Episode 498 – Have You Seen My Lizard?

Lizards are popular prey for many types of predators, from birds to snakes and carnivorous mammals. Their camouflage and ability to stay still for hours helps keep them safe. Several types of lizards are able to escape from an enemy’s grasp by breaking off part of their own tail. The tail has a weak spot just for this purpose. If a predator grabs the lizard by its tail, the tail easily comes off. It can grow back over time, although the tail won’t look quite the same.

Other lizards have different ways to stay safe. Horned lizards are able to squirt blood from tiny blood vessels in their eyes to scare away or confuse a predator. The armadillo lizard has sharp, spiky scales and can roll up into a tight ball to protect its soft belly from attack. The sungazer lizard has impressive spikes that cover its body, including the tail. The alligator lizard bites, thrashes about to get loose, or voids foul-smelling feces. The tropical girdled lizard darts into a crack, expands its body, and lodges itself in so tightly that a predator can’t remove it. 

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Factoid of the Week:
There are approximately 5,000 lizard species, including iguanas, chameleons, geckos, Gila monsters, monitors, and skinks.

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Words of Wisdom:
Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment – a little makes the way of the best happiness. -Friedrich Nietzsche

Episode 497 – Wu Tang Virus

Candles have been used as a source of light and to illuminate celebrations for more than 5,000 years. The earliest use of candles is often attributed to the Ancient Egyptians, who made rushlights or torches by soaking the pithy core of reeds in melted animal fat.

While the Egyptians were using wicked candles in 3,000 B.C., the ancient Romans are generally credited with developing the wicked candle before that time by dipping rolled papyrus repeatedly in melted tallow or beeswax. Chinese candles were molded in paper tubes, using rolled rice paper for the wick, and wax from an indigenous insect that was combined with seeds. In Japan, they used wax extracted from tree nuts, and India boiled the fruit of the cinnamon tree.

 A major improvement came in the Middle Ages, when beeswax candles were introduced in Europe. Unlike animal-based tallow, beeswax burned pure and cleanly, without producing a smoky flame. It also emitted a pleasant sweet smell rather than the foul, acrid odor of tallow. Gross.

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Factoid of the Week:
Ancient Greeks would bring a cake decorated with candles. It represented the glowing moon, to the temple of Artemis, the Goddess of the hunt and the moon. It only became a birthday tradition from the 1700s as every candle represented each passing year.

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Words of Wisdom:
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. – Buddha

Episode 496 – Emotional Support Yeast

iStock

Painting one’s nails goes back as early as 3000 BCE. There is archaeological evidence of the Ancient Babylonians painting their nails before they went into battle—with a solid gold manicure set. In Ancient China, during the Ming Dynasty, people would use formulas made from beeswax, egg whites, gelatin and vegetable dyes.

In Ancient Egypt, nail polish was used to signify class rankings. Those in the lower classes wore nude or light colors while the more elite preferred red shades (naturally). Nefertiti is said to have painted hers ruby colors while Cleopatra dyed her tips a rusty hue with the juice of the henna plant.

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Factoid of the Week:
In 1934, dentist Maxwell Lappe came up with a product he called Nu Nails — an artificial nail created specifically for nail biters.

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Words of Wisdom:
Though the hippopotamus has no stinger in his tail, a wise man would rather be sat on by a bee.

Episode 495 – Sex Dust Moon Juice

The half-life of an isotope is the time on average that it takes for half of the atoms in a sample to decay.

For example, the half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years. This means that if you have a sample of carbon-14 with 1,000 atoms, 500 of these atoms are expected to decay over the course of 5730 years. Some of the atoms may decay right away, while others will not decay for many thousands more years.

The thing to remember about half-life is that it is a probability. In the example above, 500 atoms are “expected” to decay. This is not a guarantee for one specific sample. It is just what will happen on average over the course of billions and billions of atoms.

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Factoid of the Week:
Though it was Henri Becquerel that discovered radioactivity in 1896, it was Marie Curie who coined the term.

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Words of Wisdom:
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. -Marie Curie

Episode 494 – Sarlacc Vajayjay

In Greece the word drakōn, from which the English word was derived, was used originally for any large serpent (see sea serpent), and the dragon of mythology, whatever shape it later assumed, remained essentially a snake.

In general, in the Middle Eastern world, where snakes are large and deadly, the serpent or dragon was symbolic of the principle of evil. But the Greeks and Romans, though accepting the Middle Eastern idea of the serpent as an evil power, also at times conceived the drakontes as beneficent powers—sharp-eyed dwellers in the inner parts of the Earth.

On the whole, however, the evil reputation of dragons was the stronger, and in Europe it outlived the other. Christianity confused the ancient benevolent and malevolent serpent deities in a common condemnation. In Christian art the dragon came to be symbolic of sin and paganism and, as such, was depicted prostrate beneath the heels of saints and martyrs.

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Factoid of the Week:
The name dragon is derived from the Latin word ‘draconem’ which means ‘huge serpent’.

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Words of Wisdom:
So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending! -J. R. R. Tolkien

Episode 493 – RoboPenis in the HooHah

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The first recorded New Year’s celebration dates back 4,000 years to Babylon, when the first moon after the spring equinox marked a new year. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar created a calendar with Jan. 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor Janus – the god with two faces, one looking forward and one looking backward. He is the god of beginnings, transitions, gates, doors, passages, and endings.

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Factoid of the Week:
Black eyed peas, ham, and cabbage are considered good luck if you eat them on New Year’s Eve or Day because it is believed they will bring you money. Lobster and chicken are considered bad luck because lobsters can move backward and chickens can scratch in reverse, so it is thought these foods could bring a reversal of fortune.

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Words of Wisdom:
Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. -Helen Keller

Episode 492 – Oozing Moisture

Christmas in Iceland is a colorful fusion of religion, fairy tales and folklore. Instead of one Santa, the kids are visited by 13 Yule Lads that either reward children for good behavior or punish them if they were naughty. The holiday period begins 13 days before Christmas and each day one of the 13 Yule Lads comes to houses and fills the shoes that kids leave under the Christmas tree either with sweets and small gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on how that particular child has behaved on the preceding day. The mother of Yule Lads, half-troll, half-beast, horrifying old woman Grýla, kidnaps naughty kids and boils them in her cauldron.

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Factoid of the Week:
Japanese people traditionally eat at KFC for Christmas dinner – the closest food to turkey that you can get in Japan. It’s all thanks to a successful “Kentucky for Christmas!” marketing campaign in 1947. First aimed at foreigners, KFC offered a “Christmas dinner” that contained chicken and wine – a meal that remotely resembled the food expats and tourists had at home. After a huge success, Kentucky Fried Chicken started promoting this offer every year, until the fast food chain became strongly associated with the holiday season.

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Words of Wisdom:
Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.– Victor Borge

Episode 491 – Barely a News Podcast

In Germany, Heiligabend, or Christmas Eve, is said to be a magical time when the pure in heart can hear animals talking. They can also see that rivers turn into wine, Christmas tree blossoms bear fruit, mountains open, revealing gems hidden inside and bell ringing can be heard from the bottom of the sea. The beer is strong…

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Factoid of the Week:
Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. According to Roger Highfield, the author of the book “The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey” the world’s most famous reindeer has a red nose due to a parasite. However, Rudolf’s relationship with his parasite is symbiotic: after all, the red nose illuminates the path through the winter night for the whole reindeer team.

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Words of Wisdom:
There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion. -Lord Byron

Episode 490 – Goldfish Memory

Image result for christmas picture

 The song ‘Jingle Bells’ was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”. It was supposed to be played in the composer’s Sunday school class during Thanksgiving as a way to commemorate the famed Medford sleigh races. 

“Jingle Bells” was also the first song to be broadcast from space.

Our show is listener supported… tell EVERYONE about the wackiness! EVERYONE!  Even your grandmother!  She needs penis jokes too! 

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Factoid of the Week:
“Jingle Bells” was written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas.

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Words of Wisdom:
I detest ‘Jingle Bells,’ ‘White Christmas,’ ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,’ and the obscene spending bonanza that nowadays seems to occupy not just December, but November and much of October, too. – Richard Dawkins

Episode 489 – Fairly Well Known Streamers

I may have ordered a spicy dish of lamb and noodles at a dumpling place tonight. It was like eating a delicious hive of bees… and I may actually die later.

TELL US WHAT YOU’RE THANKFUL FOR! Send emails, tweets, space-plasma messages (those are a thing, right?)

Our show is listener supported… tell EVERYONE about the wackiness! EVERYONE!  Even your grandmother!  She needs penis jokes too! 

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Factoid of the Week:
No forks at the first Thanksgiving! The first Thanksgiving was eaten with spoons and knives — but no forks! That’s right, forks weren’t even introduced to the Pilgrims until 10 years later and weren’t a popular utensil until the 18th century.

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Words of Wisdom:
“Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”– Henry Ward Beecher