A Sprained Ankle Helped Bring Pippi Longstocking To The World (Cool Weird Awesome 742)

Today in 1944, Astrid Lindgren of Stockholm, Sweden fell on ice and sprained her ankle. While stuck in bed, she decided to write down some stories she'd been telling her daughter, stories that would lead to one of the most popular children's book series of all time.

By |2022-03-28T09:16:18-04:00March 28, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Winnie the Pooh Is Named For A Zoo Bear And A Swan (Cool Weird Awesome 697)

Today in 1882 author A.A. Milne was born. His most famous character, Winnie the Pooh, was named partly for a real bear who lived at the London Zoo. And yes, the real Winnie had a sweet tooth as well.

By |2022-01-18T07:04:22-05:00January 18, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

The Chicago Cubs Once Had A “College of Coaches” Instead of a Manager (Cool Weird Awesome 693)

Today in 1961, the Chicago Cubs announced they wouldn't hire a manager for the new season, and would instead use a rotating "College" of coaches. You can probably guess how well that worked out.

By |2022-01-12T06:49:54-05:00January 12, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

A Robot Seacraft Is Exploring The Ocean For A Few Years (Cool Weird Awesome 659)

It's called the Intrepid Benthic Rover II, and its five year (or more) mission is to explore the deep ocean, most of the time by itself. Plus: in a new book artist Marina Luz paints the covers of books where people are trying to describe a book when they can’t remember the title.

By |2021-11-18T07:04:22-05:00November 18, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Donald J. Sobol’s Encyclopedia Brown Books Taught Young Readers To Solve Mysteries (Cool Weird Awesome 626)

Today's the birthday of a mystery author known to millions of kids, Donald J Sobol. He wrote the Encyclopedia Brown series, about a 10 year old detective who solved cases because he knew, as his nickname suggested, all sorts of unusual and obscure facts in the era way before the internet. Plus: it’s National Taco Day, and here's the story of one of the largest tacos ever made. 

By |2021-10-04T09:14:12-04:00October 4, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

There’s A New Way To Recycle The Materials We Need For High-Tech Batteries (Cool Weird Awesome 521)

As automakers move toward all-electric vehicles, we're going to need a lot more batteries, only there are difficulties in getting some of the key elements. A startup called Nth cycle may have a way to help. Plus: meet a young reader who really knows how to multitask.

By |2021-04-16T12:05:13-04:00April 16, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |

Fuel Cells Are Strong To The Finish, When They’re Powered By Spinach (Cool Weird Awesome 418)

Fuel cells need a catalyst for an important reaction, and a team at American University has found that spinach may be the best raw material for a catalyst we've found yet. Plus: ever wanted to smell like old books? A new scent can help make it happen!

By |2021-06-28T11:51:44-04:00November 12, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Never Skip The Dedication Page Of A Book, They Can Get Wild (Cool Weird Awesome 410)

If you're taking part in National Novel Writing Month, then here's a tip: don't forget the dedication page. They can be full of surprises, as we discovered in quite a few books. Plus: meet the prehistoric pelagornithid, probably the largest flying bird ever, with a 20 foot wingspan and teeth.

By |2020-11-02T08:56:37-05:00November 2, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |

Ruth Faison Shaw Is The Founding Mother Of Fingerpaint (Cool Weird Awesome 403)

Today is the birthday of Ruth Faison Shaw, an art teacher who spotted a kid smearing iodine on the school walls and saw a way kids could express themselves. Plus: art is alive and well in cats, or at least in a photographer taking portraits of cats going wild for - and sometimes on - catnip.

By |2021-06-27T14:21:34-04:00October 15, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

How The Baby Sitters Club Became The Book Series All The 80s Kids Were Reading (Cool Weird Awesome 333)

Netflix is about to release a show based on The Baby-Sitters Club I used to re-shelve all the time at the public library where I worked. Here's the story of how the series came to life. Plus: if you could use a little beauty in your world right now, check out the photos of Trung Huy Pham, documenting Vietnam's annual water lily harvest.

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