The 20 Essential Episodes Of ‘Stuff You Should Know’

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Feb 20 | By entertainoiam2admin | Views: 17 | Comments: 0
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Finding the best episode of Stuff You Should Know is a mammoth task. Over the last 12 years, 1,400 plus episodes have been recorded leading to one billion podcast downloads. The show blew up into one of the biggest podcasts by keeping it simple. Essentially, Stuff You Should Know is a show where two friends sit down and talk about the details, history, and workings of a single subject. It can literally be about anything. This straight-forward concept has helped propel the show to megastar status.

The dulcet tone of Josh Clark’s voice and the inquisitive nature of Chuck Bryant came together back in 2008. They were both working at HowStuffWorks.com as editors, and Clark was already doing weekly mini-podcasts about articles the site was dropping. Within a few months, the camaraderie between Clark and Bryant became obvious, and the two made it official and started the now iconic Stuff You Should Know podcast in its present format. The rest, as they say, is history.

So, where do you start with a podcast that already has 1,400+ episodes? Whew. That’s tough. Luckily, we have a list of 20 recommendations that may pique your interest and help you get into the show. Before we dive in — and just to be clear — this is not a comprehensive list. These are our picks of some stand out episodes of the show. We’d love to hear your favorite episodes in the comments!

20. Planned Obsolescence: Engine of the Consumer Economy

Length: 62 mins.

The Subject:
Planned obsolescence is a tactic that manufacturers and companies use to make sure you buy a new version of their product every couple of years. In short, that means they make sure their products are going to break or be out-of-date purposefully. It’s peak capitalism and drains money from consumers like a vampire draining a young Jonathan Harker. Clark and Bryant break down where it came from, how it gained prominence, and why it’s sort of bullshit, making this a great place to get a taste for what the show is today.

Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Castbox

19. What is the Gig Economy?

Length: 48 mins.

The Subject:
The gig economy is quickly becoming a cornerstone of income for people around the world. But, what does that mean for the ability of people to be upwardly-mobile in their local economies? Are huge corporations the ones benefitting the most? What does the gig economy tell us about who we are today? Clark and Bryant break it all down with a few sobering facts and a deluge of interesting information.

Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Castbox

18. Composting: Nature’s Most Interesting Process

Length: 57 mins.

The Subject:
This episode hits a very sweet spot for SYSK. It’s light-hearted while still providing great depth (no pun intended). The idea or act of composting your food or yard waste probably isn’t at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds. Yet, Clark and Bryant are able to make the mulch-making-process a must-listen that’ll have you heading to your local hardware store to get in on the action.

Where to Listen: iHeartRadio, Castbox

17. How the Sun Works

Length: 32 mins.

The Subject:
The ever-presence of the life-giving sun is something the bulk of us take for granted. It’s just there, you know, giving life. Clark and Bryant try and breakthrough the nonchalance about our solar systems massive ball of radioactive fire in one of many great episodes about space.

Where to Listen: Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Castbox

16. The Simpsons Spectacular Part I & Part II

Length: Part I 55 mins, Part II 66 mins.

The Subject:
To celebrate SYSK‘s 1,000th episode, Clark and Bryant sat down to record a two-parter about their all-time favorite show, The Simpsons. The two episodes are bridged by Clark and Bryant talking about the nitty-gritty of the detail that goes into making each episode. If you’re a fan of The Simpsons, animation, or just TV, this is a crucial companion listen.

Where to Listen: Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Castbox

15. How Crack Works

Length: 52 mins.

The Subject:
This is a classic episode of SYSK that takes a look at a heady subject. The crack “epidemic” gripped the nation in the 1980s and 1990s. Entire law enforcement branches were created to deal with it — with a clear bigoted bent against people of color. It was a wild time in the midst of America’s War on Drugs that had devastating effects on America’s poorest communities. Clark and Bryant’s deep-dive into what was happening is an illuminating peek into those trying and frustrating times.

Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Castbox

14. How Disco Works

Length: 55 mins.

The Subject:
Diving into the hyper-specific music scene that was disco is a blast. What’s fascinating is the social strife and commentary disco was actually commenting on. Yes, seriously. This is a great listen for any music lover looking to understand the flash-in-the-pan phenomenon that was 1970s disco craze. At the very least, it’ll give you a deeper understanding of the genre and times.

Where to Listen: Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Castbox

13. Why isn’t the U.S. on the Metric System?

Length: 41 mins.

The Subject:
Even with that title, you have to wonder, yeah, why isn’t the U.S. on the metric system? After all, there are only three countries that aren’t fully on the metric system … in the entire world. Part of what Clark and Bryant point out is that the U.S. is partially on the metric system already — sort of living with a foot in both measurement worlds. Our military, medical community, and sciences have switched to metric and all of our food comes in both the old English system and metric. Still, as the hosts point out, it’s a little baffling as to why we’re holding onto the completely outdated system of weights and measures in the U.S.

Where to Listen: iHeartRadio, Spotify, Castbox

12. How Psychopaths Work

Length: 53 mins.

The Subject:
What is the “mask of sanity”? It’s an unsettling trait that psychopaths use to blend in with the rest of society. In this episode, Clark and Bryant dig into how dark and sometimes violent personalities can hide behind a veneer of seemingly charming and intelligent outward personalities. The episode is equal parts informative and chilling.

Where to Listen: Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify

11. How Beer Works

Length: 51 mins.

The Subject:
We love beer around these parts. So, it should come as no surprise that we’re calling out SYSK‘s hallmark episode about the history and beauty of beer. This episode serves as a great primer for any neophyte beer lover who’s looking to get a little deeper knowledge and history centered around a glass of the sudsy stuff.

Where to Listen: Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Castbox

10. The Black Panther Party

Length: 69 mins.

The Subject:
The Black Panther Party started out as a community protection organization for African American communities across America. Then it became the enemy of the U.S. government’s law enforcement branches. This is one of the more harrowing listens of SYSK as the host take a long-view look at how police brutality and profiling in the U.S. have a deep-rooted history that echoes to this day.

Where to Listen: Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Castbox

9. Some Really Interesting Cases of Mass Hysteria

Length: 44 mins.

The Subject:
Mass hysteria is a confusing but very real thing that happens to communities. Through the power of suggestion, entire groups of people can become bloodthirsty mobs of maniacs. It’s shocking and has happened more than you think. SYSK‘s host recounts some of the most amazing and terrifying instances on record to try and get to the root of this very human condition of self-poisoning.

Where to Listen: Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Castbox

8. How Magic Mushrooms Work

Length: 55 mins.

The Subject:
Psylocibin filled mushrooms have been part of the human experience for millennia. Yet today, they’re still mostly illegal. Clark and Bryant dive into the history of the hallucinogen, it’s medical uses, and what exactly is happening when you take them. This is an episode that bridges fun with informative and fascinating subject matter.

Where to Listen: Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify

7. How Jet Lag Works

Length: 39 mins.

The Subject:
This is a short and sweet episode that’s full of useful information. Jet lag is a pain in the ass. There’s no getting around that. But is there a way of simply getting around jet lag? In this episode of SYSK, Clark and Bryant take a look at what is happening to our bodies that causes jet lag (or doesn’t) and how you can fight the symptoms or completely avoid the phenomenon.

Where to Listen: iHeartRadio

6. How Global Warming Works

Length: 65 mins.

The Subject:
If anyone has ever said to you, “why is it snowing so much if global warming is happening,” you can send them this podcast to listen to. Clark and Bryant break down the science behind climate change and how, yes, hotter temperatures in the summer mean colder ones in the winter. It’s a very educational listen that’s 100 percent accessible on a controversial science.

Where to Listen: iHeartRadio, Stitcher

5. The DB Cooper Heist

Length: 96 mins.

The Subject:
In this live episode from Seattle, the SYSK hosts break down some local lore: The D.B. Cooper airplane heist. The 1970s heist is the stuff of local legend with a dramatic commercial airliner high-jacking, robbery, high-altitude parachute escape, and disappearance into thin air. This is a rollicking episode and a great introduction to the SYSK Live series of shows.

Where to Listen: Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify

4. Were U.S. Citizens in Japanese Internment Camps?

Length: 35 mins.

The Subject:
The short answer to that question/title is yes. 100,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans were interned in concentration camps in the U.S. during World War II. The reasons for this mass imprisonment were suspect, to say the least. And, the painful effects on the folks who went through it were long-lasting. Clark and Bryant take a look at why this happened and how down most non-Japanese Americans were with the mass imprisonment of their neighbors.

Where to Listen: iHeartRadio, Castbox

3. Vocal Fry and Other Speech Trends

Length: 39 mins.

The Subject:
Vocal fry has caused a lot of stir in the U.S. The act of downing your voice into a lower register — a la a Kardashian — has a lot of acolytes. The SYSK hosts dive into what’s going in your throat (and mind) for those who choose to speak that way. Then, they dive into other speech trends that have come and gone throughout the years and compare and contrast them to today’s controversial speech trends.

Where to Listen: iHeartRadio, Stitcher

2. How the Electoral College Works

Length: 46 mins.

The Subject:
The U.S. Electoral College, which elects the U.S. president, is a minefield of confusing rules and meaning. Luckily, Clark and Bryant took the time back in 2012 to explain what the hell is actually going on with the antiquated (and slightly un-democratic) system of installing the most powerful person in the country. The episode has become even more insightful now that the 2016 election has passed and the Electoral College became painfully relevant yet again.

Where to Listen: iHeartRadio

1. History of the Trail of Tears, Part I & Part II

Length: Part I 56 mins., Part II 45 mins.

The Subject:
The Trail Of Tears — or the U.S. government’s ethnic cleansing of Indigenous nations from what is now the American South — is one of the darkest chapters in human history, much less U.S. history (which has some serious darkness in it). Clark and Bryant take their time to put together a look at the forces that created this massive ethnic cleansing event from the perspective on the average American who simply isn’t taught this history, and certainly not the brutality of it.

The episode also works as an example of getting a better understanding that the Trail of Tears was not a single event. This was part of the systemic way the U.S. chose to deal with the Indigenous populations across the continent over and over again. That is, choosing war, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide instead of living side by side or, just simply leaving the people alone. It’s a harrowing and very educational listen for the unaware.

Where to Listen: iHeartRadio, Castbox, Stitcher

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Source: https://uproxx.com/life/best-stuff-you-should-know-podcast-episodes/

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