show notes

Horace de Vere Cole and the Dreadnought Hoax

Cole was a lifelong prankster, but none of his stunts could compare with his scheme to gain access to the HMS Dreadnought by getting his friends -- including Virginia Woolf -- to pretend they were Abyssinian royalty.

The Philadelphia MOVE Bombing

The MOVE organization is often labeled as a black liberation group or a black power group, but it’s more complex than that. After a protracted, contentious relationship with Philadelphia police, MOVE’s home was bombed in 1985.

The Kentucky Derby's First 50 Years

Although horse racing in general has been around much longer than the Kentucky Derby, including in the United States, the Derby itself has become the nation's most famous and prestigious horse racing event.

The Cato Street Conspiracy

Urbanization and mechanization, and all the downsides they brought with them, had continued in Great Britain in the years since the Luddite Rebellion. In response, a radical group plotted to assassinate the Prime Minister's entire cabinet.

Abbott and Costello, Part 2

Abbott and Costello made it big in Hollywood during WWII, but the later part of their career together was beset by tragedy, money issues and personal problems that ultimately ended their partnership.

Abbott and Costello, Part 1

The comedy team of Abbott and Costello created some of the most memorable sketches in history. Their perfectly balanced energy catapulted them from burlesque and vaudeville stages to radio, and eventually Hollywood.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is one of the modern world's most infamous incidents of unethical medical research. The study's researchers told its participants that they were being treated for syphilis, but in reality, they weren't.

Walt Whitman, Poet of Democracy

Whitman is often touted as the best and most important poet in U.S. history, but he also worked as a teacher and a journalist. And his poetry career didn't start out particularly well.

A Brief History of Foreign Food in the U.S.

One of the most diverse things about the U.S. is its food industry. Foodies obsessively seek out the “authentic” flavors of any given culture. But many of the foods brought to the U.S. via immigration were initially viewed with suspicion and disdain.

Three Nuclear Close Calls

There have been many moments in history when the world came perilously close to a full-scale nuclear war, due to false alarms or miscommunication. One such moment is the only known time that a head of state has activated their nuclear briefcase.