Traveling on the Orient Express

by Kathryn Whitbourne | February 10, 2012

The Coolest Stuff on the Planet

Something about trains conjures up glamour, romance and mystery and even though there are many quicker and cheaper ways of getting around, I’ve always wanted to experience a luxury train trip — maybe I’ve read too many of those classic English crime novels.

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Tags: Agatha Christie, Orient Express, Trains, travel

Deep-fried Goodness at Carnival

by Amanda Arnold | February 8, 2012

The Coolest Stuff on the Planet

The delightful strips of deep-fried dough pictured at the right are called chiacchiere, and they’re served during Carnival in Venice (happening right now!).

In Italian, chiacchiere means “gossip,” which is, like, the perfect word for deep-fried dough — ’cause we all know how deep-fried dough goes down (deliciously), particularly when it’s dusted with powdered sugar (a sprinkle of guilt).

During Carnival, you’ll find various versions of deep-fried dough treats around, and you might as well eat ‘em while you can, particularly if it’s Fat Thursday, which the Florentines once called Berlingaccio — another Italian word that has to do with running your mouth.

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Tags: food, Italy, travel, venice

PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 40: Did movies ruin love?

by Tracy V. Wilson | February 8, 2012


Ah, love. It’ s so different in the real world than in the movies. Or, rather, if you get your relationship information from the movies, you might notice things don’t quite match up to your own life. And that might not be fun. So how much are movies to blame for relationship troubles?

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Tags: love, movies, PopStuff Show Notes, romantic comedies

The Complicated Mess of Hackers, Corporations, Governments and Vigilantes

by Jonathan Strickland | February 8, 2012


This morning, I read an Associated Press report about hackers associated with the group Anonymous posting information about current and retired police chiefs in West Virginia. According to the report, the hackers released this information in response to cases of police brutality. They also posted a message saying that police chiefs are victimizing the people who pay their “exorbitant salaries.”

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Tags: anonymous, hackers, vigilantes

Was Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America” Super Bowl commercial a little too political?

by Scott C. Benjamin | February 7, 2012


Was it even intended to be political at all? Maybe that’s a better question to ask. By now, you know the one I’m talking about, right? The Clint Eastwood “It’s Halftime in America” commercial for Chrysler. I won’t say too much about this, mainly because I want to hear what you think in the comment section below. However, I will tell you this…

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Tags: Chrysler, Clint Eastwood, commercial, Detroit, NFL, politics, Super Bowl

PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 39: Urban Legends

by Tracy V. Wilson | February 7, 2012


I remember the first urban legend I ever heard. At least, I thought I did before I started researching this episode. Inspired in part by possibly apocryphal e-mail we got after our baby names episode, this ep takes a dive into the world of hook-handed murderers, razor-bladed apples and grossout food experiences.

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Tags: PopStuff Show Notes, urban legends

Blow Your Mind: In the Lair of the Rat King

by Robert Lamb | February 7, 2012

Stuff to Blow Your Mind

The furniture is chewed and the cupboard raided of every last crumb. Feces litters the house and very walls seem alive with the clawed scurry of diseased rodents. You’ve evacuated the the children, grandmama and the family dog.

Even now they seek refuge at the church, as you drive your axe into the floor and pull back splintered boards. As you cast your flickering lantern light down on the horror that squirms beneath your home: a dozen worm-like tails knotted in blood and excrement, gleaming mad eyes and the hideous shriek of the Rattenkönig.

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Tags: cryptozoology, rats, STBYM Roundup

Mandala: Memory Palace, Inception and Simulated Worlds

by Robert Lamb | February 7, 2012

Stuff to Blow Your Mind

A world simulated in the mind, where fortresses of bone rise above a sea of blood. Where a pantheon of wrathful and serene deities assemble in precise arrangement. Where multi-limbed beings dance, cyclopean architecture looms high and a mountain bridges Earth to the cosmos.

That’s the rich world of the Mandala (Sanskrit for “circle”), an artistic visualization tool that allows Tibetan Buddhism ‘s most advanced psychonauts to enter heightened states of meditation. It’s essentially an imagined palace, not unlike the dreamscape architects in the sci-fi film “Inception,” or the famed “memory palace” mnemonic device that emerged in ancient Rome.

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Tags: Buddhism, Inception, Simulation, Virtual reality

The Colors of the Running of the Bulls

by Kathryn Whitbourne | February 6, 2012

The Coolest Stuff on the Planet

Viewing our podcast of the Running of the Bulls, in Pamplona, Spain, you can’t help but notice the official uniform of the event: white pants, white T-shirt, red sash and red neckerchief. So that got me wondering if there was any significance to the outfit.

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Tags: running of the bulls; travel, Spain

The Soul of City Parks

by Amanda Arnold | February 3, 2012

The Coolest Stuff on the Planet

I was reading up on city parks yesterday and came across a BMW Guggenheim Lab Q&A with landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, who designed Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York. Apparently, 13 years ago, when the park was just a proposal, it was fairly controversial, and not everyone was in support of the concept. But at the first meeting about the park, a woman about 80 years old got up, shuffled to the microphone and said something like this:

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Tags: New York, park, travel

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  • Thank You and Best Wishes to Marshall Brain
  • Contest – Design a $300 house and win $25,000
  • How the Philtrum works – the place under your nose where your face comes together

The Coolest Stuff on the Planet

  • Traveling on the Orient Express
  • Deep-fried Goodness at Carnival
  • The Colors of the Running of the Bulls

Keep Asking

  • Why can a 5 foot 8 inch man dunk a basketball on a 10 foot rim while some people of taller stature can’t?
  • What happens to our sun once it runs out of fuel?
  • How do we know the age of the universe?

Stuff Mom Never Told You

  • Who invented the Christmas card?
  • How the Kinsey Report Fueled Whiskey Sales
  • How to Get Your Wedding Announcement into The New York Times

Stuff to Blow Your Mind

  • Blow Your Mind: In the Lair of the Rat King
  • Mandala: Memory Palace, Inception and Simulated Worlds
  • Virgin Galactic: $200,000 Ticket to Ride

Stuff You Should Know

  • The Southern Death Cult, the Maya and Georgia
  • Deformed Baby Spider Brains
  • Amazing Medical Conditions: Maple Syrup Urine Disorder

The Stuff of Genius

  • The bra with a pocket
  • Stuff of Genius: Bombs That Don’t Explode
  • Replacing an engine’s spark plugs with lasers – that sounds like the Stuff of Genius


  • Was Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America” Super Bowl commercial a little too political?
  • Why is NASA studying car safety?
  • Tips for in-car Navigation Systems

How-to Stuff

  • How to Make the Most of a Gallery Crawl (When You’re on a Shoestring Budget)
  • How to Swim with Dolphins (When Deep Water Terrifies You)
  • How to Cure a Homemade Cookie Craving Without Turning on the Oven


  • PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 40: Did movies ruin love?
  • PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 39: Urban Legends
  • PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 38: Defending Disney Princesses?

Stuff They Don't Want You To Know

  • The Knights of Malta 101
  • The Biggie Smalls Conspiracy
  • How to Win One Million Dollars via Magic

Stuff to Change the World

  • Who will own the Arctic?
  • Obesity: The New Global Crisis
  • Bill Gates Makes For A Pretty Decent Cartoon

Stuff You Missed in History Class

  • Butch Cassidy: Should we read between the lines?
  • Are we rooting for D.B. Cooper?
  • Party Time: A Look at Unconventional Politics


  • The Complicated Mess of Hackers, Corporations, Governments and Vigilantes
  • The MegaUpload MegaExplosion
  • Apple Schools Us

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