Friday, 4 December 2009


I know many things - I know that the only person to miss a penalty at the 1994 World Cup outside of a penalty shootout was Diana Ross, plus I know that pneumatic smut-fountain Russ Meyer started work on a movie with the Sex Pistols, and that the man behind The Mohawks' legendary 60s hammond funk classic The Champ, Alan Hawkshaw, also sired the equally astounding Grange Hill theme.

But the key defining quality to all the nuggets rattling around inside my brain is that none of them have any intrinsic worth that could help secure the future of humanity should Roland Emmerich stops dicking around and actually decides to destroy the world.

Which is why I'm ridicuglad to have discovered the distinctly above-par Stuff You Should Know podcasts.

Produced by the How Stuff Works brain-cosortium and hosted by boundy knowledge puppies Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark. Tackling a remarkable raft of gravitasy subjects, from the Large Hadron Collider and Ripperology to the medical breakdown of a hangover and the existence of zombies, the pair use solidly researched scientific research and documented evidence to dissect and merrily explain the shit out of them.

Shaved of the academic snobbery that would have rendered the podcasts a texbook case of rampant dullardity, they're instead accessible, fascinating and are absolutely essential if, like me you'd like to use your brain for something more important than wondering whether anyone other than Coventry City has ever had a brown kit.

Here are ten great facts that I've gleaned from the show…

1. Discussions are already underway to finalise robot rights.

2. George Bush's Patriot Act wanted postmen to act as spies for the US government.

3. There are a finite amount of ways you can die.

4. The CIA hired magicians to teach them how to use sleight of hand so they could spike peoples drinks with LSD at swingers' parties. They also dosed elephants with it.

5. The man behind the universal language Espernato, LL Zamenhof, also attempted to establish a univeral religion with the aim of world peace.

6. It's possible that Jack the Ripper may have also carried out a murder in New York.

7. Swearing in the workplace improves social bonding.

8. Nazi war criminals were employed by the US government and provided valuable help in their space program.

9. Alcohol stops the production of vassopressin inhibitors, which causes drinkers to piss up to four times more than they've actually drunk.

10. A family in Nederland, Colorado have kept their grandfather frozen in a shed near their house for the past 20 years - and the town now has an annual festival in his honour.

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