Fluorescents Just Got Even Brighter (Cool Weird Awesome 357)

Judging by my kids' toy collections I thought fluorescents were already about as bright as possible. But chemists at Indiana University and the University of Copenhagen have found a way to make the brightest fluorescent materials ever made. Plus: for World Elephant Day, meet Lucy, the elephant-shaped hotel on the Jersey Shore.

By |2020-08-12T07:29:57-04:00August 12th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |

After The Moon Landing Came The Astronaut Quarantine (Cool Weird Awesome 356)

Today in 1969 was the first day off for the Apollo 11 astronauts in more than a month. Yes, they'd finished their moon landing weeks earlier, but they had to go into quarantine in case they'd picked up some "moon germs" that could lead to a plague on Earth. (Fortunately, they hadn't.) Plus: there's a new augmented reality tour of a church in Florence, Italy that was deconstructed in 1784. 

A City In New Zealand Has Its Own Wizard (Cool Weird Awesome 355)

There is at least one person in the world who's paid to be a wizard. The city of Christchurch, New Zealand, contracts with him to "provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like-services as part of promotional work for the city of Christchurch." Plus: there's a museum exhibit in Switzerland featuring works of art that showcase imaginary or invented languages.

By |2020-08-11T07:54:09-04:00August 10th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

Alice Coachman Raised The Bar For Team USA (Cool Weird Awesome 354)

We don’t have the Olympic Games right now, but we can still mark a big Olympic moment that happened on this day in 1948: the day Alice Coachman became the first Black woman to win Olympic gold. Plus: a chocolate company and an engineer say they've redesigned the chocolate chip. Is it more efficient? I don't know, but I'll be happy to test it out.

Your Phone Can Tell You If That’s A Dangerous Spider Or Just The Regular Kind (Cool Weird Awesome 353)

There are parts of the world where some of the local spiders are very dangerous to humans. A new app called Critterpedia can scan your spider photos and tell you which spider is which. Plus: on National Root Beer Float Day, a root beer maker in Wisconsin is trying to set a world record for biggest root beer float drive-thru.

By |2020-08-06T08:00:56-04:00August 6th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Why You Can’t Use Pepsi Points To Get A Fighter Jet (Cool Weird Awesome 352)

On this day in 1999 a court rules in a case involving a guy who tried to use a huge number of points in a Pepsi reward program to buy a fighter jet, which the soda maker had jokingly offered in one of its ads. It didn't work, but still, an A for effort. Plus: there's a new uncuttable substance that might make for a great bike lock.

By |2020-08-05T08:11:19-04:00August 5th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

The Fabric With A Built-In Cooling System (Cool Weird Awesome 351)

Maybe everyone in junior high was right: the clothes you wear really can make you cool! At least if those clothes are the new fabric developed in China with a kind of cooling system embedded inside. Plus: it's National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, so let's find out about the largest chocolate chip cookie of all time.

By |2020-08-04T06:31:31-04:00August 4th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Scientists Are Putting Little Cameras On Beetles (Cool Weird Awesome 350)

Researchers at the University of Washington call it a "GoPro for beetles" - a ultralight, wireless, steerable camera that can ride on the back of a bug. And it's pretty effective at letting us see what these bugs see. Plus: a new online chart tracks the vocal range of famous pop singers, by measuring the highest and lowest notes they ever sung on a recording.

By |2020-08-03T08:29:29-04:00August 3rd, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Every Six Months This Island Switches Countries (Cool Weird Awesome 349)

Change is in the air in the border region between Spain and France. A small island there called Pheasant Island is about to change countries, as it does twice a year. Plus: some enterprising race fans in Poland use construction cranes to help them get a good view of their favorite drivers even while physical distancing.

By |2020-07-31T07:36:35-04:00July 31st, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

That Time More Than 300 Nebraskans Moved A Barn By Hand (Cool Weird Awesome 348)

On this day in 1988, the Ostry family of Bruno, Nebraska got 328 people to lift a barn - a real, actual barn - and moved it 110 feet by hand. That's some impressive crowdsourcing. Plus:

By |2020-07-30T07:44:04-04:00July 30th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |