We all need something to get us through the daily commute. If you’re the sort of person who would normally read, people-watch or perhaps search Netflix for an interesting show, listening to this popular podcast will make the minutes go faster and you can listen to it while jammed into the most crowded carriage on the network. It will also leave you with enough interesting trivia and obscure facts to dominate any pub chat or dinner table conversation

Stuff You Should Know has been going for almost a decade now and we’ve been endlessly entertained by their educational podcasts, which are basically pieces of explanatory journalism lasting an average of just over half an hour . There’s nothing hosts Chuck and Josh won’t tackle; they’ve informed us about notorious crimes, fairytales, the environment, inexplicable science, how everyday objects work, and ninjas. The way they enjoy each other’s company and their ability to keep finding intriguing research topics make them feel like good friends joining you on your journey. We’ve picked a few examples of their work, which will get your brain ticking over and keep you engaged and even a little enlightened.

It’s not easy to find the early 10-minute episodes nowadays because as SYSK has gathered steam the episodes have become more in-depth, creeping up from 10 minutes to occasionally top 50 minutes. Luckily there’s a vast back catalogue to dive into, so you can find the earliest episodes for a short commute.

Some of our favourites…


Why does toothpaste make orange juice taste bad?

We’ve all let those two morning tastes get a little too close to each other but none of us know why the result is so deeply unpleasant. This is exactly where SYSK loves to be — tackling the questions we never knew we so badly wanted answered.

Why do people blush?

If you’re one of those people plagued by blushing, this is the episode for you. Learn why your face betrays you at every opportunity, whether it is from embarrassment, exercise or alcohol.

How can I erase my identity and start over?

We’re really hoping you don’t need this info anytime soon but let’s be honest — you’re intrigued. With programs like Hunted showing us just how difficult it is to truly disappear, SYSK is here to lend a helping hand to any outlaws.

Is quitting smoking contagious? Everyone knows smoking is addictive but how about quitting? With the extraordinary rise of vaping, it’s not as simple a question as you might think. Thankfully SYSK is on the cigarette case.


Why do grooms carry brides over the threshold?

Archaic traditions are dying all the time but there’s something about wedding customs that just won’t go away. Before you start pumping iron to prepare for the big day, get clued up on why exactly you’re bench-pressing your bride across the threshold, why we have bridesmaids, where the “best man” came from, and how some family members used to watch consummation…

How can a lake explode?

Some things don’t need an introduction. Exploding killer lakes? Count us in.

How Pirates work

Real life pirates are a little different from the Jack Sparrows of film but they all come together in this podcast about the history, culture and criminality of piracy. SYSK takes us from ancient buccaneers tothe modern warfare raging in Somali waters and beyond

Why is it so hard to say toy boat three times fast?

You’d think an examination of a tongue-twister would be one of the shortest episodes there is. It was actually interesting enough to pass the 20-minute mark, so settle in to listen and learn. Just don’t get too carried away trying it out; your fellow commuters can’t hear your hosts but they can sure as hell hear you.


Did the CIA test LSD on unsuspecting Americans?

You’ve heard of stories that are too crazy to be true: well this one is too crazy to not be true. Josh and Chuck dig in to see if there’s any truth behind the supposed drugging of a democracy. It would certainly explain last year’s election results if the whole country was high as a kite.

What’s the future of virtual sex?

Some of us didn’t even know this was a thing, never mind if it had a future. We’re not just talking sexting here but full on virtual reality intercourse. Think Skype but with sex toys and some serious technology. Long distance may be about to get a lot easier.

What are Ninja?

Josh and Chuck know that if their listeners like pirates, they’ll love ninjas. They’re here to give the low-down on Japan’s coolest combatants and teach us the ways of the martial arts warriors who leave the West so endlessly fascinated.

First off, we’d just like to apologise for the length of your commute. Ouch. The one bright spot is that you get to enjoy the most in-depth and arguably best episodes of Stuff You Should Know. The podcast is pumping out these bad boys regularly now, so there’s no end to your on-board entertainment. Here are a few to tickle your grey matter.

The Hinterkaifeck Axe Murders

The honest to God creepiest podcast they’ve done. Don’t make the mistake of listening to this as you go to sleep because you’ll be up all night. The SYSK hosts go through the case file of the chilling unsolved murder of an entire family in the German countryside. It’s our favourite of their true crime series but it’s not for the fainthearted: this shit is scary.


Our Cats Episode: Right Here Right Meow

We couldn’t leave this one out. It’s an hour of cats, from their god-like status in ancient Egypt to the arguably less lofty heights of being the most popular pet in the USA. There’s a lot to know about these mysterious mousers and a whole blissful hour to learn it. Tune in and revel in the glory of our feline friends.

The Golden Age of Grave Robbing: Live from London

Our final recommendation comes from our own city, both in broadcast and topic. Grave-robbing was the drug-dealing of the old days, providing much needed corpses to desperate anatomists. Stuff You Should Know came to London and dug deep into our darkest, despicable history. Londoners will love it.

by Jo Davey

The post Podcast: “Stuff You Should Know” for Great Learning appeared first on Felix Magazine.

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