New York City’s 311 System Has Gotten Some Wild Calls Over The Years (Cool Weird Awesome 1200)

This month in 2003, New York City launched its 311 service, a service that has helped residents with a wide range of non-emergency issues… and a few absolute head-scratchers. 

By |2024-03-11T07:43:39-04:00March 11, 2024|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Berlin’s Jazz Age Nightclubs Let People Message Each Other Through Pneumatic Tubes (Cool Weird Awesome 1167)

In our time there are lots of apps and other programs that help people who are looking to date. Back in the 1920s, some clubs in Berlin let singles flirt using pneumatic tubes and tableside telephones!

By |2024-01-10T18:33:33-05:00January 10, 2024|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

AI Phone Bots Foil Scammers By Wasting Their Time (Cool Weird Awesome 1051)

Some experts are worried AI could undo human civilization, but some of it is trying to help people. Like a project that uses AI phone bots to keep phone scammers from scamming people.

By |2023-07-19T09:11:33-04:00July 19, 2023|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

The Wild History Of The White House Telephone (Cool Weird Awesome 1036)

Today in 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes got a phone installed at the White House. It's been used to make landmark deals, shape the course of world events, and even say hi to astronauts on the moon. And Lyndon Johnson infamously used that phone to talk to a tailor.

By |2023-06-28T09:51:54-04:00June 28, 2023|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

President Franklin Pierce Got An Acclaimed Author To Write His Campaign Biography (Cool Weird Awesome 894)

Today in 1804, the birthday of President Franklin Pierce. He's not well known today, but in his time, people learned about the 14th president through a biography written by the acclaimed novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne.

By |2023-11-23T16:48:29-05:00November 23, 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 |2024-04-19T07:13:24-04:00April 19, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , |

The Undertaker Who Developed Automatic Phone Dialing (Cool Weird Awesome 648)

Today in 1892 a phone system that made automated calls - no switchboard operator - began operating in Laporte, Indiana. The first automatic dial network happened, as the story goes, because of a business dispute between two undertakers.

The Guy Who Traded A Paper Clip And Ended Up With A House (Cool Weird Awesome 573)

This week in 2005, Kyle MacDonald of Montreal had a red paperclip. This week in 2006, MacDonald had traded away the paperclip, and, after a few more trades, ended up with a house. Plus: over in the UK, some small towns have traded out the phones in some of their big red phone boxes for a new use. 

By |2021-07-14T08:47:43-04:00July 14, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

When Maasai Herders Call The Wrong Number, They May End Up Making A New Friend (Cool Weird Awesome 566)

When most of us get wrong number phone calls, we get off the line pretty quickly. But new research finds Maasai herders in Tanzania often strike up a conversation, and get to know the person who accidentally called them. Plus: on this day in 1294, the cardinals of the Catholic Church respond to a letter from a hermit monk in a way that may have made the monk wish he hadn't written them at all. 

By |2021-07-05T09:29:52-04:00July 5, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

In This Town, The Pay Phones Are Going To Ring At The Same Time, For Art (Cool Weird Awesome 500)

It's our 500th episode! We're celebrating with a visit to the Compass Festival in Leeds, which will feature an art installation that will ring many of the community's pay phones at exactly the same time.

By |2024-03-19T09:33:32-04:00March 19, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |
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