Episode 6: The Game Changer
9 min

In the finale of “A Very Fatal Murder,” David returns to where it all began to finally solve the murder of Hayley Price.

Underunderstood
Underunderstood
Select Works
Closing the Loop on China's Mystery Seeds
What ever happened with those mysterious seeds that were showing up in U.S. mailboxes? * 00:33 - Michigan Department of Agriculture tweet * 03:10 - USDA answers frequently asked questions about the mystery seeds, including “What should I do if I already planted the seeds?” * 02:30 - Facebook post from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development * 03:52 - Invasive species are no joke!!!! * 04:50 - As of this writing, Snopes said there was no motive determined for the seed shipments: Are Americans Receiving Unsolicited Mailings of Seeds from China? (Snopes) * 09:32 - USDA still hasn’t found anything to cause major concern, but it has now identified more species and some viruses. This is an updated comment as of Nov. 18: “Altogether, we have identified approximately 460 taxa of seeds. We have detected 2 quarantine insect pests using x-ray and 28 Federal Noxious weeds based on identifications by APHIS botanists. We have also identified 6 quarantine significant viruses or viroids using molecular testing.” Also, here are some photos of U.S.D.A. investigating the seeds with microscopes. * 14:29 - Jason Koebler and Emanuel Maiberg of Motherboard. The last story Underunderstood collaborated on with Motherboard was this one. * 15:05 - Hundreds of Americans Planted 'Chinese Mystery Seeds' (Motherboard) * 19:16 - Zack Franklin in action * 22:44 - Amazon explains fulfilled by Amazon and a little bit about fulfilled by merchant. * 30:55 - ”The mysterious seed is back! Shenzhen cross-border seller actually sends parcels here” (forum post) * 31:31 - Moss’s website for Amazon sellers and Moss on Zhihu. * 34:07 - Honest Buyers Club on Facebook is an example of one of these groups. Once you get involved, you’ll start to get one-on-one messages from sellers. To clarify, I (Adrianne) have never actually ordered anything, I just lurk and try to harass people into doing an interview (100% failure rate). I’m definitely not endorsing giving your address out to strangers on the internet, but I think these guys are mostly legit. So, maybe you could give them, like, a PO box? * 36:06 - ”Evaluation blacklist” — a crowdsourced list of people who accept free gifts without providing the requisite review
43 min
Arcane: The History of Magic
Arcane: The History of Magic
arcanehistory
Episode 3 - A Coveted Pebble: Medieval Alchemy
Some may simply think of alchemy as the attempt to change base metals into gold. A few may know that, with this art, people attempted to produce the elixir of life which could heal any illness and extend the drinker's longevity. However, it is often romanticised as the mystical (if confused) early roots of modern science, or conflated with other branches of knowledge like chemistry, ritual magic, and herbalism. The art of alchemy, however, was distinct. A discipline composed of theories and practices which shared the goal of producing the philosopher's stone. With roots in antiquity, the art flourished in the early medieval Arabic world before being brought to Europe in the high middle ages. In this episode we begin to discuss this complex art, and how it made sense to medieval scholars, given how they understood the world to work. References and further readings: * Bartlett, Robert. The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. * Collins, David J. “Albertus, Magnus or Magus? Magic, Natural Philosophy, and Religious Reform in the Late Middle Ages” Renaissance Quarterly 63 (2010):1-44. * Decaen, Christopher A. "Aristotle’s Aether and Contemporary Science." The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review 68 (2004): 375-429. * Hadass, Ofer. Medicine, Religion, and Magic in Early Stewart England. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2018. * Holmyard, E. J. Alchemy. New York: Dover Publications, 1990. * Janacek, Bruce. Alchemical Belief: Occultism in the Religious Culture of Early Modern England. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011. * Linden, Stanton J. The Alchemy Reader: From Hermes Trismegistus to Isaac Newton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. * Marrone, Steven P. A History of Science, Magic & Belief: From Medieval to Early Modern Europe. Lonndon: Palgrave, 2015. * Patai, Raphael. The Jewish Alchemist: A History and Source Book. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.
24 min
In Defense of Plants Podcast
In Defense of Plants Podcast
In Defense of Plants
Ep. 293 - How Plants Fight Disease
From plant conservation to food security, we desperately need to understand how plants fight disease. As you can probably imagine, the world of plant-microbe interactions is vast and complicated but that's where people like Dr. Kevin Cox Jr come in. Currently a post-doc at the Danforth Plant Science Center, his work has him looking at disease-causing fungi at high resolutions. By understanding the genes involved in plant responses to fungal infection, Dr. Cox is helping paint a clearer picture of plant immune responses. Join us for a mind-blowing conversation about this work and his efforts to bring it to the public. This podcast was produced in part by Cathrine, Melvin, OrangeJulian, Porter, Grif, Jules, Joan, Les, Marabeth, Ali, Margaret, Southside Plants, Robert, Keiko, Bryce, Brittany, Helen, Amanda, Mikey, Rhiannon, Michelle, Kate, German, Joerg, Alejandra, Cathy, Jordan, Judy, Steve, Kae, Carole, Mr. Keith Santner, Dana, Chloe, Aaron, Sara, Kenned, Vaibhav, Kendall, Christina, Brett, Jocelyn, Kathleen, Ethan, Kaylee, Runaway Goldfish, Ryan, Donica, Chris, Shamora, Alana, Laura, Alice, Sarah, Rachel, Joanna, Griff, Philip, Paul, Matthew, Clark, Bobby, Kate, Steven, Brittney, McMansion Hell, Joey, Catherine, Brandon, Hall, Vegreville Creek and Wetlands Fund, Kevin, Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Liba, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Clifton, Stephanie, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.
55 min
Futility Closet
Futility Closet
Greg Ross
321-The Calculating Boy
George Parker Bidder was born with a surprising gift: He could do complex arithmetic in his head. His feats of calculation would earn for him a university education, a distinguished career in engineering, and fame throughout 19th-century England. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll describe his remarkable ability and the stunning displays he made with it. We'll also try to dodge some foul balls and puzzle over a leaky ship. Intro: John Clem joined the Union Army at age 10. Actress Tippi Hedren kept an African lion as a house pet in the 1970s. Sources for our feature on George Bidder: E.F. Clark, George Parker Bidder: The Calculating Boy, 1983. Steven Bradley Smith, The Great Mental Calculators: The Psychology, Methods, and Lives of Calculating Prodigies, Past and Present, 1983. Frank D. Mitchell, Mathematical Prodigies, 1907. Henry Budd Howell, A Foundational Study in the Pedagogy of Arithmetic, 1914. A.W. Skempton and Mike Chrimes, A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland: 1500-1830, 2002. George Eyre Evans, Midland Churches: A History of the Congregations on the Roll of the Midland Christian Union, 1899. David Singmaster, "George Parker Bidder: The Calculating Boy by E.F. Clark," Mathematical Gazette 71:457 (October 1987), 252-254. Antony Anderson, "Fairgrounds to Railways With Numbers," New Scientist 100:1385 (Nov. 24, 1983), 581. Frank D. Mitchell, "Mathematical Prodigies," American Journal of Psychology 18:1 (January 1907), 61-143. Richard A. Proctor, "Calculating Boys," Belgravia Magazine 38:152 (June 1879), 450-470. Martin Gardner, "Mathematical Games," Scientific American 216:4 (April 1967), 116-123. "A Short Account of George Bidder, the Celebrated Mental Calculator: With a Variety of the Most Difficult Questions, Proposed to Him at the Principal Towns in the Kingdom, and His Surprising Rapid Answers, Etc.," pamphlet, 1821. Louis McCreery, "Mathematical Prodigies," Mathematics News Letter 7:7/8 (April-May 1933), 4-12. "Memoirs of Deceased Members," Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 57 (1878-1879), Part III, 294. "George Parker Bidder," Devon Notes and Queries, Vol. 2, 1903. "Calculating Boys," Strand 10 (1895), 277-280. "Bidder, George Parker," Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911. H.T. Wood, "Bidder, George Parker," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004. Listener mail: Todd S. Purdum, "His Best Years Past, Veteran in Debt Sells Oscar He Won," New York Times, Aug. 7, 1992. "In Financial Straits, Actor Sells '46 Oscar," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 7, 1992. "Harold Russell Selling 'Best Years of Our Lives' Oscar," Los Angeles Times, July 31, 1992. Heathcliff Rothman, "I'd Really Like to Thank My Pal at the Auction House," New York Times, Feb. 12, 2006. Stephen Ceasar, "You Can't Put a Price on Oscar: Even Heirs of Winners Are Bound by Rules Against Selling the Statue," Los Angeles Times, Feb. 25, 2016. "Orson Welles' Citizen Kane Oscar Auctioned in US," BBC News, Dec. 21, 2011. Allen St. John, "Does Japanese Baseball Have the Answer for MLB's Dangerous Foul Ball Problem?", Forbes, Sept. 30, 2017. "Foul Balls in Japanese Baseball," Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, HBO, April 20, 2016. "A Look at Some Extended Protective Nettings in the KBO and NPB," Fan Interference, Feb, 2, 2016. Andrew W. Lehren and Michelle Tak, "Every Major League Baseball Team Will Expand Netting to Protect Fans From Foul Balls," NBC News, Dec. 11, 2019. Bill Shaikin, "A Lawsuit Could Make Baseball Teams Liable for Foul Balls That Injure Fans," Los Angeles Times, Feb 20, 2020. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jon Jerome. 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!
33 min
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