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Molly Williams Was A New York Firefighter Before There Was a New York Fire Department (Cool Weird Awesome 764)

For International Firefighters Day, it's the story of Molly Williams, an enslaved Black woman who became the first known woman firefighter, and the first Black firefighter, in the United States. Plus: on the anniversary of Rhode Island declaring independence, a visit to one of the state's most unusual attractions. 

Stone Age People Figured Out How To Do A Kind Of Animation (Cool Weird Awesome 763)

There’s evidence that people in the Stone Age took plaquettes, limestone representations of animals, put them near the fire and watched as the light created a kind of animation. Pretty high-tech stuff for 14,000 years ago.

By |2022-05-03T08:59:17-04:00May 3, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Two Tennis Greats Played A Match On A Half-Grass, Half-Clay Court (Cool Weird Awesome 762)

Today in 2007, the king of grass court tennis, Roger Federer, played an exhibition match against his rival, clay court great Rafael Nadal. Not their only matchup, but for this one, the court was half grass and half clay, making it a so-called "battle of the surfaces."

Need Clean Drinking Water? Try A Desalination Skylight (Cool Weird Awesome 761)

For Earth Day we talk about an idea by designer, artist and architect Henry Glogau. He's designed a skylight that can turn seawater into clean drinking water, and then power LEDs with solar energy and the leftover salt brine.

By |2022-04-22T06:40:13-04:00April 22, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

The Time Geraldo Rivera Opened Al Capone’s Vault And Found A Whole Lot Of Nothing (Cool Weird Awesome 760)

Today in 1986, I was one of millions of people who watched Geraldo Rivera host the infamous live TV special "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault." How did it come to be, and why did it go so far off course?

During The Cold War, A Town In New Mexico Built An Underground Grade School (Cool Weird Awesome 759)

Today in 1962, the community of Artesia, New Mexico formally opened an unusual elementary school: it was built entirely underground just in case the Cold War turned hot.

By |2022-04-20T06:45:12-04:00April 20, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , , |

In Rural America, Some People Turned Their Wire Fences Into Phone Lines (Cool Weird Awesome 758)

Today in 1900 a newspaper in Ohio ran a story about how three towns in Indiana had used fence wire as makeshift telephone lines, at a time when phones were more often found in cities. Some of these ingenious systems ran for decades.

By |2022-04-19T06:49:34-04:00April 19, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , |

Bats Who Randomly End Up Living Together Sometimes Become Friends (Cool Weird Awesome 757)

If you have any friends that you first met as a roommate or dorm neighbor at college, this show is for you. Research from Ohio State University finds bats can become close when they’re made to live together too.

By |2022-04-18T06:40:22-04:00April 18, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Rock Fans In The Soviet Union Turned Old X-Ray Plates Into Bootleg LPs (Cool Weird Awesome 756)

In the 1940s and 50s, some people in the Soviet Union broke the law and produced makeshift records on old X-ray plates just to hear Western music that the government censored.

By |2022-04-15T08:46:27-04:00April 15, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

William Mumler, The Photographer Who Had “Spirits” In His Pictures (Cool Weird Awesome 755)

Today in 1865, Abraham Lincoln went to Ford's Theater, and we all know how badly that ended. But five years later, William Mumler "photographed" the spirit of Honest Abe comforting his widow Mary Todd Lincoln. Here's the story of Mumler and his very controversial "spirit photography."

By |2022-04-14T08:38:19-04:00April 14, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |
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