Cool Weird Awesome with Brady Carlson

Here’s A Shirt That Can Feel Sound

An episode of Cool Weird Awesome with Brady Carlson

By Brady Carlson
Three minutes each weekday of cool facts, weird news and awesome discoveries with Brady Carlson. Back us at
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The Mayor Can’t Be Here, But Would You Like A Selfie With His Cardboard Cutout?
When the residents of Pichuclaco, Chiapas, Mexico took part in a public health event, they didn't get to meet Mayor Moisés Aguilar Torres - at least not the real him. But they did get to see, and take pictures with, a cardboard cutout of the mayor. Plus: remember that time the people of New England went bonkers and stole hundreds of cardboard David Hasselhoffs?  Constituents furious as Mexican mayor sends life-sized cardboard cutout of himself to an official event he couldn't attend (Daily Mail) ‘David Hasselhoff to go, please’: 550 cardboard cutouts stolen (Los Angeles Times) Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon and a cardboard cutout of our host will thank you 
October 11, 2019
This High-Tech Sleeve Could Save A Pitcher’s Arm
Sports tech company Motus Global has developed a high-tech compression sleeve for pitchers. It senses the movement of each pitch and determines how much strain the throws put on the arm, to help avoid injuries. Plus: the story of old-timey pitcher "Phenomenal" Smith, who, it's said, could have used a different kind of smarts in dealing with his teammates.  Smart Sleeve Tells Baseball Pitchers When to Get Off the Mound ( How Smith became "Phenomenal"  (Bob Lemke) Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon and together we'll always throw strikes!
October 10, 2019
How The Tree That Owns Itself Came To Own Itself
Today we pay a visit to Athens, Georgia - specifically, the intersection of South Finley and Dearing Street. That’s where you’ll find something unusual: The Tree That Owns Itself. Plus: a Japanese design company has created a 3D-printed bonsai, which you can prune once and looks the way you want forever... as long as you don't mind that it's not an actual tree.  A Tree That Owns Itself? (Farmers Almanac) Nendo's 3D-printed bonsai tree does away with need for meticulous maintenance (Dezeen) Don't leaf us without backing the show on Patreon 
October 9, 2019
What It Sounds Like When Bats Bicker
Egyptian fruit bats are known to make a lot of noise while they’re roosting. Scientists at Tel Aviv University have determined that a lot of that noise is bats getting annoyed at other bats. Plus: scientists studying endangered bats in Cuba tag them in a very fancy way, with little bat-manicures! Study of bat vocalizations shows they are communicating with one another ( Scientists Gave One of the World’s Rarest Bats a Manicure to Help Save It (Earther) When the bats aren't bickering, they're urging you to back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
October 8, 2019
Here’s A Shirt That Can Feel Sound
The Soundshirt from high-tech fashion company Cute Circuit has embedded sensors that can sense sound and turn it into vibrations. In other words, it helps deaf people feel music.  And since we're talking about sounds, have you heard the Tiptree Sneeze, where a trombonist let loose in the middle of a concert?  The Soundshirt lets deaf people feel music on their skin (designboom) Man sneezes into his trombone during concert - Tiptree sneeze (YouTube) Tiptree trombone sneeze man tells of 'freak event' (BBC)
October 7, 2019
Kiss Is Playing A Concert For Sharks, One Of The Few Things They Haven’t Already Done
For decades fans of the band KISS have called themselves the KISS Army. But now that they're set to play a concert off the coast of Australia for human and sharks fans, maybe there’s also a KISS Navy? Plus: in Oklahoma, the annual Honobia Bigfoot Festival is getting underway. Kiss to Jump the Shark for Underwater Concert With Great Whites in South Australia (The Wrap) Honobia Bigfoot Festival You were made for backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon
October 4, 2019
The Trash Can Isn’t Going To Take Itself Out. Oh, Actually Now It Is
The Smart Can is a motorized, automated trash bin that will drive itself to the curb every week. Which means it's already more motivated about garbage day than I've ever been. Plus: the pinball festival known as PinBaltimore is getting underway in Maryland.  New Automated Trash Can Drives Itself to the Curb on Trash Day (Interesting Engineering)  PinBaltimore It's smart to back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon.
October 3, 2019
The 7-10 Split Meets Big Data
The 7-10 split is the hardest show in bowling, right? Well, an analysis from 2015 put that to the test - and the results were pretty surprising. Plus: an exhibit at New York's Hall of Science includes more than 100 classic works of art recreated with Legos.  What's the Hardest Shot in Bowling? It's Complicated (Wired) See Lego Versions of the World’s Most Famous Art at New York Hall of Science (Untapped Cities) Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon really ties the room together
October 2, 2019
You Can’t Beat Furniture Grown On The Farm
Gavin and Alice Munro run a furniture farm in England. That's right, rather than turning trees into lumber and using that to make chairs, tables and sofas, they shape living trees into furniture, to be more sustainable. Plus: today marks 15 years since the city of Melbourne dedicated a street in honor of the band AC/DC.  UK Couple Growing Furniture On Farm (Huffington Post) Bon Scott sculpture cranks up the rock in Melbourne's AC/DC Lane (Sydney Morning Herald) Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon is something you can do dirt cheap
October 1, 2019
Can We Get Mac and Cheese To Mars?
A mission to Mars would take years of travel - but today's space food doesn't last long enough. Scientists at Washington State University are working on a way to sterilize and pack food that can last 3-5 years, which is good for astronauts and for any of us who want to survive the zombie apocalypse. Plus: why a man in Vermont just put up a large wooden statue of a raised middle finger.  Getting mac and cheese to Mars (Washington State University) Westford resident gives town the middle finger—and there's nothing anyone can do about it (Burlington Free Press) Give Cool Weird Awesome a thumbs-up as a backer on Patreon!
September 30, 2019
In Casey, Illinois, Small Town Life Has Never Been Bigger
The small community of Casey, Illinois is home to the Big Things In A Small Town project - and this weekend someone will win a chance to sit in the world's largest rocking chair. Plus: tomorrow in Boulder City, Nevada, it’s the Wurst Festival. I’m not mocking the event, that's its name.  Here’s your chance to sit on the World’s Largest Rocking Chair, one of many giant attractions in a tiny Illinois town (Roadtrippers) Our Annual Würst Festival Fundraiser  It's the best when you back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
September 27, 2019
A Pole-Sitting Champ Finds Out It’s Lonely At The Top
Richard "Dixie" Blandy called himself the greatest flagpole sitter of all time - they say he spent more time atop flagpoles than most flags. Plus: the Great Basin Astronomy Festival today gets underway, with unusually dark skies and, to our knowledge, no flagpole sitters to obstruct the view. Among Dayton’s colorful characters, he stood above rest (Dayton Daily News) A 1971 pole-sitting champ on the great loneliness of sitting on a pole for 8 months (Splinter News) Great Basin Astronomy Festival (Travel Nevada) Would we sit on a flagpole for your support on Patreon? Yeah, probably.
September 26, 2019
I See What You Did There, Brain Implant
UCLA is testing a brain implant that takes the images captured by a tiny camera and converts them into electrical impulses that stimulate the part of the brain responsible for sight. It helps blind people detect darkness and lightness, as well as sensing motion. Plus: tomorrow in London, Kentucky, the 30th annual World Chicken Festival gets underway, and it includes the World’s Largest Stainless Steel Skillet.  Brain implant restores visual perception to the blind (UCLA) The origin of the iconic World's Largest Stainless Steel Skillet (Sentinel-Echo) Back Cool Weird Awesome for just $1 a month on Patreon!
September 25, 2019
Turn Those Old Straws Into New Albums
The Straw Vinyl project has lined up some high-profile bands to release limited-edition vinyl records that are made out of plastic harvested from old straws. Then your hipster friends can say they were into keeping straws out of landfills before it was cool. Plus: in London, there's a commemorative manhole cover on the site where sewer authorities vanquished the infamous Whitechapel fatberg.,  Bacardi just found the best use for plastic straws ever—turn them into vinyl records (Fast Company) 'Monster' Whitechapel fatberg unveiled at London museum (BBC) The Whitechapel Fatberg Has Its Own Hidden Memorial (Londonist) You can turn your support on Patreon into new episodes of this show! 
September 24, 2019
Our Long History Of Crashing Stuff Into The Moon
We always celebrate great space achievements, why not also commemorate some great space screwups? This month marks 60 years since the first time a spacecraft tried to land on the moon but crashed instead. Plus: Mount Airy, NC, where Andy Griffith grew up, is hosting the 30th annual Mayberry Days this week.  India’s Chandrayaan-2 Marks 60 Years of Moon Crashes and Hard Landings (New York Times) Mayberry Days Keep Cool Weird Awesome climbing as a backer on Patreon!
September 23, 2019
Bah Gawd It’s A Smart Cane
The weWALK is a smart cane for blind pedestrians, with ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles ahead and Google Maps connections to navigate through and describe the surrounding area. Plus: if you like pickles, the Big Dill festival is back this weekend in Baltimore.  Blind inventor creates 'smart cane' that uses google maps to navigate visually impaired people (designboom) Baltimore’s Little-Known Pickle History Celebrated at New Festival (Baltimore Magazine) Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon for just $1 a month!
September 20, 2019
It’s The Birthday Of Fawlty Towers, Don’t Mention The War!
Today in 1975 the BBC aired the first episode of “Fawlty Towers,” a landmark comedy series that was - amazingly - received about as poorly by TV executive and the public as Basil Fawlty’s appalling attitude was received by guests at his hotel. How did it finally get its due? Plus: AC/DC songs can get the bison of Yellowstone National Park. For bison about to rock, we salute you? Fawlty Towers: the classic sitcom the BBC didn’t want (Telegraph) I'm afraid I thought this one as dire as its title (Letters of Note) Cops Blast AC/DC to Get the Reluctant Bison Moving Out of the Road and It Works Like a Charm (TIME) Backing Cool Weird Awesome is a much better use of your money than giving it to Lord Melbury
September 19, 2019
The Race To Keep Day-Glo Paints Glo-ing
Paintings made with Day Glo paint - some by well-known and influential artists - are losing their glow over time. Conservationists don't yet know how to solve this puzzle, but we do at least know how Day Glo got started. Plus: meet a color that absorbs 99.995 percent of incoming light. Even Nigel Tufnel would say that's pretty black.  Day-Glo masterpieces are fading. A conservator and her team are racing to save them (Los Angeles Times) How DayGlo Went From Utility Pigment to Design World Darling (AIGA Eye on Design) Engineers Just Unveiled a New Blackest-Ever Material, Even Darker Than Vantablack (Science Alert) Make life more colorful when you back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon
September 18, 2019
We Can Make Orange Juice Cups From Oranges
Feel the Peel is a big automated juicing machine that turns discarded orange peels into bioplastic cups. Although if you don't have the cup until you juice the orange, how do you drink the first cup's worth of juice? Plus: a new restaurant in London called Pick & Cheese puts you in front of a long conveyor belt that brings you 25 different types of cheese, paired with condiments!  A Giant Circular Juice Machine That Turns Discarded Peels of Squeezed Oranges Into 3D Printed Juice Cups (Laughing Squid) This Restaurant Has a Cheese Conveyor Belt (Food & Wine) Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon is even sweeter than a fresh cup of orange juice
September 17, 2019
We’re Unleashing Drones On Cows And It’s For Their Health
The so-called quiet life on the farm is actually one of the most high-tech places on earth. As envisioned by the University of Kentucky research team, drones could fly above cow herds as they graze, learn which cow is which, and visually check each cow so see if they’re healthy. Plus: someone invented a decoy computer keyboard for cats to sit on so they don't sit on your actual keyboard, which is purr-fect.  Drones on the farm: Using facial recognition to keep cows healthy (CNet) This heated fake keyboard was designed to fool your cat (Boing Boing) Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon is even better for you than drinking milk. 
September 16, 2019
Scooby-Doo And Those Meddling Kids Started Solving Groovy Mysteries 50 Years Ago
It's the 50th anniversary of the premiere of “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” That’s right, the Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby have been setting traps, being danger prone, dropping glasses, making gigantic sandwiches and solving mysteries for a half-century. But originally the show was going to be VERY different. Plus: Lake Lure, NC is hosting the Dirty Dancing Festival starting today. If you go, I hope you have the time of your life.  “Like, yeah. We’ve been teenagers forever:” The Evolution of Scooby-Doo’s “Meddling Kids” (24 Frames of Silver) Iwao Takamoto: My Life with a Thousand Characters  Dirty Dancing Festival I swear it's the truth, we owe Cool Weird Awesome all to you, our Patreon backers
September 13, 2019
How About We Put Shade Plants Under Solar Panels?
There's work out of the University of Arizona that says solar arrays can be even more efficient if you grow food underneath the panels. And no, the panels don't block the plants from growing by taking all the sun. Plus: Chandler, Arizona is hosting the Rockin' Taco Street Fest, which finally combines the goodness of tacos with lucha libre pro wrestling.  Crops under solar panels can be a win-win (Ars Technica) Rockin' Taco Street Fest It's always sunny for Cool Weird Awesome backers on Patreon
September 12, 2019
How To Analyze DNA After DNA Starts Breaking Down
Researchers at the University of California, Davis are studying forensic proteomics, which one researcher describes as a way to read DNA when there isn’t DNA to read. Plus: a record shop in Seattle finds a royalty check that belonged to grunge royalty.  Forensic Proteomics, a New Tool for Crime Labs and Anthropology (UC-Davis) Found in a Record Store: Kurt Cobain’s Royalty Check (Atlas Obscura) With the lights out, it's less dangerous, here we are now, back us on Patreon
September 11, 2019
Massachusetts Once Had Like Six John Kennedys On The Same Ballot
Around the same time John Fitzgerald Kennedy was rising through the ranks of the US Congress, a guy called John Francis Kennedy decided to put name on the ballot to run for Massachusetts state treasurer. In a few years, there were other John Kennedys trying to win public office in the state. Plus: pitcher Will Smith faces - who else - batter Will Smith.  Seeing double: Congressman Raul Ruiz has a challenger. His name is also Raul Ruiz (Desert Sun) All about the “other” other JFK (Commonwealth Magazine) Dodgers catcher Will Smith retired by San Francisco Giants pitcher Will Smith (Los Angeles Times) Patreon backers by any name make Cool Weird Awesome happen!
September 10, 2019
Whatever’s In Loch Ness Isn’t What’s In The Famous Loch Ness Monster Photo
Researchers may have finally solved the long-running mystery of what the Loch Ness Monster is. What Nessie is not is the thing that is in the picture you’ll most likely see when you search for “Loch Ness Monster” on the internet. Plus: scientists think Tyrannosaurus Rex may have had a kind of air conditioner built into its head!  The Legend of Loch Ness (Nova) Loch Ness monster might actually just be a giant eel, scientists say (USA Today) T. Rex had an air conditioner in its head, study suggests (Science Daily) Thanks to our backers on Patreon, Cool Weird Awesome, uh, finds a way
September 9, 2019
The Kansas Town Where Even Popeye Got His Spinach
It’s Spinach Festival weekend in Lenexa, Kansas, a time for games, crafts, music, the world’s largest spinach salad and a visit from noted cartoon spinach addict Popeye the sailor. That’s fitting, since a report in 435 Magazine says it was Popeye’s popularity that helped make Lenexa’s spinach famous in the first place. Plus: can you guess what kind of festival the people of Pie Town, NM are throwing later this month?  How Lenexa became the spinach capital of the world (435 Magazine) Kansas Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff By Pam Grout  Pietown, NM Pie Festival Have all the Cool Weird Awesome you want as a backer on Patreon, we'll make more!
September 6, 2019
I’ll Take Alex Trebek Facts For $500, Alex
It sure was nice to hear that Jeopardy host Alex Trebek is not only doing well following his cancer treatment, he’s already back at work on a new season of the show! Each day's filming requires hundreds of clues, multiple suit changes and lots of ways to respond to contestants' responses. Plus: the maid of honor at a Texas wedding decides to take the bride's direction to wear what you want to a whole new level. Alex Trebek Returns to Work on ‘Jeopardy!’ Following Cancer Treatment (Variety) What Is 50 Crazy Facts About 'Jeopardy!' for $1000? (Mashable) The Trebek Affirmation Soundboard  Maid of honor turns up to her sister's wedding dressed as a T-REX after being told she could wear 'anything she wanted' (Daily Mail) Make a wager on Cool Weird Awesome as a backer on Patreon!
September 5, 2019
Look, It’s The History Of Halley’s Comet
It was on this day in 1682 that an English astronomer, Edmund Halley, observed a particular comet in the sky. He didn't discover it, but he did figure out when it was going to come back - only by then, he wasn't around to see it again. Plus: in the old days comets were believed to be a sign of bad news coming. In one case, that may have actually been right.  Halley's Comet: Facts About the Most Famous Comet ( Comets Breed Fear, Fascination and Web Sites (New York Times) Don't wait 76 years to support the show, back us on Patreon today!
September 4, 2019
Even Takeout Can Be Greener, Thanks To Reusable To-Go Containers
There are lots of good options for takeout these days, but along with all that deliciousness comes a lot of waste. A company called GO Box is sending out food orders in reusable plastic containers to keep all the single-use stuff out of the garbage. Plus: kudos to Cinotti’s Bakery in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, which has been selling Hurricane Dorian-themed doughnuts ahead of the big storm. With GO Box, you can have zero-waste takeout (Treehugger) Hurricane Dorian: Bakery in Jacksonville, Florida and others capitalize with storm-themed doughnuts (Sarasota Herald-Tribune) Help Cool Weird Awesome deliver more shows as a backer on Patreon!
September 3, 2019
It’s All Pumpkin Spice From Here On Out
Summer is through, which means the start of our annual time to consume and/or complain about products flavored with pumpkin spice. It was in the mid-90s that this blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves started its rise to power, and there's no stopping it now, really. Plus: did you know that hundreds of years ago pumpkin spice may have given us New York City?  The origins of pumpkin spice and how it became the flavor of fall (Washington Post) The Dark And Murky History Of Pumpkin Spice (Chicagoist) How Did Pumpkin Spice Become So Popular? And Why Do We Hate to Love It So Much? (Cooking Light) ‘Pumpkin Spice’ Has Been a Thing for 3,500 Years ( Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon costs less than a PSL and lasts even longer
September 2, 2019
If You’re On Vacation, Eat Something Large And Weird
The roadside diner is a staple of American travel. And some restaurants make the food a kind of roadside attraction, often by creating meals that are too big to be believed, and often too big to be consumed in one sitting. Plus: the Traveler Restaurant in Connecticut serves food for thought as well as actual food, by giving out books with every meal.  The 18 Most Insane Food Challenges Ever (Buzzfeed) Traveler Food And Books: A "Novel" Idea (Hartford Courant) Dig into Cool Weird Awesome as a backer on Patreon!
August 30, 2019
The Giant Potato Airbnb And Other Wild Places To Stay
There are hotels, motels, friends with fold-out couches, house rentals, B&Bs and, in Idaho, a giant potato you can rent. Or, technically, a 28 foot long, 12 foot wide structure built in the shape of a potato. Plus: a man from the UK traveling through Amsterdam learns that an Airbnb listing for a "clean room with a private bathroom" can technically refer to a shipping container next to a port-a-potty. Unusual places to stay in the USA (Lonely Planet) Giant potato in Idaho available to rent on Airbnb for $200 a night (Insider) Amsterdam tourist unwittingly pays for shipping container in Airbnb booking  (Sky News) Stay with Cool Weird Awesome as a backer on Patreon!
August 29, 2019
The Train Station With No Entrances Or Exits
There's an unusual train station in southwest Japan to which you can take a train, but you can’t enter the platform from outside; nor can you leave.  Plus: the story of an eight year old in Russia who decided it was time to set out on his own and see the world.  Japanese train station with no stops, entrances or exits (Sora News) Boy, 8, found after leaving home to 'travel the world' (BBC) Get on board the Cool Weird Awesome train as a backer on Patreon!
August 28, 2019
How To See The Lower 48 States In One Road Trip
Randal S. Olson developed a computer algorithm to find the shortest, most efficient way to drive through all 48 contiguous United States - 13,699 miles and around 224 hours of driving. Plus: the Race Across America is a more than 3,000 mile road race from Los Angeles to New York on bicycles. Computing the optimal road trip across the U.S. (Randal S. Olson) Race Across America The most efficient way to support Cool Weird Awesome is to back the show on Patreon!
August 27, 2019
A Bike Trip Around The World With A Cat
Dean Nicholson left his job and started a bike trip across the world. While riding through Bosnia, he heard a “desperate meow." So, instead of riding solo, he decided the cat would come along. Plus: if a continental bike trip with a cat isn’t your cup of tea, how about a boat trip with a chicken? Cat travels the world on a bicycle after backpacker adopts the stray kitten and customises bike to take her with him (The Daily Mail) Boat trip with a chicken (The Guardian) Ride with Cool Weird Awesome as a backer on Patreon!
August 26, 2019
If I Could Save Time In A Time Capsule
The Derry, New Hampshire library had a time capsule that was sealed 50 years ago. When they took a look inside it contained... absolutely nothing. Why? We don’t know. But we do know that time capsules can get weird. Plus: today in Finland is the 2019 AIr Guitar World Championships! America’s Oldest Known Time Capsule Was Made by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams ( 9 Historically Disappointing Time Capsules (Mental Floss) Lebanon Uncorks Time Capsule (Valley News) Derry time capsule opened to reveal nothing (WMUR) Air Guitar World Championships Make Cool Weird Awesome ROCK as a backer on Patreon!
August 23, 2019
Elizabeth Freeman Makes Herself A Free Woman
An enslaved woman in 18th century Massachusetts overheard all the talk about freedom and equality and decided it should be put to the test.  On August 22, 1781, a court found the woman known as Mum Bett, later as Elizabeth Freeman, could not be the property of another human being and therefore was free and equal.  Plus: someone in Sheffield, England, is stapling bread to trees, because internet.  Jury Decides in Favor of Elizabeth "Mum Bett" Freeman ( Sheffield residents don't know whether to laugh or cry at slices of bread being stapled to trees on their streets (Leeds Live) Make yourself a backer of Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon for just $1 a month!
August 22, 2019
Ketchup Packets Last Somewhere Between Nine Months And Forever
Little sauce packets. We hang onto them because they’re too small to notice much, or because we don’t want to throw them out if they haven’t been used. But at some point they have to spoil, right? We now have a pretty definitive answer on their shelf lives. Plus: today's the start of the annual Corn Palace Festival in Mitchell, South Dakota.  What's the Shelf Life of a Ketchup Packet? (HowStuffWorks)  Taco Bell gives man ‘saved’ by hot sauce packets while stuck in snow free food for a year (Fox2Now) Corn Palace Festival (Travel South Dakota) Keep Cool Weird Awesome shelf-stable as a backer on Patreon!
August 21, 2019
How To Find Where You Are In Just Three Words
The app what3words breaks down all the spaces on earth into 3 meter by 3 meter squares and assigns each of those squares a unique set of three words. Anyone who knows the three words for a square can pinpoint it with GPS - just ask the group of lost hikers in a UK forest who got help in about a minute thanks to the system. Plus: the great state of Wisconsin is home to a 45 X 90 monument - the center point of the northern half of the Western Hemisphere. We've got it all in this state! This Smartphone App Can Save Your Life with Just 3 Words (Interesting Engineering) 45 X 90 Geographical Marker (Atlas Obscura)  Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon and you'll never feel lost.
August 20, 2019
The Future Of Health Care Is Alpacas
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have been looking at the unusual immune system of alpacas. Their antibodies are not only effective, they’re also easier to harvest than most other animals’ antibodies, so they could help develop ways to treat or regulate some rare but serious diseases in humans. Plus: alpaca herds aren't just going to help us stay healthy, they're helping us de-stress, thanks to the growing world of alpaca yoga.  Meet the alpacas that are helping researchers who study autism, Alzheimer’s and cancer (Vanderbilt University) Alpacas steal show at free yoga class hosted by Alpaca Owners Association (Nashville Tennesseean) Cool Weird Awesome is like the adorable alpaca of the podcast world. Back the show today on Patreon!
August 19, 2019
The Ups and Downs Of Rollercoaster History
It's National Rollercoaster Day, and while there have probably been thrill rides since humans first figured out the concept of ramps, the roller coaster as we know it has a direct ancestor that dates back to 15th century Russia. Plus: a RollerCoaster Tycoon player devises the longest, most diabolical virtual coaster of all time.  From Death Traps to Disneyland: The 600-Year History of the Roller Coaster (Popular Mechanics)  Ups and downs: The history of roller coasters (USA Today) Crazy Roller Coasters (Travel Channel) RollerCoaster Tycoon Ride From Hell Lasts 12 Years (Kotaku)  Steer Cool Weird Awesome through the ups and downs of podcasting - back us on Patreon today! 
August 16, 2019
Keep Playing, Richie Havens, The Rest Of Woodstock Is Coming
Richie Havens wasn't supposed to be the first act at the Woodstock festival, which started 50 years ago today. But like so much of Woodstock, what was supposed to happen was very different than what actually took place. Oh, also, there were cows there!  Woodstock Remembered: Richie Havens on Opening the Fest of ‘People Just Being People’   Don't take the brown acid. DO back Cool Weird Awesome on Twitter.
August 15, 2019
The Alabama Bridge That Roosters Built
It’s the 100th anniversary of a time that roosters built a bridge. Ok, not literally, but an auction of roosters donated by the most prominent people in the world helped raise the money needed for a bridge over the Tombigbee River in western Alabama, a span known as Rooster Bridge. Plus: it's day one of the Telluride Mushroom Festival in Colorado! The Rooster Bridge: How one man’s vision paved the way (West Alabama Watchman)  The Rooster Bridge Historical Marker at the US Hwy 80/Tombigbee River Bridge (Rural SW Alabama) Telluride Mushroom Festival You don't need to auction a rooster to make Cool Weird Awesome, just back us on Patreon!
August 14, 2019
Checking In To The House Plant Hotel
The online plant store Patch is offering to take care of the house plants for you while you’re on holiday, in what it’s calling the world’s first plant hotel. Plus: meet the  Social Escape Dress, which tracks your stress and activates built-in fog machines if the moment gets to be too much for the wearer.  Hotel for plants takes care of your greenery while you're gone (CNet)  Urban Armor #7: The Social Escape Dress (Kathleen McDermott)  Back Cool Weird Awesome wherever you go through Patreon!
August 13, 2019
The Best Defense Against Cougars Is Metallica
When a cougar started walking toward her on a logging trail in British Columbia, Dee Gallant used the power of rock to protect herself. Plus:  in a move that might make heavy metal even heavier, guitarist Takamizawa Toshihiko designs a guitar shaped like Godzilla. Metallica responds to B.C. woman who fended off wild cougar with the band’s music ( A Very Resourceful Woman Scared Off a Cougar by Blasting Metallica (Noisey) This Limited-Edition Godzilla is a Monster of a Guitar (Guitar World) Ride the lightning when you back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
August 12, 2019
Elvis Almost Threw Down At A Wisconsin Gas Station
Elvis Week is getting underway in Memphis, Tennessee, and while I can't be there, I can still celebrate, because my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin is where the King once broke up a fight at a gas station in the middle of the night. Plus: Hastings, Nebraska is kicking off the annual Kool-Aid Days.  About Elvis Week (Graceland)  Neglected marker shows where Elvis Presley in a karate stance stopped a fight in Madison in 1977 (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Kool-Aid Days (Visit Nebraska) 
August 9, 2019
All Hail Iowa’s Butter Cow
It's day one of the Iowa State Fair, and what would that fair be without its centerpiece - the butter cow! The most bovine of butter sculptures made its debut in 1911, but the long and interesting history of butter-based art goes back even further. Plus:  Minnesotans are heading to the community of Darwin this weekend to celebrate the Biggest Ball of Twine.  The surprisingly lofty history of American butter sculpting (The Takeout)  This Year's Ohio State Fair Butter Sculpture Pays Tribute to 50th Anniversary of Moon Landing (Cleveland Scene)  Twine Ball Day in Darwin, MN (Explore Minnesota)   Help create the biggest ball of backers for Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon! 
August 8, 2019
The Festival That’s Mostly People Throwing Tomatoes At Each Other
Later this month tens of thousands of people will head to Buñol, Spain for La Tomatina, otherwise known as the world’s largest tomato throwing festival.  Also, today is day one of the World Yo Yo Contest in Cleveland, Ohio.  But most of all, it's Cool Weird Awesome's 100th episode! Thanks for listening and supporting the show!  Tomatina History (  World Yo Yo Contest   Make the next 100 episodes of Cool Weird Awesome happen as a backer on Patreon!
August 7, 2019
Neat Freaks, Be Glad You Didn’t Live In A Medieval Castle
If you were a royal back several hundred years ago, this might be a time when you’d pack up and leave the castle for one of your other castles. This wasn't just because that’s what you do when you’re wealthy; it was because the castle staff needed everyone out so they could clean out all the filth!  Plus: to balance out all the dirty stuff, let's hear about how companies are launching just-add-water cleaning products.   Naked Cooks, Excrement, Rats: The Secretly Disgusting History of Royal Palaces (  Could just-add-water products save us? (Vox) You can feel like a queen or a king when you back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
August 6, 2019
Dear Family, Camp Is The Worst, That’s The Entire Letter
It was a hard, hard weekend - so we thought it would be a good day to just take the few minutes we share together and have a little fun, before we have to go back out into the world. So here's an Instagram account called Homesickdotcom, which shares photos of the hilarious letters kids at camp send their parents when they maybe don’t want to be at camp. Plus: two brothers on their way to the Twins Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, have a very twinny experience with the State Patrol.   homesickdotcom (Instagram) This Instagram Account Full Of Kids' Homesick Letters From Camp Is Hilariously Real (Buzzfeed) Twins pulled over by OSHP for nearly identical license plates (Fox 8 Cleveland) Dear Parents, camp would be better if you backed Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon
August 5, 2019
A Garbage Cafe Is Much Better Than Its Name Suggests
There’s a new cafe in the Indian city of Ambikapur known as a "garbage cafe." It aims to help very poor people by offering them meals and/or shelter in exchange for the trash they often pick up and try to sell - and it uses the reclaimed plastic to build new roads. Plus: this weekend in Twinsburg, Ohio, near Cleveland, the annual Twins Days festival is getting underway.  Bring Plastic Waste And Eat Full Meal At India's First Garbage Cafe In Chhattisgarh (India Times)  Twins Day Festival Double your pleasure, double your fun when you back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon! 
August 2, 2019
Save The Washing Machine Museum!
The Lee Maxwell Washing Machine Museum in Eaton, Colorado, is facing an uncertain future. Its namesake wants to pass on his collection of some 1,600 machines to the next generation. Hopefully someone takes him up on that offer, because there’s a lot of history here. Plus: the Lumberjack World Championships begin in Hayward, Wisconsin, and we go for the obvious Monty Python reference in describing the event.  The Secret History of Washing Machines (Popular Mechanics) Lumberjack World Championships    I'm a Cool Weird Awesome backer on Patreon, and I'm ok 
August 1, 2019
Depression-Detecting AI Is Much More Than A Virtual Mood Ring
Someday, smart speakers might be able to sound off if we don’t sound quite ourselves. Researchers at the University of Alberta have been working on a way for AI to detect depression through voice recordings. Plus: Today in 1989 is when Nintendo brought the US the Game Boy, the landmark portable video game system that made black and green displays cool again.   Sound mind: Detecting depression through voice (University of Alberta)  10 Amazing Facts About the Game Boy You Didn't Know (Houston Press) Back Cool Weird Awesome for just $1 a month on Patreon!
July 31, 2019
Here's Why Nellie Bly Is Getting Her Own Monument
Trailblazing journalist Nellie Bly once feigned severe mental illness to expose abuses at an asylum from the inside. New York City is now putting up a monument in her honor on the site where the asylum once stood. Plus: today is the birthday of the Trans-Canada Highway, which runs from St. John’s Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia. If my math is right, you could listen to like 1,600 episodes of this show while driving from one end to the other.  Journalist Nellie Bly Will Receive a Monument on the Grounds of the Asylum She Helped Close (Hyperallergic) Trans-Canada Highway (The Canadian Encyclopedia) Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon would be... monumental! 
July 30, 2019
Where We Got Olympic Medals From Before Recycled Cell Phones
Last week the organizers of the 2020 Olympic Games revealed that 100 percent of the gold, silver and bronze used to create the Olympic medals is recycled - the metal comes from used cell phones. But the ancient Olympians got olive branches as prizes. Why is it that we have Olympic medals in the first place? Plus: today,  Louisville, Kentucky hosts the World Championship Dainty Contest!   The Games: A Global History of the Olympics by David Goldblatt (W.W. Norton & Co)  Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals made from 80,000 tons of recycled mobile phones, electronics (USA Today)  Olympic Medals ( 49th annual Dainty Contest set for Monday, July 29, in Schnitzelburg (Insider Louisville)  Go for the gold as one of Cool Weird Awesome's backers on Patreon!
July 29, 2019
Meet Owney, The Legendary Postal Dog
The National Postal Museum in Washington, DC, has an exhibit telling the story of Owney, the dog who loved the mail so much that he helped deliver it all over the world.  Plus: Freeman, South Dakota is holding its annual Chislic Festival, a two day celebration of cubed meat on a stick. (Sorry, dogs aren't allowed.)  The National Postal Museum tells the history of America through moon mail, rare stamps, and one taxidermy dog (Roadtrippers)  The History of Owney the Postal Dog, Mascot of the Railway Mail Service (USPS Blog)  South Dakota Chislic Festival  Patreon backers are Cool Weird Awesome's best friends!
July 26, 2019
The Most Powerful Cat May Be The One At 10 Downing Street
Whenever a new Prime Minister takes office in the UK, the first question many people ask is: what happens to the cat living at the official residence at 10 Downing Street? We'll look at some of the most famous felines to ever hold the title  Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. Plus: for reasons only known to mascots, the New Jersey Devil ran out of a game of parachute at a kid's birthday party and ran into a plate glass window. Which broke.   Downing Street Cats (and other British Government felines) (Purr-n-Fur UK)    The new PM's first job: Impress the cat (BBC)   Home Office cat history revealed (BBC)  Cats that left a mark in the corridors of power (Telegraph UK via Internet Archive)  New Jersey Devils Mascot Runs Through Window At Boy’s Birthday Party (Huffington Post)  Even the most passive-aggressive cat in the world knows you should back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon! 
July 25, 2019
Drones Can Go Through Windows Now. That’s Good, Right?
There’s a quadcopter drone that uses spring-loaded arms and a process called "rapid aerial morphing" to fold itself up as it flies. So we’re a step closer to real-life Transformers. Plus: the story of the all-robot band Compressorhead, whose members twist and turn their mechanical parts so they can ROCK! Spring-Loaded Drone Collapses Mid-Flight to Zip Through Windows (IEEE Spectrum)  Compressorhead (Weirdest Band In The World)  Support Cool Weird Awesome for just $1 a month as a backer on Patreon! 
July 24, 2019
She Ran A Marathon While Pushing A Triple Stroller Full Of Kids
Lots of parents multitask but Cynthia Arnold is completely off the charts, having just run the Missoula Marathon while pushing a triple stroller containing her three kids. Meanwhile, Tony Fisher bought some salami and did the only logical thing with it: construct a 2x2x2 Rubik’s Cube out of it. Hooray for marathon and/or meat-based puzzle achievers! Mom Runs 3:11 Marathon With a Triple Stroller While Pushing 185 Pounds (Runners World) Real Salami Sausage 2x2x2 Rubik’s Cube (Tony Fisher on YouTube)  Go the extra mile with Cool Weird Awesome as a backer on Patreon!
July 23, 2019
Point No Point And Other Amazing, Actual Places
The website and book Sad Topographies teaches us that our planet is home to some unusually-named places, like Gloomy Lake in Ontario, Divorce Beach in Mexico, New Jersey’s Shades of Death Road (!) and a spot in Washington state known as Point No Point. Plus:  the annual World Santa Claus Congress is getting underway in Denmark. Watch for some serious Santa-to-Santa networking. 21 Of The Saddest Places On Earth From Instagram’s sadtopographies (Brilliant Maps)  Shades of Death Road (Weird NJ)  Washington State’s bummer place names, mapped (Curbed Seattle)  World Santa Claus Congress  Feeling bummed out by sad place names? Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon could help you feel better.
July 22, 2019
That Time Pink Floyd Jammed Out During The Moon Landing
50 years ago, the BBC brought in the band known for playing space rock to improvise on-air for its coverage of the Apollo 11 mission. Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour said, accurately, that  “the programming was a little looser in those days.” Plus: it's been 25 years since the time that Pizza Hut produced an ad for UK television in which all the dialogue was in Klingon.   My moon-landing jam session (The Guardian) 13 Minutes To The Moon (BBC) Watch this fantastic 1994 Pizza Hut TV commercial that's entirely in Klingon (Boing Boing) And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, see you on the Cool Weird Awesome Patreon page!
July 19, 2019
You Know Mack Robinson’s Brother, Now Get To Know Mack Robinson
On this day in 1912, the birth of the greatest athlete you might never have heard of - Olympic silver medalist and community advocate Mack Robinson. His brother, Jackie, is better known, but there's a reason their hometown of Pasadena, California installed bronze busts of both brothers outside City Hall. Plus, a new study out of Harvard asks the important question: do runners actually go faster by bending their arms as they race? Two Lives After Losing to Jesse Owens (New York TImes) Matthew MacKenzie “Mack” Robinson (1912-2000) ( Running with your arms bent does not make you go any faster than with straight arms, Harvard study finds (Yahoo! News) Run on over to Patreon and back Cool Weird Awesome! 
July 18, 2019
Vegetable Displays Are The New Black
Veggies are good for us - but some households can’t buy them, and others don’t want to. What is it that will get eaters more interested in buying and eating their vegetables? One answer may be: the color black. Plus: the Vent Haven International Ventriloquist Convention is getting underway today in Erlanger, Kentucky.  Backed in Black: How to get people to buy more produce (Brigham Young University) Vent Haven International Ventriloquist Convention Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon, it's good for you!
July 17, 2019
Airports Aren’t Just For The Journey, They’re The Destination
A growing number of people are heading to the airport not to catch flights, but just to hang out at the airport itself. And why not, given how many cool amenities airports have added over the years? Plus: a top destination for Instagram travelers is maybe not quite what it appears to be.  Airports Open Up to Terminal Tourists Who Just Want to Hang Out (Bloomberg Quint)  Nine weird and wonderful airport amenities (The Independent) Instagrammers Are Swarming This Turquoise Lake. It's Actually A Toxic Dump. (Buzzfeed) Back this show on Patreon, it'll look great on your Instagram. 
July 16, 2019
Yours 'Til Niagara Falls
Going over Niagara Falls with or without a barrel is a bad idea and you shouldn't do it. It’s safer, easier and a lot more fun to cross over the bridge between Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario - or, if you’re a daredevil, to cross the falls themselves on a tightrope, as Nik Wallenda did in 2012. Plus: the story of the time 50 years ago that Niagara Falls stopped falling. Man who went over Niagara Falls may have been saved by high water levels (Buffalo News)   Daredevil completes walk across Niagara Falls (CNN) The Year The Army Stopped Niagara Falls (Gizmodo) Keep Cool Weird Awesome running as long as NIagara Falls as a backer on Patreon! 
July 15, 2019
Drinking Coffee Out Of Coffee Cups Made From Coffee
Coffee grounds can be recycled in all kinds of ways, including lots of products. And the most meta product of all is from KaffeeForm, which uses coffee grounds to make coffee cups. Plus: if you can't wait a couple years for the Little Mermaid remake, why not head to Sacramento for the California Mermaid Festival?  6 Amazing products made (almost) entirely from recycled coffee grounds (Inhabitat) California Mermaid Festival Make Cool Weird Awesome a part of your world as a backer on Patreon! 
July 12, 2019
Rhinelander, Wisconsin Is America’s Hodag Headquarters
Wisconsin’s most fearsome folk monster been in Harry Potter and tangled with the Scooby Gang, but the Hodag is beloved in the community of Rhinelander, where it's the high school team mascot and there are many Hodags to find around town. Plus: it's  a big day in the community of Joensuu, Finland: the first-ever World Heavy Metal Knitting Championships!   The Legend Of The Hodag (Wisconsin Life)  World Heavy Metal Knitting Championships  Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
July 11, 2019
When The Flyover Flies Over The Wrong Spot
Patrouille Swiss is the official aerial acrobatics team for Switzerland. Last weekend they were in fine form as they flew over the community of Langenbruck for a festival honoring a local aviation hero... except for one thing: they weren’t actually over Langenbruck. Plus: New York City is now home to  Poster House, the first American museum that’s fully about posters and their history.   Swiss aerial display team flies over yodeling festival by mistake (Deutsche Welle) WoodyFest in Okemah, OK   Poster House Is the First Museum in the United States Dedicated Exclusively to Posters   Help Cool Weird Awesome soar to new heights as a backer on Patreon!
July 10, 2019
Getting All Our Robot Ducks In A Row
In Japan, there's a little white robot swimming through rice fields, imitating a duck! It's actually helping to grow the rice by aerating the water and stopping weeds from growing. Plus: if you prefer non-robotic ducks, then you’ve got some options with the World’s Largest Rubber Duck, which is on tour this summer. Nissan Builds Robot Duck To Help Rice Farmers Keep Weeds Out Of Their Paddies (Designboom) World’s Largest Rubber Duck Quack - er, back - this show on Patreon!
July 9, 2019
Rise Of The Tortilla
 Taco Bell says it’s been dealing with a tortilla shortage. Those craving inexpensive tacos and burritos at odd hours are bearing the brunt of this crisis, but it’s affecting all of us - after all, tortillas have been a part of our culinary lives for thousands of years. Plus: the story of a man who brought a great deal of change to Phoenix, Arizona - literally. Taco Bell restaurants hit by tortilla shortage that is affecting burritos and quesadillas (USA Today) Testin’ Tortillas in San Antonio: From Moctezuma to Mass Production (San Antonio Current) Food For Space Flight (NASA)  Arizona man builds pyramid out of 1 million pennies in world record attempt (New York Post)  You can back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon for less than the cost of a taco a month! 
July 8, 2019
We Have A Lot Of UFO Historical Markers Now
It’s day one of the Roswell UFO Festival in New Mexico. Whatever happened there in 1947, the incident put Roswell on the map - and other towns that have their own UFO stories have been increasingly playing up those stories, including through historic markers. Plus: this weekend, Sheboygan, Wisconsin will race thousands of rubber ducks down the Sheboygan River in the Ducktona 500.  Roswell UFO Festival   Historical marker commemorates reported alien abduction (Tuscaloosa News) Betty And Barney Hill UFO Abduction Story Commemorated On Official N.H. Highway Plaque (Huffington Post) Reward offered for return of stolen UFO alien grave marker in Texas (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)  Ducktona 500    Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon and we'll protect you from UFOs! Or something. 
July 5, 2019
What Was July 4th Like Before The Fourth Of July?
It's the 243rd birthday of the United States, and we've done a lot of celebrating over those years. But what were people doing on the Fourth of July before American independence? One of the most interesting stories is from July 4, 1054 - in China. Plus: check out  a different kind of July 4th celebration - the Sidewalk Egg Frying Challenge in Oatman, Arizona!  Supernova 1054 - Creation of the Crab Nebula (SEDS)  Sidewalk Egg Frying Challenge in Oatman, Arizona  Celebrate America's best podcast on July 4th by backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!   
July 4, 2019
I Wear My Smart Glasses At Night
Smart glasses are a thing! Not augmented reality, but an actual pair of glasses that can sense what we're trying to look at and make it easier to see it clearly as our eyes age and lose some of their ability to focus.  Plus:  the National Paper Doll Convention begins today with the theme of “Mystery, Murder and Mayhem.” I'd like to know what kind of mayhem a convention full of paper doll enthusiasts can cause.  Stanford develops ‘autofocals’ – glasses that track your eyes to focus on what you see (Stanford University) National Paper Doll Convention   See your way over to back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
July 3, 2019
Lawn Chair Larry Takes To The Sky
On this day in 1982, a dude named Larry Walters entered aviation history as the pilot of a craft called Inspiration I - which was a lawn chair attached to 42 large weather balloons. Plus:  the story of some high school students in Toronto, Ontario, who used a weather balloon to launch a Lego figure into near space.  Up, Up, and Away! Did Larry Walters soar above Los Angeles in a lawn chair attached to helium weather balloons? (Snopes)  Teens Put Lego Man in 'Space' (Actually Stratosphere)    Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon and help it, um, fly! 
July 2, 2019
Please Consider The Environment Before Printing And Reprinting On This Paper
Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a system to unprint the printing on standard printer paper, in a way that uses less energy and material than the conventional paper recycling process.  Plus: the new Medi-Teddy aims to make a trip to the hospital a little more fun - or at least a little less scary - for kids, and the inventor is a kid herself.  New Unprinting Method Can Help Recycle Paper and Curb Environmental Costs (Rutgers)   12 Year Old Girl Invents an Adorable Teddy Bear That Hides IV Bags Making Infusions Less Scary to Children (Laughing Squid)  Cool Weird Awesome is listener powered. Thanks to our backers on Patreon! 
July 1, 2019
Medical Glue. Strong Stuff.
A team at Technion–Israel Institute of Technology developed a way to use medical glue to bind human tissue together instead of stitches and medical pins. They heat it up using, essentially, a hot glue gun - one that they hopefully don't leave in with their craft supplies. Plus:  the World Egg Throwing Championship is back in the UK community of Swaton, Lincolnshire!   Technion team develops medical glue to replace stitches in serious injuries (Times of Israel)  World Egg Throwing Championship  Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon is all it's cracked up to be!
June 28, 2019
Anyone Need Some Sponge Candy While I'm In Buffalo?
I'm traveling to Buffalo, New York for a book event today, so I thought I'd celebrate one of the city's beloved foods: sponge candy. Meanwhile, an ice cream shop in Buffalo has done what you might expect an ice cream shop in Buffalo to do: add Buffalo sauce to the ice cream.   Buffalo sponge candy (Atlas Obscura) A treat with heat: Lake Effect Ice Cream unveils wing-sauce flavor (Buffalo News) Make more Cool Weird Awesome as a backer on Patreon!
June 27, 2019
The Babe Is Here, Who’s Coming In Second?
Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias could do it all - she was an Olympic gold medalist, champion golfer, basketball and baseball player, vaudeville performer, celebrity and more. Once she won the US national track and field championships by herself - as in, she was a team of one and beat teams that had over a dozen athletes. Plus:  check out the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Race, a footrace that manages cover 3,100 miles but just one city block.  Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias (  "Babe Didrikson at the 1932 Olympic Games" by Lindsay Parks Pieper, from the book Replays, Rivalries, and Rumbles: The Most Iconic Moments in American Sports Babe Didrikson (Famous Texans) Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence: The 3,100-mile race around a New York block (BBC) Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon! It's a lot easier than running a 3,100 mile race. 
June 26, 2019
The World’s Greatest Robotic Pig Food Truck
Today is #BourdainDay, where we celebrate Anthony Bourdain's enthusiasm for traveling, eating, learning and especially for going off the beaten path to really get to know people and recipes and places. In that spirit, we talk about food trucks with personalities big enough to match their culinary skills. Plus: a team at Delta Airlines made a barbecue grill into the side of a jet engine. Now that's travel food. 12 Weird And Wonderful Food Trucks (Car Buzz)  This BBQ Grill Is Built Into a Jet Engine (Technabob) Back Cool Weird Awesome for just $1 a month on Patreon!
June 25, 2019
Selfies On Mars
The Curiosity Rover takes selfies on Mars - so how does it do it without having its robot arm in the foreground of every shot? Plus: the University of St. Andrews teaches grey seals to sing the "Star Wars" theme. For research. Why Don’t We See the Curiosity Rover’s Arm When it Takes a Selfie? (Universe Today) Curiosity Rover Report (June 13, 2013): Curiosity's Cameras (NASA on YouTube)  Grey seals copy human speech and music (University of St. Andrews) Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon today. It is your destiny! 
June 24, 2019
The Fastest Lawn Mower In The World, And How We Got To It
Earlier this month a prototype mower in Germany set a new world record by going from zero to 100 miles an hour in 6.29 seconds… while still cutting grass! Not bad for an invention that's not even 200 years old. Plus: this weekend is the grand finale of the annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest in New York City, which is... exactly what its name suggests. Lawnmower sets acceleration speed record in Germany (UPI)  The History Of The American Lawnmower (CBS News) A Brief History of the Lawnmower (Popular Mechanics) British Lawnmower Museum   The 2019 Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest   We will let you on our lawn if you back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon! 
June 21, 2019
Turtle-Friendly Fishing Nets Are Lit
Bycatch is what fishing boats catch that they're not trying to catch. It's bad for them, their nets and the bycatch - especially for turtles, which are difficult to disentangle from gillnets. But new research suggests illuminating nets with LED lights may warn turtles away and reduce bycatch. Plus:  the floating ball challenge is a sight to behold: a boxer keeping a 20 pound medicine ball floating on the power of his punches. Illuminated Nets Could Provide A Brighter Future For Sea Turtles (NOAA)  Floating Medicine Ball (The Awesomer)  Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon today! 
June 20, 2019
Riding a Horse Down Fillmore Street For Juneteenth
Juneteenth is the annual celebration of the end of the institution of slavery. Today we give some props to the African-Americans who have built the holiday over the year, including the Texan-turned-San Franciscan who used to don his ten-gallon hat and ride his horse through town as part of the festivities. Plus: if you like celebrations, why not try the Midnight Sun Festival in Nome, Alaska? It's the kind of party that would go on all night... if they had night this time of year.  What Is Juneteenth? (PBS)   Late to Freedom's Party, Texans Spread Word of Black Holiday (New York Times) Emancipation Park (City of Houston, Texas) Nome Midnight Sun Festival ( Celebrate Cool Weird Awesome as a backer on Patreon!
June 19, 2019
Do You Feel Like Peter Frampton’s Talk Box Does?
Guitar great Peter Frampton starts his farewell concert tour, which means if you want to hear him use that famous voice box in “Do You Feel Like We Do," now's the time to do it. How does that talk box work, anyway? Plus: meet Ahmed Ali, a graduation speaker in Minneapolis with a very unique voice.  How Talk Boxes Work (HowStuffWorks) Retro Guitar Effects: Meet the Sonovox, Grandfather of the Talk Box (Guitar World) A first for MPS as 21-year-old gives unique graduation speech (KARE11) If you want to tell us you love our way, back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
June 18, 2019
How To Move A 12 Ton Sphinx
The  University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology - known better as the Penn Museum - needed to move its most famous object, a 3,000 year old Egyptian sphinx, from a gallery to the main hall as part of a renovation project. The move was only 300 feet - but the sphinx happens to weigh 12.5 tons - so it took three days to get from point A to point B. Plus: a regional minister in Pakistan livestreamed his news conference on social media... with the cat filter accidentally turned on.  A monumental move for the Penn Museum’s iconic sphinx (University of Pennsylvania)   Pakistani politician livestreams press conference with 'cat filter' on by mistake (Telegraph UK)   Our backers are monumental! Support this show on Patreon!
June 17, 2019
For Dads, The Story Of A World Record Burp
Sorry, Simpsons fans: the world's greatest burper is neither "The Critic" Jay Sherman nor Eudora Welty, but an Italian guy in a wrestling mask who calls himself Rutt Mysterio. Plus: for Father's Day weekend, the story of the only time in big league history when father and son hit back-to-back home runs. Longest burp (Guinness World Records)  This undisputed burping master will blow your mind away (YouTube)  Sept. 14, 1990: When the Griffeys made history with back-to-back homers (The Sporting News) Be as cool as a cool dad when you back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon! 
June 14, 2019
That Time Cat Stevens Wrote A Dog Song
The Songwriters Hall of Fame is inducting Yusuf Cat Stevens for his classic, mostly acoustic songs like "Moonshadow," "Peace Train" and "Wild World." But did you also know that Yusuf Cat Stevens was a pioneer in electronic music with his 1977 song "Was Dog A Doughnut?" Plus: Avon, Ohio, the Duct Tape Capital of the World, is kicking off this year's Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival today.  Key Tracks: Cat Stevens’ “Was Dog a Doughnut?” (Red Bull Music Academy)   Avon Heritage Duck Tape Festival Cool Weird Awesome is being followed by a moonshadow - and it's backed by listeners like you on Patreon!
June 13, 2019
Row, Row, Row Your Bot
Autonomous robot boats are a thing! Over time, researchers have taught them to row themselves gently down the stream and to connect to each other autonomously - soon they could help clean the water or even turn themselves into temporary footbridges. Plus: a band in Mexico knew just what to do when the mall they were playing in started to flood. Celine would have been proud.  Autonomous boats can target and latch onto each other (MIT)  As heavy rain floods shopping center, musicians play Titanic theme (Mexico News Daily) Keep Cool Weird Awesome exciting and new as a backer on Patreon!
June 12, 2019
Sensors Report Leftovers Are Still Fresh
We may be taking a big step forward in the effort to stop food waste!  A research team at Imperial College London has developed food freshness sensors that can be embedded in the packaging of meat and fish and detect the gases that show up when food spoils. Plus: if you like sensors, check out the  2019 Sensors Expo and Conference later this month in San Jose, California. It's even got an awards show! Food freshness sensors could replace ‘use-by’ dates to cut food waste (Imperial College London)  Sensors Expo and Conference 2019   I sense you want to back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
June 11, 2019
Cloudy With A Chance Of Ladybugs
Last week Southern California saw a bloom of ladybugs so big it showed up on radar! As it turns out, there's a whole field of science called aeroecology that's using our increasingly accurate radar to track insects, birds and bats. Plus: ladybugs have had a lot of names over the years, including - for whatever reason - bishops!  High-flying ladybug swarm shows up on National Weather Service radar (Los Angeles Times)   'Aeroecology' uses radar to track flying animals (BBC)  Meteorologist reveals cause of colorful 100-mile-wide "cloud" over Denver (CBS News) Why Birds Make Weird Circles on Weather Radars (Vice)  Ladybirds, ladybugs, and… cows? (Oxford Dictionaries) Let's make a swarm of support for Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!   
June 10, 2019
The Great Banana Split Rivalry
Today is the start of the Banana Split Festival in Wilmington, Ohio, where the banana split was born. Of course, if you were in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, locals would point out their town had banana splits three years before Wilmington. Plus: the mind-melting TV show known as the Banana Splits Adventure Hour was actually supposed to have an entirely different name! Wilmington Banana Split Festival   Birthplace of the Banana Split (Ohio Magazine) The Banana Split: A Rich History (Pennsylvania Center for the Book)  10 tra la la true facts about the Banana Splits (MeTV)   Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon is sweet!
June 7, 2019
To Get Plastic Out Of The Ocean, Put It On A Plane
Researchers at Washington State University say they’ve found a way to make jet fuel out of something the world throws out in great quantities every day: household plastic. Plus:  something you might want to fly overseas and check out is the new Easy-E memorial bench that for some reason is in Newhaven, in southern England.  Plastic water bottles may one day fly people cross-country (Washington State University)  Eazy-E seaside memorial bench in Newhaven (UK) unveiled (BBC)   It's easy to back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
June 6, 2019
From Storms Chasing Us, To Us Chasing Storms
Storm damage isn't cool, weird or awesome, but the ways we spot storms and warn people about them are pretty great. And they've come a long way from the time when the US Army Signal Corps banned anyone from using the word “tornado” in forecasts so as not to scare the public! Plus: the story of an engagement between two storm chasers that will literally blow you away. Illinois Tornadoes Prior to 1916 (Illinois State Water Survey)  History of Tornado Forecasting (NOAA)  Storm chaser proposes to boyfriend as Kansas tornado looms (NBC News)   Part the clouds of modern media by backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
June 5, 2019
The Minor Leagues Got Majorly Weird
Attractions - especially weird ones - are a time-honored way to drum up business from people who are at best casual baseball fans, and lately that's extended to team names, including the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Vermont Lake Monsters, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and the Rocket City Trash Pandas.  Plus: the tale of Peter Williams, who in 1972 won the Wisconsin state long jump championship "by accident."  Minor League Baseball is swinging big and going weird with new team names (Mashable)  Let's break down all 160 Minor League team names (  Timber Rattlers to Play as Udder Tuggers June 20 (Ballpark Digest) How an Oakfield farm boy won the 1972 state long jump title by accident, wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt (Fond du Lac Reporter)  Join the Cool Weird Awesome team as a backer on Patreon!
June 4, 2019
And Then One Day You Find 10,000 Years Have Got Behind You
A project to build a clock that will run for 10,000 years got us thinking about how we measure time - and amazingly, 10,000 years is more time than has passed since the invention of hours, minutes and seconds. Plus: a quick look at the shortest official measurement in science,  which is so short that, ironically, there isn't enough time to try to explain it on our show.  Objects of Despair: The 10,000-Year Clock (The Paris Review)  Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes, yet there are only 24 hours in a day? (Scientific American)  Planck Time (The SAO Encyclopedia of Astronomy) Take some time to back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
June 3, 2019
I Review The Body Electric
It's the 200th birthday of Walt Whitman, the poet best known for his landmark work Leaves of Grass... and the guy who anonymously wrote glowing reviews of his own writing in the newspapers of the day.  Plus: Plymouth, North Carolina is hosting the North Carolina Black Bear Festival, which makes sense because the city bills itself as the originator of National Black Bear Day.  "Walt Whitman and His Poems" by Walt Whitman (Whitman Archive) “Promoting Himself” (Library of Congress)  North Carolina Black Bear Festival  Cool Weird Awesome is listener-supported! Back this show on Patreon today!
May 31, 2019
The Only Headless Chicken With His Own Festival
We’re on the eve of this year’s biggest event in Fruita, Colorado - the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival, where people all gather to celebrate the miracle chicken who had his head chopped off, and carried on as if nothing had changed. Plus: residents of New York are gearing up for quite a show. Manhattanhenge is (weather permitting) happening today, with the sun perfectly positioned within the city's street grid.  The Mike the Headless Chicken Festival   Manhattanhenge: What It Is, and How to See It (Scientific American) Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon today!
May 30, 2019
Today’s show is about a series of earthquake aftershocks in the Hebgen Lake area of Yellowstone National Park measured in 2017 and 2018.  That’s not in and of itself unusual, except that the original earthquake happened in August of 1959. Plus: a dude repairs and cleans a vintage synthesizer and accidentally gets dosed with the leftover LSD residue from a half century before.  Aftershocks of 1959 Earthquake Rocked Yellowstone in 2017-18 (University of Utah)   Repair Of Iconic ’60s Era Synthesizer Turns Into Long, Strange Trip For Engineer (CBS San Francisco)   Cool Weird Awesome needs your support! Back the show today on Patreon!
May 29, 2019
What Is The Euphemism For “I Dropped A Frog”?
As much as we all like to consider ourselves straight talkers, we all use certain euphemisms when we’ve done something we wished we hadn’t.  Scientists are particularly good at this because they can envelop a faux pas in layers and layers of academic journal language - the phrase “unplanned rapid disassembly," for example, is a formal way to say “accidentally exploded." Plus: Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques made a video where he demonstrates the amazing attributes of honey in microgravity!   Scientists Reveal How They Use Academic Language To Mask Their Mess Ups And It’s Hilarious (Bored Panda) "If you read in a frog paper..." (Blue Electric Angels on Tumblr)  Honey in Space (Canadian Space Agency) Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon! 
May 28, 2019
The Many One True Birthplaces Of Memorial Day
Officially, the community that started Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York - in May 1866, the community spent the entire day honoring those killed in the Civil War by placing wreaths and flowers at their graves, then holding a parade, giving speeches and flying flags at half staff.  But Waterloo is definitely not the only place with a Memorial Day origin story. How Waterloo, NY, became the birthplace of Memorial Day (New York Upstate) Birthplace of Memorial Day? That Depends Where You’re From (New York Times) Memorial Day History ( 
May 27, 2019
The Jumpsuit Century
There’s nothing more fashionable than the jumpsuit - right? Right? Anyway, it was a century ago that the Italian artist Thayaht proposed a one-piece garment with buttons down the front as the next big thing in fashion. The jumpsuit hasn't quite become as universal as he hoped, but it _is_ the only outfit that connects  Rosie the Riveter, Evel Knievel, Amelia Earhart, David Bowie and the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Plus: want to wear an Elvis jumpsuit but don't want to pay huge auction prices? Try the new Elvis jumpsuit-style hoodie!  Jumpsuits (Quartz)  Elvis Hoodie (GearHuman)   Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon for just $1 a month!
May 24, 2019
Dance Breaks and Deathfests
 May is Asian/Pacific-American Heritage Month, and a great time to talk about two exciting, important and sometimes underappreciated Asian-American performers. The dance team of Jew Wing Dong and Dorothy Takahashi, known professionally in their heyday as Toy and Wing. were often compared to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for their electrifying performances on stage and screen. Plus:  The Maryland Deathfest is starting in Baltimore, featuring some of the loudest, most aggressive dark metal bands in the world - according to their website, it's also an all-ages, family friendly event. “Bring the kids!” they say.  The Chinese Fred Astaire (National Archives at Riverside) The Story of a 99-Year Old Living and Dancing Chinatown Icon (AsAm News) Maryland Deathfest Help us make more Cool Weird Awesome as a backer on Patreon!
May 23, 2019
If You Want To Stop Burglary, Then Study Burglars
 And now, a look at a study that’s the kind of research Batman would do if he were an academic instead of a crimefighter: a scientific study of virtual burglary.  By watching how burglars burgle, we might learn the difference between how most of us think burglars work and how they actually work - and then take steps that will stop more burglaries before they start. Plus: the state of Michigan is dropping an album today! Maybe someday states will turn out diss tracks against each other?  Crime fighting just got easier as burglars reveal all  (University of Portsmouth via EurekAlert!)  Michigan releasing album of sounds from state parks (Crain's Detroit) Cool Weird Awesome is listener powered! Back this show for just $1 a month!   
May 22, 2019
Excuse Me, My Suitcase Would Like To Get By
The busiest part of the year for travelers is coming, meaning that at airports, there will be a lot of people around to clonk into each other. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University may have a solution: a collision-detecting suitcase.  Plus: a brewery offered a keg party to anyone who could find their missing and/or stolen van. Didn't take long for someone to find it. Collision-Detecting Suitcase, Wayfinding App Help Blind People Navigate Airports (Carnegie Mellon University) Brewery offered free beer as reward for finding stolen van. It was back in 42 minutes (Charlotte Observer)   Backers make this show possible! Join us with a contribution on Patreon!
May 21, 2019
Is It A Tortoise, Or Home Improvement Project?
Two weeks ago, the staff at the Humane Society of San Diego had to figure out how to help a tortoise with a hole in its shell.  Veterinarians Daniel Barbour came up with a plan involving a trip to the hardware store. Plus: meet Ron Minis, a musician who figured out how to play the classic guitar solo from Guns 'N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine" despite the fact that he doesn't play guitar,.   Vet invents new procedure to save injured tortoise (FOX 5 San Diego)   Dude Mics A Piano Like A Guitar, Plays GUNS N' ROSES' "Sweet Child O' Mine" Solo (  Cool Weird Awesome is powered by listener support. Join us on Patreon and keep new episodes coming!
May 20, 2019
Sure, I’m Petty, Just Not Paypal-Petty
A group of researchers has been looking at the science behind digital pettiness - that’s like if you go out to eat with somebody and then use Paypal or Venmo to send them the exact amount of money to cover your order, down to the penny. Maybe this isn’t a surprise, but the research suggests that if you’re too particular about paying back the exact amount, it can take a toll on your friendships. Maybe you'd be better off taking your friends to the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Rhubarb Festival, which is kicking off today. They've even got what they say is the only rhubarb race car derby!    Is the Digital Age Making Us Petty? (Harvard Business School)   Lancaster County Rhubarb Festival    Help keep this podcast cool, weird and awesome by backing us on Patreon!
May 17, 2019
Venus: If You Lived Here, You’d Have Melted By Now
Today's the 50th anniversary of an overlooked but important visit to a fairly nasty place… the planet Venus.  The Venera 5 craft isn't well remembered, partly because it only got to do its atmospheric testing for an hour before the hellscape that is the second planet basically wrecked it, but it did teach us some important new things about Venus. In short: a nice planet, but you wouldn't want to live there. You might, though, want to live in McMinnville, Oregon, which is kicking off its annual UFO Festival today, complete with fun run called the Alien Abduction Dash.  Venera 5 (NASA)  Yes, We've Seen the Surface of Venus (Popular Science)  McMinnville OR UFO Festival  This show is listener powered! Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon for just $1 a month!
May 16, 2019
Ooh, That Smell: A Corpse Flower Blooms In Chicago
What’s in a name? That which we call a corpse flower by any other name would smell as bad. The Chicago Botanic Garden has issued a bloom watch for one of its corpse flowers - not humans' favorite scent ever, but still a special occasion, because a corpse flower in the wild only blooms every two to five years. Plus: a college library in Australia evacuates over a suspected gas leak, only to find someone had brought in something that smells even stronger than a corpse flower.  Java 2.0 (Chicago Botanic Garden)  Corpse Flower Timelapse Video (Chicago Botanic Garden)   College library evacuated for gas leak. Turns out it was just the stench of durian — a horrendously smelly fruit (CBS News)  Support this podcast! Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon! 
May 15, 2019
Do Tacos Dream Of Electric Tongues?
For this Taco Tuesday we salute the Washington State University researchers behind the latest in electric tongue technology. The virtual tongue system can better distinguish spiciness than human tongues - and for longer periods of time, too. Plus: a visit to Tio’s Tacos in Riverside, California, where the food is memorable, and the decor is unforgettable.  An electric tongue can handle more spicy foods than you can (Science Daily)   Tio's Tacos In Riverside Hides A Vast Outdoor Sculpture Museum (LAist) You can support Cool Weird Awesome for just $1 a month on Patreon!
May 14, 2019
Australia’s Biggest Little Spelling Error
Australians have been laughing, cursing, sighing and facepalming over a misspelled word on the newest printing of the Australian $50 dollar note. They left out an I in the word “responsibility,” and no one in the country is apparently missing the irony of misspelling that particular word and not catching it until 46 million of them had been sent out into the financial world.  Creating currency is a complex process, so it’s only natural that there are flaws. Most of the errors get caught before being sent into circulation. But not always. Plus: the best kind of money is found money - unless you're in Grand Haven, Michigan, where a guy who dropped $30,000 in cash is expecting that you return it.  Huge typo spotted on new $50 note ( Bank alerted to Joyce coin risk (The Herald of Dublin)  Error Is Human, Pt. 1: Certifiable U.S. Paper Money Errors (Coin Week) "Bugs Bunny"  (Franklin Lover)  People rush to grab whirling cash after $30,000 falls off back of truck (MLive)  Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon for just $1 a month!
May 13, 2019
Treat Your Mother Subreddit Right
It’s 150 years to the day that the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads drove a ceremonial golden spike into the first railroad line to cross North America. That's the big event of the weekend - oh, there's also a thing called Mother's Day? Okay, well for you all let's pay tribute to the Mom For A Minute Subreddit, which provides a virtual Reddit mom for you when your own maternal relationship is unresolved. Plus: the story of writer Dave Wain, who's paying tribute to his recently departed mum by live-tweeting her amazing collection of raunchy e-books using the hashtag #MumsKindleOdyssey.  The golden spike turns 150 (Visit Salt Lake)    Visit This Subreddit When You Need a Mom but Don't Have a Supportive One (Lifehacker)   Mum’s Kindle Odyssey (Dave Wain on Twitter)  Help make Cool Weird Awesome as a backer on Patreon! 
May 10, 2019
Dear Ralph Baer, Thanks, Signed, All The Video Gamers
Ralph Baer invented home video games from his workshop in Manchester, New Hampshire - and now the city is honoring this gaming pioneer with a "Baer Square," complete with a statue, in a city park. Plus: this weekend, a place called the Maritime Republic of Eastport in Annapolis is holding "the least challenging athletic event ever conceived." It's a race that's one-twentieth of a kilometer long.  The Father of the Video Game: The Ralph Baer Prototypes and Electronic Games (Smithsonian Museum of American History)  Tomorrow Ralph Baer gets his own park in Manchester NH (GraniteGeek)  World’s Least Challenging Athletic Event Ever (The Travel 100)  Cool Weird Awesome is listener powered. Back us today on Patreon! 
May 9, 2019
The Spy Whale Who Loved Me
The story of the whale wearing a GoPro that might be some kind of Russian surveillance agent is pretty wild, but it's not even close to the first time governments have turned to animals for surveillance purposes. In the Cold War, the CIA tried to train a cat to infiltrate the Soviet Embassy in DC - sadly, they did not name it Felis Leiter. Plus: the audio phenomenon known as the "cocktail party effect" is not just for humans. Dogs have it too! Which means dogs should come to cocktail parties way more often.  That Time the CIA Bugged a Cat to Spy on the Soviets (The Atlantic)  The ‘Russian spy whale’ has plenty of historical company (Financial Times) Dogs can tune out noise, just like people at cocktail parties (National Geographic) You can support Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon! 
May 8, 2019
The Biggest Binge-Watch Ever
The new film “Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project" tells the story of a Philadelphia librarian and activist who spent decades recording every TV program she possibly could. She left 70,000 videocassettes in all, which is now being digitized to help us fill in some fascinating gaps in mass media history. Plus: the story of a man whose windshield was smashed by a flying turtle. And no, it wasn't a real-life game of Mario Kart.  Tribeca Film Review: ‘Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project’ (Variety)  'It just flung into my windshield': Turtle smashes into car in South Carolina (WAVY) Support Cool Weird Awesome with $1 a month on Patreon!
May 7, 2019
Change The (English) Channel
Today is the 25th anniversary of the formal opening of the Channel Tunnel, a 31.4 mile long, mostly undersea rail tunnel connecting the city of Calais in northern France with the English town of Folkestone, Kent. The commemoration ceremony was a diplomatic coup but an engineer's nightmare: they had to run a train carrying Queen Elizabeth II and a train with French President Francois Mitterand toward each other... on the same track. Plus: a look at how the designers of the world's longest road tunnel -  the Laerdal Tunnel in Norway - made sure drivers wouldn't get bored and nod off on their 15 mile journey underground.  The Channel Tunnel: 20 fascinating facts (Telegraph UK)  10 Strange Structural Engineering Marvels: Laerdal Tunnel (HowStuffWorks)  Back Cool Weird Awesome for $1 a month on Patreon!
May 6, 2019
Here In My Hollywood Car Exhibit, I Feel Safest Of All
The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is about to open a new exhibit called “Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy." If you’ve ever wanted to get close to the coolest rides the big screen ever shared with us - like, say, the DeLorean in "Back to the Future" - this is your chance.  Plus:  a guy in Arizona tries to skirt the carpool lane rules with a scheme that could have come straight out of one of the "Mannequin" movie franchise.  Check out Batman’s and Marty McFly’s rides at the Petersen Museum (Ars Technica)  Man busted driving with mannequin in carpool lane (WJBF) Cool Weird Awesome is listener powered. Back this show on Patreon!
May 3, 2019
2 Dope Pirate Queens
The Louisiana Pirate Festival is getting underway in Lake Charles, which is as good a reason as any to talk about two of the most remarkable stories in pirate history: Cheng I Sao, a Chinese pirate queen who commanded 400 ships and 70,000 men and never lost a battle; and Ireland's Grace O’Malley, who, as the story is sometimes told, gave birth to one of her four children - and then, just hours later, grabbed her gun and successfully drove off a group of raiders.  Louisiana Pirate Festival   Cheng I Sao, Female Pirate Extraordinaire (JStor Daily)  Grace O'Malley: 12 fascinating facts about Ireland's fearless Pirate Queen (Irish Post) Back Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
May 2, 2019
The Ballad of Heckboy
In Dickson, Tennessee, a movie theater showing a certain movie about a certain bright red dude with horns decided the name was a little too brash to put on a marquee facing a church, and decided to clean it up a little and advertised a showing of, and I quote, “Heckboy.” Swearing is not for everyone, of course, but it does have one really big backer: science. Swearing is still mostly a no-no on TV, which leads to weird TV-friendly versions of expletive-filled movies where characters call each other "casserole." Movies don't get any more magical than that.   What the Heckboy: Dickson theater near church avoids 'Hellboy' title  Swearing is Good for You ( Comically Bad TV Dubs and Edits ( Support Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon!
May 1, 2019
Sad-Eyed Wallaby Of The Lowlands
 Bob Dylan still doesn’t like cell phone cameras at his concerts, judging by the admonition he gave a crowd this month. And yet, one of the most famous images was a concert photo taken by a random guy in the crowd!  Plus: a group of poppy-fueled wallabies has been getting doped up and making crop circles. Every wallaby must get stoned?  Five Of Bob Dylan’s Photographers Share Their Best Dylan Stories (Stereogum)  Stoned wallabies are making crop circles in Tasmania (ABC Australia) Help make Cool Weird Awesome! Just search for Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon and support the show for as little as $1 a month! 
April 30, 2019
De-ice De-ice, Baby
A team at the University of British Columbia has developed a coating that has something called low interfacial toughness - in short, instead of ice building up on your car until it’s almost impossible to scrape off… it collapses under its own weight and just slides to the ground. Not all heroes wear capes. Plus: some heroes do wear capes, they just get turned away from the scene by the Mounties.  Clearing an icy windshield is about to get easier, says UBC engineer (University of British Columbia) Okanagan ‘Batman’ offers helping hand, but RCMP call his presence a distraction (Global News)  Cool Weird Awesome is listener powered! Search for us on Patreon and support the show for as little as $1 a month! 
April 29, 2019
Ship To Shark Communication
A new study led by a researcher from Duke University has spotted female sand tiger sharks returning to the same shipwrecks, sometimes over months or even years. Are they taking a rest stop on their migration routes? Are they mating there - like a pirate-themed make-out spot for sharks? Plus: sand sculpture artisans are returning this weekend to Port Aransas, Texas, for the Texas SandFest. Sand Tiger Sharks Return to Same Shipwrecks Off N.C. Coast (Duke University)   Texas SandFest 
April 26, 2019
I Love Drone Lamp
Japanese designer Kazuhiro Yamanaka has just released a flying drone lamp - this little light of yours will fly around the room with you as you move. Imagine how cool an episode of Ghost Hunters would be if they had one. Plus: what would an exercise video be like if the celebrity host wasn't really into exercise? Debbie Reynolds made exactly that video and it's amazing.  Flying Drone Lamp By Kazuhiro Yamanaka Uses Sensors To Follow Your Movements (designboom)   Watching Shelley Winters Go Rogue in Debbie Reynolds’s 1983 Exercise Video, “Do It Debbie’s Way” (The New Yorker)    
April 25, 2019
Take Off Your Password and Jacket
Passwords are totally out of control and no one’s happy about it. On the plus side, the security studies about how bad we are at passwords are pretty funny to read - like the new one from the UK that says one of the most common breached passwords is... Blink 182. Plus:  the worldwide phenomenon that is "Baby Shark" has been welcome news for aquariums, if not for many parents.  Millions using 123456 as password, security study finds (BBC)  It’s a girl! (National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium) 
April 24, 2019
The Many Moods Of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Thirty years ago today was the last regular season game of one of the greats on and off the court. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored more points than any NBA player ever - and he may have set the record for most kinds of post-basketball success, from doing fight scenes with Bruce Lee to writing on the reboot of Veronica Mars. And he's an airplane pilot - he's got clearance, Clarence. Plus:  a hospital in Modesto, CA is trying out a new way to help its youngest patients get ready for the operating room: the kids get to drive to their surgeries in a child-sized Mercedes Benz convertible. Legends profile: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (  Modesto hospital offers young surgical patients sleek, new ride to help reduce anxiety (KTVU) 
April 23, 2019
Roombas! In! Spaaaaaaace!
Being an astronaut is hard work - not only are you floating up in space, away from the rest of the world, you have a lot of cleaning to do. But there are plans for a new system that would disinfect the interiors of spacecrafts and space stations with ultraviolet lights. Best of all, it would be autonomous. Plus: the Monday after Easter is the Polish holiday with the unforgettable name: Dyngus Day.  This Space Roomba Could Clean the ISS While Astronauts Sleep (Futurism) Not Polish? Don't worry - here's how to celebrate Dyngus Day (The Buffalo News)  
April 22, 2019
What A Time To Be A Hologram
 Frank Zappa is back out on tour, doing nine shows in the US and seven more in Europe.  Now if you’re scratching your head here and saying, wait, isn’t Frank Zappa dead - well, yes, but this is the era of hologram concert tours, there's no reason a dearly departed musician can't step out on stage! Plus: let's celebrate Passover and/or Easter weekend the way the ancients intended: with the circle of concrete rabbit statues known as Bunnyhenge.  No industry is weirder than the dead celebrity hologram industry (Vox)   It’s Official: Dead Musicians Are Now Touring as Holograms (Philadelphia magazine)  Bunny Henge (Weird California) 
April 19, 2019
Break up with your pension, I’m bored
Everything is connected to everything else - and there's no better example of that than this week's news that a song by Ariana Grande is putting money into the state pension program in Michigan. And speaking of Michigan, did you know the state is home to the American Museum of Magic, which boasts the largest publicly viewable collection of magical artifacts in the world?  Michigan can say 'thank u, Ariana Grande'; Her hit '7 Rings' boosts state pension funds (Detroit Free Press)   American Museum of Magic
April 18, 2019
I'm Going Out For A Scent
Tired? Smoke breaks. Inspired? Scent breaks.   Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Brown University are looking at whether pleasant smells can help curb cravings for nicotine. Plus: for the new short film  NYC Textures, director Ynon Lan took over a thousand still images of sidewalks, sides of buildings, subway tiles, grass and more. It’s a unique perspective on what you actually see when you move through New York City.   Pleasant Olfactory Cues Can Reduce Cigarette Craving (Journal of Abnormal Psychology via  NYC Textures (Ynon Lan) 
April 17, 2019
The Long Lost Heads of Notre Dame
If you’re mourning Notre Dame cathedral today, well, you’re not the only one.  Here’s a story from its long history that might make you feel a little more hopeful, a story of stone heads that disappeared - and reappeared hundreds of years later. Plus: a few examples of how cathedrals are full of surprises, and not always high-minded ones.  After 184 Years, a Cousin of the French President Finds Notre Dame’s Missing Stone Heads (People)  13 Facts About Notre-Dame Cathedral (Mental Floss)  What you didn’t know about Britain’s churches and cathedrals (Telegraph UK)
April 16, 2019
Bess and Taxes
Tax Day gives a lot of us the blues - which, as it turns out, actually kind of works. April 15th is the birthday of one of the greatest singers of all time: the Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith. As for taxes, we have some news you can use - at least if you're an unsavory character. According to US tax law, stolen property must be reported as income.  Forebears: Bessie Smith, The Empress Of The Blues (NPR Music)  It’s True: You Must Report Income from Thievery on Your Tax Form (Tax Foundation)   
April 15, 2019
You Call This Archaeology?
During the Cold War, the CIA flew U2 planes all over the globe, to see what the Soviets were up to. And in doing so, documented all kinds of geographical features from up above. Two researchers decided to go back through these photos - not for their Cold War history but for archaeology. And it turns out, these photos showed a lot. Plus: this weekend in Woodstock, Illinois, the Great Lakes Steelpan Festival is getting underway.  Declassified U2 spy plane images reveal bygone Middle Eastern archaeological features ( Great Lakes Steelpan Festival 
April 12, 2019
This One Goes Out To All My Peeps
The surest sign of spring is neither the calendar nor the weather. It’s the reappearance of Peeps, which are the stuff of candy and cultural legend now. Not only are there billions of them produced, eaten and/or used in dioramas every year, there's a PeepsMobile, a converted Volkswagen Beetle with a giant yellow Peep on top, and there's - an entire website devoted to researching what happens to the candies when you mess with them.  The sticky, sugary history of Peeps (Vox) Emory pair unlocks the mystery of Peeps (Emory University)  RAM 10th Annual International PEEPS Art Exhibition (Racine Art Museum)  
April 11, 2019
May The Force Sisters Be With You
 The family that races hot rods together... stays together. For National Siblings Day, the story of  Brittany, Ashley and Courtney Force,  three sisters who have found an unusual way to spend time together: they're professional funny car drivers. And if you're not celebrating Abby Machuda Day yet, you will, once you hear what she did for her siblings.  Brittany Force still racing NHRA cars after sisters retire (Las Vegas Review-Journal)  Llano girl honored for saving siblings, cat from Llano house fire (KXAN)  
April 10, 2019
All I've Got Is A Phonautograph, But It's Not Enough
 Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville invented a way to document sound more than a decade before Thomas Edison developed his wax cylinders. So why isn't he remembered as the king of recording? Because he hadn't figured out one key feature: playing the sound back. Plus: ever wondered what it's like inside an anechoic chamber, which masks almost every sound possible? Really quite and kind of freaky.  What Was the First Sound Ever Recorded by a Machine? (Time)   The Phonautograms of Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (  'Quietest place on Earth' finds purpose in healing humans (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)  
April 9, 2019
Come On Feel The Airplane Bathroom Noise
Researchers out of Brigham Young University have been working to quiet one of the most ungodly noises in the world - airplane bathrooms. Turns out changing the design of the pipes can make it a lot quieter, unlike that snoring guy in the next row. Plus: a dude in New Mexico has the worst luck with his own restroom.  A New Design Promises to Quiet the Terrifying Roar of Flushing an Airplane Toilet (Gizmodo)  This Is What Happens When You Flush the Airplane Toilet (Travel and Leisure)   Man Locks Himself Out of Bathroom - Twice (Rio Grande Sun)  
April 8, 2019
Tweens vs. Potholes
 A long cold winter is behind us - unfortunately potholes are underneath us.  In Michigan, 12 year old Monte Scott counted 50 potholes on his street alone - and started filling them in himself. Fortunately, a research team at Drexel University is working on a bioconcrete that might stop potholes before they start. Plus: ever wanted to see an opera performed in a swimming pool? Come to Appleton, Wisconsin this weekend and you'll have your chance.  12-year-old boy fed up with potholes; fixes them himself (Black Hills Fox) To protect concrete from road salt, Drexel engineers have an odd idea: bacteria ( Opera makes a splash at Lawrence University (FOX 11)
April 5, 2019
A Big Transplantiversary
It was 50 years ago today that a doctor implanted a temporary artificial heart in a patient - a pretty big leap forward in heart surgeries, given that transplants were only about a year old back then. Plus:  since April is National Donate Life Month, and the theme is “Life is a beautiful ride,”  complete with bicycles, the story of a very unusual kind of ride - a nearly naked backwards bike ride down a Florida highway.  Texas surgeon implanted world's 1st artificial heart (Chicago Tribune)   National Donate Life Month (   Nearly nude Florida man rides bike backward on Miami Interstate (WTSP)
April 4, 2019
Laser Apple Robots
 An apple a day keeps the coming war with robots away?  A New Zealand company is testing a robot that’s supposed to move through an apple orchard, spot ripe fruit, yank it from the tree and bring it back to the farmer.  They're either helping us do a hard job or taking the first step toward an agricultural Skynet. Oh, and speaking of food-related horror: a strongman found out what happens when you order - and try to eat - literally everything on Taco Bell's menu.  Your Apples May Soon Be Picked By Laser-Shooting Robots (Wired) Brian Shaw Devours Nearly Everything on The Taco Bell Menu (Muscle and Fitness)
April 3, 2019
I Wish They All Could Be California Plates
You can apply for just about any set of numbers and letters to adorn your motor vehicle, so long as they’re a) not already taken and b) abide by your state’s rules. California residents have been putting the Golden State's rules to the test in some odd ways lately. Plus: an LA museum dedicated to the wild world of velvet paintings is trying to stave off financial troubles. Hopefully they won't take any money strategies from those dogs playing poker.  The DMV Reviewed Thousands of Hilarious Vanity Plate Applications Last Year. These Are Our Favorites (LA Magazine) Help Save Velvet Paintings (OK Whatever)
April 2, 2019
The Pizza and Pipe Organ Connection
I spent part of the weekend chasing down a little bit of musical and culinary history in Greenfield, Wisconsin, just outside Milwaukee. That’s home to Organ Piper Pizza - as you eat, an organist plays an enormous Wurlitzer organ, which also controls stage lights, disco balls, a mechanical gymnast and a family of singing ducks. Plus - a story that's, amazingly, not an April Fool's Day prank, in which police in Madrid respond to a guy on a bus sharpening a big carving knife (!)  The Carlson Kids Visit Organ Piper Pizza (YouTube) Remembering the Dining Fad of 'Pizza and Pipes' (CityLab) False alarm: Knife-wielding man on Metro revealed to be expert ham cutter (El Pais)
April 1, 2019
The Goat Mayor Of Fair Haven, Vermont
On this day in 1861 the tiny European country of San Marino presented President Abraham Lincoln with honorary citizenship. There’s another leader named Lincoln who’s aspiring to greatness, and may yet achieve it - if, like Honest Abe, she can clean up the big mess in front of her. She's the new mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont: Lincoln the goat. Plus: Brian Chirls took the approval ratings from Richard Nixon’s presidency and matched them up with music and sound effects from the original Nintendo game The Legend of Zelda. Lincoln the goat sworn in as Fair Haven's new mayor, immediately defecates (Burlington Free Press) To The Regent Captains of San Marino (University of Michigan Library) The Legend of Nixon (
March 29, 2019
Baseball's First, Fightingest Umpire
It's Opening Day - and no matter who wins and who loses, baseball fans will have something to say about the umpires. The first pro ump in the big leagues was a man named Billy McLean - who, when he wasn't calling balls and strikes, was occasionally challenging hecklers to fistfights. Link: The first major-league umpire was a Philadelphian (
March 28, 2019
Drunk Online Shoppers Of The World Unite
This year’s big growth industry: buying stuff online while you’re hammered. That's according to a new survey that finds one in four respondents admitted to buying stuff on the internet while they've been drinking. Drunk buying is now a $39.4 billion dollar industry... would this be a good time to mention this show is on Patreon?  Americans Spent Over $39 Billion While Drunk Shopping Last Year (Forbes)  Long Island Shopper Cashes In Coupon 36 Years After Deal Was First Offered (CBS New York)
March 27, 2019
A Salute To Great Eight Year Olds
Brady has an eight year old in the house today! To celebrate the big guy's birthday, we're taking a look at the many great eight year olds out there, making things a little more awesome. And check out the Memphis Zoo's new Lego sculptures, including a 625-pound Lego polar bear family that you definitely wouldn't want to step on.  The heart-warming tale of the 8-year-old chess champion is quintessentially American (Washington Post) 8-year-old dancer refuses to give up after losing her leg (CBS News) Why an inspirational eight-year-old joined more than 100 people swapping their comfy bed for a cold floor (Gloucestershire LIve) Horry County 8-year-old praised for emergency actions after twin brother has seizure (WMBF) Giant Lego Brick Sculptures (Memphis Zoo)
March 26, 2019
We Got (The Cheese)
Researchers in Europe make a stunning discovery: playing hip-hop to cheese makes it taste better. Maybe they should have played a few songs to a collector's coin in Germany that's not getting a great reaction.   Link: Cheese Exposed To Hip Hop Tastes Better  (  Link: A German Mint Just Released A Coin Commemorating 70 Years Of Currywurst, And It's Unspeakably Ugly (Quartz) 
March 25, 2019
Millennials Are (Not) Killing Lunch
Millennial memes are a crock. They're not really killing lunch. Or bar soap. Or doorbells. But an often-discarded piece of their beloved avocados may end up saving lunch, thanks to a new kind of cutlery made from bioplastics.  This weekend head to Virginia City, Nevada for the 41st International Collegiate Mining Games. Can your college hang with the Mackay Muckers of the University of Nevada - Reno in gold panning and jackleg drilling? 
March 22, 2019
Mystery Beer Fridge
That feeling when you've had a horrible day and everything's gone wrong and all you really want is to sit down and have a beer... and then a beer shows up. It's the real-life story of a giant flood, two guys who lived through it, and what they found after. Lincoln Journal Star: 'A gift sent from the heavens' — Magic beer fridge found in flooded field     
March 21, 2019
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