On this day in 1928, the start of the Trans-America Foot Race, aka the "Bunion Derby," in which about 200 runners in Los Angeles set out to run all the way to New York City. Only 55 of them made it through the entire grueling route, which could be called a spectacle, boondoggle and landmark all at once. Plus: in honor of Vermont becoming a state today in 1791, a look at the state's famous Long Trail hike from one end to the other.
A study out of Rutgers University-Camden finds people who order cold sandwiches instead of hot ones also pick up chips, cookies and other sides much more often. Why? Plus: today in 1912, an unusual performance of a classic opera outside one of the great wonders of the world.
You know about the Echo and the Google Home, but do you know about the Butler In A Box? It was a voice-controlled smart home device in the 1980s, and could do many of the same things our smart speakers do today. Plus: it's the birthday of Dr. Mark Dean, a computing pioneer who helped create some of the most important technology we have, and also saw the future of technology quite a few times.
People like to collect all kinds of things, but Mark Davis had a collection that even he thought was a little unusual: cassettes containing the music and announcements that K-Mart stores used to play over their speaker systems, complete with announcements from "KMRT - K-Mart Radio." Plus: on National Pig Day, a story about a pig in the 70s who had an unusual job.
In warm months, we can open the window and let in fresh air - only that can also let in a lot of outdoor noise, too. A special sound-absorbing window design from a team at the National University of Singapore might let the air in without all the extra noise. Plus: firefighters in Medina, Ohio, rescue turtles and tortoises with some special equipment.
Physarum polycephalum is pretty smart for a slime mold. It can find its way back to the places where food had previously been even though it doesn't have a nervous system. Researchers in Germany have just figured out how this organism does it. Plus: American Beatlemania may have begun in February 1964, but George Harrison had made a nice, quiet trip to southern Illinois the previous fall.
Lasso is a prototype for an in-home recycling system. Instead of dropping your recyclables on the curb, you'd put them in the machine, to be scanned, cleaned and broken down into the raw materials that companies buy to make new cans and bottles. Plus: meet AI Art House, a site selling wall art designed by software trying to emulate some of the all time great (human) painters.
The Time Kate Warne, America’s First Female Detective, Saved Abraham Lincoln’s Life (Cool Weird Awesome 482)
Today in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington, having been snuck into the city to avoid a plot against his life in Baltimore. Kate Warne, the first women detective in America, was key to getting him there safely. Plus: Alex Trebek's family has donated some of the late Jeopardy! host's suits for a very fitting cause.
It's true, a researcher at Purdue University and her team trained four pigs on how to use a joystick and play a video game. Pigs are pretty smart, after all. Plus: if you're in need of hugs these days but aren't able to get them safely from other humans, the robot named HuggieBot 2.0 might be able to help.
Going to the Dunkin and we’re Gonna get maaaaarried