Stuff I Learned from Podcasts: Issue 4

Every Little Thing (June 25, 2018): ARRRR Pirate Peg Legs a Thing?

  • Takes a look at some of the common pirate tropes and determines if pirates from the classic golden age of pirates, were real things.
  • Parrots on board (yes)
  • Peg legs as a prosthetic (yes)
  • A hook to replace a hand (not likely)
  • Walking the plank (sadly, no)
    Pirates would more likely just shoot you rather than go through the song and dance of walking the plank.
  • Skull & Crossbones flag (yes)

Stuff You Should Know (June 19, 2018): Skyscrapers

  • Tall buildings like skyscrapers didn’t exist until the advent of iron and steel. Steel, interestingly enough, is highly purified iron.
  • Brick and mortar is unable to support very tall structures, unless shaped like a pyramid or something similar.
  • First passenger elevator came along at a similar time as the skyscraper (ironic). It was in a department store in New York City in 1857 and was actually installed by Elijah Otis of the famous Otis Elevator Company.
  • A relatively new invention, cross-laminated timber, is allowing for taller and taller wooden buildings. The current tallest wooden building is a college dormitory in British Columbia, Canada, at 18 stories.

Omnibus (June 21, 2018): Billy the Pygmy Hippo

  • Hold on to your britches, this episode was fascinating!
  • President Calvin Coolidge was well known for being boring, a real stick in the mud type.
  • A famous story about a woman who bet that she could get “Silent Cal” to say three words. His response, “You lose.”
  • Also famously lazy, he slept 11 hours a night and took an afternoon nap. He also loved receiving a massage on his bald head with Vaseline while eating breakfast each morning. I wouldn’t call that lazy, I’d say that he really knew how to live.
  • He loved animals and kept something of a menagerie. Had lots of birds and dogs, along with a bobcat and wallabies. A friend gave him a pygmy hippo who was widely beloved. His full name was William Johnson Hippopotamus, commonly referred to as Billy.
  • Pygmy hippos average about 6 foot in length and weight about 600 pounds compared to up to 17 feet and 3,300 pounds for a full size normal hippo.
  • Took up residence at the National Zoo in Washington D. C. (originally from Liberia). Zoos of that time were not like zoos of today. They were not particularly knowledgeable about how to care for their animals and were not at all focused on conservation.
  • Over his lifetime, he fathered 23 calves. Crazily enough, 22 of them were females, only one male among his offspring. Many of his offspring were sent to other zoos and helped kickstart a new direction for zoos to become more focused on conservation and animal husbandry.
  • Completely unrelated, President Teddy Roosevelt and his son Kermit, once hunted and shot a giant panda on a trip across Asia. I have so many questions about the previous sentence.