Ada Lovelace Was The First Computer Programmer, And Almost The First Computer Musician (Cool Weird Awesome 438)

Today's the birthday of Ada Lovelace, known as the first computer programmer. She also dreamed up the idea of generating music through a computer program, so if you've ever made music with a synthesizer, you're following in her footsteps. Plus: today's the anniversary of the day Wyoming passed its first-of-a-kind law guaranteeing women could vote and hold office.

2020-12-10T09:51:53-05:00December 10th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

It’s The Birthday Of The Jukebox, The Old-School System For On-Demand Music (Cool Weird Awesome 425)

Today in 1889, inventor Louis Glass moved his "nickel-in-a-slot" into a saloon in San Francisco, beginning the age of the jukebox and giving the generations without smartphones and streaming services the chance to push a button and listen to a song. Plus: Chris Nikic has just become the first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman triathlon.

2020-11-23T08:35:53-05:00November 23rd, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

Cincinnati Built An Observatory Any Stargazer Could Use (Cool Weird Awesome 415)

Today in 1843, former president John Quincy Adams joined thousands to dedicate a public observatory in Cincinnati, a building known as "the birthplace of American astronomy." Plus: this month would be a good time to get out a telescope, cause there's lots happening in the night sky.

2020-11-09T08:01:22-05:00November 9th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Victorians Made Art Out Of Locks Of Hair (Cool Weird Awesome 380)

A lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair just sold for $81,000 at auction, a reminder that a) people will pay lots of money for lots of things, and b) hair was a pretty important keepsake in the 19th century - people back then even made it into art. Plus: a couple in England decides to upgrade their garden, which the husband decides means installing a 12-foot statue of a T. rex. 

2020-09-14T08:10:13-04:00September 14th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

The Very First Computer Bug Was An Actual Bug (Cool Weird Awesome 377)

On this day in 1947, a team working on a computer at Harvard University discovered the first computer bug: a moth that had gotten trapped in the electronics. Plus: today in 2005, a guy writes to Major League Baseball to get that expressed written consent they always talk about to rebroadcast or retransmit a game.

2020-09-09T07:33:13-04:00September 9th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

The US Almost Had A 49th State Called Absaroka (Cool Weird Awesome 369)

In 1939 some ranchers in the West proposed taking parts out of Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana and creating a new state, called Absaroka. It never won approval from Congress but it did have its own license plates and beauty pageant. Plus: how come a spot in Tulsa is known as the center of the universe?

2020-08-28T08:40:02-04:00August 28th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

Brookeville, Maryland, America’s Capital For A Day (Cool Weird Awesome 367)

What's In A Name Week continues with the story of Brookeville, Maryland, and how on this day in 1814, this small town gained a prominent visitor - President James Madison - and a new nickname: U.S. Capital For A Day. Plus: the story of Glen Campbell, Pennsylvania, a town that, in case you were wondering, was not named for singing star Glen Campbell.

When Steel Wire Was The Hip New Way To Record Sound (Cool Weird Awesome 363)

Before there was digital recording, we had cassettes, reel to reels, phonographs, and even wire recordings! That's a little-known system that was invented at the very end of the 19th century. Plus: meet a building in Italy that's been designed to replicate the shape of an orchestra.

2020-08-20T07:57:05-04:00August 20th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |

The Mullet Is Timeless, And Its Name Comes From The Beastie Boys (Cool Weird Awesome 362)

The mullet may take you back to the 70s or 80s, but it's a timeless hairstyle. No, really: there's evidence that the ancients were wearing business in the front, party in the back thousands of years ago. Plus: another thing that transcends time is the urge to break stuff in a controlled environment, hence an ad for a "frustration room" in the 60s.

2021-01-26T09:10:37-05:00August 19th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

The Woman Who Got Her Lawmaker Son To Cast The Deciding Vote For Women’s Suffrage (Cool Weird Awesome 361)

One hundred years ago today Tennessee became the 36th and deciding state to approve the 19th amendment to the Constitution. That's due to Febb Ensminger Burn, who lobbied her 24 year old in the Tennessee legislature to "be a good boy" and vote for women's suffrage. Plus: scientists in South Korea have developed a super-fast robotic tongue, just in case we might need one.

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