If you travel as much as I do, you’re going to need something to amuse you on all those long flights. While I’m lucky enough to often travel in business class, the movies are always the same. The TV shows are still three years old. After awhile, you grow pretty sick of staring at that tiny little screen. If I go on Fly Dubai or another carrier, there is often no entertainment at all. You need something else to keep your brain from frying. While I’m now a solid convert to the Kindle, which I certainly helps to relieve airplane boredom, my go-to has always been podcasts. One podcast in particular – the Stuff You Should Know Podcast (SYSK).
I came across this podcast by accident. When I listened to my first podcast, I thought it was… a little odd. There seemed to be a lot of rambling. Discussions on random points rolled into the conversation. I turned to some music – I was at the gym at the time – and forgot about it. A few months later, I started listening again. I think I must have just stumbled across a bad session. Nearly every other SYSK podcast I have listened to since has been brilliant.
SYSK is apparently the most downloaded podcast through Apple, so I can’t be the only one who enjoys it. Published by HowStuffWorks and hosted by two smooth-sounding American chaps, Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant, new episodes are released every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It was launched in 2008 and is still going strong. I have to admit, I don’t follow the podcast in a sequential fashion. Generally, I go back and download whichever episodes sound interesting to me, and listen to them whenever I am flying, at the gym, doing exercise at home, or just want to learn something.
I, like a lot of other people, love learning new things. Plus, I also love reading. However, it’s pretty hard to learn about lots of new topics in-depth. What I love about SYSK is that it gives you an achievable introduction to a new subject, and you can then delve into it further. The premise of SYSK is offering bite-sized pieces of well researched, educated factoids on interesting topics. And there is a fairly big range of interesting topics! I’ve learnt so much about random things I never would have thought of researching. From the Grand Canyon Newlyweds to the Wow Signal, there is really something for everyone on the site.
I listen through Spotify, but SYSK is also available through the SYSK website, and the Apple Store. All downloads are free. So next time you are struggling for something a little different to listen to, make sure you try a SYSK podcast! I’ve listed some of my favorites below to get you started.
Why can’t we find Amelia Earhart?
What exactly is stoicism?
Is the Pied Piper About a Real Historic Tragedy?
(Approximately) 10 Things That Vanished Mysteriously
How the Rosetta Stone Works
How The Voynich Manuscript Works
How the Stanford Prison Experiment Worked
The Baffling Case of the Body On Somerton Beach
What was the most peaceful time in history?
Did a cow start the Great Chicago Fire?
SYSK Selects: What’s the deal with Rasputin’s death?
The DB Cooper Heist
Narcissism: But what about me?
How Ponzi Schemes Work
Subways: HUH! What are they good for?
Sherpas: Warm, Friendly Living
The Unabomber: Misguided to say the least
The Real How Jack the Ripper Worked
The Manson Family Murders Part I
The Manson Family Murders Part II
The Mystery of the Mary Celeste
The Wind Cries Typhoid Mary
Prisons – Not as Fun as You’d Think
How the New England Vampire Panics Worked
How the Underground Railroad Worked
How Pompeii Worked
The Strange Story of Sea Monkeys
Jobs of Bygone Eras
The Huggable, Lovable Walrus
How the Concorde Worked
The Dyatlov Pass Mystery
PT Barnum: More Complicated Than You’ve Heard