Instead Of West Virginia, The US Could Have Had The State Of Westsylvania (Cool Weird Awesome 792)

Today in 1863, West Virginia became a state - though back in the 18th Century, there were several efforts to meld this land with parts of Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Maryland and create an entirely different entity called Vandalia or Westsylvania.

The Outer Limits Of The U.S. Are Really Out There (Cool Weird Awesome 657)

It's Geography Awareness Week, so we wanted to find the furthest points in each direction that are part of the United States, along with the geographical center. Plus: the story of a boundary with Morocco that just sort of popped up one day. 

By |2021-11-16T07:35:10-05:00November 16, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Earth Has Five Oceans Now, But Also Just One Ocean, It’s Complicated (Cool Weird Awesome 554)

The National Geographic Society has recognized a fifth ocean, the Southern Ocean, on earth. How the oceans got their names - and why we don't think of them as one big ocean, which is what it is - is a long and fascinating story. Plus: a designer in South Korea has invented a "third eye" to warn people looking at their phones while walking before they collide with someone or something (or, maybe, to get them to look up more often).

By |2021-06-10T08:17:17-04:00June 10, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |

The Keyboard Made From Plants (Cool Weird Awesome 439)

A Spanish tech startup called Bioo has built an installation in which plants serve as the keys of a kind of "green piano." Plus: for International Mountain Day, a look at some of the peaks with more down-to-earth names.

By |2021-08-17T09:14:04-04:00December 11, 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?

By |2022-06-20T09:07:27-04:00August 28, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

Every Town Has A Name, Even Nameless, Texas (Cool Weird Awesome 365)

It's What's In A Name Week, where we're telling the stories of some of the most memorable names in the world. Today we look at a town in the Texas Hill Country that wanted a post office but couldn't get the feds to agree to any of their suggested names, until they said, let it be nameless! Plus: the story of how Lizard Lick, NC ended up with its one-of-a-kind name.

By |2021-02-22T09:22:55-05:00August 24, 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 31, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

What Do You Call People In Each State? (Cool Weird Awesome 334)

Vivid Maps released a map of the U.S. by demonym, which is the term for a word that describes people from a certain place. Some are straightforward, but there are also plenty of surprises. Plus: you've heard of Four Corners, but did you know there's also a Tri-State Marker where you could stand in the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Utah all at once?

By |2020-07-03T08:29:51-04:00July 3, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Canada Was Almost Named “Borealia” (Cool Weird Awesome 332)

Today is Canada Day, marking the 1867 confederation of three provinces then known as Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. But Canada was only one name out of many that were suggested for the new country. Plus: this week got weird at several Canadian Tire stores, thanks to a computer glitch that made every item show up in the scanner as a Mr. Potato Head.

By |2021-06-28T11:53:46-04:00July 1, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

The Time Samoa Didn’t Have Time For December 30th (Cool Weird Awesome 203)

Eight years ago Samoa skipped a day on the calendar, owing to the International Date Line and some business involving its key trading partners. There just wasn't a December 30th, 2011 there! Plus: why break your back shoveling snow when you can design a radio-controlled snowplow to do the work for you?

By |2021-01-17T11:06:17-05:00December 30, 2019|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |
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