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Facts Machine

Facts Machine

By Facts Machine
Facts Machine is a podcast by and for people who are curious about everything — but especially the things that make them laugh. Scientists by day and pub trivia hosts by night, Emily, Noah, and Rob leverage their scientific curiosity and delight in obscure minutiae to bring you a podcast that explores life’s silliest, most unexpected, and outright awe-inspiring stories. And puns. So many puns.
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Episode 48: Hea-venom Is A Place On Earth (ft. Anna Klompen)
🎶We don't think you're ready for these jellies🎶 We are joined by evolutionary biologist, venomologist, and jellyfish expert Anna Klompen for an episode all about venom! Listen for evolutionary arms races, snails that cure cancer, and jellyfish sneezes.
September 22, 2020
Episode 47: Tales From The Cryptologist (ft. Rae Richards)
"Guvf jrrx V yrnearq" gung erpbeqvat na rcvfbqr bs Snpgf Znpuvar pna ernyyl trg bhg bs unaq snfg. Jr yrnearq nobhg gur gjb Pnrfnef, gur Ebzna yrnqre NAQ gur fnynq cvbarre. Jr yrnearq ubj cvffrq gurl tbg ng Zrqvriny fyhzore cnegvrf. Naq jr yrnearq nobhg ubj gur Aninwb pbqrgnyxref jba JJVV sbe gur Nyyvrf.
August 25, 2020
Episode 46: Uncharisma (ft. Marion Renault)
In this episode, we're joined by science journalist Marion Renault to swap facts on "uncharisma" in nature. Tune in for facts about the (wrongfully) over-looked and (superficially) unappealing organisms that keep our ecosystems and even our lives running smoothly. By the end, you'll be convinced these critters really *are* more than meets the eye--even the maggots! (Though in their case it may be for the best that this is an entirely audio medium.)
July 28, 2020
Episode 45: Our Fair Share (ft. Kristina Parsons)
We wanted to give our listeners the world...'s fair! We are joined by museum curator Kristina Parsons to dive headlong in the wide world of World's Fairs.
July 14, 2020
Episode 44: The Iceland Cometh (ft. Moiya McTier)
Everybody knows that old joke, "What did the astrophysicist say to the folklorist? We are the same person..." Maybe it's funnier in the original Icelandic? To find out, we sought the only person we know who fits that description, Moiya McTier! Join Noah, Em, Rob, and Moiya as we discuss Erik the Well-Read, why Lucifer is definitely not from Iceland, and the power of a new pair of skin-pants! Bonus: they come with a pocket!
June 16, 2020
Episode 43: BUGS (ft. Sam Corbin) -- Live(streamed) at Caveat
Abandon hope, all ye who *ento* here! It's a broadly entomological arthropod-cast about bugs! In this episode, which we live-streamed on Caveat's YouTube page, we welcome comedian, writer, and legendary pun queen Sam Corbin to discuss bees with "daddy tissues", artisanal stings, and the worst kind of jelly donut.
May 20, 2020
Episode 42: Paradigm-a-dozen (ft. André Pineda, PhD)
Paradigms, they are a-changin’ in this week’s episode of Facts Machine! We’re joined by friend of the pod and scicomedian extraordinaire Dr. André Pineda, a neuroscientist, science communicator, and show runner at our home venue Caveat who leverages laughs to share science. Join us as we talk Al-Haytham “going turbo” while Europe was in a dark age, evolution by “naturalist selection”, and rerouting priests to prevent disease.
May 5, 2020
Episode 41: Facts That Hold Water (ft. Jessica Noviello, PhD)
 H2OMG! This episode’s all about the universal solvent, 60% of the human body, and (when it’s feelin’ fancy) dihydrogen monoxide. We’re joined by long time friend of the pod and first time guest of the pod Dr. Jessica Noviello, a planetary geologist, science communicator, and avowed dinosaur enthusiast currently studying the Kuiper Belt Object EL61 Haumea in her post-doctoral research. Tune in to learn how water makes its way around our universe, how a giant aquifer stayed hidden in plain sight, and why Niels Bohr was oddly possessive about a bottle of Carlsberg.
April 21, 2020
Episode 39: 'Ew, Gross' Anatomy (Special Quiz Episode #3)
 This week Noah spills his guts in the finale of our three part anatomy quiz series! Guess along as Rob and Em try to distinguish real and made-up medical terminology and encounter fruity maladies and ambiguous pouches along the way.
March 24, 2020
Episode 38: We've Got A Bone To Pick (Special Quiz Episode #2)
Make no bones about it, in this second of three special anatomical quiz episodes, Rob tests Emily's and Noah's knowledge of his favorite organ, bones! 
March 19, 2020
Episode 37: Can't We All Just Get A Lung? (Special Quiz Episode #1)
Don't hate, ventilate! In this first of three special anatomical quiz episodes, Emily tests Noah's and Rob's knowledge of her favorite organ, the lungs! Somehow, they end up debating the merits of different kinds of turtle bums. How? Who knows.
March 10, 2020
Episode 36: Etymologies
 Facts Machine returns with an episode all about etymologies. Join us as we dig deep to discover our favorite word origins, root and stem! #protologism
February 25, 2020
Episode 34: Technobabble
October 15, 2019
Episode 33: Do Animals Still Suck?
October 2, 2019
Episode 32: Bloopers, Outtakes, & Shenanigans
We're taking a break for a few weeks while we work on some *big plans*! In the meantime enjoy this episode of our unaired failures and musical interludes.
August 20, 2019
Episode 31: The Ass Files (We Are Not A Mules)
At long last, the Facts Machine episode theme you've all been waiting for -- Donkeys! Our equine friends have an incredible history, from being worshipped by medieval Catholics, causing Stoic philosophers to die laughing in ancient Greece, and carrying the comedic weight for writers from antiquity to the present day. Also it's fun to say "ass".
August 6, 2019
Episode 30: Women's Issues & Man-Sized Tissues
 In this episode, we talk male show-vinism, tell the incredible story of an Irish pirate queen, and find out what female mice really want.
July 23, 2019
Episode 29: Fruits & Veggies
This is a podcast about Pythagoras and beans, Oklahoma and the truth, and Princess Alice and her pet Spinach. Everything you think is a vegetable is a fruit. Ben Franklin has a plan for your farts.
July 9, 2019
Episode 28: Famous Inventors, Overshadowed Inventions
Don't you just hate it when people only want to talk about how you discovered universal gravitation, but not about your passion project, making proportionately-sized doors for cats? Or when the press loves how you revolutionized the automobile industry by mass producing affordable cars but not how you tried to make them out of soy beans? Or how no matter how many times you explain that you discovered what E equals, they don't want to use the special refrigerator you invented? Misery loves company, so listen along to our latest episode, all about the lesser known and lesser appreciated ideas of famous scientists and inventors!
June 25, 2019
Episode 27: This Week We Learned (at Science Friday Trivia)
Emily, Rob, and Noah went to Science Friday’s science trivia night, and they won! They also learned some interesting facts that they have brought back to share with you in this episode. Listen to find out why you shouldn’t cast your margaritas before swine, how to distinguish between a blue whale and a Soviet submarine, and whether the aurora borealis thinks you are worthy of applause.
June 11, 2019
Episode 26: Sportsball!
When Facts Machine does an episode about sports, somehow you leave with more information about the mysteriously accurate predictions of 19th century authors, the ability to pinpoint the true origin of referred pain in the tip of your right shoulder blade, and possibly the first viral marketing campaign than you do about sports themselves. Play ball!
May 28, 2019
Episode 25: (Live at Caveat) The Periodic Table of Elements
Live at Caveat in NYC, Noah, Emily, and Rob head back to class with their first ever guest host, chemistry teacher extraordinaire Rich Fisler! In this episode, the facts are elementary, the laughs are periodic, and discussion of fewer puns was tabled. 
May 14, 2019
Episode 24: In Dog We Trust
In this episode, Facts Machine makes a PAWEDcast! Noah, Rob, and Emily learn all about dogs — the good boys and good girls who make life worth living. Listen to find out how good the first good boy was, how some good girls are helping reseed forests after fires, and how some good boys and good girls (and one especially good boy) braved wind and snow to save a bunch of kids from Diptheria!
April 30, 2019
Episode 23: Hocus POTUS
Hail to the Chief! It's an episode of Facts Machine all about U.S. presidents. Listen to find out why it's not safe to run for president in 2020, how to win friends and influence people to crowdfund your mausoleum, and which president was arrested for speeding in a horse-drawn carriage.
April 16, 2019
Episode 22: That Sh*t Cray
“More intellectual than I expected.” Our listeners should expect nothing less from an episode of Facts Machine all about poop! Would you believe that in this episode we discuss the natural philosophy of Aristotle, the finer points of long-term space exploration, AND cutting-edge (or should we say, “surface-level”) biomimicry in engineering? Just to be clear, though, this is definitely an episode about poop. There will be jokes.
April 2, 2019
Episode 21: My Goodness, My Guinness
Top of the morning to ya! In honor of St. Paddy’s day, we’re Dublin down on this week’s theme: Guinness! Listen to find out why nitrogen is “an obvious gas”, how the t-test was invented by a Guinness employee, and how “factual fisticuffs” inspired the Guinness Book of World Records!
March 19, 2019
Episode 20: Facts Machine ~After Dark~
This week, Facts Machine becomes FaXXX Machine as Emily, Rob, and Noah discuss facts of a more...intimate...nature. Get your mind in the gutter with our titillating (hehehe) tales about the Urban Dictionary of the Victorian era, that time when Hemingway and Fitzgerald compared their penises at the Louvre, and a divine foreskin of purportedly cosmic proportions.
March 5, 2019
Episode 19: The Wild West
Have your lassos, pistols, and...sarsaparilla (?) at the ready, because this week Facts Machine is comin' atcha with some Wild West facts! Tune in to learn about real life re-enactments of your favorite dysentry-ridden computer game, the dromedaries that were once at home on the range, and the most infamous stagecoach robber in frontier herstory. Yee-haw!
February 19, 2019
Episode 18: Only In New York
You can learn a lot in a New York minute, but you can learn even more in sixty! Facts Machine is back with an episode all about our hometown, the Big Apple. Listen to learn why The Strand bookstore is the last shop standing from New York's legendary Book Row, why electric cars caught on in the 19th century only to be undermined by fragile masculinity, and why a New York sculptor has been creating monuments to fictional disasters all over the city.
February 5, 2019
Episode 17: Crime Immemorial
It would be criminal to miss this episode of Facts Machine! Let us steal your attention with gritty tales of (surprisingly) true crime, featuring Ohio bank robberies, anti-Stratfordian conspiracy theories, and mysteriously damp socks. Do your ears some justice and tune in!
January 22, 2019
Episode 16: I'm With The Banned
Noah, Emily and Rob are back with a BAN-tastic episode all about bans, censorship, and prohibitions! Listen to find out why Ray Bradbury should have gone with Fahrenheit 2577, why you should watch your back if you’re the king who banned coffee, and which beloved children’s book character is not allowed in a Polish playground because he doesn’t wear pants. But be quick, before you know it, we could be banned too!
January 8, 2019
Episode 15: Have Yourself A Merry Little Podcast
Podcast ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay! For Noah, Emily, and Rob have come to you to say: Remember facts like Ol’ Saint Nick was skinny in his day! Oh tidings of Facts Machine pod! Give us five stars! Ohhhh tidings of Facts Machine pod! It’s a holiday episode of Facts Machine! Come learn about how Martin Luther wanted to split from the Catholic Church but didn’t want to split from getting presents, why 17th century Christians banned people from saying Merry Christmas, and how mistletoe and vampires have a lot in common!
December 11, 2018
Episode 14: Blame It On The Alcohol
Bottoms up! It's an episode of Facts Machine all about booze. Tune in to learn how John Chapman planted cider apple trees until he became known as Johnny Appleseed, how a ban on eggnog incited a violent riot among cadets at West Point, and how drunk birds are wreaking havoc in a small Minnesota town.
November 27, 2018
Episode 13: Take Me Out To The Ball Game
Grab some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and get your glove out from under your mattress. The baseball season might be over, but it's opening day for America's *real* pastime: trivia! There will be more twists than one of those curvy, slidy pitches...what are they called again? Settle in for a long, boring episode about the long, boring game that we can't help but love. We'll discuss the story behind the song "Take Me Out To The Ball Game", possibly make a mortal enemy of the National Peanut Board, debate the beneficial effects of lightning strikes on ERA, learn all about "outlaw" baseball leagues, and, of course, touch on Merkel's Boner, probably the worst play in baseball history! Wait, why are you snickering?
November 13, 2018
Episode 12: Happy Halloween!
Boo! Did we scare you? No? Well maybe our most recent episode will do the trick (or treat)! This week, Rob, Noah, and Emily explore the overuse of Franken as a prefix, the spooky physics (or lack thereof) of ghosts, and the sex politics of ancient Egyptian mummies.
October 30, 2018
Episode 11: The Reviews Are In...
"I was laughing for half of the episode, and thinking for the other half!", "As funny as 'Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!'", "I love Facts Machine, but please don't open any more cellophane packages on-air." The above are all real reviews that our podcast has received! In this episode, Emily, Rob, and Noah review the reviewers--the professional and amateur opinion-havers whose input we've learned is apparently essential (please give us five stars!!!). Listen to find out how a little premature slander resulted in the Nobel Prizes, how a stay-at-home dad inspired the world to throw rotten comedy tomatoes at classic films in 140 characters or fewer, and why Parisians initially gave the Eiffel Tower two thumbs down.
October 16, 2018
Episode 10: Playing With Our Food
Food fight!!! Grab a gluten-free communion wafer, a rotten tomato, or a cookie that thinks it's a cake, and get ready to throw them at Noah, Emily and Rob as they set the table and dig in to find out the precise gluten content of Jesus of Nazareth, the best uses for tomatoes, and the legal definition of a cookie.
October 2, 2018
Episode 9: Boring Conspiracy Theories
UFOs…chem trails…lizard people…Facts Machine? You’re not crazy (maybe); all the aforementioned things are sources of conspiracy theories! Hold onto your tin foil hats as Noah, Rob, and Emily take you on a mild ride through the world of boring conspiracy theories in Episode 9 of Facts Machine. We’ll cover why Starbucks never gets your name right, why elevator close buttons exist to prevent your descent into existential despair, and how the Swiss government preyed upon a universal human desire for warm, gooey cheese to brainwash (brinewash?) the masses. Tune in for puns, trivia, and possible hidden messages with apocalyptic predictions if you play them backwards! (We didn’t add those. Or did we?!)
September 18, 2018
Episode 8: Space
They say that that in space, no one can hear you scream…but since we host a podcast, we’re used to screaming fruitlessly into the void, so it’s fine! In this episode, Emily, Rob, and Noah explore the vast reaches of space, as well as all the ways that space reaches into each and every one of our lives. Tune in to discover why scientists are taking pictures of penguin poop from orbit, whether “Icy Chaos” is more than just a good name for a band, and who was the first person to drink alcohol on a planetary body other than Earth.
September 4, 2018
Episode 7: Unsung Heroes
Some historical heroes are household names, whereas others fade into history, or worse, suffer the cruel fate of not even meriting a Wikipedia page. Ever wonder why unicorns are no longer the scourge of humanity, why badass women journalists no longer hold ransom the clothing of US Presidents to get interviews, and why we don’t operate bicycles like a Kangaroo probably would? Unsung heroes have shaped our society in many ways, and in this episode, Noah, Emily, and Rob tell their (often incredibly weird) stories and shed some light on the world they helped mold…whether we know about them or not. Twitter/IG: @FactsMachinePod Facebook: Facts Machine Podcast
August 21, 2018
Episode 6: Do Animals Suck?
Have you ever wondered whether some animals, despite the best efforts of the powerful pro-animal lobby to convince us otherwise (we’re looking at you, David Attenborough), just really suck? Odds are some of them are just going to be real jerks with no redeeming qualities, right? In this episode, Rob, Noah, and Emily debate the merits of jellyfish, pigeons, and spiders, and (with the exception of Rob’s fear that jellyfish hijinks will trigger a nuclear meltdown) come to the conclusion that these animals and many more do not suck, and that instead they are super cool and interesting. Ye who enter here, abandon all hope of avoiding a lengthy series of jokes about Panda sex. Twitter/IG: @FactsMachinePod Facebook: Facts Machine Podcast
August 7, 2018
Episode 5: Where There's A Will...
What will you leave behind when you die? If you're lucky, you'll leave behind the Earth when your ashes are blasted into outer space! Alternatively, you might pass on your birth date to an unlucky child born too close to Christmas. Or maybe, just maybe, you'll start a race to see who can have the most babies during the Great Depression. In this episode, Emily, Rob and Noah, the executors of the Facts Machine estate, explore the wacky world of wills, the legal documents that dictate what happens to your stuff when you die, the crazy things some people have left in them, and the crazy people who have done the leaving. Twitter/IG: @FactsMachinePod
July 24, 2018
Episode 4: The World Cup
Want to learn lots of cool stuff about The World Cup, but don’t want to have to learn anything about soccer itself? Do we ever have a podcast for you! In this episode, Noah, Emily, and Rob explore the crazy world of The World Cup. Listen to find out whether the 1958 World Cup in Sweden was really a hoax orchestrated by the CIA and FIFA, how soccer has opera to thank for its continued popularity, and what exactly is going on in the interim between a World Cup victory and the inevitable baby boom roughly 9 months later. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the bottom of it, just as soon as we google where babies come from. Twitter/IG: @FactsMachinePod
July 10, 2018
Episode 3: What's in a Name?
Would a podcast by any other name sound as sweet? That's what Facts Machine is here to find out. In this episode, Rob, Noah, and Emily dish on their historical namesakes. Listen to find out how Robert E. Lee is connected to the death of John F. Kennedy*, how Noah's Ark is related to the oldest alcoholic beverages ever discovered, and how a parasitic fungus called Devastating Emily is linked to a caffeine-addicted beetle. *not that one! Twitter/IG: @FactsMachinePod
June 26, 2018
Episode 2: Rise and Shine
Facts Machine Trivia Podcast has returned for a *second* episode! Listen to find out how a one-eyed astronomer, anthropomorphic trains, and the country of Finland relate to this week's early bird-friendly theme: Rise and Shine. We'd love to hear your thoughts, and even more so any facts that YOU have to share (it's kind of our thing). Hit us up on Twitter/Instagram at @FactsMachinePod!
April 27, 2018
Episode 1: The Olympics
Welcome to the inaugural episode of the Facts Machine Trivia Podcast! Listen to find out how swimming hieroglyphics, hitchhiking, and the casting of Tarzan are somehow connected to this week's theme: The Olympics. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed making it. Let us know what you think! Twitter/IG: @FactsMachinePod
March 13, 2018