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October 26, 2020
We’ve all heard stories about fantastical creatures that people swear they’ve seen and have evidence of but can never be confirmed. Think Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. Mermaids or the Kraken. While there’s no evidence backing the existence of these creatures, either in present day or at any point in the past, there must be a reason why such legends were created in the first place. In most cases, the legend in grounded in fact.
September 24, 2020
Well-documented torrential rains and unusually cold temperatures affected the outcomes of many major battles during World War I from 1914 to 1918. Poet Mary Borden described the cold, muddy landscape of the Western Front as “the liquid grave of our armies” in her poem “The Song of the Mud” about 1916’s Battle of the Somme, during which more than one million soldiers were killed or wounded.
July 13, 2020
About 3,600 years ago, a colossal volcanic eruption blew apart the Greek island Thera, now the popular tourist destination known as Santorini. Falling volcanic rock and dust buried the Bronze Age settlement Akrotiri, on the south side of the island, preserving multi-story buildings, frescoes, tools, furniture and food, until archaeological excavations uncovered them in the last century, much like the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE famously buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. But unlike the Roman cities, Akrotiri has a notable lack of bodies.
April 22, 2020
This year is the 50th anniversary. To celebrate, we chatted with over a dozen NASA scientists about what Earth Day means to them in this special compilation episode!
April 20, 2020
On 24 December 1968, humans witnessed our home planet rise over the horizon of another world for the first time. The crew of Apollo 8 looked up from the Moon to see the blue and white swirls of Earth poised above the stark grey lunar surface—a single oasis in a big, dark universe.
April 6, 2020
From 1946 to 1958, the United States military conducted more than 20 nuclear bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, an idyllic tropical island in the South Pacific Ocean. During the first of these tests, conducted in July 1946, the military anchored nearly 100 warships and submarines within Bikini’s large lagoon to see how a nuclear blast would affect a naval fleet.
March 24, 2020
In 44 BCE, a momentous event occurred. Somewhere on Earth, a volcano erupted—one of the largest of last 2,500 years terms of climate impact. Traces of the eruption can be found in ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, in signs of cold weather in the growth rings of trees around the world, and records of famine and agricultural disaster from Egypt to China. The eruption caused global climate effects lasting several years.
February 19, 2020
In 1991, the United States government unearthed a staggering archaeological find during construction of a federal office building in lower Manhattan. While digging the building’s foundations, construction crews stumbled upon skeletal remains from the “Negroes Burial Ground,” the largest and oldest burial site of free and enslaved Africans in what would become the United States.
January 27, 2020
An analysis of timber used to construct buildings in Europe hundreds of years ago is giving scientists and historians new insights into the region’s history from the 13th to 17th centuries. Using samples of wood taken from old buildings in Europe, Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, a historian and paleoclimatologist at Stockholm University, and Andrea Seim, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg, figured out when the trees used in the buildings …
December 4, 2019
Mineralogist Jeff Post has a one-of-a-kind job: he’s curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection, a collection of over 375,000 rock and mineral specimens housed at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. In this episode, Jeff takes Third Pod producers on a tour of the vault, where the collection’s most valuable and rare specimens are kept. Jeff