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November 18, 2019

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Bridging the Gap Between Curiosity and Knowledge Using a Podcast

The Stuff You Should Know podcast, at its core, rests on the premise that there are things in life you’ve always been curious about but never had the time to either properly research or chase down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. In Stuff You Should Know, hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark have done all the hard work for you, researching a specific topic and presenting their research summary on a biweekly podcast. Topics have ranged from a biographical summary of Carl Sagan, to the history of chocolate consumption, to the rules and gameplay of Dungeons and Dragons. With a back catalog of hundreds of episodes, you’d be hard pressed to not find a topic that interests you. 

As an engineer, I immediately gravitated toward the episode entitled “Bridges: Nature Abhors Them.” This episode focuses on bridges, both the various kinds of bridges and the basics of their designs. While it may not be the kind of overview you’ll need to pass your impending PE exam, the podcast gives a great overview that will surely reignite any interests in bridges you had, even those that drove you to build that popsicle stick bridge in 6th grade. Even if your only known fact about bridges is that they are the chosen dwelling structure for territorial trolls, Bryant and Clark’s summary will surely enable you to impress your friends with a few factoids about tensile forces.  A particular highlight for me was the discussion of the “living bridges” in India.   

Please note that because this is a free podcast, there are intermittent advertising plugs throughout the podcast, including one at the very beginning of the episode. 

Bridges: Nature Abhors Them

After you’ve thoroughly whetted your appetite for bridge knowledge with this episode, might I suggest diving into something a bit more summer related? 

Mosquitoes: The Worst
This episode sinks its teeth into the nastiest little creatures on Earth: mosquitoes. Learn all about the types of mosquitoes, how they feed, how they breed, and most importantly, how they can be repelled.

How Water Slides Work
How can summer truly be summer without daydreams of zipping joyfully down a chute of water? This episode dives into the history of both the water slide and water parks. Be warned, listening to this episode may cause momentary feelings of nostalgia

- Benjamin E. Murphy, EIT 

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