler mustache and shame-food addiction, Mark’s Road Trip Round-Up,... Read More
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#45 – The Farnsworth Invention

From a tiny farm in Idaho to every living room on the planet, we take a look at how an unassuming (and still relatively unknown) man named Philo T. Farnsworth brought us a little invention... Read More
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#44 – The Universe and Everything

Dark matter, black holes, galaxies, gravity, the universe, and everything: Mark interviews Dr. Ethan Siegel, PhD in Theoretic Astrophysics, Professor, and astrophysics & space writer for Forbes Magazine in this fantastic journey through the outer... Read More
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#43 – Heat Stroke and Naked Baby Ducks

Capcea…capscies…capcase…..capsaicin… Well, however you pronounce it, this heat-induced episode explores two extremely different topics: where down feathers come from, and the Scoville Scale heat index of hot peppers. Other topics discussed: Road trips, Shia LeBouf:... Read More
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#41 – Recycled Humor

Is recycling a hippy scam? Does anyone even know what we’re allowed (or not allowed) to throw in the recycle bin? Find out how processing garbage and recycling works in this week’s action-packed episode. ALSO:... Read More
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#40 – Volcanoes Are So Hot Right Now

With the recent spate of Tiny Earthquakes* and subduction activity in the Pacific Northwest, we take a look at some of the different ways volcanic activity still shapes and shifts the earth beneath us. Also:... Read More
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#39 – Welcome to Flavor Country

What are “artificial” flavors, and are they different from “natural” flavors? (Short answer: not really.) Taste the rainbow as we explore the science of flavor. Also in this episode: screaming goats, Mark holds coworkers hostage,... Read More
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#37 – GPS Is Where Its At

Since made publicly accessible in 2000, GPS has transformed our lives in some surprising ways (and may lead to electrocuting old people who wander too far away). Find out how 33 satellites work together to... Read More
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#36 – A Matter of Time

If time isn’t constant, then what is it? And is traveling through time possible? In this episode we look at the bizarre nature of time, and the ways we currently experience time travel and manipulate... Read More
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#35 – Optical Storage Is The Pits

How do optical storage formats like CDs and DVDs work? We shed some laser light on the matter in this week’s episode. Also: Todd is in a fog, nerds rend their clothing about “Batman vs.... Read More
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#34 – A Back-and-Forth About Oscillation

What meets at the intersection of resonance, oscillation, and the piezoelectric effect? This episode explores how things from electric lighters to the atomic clock keeps ticking. Also: Todd’s over-inflation drama, Mark’s rat infestation, shame-eating and... Read More
  • Podcast

#33 – How Glass Built Humanity

Glass is the backbone of the entire modern world, responsible for world-changing revolutions in everything from modern chemistry to yachts to farming to the internet and to the very definition of ourselves. It’s a fascinating... Read More
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# 31 – How (and Why) Mob Mentality Works

Humans rely on herd mentality all the time, but what makes a mob? Why do individuals act so differently in a crowd? And how do we avoid becoming part of madness? Let’s discuss. Also: Todd... Read More
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#30 – Down With Gravity

What’s up with gravity? What are the gravity waves we measured pulsing through the fabric of space? Find out how much science still doesn’t understand about this fundamental force. Also: peeling the microwave, Ground Kontrol... Read More
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#29 – “I don’t even see color.”

What’s it like to realize at age 10 you’re colorblind? Or to find out at 30 that peanut butter isn’t green? We talk to actual colorblind human Cory Thomas about the daily logistics and intriguingly... Read More
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#28 – What the Phở is “The Vault”?

How will we rebuild humanity after complete global devastation? The Global Seed Vault located in Norway, of course, which holds 860,000 seeds “just in case.” Also: proof Todd drives “Well above average,” gas waterfall, Mark’s... Read More
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#27 – Bernoulli Puts On The Pressure

The fluid dynamics discussion flows this week as we’re pressured into Bernoulli’s principles and squeezed into the Venturi Effect. Also on the show: Why don’t we have just one giant nostril?, caucaii, Sanders 404, why... Read More
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#26 – Where Snap Decisions Come From

How does our brain make snap decisions, and how do external elements and personal bias infect that process? Answer: something called “priming.” Also: why Hulu is full of filthy lies, what is a slide rule(r)?,... Read More
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# 24 – The Science of Self-Delusion

The show is back! We dive back in to talk about the psychology of self-delusion via the Dunning-Kruger effect. Also, flirting with the meth-faced gas attendant, losing the recording of last week’s show, the New... Read More
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#22 – Fireside Chat Stew (with rockets!)

Cozy up to this potpourri of an episode for a literal Christmas fireside chat, where we briefly talk about rocket launching, orbiting, and accelerations per second/per second. Plus, Todd’s car gets hit, we both see... Read More
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#21 – Bitcoin

Is Bitcoin the future of currency? Or is it a scam developed by robot overlords to take over the economy? Find out! Also: The Jews VS the Japanese in the inaugural “SnackAttack!™” segment, the Oregon... Read More
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# 20 – Feel the Vibration

How did humans figure out how to record and play back sound? How does a record groove contain an infinity of sound, and how does the speaker play it? Find out in this episode! Also:... Read More
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#19 – 100 Million Years of Encryption

How does internet encryption work? How do you get the key from one party to the next without a security breach? Find out in this episode! Also, Apple TV needs a queue, “Webster” vs. “Alf,”... Read More
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#18 – Lidar? I barely knew har!

Guest Brian Kidd (aka the “Unipiper”) teaches us about his sciency day job — the amazing technology of “Lidar” (think radar/sonar but measured with light). Also, the Apple Watch, Todd get visited by a confused... Read More
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#16 – Listening to Schizophrenia

In this content-heavy episode, Todd experiences 4 minutes of schizophrenia via “Auditory Hallucinations” while attempting a few simple tasks.. Plus, Mark plays “When Did This Happen?” but has never heard of “Chocolate Rain,” Todd’s wasn’t... Read More
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# 15 – Oily Ouija

We’re back! In this episode Todd explains the joy of dressing up and scaring people at “Fright Town,” Mark recounts (to a skeptical Todd) his experience with a ouija board both this past weekend and... Read More
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#14 – Space Printing — IN 3D!

In space, no one can hear you 3D print. This episode takes us to Mars, where we’ve just found water (but can’t touch because of actual, literal “Space Laws”) and where scientists wants to print... Read More
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#13 – Dutch Tears and Hydrophobia

In which we explore an explosive example of surface tension in glass, as well as explore what it’s like to be hydrophobic. Also: Todd gets a mail-in ticket, the burrito pencil holder, Portland’s Joan of... Read More
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#12 – The Unipiper!

In this very special episode, we interview Brian Kidd, aka the world-famous Unipiper! We talk about everything from the history and mechanics of bagpipes, how his amazing fire-spewing set of pipes work, being on Jimmy... Read More
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#11 – Series of Tubes

This episode we talk all about how the internets work, right down to the packets and protocols. Also, Mark visits a crazy “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” hotel at an Eastern Oregon hot springs, how... Read More
  • Podcast

#10 – All About Fire. And Lock picking.

All of Washington is ablaze, so what better time to discuss how fire works? (After a fantastic discussion about lock picking, of course.) We discuss the 4 states of matter (DON’T FORGET PLASMA!), the “Fire... Read More
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#9 – I Demand a Spirograph – STAT!

How quickly can Amazon Prime Now deliver milk, Oreos, root beer, and a classic Spirograph game? Dang fast. Also – It’s OK to not be offended about everything, the return of the “I Barely Knew... Read More
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# 8 – Trump For President

We got new mics and sound equipment – the audio is fantastic! In this episode: Todd is rendered unable to process thought after Mark lays out his non-ironic argument for a Donald Trump presidency. Also,... Read More
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# 7 – Patent Pending™

In which we discuss Todd’s cat in a tree, the USS Blueback submarine and the houseboat from “Body of Evidence”, “patent pending,” Don Cornelius & “Soul Train,” Mark’s Guinness Book of World Records, and the... Read More
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#6 – Batteries? That’s the topic?

Are batteries interesting? (Hint: sort of, but not really.) But our discussion still is, wherein we discuss ancient Egyptian Home Shopping Networks, sextants and nanoballs, Zambonis, why there aren’t size B batteries, penny farthing bicycles,... Read More
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#5 – Electricity, Electricity!

In today’s discussion, we learn all about the ins and outs of electricity, the differences between voltage and current and watts and ohms, capacitors and insulators and mhos — oh my! — and how to... Read More
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#4 – Nuclear? I Barely Knew Her!

What is nuclear power?  Mark, who was a Nuclear Reactor Operator on a nuclear submarine in the Navy, takes us through the ins and outs of nuclear power. Where does it come from? Will it... Read More
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#2 – Quantum of Physics

Argon take me away! Is “religiosity” a word?  Are we breathing the mouths of every person who has ever lived? Will 3D printing destroy us all?! A quintillion questions are answered when we look at... Read More
  • Podcast

#1 – The Future!

From self-driving cars to sentient robots to an army of zeppelins, we discuss what the future looked like way back when, what it looks like now, and just where our Segway-driven future will really take... Read More

From the Blog

Mark and Toddcast © 2017