Wiki Walks
A Quick Journey Through The Most Interesting Articles on Wikipedia
1 year ago

Ep.32 – The Bhopal Disaster

The worst industrial accident in history occurred when a gas leak floated over the town of Bhopal, India in 1984

Episode Notes

In 1984, the Union Carbide pesticide chemical plant had a major gas leak that caused a huge poisonous cloud to descend over the town of Bhopal, India during the middle of the night. The sun rose on a town that had been gassed and thousands were left dead or dying in the wake of incredible negligence and corporate malfeasance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster

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1 year ago

Ep.31 – The Radioactive Boy Scout

David Hahn was just your typical 90s kid, loved science, the Boy Scout, oh, and he built a nuclear reactor in his back yard

Episode Notes

David Hahn was just your normal teen in the 90s. He loved sports, science experiments, the Boy Scouts...and he built an actual working nuclear reactor in a garden shed and got shut down by the FBI. The crazy true tale of one very radioactive Boy Scout.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hahn

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1 year ago

Ep.30 – Lawnchair Larry

An intrepid fella takes to the skies by strapping 45 helium balloons to his lawnchair, but quickly shoots up to 16k feet in a flight for his life

Episode Notes

In 1982, LA resident Larry Walters took a 45-minute flight in a homemade airship made of an aluminum lawn chair and 45 helium-filled weather balloons, armed only with a CB Radio and a pistol. The aircraft rose to an altitude of over 15,000 feet where it was nearly hit by passing aircraft as he sailed closer to the Pacific. Ever see the movie, “Up”? Yeah…they based it off this guy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawnchair_Larry_flight

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1 year ago

Ep.29 – The Lioness of Brittany

An angry French widow raises a pirate navy to sink every French ship she can find after the wrong execution of her husband

Episode Notes

In the 1300's, French noblewoman Jeanne de Clisson's husband is wrongfully executed by France for treason. Enraged, Jeanne sells everything, raises a pirate navy, paints her boats black and her sails blood-red, is known as the "Black Fleet", and terrorizes French ships for over 13 years. What a Badlass! The Lioness of Brittany might be my new favorite historical character, ever.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanne_de_Clisson

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1 year ago

Ep.28 – The Straw Millionaire

A Japanese Buddhist folktale about a trading up comes to life when a Canadian goes from a red paperclip to a two-story farmhouse

Episode Notes

The Japanese Buddhist folk tale of The Straw Millionaire tells a story where a peasant is able to, through a series of trades, move up from one piece of straw to being a millionaire. As crazy as it seems, this happened in real life, as a Canadian man was able to trade up from just one red paperclip to owning a two story farm house in Saskatchewan without spending a dime.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_red_paperclip

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1 year ago

Ep.27 – The First Vaccine

Vaccines are a hot topic these days, but did you know the first one came in 1796 for smallpox?

Episode Notes

Smallpox has been one of, if not THE, biggest killers in medical history. Hundreds of millions died as the result of the miniature menace, but it was eventually completely eradicated after British scientist Edward Jenner noticed that dairy farm-working milkmaids never got infected. The story of the FIRST vaccine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox_vaccine

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1 year ago

Ep.26 – The Ben Franklin Effect

One of the best ways to get people to like you...is to ask them to do you a favor.

Episode Notes

Ben Franklin discovered that he was able to ingratiate himself to his most ardent enemies and critics by asking them to do him a favor. This outrageously counterintuitive strategy is the most famous example in our foray into the psychological minefield that is cognitive dissonance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Franklin_effect

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1 year ago

Ep.25 – The Colossus of Roads

Have you ever sat on an airport tarmac and cursed the man who invented it? His name is John Macadam.

Episode Notes

Scotsman John Macadam is the man who took us from rutted-out dirt roads to the tar covered boulevards we know today. His invention is the inspiration behind the airport "tarmac". All roads might lead to Rome, but it was probably made from macadam.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Macadam

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1 year ago

Ep.24 – Jack the Railway Baboon

A peg-legged train signalman kicks back and relaxes while his trained baboon BFF does all the hard work

Episode Notes

A double peg-legged South African railway employee teaches his pet baboon to throw the switches when trains come through his signal house, while the railway managers are none the wiser to this brilliant baboon's mistake-free railroad record.

Wikipedia: Jack the Railway Baboon

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