Conspiracy theories are thriving in the internet age, even as access to facts become easier. So what’s going on? Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? Greg Nibler of Funemployment Radio and Digital Trends sits in this week to talk about his favorite theories and why these theories continue to thrive. Also: American Airlines’ therapy animal guidelines, lie-detecting computer kiosks, world’s oldest living person: “every day is a punishment,” Google removes “Don’t Be Evil” from mission statement, Top 50 websites, and Bitcoin takes up .5% of the world’s electricity. Enjoy!
In this episode we go to war! Both Mark and Todd pick a dozen random and fascinating short articles from Wikipedia and go head-to-head to see who uncovered the most interesting and obscure entries. Cut your hair accordingly! Also: the Unipiper finds his own Wiki-hole and brings us along for the ride. In the news: Amazon record profits!….and Amazon Prime’s price increase, ABBA reunites, tinnitus treatment, vomit-inducing caterpillars, Harvard to resurrect woolly mammoth, an undercover Lego crime ring in Portland, and breaking news about exploding urine. Players….FIGHT!
Concrete is such a fundamental aspect of humanity that we barely even notice it anymore. It’s literally pedestrian. This episode we find out why and how concrete came to be, and how it formed the modern world we live in. Also: “King of Kong” winner controversy, the sound of black holes colliding, the rapture is upon us, Wapato Jail sold, “Pirates of the Caribbean” ships on Oregon coast, Art Bell dies, Japan’s robot mayor, world’s most hipster cities, throw out your romaine lettuce, and the world is in the grips of a Necco Wafer panic! Enjoy!
Black holes and dark matter are such a mystery, scientists are still trying to unwrap their secrets. In this episode, we take a look at the basics of black holes, and struggle to understand dark matter, which is the mysterious substance that makes up most of the universe. Plus, the Unipiper joins us in studio to talk fake Unipipers, Sasquatches, and WWeek’s “Best of Portland 2018.” Also: LED street lights causing headaches, world’s largest dinosaur footprint, zombie raccoons, fart detectors, and what 167 theramins sound like playing Beethoven. Enjoy! (Click here to nominate the Unipiper as “Best Local Celebrity” and Portland at the Movies as “Best Portland Podcast!)
If I can’t exhale at the speed of sound, how does my voice travel the speed of sound? How do the Eastern Oregon hot springs work? And who knew Alyssa Milano’s dad was such a successful Hollywood sound editor? These questions and more will be answered in this meandering and interesting episode. Also discussed: “Embiggen” added to the dictionary, oil companies buy Utah monuments for drilling, Amazon patents drones to recognize flailing and screaming gestures, the Texas-sized (?) Pacific Garbage Patch, earliest North American footprint found, China face IDs and tickets jaywalkers, mind-reading technology, new human organ discovered, and turtles develop karate-chopping flippers. Cowabunga, dude!
Between movies, TV, and advertising, our heads are full of songs we know note-for-note, but know nothing else about. This week, Brian “The Unipiper” sits in for a vacationing Mark and digs into the history and origins or some of the most famous songs we don’t know the origins of. Also, “Toys R Us” and “I Heart Radio” file for bankruptcy, autism neurology breakthrough, WalMart patents robot bees, and “Weird” Al makes history. Enjoy!
Like most of us, you probably think of Michael Jackson on the cover of the National Enquirer when you hear “Hyperbaric Chamber.” Surprisingly, they’re not just kookie, weirdo nonsense, but hold legitimate, scientific purpose. This week we learn all about them, and hear a first-hand account of what it’s like to use one. Also, the Unipiper is in-studio to tell us all about the First Annual Tonya Harding Film Festival! Also: Detecting autism, eradicating polio (also, what is polio?), SpaceX, Foreign Accent Syndrome, Best Buy stops selling CDs, Bitcoin heist, and drones take over the fashion runways. Enjoy!
This week Todd recaps his journey into opening his third eye as he describes his sensory deprivation salt water float experience. Then we dive into the surprisingly fascinating and innovative history of a much maligned (well, maligned by Todd) RC Cola! All that, plus: The Unipiper is art!, liquid mirror telescopes, Amazon tracks and “nudges” workers, Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JP Morgan insurance, SF clears marijuana convictions, and amateur astronomer finds missing NASA satellite. Enjoy with a frosty cold Nehi!
In 1984, 751 people in the town of The Dalles, Oregon were sickened with salmonella when a group led by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh poisoned the salad bars of local restaurants. It was the beginning of the end of one of the largest and most invasive cults in the United States, and came complete with a fleet of Rolls Royces. Discover the Rajneeshes on this fascinating episode. Plus, the Unipiper joins us to chat about a new project! Also discussed: RIP Rosie the Riveter and Mort Walker, electric barges, solar tariffs, super blood moon, Musk’s flamethrower, and scandal in the world of camel beauty pageants. Enjoy!
There are no mistakes, just “happy accidents.” In this episode, we take a look at a bunch of scientific innovations and inventions – from Corn Flakes to penicillin to the microwave to Play-Doh – that came about quite by happy accidents. And the Unipiper joins us in studio to taste test Japanese snack foods. Also: TV spin-offs, SpaceX spy satellite explosion, IV bag shortage, Echo Spot “Smart Alarm,” cancer-detecting blood test, 2017 second hottest year after 2016, Bill Gates pays Nigeria’s debt, and a 5-foot tape worm is the result of one man eating sushi for 5 days. Eat up!
We’re back with a bonus-sized episode! This week we catch up with, well, everything — both the news stories we’ve been saving up, as well as a look back at the past year in science. And new father The Unipiper joins us to talk about his new daughter and visiting the best store in Portland! Topics: Epsom salt, FartMan, supermoons, DNA kits, ISIS, bad movie documentaries, taking an Uber instead of an ambulance, Library of Congress not saving every tweet, wireless charging, plants and streetlights, Mt. St. Helens earthquakes, chocolate shortage, and Dogecoin: the $1 billion dollar cryptocurrency. Much excitement! So laugh!
This week we welcome special guest and meteorologist Jack Bohl to chat about how climate works (or, more accurately, how we don’t really know specifically how it works), and how things have changed in weather science over the past few decades. Also, at the END of the episode (after many, many spoiler alerts), we’re joined in-studio with the Unipiper to talk about our reactions to “The Last Jedi.” News: Questions about black holes and Wikileaks, RIP Beaverton Dutch Store and Vera Katz, Mad Magazine moves, mystery Oreo revealed (we were right!), Navy rail gun update, Uber espionage, and asking the question “Can AI create art?” Enjoy!
“Quantum Computing” is a phrase we’re hearing more and more about it, and it’s something that seems like magic — because it sort of is. Let’s take a look at Quantum Computing, which is basically a technological Shroedinger’s Cat. Plus, the Unipiper talks about his busy upcoming schedule, and how to see him downtown! News: Spiders drink graphene, Tesla Roadster, Germany bans kids’ smart watch, Facebook to show Russian articles, and the exciting adventures of a Flat-Earth Rocket Scientist. Enjoy!
There are 7 different “Body Farms” – special areas designated by research scientists to study the decomposition of bodies to aid in the forensic analysis of unsolved crimes — located in the U.S. So what exactly goes on there? And how does a body farm get bodies? Plus, we take a close look at RCA’s “Selectron Disk,” (called a “Capacitance Electronic Disc,”) an analogue movie format from the early 80s that stored sound and picture on vinyl disks that played with a physical stylist. Also, the Unipiper calls in to throw shade at a certain celebrity who posted a Unipiper picture without credit. Scandal! This week’s news covers: self-driving shuttle crash, the “Vocktail,” Bill Gates’s “Smart City,” IBMs Watson diagnosis, Uber/NASA’s flying car plan, and a Portland cadaver company is raided by the FBI. In other news, Portland has a cadaver company. Enjoy!
Many of us have heard the terms “Deep Web,” “Dark Web,” and maybe even “TOR/Onion Routing,” but what exactly are those things? Or where are they? And am I on some sort of watch-list for even knowing about them? This week we dive into the hidden corners of the Internet that lay right under the surface. Plus: The Unipiper talks Interactive Board Game Museums and “Underwater Hockey.” Also discussed: a Beluga whale speaks dolphin, Kennedy Papers and Climate Change Papers, LED stoplights not hot enough, Bitcoin skyrockets, and rampaging dishwashers. Thanks for listening, and don’t forget to rate and subscribe.
Because people asked for it, here’s a stand-alone compilation of the Dad Jokes Mark told during the first 100 episodes. Buckle down, it’s 27 minutes of the most groan-inducing jokes you’ve ever heard. You’ve been warned.
We celebrate 100 (!) episodes by sharing mics with fellow podcast nerds Nate and Dave from the NotNerd podcast. Join us as we talk tech, Mystery Oreos (delivered in person via flaming bagpipe procession by the Unipiper himself!), the death of Kinect, and the 15 most influential websites of all time. It’s a fantastic 100th show – and don’t miss out on the 27-minute compilation of Mark’s “Dad Jokes” from the past 100 episodes at the very end! (Seriously…if I had to listen to them all, then you have to as well.)
Thanks to everyone who listens – it’s been an awesome first 100 shows!
This week we spin the Wheel of Wikipedia and discuss half a dozen short-but-sweet topics, ranging from why we don’t refer to the president as “Your Majesty” to “Berserk Llama Syndrome” to a Cold War CIA project called “Acoustic Kitty.” All that, and the Unipiper works blue as he talks about what’s going on around town. Plus: Lake Oswego v. Public Riffraff, “Steve” the Northern Lights, AIM shuts down, Musk delays truck, “Project Loon” depoloys wifi balloons, and Google’s new in-ear translation ear buds. Enjoy!
In this week’s episode we take a look at crystals: the otherworldly, geometric webbing of solid (and sometimes liquid) materials that make our up our fancy rings, computers, and TVs.Plus, the Unipiper dishes some great upcoming Halloween activities! Plus: “Smart” billboards and the terrifying side of machine learning, Elon Musk goes to the moon and to Mars, Musk’s mom is the new CoverGirl, Hitler’s underwear sells at auction, and our new plans of growing a gigantic floating pumpkin for the next year’s Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Tualatin. Enjoy, and be safe.
It’s a super-sized episode as we get back into the swing of things and take a detailed look at the role the Cassini-Huygens Probe has played in our understanding of Saturn and its moons. And we catch up on news with stories about Herman the Sturgeon, Oregon cell phone law, robotic dental surgery, Amazon’s N. Portland fulfillment center, the largest electric vehicle, Toys R Us bankruptcy, Manson Girl gets parole, Salvador Dali “is NOT the father!”, and the heavy ethical questions of the “Gaydar” AI and face recognition software. And remember: DON’T BE A TODD.
The future of food isn’t just GMO crops – it’s lab-grown and 3D-printed meat. As in real, perfect, just-like-meat meat, grown from animals’ stem and scaffolding cells, all done without harming or killing real animals. Join us as we extrude the facts about “unnatural meats.” Also: The coldest thing ever and record breaking heat, “low-fat diets kill you,” stream movies with your library card, DC library hides banned books, British library releases DaVinci papers, Frankfurt evacuated for WW2 bombs, and riding the rails with Ty Pennington. Enjoy!
The eclipse and its hype has passed, but Brian “The Unipiper” Kidd joins us in-studio to talk about our fantastic and memorable trip to Idaho and Eastern Oregon last weekend. We talk about some interesting old towns, our cabin in the woods, as well as what exactly is going on with the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot, which can be seen off I-84 in the Easter Oregon hinterlands. Travel with us, won’t you? Also: Chuck Palahniuk time capsule, Washington’s record apple crop, US Embassy experiences “Acoustic Attack,” Musk’s “Neuralink,” and a rescued pig is served as dinner to his rescuers. I AM AN ACTOR.
We all know the nursery rhyme about Lizzie Borden and the untimely demise of her parents. But how much of it is true? And what actually happened in that Massachusetts house in 1892 that we still talk about it today? Find out on this week’s show. Also discussed: Canadian wildfires and the PNW heat wave, Bitcoin splits, TriMet fares for low income riders, fire-starting cats, and bullet-proof armadillos. It’s more fun than you can swing an ax at!
Tiny bones, flexing membranes, percussive protection, and some fluid for good measure — our ability to hear and instantly translate sound into meaning is both amazingly advanced, yet mechanically fairly simple. Take a listen to this week’s discussion about how our ears work. Plus, the Unipiper talks all about his big meetup with Times Square’s World-Famous “The Naked Cowboy”! News discussed: The Perseid meteor shower to be the brightest in 96 years, Kenton’s Paul Bunyan statue renovation, the story of Francis Gabe and her self-cleaning house, Elon Musk news, and more train talk! Enjoy!
Emojis are everywhere from plush toys to lip balm to the movie theaters, but where did they come from? Does someone own them? Can I design my own? Find out the answers in this surprising look at the history of emojis. Also discussed: PDX wins best airport again, Oregon hotel scams for the eclipse, OMSI’s record-breaking baking soda volcano, Washington State new cell phone/driving law, and more news about things that are the size of Delaware. [winky-face-clown-hat]
This week we look at what exactly is happening when you see a mirage or other atmospheric phenomenon (phenom-mnah), and how light bends around and through the air like crashing waves to create optical illusions that appear right in front of us. Also, the Unipiper talks terrible movie trailers and Sea Pickles! This week’s news stories: Pacific Foods sells for $700m, Oregon raises cigarette buying age, Paul McCartney finally gets his music back, Tesla in Australian rich-man’s bet, driving the Wienermobile, and the new (probably feces-filled) beach on the banks of the Wilamette. Phenom-mnah.
Much like salt, sugar has played an integral role in the spreading of humans around the world. Domesticated by New Guinea, powdered by India, perfected by Muslims, spread by Crusades, and the reason half of the 11 million slaves were brought to the New World, the story of sugar hasn’t always been sweet. Also discussed: Tesla finally makes the Model 3, Musk digs first tunnel, NASA has to deny Mars child slavery colony, Portland’s Mounted Police no more, free eclipse glasses at libraries, McDonald’s home delivery, hideous sunburns, and the effects of elevation on Todd’s precious Diet Coke refills. Enjoy!
Watch a Live Video of this podcast recording:
Todd is out of town, so Brian “The Unipiper” Kidd fills in to chat with Mark about the world of file sharing and torrenting. Also discussed: a steel mill that only needs 14 employees, an Uber-like bathroom roams NYC, too hot for airplanes to fly, how eggs get their shape, “Weird Al” on the Walk of Fame, sweat-powered electronics, and it’s now legal to break someone’s car window to save a dog. Enjoy this episode of “The Mark and Brian” show!
It’s not an understatement to say that trains built this country, and to this day are the backbone of our transportation industry. In this episode we take a closer look at a few of the engineering marvels that keep our trains moving. Also, the Unipiper talks about his upcoming appearance on ABC’s “The Gong Show”! Plus: Amazon buys Whole Foods, coconut oil controversy, AIs develop their own language, world’s largest duck in Tacoma, wooden skyscraper in the Pearl District, LEGO Multnomah Falls, and vintage video straight from a 1992 department store electronics aisle.
Have you ever wondered how they pack such intricate explosions into those compact projectiles when you’re watching fireworks? Find out the history and mechanics of fireworks on this week’s show! Plus, the Unipiper tells us what it was like to lead the Rose Festival Starlight Parade! Also discussed: a fantastic James Bond doc, Ivar’s Acres of Clams sells flagship location, Portland needs water treatment plant, a monkey mafia that holds stolen goods for ransom, Amazon grocery kiosks, and vampire bats on a rampage. Explosive!
William Shakespeare changed the world with his writing, but for centuries people have argued he never even existed at all. From Mark Twain to Walt Whitman to even members of the US Supreme Court (who held a “trial” about it as late as 1987), people have asked the question: “Who was William Shakespeare?” We’ll find out in this episode. Also, the Unipiper talks Sir Mix-a-lot, Oregon towns brace for the eclipse, Global Seed Vault floods, (S)Pam explosion in Mulkiteo, dairy water reclamations, and a terrifying Cyclops Goat that will haunt your dreams. Enjoy!
IBM’s “Watson” is more than just an AI or supercomputer – it’s a staggering step into a future of machines that can both learn (it can learn up to a million books per minute) and communicate with humans in a straight-forward and natural way. What is it? How does it work? Are we all going to die? Find out in this week’s episode. The Unipiper also joins us to talk about his appearance in the Alaska Airlines magazine, and being voted the 3rd best mascot in all of Oregon. Also: vaccines don’t cause autism (still), a bank for developers, lab-grown meats, 400 dead birds in Galveston, the FDA can only watch FoxNews, fake service dogs becoming a problem, and “gorilla food songs.” Enjoy! #marksPresident #marksAmerica
In this episode we take a look at momentum and how it moves the world around us (and how it relates to inertia! Whee!). Pirouette with us through this interesting discussion, as well as the Unipiper’s guide to sloths and the city. Also discussed: “Sheeple” now in the dictionary, Amazon’s super practical and not at all scary “Look” device, Apple’s data farms in Oregon, NSA spies on us using blimps, surgeon aims for head transplant in 3 years, and how female dragonflies fake death to avoid aggressive mating males. Enjoy!
Hedy Lamarr was considered one of the most beautiful movie stars in the world in the ’30s and ’40s, but she also helped invent a frequency-hopping communications technology implemented by the US Navy in the ’60s, and is still used in the WiFi and Bluetooth technology we use today. Find out her intriguing story on this week’s episode. Also: a documentary just for Todd, robot suitcases, Google’s quantum computing, nanocar races, Oreo’s “cookies & cream” flavor, Steve Ballmer data mines the gov’t, Snapchat buys “Yo,” and the Unipiper discusses how someone gets a blue verification checkmark on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy!
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 — either way it will soon be an everyday reality. Plus, the Unipiper talks new projects! Also discussed: Playboy in braille, apes know wrong decisions, brains make 2 copies of each memory, ads using home AI, how to find out who died in your house, eating roadkill now legal, repealing the ban on dueling, and what came first – the cello or the piano? Enjoy, and don’t forget to like, subscribe, and rate the show.
“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 to them — and even themselves. Plus, the Unipiper talks Vintage Radio Society and the Yamhill County Plow Competition! Also discussed: SpaceX successfully reuses rocket, the Apollo Fusion project, “slowpoke” traffic law, waiting 25 seconds for snacks, real-life Sharknado, and Todd gets a “Face Bra.” Enjoy!
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 refining an oversized “pocket watch” that Captain Cook himself used to navigate — all the while battling a 50 year war for the financing and recognition he deserved. Also discussed: Oregon’s new bottle deposit, Tualatin Cracker Barrel, real-life Robocops, graphine skin that can feel, Senate allows your browser history to be sold, parrots high on drugs, tequila clouds, an astonishing update on “The Storyteller” from our episode “Dinner in the Dark,” and a day camp for dogs. If you don’t love it, my name ain’t Admiral Sir Cloudsy Shovel!
This week the Unipiper joins us in-studio to talk about his recent trip to Holland for a TV show, and then stays for a conversation about an American town made uninhabitable by a 400-acre underground coal fire that has been continually burning since 1962 (and was the inspiration for the setting of the Silent Hill video game franchise). Plus: wacky Dutch snack foods, can you really not scream in space?, another Portland landmark closes, Goodyear’s last blimp, Alexander Graham Bell is a thieving fraud, Cheerios flower giveaway scandal, labor dispute settled by Oxford comma, and landscape billboards. All that and giraffe talk! Enjoy!
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 eyes right out of your face, so don’t just look through a hole in a piece of paper. We also talk to the Unipiper about anarchist potholes and freestyle mustaches! Also: “Grimm” sale, storing data on single atoms, Waze vs. city traffic planners, gluten-free your way to diabetes, Voodoo Donuts goes LA, Ramses II statue discovered, Mona Lisa’s smile, female shark eats male shark for bumping into her, and a regurgitated story about Inky the Octopus’s brave escape from the aquarium #neverforget.
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 free (which inexplicably involves both Napoleon and ionizing radiation). Plus: The Unipiper talks Nintendo Switch and Grimm, Google Deep Learning predicts cancer, DNA file storage, classic arcade games lose CRTs, New Mexico always on DST, typo causes Amazon outage, Musk sends men around moon, perils of space travel, a cat purr generator, and just how much pee *is* in your pool, anyway? Enjoy!
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 what makes this substance so amazing in this week’s episode. Also, the Unipiper talks Portland, new planets discovered, hieroglyphics to be published, Portland is 12th for “Worst Commute,” citronella is a dirty scam, “merely attractive” vs. “very attractive,” RIP Naked Chicken Chalupa, and the Dutch continue to spread good tidings of great joy through the selling of Stroopwafels at a local coffee shop. #AgeOfSpackle
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 other mesmerizing questions on this week’s episode. Also: The Unipiper talks Wizard World, record Portland rain, YouTube auto-captioning, flavored water bottles, Google Spanner, cephalopods one step closer to global domination, and the UAE want to build on Mars. Enjoy this episode with your favorite oatmeal-flavored cereal!
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 of it in this week’s show. Also: Male contraceptive gel, fewer # in Super Bowl ads, Tesla beats another record, TrumpTweetBot, Packy the elephant dies, declassified CIA maps, metal in the microwave, what causes traffic problems, and what *is* a booger? Oh, and Todd may or may not be on crack. Enjoy!
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 of Portland’s “Escape Rooms,” as well as catch up on all the science news we’ve been putting off over the past few weeks. Conducting electricity without heat, mass producing graphine, a Chinese factory replacing its workers with robots, and Denmark’s enormous wind turbines — it’s a jam-packed episode that feels like it goes by in a second, but also feels like it last for freaking ever. Enjoy!
The website Todd was talking about:
How Much Do They Know About You Based On Your Likes?
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 POV of the blinded and sighted. Plus: The Doomsday Clock, what exactly *is* an Executive Order?, human-pig embryos, US’s largest off-shore windfarm approved, Large Hadron Collider to find parallel universes, cyborg grasshoppers, the Unipiper “pipes the haggis,” and a robot learns to update and print itself. It’s a feast for the senses!
The “Internet of Things” is a term both vague and exact, and it will be running all of our lives very soon. What exactly is it? How will it intertwine itself in our lives? Will Todd ever secretly order his shame-pizza using the internet of things? We discuss it all in this week’s episode. Also: The Unipiper talks Battlestar Galactica screenings & trendy ampersands, can pirating a movie be ethical?, the Inauguration Speech’s 27 new words, the transfer of the POTUS social media, Louis CK plays Ground Kontrol, “air selfies,” NASA adjusts the clock, tedious talk about the mechanics of comedy, and a roadway is littered with red Skittles on their way to be turned into cattle feed. Enjoy!
And because I know no one will believe me. Now it has to be in your brain, too.
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 takes place indoors, and Oregon is never even mentioned or seen? Why does this movie even exist? Join us as we demand answers from the 1992 horror/slasher film “Dr. Giggles,” the first movie production of Portland’s own Dark Horse Comics. [Insert medical pun here]
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 lives would look like today. Hear his story on today’s episode. All that, and the Unipiper talks anime screenings and Harry Potter symphonies! Also: Ringling Bros. Circus calls it quits, new DB Cooper evidence, new Lady Liberty coins, FB wants to control our thoughts, goat yoga, and Mark tells a bonkers story about performing with the circus. Enjoy!
What are the driving forces behind conspiracy theories, and how do they work? We’ll take a look at the psychological and social building blocks needed for conspiracy theories to spread, and how pieces of them leak out into public discourse. Also discussed: Weird documentaries, Google Home fights itself, California’s drive-thru tree falls, feed your baby peanuts immediately, Faraday’s “Tesla-busting” car, Hanford radiation still spreading, Charles Manson is going to die, and the Unipiper talks Escape Rooms and reptile conventions. Enjoy, unless you’re one of the SHEEPLE who don’t like the show!
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…
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 prime number (2^74,207,281 minus 1, for those curious). Join us as we take a look back. Also: The Unipiper’s gift guide, Portland’s big storm, Heimlich dies, Elon joins Trump, ODOT considers salt, North Dakota pipeline spills, a whipped cream shortage, eternal data storage method, and putting history into context. Enjoy, and don’t forget to turn into the skid!
Todd’s Custom Notebook Site:
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 in 2 days!), and what happens when a video starts going viral. This week’s stories include: how puns affect the brain, Todd’s Facebook “like” problem, Fukashima radiation hits Oregon, the guy who stuck his head in an operating particle accelerator, 50% of people remember being at events that never happened, dinosaur tail with feathers discovered, the periodic table is complete, Canadian AI writes a Christmas song, John Glenn dies, and robots take over crap jobs. Enjoy!
Canadian AI sings a christmas carol!
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 out on this fascinating episode. Also discussed: Tardigrade mating, Netflix off-line streaming, how do you solve a problem like pooping in space?, Jimmy Mack’s and Green Dragon close, the Unipiper talks the West Hills martini glass, and more!
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 fun to talk about! Join us as we discuss this 2003 made-in-Portland movie, starring two main characters who hate to talk, emote, or follow the rules of actual time. Come for the stick smelling, stay for the smelting! Enjoy!
Confirmation Bias is the tendency to search for, favor, and recall information that confirms one’s already existing beliefs, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities. It’s also something we’re all guilty of, because we have it for some very primal survival reasons. Combined with how easily most human beings conform to simple displays of authority (to the point of actual murder), this tendency can be problematic. Find out how to combat your own stupid brain and biases in this week’s episode. Also: DB Cooper’s FBI files released, update on the 1919 Boston molasses disaster, 3D bioprinting facility, Plymouth settlement evidence, mammoth discovery rewrites timeline, the Catholic Church’s new “Sindr” app, and the Unipiper talks about the history of “Keep Portland Weird” (yes, we know it’s from Austin). Enjoy!
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 episode. Also discussed: Free State Parks on Black Friday, why Portlanders don’t use umbrellas, students fix Facebook’s fake news problem, foam floods Santa Clara, man dissolves in Yellowstone, and the Unipiper joins us in-studio to talk Santa Con. Enjoy!
The country is in a rough place right now, and there’s only one man that can help: Mr. Rogers. We’ll take a look at how this quiet man turned kindness into true power, and made us all believe we truly mattered. Intriguingly, he also saved PBS and went to the Supreme Court to defended the public’s right to tape things off TV to their VCRs. Let’s come together and be the people Mr. Rogers knew we could be. Also discussed: Super moon, Canada’s mystery noise, USB AIDS test, implant for ALS, UK ditches coal, Trump wants to send us to Jupiter, and the Unipiper talks Christmas and “yarn bombing.” Enjoy, and be kind.
Every 4 years we complain about it, and then we immediately forget it: the Electoral College. This week we look at what it is, how it works, and why we still use this outdated and bizarrely convoluted process. Also in this episode: Tesla’s roof tiles, N. Dakota approves armed drones (!), driverless truck delivers beer, Cubs Win, ABBA reunites, and Mark & The Unipiper take a haunted trip to the Hot Lake Hotel. Enjoy!
Portland at the Movies is a hilarious new podcast that takes an in-depth look at some of the questionable movies made in and around Portland (think How Did This Get Made with movies filmed in Portland). Our first episode centers on the made-for-TV Disney Channel movie Halloweentown, filmed in St. Helens, Oregon. Join us for a funny look at a deeply confusing Halloween classic, where we discuss everything from a little town’s inherent cruelty towards children to the nonsensical monsters and characters that inhabit Halloweentown.
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. We also have The Unipiper – live from the Retro Gaming Convention! Also discussed: The Bermuda Triangle non-Mystery, Scrotum Frogs at Titicaca, the Great Barrier Reef is dead, training bees, new room at Winchester Mystery House, Tesla’s “Level 5” autopilot, the recent DDOS cyberattacks explained, and Mark votes on the air, much to Todd’s dismay. Enjoy!
Did you know you could easily calculate the speed of light using your microwave and a hot dog? Find out how in this week’s episode, as we talk about the history of the microwave, how it works, and why it (probably) won’t melt off your face when you look through the door. Also in this episode: The Unipiper talks clowns, throwing turkeys from airplanes in Arkansas, those infernal credit card chips, the ice caps may or may not be melting, yawning animals, @OMSI’s #AskAnAstro, Portland Retro Gaming Convention, “Popcorn Lung,” and a trip down memory lane to when the “drug” Jenkem was all the rage. Happy huffing!
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 did Todd, because he doesn’t know very much). We also get the lowdown on the month-long, St. Helen’s “Halloweentown” celebration, where the Unipiper was a parade headliner. Also: “The Morality Machine,” Google’s Translates Neural Network, the Rheinlander closes, Portlandia’s feminist books store in a tizzy, the Rosetta/Philea mission ends, and how to pass multiple kidney stones on a rollercoaster near you. Enjoy!
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. Also covered: a listener question about the common cold, China’s satellite will kill us all, Tesla sues and AT&T sues, the Leviticus Scrolls, a lost tortoise shows up after 32 years, the “Pitch Drop” experiment, and the Great Molasses Flood of 1919! Enjoy!
Is it possible for an entire population to collectively imagine — and agree on — a reality that doesn’t actually exist? Enter the case of “The Berenstein Bears,” whose names were actually “BerenSTAIN,” even though almost everyone on the planet is sure — POSITIVE — that it’s “BerenSTEIN.” Our special guest Ryan Zeinert talks about how his blog article about the subject exploded into the Internet Conspiracy Sensation of 2015, and how an entire populace can somehow collectively remember something completely and provably false. It’s a fascinating look at how things like urban legends, time travel theories, the Mandela Effect, and our stupid, faulty brains create an alternative reality, even in the internet age.
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 experience with the new Virtual Reality headset at Mark’s office. Spoilers: it’s pretty incredible, and the future is going to be *weird*. Also discussed: Facebook’s AI editorial curators fail, Google’s RankBrain, earth definitely hears from ETs! (no they don’t), plasma-controlled surfaces on airplanes, and the Unipiper (and his wife!) join us to talk about the Seattle’s PAX gaming convention, as well as their own experiences with VR gaming this weekend. It’s a great show! Enjoy!
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 manufacturing prowess and success. Today, aluminum is everywhere from beer cans to airplanes. Find out how that happened on this week’s episode. Also: meeting Tommy Wiseau of “The Room,” popping popcorn with lightning, accidental bad news for bald guys, lobsters use feces to protect themselves, Alaskan government facility DEFINITELY DOES NOT USE MIND CONTROL, KFC perfume and leaked recipe, Domino’s delivery drone, #PastorMark on TV, and the Unipiper joins us for another installment of “Make Portland Weird Again.”
The Cineplex popcorn experiment:
Portland’s Zymoglyphic Museum (of nightmares)
New technologies can change history in surprising ways, and no technology has changed the literal map of the world like air conditioning. From the desert ice houses of ancient Egypt, to the “Ice King” and his Civil War nemesis, to the Hollywood blockbuster, and even to the White House, the effects of ice and cold have altered history in some astonishing ways. Also: The Unipiper’s new segment “Make Portland Weird Again,” modern-day Noah, Darcelle is the oldest drag queen, couple sues PokemonGo for destroying their life, security drones will kill us all, Google Fiber not coming to Portland, N. Korea is set to Manbang, just what sort of system of government did the Smurfs have, anyway? Enjoy!
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: R2-D2 dies, flying cockroaches, rivers on Titan, Tesla saves a life, cow dust fights asthma, using crickets to find the temperature, Swedish Fish Oreos, Olympics, and Todd can’t figure out how the Big Dipper works.
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 and skull, and despite losing parts of his brain (which he vomited out), recovered fully. Listen while you eat, won’t you? It’s a fascinating piece of medical history. Also: “Stranger Things,” LHC didn’t discover a new particle after all, automating UPS, Iran bans Pokemon GO, 3D pancakes, DeepNet/DarkNet, getting a sunburn through the clouds, and Seaman the uneaten dog. Enjoy!
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.” Also discussed: “Stand By Me” and “Kindergarten Cop,” the Enchanted Forest, Corpse Flower, ClintonKaine domain, Jack Davis dies, Ice Bucket Challenge works, Google simulates Quantum Computing, Netflix’s “SlowTV,” the Magna Carta is in Portland, Todd is perplexed by water filtration straws, and celebrating 50 episodes! Thank you to everyone for listening – it’s been a fantastic ride!
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 marriage. In this episode we find out just how they did it. Also: giphy, emus are fascinating, bad poetry purge, Tesla Master Plan II, Nintendo stock, a mini-blowout about politics, the “Pooper” app, and the Death Bear. Enjoy!
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 Guidance Program in the 60s. Also: the Unipier is our #1 celebrity, 300 pound security robot runs over toddler, NASA cuts feed of UFO, Elon Musk releases Tesla’s “Master Plan,” a Tindr date to Turkey, Mr. Rogers made Todd cry, and a bonus Dad Joke! Enjoy, and spread the word!
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 brain problem. Find out how tinnitus works – and how you can combat it through therapy. Also discussed: Grandma texts, “The Room”‘s amazing audiobook companion, “Pokemon GO!” takes over the planet, storing data in DNA, scientists plant false memories, free-range monkeys know what they don’t know, and much more. Thinking of you, and congrats!
Tinnitus Research Program:
Must be 18+ years old
$25 per visit; limit 5 visits
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, Bulgaria’s open software program, helium in Tanzania, China’s new radio telescope, testing solar roads, TrumpSingles.com, why some people are so sweaty, Android continues to be god-awful at naming things, what gives fireworks their different colors, and more! Enjoy – and leave us a review on iTunes!
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 called the Television. Also in this episode: Mark’s road trip, the Portland jet boat tour, the crazy-ass Gotthard Tunnel opening in Switzerland, “Ruin My Search History,” octopuses have alien DNA, US scientists grow human organs in pigs, Fat Axl memes, and nobody ever appreciates a good “Body of Evidence” reference. Enjoy!
But seriously, this opening ceremonies is completely bonkers:
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 reaches of space. Also: ABBA reunites!, 4 new elements are named, praying mantis named after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and more! Enjoy!
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: artiste, Mark’s wheel explodes, King Tut’s space knife, Facebook & Microsoft lay cable, Big-Ass Sandwiches closes, Target’s Crime Lab, Uni-swarms, random #trainfacts, and a truly down ending about being beheaded on a bus (blame Canada!). Enjoy!
Find out why we added lead to gasoline, how CFCs eat through the ozone layer, and the M. Night Shyamalan-esque story of how those both are related. It’s a twist! Also: why the Muppets were great, the US runs its nuclear program on floppy disks, the internet gets a small “i,” Bridgetown Comedy, swarms of bees attack woman’s car, and Todd goes off on more tangents than usual during this pre-Memorial Day (NOT VETERANS DAY) episode. Enjoy!
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: SpaceTeam is a great game, cultural appropriation at the food carts, solar plant lights itself on fire, real life RoboCops, A.I. lawyers, in-ear instant languge translators, Google “Sticky Cars,” the terrifying future of facial recognition apps, Japan creates meteors, and Todd picks the wrong Portland street to walk down via a new historical photo website. Enjoy!
Find historical photos of your city!
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: Google pays $6,006.13, Parsey McParseface, the UAE wants to build a mountain, Germany’s extra electricity, Eric the First British Robot, the Selfie Toaster, moron tourists and baby bison, and more Tori Amos talk than any other science podcast you’ll hear all month. It’s a show the size of Delaware! Enjoy!
*Yes, I realize now that Tori Amos’s album is called “Little Earthquakes,” not “Tiny Earthquakes.” We’ll all have to get over that.
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, Bitcoin founder claim, Todd trusts Mark enough for him to light a bomb (“whoosh bottle”) in the kitchen, Elon Musk’s AI “gym,” virtual reality will change the world, “Disks of Tron,” and much, much more. Enjoy!
The discussion about the power grid and the realities of large-scale EMP weapons is great, but Mark’s surprise story about his experience with a professional cuddler (yes, you read that right) is the best thing you’ll hear all week. Also in this episode: celebrate May 4th with the Unipiper, “The Reason I Jump” is phenomenal, a weasel takes down the Large Hadron Collider, Todd gets inexplicably furious about Raspberry Pi and Ice Cream Sandwich, Prince’s floppy glyph, drone death rays, guy builds hoverbike, and is there a nuclear reactor in your neighborhood? The answer may surprise you. Enjoy!
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 make sure we’re always being followed. Also: a “TimeCop” mea culpa, “Pastor Mark” marries the Amish, National Parks are free, Waiting For Guffman, Inky the Octopus, inflatable space pods, trying to remove photos from the internet, terrible robot waiters, crowd-sourcing science problems via video games, and how does arm hair know when to stop growing? (No seriously…if you know that last one, let me know.) Enjoy!
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 time. Also: “11.22.63,” the Twilight Zone still freaks us out (“Why Helen?!”), “Primer” movie, Tesla hubris, discovering a new state of matter, Indestructible Racist AI, our ethics can’t keep up with technology, the Terminator vs. Timecop, Dolph Lundgren is Nietzsche’s superman, Grace Jones continues to be terrifying, and we almost get to talk about Max Headroom*.
*due to some unforeseen technical error, the show cut off at the 45 minute mark, but we were pretty much done. Although you’ll have to research the Timecop trailer on your own time.
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. Superman,” the culture of pre-hating movies, 3D pictures of Pluto’s surface, Mark pre-orders his Tesla 3, ravens know what you’re thinking, the Enchanted Forest turns 60, Mark’s fond ABBA memories, chanting monks, Milli Vanilli, and more. Enjoy!
Batman’s New Chair, courtesy of RFM Seating:
The line to pre-order the Telsa 3:
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 string theory, Birdie Sanders and the dispensary worker, Portland’s small-town vibe, California has the best drivers, the “affordable” Tesla goes on sale, Microsoft’s AI goes hideously and hilariously awry, how you can get “none more black” than Vantablack, and yet another reason to wear wooden shoes. Enjoy, and spread the word!
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 journey. Also: irritating chipped credit cards, Mark is terrible at the NCAA bracket, Anonymous vs. Trump, Boaty McBoatface, John Denver plants trees, Todd explains wooden shoes, BarkHappy.com, “Chopped” vs. “Cooked,” and The Fascinator. There are myriad reasons to listen! Enjoy!
Introducing the tardigrade – or “water bear.” A seemingly indestructible little creature, it can’t be frozen or burned or starved or reasoned with, and it’s probably in your backyard (and in space) right now. Also on the show: If fat is essentially tasteless, why does it make everything taste so good?, attending live TV show tapings, Henrick Ibsen/Henry Gibson, Paula Deen’s Sheen and the Lipidy Binders, hair mayonnaise, “the bends” will give you the creeps, chokes, staggers, and the vapors, and what really happens to a body in space with no space suit. Enjoy the show, and watch out for water bears!
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 has HPV, how hot is the inside of lightening?, gallium & fulgurite, the “Forest Grove Mystery Sound” and environmental resonance, owl cafes, how to lucid dream, Cracker Barrel may be coming to Tualatin, and crows hold grudges, solve puzzles, understand analogies and are going to kill us all. Have fun!
Great video about how ideas (particularly angry ones) go viral:
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 expands, BernieSingles.com, NASA needs astronauts, Apollo 10 hears mystery music, “deleting unwanted memories,” genome editing and WMDs, and more. Share and like our Facebook page, and thanks for listening!
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 philosophical underpinnings of red/green colorblindness. Also: Mark’s Trump face-swap, sloth rescue, monkeys will kill us all, pistachio peanut butter, The Red Green Show, Ergs, what plants is this?, Einstein gravitational waves, OK GO, cannibal octopus, and more!
What plant is this?
OK GO’s weightless video
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 USB microscope, biggest buildings in the world, how magnetic audio tape works, Margaret Hamilton (not the Wicked Witch), NASA releases 10,000 moon photos, Mark’s get rich quick scheme, Portland’s food carts, Phở is a scam, and more!
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 do we iodize salt?, deformed pugs, expensive cat painting, Todd visits Buck at Buck’s Stove Palace, Sony tries to trademark “Let’s Play,” marrying the Amish, more research on schizophrenia, DNA discrimination lawsuits, and boo-gan-villas. Bonus point for getting the “You named a star after me?!” reference. Enjoy! Don’t forget to like our Facebook page and subscribe on iTunes to catch every episode!
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)?, the plural of “new*,” pine apples, how viral videos are bought, 80s theme song challenge, Todd is scientifically not racist, Hair-Grooming Syncope, the Hyperloop breaks ground, and a fantastic typing game.
Statistically you are probably more racist than Todd. Find out with the Harvard Implicit Bias Test.
*the other word like “news” I was trying to think of was “movies.” I feel better now having remembered.
The answer to life, the universe, and everything: the Higgs boson particle. Find out how the Large Hadron Collider, the biggest machine man has ever built, came together to find the particle that allows us to exist. Also in this fantastic episode, how can parrots enunciate without lips?, Bitcoin in trouble, Trumplings.com, the world’s best snack, Mark knows an Amish reality TV star, self-driving car rampage, multiple universes, and dark matter. All in just a few Zeppo-seconds. *potato chips!* Enjoy!